The Work of God Apostolate

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 1 chapter Introduction part 1 verses 1-19 Index

 Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary By Sor Marķa of Agreda

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 1 chapter Introduction part 1 verses 1-19INTRODUCTION TO THE LIFE OF THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN GIVING THE: REASON FOR WRITING IT, AND EXPLAINING OTHER CIRCUMSTANCES IN CONNECTION THEREWITH.

  INDEX            Book 1  Chapter  Introduction part 1    Verses:  1-19


1. I should not be astonished to hear myself con
demned as audacious, foolhardy and presumptuous by
any person who will begin to realize (if realized it can
be) that I, a simple woman, who is of herself but sheer
weakness and ignorance and who is, on account of her
sins, most unworthy, has resolved and attempted to write
of divine and supernatural things. This condemnation
will be the more justified in these, our present times, in
which the holy Church, our mother, is so abundantly
supplied with teachers and holy men, so rich in doctrines
of the holy Fathers and Doctors ; in this our most oppor
tune age, when even prudent and wise persons, full of
holy zeal in the spiritual life, are disturbed and troubled
at the least mention of a higher life, looking upon visions
and revelations as most suspicious and dangerous paths
for the pursuit of Christian perfection. If no excuse can
be found for such an enterprise in itself, or even for at
tempting things that are so far above and superior to
what man can hope to compass, and so far beyond all
human capacities, then we can only conclude that to un
dertake them is either a sign of perverse judgment or the
result of an activity far surpassing all the human power.
2. As faithful children of the holy Church we must
confess that all the mortals, not only with the use of all
their natural powers, but with the simultaneous use of all
the common and ordinary graces, are but incapable and,
as it were, mute and ignorant weaklings for so difficult an
undertaking as to explain and describe the hidden mys
teries and magnificent sacraments which the powerful
arm of the Most High has wrought in that Creature
whom, as his Mother, He has designed to be an immense
ocean of grace and privilege and the Depositary of the
greatest treasures of the Divinity. How incapable must
our weakness acknowledge itself to be, when even the
angelic spirits confess that words fail them when at
tempting to describe that which is so far above their
thoughts and capacities. The life of this Phcenix
among the works of God is a book so sealed up that none
is found among all the creatures of heaven and earth,
worthy to open it (Apoc. 4, 3). It is evident then, that
only the powerful Lord can unseal it ; He who made Her
more perfect than all the creatures; or She herself, the
Mistress, our Queen and Mother, who was worthy to re
ceive and properly to appreciate her ineffable gifts. It
is in her power to select suitable instruments, and such as
for her glory seem capable of manifesting these gifts in
the proportion, at the time, and in the manner serviceable
to her Onlybegotten Son.
3. I would willingly maintain that these instruments
can be no other than the teachers and learned saints of
the Catholic Church, or the doctors of the schools, who
have all taught the way of truth and life. But the
thoughts and the judgments of the Most High are ex
alted as much above ouf own as heaven is exalted above
the earth and no one knows his mind and no one can
counsel Him in his works (Rom. 11, 34) ; He it is that
holds the scales of the sanctuary in his hands (Apoc. 6,
5), and who weighs the winds (Job 28, 25) ; who
grasps in his hands all the orbs (Is. 40, 12), and who,
by the equity of his most holy counsels, disposes of all
things with weight and measure (Wis. 11, 21), assign
ing to each one opportune time and place. He dispenses
the light of wisdom (Ecclus. 24, 37) and by his most
equitable bounty He distributes it, and no one can ascend
to the heavens to draw it down (Baruch 3, 29), or fetch
it from the clouds, or know its ways or investigate the
hidden paths thereof (Baruch 3, 31). He alone observes
it as it is in itself, and transfuses it as the vapor and
emanation of his immense charity (Wis. 7, 25) as the
brightness of his eternal light, as the flawless reflection
and image of his eternal bounty, through holy souls
among the nations in order to make them friends of the
Most High and constitute them as Prophets (Wis. 7, 27).
