190. In the tribunal of the divine will, as the inevitable source and universal cause of the whole creation, all things with their conditions and circumstances, are decreed and determined, so that nothing is forgotten and no created power can in the least impede the fulfillment of the decree. All the spheres and the inhabitants contained in them are dependent on this ineffable government that rules them and cooperates with the natural causes unfailingly and unerringly in all that must be done. God works in all and sustains all by his sole will; in Him lies the preservation of all things or their annihilation, for without Him they would return to the non-existence, from which they were drawn. But since He has created the universe for his glory and for the glory of the incarnate Word, therefore He has from the beginning opened the paths and prearranged the ways by which the same Word should lower Himself to assume human flesh and to live among men, and by which they might ascend toward God, know Him, fear Him, seek Him, serve Him, love Him, praise Him and enjoy Him eternally.
191. Admirable was his name in all the lands of the earth, and magnified in the plenitude and congregation of the saints, whom He ordained and constituted as a people pleasing to Him and over whom He placed the incarnate Word as their Chief. When the world had arrived at the last and befitting stage according to the
wishes of his divine Providence; and when the predetermined time had come for the creation of that marvellous woman, whose sign had appeared in the heavens clothed with the sun (Apoc. 12, 1), and who was to rejoice and enrich the earth, the most holy Trinity executed the decree of forming Her. I will now manifest what within the narrow limits of my reason and concept I have been able to comprehend.
192. I have already said above (No. 34) that for God there is no past or future, since He holds all things present to his divine and infinite mind and knows all by one simple act. But reducing this to our way of speak ing and to our limited mode of understanding, we conceive that his Majesty remembered the decrees of the creation of a Mother befitting and worthy of the Incarnation of the Word, for the fulfillment of his decree is inevitable. As the opportune and pre-ordained time had arrived, the three divine Persons conferred with each other saying : “Now is the time to begin the work of our pleasure and to call into existence that pure Creature and that soul, which is to find grace in our eyes above all the rest. Let Us furnish Her with the richest gifts and let Us deposit in Her the great treasures of our grace. Since all others, whom We called into existence, have turned out ungrateful and rebellious to our wishes, frustrating our intention and impeding by their own fault our purpose, namely, that they conserve themselves in the happy state of their first parents, and since it is not proper, that our will should be entirely frustrated, let Us therefore create this being in entire sanctity and perfection, so that the disorder of the first sin shall have no part in Her. Let Us create a soul according to our pleasure, a fruit of our attributes, a marvel of our in finite power, without touch or blemish of the sin of Adam. Let Us perfect a work which is the object of our Omnipotence and a pattern of the perfection in tended for our children, and the finishing crown of creation. All have sinned in the free will and resolve of the first man (Rom. 5, 12) ; let Her be the sole creature in whom We restore and execute that which they in their aberration have lost. Let Her be a most special image and likeness of our Divinity and let Her be in our presence for all eternity the culmination of our good will and pleasure. In Her We deposit all the prerogatives and graces which in our first and conditional re solve We had destined for the angels and men, if they had remained in their first estate. What they have lost We renew in that Creature and We will add to these gifts many others. Thus our first decree shall not be frustrated, but it shall be fulfilled in a higher manner through this our chosen and only One (Cant. 6, 8). And since We assigned and prepared the most perfect and estimable of our gifts for the creatures who have lost them, We will divert the stream of our bounty to our Well-beloved. We will set Her apart from the ordinary law, by which the rest of the mortals are brought into existence, for in Her the seed of the ser pent shall have no part. I will descend from heaven into her womb and in it vest Myself from her substance with human nature.”
193. “It is befitting and due to the infinite goodness of our Divinity, that It be founded and enclosed in the most pure matter, untouched and unstained by fault. Nor is it proper that our equity and providence over look what is most apt, perfect and holy, and choose that which is inferior, since nothing can resist our will (Esther 13, 9). The Word, which is to become man, being the Redeemer and Teacher of men, must lay the foundation of the most perfect law of grace, and must teach through it, that the father and mother are to be obeyed and honored as the secondary causes of the natural existence of man. The law is first to be fulfilled by the divine Word by honoring Her as his chosen Mother, by exalting Her with a powerful arm, and lavishing upon Her the most admirable, most holy and most excellent of all graces and gifts. Among these shall be that most singular honor and blessing of not subjecting Her to our enemy, nor to his malice; and therefore She shall be free from the death of sin.”
