The Work of God Apostolate

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 1 chapter 13 verses 178-189 Index

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

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 1 chapter 13 verses 178-189HOW THE: CONCEPTION OF THE MOST HOLY MARY WAS ANNOUNCED BY THE ARCHANGEL GABRIEL, AND HOW GOD PREPARED HOLY ANNE FOR IT BY A SPECIAL FAVOR.

  INDEX            Book 1  Chapter  13    Verses:  178-189


178. The petitions of the holy Joachim and Anne
reached the throne of the holy Trinity, where they were
accepted and the will of God was made known to the
holy angels. The three divine Persons, according to
our way of expressing such things, spoke to them as fol
lows : "We have in our condescension resolved, that the
Person of the Word shall assume human flesh and that
through Him all the race of mortals shall find a remedy.
We have already manifested and promised this to our
servants, the Prophets, in order that they might an
nounce it to the world. The sins of the living, and their
malice are so great, that We are much, constrained by
the rigor of justice. But our goodness and mercy is
greater than all their evil-doing, nor can it extinguish
our love toward men. We will look with mercy upon
the works of our hands, which We have created accord
ing to our image and likeness, so as to enable them to
become inheritors and participators of our eternal glory
(I Pet. 3, 22). We will consider the services and the
pleasure derived from our servants and friends and re
gard the multitude of those, who shall distinguish them
selves in our praise and friendship. And above all have
We before our eyes Her, who is to be the chosen One,
who is to be acceptable above all creatures and singled
out for our delight ana pleasure; because She is to con
ceive the person of the Word in her womb and clothe
Him with human flesh. Since there must be a beginning
of this work, by which We shall manifest to the world
the treasures of the Divinity, this shall be the acceptable
and opportune time for its execution. Joachim and
Anne have found grace in our eyes ; We look upon them
with pleasure and shall enrich them with choicest gifts
and graces. They have been faithful and constant in
their trials and in simplicity and uprightness their souls
have become acceptable and pleasing before Us. Let
Gabriel as our ambassador bring tidings of joy for them
and for the whole human race; let him announce to
them, that in our condescension We have looked upon
them and chosen them."
179. Thus the celestial spirits were instructed in re
gard to the will and the decree of the Almighty. The
holy archangel Gabriel humbled himself before the
throne of the most blessed Trinity, adoring and revering
the divine Majesty in the manner which befits these most
pure and spiritual substances. From the throne an in
tellectual voice proceeded, saying: "Gabriel, enlighten,
vivify and console Joachim and Anne, our servants, and
tell them, that their prayers have come to our presence
and their petitions are heard in clemency. Promise them,
that by the favor of our right hand they will receive
the Fruit of benediction, and that Anne shall conceive a
Daughter, to whom We give the name of MARY."
180. Together with this mandate of the Most High
many mysteries and sacraments pertaining to this mes
sage were revealed to saint Gabriel. With it he de
scended from the vault of the empyrean heaven and ap
peared to holy Joachim, while he was in prayer, saying
to him: "Just and upright man, the Almighty from his
sovereign throne has taken notice of thy desires and has
heard thy sighs and prayers, and has made thee for
tunate on earth. Thy spouse Anne shall conceive and
bear a Daughter, who shall be blessed among women
(Luc. 1, 42, 48). The nations shall know Her as the
Blessed. He who is the eternal God, increate, and
the Creator of all, most upright in his judgments, power
ful and strong, sends me to thee, because thy works and
alms have been acceptable. Love has softened the heart
of the Almighty, and has hastened his mercies, and in
his liberality He wishes to enrich thy house and thy fam
ily with a Daughter, whom Anne shall conceive; the
Lord himself has chosen for Her the name of MARY.
