The Work of God Apostolate

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 1 chapter 11 verses 134-163 Index

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


  INDEX            Book 1  Chapter  11    Verses:  134-163

134. In the eighth chapter of the Proverbs, Wisdom
says of Itself, that It was present in the Creation, or
dering all things conjointly with the Almighty (Prov.
8, 30). And I said above (No. 54) that this Wisdom is
the incarnate Word, who with his most holy Mother was
present, in spirit, when God resolved upon the creation
of the whole world; for in that instant the Son was not
only coexistent in divine essence with the Father and
the Holy Spirit, but also the human nature, which He
was to assume, was foreseen and conceived as the pro
totype of all works in the divine mind of the Father.
Conjointly with Him was also foreseen as present the
human nature of his most holy Mother, who was to
conceive Him in her most pure womb. In these two
Persons were foreseen all his works, so that on account
of Them (speaking in a human way) He overlooked all
that could offend Him in the conduct of the men and
angels that were to fall; for the conduct of the latter
was an inducement rather to desist from the creation of
the human race and of the things that were to sub
serve for their use.
135. The Most High looked upon his Son and upon
his most holy Mother as models, produced in the cul
mination of his wisdom and power, in order that They
might serve as prototypes according to which He was to
copy the whole human race. Thus the rest of men de
pended on these Two as Mediators between themselves
and God. He created also the necessary material beings
required for human life, but with such wisdom, that
some of them also serve as symbols, to represent in a
certain way these two Beings, which He primarily in
tended and to which all others were to be subservient,
namely, Christ and most holy Mary. On this account
He made the luminaries of heaven, the sun and the
moon (Gen. 1, 16) so that in dividing the day and the
night, they might symbolize the Sun of justice, Christ,
and his most holy Mother, who is beautiful as the moon
(Cant. 6, 9), for these Two divide the day of grace and
the night of sin. The sun illuminates the moon; and
both, together with the stars of the firmament, illumine
all other creatures within the confines of the universe.
136. He created the rest of the beings and added to
their perfection, because they were to be subservient to
Christ and most holy Mary, and through them to the
rest of men. Before the universe proceeded from its
nothingness, He set it as a banquet abundant and un
failing, and more memorable than the feast of Assuerus
(Esther 1, 3) ; for He was to create man for his delight
and to draw him to the enjoyment of his knowledge
and love. Like a most courteous and bounteous Lord
He did not wish that the invited guests should wait,
but that both the creation and the invitation to the ban
quet of his knowledge and love be one and the same
act. Man was not to lose any time in that which con
cerned him so much : namely, to know and to praise his
almighty Maker.
137. On the sixth day he formed and created Adam,
as it were of the age of thirty-three years. This was
the age in which Christ was to suffer death, and Adam
in regard to his body was so like unto Christ, that
scarcely any difference existed. Also according to the
soul Adam was similar to Christ. From Adam God
formed Eve so similar to the Blessed Virgin, that she was
like unto Her in personal appearance and in figure. God
looked upon these two images of the great Originals
with the highest pleasure and benevolence, and on ac
count of the Originals He heaped many blessings upon
them, as if He wanted to entertain Himself with them
and their descendants until the time should arrive for
forming Christ and Mary.
138. But the happy state in which God had created
the parents of the human race lasted only a very short
while. The envy of the serpent was immediately aroused
against them, for satan was impatiently awaiting their
creation, and no sooner were they created, than his
hatred became active against them. However, he was
not permitted to witness the formation of Adam and
Eve, as he had witnessed the creation of all other things :
for the Lord did not choose to manifest to him the cre
ation of man, nor the formation of Eve from a rib; all
these things were concealed from him for a space of time
until both of them were joined. But when the demon
saw the admirable composition of the human nature, per
fect beyond that of any other creature, the beauty of
the souls and also of the bodies of Adam and Eve ; when
he saw the paternal love with which the Lord regarded
them, and how He made them the lords of all creation,
and that He gave them hope of eternal life : the wrath of
the dragon was lashed to fury, and no tongue can de
scribe the rage with which that beast was filled, nor how
great was his envy and his desire to take the life of these
two beings. Like an enraged lion he certainly would
have done so, if he had not known, that a superior force
would prevent him. Nevertheless he studied and plotted
out some means, which would suffice to deprive them of
the grace of the Most High and make them God s
139. Here Lucifer was deceived; for the Lord had
from the beginning mysteriously manifested to him, that
the Word was to assume human nature in the womb of
the most holy Mary, but not how and when; and thus
He had also concealed the creation of Adam and the
formation of Eve, in order that Lucifer might from the
beginning labor under his ignorance concerning the mys
tery and the time of the Incarnation. As his wrath and
his watchfulness had thus been so signally forestalled in
regard to Christ and Mary, he suspected that Adam had
come forth from Eve, and that She was the Mother and
Adam the incarnate Word. His suspicions grew, when
he felt the divine power, which prevented him from
harming the life of these creatures. On the other hand
he soon became aware of the precepts of God, for these
did not remain concealed from him, since he heard their
conversation in regard to them. Being freed more and
more from his doubt as he listened to the words of the
first parents and sized up their natural gifts, he began
to follow them like a roaring lion (I Pet. 5, 8), seeking
an entrance through those inclinations, which he found
in each of them. Nevertheless, until he was undeceived
in the course of the Redemption, he continued to hesitate
between his wrath against Christ and Mary and the
dread of being overcome by Them. Most of all he
dreaded the confusion of being conquered by the Queen
of heaven, who was to be a mere creature and not God.
