The Work of God Apostolate

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 2 chapter 10 verses 553-570 Index

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

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 2 chapter 10 verses 553-570OF THE; VIRTUE OF JUSTICE, AS PRACTICED BY MOST HOLY MARY.

  INDEX            Book 2  Chapter  10    Verses:  553-570

553. The great virtue of justice is most necessary for
the exercise of the love of God and man, and therefore
also for all human conversation and intercourse. It is a
habit by which the will is urged to give to each one what
belongs to him, and its object matter is the just and
equitable dealing, which must be observed toward God.
And as there are so many occasions in which man can
exercise or violate this equity, and in so many different
ways, the range of application of this virtue is very wide
and diffused, and there are many different species or
kinds of justice. In as far as it concerns the public and
common good, it is called legal justice; in so far as it
influences all the other virtues, it is called a general virtue,
although it does not partake of the nature of the rest.
In so far however as justice is employed for one deter
mined object and by individuals to preserve the rights of
each, it is called particular or special justice.
554. This virtue, in all its parts or kinds, the Empress
of heaven exercised toward all creatures in an eminent
degree ; for She alone knew by her greater enlightenment,
all its obligations and comprehended them perfectly.
Although this virtue does not directly have anything
to do with the natural passions, as is the case with forti
tude and temperance, yet in many instances, precisely on
account of the failure to moderate and regulate the pas
sions, justice toward the neighbor is set aside. This
happens with those, who out of disorderly covetousness
or lust usurp what does not belong to them. But as in
the most holy Mary there were no disorderly passions nor
any ignorance of proper measure to be maintained ac
cording to justice, She fulfilled all justice toward each
person, and showed the way of justice to all who were
privileged to hear from her mouth the words and doc
trine of eternal life. As far as legal justice is concerned,
She not only observed it to the letter by obeying the
common laws, as She did in the purification and other
prescriptions of the old Law, although, on account of be
ing the Queen and free from sin, She was exempt from
them; but no one except her most holy Son, ever ad
vanced so much as She the public and common good of
morals. For toward this end She directed all her
virtues and operations, earning thereby the divine mercy
for mankind and benefiting her neighbor in many other
555. Also the distributive and commutative justice be
longed to most holy Mary in a heroic degree. Distribu
tive justice regulates the distribution of the common
goods to individual persons. This justice her Highness
observed in many affairs, which were left to her authority
and management in the primitive Chuch : as for instance
in the distribution of the common property for the sus
tenance and other necessities of each person. Although
She never distributed money, (for that She never hand
led), yet She gave her orders and at other times her
counsel for its just application. On these and similar
occasions, She always acted up to strict equity and justice,
according to the necessities and the circumstances of each
one s condition. The same She also observed in the dis
tribution of offices and ministerial dignities among the
Apostles and the first children of the Church in their
meetings and assemblies. All these things this most wise
Teacher ordered and arranged with perfect equity; for
besides her Ordinary knowledge and insight into the dis
positions of each of her subjects, She made use of prayer
and of the divine enlightenment. On this account the
Apostles and others, whom She governed, had recourse
to Her for direction and counsel, and whatever was
done under her direction, was disposed of in perfect
equity and without acceptation of persons.
556. Commutative justice procures reciprocal equal
ity in that which is given and received by individuals ; as
for instance observing the rule : to offer gift for gift, etc.,
or value for value. This kind of justice the Queen of
heaven had fewer opportunities of exercising, than other
virtues; for She never bought or sold anything for Her
self. If it was necessary to buy or commute any article,
it was done by the patriarch saint Joseph, while he lived,
and afterwards by saint John the evangelist, or some of
the Apostles. The Master of sanctity, who came to de
stroy and eradicate avarice (I Tim. 6, 10) the root of all
evil, wished to remove from Himself and from his most
holy Mother all those negotiations and transactions, in
which the fire of human covetousness is enkindled and
preserved. Therefore his Providence ordained, that
neither his own hand nor that of his purest Mother should
be soiled by the transactions of human commerce in buy
ing and selling, even if only of things necessary for the
preservation of human life. However the Queen did not
omit to teach men this virtue of commutative justice,
directing in the way of perfect justice all those, who in
the apostolate and primitive Church were engaged in
such affairs.
