Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 4  Chapter  24    Verses:  641-652

641. I have already mentioned that the flight of the
incarnate Word contained other mysteries and aimed at
more exalted ends than to evade Herod and his perse
cution. The flight into Egypt was to afford the infant
Savior an occasion of visiting that country and perform
ing the miracles spoken of by the ancient Prophets. Isaias
more expressly prophesies of them, when he says: that
the Lord shall ascend upon a swift cloud and enter into
Egypt; that the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his
presence and that the heart of the Egyptians shall melt
in the midst thereof (Is. 19, 1). These and other things
contained in this prophecy happened at the time of the
birth of Christ our Lord. Yet, passing over what does
not pertain to my purpose, I wish to say that, continuing
their pilgrimage in the manner already described, Jesus,
Mary and Joseph arrived in the populated districts of
Egypt. Before They came to the place of their abode
in Heliopolis, They were conducted by the angels, accord
ing to the ordainment of the Most High, in a round
about way, so that They might pass through many
places, where God wished his miracles and blessings to
be wrought for the good of the Egyptians. Thus it came
that They consumed in this journey more than fifty
days; and the distance of their journey from Bethlehem
or Jerusalem amounted to more than two hundred
leagues, while by a direct route such long-protracted
travel would not have been necessary.
642. Egypt was much given to idolatry and its con
comitant superstition. Even the small villages of this
country were full of idols. In many of these places
temples had been built, where the demons dwelt; and
the inhabitants, instructed by these devils, gathered in
them to offer services and sacrifices in their honor, while
the demons answered their prayers by oracles, thus
obtaining full control of this foolish and superstitious
nation. Steeped in these deceits, they lived on in such
error and subjection to the demons, that only the strong
arm of the Lord (which is the incarnate Word) could res
cue these forsaken people and deliver them from the op
pression of Lucifer. It was a harder and more dangerous
slavery than that in which the Egyptians had held the
people of Israel (Exod. 1, 11). In order to obtain this
deliverance and enlighten those that were living in the
region and the shadows of death (Luke 1, 79), and in
order that they might see the great light spoken of by
Isaias (Is. 9, 2), the Most High ordained that the
Sun of justice, Christ (Mai. 4, 2), shortly after his birth,
should appear in Egypt in the arms of his most fortunate
Mother, and that He should journey and pass through
this country, illumining it everywhere by the power of
his divine light.
643. So then the Infant Jesus, with his Mother and
saint Joseph, reached the inhabited country of Egypt.
On entering the towns the divine Infant, in the arms of
his Mother, raised his eyes and his hands to the Father
asking for the salvation of these inhabitants held captive
by satan. And immediately He made use of his sover
eign and divine power and drove the demons from the
idols and hurled them to the infernal abyss. Like light
ning flashed from the clouds they darted forth and de
scended to the lowermost caverns of hell and darkness
(Luke 10, 4). At the same instant the idols crashed to
the ground, the altars fell to pieces, and the temples
crumbled to ruins. The cause of these marvelous
effects were known to the heavenly Lady, for She united
her prayers with those of her most holy Son as Co-operatrix
of his salvation. Saint Joseph also knew this to be
the work of the incarnate Word; and He praised and
extolled Him in holy admiration. But the demons,
although they felt the divine power, knew not whence
this power proceeded.
644. The Egyptian people were astounded at these
inexplicable happenings; although among the more
learned, ever since the sojourn of Jeremias in Egypt, an
ancient tradition was current that a King of the Jews
would come and that the temples of the idols would be
destroyed. Yet of this prophecy the common people had
no knowledge, nor did the learned know how it was
to be fulfilled : and therefore the terror and confusion
was spread among all of them, as was prophesied by
Isaias (Is. 9, 1). In this disturbance and fear, some,
reflecting on these events, came to our great Lady and
saint Joseph ; and, in their curiosity at seeing these
strangers in their midst, they also spoke to them about
the ruin of their temples and their idols. Making use
of this occasion the Mother of wisdom began to undeceive
these people, speaking to them of the true God and teach
ing them that He is the one and only Creator of heaven
and earth, who is alone to be adored, and acknowledged
as God; that all others are but false and deceitful gods,
nothing more than the wood, or clay, or metal of which
they are made, having neither eyes, nor ears, nor any
power; that the same artisans that made them, and any
other man, could destroy them at pleasure; since any
man is more noble and powerful than they; that the
oracles which they gave forth were answers of the lying
and deceitful demons within them; and that the latter
had no power, since there is but one true God.
