Mystical City of God: The Treachery of Judas
“The Son of man indeed goeth, as it is written of him. But woe to that man by whom the Son of man shall be betrayed. It were better for him, if that man had not been born.” – Matthew 26:24
Today’s article is a continuation of an excerpt from The Mystical City of God, as begun in our previous article, “The Tragedy of Judas”. That account described the arrogance, ambition, and obstinacy of the perfidious apostle beginning almost from his first association with Christ and the other apostles. This companion article describes the details of Judas’ iniquitous betrayal of Our Lord and its appalling consequences for him.
The Mystical City of God represents the writings of the 17th-century Spanish nun, Ven. Maria of Agreda, in which she recorded a lengthy series of private revelations granted to her by the Blessed Virgin Mary. Italicized texts below are direct quotations from The Mystical City of God, Volume III (The Transfixion), Book Two, as itemized in various chapters. The principal references to Judas below are somewhat lengthy, and thus a number of other minor references have been omitted in the interest of brevity. As with previous installments of this document by Catholic Family News, we remind the reader that The Mystical City of God is available in print edition in English as well as online.
As an introduction, and subsequent to Chapter V (source of our previous article), the Blessed Virgin relates that, for some time, the devils had been observing Jesus and attempting to determine whether or not He was the long-awaited Messiah of the Jewish nation and, indeed, the world. Their suspicions, after observing many miracles, the supernatural doctrines and majestic demeanor of Christ, and numerous other mysteries unseen by mankind, were confirmed by His triumphal entrance into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. For as soon as the people began to proclaim and invoke Christ as their Savior and King Who came in the Name of the Lord, the demons felt the power of the right hand of God, and all of them, in whatever place they lurked throughout the world, were hurled into the dark caverns of the infernal abyss. During the short space of time in which Christ proceeded on His triumphal march, not a demon remained upon the earth, but all of them were trembling with wrath and terror in the depths of hell. Hence they began to be filled with a still greater dread, lest the Messias be already in the world, and they immediately communicated their suspicions to each other…
Satan then convened a meeting of his minions to determine a course of action, in which he revealed his great and diabolical cunning and spoke as follows: “It cannot be otherwise than that this Man, Who thus persecutes us and destroys our influence, and Who thus crushes my power, is more than a Prophet…Since the time when we were cast from heaven we have never experienced such ruinous defeat, nor have I ever encountered such overwhelming power before this Man came into the world. If He should be the Incarnate Word (as we suspect), there is necessity for thorough deliberation; for if we permit Him to live, He will by His example and teaching draw after Him all mankind. In my hate I have several times sought to bring about His death, but without success…
“But now, with the help of His disciple and our friend, Judas, matters seem to promise better success. I have so wrought upon the mind of Judas that he is willing to sell and betray his Master to the Pharisees, whom I have likewise incited to furious envy. They are anxious to inflict upon Him a most cruel death, and will no doubt do so. They are only waiting for an occasion, which I will try my utmost to procure for them; for Judas and the priests and the Pharisees are ready to do anything I suggest. Nevertheless, I see in this a great danger, which demands our closest attention; for if this Man is the Messias expected by His people, He will offer His Death and all His sufferings for the Redemption of men and thereby satisfy for their misdeeds and gain infinite merits for all of them. He will open the heavens and pave the way for mortals to the enjoyment of those rewards of which God has deprived us. Such an issue, if we do not prevent it, shall indeed be a terrible torment for us. Moreover, this Man will leave to the world a new example of patience in suffering and show its merit to all the rest of mankind; for He is most meek and humble of heart, and was never seen impatient or excited. These same virtues He will teach all men, which even to think of is an abomination to me, since these are the virtues most offensive to me and to all those who follow my guidance or are imbued with my sentiments. Hence it is necessary to unite on a course of action in regard to persecuting this strange Man, Christ, and that you let me know what is your understanding of this matter.”