557. This virtue of justice comprises also other kinds
of activity in regard to the neighbor, such as judging
others in the public and civil courts, or in private. Our
Savior refers to the contrary vice, when he says in saint
Matthew: "Judge not that you may not be judged"
(Matt. 7,1). These judgments are formed by each one
according to the estimate which is in his own mind :
therefore they are just judgments, if they are conform
able to reason, and unjust, if they disagree with it. Our
sovereign Queen never exercised the office of a public or
civil judge, although She had the power to be the judge
of all the universe; but by her most equitous counsels
during the time of her life, and afterwards through her
intercession, She fulfilled what was written about Her
in the proverbs: "I walk in the paths of justice and
through me the mighty decree justice" (Prov. 8, 20, 16).
558. As regards particular judgments no injustice
ever could find a place in the most pure heart of most
holy Mary ; for She could never be imprudent in her sus
picions, or rash in her judgments, nor was She troubled
by doubts ; nor, if She had any, would She ever decide
them unkindly for the worse part. These vices of in
justice are proper and natural as it were to the children of
Adam, who are dominated and enslaved by the disorderly
passions of hate, envy, illnatured emulation, and other
evil inclinations. From these bad roots sprout unjust
suspicions with slight foundations, rash judgments
and prejudiced solution of doubts; for each one easily
presumes in his brother his own faults. Because they
are filled with hate and envy at the prosperity of their
neighbor, and rejoice at his misfortune, they lightly give
belief, where there are no grounds, only yielding to their
bad desires, and allowing their judgments to drift in ac
cordance with their wishes. From all these consequences
of sin our Queen was free, as She had no part in sin : all
was chanty, purity, sanctity and perfect love, whatever
entered or came from the sanctuary of her heart: in Her
was all the grace of truth and the way of life (Eccli.
24, 25). In the plenitude of her sanctity and science
She doubted nothing, She suspected nothing ; for She was
aware of all the secrets hidden in the hearts of men
and searched their souls with the light of truth and
mercy, not suspecting evil and never attributing blame,
where none was due. On the contrary She was solicitous
to excuse the sins of men, in justice and equity yielding
to each and every one his dues. Her most earnest de
sire was to fill all men with the sweetness and the graciousness
of her virtues.
559. In the two different kinds of commutative and
distributive justice there are contained many other kinds
or species of virtues, but I will only refer to them in
so far as to say, that all of them, both as habits and as
acts, were possessed by the most holy Mary in the high
est and most excellent degree. Some of these virtues
are related to justice, because they are exercised in our
intercourse with our neighbor and partake to a certain
extent, though not in all their bearings, of the nature of
justice; either because we are unable to pay fully what
we owe, or because, if we are able, the debt or obligation
is not so strict as that which is incurred by commutative
or distributive justice. I will not enter upon a full ex
planation of these virtues, since they are various and
numerous ; but in order not to pass them over entirely, I
will give a short summary, so as to show how our
Sovereign and most high Princess was adorned with all
of them.
560. It is a just obligation to give worship and
reverence to those, who are placed above us. According to
the greatness of their excellence and their dignity and
according to the benefits which we receive at their hands,
varies also our obligation and the reverence which we owe
them, although no return on our part can equal the benefit
or the dignity. The first virtue of this kind is that of
religion, by which we give to God due worship and rever
ence, though his magnificence and his gifts exceed in
finitely all that we will ever be able to return in thanks
or praise. Among the moral virtues this one is the most
noble on account of its object, namely the worship of
God, and its subject matter is as extensive as there are
ways and means of directly praising and reverencing God.
In this virtue of religion are comprehended all the interior
acts of prayer, contemplation and devotion, with all their
parts, conditions, causes, effects and purposes. Among
exterior actions, latria, which is the supreme outward
adoration due only to God, falls under this head, and with
it also all its different kinds of parts, namely: sacrifices,
oblations, tithes and vows, oaths, exterior and vocal offer
ing of praise. For in all these actions, if they are per
formed in the proper manner, God is honored and rever
enced by the creatures, just as He is very much offended
in the contrary vices.
561. The second virtue falling under the above class
is piety, by which we are inclined to honor our parents,
to whom after God we owe our being and our education.
