Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 5  Chapter  2    Verses:  15-25

15. Human ingenuity has made long and copious in
quisitions into the nature and properties of love and into
its cause and effects. In order to explain the holy and
divine love of our blessed Mother I was compelled to add
much to all that has been written and said concerning
love; for, with the exception of the love existing in the
soul of Christ our Redeemer, there was none in all the
human creatures, which was equal to that possessed by
that heavenly Lady, who merited the name of beautiful
love (Eccli. 24, 24). The object and end of holy love
is the same in all, namely God in Himself and all the
other creatures for his sake; but the subject in which
it exists, the source from which it flows, the effects which
it produces, are widely different. Now in our great
Queen all these elements of love attained their highest
perfection. Purity of heart, faith, hope, filial and holy
fear, knowledge and wisdom, remembrance and gratitude
for the greatest benefits, and all the other sources of a
most exalted love were hers in boundless affluence and
proportion. The flame of her love was not enkindled
or enflamed by the foolishness of the senses, which are
without the guide and control of reason. Her holy and
pure love entered by way of her most exalted under
standing of the infinite goodness and ineffable sweetness
of God; for since God is wisdom and goodness, He
wishes to be loved not only with sweetness, but also with
wisdom and knowledge of the one that loves.
16. These loving affections are more alike to them
selves in their effects than in their causes; for if they
once take possession and subject to themselves the heart,
they are hard to expel. From this fact arises the suffer
ing of the human heart in seeing itself forsaken and
unnoticed by the one beloved; for this want of proper
correspondence implies the obligation of rooting out its
own love. As this love has taken such entire possession
of the heart, that it dreads a dispossession, although on
the other hand reason urges it, such a violent strife is
caused, as will resemble the agony of death. In the
blind and worldly love this agony is but frenzy and
madness. But in divine love this agony is highest wis
dom; for, since no reason can be found for expelling
love, it is the height of prudence to search after means
of loving more ardently and seeking to please the Be
loved more zealously. As also the will therein acts with
fullest liberty, it happens, that the more freely it loves
the highest Good, so much the more does it lose the
power of not loving Him. In this glorious strife, the
will, being the master and sovereign of the soul, becomes
happily the slave of its love; it neither seeks, nor is it
able to deny itself this free servitude. On account of
this free violence, if the soul finds avoidance or with
drawal of the highest Good which it loves, it suffers the
pains and agonies of death, in the same manner as if its
life were ebbing away. The soul s whole life is in its
love and in the knowledge that it is loved.
17. Hence one can understand a little of the suffer
ings of the most ardent and pure heart of our Queen
in the absence of the Lord and in the eclipse of the
light of his love: it caused in Her agonies of doubt,
whether perhaps She had not displeased Him. For as
She was so to say a vast abyss of humility and love and
as She knew not whence the austerity and reserve of
her Beloved originated, She suffered a martyrdom so
entrancing and yet so severe, as no human or angelic
powers will ever be able to fathom. Mary who is the
Mother of the most holy love (Eccli. 24, 24) and who
reached the pinnacle of created perfection, alone knew
how and was able to bear this martyrdom, and in it She
exceeded all the sufferings of all the martyrs and the
penances of all the confessors added together. In Her
was fulfilled, what is said in the Canticles: "If a man
should give all the substance of his house for love, he
shall despise it as nothing" (Cant. 8, 7). For in it She
forgot all the visible and created things and her own life,
accounting it all for nought, until She again found the
grace and love of her most holy and divine Son, whom
She feared to have lost although She continued to pos
sess Him. No words can equal her care and solicitude,
her watchfulness and diligence in trying to please her
sweetest Son and the eternal Father.
18. Thirty days passed in this conflict; and they
equalled many ages in the estimation of Her, who deemed
it impossible to live even one moment without the love
and without the Beloved of her soul. After such delay
(according to our way of speaking), the heart of the
Child Jesus could no longer contain itself or resist fur
ther the immense force of his love for his sweetest
Mother; for also the Lord suffered a delightful and won
derful violence in thus holding Her in such a suspense
and affliction. It happened that the humble and sover
eign Queen one day approached her Son Jesus, and,
throwing Herself at his feet, with tears and sighs coming
from her inmost heart, spoke to Him as follows: "My
sweetest Love and highest Good, of what account am I,
the insignificant dust and ashes, before thy vast power?
