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Interrogation 9

First question. After this was said, the monk appeared on his rung as before saying: ”O Judge, I ask you: Why do you seem unfair in your gifts and graces in that you gave preference to Mary your Mother before every creature and exalted her above the angels?”

Second question. ”Why did you give to the angels a spirit without a body and the state of heavenly joy, while to humankind you gave a spirit in an earthly vessel, a tearful birth, a toilsome life and a painful death?”
Third question. ”Why did you give humankind a rational intellect and sense, but did not give reason to the animals?”
Fourth question. ”Why did you give life to animals and not to other insensate creatures?”
Fifth question. ”Why is there not light at night as during day?”
Answer to the first question. The Judge answered: ”Friend, in my deity are contained all future things and everything that will be done as well as everything that has been done, all of them being foreseen and foreknown from the start. Just as the fall of humankind was something foreknown and permitted by God's justice but not accomplished through God nor something that had to happen due to God's foreknowledge, so too it was foreknown from eternity that the liberation of humankind would be accomplished through God's mercy.

You ask why I preferred my mother Mary above all others and loved her above every creature. This is because a special mark of virtue was found in her. As when several logs are piled up and a fire is kindled, that log which is most capable and fit for burning is more quickly set aflame and starts burning. It was the same with Mary. When the fire of divine love, which in itself is immutable and eternal, began to kindle and be seen, and the deity wished to become incarnate, there was no creature more capable and fitter to receive this fire of love than the Virgin Mary, for no creature burned with such divine charity as she. And although her love has been shown and revealed in the last age, yet it was foreseen before the beginning of the world. Thus it was predetermined in the deity from all eternity that just as no one was found like her in charity, so too no one would be equal to her in grace and blessing.”

Answer to the second question. ”As to why I gave the angel a spirit without a body, I answer: I created spirits in the beginning, before times and ages, so that they might rejoice in my goodness and glory according to my will and of their own free choice. Some of them became proud and turned good into evil for themselves, making disordered use of their free will. They fell accordingly, because there was nothing evil in nature or creation except the disorder of self-will. Other spirits chose to remain in humility under me their God; accordingly, they earned a state of everlasting stability, for it is right and just that I, God, who am uncreated spirit and creator and Lord of all things, should have spirits serving me that are more subtle and swift than other creatures.
Since it was surely not suitable for me to have my heavenly host diminished, in order to take the place of the fallen angels, I created human beings who, by their free choice and good will, could win that same rank which the angels had abandoned. And so, if they had a soul without a body, they would not be able to win so great a good or to struggle for it. The attainment of eternal glory is the reason why the soul is joined to the body. Hardships also accrue to them so that they might make trial of their power of choice as well as of their weaknesses so as not to grow proud. Likewise, divine justice has also granted them a tearful entry and departure as well as a toilsome life, so that they might desire the glory for which they were created and make amends for their voluntary disobedience.”

Answer to the third question. ”As to why animals do not have a rational intellect as humans do, I answer you: All things, whatsoever have been created, are for the use of humankind, either for their needs and upkeep or for their formation and correction or for their comfort and humiliation. If brute beasts had a human intellect, they would surely cause trouble to men, and would be of harm rather than of benefit. Therefore, in order that all things might be subject to humankind, for whose sake all things were made, and in order that all things might fear them but that they might fear none but me, their God, for this reason a rational intellect was not given to animals.”

Answer to the fourth question. ”As to why insensate things do not have life, I answer: Everything that lives will die, and every living thing is in motion unless impeded by some obstacle. If insensate things had life, they would move themselves more against humankind than for it. Therefore, in order that all things should be a comfort to humankind, the higher beings or angels were given to be their guardians with whom they share reason and immortality of soul. Lower beings, both sensate and insensate creatures, were given to them for their use and upkeep as well as for their education and exercise.”
Answer to the fifth question. ”As to why it is not always daylight, I answer with a comparison. There are wheels under every cart or wagon so that the load can be more easily moved forward, and the back wheels follow the front wheels. It is similar in spiritual matters. The world is a great load, burdening humankind with trouble and strife. This is no wonder, for when humans disdained the place of rest, so it was only right that they should experience the place of toil. In order that they might more easily bear the burden of this world, an alternation and change of times, that is, day and night, summer and winter, was given for their rest and exercise. When contraries meet, such as strong and weak, it is reasonable to condescend to the weak part so that it can stand with the help of the strong; otherwise the weak would be destroyed.

So it is also with humankind. Although by virtue of their immortal souls, they could continue in contemplation and labor, they would nevertheless falter by virtue of their weak body. Light was made so that humans, who partake of both higher and lower natures, might be able to maintain themselves, laboring by day and recalling the sweetness of the eternal light that they had lost. Night was made for the sake of bodily rest, so that they might have the desire of reaching the place where there is neither night nor labor but perpetual day and everlasting glory.”

The fourth revelation in the Book of Questions, in which Christ beautifully praises every limb of the Virgin Mary his Mother, giving them a spiritual and allegorical meaning by comparing them to virtues; he also declares the Virgin to be most worthy of a queenly crown.




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