Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 4  Chapter  22    Verses:  619-629

619. Our heavenly Pilgrims left Jerusalem and entered
upon their banishment while yet the silence and obscurity
of night held sway. They were full of solicitude for the
Pledge of heaven, which they carried with them into a
strange and unknown land. Although faith and hope
strengthened them (for in no other beings could these
virtues be more firmly and securely established than in
our Queen and her most faithful spouse), nevertheless
the Lord afforded them occasion for anxiety. Their love
for the Infant Jesus would naturally excite in them
anxiety and suffering on an occasion like this. They
knew not what would happen during such a long journey,
nor when it should end, nor how they would fare in
Egypt, where they would be entire strangers, nor what
comfort or convenience they would find there for raising;
the Child, nor even how they would be able to ward off
great sufferings from Him on the way to Egypt There
fore the hearts of these holy Parents were filled with
many misgivings and anxious thoughts when they parted
with so much haste from their lodging-place; but their
sorrow was much relieved when the ten thousand heav
enly courtiers above mentioned again appeared to them
in human forms and in their former splendor and beauty,
and when they again changed the night into the brightest
day for the holy Pilgrims. As they set forth from the
portals of the city the holy angels humiliated themselves
and adored the incarnate Word in the arms of the Virgin
Mother. They also encouraged Her by again offering
their homage and service, stating that it was the will of
the Lord that they guide and accompany Her on the
620. To the afflicted heart the least consolation seems
precious; hence this one, being in itself a great relief,
comforted our Queen and her spouse Joseph very much.
They therefore entered upon their journey with good
heart, choosing the way which led through the city gate
in the direction of Nazareth. The heavenly Mother
longed to visit again the place of the Nativity, in order
to venerate the sacred cave and the crib, which had offered
shelter and hospitality to her most holy Son at his en
trance into the world. But the holy angels, knowing of
her unspoken desires, said to Her: "Our Queen and
Lady, Mother of our Creator, it behooves us to hasten on
our journey without any delay; for on account of the
escape of the magi Kings and their failure to return to
Jerusalem, and on account of the words spoken by the
priest Simeon, and by Anne, the people have been roused
to attention. Some of them have begun to say that Thou
art the Mother of the Messias ; others that Thou knowest
of Him; and others say that thy Son is a Prophet.
Various rumors are also spread about concerning the
visit of the Kings in Bethlehem, and of all these things
Herod is informed. He has commanded that You be
sought after very carefully and consequently a most dili
gent search is being made to find You. On this account
the Most High has commanded You to fly at night and
with so much haste."
621. The Queen of heaven yielded to the will of the
Almighty thus made known to Her by the holy angels.
She therefore reverenced from afar the sacred place of
the birth of her Onlybegotten, renewing the memory of
the mysteries there wrought and the favors there re
ceived. The holy angel who stood as guard of the sacred
cave approached Them on their way in visible form and
adored the incarnate Word in the arms of his Mother.
As She was thus allowed to see this angel and speak to
him, the heavenly Lady was rejoiced and comforted still
more. She would have also preferred to travel by way
of Hebron; since it was only a short distance from the
one they were now traveling, and Elisabeth was just at
that time in that city with her son John. But the anxiety
of saint Joseph, who was more timid, prevented also this
diversion and delay ; for he said to his heavenly Spouse :
"My Lady, I think it is extremely important that we do
not delay our journey even for one instant; and that we
hasten as much as possible to flee from the place of dan
ger. Therefore it will not be prudent to go to Hebron,
where they will find us more easily than in any other parts
of the country." "Let it be according to thy pleasure,"
answered the humble Queen, "yet
I wish thou give me
permission to send one of these celestial spirits to Elisa
beth, in order to inform my cousin of the cause of our
flight, so that she herself may protect her son; for the
wrath of Herod is so roused that it will extend to them."
622. The Queen of heaven knew of the design to mur
der the children ; but She did not tell saint Joseph of it
at that time. Here I must marvel at the obedience and
humility of most holy Mary, which was so exquisite and
rare: for She obeyed saint Joseph not only in that which
he commanded, but also in that which concerned Herself
alone, namely in the matter of sending an angel to saint
Elisabeth. Although She could have sent the angel by
a mere wish, without even expressing it in words, She
nevertheless preferred not to do so without permission
and in obedience to her spouse. I must confess my shame
and my negligence ; since having before my eyes the most
pure fountain of waters, I do not satiate my thirst, nor
profit by the light and the example before me, though it
is so vivid, so sweet, so powerful and so attractive in
teaching us all to abjure our own reprehensible wills.
With the permission of saint Joseph, then most holy Mary
despatched one of the principal angels of her guard, in
order to notify saint Elisabeth of what was passing. As
the Sovereign of the angelic spirits She instructed her
messenger on this occasion what he was to say to the
holy matron and to the child John.
