The Work of God Apostolate

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 2 chapter 15 verses 646-659 Index

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


  INDEX            Book 2  Chapter  15    Verses:  646-659

646. Such is the force and efficacy of God s grace, and
of his love excited in the creature, that it can blot out in
it the very images of sin and the earthly nature of man,
(I Cor. 15, 49) and form in it a new being and celestial
image, whose conversation is in heaven (Philip 3, 20),
understanding, loving and operating not any more as a
creature of earth, but as a being celestial and divine ; for,
the force of love ravishes the heart and soul by which the
creature lives, sacrificing and transforming them to that,
which it loves. This Christian truth, believed by all, un
derstood by the learned, and experienced by the saints,
must be conceived as fulfilled in our great Queen and Lady
in so privileged a manner, that neither by the example of
what was experienced by the saints, nor by the intellect of
the angels, can it ever be comprehended or explained.
Most holy Mary as being the Mother of the Word, was
Mistress of all creation; but being a faithful representa
tion of her onlybegotten Son, She in imitation of Him
made so little use of creatures, of which She was Mistress,
that none ever used them less than She, for She excluded
all that was not absolutely necessary for the service of the
Most High and for the natural life of her most holy Son
and of Herself.
647. To this forgetfulness and withdrawal from all
earthly things corresponded her intercourse with heaven ;
this again was proportionate to her dignity of Mother of
God and Queen of heaven, all earthly intercourse being
thus transformed into the heavenly. It followed as a
natural consequence, that the Queen and Mistress of the
angels enjoyed singular privileges in regard to the atten
tion paid to Her by the heavenly courtiers, her vassals,
and She treated and conferred with them in a more ex
alted manner, than all the other human creatures, how
holy so ever they may be. In the twenty-third chapter of
the first book I have said something of the diverse ordi
nary visions in which the holy angels and seraphim, who
were destined and selected for her guard, manifested
themselves to our Queen and Mistress. And in the fore
going chapter I explained in general the manner and form
of the divine visions conceded to Her, having been careful
to keep in mind that in all their wide range and sphere
they were supremely exalted and divine in their nature,
their manner, and their effects upon her most holy soul.
648. In this chapter I will treat of another kind of
vision, more singular and privileged still, which the Most
High granted to most holy Mary and by which She com
municated with and visibly treated with the holy angels
of her guard and with the rest, who, in behalf of the Lord,
visited Her on diverse occasions. This mode of vision and
intercourse was of the same kind as that by which each
one of the supernal spirits knows the others as they are in
themselves, without any other image to move the intellect
than the very substance and nature of the angel thus
known. The superior angels illumine the inferior, mak
ing known to them the hidden mysteries which the Most
High reveals and manifests immediately to the higher
angels for transmission to the lowest ; for this manner of
communicating with them is befitting to the greatness and
infinite majesty of the highest King and Governor of all
creation. From this it can easily be seen, that this most
orderly illumination and revelation is a favor which is
superadded to the essential glory of the holy angels. For
the essential glory they obtain immediately from the
Divinity, each one receiving the vision and fruition of
God according to the measure of his merits. One angel
cannot create essential happiness in another by illuminat
ing him or revealing to him a mystery ; for the one who
is illuminated would not thereby see God face to face,
without which he cannot be in beatitude or attain to his
last end.
649. But since the Object is infinite and is like a volun
tary mirror, there are infinite secrets and mysteries, (be
sides those which pertain to beatific knowledge), which
God can reveal to the saints and which He reveals to them
especially in the government of his Church in the world ;
in these revelations He follows the course, which I am
explaining. As these revelations are outside of the es
sential glory, the want of these revelations cannot be
called ignorance in the angels or a privation of knowl
edge ; but it is called nescience or negation ; while revela
tion is called illumination, or a purgation or purification of
that nescience. According to our mode of understanding it
might be compared to the process which takes place,
when the rays of the sun pass through many crystals in
succession, making all partake of the same light from the
first to the last, and reaching first those that are more
immediately neighboring to the light. Only one difference
must be noted in this comparison; that the prisms or
crystals are entirely passive in this process in respect to
the rays, without having any more activity than that given
by the sun, which illumines all by one operation ; but the
holy angels are passive in receiving the enlightenment and
active in communicating it to their inferiors; and more
over they communicate their light with praise, admiration
and love, all derived from the supreme Sun of justice, the
eternal and immutable God.
650. Into this admirable and divine order of revelation
the Most High introduced most holy Mary, so that She
might enjoy these privileges, which the courtiers of heaven
possessed as becoming their nature. For this purpose He
appointed the seraphim, whom I have mentioned in the
fourteenth chapter of the first book, because they were
supreme and nearest to the Divinity ; also other angels of
Mary s guard performed the same office, whenever, ac
cording to the divine will, it seemed befitting and neces
sary. The Queen of angels and men knew all these angels
and others as they are in themselves, without dependence
upon the senses or the phantasy, and without any hin
drance from the mortal or earthly body. Through this
vision and knowledge the seraphim and other angels of
the Lord illuminated and purified Her, revealing to their
Queen many mysteries, which for that very purpose they
had learned from the Most High. And although this kind
of illumination and intellectual vision was not continual
in most holy Mary ; it was very frequent, especially when,
in order to give Her opportunity for more merits and
divine movements of love, the Lord hid or absented Him
self from Her, as shall be described afterwards (Infr.
