The Work of God Apostolate

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 2 chapter 7 verses 505-515 Index

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

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 2 chapter 7 verses 505-515OF THE VIRTUE OF HOPE, AND HOW THE VIRGIN OUR I^ADY PRACTICED IT.

  INDEX            Book 2  Chapter  7    Verses:  505-515


505. The virtue of hope naturally follows upon that of
faith, since it is ordained as its complement. For if the
Most High instills in us the divine light of faith, and if
He wishes us, without regard to differences of position
and of age, to come into the infallible knowledge of the
Godhead and of his mysteries and promises, it is for no
other reason than that each one of us, knowing Him as
our last end and object, and learning of the means of
arriving at it, may engender within himself the vehement
desire to reach that goal. This desire, which naturally
carries with it the inclination to attain this highest Good,
is called hope and is infused into our will or natural ap
petite in Baptism. For it belongs to the proper activity
of the will to strive after eternal felicity as its greatest
good and blessing, to make use of divine grace for ob
taining it and for overcoming the difficulties which will
occur in its pursuit.
506. How excellent the virtue of hope is, may be
learned from the fact that its ultimate object is God him
self, our highest Good. Although it perceives and seeks
Him as something that is absent, yet at the same time it
seeks Him also as something that is attainable through
the merits of Christ and through the proper activity of
the one that hopes for it. The acts and operations of this
virtue are regulated by the light of divine faith and by
the prudent reliance on the infallible promise of the Lord.
Thus hope, by means of the reasoning powers, maintains
the middle road between despair and presumption, not per
mitting man to presume on his own powers for the at
tainment of eternal glory or to set aside meritorious activ
ity on his own part, nor allowing fear or despondency to
hinder Him from exerting himself toward it on account
of the Lord s promises and assurances of final success. In
this security, guaranteed by divine faith in all that per
tains to these things and applied in prudent and sound
reasoning, man hopes without fear of being deceived and
yet also without presumption.
507. From this it can be seen that despair may arise
both from a want of believing what faith promises and
also from a failure to apply to one s own self the se
curity of the divine promises, in which one believes, but
which one falsely supposes unattainable in one s own re
gard. Between these two dangerous extremes hope di
rects us in the safe way, maintaining us in the confident
belief on the one hand that God will not deny to our
selves what He has promised to all, and on the other,
that the promise was not made unconditionally and ab
solutely, but requires our exertion and effort to merit its
fulfillment as far as it is possible with the help of divine
grace. For if God has made man capable of the vision
of eternal glory, it was not just that any one should at
tain to such felicity by sinful abuse of the very faculties
with which he is to enjoy it ; but that he use them in such
a way as to befit the end for which he received them. This
proper use of the faculties consists in the exercise of the
virtues, which prepare man for the enjoyment of his
highest good, and in seeking it already in this life by the
knowledge and love of God.
508. Now, in most holy Mary this virtue of hope
reached the highest degree possible both in regard to it
self and in regard to all its effects, circumstances and
qualities; for the desire and the striving after the last
end, which is the vision and the fruition of God, was in
Her more active than in all other creatures; moreover
this most faithful and prudent Lady did nothing to im
pede these aspirations, but followed them up with all the
perfection possible in a creature. Not only did She pos
sess the infused virtue of faith in the promises of our
Lord and its concomitant intensity of hope ; but over and
above all this She enjoyed beatific vision, in which She
learnt to know by experience the infinite truth and fidelity
of the Most High. And although She did not have occa
sion to make use of hope, while enjoying the vision and
possession of the Divinity; nevertheless, after again re
suming Her ordinary state, She was impelled by the mem
ory of what She had enjoyed, to hope and strive after it
with so much the greater force and avidity. Thus the
longings of the Queen of all virtues constituted a certain
kind of new and particular kind of hope.
509. There was another reason why the hope of the
most holy Mary excelled the hope of all the other faith
ful joined together: namely the greatness of the pros
pective reward and glory due to this sovereign Queen,
for reward is after all the real object of hope and in Her
it was to be far above all the glory of the angels and
saints; that is, proportionate to the knowledge of this
glory assured to Her in God was also her expectation and
desire to acquire it. Moreover in order that She might
attain the highest summit of this virtue, and that She
might worthily hope for all that the powerful arm of
God would work in Her, She was befittingly furnished
with the light of a supreme faith and all the helps and
gifts pertaining thereto, and with an especial assistance of
the Holy Ghost. What we have said of the virtue of
hope in the blessed Virgin in regard to its principal ob
ject must also be affirmed in regard to its secondary ob
jects, for the gifts and mysterious blessings enjoyed by
this Queen of Heaven were so great that they could not
be amplified even by the arm of the Almighty God in a
mere creature. Now as the great Lady was to receive
these favors through the medium of faith and hope, these
virtues were proportionately great, and therefore the
greatest that could possibly fall to the lot of a handiwork
of God.
510. Moreover if, as has already been said of the
virtue of faith, the Queen of heaven was endowed with
an explicit knowledge and faith of all the revealed truths
and of all the mysteries and operations of tfye Most High,
and if the acts of hope corresponded to these acts of
faith, who, except the Lord himself could ever compre
hend how many and how excellent were the acts of hope,
which the Mistress of virtues elicited, since She was aware
of her own eternal glory and felicity and of that, which
