The Work of God Apostolate

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 1 chapter 1 verses 1-12 Index

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


  INDEX            Book 1  Chapter  1    Verses:  1-12

1. I confess to Thee (Matth. 11, 25) and magnify
Thee, King Most High, that in thy exalted Majesty Thou
hast hidden these high mysteries from the wise and from
the teachers, and in thy condescension hast revealed them
to me, the most insignificant and useless slave of thy
Church, in order that Thou mayest be the more admired
as the omnipotent Author of this history in proportion
as its instrument is despicable and weak.
2. After I had overcome the above mentioned reluc
tance and disorderly fears which caused so much timid
hesitation, lest I suffer shipwreck in that sea of marvels,
the most exalted Lord caused me to feel a virtue from on
high, strong, sweet, efficacious and gentle; an enlighten
ment which illumined the intellect, subjected the rebel
lious will, tranquillizing, directing, governing and attract
ing the whole range of interior and exterior senses, thus
subjecting my entire being to the will and pleasure of the
Most High and directing it in all things toward his honor
and glory alone. Being thus prepared, I heard a voice
from the Almighty, which called me and raised me up
toward Him, exalting my dwelling-place on high (Ecclus.
51, 13) and strengthening me against the lions, that
hungrily roared about me in order to snatch my soul
from the enjoyment of great blessings in the boundless
mysteries of this holy Tabernacle and City of God. Sur
rounded by the sorrows of death and perdition (Ps. 17, 5)
and beset by the flames of Sodom and Babylon, in which
we live, it liberated me from the portals of sorrow, into
which I was enticed to enter. My enemies, forming vis
ions of fallacious and deceitful delights for the misleading
of my senses and the capture of them by pretended pleas
ures, set their allurements about me, in order that I might
blindly turn toward these flames and be consumed by
them. But from all these snares, laid for my footsteps
(Ps. 56, 7), the Most High has delivered me, elevating my
spirit and teaching me by the most efficacious admonitions
the way of perfection. He invited me to a life spiritual
ized and angelic, and obliged me to live so cautiously, that
in the midst of the furnace, the fire touched me not (Eccli.
51, 6). He often liberated me from the impure tongue,
when it sought to communicate to me its earthly fables
(Ps. 118, 85). His Majesty invited me to rise from the
dust and littleness of the law of sin, to resist the defec
tions of sin-infected nature and restrain its disorders,
combatting them by his enlightening inspirations and rais
ing myself above myself (Lam. 3, 28). He called me re
peatedly, sometimes by the power of his omnipotence,
sometimes with the correction of a Father, and at others
with the love of a Spouse, saying: Arise, my dove, creation
of my hands, make haste and come to Me (Cant. 2, 10),
who am the light and the way (John 8, 12), he that fol
lows Me, walks not in darkness. Come to Me, who am
the secure truth, and unchangeable holiness, to Me, who
am the Powerful and the Wise, and the Teacher of those
that follow wisdom (Wis. 7, 15).
3. These words were like arrows of sweet love, which
filled me with admiration, reverence, knowledge and
dread of my sins and of my vileness, so that I retired
from his presence, shrunken and annihilated in the
knowledge of my nothingness. And the Lord spoke to
me: "Come, O soul, come to Me, who am thy omnipo
tent God, and although thou hast been a prodigal child
and a sinner, arise from the earth and come to Me, thy
Father; receive the stole of my friendship and the ring
of a spouse."
4. Still remaining in that secure retreat of which I
have spoken, I saw on a certain day, six angels, whom
the Almighty had appointed to assist and guide me in
this undertaking and in other dangers. Coming toward
me, they purified and prepared my soul, and then pre
sented me before the Lord. His Majesty gave to my in
terior being a new light and, as it were, a participation
in glory, by which I was made capable and desirous of
seeing and understanding the things, which are above the
powers of a mere terrestrial creature. Soon after, two
other angels, of a still higher order, appeared to me and I
felt within me the power of the Lord by which they
called me. I understood that they were most mysterious
envoys and that they wished to reveal to me high and
hidden sacraments. Eagerly I responded, and desirous
of enjoying the blessing which they pointed out to me, I
declared to them, how ardently I longed to see what they
wished to show me and yet so mysteriously concealed
from me. Then they at once answered with great seren26
ity : "Restrain thyself, O soul." I turned to the great
princes of heaven and said: "Princes of the Almighty
and messengers of the great King! Why do you now de
tain me contrary to my will and why do you defer my
joy and my delight, after you have called me? What
force is this of yours, and what power, which calls me,
fills me with fervor, which allures and yet detains me,
which attracts me to follow after the odor of my beloved
Lord and of his ointments, and yet restrains me with
strong bonds? Tell me the cause of all this!" They
answered : "Because, in order to be instructed in all these
mysteries, thou must needs, O soul, come with bare feet
and despoiled of all thy desires and passions; for these
mysteries do not accommodate or lend themselves to dis
ordered inclinations. Take off thy shoes like Moses
(Exodus 3, 5), for such was the command given to him
before he could see the wonderful bush." "Princes of
heaven and my lords," I answered, "much was asked of
Moses, when he received the command to perform the
works of an angel while yet living in mortal flesh : but he
was a saint, and I am but a sinner full of miseries. My
heart is disturbed and I am in conflict with the slavery
and the oppression of sin, which I feel in my members,
and which are opposed to the law of the spirit" (Rom.