From her childhood let Her be consecrated to the temple,
and in it to God, as thou hast promised. She shall be
elect, exalted, powerful and full of the Holy Ghost; on
account of the sterility of Anne her conception shall be
miraculous; She shall be a Daughter wonderful in all
her doings and in all her life. Praise the Lord, Joachim,
for this benefit and magnify Him, for in no other na
tion has He wrought the like. Thou shalt go to give
thanks in the temple of Jerusalem and in testimony of
the truth of this joyful message, thou shalt meet, in the
Golden Gate, thy sister Anne, who is coming to the
temple for the same purpose. Remember that marvelous
is this message, for the Conception of this Child shall re
joice heaven and earth."
181. All this happened to saint Joachim during his
prolonged prayer and in a miraculous sleep, into which
he fell for the purpose of receiving this message. He
experienced something similar to that which happened
to saint Joseph, the spouse of the most holy Mary, when it
was made known to him, that her pregnancy was the work
of the Holy Ghost (Matth. 1, 20). The most fortunate
saint Joachim awoke in great joy of soul and with solici
tous and ingenuous prudence he concealed within his heart
the sacrament of the King (Tob. 12, 7). With a lively
faith and hope he poured forth his soul in the presence
of the Most High, and full of tenderness and gratitude,
he thanked and praised Him for his inscrutable judg
ments. In order to do this more appropriately he has
tened to the temple as he had been ordered.
182. In the meanwhile the thrice blessed Anne was
exalted in prayer and divine contemplation and totally
wrapped up in the mystery of the Incarnation, which,
after having been previously rilled with a most high un
derstanding and a specially infused light, she solicited
from the eternal Word. With the profoundest humility
and lively faith she was praying for the hastening of the
coming of the Redeemer of the human race in the fol
lowing words: "Most high King and Lord of all crea
tion, I, a most vile and despicable creature, and yet the
work of thy hands, desire at the price of the life which
Thou hast given me, to urge Thee to hasten in thy mercy
the time of our salvation. O may thy infinite kindness
incline toward our need! O that our eyes might look
upon the Restorer and the Redeemer of men! Remem
ber, O Lord, the mercies of old shown to thy people,
wherein Thou hast promised thy Onlybegotten, and may
this promise of infinite kindness unbend Thee! May it
come now, that day so much longed for! Is it possible,
that the Most High should descend from his holy
heaven? Is it possible, that He is to have a terrestrial
Mother? What woman shall She be, that is so fortunate
and blessed ? O who shall be so favored as to look upon
Her? Who shall be worthy to be the servant of her
servants? Blessed the race, that shall be able to see
Her and prostrate themselves at her feet to reverence
Her ! How sweet shall be the sight of Her and her com
pany ! Blessed the eyes, that shall see Her and the ears,
that shall listen to her words, and the family, from whom
the Most High shall select his Mother! Execute, O
Lord, this decree: fulfill thy divine benevolence!"
183. In this prayer and colloquy saint Anne occupied
herself after having received enlightenment regarding
this ineffable mystery. She weighed all the conferences,
which she had had with her guardian angel, who on
many occasions, and now more openly than ever before,
had manifested himself to her. The Almighty ordained,
that the message of the Conception of his holy Mother
should in some way be similar to the one, by which the
Incarnation was announced. For saint Anne was medi
tating in humble fervor upon her, who was to bear the
Mother of the incarnate Word. And the most holy
Virgin was making the same reflections upon Her, who
was to be the Mother of God, as I will relate in its place
(Part II, 117). It was also the same angel, that brought
both messages, and in human form, though he showed
himself in a more beautiful and mysterious shape to the
Virgin Mary.
184. The holy archangel Gabriel appeared to saint
Anne in human form more resplendent than the sun, and
said to her: "Anne, servant of God, I am an angel
sent from the council of the Most High, who in divine
condescension looks upon the humble of the earth
(Psalm 137, 6). Good is incessant prayer and humble
confidence. The Lord has heard thy petitions, for He is
nigh to those who call upon Him with living faith and
hope, and who expect his salvation (Ps. 144, 18). If
He delays hearing their clamors and defers the ful
fillment of their prayers, it is in order to dispose them to
receive and to oblige Himself to give much more than
they ask and desire. Prayer and almsgiving open the
treasures of the Lord, the omnipotent King, and incline
Him to be lavish in mercy toward those, who ask (Tob.
