Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 6  Chapter  10    Verses:  445-468

445. Our Redeemer proceeded on his way to Jerusalem
on the evening of the Thursday preceding his Passion
and Death. During their conversation on the way,
while he instructed them in the approaching mysteries,
the Apostles proposed their doubts and difficulties, and
He, as the Teacher of wisdom and as a loving Father
answered them in words which sweetly penetrated into
their very hearts. For, having always loved them, He,
like a divine Swan, in these last hours of his life, mani
fested his love with so much the greater force of amiable
sweetness in his voice and manner. The knowledge of his
impending Passion and the prospect of his great torments,
not only did not hinder Him in the manifestations of his
love, but, just as fire is more concentrated by the frost,
so his love broke forth with so much the greater force
at the prospect of these sufferings. The conflagration
of the love which burned in the heart of Jesus, issued
forth to overpower by its penetrating activity, first those
who were nearest about Him and then also those, who
sought to extinguish it forever. Excepting Christ and His
blessed Mother, the rest of us mortals are ordinarily
roused to resentment by injury, or dismayed and dis
gusted by adversity, and we deem it a great thing not to
revenge ourselves on those who offend us; but the love
of the divine Master was not daunted by the impending
ignominies of his Passion, nor dampened by the ignorance
of his Apostles and the disloyalty, which He was so soon
to experience on their part.
446. The Apostle asked Him where He wished to
celebrate the paschal supper (Matth. 26); for on that
Thursday night the Jews were to partake of the lamb of
the Pasch, a most notable and solemn national feast.
Though of all their feasts, this eating of the paschal lamb
was most prophetic and significant of the Messiah and
of the mysteries connected with Him and his work, the
Apostles were as yet scarcely aware of its intimate con
nection with Christ. The divine Master answered by
sending saint Peter and saint John to Jerusalem to make
arrangements for the paschal lamb. This was to be in
a house, where they would see a servant enter with a jug
of water, and whose master they were to request in
Christ s name to prepare a room for his last Supper
with his disciples. This man lived near to Jerusalem;
rich and influential, he was at the same time devoted to
the Savior and was one of those who had witnessed and
had believed in his miracles and teachings. The Author
of life rewarded his piety and devotion by choosing his
house for the celebration of the great mystery, and thus
consecrate it as a temple for the faithful of future times.
The two Apostles immediately departed on their com
mission and following the instructions, they asked the
owner of this house to entertain the Master of life for
the solemn celebration of this feast of the unleavened
447. The heart of this householder was enlightened
by special grace and he readily offered his dwelling with
all the necessary furniture for celebrating the supper
according to the law. He assigned to them a very large
hall, appropriately tapestried and adorned for the mys
teries which, unbeknown to him and the Apostles, the
Lord was to celebrate therein. After due preparation had
thus been made the Savior and the other Apostles arrived
at this apartment. His most blessed Mother and the
holy women in her company came soon after. Upon
entering, the most humble Queen prostrated Herself on
the floor and adored her divine Son as usual, asking his
blessing and begging Him to let Her know what She
was to do. He bade Her go to another room, where
She would be able to see all that was done on this night
according to the decrees of Providence, and where She
was to console and instruct, as far as was proper, the
holy women of her company. The great Lady obeyed
and retired with her companions. She exhorted them
to persevere in faith and prayer, while She, knowing that
the hour of her holy Communion was at hand, continued
to keep her interior vision riveted on the doings of her
most holy Son and to prepare Herself for the worthy
reception of his body and blood.
448. His most holy Mother having retired, our Lord
and Master, Jesus, with his Apostles and disciples, took
their places to celebrate the feast of the lamb. He ob
served all the ceremonies of the Law (Exodus 12, 3),
as prescribed by Himself through Moses. During this
last Supper He gave to the Apostles an understanding of
all the ceremonies of the figurative law, as observed by
the Patriarchs and Prophets. He showed them how be
neath it was hidden the real truth, namely, all that He
himself was to accomplish as Redeemer of the world. He
made them understand, that now the law of Moses and
its figurative meaning was evacuated by its real fulfill
ment ; that, as the light of the new law of grace had be
gun to shine, the shadows were dispelled and the natural
law, which had been reconfirmed by the precepts of
Moses, was now placed permanently upon its real founda
tion, ennobled and perfected by his own teachings; that
the efficacy of the Sacraments of the new Law abrogated
those of the old as being merely figurative and ineffectual.
