The Work of God Apostolate

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 2 chapter 24 verses 785-802 Index

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


  INDEX            Book 2  Chapter  24    Verses:  785-802

785. No quality of a valiant woman could be want
ing in our Queen, for She was the fountain of virtue and
of grace. Our text continues in the sixteenth verse:
"She hath considered a field and bought it: with the
fruits of her hand She hath planted a vineyard." The
field of highest perfection, where the abundant and fra
grant fruits of virtue are reared, was the one which
most holy Mary considered; and as She was inspecting
and taxing it by the clearness of the divine light, She
recognized the treasure, which was buried in it. In
order to buy this field She exchanged for it her prop
erty rights in all the earth, of which She was truly the
Queen and Mistress, preferring the possession of this
field to all other things and abdicating in favor of it the
use and right of all her possessions. This Mistress alone
could dispose of all creation, for She alone had the full
possession of it, and She alone could buy the whole field
of holiness. She alone could examine and estimate its
full value and She alone, next to God, appropriated to
Herself, the field of the Divinity and its attributes, while
the other saints could appropriate only a part "With
the fruits of her hands She hath planted a vineyard."
She planted the holy Church, not only by giving us her
most holy Son to form and constitute it, but by being
Herself his Coadjutrix, and after his Ascension, remain-
ing the Mistress of the Church, as will be related in
the third part of this history. She planted the vineyard
of the paradise, which that fierce beast Lucifer had
ruined and devastated, thus restoring it to fruitfulness
by her solicitude. She planted the vineyard of her
most great and magnanimous heart, setting in it the
sprouts of virtue and the most fertile vines, from which
Christ in the winepress of the Cross distilled the most
sweet wine of his love to inebriate his beloved and
nourish his friends (Cant. 5, 1).
786. "She hath girdled her loins with strength, and
hath strengthened her arm." The greatest strength of
those who call themselves strong is in their arm, with
which they perform hard and difficult works : and the
most difficult work of earthly men consists in restrict
ing their passions and inclinations and subjecting them
to reason. Therefore the holy text says of this valiant
Woman, that She both girds her loins and strengthens
her arm. Our Queen was subject to no passions or dis
orderly inclinations, which She would have to suppress
in her most innocent person ; but this did not hinder Her
from being more courageous in restricting Herself than
all the children of Adam, whose interior is thrown into
disorder by the consequences of sin. Without having
need thereof her virtues and her love urged Her to
practice greater mortification than the most wicked in
clinations could ever have required. None of those, who
were infected by sin and who were bound to satisfy for
it, ever exerted such strength in mortifying their dis
orderly passions, as our Princess Mary exerted in gov
erning and mortifying more and more all her faculties
and senses. She chastised her most innocent and vir
ginal body by incessant penances, watchings, fasts,
prostrations in the form of the cross, as we shall say
later on (Part II, 12, 232, 442, 568, 898, 990, 991 ; Part
III, 581) ; She denied to her senses all rest and indul
gence, not because they were in disorder, but so as con
tinually to perform what was most holy and acceptable
before God, being never weak, never remiss or negligent
in bringing all her works to the full measure and efficacy
of grace.
787. "She hath tasted and seen that her traffic is
good : her lamp shall not be put out in the night." The
Lord is so kind and faithful with creatures, that, when
He commands us to gird ourselves with mortification
and penance, (since the kingdom of heaven suffers vio
lence and must be gained by force (Matth. 12, 12), on
account of this violence to our inclinations, He rewards
our efforts with a joy and consolation, that fill our
heart with delight. By this joy we know how good is
this exchange of the highest good for those works of
mortification by which we restrain our hankering after
temporal pleasure; for as a prepayment we receive the
joys of the Christian truth and in it a pledge of eternal
life. And the more we engage in this kind of com
merce, the more we will gain and the greater will be
our esteem for this commerce.
