The Work of God Apostolate

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 7 chapter 10 verses 155-178 Index

 Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary By Sor Marķa of Agreda


  INDEX            Book 7  Chapter  10    Verses:  155-178

155. As the new law of grace continued to spread in
Jerusalem so the number of the faithful increased and
the new evangelical Church was augmented day by day
(Acts 5, 14). In like manner did the solicitude and at
tention of its great Queen and Teacher, Mary, expand
toward the new children engendered by the Apostles
through their preaching. As they were the foundationstones
of the Church, on which the security of that build
ing was to depend, the most prudent Lady lavished
especial care upon the apostolic college. Her heavenly
solicitude augmented in proportion to the wrath of
Lucifer against the followers of Christ and especially
against the Apostles, as the ministers of eternal salvation
to the other faithful. It will never be possible to describe
or to estimate in this life the blessings and favors con
ferred by Her upon the Church and upon each of its
mystical members. This happened especially in regard
to the Apostles and disciples ; for as has been revealed to
me not a day or hour passed, in which she did not work
for them many wonders. I will relate in this chapter
some of the events, which are very instructive on account
of the secrets of divine Providence therein contained.
From them we can form an estimate of the most vigilant
charity and zeal of the blessed Mary for souls.
156. All the Apostles She loved and served with in
credible affection and reverence, both on account of their
great holiness and on account of their dignity as priests,
as ministers, preachers and founders of the Gospel. Dur
ing all their stay in Jerusalem She attended upon them,
counseled and directed them in the manner noted above.
With the increase of the Church they were obliged to go
outside of Jerusalem in order to baptize and admit to
the faith many of the inhabitants of the neighboring
places ; but they always returned to the city, because they
had purposely delayed separating from each other, or
leaving Jerusalem, until they should receive orders to
do so. From the Acts we learn that saint Peter went
to Lydda and Jaffa, where he raised Tabitha from the
dead and performed other miracles, returning again to
Jerusalem. Although saint Luke relates these excursions
after speaking of the death of saint Stephen (of which
I shall treat in the following chapter), yet during these
events, many were converted throughout Palestine, and
it was necessary, that the Apostles go forth to preach
to them and to confirm them in the faith, always return
ing in order to give an account of their doings to their
heavenly Mistress.
157. During all their journeys and preachings the
common enemy of all sought to hinder the spread of the
divine Word, or its fruit, by rousing the unbelievers to
many contradictions and altercations with the Apostles
and their listeners or converts; for it seemed to the
infernal dragon more easy to assault them, when he saw
them removed and far from the protection of their Mis
tress. So formidable the great Queen of the angels ap
peared to the hellish hosts, that in spite of the eminent
holiness of the Apostles, Lucifer imagined them disarmed
and at his mercy, easily approachable to his temptations,
as soon as they left the presence of Mary. The furious
pride of this dragon, as is written in Job (Job 41, 18),
esteems the toughest steel as weak straw, and the hardest
bronze as a stick of rotten wood. He fears not the dart
nor the sling; but he dreaded the protection of the most
blessed Mary, and in tempting the Apostles, he waited
until they should have left her presence.
158. But her protection failed them not on that ac
count; for the great Lady, from the watch-tower of her
exalted knowledge, reached out in every direction. Like
a most vigilant sentinel She discovered the assaults of
Lucifer and hastened to the relief of her sons and minis
ters of her Lord. When in her absence She could not
speak to the Apostles in any of their afflictions, She im
mediately sent her holy angels to their assistance in order
to encourage, forewarn and console them ; and sometimes
also to drive away the assaulting demons. All this the
celestial spirits executed promptly in compliance with the
orders of their Queen. At times they would do it se
cretly by inspirations and interior consolations ; at others,
and more frequently, they manifested themselves visibly,
assuming most beautiful and refulgent bodies and in
forming the Apostles of what was proper for the oc
casion, or what had been ordered by their Mistress. This
happened very often on account of their purity and holi
ness and on account of the necessity of favoring them
with such an abundance of consolation and encourage
ment. In all their difficulties and labors the most loving
Mother thus assisted them, besides offering up for them
her continual prayers and thanksgiving. She was the
strong Woman, whose domestics were sheltered by dou
ble garments ; the Mother of the family, who supplied all
with nourishment and who by the labors of her hands
planted the vineyard of the Lord.
