The Work of God Apostolate

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 1 chapter 16 verses 225-244 Index

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

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 1 chapter 16 verses 225-244OF THE HABITS OF VIRTUE, WITH WHICH GOD GIFTED THE SOUL OF THE MOST HOLY MARY, AND OF HER FIRST EXERCISES OF THESE VIRTUES IN THE WOMB OF HER MOTHER ANNE; SHE HERSELF GIVES ME INSTRUC TIONS FOR IMITATING HER.

  INDEX            Book 1  Chapter  16    Verses:  225-244


225. The impetuous floods of the Divinity met in this
holy City of the sanctified soul of Mary. It took its
origin from the foundation of his Wisdom and Good
ness, by which and whence He had resolved to deposit
within this heavenly Lady the greatest graces and vir
tues ever to be given to any other creature for all eter
nity. And when the hour had arrived for giving them
into her possession, namely the very moment of her
coming into natural life, the Almighty fulfilled accord
ing to his pleasure and full satisfaction the desire, which
He had held suspended from all eternity until the time
for gratifying this wish should arrive. The most faith
ful Lord executed his design, showering down all his
graces and gifts in the most holy soul of Mary at the
time of her Conception in such an overpowering meas
ure as no other saint, nor all of them combined, can ever
reach, nor ever human tongue can manifest.
226. Although She was adorned as the Bride, de
scending from heaven, endowed with all perfections and
with the whole range of infused virtues, it was not
necessary that She should exercise all of them at once,
it being sufficient that She exercise those, which were
befitting her state in the womb of her mother. Among
the first thus exercised were the three theological vir
tues, faith, hope and charity, which relate immediately
to God. These She at once practiced in the most ex
alted manner recognizing by a most sublime faith the
Divinity with all its perfections and its infinite attributes,
and the Trinity with its distinction of Persons. This
knowledge by faith was not impeded by the higher
knowledge which God gave her, as I will soon demon
strate. She exercised also the virtue of hope, seeing in
God the object of her happiness and her ultimate end.
Toward this her sanctified Soul at once hastened and
aspired with the most intense desires of uniting Herself
with God and without having for one moment turned
to any other object or tarried one moment in her up
ward flight. At the same instant also She put into
action the virtue of charity, seeing in God the infinite
and highest Good, and conceiving such an intense ap
preciation of the Divinity, that not all the seraphim
could ever reach such an eminent degree of fervor and
virtue.
227. The other virtues which adorn and perfect the
rational part of the creature, She possessed in a pro
portion corresponding to the theological virtues. The
moral and natural virtues were hers in a miraculous and
supernatural measure, and in a still more exalted man
ner was She possessed of the gifts and fruits of the
Holy Ghost in the order of grace. She had an infused
knowledge and habit of all these virtues and of all the
natural arts, so that She knew and was conversant with
the whole natural and supernatural order of things, in
accordance with the grandeur of God. Hence from her
first instant in the womb of her mother, She was wiser,
more prudent, more enlightened, and more capable of
comprehending God and all his works, than all the crea-
tures have been or ever will be in eternity, excepting of
course her most holy Son. And all this perfection con
sisted not only in the habits, which were infused in Her
in such a high degree; but in the acts which She exer
cised in correspondence with the excellence of her state
and in proportion to the activity of the divine power.
Therefore her perfection was not circumscribed by any
other bounds, nor was subject to any other limits than
God s divine and most just pleasure.
228. Since much will be said in the course of this his
tory, of all these virtues and graces and of their exer
cise, I mention here only a little of that which She
achieved at the instant of her Conception by the help
of the infused habits and the actual light bestowed upon
Her. In the exercise of the theological virtues, as I
have said, and of the virtue of religion, and of the car
dinal virtues consequent upon it, She perceived God as
He is and as the Creator and Glorifier; in heroic acts
She reverenced Him, praised Him, gave Him thanks
for having created Her, loved Him, feared Him and
adored Him, offering sacrifices of worship, praise and
glory because of his immutable Being. She recognized
the gifts, which She had received, although some of
them were yet hidden to Her, and She gave thanks with
profound humility and prostrated Herself immediately
in the womb of her mother, though yet in a body so
small; and by these acts She merited more than all the
saints in the highest state of perfection and sanctity.