788. If we, who are subject to sin, experience this
truth, how much more intimately did most holy Mary
understand and appreciate it? And if in us, in whom
the night of sin is so dense and persistent, the divine
light of grace can be preserved by means of penance
and mortification of our passions, how must this light
have burned in the heart of that most pure Creature?
She was not oppressed by the infection of our gross and
corrupted nature; She had not been scorched by the
tinder of disobedience; She was not stung by the re
proaches of a bad conscience, nor by the fear of actual
sin; and besides all this She was enlightened beyond all
conception of angels or men : She understood well and
enjoyed this kind of commerce, without extinguishing,
in the troubles and dangers of this life, the light-giving
lamp of the Lamb (Apoc. 31, 19).
789. "She hath put out her hand to strong things,
and her ringers have taken hold of the spindle." The
valiant Woman, who with the exertion and the labor of
her hands increases her virtues and the goods of her
family, who girds Herself with fortitude against her
passions, who recognizes the delights of the commerce
of virtue, could well extend and reach out her hand to
ward great things. Most holy Mary, did this unhindered
by her state and its obligations; for, elevating Herself
above Herself and above all earthly things, She enlarged
her aspirations and extended her operations to what was
greatest and mightiest in the spheres of divine love and
knowledge, rising above all human and angelic natures.
And as with her espousal She approached nearer and
nearer to the dignity and state of Mother, She continued
to expand her heart and extend her hand to new works of
holiness, until She fitted Herself to co-operate in the
most arduous and sublime work of the divine Omnip
otence, namely the Incarnation of the Word. Of all
this I will say more in the second part, when explaining
the preparation of our Queen for this great mystery
(Part II, 1 to 160). And because the mere resolve or
determination to do great things and without their ful
fillment is futile and of no practical consequence, there
fore it is said : "And her fingers have taken hold of the
spindle," which means to say, that our Queen really
executed all the great, arduous and difficult works, ex
actly as She had intended and proposed in her most
well ordered mind. In all things She was found true,
and far from the exaggeration and mere outward show
of a woman, who carries the distaff at her girdle, but
does not take hold of the spindle. Therefore it is added :
790. "She hath opened her hand to the needy and
stretched out her hand to the poor." The prudent
woman and housewife shows great courage in being
liberal with the poor, never yielding to weakness of
mind, or cowardly diffidence, lest, on account of her
alms, her family should suffer; for the most powerful
means of increasing all possessions is to part liberally
with them for the poor of Christ, who even in this life
knows how to give a hundredfold in return (Marc. 10,
30). Most holy Mary distributed to the poor and to the
temple the inheritance of her parents, as I said above
(761) ; besides this She gave the labor of her hands to
assist in the works of mercy; for without contributing
her personal exertion and labor, She could not have
satisfied her pious and generous love of the poor. It
is no wonder, that the avaricious world of today should
feel want and poverty in temporal things, since men are
become so deficient in kindness and pity for the poor:
they use that, which God created for the sustenance of
the needy and for the salvation of the rich, only for
satisfying their vanities.
791. Our most kind Queen and Lady, however, did
not extend only her own hands to the poor: She also
drew forth the Almighty hand of the omnipotent God;
for as yet He had not extended the helping hand of his
divine Word towards mortals, who did not merit, or
rather, who were making themselves unworthy of such
a favor, this valiant Woman gave Him hands, hands
extended and opened for the benefit of us poor captives
afflicted by the misery of sin. Because this neediness
and poverty was the lot of all men, Scripture uses the
word "poor" in the singular; for all the human race was
like one poor person, capable of providing for itself no
more than if all men had been only one single poor
person. The hands of our Savior, Christ our Lord,
extended for our Redemption and opened for the dis
tribution of his gifts and merits, were none other than
the very hands of most holy Mary ; for He, as her Son,
had them from Her and without Mary the unfortunate
race would never have seen them opened for their relief.
They were hers also in many other respects.
