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Chapter 18

“O sweet Mary,” says the bride, ”blessed are you with an eternal blessing, for you were a Virgin before childbirth, a Virgin after childbirth, a Virgin together with your spouse, an undoubted Virgin for a doubting spouse. So blessed are you, for you are Mother and Virgin, God's dearest one, purer than all the angels, the one most full of faith in the company of the apostles, alone in the bitterest sorrow of your heart, whose abstinence outshines that of all the confessors, whose chaste continence excels that of all the virgins. So may all things up above and down below bless you, for, through you, God the Creator became a man; through you the righteous find grace, sinners find pardon, the dead find life, the exiled return to their homeland.”

The Virgin answers: ”It is written that when Peter bore witness to my Son and called him the Son of God, he received the answer: 'Blessed are you, Simon, for body and blood have not revealed this to you.' So I say now: This salutation was not revealed to you by your bodily soul but by him who was without beginning and is without end. Be therefore humble, and I will be merciful to you. John the Baptist, as he promised, will be gentle to you; Peter will be mild, and Paul strong as a giant. John the Baptist is going to say to you: 'Daughter, sit on my lap!' Peter will say: 'My daughter, open your mouth, and I shall feed you with sweet food!' Paul will dress you and arm you with the arms of love. And, who am the Mother, will present you to my Son.
But, my daughter, you can understand all this even in a spiritual sense.

John, whose name means the grace of God, denotes true obedience. He was and is sweet and gentle indeed - sweet to his parents for his wondrous grace, sweet to humankind for his extraordinary preaching, sweet to God for his holiness of life and obedience. He was obedient in his youth, obedient in fortune and misfortune; obedient, and constantly humble when he might have been honored; obedient, too, in his death. This is why obedience says: 'Sit on my lap!' That means: Rise to lowly things, and you will have lofty ones. Give up bitter things and you will get sweet ones. Give up your own will, if you want to be little. Despise earthly things, and you will become heavenly. Despise superfluity, and you will have spiritual abundance.

Peter denotes holy faith: the faith of the Holy Church. Just as Peter remained steadfast until the end, so too the faith of the Holy Church will remain steadfast without end. This is why Peter, that is, the holy faith, says: 'Open your mouth and you will have good food!' This means: Open the intellect of your soul, and in the Holy Church you will find the sweetest of foods, that is, the very body of the Lord in the sacrament of the altar, the new and the old law, the teachings of the doctors, the patience of the martyrs, the humility of the confessors, the pureness of the virgins, and indeed the foundation of all the virtues. Accordingly, seek the holy faith in the church of St. Peter, keep in mind the sought-after faith, and then put it into practice.

Paul denotes patience, for he was zealous toward those who fought against holy faith, joyful in hardships, long-suffering in hope, patient in infirmities, compassionate with those in pain, humble in virtues, hospitable with the poor, merciful toward sinners, the teacher and master of all, persevering in the love of God until the end. Thus, Paul, that is, patience, will arm you with the arms of the virtues, for true patience, founded upon and strengthened by the examples and patience of Christ and his saints, enkindles the love of God in the heart, makes the spirit burn for strong action, renders a man humble, mild, merciful, zealous for heaven, mindful of himself, and persevering in the tasks undertaken.
And so, the Mother of mercy, shall introduce to my Son everyone whom obedience nourishes in the lap of humility, everyone whom the faith feeds with the food of sweetness, everyone whom patience dresses in the arms of virtue, and my Son will crown that person with his sweet crown. In him is incomprehensible strength, incomparable wisdom, unspeakable goodness, wonderful love. Then no one will be able to snatch that person away from his hand. But, my daughter, though I am speaking to you, yet by you I mean all of those who follow the holy faith with deeds of love. Just as by the one man, Israel, all Israelites were meant, so by you are understood all the true faithful.”

The daughter's words to the Lady in praise of her virtue and beauty, and the Virgin's answer confirming her praise, and the Son's comparison of his Mother to a goldsmith.

      1. Chapter 19

“Sweet Mary, fresh beauty, shining beauty! Come and listen to me, so that my ugliness may be purified and my love enkindled! Your beauty gives three gifts to the head. First, the cleansing of the memory so that God's words enter smoothly; second, the pleasant retention of the words heard; third, their zealous communication to one's neighbor. Your beauty also grants three things to the heart. First, it removes the heavy burden of sloth, when your love and humility are contemplated; second, it brings tears to the eyes, when your poverty and patient suffering are brought to mind; third, it gives the heart a sweet inner fire, when the memory of your devotion is sincerely recalled.

Truly, my Lady, you are the most precious beauty, the most desirable beauty, for you are the help given to the sick, the comforter in sorrow, everyone's mediator. Thus, all those who have heard that you would be born, and those who know you to have already been born, can surely exclaim: 'Come, beauty most splendid, and light up our darkness. Come, beauty most precious, and take away our reproach. Come, beauty most sweet, and lessen our bitterness. Come, beauty most powerful, and undo our captivity. Come, beauty most fair, and destroy our foulness!” Therefore, may such great beauty be blessed and reverenced, the beauty that all the patriarchs longed to see, of which all the prophets sang, in which all the elect rejoice!”
The Mother answers: ”May God, my beauty, be blessed! It is he who has given you such words to speak! And so I tell you that the most ancient beauty, the eternal and highest beauty, which made and created me, shall be your comfort. The beauty that is oldest and yet new, renewing all things, which was in me and was born of me, shall teach you wonders. The most desirable beauty, which gives joy and delight to all, shall inflame the spirit of your love.

So trust in God, for when the heavenly beauty appears, all earthly beauty will crumble and be regarded as dung.”

Then God's Son said to his Mother: ”O blessed Mother, you are like a goldsmith preparing a beautiful object. All those who see the object are filled with gladness and present precious stones or gold in order to perfect it. Thus, dear Mother, you offer help to everyone struggling to rise to God, and leave no one without your consolation. You can therefore well be called the blood of the heart of God. Just as each member of the body receives life and strength from the blood, so too everyone comes to life again after sin and is made more fruitful before God through you.”

St. Agnes's lesson to the daughter about not relapsing and not advancing properly, and about the right way to begin or continue with abstinence, and about what kind of continence is pleasing to God.




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