THE MOST BLESSED MARY DESTROYS THE TEMPLE OF DIANA

IN EPHESUS
Most celebrated is the history of the city of Ephesus, situated on the western
confines of Asia; for many renowned events of past ages made that city famous and
illustrious throughout the globe. But its greatest privilege and excellence consists in
having entertained and harbored within its walls the supreme Queen of heaven and earth
for the space of some months, the number of which will state later on. !his privilege
was a most fortunate one for Ephesus; since the other things which are mentioned for its
renown made it truly unhappy and infamous, because through them the prince of
dar"ness had permanently set up his throne in that city. But as our great #ady and Mother
of grace found $erself hospitably entertained and thus considered $er self under
obligation to its inhabitants, who received $er liberally and offered her gifts, it naturally
followed, that %he, in accordance with her most perfectly ordered and burning charity
deeming $erself brought nearer to these her benefactors, should repay their hospitality
with greater blessings. &or if %he was liberal to all, even strangers, %he would certainly
be much more free with her gifts and favors to the inhabitants of Ephesus. $er own
gratitude moved $er to this, since %he considered $erself indebted to the whole
commonwealth. %he offered up for it special prayers, as"ing her divine %on to pour out
over its inhabitants his blessings and as a "ind &ather to illumine and bring it to the
"nowledge of the true faith.
!he #ady received answer that, as the Mistress and Queen of the whole 'hurch,
%he was free to do as %he pleased; that, however, %he should ta"e notice of the obstacles,
which this city placed in the way of the divine clemency by its ancient and still existing
abominations; that its inhabitants had thereby loc"ed the gates of mercy and merited the
rigors of (ustice, which would have already been executed upon them, if the #ord had not
ordained $er to live among them (ust at the time, when their wic"edness had reached the
highest point and called the loudest for punishment. !ogether with this answer the most
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blessed Mother perceived, that the divine *ustice, as it were, as"ed her permission and
consent to the destruction of that idolatrous people of Ephesus and its neighborhood. At
this answer and what it implied the "ind heart of the sweetest Mother was much afflicted;
but her immense charity was not intimidated, and multiplying her prayers, %he answered
the #ord+
,Most $igh, (ust and merciful -ing. "now well that the rigor of thy (ustice will
be executed, if thy mercy is excluded; but for thy mercy any motive found by thy wisdom
is sufficient, although small may be the inducement presented on the part of sinners.
'onsider therefore, / #ord, how this city has afforded me a dwelling according to thy
will and how its inhabitants have helped me and offered me and thy servant *ohn their
goods. !emper thy rigor, my 0od, and let it be exercised on me, for am willing to suffer
for the salvation of these unfortunates. !hou, / Allpowerful, whose infinite goodness and
mercy forever con1uers in good or evil, canst ta"e away the obstacle, which prevents
their profiting of thy blessings; let not my eyes behold the destruction of so many souls,
the wor"s of thy hands, purchased by thy blood.2 !he #ord replied+ ,My Mother, desire
that thou see for thyself the cause of my (ust indignation and how much these men, for
whom thou pleadest, have merited it. Attend, and thou shalt see.2 And immediately, by a
most clear vision, %he saw what follows.
%he perceived that many centuries before the incarnation of the 3ord in her
virginal womb, among the many councils held by #ucifer for the destruction of men, one
was held in which he thus spo"e to his demons+ ,&rom the delights of my former state in
heaven, from the prophecies made by 0od to man and from the favors shown to many of
his friends, con(ecture how much 0od shall be beholden to men and women for
abstaining from certain vices, which desire to maintain upon the world. !hese vices are
especially those connected with the delights of the flesh and with the pleasures of
possession or avarice; in these $e see"s to induce them to renounce even what is allowed.
n order that they may be so induced, $e shall furnish them with many helps, so that they
may be chaste and poor of their own accord, and sub(ect their free will to that of others. f
through these virtues they overcome us, they will merit great reward before 0od, as
have spied out in some who were chaste, poor and obedient. My plans will be seriously
frustrated, if we do not ta"e measures to counteract this damage and see" to compensate
for it in all the ways open to our astuteness. ta"e into consideration also, that, if the
divine 3ord is to assume human flesh, as have been given to understand, $e will be
very chaste and pure, and that $e will teach chastity to others, not only men, but women,
who, though they are wea"er, yet usually are more tenacious. f they, whom overcame
in the first woman, shall thus van1uish me, it will be so much the more tormenting to me.
