Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 4 chapter 23 verses 630-640JESUS, MARY AND JOSEPH PURSUE THEIR JOURNEY FROM THE CITY OF GAZA TO HEUOPOUS IN EGYPT.

  INDEX   Book 4  Chapter  23    Verses:  630-640

630. On the third day after our Pilgrims had touched
Gaza, they departed from that city for Egypt. Soon
leaving the inhabited parts of Palestine, they entered the
sandy deserts of Bersabe, which they were obliged to
traverse for sixty leagues in order to arrive and take their
abode in Heliopolis, the present Cairo in Egypt. This
journey through the desert consumed a number of days,
for the distance they could travel each day was but short,
not only on account of the laborious progress over the
deep sand, but also on account of the hardships occa
sioned by the want of shelter. There were many inci
dents on their way through this solitude ; I will mention
some of them, from which others can be conjectured;
for it is not necessary to relate all of them. In order
to understand how much Mary and Joseph and also the
Infant Jesus suffered on their pilgrimage, it must be
remembered that the Almighty permitted his Onlybegotten,
with his most holy Mother and saint Joseph, to
suffer the inconveniences and hardships naturally con
nected with travel through this desert. And although
the heavenly Lady made no complaints, yet She was
much afflicted, which was also true of her most faithful
husband. For both of them suffered many personal in
conveniences and discomforts, while the Mother, in addi
tion thereto, was afflicted still more on account of the
sufferings of her Son and of saint Joseph ; and the latter
was deeply grieved not to be able by his diligence and
care to ease the hardships of the Child and his Spouse.
631. During all this journey of sixty leagues through
the desert they had no other night-shelter than the sky
and open air ; moreover, it was in the time of winter, for
this journey took place in the month of February, only
six days after the Purification, as was indicated in the
last chapter. In the first night on these sandy plains
they rested at the foot of a small hill, this being the only
protection they could find. The Queen of heaven with
the Child in her arms seated Herself on the earth, and
with her husband She ate of the victuals brought with
them from Gaza. The Empress of heaven also nursed
the Infant Jesus at her breast and He on his part re
joiced his Mother and her husband by his contentment.
In order to furnish them with some kind of shelter
against the open air, however narrow and humble it
might be, saint Joseph formed a sort of tent for the divine
Word and most holy Mary by means of his cloak and
some sticks. During that night the ten thousand angels
who, full of marvel, assisted these earthly Pilgrims in
visible human shapes, formed a guard around their King
and Queen. The great Lady perceived that her divine
Son offered up to the eternal Father the hardships and
labors both of Himself and of Mary and Joseph. In
these prayers and in the other acts of his deified Soul, the
Queen joined him for the greater part of the night. The
divine Infant slept for a short time in her arms, while
She continued wakeful and engaged in heavenly col
loquies with the Most High and his angels. Saint Joseph
slept upon the ground, resting his head upon the chest,
which contained the clothing and other articles of their
632. On the next day they pursued their journey and
their little store of fruit and bread was soon exhausted,
so that they began to suffer great want and to feel the
hunger. Although Joseph was more deeply concerned,
yet both of them felt this privation very much. On one
of the first days of their journey they partook of no
sustenance until nine o clock at night, not having any
more even of the coarse and poor food which until then
had sustained them in their hardships and labor. As
nature demanded some refreshment after the exertion
and weariness of travel, and as there was no way of
supplying their want by natural means, the heavenly Lady
addressed Herself to the Most High in these words:
"Eternal, great and powerful God, I give Thee thanks
and bless Thee for thy magnificent bounty ; and also that,
without my merits, only on account of thy merciful con
descension, Thou gavest me life and being and preservest
me in it, though I am but dust and a useless creature. I
have not made a proper return for all these benefits;
therefore how can I ask for myself what I cannot repay?
But, my Lord and Father, look upon thy Onlybegotten
and grant me what is necessary to sustain my natural
life and also that of my spouse, so that I may serve thy
Majesty and thy Word made flesh for the salvation of
633. In order that the clamors of the sweetest Mother
might proceed from yet greater tribulation, the Most
High permitted the elements to afflict them more than
at other times and in addition to the sufferings caused
by their fatigue, destitution and hunger. For there
arose a storm of wind and rain, which harassed and
blinded them by its fury. This hardship grieved still
more the tender-hearted and loving Mother on account
of the delicate Child, which was not yet fifty days old.
