The Work of God Apostolate

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 8 chapter 15 verses 662-679 Index

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

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 8 chapter 15 verses 662-679OTHER FEASTDAYS CELEBRATED BY THE MOST BLESSED MARY IN MEMORY OF THE CIRCUMCISION, THE ADORA TION OF THE KINGS, HER PURIFICATION, THE BAP TISM OF THE LORD, HIS FAST, THE INSTITUTION OF BLESSED SACRAMENT, HIS PASSION AND RESURREC TION.

  INDEX            Book 8  Chapter  15    Verses:  662-679


662. In renewing the memory of the mysteries of the
life and death of Christ the Savior, our great Queen
sought not only to give worthy thanks for Herself and
for the whole of the human race, in order, as the Teacher
of all holiness and wisdom, to lead the Church to this
holy science of gratitude ; but besides fulfilling this debt
of thanks, She also sought to draw down God s infinite
bounty and merciful clemency to meet the weakness and
misery of the human kind. The most prudent Mother
knew that her divine Son and the eternal Father were
much repelled by the sins of mortals, and that at the
tribunal of his mercy they had no other claim than the
infinite charity by which God had lovingly reconciled
them to Him though they were sinners and his enemies
(Rom. 5, 8). As Christ our Savior had accomplished
this reconciliation by his works and the mysteries of
his life and death, the heavenly Lady thought these very
days, on which the works of Christ had been performed,
most convenient and proper for multiplying her prayers
to the Omnipotent, beseeching Him to show his love
for love s sake to call them to his faith and friendship,
and to justify them for no other reason than because
He had himself merited and gained for them justifica
tion and life everlasting.
663. Never will either men or angels fully know what
a debt the world owes to the maternal piety of this great
Lady and Queen. The many favors which She received
at the hands of the Almighty each time She was ad
mitted to beatific vision in her mortal flesh, were bless
ings not only for Her, but also for us; for on those
occasions her divine knowledge and charity reached the
highest possible degree in a created being and in the
same degree did She desire the glory of the Most High
in the salvation of the rational creatures. As She was
yet in the state of a pilgrim and thus could merit and
gain their salvation, her loving anxieties lest souls lose
the enjoyment of God overflowed all bounds in her
purest heart. Hence She suffered a martyrdom pro
longed through her whole life and it would have con
sumed her vital forces each hour and each instant, if
the power of God had not prevented it; for the thought
that so many souls should damn themselves and be eter
nally deprived of the vision and enjoyment of God, and,
in addition to this, that they should suffer the eternal
torments of hell, without further hope of the remedy
which they had despised, was really a martyrdom to Her.
664. This lamentable misfortune caused an immense
sorrow to the sweetest Mother, because She alone recog
nized and weighed it fully in her wisdom. She was
filled with a corresponding charity, and would have suf
fered without any relief, if She had been left only to
the influences of her love and merely to the considera
tion of what the Lord had done and suffered for rescuing
men from eternal damnation. But the Lord foresaw and
provided against this deadly sorrow in his most faithful
Mother; therefore He at times miraculously preserved
her life; at others He withdrew her mind from it by
diverse enlightenments; at others again He revealed to
Her the secrets of the eternal predestination, in order that
her heart might be quieted by seeing into the equity of
his divine Justice. All these and other measures were
applied by Christ the Savior in order that his most
blessed Mother might not die at the sight of the sins
and the eternal damnation of the reprobate. And if this
unhappy and calamitous fate of sinners as foreseen by
the heavenly Lady, could so afflict her purest heart, and
if it could so move her divine Son, that He subjected
Himself for their salvation to the sufferings and death
of the Cross, what words can describe the blind foolish
ness of those men, who so senselessly rush upon their ir
reparable and never sufficiently to be dreaded ruin of
their souls?
665. But the manner in which our Savior and Mas
ter Jesus alleviated the sorrows of his beloved Mother,
was by listening to her petitions and prayers for mortals,
by showing his appreciation of her love, by offering
Her his treasures and infinite merits, by constituting
Her his principal almoner, and by consigning into Her
hands the free and loving distribution of all the trea
sures of his mercy and grace, and thus bring succor to
the souls whom in her deep science She knew to be in
greatest need thereof. These promises of the Lord
to his most blessed Mother, as well as the solicitude and
prayers of the loving Queen, were of ordinary and con
stant occurrence ; and they were still more notable on the
festivals commemorating the mysteries of her divine
Son. For the day of the Circumcision She commenced
her exercises at the same hour as at the other feasts;
and the incarnate Word descended to her oratory with
the same majesty and accompanied by the angels and the
saints. As this mystery consisted in his beginning to
shed his blood for men and in his subjecting Himself to
the law of sinners as if He were one of them, the acts
of his most pure Mother in commemoration of that great
condescension and clemency were ineffable.