Besides all this, the %criptures of the ancients spea" much of the favors, which men shall
en(oy through the incarnate 3ord. &or the human nature of the %on of 0od is to enrich
and raise up earthborn men by his power.2
,n order to oppose all this2 #ucifer continued, , desire your counsel and your
diligent help; and we must begin even now to hinder mien from attaining such great
benefits.2 !hus the hateful plotting of hell against evangelical perfection was far in
advance of its profession in the religious orders. !his matter was thoroughly considered
by the demons and the result of their deliberations was, that a great many demons should
be appointed as heads of hellish legions, who were to tempt those desirous of living a life
of chastity, poverty and obedience. n derision of chastity especially, they were to
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institute a sort of false and apparent state of virginity, in which counterfeit and
hypocritical virgins were to consecrate themselves to #ucifer and all the demons. !he
enemies hoped thereby to gain over these persons to themselves not only for their own
triumph, but also to cast discredit upon the chaste life of religious orders, which they
presumed would be instituted by the incarnate 3ord and his Mother in the world. n
order that this false religion might be propagated so much the better in the world, they
resolved to found it upon worldly abundance and on whatever is most pleasing to nature,
as in reality it was; for in secret those interested agreed to live licentiously under the
name of chastity in honor of false gods.
But immediately the 1uestion arose, whether this religion was to be for men or for
women. %ome of the demons wanted it to be for men only, in order that through their
greater constancy those religious orders might be more permanent; others again thought
that men are not so easily deceived as women, since they reason more deeply and could
more easily detect error; while there was not so much of this ris" in women, who were of
wea" (udgment, ready to believe earnestly in what they li"e and have once settled upon,
and inclined to persevere in their error. !his argument prevailed and was approved by
#ucifer, although he did not entirely exclude men; for he (udged, that some would be
found, who would embrace the fallacy on account of the influence they would thereby
gain over others. !his could be expected especially if the demons would help along by
nourishing their fear of losing the estimation of their fellowmen and by astutely ma"ing
use of public opinion to "eep alive the fallacies in those who would engage in this
service.
&ollowing up their infernal schemes the demons set about instituting a counterfeit
and false religious order or congregation of virgins; for #ucifer said to the other demons+
,Although it would be a great pleasure to me to have real virgins consecrated and
dedicated to my worship and adoration in the same way as 0od wishes them for $imself;
yet chastity and purity of the body so offends me, that cannot endure this virtue, even if
practiced entirely in honor of my greatness. !herefore we must see to it, that these virgins
be the ob(ect of our basest attempts. f any of them should remain chaste in body, we
shall fill her with bad thoughts and desires, so that in reality none of them will be chaste,
though they may strive to contain themselves out of vain pride; and as they are to be
impure in their thoughts, we will see" to maintain them in the vainglorious conceit of
their virginity.2
n order to start these false religious orders the demons scoured through the whole
earth, and it seemed to them, that among all the nations, certain women called Ama5ons
were best suited for the execution of their devilish plans. !hese Ama5ons had come from
%cythia to Asia Minor where they now lived. !hey were warli"e, covering up by their
arrogance and pride the wea"ness of their sex. By force of arms they had possessed
themselves of extended provinces, and had constituted Ephesus as the centre of their
power. &or a long time they governed themselves, disdaining sub(ection to men and life
in their company, for such a life, they in their presumptuous pride, called slavery or
servitude. %ince much is said of them in histories, though with many contradictions, will
not dilate upon this matter. &or my purpose it is sufficient to state, that, since these
Ama5ons were proud, vainglorious and averse to mien, #ucifer found them predisposed
toward his counterfeit virginity. $e filled them with vain hopes of gaining great
veneration and renown in the world by being "nown as pledged to virginity and stirred
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them with the desire of becoming famous and admired of men and perhaps of one of
them reaching the position and worship of a goddess. n their unbridled desire of this
worldly honor they gathered around them many Ama5ons, both true and counterfeit
virgins, and instituted their spurious congregation of virgins at Ephesus, the place of their
origin.
