The Seven Last Words |
Christ's last agonizing hours on the Cross were even more agonizing eternally for the demons of hell and therein is our hope in these times when the demons assault the faithful and His Church. As then, so also now the Blessed Mother will play a victorious role in their demise.
"As soon as Lucifer and his legions saw Christ take up the Cross on His sacred shoulder, they felt an overwhelming urge to flee and cast themselves into hell, for then they began to feel the effects of Our Lord's divine power. They sensed that this was, indeed, no ordinary man, and that He threatened a great ruin to them. In turmoil and alarm, they tried to flee. But there was to be no 'Great Escape' for them. At the command of Our Lady, the demons were forced to remain and accompany Christ to Calvary."
During the course of the life of Our Lord Jesus Christ, Lucifer and his demons could never ascertain fully whether Jesus Christ was true God and Redeemer of the world, Blessed Mary of Agreda tells us in The City of God. Lucifer had many suspicions, of course, especially after Saint Peter confessed Our Lord's mission, and after Lazarus was raised by Christ from the dead. But he did not have certainty. He knew that Our Lord was an extraordinary man, but he was not sure that He was God. His overreaching pride could not admit that a human, and not an angel, could be united hypostatically to God, the Creator of Heaven and earth.
As soon as Lucifer and his legions saw Christ take up the Cross on His sacred shoulder, they felt an overwhelming urge to flee and cast themselves into hell, for then they began to feel the effects of Our Lord's divine power. They sensed that this was, indeed, no ordinary man, and that He threatened a great ruin to them. In turmoil and alarm, they tried to flee. But there was to be no "Great Escape" for them. At the command of Our Lady, the demons were forced to remain and accompany Christ to Calvary.
By the power of her Divine Son, Mary held the demons, as she will throughout History, in subjection and bondage. "She forced them to come to Calvary and stand around the Cross, where She commanded them to remain motionless and witness the end of the great mysteries there enacted for the salvation of men and the ruin of themselves," Mary of Agreda tells us (The Transfixion). The moment appointed by Heaven for the ancient dragon to be vanquished by the Son of Man had arrived, and Mary Most Holy ordered the demons to be present to suffer the confusion and consternation of witnessing their defeat.
How the Seven Last Words Affected the Demons
I thought that readers might find it interesting to see how, according to Mary of Agreda, the Seven Last Words of Our Lord on the Cross affected the princes of darkness. For, with the pronouncement of each word, she records, the demons were given to understand the mysteries contained in it with regard to their own ruin.
With the first word, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!" the evil spirits at last came to the full and painful conviction that it was Christ Our Lord who was speaking to His Eternal Father. With this confirmation, the demons in their confusion again strained with all their might to hurl themselves to the depths of Hell, and again found themselves prevented by the command of Christ's Mother.
The second word was spoken to the good thief: "Amen I say to thee, today thou shalt be with Me in Paradise." With this, they understood that the merits of His death in His most sacred and perfect Humanity, united to His Divinity, would win the pardon of the sins of man, who from then on could avail themselves of this for their salvation. The gates of Paradise, closed by the first sin, would be again open to man The torment this caused Lucifer was so great he begged the Blessed Virgin to allow him to descend to Hell and be removed from this scene. But the Queen of Heaven did not consent.
At the third word, "Woman, behold thy son!" the demons discovered that Mary was the true Mother of God, the woman announced in the Heavens who would crush their head. With this, they were seized with a helpless rage. Their fury increased as they understood that Saint John was endowed with the powers of the priesthood. For then they understood the words of Our Lord at the Last Supper that gave the Apostles the power to renew the Sacrifice of the Cross. Therefore, the devils saw in St. John not only the power of the Evangelist, but the power given to all the priests by virtue of their participation in the dignity and power of the Redeemer.
The fourth word, "God, My God, why has Thou forsaken Me?" showed the evil spirits the boundless and everlasting charity of God toward men. For, in order to satisfy this unthinkable charity, the Father seemed to have mysteriously suspended the presence of the Divinity of the Son over His most sacred Humanity, thus permitting His sufferings to reach the highest degree so that they might give the most abundant fruits. Man's good fortune in being so beloved by God increased the envy of Lucifer and his demons.
The fifth word, "I thirst" permitted the demons to see their total overthrow. In effect, they understood Our Lord was saying that His love for man was insatiable, and that, were it possible, He would suffer yet more to be assured of their eternal salvation.
With the sixth word of Our Lord on the Cross: "It is consummated!" Lucifer and his legions understood that the mystery of the Incarnation and Redemption had been accomplished.
The great sentence of condemnation that released the evil spirits to the eternal abyss came only with his final words: "Father, into Thy hands I commend My Spirit." Then, at the command of Our Lady together with her Beloved Son, Lucifer and all the demons were hurled to the deepest parts of Hell.
There, Blessed Mary of Agreda tells us, "It is proper for men to understand that Lucifer and his demons were restricted, lamed and weakened in their power of tempting human creatures, unless their sins and their own free will do not unbind them and encourage them to return for the destruction of the world."
Analogy for Our Times
Who can think that the crisis today in the Catholic Church and society is just the fruit of human action? Man has opened the doors to Lucifer and the demons for them to stimulate, exacerbate, and direct this action of destruction. Logically speaking, the kind of generalized depravity and chaos we are witnessing today does not take place without a preternatural action. Without the cooperation of Lucifer, it would be difficult to imagine that man could arrive at such extremes of pride and sensuality that he is presently reaching, that the Holy Church could be so infiltrated with agents bent on her destruction. It would seem that those demons, weakened and restricted after the Crucifixion and Ascension of Our Lord, have returned with their full powers of malice and destruction in their ceaseless cabals against mankind.
It is, therefore, crucial to consider the opposition placed between Our Lady and the Serpent since the beginning of time: "I will place enmities between you and the woman, between your race and her race; she will crush your head and you will like in wait for her heel" (Gen 3:15) Given the imperium, or power, with which God has invested Our Lady, it is enough that she should again give a command for the demons to be confounded and withdraw from the scene of human action. Likewise, it suffices that, for the chastisement of men, She would permit the infernal legions a certain margin of action for the crisis to reach this extreme of evil we are experiencing today.
We see how much depends on her rule and dominion. Our Lord gave His Blessed Mother a royal power over all Creation. He crowned her Queen of the Universe to govern it. Our Lady, united to the will of God in all things and dependent upon Him, nonetheless exercises her action throughout History, and, therefore, plays a role in the direction of History. Such considerations open the perspective for the victory She has predicted. At Fatima in 1917, and three hundred years earlier in Quito, she foretold a great crisis in the present day Church and world and her own triumphal intercession at a most crucial moment, a moment perhaps not so far distant.
Without doubt, at the command of Our Lady in the near future, the demons that were released to inflict so much damage on the Holy Church today will once again be hurled, wailing and cursing, to the deep abyss. These evil spirits demons will again be enchained there - "restricted, lamed and weakened in their power to tempt man." Then, with the torrent of graces that will flow upon a chastised world, the faithful will breathe once again a purer and less infested air and the spirit of religion will again begin to prosper in a true Reign of Mary
Marian Therese Horvat, Ph.D.
For past columns by Dr. Horvat, see Archives of Echoes of True Catholicism
Thursday, March 28, 2002
volume 13, no. 59
TRUE ECHOES OF CATHOLICISM