The Work of God Apostolate

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 1 chapter 2 verses 12-25 Index

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


  INDEX            Book 1  Chapter  2    Verses:  12-25

12. It seemed to me proper to preface this history
with an explanatory chapter, describing and explaining
once for all, as far as is given me and as far as I can,
the manner in which the Lord manifested to me these
13. Ever since I have had the use of reason, I was con
scious of especially one blessing, which in my estimation
is the greatest of all those bestowed upon me by God s
liberality ; namely, a great and penetrating fear, lest I
should lose Him. And this moved and urged me on to
strive after the better and more secure way and to follow
after it and implore it from the Lord day after day. He
has wounded my flesh with the dart of fear of his judg
ments (Ps. 118, 120), and I live continually in the dread
ful thought: Have I perhaps lost the friendship of the
Most High or am I still in his friendship ? My bread day
and night have been the tears, which this fear has drawn
from my eyes (Ps. 91, 4). On account of this dread,
since it is more necessary than ever that the friends of
the Lord should practice their virtues in secret and with
out ostentation, I have in these latter times begun to send
up earnest and heartfelt prayers and petitions to the
Lord, asking also the intercession of the Queen and Vir
gin, that I may be guided and led along the secure paths
hidden from the eyes of men.
14. In answer to these repeated prayers the Lord said :
"Do not fear, soul, nor afflict thyself ; for I will give thee
a state of mind and show thee a path of light and secur
ity, which only its Author himself could know of or even
conceive. Whatever is exterior and dangerous shall leave
thee today and thy treasure shall be altogether hidden.
Take care of it on thy part and preserve it by a perfect
life. I will direct thee toward a hidden path, unobstruct
ed, unfailing and pure ; walk thou in it." And presently
I felt a change within me and a highly spiritualized state
of mind. To my understanding was given a new light,
which illuminated it and infused into it a knowledge of
all things in God, and of his operations as they are in
themselves and as they are known and seen by God, ac
cording to the measure of his communication. It is a
knowledge of light, holy, sweet and pure, subtle, pene
trating, sure and agile, causing love of good and hatred
of evil. It is a breath of the power of God and an ema
nation of a most subtle light, which acts as a mirror for
my understanding. Thus the higher faculties and the in
terior perception of my soul began to expand in their
activity. For the Object, by means of the light which
flashed from It, showed Itself to be infinite, though the
perception of It remained limited and the understanding
finite. It is a vision as it were of the Lord seated on a
throne of great majesty, where, always within mortal
limitation, I perceive his attributes distinctly. A veil,
which seems like purest crystal intervenes, through
which the wonderful attributes and perfections of God
appear distinctly and clearly perceptible; yet this vision is
not entire, immediate or intuitive, or entirely free from
obstruction, but always comes through a medium, which
is nothing else than this crystalline covering above men
tioned. The perception of that which it covers is not
painful to the understanding,, but is marvelous, because
the mind is aware that what is perceived is infinite, and
that the one who perceives is finite. The mind reposes in
the hope of once possessing that which it perceives, and
of once seeing the veil removed and the medium done
away with, as soon as the soul shall have been freed from
the mortality of the body (II Cor. 4, 6).
15. In this vision there are three different ways or
degrees, according to the different methods, by which the
divine Will communicates it and according to the dispo
sitions of the human will. Sometimes He manifests
Himself more clearly, at other times less. At times some
mysteries are revealed to the exclusion of others of great
importance. This difference is usually in accordance
with the dispositions of the soul ; for if the soul does not
preserve itself in peace or if it is guilty of some fault,
no matter how small, it will not experience this vision in
its fullness. In the one I have described the Lord is per
ceived so plainly and so securely, that there is not the
least room for doubt. However, the conviction of the
real presence of God in the vision always precedes and
impresses itself upon the mind, before one understands
fully that which his Majesty speaks. And this knowl
edge produces a pleasing constraint, powerfully and effi
caciously urging the soul onward to love, serve, and obey
the Most High. In this vision great truths are made
clear ; how estimable virtue is, and what a valuable treas
ure is its exercise and preservation. The beauty and se
curity of virtue is exhibited and a powerful impulse given
toward the good, while a hatred and disgust toward evil
and all disorderly inclinations fills the soul, very often
entirely subduing them. As long as the soul enjoys this
vision and does not lose it, it will never be conquered
(Wis. 7, 30), because it gives life, security, fervor and
joy. Strongly and lovingly it calls and urges the soul
onward, gives it lightness and alertness, and establishes
the superior part of the being firmly above the inferior.