666. The great Mother humiliated Herself to the low
est depths; She lovingly compassioned the sufferings of
the Child-God in such a tender age; She thanked Him
for this blessing conferred upon all the children of
Adam; She bewailed the universal forgetfulness and
want of appreciation of the blood shed for the rescue
of all. And, as if ashamed in the presence of her divine
Son for not having paid her debts, She offered her own
life and her own blood in satisfaction and in imitation
of her Master s example. She spent that whole day in
sweet converse and colloquy reiterating her desires and
petitions. Yet, though the Lord accepted her offerings,
it was not befitting
4 to let Her actually pay all the sacri
fices of her inflamed love. Therefore She added other
inventions of her charity toward the mortals. She be
sought her divine Son to divide his gifts, caresses and
favors among all the children of men; She begged that
She alone be singled out to suffer for his love; that all
should share in the reward, all should taste the sweet
ness of the divine Spirit, that all might be induced to
enter the path of eternal life, and none be lost in eternal
death, since their God himself became man and suffered
for the very purpose of drawing all men to Himself
(John 12, 32). Then She offered to the eternal Father
the blood, which his Son shed in the Circumcision and his
humility in allowing Himself to be circumcised in his
sinlessness. After She had thus exercised acts of in
comparable perfection and adored Him as true God and
man, her divine Son gave Her his blessing and returned
to the right hand of the eternal Father in heaven.
667. To prepare for the feast of the Magi She began
her devotions some days before, in order as it were to
get ready some presents to offer to the incarnate Word.
The principal offering of the Queen were the souls
brought to a state of grace and called by Her the gold.
For this purpose to obtain this gift of gold She availed
Herself of the services of the holy angels, ordering them
to lead numerous souls to the knowledge and belief of
the true God by special and powerful inspirations. This
result was brought about by their ministry and much
more by her own prayers and petitions, so that She drew
many from sin, brought others to the faith and to Bap
tism, and snatched others from the talons of the infernal
dragon at the hour of death. To this gift She then
added the gift of myrrh, which were her prostrations in
the form of a cross, her humiliations, and other exer
cises of penance, by which She prepared Herself so as to
present her own Self as myrrh before her God. Her
third offering was the incense of her inflamed and soar
ing love, her words and ejaculations, and other prompt
ings of her affection, so full of wisdom and sweetness.
668. In order to receive these offerings, her divine
Son, on the day and hour of the mystery, descended with
innumerable angels and saints. In their presence, and
inviting all the courtiers of heaven to assist, She made
her offering accompanying it with wonderful adoration,
worship and love; and with the offering She combined a
fervent prayer for all the mortals. Then She was taken
up to the throne of her Son and true God and made to
share the glory of his sacred humanity in an ineffable
manner. She was divinely united with it and as it were
transfigured by its splendors and translucency. A few
times, in order to moderate the conflagration of her love,
the Lord himself embraced Her and permitted Her to
recline upon his arms. These favors are such as can
not be described in words; for the Omnipotent sought
each day to exhaust upon Her the treasures of his bless
ings, old and new (Matth. 13, 52).
669. After receiving these favors, She descended from
the throne and supplicated the Lord for mercy upon man
kind. She concluded her petitions by a canticle of praise
in the name of all and She asked the saints to accompany
Her in all this. On this day also a wonderful thing
happened; namely, at the end of this feast She asked all
the Patriarchs and Saints present to intercede for Her
with the Almighty, that He might assist and govern Her
in all his works. For this purpose She went from one to
the other repeating her request and as if humbly kissing
their hands. Her divine Son, ineffably pleased, per
mitted Her to exercise her humility also before her par
ents, and before the Patriarchs and Prophets related to
Her. But this demonstration of her humility was not
extended to the angels, because they were her ministers
and not in the same relations with Her as her holy fore
bears. These heavenly spirits attended upon Her in an
other way, namely serving Her in these exercises.
670. Then the Queen celebrated the Baptism of Christ
our Lord with magnificent thanksgiving for his sub
mitting to be baptized Himself and thus establishing this
Sacrament. After offering her prayers for the Church
She withdrew to fast for the forty following days in
order to commemorate the fast of the Lord and of Her
self after his Baptism, as I have recorded in its place.
During these forty days She did not sleep, or eat, or
leave her retreat, unless some great necessity of the
Church demanded her presence. Her only intercourse
was with saint John when receiving holy Communion, or
when She was obliged to despatch some business for the
government of the Church. The beloved disciple was
also more solicitous in his attendance upon Her, absenting
himself rarely from the Cenacle. He relieved the numer
ous persons who sought help in their necessities, and he
cured the sick by applying some article, which had been
used by the powerful Queen. Many possessed by demons
also came, and some of them were freed before arriving;
for the demons dared not linger within the bodies of those
that approached the dwelling of most holy Mary. Others
of the demons cast themselves into the abyss as soon as
the possessed were touched by the cloak, or the veil, or
some other article belonging to the Queen. If any of
the demons still resisted, the Evangelist called the blessed
Lady, at whose presence they fled without waiting for
further commands.
