Before we begin to write the admirable life of the Mother of God, it is necessary to make known the sublime rank which, from all eternity, she held in the divine counsels. Although the Divine Intelligence, one, indivisible and very simple, conceives and decides on an act in an infinitely simple manner, without relation to time, either past or future, nevertheless, according to our manner of understanding, we distinguish different moments.
1. From all eternity God knew His attributes and perfections, with an infinite inclination to communicate Himself exteriorly, as the infinite, sovereign Good.
2. He decreed to make this exterior communication of Himself by the participation and manifestation of His grandeurs.
3. He determined the order, manner and disposition of this communication, decreeing that the Divine Word should become visible in His Sacred Humanity.
4. He decreed the gifts and graces to be conferred on the Divine Humanity of Christ, the Chief of all creatures. Then, regulating the perfect economy of the Incarnation, He included the Virgin Mother, before all other decrees relating to the creation of all other creatures. God also determined to create a place where the Incarnate Word could dwell with His Mother, and first, for them alone, He willed to create Heaven and earth, with the stars, the elements, and all that they contain; and, secondly, for men, who were to be the vassals of this great King and Queen.
He decreed the creation of the Angels, who were to dwell in the presence of the Divine Majesty, to honor and to love Him; they were also to serve the Eternal Word, made man, and His most holy Mother, their Queen. To this moment belongs the creation of the empyreal Heaven, where the glory of God is unveiled and the good are rewarded; as also the predestination of the good Angels, and the reprobation of the bad; the creation of the earth for other creatures, and Hell in its center, for the chastisement of the rebellious angels.
He decreed to create a people and a society of men like unto Christ, who were to be His brethren. God determined on the favors and graces He would grant to this people, through the merits of Christ, and on giving original justice to man, if he would persevere in it. He foresaw the prevarication and fall of Adam and, through him, that of all his posterity, excepting only the Blessed Mother, who was not included in this posterior decree. He decreed that this misfortune should be repaired, and that the humanity of Christ should be passible.
For the execution of His designs, in time God created Heaven and earth, and the light, not only material, but also intellectual light, that is to say, the Angels. At the division of light from darkness occurred also the separation of the good Angels from the bad. The Angels remained for some time in a state of trial, which may be divided into three moments. In the first, they were created and endowed with gifts of nature and grace; in the second, the will of their Creator was proposed for them to follow, and obtain the end for which they had been created. He gave them abundant lights with regard to good and evil, and eternal rewards and chastisements.
Some were obedient, others rebellious; the good were confirmed in grace, and rewarded with eternal glory; the obstinate were chastised and precipitated into Hell, there to be tormented for all eternity. The cause of this rebellion and disgrace was that the Angels, having a very clear knowledge of the Divine Being with the Unity of Essence and Trinity of Persons, received the command to adore God as their Creator. All obeyed this precept, yet with some difference.
Lucifer submitted because he thought it would be impossible to do otherwise, yet he did not obey with perfect charity. Although this baseness in this first act did not deprive him of grace, nevertheless it was the cause of his evil disposition, for it weakened his virtues and his mind. God made known to the Angels that He would create human nature, and that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity would become incarnate, and the human nature be thus raised to the Hypostatic Union. They received the command to adore the God-man, and acknowledge Him as the Chief of all creatures. Lucifer resisted this mandate, and urged his adherents to do the same, persuading them that he would be their chief, and would found a kingdom independent of Christ.
But his evil dispositions were increased when he was ordered to acknowledge as his queen and sovereign, a Virgin, the Mother of Christ, who was to be enriched with such gifts of grace and glory that she would surpass all other creatures, angelic as well as human. He resisted with horrible blasphemies, and condemned these divine decrees as unjust and injurious to his greatness. This extreme presumption irritated Our Lord in such a manner that He told the serpent, as He did later in the terrestrial Paradise, that she (Mary) should crush his head—Ipsa conteret caput tuum.
After having precipitated from Heaven the rebellious angels, with Lucifer their chief, God created other creatures, modeled after Christ and His Blessed Mother as their divine exemplars, but He formed Adam and Eve, alike, above all and in all things to these divine originals. He gave them the power of motion and an entire perfection, and blessed them in consideration of their perfect resemblance to their Models. The Lord concealed from Lucifer the creation of Adam and Eve, during a part of the time that they lived together.
He did so, that the demon might be in doubt whether Eve were she who was to crush his head, or whether Adam were the Incarnate Word. The implacable enemy of mankind, filled with rage, began to lay his snares. Having succeeded in causing the fall of the woman, and, through her, of the man, he with his demons proudly rejoiced over his triumph. But his satisfaction was of short duration. He saw how merciful God was with the two criminals, and that He would restore them to His grace and friendship by means of penance, and it was an additional torment to him to hear again that a woman should crush his head.
By the divine benediction, mankind multiplied. God chose for Himself an elect people, and from out of this people an illustrious and holy line to which He was to belong, according to the flesh. He granted signal favors to this people, and revealed to it profound mysteries; He raised up holy patriarchs and prophets who were to point out figuratively the Incarnate Word, and foretell His coming, so much desired.
To be continued…
This article is taken from a chapter in The Divine Life of the Most Holy Virgin by Ven. Mary of Agreda which is available from TAN Books.