725, Part II 719, 720). On such occasions He made use
of the mediation of the angels, allowing their enlighten
ment to proceed in its order until it was communicated to
their Queen.
651. This mode of illumination did not derogate from
the dignity of the Mother of God and of the Mistress of
the angels ; for in the conferring of these benefits, the
mode of their participation was not to be determined by
the dignity and sanctity of our sovereign Queen, since in
that She was superior to all the angelic orders ; but it was
determined by the present state and condition of her nature
in which She was inferior; for She was yet a wayfarer
and of a human, bodily and mortal nature. By these
illuminations She was to be raised to the angelic opera
tion and estate though yet living in mortal flesh and sub
ject to the natural use of the senses, and it was a great
privilege, yet entirely proper to her sanctity and dignity. I
believe that the hand of the Most High has extended this
favor to other souls in mortal life, although not so fre
quently as to his most holy Mother, nor with such a
plenitude and under such exalted conditions as in Her.
If many doctors (not without rood reason) conceded that
saint Paul, Moses, and other saints have enjoyed beatific
vision, it is credible, that other earthly wayfarers have
shared this kind of knowledge of the angelic nature ; for
this favor is no more than to see intuitively the angelic
substance. In regard to clearness, this vision corresponds
to the one which I have first mentioned in the foregoing
chapter, and in regard to the intellectual qualities it cor
responds to the third mentioned in the same place, al
though it does not proceed by means of imprinted images.
652. The truth is, this privilege is not ordinary or com
mon but very rare and extraordinary; and therefore it
demands in the soul a great preparation and purity of
conscience. It is incompatible with earthly affections,
voluntary imperfections, or any leaning toward sin : for
in order that the soul may enter into the angelic order
it must lead a life more angelic than human ; since if this
supernal assimilation and sympathy is wanting, the union
of such extremes would imply a monstrous dispropor
tion. With the divine grace, however, the creature (al
though yet in earthly and corruptible body) can deny it
self all that is demanded by its passions and inclinations,
die to all visible things, eject from its memory all images
of them, and live more in the spirit than in the flesh. And
when it arrives at the enjoyment of true peace, tranquillity
and quiet of spirit, which cause in it a sweet and loving
serenity in the possession of the highest Good, then it is
less incapable of being raised to the vision of the angelic
spirits by intuitive clearness, of receiving the divine revela
tions, which they communicate to each other, and of ex
periencing the admirable effects of this kind of vision.
653. If those which our sovereign Queen received,
correspond to her purity and love, their value cannot be
estimated by men. The light communicated to Her in
these visions of the seraphim is beyond human compar
ison ; for to a certain extent the image of the Divinity is
flashed from them, as from most pure spiritual mirrors,
in which most holy Mary perceived it in all its infinite at
tributes and perfections. Also the glory, which the
seraphim themselves enjoyed, was manifested to Her in
an admirable manner by some of its effects; for as She
saw intuitively the essence of the angels, She knew much
of its secrets. By the insight into these things She was
entirely inflamed and enkindled with divine love and
many times wrapt in wonderful ecstasy. Hence in union
with the seraphim and the angels She broke forth in can
ticles of praise, celebrating the incomparable glory of the
Divinity, so that She excited the admiration of the heaven
ly spirits themselves. For though She was enlightened by
them as regards the intellect, yet by her own acts of the
will She left them far behind, and with a much greater
force of love did She quickly ascend and arrive at union
with the ultimate and the highest Good, whence She im
mediately received new impulses of the torrent of the
Divinity (Psalm 35, 9) by which She was inundated. And
if the Seraphim had not been enjoying the presence of
the infinite Object, which was the beginning and the
end of their beatific love, they might well have been the
pupils of their most holy Queen in divine love, just as
She was theirs in regard to the illumination of the mind
derived from them.
654. Next to the immediate vision of the spiritual and
angelic substance, the more inferior intellectual vision of
the same by infused species is more common, as we said
also of the abstractive vision of the Divinity. This kind
of vision the Queen of heaven enjoyed sometimes, but it
was not so common with Her as the one mentioned ; for
though in other just souls the privilege of seeing the angels
and saints by means of intellectual images is very rare and
precious, yet in the Queen of angels it was not necessary,
because She had a more exalted intercourse and knowl
edge of them. She, therefore, enjoyed this inferior kind of
visions only when the Lord ordained that the angels
should hide themselves and when the more exalted com
munion with them was to be interrupted for her greater
merit and practice in virtue. In such time, She saw them
by intellectual or imaginary species, as mentioned in the
foregoing chapter. Divine effects are produced in other
souls by these visions of angels through intellectual
images; for these celestial beings become known to the
mind in their quality as executors and ambassadors of the
supreme King, and with them the soul holds sweet
colloquy concerning the Lord, and concerning all celestial
and heavenly things. The whole soul is illumined, taught,
directed and governed, led on and urged onward in its
ascent to the perfect union of divine love, and in its
efforts to practice that which is the most consummate,
refined and holy in spiritual life.