Then the princes of darkness, lashing themselves to incredible fury against our Redeemer, held long consultations concerning this enterprise. They deeply deplored their having been probably led into great error, by plotting His death with so much cunning and malice. They concluded henceforth to make use of redoubled astuteness and cunning to repair the damage done and hinder His death, for they were by this time confirmed in their suspicion that He was the Messias, although they did not reach altogether definite conclusions in this matter. This suspicion was for Lucifer the cause of so much anxiety and torment, that he approved of the new determination to hinder the death of the Savior and he closed the meeting by saying: “Believe me, friends, that if this Man is at the same time true God, He will, by His Passion and Death, save all men; our dominion will be overthrown and mortals will be raised to new happiness and dominion over us. We were greatly mistaken in seeking His death. Let us immediately proceed to repair our damage.”
With this intention Lucifer and all his ministers betook themselves to the city and neighborhood of Jerusalem, and there, as is referred in the Gospels, they exerted their influence with Pilate and his wife to prevent the death of the Lord (Matt. 27:19), and to place other hindrances, which certainly arose, but are not recorded in the Gospels. For before all others they beset Judas with new suggestions, dissuading him from his intended treachery toward his Divine Master. When by their suggestions they failed to change his mind or make him desist from his purpose, Lucifer appeared to him in visible and corporeal form and reasoned with him not to procure the death of Christ through the help of the Pharisees. Being aware of the unbounded avarice of the disciple, the demon offered him great riches, if he would not deliver Him over to His enemies. Lucifer now tried much more earnestly to deter Judas than formerly to persuade him to sell his most meek and Divine Master.
But, O woe and misery of human aberration! Judas had given himself up to the leading of Satan’s malice, but would not now follow his guidance away from it! For the enemy could not call to aid the force of divine grace, and vain are all other motives and influences to prevent man from falling into sin and to make him follow his true good. It was not impossible for God to convert the heart of this perfidious disciple; but the persuasion of the demon, who had torn him from grace, was of no avail for this purpose. The Lord, however, was justified in not supplying Judas with further help, since he had cast himself into his exceedingly great obstinacy while in the very school of his Divine Master, continuing to resist His teaching, inspirations and vast favors; disregarding, in dreadful presumption, the counsels of the Lord and those of His most holy Mother; despising the living example of their lives, the intercourse with them and with all the Apostles. Against all these influences for good the impious disciple had hardened himself with more than demoniacal obstinacy and beyond all the malice of a man free to follow the right. Having run such a course of evil, he arrived at a state in which his hatred of Christ and of His Mother made him incapable of seeking any of their mercy, unworthy of any light to recognize it and blind to all reason and natural law, which could have made him hesitate to injure the guiltless Originator of so many blessings conferred upon him. This is indeed an astounding example and dreadful warning for the foolish weakness and malice of men, all of whom, if they have no fear, may be drawn into similar dangers and destruction, and bring upon themselves a like unhappy and lamentable ruin.
The demons, in despair of ever being able to influence Judas, betook themselves to the Pharisees. By many suggestions and arguments they sought to dissuade them from persecuting Christ, our Lord and Savior. But the same happened with them as with Judas and for the same reasons; they could not be diverted from their purpose nor from the wicked deed which they had planned. Although some of the scribes, from motives of human prudence, were led to reconsider whether what they had resolved was advisable; yet, as they were not assisted by divine grace, they were soon again overcome by their hate and envy of the Savior. Hence resulted the further efforts of Lucifer with the wife of Pilate and with Pilate himself. The former, as is recorded in the Gospels, they incited to womanly pity in order that she might urge Pilate to beware of condemning that just Man (Matt 27:19). By these suggestions and by others, which they themselves made to Pilate, they induced him to resort to so many different shifts in order to evade passing sentence of death upon the innocent Savior. Of these I will speak in their proper place. As Lucifer and his satellites were entirely discomfited in their efforts, they again changed their purpose and, in their fury, now resolved to induce the Pharisees, the executioners and their helpers, to heap the most atrocious cruelties upon the Lord and, by the excess of torment, to overcome the invincible patience of the Redeemer. All these machinations of the devil the Lord permitted in order that the high ends of the Redemption might be attained; yet He did not allow the executioners to execute on the sacred Person of the Savior some of the more indecent atrocities, to which they were incited by the demons.