792. "She shall not fear for her house in the cold of
snow: for all her domestics are clothed in double gar
ments." Having lost the Sun of Justice, the warmth
of grace and original justice, our nature was buried un
der the frozen snow of sin, with all its power for doing
good restricted, impeded and congealed. Thence arise
the difficulties in the performance of holy works, the
slowness of our actions, our inattention and negligence,
our instability and numerous other defects in the practice
of virtue; thence it comes, that we find ourselves, after
the commission of sin, deprived of the love of God,
without shelter or covering against temptations. Our
heavenly Queen was free from all these impediments and
defects in body and soul; for all her domestics, that is
her interior and exterior faculties, were sheltered from
the frost of sin by double vestments. On the one hand
She was protected by original justice and the infused
virtues, together with the virtues acquired by her own
exertions from the first moment of her activity. On
the other hand She was also protected by the double
vestment of the common graces, which She received on
her own account, and those, which She received in an
especial manner on account of her dignity as Mother of
God. I will not detain myself in describing her provi
dent care for her own household ; for in other women the
care which they bestow in this matter, may be praise
worthy because it is necessary ; in the house of the Queen
of heaven and earth, most holy Mary, it was not neces
sary to multiply the garments: not for Her Son, since
He possessed but one; not for Herself, nor for her
spouse Joseph, since their poverty was their greatest
adornment and shelter.
793. "She hath made for herself clothing of tapestry :
fine linen, and purple is her covering." This metaphor
likewise indicates the spiritual adornments of this
Woman ; it was a garment variegated and strong, serving
completely as a covering and defending Her from the
inclemencies and rigors of the rainstorms; for this is
the purpose, for which strong blankets, raincoats and
the like are woven. The long cloak of virtue and gifts
of Mary was impenetrable to the powerful streams of
temptation and assault, which the great red and san
guinary dragon poured out against Her and which saint
John saw in the Apocalypse (Apoc. 1, 15). Greater
than the strength of this vestment was the beauty and
variety of her virtues, woven into it and not merely
apparent; for they had, so to say, become a part of her
flesh and blood, and of the substance of her nature from
the very moment, in which She obtained her existence
in grace and original justice. In Her were the purple
of charity, the white of chastity and purity, the azure
of hope, with all the other variety of gifts and graces,
which clothed Her about entirely and adorned Her in
all their beauty. Also the white and the red, which
the Spouse designates as the special tokens of the hu
manity and the Divinity of the Son, adorned Her (Cant.
5, 10) ; for as She gave to the Word the red of his
most holy Humanity, He in return gave her the splendor
of the Divinity, not uniting both these natures in her
virginal womb, but leaving in his Mother emanations
and rays of the Divinity more excellent than in all the
other creatures together.
794. "Her husband is honorable in the gates, when
he sitteth among the senators of the land." Just as
in the olden times judgment was held under the city
gates, so at the portals of eternal life, judgment is pro
nounced separately over each one; whereas on the last
day we are to expect the general judgment of the whole
world. In the universal judgment saint Joseph, one of
the men of the most holy Mary, will take his seat among
the nobility of the kingdom of God; for he will sit in
judgment with the Apostles over the world, enjoying
this privilege as the spouse of the valiant Woman, the
Queen of all, and as the putative father of the supreme
Judge. The other Man of this Lady is her Son, as I
have already said (774), and He is acknowledged and
recognized as the supreme Lord and true Judge both in
the particular judgment, and in that, which is to be
held over the angels and all men. This supreme power
devolves in part also upon most holy Mary; for it was
She, who gave Him the flesh, with which He redeemed
the world.