Even the body becomes agile and spiritualized during
such times, freeing itself from its grossness and weight.
16. And beginning to perceive and feel these delight
ful sensations, the soul lovingly calls out to the Most
High: "Trahe me post Te" (Cant. 1, 3) let us run to
gether; for, united to its Beloved, it does not any more
feel the doings of this earthly life. Seeking to fly after
the odor of the ointments of its Beloved, it begins to live
more where it loves, than where it lives. Having already
left behind its lower nature, it turns back only for the
purpose of reforming it and curtailing its animal appe
tites of the passions. If at any time they seek to rise in
rebellion, the soul will subdue them with alacrity, for
already "not I live, but Christ liveth in me" (Gal. 2, 20).
17. To a certain extent, in all these holy operations
and aspirations, is felt the assistance of the spirit of
Christ, who is the God and the life of the soul (John 5,
11) and who is known as such by the fervor, by the en
lightenment, by the holy desires, by the light, and by the
facility of action inspired by Him. These are such, that
only God can be the Author of them. One feels the un
interrupted activity of love which it causes, and of inti
mate conversation with God, living and continuous,
which rivets the attention of the mind to the things of
God and withdraws it from earthly things. Christ mani
fests Himself as living within the soul, exerting his
power and dispersing the darkness by his light. This
may be properly designated as standing in the entrance
of the house of the Lord ; for there the soul beholds the
splendor emanating from the beaconlight of the Lamb of
God (Apoc. 21, 23).
18. I do not say that this is the whole light, but it is
part of it ; and it consists in a knowledge superior to the
capabilities and faculties of a creature. In furtherance
of this vision the Most High animates the intellect by a
certain subtlety and light, thus adapting it for the exalted
knowledge. Moreover the knowledge thus given is ac
companied by the certainty which is peculiar to faith, as
experienced in regard to the more common truths of
revelation. Faith accompanies the vision and the Omnip
otent gives to the soul power to appreciate the value of
the knowledge and the light, which He infuses. Its light
is inextinguishable (Wis. 7, 10) and all good things
and a nobility of great price come to me with it. This
light goes before me, directing my ways (Wis. 8, 16)
and I took possession of it unerringly, and I desired to
communicate it without envy, nor have I concealed its
excellence. It is a participation of the Divinity and its
presence is a great delight and joy. It teaches great
things freely and it disciplines the heart ; with irresistible
force it banishes and expels the deceitful things of this
world, wherein, solely by looking upon them in this light,
the spirit finds immeasurable bitterness. By it the soul
leaves behind the perishable things and flies to the sacred
refuge of eternal truths. It enters into the cellar of fer
mented wine (Cant. 2, 4) where the Most High orders
in me most holy charity. And by it He urges me to be
patient and without envy (I Cor. 13, 4), to be kind with
out offense, to be free from pride and ambition or anger,
thinking ill of nobody and suffering and tolerating all
things. Its voice is ever within me (Prov. 8, 1) and se
cretly warns me powerfully to do what is most holy and
most pure, teaching me in all things ; and if I fall short in
the slightest degree, it reprehends me without ever pass
ing over the smallest point.
19. This is the light, which at one and at the same
time enlightens, raises to fervor, teaches and reprehends,
chastens and enlivens, calls and deters, warns and com
pels, makes clear the distinction between good and evil,
discloses the hidden and the profound, the length and
the breadth (Eph. 3, 18) ; which reveals to me the world,
its state, its inclinations, its deceits and the lies and falla
cies of its lovers and clients. Above all, it teaches me to
despise the world, to tread it under foot and to raise my
self to the highest Lord and Governor of the universe.