140. Taking courage therefore in the precept, which
was given to Adam and Eve, and having prepared the
snare, Lucifer entered with all his energy upon the work
of entrapping them and of opposing and hindering the
execution of the divine Will. He first approached the
woman, and not the man, because he knew her to be by
nature more frail and weak, and because in tempting her
he would be more certain that it was not Christ whom
he was encountering. Against her also he was more en
raged ever since he had seen the sign in the heaven and
since the threat, which God had made in it against him.
On all these accounts his wrath was greater against Eve
than against Adam. Before he showed himself to her,
however, he aroused in her many disturbing thoughts
or imaginations, in order to approach her in a state of
excitement and pre-occupation. But because I have
written about this in another place, I will not enlarge
here upon the violence and inhumanity of this tempta
tion ; it is enough for my purpose to mention what Scrip
ture says : that he took the form of a serpent (Gen. 3, 1),
and thus speaking to Eve drew her into a conversation,
which she should not have permitted. Listening to him
and answering, she began to believe him; then she vio
lated the command of God, and finally persuaded her
husband likewise to transgress the precept. Thus ruin,
overtook them and all the rest: for themselves and for
us they lost the happy position, in which God had placed
141. When Lucifer saw the two fallen and their in
terior beauty and grace and original justice changed
into the ugliness of sin, he celebrated his triumph with
incredible joy and vaunting in the company of his
demons. But he soon fell from his proud boasting,
when he saw, contrary to his expectations, how kindly
the merciful love of God dealt with the delinquents, and
how He offered them a chance of doing penance by giv130
ing them hope of pardon and return of grace. More
over he saw how they were disposing themselves to
ward this forgiveness by sorrow and contrition, and how
the beauty of grace was restored to them. When the
demons perceived the effect of contrition, all hell was
again in confusion. His consternation grew, when he
heard the sentence, which God pronounced against the
guilty ones, in which he himself was implicated. More
especially and above all was he tormented by the repeti
tion of that threat: The Woman shall crush thy head
(Gen. 3, 15), which he had already heard in heaven.
142. The offspring of Eve multiplied after the fall
and so arose the distinction and the multiplication of the
good and the bad, the elect and the reprobate, the ones
following Christ the Redeemer, and the others follow
ing satan. The elect cling to their Leader by faith, hu
mility, charity, patience and all the virtues and in order
to obtain victory, they are assisted, helped and beauti
fied by the divine grace and the gifts, which the Re
deemer and Lord of all merited for them. But the repro
bate, without receiving any such benefits from their false
leader, or earning any other reward than the eternal
pain and the confusion of hell, follow him in pride, pre
sumption, obscenity and wickedness, being led into these
disorders by the father of lies and the originator of sin.
143. Notwithstanding all this the Most High, in his
ineffable kindness, gave our first parents his benediction,
in order that the human race might grow and multiply
(Gen. 4, 3). The most high Providence permitted,
that Eve, in the unjust Cain, should bring forth a type
of the evil fruits of sin, and in the innocent Abel, both
in figure and in imitation, the type of Christ our Lord.
For in the first just one the law and doctrine of Christ
began to exert its effects. All the rest of the just were
to follow it, suffering for justice sake (Matth. 10, 22),
hated and persecuted by the sinners and the reprobate
and by their own brothers. Accordingly, patience, hu
mility and meekness began to appear in Abel, and in
Cain, envy and all wickedness, for the benefit of the just
and for his own perdition. The wicked triumph and the
good suffer, exhibiting the spectacle, which the world in
its progress shows to this day, namely, the Jerusalem
of the godfearing and the Babylon of the godforsaken,
each with its own leader and head.
