The Son spoke to the bride, saying: ”Why are you so upset because that man claimed my words were false? Am I worse off because of his disparagement or would I be better off because of his praise? I am, of course, unchangeable and can become neither greater nor less, and I have no need of praise. A person who praises me does gain a benefit from his praise of me, not for me but for himself. I am truth, and falsehood never proceeds or can proceed from my lips, since everything I have said through the prophets or other friends of mine, whether in spirit or in body, is accomplished as I intended it at the time.
My words were not false if I said one thing at one time, another at another time, first something more explicit, then something more obscure. The explanation is that, in order to prove the reliability of my faith as well as the zeal of my friends, I revealed much that could be understood in different ways, both well and badly, by good and bad people according to the different effects of my Spirit, thus giving them the possibility of carrying out different good acts in their different circumstances.
Just as I assumed a human nature into one person in my divine nature, so too I have also spoken at times through my human nature as being subject to my divine nature, but at other times through my divine nature as the Creator of my human nature, as is clear from my gospel. And in this way, although ignorant people or detractors might see divergent meanings in them, still they are true words in agreement with truth. It was also not unreasonable for me to have handed down some things in an obscure manner, since it was right that my plan should in some way be hidden from the wicked, and at the same time that all good people should eagerly hope for my grace and obtain the reward for their hope. Otherwise, if it had been implied that my plan would come about at a specific point in time, then everyone would have given up both their hopes and their charity due to the great length of time.
I also promised a number of things that, however, did not occur because of the ingratitude of the people then living. Had they left off their evildoing, I would certainly have given them what I had promised. This is why you ought not be upset over claims that my words are lies. For what seems to be humanly impossible is possible for me. My friends are also surprised that the words are not followed up by deeds. But this, again, is not unreasonable.
Was not Moses sent to Pharaoh? Yet signs did not immediately follow. Why? Because, if the signs and portents had immediately followed, neither the hardheartedness of Pharaoh nor the power of God would have been manifested nor would the miracles have been clearly shown. Pharaoh would still have been condemned for his own wickedness, even if Moses had not come, although his hardheartedness would not have been so manifest. This is also what is happening now. So, be brave! The plow, though drawn by oxen, is still steered by the will of the plowman. Likewise, although you may hear and know my words, they do not turn out or get accomplished according to your will, but according to mine. For I know the lay of the land and how it should be cultivated. But you should entrust all your will to me and say: 'May your will be done!' ”
John the Baptist admonishes the bride through a parable in which God is symbolized by a magpie, the soul by its chicks, the body by its nest, worldly pleasures by wild animals, pride by birds of prey, worldly mirth by a snare.
John the Baptist spoke to the bride, saying: ”The Lord Jesus has called you out of darkness into light, from impurity into perfect purity, from a narrow into a broad place. Who is able to explain these gifts or how could you thank him as much as you should for them? Just do all that you can! There is a kind of bird called a magpie. She loves her chicks, because the eggs from which the chicks came were once in her womb. This bird makes a nest for herself out of old and used things for three purposes.
First, as a resting place; second, as a shelter from rain and heavy drought; third, in order to feed her young when they are hatched from the eggs. The bird hatches her young by lovingly settling herself on top of the eggs. When the chicks are born, the mother entices them to fly in three ways. First, by the distribution of food; second, by her solicitous voice; third, by the example of her own flying. Since they love their mother, the chicks, once they have got used to their mother's food, first travel little by little beyond the nest with their mother leading the way. Then they go further away as their strength allows, until they become accomplished in the use and skill of flight.
This bird stands for God, who exists eternally and never changes. From the womb of his divinity all rational souls proceed. A nest is prepared for each soul out of used things, inasmuch as the soul is joined to a body of earth through which God nourishes it with the food of good affections, defends it from the birds of evil thoughts, and gives it respite from the rain of bad actions. Each soul is joined to the body in order that it may rule the body and nowise be ruled by it and so that it may spur the body to struggle and provide for it intelligently. Thus, like a good mother, God teaches the soul to advance toward better things, and teaches it to leave its confinement for broader spaces. First, he feeds it by giving it intelligence and reason according to each one's capacity, and by pointing out to the mind what it should choose and what it should avoid.
As the magpie first leads its chicks beyond the nest, so too the human person first learns to think thoughts of heaven, and also to think how confined and base the nest of the body is, how bright the heavens and how delightful eternal things are. God also leads the soul out with his voice when he calls: 'He who follows me will have life; he who loves me will not die.' This voice leads toward heaven. Anyone who does not hear it is either deaf or ungrateful for his mother's love. Third, God leads the soul out through his own flying, that is, through the example of his human nature. This glorious human nature had, as it were, two wings. Its first wing was that there was only purity and no defilement in it; its second wing was that he did all things well. Upon these two wings God's human nature flew through the world. For this reason, the soul should follow them as far as it can, and if it cannot do so in deeds, let it at least try to do so in intention.
When the young chick is flying, it has to beware of three dangers. The first is wild animals. It must not land next to them on the ground, because the chick is not as strong as they are. Second, it must beware of birds of prey, since the chick does not yet fly as swiftly as those birds do, which is why it is safer to stay in hiding. Third, it should take care not to be lured by a baited snare. The wild animals that I mentioned are worldly pleasures and appetites. The young chick should beware of them, for they seem good to know, fine to own, beautiful to behold. But when you think you have got hold of them, they quickly go away. When you think they give you pleasure, they bite you without mercy.
In the second place, the chick should beware of birds of prey. These represent pride and ambition. These are the birds that always want to rise higher and higher and to be ahead of the other birds and hate all those behind them. The chick should beware of them and should want to remain in humble hiding, so that it does not grow proud of the grace it has received or despise those that are behind it and have less grace, and does not think itself better than others. Third, the chick should beware of being lured by a baited snare. This represents worldly mirth. It may seem good to have laughter on one's lips and pleasant sensations in one's body, but there is a barb in these things. Immoderate laughter leads to immoderate mirth, and the pleasure of the body leads to inconstancy of mind, which gives rise to sadness, either at death or earlier, along with distress. You should therefore hurry, my daughter, to leave your nest through the desire for heaven! Beware of the beasts of desire and the birds of pride! Beware of the bait of empty mirth!”
Then the Mother spoke to the bride and said: ”Beware of the bird that is daubed with pitch, for anyone who touches it gets stained. This represents worldly ambition, unstable as the air, repulsive in its way of seeking favor and keeping bad company. Care nothing for honors, do not bother about favors, pay no attention to praise or reproach! From these things come inconstancy of soul and the lessening of love for God. Be steadfast! God, who has begun to bring you out of the nest, will keep nourishing you until death. After death, however, you will hunger no more. He will also protect you from sorrow and defend you in life, and after death you will have nothing to fear.”
The Mother's entreaty to her Son for his bride and for another holy person, and about how the Mother's entreaty is received by Christ, and about certainty regarding the truth or falsity of a person's holiness in this life.