Although She tried to cover and protect Him as much
as possible, yet She could not prevent Him from feeling
the inclemency of the weather, so that He shed tears and
shivered from the cold in the same manner as other
children are wont to do. Then the anxious Mother,
making use of her power as Queen and Mistress of crea
tures, commanded the elements not to afflict their Cre
ator, but to afford Him shelter and refreshment, and
wreak their vengeance upon Her alone. And, as related
once before, at the occasion of the birth of Christ and
of the journey to Jerusalem, again the wind immediately
moderated and the storm abated, not daring to approach
the Mother and Child. In return for this loving fore
thought, the Infant Jesus commanded his angels to assist
his kindest Mother and to serve Her as a shield against
the inclemency of the weather. They immediately com
plied and constructed a resplendent and beautiful globe
round about and over their incarnate God, his Mother
and her spouse. In this they were protected and de
fended more effectually than all the wealthy and power
ful of the world in their palaces and rich garments. The
same they did several times during the journey through
the desert.
634. Nevertheless, they were in want of food, and
they were destitute of other things unprovidable by their
own mere human effort. But the Lord allowed them
to fall into this need in order that, listening to the ac
ceptable prayers of his Spouse, He might make provi
sion also for this by the hands of the angels. They
brought them delicious bread and well-seasoned fruits,
and moreover a most delicious drink; all of which they
administered and served with their own hands. Then
all of them together sang hymns of praise and thanks
giving to the Lord, who gives food to all creatures at
opportune times, in order that the poor may eat and be
filled (Ps. 135, 25) whose eyes and hopes are fixed upon
his kingly providence and bounty. Of such a kind was
the delicate feast, with which the Lord regaled his three
exiled Wanderers in the desert of Bersabe (III Kings
19, 3), for it was the same desert in which Elias, fleeing
from Jezabel, was comforted by the hearth cake, brought
to him by the angel in order that he might travel to
Horeb mount. Yet neither this bread, nor the bread and
meat, which once before the ravens had miraculously
brought him every morning and evening at the torrent of
Carith, nor the manna which fell from heaven for the
Israelites, although it was called the bread of angels and
dropped from heaven, nor the quails, which were carried
to them by the African winds ; nor the cloud-tent, which
overshadowed them ; none of all these could be compared
to the succor and relief which the Lord afforded to his
Onlybegotten and to his Mother and saint Joseph. For
these favors were not to be conferred upon a prophet, or
upon an ungrateful and unthinking people ; but they were
intended for the nourishment and protection of a God
incarnate, for his true Mother: they were intended for
the preservation of the natural life of Christ, on which
depended the eternal life of the whole human race. But
if this food was worthy of the excellence of those who
were invited, so was also the thanksgiving and gratitude
worthy of the blessings conferred. In order that all this
might be so much the more opportune, the Lord per
mitted the necessity to become extreme and thus naturally
call into play the assistance of heaven.
635. Let the poor rejoice in this example, let the
hungry confide, let the destitute take new courage, let
none complain of divine Providence, no matter how
afflicted and needy they may find themselves to be. When
has the Lord ever failed him who hoped in his assistance ?
(Ps. 17, 31). When has He ever turned away his coun
tenance from his afflicted and needy children? We are
brothers of his only Son incarnate, children and heirs
of his blessings, and also children of his kindest Mother.
Why, then, ye children of God and of this most holy
Mother, do you continue to distrust such Parents in your
poverty? Why do you deprive them of this honor, and
yourselves of the privilege of being assisted and sustained
by Them? Come, come to Them with humble confi
dence, so that They may look upon you with the eyes of
Parents and listen to your crying needs. The arms of
this Lady are stretched out toward the poor and her
hands opened for the needy. And you, ye rich of this
world, why will you confide so much in your uncertain
riches, at the imminent danger of losing your faith, of
piling up for yourselves heaviest cares and sorrows as
mentioned by the Apostle? By your avarice you fail to
conduct yourselves as children of God or of his Mother;
by your actions you make of yourselves spurious off
springs; for legitimate children confide in the care and
love of their parents, and abhor trusting in others, who
are not only strangers but enemies. These truths are
manifest to me by the divine light and charity compels
me thus to speak.
636. The most high Father not only provided nourish
ment for our Pilgrims, but also visible relief against the
tediousnees of this journey and continued solitude. It
happened a few times, when the heavenly Lady rested on
the ground from her fatigue, that, as on other occasions,
a great multitude of birds came flying towards Her from
the mountains. By the sweetness of their warbling and
the variety of their plumage they sought to entertain and
delight Her, perching on her shoulders and hands with
signs of great joy. The most prudent Queen gently
received them and invited them to acknowledge their
Creator by their songs and to be thankful for his having
created them so beautiful and arrayed them in their
gorgeous plumage, given them the air and the earth
for their enjoyment, and provided them with daily food
and sustenance. The birds responded to her exhorta
tions with joyous movements and sweet warblings, while
the loving Mother joined them with still more sweet and
melodious songs for the Infant Jesus, extolling and bless
ing Him, and acknowledging Him as her God and her
Son, and as the Author of all these wonders. Also the
holy angels took part in these colloquies so full of sweet
ness, and alternated their offerings of praise with that of
the great Lady and of these simple birds. All this pro
duced a harmony more perceptible by the spirit than by
the senses, and of admirable concord for the rational
637. At other times the heavenly Princess conversed
with the Child and said : "My love and light of my
soul, how can I diminish thy labor ? How can I relieve
Thee of thy hardships? What can I do to lighten the
sufferings of this journey? O would that I could carry
Thee, not in my arms, but in my bosom and make for
Thee a soft couch in my heart, in order that Thou mayest
rest there without fatigue !" And the sweetest Jesus
replied : "My beloved Mother, very easily do I rest in
thy arms while making this journey, and reclining on
thy breast, I am delighted by thy affection, and enter
tained by thy words." Sometimes the Son and Mother
conversed with each other interiorly; and these conver
sations were so exalted and divine that our words can
not express them. Saint Joseph shared in many of these
mysteries and consolations; and thus he eased his jour
ney, forgot his hardships, feeling within himself the
delight and sweetness of such companionship. Yet he
did not hear or perceive what the Child said audibly to
his Mother; for at that time of the life of Jesus this
favor was reserved for Her alone, as I have already
remarked above. In this manner our Exiles proceeded
on their way to Egypt.
