In the School of Mary

Jesus Instructs His Mother in the Law of Grace
TAKEN FROM THE CITY OF GOD, Book V [Abridged and Unabridged Versions]


HAVE already said in former chapters, that our great Lady was the first and specially privileged Disciple of her most holy Son, chosen among all creatures as the model of the new evangelical law and its Author, according to which He was to mould all the Saints of the new law and judge all the results of the Redemption.

In regard to her the incarnate Word proceeded like a most skillful artist, who understands the art of painting and all that pertains to it most thoroughly; who, throwing all his powers into one chosen work, seeks to gain from it alone renown and fame as from the full exposition of his art. It is certain that all the holiness and glory of the Saints was the result of the love and merits of Christ: (Eph. 2, 3) but in comparison with the excellence, of Mary, they seem insignificant and as it were only rough sketches; for in all the Saints are found defects (1 John 1, 8). But this living image of the Only-begotten was free from all imperfections; and the first strokes of His pencil in her were of greater beauty than the last touches in the highest Angels and Saints. She is the model for all the perfection of holiness and virtues of all His elect, and the utmost limit to which the love of Christ can proceed in mere creatures. No one received any grace or glory that most holy Mary could not receive, and she received all that others were incapable of receiving; and her most blessed Son gave to Her all that She could receive and that He could communicate.

The multitude and variety of the Saints silently enhance the Artificer of their great sanctity, and the greatness of the highest is made more conspicuous by the beauty of the lowest: but all of them together are a glorification of most holy Mary. For by her incomparable holiness they are all surpassed and they all partake of so much the greater felicity as they imitate her, whose holiness redounds over all. If the most pure Mary has reached the highest pinnacle in the ranks of the just, She may also on this very account be considered as the instrument or the motive power through which the Saints themselves have reached their station. As we must judge of her excellence (even if only from afar), by the labor which Christ the Lord applied for her formation, let us consider what labor He spent upon her and how much upon the whole Church. To establish and to enrich His Church He deemed it sufficient to spend only three years in preaching, selecting the Apostles, teaching the people, and inculcating the evangelical law by His public life; and this was amply sufficient to accomplish the work enjoined upon Him by the eternal Father and to justify and sanctify all the true believers. But in order to stamp upon His most holy Mother the image of His holiness, He consumed not three years, but ten times three years, engaging in this work with all the power of His Divine love, without ever ceasing hour after hour to add grace to grace, gifts to gifts, blessings to blessings, and holiness to holiness. And at the end of all this He still left her in a state, in which He could continue to add excellence after His Ascension to His eternal Father . . . Our reason is unbalanced, our words fail at the greatness of this incomparable Lady; for she is elect as the sun (Cant. 6, 9) ; and her effulgence cannot be borne by terrestrial eyes, nor comprehended by any earthly creatures.

Christ our Redeemer began to manifest His designs in regard to His heavenly Mother after they had come back from Egypt to Nazareth, as I have already mentioned; and from that time on He continued to follow up His purpose in His quality as Teacher and as the Divine Enlightener in all the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption. After they returned from Jerusalem in His twelfth year, the great Queen had a vision of the Divinity, not an intuitive vision, but one consisting of intellectual images; one very exalted and full of the new influences of the Divinity and of the secrets of the Most High. She was especially enlightened in regard to the decrees of the Divine will concerning the law of grace, which was now to be established by the incarnate Word, and concerning the power, which was given to Him in the consistory of the most blessed Trinity. At the same time She saw how for this purpose the eternal Father consigned to His Son the seven-sealed book, of which Saint John speaks (Apoc. 5, 1), and how none could be found either in Heaven or on earth, who could unseal and open it, until the Lamb broke its seals by His Passion and Death and by His doctrines and merits. For in this figure God wished to intimate, that the secret of this book was nothing else than the new law of the Gospel and the Church founded upon it in this world.

