The Son speaks: ”It is written that Jacob became a servant for the sake of Rachel, and the days seemed short to him due to his great love, for the greatness of his love made his work easier. True, when Jacob thought he had obtained his desire, he was defrauded. Yet he went on working, because love does not make excuses for itself until it has got its wish. It is the same way in spiritual matters. Many people struggle on bravely in prayer and deeds of piety in order to gain heaven. However, just when they think they have reached the peace of contemplation, then they get entangled in temptations, and their troubles multiply, and they find themselves to be quite imperfect precisely on those points where they had thought themselves to be almost perfect. But this is nothing strange, because temptations exist that put people to the test in order to cleanse and perfect them.
Temptations accrue for some of them at the start of their conversion to the spiritual life, and such people are rendered completely sound and stable in the end. Others are more gravely tempted in the middle or toward the end, and such people should carefully examine themselves and never be presumptuous but struggle all the more vigorously. It is as Laban said: 'It is the custom to wed the older sister first,' which is to say: 'Toil and struggle first and then you will have the rest you desire.'
Therefore, my daughter, do not be surprised if temptations accrue in your old age. While you still live, you can be tempted, because the devil never sleeps and because temptation is an opportunity for perfection and keeps you from presumption. Look, I show you the example of two men. One was tempted at the beginning of his conversion but he persevered and went ahead and attained what he sought. The other experienced grave temptations in his old age that he scarcely had known in his youth. He became so entangled in these that he almost forgot everything he had known before. However, he persevered in his resolution and kept on struggling, despite feeling cold and lukewarm. Because of that, he gained his desire and peace of mind, realizing that God's judgments are hidden and just, and that, if it had not been for those temptations, he would hardly have gained eternal salvation.”
First question. Again the monk appeared standing on his rung as before and saying: ”O Judge, I ask you: Why did you prefer to be born of a virgin rather than of another woman who was not a virgin?”
Second question. ”Why did you not show with a visible sign that she was a mother and a pure virgin?”
Third question. ”Why did you hide your birth so that it was known only to a very few?”
Fourth question. ”Why did you flee to Egypt because of Herod and why did you permit the innocent boys to be killed?”
Fifth question. ”Why do you permit yourself to be blasphemed and falsehood to prevail over truth?”
Answer to the first question. The Judge answered: ”O friend, I preferred to be born of a virgin rather than of a woman who was not a virgin, because that which is purest befits me who am God most pure. While it remained in the order of its creation, human nature had no deformity. But once the commandment was transgressed, there immediately arose a sense of shame, just as happens to people who sin against their temporal lord, who are even ashamed of the very limbs with which they have sinned. Along with shame over the transgression, there also sprang up a disordered impulse, especially in the reproductive organs. Yet, in order that this impulse might not be unproductive, it was by God's goodness turned to good, and the act of carnal union was established by divine commandment in order that nature might bear its fruits.
However, since it brings greater glory to act above and beyond the commandment, adding whatever good one is led by love to make, it pleased God to choose for his work the institution tending to greater purity and love, and that is virginity. For it is more virtuous and generous to be in the fire of tribulation and not to burn than to be without fire and still want to be crowned.
Now, since virginity is like the fairest path to heaven while marriage is more like a road, it befitted me, God most pure, to rest in a virgin most pure. Just as the first man was created from the virgin earth, not yet polluted by blood, and because Adam and Eve committed their sin while they were still in a sound state of nature, so too I, God, wished to be received in the purest vessel so as to transform everything by my goodness.”
Answer to the second question. ”As to why I did not show by open signs that my mother was mother and virgin, I answer: I intimated all the mysteries of my incarnation to the prophets, so that these mysteries might the more firmly be believed the longer ago they had been foretold. To prove that my mother was truly a virgin before and after childbirth, Joseph's testimony was sufficient, inasmuch as he was the guardian and witness of her virginity.
Even if her chasteness had been shown by a more evident miracle, unbelievers would not out of wickedness have yielded in their blasphemy. Such people do not believe that a virgin could conceive by divine power, because they do not realize that it is easier for me, God, to do this than for the sun to penetrate glass. And, of course, divine justice kept the mystery of God's incarnation hidden from the devil and from men to be revealed in the time of grace. Now, in fact, I affirm that my mother is truly mother and virgin. Just as wonderful as the divine power was in forming Adam and Eve, and just as their dwelling together was delightful and virtuous, so too there was wonderful goodness in the coming of my divinity to the virgin, for my incomprehensible divinity descended into a closed vessel without its violation. And there was a delightful cohabitation with me there, inasmuch as I, God, who am everywhere in my divinity, was there enclosed in humanity.