144. The Most High also wished that the first Adam
should be the type of the second in the manner of their
creation; for, just as before the creation of the first,
He created and ordered for him the republic of all the
beings, of which he was to be the lord and head; so be
fore the appearance of his Onlybegotten, He allowed
many ages to pass by, in order that his Son might, in the
multiplied numbers of the human race, find prepared for
Himself a people, of which He was to be the Head, the
Teacher, and the King. He was not to be even for a
moment without a people and without followers : such is
the wonderful harmony and order, in which the divine
wisdom disposed all things, making that later in the
execution, which was first in the intention.
145. As the world progressed in its course, in order
that the Word might descend from the bosom of the
Father and clothe Itself in our mortality, God selected
and prepared a chosen and most noble people, the most
admirable of past and future times. Within it also He
constituted a most illustrious and holy race, from which
He was to descend according to the flesh. I will not
linger in detailing the genealogy of Christ our Lord,
for the account of the holy Evangelists has made that
unnecessary. I will only say, in praise of the Most
High, that He has shown to me many times the incom
parable love, which He bore toward his people, the fa
vors shown to it, and the mysteries and holy Sacraments,
which He entrusted to it, as was afterwards made mani
fest through his holy Church. For at no time has slept
nor slumbered He, who has constituted Himself the
watcher of Israel (Ps. 120, 4).
146. He reared most holy Prophets and Patriarchs,
who in figures and prophecies announced to us from far
off, that, which we have now in possession. He wishes
us to venerate them, knowing how they esteemed the law
of grace and how earnestly they yearned and prayed for
it. To this people God manifested his immutable Es
sence by many revelations, and they again transmitted
these revelations to us by the holy Scriptures, contain
ing immense mysteries, which we grasp and learn to
know by faith. All of them, however, are brought to
perfection and are made certain by the incarnate Word,
who transmitted to us the secure rule of faith and the
nourishment of the sacred Scriptures in his Church. Al
though the Prophets and the just ones of that people
were not so far favored as to see Christ in his body,
they nevertheless experienced the liberality of the Lord,
who manifested Himself to them by prophecies and who
moved their hearts to pray for his coming and for the
Redemption of the whole human race. The consonance
and harmony of all these prophecies, mysteries and as
pirations of the ancient fathers, were a sweet music to
the Most High, which resounded in the secret recesses
of the Divinity and which regaled and shortened the
time (to speak in a human manner) until He should de
scend to converse with man.
147. In order not to be detained too much in that,
which the Lord has revealed to me regarding this and in
order to arrive at the preparations, which the Lord made
for sending to the world the incarnate Word and His
most holy Mother, I will rehearse these mysteries suc
cinctly according to the order given in the holy Scrip
tures. Genesis contains that which concerns the begin
ning and the creation of the world for the human race ;
the division of the earth, the chastisement and the resto
ration, the confusion of tongues, and the origin of the
chosen race, humbled in Egypt; and the many other
great sacraments revealed to Moses by God, in order
that we may be led to know his love and the justice to
wards men from the beginning drawing them to his
knowledge and service, and to foreshadow that, which
He has resolved to do in the future.
148. The book of Exodus contains what happened in
Egypt with the chosen people, the plagues and punish
ments, which God sent in order to rescue them; their
departure and march through the sea; the written law
given with such great preparations and wonders; and
many other great sacraments, which the Lord provided
for his people, visiting now their enemies, now them
selves with afflictions, chastising their enemies with the
severity of a Judge, correcting the Israelites with the
benignity of a Father and teaching them to appreciate
his benefits by sending severe hardships. He worked
great wonders with the staff of Moses, which prefigured
the cross on which the incarnate Word was to be sacri
ficed as the Lamb, a salvation to many, a ruin to others
(Luc. 2, 34). It was like the staff of Moses, and like
the Red Sea, the waves of which shielded the people
and annihilated the Egyptians. Thus he filled the lives
of the saints with joys and sorrows, with hardships and
with comforts; with infinite wisdom and providence He
symbolized in them the life and the death of Christ our
149. In the book of the Levites He describes and
ordains many sacrifices and ceremonies of the law for
placating the Divinity; for they were to point out the
Lamb, which was to be immolated for all men ; and they
pointed out also ourselves, immolated to the Majesty of
God in reality, as was prefigured in these sacrifices. It
also describes the vestments of Aaron, the highpriest and
type of Christ, although Christ was not to be of that
inferior order but of the order of Melchisedech (Ps.
120, 4).