229. In addition to the facts of faith She possessed
other knowledge of the mystery of the Divinity and of
the most holy Trinity. Although in this instant of her
Conception She did not see Him intuitively as the saints,
yet She saw Him in abstraction by a light and vision
which though inferior to the beatific vision, were never
theless superior to all the other ways, in which God can
manifest Himself or does manifest Himself to the cre
ated intelligence; for there were shown to Her images
of the Divinity so clear and manifest that She under
stood the immutable being of God, and in Him, all cre
ation, with a greater light and clearness than any crea
ture ever is understood by another. And these images
were like a shining mirror from which was resplendent
the whole Divinity and in It all creatures ; so that in God
She saw and recognized, by means of this light and by
means of these images of the divine nature, all things
with a greater distinctness and clearness than was pos
sible by the images of the infused science already vouch
safed Her.
230. In all these different ways was laid open to Her
from the very instant of her Conception the vision of
all men and angels in their hierarchies, dignities and
operations, and of all the irrational creatures with their
natures and conditions. She saw the fall of the angels
and their ruin; the justification and glory of the good
ones, and the rejection and punishment of the bad ones ;
the first state of Adam and Eve in their innocence ; their
deception, their guilt, and the misery in which the first
parents were thrown on account of it ; and in what mis
fortune the whole human race was cast through them;
the divine resolve to repair it; the pre-ordaining and the
disposing of the world, the nature of the heavens, the
stars and planets; the condition and the arrangement of
the elements; She saw purgatory, limbo and hell; She
saw how all these things and whatever is contained in
them were created by the divine power and were main
tained and preserved by the infinite goodness, without
having need of any of them (II Mach. 14, 35). Above
all She was informed of the most high sacraments con
nected with the Incarnation, by which God was to be
come man in order to redeem the whole human race,
while the fallen angels were left without a remedy.
231. In correspondence with this wonderful knowl
edge of her most holy soul at the instant of its union
with the body, Mary exerted Herself by eliciting heroic
acts of virtue, of incomparable admiration, praise, glori
fication, adoration, humility, love of God and sorrow for
the sins committed against Him, whom She recognized
as the Author and end of these admirable works. She
hastened to offer Herself as an acceptable sacrifice to
the Most High, beginning from that instant with fer
vent desire to bless Him, love Him and honor Him, be
cause She perceived that the bad angels and men failed
to know and love Him. She requested the holy angels
whose Queen She already was, to help Her to glorify
the Creator and Lord of all, and to pray also for Her.
232. The Lord in this instant showed Her also her
guardian angels, whom she recognized and accepted with
joyful submission, inviting them to sing canticles of
praise to the Most High alternatively with Her. She
announced to them beforehand that this was to be the
service which they were to render Her during the whole
time of her mortal life, in which they were to act as her
assistants and guards. She was informed moreover of
her whole genealogy, and the genealogy of all of the
rest of the holy people chosen by God, the Patriarchs
and Prophets, and how admirable his Majesty was in
the gifts, graces and favors wrought in them. It is
worthy of admiration, that, although the exterior facul
ties of her body at the creation of her most holy Soul
were hardly large enough to be distinguished, neverthe
less, in order that none of the miraculous excellence
with which God could endow his Mother might be want
ing, He ordained by the power of his right hand that in
perceiving the fall of man She shed tears of sorrow in
the womb of her mother at the gravity of the offense
against the highest Good.
233. In this wonderful sorrow at the instant of her
coming into existence, She began to seek a remedy for
mankind and commenced the work of mediation, inter
cession and reparation. She offered to God the clamors
of her ancestors and of the just of the earth, that his
mercy might not delay the salvation of mortals, whom
she even then looked upon as her brethren. Before She
ever conversed with them She loved them with the most
ardent charity and with the very beginning of her exist
ence She assumed the office of Benefactress of men and
exercised the divine and fraternal love enkindled in her
heart. These petitions the Most High accepted with
greater pleasure than the prayers of all the saints and
angels and this pleasure of God was also made known
to Her, who was created to be the Mother of God. She
perceived the love of God and his desire to descend from
heaven in order to redeem men, though She knew not
how it should be consummated. It was befitting that
God should feel Himself impelled to hasten his coming
on account of the prayers and petitions of this Crea
ture ; since it was principally for the love of Her that He
came, and since in Her body He was to assume human
flesh, accomplish the most admirable of all his works,
and fulfill the end of all other creatures.