On the Wednesday after Palm Sunday, the Pharisees, excited by their envy of Christ, convened a meeting at the house of Caiphas in order to plot His arrest and death. The demon, who saw them thus determined, suggested to some of them not to execute their design on the feast of the Pasch lest the people who venerated Christ as the Messias or a great prophet, should cause a disturbance. Lucifer sought by this delay an opportunity to hinder the death of the Lord altogether. But as Judas was now entirely in the clutches of his avarice and hate, and altogether deprived of any saving grace, he came to the meeting of the priests in great disturbance and terror of mind, and began to treat with them concerning the betrayal of his Master. He closed the deal by accepting thirty pieces of silver, contenting himself with such a price for Him Who contained within Himself all the treasures of heaven. In order not to lose their opportunity the priests put up with the inconvenience of it being so near the Pasch. All this was so disposed by Divine Providence directing these events.
At the same time happened what our Savior is recorded as saying in Saint Matthew: “You know that after two days shall be the Pasch, and the Son of man shall be delivered up to be crucified” (Matt 26:2). Judas was not present when these words were uttered by Christ; but in the same furious spirit in which he had sold Jesus, he returned to the Apostles and perfidiously began to inquire of his companions, and even of the Lord and His blessed Mother, whither they were to go from Bethany and what the Master was to do on the following few days. All this was merely a treacherous preparation of the perfidious disciple for the betrayal of his Master to the chief Pharisees. Like a consummate hypocrite, Judas sought to palliate his treachery by a pretended interest and anxiety. But both the Savior and His most blessed Mother well understood the purpose of feverish activity; for the holy angels immediately reported to them his shameful contract to which he had bound himself for thirty pieces of silver. On that very day, when the traitor approached the great Lady to ask her where the Lord proposed to partake of the Pasch, she, with ineffable meekness, answered him: “Who can penetrate, O Judas, the secret judgments of the Most High?” Thenceforward she ceased to warn him against committing the sin; but both she and the Lord tolerated his presence, until he himself despaired of remedy and eternal salvation.
After the Last Supper, Our Lord determined to wash the feet of all the apostles, including Judas, as a magnificent sign of humility. His interior prayer on this occasion included the following: “…In order to leave an example of humility to My Apostles and to My Church, which must be built up on the secure foundation of this virtue, I desire, My Father, to wash the feet of My disciples, including the least of all of them, Judas, steeped in his own malice. I shall prostrate Myself before him in deepest and sincerest self-abasement to offer him My friendship and salvation. Though he is My greatest enemy among the mortals, I shall not refuse him pardon for his treachery, nor deny him kindest treatment, so that, if he shall decline to accept it, all the world may know, that I have opened up to him the arms of My mercy, and that he repelled My advances with obstinate contempt…”
The Divine Master then proceeded to wash also the feet of Judas, whose perfidious treason could not prevent the charity of Christ from secretly bestowing upon him tokens of even greater charity than upon the other Apostles. Without permitting it to be noticed by the others, He manifested his special love toward Judas in two ways. On the one hand, in the kind and caressing manner in which He approached Him, knelt at his feet, washed them, kissed them and pressed them to his bosom. On the other hand, by seeking to move his soul with inspirations proportionate to the dire depravity of his conscience; for the assistance offered to Judas was in itself much greater than that offered to the other Apostles. But as the disposition of this Apostle was most wicked, his vices deeply ingrown upon him, his understanding and his faculties much disturbed and weakened; as he had entirely forsaken God and given himself over to the devil, and, as he had enthroned the evil spirit in his heart; he resisted all the divine advances and inspirations connected with this washing of his feet. He was moreover harassed by the fear of breaking his contract with the scribes and Pharisees. As the bodily presence of Christ and the interior urgency of his inspirations both bestormed his sense of right, there arose within his darkened soul a dreadful hurricane of conflicting thoughts, filling him with dismay and bitterness, and fiercest anger, whirling him still farther away from his Savior and turning the divine balsam applied to his soul into deadly poison of hellish malice and total depravity…
To prevent the scandal of Judas partaking of Holy Communion unworthily during the Last Supper, the Blessed Virgin miraculously intervened to protect the honor and dignity of her Divine Son. The perfidious and treacherous Judas, hearing the command of his Master to partake of Holy Communion, resolved in his unbelief not to comply, but if he could do so without being observed, determined to secrete the Sacred Body and bring It to the priests and Pharisees in order to afford them a chance of incriminating Jesus by showing them what He had called His own Body; or if he should not succeed therein, to consummate some other vile act of malice with the Divine Sacrament. The Mistress and Queen of heaven, who by a clear vision was observing all that passed and knew the interior and exterior effects and affections in the Apostles at Holy Communion, saw also the accursed intentions of the obstinate Judas. All the zeal for the glory of her Lord, existing in her as His Mother, Spouse and Daughter, was aroused in her purest heart. Knowing that it was the divine will that She should make use of her power as Mother and Queen, She commanded the holy angels to extract from the mouth of Judas the consecrated particles as well of the Bread as of the Wine and replace them from whence they had been taken. It well befitted her on this occasion to defend the honor of her Divine Son and prevent Judas from heaping such an ignominious injury upon Christ the Lord. The holy angels obeyed their Queen, and when it was the turn of Judas to communicate, they withdrew the consecrated species one after the other, and, purifying them from their contact with Judas, the most wicked of living men, they restored them to their place, altogether unobserved by the disciples. Thus, the Lord shielded the honor of His malicious and obstinate Apostle to the end. This was attended to by the angels in the shortest space of time and the others then received Holy Communion, for Judas was neither the first nor the last to communicate. Then our Savior offered thanks to the eternal Father and therewith ended both the legal and the sacramental Supper in order to begin the mysteries of His Passion, which I will relate in the subsequent chapters...
