The Work of God Apostolate

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 5 chapter 15 verses 162-174 Index

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

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 5 chapter 15 verses 162-174OF THE HAPPY DEATH OF SAINT JOSEPH AND WHAT FOLLOWED UPON IT : HOW JESUS, OUR REDEEMER, AND BLESSED MARY, OUR LADY, ASSISTED AT HIS PASSING AWAY.

  INDEX            Book 5  Chapter  15    Verses:  162-174


162. Already eight years saint Joseph had been exer
cised by his infirmities and sufferings, and his noble
soul had been purified more and more each day in the
crucible of affliction and of divine love. As the time
passed his bodily strength gradually diminished and he
approached the unavoidable end, in which the stipend of
death is paid by all of us children of Adam (Heb. 9,
27). In like manner also increased the care and solici
tude of his heavenly Spouse, our Queen, assisting and
serving him with unbroken punctuality. Perceiving, in
her exalted wisdom, that the day and hour for his depart
ure from this cumbrous earth was very near, the loving
Lady betook Herself to her blessed Son and said to Him :
"Lord God Most High, Son of the eternal Father and
Savior of the world, by thy divine light I see the hour
approaching which thou hast decreed for the death of
thy servant Joseph. I beseech Thee, by thy ancient
mercies and by thy infinite bounty, to assist him in that
hour by thy almighty power. Let his death be as
precious in thy eyes, as the uprightness of his life was
pleasing to Thee, so that he may depart in peace and in
the certain hope of the eternal reward to be given to
him on the day in which Thou shalt open the gates of
heaven for all the faithful. Be mindful, my Son, of the
humility and love of thy servant; of his exceeding great
merits and virtues; of the fidelity and solicitude by
which this just man has supported Thee and me, thy
humble handmaid, in the sweat of his brow."
163. Our Savior answered: "My Mother, thy request
is pleasing to me, and the merits of Joseph are acceptable
in my eyes. I will now assist him and will assign him a
place among the princes of my people (Ps. 115, 15), so
high that he will be the admiration of the angels and will
cause them and all men to break forth in highest praise.
With none of the human born shall I do as with thy
spouse." The great Lady gave thanks to her sweetest Son
for this promise ; and, for nine days and nights before the
death of saint Joseph he uninterruptedly enjoyed the
company and attendance of Mary or hier divine Son. By
command of the Lord the holy angels, three times on
each of the nine days, furnished celestial music, mixing
their hymns of praise with the benedictions of the sick
man. Moreover, their humble but most precious dwell
ing was rilled with the sweetest fragrance and odors so
wonderful that they comforted not only saint Joseph,
but invigorated all the numerous persons who happened
to come near the house.
164. One day before he died, being wholly inflamed
with divine love on account of these blessings, he was
wrapped in an ecstasy which lasted twenty-four hours.
The Lord himself supplied strength for this miraculous
intercourse. In this ecstasy he saw clearly the divine Es
sence, and, manifested therein, all that he had believed by
faith : the incomprehensible Divinity, the mystery of the
Incarnation and Redemption, the militant Church with all
its Sacraments and mysteries. The blessed Trinity com
missioned and assigned him as the messenger of our
Savior to the holy Patriarchs and Prophets of limbo;
and commanded him to prepare them for their issuing
forth from this bosom of Abraham to eternal rest and
happiness. All this most holy Mary saw reflected in the
soul of her divine Son together with all the other mys
teries, just as they had been made known to her beloved
spouse, and She offered her sincerest thanks for all this
to her Lord.