234. She also prayed at the moment of her Concep
tion for her natural parents, Joachim and Anne, whom
She knew in God before She had seen them in the body.
Immediately She exercised the virtues of love, reverence
and gratitude of a daughter, acknowledging them as the
secondary causes of her natural being. She made many
other petitions in general and for particular objects. By
aid of the infused science given to Her, She began to
compose songs of gratitude in her mind and heart for
having, at the portal of life, found the precious drachm,
which we all have lost in our first beginning (Luke 15,
9). She found the grace, which issued forth to meet
her (Eccli. 15, 2), She found the Divinity, which met
Her at the threshold of her existence (Sap. 6, 15). Her
faculties of body and soul found, at the instant of her
creation, the most noble Object, which attracted and en
tranced them; for they were created solely for It, and,
as they were to be hers entirely, it was proper also that
the first fruits of their activity, which were the knowl
edge and love of God, should be devoted to that Object.
In this Queen there was no existence without knowledge
of God, no knowledge without love, and no love with
out its merit. Nor was there in Her anything small, or
measured merely by the common laws or by the general
rules. Great was She altogether and great did She come
forth from the hands of the Most High in order to pro
ceed and arrive at such an excellence of being, that God
alone would be greater. Oh how beautiful were those
steps of thine, Daughter of the King, since with thy first
one Thou didst reach the Godhead ! ( Cant. 7,1). Twice
beautiful wert Thou, for thy grace and beauty! (Cant.
4, 1). Heavenly are thine eyes (Cant. 7, 5), and thy
thoughts are like the kingly carmine, since Thou hast en
raptured his heart and hast made Him Prisoner by a
thread of thy hair (Cant. 4, 9) and drawn Him captured
by the love of thy virginal womb and heart.
235. There in truth the spouse of the King did sleep,
while her heart was awake (Cant 5, 2). There those
bodily faculties, which scarcely had yet attained their
natural form and had not yet seen the material light,
were asleep, and that heavenly heart, more marvelous on
account of the greatness of its gifts than by the smallness
of its size, was watching in the chamber of her
mother s womb with the light of the Divinity, which
bathed it and enkindled it in the fire of its immense love.
It was not befitting that in this heavenly Creature the
inferior faculties of the soul should act before the su
perior ones, nor that they should operate in an inferior,
or merely in a manner equal to those of any other crea
ture. For if the operations correspond to the essence of
each creature, She, who always was superior to all of
them in dignity and excellence, was also to be superior
in her operations to all creatures, angelic and human.
Not only was She to be nothing short of the angelic
spirits in so far as they immediately made use of their
faculties at the instant of their creation, but this pre
rogative was due to Her in superior excellence as She
was created as their Queen and Lady. And this by so
much more, as the name and office of Mother of God ex
cels that of servants, and that of Queen, the estate of vas
sals ; for to none of the angels had the Word said : thou
shalt be my Mother (Heb. 1, 5) ; nor could any one of
them say to Him : Thou art my Son. Mary alone could
claim this commerce and relationship, which is there
fore the real measure and foundation of the greatness of
Mary, in the same way as the Apostle measured the
greatness of Christ by his being the Son of the eternal
Father.
236. In writing of these sacraments of the King,
howsoever honorable it is to reveal his works, I confess
my inaptitude and incapacity, being only a woman, and
I am afflicted, because I am speaking in such common
and vague terms, which fall entirely short of that, which
I perceive in the light given to my soul for the under192
standing of these mysteries. In order to do justice to
such sublimity, there were need of other words, more
particular and especially adapted terms and expressions,
which are beyond my ignorance. And even if they were
at my service, they would be weighed down and made
insipid by human weakness. Let therefore this human
imbecility acknowledge itself unequal and incapable of
fixing its eyes on this heavenly sun, with which the rays
of the Divinity break upon the world, although yet be
clouded in the maternal womb of holy Anne. If we
seek permission to approach this wonderful sight, let us
come near free and unshackled. Let us not allow our
selves to be detained, neither by our natural cowardice nor
by a base fear and hesitation, even though it be under the
cloak of humility. Let us all approach with the great
est devotion and piety, free from the spirit of conten
tion (Rom. 13, 12) ; then we will be permitted to exam
ine with our own eyes the fire of the Divinity burning in
the bush without consuming it (Exodus 2, 2).
