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Offline trad123

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The Baptism of Christ
« on: August 23, 2022, 10:25:44 PM »
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  • The Mystical City of God, Venerable Mary of Agreda


    Chapter XXIV


    When saint John had finished baptizing our Lord, the heavens opened and the Holy Ghost descended visibly in the form of a dove upon his head and the voice of his Father was heard: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matth. 3, 17). Many of the bystanders heard this voice, namely, those who were not unworthy of such a wonderful favor; they also saw the Holy Ghost descending upon the Savior. This was the most convincing proof which could ever be given of the Divinity of the Savior, as well on the part of the Father, who acknowledged Him his Son, as also in regard to the nature of the testimony given; for without any reserve was Christ manifested as the true God, equal to his eternal Father in substance and in perfection. The Father himself wished to be the first to testify to the Divinity of Christ in order that by virtue of his testimony all the other witnesses might be ratified. There was also another mystery in this voice of the eternal Father: it was as it were a restoration of the honor of his Son before the world and a recompense for his having thus humiliated Himself by receiving the Baptism of the remission of sins, though He was entirely free from fault and never could have upon Him the guilt of sin (Heb. 7, 26).


    This act of humiliation in receiving Baptism in the company of those who were sinners, Christ our Redeemer offered up to the eternal Father as an act of acknowledgment of the inferiority of his human nature, which, in common with all the rest of the children of men, He had derived from Adam. By it He also instituted the sacrament of Baptism, which was to wash away the sins of the world through his merits. By thus humiliating Himself in this baptism of sins, He sought and obtained from the eternal Father a general pardon for all those who were to receive it; He freed them from the power of the demon and of sin, and regenerated them to a new existence, spiritual and supernatural as adopted sons of the Most High, brethren of their Redeemer and Lord. The past, present and future sins of men always remaining in the sight of the eternal Father, had prevented the effects of this Baptism; but Christ our Lord merited the application of this so easy and delightful remedy, so that the eternal Father was obliged to accept it in justice as a complete satisfaction according to all the requirements of his equity. Christ was also not deterred from thus securing this remedy by his foreknowledge of the abuse of holy Baptism by so many mortals in all ages and of its neglect by innumerable others. All these impediments and hindrances Christ our Lord removed by satisfying for their offenses, humiliating Himself and assuming the form of a sinner in his Baptism (Rom. 8, 3). This is the meaning of the words: suffer it to be so now for so it becometh us to fulfill all justice. Then in order to honor the incarnate Word and in recompense for his humiliation, and in order to approve of Baptism and establish its wonderful efficacy, the eternal Father gave forth his voice and the Holy Ghost descended. Thus was Christ proclaimed as the true Son of God, and all three Persons of the Holy Trinity ratified the sacramental rite of Baptism.


    The great Baptist was the one who reaped the greatest fruit from these wonders of holy Baptism; for he not only baptized his Redeemer and Master, saw the Holy Ghost and the celestial light descending upon the Lord together with innumerable angels, heard the voice of the Father and saw many other mysteries by divine revelation: but besides all this, he himself was baptized by the Redeemer. The Gospel indeed says no more than that he asked for it, but at the same time it also does not say that it was denied him; for, without a doubt, Christ after his own Baptism, conferred it also on his Precursor and Baptist. It was He that instituted this Sacrament afterwards as He made it a general law and enjoined the public ministration of it upon the Apostles after the Resurrection. As I shall relate later on, it was also the Lord who baptized his most holy Mother before its general promulgation, and He, on that occasion, established the form in which Baptism was to be administered. These facts were made known to me, and also that saint John was the first fruit of the Baptism of Christ our Lord and of the new Church, which He founded in this Sacrament. Through it the Baptist received the character of a Christian together with a great plenitude of grace, since he had not upon him original sin; for he had been justified by the Redeemer before he was born, as was said in its place. By the answer of the Savior: “Suffer it to be so now, that all justice be fulfilled,” He did not refuse, but He deferred saint John’s Baptism until He himself should have been baptized and have fulfilled the requirements of God’s justice. Immediately after his own Baptism He baptized saint John, gave him his blessing, and betook Himself to the desert.