Then the heavenly Queen saw in spirit, that, by the decree of the most blessed Trinity, she was to be the first one to read and understand this book; that her Only-begotten was to open it for her and manifest it all to her, while she was to put it perfectly into practice; that she was the first one, who was to accompany the Word, and who was to occupy the first place next to Him on the way to Heaven, which He had opened up for mortals and traced out in this book. In her, as His true Mother, was to be deposited this New Testament. She saw how the Son of the eternal Father and of Herself accepted this decree with great pleasure; and how his sacred humanity obeyed it with ineffable joy on her account.

She issued from this ecstatic vision and betook herself to her most holy Son, prostrating herself at His feet and saying: "My Lord, my Light and my Teacher, behold thy unworthy Mother prepared for the fulfillment of Thy wishes admit me anew as Thy disciple and servant and make use of me as the instrument of Thy wisdom and power. Execute in me Thy pleasure and that of Thy eternal Father." Her most holy Son received her with the majesty and authority of a Divine Teacher and instructed her in most exalted mysteries. In most persuasive and powerful words He explained to her the profoundest meanings of the works enjoined upon Him by the eternal Father in regard to the Redemption of man, the founding of the Church and the establishment of the new evangelical law. He declared and reaffirmed, that in the execution of these high and hidden mysteries She was to be His Companion and Coadjutrix, receiving and enjoying the first-fruits of grace; and that therefore she, the most pure Lady, was to follow Him in His labors until His death on the Cross with a magnanimous and well prepared heart in invincible and unhesitating constancy. He added heavenly instruction such as enabled her to prepare for the reception of the whole evangelical Law, the understanding and practice of all its precepts and counsels in their highest perfection. Other sacramental secrets concerning His works in this world the Child Jesus manifested to His most blessed Mother on this occasion. And the heavenly Lady met all His words and intentions with profound humility, obedience, reverence, thanksgiving and most ardent love.  


The Most High Who in sheer goodness and bounty has given existence to all creatures and denies His providential care to none, faithfully supplies all souls with light, by which they can enter into the knowledge of Him and of eternal life provided they do not of their own free will prevent and obscure this light by sin or give up the quest of the kingdom of Heaven. To the souls whom according to His secret judgments, He calls to His Church, He shows Himself still more liberal. For with the grace of Baptism He infuses into them not only those virtues, which are called essentially infused and which the creature cannot merit by its own efforts; but also those, which are accidentally infused and which it can merit by its own labors and efforts. These the Lord gives freely beforehand, in order that the soul may be more prepared and zealous in the observance of His holy Law. In other souls, in addition to the common light of faith, the Lord in His clemency grants supernatural gifts of knowledge and virtue for the better understanding of the evangelical mysteries and for the more zealous practice of good works. In this kind of gifts He has been more liberal with thee than with many generations; obliging thee thereby to distinguish thyself in loving correspondence due to Him and to humble thyself before Him to the very dust.

In order that thou mayest be well instructed and informed, I wish to warn thee as a solicitous and loving Mother of the cunning of satan for the destruction of these works of the Lord. From the very moment in which mortals begin to have the use of their reason, each one of them is followed by many watchful and relentless demons. For as soon as the souls are in a position to raise their thoughts to the knowledge of their God and commence the practice of the virtues infused by Baptism, these demons, with incredible fury and astuteness, seek to root out the Divine seed; and if they cannot succeed in this, they try to hinder its growth, and prevent it from bringing forth fruit by engaging men in vicious, useless, or trifling things. Thus they divert their thoughts from faith and hope and from the pursuit of other virtues, leading them to forget that they are Christians and diverting their attention from the knowledge of God and from the mysteries of the Redemption and of life eternal. Moreover the same enemy instills into the parents a base neglectfulness and carnal love for their offspring; and he incites the teachers to carelessness, so that the children find no support against evil in their education, but become depraved and spoiled by many bad habits, losing sight of virtue and of their good inclinations and going the way of perdition.