159. With all the other faithful She proportionately
exhibited the same care; and although there were many
converts in Jerusalem and in Palestine, She remembered
them all in thir necessities and tribulations. And She
thought not only of the needs of their souls, but of those
of the body, and many She cured of most grave sick
nesses. Others, whom She knew were not to be cured
miraculously, She visited and assisted in person. Of the
poor She took a still greater care, with her own hand
administering to them food on their beds of sickness, and
seeing to their being kept clean, as if She were the ser
vant of all, infirm with the infirm. So great was the hu
mility, the charity and solicitude of the great Queen of
the world, that She refused no service or lowliest minis
try to the faithful, no matter how humble and insignifi
cant the condition of those applying for her assistance.
She filled each one with joy and consolation and lightened
all their labors. Those upon whom on account of their
absence She could not personally attend, She assisted
secretly through her holy angels or by her prayers and
160. In an especial manner her maternal kindness ex
hibited itself to those who were in the agony of death;
for she attended many of the dying and would not leave
them, until they had secured their eternal salvation. For
those who went to purgatory She offered up most fervent
prayers and performed some works of penance, such as
prostrations in the form of a cross, genuflections and
other exercises, by which She satisfied for their faults.
Then She sent one of her angels in order to draw them
from purgatory and present them to her Son in heaven
as his own and as the fruits of his blood and Redemp
tion. This happiness the Queen of heaven procured to
many souls during her stay upon earth. And, as far as
was made known to me, this favor is not denied in our
days to those, who during their earthly life dispose them
selves properly for meriting her presence, as I have writ
ten in another place. But, since it would be necessary to
extend the scope of this history very much, if I were to
describe how the most blessed Mary assisted many in the
hour of death, I cannot dilate upon this matter. I will
recount only one incident, in which She freed a girl from
the jaws of the infernal dragon. It is one which is so
extraordinary and worthy of the attention of us all, that
it would not be right to omit it in this history, or deprive
ourselves of the lesson it contains.
161. Among the five thousand who were first con
verted and who received Baptism in Jerusalem, there was
also a young girl of poor and humble parentage. This
young woman, busying herself with her household du
ties, took ill and for many days She dragged on in her
sickness without improvement. As happens to many
other souls, she on that account fell from her first fervor
and in her neglect committed some sins endangering her
baptismal grace. Lucifer, who never relaxed in his thirst
for the ruin of souls, approached this woman and attack
ed her with fiercest cruelty, being thus permitted by God
to do so for his greater glory and that of his most blessed
Mother. The demon appeared to her in the form of an
other woman and with much cajolery told her to with
draw from those people, who were preaching the Cruci
fied, and not to believe anything they said, because it was
all falsehood; that, if she would not follow this advice,
she would be punished by the priests and judges who
had crucified the Teacher of that new and counterfeit
religion; whereas, if she obeyed, she would live peace
fully and free from danger. The girl answered : "I will
do what thou sayest; but what shall I do in regard to
that Lady, whom I have seen with these men and women
and who appears to be so kind and peaceful? I desire
her good will very much." The demon replied: "This
One, whom thou mentionest, is worse than all the rest,
and Her thou must shun before all. It is most impor
tant, that thou withdraw from her snares."