150. The book of Numbers describes the wanderings
of the Israelites in the desert, prefiguring what was to
happen with the holy Church, with the Onlybegotten as
man, and with his most holy Mother; and also with the
rest of the just, who, in different aspects, were prefigured
in the column of fire, in the manna, in the rock giving
forth water. It contains also other great mysteries,
which are comprehended in the events there recorded,
likewise the mysteries pertaining to numbers, in all of
which deep secrets are hidden.
151. Deuteronomy is like a second law, a repetition
of the first, but given in a different way and prefiguring
more closely the law of the Gospels. For as according
to the hidden judgments of God and according to the
propriety known to his wisdom, the Incarnation of the
Son was to be deferred, He renewed and rearranged
these laws in order that they might be more like to those,
which He was to establish for his Onlybegotten.
152. Josue or Jesus Nave conducts the people of God
into the promised land ; he divides the Jordan to allow
the passage of the multitudes, achieves great things,
typifying plainly the Redeemer as well in name as in
deed. His history represents the destruction of the king
dom of the devil, the separation and the division of the
good and bad, which will happen in the last day.
153. After Josue, when the people had already come
into the possession of the promised and wished-for land,
which primarily and appropriately signifies the Church
acquired by Jesus Christ through the price of his blood,
comes the book of the Judges. These were ordained by
God for the government of his people, especially during
the wars, which on account of their sins and idolatries
were waged against them by the Philistines and other
neighboring enemies. From these God freed and deliv
ered them, whenever they returned to God by penance
and amendment of life. In it are also related the deeds of
Deborah while judging the people and liberating them
from great oppression; also those of Jahel, who helped
them to victory, mighty and courageous women both.
All these deeds of history prefigure and illustrate what
was to happen in the Church.
154. After the generation of the Judges came the
Kings, for whom the Israelites petitioned in their desire
of imitating the government of the surrounding nations.
These books contain great mysteries concerning the com
ing of the Messias. Heli, the priest, and Saul, the king,
prefigure in their death the reprobation of the old law.
Sadoc and David, typify the new reign and priesthood
of Christ and also the Church with the small number,
which were to belong to it in comparison to the rest of
men in the world. The other kings of Israel and Juda
and their captivities presignify other great mysteries of
the holy Church.
155. During the aforesaid times lived the most patient
Job, whose words are so mysterious, that there is not
one without its profound sacramental meaning concern
ing the life of Christ our Lord, the resurrection of the
dead, the last judgment in the same flesh, in which each
one lives, and concerning the violence and astuteness of
the demons and their warfare against men. Above all
has God placed him as an example of patience for us
mortals, for in him we all may learn how we are to bear
our adversities; especially as we have before our eyes
the death of Christ, whereas this saint saw Him only at
such a distance and yet imitated Him so closely.
156. In the writings of the many and great Prophets
moreover, which God sent in the time of the kings to
provide for special necessities, not one of the great mys
teries and sacraments pertaining to the coming of the
Messiah and his law, remained undeclared or unrevealed.
The same thing, although more at a distance, God ac
complished in the ancient Fathers and Patriarchs. In
all this He only multiplied the likenesses, and, as it were,
the patterns of the incarnate Word, and prearranged and
prepared for Him a people, and the law, which He was
to teach.
157. In the three great patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac
and Jacob, He deposited great and precious pledges call
ing Himself the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He
wished to honor Himself in the name at the same time
that He honored them, manifesting his dignity and his
excellent virtues and sacraments, and confiding them to
their care, in order that they might furnish so honorable
a name to God. The patriarch Abraham, in order to
prefigure vividly, that which the eternal Father was to do
with his Onlybegotten, was tempted and tried by the
command to sacrifice his only son Isaac (Gen. 22, 1).
When, however, this obedient father was about to com
plete the sacrifice, the same Lord, who had given the
commandment, impeded its execution; for such a heroic
sacrifice was to be reserved to the eternal Father, who
alone was to sacrifice in effect his Onlybegotten: only
in a symbolic manner can Abraham be said to have done
the same: for thus it will appear, that the zeal of divine
love is (Cant. 8, 6) strong as death. It was not how
ever beseeming, that such an expressive figure should
remain altogether unaccomplished and therefore the sac
rifice of Abraham was fulfilled by the killing of a ram,
being likewise a figure of the Lamb, which was to pay for
the sins of the world (Joan 1, 29).
158. To Jacob was shown that mysterious ladder, full
of sacraments and hidden import (Gen. 28, 12), princi
pally to represent the incarnate Word as the way and
the means of ascending to the Father, and of his descend
ing to us. On it also ascend and descend the angels,
who illuminate and guide us, bearing us up in their
hands, so that we may not stumble over the rocks of the
errors, heresies, and vices, with which the path of mortal
life is strewn (Ps. 90, 12). In the midst of them we
pass securely up this stairs in the faith and hope of his
holy Church, which is the house of the Lord, the portal
of heaven and holiness.
