In her City of God, Venerable Maria of Agreda, a XVII Century Conceptionist nun and mystic, to whom the Blessed Mother dictated her life, writes of a marvelous event in the early Christian Church.
After the first Pentecost, one of the five thousand first converts was a girl called Lillian. One day she fell gravely ill, and the devil, capitalizing on her bodily weakness, and the fact that she had given in to a few sins, took the form of a woman, and paid her sick-calls.
Little by little, by slandering the disciples of Jesus and the Christian community, the fiend introduced doubts in Lillian’s mind about her new-found Faith. At first the sick girl resisted, speaking of the peace and kindness of the beautiful lady who was Jesus’ Mother. But the devil assured Lillian that she was the worst of all. In the end, Lillian gave up her Faith.
One of the disciples of Jesus on visiting and finding Lillian’s attitude changed, tried to win the girl back to Christ, but to no avail. Deeply concerned, he informed the Apostle John.
St. John immediately visited the young woman and was able to see legions of devils surrounding her sick bed. Though the devils recoiled at his sight, so deceived was the girl, that he could not make a difference.
He then had recourse to the Blessed Mother, who, at the time was living in Jerusalem. On hearing of the case, Mary Most Holy implored her divine Son for the welfare and salvation of this young strayed lamb. She then made ready to visit the girl with St. John.
Just then, several angels appeared, and gallantly ushering Holy Mary onto a throne of clouds, carried her to Lillian’s side.
As soon as the great lady set foot on the threshold of the sufferer’s door, the demons infesting the room took chaotic flight, tripping over each other in their haste, and seeking refuge in the depths of Hell.
With the air cleared, Holy Mary sat by the dying girl, and with gentle words sweetly brought her back into her Son’s fold. Lillian wept tears of repentance and asked for the last Sacraments, which St. John administered. Thus, with her Mother holding her hand, Lillian expired.
As if not enough, Our Lady, with her prayers, made up for the girl’s time in Purgatory, and summoning one of her angels, bid him deliver the purified soul to heaven.
So, when saying the Hail Mary, may we stress: “…pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.”
By A.F. Phillips