The Work of God Apostolate

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book  chapter  verses Index

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

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book  chapter  verses SPECIAL NOTice TO THE REAder

  INDEX            Book   Chapter      Verses:  


Nothing that essentially differs from the teach
ings of the Catholic Church can rightfully be
taught or believed by any man or under any pre
text. Moreover, even the essential doctrines can be
taught and expounded only in the sense and spirit ap
proved, or at least not disapproved, by the Church.
This at once will establish the position which private
revelations, whether coming from Heaven or originat
ing from hallucination, merely human or devilish, hold
in the Church of God.
There can be no doubt that God can and does manifest
to chosen souls hidden things in addition to what He
teaches through the public ministry of His Church. It
is also an accepted truth that He sometimes reveals them
to his friends for the express purpose of communicating
this extra knowledge to other well disposed persons
through the natural and human means at the disposal
of those receiving his revelations. These manifestations
He invariably surrounds with enough evidence to satisfy
all requirements of a cautious and well founded human
belief. It follows naturally that whenever He thus sur
rounds private revelations with evidences of their heav
enly origin, He will be pleased with a rational and lov
ing belief and dissatisfied with a captious and obstinate
unbelief of the facts or truths thus privately revealed.
Where, however, these external evidences are wanting,
or wherever holy Church intimates the least direct or in
direct disapproval, there any faith in private revelation
would be not only foolish, but positively wrong.

The Church has as yet given no public and full ap
proval to private revelations of any kind; nor will she
ever do so, since that would be really an addition to the
deposit of faith left by Christ. But tacitly and indirectly
she has approved many private revelations, and among
them the writings of Mary of Agreda. She could well
do so, since there are no writings of that kind which
exhibit more reliable human proofs of divine origin than
the "Ciudad de Dios" of the Venerable Servant of God,
Mary of Jesus of Agreda.
The existence of the Bible justifies the query, whether
there are not other books that have been written under
supernatural guidance, though we know of course that
none of them can ever have the same importance and
authenticity as the Bible. For the Bible was provided
as the record of the general revelations of God to man
kind at all its stages to the end of times.

Evidently there remains an immense domain of truths
outside the range of natural human knowledge and not
specially revealed in the Bible. You will at once say :
that whole field is covered by the one true religion. Of
course it is. The teaching and ministry of men especially
appointed for that purpose, the practice and example of
those eminent in the Christian virtues, the writings of
those versed in higher truths, are the ordinary means
of spreading truth and leading men to their great
destiny. But besides all this, history proves that God,
for special purposes, often grants to his friends higher
insight into supernatural truths and facts, which, if at his
command they are recorded in writing, are intended by
Him as an additional source of higher knowledge and
well deserve to be considered as private revelations.

Past ages simply teem with writings that claim to be
derived from or based on divine revelation or inspiration.
Many of them are clearly nothing but frauds, showing
the signs of conscious or unconscious hallucination.
Many again seem beyond mere natural human powers of
insight, but at the same time in their authorship and ten
dencies show nothing divine or beneficent, thus proving
that besides human error and malice the sinister and
treacherous knowledge of malign spirits often finds its
way into such writings. Ancient sorcery and magic and
modern spiritism have their root in this sort of preter
natural communication.

Hence it would be foolish not to demand the closest
inquiry into anything put forward as private revelation.
Fortunately it is easy to apply sure and unfailing tests.
All that is necessary, is to ascertain the character and
motives of the writer and the result or drift of his writ
ings. Mahomet proves himself an epileptic adventurer
and his Koran a travesty of Judaism and Christianity,
settling like a blight upon civilization. Joseph Smith
and his companions turn out to be rebellious incendiaries
and murderers and their book of Mormon a ridiculous
fake, establishing a fanatic and bigamous theocracy.
The fakir Dowie pretending prophecy, ends as a luna
tic in a bankrupt Zion, yet leaving millions to his rela
tives. The humbugging Eddy, after crazy-quilting
scraps from the Bible with shreds of Buddhism, Brahmanism
and Theosophy, shuffles off her wrinkled coil
amid a numerous following of dupes who rather ex
pected her faked science to keep her perpetually alive
or raise her up from the dead;
Is there any difficulty in discovering the fraud in
revelations of such a kind? Yet they claim divine in
spiration and very often contain passages which show
sources of information and deceit not altogether human.
The sinister manifestation of spiritism and the astound
ing information often furnished by mediums, are not
all sleight of hand or illusion of the senses; some of these
things can be explained only by assuming interference
of a sinister spirit world.