And in his Majesty I see and learn the ordering of all
things (Wis. 7, 17), the power of the elements, the
beginning, the middle and the end of time, its changes
and variations, the onward course of the years, the har
mony of all creatures and their innate qualities; all the
secrets of men, their acts and their thoughts; how far
they stray from the Lord ; the dangers in which they live
and the errors of their ways ; the states and governments,
their curtailed existence and their great instability, their
beginning and their end, the true and the false principles
which guide them. All this is learnt and seen distinctly
in God through this light, even as far as pertains to the
separate individuals and circumstances. But as soon as
the soul descends to a lower condition and a more ordi
nary state, wherein it must make use only of the substance
or acquired habit of this enlightenment and cannot enjoy
its full splendor, this exalted knowledge of persons, of
conditions, and of the secret thoughts before described is
more circumscribed and limited. In this lower state I
perceive only so much as is necessary to avoid danger
and fly from sin, and to feel true compassion with other
persons, though at the same time I am not permitted to
speak clearly with any one about that which is revealed
to me of their evil staterrcpuld not do it if I tried, for
it seems as if I am made dumb, except at times, when the
Author of this light gives me permission and commands
me to admonish one of my neighbors. But even on such
occasions I must not disclose the nature of my cognition,
but I am constrained to speak to the heart, using plain
arguments, simple, ordinary and charitable persuasion in
God. At the same time I am urged to pray for their ne
cessities, which for that object become known to me.
20. Although all these things were revealed to me
with the greatest clearness, yet never has the Lord shown
me the final ruin of any soul, which has damned itself.
This knowledge is withheld from me by the providence
of God, because He is so just, that He does not deem it
befitting to reveal the damnation of a soul except for
some great purpose ; and if I were to come to the knowl
edge of such a great ruin, I think I should die of sorrow.
This would doubtlessly be the effect of such a revelation,
so great is the grief caused by the sight of a soul forever
separated from God. I have besought Him not to show
me any one who will damn himself. I would not refuse,
at the cost of my life, to liberate any one who is in sin,
nor would I object even to see the present state of such
soul ; but may I never see one, who is beyond redemption !
21. This light is given me, not that I may reveal my
secrets in particular, but that I may make use of it with
prudence and wisdom. Though it continues to be only
accidental, it remains with me in the same way as some
substance, that vivifies and comes from God himself ; and
in the manner of a habit, to insure the good government
of my lower appetites and feelings. Moreover, in the
superior part of my soul, I enjoy a vision and habitation
of peace and I understand the mysteries and sacraments
of the life of the Queen of heaven and of other mysteries
of faith, which were thus continually made manifest and
present to me in this never failing light And if at any
time I descend, creaturelike, to attend to human affairs,
the Lord presently calls me with a sweet yet rigorous
severity and again draws my attention to his words and
teachings and to the conscious meditation of these sacra
ments, graces and virtues, and to the exterior and in
terior works of the Virgin Mother, as I will explain
farther on.
22. Thus, when in the state of enlightenment afore
said, I see also and recognize the same Queen and Lady
as She speaks with me ; also the holy angels, their na
ture and excellence. Sometimes I see and recognize them
in the Lord, at other times I see them in themselves ; but
with this difference that in seeing them in themselves, I
descend to a lower grade of knowledge. I perceive also
this difference, which results from the object and from
the kind of knowledge. In this lower degree of vision
I see, speak and listen to the holy princes ; they converse
with me and explain many of the mysteries, which the
Lord has shown me. The Queen of heaven likewise
manifests and propounds to me the mysteries of her most
holy life and of its admirable events. With great clearness
I recognize each one of these holy persons, feeling the
divine effects, which each one excites in the soul.