The Lord alone knows why and for what purpose He
thus prepared me, the last of his creatures ; why He thus
called and raised me, obliged and compelled me, to write
the life of his most holy Mother, our Queen and Lady.
4. It is beyond the prudent surmise of any man that,
without this influence and power of the Most High, the
thought of such a work should enter into a human heart,
or such an enterprise should take shape in my mind. For
I acknowledge and confess myself to be a weak woman,
wanting in all virtue; therefore, it should be far from
my thoughts to approach such a work, but equally as far
from me to refuse it on my own account. In order that a
just estimate may be had in this matter I will mention in
simple truth something of that which happened to me re
garding this history.
5 In the eighth year after the foundation of this con
vent, in the twenty-fifth of my life, obedience imposed
upon me the office which I unworthily hold at the pres
ent day, namely to be the abbess of this convent. I found
myself much troubled, sorrowful and discouraged, be
cause neither my age nor my inclinations were such as are
requisite for governing and commanding, but they were
rather such as befitted one who should be governed and
obey. I knew also, that in order to invest me with this
office a dispensation had been obtained. On account of
these and other just reasons, the terrors with which the
Most High has crucified me during all my life, were
much augmented. In addition thereto God left me in
dreadful doubt whether I was on the secure path or
whether I should obtain or lose his friendship and grace.
6. In this tribulation I cried to the Lord with all my
heart that He help me and if it be his will that I should
be freed from this danger and burden. Although it is
true that the Lord had prepared me sometime before
hand and commanded me to accept the office, and al
though when I tried to excuse myself on account of my
pusillanimity. He always consoled me and reiterated his
command, I nevertheless did not cease my petitions, but
rather augmented them. For I perceived and understood
in the Lord that, although He showed this to be his holy
will, which I could not hinder, yet I was aware at the
same time that he left me free to retire and resist, and, if
I wished, to act according to my weakness as a creature
and in the consciousness of my total insufficiency ; such is
the prudence of the Lord in his dealings with men. Re
lying on this kindness of the Lord, I increased my efforts
to be relieved from this evident danger, which is so little
estimated by our human nature with its bad habits and
disorderly passions. The Lord, however, repeated con
tinually that it was his will and He consoled me, admon
ishing me through his holy angels to obey.
7. I fled in this affliction to our Queen and Lady as
to my only refuge in all troubles, and after I had mani
fested to Her my way of life and my desires, She deigned
to answer me in these sweetest of words : "My daughter,
console thyself and do not be disturbed in thy heart on
account of this labor ; prepare thyself for it and I will be
thy Mother and Superior, whom thou shalt obey; and
the same I will be to thy subjects. I will supplement thy
deficiencies and thou shalt be my agent, through whom
the will of my Son and my God shall be fulfilled. In all
thy temptations and troubles thou shalt take refuge with
me, confer about them with me, and take the advice,
which I will give thee in all things. Obey me, and I will
favor thee and will continue to be attentive to thy afflic
tion." These were the words of the Queen, as consoling
as they were soothing to my soul. From that day on the
Mother of mercy multiplied her mercies toward me, her
slave; for She became more intimate with me and con
tinued her intercourse with my soul, receiving me, listen
ing to me, teaching me with ineffable condescension, giv
ing me counsel and encouragement in my affliction, filling
my soul with the light and knowledge of eternal life and
commanding me to renew the vows of my profession in
her presence. Finally this our most amiable Mother and
Lady revealed Herself still more fully to her slave, with
drawing the veil from the hidden sacraments and mag
nificent mysteries which are contained, though unknown
to mortals, in her most holy life. And, although this
blessed and supernatural light was uninterrupted, and
especially clear on her festival days and on other occa
sions when I was instructed in many mysteries; yet it was
not so full, frequent and clear as that which was after
wards vouchsafed to me when She added the command
that I write the history of her life according as her Ma
jesty herself should dictate and inspire me. Particularly
on one of these festivals of the most holy Mary the Most
High informed me that He had in reserve many hidden
sacraments and blessings, which He had conferred upon
this his heavenly Mother in the days of her pilgrimage
and that it was his intention to manifest them to me, in
order that I might write them down according to her
guidance. This will of the Most High, though I resisted
it, was continually present to my mind for the space of
ten years, until I attempted the first writing of this divine
history.
