The Nativity Story


Tan Books - The Life of Mary As Seen By The Mystics.

Publisher Tan Books

The Life of Mary As Seen By The Mystics.
compiled by Raphael Brown

 A masterpiece combining into one coherent story the visions of four great Catholic mystics about the life of Mary. Based on the accounts of:

Venerable Mary of AgredaVenerable Mary of Agreda








Ven. Anne Catherine Emmerich
 

St. Bridget of Sweden
St. Bridget of Sweden


St. Elizabeth of Schoenau.
St. Elizabeth of Schoenau

A truly unique book that reads like a masterfully written biography of Mary. In complete harmony with the Gospel story. For men or women, young or old--for everybody!


Since the beginning of Christianity, Our Blessed Lord and His Mother have favored a select few people with special revelations containing information on their lives that is not to be found anywhere else.

This inspiring work blends all the magnificent visions granted to four of the most privileged souls in the history of the Church.

Raphael Brown has compiled 
wonderful mental pictures obtained from this enthralling narration will so impress you that they will stay with you the rest of your life. These images can't help but enhance our understanding of the New Testament and our love for Jesus, Mary and Joseph which is why the Church allows and encourages the circulation of these writings.

Perhaps just as important as the telling of Mary's life according to these famous mystics is the most valuable explanation included on how the Church deals with the contradictions on historical details that sometimes occur in writings of people who receive private revelations.


5-1/2 x 8,  264 pages
PB. Imprimatu
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               C O N T E N T S
               ---------------

   Foreword
   Introduction
1.  St. Ann and St. Joachim
2.  The Nativity of Mary
3.  Infancy
4.  Presentation
5.  In the Temple
6.  The Espousals
7.  Preparation for the Annunciation
8.  The Annunciation
9.  The Visitation
10. Trials
11. Mary and Joseph in Nazareth
12. The Journey to Bethlehem
13. The Nativity
14. The Adoration of the Shepherds
15. The Circumcision
16. The Adoration of the Magi
17. The Purification
18. The Flight to Egypt
19. The Holy Family in Egypt
20. The Return to Nazareth
21. The Boy Jesus in the Temple
22. Hidden Life in Nazareth
23. The Death of St. Joseph
24. Preparation for the Public Life
25. The Wedding at Cana
26. Mary During the Public Ministry
27. Judas
28. Prelude to the Passion
29. Holy Thursday
30. The Passion
31. The Crucifixion
32. The Resurrection
33. The Ascension
34. Pentecost and the Early Church
35. Mary's Last Years
36. The Dormition
37. The Assumption and Crowning
   Bibliography
   Supplement to the Bibliography (as of 1975)

 

Chapters from  "The Life of Mary As Seen By The Mystics."                   

The Nativity Story

CHAPTER EIGHT THE ANNUNCIATION

NOTE: In this as in other great mysteries of the Blessed Virgin's life which she herself described to the mystics, quotations from her own words are printed in italics.

MY LOVE FOR GOD burned in my heart even more intensely than before and every day my soul was enkindled with new fervor and longing. So I withdrew from everything even more than formerly. .

On the day before the occurrence of this mystery I thought I would die and my heart would burst with love and longing, if God's Providence had not comforted me. He filled my soul with the firm hope that the Saviour would descend from heaven without delay. But on the other hand my humility made me fear lest my presence in the world might perhaps delay His coming.

I was afraid that my lips might say or my ears might hear something against God, or my eyes see something evil. Even in my silence I was timid and very anxious that I might be silent when I should rather speak. When I was thus troubled in heart, I committed all my hopes to God.

On the eve of the Annunciation, at the bidding of the divine will the Archangel Gabriel presented himself before the throne of God, and the Blessed Trinity instructed him in the exact words with which he was to greet and speak to Mary. Then the Lord announced to the other angels in Heaven that at last the time for man's Redemption had come, and all the celestial spirits were filled with joy and thanksgiving, and they sang; "Holy, Holy, Holy, art Thou, Lord
God.