What is the misery of a creature in comparison with
thy endless affluence? In all things Thou excellest our
lowliness and thy immense sea of mercy overwhelms our
imperfections and defects. If I have not been zealous in
serving Thee, as I am constrained to confess, do Thou
chastise my negligence and pardon it. But let me, my
Son and Lord, see the gladness of thy countenance,
which is my salvation and the wished-for light of my
life and being. Here at thy feet I lay my poverty, min
gling it with the dust, and I shall not rise from it until
I can again look into the mirror, which reflects my
19. These and other pleadings, full of wisdom and
most ardent love, the great Queen poured humbly forth
before her most holy Son. And as his longings to
restore Her to his delights were even greater than those
of the blessed Lady, He pronounced with great sweet
ness these few words: "My Mother, arise." As these
words were pronounced by Him, who is Himself the
Word of the eternal Father, it had such an effect, that
the heavenly Mother was instantly transformed and ele
vated into a most exalted ecstasy, in which She saw the
Divinity by an abstractive vision. In it the Lord received
Her with sweetest welcome and embraces of a Father
and Spouse, changing her tears into rejoicing, her suf
ferings into delight and her bitterness into highest
sweetness. The Lord manifested to Her great secrets
of the scope of his new evangelical law. Wishing to
write it entirely into her purest heart, the most holy
Trinity appointed and destined Her as his first-born
Daughter and the first disciple of the incarnate Word
and set Her up as the model and pattern for all the holy
Apostles, Martyrs, Doctors, Confessors, Virgins and
other just of the new Church and of the law of grace,
which the incarnate Word was to establish for the Re
demption of man.
20. To this mystery must be referred all that the
heavenly Lady says of Herself and which the holy
Church applies to Her in the twenty-fourth chapter of
Ecclesiasticus under the figure of divine wisdom. I will
not detain myself in explaining it, as by proceeding to
describe this mysterious event, I shall make plain, what
the holy Spirit says in this chapter of our great Queen.
It is sufficient to quote some of the sayings therein con
tained, so that all may understand something of this
admirable mystery. "I came out of the mouth of the
Most High" says this Lady, "the firstborn before all
creatures; I made that in the heavens there should arise
light that never faileth, and as a cloud I covered all the
earth; I dwelt in the highest places and my throne is in
a pillar of cloud. I alone have compassed the circuit of
heaven, and have penetrated into the bottom of the deep,
and have walked in the waves of the sea, and have stood
in all the earth : and in every people, and in every nation
I have had the chief rule : and by my power I have trod
den under my feet the hearts of all the high and low:
and in all these I sought rest, and I shall abide in the
inheritance of the Lord. Then the Creator of all things
commanded, and said to me: and He that made me,
rested in my tabernacle, and He said to me: Let thy
dwelling be in Jacob, and they inheritance in Israel, and
take root in my elect. From the beginning (ab initio),
and before the world, was I created, and unto the world
to come I shall not cease to be, and in the holy dwellingplace
I have ministered before Him. And so was I
established in Sion, and in the holy city likewise I rested,
and my power was in Jerusalem. And I took root in an
honorable people, and in the portion of my God his
inheritance, and my abode is in the full assembly of his
saints" (Ecdi. 24, 5-16).
21. A little farther on Ecclesiasticus continues to enum
erate the excellences of Mary, saying: "I have stretched
out my branches as the turpentine tree, and my branches
are of honor and of grace. As the vine I have brought
forth a pleasant odor : and my flowers are the fruit of
honor and riches. I am the mother of fair love, and
of fear, and of knowledge and of holy hope. In me is
all the grace on the way and the truth, in me is all hope
of life and of virtue. Come over to me, all ye that desire
me and be rilled with my fruits. For my spirit is sweet
above honey, and my inheritance above honey and the
honeycomb. My memory is unto everlasting generations.