8. Consulting about my doubts with the holy princes
and angels, whom the Most High had appointed to direct
this work of writing the history of our Queen, and mani
festing to them how great was my disturbance and afflic
tion of heart and how stuttering and mute was my tongue
for such an arduous task, they replied over and over
again that it was the will of the Most High that I write
the life of his most pure Mother and our Mistress. On
one day especially, when I made many objections and de
clared to them my difficulties, and my incapability and
great fears, they spoke to me these words: "With good
reason thou fearest and art disturbed, O soul, doubtest
and hesitatest in a matter, where we angels ourselves
would do the same, as considering ourselves unable wor
thily to describe the high and magnificent doings of the
Omnipotent in the Mother of Piety and our own Queen.
But remember, dearest soul, that the firmament, the
whole machinery of the world and all things created will
sooner fail, than the words of the Most High Many
times He has promised to his creatures, and in the holy
Scriptures it is recorded, that the obedient man shall
speak of victories over his enemies and shall not be repre
hensible in obeying (Prov. 21, 28). And when He cre
ated the first man and gave him the command not to eat
of the tree of knowledge, he established the virtue of
obedience, and swearing He swore, in order to give
greater assurance to man. For the Lord has repeatedly
given such an oath; for instance, when He promised to
Abraham that the Messias should descend from his race,
He added thereto the assurance of an oath (Gen. 22,
16) ; the same He did when He created the first man,
assuring him that the obedient shall not err. He also
repeated this oath, when He ordained that his most holy
Son should die (Luke 1, 73) ; and He gave a like assur
ance to men that they, who should obey this second
Adam, imitating Him in the obedience, by which He re
stored what the first lost through his disobedience, shall
live forever and that the enemy shall have no part in
them. Remember, Mary, that all obedience takes its rise
from God as from its first and principal source, and we
angels obey the power of his divine right hand and his
most just will. We cannot contravene or ignore it, be
cause we see the immutable being of God face to face
and we perceive that his will is holy, pure and true, most
equitable and just. Now this certainty, which we angels
possess through the beatific vision, you mortals also pos
sess in its proper proportion as wayfarers through the
words of the Lord concerning your prelates and supe
riors : "He who hears you, hears Me ; and who obeys you,
obeys Me." (Luke 20, 16). Now since obedience is ren
dered on account of God, who is the principal Cause and
who is the Superior of all, it is befitting to his almighty
Providence that He take the consequences of obedience,
whenever that which is commanded is not in itself sin
ful. Accordingly the Lord assures us of these things by
an oath, and He will sooner cease to exist, though this is
impossible, than that He will fail in his word. In the
same way as the children proceed from their parents, and
all the living from Adam, multiplied from his natural
being in his posterity; so also all superiors are consti
tuted by God as by the supreme Lord on whose account we
yield obedience to them ; human beings to their living su
periors, we angels to our higher hierarchies of the same
nature, and all beings together, in their superiors, obey
the eternal God. Remember now, that all of these have
directed and commanded thee to do that, about which
thou still hesitatest; if thou now shouldst begin to write
by mistake, intending thereby to fulfill his commands in
obedience, then the Most High would do with thy pen the
same as He did with the knife of Abraham, when he was
about to sacrifice his son Isaac, for on that occasion the
Lord commanded one of us angels to withhold the arm
and the knife. He did not thus command us to withhold
thy pen, but has ordered us with lightest breath to speed it
on, and while gazing on his Majesty, to direct and assist
thee by illuminating thy intellect."
9. Such encouragement and instruction my holy angels
and lords gave me at this time. On many other occa
sions the prince saint Michael informed me of the same
wish and command of the Most High. By the continual
enlightenments, favors and instructions of this great
prince, I have understood great sacraments and mysteries
of the Lord and of the Queen of heaven ; for this angel
was one of those, who guarded and assisted Her and
who were delegated from the angelic choirs, as I will re
late in its place (Part I, 201-206). He is at the same
time the general patron and protector of the holy Church.
