Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 5  Chapter  3    Verses:  26-34

26. Some days after our Queen and Lady with her
most holy Son and saint Joseph had settled in Nazareth,
the time of the year in which the Jews were obliged
to present themselves before the Lord in the temple of
Jerusalem, was at hand. This commandment obliged
the Jews to this duty three times each year, as can be
seen in Exodus and Deuteronomy. But it obliged only
the men, not the women (Exod. 23, 17) ; therefore the
women could go or not, according to their devotion;
for it was neither commanded nor prohibited to them.
The heavenly Lady and her spouse conferred with each
other as to what they should do in this regard. The
holy husband much desired the company of the great
Queen, his wife, and of her most holy Son; for he
wished to offer Him anew to the eternal Father in the
temple. The most pure Mother also was drawn by her
piety to worship the Lord in the temple ; but as in things
of that kind She did not permit Herself to decide with
out the counsel and direction of the incarnate Word, her
Teacher, She asked his advice upon this matter. They
finally arranged, that two times a year saint Joseph
was to go to Jerusalem by himself, while on the third
occasion They would go together. The Israelites visited
the temple on the feast of the Tabernacles (Deut. 16,
13), the feast of the Weeks, or Pentecost, and the feast
of the unleavened Breads or the Pasch of the prepara
tion. To this latter the sweetest Jesus, most pure Mary,
and Joseph went up together. It lasted seven days and
during that time happened what I shall relate in the
next chapter. For the other solemnities saint Joseph
went alone, leaving the Child and the Mother at home.
27. The holy spouse Joseph made these pilgrimages
for himself and his Spouse in the name of the incarnate
Word. Instructed by Him and furnished with his graces
the saint journeyed to the temple, offering there to the
eternal Father the gifts always reserved for this occasion.
Being the substitute of the Son and Mother, who re
mained at home praying for him, he offered up the mys
terious sacrifices of his prayers and as he therein repre
sented Jesus and Mary, his offering was more accept
able to the eternal Father than the offerings of the whole
Jewish people. But whenever he was accompanied by
the incarnate Word and the Virgin Mother at the feast
of the Pasch, the journey was a most wonderful one to
him and to the heavenly courtiers, who, as I have already
recorded of similar occasions, formed for them a most
solemn procession. The ten thousand angels accom
panied the three pilgrims, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, in
human forms, refulgent in their beauty and full of
profoundest reverence, serving their Creator and their
Queen. The distance between Nazareth and Jerusalem
was in the neighborhood of thirty leagues and the holy
angels, according to the command and disposition of the
incarnate Word, observed the same mode of accom
paniment both in going and returning.
28. They consumed more time in these journeys than
in previous ones; for after they had come back from
Egypt the Child Jesus desired that they journey on foot;
and therefore all three, the son and the parents made
the pilgrimage afoot. And it was necessary to proceed
slowly; for already the Child Jesus began to assume
hardships in the service of his eternal Father and for
our advantage. He refused to make use of his immense
power for lessening the difficulties of the journey, but
undertook it as a man subject to suffering and allowed
all the natural causes to produce their effects. One of
these effects was the fatigue and exhaustion caused by
Although in his first journey the heavenly Mother
and saint Joseph eased his fatigue by sometimes carry
ing Him in their arms ; yet this was but a slight allevia
tion and later on He always made the whole journey
on foot. The sweetest Mother did not interfere, since
She knew his desire of suffering; but ordinarily She
led Him by the hand, and sometimes this was also done
by saint Joseph. Many times, when the Child was
fatigued and overheated, the loving and prudent Mother
was moved to tenderest and tearful compassion. She
inquired about his sufferings and fatigue and wiped his
divine countenance, which was more beautiful than the
heavens and all its stars. She was wont to do this on her
knees and with ineffable reverence. The divine Child
would respond with much pleasure and speak of the de
light with which He accepted these hardships for the
glory of the eternal Father and for the good of men.
