This is intended as a conclusion to my previous blog post about when storms are no mere coincidence.
“Why does God allow storms (regardless of how they originate – naturally or preternaturally)?”
( It can be found in the bold print selection below. But the entire 4 volume gem is worth the study. It is even available online for free at http://themostholyrosary.com/mystical-city.htm )
Taken from Venerable Mary of Agreda’s “The Mystical City of God”
Book 2: The Incarnation
JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH PURSUE THEIR JOURNEY FROM
THE CITY OF GAZA TO HELIOPOLOS IN EGYPT.
On the third day after our Pilgrims had touched Gaza, they departed from that city for Egypt. Soon leaving the inhabited parts of Palestine, they entered the sandy deserts of Bersabe, which they were obliged to traverse for sixty leagues in order to arrive and take their abode in Heliopolis, the present Cairo in Egypt. This journey through the desert consumed a number of days, for the distance they could travel each day was but short, not only on account of the laborious progress over the deep sand, but also on account of the hardships occasioned by the want of shelter. There were many incidents on their way through this solitude; I will mention some of them, from which others can be conjectured; for it is not necessary to relate all of them. In order to understand how much Mary and Joseph and also the Infant Jesus suffered on their pilgrimage, it must be remembered that the Almighty permitted his Onlybegotten, with his most holy Mother and saint Joseph, to suffer the inconveniences and hardships naturally connected with travel through this desert. And although the heavenly Lady made no complaints, yet She was much afflicted, which was also true of her most faithful husband. For both of them suffered many personal in conveniences and discomforts, while the Mother, in addition thereto, was afflicted still more on account of the sufferings of her Son and of saint Joseph; and the latter was deeply grieved not to be able by his diligence and care to ease the hardships of the Child and his Spouse.
During all this journey of sixty leagues through the desert they had no other night-shelter than the sky and open air; moreover, it was in the time of winter, for this journey took place in the month of February, only six days after the Purification, as was indicated in the last chapter. In the first night on these sandy plains they rested at the foot of a small hill, this being the only protection they could find. The Queen of heaven with the Child in her arms seated Herself on the earth, and with her husband She ate of the victuals brought with them from Gaza. The Empress of heaven also nursed the Infant Jesus at her breast and He on his part rejoiced his Mother and her husband by his contentment. In order to furnish them with some kind of shelter against the open air, however narrow and humble it might be, saint Joseph formed a sort of tent for the divine Word and most holy Mary by means of his cloak and some sticks. During that night the ten thousand angels who, full of marvel, assisted these earthly Pilgrims in visible human shapes, formed a guard around their King and Queen. The great Lady perceived that her divine Son offered up to the eternal Father the hardships and labors both of Himself and of Mary and Joseph. In these prayers and in the other acts of his deified Soul, the Queen joined him for the greater part of the night. The divine Infant slept for a short time in her arms, while She continued wakeful and engaged in heavenly colloquies with the Most High and his angels. Saint Joseph slept upon the ground, resting his head upon the chest, which contained the clothing and other articles of their baggage.
On the next day they pursued their journey and their little store of fruit and bread was soon exhausted, so that they began to suffer great want and to feel the hunger. Although Joseph was more deeply concerned, yet both of them felt this privation very much. On one of the first days of their journey they partook of no sustenance until nine o clock at night, not having any more even of the coarse and poor food which until then had sustained them in their hardships and labor. As nature demanded some refreshment after the exertion and weariness of travel, and as there was no way of supplying their want by natural means, the heavenly Lady addressed Herself to the Most High in these words: “Eternal, great and powerful God, I give Thee thanks and bless Thee for thy magnificent bounty ; and also that, without my merits, only on account of thy merciful condescension, Thou gavest me life and being and preservest me in it, though I am but dust and a useless creature. I have not made a proper return for all these benefits; therefore how can I ask for myself what I cannot repay? But, my Lord and Father, look upon thy Onlybegotten and grant me what is necessary to sustain my natural life and also that of my spouse, so that I may serve thy Majesty and thy Word made flesh for the salvation of men.”
In order that the clamors of the sweetest Mother might proceed from yet greater tribulation, the Most High permitted the elements to afflict them more than at other times and in addition to the sufferings caused by their fatigue, destitution and hunger. For there arose a storm of wind and rain, which harassed and blinded them by its fury. This hardship grieved still more the tender-hearted and loving Mother on account of the delicate Child, which was not yet fifty days old. Although She tried to cover and protect Him as much as possible, yet She could not prevent Him from feeling the inclemency of the weather, so that He shed tears and shivered from the cold in the same manner as other children are wont to do. Then the anxious Mother, making use of her power as Queen and Mistress of creatures, commanded the elements not to afflict their Creator, but to afford Him shelter and refreshment, and wreak their vengeance upon Her alone. And, as related once before, at the occasion of the birth of Christ and of the journey to Jerusalem, again the wind immediately moderated and the storm abated, not daring to approach the Mother and Child. In return for this loving forethought, the Infant Jesus commanded his angels to assist his kindest Mother and to serve Her as a shield against the inclemency of the weather. They immediately complied and constructed a resplendent and beautiful globe round about and over their incarnate God, his Mother and her spouse. In this they were protected and defended more effectually than all the wealthy and powerful of the world in their palaces and rich garments. The same they did several times during the journey through the desert.