237. I have said that the most holy soul of Mary, at
the moment of her purest Conception, saw the divine
Essence abstractively, for it was not revealed to me, that
She saw the essential Glory; rather I understood that
this latter privilege was peculiar to the most holy soul of
Christ, such being due and consequent upon the substan
tial union of the Divinity in the Person of the Word.
For it was befitting that for not one moment should the
soul of Christ be deprived in all its faculties of the high
est grace and glory. Just as the man, Christ, our high
est Good, commenced to be conjointly God and man,
so He began at the same instant also to know and love
God as one already possessing Him, that is as a comprehensor.
But the soul of his most holy Mother was
not united substantially with the Divinity and therefore
She did not begin her activity as a possessor of God,
but entered into life as a wayfarer. However, She en
tered this state of wayfarer as one in closest proximity
to the hypostatic union, and therefore She was endowed
with a vision of God proportionate and most immediate
to the beatific vision. Her vision was inferior to the
beatific, but superior to all the visions and revelations
which have been vouchsafed to other creatures, always
excepting
1 the clear vision and fruition of the Blessed.
Nevertheless in some respects and in regard to some
qualities, the perception of God by the Mother of Christ
in her first instant, excelled even the intuitive vision of
other creatures, in so far as She penetrated abstractive
ly into greater mysteries than they. Moreover, though,
She did not see God face to face at that moment of her
Conception, She was favored with that kind of vision
many times afterwards during the course of her life, as
I will say later on.
INSTRUCTION WHICH THE QUEEN OF HEAVEN GAVE ME
REGARDING THIS CHAPTER.
238. In the preceding chapters of this history I said
a few times that the Queen and Mother of mercy had
promised that when I should begin to describe the first
operations of her faculties and virtues She would in
struct me how to model my life after her own ; for this
would be the principal purpose of showing it to me as
in a mirror. And this great Lady, most faithful to her
promises, besides continuing to assist me by her heaven
ly presence and the explanation of these mysteries, be
gan to acquit Herself of this promise in this chapter and
told me to expect the same as long as I should continue
to write this history. Accordingly at the end of each
chapter I will write down what her Majesty shall teach
me, as She has done even now, speaking to me in the
following manner:
239. My daughter, I wish that thou reap for thyself
the fruits which thou desirest from the description of
the mysteries and sacraments of my holy life; and let
the reward of thy labors be the greater purity and per
fection of thy life, disposing thyself by the grace of the
Most High to practice what thou hearest. It is the will
of my divine Son, that thou exert all thy powers toward
that which I shall teach thee, and that thou apply thy
self with all thy heart to my virtues and works. Hear
me with attentive faith, for I will speak to thee words of
eternal life and teach thee the most holy things of a per
fect Christian life and what is most acceptable to God.
Begin even now to dispose thyself for the reception of
the light, in which thou shalt see the hidden mysteries
of my most fioly life and the doctrine, which thou de
sirest. Continue in this exercise and write down that
which I will teach thee in this regard. And now listen.
240. It is an act of justice due to the eternal God
that the creature coming to the use of reason, direct
its very first movement toward God. By knowing,
it should begin to love Him, reverence Him and adore
Him as its Creator and only true Lord. The parents
are naturally bound to instruct their children from their
infancy in this knowledge of God and to direct them
with solicitous care, so that they may at once see their
ultimate end and seek it in their first acts of the intellect
and will. They should with great watchfulness with
draw them from the childishness and puerile trickishness
to which depraved nature will incline them if left
without direction. If the fathers and mothers would be
solicitous to prevent these vanities and perverted habits
of their children and would instruct them from their in
fancy in the knowledge of their God and Creator, then
they would afterwards easily accustom them to know
and adore Him. My holy mother, who knew not of my
wisdom and real condition, was most solicitously before
hand in this matter, for when She bore me in her womb,
she adored in my name the Creator and offered worship
and thanks for his having created me, beseeching Him
to defend me and bring me forth to the light of day
from the condition in which I then was. So also parents
should pray with fervor to God, that the souls of their
children, through his Providence, may obtain Baptism
and be freed from the servitude of original sin.