With these conversations and conferences, varied by
canticles of divine praise, they shortened much of their
journey, as I have already mentioned in other places.
29. At other times, when the great Queen and Lady
beheld on the one hand the interior activity of the soul
of Christ and on the other hand the perfection of his
deified humanity, the beauty and activity of which mani
fested itself in the operations of divine grace and in his
growth as true man, and when She pondered upon all
this in her heart (Luke 2, 19), She exercised Herself
in heroic acts of all the virtues and was inflamed with
divine love. She beheld also the Child as the Son of
the eternal Father and as the true God; without ever
failing in the love of a true and natural Mother, She
showed Him all the reverence due to Him as her God and
Creator. All this flowed naturally from her spotless and
pure heart. Very often the wind would flutter through
the hair of the Child Jesus as He walked along. His
hair grew to no greater length than was necessary and
He lost none of it, except what the executioners tore out
later on. Such little incidents were noticed by the sweet
est Mother and they afforded Her subjects for affec
tionate and sweet meditation. In all her interior and
exterior conduct, She was wonderful to the angels and
pleasing to her most holy Son and Creator.
30. During these journeys of the holy Family Jesus
and Mary performed heroic works of charity for the
benefit of souls ; They converted many to the knowledge
of the Lord, freed them from their sins and justified
them, leading them on the way of life eternal. But as
it was not yet time for the Teacher of virtue to mani
fest Himself, all these works were done in secret (John
12, 49). As the heavenly Lady knew that such activity
was enjoined upon her Son by the eternal Father, and
that for the present it was to remain hidden, She con-
curred therein as the instrument of the Redeemer s will,
though in a covered and hidden manner. In order to
govern Herself according to the dictates of the highest
wisdom, the most prudent Lady always consulted the
divine Child concerning all her doings on the way and
concerning their stopping-places and their lodging-houses
on their journey. The heavenly Princess well knew that
her Son pre-arranged the occasions for his admirable
works, which He foresaw and fore-ordered in his
31. Hence they passed their nights sometimes in lodg
ing-places, sometimes on the open fields; but the divine
Child and his purest Mother never separated. At all
times the great Lady attended upon her Son and Master,
watching his actions in order to imitate and follow them
closely. The same She did in the temple, where She
joined in the prayers and petitions of the incarnate Word
to his eternal Father and was witness to the humble and
profound reverence, by which his humanity acknowl
edged the gifts flowing from the Divinity. A few times
the most blessed Mother heard the voice of the Father
saying: "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well
pleased" (Matth. 17, 5). At other times She perceived
and witnessed, how her most holy Son prayed for Her
to the eternal Father and how He offered Her to Him
as his true Mother : and this knowledge was inexpressi
bly joyful to Her. She perceived also how He prayed
for the whole human race and how He offered up all
his works and labors for all these ends. In these peti
tions and offerings She accompanied, imitated and fol
lowed Him at all times.
32. It happened also at other times that the holy
angels intoned hymns of sweetest harmony in honor of
the incarnate Word, as well when they entered the tem
ple as on their journey. The most fortunate Mother
saw them and listened to them, understanding all the
mysteries and being filled thereby with new light and
wisdom. Her purest heart was inflamed and blazed up
in divine love. The Most High showered upon Her new
gifts and blessings, such as my inadequate tongue can
not clothe in words. But by them He prepared Her for
the adversities, which She was to suffer. For, many
times after these consolations, She beheld as in a pano
rama all the affronts, ignominies, and sufferings await
ing her most holy Son in that same city of Jerusalem.
In order that She might, already at that time, see all
this with so much the more vivid sorrow, He was
wont to enter upon his prayers in the presence of his
sweetest Mother; and, as She was filled with the light
of divine wisdom and with a divine love for God and
her Son, She was pierced with the sword of sorrow men
tioned by Simeon (Luke 2, 35); She shed many tears
in anticipation of the injuries to be borne by her sweetest
Son and at the thought of the sufferings and the igno
minious Death to which He was destined (Is. 53, 3).