623. The angel, according to the order and pleasure of
the Queen, proceeded to inform the fortunate and blessed
Elisabeth of all these events as far as was proper. He
told her that the Mother of God was fleeing before the
wrath of Herod into Egypt, as this tyrant was now
searching for the Child in order to kill It. He warned
her to see to the safety of saint John by hiding him in
some place of refuge. He also manifested to her other
mysteries of the incarnate Word according to the com
mand of the heavenly Mother. The holy Elisabeth was
filled with joy and wonder at this message, and she ex
pressed her desire to meet and adore the Infant Jesus,
and to see his Mother; asking him whether they could
be reached. The holy angel answered that his King and
Lord was passing with his Mother at a distance from
Hebron and could not wait for her visit ; saint Elisabeth
therefore gave up her project. Overflowing with tender
and tearful affection, she asked the angel to bring affec
tionate greetings to the Son and Mother. The angel
then returned with his message to the Queen. Saint
Elisabeth immediately despatched a servant with some
gifts consisting in provisions, money and material for
clothing the Infant. She foresaw their needs in a strange
country and instructed the servant to overtake them with
all haste. He met them in Gaza, which lies a little less
than twenty hours from Jerusalem, on the river Besor,
and on the road from Palestine to Egypt, not far from
the Mediterranean sea.
624. In this town they remained two days, for saint
Joseph and the beast of burden which carried the Queen
were worn out by the fatigue of the journey. From
that place they sent back the servant of saint Elisabeth,
taking care to caution him not to tell any one of their
whereabouts. But God provided still more effectually
against this danger; for He took away from this man
all remembrance of what saint Joseph had charged him to
conceal, so that he retained only his message to saint
Elisabeth. Most holy Mary expended the presents sent
by Elisabeth in entertaining the poor; for She, who was
Mother of the poor, could not bear to pass them by
unassisted. Of the clothes sent to Her She made a cloak
for the divine Infant, and one for saint Joseph, to shelter
Them from the discomforts of the season and of the
journey. She also used other things in their possession
for the comfort of her Child and of saint Joseph. The
most prudent Virgin would not rely on miraculous as
sistance whenever She could provide for the daily needs
by her own diligence and labor ; for in these matters She
desired to subject Herself to the natural order and depend
upon her own efforts. During the two days which they
spent in that city the most pure Mary, in order to enrich
it with great blessings, performed some wonderful deeds.
She freed two sick persons from the danger of death
and cured their ailments. She restored to another person,
a crippled woman, the use of her limbs. In the souls of
many, who met Her and conversed with Her, She caused
divine effects of the knowledge of God and of a change
of life. All of them felt themselves moved to praise
their Creator. But neither Mary nor Joseph spoke a
word about their native country, nor of the destination
or object of their journey; for if this information had
been added to the public notice caused by their wonderful
actions, the attention of Herod s agents might have been
drawn toward them, and they might have found sufficient
inducement to follow them after their departure.
625. Words fail me to describe what I have been made
to understand concerning the happenings during this
journey of Jesus and Mary; moreover, I fall short of
the sentiments of reverence and piety which such admir
able mysteries would require. The arms of the most
pure Mary continually served as a delightful couch for
the new and real King Solomon (Cant. 3, 7). As She
penetrated in spirit into the secret of the most holy
humanity of Christ, it happened sometimes that the Son
and Mother interchanged sweet colloquies and canticles
of praise in honor especially of the infinite essence of God
and of all his attributes and perfections. On these occa
sions the Son of God favored his sovereign Mother with
new visions of intellectual clearness, in which She per
ceived the unity of Essence in the three persons of God,
the operations ad intra, in the generation of the Word,
and in the procession of the Holy Spirit. She perceived
how the Three are from eternity, and how the Word is
generated by the operation of the eternal Intellect, and
the Holy Ghost is breathed forth in the operation of the
Will; how there is no need of any succession of before
or after, but how all is from eternity; and how it hap
pens that we conceive these operations with the idea of
duration or succession of time. She also perceived how
these three Persons comprehend each other by one and
the same act of understanding, and how this comprehen
sion includes the Divinity of the incarnate Word united
to the humanity, forming one Person, and what effects
this union produces in the humanity.
626. Filled with this exalted knowledge, the great
Lady allowed her thoughts to descend from the Divinity
to the humanity and composed new canticles of praise
and thanksgiving for the creation of this sacred humanity,
most perfect in soul and body : the soul, in its plenitude
and all possible abundance of wisdom, gifts and graces
of the Holy Ghost; the body, most pure, and in the
highest possible degree well composed and complexioned.
Then again She contemplated the exalted and heroic
activity of all his faculties, and, having in her soul
imitated Him therein. She passed on to bless and give
Him thanks for having made Her his Mother, caused
Her to be conceived without sin, chosen Her out of thou
sands, enriched Her with all the favors and gifts of his
powerful right hand as far as was possible in a mere
creature. In the exaltation and glory of these and other
mysteries, the Child spoke to his Mother and She re
sponded in words which are beyond the tongue of angels
and beyond the conception of any other created being.
