106. “And there was a great battle in heaven; Michael and his angels fought with the dragon and the dragon fought and his angels.” When the Lord had manifested these things to the good and to the bad angels, the holy prince Michael and his companions, with the per mission of God, gave battle to the dragon and his followers. It was a wonderful battle, for it was fought with the understanding and the will. Saint Michael, burning with zeal for the honor of God and armed with divine power and with his own humility, resisted the arrogant pride of the dragon, saying: “Worthy is the Highest of honor, praise and reverence, and of being loved, feared and obeyed by all creation. He is mighty to work whatever He desires. He that is increate and without dependence on any other being, cannot seek any thing that is not most just. To us He gave grace such as we have, creating us and forming us out of nothing. He can create other beings, as many and in what manner He pleases. It is reasonable that we, submissive and prostrate in his presence, adore his Majesty and kingly grandeur. Come then, ye angels, follow me, let us adore Him, and extol his admirable and secret judgments, his most perfect and holy works. God is most exalted and above all creatures, and He would not be the Most High, if we could attain or comprehend his great works. Infinite He is in wisdom and goodness, rich in the treasures of his benefits. As Lord of all and needing none, He can distribute them to whomsoever He wishes, and He cannot err in the selection. He can love and confer his favor to whomsoever He chooses, and He can love whom He likes; He can raise up, create and enrich according as it is his good pleasure. In all things He will be wise, holy and irresistible. Let us adore and thank Him for the wonderful work of the In carnation which He has decreed, and for his favors to his people and for its restoration to grace after its fall. Let us adore this Person endowed with the human and the divine nature, let us reverence It and accept It as our Head ; let us confess, that He is worthy of all glory, praise and magnificence, and, as the Author of grace, let us give Him glory and acknowledge his power and Divinity.”
107. With such arms St. Michael and his angels gave battle, fighting as it were, with the powerful rays of truth against the dragon and his followers, who on their hand made use of blasphemies. But Lucifer at the sight of the holy prince, not being able to resist, was torn with interior rage and sought to fly from his torments; it was the will of God, however, that he should not only be punished, but also conquered, in order that by his fall he might know the truth and power of God. Nevertheless he blasphemed and cried out: “Unjust is God in raising the human nature above the angelic. I am the most exalted and beautiful angel and the triumph be longs to me. It is I who am to place my throne above the stars and who shall be like unto the Highest; I will subject myself to no one of an inferior nature, and I will not consent that any one take precedence of me or be greater than I.” In the same way spoke the apostate followers of Lucifer. But St. Michael answered: “Who is there like unto the Lord, who dwells in the heavens, or who to compare himself to Him? Be silent, enemy, cease thy dreadful blasphemies, and since iniquity has taken possession of thee, depart from our midst, wretch, and be hurled in thy blind ignorance and wickedness into the dark night and chaos of the infernal pains. But let us, O spirits of the Lord, honor and reverence this blessed Woman, who is to give human flesh to the eternal Word; and let us recognize Her as our Queen and Lady.”
108. The great sign of the Woman served the good angels as a shield and as arms of battle against the evil ones; for at the sight of it, all their power of reasoning weakened and was brought to confusion and silence, since they could not endure the mysteries and sacraments contained in this sign. And just as by divine power this mysterious sign appeared, so also now the other figure or sign of the dragon appeared, in order that thus transformed he might be ignominiously hurled from heaven amid the fright and terror of his followers and amid the astonishment of the holy angels. All this was the effect of this new manifestation of the justice and power of God.