671. It would be necessary to write many books, if all
the miracles and works of the great Queen during these
forty days were to be recorded; for, if She did not sleep,
or eat, or rest, who can estimate what She in her great
solicitude and activity accomplished during so long a
time ? It is enough to know, that She applied and offered
up all for the increase of the Church, the justification of
souls, the conversion of the world, and to assist the
Apostles and disciples preaching the Gospel throughout
the earth. At the end of this Lent her divine Son regaled
Her with a banquet similar to the one brought by the
angels to Him at the end of his fast, as I have described
in its place. Only this one was more splendid, since at
it was present the glorified Savior, full of majesty and
accompanied by myriads of angels, some of them serving,
others singing in divine and celestial harmonies ; and the
Lord himself furnished what was eaten by his most
blessed Mother. This day was very delightful to Her,
more on account of the presence of her divine Son and
his tokens of love, than on account of the exquisite nectars
and mannas of heaven. In thanksgiving She prostrated
Herself and asked his benediction, adoring the Lord ; and
He, having given it to Her, returned to the celestial
regions. During all these apparitions of the Lord Christ,
the pious Mother performed great and heroic acts of hu
mility, submission and veneration, kissing the feet of her
Son, acknowledging Herself unworthy of those favors,
and asking for new graces in order to serve Him better
in the future.
672. Possibly there may be those, who in their human
prudence, will consider as rather frequent these appari
tions of the Lord, which I have described for so many
occasions. But those who think so, will have to show
what is the measure of the holiness of the Mistress of
grace and virtue and the reciprocal love of such a Mother
and Son, and they will be obliged to tell us how far these
favors exceed the measure due to the circumstances. They
forget, that both faith and reason convince us, that this
measure goes far beyond all human estimate. As for
myself, the light in which I see these things excludes all
doubt, and moreover it should suffice for any one to con
sider, that each day, each hour and moment, Christ our
Savior descends from heaven, wherever in all the world
a priest legitimately consecrates the sacred Host in the
Mass. I say, that He descends not only by a bodily
motion, but by the change of bread and wine into his
sacred body and blood. Though this descent happens in
a different manner, which I will not gainsay or dispute;
yet the holy Catholic faith teaches me, that the same
Christ is actually present and remains in the conse
crated host. This wonder the Lord performs thus fre
quently for men and for their welfare, notwithstanding
that there are so many unworthy ones, and some even
among those who consecrate. If any one can induce Him
to continue this favor, it is no one else than the most
blessed Mary, for whom He will do it and for whom He
has principally begun to do it, as I have explained else
where. Hence it is not astonishing that He should have
visited Her personally so many times; since She alone
was able and knew how to merit it not only for Herself,
but for all the rest of us.
673. After the fast the great Lady celebrated the feast
of her Purification and the Presentation of the infant
God in the temple. In order that She might make this
offering
1 and that God might accept it, the most blessed
Trinity appeared in her oratory with his heavenly court.
To prepare Her for offering up the incarnate Word, the
angels vested and adorned Her with the same garments
and jewels, as I have described for the feast of the In
carnation. Then she offered up a comprehensive prayer,
in which She supplicated for the whole human race and
especially for the Church. The reward for this prayer
and for the humility, with which She subjected Herself
to the law of the purification as well as for her other
exercises, was a new increase of grace, new gifts and
favors for Herself, and for others great helps and
blessings.
674. The memory of the Passion, the institution of
the blessed Sacrament, and of the Resurrection She cele
brated not only every week, as described above, but also
on the anniversaries of their happening. Each year She
observed their commemoration in the manner as is now
done in the Church in the Holy Week. Besides the exer
cises of each week She added many others ; and on Good
Friday, at the hour in which Christ was crucified, She
placed Herself upon a cross and there remained for three
hours. She renewed all the prayers of the Lord, with all
the sorrows and mysteries of that day. But on the fol
lowing Sunday, which corresponds to the Resurrection,
She was raised by the holy angels to the empyrean
heavens where during that day She enjoyed the beatific
vision, while on the ordinary Sundays her vision of the
Godhead was abstractive.
INSTRUCTION WHICH THE QUEEN OF THE ANGELS
GAVE ME.