They that eat me shall yet hunger, and they that drink
me shall yet thirst. He that harkened to me, shall not
be confounded: and they that work by me, shall not
sin. They that shall explain me shall have life ever
lasting" (Eccli. 24, 22-31). Let these words of Scrip
ture suffice for pious souls; for in them they will imme
diately recognize such a pregnancy of mysteries and
sacraments referring to most holy Mary, that their hearts
will at once be lifted up and they will understand and
feel to what an inexplicable greatness and excellence the
teaching and instruction of her Son have exalted the
sovereign Mother. By the decree of the most holy
Trinity this Princess of heaven was made the true Ark
of the covenant in the new Testament (Apoc. 11, 19);
and from the abundance of her wisdom and grace, as
from an immense ocean, all sorts of blessings, which
were received and shall be received by the other saints
until the end of the world, have overflowed.
22. The heavenly Mother came out of her trance and
again adored her most holy Son, asking his forgiveness
for any negligence that She might have been guilty of
in his service. The Child Jesus, raising Her up from the
ground where She lay prostrate, said to Her: "My
Mother, I am much pleased with the affection of thy
heart and I wish thee to dilate it and prepare it for
new tokens of my love. I will fulfill the will of my Father,
record in thy bosom the evangelical law, which I came
to teach in this world. And thou, Mother, shalt put it
in practice, with the perfection desired by Me." The
most pure Queen responded: "My Son and Lord, may
I find grace in thy eyes ; and do Thou govern my facul
ties in the ways of thy rectitude and pleasure. Speak,
my Lord, for thy servant hears, and will follow Thee
unto death" (Kings III 3, 10). During this conference
of the divine Child and his holy Mother, the great Lady
began again to see the most holy soul of Christ and its
interior operations; and from that day on this blessing
increased as well subjectively as objectively; for She
continued to receive more clear and more exalted light
and in her most holy Son She saw mirrored the whole
of the new law of the Gospel, with all its mysteries,
sacraments and doctrines, according as the divine Archi
tect of the Church had conceived it and as He had, in his
quality of Redeemer and Teacher, predisposed it for the
benefit of men. In addition to this clear vision of this
law, which was reserved to Mary alone, He added an
other kind of instruction; for also in his own living
words He taught and instructed Her in the hidden things
of his wisdom (Ps. 50, 8), such as all men and angels
could never comprehend. This wisdom of which Mary
partook without deceit, She also communicated without
envy, both before and still more after the ascension of
Christ our Lord.
23. I well know that it belongs to this history to
manifest the most hidden mysteries, which passed be
tween Christ our Lord and his Mother during the years
of his boyhood and youth until his preaching; for all
these years were spent in teaching his heavenly Mother :
but I must confess again, as I have done above that
I, as well as all other creatures, are incapable of such
exalted discourse. In order to do justice to these
mysteries and secrets it would be necessary to ex
plain all the mysteries of the holy Scriptures, the whole
Christian doctrine, all the virtues, all the traditions of
the holy Church, all the arguments against errors and
sects, the decrees of all the holy councils, all that upholds
the Church and preserves her to the end of the world,
and also the great mysteries of the glorious lives of the
saints. For all this was written in the purest heart of
our great Queen and it would be necessary to add thereto
all the works of the Redeemer and Teacher in
multiplying the blessings and instructions of the
Church; also all that the holy Evangelists, Apostles,
Prophets and ancient Fathers have recorded, and that
which afterwards was practiced by the saints; the light
vouchsafed to the doctors ; the sufferings of the martyrs
and virgins; and all the graces which they received for
bearing their sufferings and accomplishing their works
of holiness. All this, and much more that cannot be
enumerated here, most holy Mary knew and personally
comprehended and witnessed; She it was that gave
proper thanks for it and corresponded with it in her
actions as much as is possible for a mere creature, co
operating with the eternal Father as the Author of it
all and with Her his onlybegotten Son as the head of the
Church. These things I will explain farther on, in so
far as it will be possible.