11, 8). Thou and Joachim have prayed for the Fruit of
benediction and the Most High has resolved to give you
holy and wonderful Fruit; and by it He will enrich you
with heavenly gifts, granting to you much more than
you have asked. For having humiliated yourselves in
prayer, the Lord wishes to magnify Himself in conced
ing your petitions: because those, who in humble confi
dence pray to Him without belittling his infinite power,
are most agreeable to the Lord. Persevere in prayer
and ask without ceasing for the Redemption of the hu
man race in order to constrain the Most High. Moses
by unceasing prayer brought victory to the people
(Exod. 17, 11); Esther by prayer obtained liberation
from the death sentence ( Esther 4, 11); Judith by the
same means was filled with fortitude to execute a most
arduous task for the salvation of Israel: She fulfilled
it, though a weak and frail woman (Judith 9, 1). Da
vid came forth victorious in his combat with the giant,
because he prayed, invoking the name of the Lord (I
Kings 17, 45; III Kings 18, 36). Elias drew fire from
heaven by his sacrifice and by his prayer opened and
closed the heavens. The humility, faith and the alms of
Joachim and of thyself have come before the throne of
the Most High and now He sends me, his angel, in or
der to give thee news full of joy for thy heart : His Ma
jesty wishes, that thou be most fortunate and blessed.
He chooses thee to be the mother of Her who is to con
ceive and bring forth the Onlybegotten of the Father.
Thou shalt bring forth a Daughter, who by divine dis
position shall be called MARY. She shall be blessed
among women and full of the Holy Ghost. She shall
be the cloud that shall drop the dew of heaven for the
refreshment of mortals (III Kings 18, 44) : and in Her
shall be fulfilled the prophecies of thy ancestors. She
shall be the portal of life and salvation for the sons of
Adam. Know also that I have announced to Joachim,
that he shall have a Daughter who shall be blessed and
fortunate : but the full knowledge of the mystery is not
given him by the Lord, for he does not know, that She
is to be the Mother of the Messias. Therefore thou
must guard this secret; and go now to the temple to
give thanks to the Most High for having been so highly
favored by his powerful right hand. In the Golden Gate
thou shalt meet Joachim, where thou wilt confer with
him about this tiding. Thou art the one, who art especial
ly blessed of the Lord and whom He wishes to visit and
enrich with more singular blessings. In solitude He will
speak to thy heart and there give a beginning to the law
of grace, since in thy womb He will give being to Her,
who is to vest the Immortal with mortal flesh and hu
man form. In this humanity, united with the Word, will
be written, as with his own blood, the true law of Mercy."
185. In order that the humble heart of the holy Anne
might not faint away with admiration and joy at these
tidings of the holy angel, she was strengthened by the
holy Spirit and thus she heard it and received it with
magnanimity and incomparable joy. Immediately arising*
she hastened to the temple of Jerusalem, and there found
saint Joachim, as the angel had foretold to them both.
Together they gave thanks to the Almighty for this won
derful blessing and offered special gifts and sacrifices,
They were enlightened anew by the grace of the holy
Spirit, and, full of divine consolation, they returned to
their home. Joyfully they conversed about the favors,
which they had received from the Almighty, especially
concerning each one s message of the archangel Gabriel,
whereby, on behalf of the Lord, they had been promised
a Daughter who should be most blessed and fortunate.
On this occasion they also told each other, how the same
angel, before their espousal, had commanded each to ac
cept the other, in order that together they might serve
God according to his divine will. This secret they had
kept from each other for twenty years, without com
municating it, until the same angel had promised them
the issue of such a Daughter. Anew they made the vow
to offer Her to the temple and that each year on this day
they would come to the temple to offer special gifts,
spend the day in praise and thanksgiving, and give many
alms. This vow they fulfilled to the end of their lives,
spending this day in great praise and exaltation of the
Most High.