795. "She made fine linen, and sold it, and delivered
a girdle to the Chananite." In this solicitous labor of
the valiant Woman are pointed out two excellences of
our great Queen. First She made a linen so pure, so
spacious and large, that the eternal Word, although He
had to constrain and limit his greatness, could descend
and clothe Himself in it, and She sold it to no one
else than the Lord himself, who gave Her in return his
own Son. For there was nothing in all creation, which
was of sufficient price to buy this linen sheet of the
purity and sanctity of Mary, nor could any man merit to
be her son, except the Son of God himself. She also
gave, not sold, most graciously, a cincture to the Chananite,
cursed by his father (Gen. 9, 25) ; for all those
that participated in the first malediction and were de
spoiled and subjected to disorderly appetites and inclina
tions, could now gird themselves anew by the cincture
which most holy Mary procured for them through her
only and firstborn and only Son and through the law
of grace. Thereby being able to reform themselves
and gird themselves with new strength. No excuse re
mains for the foreknown and the damned, angels and men,
since all of them had the means to restrain themselves
against their disorderly passions, equally with the predes
tined. For they can avail themselves of the graces gratui
tously obtained for them by most holy Mary and no pay
ment is required for them.
796. "Strength and beauty are her clothing, and she
shall laugh in the latter day." Another new adornment
and vestment of the valiant Woman are strength and
beauty: strength makes Her invincible in suffering and
in operating against the infernal powers; beauty gives
her exterior grace and admirable decorum in all her
actions. On account of these two prerogatives our
Queen was amiable in the eyes of God, and of the
angels, and of the world. She was not only free from
all reprehension of sin and defect, but She possessed
that double grace and beauty, which pleased and charmed
so much the holy Spirit, when He said, that She was
entirely beautiful and pleasing to Him (Cant. 4, 7).
And where there is no fault to be deplored, there also
is no cause of mourning on the last day, when none of
the mortals shall be without such cause except this our
Lady and her most holy Son. All others were tainted
with some defect, for which they must grieve, and on
that day the damned will weep for not having properly
wept over their sins before. On that day this valiant
Woman shall be full of delight and joy, returning thanks
for her own incomparable felicity, as also for the execu
tion of the divine justice against the wicked and re
bellious by her most holy Son.
797. "She hath opened her mouth to wisdom, and the
law of clemency is on her tongue." This great excellency
of the valiant Woman is not to open her mouth for
ought except to teach the fear of the Lord, or in pur
suance of some work of clemency. This our Queen and
Lady fulfilled in the highest perfection. She opened
her mouth as the Mistress of wisdom, when She said
to the holy archangel : "Fiat mihi secundom verbum
tuum" (Luke 1, 38) and whenever She spoke, it was as
the most prudent Virgin and as one filled with the
knowledge of the Most High, as a Teacher to all, and
as one interceding for the miserable children of Eve. The
law of clemency was always on her lips, as a most kind
Mother of mercy and her intercession and prayer is by it
self an inviolable law, on which our deliverance depends
in all our necessities ; we are safe, if only we know how
to induce Her to open her mouth and move Her tongue
for our intercession.
798. "She hath looked well to the path of her house,
and hath not eaten her bread idle." It is no small honor
for the mother of a family to keep a strict watch over
all the ways of augmenting most unfailingly its property
and happiness; but in this divine prudence none except
Mary gave an altogether perfect example to mortals.
She alone knew how to investigate and search all the
ways to justice and to find the straight roads by which
with greater security and speed the Divinity can be
reached. She attained to this knowledge so expeditiously,
that She outstripped all mortals and even the
cherubim and seraphim themselves. She recognized and
detected good and evil, the height and the depth of
sanctity, the extent of human weakness, the astuteness
of our enemies, the dangers infesting the world and all
that is terrestrial. At the same time She put all her
knowledge into practice, never eating her bread idle,
and receiving neither her soul nor divine grace in vain
(Psalm 23, 4). And thus She merited what follows.