n a short time these more than foolish virgins grew very numerous and through
the instigations of the demons were much admired and applauded by the world. Among
them one signali5ed herself and became very celebrated for her beauty, nobility, high
intellect, chastity and other allurements. %he was called 7iana and the fame and
admiration of her became widespread. !he veneration of her and the multitude of her
companions were the occasion of the building of the renowned temple of Ephesus, which
the world estimated as one of its marvels and which too" many years to construct. As
7iana gradually gained the worship and title of goddess among the blind multitude, this
rich and sumptuous temple was finally dedicated to her, and was called the temple of
7iana. n imitation of it and under the same title, many others were built in other parts of
the world. n order to spread the renown of this counterfeit virgin during her lifetime in
Ephesus, the demon communicated with her and filled her with diabolical illusions; many
times he surrounded her with a false splendor and manifested to her secrets to be
promulgated. $e taught her also some ceremonies and forms of worship similar to those
of the people of 0od; by which she and the people might worship the devil. !he rest of
the virgins venerated her as a goddess; which was also done by the other heathens, who
were as prodigal as they were blind in attributing divinity to all that seemed to them
wonderful.
!hese diabolical frauds had thus been established when the neighboring "ings
defeated the Ama5ons and assumed the government of Ephesus. !hey preserved this
temple of Ephesus as something sacred and divine, and they permitted the continuance of
that gathering of foolish virgins. Although some man of the people burned this temple,
the city and the government authorities rebuilt it, being especially helped by the
contributions of women. !his was a little more or less than thirty years before the
8edemption of the human race. $ence at the time when the most blessed Mother was in
Ephesus not the old temple stood, but the second one, built later. n this temple the
virgins occupied different apartments. But as, during the time of the ncarnation and
death of 'hrist, idolatry was so firmly established in the world, those diabolical women
not only had not improved in their customs, but deteriorated, and nearly all of them held
abominable intercourse with the demons. n connection therewith they committed other
most loathsome crimes and deceived the world by their humbugging prophecies, by
which the devil filled both them and their dupes with their insanities.
!his and much more did the most blessed Mary behold around $er in Ephesus
and on account of it %he was struc" with a sorrow certainly mortal, if %he had not been
preserved by the #ord. But having seen that #ucifer had appropriated the statute of 7iana
as a seat or throne of his wic"edness, %he prostrated $erself upon the ground before her
divine %on and said+ ,#ord 0od Most $igh, worthy of all reverence and praise. t is
proper that these abominations, which have lasted for so many ages, should cease. My
heart cannot bear to see that an unhappy and abominable woman receive the worship due
to the true 0od, such as !hou alone as the nfinite deservest; nor can endure to see the
name of chastity so profaned and prostituted in honor of the demons. !hy infinite
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condescension has made me the guide and the mother of virgins, as a most noble part of
thy 'hurch, the most precious fruit of thy 8edemption, most pleasing to !hee. !he title of
chastity must be consecrated to !hee in the souls, which shall be my children, and
cannot consent to leave it any longer to these adulterous women. ma"e complaint
against #ucifer and against hell, for their presumption in un(ustly appropriating such a
right. beseech !hee, my %on, to chastise them by rescuing these souls from his tyranny
and conferring on them the liberty of thy faith and true light.2
!he #ord answered+ ,My Mother, grant thy petition, for it is not (ust that, even
were it only in name, this virtue of chastity, which was so ennobled in !hee and is so
pleasing to Me, should be ascribed to my enemies. But many of those counterfeit virgins
are fore"nown as reprobates on account of their abominations and their obstinacy, and all
of them will not embrace the way of eternal life. %ome few of them will accept the faith,
which shall be taught them.2 At this (uncture saint *ohn came to the oratory of the most
blessed Mother; but he did not then "now of the mystery %he was then engaged in, nor of
the presence of her divine %on. But the true Mother of the humble wished to (oin to her
prayers those of his beloved disciple. %he therefore secretly as"ed permission of her %on
to spea" to him and said to him+ ,*ohn, my %on, my heart is grieved on account of the
abominable crimes committed against the Most $igh in the temple of 7iana and my soul