162. Infested with this deadly poison of the ancient
serpent, the soul of this simple dove was brought near
to eternal death and her body, instead of being relieved,
dropped into more serious illness and was in danger
of a premature end. One of the seventy-two disciples,
who visited the faithful, was informed of the dangerous
illness of the girl; for from her neighbors he heard that
one of his sect living in that house, was on the point of
expiring. The disciple entered in order to visit her and
encourage her according to her necessities. But the
sick girl was so ensnared by the demons, that she did not
receive him or answer him one word, although he zeal
ously sought to exhort and instruct her ; she on the con
trary sought to hide and stop her ears in order not to
hear him. From these signs the Apostle saw the immi
nent peril of this soul, although he did not know the
cause. Eagerly he hastened to report to the Apostle saint
John, who without delay visited the patient, admonishing
her and speaking to her words of eternal life, if she
would only listen. But she treated him in the same way
as the disciple, obstinately resisting the efforts of both.
The Apostle saw many legions of devils surrounding the
girl, and, though they retired at his approach, they failed
not immediately afterward to renew the illusion with
which they had filled the unhappy girl.
163. Seeing her obstinacy, the Apostle betook himself
in great affliction to the most blessed Mary in order to
ask for help. Immediately the great Queen turned her
interior vision upon the sick one and She recognized the
unhappy and dangerous condition, in which the enemy
had drawn that soul. The kind Mother bewailed this
simple sheep, thus deceived by the bloodthirsty infernal
wolf; and prostrate upon the floor She prayed for her
rescue. But the Lord answered not a word to the pe
tition of his blessed Mother; not because her petition
was disagreeable to Him, but for the contrary reason and
because He was pleased with her clamors, pretending
deafness in order to hear them so much the longer ; also
in order to teach us how great was the prudence and char
ity of our Mother on these occasions. The Lord left
Her for this purpose to the common and ordinary state
without favoring Her with a new inspiration in regard to
what She was asking. She however did not cease on that
account, nor did She permit her ardent charity to relax ;
for She knew that She was not to be wanting in her office
as Mother on account of the silence of the Lord as long
as She did not know expressly the divine will. Proceed
ing thus prudently She dispatched one of her angels to
bring aid to that soul by defending it against the devil and
exhorting it by holy inspirations to forsake his deceits
and return to God. The holy angel fulfilled this com
mission with the speed in which they are wont to obey
the Most High ; but, even though he made a diligent use
of all his powers as an angel, he could not overcome the
girl s obstinacy in clinging to her illusions. To such a
state can a soul be reduced by delivering itself over to the
164. The holy angel returned to his Queen and said:
"My Mistress, I return from the task of assisting this
girl in her mortal danger, as Thou, the Mother of mercy,
hast imposed upon me ; but her hardness of heart is such,
that she will not receive or listen to the holy inspirations
I have given her. I have fought against the demons in
her defense, but they resisted, standing on the rights
which this soul has freely yielded and continues to yield
to them. The power of divine justice has not co-operated
with me as I desired in trying to fulfill thy will; and I
cannot, O Lady, give Thee the consolation Thou expectest.&
quot; The loving Mother was much afflicted at this
answer; but as She is the Mother of love, of knowledge
and holy hope, She would not yield in what She had
merited for all of us and what She teaches. Retiring
once more to pray for the salvation of that erring soul,
She prostrated Herself upon the ground and said: "My
Lord and God of mercy, behold here this vile wormlet of
the earth ; chastise and afflict me, but let me not see this
soul, which was marked as one of the first-fruits of thy
blood and is now deceived by the serpent, become the
spoil of his malice and of his hatred against thy faithful."
165. The most blessed Mary continued for some time
in this petition; but she received no answer from the
Lord, in order that her invincible heart and her charity
toward her neighbor might be put to the proof. The
most prudent Virgin bethought Herself of what had
happened to the prophet Eliseus (IV Kings 4, 34), who
had vainly sent his staff with his servant Giezi to resus
citate the boy and had found that he himself must touch
and stretch himself over his body in order to restore him
to life. Neither the angel nor the Apostle were power
ful enough to awaken from sin and from the stupor of
satan that unfortunate girl; therefore the great Lady
resolved to go and heal her in person. This resolve She
recommended to the Lord in her prayer, and, although
She received no answer, She considered that the work it
self was a sufficient warranty to proceed. She arose
therefore to leave her room and to walk with saint John
to the dwelling of the sick woman, which was at some
distance from the Cenacle. But no sooner had She taken
the first steps than the holy angels, at the command of
the Lord, approached to bear Her up on the way. As
God had not manifested his intention, She asked them,
why they thus detained Her ; to which they answered :
"There is no reason why we should consent to thy walk
ing through the city, when we can bear Thee along with
greater propriety." Immediately they placed her upon a
throne of resplendent clouds, on which they bore Her
along and placed Her in the sick-room. The dying girl,
being poor and now speechless, had been forsaken by all
and was surrounded only by the demons, who waited to
snatch off her soul.