186. The prudent matron Anne never disclosed the
secret, that her Daughter was to be the Mother of the
Messias, either to Joachim or to any other creature.
Nor did that holy parent in the course of his life know
any more than that She was to be a grand and mys
terious woman. However, in the last moments of his
life the Almighty made the secret known to him, as I
will relate in its place (Infr. No. 666). Although great
revelations have been made to me concerning the vir
tues and the holiness of the two parents of the Queen
of heaven, I shall not dilate upon that which all the
faithful must presuppose. I shall rather hasten to the
main point.
187. After the first conception of the body which was
to be that of the Mother of grace, and before creating
her most holy soul, God granted a singular favor to saint
Anne. She had an intellectual and most exalted vision
or . appearance of his Majesty, in which, having com
municated to her great enlightenment and gifts of grace.
He disposed her and forestalled her with the blessings of
his sweetness (Ps. 20, 4). Entirely purifying her, He
spiritualized the inferior part of her body and elevated
her soul and spirit to such a degree, that thenceforward
she never attended to any human affair, which could im
pede her union with God in all the affections of her mind
and will, and she never lost sight of Him. At the same
time He said to her: "Anne, my servant, I am the
God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob: my blessing and my
eternal light is with thee. I have created man in order
to raise him from the dust and to make him the in
heritor of my glory and participator of my Divinity. I
also showered my gifts upon him and placed him in a
position and state of high perfection; but he listened
to the serpent and lost all. Out of my goodness and in
fulfillment of the promises made through my holy
Prophets, I wish to forget his ingratitude and to repair
the damage, by sending my Onlybegotten as their Re
deemer. The heavens are closed, the ancient Patriarchs
are detained, deprived of the sight of my face and of
eternal life promised to them. The inclination of my
bounteousness is as it were strained in not communicat
ing itself to the human race. Now, at this time do I
wish to show mercy, giving them the person of the eter
nal Word, to become man, to be born of a Woman, who
shall be Mother and Virgin, immaculate, pure, blessed
and holy above all creatures. Of Her, my chosen and
only One, I make thee mother." (Cant. 6, 8).
188. I cannot easily explain the effect of these words
in the upright heart of holy Anne, she being the first of
those born of men, to whom was revealed the mystery of
her most holy Daughter, who was to be the Mother of
God and chosen for the greatest sacrament of the divine
Omnipotence. It was befitting that she should know of
this mystery and properly estimate the Treasure which
she was to possess and to which she was to give birth
and existence. She heard with profound humility the
voice of the Most High and with a submissive heart she
answered: "Lord, God eternal, it is the essence of thy
immense bounty and the work of thy powerful arm, to
raise from the dust those that are poor and despised
(Ps. 112, 7). I acknowledge myself, O Lord, a crea
ture unworthy of such mercies and benefits. What shall
this lowly worm do in thy presence? Thy own Being
and thy own magnificence alone can I offer in thanks
giving, and my soul and all its faculties in sacrifice. Use
me, O Lord, according to thy will, since to it I resign
myself entirely. I wish to be as completely thy own as
such a favor requires ; but what shall I do, who am not
worthy to be the slave of Her who is to be the Mother
of the Onlybegotten and my Daughter? This I know,
and shall confess always: that I am a poor creature;
but at the feet of thy greatness I await the course of thy
mercy, who art a kind Father and the all-powerful God.
Make me, O Lord, worthy in thy eyes of the dignity
Thou bestowest upon me."
189. During this vision saint Anne was wrapped in
a marvelous ecstasy, in which she was favored with the
highest understanding of the laws of nature, and of the
written and the evangelical precepts. She was instruct
ed as to how the divine nature in the eternal Word was
to unite itself to our own ; how his most holy humanity
was to be elevated to the being of God, and she under
stood many other mysteries, which were to be fulfilled
in the Incarnation of the divine Word. By these en
lightenments and by other gifts of grace, the Almighty
disposed her for the Conception and the creation of her
most holy Daughter, the Mother of God.
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