To all this the heavenly Lady attended without neglect
ing the care and comfort of her Child, giving Him nour
ishment at her breast three times a day, tenderly caressing
Him as a Mother more attentive and loving than all other
Mothers combined could be toward their children.
627. At other times She said to Him : "My sweetest
and most beloved Son, permit me to speak to Thee and
to manifest to Thee my desires, although Thou, my Lord,
already knowest them ; permit me to be delighted in the
sound of thy voice. Tell me, life of my soul and light
of my eyes, whether the labors of this journey are
fatiguing Thee, whether the rigors of the season and of
the weather cause Thee affliction, and what I can do for
thy service and for thy relief." And the divine Infant
answered: "All the labors, O Mother, and all fatigue
are most light and sweet to Me, since I undergo them for
the honor of my eternal Father and for the instruction
and Redemption of men, especially in thy company."
The Child wept a few times, yet in great serenity and
in the manner of a grown-up and perfect man; and
immediately the loving Mother sought the interior cause
of these tears, finding it in his soul. She understood
that they were tears of love and compassion for the salva
tion of men and caused by their ingratitude ; in this sor
row and weeping the sweetest Mother imitated Him.
She was wont to answer his tearful plaints like a com
passionate turtledove lovingly caressing and soothing Him
as his affectionate Mother, and kissing Him with match
less reverence. The fortunate Joseph often witnessed these
divine mysteries; and shared in some of the enlighten
ments, thus consoling himself for the hardships of the
journey. At other times he would converse with his
Spouse as they journeyed along, asking Her frequently
whether She desired any service for Herself or for the
Child ; or he would approach and adore the Infant, kiss
ing his feet and asking his blessing, and sometimes taking
Him in his arms. By these little offices of kindness the
great Patriarch sweetened his labors, being at the same
time consoled and encouraged by his, heavenly Spouse.
To all things She attended with a magnanimous heart,
being hindered neither by her interior prayer, nor by her
exalted and fervent contemplation, from attending to the
corporal affairs; for in all things She was most perfect.
628. My dearest daughter, for thy instruction and
imitation I wish, in what thou hast written, that thou
take as an example the affectionate wonder which the
divine light caused in my soul at seeing my most holy
Son subject Himself to the inhuman fury of wicked men,
such as was shown by Herod in this occasion of our
flight from his wrath and afterwards by the perverse
servants of the high priests and magistrates. In all the
works of the Most High his greatness, goodness and
infinite wisdom shine forth. But, since my understand
ing, by means of the most exalted inspiration, penetrated
so deeply into the very essence of God in the person of
the Word united to the Divinity, and since I knew that
my most holy Son was the eternal, all-powerful, infinite
Creator and Preserver of all things, and that this iniqui
tous king depended for his life and existence entirely
upon this very beneficence, I was particularly struck with
wonder to see the most sacred humanity pray and beseech
his eternal Father to confer upon Herod, at this very
time, enlightenment, help and blessing; to see my Son,
who had it so much in his power to punish him, by his
prayers prevent the full measure of chastisement which
he deserved. Although Herod s purpose was frustrated,
yet this obstinate reprobate was visited with less chas
tisement than would have been given to him if my holy
Son had not prayed for him. All this, and whatever
else is contained in this matchless mercy and kindness of
Jesus, I sought to imitate; for as a Teacher He taught
me thus early what He afterwards inculcated by his
actions, words and example concerning the love of
enemies (Matth. 5, 44). When I perceive how he con
cealed and disguised his infinite power, and how, being
the invincible Lion, He became a meek and humble Lamb
(Is. 5, 29), amidst the fury of ravenous wolves, my
heart was overwhelmed and my faculties failed me in the
ardent desire of loving Him, imitating and following
Him in his love, charity, patience and meekness.
629. This example I place before thee for thy con
stant imitation, so that thou mayest understand to what
extremes thou must be willing to bear and suffer, forgive
and love all who offend thee ; for neither thou nor other
creatures are innocent and without fault, and many are
burdened with numerous and oft-repeated sins, by which
they have merited all offenses and insults. Now, if per
secutions afford thee the advantage of imitating Him,
why shouldst thou not esteem them as a great blessing?
Why shouldst thou not love those who give thee occasion
to practice this highest perfection, why not thank them
for this benefit, and hold them not as enemies but as
benefactors, who afford thee a chance to obtain what is
of so much importance for thy welfare ? On account of
the object-lesson contained in this history, thou wilt not
be without guilt if thou fall short in this matter; for the
divine light, and all that thou perceivest and understandest
through it, is as it were before thy eyes, as in a
living example.
the Work of God Apostolate - mcog #101                                                

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