Her soul was filled with anguish, when She remembered,
that the beauty of the Son of God, greater than that
of all men, was to be disfigured worse than with leprosy
(Wis. 2, 20; Ps. 44, 3) ; and that She herself was to
see all this with her own eyes. In order to lessen her sor
rows the divine Child was wont to turn toward Her, tell
ing Her to dilate her heart with charity for the human
race and together with Him offer to the eternal Father
all these sufferings for the salvation of men. Thus both
Son and Mother made delightful offerings to the holy
Trinity, applying them for the benefit of the faithful,
and especially for the predestined who would profit by
their merits and by the Redemption through the incar
nate Word. Principally in these occupations the sweet
est Jesus and his Mother spent the days of their visits
to the temple of Jerusalem.
33. My daughter, if thou wilt deeply and attentively
weigh thy obligations, thou wilt find very easy and sweet
all the labors enjoined upon thee by the commands and
precepts of the holy law of the Lord. This must be the
first step of thy pilgrimage, as the beginning and foun
dation of all Christian perfection. But I have already
many times reminded thee, that the fulfillment of the
precepts of the Lord must not be cold and lukewarm,
but most fervent and devoted. For this favor will pre
vent thee from being satisfied with common virtue, and
excite thee to undertake works of purest love beyond
that which God imposes upon thee by command. For
this is one of the artifices of His wisdom, that He seeks
to be obliged by his true servants and friends, in order
that He may reward them, and this is what I desire of
thee. Remember, dearest, that the journey from the
mortal to the eternal life is long, painful and dangerous
(Matth. 7, 14) : long, because it takes up the whole life,
painful, on account of the hardships, dangerous, on ac
count of human frailty and the astuteness of the ene
mies. In addition to this the time is short (I Cor. 7, 29),
the end uncertain (Eccli. 9, 2), being either very happy,
or most unfortunate (Matth. 25, 31), while the one as
well as the other termination is irrevocable (Eccli. 11,
3). Since the sin of Adam the animal and earthly
life of man is burdensome for all those that subject
themselves to it (Job 7, 29), the chains of the passions
are strong, the war against the lower nature continual;
sensible pleasures are always present and easily fasci
nate the faculties of man, while that which is noble, as
well as its immediate consequences, is often hidden from
the gaze. All this fills the pilgrimage of life with haz
ardous dangers and difficulties.
34. Among all these dangers and difficulties not the
least are those of the flesh; for its human weakness,
always present and always active, withdraws many from
grace. The shortest and the most secure course to fol
low, both for thee and for all men, is to welcome bitter
ness and sorrow and put aside ease and pleasure of the
senses, and inviolably to resolve not to allow them to
become dissipated or enjoy greater freedom than the
strict rule of reason permits. In addition to this thou
must continually seek after the greater pleasure of the
Lord and aspire to the great last end of all thy longings.
For this purpose thou must always be solicitous to imi
tate me, for to this I call and invite thee, desiring that
thou arrive at the summit of virtue and holiness. Con
sider the punctuality and fervor with which I achieved
so many and so great results; not because the Lord
urged me on by his commands, but because I wished to
please Him more. Do thou also multiply thy deeds of
fervor, thy devotions, thy spiritual exercises and in all
things increase thy prayers and sacrifices to the eternal
Father for the benefit of mortals. Help them also by
the example and thy exhortations wherever thou canst.
Console the sorrowful, encourage the weak, help the
fallen to arise; and for all of them offer, if necessary,
thy own life-blood. Above all strive to please my most
holy Son, who suffers so kindly the ingratitude of men,
preserving them in existence and continuing to shower
his favors upon them. Consider his invincible love
toward them and how I imitated Him, and even now
show toward them the same love. I desire of thee, that
thou follow thy sweet Spouse in his exalted charity, and
also me, who am thy Teacher.
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