Accompanied by thousands of resplendent angels, Gabriel descended from the highest heaven, delighted to obey God's epochal command. His appearance was that of an exceedingly handsome young man with wavy blond hair, and his bright features radiated a divine light. His whole bearing was pleasing, yet also godlike and majestic He wore a rich diadem on his head and a cross on his breast, and his vestments glowed in various striking colors.

Directing his flight toward Nazareth in Galilee, Gabriel arrived at Mary's modest little cottage as night was falling; when as usual she retired to pray in her small, bare room. The Blessed Virgin was now fourteen and a half years old. While taller than other girls of her age, she was perfectly proportioned. Her beautiful face with its clear and somewhat brownish  complexion was  more oblong than round. Under her broad forehead, her dark eyes were large and serious and at the same time wondrously beautiful and gentle. Her straight nose, her small mouth with lips neither thin nor thick; all her features were so symmetrical and so ideally modeled that no other human being has ever had such perfection of form. Her clothes were very humble and poor in appearance, yet spotlessly clean and neat, of a dark silvery color somewhat like ashes, and she wore them without pretense, but with the greatest modesty.

Taking a low narrow table on which was a roll of scriptural writings, Mary placed it in the center of the room. Then she knelt on a little cushion and crossed her hands on her breast. And with growing fervor, her eyes lifted toward Heaven, she began to pray for the coming of the Saviour.



That night I prostrated myself devoutly in prayer, and with the most intense love I begged the Lord that He might deign to let me live long enough to see His Mother with my eyes, serve her with my hands, bow my head before her in reverence, and place myself completely at her service.

I began to meditate on the great power of God: how the angels and all creatures serve Him, and how indescribable and immense is His glory. And while I was marveling over this, all of a sudden I perceived three wonderful things:

I saw a star, but not like those that shine in the sky; -- I saw a light that was greater and brighter than the sun, yet unlike any light in this world.

And I inhaled a scent, but not one that comes from plants or anything of that kind;  -- it was an utterly sweet and almost ineffable scent which completely filled my soul and made me thrill with joy. Then I heard a voice, but not a human voice; -- and suddenly there appeared before me the Angel of God in the form of a most beautiful youth, yet not one of flesh and blood.

Recognizing him as an envoy of God, Mary with her usual humility wished to bow reverently before him. But Gabriel would not allow it. Instead he bowed profoundly before his Queen.Annuciation

And he said to me:
"Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.
Blessed art thou among women!"


When I heard this greeting, at first I was indeed very frightened, for I wondered whether it might be an illusion. I asked myself what it might mean and why he uttered such a greeting, because I knew and considered myself unworthy of it or of anything good, although I realized that nothing was impossible with Almighty God.

And now while Mary modestly kept her eyes lowered before the Archangel, the Lord began to make her understand interiorly that He had chosen her for His Mother.

From the midst of this light I heard a voice saying to me: "Thou art to give birth to My Son!" And it added: "Know in truth that I want others to have for thee the reverence which for love of Me thou didst want to have for someone else. I want thee to be My Son's Mother and Giver, so that thou wilt not only have Him, but thou wilt also be able to give Him to whomever thou wishest. " When I heard this I was so overcome with fear and wonder that I could hardly hold myself up, and I was about to faint when some angels came and raised me up and strengthened me. Then Gabriel said:

"Do not be afraid, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. And behold thou shall conceive in thy womb and shall bring forth a Son. And thou shall call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God wilt give Him the throne of David His father, and He shall be king over the House of Jacob forever.  And of His kingdom there shall be no end."

As she slowly grasped the full significance of this tremendous grace, Mary raised her humble heart to God, and in the secret of her soul she lovingly begged Him to give her His help in such a crucial moment, for her intuition told her that in order to test her faith and hope and charity in this mystery, the Lord had purposely left her without any other aid than the resources of her human nature.