194. “On earth the Word shall have a Mother with out a father, as in heaven He has a Father without a mother. And in order that there may be the proper correspondence, proportion and consonance in calling God his Father and this Woman his Mother, We desire that the highest correspondence and approach possible between a creature and its God be established. Therefore at no time shall the dragon boast of being superior to the Woman, whom God will obey as his true Mother. This dignity of being free from sin is due and corresponds to that of being Mother of the Word, and it is in itself even more estimable and useful. It is a greater good to be holy than to be only mother ; but all sanctity and perfection is nevertheless due to the motherhood of God. The human flesh, from which He is to assume form, must be free from sin. Since He is to redeem in it the sinners, He must not be under the necessity of redeeming his own flesh, like that of sinners. Being united to the Divinity his humanity is to be the price of Redemption, wherefore it must before all be preserved from sin, and We have already foreseen and accepted the merits of the Word in this very flesh and human nature. We wish that for all eternities the Word should be glorified through this tabernacle and habitation of the human nature.”
195. “She is to be a daughter of the first man; but in the order of grace She is to be singularly free and exempt from fault ; and in the order of nature She is to be most perfect, and to be formed according to a special providence. And since the incarnate Word is to be the Teacher of humility and holiness and for this end is to endure labors, confounding the vanity and deceitful fallacies of mortals by choosing for Himself sufferings as the treasure most estimable in our eyes, We wish that She, who is to be his Mother, experience the same labors and difficulties, that She be singularly distinguished in patience, admirable in sufferings, and that She, in union with the Only begotten, offer the acceptable sacrifices of sorrow to Us for her greater glory.”
196. This was the decree which the three divine Per sons made known to the holy angels, exalting the glory and honor of their high and inscrutable judgments. And since his Divinity is a mirror in which He at the same time manifests new mysteries to the blessed who yield obedience, this explanation revealed in a new light the admirable order and marvellous harmony of his works. All this follows from that which We have said in the preceding chapters (VII, VIII) concerning the works of the Almighty in the creation of the angels, telling them to reverence as their superiors the incarnate Word and his most holy Mother. Moreover, as the time for the formation of that great Queen had arrived, it was befitting that the Lord should not conceal the fact of his having disposed all this in weight and measure (Sap. 11, 21). Self-evidently, with human words and terms so limited as those at my disposal, the understanding given to me about these hidden mysteries will be obscured rather than explained ; but within these limits I will tell what I can concerning their manifestation by the Al mighty to the angels on this occasion.
197. “Now the time has arrived” added his Majesty, “which was resolved upon by our Providence for bringing to light the Creature most pleasing and acceptable to our eyes. That Creature, in whom the human nature is freed from its first sin, who is to crush the head of the dragon, who was typified by that singular sign, the Woman that appeared in the heavens in our presence, and who is to clothe the eternal Word with human flesh. The hour is at hand, so blessed for mortals, in which the treasures of our Divinity are to be opened and the gates of heaven to be unlocked. Let the rigor of our justice be softened by the chastisements, which We have until now executed upon the mortals; let the attribute of our mercy become manifest; let the creatures be enriched, and let the divine Word merit for them the treasures of grace and of eternal glory.”
198. “Now let the human race receive the Repairer, the Teacher, the Brother and Friend, to be life for mortals, a medicine for the sick, a consoler for the sorrowful, a balsam for the wounded, a guide and companion for those in difficulties. Let now the prophecies of our servants and the promises made to them, that We would send a Savior to redeem them, be fulfilled. And in order that all may be executed according to our good pleasure, and that We may give a beginning to the mystery hidden since the constitution of the world, We select for the formation of our beloved Mary the womb of our servant Anne; in her be She conceived and in her let that most blessed Soul be created. Although her generation and formation shall proceed according to the usual order of natural propagation, it shall be different in the order of grace, according to the ordainment of our Al mighty power.”