was to be wrought in the rest of the evangelical Church
by the merits of her most holy Son? For the sole sake of
Mary, as we have before said of her faith, God would
have created this virtue, and for her sake He would have
conferred it, as He really did, on the whole human race
(No. 491).
511. On this account the holy Spirit calls Her the
Mother of beautiful love and holy hope (Eccli. 25, 24) ;
for just as She became the Mother of Christ because She
furnished Him with the flesh of his body, so the holy
Spirit made Her the Mother of hope, because by her es
pecial concurrence and cooperation She conceived and
brought forth this virtue for the faithful of the Church.
Her prerogative of being the Mother of holy hope was
connected with and consequent upon Her being the
Mother of Jesus Christ our Lord, for She knew that in
her Son She would lay the foundation of all the security
of our hope. On account of these conceptions and births
of the most holy Queen, She obtained a certain dominion
and sovereignty over those graces and the promises of
the Most High, which depended upon the death of Christ,
her Son, for their fulfillment. When She of her own
free will gave conception and birth to the incarnate Word
She turned them all over to us and thereby gave birth to
our hope. Thus was accomplished in its legitimate sense
that which the Holy Ghost said to Her : "Thy plants are
a paradise" (Cant. 4, 13) ; for all that came forth from
Mary, the Mother of grace, was to constitute our happi
ness, our paradise, and our certain hope of being able to
attain them.
512. The Church has a celestial and true father in
Jesus Christ, for He engendered and founded it by his
merits and labors, and enriched it with his graces, his
example and his doctrines, as was to be expected from
the Father and Author of such an admirable work.
Therefore it was befitting that the Church should have
also a loving and kind Mother, who with sweet regale
ment and caresses, and with maternal solicitude and as
sistance, should nurse the little children at her breast (I.
Cor. 3, 2), nourish them with tender and delicious food
as long as they cannot in their infancy bear the food of
the robust and strong. This sweet Mother was most holy
Mary, who since the beginning of the Church, when the
law of grace was born in her yet tender children, began
to give forth the sweet milk of her enlightened teaching
as a merciful Mother ; and who will continue to the end
of the world thus to assist and intercede for the new chil
dren, which Christ our Lord engenders every day by his
merits and at the petitions of this Mother of mercy. She
it is for whom they are born, who raises and nourishes
them. She is our sweet Mother, our life and our hope,
the original of the blessings, which are ours, She is the
example which we are to imitate, She is our assurance
in the pursuit of the eternal happiness, merited by her
most holy Son, She furnishes the assistance necessary for
its final attainment.
INSTRUCTION OF THE MOST HOLY VIRGIN MARY.
513. My daughter, as with two indefatigable wings,
my spirit raised its flight by means of faith and hope
toward the endless and the highest good, until it rested
in union with God through intimate and perfect love.
Many times I tasted and enjoyed the clear vision and
fruition of Him; but as these blessings were not contin
uous in my state of pilgrimage, I supplied their place by
the exercise of faith and hope. They remained with me
during my visions and fruitions and immediately became
active during their absence, preventing any cessation in
my high aspirations. The effects of these virtues, the
love, the efforts and the desires which they excited in my
soul toward the possession of the eternal fruition of God,
cannot be adequately comprehended by the created mind
in its present limited state, but they shall be known in
God and cause eternal praise in those who will be worthy
to see Him in heaven.
514. Thou, my dearest, having received such great en
lightenment concerning the excellence of this virtue and
the works which I practiced by its help, shouldst work
without ceasing to imitate me according to the assistance
of divine grace. Renew continually and confer within
thyself the promises of the Most High and, with un
shaken confidence in their divine truthfulness, raise thy
heart to ardent desires and longings for their attainment.
In this firm hope thou canst assure thyself of arriving
through the merits of my most holy Son, at the blessed
cohabitation in the celestial fatherland and at the com
panionship of all those who there see in immortal glory
the face of the Most High. With its help thou canst
raise thy heart above earthly things and fix thy mind
upon the immutable Good, to which thou aspirest; all
visible things will appear to thee burdensome and dis
agreeable, and thou wilt esteem them as vile and con
temptible ; nothing wilt thou strive after except that most
lovable and delightful object of thy desires. In my soul
there was an ardor of hope, such as is possible only to
those who have apprehended its object in faith and tasted
it by experience ; no tongue and no words can describe
or express its intensity.
515. Besides, in order to spur thee on still more, con
sider and deplore with heartfelt sorrow the unhappiness
of so many souls who are images of God and capable of
his glory, and who through their own fault are deprived
of the true hope of enjoying it. If the children of the
holy Church would pause in their vain occupations and
would take time to consider and weigh the blessings of
unerring faith and hope, which separates them from
darkness and which, without their merit, distinguishes
them from the followers of blind unbelief, they would
without doubt be ashamed of their torpid forgetfulness
and repudiate their vile ingratitude. But let them be un
deceived, for most terrible punishments await them ; they
are most detestable in the sight of God and the saints,
because they despise the blood shed by Christ for the
very purpose of gaining them these blessings. As if all
were only a fiction they treat with contempt the blessings
of truth, hastening about during their whole life without
spending even one day, and many of them not even an
hour, in the consideration of their duties and of their
danger. Weep, O soul, over this lamentable evil, and
according to thy power work and pray for its extirpation
through my most holy Son. Believe me that whatever
exertion and attempt thou makest toward this purpose
shall be rewarded by his Majesty.
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