675. My daughter, the divine Spirit, whose wisdom
and prudence governs the holy Church, through my inter
cession has ordained, that in it so many different feasts
should be celebrated, not only in order that proper thanks
should be given to the Creator and Redeemer for the
works of the Redemption, of my life, and of the saints,
and that the blessings, which never can be properly re
paid, may not be forgotten by mankind; but also in
order that these solemnities might afford men an oppor
tunity of attending to holy exercises and of recollecting
themselves interiorly by withdrawing from the solicitudes
of temporal affairs; and in order that they might, by the
exercise of virtue and the good use of the Sacraments,
repair the losses sustained by their distractions, imitate
the virtues and the lives of the saints, solicit my inter
cession, merit the forgiveness of their sins and gain the
graces and favors held in readiness by the divine mercy in
these mysteries.
676. This is the spirit of the holy Church, by which
She desires to govern and nourish her children as a de
voted mother. And I, who am Mother of them all,
sought to attract and bind them to the secure path of
their salvation. But the insinuations of the infernal
serpent have always (and especially in the unhappy
times in which thou livest) tended to pervert these holy
ends of the Lord and mine, and when he cannot pervert
the order of the holy Church, he exerts himself to pre
vent the greater part of the faithful from being benefited
by her institutions and strives to induce many to convert
them into greater guilt for their condemnation. And the
same demon will stand as their accuser at the tribunal of
the divine justice; for on the days of greatest solemnity
and festivity men not only fail to enter into the spirit of
the Church by employing them in works of virtue and in
worship of their God ; but just on those days they commit
the most grievous sins, as is ordinarily the case with
carnal and worldly men. Certainly most outrageous and
reprehensible is the common forgetfulness and contempt
of this duty in the children of the Church, when they
profane the sacred and holy days by spending them in
diversion and play, in excessive and disorderly eating and
drinking, irritating the justice of the Almighty instead
of appeasing Him, in succumbing to their invisible ene
mies instead of vanquishing them, and in permitting them
to triumph in their pride and malice.
677. Do thou, my daughter, bewail this damage, since
I cannot bewail it now in the same way as I have done it
in mortal life; and exert thyself to assist thy brethren
in overcoming this widespread carelessness. And al
though the life of the religious should differ from that of
seculars so as to have no distinction of days and to apply
every day for the divine worship, for prayer and holy
exercises, as thou shouldst teach thy subjects; yet I
desire thee to celebrate with them the feasts of the Lord
and mine by a more careful preparation and purity of
conscience. I wish thee to fill all thy days and thy nights
with works holy and pleasing in the sight of the Lord;
but on the festivals thou shouldst add other interior and
exterior exercises. Excite the fervor of thy heart,
recollect thyself, and if it seems to thee that thou art
doing much, labor still more earnestly to make certain
thy vocation and election (II Pet. 1, 10), nor ever omit
any exercise out of negligence. Consider that the days
are evil (Ephes. 5, 6), and that life disappears like a
dream (Ps. 143, 4). Live very carefully in order that
thou mayest not be found without merit, holy deeds and
perfect works. To each hour assign its legitimate occu
pation, as thou hast seen me do it, and as I have many
times admonished and taught thee.
678. For this purpose I exhort thee to live attentive to
the divine inspirations and amid all the other blessings
not to forget those contained in such enlightenments. Let
thy care be such, that no virtuous act or greater perfec
tion, which is possible to thee and comes to thy notice,
remain unexecuted. I assure thee, my dearest, that
through their negligence and forgetfulness mortals lose
immense treasures of grace and glory. All the perfection
that I knew of my divine Son when I lived with Him, I
imitated, and whatever the Holy Ghost pointed out to
me as being most perfect, I executed as thou hast seen.
This anxious solicitude was as natural to me as to
breathe ; and through it I induced my divine Son to show
me so many favors and visit me so often during my
mortal life.
679. I desire likewise that, in order that thou and thy
religious may imitate me in my retirement and solicitude,
thou establish the manner in which the customary retreat
is to be conducted; and that those who make it should
live retired during the days appointed for it in holy obe
dience. Thou knowest from experience, what fruit is
gathered in these retreats, since in it thou hast written
nearly the whole of my life; and in this solitude the Lord
visited thee with greater blessings and favors for the
betterment of thy own life and the conquering of thy
enemies. In order that thy religious may understand how
they must conduct themselves in the exercises of the re
treat for their greater profit and advancement, I wish
that thou write for them a special treatise, in which thou
wilt assign all their occupations to certain hours and
times. These should be arranged in such a way, that the
one who is in retreat does not miss the community exer
cises ; for conformity to them is an obligation superseding
all the particular ones. As for the rest, those in retreat
should observe perfect silence and go about veiled, in
order that they may be known as making the retreat and
not spoken to by any of the others. Let none be deprived
of this benefit on account of their office and let their
duties be assigned to others in obedience. Ask enlighten
ment of the Lord for writing this treatise, and I shall
assist thee to understand more thoroughly my practices
in retirement, in order that thou mayest teach it to the
others.
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