Would it not be absurd to concede the communica
tion with evil spirits or departed souls, damned or other
wise, (and all reasonable people concede it), and deny
the possibility of communing with the good spirits or
souls and with God? Who would want to limit the
power of God in this way ? It will not do to claim that
all the communication of God and the good spirits takes
the ordinary course provided in the public ministry of
the true religion. For it does not. Saint Paul saw
things that he dared not reveal, though he was not slow
in writing down his other revelations. The doctrine of
the Immaculate Conception and the Infallibility was pri
vately revealed many times before they were officially
defined and accepted as self-understood truths by all
reasonable men. Before these doctrines were defined,
who had the greater prudence and insight? Those peo
ple who refused to believe these truths because they were
privately revealed, or those who examined those reve
lations and finding them humanly credible, and not con
trary to the true religion, simply accepted them as re
vealed by God? I should think the latter showed them
selves ahead of their times and far more enlightened in
their belief than the former, who persisted in a finical
unbelief concerning all private revelations.

If we find that the author of alleged private revela
tions has been a faithful adherent of the one true re
ligion established by God, that he has led a good and
blameless life, that his writings do not run counter to
the Bible nor to the public teachings of the true Church,
that he was not actuated by motives of selfish gain, pe
cuniary or otherwise, that the writings themselves tend
toward the practice of perfection both as far as the
writer as well as the reader is concerned, that they have
not been openly disapproved by the Church; then cer
tainly, if the information recorded is such that it would
presuppose supernatural inspiration or direct communi
cation with the higher world, we are not justified in
immediately rejecting the writings as fraudulent. Closer
examination may easily lead to reasonable certainty
that they are privately revealed. But we all know that
this acceptance can never mean anything more than a
mere human belief, not the belief of faith, such as for
instance is demanded by holy Scripture. In fact, as
soon as any such writing lays claim to implicit faith,
it certainly is no revelation and ought to be rejected at
once as spurious.

She was the daughter of Francis Coronel and Catherine
of Arana, born April 2, 1602, in the small town of Agreda
near Tarazona in Spain. In 1617 she entered the convent
of the discalced Franciscan Nuns in the Convent of the
Immaculate Conception in Agreda and took her vows one
year later. In 1625 she was chosen abbess, much against
her wishes, and, except during a short intermission, was
re-elected every three years until she died, in 1665. The
fame of her prudence and foresight, not only in the gov
ernment of her convent but in other matters, soon spread
outside the convent walls and persons of the highest rank
in state and Church were eager to obtain her counsel in
important affairs. King Philip IV visited her several
times in her convent and corresponded with her about
national affairs for many years.
But she was no less famous for her exalted virtues. In
many respects her life was a faithful copy of that of St.
Francis. The miracle of bilocation related of her is in
fact more remarkable and lasted a longer time than that
recorded anywhere in the lives of the saints. Her good
sense, her truthfulness, her sincerity, her humility, her
unselfish love of God and man eminently adapted her for
the communication of messages from God to men.

In all writing that lays claim to private revelation, the
motives of the writer must be closely scrutinized. If it
appears to be a self-imposed task, for selfish ends, pe
cuniary or otherwise, tending to particularity in religious
teachings or practice not approved by the established faith
or written without knowledge or consultation of the right
ful superiors, it ought to be rejected as spurious. God will
reveal nothing for such purpose or under such circum
stances, and He will permit human error and deceit and
the sinister influence of hell to run their natural course.
Nothing of all this appears in the writings of Mary of
Agreda. Though she was urged interiorly and exteriorly
to record the facts of history revealed to her concerning
the Mother of God, she resisted for twelve years and was
finally induced to write only through the positive com
mands of her superiors. Reluctantly she began her his
tory in the year 1637 and finished it in the year 1645,
continually asking to be relieved from the task because
she thought herself unworthy. As soon as the insistence
of her superiors relaxed and an error of judgment on the
part of an outside confessor gave her a plausible excuse,
she burned all her writings, thus destroying the labor of
many years. When this came to the knowledge of the
higher authorities and when they insisted on her rewrit
ing the history which continued to be supernaturally
made known to her, she again succeeded in delaying the
task for ten years. Only the strictest command under
obedience and the threat of censures finally induced her
to write the manuscript which she began in 1655 and fin
ished in 1665, and which is still preserved in the convent
of Agreda.