He was a special witness and faithful minister of the mys
teries of the Incarnation and Redemption. This I have
often heard of saint Michael himself, who showed me
singular favors in my troubles and dangers, and has
promised me his assistance and direction in this under
taking.
10. In addition to all this and other facts, which need
not here be mentioned, and in addition to what I shall say
farther on, the Lord has directly, in his own person, com
manded and manifested to me his will many times, and in
words which I shall presently repeat. He said to me one
day on the festival of the Presentation of most holy
Mary in the temple: "My spouse, many mysteries per
taining to my Mother and the saints have been made
manifest in the Church militant; but many are still hid
den, especially the interior secrets of their lives, and these
I wish now to make known ; and I desire thee to put them
down in writing according as thou art directed by the
most pure Mary. I will reveal and explain them to thee ;
for until now I have, according to the hidden designs of
my wisdom, kept them in reserve, because the time for
revealing them was not befitting or opportune to my
Providence. Now, however, it is, and it is my will that
thou write. Obey, soul !"
11. All these facts which I have mentioned, and many
more which I could mention, would not have been urgent
enough to rouse my will to an enterprise so arduous and
so foreign to my condition, if to them had not been added
the motive of obedience to my superiors, who are set to
govern my soul and teach me the way of truth. For cer
tainly my mistrusts and fears were not so unimportant
as to permit me to come to a full decision without their
commands in so great a matter, when in resolving upon
others, also supernatural and vastly less difficult, I rely
so much on the guidance of obedience. As an ignorant
woman I have always sought this northstar, for it is a
duty incumbent on all to test all things, even though they
seem to be most noble and excellent beyond suspicion, by
the approbation of the teachers and ministers of the holy
Church. Such assurance I have been solicitous to pro
cure for the direction of my soul, and more particularly
in this undertaking of writing the life of the Queen of
heaven. I have frequently tried to prevent my superiors
from being moved by any accounts of my interior ex
periences, disguising, as much as I could, many things,
and in tears begging the Lord to enlighten them and to
fill them with mistrust against me, to watch over them
lest they be deceived or lest they permit me to be deceived
or misdirected. Many times I have desired that the very
thought of allowing me to engage in this enterprise
would fade from their minds.
12. I will also confess that the demon, availing himself
of my natural dispositions and of my fears, has made
great efforts to hinder this work by seeking to terrify and
afflict me. He would no doubt have succeeded in keep
ing me from it if the zeal and persistence of my superiors
had not counteracted my cowardice. In this persecution
the Lord, the most pure Virgin and the holy angels often
took occasion to renew their enlightenment, their tokens
and wonders. Nevertheless, in spite of all this, I de
ferred, or to speak more appropriately, I resisted this un
dertaking many years ; I refused compliance, as I will de
scribe further on, not having the boldness to attempt the
execution of something so far above all my powers. And
I believe that this was not without special providence of
his Majesty; for in the course of those years so many
things have happened to me, and I may say, so many
mysterious and various difficulties intervened, that I
would not have been able to preserve the tranquillity and
quiet of spirit, which is necessary for retaining the
proper light and information; for not in all states of
mind, though they are of the highest and most advanced,
can the soul engage in that exalted activity which is
necessary to correspond to such exquisite and delicate in
fluences. In addition to this, there was still another rea
son, namely : During this protracted delay I could inform
myself and assure myself of the truth of these things not
only by means of the new enlightenment, which grew as
time passed on, and by the prudence which experience
gives, but also by the persevering insistence of the Lord,
of the holy angels and of my superiors, under whose
obedience I lived. Likewise an opportunity was given
me to quiet my fears and misgivings, to overcome my
cowardice and perplexity, and to trust that to the Lord,
which I would not trust to my weakness.