7, 23). To which they rejoined: "Soul, it would in
deed be for thee a most difficult enterprise, if thou hadst
to execute it merely with thy own power ; but the Most
High, who wishes to see in thee this disposition, is pow
erful, and He will not deny to thee his help, if from thy
heart thou ask his assistance and thou prepare thyself to
receive it. And his power, which caused the bush to
burn and at the same time prevented it from being con
sumed, can prevent also the fire of the passions which
encompass and beset the soul, from consuming it, if it
truly desires to be saved. His Majesty asks for that
which He desires, and can execute what He asks.
Strengthened by Him, thou canst do that which He com
mands (Phil. 4, 13) ; take off thy shoes and weep in bit
ter sorrow, call out to Him from the bottom of thy heart,
in order that thy prayers may be heard and thy desires
5. Presently I saw a most precious veil covering a
treasure and my heart burned with desire to see it raised
and to look upon the sacred mystery which I understood
was hidden beneath. My desire was answered in the fol
lowing manner: "Obey, O soul, in what was enjoined
and commanded thee ; despoil thyself of thyself, and then
this mystery will be revealed to thee." I resolved to
amend my life and to overcome my appetite; I sighed
and wept with many aspirations from my inmost soul
for the manifestation of this blessing. While I made
my good resolves, the veil which covered the treasure,
began to be lifted. Presently the veil fell entirely and
my interior eyes saw what I shall not know how to de
scribe in words. I saw a great and mysterious sign in
heaven; I saw a Woman, a most beautiful Lady and
Queen, crowned with the stars, clothed with the sun, and
the moon was at her feet (Apoc. 12, 1). The holy an
gels spoke to me: "This is that blessed Woman, whom
Saint John saw in the Apocalypse, and in whom are en
closed, deposited and sealed up the wonderful mysteries
of the Redemption. So much has the most high and pow
erful God favored this Creature, that we, his angelic
spirits, are full of astonishment. Contemplate and ad
mire her prerogatives, record them in writing, because
that is the purpose for which, according to the measure
suitable to thy circumstances, they will be made mani
fest to thee." I was made to see such wonders, that the
greatness of them took away my speech, and my admira
tion of them suspended my other faculties ; nor do I think
that all the created beings in this mortal life will ever
comprehend them, as will appear in the sequel of my dis
6. On another day, while my soul sweetly tarried in
the aforesaid habitation, I heard a voice from the Most
High saying: "My spouse, I desire that thou rouse thy
self in earnest to seek Me, and to love Me with fervor;
that thou make thy life more angelic than human, and
that thou forget entirely the terrestrial affairs. I wish to
raise thee as one that is poor from the dust, and as one
full of need from the dunghill (Ps. 112, 7), so that,
while I exalt thee, thou mayest humiliate thyself, and
the nard of thy sweet odor may remain in my presence ;
knowing thy own misery, be thou convinced from the
bottom of thy heart, that thou meritest for thyself only
tribulation and humiliation. Consider my greatness and
thy littleness; remember that I am just and holy; I deal
with thee considerately, making use rather of my mercy
and not chastising thee as thou deservest. Strive to build
upon this foundation of humility all the other virtues in
order to fulfill my wishes. I appoint my Virgin Mother
to teach, correct and reprehend thee. She will spur thee
onward and accompany thy footsteps according to my
liking and pleasure."