    Chapter XXIX



    The most blessed Lady also asked Him for the Sacrament of Baptism, which He had now instituted, and which He had promised Her before. In order that this might be administered with a dignity becoming as well the Son as the Mother, an innumerable host of angelic spirits descended from heaven in visible forms. Attended by them, Christ himself baptized his purest Mother. Immediately the voice of the eternal Father was heard saying: “This is my beloved Daughter, in whom I take delight.” The incarnate Word said: “This is my Mother, much beloved, whom I have chosen and who will assist Me in all my works.” And the Holy Ghost added: “This is my Spouse, chosen among thousands.” The purest Lady felt and received such great and numerous effects of grace in her soul, that no human words can describe them; for She was exalted to new heights of grace and her holy soul was made resplendent with new and exquisite beauty of heaven. She received the characteristic token impressed by this Sacrament, namely, that of the children of Christ in his holy Church. In addition to the ordinary effects of this Sacrament (outside of the remission of sins, of which She stood in no need), She merited especial graces on account of the humility with which She submitted to this Sacrament of purification. By it She accuмulated blessings like to those of her divine Son, with only this difference: that She received an increase of grace, which was not possible in Christ. Thereupon the humble Mother broke out in .a canticle of praise with the holy angels, and prostrate before her divine Son, She thanked Him for the most efficacious graces She had received in this Sacrament.

    Chapter IV



    The Redeemer of the world, departing from Jerusalem and traveling about in Judea for some time, pursued the work of preaching and performing miracles.

    While He was baptizing and at the same time commissioning his disciples to baptize, as is recorded in the third and fourth chapter of Saint John’s Gospel, his Precursor also continued to baptize in Ainon on the banks of the Jordan near the city of Salem. But the Baptisms of the Lord and those of saint John were not of the same kind: for saint John continued to give only the baptism of water and of penance, while our Lord administered his own Baptism, that of real pardon of sins and justification, such as it is now in the Church, accompanied by the infusion of grace and of the virtues.

    To the mysterious power and effects of the Baptism of Christ was moreover added the efficacy of his words and instructions confirmed by the wonder of his miracles. On this account more disciples and followers soon gathered around Christ than around saint John, in fulfillment of the words of the Baptist, that Christ must grow, while he must be diminished (John 3, 22).

    At the Baptisms of the Lord his most holy Mother ordinarily was present and She beheld all the great results of this regeneration in the favored souls.

    With the same gratitude as if She herself were receiving the benefits of the Sacrament, She gave thanks for them, breaking forth in canticles of praise and exercising heroic virtues as a thank offering to the Author of them. Thus in all these wonderful activities She gained for Herself incomparable and unheard of merits.


    When by divine permission Lucifer and his followers arose from the ruinous defeat which they had experienced at the triumph of Christ in the desert, and when they returned and saw the works of the most sacred humanity, divine Providence ordained, that, though always remaining ignorant of the principal mystery connected with Christ they should nevertheless see enough to lead to their entire discomfiture.

    Lucifer therefore perceived the great results of the preaching, the miracles, the Baptism of Christ our Lord, and how by these means innumerable souls were withdrawn from his jurisdiction and from the shackles of sin in the reformation of their life. The same effects he recognized also in the preaching of saint John and in his baptism. He remained ignorant of the essential difference between these two preachers and their baptisms and at the same time had no doubts about the final overthrow of his dominion, if their activity should continue.

    Hence, Lucifer could not but be full of fear and unrest. He knew well that he was too weak to resist the power of heaven, which he felt was exerted against him in these new Preachers and their doctrines. These considerations filled his proud mind with great apprehension, and therefore he called another meeting of the princes of darkness and said to them: “Strange things happen in the world during these years, and every day do they multiply, so that my fears lest the divine Word has come into the world according to the promise are growing more and more harrowing. I have searched the face of the whole earth and cannot find Him. But these two Men, who are preaching and deprive me every day of many souls, excite within me great misgivings; the one I could never overcome in the desert, and the other vanquished all of us, so that even now we are disheartened and crushed. If They continue as They have begun, all our triumphs will turn to confusion. They cannot Both be the Messias, and I cannot as yet be sure that either one of them is He; but to draw so many souls from a life of sin, is a work not equalled by any to this day. It supposes a new power, which we must investigate and trace to its source; and we must destroy these two Men. Follow me and assist me with all your strength, astuteness and sagacity; because otherwise they will frustrate our intentions.”

    2 Corinthians 4:3-4

    And if our gospel be also hid, it is hid to them that are lost, In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of unbelievers, that the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not shine unto them.