199. “You do already know how the ancient serpent, since he saw the sign of this marvellous Woman, at tempts to circumvent all women, and how, from the first one created, he persecutes all those, whom he sees excelling in the perfection of their works and life, expecting to find among them the One, who is to crush his head (Gen. 3, 15). When he shall encounter this most pure and spotless Creature, he shall find Her so holy that he will exert all his powers to persecute Her in pursuance of the concept which he forms of Her. But the arrogance of this dragon shall be greater than his powers (Is. 16, 6) ; and it is our will that you have particular charge of this our holy City and tabernacle of the incarnate Word, protecting, guarding, assisting and defending Her against our enemies, and that you en lighten, strengthen and console Her with all due solicitude and reverence, as long as She shall be a wayfarer among the mortals.”
200. At this proposal of the Most High all the holy angels, prostrate before the royal throne of the most holy Trinity, avowed their promptitude and eagerness to obey the divine mandate. Each one desired in holy emulation to be appointed, and offered himself for such a happy service; all of them gave to the Almighty praise and thanksgiving in new songs, because the hour had arrived for the fulfillment of that for which they had, with the most ardent desires, prayed through many ages. I perceived on this occasion that from the time of that great battle of saint Michael with the dragon and his allies, in which they were hurled into everlasting darkness while the hosts of Michael remained victorious and confirmed in grace and glory, these holy spirits commenced immediately to pray for the fulfillment of the mysteries of the Incarnation of the Word, of which they became cognizant at that time. And they persevered in these oft repeated prayers up to the hour in which God manifested to them the fulfillment of their desires and petitions.
201. On this account the celestial spirits at this new revelation conceived an additional joy and obtained new accidental glory, and they spoke to the Lord: “Most High and incomprehensible God and Lord, Thou art worthy of all reverence, praise and eternal glory; and we are thy creatures and made according to thy divine will. Send us, most powerful Lord, to execute thy most wonderful works and mysteries, in order that in all things thy most just pleasure may be fulfilled.” In such terms of affection the heavenly princes acknowledged themselves as subjects; and if it had been possible, they desired to increase in purity and perfection in order to be more worthy guardians and servants of Mary.
202. Then the Most High chose and appointed those who were to be occupied in this exalted service (the guardianship of Mary) from each of the nine choirs of angels. He selected one hundred, being nine hundred in all. Moreover He assigned twelve others who should in a special manner assist Mary in corporeal and visible forms; and they were to bear the emblems or escutcheons of the Redemption. These are the twelve which are mentioned in the twenty-first chapter of the Apocalypse as guarding the portals of the city ; of them I will speak in the explanation of that chapter later on. Be sides these the Lord assigned eighteen other angels, selected from the highest ranks, who were to ascend and descend by that mystical stairs of Jacob with the message of the Queen to his Majesty and those of the Lord to Her. For, many times did She send them to the eternal Father in order to be governed in all her actions by the Holy Spirit. She did nothing except what pleased the Almighty, and his pleasures She sought even in most insignificant things. Whenever She was not instructed by a special enlightenment, She sent these holy angels to the Lord in order to represent her doubt and signify her desire to do what was most pleasing to the divine will, and in order to be informed of his pleasure, as we shall relate in the course of this history.
203. In addition to all these holy angels the Almighty assigned and appointed seventy seraphim, choosing them from the highest ranks and from those nearest to the Divinity, in order that they might communicate and converse with this Princess of heaven in the same way as they themselves have intercourse with each other, and as the higher communicate with the lower ones. This was a privilege conferred upon the Mother of God be cause She was to be a wayfarer on earth and in nature inferior, though in dignity and grace, superior to all the seraphim. When at one time the Lord withdrew and hid Himself from Her, as we shall see later on, these seventy seraphim enlightened Her and consoled Her; to them She poured out the longings of her most ardent love and her anxieties in regard to her hidden Treasure. That there were seventy of these spirits, had reference to the number of years of her life, which was seventy and not sixty, as I will explain in its place. Among this number are included the sixty strong ones, which in the Canticles are mentioned as guarding the chamber or couch of Solomon, their loins girded with swords against the terror of the night.