109. It is difficult to describe in words what passed in that memorable battle, since there is such a wide difference between our conceptions, founded on material objects, and those which would be appropriate to the nature and operations of such great spirits as these angels. “But the bad ones did not prevail” for injustice, lies, ignorance and malice could not prevail against equity, truth, light and goodness ; nor could these virtues be overcome by vices. Therefore, it is also said : “From that time on their place was not found in heaven.” Through the sins which these disgraced angels had com mitted, they made themselves unworthy of the eternal vision and company of the Lord. Their memory was blotted out from his mind, where they had been written by the excellences and graces of the nature given to them. Having lost the right to the places, which had been reserved for them, if they had obeyed, it passed over to mankind. To man these places were now transferred in such a way that the very vestiges of the apostate an gels were blotted out and were no more found in heaven. O unhappy wickedness and never to be described misfortune, which drew after itself such a horrible and dreadful chastisement! The Evangelist adds:
110. “And the dragon was cast out, that ancient ser pent who is called devil and satan, who seduceth the whole world; and he was cast unto the earth and his angels were thrown down with him.” The holy prince Michael hurled from heaven the dragon Lucifer with the invincible battle-cry: “Who is like unto God?” So powerful was this cry, that it sufficed to precipitate that proud giant and all his host to the earth and cast him in dreadful ignominy to the centre of the earth. From that time he began to be called dragon, serpent, devil and satan, imposed upon him by the holy archangel in that battle as a testimony of his iniquity and malice. Deprived of the happiness and honor, of which he had become unworthy, he was despoiled also of his names and honorable titles, acquiring in their stead such as designate his ignominy. The wicked plans which he proposed and enjoined upon his confederates, namely, that they should deceive and pervert all those that live in the world, manifest sufficiently his wickedness. He therefore, who intended to scourge the nations, was con signed to hellish regions, as Isaias says in the fourteenth chapter, to the profound abyss, and his cadaver was de108 livered to the moth and the worm of his own bad con science ; thus was fulfilled in Lucifer all that the prophet says in that chapter.
111. When the heavens had been cleared of the bad angels and the Divinity had been unveiled to the good and the obedient; when they were already admitted into glory and the bad ones chastised, then happened what the Evangelist farther says : “And I heard a loud voice in heaven saying: Now is come salvation and strength and the kingdom of our Lord, and the power of his Christ ; because the accuser of our brethren is cast forth, who accused them before our God day and night.” This voice, which the Evangelist heard was that of the Word, and all the holy angels heard and listened to it. Its echoes reverberated through the infernal regions and filled with trembling and fear the demons. They did not, however, understand its mystery in full, but only so much of it, as the Most High chose to manifest to them for their greater affliction and punishment. It was the voice of the Son, who in the name of the humanity, which He was to assume, was asking the eternal Father that the salvation, power and kingdom of his Majesty, and the reign of Christ might begin; since the accuser of the brethren of the same Christ our Lord, that is, of man, had been cast out. It was like a petition before the throne of the most holy Trinity, that the salvation and power and the mysteries of the Redemption and In carnation be put into execution. He asked that it be done so much the sooner as Lucifer, being filled with fury, envy and wrath against the human nature, which the Word was to assume, was now infesting the earth. Full of love and compassion the Word calls men his brethren. Lucifer is said to “accuse them day and night,” because, both during the day in which he still enjoyed divine grace in the presence of the eternal Father and of the holy Trinity, he belittled us in his pride, and much more, in the night of his own darkness and of our fall, he pursues us unceasingly with slander and persecution as long as this world will endure. The Word calls the works and mysteries of the Incarnation and his Death “virtue,” “power” and “reign,” because in them, all these really had their beginning and in them was manifested his great virtue and power against Lucifer.