But the most kind Lord does not forget them in this danger and He renews in them His holy inspirations and special helps. He supplies them with the holy teachings of the Church by His preachers and ministers. He holds out to them the aid of the Sacraments and many other inducements to keep them on the path of life. That those who walk in the way of salvation are the smaller number, is due to the vice and depraved habits imbibed in youth and nourished in childhood. For that saying of Deuteronomy is very true: "As the days of thy youth, so also shall thy old age be" (Deut. 33, 25). Hence the demons gain courage and increase their tyrannical influence over souls in the early years of man's life, hoping that they will be able to induce men to commit so much the greater and the more frequent sins in later years, the more they have succeeded in drawing them into small and insignificant faults in their childhood. By these they draw them on to a state of blind presumption; for with each sin the soul loses more and more the power of resistance, subjects itself to the demon, and falls under the sway of its tyrannical enemies. The miserable yoke of wickedness is more and more firmly fastened upon it; it is trodden underfoot by its own iniquity and urged onward under the sway of the devil from one precipice to another, from abyss to abyss (Ps. 41, 8): a chastisement merited by all those, that allow themselves to be overcome by evil-doing in the beginning. By these means Lucifer has hurled into Hell so great a number of souls and continues so to hurl them every day, rising up in his pride against the Almighty. In this manner has he been able to introduce into the world his tyrannical power, spreading among men forgetfulness of death, judgment, Heaven and Hell, and casting so many nations from abyss to abyss of darkness and bestial errors, such as are contained in the heresies and false sects of the infidels. Do thou therefore beware of this terrible danger, my daughter, and let not the memory of the law of thy God, His precepts and commands, and the truths of the Catholic Church and the doctrines of the Gospels ever fail in thy mind. Let not a day pass in which thou dost not spend much time in meditating upon all these; and exhort thy religious and all those who listen to thee to do the same. For thy enemy and adversary is laboring with ceaseless vigilance to obscure thy understanding in forgetfulness of the Divine law, seeking to withdraw thy will, which is a blind faculty, from the practice of justification. This, thou knowest, consists in acts of living faith, trustful hope, ardent love, all coming from a contrite and humble heart (Ps. 50, 19).

The Continued Prayers of Jesus and Mary for Mankind
TAKEN FROM THE CITY OF GOD, Book V [Abridged and Unabridged Versions]


HE MORE our limited discourse seeks to make clear and extol the mysterious works of Christ, our Redeemer, and of His most holy Mother, the more evident it becomes, that mere human words are far from being able to compass the greatness of these sacraments; for, as Ecclesiasticus says, they surpass all our words of praise (Ecclus. 4, 33). 

Nor can we ever fathom or compass them, and there will always remain many greater secrets than those we have sought to explain. For those which we do explain are very insignificant, and we do not deserve to comprehend, nor to speak about the few, which we attempt to fathom. Inadequate is the intellect of the highest Seraphim to weigh and pierce the secrets that passed between Jesus and Mary during the years in which They lived together. Especially is this true of the years, of which I am now speaking, during which the Teacher of life instructed her in everything that
was to happen in the law of grace; namely, how much this new law was to accomplish in this the sixth age of the world, which includes these sixteen hundred and fifty-seven years and all the unknown future until the end of the World. In all this the most blessed Lady was instructed in the school of her Divine Son; for He foretold her all by word of mouth, pointing out the time and place of each event, the kingdoms and provinces of their history during the existence of the Church.