desires to see them ended and atoned.2 !he holy Apostle answered+ ,My #ady, have
seen something of what passes in that abominable place. cannot restrain my sorrow and
my tears, that the demon should be there venerated and worshipped as is due to 0od
alone; and no one can put a stop to such great evils, unless !hou, my Mother, wilt ta"e
this matter in hand.2
!he most blessed Mary then ordered the Apostle to (oin $er in prayer for a
remedy of these evils. %aint *ohn betoo" himself to his chamber, while the most blessed
#ady remained with the %avior in hers. :rostrate before the #ord and shedding copious
tears, %he resumed her prayers and petitions. %he persevered therein with most burning
fervor and as it were in agoni5ing sorrow. Appealing to her divine %on for comfort and
consolation, %he received the following response to her petitions and prayers+ ,My
Mother and my 7ove, let what thou as"est be done without delay; give thy orders and
commands according to thy heart s wishes as the powerful Mistress.2 By this favor the
love of the most blessed ;irgin was inflamed with 5eal for the honor of the 7ivinity. As
Queen %he imperiously commanded all the demons in the temple of 7iana to descend
immediately to the depths of hell and to leave the place, which they had infested as their
own for so many years. Many legions of them inhabited that temple, deceiving men by
their superstitions and profaning the souls; but in the shortest twin"ling of an eye, in
virtue of the powerful command of the Queen, most holy Mary, all of them were hurled
into hell. %o great was the terror by which %he struc" them down, that as soon as %he
opened her lips to pronounce the first word they waited not for the second; for they were
then already in hell and the swiftness of an angel, proper to them as pure spirits, seemed
to them tardy in their flight from the Mother of the /mnipotent.
!hey were unable to leave the abysmal caverns until, as shall soon relate, they
received permission to come forth with the great dragon to do battle with the Queen of
heaven; and in hell itself they sought the localities farthest removed from the place where
%he was upon earth, must remar", that by these triumphs the most holy Mary so
van1uished the demon, that he could not return to reassume the same position or
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(urisdiction in those places of which he was dispossessed. But this infernal serpent was
and is so venomous, that new heads grow upon him where the former are cut off,
continually evolving new schemes of malice and wic"edness against 0od and his 'hurch.
&ollowing up her victory the great Mistress of the world, with the consent of 'hrist our
%avior, immediately ordered one of her holy angels to repair to the temple of 7iana and
destroy it without leaving a stone upon a stone. /f all the women that dwelt there he was
to save only nine designated by $er, while all the rest should die and be buried in the
ruins of the building. !hese were reprobates, whose souls, before they could increase
their punishment by more sins, should be buried in hell with the demons, whom they had
obeyed and worshipped.
!he angel of the #ord executed the mandate of his Queen and Mistress, and in the
shortest space of time the rich and famous temple of 7iana, the establishment of which
had consumed many ages, was shattered to the dust+ so sudden was the destruction and
ruin of it, that it roused the astonishment and fear of the inhabitants of Ephesus. $e saved
the nine women designated by the most holy Mary in pursuance of the command of
'hrist our %avior; for these alone accepted the faith, as shall relate. All the others
perished in the ruins, not leaving even a remembrance of themselves. Although the
inhabitants of Ephesus instituted an in1uiry, they could find no one upon whom to put the
blame, as they had been able to do in the burning of the first temple when, for the sa"e of
the fame attached to his crime, the incendiary delivered himself up of his own accord.
!he evangelist saint *ohn too" occasion from this event to preach with still greater fervor
the divine truth and to free the Ephesians from the deceits and errors of the demons. !he
Evangelist (oined the Queen of heaven in giving than"s to the Most $igh for this triumph
over #ucifer and over idolatry.
=when, by the will of 0od, it was time for the Blessed ;irgin to leave Ephesus to
return to *erusalem, the most blessed Mary called together the women who were her
ac1uaintances and disciples in Ephesus, in order to ta"e leave of them and instruct them
in what they must do to persevere in their holy faith. !here were seventy>three of them,
many of them virgins, among whom were also the nine saved from the ruins of the
temple of 7iana. !hese and many others Mary herself had converted and .catechi5ed in
the faith; and %he had formed of them a community in the house of their hostesses.