He told them that, by celebrating this Supper, He set
an end to the rites and obligations of the old Law, which
was only a preparation and a representation of what He
was now about to accomplish, and hence having attained
its end, had now become useless.
449. This instruction enlightened the Apostles concern
ing the deep mysteries of this last Supper. The other
disciples that were present, did not understand these
mysteries as thoroughly as the Apostles. Judas attended
to and understood them least of all, yea, not at all; for
he was completely under the spell of his avarice, thinking
only of his prearranged treason and how he could
execute it most secretly. The Lord revealed none of his
secret treachery; for so it best served the designs and
equity of his most high Providence. He did not wish
to exclude him from the Supper and from the other
mysteries, leaving it to his own wickedness to bring about
his exclusion. The divine Master always treated him as
his disciple, apostle and minister, and was careful of his
honor. Thus He taught the children of the Church by
his own example, with what veneration they should treat
his ministers and priests, how they must guard their honor
and avoid speaking of their sins and weaknesses still
adhering to frail human nature in spite of their high
office. None of them will ever be worse than Judas, as
we can well assume ; and not one of the faithful will ever
be like Christ, our Lord and Savior, nor, as our faith
teaches us, will anyone ever have his divine authority and
power. Hence, as all men are of infinitely smaller con
sideration than our Savior, let them accord to his min
isters, who though wicked will ever be better than Judas,
the same treatment as He condescended to accord to this
most wicked disciple and Apostle. This duty toward
priests is not less urgent even in superiors ; for also Christ
our Lord who bore with Judas and was so careful of his
reputation was infinitely his superior.
450. On this occasion the Redeemer composed a new
canticle by which He exalted the eternal Father for hav
ing in his Son fulfilled the figures of the old Law and for
thus advancing the glory of his holy name. Prostrate
upon the earth, He humiliated Himself in his humanity
before God, confessing, adoring and praising the Divinity
as infinitely superior to his humanity. Then addressing
the eternal Father, He gave vent to the burning affection
of his heart in the following sublime prayer.
451. "My eternal Father and infinite God, thy divine
and eternal will resolved to create this my human nature
in order that I may be the Head of all those that are
predestined for thy glory and happiness and who are to
attain their true blessedness by availing themselves of my
works. For this purpose, and in order to redeem them
from the fall of Adam, I have lived with them thirtythree
years. Now, my Lord and Father, the opportune
and acceptable hour for fulfilling thy eternal will has ar
rived, the greatness of thy holy name is about to be
revealed to men and thy incomprehensible Divinity,
through holy faith, is to be made known and exalted
among all nations. It is time that the seven-sealed book
be opened as Thou hast commissioned Me to do, and that
the figures of old come to a happy solution (Apoc.
5, 7). The ancient sacrifices of animals, which pre
figured the one I am now voluntarily to make of Myself
for the children of Adam, for the members of my mysti
cal body, for the sheep of thy flock, must now come to an
end, and I beseech Thee in this hour to look down with an
eye of mercy. If in the past thy anger has been placated
by these ancient figures and sacrifices which I am now
about to abrogate, let it now, my Father, be entirely
extinguished, since I am ready to offer Myself in volun
tary sacrifice to die for men on the Cross and give Myself
as a holocaust of my love (Eph. 5, 2). Therefore, Lord,
let the rigor of thy justice be relaxed and look upon the
human race with eyes of mercy. Let Us institute a new
law for men, by which they may throw down the bars
of their disobedience and -open for themselves the gates
of heaven. Let them now find a free road and open
portals for entering with Me upon the vision of thy
Divinity, as many of them as will follow my footsteps
and obey my law."
452. The eternal Father graciously received this prayer
of our Redeemer and sent innumerable hosts of his
angelic courtiers to assist at the wonderful works, which
Christ was to perform in that place. While this happened
in the Cenacle, most holy Mary in her retreat was raised
to highest contemplation, in which She witnessed all that
passed as if She were present. Thus She was enabled to
co-operate and correspond as a most faithful Helpmate,
enlightened by the highest wisdom. By heroic and celes
tial acts of virtue She imitated the doings of Christ, our
Savior; for all of them awakened fitting resonance in her
bosom and :aused a mysterious and divine echo of like
petitions and prayers in the sweetest Virgin. Moreover
She composed new and admirable canticles of praise for
all that the sacred humanity of Christ was now about to
accomplish in obedience to the divine will and in accord
ance and in fulfillment of the figures of the old Law.