638. My daughter, just as those who know the Lord
also know how to trust in Him, so those who do not
hope in his goodness and immense love have no perfect
knowledge of the Majesty of God. On account of the
want of faith and hope, this love also is deficient; for we
readily place our love in whom we have confidence and
whom we esteem. In this error lies the source of all the
damage done to mortals ; for they have such a low con
ception of the infinite bounty, which gave them being and
which preserves them, that they fail to place full confi
dence in their God. Failing in this, they also fail in the
love due to Him and they divert it toward the creatures.
They esteem in them what they are seeking, namely
power, riches, vain honor and ostentation. Although the
faithful can remedy these injurious influences by faith
and hope, yet they allow these virtues to remain dead,
and unused, and debase themselves to the level of worth
less creatures. Those who have riches, trust in them, and
those who have none, greedily haste after them; some
procure them by very reprehensible ways and means;
some confide in influential persons, praising and flattering
them. And thus it happens that very few seek the Lord
in such a way as to deserve his providential care; very
few trust in God and acknowledge Him as their Father,
who is willing* to provide for his children, who will nour
ish and sustain them without fail in all necessities.
639. This deceitful error has filled the earth with lovers
of the world ; has filled it with avarice and concupiscence
against the law of the Creator; has made men insane in
their desires; for all of them commonly strive after riches
and earthly possessions; claiming thereby merely to
satisfy their needs, which is only a pretext for hiding
their want of interest in higher things. In reality they
lie to themselves abominously, since they are seeking the
superfluous ; not what is really necessary, but what min
isters to worldly pride. If men would confine their de
sires to what is really necessary, it would be unreasonable
to put any confidence in creatures instead of placing it
in God alone, who ineffably provides even for the young
ravens with no less solicitude than if their Growings were
prayers sent up to their Creator for help (Prov. 28, 8).
Secure in this confidence, I was not alarmed in my exile
and prolonged journey. Since I trusted in the Lord,
He provided for me in the time of my need. Thou also,
my daughter, who art aware of this exalted Providence,
shouldst not afflict thyself in the time of need, nor neglect
thy duties in order to make provision for them, nor con
fide in human efforts, nor in creatures. After having
done what is required of thee, the most efficacious means
is to confide in the Lord, without being disturbed or con
fused; hope patiently, even when help is somewhat de
layed. It will always be at hand at a time when it will
do most good, and when the paternal love of the Lord
can manifest itself most conveniently and openly. Thus it
happened with me and my spouse in the time of our
destitution and necessity.
640. Those that do not bear with adversity and do
not put up with privations, who turn toward dried up
cisterns (Jer. 2, 5), trusting in deceit and in the powerful
of this world; those that are not moderate in their
desires and greedily covet what is unnecessary for the
sustenance of life; those that anxiously cling to what they
possess, fearing that it may be diminished and withhold
ing the alms due to the poor ; all of them have reasons to
dread lest divine Providence, showing Itself just as nig
gardly in caring for them as they are in their confidence
and in their charities to the poor, deprive them of what
they could otherwise easily expect to receive at its hands.
But the Father in heaven, who lets the sun rise over the
just and the unjust (Matth. 5, 45), and lets the rain fall
on the good and the bad, nevertheless helps all, giving
them life and nourishment. However, just as his bless
ings are distributed to the good and to the bad, so also
it cannot be a rule with God to give greater temporal
goods to the good and less to the bad. On the contrary
He prefers that the chosen and predestined ones be poor
(James 2, 5), both because they thus gain more merit
and reward, and because there are few who know how
to use wealth properly and who can retain it without
inordinate greed. Although my most holy Son and I
had nothing to fear from this danger, yet He wished to
furnish this example to men and to teach them this
science, through which eternal life comes to them.
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