13. Confiding then in the great virtue of obedience, I
resolved in the name of the Lord and of my Queen and
Mistress to lay aside my reluctance. I call this virtue
great, not only because by it the most noble activities in
the faculties of a creature, namely the mind, the judg
ment and free will, are offered as a holocaust to the
Lord ; but also because no other virtue ever assures suc
cess more unfailingly than obedience ; for by it the crea
ture then does not operate of itself alone, but also as an
instrument of him that governs and commands. This was
the assurance of Abraham, when he overcame the force
of the natural love for his son Isaac (Gen. 22, 3). And
if it was sufficient for such an act, and sufficient to detain
the sun and the heavens in their swift course (Josue
10, 13), it can certainly be sufficient to influence the
movement of the earth. Perchance if the hand of Oza
had been guided by obedience, he would perhaps not
have been punished as presumptuous in touching the ark.
Well do I know that I am more unworthy than Oza in
stretching out ray hand to touch, not the lifeless and fig
urative ark of the old covenant, but the living Ark of the
New Testament, which contained the manna of the Di
vinity, the source of grace and the New Law. But if I
remain silent, I fear with good reason to disobey most
high commands, and I could exclaim with Isaias : "Woe
is me because I kept my peace!" (Is. 6, 5). Therefore,
O my Queen and Lady, it is better that thy benignest
goodness and mercy and the blessings of thy liberal hand
should shine forth through my base and unworthy ef
forts ; it is better that I should experience thy blessings in
obeying thy commands, than that I should fall into thy
displeasure. It will be a work of thy clemency, O purest
Mother, to raise the poor from the earth and to execute
through a weak and unfit instrument, a work so difficult ;
for thereby Thou shalt magnify thy condescension and
the graces which thy most holy Son communicates to
Thee. Moreover Thou thereby shalt exclude that deceit
ful presumption, which might make us imagine that by
human efforts, or by earthly prudence, or by the force
and authority of deep discussion, this work is accom
plished. Thou thereby showest, that by divine virtue
Thou awakenest anew the hearts of the faithful, drawing*
them toward Thee, Thou fountain of kindness and
mercy. Speak therefore, O Lady, that thy servant may
hear with an ardent desire fully to obey Thee (I Kings
3, 19). But how can my desires ever reach or equal my
indebtedness? A befitting response on my part will be
impossible, but if it were possible, I would desire to give
it. O powerful and exalted Queen, fulfill thy promises
by manifesting to me thy graces and attributes, in order
that thy greatness may be made known and heralded
through the nations and generations. Speak, O Lady,
for thy servant heareth; speak and magnify the Most
High in the powerful and wonderful works, which his
right hand performed for Thee in thy most profound hu
mility. Let them flow from the hollow of his hands
filled with hyacinths into thine (Cant. 5, 14), and from
thine to thy devout servants, in order that the angels
may bless Him, the just magnify Him, and the sinners
seek Him. Let all of them see the example of thy high
est sanctity and purity, and by the grace of thy most holy
Son, let me be favored with this mirror and efficacious
rule, by which I can set my life in order. For this is to
be the principal purpose and first object of my solicitude
in writing thy life. This Thou hast repeatedly intimated
to me, condescending to offer me a living pattern and a
mirror without flaw, in which I should see and according
to which I should adorn my soul, so as to become worthy
to be thy daughter and the bride of thy most holy Son.
14. This shall be my whole object and intention; and
therefore I shall not write as a teacher, but as a disciple ;
not as one instructing, but as one trying to learn, know
ing that it is the duty of women to be silent in the holy
Church, and to listen to the teachers (I Cor. 14, 34).
But as an instrument of the Queen of heaven I will de
clare what She deigns to teach me and whatever She
commands me; for all the souls are capable of receiving
the Spirit, which her divine Son has promised to pour
out over men of all conditions (Joel 2, 28). The souls
are also able to communicate it in a befitting manner,
whenever a higher authority acting according to the dis
pensations of Christ s Church so disposes. I am now
convinced that the Church has authorized this history
through my superiors. That I should err is possible, and
to an ignorant woman, natural; but then I err, while
obeying and not acting of my own free will ; thus I remit
myself and subject myself to those who are my guides
and to the correction of the holy Catholic Church, to
whose ministers I fly in all my difficulties. And I wish
that my superior, teacher and confessor be a witness and
a censor of this doctrine, which I receive, and also a
severe and vigilant judge of the manner in which I put
it into practice, or fail in the fulfilling of the obligations
consequent upon this blessing.