453. Very wonderful and worthy of all admiration
would it be for us, as it was for the holy angels and as it
will be for all the blessed, if we could understand the
divine harmony of the works and virtues in the heart of
our great Queen, which like a heavenly chorus neither
confused nor hindered each other in their super
abundance on this occasion. Being filled with the intel
ligence of which I have spoken, She was sensible of the
mysterious fulfillment and accomplishment of the cere
monies and figures of the old Law through the most noble
and efficacious Sacraments of the new. She realized the
vast fruits of the Redemption in the predestined ; the ruin
of the reprobate; the exaltation of the name of God and
of the sacred humanity of Christ; the widespread
knowledge and faith in the true God now beginning
throughout the world. She fully understood, how the
heavens had been closed for so many ages in order that
now the children of Adam might enter through the es
tablishment and progress of the new evangelical Church
and its ministers ; and how her divine Son was the most
wonderful and skillful Artificer of all these blessings,
exciting the admiration and praise of all the courtiers
of heaven. For these magnificent results, without for
getting the least of them, She now blessed the eternal
Father and gave Him ineffable thanks in the consolation
and jubilee of her soul.
454. But also She reflected, that all these admirable
works were to cost her divine Son the sorrow, ignominies,
affronts and torments of his Passion, and at last the bit
ter death of the Cross, all of which He was to endure in
the very humanity that He had received from Her; while
at the same time, such a number of the children of Adam,
for whom He suffered, would ungratefully waste the
copious fruit of the Redemption. This knowledge filled
with bitterest sorrow the purest heart of the loving
Mother. But as She was a living and faithful reproduc
tion of her most holy Son, all these sentiments and opera
tions found room in her magnanimous and expanded
heart, and therefore She was not disturbed nor dismayed,
nor did She fail to console and instruct her companions ;
but, without losing touch of her high intelligences, She
descended to their level of thought in her words of con
solation and of eternal life for their instruction. O ad
mirable Instructress and superhuman example entirely to
be followed and imitated ! It is true, that in comparison
with this sea of grace and light, our prerogatives dwindle
into insignificance ; but it is also true, that our sufferings
and trials in comparison with hers are so to say only
imaginary and not worthy to be even noticed, since She
suffered more than all the children of Adam together.
Yet neither in order to imitate Her, nor for our eternal
welfare, can we be induced to suffer with patience even
the least adversity. All of them excite and dismay us
and take away our composure; we give vent to our pas
sions, we angrily resist and are consumed with restless
sorrow; in our stubbornness we lose our reason, give
free reign to evil movements and hasten on toward the
precipice. Even good fortune lures us to destruction,
and so no reliance can be placed in our infected and
spoiled nature. Let us be mindful of our heavenly Mis
tress on such occasions, in order that we may set our
selves right.
455. Having1 completed the Supper and fully instructed
his disciples, Christ our Savior, as saint John tells us
(John 13, 4), arose from the table in order to wash their
feet. He first prostrated Himself before his eternal Father
and addressed to Him another prayer of the same kind as
that before the supper. It was not uttered in words, but
was conceived interiorly, as follows: "Eternal Father,
Creator of the universe, I am thy image and the figure
of thy substance, engendered by thy intellect (Heb. 1, 3).
Having offered Myself for the Redemption of the world
through my Passion and Death according to thy will, I
now desire to enter upon these sacraments and mysteries
by humiliating Myself to the dust, so that the pride of
Lucifer may be confounded by the humility of thy Onlybegotten.
In order to leave an example of humility to
my Apostles and to my Church, which must be built up
on the secure foundation of this virtue, I desire, my
Father, to wash the feet of my disciples, including the
least of all of them, Judas, steeped in his own malice.
I shall prostrate Myself before him in deepest and sincerest
self-abasement to offer him my friendship and sal
vation. Though he is my greatest enemy among the
mortals, I shall not refuse him pardon for his treachery,
nor deny him kindest treatment, so that, if he shall decline
to accept it, all the world may know, that I have opened
up to him the arms of my menfy, and that he repelled my
advances with obstinate contempt."
