The Work of God Apostolate

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 1 chapter 21 verses 326-344 Index

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


  INDEX            Book 1  Chapter  21    Verses:  326-344

326. The day destined for the parturition of saint
Anne and for the birth of Her, who was consecrated and
sanctified to be the Mother of God, had arrived: a day
most fortunate for the world. This birth happened on
the eighth day of September, fully nine months having
elapsed since the Conception of the soul of our most holy
Queen and Lady. Saint Anne was prepared by an in
terior voice of the Lord, informing Her, that the hour
of her parturition had come. Full of the joy of the holy
Spirit at this information, she prostrated herself before
the Lord and besought the assistance of his grace and
his protection for a happy deliverance. Presently she
felt a movement in her womb similar to that which is
proper to creatures being born to the light. The most
blessed child Mary was at the same time by divine provi
dence and power ravished into a most high ecstasy. Hence
Mary was born into the world without perceiving it by
her senses, for their operations and faculties were held
in suspense. As She had the use of her reason, She
would have perceived it by her senses, if they would have
been left to operate in their natural manner at that time.
However, the Almighty disposed otherwise, in order that
the Princess of heaven might be spared the sensible ex
perience otherwise connected with birth.
327. She was born pure and stainless, beautiful and
full of grace, thereby demonstrating, that She was free
from the law and the tribute of sin. Although She was
born substantially like other daughters of Adam, yet her
birth was accompanied by such circumstances and condi
tions of grace, that it was the most wonderful and mi
raculous birth in all creation and will eternally redound
to the praise of her Maker. At twelve o clock in the
night this divine Luminary issued forth, dividing the
night of the ancient Law and its pristine darknesses from
the new day of grace, which now was about to break into
dawn. She was clothed, handled and dressed like other
infants, though her soul dwelt in the Divinity; and She
was treated as an infant, though She excelled all mortals
and even all the angels in wisdom. Her mother did not
allow Her to be touched by other hands than her own,
but she herself wrapped Her in swaddling clothes: and
in this Saint Anne was not hindered by her present state
of childbirth ; for she was free from the toils and labors,
which other mothers usually endure in such circum
328. So then saint Anne received in her arms Her,
who was her Daughter, but at the same time the most
exquisite Treasure of all the universe, inferior only to
God and superior to all other creatures. With fervent
tears of joy she offered this Treasure to his Majesty,
saying interiorly : "Lord of infinite wisdom and power,
Creator of all that exists, this Fruit of my womb, which
I have received of thy bounty, I offer to Thee with
eternal thanks, for without any merit of mine Thou hast
vouchsafed it to me. Dispose Thou of the mother and
Child according to thy most holy will and look pro
pitiously down upon our lowliness from thy exalted
throne. Be Thou eternally blessed, because Thou hast
enriched the world with a Creature so pleasing to thy
bounty and because in Her Thou hast prepared a dwell
ing-place and a tabernacle for the eternal Word (Sap. 9,
8). I tender my congratulations to my holy forefathers
and to the holy Prophets, and in them to the whole human
race, for this sure pledge of Redemption, which Thou
hast given them. But how shall I be able worthily to treat
Her, whom Thou hast given me as a Daughter? I that
am not worthy to be her servant? How shall I handle
the true ark of the Testament? Give me, O my Lord
and King, the necessary enlightenment to know thy will
and to execute it according to thy pleasure in the service
of my Daughter."
329. The Lord answered the holy matron interiorly,
that she was to treat her heavenly Child outwardly as
mothers treat their daughters, without any demonstration
of reverence; but to retain this reverence inwardly, ful
filling the laws of a true mother toward Her, and rearing
Her up with all motherly love and solicitude. All this
the happy mother complied with ; making use of this per
mission and her mother s rights without losing her rever
ence, she regaled herself with her most holy Daughter,
embracing and caressing Her in the same way as other
mothers do with their daughters. But it was always done
with a proper reverence and consciousness of the hidden
and divine sacrament known only to the mother and
Daughter. The guardian angels of the sweet Child with
others in great multitudes showed their veneration and
worship to Mary as She rested in the arms of her
mother; they joined in heavenly music, some of which
was audible also to blessed Anne. The thousand angels
appointed as guardians of the great Queen offered them-
selves and dedicated themselves to her service. This was
also the first time, in which the heavenly Mistress saw
them in a corporeal form with their devises and habili
ments, as I shall describe in another chapter (Ch. XXIII)
and the Child asked them to join with Her in the praise
of the Most High and to exalt Him in her name.