241. And if the rational creature has not known and
adored the Creator from the first dawn of reason, it
should do this as soon as it obtains knowledge of the
essential God by the light of faith. From that very mo
ment the soul must exert itself never to lose Him from
her sight, always fearing Him, loving Him, and rever
encing Him. Thou, my daughter, owest this adoration
to God from the beginning of thy life ; but now I desire
thee to practice it in a more perfect manner, as I shall
show thee. Direct the eyes of thy soul toward the es
sence of God, which is without beginning and without
limit, contemplate his infinite attributes and perfections.
Consider that He alone is the true holiness, the highest
good, the most noble object of creatures, that He alone
gave being to all things and without having need of
them, sustains and governs them. He is consummate
beauty without defect, He is eternal in his love, true in
his words and most faithful in his promises. He it was
who gave his own life and subjected Himself to suffer
ings for the good of his creatures without waiting for
any merits on their part. Over this wide field of good
ness and of benefits extend thy vision and occupy thy
faculties without forgetting or wandering away there
from. For, having obtained such a great knowledge of
the highest Good, thine would be a loathsome meanness
and disloyalty to forget Him, and horrible would be thy
ingratitude, if, after having received an enlightenment so
much above the common and ordinary, and divinely in
fused by faith, thou wouldst allow thy understanding
and will to swerve from the course of divine love. If at
any time in thy weakness it should nevertheless happen,
then quickly seek it again with all dispatch and diligence
and return more humbly to the Most High to give Him
honor, glory and eternal praise. Remember that thou
must consider it thy special duty to do this incessantly
for thyself and for all the other creatures and in this I
desire thee to exert all thy diligence.
242. In order to excite thyself to greater efforts, con
fer in thy heart what thou knowest of my own conduct ;
how at the first sight of the highest Good, my heart was
wounded with love, giving myself entirely to Him in
order never to separate myself thereafter. My whole
life was consumed in this and I ceased not to press for
ward in order to arrive at the centre of my desires and
affections; for since the Object is infinite, so love can
have no rest or cessation until It is attained. With the
knowledge of God and the love of Him should also go
the knowledge of thyself, remembering and consider
ing thy insignificance and vileness. Advert that when
these truths are well understood, repeated, and meditat
ed upon, they will cause divine effects in the soul.
Having heard these teachings and others of the
Queen, I said to her Majesty:
243. "My Mistress, whose slave I am and to whom
I dedicate and consecrate myself anew; not without
cause has my heart desired and asked for this day, on
which, according to thy maternal condescension, I might
come to know thy heavenly doings and hear thy sweet
and salutary words. I confess, O Queen, from all my
heart, that I can claim no goodness on my part, which
deserves such a benefit as a reward and, if I were not
obeying thy will and that of thy divine Son, I would
look upon the attempt to write thy life as an unpardon
able presumption. Accept, O my Lady, this sacrifice of
praise from me and speak, that my servant may hear (I
Reg. 3, 10). Let thy most delightful voice, O sweet
est Lady, resound in my ears (Cant. 2, 14), for Thou
hast the words of life (John 6, 69). Continue to teach
me and enlighten me, O Lady, that my heart may dilate
in the sea of thy perfections, furnishing me with worthy
material for the praise of the Almighty. In my bosom
burns the fire, enkindled by thy kindness and longing for
that, which is most holy and most acceptable to thy eyes.
In my inferior members, however, I feel the law of re
pugnance to the law of the spirit, retarding me and em
barrassing me. I justly fear that it will hinder me from
attaining the good which Thou, most loving Mother,
dost offer to me. Look upon me, therefore, my Lady, as
a daughter, teach me as thy disciple, correct me as thy
servant, and compel me as thy slave, whenever I am
tardy or disinclined ; for, though unwillingly, I fall short
through weakness. I will raise my aspirations to know
the being of God, and, may his divine grace govern
my affections, so that they may become enamored with
his infinite perfections and if I attain Him, I will not
dismiss Him (Eccli. 24, 24). But Thou, O Lady,
Mother of knowledge and of beautiful love, beseech thy
Son and my Lord, that He forsake me not in considera
tion of His liberality toward Thee, Thou Queen and
Mistress of all creation."
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