166. But as soon as the Queen of angels made her
appearance all the evil spirits vanished like flashes of
lightning and as if falling over each other in their dis
may. The powerful Queen commanded them to descend
into hell and remain there until She should permit them to
come forth, and this they were forced to do without the
least power of resistance. The kindest Mother then ap
proached the sick woman and taking her by the hand
and calling her by her name, spoke sweetest words of life.
Instantly a complete change came over the girl, and she
began to breathe more freely and recover herself. Then
she said to the heavenly Mary: "My Lady, a woman
came to me, who persuaded me to believe, that the dis
ciples of Jesus were deceiving me and that I had better
immediately separate myself from them and from Thee;
otherwise, if I should accept their way of life, I should
fall into great misfortune." The Queen answered : "My
daughter, she, who seemed to thee a woman, was thy
enemy, the devil. I come in the name of the Most High
to give thee eternal life; return then to his true faith,
which thou hast received, and confess Him with all thy
heart as thy God and Redeemer, who, for thy salvation
and that of all the world, has died upon the Cross. Adore
and call upon Him, and ask Him for the pardon of
thy sins."
167. "All this," the patient answered, "I have believed
before; but they told me, it was very bad, and that they
would punish me, if I should ever confess it." The
heavenly Teacher replied : "My friend, do not fear this
deceit; but remember that the chastisement and pains
which are really to be feared are those of hell, to which
the demons wish to bring thee. Thou art now very near
death and thou canst avail thyself of the remedy I now
offer thee, if thou wilt only believe me; and thou shalt
thus free thyself of the eternal fire, which threatens thee
on account of thy mistake." Through this exhortation
and the graces procured for this poor woman by Mary,
she was moved to abundant tears of compunction and
implored the blessed Lady further to assist her in this
danger, declaring herself ready to obey all her commands.
Then the loving Mother made her openly profess her
faith in Jesus Christ and elicit an act of contrition in
preparation for confession. At the same time She sent
for the Apostles to administer the Sacraments to her.
The sick girl, repeating the acts of contrition and love,
and invoking Jesus and Mary, who was directing her,
happily expired in the arms of her Protectress. The
blessed Mary had remained with her two hours, in order
to prevent the demons from again renewing their as
saults. Her assistance was so effectual, that She not only
brought back the young woman to the path of eternal
life, but delivered her soul from all guilt and punishment.
She sent her immediately to heaven accompanied by some
of the twelve angels that bore on their breasts the sign of
the Redemption and palms and crowns in their hands as
special guardians of the devotees of the great Queen. Of
these angels I have spoken on a former occasion, and
it is not necessary to describe them here. I will only re
mark, that the heavenly Queen chose the angels for dif
ferent offices in the service of men, in accordance with the
graces and virtues, of which they were possessed.
168. After the rescue of that soul, the rest of the
angels brought back their Queen, seated on the same
cloud, to her oratory. She immediately humiliated Her
self, prostrating Herself and adoring the Lord, and giv
ing Him thanks for having snatched that soul from the
jaws of the infernal dragon. She composed thereon a
hymn of praise in his honor. This wonder was wrought
by the wisdom of God, in order that the angels, the saints
of heaven, the Apostles and also the demons might know
the resistless power of most holy Mary and in order that
they might learn, that, as She was the Mistress of all, so
not all of them together could equal Her in power; that
nothing would ever be denied to her prayers in favor of
those who loved Her, served Her or called upon Her.