I still did not believe myself worthy. And so I did not ask the Angel why or when, but I asked how it could happen that my unworthy self should become the Mother of God:
"How shall this happen, since I do not know man?"

And at the same time Mary interiorly mentioned to the Lord her vow of perpetual chastity and the mystical espousal that He had celebrated with her. And Gabriel answered:

"The Holy Spirit shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore the Holy One to be born shall be called the Son of God.  —And behold, Elizabeth thy kinswoman also has conceived a son in her old age, and she who was barren is now in her sixth month. . . ." And the Angel answered me as I had said to myself:  " For nothing shall be impossible with God."

After I heard these words, without doubting at all that what he said was true, I felt in my heart an exceedingly fervent desire to be the Mother of God. I prostrated myself on the ground, and on my knees, with my hands joined, I worshiped God, and my soul cried forth with love:

"Behold the handmaid of the Lord—Be it done to me according to thy word!"

Now a celestial light filled Mary's little room, dissolving the ceiling and revealing the heavens. In a dazzling beam could be seen a brilliant figure of the Blessed Trinity. The Holy Spirit appeared in a winged form. Masses of flame shot out like wings on His right and left. Then three intense rays flashed and darted into the right side of the Virgin, and she became entirely suffused with a glowing light.


As soon as I had spoken those words, the grace of God overwhelmed me—never had I felt such bliss and joy in my soul! And then in that ecstasy God the Father gave me His Son, and my Son was instantly conceived in my womb by the Holy Spirit. He took flesh in my most pure body. And an inexpressible rapture filled my soul and my whole body. And I humbled myself in every way, for I knew that the One whom I bore in my womb was the Almighty.

In the same instant of this miraculous conception, Mary was rapt in a marvelous vision in which the Holy Trinity revealed to her the mystery of the hypostatic union of the divine and human natures in the person of the Eternal Word, and confirmed her in the title and rights of Mother of God. She was also shown in this vision the future mysteries of the life and death of her Son, the Redeemer of mankind.

Lost in humility and burning love, Mary adored the Lord and gave Him her fervent thanks for having thus favored her and the whole human race. She offered herself as a willing sacrifice in the rearing and service of her Son throughout His life on earth. And for this purpose she prayed for new graces and light in order that she might be guided in all her actions as becomes the Mother of God.  And the Lord answered her:

"My Dove, do not fear, for I will assist thee and guide thee in all things necessary for the service of My only-begotten Son."

Meanwhile the Archangel Gabriel had departed; and just as the radiant channel of light above Mary's room vanished, a number of closed white roses, each having a small green leaf, dropped slowly down over the Holy Mother of God, who remained utterly oblivious to everything around her.

Thus toward dawn on a beautiful spring morning in the flower-covered hills of Galilee did Almighty God consecrate  to Himself a pure and humble Jewish girl of Nazareth, making her and her modest home a new sanctuary and fulfilling in her the words of the Prophet-King: "The Most High hath sanctified His own tabernacle. God is in the midst I thereof. ..."

All the heavenly spirits witnessing this great mystery, in union with the happy young Mother of God, blessed and praised the Lord in the name of the whole human race, which was still ignorant of this greatest of all God's gifts. However at that magic hour the Lord infused into the hearts of some of the just men on earth a new feeling of extraordinary joy and inspiration, though each one thought that he alone experienced this inner renewal of spirit. And throughout the whole of nature there was a remarkable stir and movement on that blessed morning when Nature's God became man.

On coming back to herself in her room, Mary's first act was to kneel in humble and profound adoration of the Word Incarnate within her womb. Then after a long interval the Holy Mother of God arose and went to her little altar against the wall, where for some time she prayed standing. Only toward sunrise did she lie down on her bed to rest.

SPEAKING OF THE ANNUNCIATION,
THE BLESSED VIRGIN SAID TO ST. ELIZABETH OF SCHOENAU:

"Do you know why God did this? Because I had believed in Him and because I had humbled myself."