456. Such was the prayer of the Savior in preparing
to wash the feet of his disciples. There are not words
or similitudes in all creation which could properly express
the divine impetus of the love with which He undertook
and accomplished these works of mercy; for in compari
son to it the activity of fire is but slow, the inflowing of
the tide but weak, the tendency of a stone toward its
center but tardy, and all the forces of the elements in the
world that we can imagine in their united activity, but
inadequate representations of the power of his love. But
we cannot fail to perceive, that divine love and wisdom
alone could ever conceive a humiliation, by which both the
Divinity and his sacred humanity lowered themselves
beneath the feet of mere creatures, and beneath the feet
of the worst of them, Judas, that He who is the Word
of the eternal Father, the Holy of the holy, the essential
Goodness, the Lord of lords and the King of kings,
should prostrate Himself before the most wicked of men
and touch the feet of this most impure and degraded of
his creatures with his lips, and that He should do all this
merely for the chance of justifying his wayward disciple
and securing for him immeasurable blessings.
457. The Master arose from his prayer and, his
countenance beaming with peace and serenity, commanded
his disciples to seat themselves like persons of superior
station, while He himself remained standing as if He
were their servant. Then He laid aside the mantle,
which He wore over the seamless garment and which
covered all his Person except the feet. He wore sandals,
which however He sometimes had dispensed with on his
preaching tours, though at other times He had worn them
ever since his most holy Mother had put them on his feet
in Egypt. They grew in size with his feet as He advanced
in age, as I have already remarked (Vol. II, 691 ). Having
laid aside this mantle, which was the garment spoken of
by the Evangelist (John 13, 4), He girded his body with
one end of a large towel, permitting the other part to
hang down free. Then He poured water into a basin for
washing the feet of the Apostles, who were wonderingly
observing the proceedings of their divine Master.
458. He first approached the head of the Apostle, saint
Peter. But when this excitable Apostle saw prostrate at
his feet the Lord, whom he had acknowledged and pro
claimed as the Son of God, being again renewed and en
lightened in his faith and overcome by humiliation at his
own insignificance, he said : "Thou shalt never wash my
feet!" The Author of life answered him with some
earnestness : "Thou dost not know at present what I am
doing, but later on thou wilt understand it." This was the
same as to say to him : obey now first my command and
will, and do not prefer thy will unto mine, disturbing and
perverting the order of virtues. Before all thou must
yield captive thy understanding and believe that what I
do is proper ; then, having believed and obeyed, thou wilt
understand the hidden mysteries of my doings, into the
knowledge of which thou must enter by obedience. With
out obedience thou canst not be truly humble, but only
presumptuous. Nor can thy humility take preference of
mine; I humiliated Myself unto the Death; and in order
to thus humiliate Me, I sought the way of obedience;
but thou, who art my disciple, dost not follow my
doctrine. Under color of humility thou art disobedient,
by thus perverting the right order thou stripst thyself as
well of humility as of obedience, following thy own pre
sumptuous judgment.
459. Saint Peter did not understand this doctrine con
tained in the first answer of our Lord ; for though he be
longed to his school, he had not yet experienced the divine
effects of this washing and contact. Floundering in the
errors of his indiscreet humility, he answered the Lord :
"I will never consent that Thou wash my feet !" But the
Lord of life answered with greater severity : "If I wash
thee not, thou shalt have no part with Me." By this
threatening answer the Lord sanctioned obedience forever
as the secure way. According to human insight, saint
Peter certainly had some excuse for being slow in per
mitting God to prostrate Himself before an earthly and
sinful man as he was and to allow Him, whom he had so
recently acknowledged and adored as his Creator, to per
form such an unheard of act of self-abasement. But his
opposition was not excusable in the eyes of the divine
Master, who could not err in what He wished to do. For
whenever there is not an evident error in what is com
manded, obedience must be blind and without evasion.