Wonderful, too, was the power shown there, for I, unembodied God, left the womb embodied, yet her virginity remained intact. Therefore, since humankind is difficult about believing, while my mother is a friend to all humility, it pleased me accordingly to conceal her beauty and perfection for a time in order that my mother might deserve to be more perfectly rewarded and so that I, God, might be glorified all the more at that time when I should wish to fulfill my promises to reward the good and to punish the wicked.”
Answer to the third question. ”As to why I did not disclose my birth to people in general, I answer: Although the devil lost the dignity of his first state, still he did not lose his cunning, which belongs to him for the trial of the good and for his own shame. In order that my human form might grow and reach its determined age, it was necessary to hide the mystery of my religion from the devil, because I wanted to enter hidden into combat with the devil, and because I resolved to be despised in order to overthrow human pride.
Indeed, the very teachers of the law, which they read about in their books, despised me because I came as a humble man, and, because they were proud, they did not want to hear about true justice, which comes from the faith of my redemption. They shall therefore be confounded when the 'son of perdition' comes in his pride. If I had come in the greatest power and glory, would the proud then have been humbled? Will the proud now enter heaven? Certainly not! I came as a humble man in order that the people might learn humility. And I hid myself from the proud, because they wished to understand neither my justice nor their very selves.”
Answer to the fourth question. ”As to why I fled to Egypt, I answer: Before the commandment was transgressed, there was just one road to heaven, broad and bright. It was broad in the abundance of virtues and bright in divine wisdom and in the obedience of a good will. Once that will was changed, two roads came into being. One led to heaven, the other led away from it. Obedience led to heaven, disobedience led astray. And as the choice between good and evil lay in the human will, that is, to obey or not to obey, people sinned whenever they willed something other than what I wanted them to will.
In order to save humankind, it was just and right that someone should come who was able to redeem them, someone who also was perfectly obedient and innocent, someone towards whom those who wished could show love and those who wished could show malice. However, it was not right for an angel to be sent to redeem humankind, because I, God, do not give my glory to others. Nor could any human person be found to appease me for his or her own sake, let alone for others. So I, God, the only Just One, came to make all just. My flight to Egypt revealed the frailty of my human nature and fulfilled a prophecy. I also set an example for those to come, because persecution should at times be avoided for God's greater glory in the future. My escape from my pursuers shows that my divine plan surpassed human plans, for it is not easy to fight against God. Furthermore, the slaying of the infants was a sign of my future passion, and a mystery of vocation and divine charity.
Although the infants themselves did not bear witness to me with their voice and mouth, yet they bore it by their death, as befitted my own infancy. Indeed it had been foreseen that the praise of God would be fulfilled even by the blood of innocents. And although the malice of the unjust fell upon them, yet my divine permission, which is always just and kind, did not expose them to it with injustice but so as to disclose human malice and the incomprehensible purpose and kindness of God. Thus, where unjust malice erupted against the boys, there merit and grace justly abounded, and where there was no verbal testimony or proper age, there bloodshed brought them the highest good.”
Answer to the fifth question. ”As to why I permit myself to be blasphemed, I answer: It is written that when King David was avoiding his son's persecution, a certain man cursed him along the way. When his servants wanted to kill the man, David forbade them for two reasons: first, because he had a hope of returning; second, because he was mindful of his own weakness and sin and of the ignorance of him who had cursed him as well as of the patience and goodness of God. I am David, figuratively speaking.
People persecute me with their wicked deeds, like a slave who chases his master, and they throw me out of my own kingdom, that is, out of the soul that I created and that is my kingdom. Then they find fault with me, like a criminal finds fault with his sentence, and they even blaspheme against me, because I am patient. Because I am mild, I suffer their foolishness. Because I am the Judge, I wait for them to convert until the very last moment. Finally, since people in general believe more in falsehood than in truth, and love the world more than me, their God, it is no wonder if the wicked are tolerated in their wickedness, for they wish neither to seek the truth nor to recover from their wickedness.”
The seventh revelation in the Book of Questions, in which Christ speaks to his bride, blessed Bridget, and praises frequent confession, in order that people may not lose the grace of God that they have.