…Our Redeemer and Master left the house of the Cenacle with all the men who had been present at the celebration of the mysterious Supper; and soon many of them dispersed in the different streets in order to attend to their own affairs. Followed by His twelve Apostles, the Lord directed His steps toward Mount Olivet outside and close to the eastern walls of Jerusalem. Judas, alert in his treacherous solicitude for the betrayal of his Divine Master, conjectured that Jesus intended to pass the night in prayer as was His custom. This appeared to him a most opportune occasion for delivering his Master into the hands of his confederates, the scribes and the Pharisees. Having taken this dire resolve, he lagged behind and permitted the Master and His Apostles to proceed. Unnoticed by the latter, he lost them from view and departed in all haste to his own ruin and destruction. Within him was the turmoil of sudden fear and anxiety, interior witnesses of the wicked deed he was about to commit. Driven on in the stormy hurricane of thoughts raised by his bad conscience, he arrived breathless at the house of the high priests. On the way it happened that Lucifer, perceiving the haste of Judas in procuring the death of Jesus Christ, and…fearing that after all Jesus might be the true Messias, came toward him in the shape of a very wicked man, a friend of Judas acquainted with the intended betrayal. In this shape Lucifer could speak to Judas without being recognized. He tried to persuade him that this project of selling his Master did at first seem advisable on account of the wicked deeds attributed to Jesus; but that, having more maturely considered the matter, he did not now deem it advisable to deliver Him over to the priests and Pharisees; for Jesus was not so bad as Judas might imagine; nor did He deserve death; and besides He might free Himself by some miracles and involve His betrayer into great difficulties.
Thus Lucifer, seized by new fear, sought to counteract the suggestions with which he had previously filled the heart of the perfidious disciple against his Author. He hoped to confuse his victim; but his new villainy was in vain. For Judas, having voluntarily lost his faith and not being troubled by any such strong suspicions as Lucifer, preferred to take his Master’s life rather than to encounter the wrath of the Pharisees for permitting Him to live unmolested. Filled with this fear and his abominable avarice, he took no account of the counsel of Lucifer, although he had no suspicion of his not being the friend whose shape the devil had assumed. Being stripped of grace he neither desired, nor could be persuaded by anyone, to turn back in his malice. The priests, having heard that the Author of life was in Jerusalem, had gathered to consult about the promised betrayal. Judas entered and told them that he had left his Master with the other disciples on their way to Mount Olivet; that this seemed to be the most favorable occasion for his arrest, since on this night they had already made sufficient preparation and taken enough precaution to prevent His escaping their hands by His artifices and cunning tricks. The sacrilegious priests were much rejoiced and began to busy themselves to procure an armed force for the arrest of the most innocent Lamb…
While our Savior occupied Himself in praying to His Father for the spiritual salvation of the human race, the perfidious disciple Judas sought to hasten the delivery of Christ into the hands of the priests and Pharisees. At the same time Lucifer and his demons, not being able to divert the perverse will of Judas and of the other enemies of Christ from their designs on the life of Christ their Creator and Master, changed the tactics of their satanic malice and began to incite the Jews to greater cruelty and effrontery in their dealings with the Savior. As I have already said several times, the devil was filled with great suspicions lest this most extraordinary Man be the Messias and the true God. He now resolved to ascertain whether his misgivings were well founded or not by instigating the Jews and their ministers to the most atrocious injuries against the Savior. He imparted to them his own dreadful envy and pride, and thus literally fulfilled the prophecy of Solomon (Wis. 2:7). For it seemed to the demon that if Christ was not God and only a man, He certainly must weaken and be conquered in these persecutions and torments. If on the other hand He was God, He would manifest it by freeing Himself and performing new miracles.