165. When saint Joseph issued from this ecstasy his
face shone with wonderful splendor and his soul was
entirely transformed by his vision of the essence of
God. He asked his blessed Spouse to give him her
benediction; but She requested her divine Son to bless
him in her stead, which He did. Then the great Queen
of humility, falling on her knees, besought saint Joseph
to bless Her, as being her husband and head. Not with
out divine impulse the man of God fulfilled this request
for the consolation of his most prudent Spouse. She
kissed the hand with which he blessed Her and asked him
to salute the just ones of limbo in her name. The most
humble Joseph, sealing his life with an act of self-abase
ment, asked pardon of his heavenly Spouse for all his
deficiencies in her service and love and begged Her to
grant him her assistance and intercession in this hour of
his passing away. The holy man also rendered humblest
thanks to her Son for all the blessings of his life and
especially for those received during this sickness. The
last words which saint Joseph spoke to his Spouse were :
" Blessed art Thou among all women and elect of all the
creatures. Let angels and men praise Thee; let all the
generations know, praise and exalt thy dignity ; and may
in Thee be known, adored and exalted the name of the
Most High through all the coming ages; may He be
eternally praised for having created Thee so pleasing in
his eyes and in the sight of all the blessed spirits. I hope
to enjoy thy sight in the heavenly fatherland."
166. Then this man of God, turning toward Christ,
our Lord, in profoundest reverence, wished to kneel
before Him. But the sweetest Jesus, coming near,
received him in his arms, where, reclining his head upon
them, Joseph said : My highest Lord and God, Son of
the eternal Father, Creator and Redeemer of the World,
give thy blessing to thy servant and the work of thy
hand; pardon, O most merciful King, the faults which
I have committed in thy service and intercourse. I
extol and magnify Thee and render eternal and heartfelt
thanks to Thee for having, in thy ineffable condescension,
chosen me to be the spouse of thy true Mother; let thy
greatness and glory be my thanksgiving for all eternity."
The Redeemer of the world gave him his benediction,
saying: "My father, rest in peace and in the grace of
my eternal Father and mine; and to the Prophets and
Saints, who await thee in limbo, bring the joyful news
of the approach of their redemption." At these words of
Jesus, and reclining in his arms, the most fortunate saint
Joseph expired and the Lord himself closed his eyes. At
the same time the multitude of the angels, who attended
upon their King and Queen, intoned hymns of praise in
loud and harmonious voices. By command of the Lord
they carried his most holy soul to the gathering-place
of the Patriarchs and Prophets, where it was immedi
ately recognized by all as clothed in the splendors of
incomparable grace, as the putative father and the inti
mate friend of the Redeemer, worthy of highest venera
tion. Conformably to the will and mandate of the Lord,
his arrival spread inutterable joy in this countless gather
ing of the saints by the announcement of their speedy
rescue.
167. It is necessary to mention that the long sickness
and sufferings which preceded the death of saint Joseph
was not the sole cause and occasion of his passing away;
for with all his infirmities he could have extended the
term of his life, if to them he had not joined the fire of
the intense love within his bosom. In order that his
death might be more the triumph of his love than of the
effects of original sin, the Lord suspended the special and
miraculous assistance by which his natural forces were
enabled to withstand the violence of his love during his
lifetime. As soon as this divine assistance was with
drawn, nature was overcome by his love and the bonds
and chains, by which this most holy soul was detained in
its mortal body, were at once dissolved and the separa
tion of the soul from the body in which death con
sists took place. Love was then the real cause of the
death of saint Joseph, as I have said above. This was
at the same time the greatest and most glorious of all
his infirmities for in it death is but a sleep of the body
and the beginning of real life.
168. Her spouse having thus passed away, the great
Lady began to prepare his body for burial according to
Jewish custom. No other hands touched him than her
own and those of the holy angels, who assisted Her in
visible human forms. In order that the utmost propriety
might be observed by the Virgin Mother, God enveloped
the body of saint Joseph in a wonderful light, which hid
all except his countenance; and thus his purest Spouse,
although She clothed him for burial, saw only his face.