In this mystery the Lord wished to repair the disobedience
of our first parents, Adam and Eve, by which sin entered
into the world ; and because of the similarity and relation
between it and the disobedience of saint Peter, our Lord
threatened him with a similar punishment, telling him,
that if he did not obey, he should have no part in Him;
namely, that he should be excluded from the merits and
fruits of the Redemption, by which alone we become
worthy of his friendship and glory. He also threatened
to deprive him of participation in his body and blood,
which He was now about to perpetuate in the sacramental
species of bread and wine. The Savior gave him to
understand, that how ardently soever He desired to com
municate Himself not only in part but in entirety, yet
disobedience would certainly deprive even the Apostle of
this blessing.
460. By this threat of our Lord Christ saint Peter
was so chastened and instructed, that he immediately sub
mitted from his whole heart and said: "Lord, not only
my feet, but also my hands and my head." He wished to
say: I offer my feet in order to walk in obedience, my
hands in order to exercise it, and my head in order to
surrender all of my own judgment, that may be contrary
to its dictates. The Lord accepted this submission of
saint Peter and said : "He that is washed, needs not but
to wash his feet, but is clean wholly. And you are clean,
but not all," for among them was seated the most unclean
Judas. This Christ said, because the disciples (all except
Judas), had been justified and cleaned by his doctrines;
and they needed only to be cleansed from imperfections
and venial sins, so that they might approach holy Com
munion with so much the more worthiness and better
preparation, such as is required in order to participate
fully in its divine effects and receive its abundant graces
with so much the greater efficacy and plenitude. For
venial sins, distractions and lukewarmness hinder all
these benefits very much. Thereupon the feet of saint
Peter were washed, as also those of the other disciples,
who permitted it in great astonishment and bathed in
tears ; for all of them were filled with new enlightenment
and gifts of grace.
461. The divine Master then proceeded to wash also
the feet of Judas, whose perfidious treason could not pre
vent the charity of Christ from secretly bestowing upon
him tokens of even greater charity than upon the other
Apostles. Without permitting it to be noticed by the
others, He manifested his special love toward Judas in
two ways. On the one hand, in the kind and caressing
manner in which He approached Him, knelt at his feet,
washed them, kissed them and pressed them to his bosom.
On the other hand, by seeking to move his soul with
inspirations proportionate to the dire depravity of his
conscience ; for the assistance offered to Judas was in it
self much greater than that offered to the other Apostles.
But as the disposition of this Apostle was most wicked,
his vices deeply ingrown upon him, his understanding
and his faculties much disturbed and weakened ; as he had
entirely forsaken God and given himself over to the devil,
and, as he had enthroned the evil spirit in his heart ; he
resisted all the divine advances and inspirations connected
with this washing of his feet. He was moreover harassed
by the fear of breaking his contract with the scribes and
pharisees. As the bodily presence of Christ and the inte
rior urgency of his inspirations both bestormed his sense
of right, there arose within his darkened soul a dreadful
hurricane of conflicting thoughts, filling him with dismay
and bitterness, and fiercest anger, whirling him still
farther away from his Savior and turning the divine
balsam applied to his soul into deadly poison of hellish
malice and total depravity.
462. Thus it came that the malice of Judas resisted the
saving contact of those divine hands, in which the eternal
Father had placed miraculous power to enrich all crea
tures with his blessings. Even if he had not received
any other assistance except that naturally flowing from
the visible and personal presence of the Author of life,
the wickedness of this unhappy disciple would have been
beyond all bounds. The outward aspect of Christ our
Lord was most exquisitely charming and attractive; his
countenance, serenely dignified, yet sweetly expressive and
beautiful, was framed in abundant waves of golden chest
nut hair, freely growing after the manner of the Nazarenes;
his frank and open eyes beamed forth grace and
majesty; his mouth, nose and all the features of his face
exhibited the most perfect proportion and his whole Per
son was clothed in such entrancing loveliness, that He
drew upon Himself the loving veneration of all who be
held Him without malice in their hearts. Over and above
all this, the mere sight of Him caused in the beholders an
interior joy and enlightenment, engendering heavenly
thoughts and sentiments in the soul. This divine Per
sonage, so lovable and venerable, Judas now saw at his
feet, striving to please him by new tokens . of affection
and seeking to gain him by new impulses of love. But
so great was the perversity of Judas, that nothing could
move or soften his hardened heart; on the contrary, he
was irritated by the gentleness of the Savior, and he
refused to look upon his face or take notice of his actions ;
for from the time in which he had lost faith and grace,
he was filled with hatred toward his Master and toward
his heavenly Mother and never looked Them in the face.