All these hidden sacraments ordinarily transpired in that humble oratory of the Queen, where the greatest of all mysteries, the Incarnation of the Divine Word in her virginal womb, had taken place. Though it was such a narrow and poorly furnished room, consisting merely of the bare and rude walls, yet it enclosed the grandeur of Him Who is immense and shed forth all the majesty and sacredness, which since then is attached to the rich temples and innumerable sanctuaries of the world. In this holy of holies the High-priest of the new Law ordinarily performed his prayers, which always concluded with fervent intercessions for men. At these times also He spoke to His Virgin Mother about all the works of the Redemption and communicated to her the rich gifts and treasures of grace, which He had come to shower upon the children of light in the New Testament and in His holy Church. Many times did He beseech His eternal Father not to allow the sins and the ingratitude of men to hinder their Redemption. As Christ in His foreknowledge was always conscious of the sins of the human race and of the damnation of so many thankless souls, the thought of dying for them caused Him to sweat Blood many times on these occasions. Although the Evangelists because they never intended to relate all the events of His life, mention this sweating of Blood but once before His Passion, it is certain that this happened many times and in the presence of His most holy Mother; and this has been intimated to me several times.

During prayer our blessed Master sometimes assumed a kneeling posture, sometimes He was prostrate in the form of a cross or at other times raised in the air in this same position which He loved so much. In the presence of His Mother He was wont to pray: "O most blessed Cross! When shall thy arms receive Mine, when shall I rest on thee and when shall My arms, nailed to thine, be spread to welcome all sinners? (Matth. 9, 13). But as I came from Heaven for no other purpose than to invite them to imitate Me and associate with Me, they are even now and forever open to embrace and enrich all men. Come then, all ye that are blind, to the light. Come ye poor, to the treasures of My grace. Come, ye little ones, to the caresses and delights of your true Father. Come, ye afflicted and worn out ones, for I will relieve and refresh you (Matth. 11, 28). Come, ye just, since you are My possession and inheritance. Come all ye children of Adam, for I call upon you all. I am the way, the truth and the life (13,6), and I will deny nothing that you desire to receive. My eternal Father, they are the works of Thy hands, do not despise them; for I will offer Myself as a sacrifice on the Cross, in order to restore them to justice and freedom. If they be but willing I will lead them back to the bosom of Thy elect and to their heavenly kingdom, where Thy name shall be glorified."

At all these prayers the beloved Mother was present, and in her purest soul, as in the purest crystal, the light of the Only-begotten was reflected. His interior and exterior prayers re-echoed in her, causing her to imitate His petitions and prayers in the same postures. When the great Lady for the first time saw Him sweat Blood, her maternal heart was transfixed with sorrow and filled with astonishment at the effects caused in Christ, our Lord,-----by the sins and ingratitudes committed by men, foreseen by the Lord and known to her. In the anguish of her heart she turned to her fellow mortals and exclaimed: "O children of men! Little do ye understand how highly the Lord esteems His image and likeness in you! For, as the price of your salvation, He offers His Own Blood and deems it little to shed all of it for you. O could I but unite your wills with mine, in order that I might bring you to love and obey Him! Blessed by His right hand be the grateful and the just among men, who will be faithful children of their Father! Let those be filled with light and with the treasures of grace, who will respond to the ardent desires of my Lord in regard to their salvation. Would that I could be the insignificant slave of the children of Adam and thereby induce and assist them to put an end to their sins and their own damnation! Lord and Master! Life and light of my soul! Who can be so hard of heart and so hostile to himself, that he should not feel himself urged on by Thy blessings? Who can be so ungrateful and so unheedful, as to ignore Thy most burning love? How can my heart bear with men, who, being so favored by Thy bounty, are so coarse and rebellious? O children of Adam! Turn your inhuman cruelty upon me. Afflict and insult me as much as you will, only pay my beloved Lord the reverence and love which you owe to His endearments. Thou, my Son and Lord, art Light of light, Son of the eternal Father, figure of His substance (Heb. 1, 3), as everlasting, as immense, as infinite as He, equal to Him in essence and attributes, being with Him one God and one supreme Majesty (John 10, 30). Thou art chosen among thousands (Cant. 5, 10), beautiful above all the sons of men, holy, innocent and without defect of any kind. How then, eternal God, can mortals ignore the object of their most noble love? the Principle, which gives them existence? the End wherein consists their eternal true happiness? O that I could give my life in order that all might escape their error!"