CHAPTER THIRTEEN THE NATIVITY

AFTER RECITING SOME PRAYERS together with Mary, St. Joseph filled the manger with straw and moss and placed a cloth over it. Then he withdrew to the entrance of the cave. Looking back, he saw the holy Mother of God praying on her knees, surrounded by flames of dazzling supernatural light. Filled with reverent fear, he threw himself down on the ground and was soon rapt in an ecstatic sleep.

Mary was kneeling, with her eyes raised to Heaven and her hands joined on her breast. Her countenance emitted rays of light, like the sun incarnadined, and shone in indescribable earnestness and majesty, all inflamed with burning love of God. Her body became so spiritualized with the beauty of Heaven that she seemed no more a human and earthly creature.

Toward midnight a channel of brilliant light came down from the highest heaven and terminated in sparkling fire at the Blessed Virgin. In it was an extraordinary movement of celestial glories which took on the forms of choirs of angels.

Then, in the twinkling of an eye, the infant God was born, glorious and transfigured as on Mount Thabor.

There the God-Man lay, naked, utterly clean and pure. And from Him radiated such marvelous light and splendor that the sun could not be compared to it. The angels could be heard gently singing canticles of wonderful sweetness.

When the holy Mother of God perceived that she had been delivered — for her child came forth without any pain or injury to her—she immediately bowed her head, placed a cloth over His tiny body, and adored Him with the greatest respect and reverence, saying:

"Welcome, my God, and my Lord, and my Son!" Then the divine Child suspended the effects of His transfiguration and assumed the appearance of one capable of suffering. The Babe now moved, shivered with cold, and stretching forth His little arms, cried out.

Bending down, Mary tenderly clasped Him to her heart and with great joy warmed Him against her cheek and breast, while thousands of angels knelt and adored their incarnate
Creator.

Nearly an hour after the birth, Mary called St. Joseph. Awakening and coming near, he perceived his Saviour in her arms and at once prostrated himself on the ground with the deepest devotion and humility. Only at her bidding did he rise. And with touching joy and gratitude he kissed the Babe's feet, and held the little Jesus in his arms, pressing Him to his heart, while tears of happiness moistened
his cheeks.

Then, sitting on the ground, Mary laid her Son in her lap, and while St. Joseph handed her the linens, she began carefully and lovingly to wrap the divine Child in swaddling clothes, drawing them tight on His small body.

Next she and Joseph gently placed the Infant in the manger.

At this point an ox from the neighboring fields entered the cave with the ass. They both approached the crib, knelt down before it, and breathed over it, as if to warm the Baby.

Mary and Joseph were so affected by this act that they could not restrain their tears. For a long time they remained on their knees beside the crib, adoring the Christ Child and praising and thanking God. Later St. Joseph took some blankets and made a resting place for Mary beside the manger.


CHAPTER FOURTEEN THE  ADORATION OF THE SHEPHERDS

AT THE THE HOLY HOUR OF THE NATIVITY of the Savior, an extraordinary wave of rejoicing was manifest in Nature in many parts of the world. Many animals leaped with exultation. Flowers raised their faded stems. Plants and trees took on new life and gave forth sweet scents. A number of new springs flowed abundantly.

The thrilling and consoling news of the birth of the Messiah was immediately announced by the holy angels to a small number of chosen souls. The Archangel Michael brought it to the patriarchs and prophets in Limbo, as well as to St. Ann and St. Joachim, and they all rejoiced together. Another angel informed St. Elizabeth and her baby St. John, who clearly expressed his joy by waving his little arms. His mother at once sent one of her servants to Bethlehem with some money and linen for Mary. The mystery of the Saviour's birth was revealed to the holy old priest Simeon and to Anna, Mary's former teacher, in the Temple in Jerusalem. In the Orient each of the three Magi was enlightened by angels

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