330. At the moment of the birth of our Princess Mary
the Most High sent the archangel Gabriel as an envoy to
bring this joyful news to the holy Fathers in limbo. Im
mediately the heavenly ambassador descended, illumining
that deep cavern and rejoicing the just who were de
tained therein. He told them that already the dawn of
eternal felicity had commenced and that the reparation of
man, which was so earnestly desired and expected by
the holy Patriarchs and foretold by the Prophets, had
been begun, since She, who was to be the Mother of the
Messias, had now been born; soon would they now see
the salvation and the glory of the Most High. The holy
prince gave them an understanding of the excellence of
the most holy Mary and of what the Omnipotent had
begun to work in Her, in order that they might better
comprehend the happy beginning of the mystery, which
was to end their prolonged imprisonment. Then all the
holy Patriarchs and Prophets and the rest of the just in
limbo rejoiced in spirit and in new canticles praised the
Lord for this benefit.
331. All these happenings at the birth of our Queen
succeeded each other in a short space of time. The first
exercise of her senses in the light of the material sun,
was to recognize her parents and other creatures. The
arms of the Most High began to work new wonders in
Her far above all conceptions of men, and the first and
most stupendous one was to send innumerable angels to
bring the Mother of the eternal Word body and soul into
the empyrean heaven for the fulfilling of his further in
tentions regarding Her. The holy princes obeyed the di
vine mandate and receiving the child Mary from the arms
of her holy Mother Anne, they arranged a new and sol
emn procession bearing heavenward with incomparable
songs of joy the true Ark of the covenant, in order that
for a short time it might rest, not in the house of Obededon,
but in the temple of the King of kings and of the
Lord of lords, where later on it was to be placed for all
eternity. This was the second step, which most holy
Mary made in her life, namely, from this earth to the
highest heaven.
332. Who can worthily extol this wonderful prodigy
of the right hand of the Almighty ? Who can describe the
joy and the admiration of the celestial spirits, when they
beheld this new and wonderful work of the Most High,
and when they gathered to celebrate it in their songs?
In these songs they acknowledged and reverenced as
their Queen and Mistress, Her, who was to be the
Mother of their Lord, and the source of the grace and
glory, which they possessed ; for it was through his fore
seen merits, that they had been made the recipients of
the divine bounty. But above all, what human tongue,
or what mortal could ever describe or comprehend the
heart-secrets of that tender Child during these events? I
leave the imagination of all this to Catholic piety, and still
more to those who in the Lord are favored with an un
derstanding of it, but most of all to those who, by di
vine bounty shall have arrived at the beatific vision face
to face.
333. Borne by the hands of the angels the child
Mary entered the empyrean heaven where She prostrated
Herself full of love before the royal throne in the pres
ence of the Most High. Then (according to our way of
understanding), was verified what long before had hap
pened in figure, when Bethsabee entered into the presence
of her son Solomon, who, while presiding over his people
of Israel, arose from his throne, received her with honor
and reverence, and seated her at his side as queen. Sim
ilarly, but in a more glorious and admirable manner, the
person of the divine Word now received the child Mary,
whom He had chosen as Mother, as Queen of the uni
verse. Although her real dignity and the purpose of
these ineffable mysteries were unknown to Mary, yet her
infant faculties were strengthened by divine power for
the proper reception of these favors. New graces and
gifts were bestowed upon Her, by which her faculties
were correspondingly elevated. Her powers of mind,
besides being illumined and prepared by new grace and
light, were raised and proportioned to the divine manifes
tation, and the Divinity displayed Itself in the new light
vouchsafed, revealing Itself to Her intuitively and clearly
in a most exalted manner. This was the first time in
which the most holy soul of Mary saw the blessed Trinity
in unveiled beatific vision.
334. The sole witnesses of the glory of Mary in this
beatific vision, of the sacraments then again revealed to
Her, of the divine effect that overflowed into her most
pure soul, was God the Author of this unheard of won
der, and the astounded angels, who in some measure per
ceived these mysteries in God Himself. The Queen seat
ed at the side of the Lord, who was to be her Son, and
seeing Him face to face, was more successful in her
prayer than Bethsabee (III Kings, 2, 21). For She prayed,
that He bestow the untouched Sunamite Abisag, his in
accessible Divinity, upon his sister, human nature; She
prayed that his promised coming from heaven to the
earth and his marriage with human nature by the hypo
static union be fulfilled in the person of the Word. Many (
times had He pledged Himself to it among men through
the ancient Patriarchs and Prophets and now Mary be
sought Him to accelerate the reparation of the human
race, expected for so many ages amid the multiplied
iniquity and the ruin of souls. The Most High heard
this most pleasing petition of his Mother, and acting
more graciously than Solomon of old toward his mother,
He assured Her that soon his promises should be ful
filled, and that He should descend to the world in order
to assume and redeem human nature.
