RECOVERY OF VIRGINITY
To this favor Jesus added another that was equally precious.
On the Feast of St. Catherine, Virgin and Martyr, Margaret heard Our Lord say to her:
"My daughter, one day I will place you among the Seraphs, among the virgins whose hearts are flaming with love for God."
"How can that be, Lord, after I have soiled myself with so many sins?"
"My daughter, your many penances have purified your soul from all the effects of sin to such a degree that your contrition and your sufferings will reintegrate you into the purity of a virgin!"
In another vision the Savior said to her:
"My daughter, you are a rose among flowers. You are pure. And for your love of chastity, I have placed you among the virgins."
This divine act of kindness enkindled seraphic flames in Margaret's soul, and she was heard to exclaim:
"O Lord, You are the Life of my life! You are a treasure to me, without which all wealth seems utter poverty ... With joy, dear Lord, I spontaneously offer myself up to all sorts of suffering, for love of You. You know that I seek and want nothing but You, Who are infinitely sweet and without Whom I would feel as though in Hell."
THE SPOUSE OF CHRIST
In that ecstasy during Holy Communion, Jesus had given Margaret the consoling title of "daughter". Now, one after another, He gave her the following names: ornament of the Seraphic flowergarden, perfumed violet, lily of innocence, rose of charity, His sister, His beloved follower, the pearl of His Heart. But to all these titles which His affection bestowed on her, He wished to add the still more precious one of Spouse. (According to Father Poulain, the mystical marriage of the soul with God, which is the supreme goal of all degrees of mystical union, is a state in which the soul is habitually conscious of God's assistance in all its higher functions and in the essence of its being.)
The mystical wedding which the Word of God deigns to celebrate with some chosen souls had a special ceremonial in the case of Margaret the Penitent.
Her Guardian Angel came to ask for her consent, saying: "I am the Herald of the Great King, and I am here to prepare everything for His coming."
Although Margaret was torn between the love burning in her heart and fear due to her unworthiness, nevertheless she gave her consent for this unique blessing. And the angel carried the news of the betrothal to the throne of the Eternal.
The spiritual marriage took place in the month of August, during the octave of the Assumption. Exhausted by her mortifications, Margaret had to stay in her cell. Her confessor brought her the Holy Eucharist. As soon as Jesus came across the threshold of Margaret's plain room, her soul was suddenly filled with a heavenly light and sweetness. Immediately after receiving Holy Communion she was rapt in ecstasy, and the mysteries of the spiritual world opened before her eyes,
Angels vested her with a white robe that was more dazzling than snow and adorned with gold and precious jewels. They placed the ring on her finger and a ruby diadem on her head. The bride was ready for the wedding of the Lamb.
When she was presented to her Immortal Bridegroom, from her heart a spontaneous expression of her burning faith sprang forth, and she said:
"O Jesus, Thou art the Son of the living God"
"And I" replied the Word Incarnate "I declare that thou art My spouse!"
And the Divine Bridegroom consummated this mystical marriage by setting up His throne in the center of Margaret's heart.
As a true spouse, He presented to His beloved all His merits and all His wealth, and commanded the angels to give her as her prerogative the most precious jewels in their possession: the spirit of contemplation of Mary Magdalene, the fervor of the seraphs, the knowledge of the prophets, the gift of miracles, and the faculty of reading hearts. Margaret in turn promised that she would henceforth live only to give glory to her Divine Spouse.
Jesus ratified this mutual contract by saying:
"Margaret, glorify Me, and I will glorify you. Love Me, and I will love you. Devote yourself to My interests, and I will do the same for yours."
For a moment the cell of the penitent had truly become a part of Paradise.
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