Greater, in a certain respect, was the terror of Lucifer
at the presence of Christ our Savior; for this demon,
having established himself in the heart of Judas, could
not bear the humility of the divine Master toward his
disciples and sought to escape from Judas and from the
Cenacle. But the Lord detained him by his almighty
power in order that his pride might be crushed. Yet
later on he was cast out from that place, filled with fury,
and with the suspicion, that Christ might after all be the
true God.
463. The Lord completed the washing of the feet, and
again assuming the upper garment, seated Himself in the
midst of his Apostles and began the discourse recorded by
saint John: "Know you what I have done to you? You
call me Master, and Lord; and you say well; if then I,
being your Lord and Master, have washed your feet ; you
also ought to wash one another s feet. For I have given
you an example, that as I have done to you, so you do
also. Amen, Amen, I say to you: The servant is not
greater than his lord ; neither is the Apostle greater than
He that sent him" (John 13, 13). Then the Lord pro
ceeded to propound great mysteries and truths, which I
will not expatiate upon, but for which I refer the reader
to the Gospels. This discourse still further enlightened the
Apostles in the mysteries of the most blessed Trinity and
of the Incarnation, and prepared them by new graces for
the holy Eucharist, confirming them in their understand
ing of the vast significance of his doctrines and miracles.
Among them all saint Peter and saint John were most
fully enlightened ; but each of the Apostles received more
or less insight according to his disposition and according
to the divine ordainment. What saint John says about
his questioning the Lord concerning the traitor who was
to sell Him, and the answer of the Lord, all happened be
fore at the Supper itself, when the beloved disciple re
clined on the bosom of his divine Master. For saint Peter,
in his fervent attachment to his Master and his outspoken
love, was anxious to know who was the traitor, in order
that he might avenge or prevent the treason. But saint
John, though he recognized the traitor by the bread dipped
into the sauce and handed to Judas, would not inform
saint Peter. He alone knew the secret, but taught by the
charity which he had acquired in the school of his divine
Master, he buried the secret in his bosom.
464. While he thus reclined on the bosom of Jesus our
Savior, saint John was privileged in many other ways;
for there he was made to see many most exalted mysteries
of the divine humanity and of the Queen of heaven, his
most holy Mother. On this occasion also he was com
missioned to take charge of Her ; for on the Cross Christ
did not say to him : She shall be thy Mother, nor, thou
shalt be her son; but, behold thy Mother, because this
was not a matter resolved upon at that time, but one
which was then to be made manifest publicly as having
been ordained and decreed beforehand. Of all these sac
raments connected with the washing of the feet, of the
words and discourses of her Son, his most pure Mother
was minutely informed by interior vision, as I have stated
at other times, and for all of them She gave thanks and
glory to the Most High. And when afterwards the won
derful works of the Lord were accomplished, She beheld
them not as one ignorant of them ; but as one who saw
fulfilled, what She had known before and what had
been recorded in her heart like the law recorded on the
tablets of Moses. She enlightened also her companions
of all that was proper, reserving whatever they were not
capable of understanding.
465. My daughter, in three virtues mentioned by thee
in the foregoing chapter as especially practiced by my
Son and Lord, I wish that thou be particularly zealous
as his spouse and my beloved disciple. They are the
virtues of charity, humility and obedience in which Jesus
desired to signalize Himself toward the end of his life.
Without doubt He manifested his love for men during
his whole life, since He performed for them such admir
able works from the very first instant of his conception
in my womb. But towards the end of his life, when He
established the evangelical law of the New Testament,
the fire of ardent love, that burned in his bosom, burst
out in more consuming flames. On this last occasion the
charity of the Savior for the children of Adam exerted
its full force, since it was urged on by the sorrows of
death that encompassed Him, and was spurred on from
the outside by the dislike of men for suffering, their selfchosen
misfortunes and their boundless ingratitude and
perversity in seeking to destroy the honor and the life
of Him, who was ready to sacrifice all for their eternal
happiness. By this conflict his love was inflamed to the
point at which it could not be extinguished (Cant. 8, 7) ;
and thus being now about to leave the earth, He was
driven to exercise all his ingenuity in attempting to pro
long his benefactions and his intercourse with men, leav
ing among them, by his teachings, works and examples,
the sure means of participating in the effects of his
divine charity.