!hrough this congregation of women the heavenly #ady had begun to atone for the sins
and abominations, perpetrated in the temple of 7iana for so many ages, and %he
established the observance of chastity in community life in that very city of Ephesus
where the devil had profaned it. /f all this, these women had been informed, though they
did not "now that %he had destroyed the temple of Ephesus; for this remained a secret, in
order that neither the *ews should find a pretext, nor the heathens be stirred to anger
against the gentle Mother by their insane love of 7iana. !he #ord provided that the ruin
of the temple should be loo"ed upon as an accident and be soon forgotten, so that profane
authors wrote nothing about it, though they had written much concerning the burning of
the first temple.
!he most blessed Mary, in her desire to console them for her absence spo"e to
these disciples in sweetest words. %he left them a paper, in which %he had written with
her own hand+ ,My daughters, the will of the Almighty calls me bac" to *erusalem. n my
absence "eep in mind the doctrine, which you have received from me and which heard
from the mouth of the 8edeemer of the world. #oo" upon $im always as your #ord and
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Master and as the %pouse of your souls, serving $im and loving $im with all your heart.
8emember the commandments of his holy law, in which you shall be instructed by his
ministers and priests, reverence and obey them in humility, without ever accepting other
teachers, who are not disciples of 'hrist my divine %on, or followers of his doctrine.
shall always see that his ministers assist and protect you, and shall never forget you or
cease to commend you to the #ord. n my place will remain Mary, the elder+ obey her in
all things with great respect, and she will care for you with the same love and solicitude
as have done. @ou will observe inviolate retirement and recollection in this house, and
no man shall ever enter it; and if it is necessary to spea" to anyone, it shall be in the
portal, in the presence of three of your number. @our prayers shall be uninterrupted and
in private, reciting and singing those have left you written in my chamber. /bserve
silence and mee"ness and treat your neighbors as you would be treated yourselves. %pea"
always the truth and be ever mindful of 'hrist crucified in all your thoughts, words and
actions. Adore $im and confess $im as the 'reator and 8edeemer of the world; and in
his name give you his blessing, and as" $im to live in your hearts.2
!hese and other exhortations the most blessed Mother left for the congregation,
which %he had dedicated to her %on and true 0od. !he one %he had appointed their
superior was one of the pious women, who had offered $er hospitality and who owned
the house. !his woman was well able to govern, for she had had much intercourse with
the Queen and had been well informed concerning the law of 0od and its mysteries. %he
was called Mary the elder, because the most holy Mother had given her own name to
many others in Baptism, communicating, as the 3ise man says, without envy the
excellence of her name A3is. B, )6C ; as this one was the first thus bapti5ed in Ephesus,
%he was called Mary the elder, to distinguish her from the later ones. !he most blessed
Mary left them also in writing, the /ur &ather, the 'reed and the ten 'ommandments
together with other prayers, which they were to recite vocally. !o encourage them in
these and other exercises %he also left them a large cross made 1uic"ly at her re1uest by
the hands of the angels and set up in her oratory. Besides all this, as a "ind Mother, and in
order to bind them to $er still more, %he distributed the things in her possession, which,
though of trifling human value, were nevertheless rich and inestimable to them as being
pledges and proofs of her maternal love.
Moved to great pity because, having engendered them in 'hrist, %he was now
obliged to relin1uish them as orphans, %he too" leave of them. !hey all prostrated
themselves at her feet with great wailing and abundant tears; for now they were to lose in
one moment the consolation, the refuge and the (oy of their heart. But on account of the
continued solicitude of the most blessed Mother for her devout congregation all the
seventy>three afterwards persevered in the fear of 0od and the faith of 'hrist our #ord.
@et the demon raised up violent persecutions against them and against the inhabitants of
Ephesus. &oreseeing this the prudent Queen fervently prayed for them before leaving and
as"ed her divine %on to guard and preserve them, and to appoint some angels for the
defense of this small floc". All this the #ord granted $er according to her wish; and %he
afterwards often consoled them by sending exhortations from *erusalem and by charging
the disciples and Apostles at Ephesus to watch over these virgins and retired women. !he
great #ady continued this loving care during her whole life.
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