7. While the Most High spoke to me the Queen stood
near by; and the heavenly Princess disdained not to ac
cept the office which his Majesty assigned to Her. She
accepted it benignly and said to me: "My daughter, I
desire that thou be my disciple and my companion, and
I will be thy Teacher; but remember that thou must obey
me courageously and from this day on no vestige of a
daughter of Adam must be found in thee. My conduct
and my works during my pilgrimage on earth, and the
wonders, which the arm of the Almighty wrought
through me, shall be the mirror and the mocfel of thy
life." I prostrated myself before the throne of the King
and Queen of the universe and I offered to obey Her in
all things; I gave thanks to the Highest for the favor,
which He, so much in excess of my merits, conferred
upon me in giving me such a Guide and Protectress. Into
Her hands I renewed the vows of my profession; I of
fered myself to Her and proposed to work anew at the
amendment of my life. Again the Lord spoke to me :
"Behold and see!" Turning I saw a most beautiful lad
der with many rungs; around it were many angels, and
a great number of them were ascending and descending
upon it His Majesty said to me: "This is the mys
terious ladder of Jacob, the house of God and the portal
of heaven (Gen. 28, 17) ; if thou wilt earnestly strive to
live irreprehensible in my eyes, thou wilt ascend upon
it to Me."
8. This promise incited my desires, set my will aflame
and enraptured my spirit; with many tears I grieved,
that I should be a burden to myself in my sinfulness
(Job. 7, 20). I sighed for the end of my captivity and
longed to arrive where there would be no obstacle to my
love. In this anxiety I passed some days, trying to re
form my life; I again made a general confession and
corrected some of my imperfections. The vision of the
ladder continued without intermission, but it was not ex
plained to me. I made many promises to the Lord and
proposed to free myself from all terrestrial things and
to reserve the powers of my will entirely for his love,
without allowing it to incline toward any creature, be it
ever so small or unsuspicious ; I repudiated all visible
and sensible things. Having passed some days in these
affections and sentiments, I was informed by the Most
High, that the ladder signified the life of the most Holy
Virgin, its virtues and sacraments. His Majesty said to
me : "I desire, my spouse, that thou ascend this stair of
Jacob and enter through this door of heaven to acquire
the knowledge of my attributes and occupy thyself in the
contemplation of my Divinity. Arise then and walk,
ascend by it to Me. These angels, which surround it
and accompany it, are those that I appointed as the guar
dians of Mary, as the defenders and sentinels of the cita
del of Sion. Consider Her attentively, and, meditating
on her virtues, seek to imitate them." It seemed to me
then, that I ascended the ladder and that I recognized
the great wonders and the ineffable prodigies of the Lord
in a mere Creature and the greatest sanctity and perfec
tion of virtue ever worked by the arm of the Almighty.
At the top of the ladder I saw the Lord of hosts and the
Queen of all creation. They commanded me to glorify,
exalt and praise Him on account of these great mysteries
and to write down so much of them, as I might bring
myself to understand. The exalted and high Lord gave
me a law, written not only on tablets, as He gave to
Moses (Exod. 31, 18), but one wrought by his omnipo
tent finger in order that it might be studied and ob
served (Ps. 1, 2). He moved my will so that in her
presence I promised to overcome my repugnance and
with her assistance to set about writing her history, pay
ing attention to three things: First, to remember that
the creature must ever seek to acknowledge the profound
reverence due to God and to abase itself in proportion to
the condescension of his Majesty toward men and that
the effect of greater favors and benefits must be a greater
fear, reverence, attention and humility; secondly, to be
ever mindful of the obligation of all men, who are so for
getful of their own salvation, to consider and learn what
they owe to the Queen and Mother of piety on account
of the part assumed by Her in the Redemption, to think
of the love and the reverence which She showed to God
and the honor in which we are to hold this great Lady ;
thirdly, to be willing- to have my spiritual director, and if
necessary the whole world, find out my littleness and
vileness, and the small returns which I make for what I
9. To these my protestations the most Holy Virgin
answered : "My daughter, the world stands much in need
of this doctrine, for it does not know, nor does it prac
tice, the reverence due to the Lord omnipotent. On ac
count of this ignorance his justice is provoked to afflict
and humiliate men. They are sunken in their careless
ness and filled with darkness, not knowing how to seek
relief or attain to the light. This, however, is justly their
lot, since they fail in the reverence and fear, which they
ought to have." Besides this the Most High and the
Queen gave me many other instructions, in order to make
clear to me their will in regard to this work. It seemed
to me temerity and want of charity toward myself, to re
ject the instruction which She had promised me for nar
rating the course of her most holy life. It seemed
equally improper to put off the writing of it, since the
Most High had intimated this as the fitting and oppor
tune time, saying to me in this regard: "My daughter,
when I sent my Onlybegotten, the world, with the excep
tion of the few souls that served Me, was in worse condi
tion than it ever had been since its beginning; for human
nature is so imperfect that if it does not subject itself to
the interior guidance of my light and to the fulfillment of
the precepts of my ministers by sacrificing its own judg
ment and following Me, who am the way, the truth and
the life (John 14, 6), and by carefully observing my com
mandments in order not to lose my friendship, it will
presently fall into the abyss of darkness and innumerable
miseries, until it arrives at obstinacy in sin. From the
creation and sin of the first man until I gave the law to
Moses, men governed themselves according to their own
inclinations and fell into many errors and sins (Rom. 8,
13). After having received the law, they again com
mitted sin by not obeying it (John 7, 19) and thus they
lived on, separating themselves more and more from
truth and light and arriving at the state of complete forgetfulness.