15. Pursuant to the will of the Lord and the com
mand of obedience, I have written for the second time
this heavenly history; for during the first writing of it,
though the light by which I perceived the mysteries was
abundant and fruitful in proportion as my shortcomings
were great, my tongue was unequal to the task of finding
the proper terms, and my pen not swift enough for a full
statement. I omitted some things, and with the lapse of
time and by the aid of new enlightenments, I found my
self better prepared to write at this second time Nev
ertheless there always remains much of what I under
stood and have seen, which I must leave unsaid ; since to
say all will never be possible. Besides these reasons,
there was another known to me in the Lord, namely;
That in my first writing my mind was much hindered
from attending to the matter and arrangement of this
work by my temptations and great fears. They raised
such tempests of contrary thoughts and suggestions with
in me, that, deeming it the greatest presumption to have
attempted such an arduous task, I concluded to burn it.
And I believe that this did not happen without the per
mission of the Lord, for in the turbulency of my soul I
could not present myself in a state entirely befitting and
desirable to the Lord for writing and engraving into my
heart and spirit his doctrine, as He commands me to do
now and as can be seen from the following event.
16. On one of the festival days of the Purification of
Our Lady, after having received the most holy Sacra
ment, I wished to celebrate this holy festival, which was
the anniversary of my profession, with many acts of
thanksgiving and of total resignation to the Most High,
who without any merits of mine had chosen me as his
spouse. While I was thus exciting these affections, I felt
in my interior a most powerful change accompanied by
abundant light which raised me and urged me strongly
and sweetly toward the knowledge of the essence of God,
his goodness, perfections and attributes, and to the dis
closing of my own misery (Wis. 8, 1). And these dif
ferent things, which were placed before my understand
ing at one and the same time, produced in me various
effects: The first was that all the attention of my mind
and all my aspirations were raised on high; the other
effect was, that I was humbled in mind to the very dust,
in such a way that it seemed to take away my own exist
ence. At the same time I felt a most vehement sorrow
and contrition for my grievous sins, joined to the de
termination to amend and to renounce all worldly things,
aspiring instead toward complete love of God. In these
affects I remained as if annihilated, and the greatest pain
seemed but consolation, and death, but life. The Lord
having pity on my faintness, in sheer mercy, spoke t f)
me: "Be not dismayed, my daughter and spouse, for in
order to pardon, to wash and to purify thee from thy
sins, I will apply my infinite merits and the blood, which
I shed for thee; animate thyself to desire all perfection
in imitation of the life of the most holy Mary. Write it
a second time in order that thou mayest supply what was
wanting and impress her doctrines on thy heart. Do not
again irritate my justice, nor show thyself thankless for
my mercy by burning what thou shalt have written, lest
my indignation deprive thee of the light which, without
thy merits, thou hast received for the manifestation of
these mysteries."
17. I immediately thereupon saw the Mother of God,
who also spoke to me : "My daughter, as yet thou hast
not derived becoming fruit for thy soul from the tree of
life, which was offered thee in the writing of my history,
nor didst thou enter into the substance of its contents.