112. This was the first time in which the Word in the name of his humanity interceded for men before the Divinity, and in which, according to our mode of conceiving such things, the eternal Father conferred with the other Persons of the blessed Trinity in regard to this petition. He also partly revealed to the holy angels the decree of this divine consistory, saying, in regard to the sacraments resolved upon: “Lucifer has raised the banner of pride and sin and will persecute with all his malice the whole human race. With cunning he will pervert many men, availing himself of their own passions for their destruction. In the blindness of sin and vice men will prevaricate, heedless of danger. But his lying pride, his sins and vices, are infinitely distant from our nature and wishes. We will therefore bring out the triumph of virtue and sanctity; for this purpose the second Person will assume human nature; He will exalt and teach humility, obedience and all the virtues, and thus will secure the salvation of mortals. Being true God He will become humble and submissive. He will be the Just Man, the Model and Teacher of all virtues. These alone shall be accredited before our tribunal and shall always triumph over vices. We will raise up the lowly and humble the proud (Matth. 11, 28) ; we will make labors and endurance praiseworthy in our sight; we resolve to help the afflicted and the sorrowful. Let them be corrected by afflictions and thereby advance in our grace and friendship and, according to their capabilities, reach salvation in the practice of virtue. Blessed will be they that weep (Matth. 5, 3), and happy the poor and those that suffer for justice sake and for Christ, their Chief; and the insignificant ones shall be magnified, the meek of heart exalted. The peaceful shall be loved as our sons. Most dear shall those be to us, who forgive and suffer injuries and love their enemies. We will assign to them copious benedictions of our grace and an immortal glory in heaven. Our Only begotten will put in practice these decrees, and those that follow Him shall be our chosen ones, our cherished ones; they shall be refreshed and rewarded by Us; their good works shall be engendered in our own mind, which is the first cause of all virtue. We give permission to the bad ones to oppress the good, thus helping them to gain the crown, while for themselves they in crease the punishment. Let there be scandals (Matth. 18, 7) for the common good; unhappy be those that cause them, and blessed they that are proved by them. The vain and the proud will afflict and despise the humble; the great and the powerful will oppress the lowly and abject ones. They will give benediction instead of curses (I Cor. 4, 12). While they are pilgrims, they shall be rejected by men, but afterwards they shall be ranked with the angelic spirits, our sons, and they will enjoy the seats and crowns, which the unfortunate and unhappy apostates have lost. The stubborn and the proud shall be condemned to eternal death, where they will recognize their foolish proceedings and their perverseness.
113. “In order that all may have a true model and superabundant grace, if they wish to use it, the Son will descend, capable of suffering and as a Redeemer, and He shall save men (whom Lucifer defrauded of their happy state) ; and He shall raise them up through his infinite merits. We have resolved and determined upon the salvation of men, through a Redeemer and Teacher, who shall be able to propitiate and to teach, who shall be born and live poor, shall die despised, condemned by men to a most ignominious and frightful Death; who shall be esteemed a sinner and a criminal, and yet shall satisfy our justice for the guilt of sin. On account of his foreseen merits We will show mercy and kindness. All will understand, that those who are humble and peaceful, those that practice virtue, that suffer and yet forgive, are the followers of Christ and our sons. No body will be capable of entering by his own free will into our kingdom, unless he denies himself, and, taking up his cross, follows his Chief and Master (Matth. 10, 22). Our kingdom shall be composed of the perfect, who have legitimately labored and fought, persevering to the end. These will take part in the reign of our Christ, now begun and determined upon. For the accuser of his brethren has been cast down; the triumph of Christ is secured; to Him belong exaltations and glory, since He is to wash and purify men with his blood. Therefore only He shall be worthy to open the book of the law of grace (Apoc. 5, 9), He is the way, the light, the truth and the life (Joan 14, 6), through which men may come to Me. He alone shall open the gates of heaven; He shall be the Mediator (I Tim. 2, 5) and the Advocate of mortals, in Him they will have a Father, a Brother (I Joan 2, 1), and Protector after having been freed from their accuser and persecutor. And the angels, who like true sons, have shared in the work of our salvation and power and have defended the reign of my Christ, shall likewise be honored and crowned through all the eternities of eternities in my presence.”
114. This voice (which contains the mysteries hidden since the constitution of the world and manifested by the doctrine and the life of Jesus Christ), issued forth from the throne and imported more than I can explain. Through it were assigned the commissions, which the holy angels were to fulfill. Saint Michael and Saint Gabriel were appointed ambassadors of the incarnate Word and of Mary his Mother most holy ; they were to be ministers for all the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption. With these two princes, many other an gels were assigned to the same service, as I shall explain afterward (Nos. 201-206). Other angels the Almighty appointed as companions and guardians of the souls, to teach them and inspire them with the virtues and sanctity opposed to the vices, into which Lucifer had pro posed to seduce mankind. They were to guard and de fend the souls and to carry them in their hands (Ps. 90, 12), in order that the just might not hurt their feet against the stones, which are the snares and the traps laid by their enemies.