Sweetest fragrance exhaled from his body and it
remained so beautiful and lifelike, that the neighboring
people eagerly came to see it and were filled with admira
tion. Accompanied by the Redeemer of the world, his
most blessed Mother and a great multitude of angels, and
escorted by their friends and many others, the sacred
body of the most glorious saint Joseph was borne to the
common burying place. But on all these occasions and
in these occupations, the most prudent Queen preserved
her composure and gravity, without allowing her counte
nance to exhibit any unwomanly or disorderly excite
ment; nor did her sorrow prevent Her from attending
to all that belonged to the service of her deceased spouse
or her divine Son. In every one of her movements was
visible the royal and magnanimous behavior of the Queen
of the human race. She reiterated her thankful acknowl
edgment of the great favors done to her spouse by the
son of God and, prostrate at his feet in new abasement
of humility, She said to Him: "Lord and Master of
my whole being, my true Son, the holiness of my spouse
Joseph might until now have detained Thee in my com
pany; though unworthy of it, I beseech Thee by thy
own goodness not to forsake me now; receive me anew
as thy servant and look upon the humble desires and
longings of my heart." The Savior of the world accepted
this new offering of his most holy Mother and He
promised not to leave Her until the time when obedience
to his eternal Father would oblige Him to begin his
life of public preaching.
TEACHING OF MARY, THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN.
169. My dearest daughter, it was not without special
reason that thy heart was moved to great compassion
and pity toward those who are at the point of death
and that thou art inspired with a desire to help them in
that hour; for it is true, as thou hast perceived, that
then the souls of men incur the most incredible and
dangerous attacks from the demons, as well as from
their own frailty and from the creatures around them.
That hour is the great trial of life, upon which depends
the last sentence of eternal death or eternal life, of
eternal suffering or eternal glory. As the Most High
has condescendingly vouchsafed to fill thee with these
sentiments, I exhort thee to exert all thy powers and
faculties to act accordingly. Remember, then, my
friend, that when Lucifer and his satellites of darkness
perceive, by the course of natural events, that any one
falls a prey to a dangerous and mortal disease, they
immediately prepare to assail the poor and unbewaring
soul with all their malice and astuteness in order to
vanquish them if possible by various temptations. When
ever they see an opening for attacking the souls, they
try to supply in fury and malice the shortness of time.
170. At such times they gather like v
blood-thirsty
wolves and search out the natural and acquired failings
in his nature, taking into account his inclinations, habits
and customs, and where his passions cause him greater
weakness, in order to direct toward this part the
strongest battery and engines of war. Those that have
a disorderly love of earthly life, they persuade that there
is not such great danger and they prevent others from
undeceiving them. Those that have been negligent in
the reception of the Sacraments, they try to make still
more careless and they place obstacles and difficulties in
the way in order that they may die without them, or in
order that they may receive them without fruit and with
a bad disposition. Others they fill with false suggestions
and shame in order that they may not confess their sins
and open their conscience. Others they confuse and try
to prevent from making proper restitution and thus
unburdening their consciences. Others, who love vanity,
they entangle, even at that last hour, in many vain and
proud desires with regard to what is to be done for them
after death. Those that have been avaricious or sensual,
they seek to excite violently toward what they loved so
blindly during life. In short, of all the bad habits and
customs this cruel enemy avails himself in order to
fill their minds with images of creatures and draw them
away from their salvation or make them incapable of
it. All the sinful actions and vicious habits of their
previous life have become, as it were, pledges in the
hands of the common enemy for the possession of the
sinner and weapons for assault and battery in this tre
mendous hour of death. Every appetite, which has been
inordinately indulged, is an avenue or bypath by which
he enters into the citadel of the soul. Once in, he
breathes forth his pestilential fumes, and raises the
clouds of darkness, his proper work, so that the soul
may not give heed to the divine inspirations, have no true
sorrow for its sins, and do no penance for its wicked
life.