For this fortunate girl, having loved this heavenly Lady,
secured salvation through Her; while the demons, op
pressed and confounded, were left in despair of ever
prevailing against the power of Mary when exerted in
favor of her clients. Other lessons might be drawn from
this example, which I leave to the prudent meditation of
the faithful.
169. The same blessing was not attained by two other
converts, who failed to merit the efficacious intercession
of the blessed Virgin. Since their fate may serve as a
lesson and as a warning, like that of Ananias and Saphira,
against the astuteness of Lucifer in tempting and
ruining human souls, I shall relate it likewise, as far as
it was made known to me. May the instruction it con
veys inculcate the fear of the just judgments of the Most
High (Ps. 118, 120). After the miracle just related the
demon was permitted to return with his host to the world
in order to test the constancy of the faithful; for thus
must the just and the predestined gain their crowns. He
came forth filled with still greater wrath and began to
seek entrance into the hearts of the faithful by searching
out the evil inclinations of each one, as he does even now.
For experience has given him confidence, that we chil
dren of Adam usually follow our inclinations and pas
sions more than the dictates of reason and of virtue. A
multitude cannot be perfect in all its components, and as
the Church went on increasing in number, so also the fer
vor of charity began to cool in some, thus affording a
greater field for the sowing of his hellish cockle. Among
the faithful saint John found two, who were beset with
evil inclinations and habits before their conversion and
who sought favor and alliance with some of the Jewish
princes in the hope of worldly gain and honor. Infect
ed by this covetousness (which always was the root of
all evils), they temporized with the powerful and flattered
them in order to retain their friendship.
170. On account of these dealings the demon judged
them to be weak in their faith and virtue. He thought
he might be able to pervert them through the influence
of the Jewish priests, upon whom they depended. Fol
lowing up his plot, the serpent suggested to those priests
many ways of reprehending and intimidating the two
converts for having accepted the faith in Christ and re
ceived Baptism. Yielding to the instigations of satan the
priests pressed their threats with great show of authority
and severity. As the anger of those in authority is apt
to frighten weak subjects, such as these two in their at
tachment to their own interest happened to be, they pro
ceeded from weakness to apostasy from the faith of
Christ in order not to incur the displeasure of those pow
erful Jews. They moreover still retained a certain un
happy and deceitful confidence in their patrons and
therefore soon dropped away from the gathering and the
other faithful, ceasing to attend the preaching and the
other holy exercises of the converts and thus making ap
parent their treasonable falling away.
171. The Apostles were much aggrieved at the ruin
of these converts and at the scandal, which would be
occasioned by such a pernicious example in the begin
nings of the Church. They conferred among themselves,
whether they should notify the blessed Mary of this
event, but they hesitated to cause Her this sorrow and
pain. Saint John told them, that the great Lady knew
all the affairs of the Church and that therefore also this
one could not have escaped her most vigilant attention
and charity. Thereupon all went to give Her an account
of those two apostates, whom they had already exhorted
and tried to lead back to the faith. The loving and pru
dent Mother saw no occasion for hiding her sorrow at
the threatened loss of souls already aggregated to the
Church. It was also proper, that the Apostles should
learn from the sorrow of the great Lady, how they must
esteem the children of the Church and with what zeal
they were to preserve them in the faith and bring them
to eternal life. Our Queen returned immediately to her
chamber and, prostrate on the floor as usual, She poured
out a most fervent prayer for the two apostates, shedding
copious and bloody tears.
172. In order to lessen somewhat her grief by the
knowledge of his hidden judgments, the Lord answered :
"My Spouse, chosen among all the creatures, I wish thee
to understand my just decrees concerning those two
souls, for whom thou prayest, and concerning others,
who are to enter my Church. These two, who have
apostatized from my true faith, might do more harm than
good among the other faithful, if they continue their in
tercourse with them ; for they have very depraved habits
and have become still more hardened in their evil inclina
tions. Hence in my infinite knowledge I foresee that they
will be reprobates and that it will be better to separate
them from the flock of the faithful and cut them off
from the mystical body of the Church. Thus they shall
be prevented from infecting others by their contagion.