In fatherly love I sent them eternal salvation
and a remedy for the incurable infirmities of human na
ture, thus justifying my cause. And just as I then
chose the opportune time for the greater manifestation of
my mercy, so I now select this time for showing toward
them another very great favor. For now the hour has
come and the opportune time to let men know the just
cause of my anger, and they are now justly charged and
convinced of their guilt. Now I will make manifest my
indignation and exercise my justice and equity; I will
show how well justified is my cause. In order that this
may come to pass more speedily, and because it is now
time that my mercy show itself more openly and be
cause my love must not be idle, I will offer to them an
opportune remedy, if they will but make use of it for re
turning again to my favor. Now, at this hour, when the
world has arrived at so unfortunate a pass, and when,
though the Word has become incarnate, mortals are more
careless of their weal and seek it less ; when the day of
their transitory life passes swiftly at the setting of the
sun of time; when the night of eternity is approaching
closer and closer for the wicked and the day without a
night is being born for the just; when the majority of
mortals are sinking deeper and deeper into the darkness
of their ignorance and guilt, oppressing the just and
mocking the children of God ; when my holy and divine
law is despised in the management of the iniquitous af
fairs of state, which are as hostile as they are contrary to
my Providence ; when the wicked least deserve my mer
cy; in these predestined times, I wish to open a portal
for the just ones through which they can find access to
my mercy ; I wish to give them a light by which they can
dispel the gloom that envelops the eyes of their minds.
I wish to furnish them a suitable remedy for restoring
them to my grace. Happy they who find it, and blessed
they who shall appreciate its value, rich they who shall
come upon this treasure, and blessed and very wise those
who shll search into and shall understand its marvels
and hidden mysteries. I desire to make known to mor
tals how much intercession of Her is worth, who brought
restoration of life by giving mortal existence to the im
mortal God. As recompense I desire that they look upon
the wonders wrought by my mighty arm in that pure
Creature, as upon a mirror by which they can estimate
their own ingratitude. I wish to make known to them
much of that, which according to my high judgment is
still hidden concerning the Mother of the Word."
10. "I have not revealed these mysteries in the primitive
Church, because they are so great, that the faithful
would have been lost in the contemplation and admira
tion of them at a time when it was more necessary to
establish firmly the law of grace and of the Gospel. Al
though all mysteries of religion are in perfect harmony
with each other, yet human ignorance might have suf
fered recoil and doubt at their magnitude, when faith
in the Incarnation and Redemption and the precepts of
the new law of the Gospel were yet in their beginnings.
On this same account the person of the incarnate Word
said to his disciples at the last supper: "Many things
have I to say to you ; but you are not yet disposed to re
ceive them" (John 6, 12). These words He addressed
to all the world, for it was not yet capable of giving full
obedience to the law of grace and full assent to the faith
in the Son, much less was it prepared to be introduced
into the mysteries of his Mother. But now, mankind
has greater need for this manifestation, and this neces
sity urges Me to disregard their evil disposition. And if
men would now seek to please Me by reverencing, be
lieving, and studying the wonders, which are intimately
connected with this Mother of Piety, and if they would
all begin to solicit her intercession from their whole
heart, the world would find some relief. I will not longer
withhold from men this mystical City of refuge; de
scribe and delineate it to them, as far as thy shortcom
ings allow. I do not intend that thy descriptions and
declarations of the life of the Blessed Virgin shall be
mere opinions or contemplations, but reliable truth. They
that have ears to hear, let them hear. Let those who
thirst come to the living waters and leave the dried-out
cisterns ; let those that are seeking for the light, follow it
to the end. Thus speaks the Lord God Almighty!"
11. These are the words of the Most High on the oc
casion before mentioned. Obedient to the authority,
which commands me, I will in the following chapter de
scribe the manner in which I receive my information and
enlightenment, and how I see the Lord. Thus comply
ing with his orders, I will explain, once for all, the illu
minations and the favors which are vouchsafed to me for
this work and to which I will refer in the sequel of this
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