Thou hast scarcely yet thought of this hidden manna,
nor hast thou attained that perfect and ultimate prepara
tion, which the Almighty requires in order to engrave
and imprint, in a proper manner, my virtues into thy
soul. I am to give thee the befitting qualities and per
fections for that which the divine right hand is to accom
plish in thee. I have asked Him that, through my inter
cession and through the abundant graces conferred upon
me, I be permitted to adorn thee and compose thy soul,
so that thou mayest turn again to the writing of my life
with less attention to the material and more to the spir
itual and substantial part of it. Remove the hindrances
which oppose the currents of divine grace flowing to
thee from the Almighty through me and make thyself ca
pable of readily accepting the full portion assigned to thee
by the divine will. See that thou do not curtail or limit
by thy shortcomings and imperfections." Thereupon
I saw that the divine Mother clothed me in a garment
whiter than the snow and more shining than the sun;
and She girded me with a most precious girdle and said :
"This is a participation of my purity." I also asked for
the infused science of the Lord, which should serve me
as most beautiful hair for my adornment and for other
precious gifts and presents, the value of which I saw and
knew was great, but which I was not able fully to esti
mate. After having thus adorned me, the heavenly Lady
said: "Work faithfully and earnestly to imitate me and
to be my most perfect daughter, engendered of my spirit,
nourished at my breast I give thee my blessing, in
order that in my name and under my direction and assist
ance thou mayest again resume thy writing."
18. The whole of this holy life of Mary is divided,
for greater perspicuity, into three parts. The first treats
of all that pertains to the first fifteen years of her life,
from the moment of her most pure Conception until the
moment when in her virginal womb the eternal Word
assumed flesh, including all that the Most High per
formed for Mary during these years. The second part
embraces the mystery of the Incarnation, the whole life
of Christ our Lord, his Passion and Death and his As
cension into heaven, thus describing the life of our Queen
in union with that of her divine Son and all that She did
while living with Him. The third part contains the life
of the Mother of grace during the time She lived alone,
deprived of the companionship of Christ our Redeemer,
until the happy hour of her transition, assumption and
crowning as the Empress of heaven, where She is to live
eternally as the Daughter of the Father, the Mother of
the Son and the Spouse of the Holy Ghost. These three
parts I subdivided into eight books, in order that they
may be more convenient for use and always remain the
subject of my thoughts, the spur of my will and my
meditation day and night.
19. In order to say something of the time in which
I wrote this heavenly history, it must be noticed that my
father, brother Francis Coronel, and my mother, sister
Catharine de Arana, my parents, founded in their own
house this convent of the discalced nuns of the Immacu
late Conception by the command and the will of God,
which was declared to my mother, sister Catharine, in a
special vision and revelation. This foundation took place
on the octave of the Epiphany, January 13th, 1619. On
the same day we took the habit, my mother and her two
daughters; and my father took refuge in the order of our
seraphic Father Saint Francis, in which two of his sons
had already been living as religious. There he took the
habit, made his profession, lived an exemplary life, and
died a most holy death. My mother and myself received
the veil on the day of the Purification of the Queen of
heaven, on the second of February, 1620. On account
of the youth of the other daughter her profession was
delayed. The Almighty in his sheer goodness favored
our family so much, that all of us were consecrated to
Him in the religious state. In the eighth year of the
foundation of this convent, in the twenty-fifth of my age,
in the year of our Lord 1627, holy obedience imposed
upon me the office of abbess, which to this day I un
worthily hold. During the first ten years of the time in
which I held this office, I received many commands from
the Most High and from the Queen of heaven to write
her holy life, and I continued in fear and doubt to resist
these heavenly commands during all that time until the
year 1637, when I began to write it the first time. On
finishing it, being full of fears and tribulations, and be
ing so counseled by a confessor (who directed me dur
ing the absence of my regular confessor), I burned all
the writing containing not only this history, but many
other grave and mysterious matters ; for he told me, that
women should not write in the Church. I obeyed his
commands promptly ; but I had to endure most severe re
proaches on this account from my superiors and from the
confessor, who knew my whole life. In order to force
me to rewrite this history, they threatened me with cen
sures. The Most High and the Queen of heaven also
repeated their commands that I obey. During this sec
ond writing, so abundant was the light concerning the
divine Essence, so copious were the blessings of the di
vine right hand for the renewal and vivification of my
soul in the teachings of my heavenly Mother, so perfect
were the instructions and so exalted were the sacraments
communicated to me, that it was necessary to write an
other book in connection with this history, the title of
which will be: "Laws of the Spouse; heights of his di
vine love and fruits gathered from the tree of life of
most holy Mary, our Lady." By divine favor I begin re
writing this history on the eighth of December, 1655, on
the day of the Immaculate Conception.
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