115. Also other things were decreed on this occasion of which the Evangelist says that the power, salvation, virtue and kingdom of Christ began. But among the mysterious works at this time was especially the designation and enumeration of the predestined in the secret tablets of the divine mind through the foreseen merits of Jesus Christ, our Lord. Oh the mysteries and the inexplicable secrets, which then were evolved in the bosom of God ! Oh, happy lot of the chosen ones ! What can equal this in importance ! What sacrament is so worthy of the Omnipotence of God! How great was the triumph of the power of Christ! Happy, infinitely hap py, the members who then were assigned and united to such a Head ! Oh great Church ! Oh mighty people and holy congregation of such a Leader and Master! At the thought of such exalted mysteries the judgment of the creature is rendered powerless, my understanding is suspended, and my tongue becomes mute! 1 16. In the consistory of the three divine Persons the mysterious book spoken of in the Apocalypse was given and, as it were, delivered to the Only begotten of the Father; at that time it was written, closed, and sealed with the seven seals (Apoc. 5, 7), of which the Evangelist speaks. When He was made human flesh He opened it, solving in their order the seals by enacting the mysteries of his Birth, Life and Death unto the consummation of all things. That which the book contained were all the decrees of the holy Trinity after the fall of the angels; namely all that belongs to the Incarnation of the Word, and the law of grace, the ten Commandments, the seven Sacraments and all the articles of faith, and what is contained in them, the constitution of the whole militant Church. To the Word as having assumed human nature and as the High Priest and holy Pontiff (Heb. 6, 20), was given the power to communicate the necessary faculties and gifts to the Apostles and the other priests and ministers of the Church.
117. This was the mysterious beginning of the law of the Gospel. In a most secret consistory of the Trinity it was resolved and recorded in the divine mind, that those who would observe that law, shall be written in the book of life. Here was the beginning of that law and from the eternal Father the pontiffs and prelates have their power and their vicariate. From his infinite power flows the virtues of those that are meek, poor in spirit, humble and just. This is their most humble origin, and on that account it is true to say, that he who obeys the superior obeys God (Luc. 10, 16), and he who despises them, despises God. All this was decreed and conceived in the divine mind and to Christ was given the power to open in its proper time this book of decrees, which was until then to be closed and sealed. In the meanwhile the Most High gave his testament, that is the testimonies of his divine words in the natural laws and in the written laws, accompanying them with wonderful works and manifesting a part of his secrets through the Patriarchs and Prophets.
118. Through these testimonies and through the blood of the Lamb, it is said: “They (the just) over came him (the dragon).” For although the blood of Christ was entirely sufficient and superabundant to en able all the faithful to overcome the dragon, their accuser, and although the testimonies and teachings of the Prophets are of great power and help for eternal salvation ; yet the just attain the fruit of the Passion and Redemption, by cooperating of their own free will with these divine helps, conquering their own selves and the demons, and making use of grace. They not only succeed in fulfilling the ordinary commandments and counsels of God, but they go to the extent of sacrificing their lives for the Lord (Apoc. 6, 9) in testimony of Him and in the hope of the crown and triumph promised by Christ, as the martyrs did in testimony of the faith and in defending his honor.
119. On account of all these mysteries the sacred text adds : “Therefore rejoice, O heaven, and all those that dwell therein.” Rejoice, because thou art to be the dwelling place of the just, and of their Chief, Jesus Christ, and of his most holy Mother. Rejoice, O heaven, because of all the material and inanimate creatures none obtained a better lot, for thou art to be the house of God, who will endure through the eternal ages, and thou art to receive as thy Queen the most pure and most holy Creature, that emanated from the power of the Most High. Therefore rejoice, heaven and all that dwell therein, ye angels and ye just, since you are to be the companions and ministers of the Son of the eternal Father and of his Mother, and you are to be parts of that mystical body, whose head is Christ himself. Rejoice, ye holy angels, because ministering to them and serving them by your defense and custody, you increase your accidental joy. Let the holy Archangel Michael, the prince of the celestial hosts, rejoice in particular be* cause he defended in battle the glory of the Most High and his adorable mysteries, and because he is to be the minister of the Incarnation of the Word and a particular witness of all its effect to the end. Let all his allies and all the defenders of Jesus Christ and his Mother rejoice, since during their ministry they do not lose the joys of essential glory already their own. On account of such divine sacraments let the heavens rejoice!