By it we also show proper regard for those, who partici
pate in a manner of the quality of parents, such as for in
stance our relatives, or our country, which sustains and
governs us. This virtue is so important, that we must
prefer its dictates to the acts of supererogation in the
virtue of religion. So Christ the Lord teaches us in
saint Matthew, when He reprehended the pharisees for
setting aside piety toward their parents under the pre
text of the worship of God. In the third place must be
mentioned veneration, which inclines us to give honor
and reverence to those, who possess some superior ex
cellence or dignity of a different kind from that of our
parents or fatherland. This virtue the doctors divide
into two kinds : dulia and obedience. Dulia is the vener
ation due to those who participate to a certain measure
in the majesty and dominion of the highest Lord God, to
whom is due, as we said above, the worship of adoration
or latria. Therefore we honor the saints by the reverence
called dulia, and likewise those in the higher dignities, to
whom we subject ourselves as servants. Obedience is
the subjection of our will, inducing us to do the will of
our superior in preference to our own. Our free will is so
estimable, that this virtue is admirable and excellent
above all the moral virtues; for the sacrifice is greater
than in any other.
562. These three virtues of religion, piety and venera
tion (observantia) were possessed by Mary in such great
plenitude and perfection, that nothing possible pertain
ing to them was wanting. What intellect can ever com
prehend the honor, veneration and worship with which
this Lady served her most beloved Son, adoring Him as
true God and Man, as Creator, Redeemer, Glorifier, the
Highest, the Infinite, the Immense in essence, in goodness
and in all attributes? She knew more of Him than any
other creature and more than all of them together ; and ac
cording to her knowledge She rendered due honor, teach
ing even the Seraphim how to reverence Him. In this
virtue She was so great a Teacher, that merely to see Her
was sufficient to rouse, urge and incite all by a secret
force to worship the supreme Lord and Author of heaven
and earth ; and without any other effort on her part She
induced many to praise God. Her prayers, contempla
tions and devotions, together with the wonderful effects
and the power of her intercession, are known to all the
angels and saints, but cannot be comprehended by them,
exciting their endless admiration. To Her all the intel
lectual creatures are indebted, since She satisfied and
made recompense not only for that which they have
culpably neglected in this regard, but also for that which
they could never attain, or execute, or merit. This Lady
outraced the salvation of the world, and if She had not
been in it, the eternal Word would not have issued from
the bosom of the Father. She excelled the seraphim from
her first instant in contemplation, in prayer, in petition,
and in devout promptitude for the service of God. She
offered the proper sacrifice, gave oblations and tithes ; and
all this in such a perfect manner, that nothing on the part
of men was more acceptable next to that of her most holy
Son. In the ceaseless praise, hymns, canticles and vocal
prayers, which She offered, She was above all the Patri
archs and Prophets; and if in the Church militant Her
doings were known as in the Church triumphant, they
would be the admiration of the world.
563. The virtues of piety and veneration her Majesty
exercised in proportion as She knew how to estimate
better her obligation toward her parents and their heroic
sanctity. The same was true in regard to her relations.
For instance, She procured special graces for John the
Baptist and his mother, for holy Elisabeth and some
others in the apostolate. Certainly, if her fatherland had
not been made unworthy of favor by the ingratitude and
hardheartedness of its inhabitants, She would have made
it the most fortunate country on earth; nevertheless, in
as far as the Most High permitted, She conferred upon it
great benefits and favors, both spiritual and material. In
reverence toward the priests She was admirable, for She
alone knew and could set proper value on the dignity of
the anointed of the Lord. She has taught us all in this
matter, and also how to honor the Patriarchs, Prophets
and Saints, as well as the temporal masters and those in
authority. She omitted no act pertaining to these vir
tues, being solicitous according to time and opportunity
to instruct others in the exercise of them, especially the
first faithful in the establishment of the evangelical
Church. There, obeying not any more the verbal com
mands of her most holy Son, or of her husband, but sub
mitting to her Son s substitutes, She became an example
to the world of a new kind of obedience; for in those
times, not She owed obedience to any creature, but the
whole earth, in an especial manner, owed obedience to
Her, since She was staying upon it as its Queen and
Mistress for the very purpose of governing it.