645. The heavenly Lady was so sweet and kind in
her words, and at the same time so full of life and
force; her appearance was so charming, and all her in
tercourse was accompanied by such salutary effects, that
the rumor of the arrival of these strange Pilgrims quickly
spread about in the different towns, and many people
gathered to see and hear Them. Moreover, the power
ful prayers of the incarnate Word wrought a change of
hearts, and the crumbling of the idols caused an incred
ible commotion among these people, instilling into their
minds knowledge of the true God and sorrow for their
sins without their knowing whence or through whom
these blessings came to them. Jesus, Mary and Joseph
pursued their way through many towns of Egypt, per
forming these and many other miracles, driving out the
demons not only from the idols, but out of many bodies
possessed by them, curing many that were grievously and
dangerously ill, enlightening the hearts by the doctrines
of truth and eternal life. By these temporal benefits and
others, so effectual in moving the ignorant, earthlyminded
people, many were drawn to listen to the instruc
tions of Mary and Joseph concerning a good and salutary
646. They arrived at Hermopolis, which lies in the
direction of the Thebaid, and is called by some the city
of Mercury. In it there were many idols infested by
powerful demons. One of them .dwelt in a tree at the
entrance of the city ; for the neighboring inhabitants had
begun to venerate this tree on account of its size and
beauty, whence the demon had taken occasion to erect his
seat in it. When the incarnate Word came within sight
of this tree, not only was the demon hurled from his seat
and cast into hell, but the tree bowed down to the ground,
as if rejoiced by its good fortune ; for even the senseless
creatures testified how tyrannical is the dominion of the
devil. This miraculous reverence of the trees happened
at other times during this journey of Christ, although
these incidents are not all recorded. But the memory of
this event remained for centuries, for the leaves and
fruits of this tree cured many sicknesses. Of this miracle
some authors make mention, as well as of others in other
cities visited by the incarnate Word and his Mother
(Nicephor 1, 10, c. 31; Sozomen 1, 5, c. 20; Brocard
II, c. 4). There is to this day a traditional fountain near
Cairo from which the heavenly Lady drew water for Her
self and the Child, and for washing his clothes; all this
rests on truth and the veneration for these wonders and
these places still lives, not only among the faithful who
visit the holy places, but also among the infidels, who
there occasionally obtain temporal benefits from the hands
of the Lord. For also the infidels sometimes obtain cer
tain favors, in order that the Lord may be justified be
fore them, or in order that the memory of his wonders
may be preserved. But it is not necessary to speak of
them especially just now ; since the principal wonders
during the stay of our Lord in Egypt were wrought in
Heliopolis, which, not without mysterious import, was
called city of the sun, and is now called Cairo, the grand.
647. In writing of these wonders, I asked the great
Queen in astonishment how She could have traveled with
the Child through so many strange provinces and cities?
For it appeared to me that She thereby prolonged exceed
ingly the labors and hardships of their journey. And
our Lady replied: "Do not wonder that my most holy
Son and I journeyed so far in order to gain souls. For
the sake of even one soul, if possible, and if there would
be no other way, We would willingly traverse the whole
world." If what Jesus and Mary did for the salvation
of us men does seem great to us, it is because we do not
understand the immensity of their love, and because we
understand just as little how to make a proper return for
such love.
648. On account of these strange happenings when so
many of the demons were driven by a new and unwonted
power to populate hell, Lucifer was highly disturbed.
Furiously enraged, He issued forth into the world in
order to investigate the cause of such unlocked for events.
He roamed about through all Egypt, where so many
temples and altars of his idols had been overthrown; and
reaching Heliopolis, the largest of the cities and the scene
of the greatest destruction in his dominions, he sought
to ascertain with the utmost anxiety what kind of people
dwelt therein. He found nothing new, except that most
holy Mary had arrived in the city. Of the Infant Jesus
he made no account, deeming Him a child just like all
the rest of that age, for he knew nothing particular about
Him. But as he had been so often vanquished by the
virtues and holiness of the Virgin Mother, he was seized
with new consternation ; although he considered a woman
far too insignificant for such great works, yet he resolved
anew to persecute Her and to stir up against Her his
associates in wickedness.