Many other sentiments of burning love, far beyond the powers of my heart and tongue, this heavenly Lady uttered in her dove-like sincerity; and in this love, and in profoundest reverence, she wiped the sweat from the face of her sweetest Son. At other times she found Him in quite a different condition, shining with glory and transfigured as afterwards on mount Tabor (Matth. 17, 2), in the midst of a great multitude of Angels, who adored Him and in the sweet harmony of their voices gave praise and thanksgiving to the Only-begotten of the Father made man. These celestial voices our blessed Lady heard and she joined hers with them. At other times this happened while He was not transfigured; for the Divine will ordained that the sensitive part of the Divine humanity of the Word should sometimes have this solace, while at other times it should enjoy also the transfiguring overflow of the glory of the soul into the body; yet this only at great intervals. But whenever the heavenly Mother found Him in this state and beheld His glorified Body, or when she heard the hymns of the Angels, she participated in these delights to such an extent, that, if her spirit had not been so strong, and if her Lord and Son had not fortified her, she would have lost all her natural powers; and even as it was, the holy Angels had to support the failing strength of her body on those occasions.

Many times, when her Divine Son was in one of these states of suffering or joy, and was praying to the eternal Father or, as it were, conferring with Him concerning the highest mysteries of the Redemption, the Person of the Father approved or conceded His petitions for the relief of men, or showed to the most holy humanity of Christ the secret decrees of predestination, reprobation or condemnation of some souls. All this our blessed Lady heard, humbling herself to the dust. With unequaled reverence and fear she adored the Omnipotent, and accompanied her Son in His prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings, offered up to the eternal Father for mankind in praise of all His inscrutable judgments. Such secrets and mysteries the most prudent Virgin conferred in her heart, and stored them up in her memory, converting them into the material and nourishment of her fiery love. None of these blessings and secret favors were in her unprofitable or fruitless. To all of them she corresponded according to the inmost desires of her Lord. In all of them she fulfilled the highest intentions of the Almighty, and all His works found due response from her as far as was possible from a mere creature.


My daughter, one of the reasons why men should call me Mother of mercy, is the knowledge of my loving desire, that all be satiated with the flood of grace and taste the sweetness of the Lord as I myself. I call and invite all to come with me to the fountain of the Divinity. Let the most poor and afflicted approach, for if they respond and follow me, I will offer them my protection and help, and I will intercede for them with my Son and obtain for them the hidden manna, which will give to them nourishment and life (Apoc. 2, 27). Deny thyself and put off all the works of human weakness, and, by the true light, which thou hast received concerning the works of my Son and my own, contemplate and study thyself in this mirror, in order to arrive at that beauty, which the highest King seeks in thee.

Since this is the most powerful means for perfection in thy works, I wish that thou write this advice into thy heart. Whenever thou must perform any interior or exterior work, consider beforehand whether what thou art going to say or do corresponds with the doings of thy Lord, and whether thou hast the intention thereby to honor thy Lord and benefit thy neighbor. As soon as thou art sure that this is thy motive, execute thy undertaking in union with Him and in imitation of Him; but if thou findest not this motive let the undertaking rest. This was my invariable course in pursuing the imitation of my Lord and Teacher; though in me there was no reluctance toward the good, but only the desire of imitating Him perfectly. In this imitation consists the fruit of His holy teaching, in which He urges us to do, what is most pleasing and acceptable to the eternal God. Moreover from this day on be mindful not to undertake any work, not to speak or even think any of anything, without first asking my permission and consulting with me as thy Mother and Teacher. And as soon as I answer thee give thanks to the Lord; if I do not answer after continued inquiry, I promise and assure thee on the part of the Lord, that He will, nevertheless, give thee light as to what will be according to His most perfect will. In all things, however, subject thyself to the guidance of thy spiritual director, and never forget this practice!