204. These mighty princes and captains were as signed as a guard of the Queen of heaven from among the highest orders of the angelic hierarchy; for these, in that ancient battle of the obedient spirits with the proud dragon, were as the armed champions of the Lord of all creation, encountering and overcoming Lucifer and all his apostates with the sword of their virtue and of the divine Word. Hence, because they distinguished themselves in that great battle and victory by their zeal for the honor of the Almighty, and had been valiant and skillful captains in the divine love, and as they so zealously defended the honor of their Captain and Lord and of his most holy Mother by the arms of divine grace given to them in view of the merits of the incarnate Word, therefore it is said, that they guard the couch of Solomon, that they form his guard, girded with the sword about the loins. For thus is indicated the human generation or humanity of Christ conceived in the virginal chamber of Mary of her most pure blood and substance.
205. The other ten seraphim, which complete the number of seventy, were likewise chosen from the more distinguished leaders of those who in their opposition to the dragon had manifested a greater reverence for the Divinity and humanity of the Word and for his most holy Mother; for all this was determined during that brief conflict of the holy angels. It was one of the principal distinctions merited by them at the time that they were to be selected as guardians of their Queen and Lady. Altogether a thousand angels were chosen from the Seraphim and the lower orders of angels, and thus that City of God was superabundantly fortified against the infernal hosts.
206. In order that this invincible warrior-troop might be well appointed, saint Michael, the prince of the heavenly militia was placed at their head, and although not always in the company of the Queen, he was nevertheless often near Her and often showed himself to Her. The Almighty destined him as a special ambassador of Christ our Lord and to act in some of the mysteries as the defender of his most holy Mother. In a like manner the holy prince Gabriel was appointed to act as le gate and minister of the eternal Father in the affairs of the Princess of heaven. Thus did the most holy Trinity provide for the custody and the defense of the Mother of God.
207. All the appointments of the angels were a grace of the Almighty ; but I understood that He observed, ac cording to a certain measure, the laws of distributive justice. In his equity and providence He took account of the manner in which the holy angels acted and felt in regard to the mysteries revealed to them in the beginning concerning his most holy Mother. For in accepting the divine decree each was moved by different affections and inclinations toward the sacraments which be came known to them. Not in all was the same grace or willingness and affection. Some of them yielded with an especial devotion, when they recognized the union of the divine and the human natures in the person of the Word, which was to be enclosed in the limits of a human body and yet raised to the sovereignty of all creation. Others in their affection were moved to admire the love of the Only begotten of the Father, that caused Him to become mortal and offer Himself as a sacrifice for men. Others again signalized themselves in praising God for creating a body and soul of such excellence, that it would be superior to all the celestial spirits and that from it the Creator should take human flesh. According to these sentiments and in proportion to them, and as it were for accidental reward, these holy angels were selected to serve in the mysteries of Christ and his most holy Mother. In the same way those, who during this life have signalized themselves in the practice of certain virtues are rewarded with the special crowns of doctors, virgins and so forth.
208. In pursuance of this, when these holy princes appeared in visible shape to the Mother of God, they bore devices or badges representing the different mysteries, as I will relate farther on. Some of them showed the emblems of the Incarnation, others those of the Passion, others those of the Queen herself, and of her great dignity. But She did not immediately recognize these badges when they began to be shown to Her, for the Almighty had told all these holy angels not to make known to Her that She was to be the Mother of his Only begotten until the hour appointed by his divine wisdom ; yet at the same time always to converse with Her about the sacraments and mysteries of the Incarnation and the Redemption, in order to excite her fervor and her prayers. Too tardy is human speech, and inadequate my brief terms and words, for the manifestation of these exalted lights and intelligences.