655. Admirable, my daughter, is the love, the fidelity
and the solicitude with which the angelic spirits assist
mortals in their necessities ; and most horrible is the forgetfulness,
ingratitude and grossness on the part of men in
failing to acknowledge this debt. In the bosom of the
Most High, whose face they see (Matth. 8, 10) in beatific
clearness, these heavenly spirits perceive the infinite pa
ternal love of the Father in heaven for earthly men, and
therefore they appreciate and estimate worthily the blood
of the Lamb, by which men were bought and rescued,
and they know the value of the souls thus purchased with
the treasures of the Divinity. Thence arises their watch
fulness and attention in securing the interests of the souls,
which, on account of the value set upon them by the Most
High, have been given into their charge. I wish thee
to understand well, how by the ministry of these angels,
mortals would receive great enlightenment, and incom
parable favors from the Lord, if only they did not hinder
them by their sins and abominations, and by their oblivion
of this inestimable blessing. But as they block up the
way, which God in his ineffable Providence has opened up
for conducting them to eternal felicity, the greater part of
them damn themselves, whereas, with the protection of
the angels and with a proper estimate of his blessing,
they could save themselves.
656. O my dearest daughter, since many men are so
indifferent in attending to the paternal works of my Son
and Lord, I seek in thee a special gratitude for this bless
ing. Since He has dealt with thee liberally in his appoint
ment of angels for thy guard, be attentive to their inter
course and listen to their injunctions with reverence; give
thyself over to their guidance, honor them as the am
bassadors of the Most High, seek their favor, in order
that, having been cleansed of thy sins and freed from im
perfection, inflamed with divine love, thou mayest be
come so spiritualized, as to be fit to treat with them as
their companion in the participation of the divine illumina
tions. These He will not withhold from thee, if thou
on thy part dispose thyself in the manner I desire.
657. Since thou hast desired to know in the spirit of
obedience, what was the reason that the holy angels com
municated with me in so many kinds of visions, I will re
spond to thy desires, explaining more clearly, what thou
hast understood and written with the aid of divine light
The cause of this privilege was, on the part of the Most
High, his most liberal love, with which He pursued me,
and on my part, it was the state of pilgrimage, in which
I then found myself. For it was neither possible nor be
fitting, that this life should be altogether uniform in re
gard to the acts of virtue, by which the divine Wisdom
wished to raise me above all creation. As this pilgrimage
was to be performed by me as a human wayfarer, subject
to the use of the senses with all its various coincidences of
life in the practice of virtue, I sometimes acted altogether
in a spiritual manner and without the hindrance of the
senses, when the angels communicated with me as they do
among themselves ; at other times it was necessary for me
to suffer and to be afflicted in the lower part of my soul
or in my sensitive faculties ; at other times again I suffered
want, loneliness and interior dereliction. According to the
vicissitudes of these different effects and conditions I re
ceived the favors and the visits of the holy angels. Many
times then did I speak to them by intelligence, at others
in imaginary species, at others in corporeal and sensible
vision, according as my state and necessities demanded
and the Most High ordained.
658. By all these means my faculties and senses were
illumined and sanctified through the divine influences and
blessings, in* order that I might experience in reality all
these operations and through all of them receive the in
flux of supernatural grace. But in regard to these favors,
my dearest daughter, I wish thee to remember, that al
though God acted with such magnificent mercy toward
me, He nevertheless followed his intention of conferring
them upon me so lavishly not only because of my dignity
as his Mother, but because He took into account my co
operation and disposition by which I concurred with his
graces on my part. I withdrew all my faculties and senses
from intercourse with created things, and rejecting all that
was merely sensible and created, turned to the highest
Good and centered all the powers of my will on his holy
love. In this disposition of my soul I sanctified all my
faculties by co-operation with these favors, visions and
illuminations, having evacuated them of all human and
terrestrial pleasures. So great was the reward of my
works in mortal flesh, that thou canst not understand it,
nor describe it with mortal tongue. The liberality of the
Highest at once makes an advance payment of the bless
ings in this life as a pledge of those He has reserved for
the eternal.
659. And although the powerful arm of God by these
means wished to prepare me worthily from my Conception
for the incarnation of the Word in my womb, and to
sanctify and form my faculties and senses for the inter
course and communication with my Son : nevertheless, if
other souls would dispose themselves in imitation of me,
living not according to the flesh but according to the spirit,
free and untouched by the earthly contagion, the Most
High would show his fidelity to these souls as well and
would not deny them his blessings and favors according
to the equity of his divine Providence.
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