799. "Her children rose up, and called her blessed:
her husband, and he praised Her." Great and glorious
things have the true sons of this Woman said of Her
in the Church militant, calling Her most blessed among
women; and let not those, that have not risen up and
praised Her, call themselves Her children, nor learned,
nor wise, nor devout. Yet although all the saints of
the Church have spoken, being inspired and moved by
her Man and Spouse, Christ and the Holy Ghost, never
theless it seems as if He has as yet only kept silence
and has not yet risen to publish the countless and ex
alted mysteries concerning his most holy Mother. I
was given to understand, that they are so great as to be
reserved for revelation only in the triumphant Church
after the last judgment; for it would not be opportune
to manifest them now to this world, which is unworthy
and incapable of understanding such wonders. There
Christ will speak, the Man of Mary, in order to manifest
his and her glory, and for the joy of the saints, the
prerogatives and the excellences of that Lady; there
shall we know them in full. Here it is sufficient, that
we reverently recognize them under the veil of faith,
and that we live now in the hope of fully understanding
these great blessings in the future life.
800. "Many daughters have gathered together riches:
thou hast surpassed them all." All the souls, that have
come to the attainment of the grace of the Most High,
are called his daughters; and all the merits, gifts and
graces, which they gained or could gain, are true
for earthly possessions have unjustly usurped the name
of riches. Great will be the number of the predestined :
He that has enumerated the stars by their names knows
it (Psalm 144, 4). But Mary has gathered more riches
than all who are children of Adam and of Herself; She
alone attained such a position, not only so as to be
called their Mother, and they, her children ; but so as to
become the Mother of God himself ; for in this She far
surpasses all the glory that the entire number of the
predestined ever possessed or will possess. And because,
in comparison with these riches and gifts of interior
grace and their corresponding glory the exterior and
apparent outward appearance of women, which is held
in so high esteem by them, is but vanity, Solomon adds
and says:
801. "Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain; there
fore the woman that feareth the Lord, shall be praised.
Give her of the fruits of her hands; and let her works
praise her in the gates." The world falsely esteems as
gracious many things, that are not so, and that have no
more of beauty and grace in them than what they derive
from the erroneous judgment of the ignorant; as for
example the outward appearance of virtue in our works ;
the pleasure excited by sweet and eloquent words; wit
and elegance in our speech or behaviour ; the benevolence
of superiors, or popularity. All this is deceitful and
fallacious, no less than the beauty of a woman, which
vanishes in so short a time. She who fears God and
teaches others to fear Him, merits truly the praise of
men and of the Lord himself. And because God him
self wishes to praise Her, Scripture says: "Give her of
the fruit of her hands:" He proportions his praise also
to the excellence of the deeds publicly known to Her,
and intimates, that these deeds themselves proclaim Her
praise. The praise of men is of small value to one who
degrades herself by her own conduct. Accordingly the
Most High wishes that the deeds of his most holy
Mother shall become manifest in the portals of his holy
Church in so far as is possible and opportune, as I said
above ; while the greater glory and praise is reserved for
Her in the heavenly Church and will endure through all
the ages and ages. Amen.
802. In this chapter of holy Scriptures thou hast at
thy disposal many points of information for thy proper
guidance; and although thou hast not touched upon all
that it contains, yet I wish, that thou write in thy in
most heart, as well that which thou hast declared, as
also that which thou hast omitted, and I wish that thou
put it into practice. For this purpose it is necessary,
that thou live retired within thyself, forgetful of all the
visible and terrestrial things, most attentive to the divine
light, which assists thee and protects thy sensible facul
ties with double vestments against the influences of lukewarmness
and coldness on the way of perfection; and
it is necessary, that thou resist the incitements of thy
unruly passions. Gird them and restrict them by the
powerful means of the fear of God. Withdrawn from
the deceitful outward appearances, raise thy mind to
the contemplation and the understanding of thy interior
condition and of the paths, which the Lord has shown
thee for seeking Him in secret and for finding Him with
out danger of error. Having- once tasted the intercourse
with heavenly things, do not allow thy negligence to
extinguish in thy mind the divine light, that illumines
and enlightens thee in darkness. Eat not thy bread in
idleness; but work without relaxing in solicitude, and
then thou shalt eat of the fruit of thy diligence.
Strengthened by the Lord, thou wilt perform works
worthy of his regard and complaisance and thou wilt run
after the odor of his ointments until thou arrive at their
eternal possessions. Amen.
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