564. There are other virtues, which can also be classed
under the head of justice; for they dispose us to yield to
others that which we owe them on account of some moral
obligation, founded upon an honest and just title. These
virtues are : gratitude or thankfulness, truth or veracity,
vindication, liberality, friendship or affability. By grati
tude we create a certain equality of ourselves with those
from whom we have received benefits giving them thanks
in return, according to the nature of the benefits and the
kindness, with which they were bestowed (which after all
is the most valuable part of the benefit). The grateful
also take into account the position and dignity of the
benefactor. Gratitude bears in mind all these elements
and can be manifested in different ways. Veracity in
clines us to be truthful in all our intercourse, as is proper
in human life and conversation, avoiding all lying,
(which is never allowed), deceitful simulation, hypocrisy,
boastfulness and irony. These vices are all opposed to
truth; and though it is possible and even advisable to
minimize when we are speaking of our own excellence or
virtue in order not to offend by boasting, yet it is not right
to do so by telling a falsehood, imputing vice to ourselves
untruthfully. Vindication is a virtue, which teaches
us to recompense or make up for damage done by our
selves or by the neighbor, satisfying for it by some pun
ishment. Among mortals the practice of this virtue is
difficult; for they are so much moved by immoderate
anger and dislike of their brethren, and so tardy in
charity and justice, this vindication of the particular or
general wellbeing is no unimportant virtue. Christ our
Lord made use of this virtue, when He expelled from the
temple those, who desecrated it by their irreverence (John
2, 15) ; Elias and Eliseus drew down fire from heaven in
order to chastise some sins (IV King 1, 20) ; and in the
Proverbs it is said : "He that spareth the rod hateth his
son" (Prov. 13, 24). Liberality or generosity serves to
distribute in a reasonable manner money or other goods,
without falling into the vices of prodigality or niggardli
ness. Friendship or affability consists in conversing and
acting in a decent and becoming manner toward all, with
out quarreling or flattery, which are the vices opposed to
565. None of these virtues, nor any others which
might be related to justice, were wanting to the Queen of
heaven ; of all these She had the habit and practiced them
as occasion offered. Moreover as the Teacher and Mis
tress of all sanctity She- instructed and enlightened many
souls how they were to exercise and practice them with
the greatest perfection. The virtue of gratitude toward
God She exercised by acts of religion and worship, as we
have already described : for this is the best way to show
our gratitude toward Him: and as the dignity of the
most pure Mary and her concomitant sanctity was exalt
ed above all created understanding, this eminent Mistress
gave a return of gratitude proportionate to his benefits
within the measure possible to a creature. The same
holds true in regard to her piety toward her parents and
her country, as mentioned above. To her fellowmen this
most humble Princess returned thanks for each favor as
if She deserved no consideration from any one ; and, al
though all favors were due to Her in justice, She never
theless gave thanks for them with gracious affability.
She alone knew and practiced this virtue to such an ex
tent, as to return thanks for injuries and offenses as if
they were great benefits ; for in her incomparable humility
She never recognized anything as an injury and con
sidered Herself under obligation for what really were
such. Moreover, as She never forgot any benefit, She
also never ceased in her gratitude.
566. About the truthfulness of Mary our Lady, little
need be said, since She who was so superior to the demon,
the father of lies and deceit, could not tolerate even the
shadow of that despicable vice. The standard, by which
the virtue of truthfulness is to be measured in our Queen,
is her dove-like charity and simplicity, which excluded all
duplicity or deceit in her intercourse with creatures. And
how could the guilt of deceit be found in the mouth of
that Lady, who with one word of truest humility falling
from her lips drew down to her womb that One, who is
essential truth and holiness? In regard to the exercise
of the virtue called vindication the most holy Mary like
wise was proficient: not only instructing others as a
Teacher during the time of the first beginnings of the
evangelical Church; but zealously advancing the honor
of the Most High and trying to convert many sinners
through fraternal correction, as was the case in regard
to Judas many times, and commanding the creatures,
(which were obedient to her wishes), to punish some of
the sinners in order that they might be converted and be
saved from the eternal punishment due to their sins. Al
though on these occasions She was most sweet and kind
in her punishments, yet She did not remit them, whenever
necessary to secure an effective cleansing from sin. Most
of all however did She exercise retribution toward the
demon, in order to free the human race from his slavery.
