The victory of Christ over hell
As reported by Mary of Agreda

Venerable Mary of Agreda was born on April 2, 1602, in Agreda, Spain. Christened Maria Fernandez Coronel, she took the blue habit and made her vows as a nun in the Franciscan order, and in 1627 she became abbess of the Agreda Franciscan monastery until her death on May 24, 1665. The process to declare her a saint began almost immediately after her death, in 1672, as she had lived a life of evident holiness in the eyes of her contemporaries. During her life, she had experienced mystical phenomena including private revelations.

The most famous of these writings is the Mystical City of God: Divine History of the Virgin, Mother of God, which had been dictated by the Virgin Mary Herself. Even after death, Sister Agreda continues to defy the rationalists and non-believers: her body, kept in her convent, is incorrupt. Like a small number of deceased mystics and Catholic saints, the nun's body refuses to naturally decay, even after 339 long years.

Here are excerpts from Chapter X of the Mystical City of God, “The victory of Christ over hell”, where the demons are forced to witness their final defeat with the ultimate sacrifice of Christ on Calvary, to redeem all mankind:

Lucifer and his demons in the course of the life and miracles our Savior, never could ascertain fully whether the Lord was true God and Redeemer of the world, and consequently what the dignity of the most holy Mary was. This was so disposed by Divine Providence, in order that the whole mystery of the Incarnation and the Redemption of the human race might be more fittingly accomplished. Lucifer, although knowing that God was to assume human flesh, nevertheless knew nothing of the manner and the circumstances of the Incarnation...

Lucifer and his demons, as soon as they saw the Lord taking the Cross upon His sacred shoulders, wished to fly and cast themselves into hell; for at that moment they began to feel with greater force the operations of His divine power. By divine intervention this new torment made them aware that the Death of this innocent Man, whose destruction they had plotted and who could not be a mere man, threatened great ruin to themselves. They therefore desired to withdraw, and they ceased to incite the Jews and the executioners, as they had done hitherto

But the command of the Most Blessed Mary, enforced by the divine power, detained them and, enchained like fiercest dragons, compelled them to accompany Christ to Calvary. The ends of the mysterious chain that bound them were placed into the hands of Mary, the great Queen who, by the power of Her divine Son, held them all in subjection and bondage. Although they many times sought to break away and raged in helpless fury, they could not overcome the power of the heavenly Lady. 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. (...)

The Savior then pronounced the first word: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!” (Luke 23, 34) By these words the princes of darkness came to the full conviction that Christ our Lord was speaking to the Eternal Father, that He was His natural Son and the true God with Him and the Holy Ghost, that He had permitted death in His most sacred and perfect humanity, united to the Divinity for the salvation of the whole human race; that now He offered His infinitely precious merits for the pardon of the sins of all those children of Adam, who should avail themselves thereof for their rescue, not excepting even the wretches that crucified Him. At this discovery Lucifer and his demons were thrown into such fury and despair that they instantly wished to hurl themselves impetuously to the depths of hell, and strained all their powers to accomplish it in spite of the powerful Queen.

In the second word spoken by the Lord to the fortunate thief: “Amen I say to thee, today thou shalt be with Me in paradise,” the demons understood that the fruits of the Redemption in the justification of sinners ended in the glorification of the just. They were made aware that from this hour the merits of Christ would commence to act with a new force and strength, that through them should be opened the gates of Paradise, which had been closed by the first sin, and that from now on men would enter upon eternal happiness and occupy their destined heavenly seats, which until now had been impossible for them. (...)

At the third word spoken by the Lord to his Mother: “Woman, behold thy son!” the demons discovered that this heavenly Lady was the true Mother of the Godman, the same Woman whose likeness and prophetic sign had been shown to them in the heavens at their creation, and who was to crush their head as announced by the Lord in the terrestrial paradise. They were informed of the dignity and excellence of this great Lady over all creatures, and of Her power which they were even now experiencing. As they had from the beginning of the world and from the creation of the first woman, used all their astuteness to find out who this great woman that was announced in the heavens could be, and as they now discovered Her in Mary, whom they had until now overlooked, these dragons were seized with inexpressible fury...