171. Generally these enemies cause a great damage
to the souls in that hour by exciting the vain hope of
a longer life and being able to execute later on what
God suggests to them by means of the holy angels. Giv
ing way to this deceit, they find themselves afterwards
betrayed and lost. Just as great is the danger of those
who have shown little esteem for the saving graces of
the Sacraments: for this contempt is very offensive to
the Lord and to the saints, and divine justice is wont
to punish it by leaving these souls to their own wicked
counsels. This leads them to great neglect in profiting
by this help. Thus they are themselves forsaken by the
Lord in their last hour, in which they expected to pro
vide for their salvation. There are few among the just
whom this ancient serpent does not furiously attack in
their last agony. And if satan boasts of having ruined
even saints at such times, what hope have the wicked,
the negligent and sinful, who have spent their whole
lives in making themselves unworthy of divine favor
and grace, and who are devoid of meritorious works to
offset the assaults of their enemies? My holy Spouse,
saint Joseph, was one of those who enjoyed the privilege
of neither seeing nor feeling the presence of the demon
in his last hour; for as soon as they approached to deal
with him as they do with the rest of men, they felt a
powerful force, which kept them at a distance and the
holy angels hurled them back into their abyss. Seeing
themselves thus oppressed and crushed, they were seized
with great uneasiness and confusion. Almost stupefied,
Lucifer called a meeting of his followers in hell, in order
to consult about this surprising event and in order
to have them once more search the earth for the Messias ;
and then happened what thou shalt relate later on in its
place.
172. Hence thou wilt understand the great danger in
the hour of death, when both the good works and the
bad will begin to show their effects. I will not tell
thee how many are thus lost, in order that thy sincere
love of God may not cause thee to die of sorrow at
this loss. But the general rule is: a good life gives
hope of a good end; all other reliance is doubtful, and
salvation resting upon it is very rare and merely acci
dental. The best precaution is to take a good start from
afar; and therefore I admonish thee, that, at the dawn
ing of each day, when thou lookest upon the light, thou
seriously consider whether it may not be the last of
thy life, and, if it should be the last (for thou dost not
know), that thou place thy soul in such a state as to be
able to meet death with a smiling face. Do not delay
even for one instant sorrow for thy sins and a firm pur
pose of confessing them as soon as thou findest thyself
guilty of any and of amending the least of thy imperfec
tions. In all this be so careful that thou leave not upon
thy conscience the smallest defect without being sorry
for it and without cleansing thyself by the blood of my
most holy Son. Place thyself in such a condition that
thou art ready to appear before the just Judge, who is
to examine and judge thy least thoughts and all thy
movements.
173. In order that according to thy pious wishes, thou
mayest help those who are in danger of death, thou
shouldst give to others the same counsels that I have
now given thee. Exhort them to lead a careful life in
order to secure a happy death. Moreover, say some
prayers for this intention every day of thy life, fervently
asking the Almighty to disperse the deceits of the devils,
to destroy the snares prepared against those who are in
the throes of death, and that his right hand confound
all the demons. Know that I have directed my prayers
to that end for mortals and in this I wish thee to imitate
me. That thou mayest help them so much the more, I
wish thee to order and command the demons to depart
from the sick and stop their persecutions ; and thou canst
very efficaciously use this power, even when thou art
absent from the sick, for thou art to command them in
the name of the Lord, and thou art to compel them to
obey thee for his greater honor and glory.
174. When thy own religious are in danger of death
do thou, without exciting them, instruct them in what they
are to do. Admonish them and help them to receive
the holy Sacraments, and see that they receive them fre
quently during life in preparation for a good end. Seek
to encourage and console them, speaking to them of the
things of God and his mysteries contained in the holy
Scriptures. Exhort them to awaken their good inten
tions and desires and to prepare themselves to receive
the light and the graces of the Most High. Excite them
to hope, strengthen them against temptations and teach
them how they are to resist and overcome them, seeking
to divine them before they themselves manifest them
to thee. The Almighty will give thee an understanding
of them so that thou mayest apply the right medicine
to each; for the infirmities of the soul are hard to
diagnose and cure. All that I now tell thee thou must
execute as the most beloved daughter of the Lord and
in his service, and I will procure for thee certain privi
leges for thyself and for those thou desirest to aid in
that terrible hour. Do not stint thy charity in these
works for thou shalt work not by thy own strength alone,
but by the power which God wishes to exercise in thee
for his own glory.
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