Similar motives urged on the priests and Pharisees. At the instigation of Judas, they hastily gathered together a large band of people, composed of pagan soldiers, a tribune, and many Jews. Having consigned to them Judas as a hostage, they sent this band on its way to apprehend the most innocent Lamb, who was awaiting them and who was aware of all the thoughts and schemes of the sacrilegious priests, as foretold expressly by Jeremias (Jer. 11:19). All these servants of malice, bearing arms and provided with ropes and chains, in the glaring torch and lantern-light, issued from the city in the direction of Mount Olivet. The prime mover of the treachery, Judas, had insisted upon so much precaution; for, in his perfidy and treachery, he feared that the meekest Master, Whom he believed to be a magician and sorcerer, would perform some miracle for His escape. As if arms and human precautions could ever have availed if Jesus should have decided to make use of His divine power! As if He could not have brought this power into play in the same way as He had done on other occasions, should He now choose not to deliver Himself to suffering and to the ignominies of the Cross!
While Jesus concluded His prayer and gently chided His apostles for falling asleep, Judas advanced in order to give the signal upon which he had agreed with his companions (Matt 26:48), namely the customary but now feigned kiss of peace, by which they were to distinguish Jesus as the One whom they should single out from the rest and immediately seize. These precautions the unhappy disciple had taken, not only out of avarice for the money and hatred against his Master, but also, on account of the fear with which he was filled. For he dreaded the inevitable necessity of meeting Him and encountering Him in the future, if Christ was not put to death on this occasion. Such a confusion he feared more than the death of his soul, or the death of his Divine Master, and, in order to forestall it, he hastened to complete his treachery and desired to see the Author of life die at the hands of His enemies. The traitor then ran up to the meekest Lord, and, as a consummate hypocrite, hiding his hatred, he imprinted on His countenance the kiss of peace, saying: “God save Thee, Master.” By this so treacherous act the perdition of Judas was matured and God was justified in withholding His grace and help. On the part of the unfaithful disciple, malice and temerity reached their highest degree; for, interiorly denying or disbelieving the uncreated and created wisdom by which Christ must know of his treason, and ignoring His power to destroy him, he sought to hide his malice under the cloak of the friendship of a true disciple; and all this for the purpose of delivering over to such a frightful and cruel death his Creator and Master, to whom he was bound by so many obligations. In this one act of treason he committed so many and such formidable sins, that it is impossible to fathom their immensity; for he was treacherous, murderous, sacrilegious, ungrateful, inhuman, disobedient, false, lying, impious and unequaled in hypocrisy; and all this was included in one and the same crime perpetrated against the Person of God made man.
