The Work of God Apostolate

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 1 chapter 5 verses 52-71 Index

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


  INDEX            Book 1  Chapter  5    Verses:  52-71

52. I will converse, O Lord, with Thy great Majesty,
since Thou art the God of mercies, though I am only
dust and ashes (Gen. 18, 17), and I will supplicate thy
incomprehensible Immensity to look from thy exalted
throne upon me, thy most vile and useless creature, and to
be propitious to me by continuing to enlighten my under
standing. Speak, O Lord, for thy servant heareth (I
Reg. 3, 10). Then the Most High, the Corrector of the
wise, spoke to me (Sap. 7, 15). He referred me to the
eighth chapter of the Proverbs and gave me the under
standing of its mysteries. First was given me the literal
wording of the chapter, which is as follows (Prov. 8,
53. Verse 22. "The Lord possessed me in the be
ginning of his ways before He made anything from
the beginning."
23. "I was set up from eternity and of old, before
the earth was made."
24. "The depths were not as yet and I was already
conceived : neither had the fountains of waters as yet
sprung out."
25. "The mountains with their huge bulk had not
as yet been established : before the hills I was brought
26. "He had not yet made the earth, nor the rivers,
nor the poles of the earth."
27. "When He prepared the heavens, I was present :
when with a certain law and compass He enclosed the
28. "When He established the sky above and poised
the fountains of the waters."
29. "When He compassed the sea with its bounds,
and set a law to the waters that they should not pass
their limits: when He balanced the foundations of the
30. "I was with Him forming all things: and was
delighted every day, playing before Him all the
31. "Playing in the world: and my delights were
to be with the children of men."
54. This is the portion of the Proverbs, of which the
Most High gave me an understanding. I understood at
first, that it treats of the ideas or decrees, which were
in the Divine Mind before the Creation of the world;
and that, in its literal sense, it speaks of the Person of
the Incarnate Word and of his most holy Mother, while
in its mystical sense it refers to the holy angels and
prophets. For before decreeing or forming the ideals
of the rest of the material creation, He formed and de
creed their prototype, the most sacred humanity of Christ
and of his purest Mother, and this is indicated by the
first words.
55. "The Lord possessed me in the beginning of his
ways." In God there are no ways, and his Divinity does
not need them : but He made use of them, in order, that
by them we may know Him and that all of us creatures,
who are capable of knowing Him, may tend toward Him.
In this beginning, before He formed any other ideal in
his mind, because He desired to create paths and open
ways in his mind for the communication of the Divinity,
He decreed, as a beginning, the formation of the hu
manity of the Word, who was to be the highway, by
which the other creatures might come to the Father (Joan.
14, 6) . Joined with this decree was that of his most holy
Mother, through whom his Divinity was to enter into
the world, becoming man and being born from Her as
God and man ; therefore it is said : "God possessed me"
since both were possessed by his Majesty: for as to his
Divinity, He was the possession, the property, and the
treasure of the Father without possibility of separation,
because Father and Son are One, of the same substance
and Divinity with the Holy Ghost; and also as to his
humanity, the Father possessed the Son; because He
himself knew and decreed the plenitude of grace and
glory, which He was to bestow upon it at the moment
of its creation and its hypostatical union. Moreover, as
this decree and possession was to be brought about by
the mediation of the Mother, who was to conceive and
bring forth the Word (since He did not decide to create
it out of nothing, nor form his soul and body out of any
other material), it followed that He possessed Her, who
was to give Him the human form. Thus He possessed
and claimed Her as his own in the same instant, provid
ing with solicitude, that in the order of grace neither the
human race nor any other, should have at any time a
right or a part in Her. He alone retained the full right
in Her as his portion, and so much his portion as the
dignity of Mother required. She alone was to call Him
Son, and She alone was to be called Mother, a Mother
worthy of having an incarnate God for a Son. Now as
all this far surpassed in dignity the whole creation, so
did it also take the precedence in the mind of the supreme
Creator. Hence He says :
56. "Before He made anything from the beginning, I
was set up from eternity and of old." We, in our present
state, conceive this eternity of God as an interminable
time. But what were the things "of old," since none had
been created ? It is clear that the three Persons are here
spoken of, namely, that She was foreseen from the
eternal ages of the Divinity, by the Beings, which alone
are ancient, namely, the indivisible Trinity (since all the
rest, having a beginning, are recent), that She was fore
seen when only the ancient Uncreated was, and before
any ideals of the future creation were formed. Between
these two extremes intervened the ideal of the hypostatic
union which was to be verified ad extra through the in
tervention of most holy Mary. Both were ordained to
gether, immediately next to God and before any other