649. He therefore returned immediately to hell and,
calling a meeting of the princes of darkness, told them
of the destruction of the temples and idols in Egypt. For
these demons had been hurled by the divine power from
their habitations with such suddenness, confusion and
torment that at their departure they were unable to ascer
tain the fate of the idols and temples which they were
forced to leave. Lucifer, informing them of all that had
happened, and that he feared the destruction of his reign
in Egypt, told them that he could not ascertain or under
stand what was the cause of this ruin, since he had found
there only that Woman, his enemy (for so the dragon
called most holy Mary) ; and though he knew that her
power was extraordinary, yet he did not presume it to
be so great as to account for such portents. Neverthe
less, he wished them to begin a new war against Her, and
that all should prepare themselves for it. The satellites
of Lucifer proclaimed their readiness to obey, trying to
console him in his desperate fury and promising him vic
tory, as if their forces were as great as their arrogance
(Is. 16, 6).
650. Many legions of devils accordingly sallied forth
from hell and betook themselves to the place where the
Queen of heaven was at that time. As they suspected
that God had used the most holy Mary as his instrument
in causing all their losses in that unfortunate country,
they thought they could make up for their defeat and
restore their dominion if they succeeded in overcoming1
Her. But they were astonished to find that when they
attempted to approach Her in order to begin their dia
bolical temptations, they could not come nearer to Her
than a distance of two thousand paces; for they were
restrained by the divine power, which they perceived is
suing forth from the heavenly Lady herself. Although
Lucifer and the hostile bands struggled violently, they
were paralyzed and as if bound in strong and tormenting
shackles, without being able to reach the most unconquer
able Queen ; while She witnessed their struggles, holding
in her arms the omnipotence of God himself. As Luci
fer persevered in his attempts, he was suddenly hurled
into the abyss of hell with all his squadrons and wicked
spirits. This defeat and ruin filled the dragon with vast
torment and anxiety, and as the like had overtaken him
repeatedly since the Incarnation, he began to have new
misgivings, whether the Messias had not come into the
world. But since he knew nothing of the mystery, and
expected the Messias to come in great splendor and re
nown, he remained in uncertainty and doubt, full of tor
menting fury and wrath. He was consumed with the
desire to find out the cause of his sufferings, and the more
he inquired the more was he involved in darkness and
so much the less did he ascertain of the true cause.
651. My daughter, great and above all else to be es
teemed, is the consolation of the faithful friends of my
most holy Son, when they with lively faith and assurance
are permitted to serve the Lord of lords and the God of
gods, who alone holds power and dominion over all cre
ation and who triumphs and reigns over his enemies. In
this feeling of assurance the intellect is delighted, the
memory is recreated, the will is rejoiced and all the
powers of the devout soul enjoy the sweetness of the
most exalted activity. For they are entirely taken up
with this supreme Goodness, Holiness and infinite Power,
which has need of none outside Itself and whose will
governs all created things (II Mach. 14, 35, Apoc. 4, 11).
O how many thousandfold blessings do those creatures
lose who, forgetful of their true happiness, employ all
the time of their life and all their powers in attending
upon visible things, pursuing the momentary pleasures
and seeking the apparent and deceitful goods of this
world! In the knowledge and light vouchsafed to thee
I would wish, my daughter, that thou withdraw thyself
from this danger, and that thy intellect and memory
occupy themselves continually with the reality of the ex
istence of thy God. In this endless sea, engulf and anni
hilate thyself, repeating without cessation : "Who is like
to God our Lord, that dwells on high and looks upon the
humble in heaven and on earth?" (Ps. 112, 5). Who
is like to Him, that is almighty and depends upon no one ?
that humbles the proud, and casts down those whom the
blind world calls powerful, that triumphs over the demon
and hurls him to the abyss?
652. In order that thy heart may dilate so much the
more upon these truths and attain a greater power over
the enemies of the Most High and of thyself, I wish that,
as far as is possible, thou imitate me, glorying in the
victories and triumphs of his mighty arm and seeking
thyself to have a share in those which he gains over this
cruel dragon. No created tongue, not that of the sera
phim, can describe what my soul felt when I beheld my
most holy Son working such wonders against his enemies
for the benefit of the souls blinded and terrorized by
their errors and for the exaltation and honor of the Most
High. In this jubilation I magnified the Lord; and in
company with my Son I composed new hymns of praise
as his Mother and as Spouse of the Holy Ghost. Thou
art a daughter of the holy Church and a spouse of my
most blessed Son, favored by his grace : it is therefore
just that thou be zealous in acquiring this glory and
honor for Him, striving against his enemies and battling
for the triumphs of thy Spouse.
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