The Work of God Apostolate

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 1 chapter 23 verses 361-377 Index

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


  INDEX            Book 1  Chapter  23    Verses:  361-377

361. It has already been said that a thousand angels
were appointed as guardians of Mary, just as there is
one for each soul. On account of the great dignity of the
most holy Mary we must assume, that each of the thou
sand guardian angels watched over Mary more solici
tously than other guardian angels watch over other souls.
Besides these thousand angels, who formed her ordinary
and constant guard, many others were at her service on
different occasions, especially after She had conceived in
her womb the divine Word incarnate. I have mentioned
above (No. 204) that the selection of these thousand
angels was made after the creation of the angelic hosts,
and after the justification of the good and fall of the
bad. The Divinity of the Word, to be clothed in its hu
man nature, and also his most pure Mother was proposed
and manifested to them, while they were yet in the state
of probation; they were then made to understand, that
they were to revere Them as their superiors.
362. When the apostate angels were chastised and the
faithful ones rewarded, the Lord proceeded according to
a most just measure and equity. As I said : in the acci
dental reward there was a certain diversity among the
angels according to the difference in their dispositions
regarding the mysteries of the incarnate Word and his
most pure Mother, which were made known to them be-
fore and during the probation. This accidental reward
consisted especially in being selected to assist and serve
the most holy Mary and the incarnate Word, and also in
the manner and form of their visible appearance to the
Queen and of serving Her. This is what I wish to explain
in this chapter ; but at the same time I must acknowledge
my inability to do so, since it is difficult to reduce to ma
terial images and words the perfections and the opera
tions of such exalted spiritual beings. Nevertheless if I
should pass over this matter in silence, I would fail to
give a proper idea of a great portion of the most exalted
operations of the Queen of heaven during her mortal
life. For next to her intercourse with the Lord, that
with his ministers, the angelic spirits, was the most con
tinual. Therefore without the mention of this intercourse
the history of her life would be defective.
363. I presuppose all that I have until now said about
the orders, hierarchies and distinctions of the thousand
angels of her guard. But I wish here to describe in
what corporeal forms they appeared to their Queen and
Mistress. The intellectual and imaginary apparitions I
reserve for another chapter, where I intend to describe
especially the different kinds of visions, with which her
Highness was favored. The nine hundred angels, which
were chosen from the nine choirs, one hundred from
each, were selected from the number of those, who had
distinguished themselves by their esteem, love and rev
erence for the most holy Mary. They were made visible
to the blessed Virgin under the form of young men in
their early years, but of the most exquisite beauty and
courteousness. Their bodily forms showed but little
resemblance to earthly matter, for they were transpar
ently pure and like animated crystals bathed in glory,
similar to a glorified and transfigured body. With their
beauty they combined a grave and amiable composure.
Their garments covered them in flowing folds, but were
resplendent, like the most clear burnished gold, enameled
or stained with exquisite shades of color, presenting a
most wonderful and varied beauty to the sight. At the
same time all this ornament and visible presence seemed
of such a kind, that it could not be subject to the sense
of feeling nor be touched by the hand, although it could
be seen and perceived like the rays of the sun entering
into the open window and revealing the atoms of dust
in the air. But the splendor of the angels was incom
parably more beautiful and pleasing than any light of
the sun.
364. In addition, all these angels were crowned with
wreaths woven of the most tender and exquisite flowers,
that sent forth the sweetest fragrance, not of this earth
but altogether spiritual and heavenly. In their hands
they held palms of wonderful beauty and variety, which
were to signify the virtues, which most holy Mary was
to exercise, and the victories, which She was to gain by
her sanctity and glory. All this they as it were offered
Her beforehand, with great joy and jubilation. On their
breasts they bore certain devices or emblems, such as
we are accustomed to see exhibited in the uniforms or
habits of the military orders. They contained letters,
which stood for: "Mary, Mother of God," and which
contributed much toward the splendor of their adorn
ment and beauty. Their significance, however, was not
made known to Mary until the moment of the incarnation
of the Word.
365. This emblem or device was most wonderful to be
hold, on account of the great splendor, with which it
showed forth her name above all the other beauty of the
angelic ornaments. Its aspects and brilliancies were
changeable, in order to indicate the variety of the mys
teries and excellences enclosed within that City of God.
It contained the most exalted name and title, and inti
mated the highest dignity, which ever can fall to the
lot of a mere creature : that of Mother of God. In this
title the angels honored in the highest degree their and
our Queen. They themselves were honored in that title,
since it was the outward sign of their allegiance to Her
and of their preferment consequent upon their devotion
and veneration for Her who deserved the veneration of
all creatures. A thousand times blessed were they, to
merit the especial love of Mary and of her most holy Son.