creature, and it was the most wonderful decree ever
passed or ever to be passed. The first and most ad
mirable image in the mind of God, next to the eternal
generation, was that of Christ and next to it, that of his
57. And what other order could there be in God, in
whom all that pertains to Him is present at one and
the same time, so that no part of His being must await
the perfection of another, or one perfection ever need
succeed upon others? All is well ordered in his eternal
nature, and so it was and will be forever. The new ordainment,
however, was that the person of the Son should
become incarnate and that from his deified humanity
should begin the order of God s desires and of his de
crees ad extra. He was to be the Head and Ideal of all
other men and creatures; for this was the most appro
priate order and harmony to be instituted among crea
tures, that they have One, who is the first and the high
est, and that from Him should descend the order of all
nature, and in a special manner, of the mortals. First
among them all, however, was the Mother of the Man-
God, as the Supreme among mere creatures, following
immediately upon Christ, and, through Him, upon the
Divinity. Thus the conduits, which led the crystalline
fountains of the Divinity from the eternal throne, meet
first in the humanity of the Word and immediately there
after in his holy Mother in the degree and in the manner,
as it was possible for a mere creature, and as it was
proper for the Mother of the Creator. It was equitable,
that all the divine attributes should exert themselves in
Her, without reserve, so far as She was capable; and
that She be inferior only to Christ our Lord. She was to
be superior in the degree of his incomparable graces to
all the rest of the creatures, that are deserving of graces
and gifts. This then was the order, so well instituted by
the eternal wisdom : that all was to commence with Christ
and his Mother. Therefore the text adds :
58. "Before the earth was made; and the depths were
not as yet and I was already conceived." This earth was
that of the first Adam; for before his creation was de
creed, and before the abysses of the ideas ad extra were
formed in the divine mind, the likenesses of Christ and
of his Mother were already conceived. The forms are
called abysses, because there is an infinite distance be
tween the being of God and that of creatures. This dis
tance was measured (speaking according to our own way
of understanding) , when the ideals of the creatures were
formed ; for then these very abysses were formed. Not
only was the Word conceived before all these by eternal
generation from the Father, but His temporal generation
from the Virgin Mother full of grace, had already been
decreed and conceived in the divine mind. Inasmuch as
no efficacious and complete decree of this temporal gen
eration could exist without at the same time including
his Mother, and such a Mother, the most holy Mary, was
then and there conceived within that beautiful Im
mensity, and Her eternal record was written in the
bosom of the Divinity, in order that for all the ages it
should never be blotted out. She was stamped and de
lineated in the mind of the eternal Artificer and possessed
the inseparable embraces of his love.
59. "Neither had the fountains of waters as yet sprung
out." The images and ideals of creatures had not yet
sprung from their source and origin ; for they had not yet
broken from the fountains through the channels of God s
goodness and mercy, through which the divine will was
to be moved to create the universe and to communicate
his divine attributes and perfections. In respect to the
entire rest of the universe, these waters and fountains
were still repressed and detained within the bounds of
the immense ocean of the Divinity ; in his own Being
there were as yet no founts or currents for outward man
ifestation, not having until then met their proper object,
namely, men. But when these were encountered, the
sacred humanity of Christ and his Virgin Mother had al
ready furnished proper objects of benevolence. And
therefore it is added :
60. "The mountains with their huge bulk had not been
established," for God had not as yet then decreed the
creation of the high mountains, the Patriarchs, Prophets,
Apostles and Martyrs or the other saints of great holiness,
and this was not yet exerting its full weight and force in
the mighty and sweet manner (Sap. 8, 1) in which God
executes his counsels and great works. And not only
before the mountains (which are the great saints) but
also "before the hills I was brought forth," which are the
orders of the holy angels. Before them the divine Mind
had conceived the most holy Humanity united hypostatically
with the divine Word, and the Mother, who
bore it. The Son and the Mother were conceived before
the hierarchies of the angelic hosts, so, that, what David
said in the eighth psalm, becomes intelligible: "What is
man that Thou art mindful of him, or the son of man,
that Thou visitest him? Thou hast made him a little
lesser than the Angels, Thou hast crowned him with glory
and honor! Thou has set him over the works of thy
hands; Thou hast subjected all things under his feet." Let
all understand and know, that there is a Godman, who
is above all angels and men, and that all are his in
feriors and his servants, for being the first of men, He is
God at the same time. He is the first in the divine Mind
and in the divine Will, and with Him is associated and
inseparably connected, one Woman and Virgin, his
Mother, the exalted Queen of all creation.