159. In order to make him the god of Pharao and the
leader of his people He showed to Moses the mystical
thornbush, which burned without being consumed and
which foreshadowed the Divinity covered with our hu
manity, leaving the Divinity intact by the humanity and
the humanity unconsumed by the Divinity. At the same
time it also signified the perpetual virginity of the
Mother of the Word, not only of her body, but of her
soul, so that, although She was a daughter of Adam and
came vested in the sin-tainted nature derived from Adam,
She nevertheless was without stain or offense.
160. He raised also for Himself David according to
his own heart (I Reg. 13, 14), who worthily sang the
praise of the Most High, comprehending in his Psalms
all the sacraments and mysteries not only of the law of
grace, but of the written and natural law. And the
testimonies, judgments and works of the Lord, which
were pronounced by his lips, David also treasured up
in his heart, meditating on them day and night. In
pardoning his enemies, he was an express image and
figure of God forgiving us. Thus all his promises con
cerning the coming of the Redeemer were made more
certain to the world.
161. Solomon, the king of peace, was an image of
the King of kings ; for by his great wisdom he manifested
in different kinds of writings the sacraments and mys
teries of Christ, especially in the similitudes of the
Canticles. For there he exposed the mysteries of the
incarnate Word, of his most holy Mother, of his Church
and of the faithful. He taught also right behavior in
different ways, opening up a fountain of truth and lifegiving
knowledge for many other writers.
162. But who can worthily exalt the benefits He pro
vided for his people in the praiseworthy host of holy
Prophets, through whom the Lord has spread the light
of prophecy, lighting up as from afar the holy Church,
and commencing in advance to shed the rays of the Sun
of justice and of the efficacious law of grace? The two
great Prophets, Isaias and Jeremias, were chosen to
preach to us, in a sweet and exalted manner, the mys
teries of the Incarnation of the Word, his Birth, Life
and Death. Isaias promised us, that a Virgin should
conceive and give birth to a Son, who would call him
self Emmanuel ; that a little son shall be born- to us, who
shall bear his kingdom on his shoulder (Is. 7, 14; 9, 6).
All the rest of the life of the Christ he proclaims with
such clearness, that his prophecies are like a gospel.
Jeremias announces the unheard of wonder, that God
will cause a Woman to bear in her womb a man, who
is at the same time to be a God and perfect man, who
alone can be Christ (Jer. 31, 22). He announced his
coming, his passion, ignominy and death (Thren. 3, 28).
Wonder and suspense fill me in the consideration of
these prophets. Isaias asks the Lord to send the Lamb,
which is to rule the world from the rocks of the desert
to the mountain of the daughter of Sion ; for this Lamb,
the incarnate Word, calls the heavens a desert, where as
God He dwelt without the society of men (Is. 16, 1).
He calls Him rock, on account of the stability of his
throne and of the unaltered rest of eternity which He
enjoys. The mountain, from which He is asked to come,
is in the mystical sense, the holy Church and first of all,
the most holy Mary, the Daughter of the vision of peace,
that is Sion. The prophet interposes Her as the Media
trix, to induce the eternal Father to send his Onlybegotten,
the Lamb. For in all the rest of the human race
there was nothing to influence Him so much as to have
Her as his Mother, who was to clothe Him with the
spotless fleece of the most holy humanity. All this is
contained in that most sweet prayer and prophecy of
163. Ezekiel also saw this Virgin Mother in the fig
ure and likeness of the closed gate (Ezekiel 44, 2),
which was open only for the God of Israel and through
which no other man could enter. Habacuc contemplates
Christ our Lord on the cross and in most profound
words prophesies the mysteries of the Redemption and
the wonderful effects of the passion and death of our
Redeemer (Hab. 3). Joel describes the land of the twelve
tribes, prefiguring the apostles, who were to be the
heads of all the sons of the Church. He also announces
the descent of the Holy Ghost upon his servants and
handmaids, foretelling the time of the coming, and of the
life of Christ. And all the other prophets announced in
part the same thing, for God wished all his great works
to be announced, prophesied and prefigured far in ad
vance and so completely, that they might testify the
love and care, which He had for men and with which
He enriched his Church. He wished also to reprehend
us and convict us of our lukewarmness, since these
ancient Fathers and Prophets, seeing only the shadows
and figures, were inflamed with divine love and broke
forth in canticles of praise and exaltation of the Lord,
whereas we, who enjoy the truth and the bright day of
grace, remain buried in fortgetfulness of so great bene
fits, and, forsaking the light, continue to seek the dark
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