335. In this divine consistory and tribunal of the most
holy Trinity it was determined to give a name to the
Child Queen. As there is no proper and legitimate name,
except it be found in the immutable being of God himself
(for from it are participated and determined according to
their right weight and measure all things in infinite wis
dom) his Majesty wished himself to give and impose that
name in heaven. He thereby made known to the angelic
spirits, that the three divine Persons, had decreed and
formed the sweet names of Jesus and Mary for the Son
and Mother from the beginning before the ages, and that
they had been delighted with them and had engraved
them on their eternal memories to be as it were the Ob
jects for whose service They should create all things.
Being informed of these and many other mysteries, the
holy angels heard a voice from the throne speaking in the
person of the Father: "Our chosen One shall be called
MARY, and this name is to be powerful and magnificent.
Those that shall invoke it with devout affection shall re
ceive most abundant graces; those that shall honor it
and pronounce it with reverence shall be consoled and
vivified, and will find in it the remedy of their evils, the
treasures for their enrichment, the light which shall guide
them to heaven. It shall be terrible against the power of
hell, it shall crush the head of the serpent and it shall win
glorious victories over the princes of hell." The Lord
commanded the angelic spirits to announce this glorious
name to saint Anne, so that what was decreed in heaven
might be executed on earth. The heavenly Child, lov
ingly prostrate before the throne, rendered most accepta
ble and human thanks to the eternal Being; and She re
ceived the name with most admirable and sweet jubliation.
If the prerogatives and graces, which She then was
favored with, were to be described, it would necessitate
an extra book of many volumes. The holy angels hon
ored and acknowledged most holy Mary as the future
Mother of the Word and as their Queen and Mistress en
throned at the right hand of her Son ; they showed their
veneration of her holy name, prostrating themselves as
it proceeded from the throne in the voice of the eternal
Father, especially those, who had it written on the devises
over their breast. All of them gave forth canticles of
praise for these great and hidden mysteries. In the mean
while the infant Queen remained ignorant of the real
cause of all that She thus experienced, for her dignity of
Mother of the incarnate Word was not revealed to Her till
the time of the Incarnation. With the same reverential
jubilee did the angels return in order to replace Her into
the arms of holy Anne, to whom this event remained a
secret, as was also the absence of her Daughter; for a
guardian angel, assuming an aerial body, supplied her
place for this very purpose. More than that, during a
great part of the time in which the heavenly Child re
mained in the empyrean heaven, her mother was wrapped
in an ecstasy of highest contemplation, and in it, although
she did not know what was happening to the Child, ex
alted mysteries concerning the dignity of Mother of God,
to which She was to be chosen, were revealed to her. The
prudent matron kept them enshrined within her breast,
conferring- them in her thoughts with the duties she owed
to her Child.
336. On the eighth day after the birth of the great
Queen multitudes of most beautiful angels in splendid
array descended from on high bearing an escutcheon on
which the name of MARY was engraved and shone forth
in great brilliancy. Appearing to the blessed mother
Anne, they told her, that the name of her daughter was
to be MARY, which name they had brought from heav
en, and which divine Providence had selected and now
ordained to be given to their child by Joachim and her
self. The saint called for her husband and they con
ferred with each other about this disposition of God in
regard to the name of their Daughter. The more than
happy father accepted the name with joy and devout
affection. They decided to call their relatives and a
priest and then, with much solemnity and festivity, they
imposed the name of MARY on their Child. The angels
also celebrated this event with most sweet and ravishing
music, which, however, was heard only by the mother and
her most holy Daughter. Thus was the divine Princess
named by the holy Trinity: in heaven, on the day of
her nativity, and on earth, after eight days. This name
was written in the list of other names, when her mother
presented herself at the temple according to the law, as
I will relate further on. This was the birth, like to which
none had been before, and the like of which cannot again
happen in mere creatures. This was the most blessed
birth of which nature was capable, for by it an In
fant came into existence, whose entrance into the
world was not only free from all impurities of sin,
but who was more pure and holy than the highest sera
phim. The birth of Moses was celebrated on account
of the beauty and handsomeness of the infant (Exod. 2,
2) ; all his beauty was only corruptible and apparent.