61. And if man, as says the same psalm, was crowned
with glory and was constituted above all the works of
the hand of the Lord, it was because the Godman, his
Chief, had merited both this crown, and also that, which
is borne by the angels. The same psalm adds, that,
after having made man a little less than the angels, He
placed him over the works of his hands: yet these very
angels were works of his hands. Thus David spoke to
the whole human race, when he said: God made man
a little less than the angels; but although man was in
ferior in his nature, one Man is found who is of su
perior make and is set over these same angels, who were
works of the hand of God. This superiority is in the
order of grace, not only as far as His Divinity united to
the humanity is concerned, but also in regard to the hu
manity itself in so far as grace was conferred by the hypostatic
union. In a proportionate degree his most holy
Mother likewise attained this superiority, just as some
saints in virtue of the same incarnate Lord can reach a
station and throne superior to that of the angels.
62. It is further said: "I was brought forth" or born,
which means more than being conceived; for the latter
refers to the divine intellect of the Blessed Trinity at the
instant, when the Incarnation was known and, as it were,
weighed in regard to its propriety. But to be brought
forth refers to the act of the divine Will, which de
termined upon this work, for the most holy Trinity, in its
divine councils, resolved upon the efficacious execution
of this work by determining, and preliminarily putting
into effect, the wonderful decree of the hypostatic union
and of calling into being Mary most holy. That is the
reason for using first the word "conceived" and then the
words "brought forth," or born; for in reality the work
was at first conceived and then immediately afterwards
determined upon and willed.
63. "He had not yet made the earth, nor the rivers,
nor the poles of the (earth) world." Before the cre
ation of the second earth, namely, the earthly paradise
(the sense in which the earth is mentioned a second time),
into which the first man, after he had been created from
the first earth of the Damascene plains, was placed, and
where he sinned, the sacred humanity of the Word and
the material from which it was to spring, namely the
Virgin, was determined upon. For it was necessary, that
God should provide beforehand against her participating
in sin and against her being in any way subject to it. The
rivers and poles of the earth are the militant Church and
the gifts of grace which were to flow from the sources
of the Divinity. These were to flow toward all men and
with efficacy to the saints and the foreknown. Fixed in
God as in their pole or pivot and being dependent upon
Him they nevertheless move around Him in seeking after
the virtues of faith, hope and charity, through which they
sustain, vivify and direct themselves though yet en
tangled in human conversation. They are drawn toward
their last end and toward the highest good, without
swerving from the center about which they turn. Also
the Sacraments and the institutions of the Church are
here signified, her safety and stability, her beauty and
sanctity without blot or wrinkle (Eph. 5, 27), for this is
what is meant by this circumference and these rivers.
Before the Most High prepared all this and ordained
this mystical sphere and system, of which Christ was to
be the center and head, He decreed the union of the Word
with human nature, and foresaw his Mother, through
whom He was to execute these wonders in the world.
64. "When he prepared the heavens, I was there."
When He prepared and preordained the heaven and the
reward, which was to be given to the just sons of the
Church after their sojourn upon the earth, then already
was decreed the union of the humanity with the Word,
thereby meriting grace as their Head ; and with Him his
Mother most holy. Having destined the greater part of
this grace for the Mother and the Son, He then disposed
and arranged similar gifts of glory for the other saints.
65. "When with a certain law and compass he en
closed the depths," namely, when He decided to close
the abysses of his Divinity in the person of the Son ac
cording to a certain law and measure, which no living
being can ever compass or understand. He delineated
this sphere and circumference, where none could nor
ever can enter, except only the Word (since none but
Himself can ever fill his place). For thus He was able
to empty (Phil. 11, 7) and humiliate his Divinity in the
humanity, then, both humanity and Divinity, in the womb
of the most holy Mary, afterwards, in the small quantity
and species of the bread and wine, and finally, in the nar
row space of sinful, mortal hearts. All this is indicated
by the words: abysses, law and circle or limits. They
are called "certain" on account of their vast bearing and
also on account of the certainty, with which they were to
be fulfilled (in spite of seeming impossibility), and on
account of the difficulty of explaining them in words. It
certainly did not appear feasible, that the Divinity should
be subject to law, nor that It should enclose Itself within
determined limits. But the wisdom and the power of
that same Lord made it possible and has accomplished it
by enclosing Himself in a designated created being.
66. "When he established the sky above, and poised
the fountains of the waters; when he encompassed the
sea with its bounds, and set a law to the waters, that
they should not pass their limits." He calls here the
just "heavens," for that is what they are, as God re
mains and dwells within them by grace, and through it,
according to each one s disposition, gives them courage
and firmness to rise above the earth as long as they are
pilgrims. Afterwards He gives them a place and a
dwelling in the heavenly Jerusalem according to their
merits. For them He poised the fountains and has di
vided them, distributing to each one with equity. He
weighs the gifts of glory, the virtues, the helps, and the
perfections, according to the dispositions of his Wisdom.