It is to be remembered that God s almighty power is
restricted to no particular instrument; He creates out of
nothing. In the case of Balaam, he used not only that
wicked man but even his beast for special revelation. It
does seem that He prefers women for private revelation.
He chose men to reveal the great public truths of the
Bible and to attend to the public teaching, but to women
in the new law He seems to have consigned the task of
private revelations. At least most of the known private
revelations have been furnished us by women and not
men. We must infer from this that they are better
adapted for this work. In fact, no special learning or
great natural insight is required of a messenger; such
qualities might tend to corrupt or narrow down the in
spired message to mere human proportions, whereas pri
vate revelation is given precisely for the purpose of com
municating higher truths than can be known or under
stood naturally. Humility, great piety and love, deep
faith are the requisites of God s special messengers.
Women as a rule are more inclined to these virtues than
men, and therefore are not so apt to trim the message
of God down to their own natural powers of understand
ing. In choosing women for his special revelations He
gives us to understand from the outset, that what He
wishes to reveal is above the natural faculties of per
ception and insight of either man or woman.

As soon as the "City of God" appeared in print it was
welcomed and extolled as a most wonderful work. The
different translations found no less enthusiastic welcome
in nearly all the European countries. It secured the im
mediate approbation and encomium of the ordinaries, the
universities, the learned and eminent men of Christendom.
There is probably no other book which was so closely
scrutinized by those in authority, both civil and religious,
and afterwards so signally approved as the "City of God."
By order of Innocent XL, Alexander VIIL, Clement IX.,
Benedict XIIL, and Benedict XIV. it was repeatedly sub
jected to the closest scrutiny and declared authentic,
worthy of devout perusal and free from error. The title
"Venerabilis" was conferred upon the author. A large
sized volume would be required to record the praises and
commendations written in favor of the great "City of

As the "City of God" so strenuously maintains the
prerogatives of the Mother of God and the authority of
the Popes, it was not to be expected that it should escape
the malicious slander and intrigues of those tainted with
Jansenism and Gallicanism. Many members of the Sor
bonne in Paris were secret or open adherers of these
sects at the time when the "Ciudad" was first published
in French about the year 1678. The first translation in
French was very inexact and contained many interpola
tions and false versions of the original. Dr. Louis Elias
du Pin and Dr. Hideux of the Sorbonne made this trans
lation the foundation of virulent attacks. Du Pin was
called by Pope Clement XI. "Nequioris doctrinse hominem,&
quot; "A man of pernicious doctrines." Hideux turned
out to be a rabid and fanatical Jansenist, cut off from
the Church as a heretic. As they and other members of
the Sorbonne succeeded in enlisting the sympathy of in
fluential Gallican courtiers and church dignitaries, both
in Paris and at Rome, they secured a clandestine prohi
bition of the "City of God," which appeared in the acts
of the Congregation of the Office. When it was discov
ered, no one could be found who would dare stand
sponsor for it, and immediately Pope Innocent XL, on
November 9, 1681, annulled the act, positively decree
ing that the "City of God" be freely spread among the
clergy and laity. The very fact that this prohibition did
not issue from the Index Commission but from a depart
ment not concerned with the examination of books, proves
that it owes its insertion to Gallican intrigue, secretly ex
tending even to high circles in Rome, and to the fairminded,
this sectarian attempt will be a convincing argu
ment for the excellence and orthodoxy of the doctrines
contained in the revelations of Mary of Agreda.

The popularity and excellence of the great history of
the Mother of God is also evidenced by its widespread
diffusion. It has appeared in over sixty editions in Span
ish, Italian, French, Portuguese, German, Latin, Arabic,
Greek, and Polish. Does it not seem providential that the
first English translation of this great work should have
been reserved for our own times? No other language on
the face of the earth is the medium of so many theories,
sects and isms as the English language and the "City of
God" is a most timely and efficient antidote for the epi
demic of false doctrines, which is sweeping over all the
earth, and affects especially the English-speaking portion
of the human race.

The translator and promoter of the "City of God" is
confident that it will not be one of the books idly filling
the shelves of libraries, but one which at the first cursory
inspection will arouse the desire of further inquiry and
lead to repeated and attentive perusal.
The translation herewith offered is as exact and as per
fect a rendition of the original Spanish into English, as
ten years of assiduous labor and a considerable experi
ence in literary production give a right to expect. The
subject-matter surely ought to secure for it a proper
place in the more elevated ranks of English Literature.
May this first English translation, under the guidance
of our holy faith, bring forth abundant fruits of the
Spirit among English-speaking people in all parts of the
Feast of the Annunciation, 1912.
Fiscar Marison, South Chicago.
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