Nevertheless, they were in want of food, and they were destitute of other things unprovidable by their own mere human effort. But the Lord allowed them to fall into this need in order that, listening to the acceptable prayers of his Spouse, He might make provision also for this by the hands of the angels. They brought them delicious bread and well-seasoned fruits, and moreover a most delicious drink; all of which they administered and served with their own hands. Then all of them together sang hymns of praise and thanks giving to the Lord, who gives food to all creatures at opportune times, in order that the poor may eat and be filled (Ps. 135, 25) whose eyes and hopes are fixed upon his kingly providence and bounty. Of such a kind was the delicate feast, with which the Lord regaled his three exiled Wanderers in the desert of Bersabe (III Kings 19, 3), for it was the same desert in which Elias, fleeing from Jezabel, was comforted by the hearth cake, brought to him by the angel in order that he might travel to Horeb mount. Yet neither this bread, nor the bread and meat, which once before the ravens had miraculously brought him every morning and evening at the torrent of Carith, nor the manna which fell from heaven for the Israelites, although it was called the bread of angels and dropped from heaven, nor the quails, which were carried to them by the African winds; nor the cloud-tent, which overshadowed them; none of all these could be compared to the succor and relief which the Lord afforded to his Onlybegotten and to his Mother and saint Joseph. For these favors were m not to be conferred upon a prophet, or upon an ungrateful and unthinking people; but they were intended for the nourishment and protection of a God incarnate, for his true Mother: they were intended for the preservation of the natural life of Christ, on which depended the eternal life of the whole human race. But if this food was worthy of the excellence of those who were invited, so was also the thanksgiving and gratitude worthy of the blessings conferred. In order that all this might be so much the more opportune, the Lord permitted the necessity to become extreme and thus naturally call into play the assistance of heaven.
Let the poor rejoice in this example, let the hungry confide, let the destitute take new courage, let none complain of divine Providence, no matter how afflicted and needy they may find themselves to be. When has the Lord ever failed him who hoped in his assistance? (Ps. 17, 31). When has He ever turned away his countenance from his afflicted and needy children? We are brothers of his only Son incarnate, children and heirs of his blessings, and also children of his kindest Mother. Why, then, ye children of God and of this most holy Mother, do you continue to distrust such Parents in your poverty? Why do you deprive them of this honor, and yourselves of the privilege of being assisted and sustained by Them? Come, come to Them with humble confidence, so that They may look upon you with the eyes of Parents and listen to your crying needs. The arms of this Lady are stretched out toward the poor and her hands opened for the needy. And you, ye rich of this world, why will you confide so much in your uncertain riches, at the imminent danger of losing your faith, of piling up for yourselves heaviest cares and sorrows as mentioned by the Apostle? By your avarice you fail to conduct yourselves as children of God or of his Mother; by your actions you make of yourselves spurious offsprings; for legitimate children confide in the care and love of their parents, and abhor trusting in others, who are not only strangers but enemies. These truths are manifest to me by the divine light and charity compels me thus to speak.
The most high Father not only provided nourishment for our Pilgrims, but also visible relief against the tediousnees of this journey and continued solitude. It happened a few times, when the heavenly Lady rested on the ground from her fatigue, that, as on other occasions, a great multitude of birds came flying towards Her from the mountains. By the sweetness of their warbling and the variety of their plumage they sought to entertain and delight Her, perching on her shoulders and hands with signs of great joy. The most prudent Queen gently received them and invited them to acknowledge their Creator by their songs and to be thankful for his having created them so beautiful and arrayed them in their gorgeous plumage, given them the air and the earth for their enjoyment, and provided them with daily food and sustenance. The birds responded to her exhortations with joyous movements and sweet warblings, while the loving Mother joined them with still more sweet and melodious songs for the Infant Jesus, extolling and blessing Him, and acknowledging Him as her God and her Son, and as the Author of all these wonders. Also the holy angels took part in these colloquies so full of sweetness, and alternated their offerings of praise with that of the great Lady and of these simple birds. All this produced a harmony more perceptible by the spirit than by the senses, and of admirable concord for the rational soul.
At other times the heavenly Princess conversed with the Child and said : “My love and light of my soul, how can I diminish thy labor ? How can I relieve Thee of thy hardships? What can I do to lighten the sufferings of this journey? O would that I could carry Thee, not in my arms, but in my bosom and make for Thee a soft couch in my heart, in order that Thou mayest rest there without fatigue!” And the sweetest Jesus replied : “My beloved Mother, very easily do I rest in thy arms while making this journey, and reclining on thy breast, I am delighted by thy affection, and entertained by thy words.” Sometimes the Son and Mother conversed with each other interiorly; and these conversations were so exalted and divine that our words cannot express them. Saint Joseph shared in many of these mysteries and consolations; and thus he eased his journey, forgot his hardships, feeling within himself the delight and sweetness of such companionship. Yet he did not hear or perceive what the Child said audibly to his Mother; for at that time of the life of Jesus this favor was reserved for Her alone, as I have already remarked above. In this manner our Exiles proceeded on their way to Egypt.