But O how beautiful is our great Child! O how beauti
ful (Cant. 7, 6) ! She is entirely beautiful and most
sweet in her delights, since She is possessed of all grace
and beauty, without being wanting in any. The laughter
and the joy of the house of Abraham was the birth of
the promised Isaac (Genes. 21, 6), conceived in a sterile
womb, but this joy was great only because it foreshad
owed and was derived from the birth of our infant
Queen, toward which all this joy of Abraham was only
a step. If that birth was so admirable and full of joy
for the family of the Patriarch because it was a fore
shadowing of the birth of sweetest Mary, heaven and
earth should rejoice at the birth of Her, who gave a be
ginning to the restoration of heaven and the sanctification
of the world. When Noah was born, his father
Lamech was consoled (Genes. 5, 29), because in that son
God had provided a progenitor of the human race in the
ark and assured a restoration of the blessings, which the
sins of men had forfeited. But all this happened merely
as a type to foreshadow the birth of this Child, who was
to be the true Reparatrix, being the mystical ark which
contained the new and true Noah and which drew Him
down from heaven, who was to fill with benediction all
the inhabitants of the earth. O blessed birth! O joyful
nativity ! The most pleasing to the blessed Trinity in all
the ages of the past, the joy of the angels, the relief of
sinners, the delight of the just, and the singular consola
tion of all the holy souls in limbo !
337. O precious and rich Pearl, that didst come forth
to the light of the sun, still enclosed within the rough
shell of this world! O sublime Infant, who, though
scarcely noticed by terrestrial eyes in the material light,
yet in the eyes of the highest King and his courtiers, excellest
all that is not God in dignity and grandeur! All
generations bless Thee, all the nations recognize and
praise thy grace and beauty ! Let the earth be made illus
trious by thy birth, let mortals be rejoiced because their
Mediatrix is born, who will fill up the vast emptiness of
original sin. Let thy gracious condescension toward me
be blessed and extolled, who am the most abject dust and
ashes. If Thou givest me permission, O my Lady, to
speak in thy presence, I will propose a doubt which oc
curred to me in describing the mystery of thy most ad
mirable and holy birth, namely : regarding an act of the
Almighty at the hour of thy coming forth into the ma
terial light of the sun.
338. And this is the doubt : How are we to understand
thy being raised in thy body by the hands of the holy
angels into the empyrean heavens and to the vision of
God ? For according to the teaching of the holy Church
and her doctors, heaven was closed and as it were inter
dicted to man, until thy most holy Son should open it
through his life and death, and until He himself, as Re
deemer and Chief, should enter it on the day of his ad
mirable Ascension, He being the first one for whom these
eternal portals were to be opened after their being closed
up by sin ?
339. My dearest daughter, it is true, that divine jus
tice closed heaven against mortals on account of the first
sin, until my most holy Son should open it by satisfying
most abundantly for men through his earthly life and
death. It was befitting and just, that this same Re
deemer, who had united to Himself the redeemed mem
bers and opened heaven, should as their Chief enter be
fore any of the children of Adam. If Adam had not
sinned, it would not have been necessary to follow this
course; for men would have ascended of themselves in
order to enjoy the Divinity in the empyrean heavens;
having however foreseen the fall of man, the most blessed
Trinity provided for the course followed at present. This
great mystery was referred to by David in the twentythird
psalm, when speaking of the spirits of heaven he
repeats twice "Lift up, ye princes, your gates ; and be ye
lifted up, ye eternal gates, and the King of Glory shall
enter in." They are here called the gates of the angels,
because only for them were they open, but for mortal
men they were closed. Although these heavenly courtiers
were aware of the fact that the incarnate Word had al
ready thrown back the bars and bolts of guilt, and that
He was now ascending rich and glorious with the spoils
of death and sin, bringing with Him the fruits of his
Passion in the accompanying hosts of the glorious saints
released from limbo; nevertheless the holy angels give
vent to their admiration and breathless suspense at this
wonderful novelty, asking : "Who is this King of glory ?"
For He was a man and of the same nature as the one
who had lost for himself and for all his race the right to
enter into heaven.
340. They themselves give answer to the question say
ing: "The Lord who is strong and mighty; the Lord
mighty in battle," the Lord of virtues, the King of glory.