On the part of the Lord shone forth His ineffable mercy and equity, since those words of David were fulfilled in an eminent manner: “With them that hated peace I was peaceable; when I spoke to them they fought against Me without cause” (Ps. 119:7). So completely did the Lord fulfill this prophecy that when, in answer to the kiss of Judas, He said: “Friend, whereto art thou come?” He sent into the heart of the traitorous disciple a new and most clear light, by which Judas saw the atrocious malice of his treason, the punishment to follow, if he should not make it good by true penitence, and the merciful pardon still to be obtained from the divine clemency. What Judas clearly read in those few words of Christ was: “Friend, take heed lest thou cause thy perdition and abuse My meekness by this treason. If thou seek My friendship, I will not refuse it to thee on account of this deed, as soon as thou art sorry for thy sin. Consider well thy temerity in delivering Me by false friendship and under cover of a false peace and a kiss of reverence and love. Remember the benefits thou hast received of My charity, and that I am the Son of the Virgin, by whom thou hast been so often favored and rejoiced with motherly advice and counsel during thy apostolate. Even if it were only for her sake, thou shouldst not commit such a treason as to sell and deliver her Son. In no wise does her loving meekness deserve such an outrageous wrong, for she has never been unkind to thee. But although thou hast now committed this wrong, do not despise her intercession, for she alone will be powerful with Me and for her sake I offer thee pardon and life, since she has many times besought Me to do so. I assure thee, that we love thee; for thou art yet in life, where there is hope and where we will not deny thee our friendship, if thou seek it. But if thou refuse it, thou wilt merit our abhorrence and eternal chastisement and pain.” The seed of the divine words took no root in the heart of that unhappy reprobate. It was harder than adamant and more inhuman than that of a wild beast. Resisting the divine clemency, he finally fell into despair…
The Blessed Mother, seeing all that was happening to her Divine Son from her retreat, implored the Father’s mercy on those evil men who were in the process of arresting and harming Him. This mercy attained its highest point in the disloyal and obstinate Judas; for the tender Mother, seeing him deliver Jesus by the kiss of feigned friendship, and considering how shortly before his mouth had contained the sacramental Body of the Lord, with whose sacred countenance so soon after those same foul lips were permitted to come in contact, was transfixed with sorrow and entranced by charity. She asked the Lord to grant new graces, whereby this man, who had enjoyed the privilege of touching the Face whereon angels desire to look, might, if he chose to use them, save himself from perdition. In response to this prayer of most holy Mary, her Son and Lord granted Judas powerful graces in the very consummation of his treacherous delivery. If the unfortunate man had given heed and had commenced to respond to them, the Mother of mercy would have obtained for him many others and at last also pardon for his sin. She has done so with many other great sinners, who were willing to give that glory to her, and thus obtain eternal glory for themselves. But Judas failed to realize this and thus lost all chance of salvation, as I shall relate in the next chapter...
(mistakenly labelled as XVI in the print edition source, p. 508)
… I now proceed to relate the most unhappy end of the traitor Judas, somewhat anticipating the course of events, in order to have done with his lamentable and unfortunate lot and continue the narrative of the Passion. With the band that had taken the Lord prisoner, the sacrilegious disciple arrived at the house of the high priest, that of Annas first, and then at that of Caiphas, who, with the scribes and Pharisees were awaiting results. When the perfidious disciple saw his Divine Master overwhelmed with blasphemies and injuries and how He suffered all with such admirable silence, meekness and patience, he began to reflect upon his own treachery and that it alone caused such cruel injustice to be heaped upon an innocent Man and his Benefactor. He recalled the miracles he had witnessed, the doctrines he had heard, and the benefits enjoyed at His hands, and he remembered the kindness and meekness of the most holy Mary, the charity with which she had solicited his conversion, and the malice with which he had offended the Son and the Mother for such insignificant gain. All the sins he had committed piled themselves up before his interior gaze like a dark and chaotic, impenetrable mountain.
As I have stated above, Judas was forsaken by divine grace at the time when he consummated his treachery by his perfidious kiss and by his contact with Christ our Savior. According to the hidden judgments of the Most High, although he was now left to his own counsels, the divine justice and equity, ingrained in the natural reason, permitted these reflections to arise and to be supplemented by many suggestions of Lucifer who possessed him. But though Judas thus reasoned correctly in these matters, it was the devil who awakened these truths and added many other false and deceitful suggestions, in order to deduct from them not the salutary hope of remedy, but to convince him of the impossibility of repairing the damage and to lead him to the despair to which he at last yielded. Lucifer roused in him a keen sorrow for his misdeeds; not however for a good purpose, nor founded upon having offended the divine Truth, but upon his disgrace among men and upon the fear of retribution from his Master, Whom he knew to be miraculously powerful and One Whom he would be able to escape nowhere in the whole world. Everywhere the Blood of the Just One would forever cry for vengeance against him. Filled with these thoughts and others aroused by the demon, he was involved in confusion, darkness and rabid rage against himself. Fleeing from all human beings he essayed to throw himself from the highest roof of the priests’ house without being able to execute his design. Gnawing like a wild beast at the flesh of his arms and hands, striking fearful blows at his head, tearing out his hair and raving in his talk, he rushed away and showered maledictions and execrations upon himself as the most unfortunate and miserable of men.