It has already become necessary, my beloved One, that, in
conformity with my most high Providence, both the pre
destined and of the foreknown should join my Church :
some, who by their sins shall incur damnation, and others,
who, through my grace, are to save themselves by good
works. My teachings and my Gospel are to be as the
net, which gathers in all kinds of fish, good and bad, the
wise and the foolish, and the enemy is to sow his cockle
among the pure grain of truth (Matth. 13, 28), in order
that the just may justify themselves so much the more,
and the impure, if so they choose in their malice, may de
file themselves still more."
173. This was the answer given by the Lord to this
prayer of the most holy Mary. At the same time He re
newed within Her the participation in his knowledge, in
order that She, perceiving the equity of the Most High
in condemning those unworthy of his friendship and
glory, might dilate her afflicted heart. But as the heaven
ly Mother alone held the measure of the sanctuary in her
most eminent wisdom, knowledge and charity, She alone
also, among all creatures, estimated and pondered fully
what it meant to lose God eternally and to be condemned
to eternal torments in the company of the demons; and
so her sorrow was in proportion. We are aware, that the
angels and the saints of heaven, who know this mystery
in God, cannot feel sorrow or pain-, because that would
be inappropriate to their happy state. If it would be
compatible with their state of glory, their sorrow would
be in proportion to the loss caused by the eternal per
dition to those, whom they love with perfect charity and
whom they desire to have with them in glory.
174. Hence, the sorrow and pain for the perdition of
souls, which was impossible to them, the blessed Mary
felt in a degree so much the greater as She exceeded
them in wisdom and charity. For She was in the state
of pilgrimage, in which She could feel this pain; She
was endowed with the knowledge of the blessed by which
She understood its cause; for when She enjoyed the
beatific vision, She saw in the essence of God, his love
and infinite goodness for the salvation of men, together
with the sorrow which He would have for the perdition
of souls, if such sorrow were possible. She knew the
horrible character of the demons, their wrath against
men, the terrors of the infernal torments and of the end
less company of the devils and the damned. As the most
holy Mary saw, that these two souls and an almost in
finite number of others in the church were to draw upon
themselves eternal damnation, what a sorrow, what pains
and commiseration were caused in that tender, kind and
loving heart at these evils and many others far beyond
my power of describing? Many times did She lament
such misfortunes and exclaim : "Is it possible, that any
soul, of its own free will, should ever deprive itself eter
nally of seeing the face of God, and should chose rather
to look upon so many demons in hell?"
175. The secret of the reprobation of these first apos
tates the most prudent Queen reserved to Herself without
manifesting it to the Apostles. But while she was thus
retired in her affliction, saint John the Evangelist entered
to visit Her and to inquire as to her wishes and how to
serve Her. When he saw Her so afflicted and sorrow
ful, he was filled with consternation and asked permis
sion to speak, saying : "My Lady and Mother of my Lord
Jesus Christ, since our Master died I have never seen
on thy countenance such grief and sorrow as now, when
thy face and thy eyes are bathed in tears of blood. Tell
me, Lady, if possible, the cause of this new affliction,
and whether I can alleviate it at the cost of my life." The
most blessed Mary answered : "My Son, weep now for
this very reason." Saint John conceived that the memory
of the Passion had renewed in the loving Mother this
bitter grief and under that impression he said : "My Lady,
as thy Son and our Redeemer is now glorious and tri
umphant in heaven at the right hand of the eternal Father,
Thou canst moderate thy tears. Although it is not just,
that we forget what He suffered for men, yet it is also
right that we rejoice in the blessings following upon his
Passion and Death."