23. But when I see these same persons in the Lord,
I perceive them as through a mirror placed freely by His
Majesty, in which He shows to me the saints according
to his pleasure, with great clearness and producing most
exalted effects in my soul. For this admirable light, the
Lord himself becomes known, as also the Saints and their
excellent virtues and wonderful works ; likewise the man
ner in which they exercised these virtues by the help of
the graces, that made them capable of all this (Philip
4, 13). In this state of knowledge the creature is more
abundantly and completely filled with a joy, that still
further increases the power and satisfaction of the soul,
and poises it as if on its center of gravity. For, the more
intellectual and the less corporeal or imaginary the light,
so much the more powerful and exalted are the effects,
and so much the more substantial and certain is the
knowledge attained. Yet also here there is a difference :
for the vision or knowledge of God himself, of
his attributes and his perfections is superior and
its effects are most sweet and affable; while the
vision and knowledge of the creatures, even in
the Lord, is of an inferior order. This inferiority,
it seems to me, arises in part from the soul itself; since
its own vision is so limited, that it cannot attend to or
perceive God so well, when seeing Him conjointly with
creatures, as when seeing Him by Himself and without
them. Also this vision of God by Himself is accom
panied by a greater plenitude of joy than the vision of
creatures in God. So delicate is this cognition of the
Divinity, that to attend to any other thing in conjunction
with it, impairs to a certain extent its clearness, at least
so long as we shall be in our mortal state.
24. In the inferior state, which I have mentioned, I
see the most holy virgin and the angels in themselves and
their mode of teaching me, speaking to me, and enlighten
ing me. I understand this to be similar to the mode in
which the angels themselves enlighten, communicate and
speak with each other, when the superior orders en
lighten the inferior. The Lord is the first cause of this
light, but the Queen who has received it in its highest
plenitude, communicates it as through a channel to the
superior part of my soul, so that I begin to know her
excellence, her prerogatives and mysteries in the same
manner as an inferior angel perceives that, which is com
municated to him by the superior spirits. I recognize
Her also by the doctrine which She teaches, by the ef
ficacy peculiar to it, and by other qualities, which are
felt and tasted and which indicate the purity, elevation
and certainty of these visions. There, nothing impure,
or obscure, or false, or suspected is met with ; and nothing
that is holy, pure and true is withheld from view. The
same happens to me in its proper proportion, when con
versing with the holy angels; for the Lord himself has
often informed me, that they enlighten and communicate
with me in the same manner as they converse with each
other. Often it happens that the enlightenments pass
through all these channels and conduits in succession : the
Lord gives the intelligence or light, the most holy Virgin
reveals it to me and the angels express it to me in words.
At other times (and this is the most ordinary mode) the
Lord communicates and teaches me his holy doctrine,
sometimes the most holy Queen, and sometimes the holy
angels. It also happens, that I receive only the under
standing of things, and then I am left to find for myself
the terms which befit that which I hold in the intelligence.
In finding these terms I may err, if the Lord allows, for
I am only an ignorant woman and I must rely on what
I have heard. If any difficulties arise in the explanation
of my visions, I take counsel with my master and spir
itual guide, especially in more difficult and arduous
25. In this condition and state I very seldom see
corporeal visions, but imaginary visions I see sometimes;
these are of a much lower grade than the exalted, more
spiritual, or intellectual vision, of which I have until now
spoken. But this I can assert with confidence : in all the
spiritual enlightenments, which I receive, great and small,
lower or higher, whether they come from the Lord, the
most blessed Virgin, or the holy angels, in all of them I
obtain most abundant light and help of salvation, en
abling me to see and know the truth and the possibility
of greater perfection and sanctity. I feel within me a
divine force, which compels me to seek the greater purity
of my soul, and advancement in the grace of the Lord,
which makes me ready to die for it and to act in all
things according to greater perfection. With the help
of the different grades and kinds of intelligence already
described, I learn to know all the mysteries of the life of
the Queen of heaven to the great advancement and re
joicing of my spirit. For this I thank the Almighty with
my whole heart and mind, I magnify Him, I adore and
praise Him as the all powerful and holy God, strong and
admirable, worthy of honor, magnificence, glory and rev
erence through all the ages. Amen.
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