This was as if they confessed their conviction, that this
Man, who was now coming up from the world in order
to open the eternal gates, was not a mere man and is not
included under the law of sin ; but that He was true God
and true man, who, strong and powerful in battle, had
overcome the strong-armed one (Luc. 11, 22), that
reigned in the world, had taken away his reign and de
spoiled him of his weapons. And He was the Lord of
virtues, as one that had exercised them as a Master, with
sovereignty over them and without any contradiction of
sin and defect. As the Lord of virtues and as the Lord
of glory, He now came in triumph, distributing virtues
and glory to his redeemed, for whom as man He had
suffered and died, and whom as God He was now raising
up to the eternal and beatific vision, having broken the
bars and shackles imposed by sin.
341. Since this, O soul, was the work of my dear Son,
the true God and man, He, as the Lord of virtues and
graces, exalted and adorned me with them from the first
moment of my Immaculate Conception. And as, more
over, the hindrance of sin touched me not, I was free
from the impediments which prevented other mortals
from entering into the eternal gates of heaven; on the
contrary the powerful arm of my Son acted with me as
being the Mistress of all virtues and as the Queen of
heaven. Because He was to vest Himself and assume
unto Himself human nature from my flesh and blood, He
was beforehand in preparing me and making me like
Himself in purity and exemption from fault and in other
divine gifts and privileges. As I was not a slave of sin, I
exercised the virtues not as a subject, but as a Mistress,
without contradiction, but with sovereignty, not like the
children of Adam, but like the Son of God, who was also
my Son.
342. For these reasons the celestial spirits, who had
possession of the eternal gates as their own, opened them
up for me, perceiving that the Lord had created me more
pure than all the most exalted spirits in heaven, and
made me their Queen, and the Mistress of all creation.
Remember also, my dearest, that he who makes the law
can also dispense with it freely, and this the supreme
Lord and Legislator did with me, extending the sceptre
of his clemency toward me more readily than Assuerus
did to Esther. For the common laws regarding others
and consequent on their guilt, applied not to me, who
was to be the Mother of the Author of Grace. Although
I could not, as a mere creature, merit such blessed privi
leges, yet the divine clemency and goodness of God
turned toward me with full liberality and He was pleased
with the humility of his servant, in order that for all
eternity the Author of such prodigies might be praised.
Do thou also, my Daughter, according to my directions,
bless and magnify Him for these benefits bestowed upon
343. My admonition to thee, whom in spite of thy
weakness and poverty I have chosen with such generous
kindness as my disciple and companion, is this : that
thou strive with all thy powers to imitate me in an exer
cise, in which I persevered during my whole life from the
very first moment of my birth, omitting it on not a single
day, however full of cares and labors it might have been.
This exercise was the following: every day at beginning
of dawn, I prostrated myself in the presence of the Most
High and gave Him thanks and praise for his immutable
Being, his infinite perfections, and for having created me
out of nothing; acknowledging myself as his creature
and the work of his hands, I blessed Him and adored
Him, giving Him honor, magnificence and Divinity, as
the supreme Lord and Creator of myself and of all that
exists. I raised up my spirit to place it into his hands,
offering myself with profound humility and resignation
to Him and asking Him to dispose of me according to
his will during that day and during all the days of my
life, and to teach me to fulfill whatever would be to his
greater pleasure. This I repeated many times during the
external works of the day, and in the internal ones I first
consulted his Majesty, asking his advice, permission and
benediction for all my actions.
344. Be very devout toward my most sweet name. I
wish that thou be convinced of the great prerogatives
and privileges, which the Almighty concedes to it, so
that I myself, when I saw them in the Divinity, felt most
deeply obliged and solicitous to make a proper return;
and whenever the name MARY occurred to my mind
(which happened often) and whenever I heard myself
called by that name, I was aroused to thankfulness and
urged to new fervor in the service of the Lord, who gave
it to me. Thou hast the same name and I wish, that in
proportion it should cause the same effects in thee and
that thou imitate me faithfully by following the lesson
given thee in this chapter, without failing in the least
point from this day onward. And if in thy weakness
thou shouldst fail, rouse thyself immediately, and in the
presence of thy Lord and mine, acknowledge thy fault,
confessing it in sorrow. Repeating these holy exercises
over and again with solicitous care, thou shalt find for
giveness for imperfections and grow accustomed to strive
after what is highest in all virtues and most pleasing to
the Lord. Then, following the light which He gives and
in pursuance of that which is most pleasing and agreeable
to thy own tastes and mine, thou shalt not be denied the
grace of employing thyself entirely in listening, attending
to and obeying in all things thy Spouse and Lord, who
seeks in thee only what is most pure, most holy and per
fect, and a will prompt and eager to put the same into
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