176. She answered : "It is also just that I weep when
I see, that after He died, some are seeking to crucify
Him anew by their sins and their apostasy and by the
abuse of the fruits of his precious blood; for I know that
in his most ardent love for men, He has suffered for the
salvation of each one in particular whatever He suffered
for all together. I see this immense love so little requit
ed and so many lost who should know Him, that I can
not constrain my sorrow, nor continue to live, unless the
Lord preserves my life. O children of Adam, formed
according to the image of my Son and Lord, what are
you thinking of? Where is your judgment and your
justification for thus incurring the calamity of losing God
forever?" Saint John replied: "My Mother and Mis
tress, if thy sorrow is occasioned by those two apostates,
thou must know that among so many there must be un
faithful servants; for even in our apostolate itself was
numbered Judas, a disciple in the school of our Redeem
er and Teacher." "O John," answered the queen, "if God
himself wished the perdition of some souls, I should be
able to restrain my sorrow; but, though He permits the
damnation of the reprobate since they themselves seek it,
this is not the absolute will of the divine goodness; He
wishes all to attain salvation, if only they would not of
their own free will resist. That not all should be predes
tined and gain the fruit of the blood shed for them, has
cost my Son the sweating of blood. And if even now He
could be aggrieved for a soul that damns itself, He would
doubtlessly be more aggrieved than if He had again to
suffer for it. Hence I, who know this truth and am still
living in the flesh, rightfully feel what my Son desires
to feel if it were possible." By these and other words of
the Mother of mercy saint John was moved to tears and
lamentations, in which he joined with Her for a con
siderable time.
177. My daughter, since in this chapter thou hast par
ticularly learnt of the matchless and bitter sorrow, with
which I bewailed the perdition of souls, thou thyself must
learn also what thou must do for the salvation of thy
own and that of others in order to imitate me in the per
fection which I require of thee. No torment, nor death
itself, would I have refused, if such had been neces
sary to save any of the damned, and to save them, I
would have esteemed all sufferings a sweet alleviation in
my most ardent charity. Hence, if thou dost not die of
this kind of sorrow, thou art at least not excused from
willingness to suffer all that the Lord sends thee for ad
vancing this cause, or from praying and laboring all in
thy power to prevent any sin in thy neighbor ; and when
thou canst not all at once obtain thy object, or dost not
know whether the Lord has heard thee, do not lose con
fidence, but enliven it and persevere in thy efforts; for
such a solicitude can never displease Him, who desires the
salvation of all his redeemed more than thou. If never
theless thou art not heard in thy prayers, make use of the
means, which prudence and charity require, and return
anew to thy prayers. The Most High is always attract
ed by this sort of charity for the neighbor and by the love
which seeks to hinder sin. He desires not the death of
the sinner (Ezech. 33, 11) ; and, as thou hast written, He
does not entertain an absolute and antecedent decree of
damning his creatures, but seeks to save them all, if they
do not pursue perdition of their own free will. Although
He permits this in his justice as being inseparable from
the free will of man, it is against his inclination. Do not
restrict thyself in these petitions, and in those concerning
temporal things, pray that his holy will be done in all
that is proper.
178. If I desire that thou labor with such fervor of
charity for the salvation of thy brethren, consider what
thou must do to save thyself, and in what estimation
thou must hold thy own soul, for which an infinite price
was offered. I wish to admonish thee as a Mother, that
when temptations and passions incline thee toward the
commission of any sin, no matter how small, remember
the sorrows and the tears which the knowledge of the
sins of men and the desire to prevent them has caused
me. Do not thou cause the like in me, my dearest; for
although I am now incapable of that pain, yet thou deprivest
me of the accidental joy of seeing thee, to whom
I condescended to become a Mother and Teacher, really
endowed with the perfection taught in my school. If
thou art unfaithful in this, thou wilt frustrate my great
desire of seeing thee please my divine Son and accom
plish his holy will in all its plenitude. By the infused light
which thou receivest, do thou ponder how great are any
faults thou mayest commit after being so favored and
bound in duty to the Lord and to myself. Dangers and
temptations will not be wanting to thee during the rest
of thy earthly life ; but in all of them remember my teach
ing, my sorrows and my tears, and above all what thou
owest to my divine Son, who is so liberal toward thee
in applying to thee the fruit of his blood for the purpose
of eliciting thy grateful correspondence.
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