366. The effects of this intercourse with the holy
princes, and of their outward beauty in Mary, our Mis
tress, no one besides Herself could ever properly de
scribe. They manifested to Her in a mysterious man
ner the greatness of the attributes of God, the blessings,
which He showered upon Her in creating Her and choos
ing Her, in enriching Her and endowing Her with such
great gifts of grace and treasures of the divine right
hand, moving Her and inciting Her to such ecstasies of
love and praise. All these gifts increased with her age
and with the events of her life and, as the great work of
the Incarnation drew near, they expanded more and
more ; for then was gradually revealed to Her the mean
ing of the emblem, which these angels bore across their
breasts, which until then had been concealed from Her.
It would be impossible to describe, what ardors of love,
what profound humility, what tender affections filled the
pure heart of Mary, when this was revealed to Her and
when it dawned upon Her, what dignity and what obli
gation toward God this most peerless title involved. For
She held Herself entirely incapable and unworthy of such
an ineffable and mysterious dignity as that of Mother of
367. The seventy seraphim, who assisted the Queen
were of the number of those nearest to the throne of
God, who had most signally distinguished themselves in
their devotion and admiration toward the hypostatic
union of the divine and human nature in the person of
the divine Word. For as they were most closely bound
to God by their greater knowledge and love, they also
desired more earnestly, that this mystery should be con
summated in the womb of a woman. Their reward of
essential and accidental glory corresponded to their par
ticular and signal love. This latter, the accidental glory,
which I have mentioned, consisted in their being privi
leged specially to attend upon most holy Mary and take a
part in the mysteries consummated in Her.
368. Whenever these seventy seraphim showed them
selves to Her in a visible manner, the Queen saw them
in the same form in which Isaias saw them in imagina
tion, that is with six wings. With two they covered the
head, wishing to signify by this humble gesture the in
sufficiency of their intellect for the comprehension of the
sacramental mystery at which they were assisting, and
also their belief and acknowledgment of these mysteries,
which they confessed, prostrate before the majesty and
grandeur of the Creator. Thereby they also wished
to extol with eternal praise the incomprehensible and
sacred judgments of the Most High. With the other
wings they covered the feet, which are the in
ferior extremities in closest contact with the earth, re
ferring thereby to the Queen and Mistress of heaven and
earth as being human and earthly in nature and acknowl
edging Her as the Creature excelling all others in dig
nity and grandeur above all understanding and calcula
tion of the created mind ; moreover they thereby wished
to show, that though exalted as seraphim, they could
not keep pace with the dignity and excellence of Mary.
369. With the wings of their breast they beat the
air or seemed to fly, thereby intimating two things: on
the one hand, by their incessant motion and flight, the
love, the praise and reverence, which they gave to God;
on the other, in disclosing their breasts, they wished to
serve as it were to the most holy Mary as a most pure
mirror of the Divinity, reflecting its essence and opera
tions to Her during the time of her earthly pilgrimage ;
for it was not possible nor proper, that the Divinity
should be manifest to her in open vision during all that
time. The blessed Trinity wished, that their Daughter
and Spouse should, in these seraphim, the creatures clos
est to the Divinity and encircling the throne, see most
faithfully presented in living images, what She could not
continually see in its own essence and in the original.
370. By this means the heavenly Spouse enjoyed the
portrait of her Beloved even in the banishment of her
pilgrimage, being thus inflamed body and soul with his
love by his vision and intercourse through these exalted
and love-consumed princes. The manner of this inter
course, over and above that which was sensible in it,
was the same as that which they maintained among
themselves, namely, that those of a higher order enlight
en those of a lower, as I have said elsewhere (No. 202).
For although the Queen of heaven was higher and
greater in dignity and merit, yet, as David intimated (Ps.
8, 6), on account of her human nature, She was lower
than the angels. The ordinary manner of divine in
fluence and enlightenment adapts itself to the conditions
of nature and not of grace.
371. The other twelve angels are the guardian angels
of the twelve gates, of which St. John speaks in the twen
ty-first chapter of the Apocalypse (Apoc. 21, 12) as ex
plained above. They distinguished themselves by the lov
ing praise, with which they celebrated the goodness of
God in becoming man to teach and converse with men,
and next to their joy at the Redemption of men and
their readmission into the gates of heaven by his mer
its, was their loving wonder at the important part, which
most holy Mary performed in this mystery of the Re
demption. They were especially attentive to these great
and wonderful works, by which God was to open up
heaven, in order that men might enter into eternal life,
and this latter is signified by these twelve gates of the
tribes of Israel. The reward of their signal devotion
was, that God appointed them as witnesses and, as it
were, secretaries of the mysteries of the Redemption and
that they were privileged to cooperate with the Queen
of heaven as Mother of mercy and Mediatrix of those,
who turn to Her for their salvation. Therefore I said
above (No. 273) that her Majesty, the Queen, makes
use especially of these twelve angels to assist, enlighten
and defend her clients in their necessities and particu
larly in order to draw them from sin, whenever they in
voke them and the most holy Mary.