466. In this art of loving thy neighbor for God s sake
I wish that thou be very expert and zealous. This thou
wilt be, if the very injuries and sufferings with which
they afflict thee, shall waken in thee a greater love. Thou
must remember, that then alone wilt thou be secure and
unwavering, when neither benefits nor flatteries of men
have any effect on thee. For to love those who do thee
gTDod, is a duty ; but if thou art heedless, thou canst not
know, whether in that case thou lovest them for God s
sake, or for the sake of the benefits they confer, which
would be loving thy own advantage or thyself rather than
thy neighbor for God s sake. He who loves for other
than God s sake or for vain complaisance merely, has not
yet learned true charity ; since he is yet taken up with the
blind love of his own ease. But if thou love those who
do not satisfy any of these cravings, thou art led on to
love them for the Lord s sake as the principal motive
and object of thy love, loving Him in his creatures, who
ever they be. Thou must exercise thyself in both the cor
poral and the spiritual works of mercy; but as thou hast
fewer occasions to exercise those of the body than those
of the spirit, thou must continually extend thy spiritual
works of chanty, multiplying, according to the will of
thy Savior, thy prayers, petitions, pious practices, accom
panying them with prudent and holy admonitions and
thus advancing the spiritual welfare of souls. Remember
that my Lord and Son conferred no bodily blessings on
any one, without accompanying them with spiritual, and
it would have been derogatory to the divine perfection of
his works, to perform them without this plenitude of
goodness. From this thou wilt understand how much we
must prefer the benefits of soul to those of the body;
hence thou must always seek them in the first place, al
though earthly-minded men blindly prefer temporal bless
ings, forgetting the eternal ones and those tending toward
the friendship and grace of the Most High.
467. The virtues of humility and obedience were highly
exalted by the conduct of my most holy Son in washing
the feet of his Apostles. If by thy interior enlightenment
concerning this extraordinary example thou dost not
humble thyself to the dust, thy heart is indeed hardened
and thou art very obtuse in the knowledge of the Lord.
Let it then be understood henceforth, that thou never
canst consider or profess thyself sufficiently humbled, even
when thou findest thyself despised and trodden under foot
by all men, sinners as they are ; for they never can be as
bad as Judas, or thou as good as thy Lord and Master.
But to merit and to be honored by this virtue of humility,
will give thee such perfection and worthiness, that thou
wilt deserve the name of a spouse of Christ and make thy
self somewhat like unto Him. Without this humility no
soul can be raised to excellence and communication with
the Lord ; for the exalted must first be humbled and only
the lowly ones can and should be exalted (Matth. 23, 12) ;
and souls are always raised up by the Lord in proportion
as they have humiliated themselves.
468. In order that thou mayest not lose this pearl of hu
mility just at the time when thou thinkest thyself secure of
it, remember that the exercise of it is not to be preferred
to obedience, nor must thou practice it merely at thy own
will, but in subjection to thy superiors; for if thou prefer
thy own judgment to that of thy superiors even if thou
do it under color of humility, thou art guilty of pride;
for that would be not only refusing to seek the lowest
place, but placing thyself above thy superior. Hence
thou mayest understand the error of shrinking back, like
saint Peter, from the favors and blessings of the Lord,
depriving thee thereby not only of the gifts and treasures
offered thee, but of the advantage of humility, which thou
seekest and which is much preferable. Thou failest also
in gratefully acknowledging the high ends and in striving
after the exaltation of his holy name, which the Lord
seeks in such works. It is not thy business to enter into
the examination of his secret and exalted judgments, nor
to correct them by thy reasonings and thy objections on
account of which thou mightst think thyself unworthy of
his favors or incapable of performing the works enjoined.
All this is a seed of Lucifer s pride, covered up by appar
ent humility as he thus seeks to hinder the communica
tions of the Lord, his gifts and his friendship, which thou
desirest so much. Let it then be to thee an inviolable rule,
that as soon as thy confessors and superiors approve of
certain favors and blessings as coming from the Lord,
thou accept them as such with due thanks and reverence.
Do not allow thyself to be led into new doubts and vacil
lating fears, but correspond with the favors of the Lord
in humble fear and tranquil obedience.
the Work of God Apostolate - mcog #149                                                

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