24. Nor, in attending to the instructions of her Son
and Teacher and in fulfilling all her works with the
highest perfection, did She ever fail in what concerned
the outward service and the bodily wants of her Son and
saint Joseph; but to all her duties She applied Herself
without failing or neglect, providing for their food and
their comforts, always prostrate on her knees before her
most holy Son with ineffable reverence. She also sought
to procure for saint Joseph the consoling intercourse
of the Child Jesus as if he had been his natural father.
In this the divine Child obeyed his Mother, many times
bearing saint Joseph company in the hard labor, which
the saint pursued with tireless diligence in order to sup
port with the sweat of his brow the Son of the eternal
Father and his Mother. When the divine Child grew
larger He sometimes helped saint Joseph as far as his
strength would permit; at other times, as his doings
were always kept a secret in the family, He would per
form miracles, disregarding the natural forces in order
to ease and comfort him in his labors.
25. My daughter, I call thee anew to be, from this day
on, my disciple and my companion in the practice of the
celestial doctrine, which my divine Son teaches his
Church by means of the holy Gospels and other Scrip
tures. I desire of thee to prepare thy heart with new
diligence and attention, so that like a chosen soil, it
may receive the living and holy seed of the word of the
Lord producing fruits a hundred-fold (Luke 8, 8). Make
thy heart attentive to my words; and at the same time,
let thy reading of the Holy Gospels be continual; medi
tate and ponder within thyself the doctrines and mys
teries which thou perceives! therein. Hear the voice
of thy Spouse and Master. He calls all men and invites
them to the feast of his words of eternal life (John
6, 69). But so great is the dangerous deception of this
mortal life, that only very few souls wish to hear and
understand the way of light (Matth. 7, 14). Many
follow the delights presented to them by the prince of
darkness; and those that follow them know not whither
they are led (John 12, 35). But thou art called by
the Most High to the paths of true light ; follow them by
imitating me, and thou wilt have thy longings fulfilled.
Deny thyself to all that is earthly and visible; ignore it
and refuse to look upon it; have no desire for it and pay
no attention to it; avoid being known, and let no crea
tures have any part in thee; guard thou thy secret (Is.
24, 16), and thy treasure (Matth. 13, 44) from the fasci
nation of men and from the devil. In all this wilt thou
have success, if, as a disciple of my most holy Son and
of me, thou puttest in perfect practice the evangelical
doctrine inculcated by Us. In order to compel thyself
to such an exalted undertaking always be mindful of
the blessing of being called by divine Providence to the
imitation of my life and virtues and to the following of
my footsteps through my instruction. From this state
of a novice, thou must pass on to a more exalted state
and to the full profession of the Catholic faith, conform
ing thyself to the evangelical law and to the example
of thy Redeemer, running after the odor of his oint
ments and by his truth in the paths of rectitude. By
first being my disciple thou shouldst prepare thyself for
becoming a disciple of my Son; and both these states
should lead thee to the perfect union with the immutable
being of God. These three stages are favors of peer
less value, which place thee in a position to become more
perfect than the exalted seraphim. The divine right
hand has conceded them to thee in order to dispose, pre
pare and enable thee to receive proper light and intelli
gence for recording the works, virtues, mysteries and
sacraments of my life. Freely and without thy merit
the Lord has shown thee this great mercy, yielding to
my petitions and intercessions. I have procured thee
this favor, because thou didst subject thyself in fear
and trembling to the will of the Lord in obedience to
thy superiors, who continued to give thee express com
mands for the writing of this history. Thy greatest
reward is that thou hast learnt of the three stages or
ways, which are so mysterious, hidden and exalted above
carnal prudence and so pleasing to thy divine Master
(Is. 24, 16). They contain most abundant instruction
as thou thyself hast learnt and experienced for the at
tainment of still higher ends. Do thou record them
separately in a treatise for itself, according to the will
of my most holy Son. Let its title be the same as what
thou hast already mentioned in the introduction to this
history : "Laws of the Spouse, crumbs of his chaste love,
and fruits collected from the tree of life in this history/
the Work of God Apostolate - mcog #112                                                

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