372. These twelve angels appeared in the same corpo
real shape as those which I have first mentioned except
that they bore palms and crowns, reserved for the devout
servants of the Mistress. Their service consisted especial
ly in bringing to her mind the ineffable kindness of the
Lord toward the human race, and in inciting Her to praise
Him and petition Him for the fulfillment of his mercy.
She sent them as messengers of her prayers to the throne
of the eternal Father. They were sent also to those of
her clients, who invoked Her or whom She wished to
help and benefit, in order to enlighten them and assist
them, as happened many times to the holy Apostles ; for
often did She aid them by the ministry of angels in their
labors for the primitive Church. Even now in our days
these twelve angels are engaged in the same ministry,
helping the devout servants of their and our Queen.
373. The eighteen angels, which completed the num
ber of a thousand were those who signalized themselves
in their compassion for the sufferings of the incarnate
Word. Their reward for this compassion was great.
They appeared to most holy Mary in wonderful beauty,
bearing many emblems of the Passion and of other
mysteries of the Redemption, especially two crosses of
the most refulgent splendor and beauty, one on their
breast and one on their arms. The sight of this won
derful display excited great admiration in the Queen, a
most tender and compassionate love toward the suffer
ings of the Redeemer of the world, and most fervent
thanks and acknowledgment of the benefits, which men
were to receive in their Redemption and rescue from cap
tivity. The great Princess very often sent these angels
to her divine Son with diverse messages and petitions on
behalf of souls.
374. In describing the forms and the ornaments of
these angels I have at the same time mentioned some
of their perfections and operations, although necessarily
in a limited way, if compared to the reality. For they are
invisible rays of the Divinity, most alert in their move
ments and operations, most powerful in strength, most
penetrating in their understanding, incapable of mistake,
unchangeable in their condition and in their purpose,
never forgetting or losing sight of that which once they
have undertaken. They are full of grace and glory with
out any fear of ever losing them. As they are without a
body and invisible, therefore whenever God wishes to
grant to man the favor of being able to see them, they
assume an aerial and apparent body, one that is adapted
to the senses and to the object intended. All these angels
of the Queen Mary were selected from the most dis
tinguished of their respective orders and choirs, their
superiority consisting principally in that of grace and
glory. They guarded their Lady without neglecting the
least point of their service during her holy life, and even
now in heaven they derive an especial accidental enjoy
ment from her presence and company. Although or
dinarily only some of them are sent to execute the spe
cial mandates of her will, yet all of them together are at
times engaged in her service, fulfilling the decrees of the
Divinity in her regard.
375. My daughter, on three different points, I wish to
instruct thee in this chapter. The first is that thou, by in
cessant praise and acknowledgment, show thyself thank
ful for the favor which God vouchsafed thee in appoint
ing angels to assist thee, teach thee, and guide thee
through the tribulations and sorrows. Mortals, in their
abominable ingratitude and grossness, ordinarily forget
this blessing. They do not consider, what great mercy
and condescension of the Most High it is to have or
dained these holy princes as helpers, guardians and de
fenders of men, their earthly fellow creatures so full of
miseries and sins. In forgetting how exalted in glory,
dignity and beauty these spirits are, many men deprive
themselves of numerous blessings, which they would oth
erwise obtain at the hands of these angels. Greatly do
they rouse the indignation of the Lord on this account.
Thou, however, my dearest, acknowledge these blessings
and give Him thanks with all thy heart.
376. The second point is, that thou, in every place
and at all times, preserve love and reverence toward these
holy spirits, as if thou didst see them with thy corporal
eyes, and that thou dare not do before them what thou
wouldst not do in public. Cease not to exert thyself in
the service of God, even as they do and as they require of
thee. Remember that they continually see the face of
God (Matth. 18, 10) being of the blessed. Since they
at the same time see thee, let there be nothing indecent
in thee. Show thyself grateful to them for their vig
ilance, defense and protection.
377. Let the third point be, that thou live attentive to
the calls, urgings and aspirations, by which these angels
seek to rouse thee, move and excite thee to the recollec
tion of the Most High and to the exercise of all the
virtues. Be mindful how often they have responded to
thy calls, how often they have placed themselves in the
way of thy seeking, how often they have solicited for
thee signs of the love of the Spouse, kindly reprehending
thee for thy carelessness and remissness. When thou
didst lose in thy troubles and weariness the guiding star
of his light, they renewed hope in thy breast, and patient
ly corrected thee, directing thy footsteps again into the
narrow path of the justifications and testimonies of the
Lord. Do not forget, my soul, the greatness of the bene
fits bestowed upon thee in these angels, for they are above
those of many nations and generations: strive to be
grateful to thy Lord and to the angels, his ministers.
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