The Eighth Day of Mary's Preparation to Be Mother of the LORD

"The heavenly Princess, most holy Mary, had now attained such fullness of grace and beauty and the heart of God was so wounded by her tender affections and desires (Song of Songs 4:9), that He was so to say irresistibly drawn to begin his flight from the bosom of the eternal Father to the bridal-chamber of her virginal womb and end the long delay of more than five thousand years. Nevertheless, since this new wonder was to be executed in the plenitude of his wisdom and equity, the Lord arranged this event in such a way, that the Princess of the heavens Herself, being the worthy Mother of the incarnate Word, should at the same time be also the most powerful Mediatrix of his coming and the Redeemer of his people much more than Esther was of Israel (Esther 7-8). In the heart of most holy Mary burned the flame, which God himself had enkindled, and without intermission She prayed for the salvation of the human race. However, as yet the most humble Lady restrained Herself in modesty, knowing that on account of the sin of Adam, the sentence of death and of eternal privation from the vision of God had been promulgated (Genesis 3:19).

"A heavenly strife thus arose in the most pure heart of Mary between her love and her humility, and, lost in these sentiments, She repeated many times: 'Oh who shall be able to secure the salvation of my brethren! Oh who shall be able to draw from the bosom of the eternal Father his Onlybegotten and make Him a partaker of our mortality! Oh who shall oblige Him to give to our human nature the kiss of his mouth, for which the bride asks Him! (Song of Songs 1:1). But how can we, the children and descendants of the malefactor, who committed the crime, ask for this favor? How can we draw Him toward us, whom our fathers repelled? Oh my Love, if I could but see Thee at the breasts of thy Mother, the human nature! (Song of Songs 8:1). Oh Light of lights, God of the true God, would that Thou descend, bending down thy heavens (Psalm 143:5) and shedding thy light upon those that live sitting in darkness! (Isaiah 9:2). Would that Thou pacify thy Father, and, by thy right hand, that is by his Onlybegotten, hurl the proud Aman, thy enemy, the devil, from his height! Who shall be the Mediatrix, who shall draw from the celestial altar, as with tongs of gold (Isaiah 6:6), that ember of the Divinity, for the purification of the world, as once did the seraphim, according to the word of the prophet Isaias!'

"This prayer most holy Mary repeated during the eighth day of her preparation, and at midnight, being wrapped and entranced in the Lord, She heard his Majesty responding to Her: 'My Spouse and my Dove, come, my Chosen one, for the common law does not apply to thee (Esther 15:13). Thou art exempt from sin and thou art free from its effects since the moment of thy Conception. When I gave being to thee, I turned away from thee the sceptre of my justice and laid upon thy neck that of my great clemency, in order that the general edict of sin might not touch thee. Come to Me, and be not dismayed in the consciousness of thy human nature; I am He, that raises the humble, and fills with riches those that are poor. Thou hast Me for thy Friend and my liberal mercies shall be at thy disposal.'

"These words our Queen heard intellectually and, as in the preceding night, She presently felt Herself raised by the holy angels bodily to heaven, while in her stead remained one of the angels of her guard. Again She ascended to the presence of the Most High, so enriched by the treasures of his graces and gifts, so fortunate and beautiful, that She singularly excited the wonder of the supernal spirits. They broke out in praise of the Almighty, saying: 'Who is this, that ascends from the desert, overflowing with delights? (Song of Songs 8:5). Who is She, that so attracts and compels her Beloved as to bear Him with Her to the earthly habitation? Who is She, that rises as the dawn, more beautiful than the moon, chosen as the sun? (Song of Songs 6:9). How refulgent doth She rise from the darkness of the earth? How is She so courageous and strong, being clothed in such fragile nature? How does She in her strength overcome the Almighty? And how comes it that the heavens, which are closed against the children of Adam, are thus thrown open to this singular Woman, sprung from the same race?'

"The Most High received his holy and chosen Bride, most holy Mary, into his presence. Although this happened not in an intuitive, but in an abstractive vision of the Divinity, it was accompanied with incomparable favors of light and purification proceeding from the Lord himself, such as were specially reserved for this day. For they were so divine, that, in our way of speaking, God himself who wrought them, was astonished and was charmed with the work of his hand. As if entranced with love, He spoke to Her and said: 'Revertere, revertere, Sulamitis, ut intueamur te' ('Return, return, O Sulamitess, that We may behold thee'). 'My Spouse, my most perfect and beloved Dove, pleasing in my sight, turn and advance toward Us, that We may behold thee and be charmed by thy beauty. I do not regret to have created man and I delight in his formation, since thou hast been born of him. Let my celestial spirits see how justly I have desired and do desire to choose thee as my Spouse and the Queen of all the creatures. Let them see what good reason I have to rejoice in this my bridal chamber, from whence my Onlybegotten, next to that of my own bosom, shall derive the greatest glory. Let all understand, that if I justly repudiated Eve, the first queen of the earth, on account of her disobedience, I now place thee and establish thee in the highest dignity, showing my magnificence and power in dealing with thy purest humility and self-abasement.'

"This day was for the angels a day of jubilation and rejoicing greater than any since their creation. And when the most blessed Trinity thus chose and appointed his Spouse and Mother of the Word for the Queen and Lady of the creatures, the holy angels and all the celestial court of Spirits acknowledged and received Her as their Mistress and Superior, and they sung sweet hymns of glory in her honor and in praise of her Author. During these hidden and admirable mysteries the heavenly Queen Mary was absorbed in the abyss of the Divinity and in the light of his infinite perfections: and thereby the Lord prevented Her from attending to all that happened. Thus the sacrament of her Mothership of the Onlybegotten still remained hidden to Her until the proper time. Never did the Lord deal in such a manner with any nation (Psalm 147:20), nor did He ever show Himself so great and powerful in any creature, as on this day in most holy Mary....

[Mary humiliates Herself before the Lord, and begs to ask Him to let her speak her petition. He assures that he will grant Her whatever She desires, even to a part of his kingdom (Esther 5:3). She pleads for the salvation of humanity.]

"The highest Lord, who wished to bind Himself by her prayer [that his promises of salvation be fulfilled], disposed and incited the petitions of his beloved Spouse; benignly He inclined toward Her and answered Her with singular clemency: 'Pleasing to my Will are thy requests, and acceptable are thy petitions: it shall be done as thou askest. I desire, my Daughter and Spouse, what thou seekest: and as a pledge of this, I give thee my word and promise thee, that very shortly my Onlybegotten shall descend to the earth and shall vest Himself and unite Himself with the human nature. Thus thy acceptable wishes shall be executed and fulfilled.'

"With this assurance and divine promise our great Queen Princess felt new enlightenment and security in her spirit, convincing Her, that the end of that long protracted and prolix night of sin and of the ancient Law was approaching and that the brightness of human Redemption was about to dawn. And because the rays of the Sun of Justice, whose dawn was soon to arise from Her, so closely and so intensely enveloped Her about, She became Herself the most beautiful aurora, inflamed and refulgent as it were with the fiery clouds of the Divinity, which transformed all things within Her. All afire with love and gratitude for the approaching Redemption, She gave unceasing praise to the Lord both in her own name and in that of all the mortals. in this occupation She passed that day, after the angels had again restored Her to the earth."

--Mary of Agreda, The Mystical City of God: The Incarnation, trans. Fiscar Marison (1912), bk. I, chap. VIII, paragraphs 87-92, 94-95, pp. 77-80, 82.

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