When He resolved to make the distributions of these
waters of grace, He also resolved to give to the humanity
united to the Divinity all the ocean of graces and gifts,
which naturally flowed from the Divinity in its union
with the Onlybegotten of the Father. Although this
ocean was infinite, He placed confines to it, namely, the
humanity, in which was to dwell the plenitude of the
Divinity (Col. 2, 9) ; and it was enclosed thirty-three
years within these confines, in order that He might dwell
among men, and in order that, what happened to the
three Apostles on Tabor mount might not happen to all
men. In the same moment in which this entire ocean
and all the rivers of grace reached Christ our Lord as
being nearest to the Deity, they also redounded in his
most holy Mother as being nearest to her Onlybegotten
Son. For without the Mother, and precisely such a
Mother, the gifts and graces of her Son could not have
been disposed of in such order and with such high per
fection. Nor did the admirable harmony of the celestial
and spiritual machinery, and the distribution of the gifts
of the Church militant and triumphant rest on any other
67. "When he balanced the foundation of the earth,
I was with him forming all things." The works ad extra
are common to the three divine Persons, for They are
one God, one wisdom, one power; therefore it was un
avoidably necessary, that the Word, in whom according
to the Divinity all things are made, should be in union
with the Father in making them. But here more is
meant, for also the incarnate Word was already present
together with his most holy Mother in the divine Will.
Thus, just as through the Word, as far as He is God, all
things were made, so also for Him, in the first place and
because He is the most noble and most worthy end, were
created the foundations of the earth and all that is con
tained in it.
68. Therefore it is farther said : "And I was delighted
every day, playing before him at -all times, playing in the
world." The incarnate Word diverted Himself at all
times, because He knew all the ages and the lives of all
the mortals, all being as one day in comparison with
eternity (Ps. 89, 4). He was delighted, because the
whole course of Creation had found its end, for when
the ultimate day with all its perfection should arrive,
men were to enjoy the affluence of grace and the crown
of glory. He diverted Himself as it were, counting the
days, when He should descend from heaven to earth and
assume human flesh. He knew that all the works and
thoughts of men were like a play, wherein all is mere
burlesque and deceit. He saw also the just, who, though
so weak and limited in their capacity, nevertheless would
be fit for the manifestation and communication of God s
glory and perfections. He compared his immutability
with the changefulness of men, and how He was never
theless to act in concert with them. He delighted in his
own works, and especially in those, which He ordained in
his most holy Mother. He took a great delight in the
prospect of assuming the form of man within Her and
in making Her worthy of so great a privilege. And be
cause the conception of these ideals and the efficacious
decree of the divine Will in their regard were to be fol
lowed by their actual fulfillment, therefore the divine
Word adds:
69. "And my delight is to be with the children of
men." My recreation is to work for them and show them
favors: my contentment is to die for them and my joy
is to be their Teacher and their Redeemer. My delight is
to raise the needy one from the dust and to unite Myself
with the lowly one (Ps. 112, 7) ; my pleasure is to un
bend my Divinity for this purpose, and to clothe it with
human nature, to constrain and debase Myself, and to sus
pend the glory of my body in order to make Myself
capable of suffering and of meriting for men the friend
ship of the Father; to be a Mediator between his most
just indignation and the malice of men, and to be their
Model and Head, whom they might imitate.
70. O eternal and incomprehensible Goodness ! how am
I ravished with admiration, when I compare the im
mensity of thy immutable Being with the insignificance
of man ! When I see thy eternal love mediating between
two extremes of such immeasurable distance ; a love in
finite, for a creature so insignificant and at the same time
so ungrateful! Oh, on what a low and debased object,
O Lord, dost Thou cast thy eyes, and on what a noble
Object can and should man fix his thought and his af
fection in beholding such a mystery! Filled with ad
miration and with sadness of heart, I lament over the un
happy state of men, their darkness and blindness, since
they do not make any effort to understand how much
thy Majesty has been beforehand in looking down upon
them and in offering them true felicity with such great
love and care as if thy own consisted in it.
71. All his works, and the disposition of them, as they
were to be called into being, the Lord had in his mind
ab initio, and He numbered and weighed them according
to his equity and rectitude. He knew the constitution
of the world before its creation, as it is written in the
book of Wisdom (7, 18 Seq.). He knew the beginning,
the middle and the end of time, the changes of the years
and the courses of the ages, the disposition of the stars,
the powers of the elements, the nature of animals, the
wrath of wild beasts, the force of winds, the difference
of plants, the virtues of roots and the thoughts of men.
All He weighed and counted (Sap. 11, 21), not only
that which is literally true of the rational and irrational
creatures, but He preordained also all that which is sig
nified mystically by these creatures. But as this comes
not within my scope at present, I do not speak of it in this
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