567. The sovereign Queen practiced also the most ex
alted liberality and friendliness. Her generosity in giving
and distributing was on a scale befitting the Empress of
all creation and one who knows the proper value of all
invisible and visible things. This Lady never possessed
anything of her own that She did not consider just as
much the property of her neighbor as hers nor did She
ever deny anything to anybody, not even waiting till they
should pay the price of asking for it, whenever She could
be beforehand in giving. The poverty and miseries which
She alleviated, the benefits which She bestowed, the
mercies which flowed from Her, even as regards only
temporal matters, could not be recounted in an immense
volume. Her amiable friendliness toward all creatures
was so singular and admirable, that, if She had not con
cealed it with rare prudence, She would have drawn to
Herself all the world, entranced by her most sweet in
tercourse; her mildness and kindness, though tempered
by a divine seriousness and wisdom, displayed in her in
tercourse the marks of superhuman excellence. The Most
High himself regulated this perfection in Her, allowing
at times some of the signs of the sacrament of the King
to show themselves, but taking care, that the veil should
fall immediately and again conceal the mystery beneath
earthly labors, thus forestalling the applause of men. All
their honors were far below that which She deserved,
and men would never be able to attain, and would fall
either below or exceed, the correct measure of honor due
to One who was at the same time a creature and the
Mother of God. This was reserved for the time when as
children of the Church, men should be enlightened by the
Catholic faith.
568. For the adequate and perfect exercise of this
great virtue of justice the doctors point out another part
or aid to it, which they call epikeia, which guides us in
some affairs, that are above the common and ordinary
rules and laws. For not all affairs, with their varying
circumstances, can be covered by the ordinary laws, and
therefore it is necessary to proceed on certain occasions
by the light of a superior and extraordinary reasoning.
This part of justice the sovereign Queen practiced on
many occasions during her life, both before, and espe
cially after the Ascension of her onlybegotten Son. In
order to regulate the affairs of the primitive Church, as I
will say in its place, She often made use of epikeia, as
required by the interests of the Most High.
569. In this extensive virtue of Justice, my daughter,
although thou hast been taught much of its value, thou
still art ignorant of the greater part of it on account of thy
condition in this state of mortality ; and therefore also this
thy account of it is insufficient for a full understanding of
its excellence. Nevertheless thou hast in it a copious sum
mary to direct thy intercourse with creatures and thy
worship of the Most High. In regard to this latter I re
mind thee, my dearest, that the supreme majesty of the
Omnipotent is highly indignant at the offenses of mortals,
who forget the veneration, adoration, and reverence due
to Him. If some of them do render it, it is so coarse, in
attentive and discourteous, that they do not merit re
ward but chastisement. They revere and adore pro
foundly the princes and magnates of the earth ; they ask
favors and seek to obtain them with the utmost diligence ;
they are effusive in their thanks, when they succeed, pro
testing their lifelong gratitude. But the supreme Lord,
who gives them being, life and activity, who preserves and
sustains them, who has redeemed them and raised them
to the dignity of sons, who wishes to confer upon them
his own glory, who is in Himself the infinite and the high
est Good; Him, the highest Majesty, they forget, because
they cannot see Him with their corporal eyes. As if not
all good came from Him, they return, at the highest,
merely a sluggish remembrance and a hasty thanksgiving.
I will not even mention at present, how much those offend
the most just Ruler of the universe, who wickedly break
through and overturn all the order of justice toward
their neighbor, perverting the whole natural order in
wishing to their brothers, what they would not wish for
570. Abhor, my daughter, such execrable conduct, and
as far as thy forces will allow, make up by thy works for
this want of acknowledgment in the service of the Most
High. And as by thy state of life thou art consecrated to
the divine worship, let that be thy principal occupation
and delight, striving to imitate the angelic spirits in their
ceaseless fear and worship of the Lord. Preserve rever
ence for holy things, including also the ornaments and
sacred vessels used in divine service. During divine office,
prayer, and sacrifice see that thou remain on thy knees ;
implore with faith and receive his favors with humble
thanksgiving ; the same consideration thou shouldst show
also to all men, even if they offend thee. To all be kind,
affable, meek, simple and truthful; without deceit or
double-dealing, without detraction or illwill, without rash
judgment of thy neighbor. And in order that thou mayst
fulfill all justice, revive the memory of it constantly and
desire to do to thy neighbor that which thou wishest done
to thyself. Especially remember how my most holy Son,
and I in imitation of Him, acted toward all men.
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