The fourth word of Christ was addressed to the Eternal Father: “God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” The evil spirits discovered in these words that the charity of God toward men was boundless and everlasting; that, in order to satisfy it, He had mysteriously suspended the influence of the Divinity over His most sacred humanity, thus permitting His sufferings to reach the highest degree and to draw from them the most abundant fruits; that He was aware and lovingly complained of His being deprived of the salvation of a part of the human race; how ready He was to suffer more, if such would be ordained by the Eternal Father...

The fifth word of Christ, “I thirst,” confirmed Christ's triumph over the devil and his followers; they were filled with wrath and fury because the Lord clearly let them see their total overthrow. By these words they understood Him to say to them: If what I suffer for men, if My love for them seem great to you, be assured that My love for them is still unsatiated, that it continues to long for their eternal salvation, and that the mighty waters of torments and sufferings have not extinguished it (Cant. 8, 7). Much more would I suffer for them, if it were necessary, in order to deliver them from your tyranny and make them powerful and strong against malice and pride.

In the sixth word of the Lord: “It is consummated!” Lucifer and his hordes were informed that the mystery of the Incarnation and Redemption was now accomplished and entirely perfected according to the decree of divine wisdom. For they were made to feel that Christ our Redeemer had obediently fulfilled the will of the Eternal Father; that He had accomplished all the promises and prophecies made to the world by the ancient Fathers; that His humility and obedience had compensated for their own pride and disobedience in Heaven in having not subjected themselves and acknowledged Him as their Superior in human flesh; and that they were now through the wisdom of God justly humbled and vanquished by the very Lord whom they despised.

The great dignity and the infinite merits of Christ demanded that in this very hour He should exercise His office and power of Judge over angels and men, such as had been conceded to Him by the Eternal Father. He now applied this power by hurling this sentence at Lucifer and all his followers, that, being condemned to eternal fire, they instantly depart into the deepest dungeons of hell. This very sentence was included in the pronouncing of the seventh word: “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit!” (Luke 23, 46)... The evil spirits were routed from Calvary and precipitated to deepest part of hell more violently and suddenly than a flash of light through the riven clouds.

As soon as Lucifer was permitted to proceed in these matters and arise from the consternation in which he remained for some time, he set about proposing to his fellow-demons new plans of his pride: (...) “O men, so favored and gifted by your God whom I abhor, and so ardently loved by Him! How shall I hinder your good fortune? How shall I bring upon you my unhappiness, since I cannot destroy the existence you have received? What shall we now begin, O my followers? How shall we restore our reign?... Against the law of this Redeemer and against those that follow it, I intend to direct all my wrath and fury, and I shall most bitterly persecute those who hear the doctrine of this Redeemer and become His disciples; against these must our most relentless battle be waged to the end of the world.

Chapter X ends with these words of the Virgin Mary:

This close imitation and living reproduction of Christ, confronting the demons in the first children of the Church, they feared so much, that they dared not approach and they precipitously fled from the Apostles and the just ones imbued with the doctrines of My divine Son... What is seen in the saints and in perfect Christians in those times, would happen in the present times with all the Catholics if they would accept grace and work with it instead of permitting it to go to waste, and if they would seek the way of the Cross; for Lucifer fears it as much now as in the times thou hast been writing of.

But soon the charity, zeal and devotion in many of faithful began to grow cold, and they forgot the blessings of the Redemption; they yielded to their carnal inclinations and desires, they loved vanity and avarice, and permitted themselves to be fascinated and deceived by the false pretenses of Lucifer, obscuring the glory of their Savior and inveigling them into the meshes of their mortal enemies. This foul ingratitude has thrown the world into the present state, and has encouraged the demons to rise up in their pride against God, audaciously presuming to possess themselves of all the children of Adam on account of this forgetfulness and carelessness of Catholics.

This article was published in the March-April, 2004 issue of “Michael”.

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