Seeing him thus beside himself, Lucifer inspired him with the thought of hunting up the priests, returning to them the money and confessing his sin. This Judas hastened to do, and he loudly shouted at them those words: “I have sinned, betraying innocent blood!” (Matt 27:4). But they, not less hardened, answered that he should have seen to that before. The intention of the demon was to hinder the death of Christ if possible, for reasons already given and yet to be given. This repulse of the priests, so full of impious cruelty, took away all hope from Judas and he persuaded himself that it was impossible to hinder the death of his Master. So thought also the demon, although later on he made more efforts to forestall it through Pilate. But as Judas could be of no more use to him for his purpose, he augmented his distress and despair, persuading him that in order to avoid severer punishments he must end his life. Judas yielded to this terrible deceit, and rushing forth from the city, hung himself on a dried-out fig tree (Matt 27:5). Thus he that was the murderer of his Creator, became also his own murderer. This happened on Friday at twelve o’clock, three hours before our Savior died. It was not becoming that his death and the consummation of our Redemption should coincide too closely with the execrable end of the traitorous disciple, who hated him with fiercest malice.
The demons at once took possession of the soul of Judas and brought it down to hell. His entrails burst from the body hanging upon the tree (Acts 1:18). All that saw this stupendous punishment of the perfidious and malicious disciple for his treason were filled with astonishment and dread. The body remained hanging by the neck for three days, exposed to the view of the public. During that time the Jews attempted to take it down from the tree and to bury it in secret, for it was a sight apt to cause great confusion to the Pharisees and priests, who could not refute such a testimony of his wickedness. But no efforts of theirs sufficed to drag or separate the body from its position on the tree until three days had passed, when, according to the dispensation of divine justice, the demons themselves snatched the body from the tree and brought it to his soul, in order that both might suffer eternal punishment in the profoundest abyss of hell. Since what I have been made to know of the pains and chastisements of Judas is worthy of fear-inspiring attention, I will, according to command, reveal what has been shown me concerning it. Among the obscure caverns of the infernal prisons was a very large one, arranged for more horrible chastisements than the others, and which was still unoccupied; for the demons had been unable to cast any soul into it, although their cruelty had induced them to attempt it many times from the time of Cain unto that day. All hell had remained astonished at the failure of these attempts, being entirely ignorant of the mystery, until the arrival of the soul of Judas, which they readily succeeded in hurling and burying in this prison never before occupied by any of the damned. The secret of it was that this cavern of greater torments and fiercer fires of hell, from the creation of the world, had been destined for those who, after having received Baptism, would damn themselves by the neglect of the Sacraments, the doctrines, the Passion and Death of the Savior, and the intercession of His most holy Mother. As Judas had been the first one who had so signally participated in these blessings, and as he had so fearfully misused them, he was also the first to suffer the torments of this place, prepared for him and his imitators and followers.
This mystery I was commanded to reveal more particularly for a dreadful warning to all Christians, and especially to the priests, prelates and religious, who are accustomed to treat with more familiarity the Body and Blood of Christ our Lord, and who, by their office and state are His closer friends. In order to avoid blame I would like to find words and expressions sufficiently strong to make an impression on our unfeeling obduracy, so that we all may take a salutary warning and be filled with the fear of the punishments awaiting all bad Christians according to the station each one of us occupies. The demons torment Judas with inexpressible cruelty, because he persisted in the betrayal of his Master, by Whose Passion and Death they were vanquished and despoiled of the possession of the world. The wrath which they had conceived against the Savior and His blessed Mother, they wreck, as far as is allowed them, on all those who imitate the traitorous disciple and who follow him in his contempt of the evangelical law, of the Sacraments and of the fruits of the Redemption. And in this the demons are but executing just punishment on those members of the Mystical Body of Christ who have severed their connection with its head, Christ, and who have voluntarily drifted away and delivered themselves over to the accursed hate and implacable fury of His enemies. As the instruments of divine justice, they chastise the redeemed for their ingratitude toward their Redeemer. Let the children of the Church consider well this truth, for it cannot fail to move their hearts and induce them to evade such a lamentable fate.