Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 5  Chapter  6    Verses:  64-73

64. In the first and second chapters of this book I
began what I must now complete in the following chap
ters : but I do it not without misgivings as to my halting
and inadequate powers of expression and with much more
hesitation on account of the lukewarmness of my heart,
all of which make me unfit to speak of the hidden inter
course of the incarnate Word with his most blessed
Mother. And especially do they make me unworthy of
treating about that heavenly intercourse of the Son and
the Mother at Nazareth during the eighteen years inter
vening between his dispute with the doctors at Jerusalem
and the beginning of his public preaching in his thirtieth
year. On the shores of this vast ocean of mysteries I
stand full of confusion and doubt, asking the most high
Lord from the bottom of my soul, to transfer my pen to
the hands of an angel, in order that no injustice may be
done to the subject of the discourse; or that He himself,
the most powerful and wise God, speak for me, enlighten
my faculties, so that governed by his divine light, they
may be fit instruments of his will and truth and be free
from the human frailty of an ignorant woman.
65. I have already said in former chapters, that our
great Lady was the first and specially privileged Disciple
of her most holy Son, chosen among all creatures as the
model of the new evangelical law and its Author, accord
ing to which He was to mould all the saints of the new
law and judge of all the results of the Redemption. In
regard to Her the incarnate Word proceeded like a most
skillful artist, who understands the art of painting and
all that pertains to it most thoroughly ; who, throwing all
his powers into one chosen work, seeks to gain from it
alone renown and fame as from the full exposition of his
art. It is certain that all the holiness and glory of the
saints was the result of the love and merits of Christ:
(Eph. 2, 3) but in comparison with the excellence of
Mary, they seem insignificant and as it were only rough
sketches; for in all the saints are found defects (I John 1,
8). But this living image of the Onlybegotten was free
from all imperfections ; and the first strokes of his pencil
in Her were of greater beauty than the last touches in the
highest angels and saints. She is the model for all the
perfection of holiness and virtues of all his elect, and the
utmost limit to which the love of Christ can proceed in
mere creatures. No one received any grace or glory that
most holy Mary could not receive, and She received all
that others were incapable of receiving; and her most
blessed Son gave to Her all that She could receive and
that He could communicate.
66. The multitude and variety of the saints silently
enhance the Artificer of their great sanctity, and the great
ness of the highest is made more conspicuous by the
beauty of the lowest: but all of them together are a
glorification of most holy Mary. For by her incom
parable holiness they are all surpassed and they all par
take of so much the greater felicity as they imitate Her,
whose holiness redounds over all. If the most pure Mary
has reached the highest pinnacle in the ranks of the just,
She may also on this very account be considered as the
instrument or the motive power through which the saints
themselves have reached their station. As we must judge
of her excellence (even if only from afar), by the labor
which Christ the Lord applied for her formation, let us
consider what labor He spent upon Her and how much
upon the whole Church. To establish and to enrich his
Church He deemed it sufficient to spend only three years
in preaching, selecting the Apostles, teaching the people,
and inculcating the evangelical law by his public life;
and this was amply sufficient to accomplish the work en
joined upon Him by the eternal Father and to justify and
sanctify all the true believers. But in order to stamp
upon his most holy Mother the image of his holiness, He
consumed not three years, but ten times three years,
engaging in this work with all the power of his divine
love, without ever ceasing hour after hour to add grace
to grace, gifts to gifts, blessings to blessings, and holiness
to holiness. And at the end of all this He still left Her
in a state, in which He could continue to add excellence
after his Ascension to his eternal Father as I will describe
in the third part. Our reason is unbalanced, our words
fail at the greatness of this incomparable Lady; for She
is elect as the sun (Cant. 6, 9) ; and her effulgence cannot
be borne by terrestrial eyes, nor comprehended by any
earthly creatures.
67. Christ our Redeemer began to manifest his designs
in regard to his heavenly Mother after they had come back
from Egypt to Nazareth, as I have already mentioned;
and from that time on He continued to follow up his
purpose in his quality as Teacher and as the divine Enlightener
in all the mysteries of the Incarnation and
Redemption. After they returned from Jerusalem in his
twelfth year, the great Queen had a vision of the Divinity,
not an intuitive vision, but one consisting of intellectual
images; one very exalted and full of the new influences
of the Divinity and of the secrets of the Most High. She
was especially enlightened in regard to the decrees of the
divine Will concerning the law of grace, which was now
to be established by the incarnate Word, and concerning
the power, which was given to Him in the consistory of
the most blessed Trinity. At the same time She saw
how for this purpose the eternal Father consigned to His
Son the seven-sealed book, of which saint John speaks
(Apoc. 5, 1), and how none could be found either in
heaven or on earth, who could unseal and open it, until
the Lamb broke its seals by his Passion and Death and by
his doctrines and merits. For in this figure God wished
to intimate, that the secret of this book was nothing else
than the new law of the Gospel and the Church founded
upon it in this world.
68. Then the heavenly Queen saw in spirit, that, by
the decree of the most blessed Trinity, She was to be
the first one to read and understand this book; that her
Onlybegotten was to open it for Her and manifest it all
to Her, while She was to put it perfectly into practice;
that She was the first one, who was to accompany the
Word, and who was to occupy the first place next to Him
on the way to heaven, which He had opened up for
mortals and traced out in this book. In Her, as his true
Mother, was to be deposited this new Testament. She
saw how the Son of the eternal Father and of Herself
accepted this decree with great pleasure; and how his
sacred humanity obeyed it with ineffable joy on her ac
count. Then the eternal Father turned to the most pure
Lady and said:
69. "My Spouse and my Dove, prepare thy heart for
the plenitude of knowledge and for receiving the new
Testament and Law of my Onlybegotten in thy soul.
Excite thy desires and apply thy mind to the knowledge
and practice of our teachings and precepts. Receive
from Us the gifts of our liberality and of our love for
thee. In order that thou mayest give Us fitting thanks,
consider, that by the disposition of our infinite wisdom,
We have resolved to make thee, a mere creature, the
closest image and likeness of my Onlybegotten, and thus
produce in thee effects and fruits worthy of his merits.
Therein shall his most holy name be magnified and
honored in a fitting degree. Be mindful, therefore, my
beloved and chosen Daughter, that a great preparation
is required of thee."
70. And the most humble Lady answered: "Eternal
Lord and immense God, in thy real and divine presence
I lie prostrate, acknowledging at the sight of thy infinite
Being my own insignificance, which is mere nothingness.
I perceive thy greatness and my littleness. I know that
I am unworthy to be thy slave ; and for the kindness with
which Thou hast looked upon me, I offer to Thee the
fruit of my womb and thy Onlybegotten and I beseech
Him to answer for his unworthy Mother and his hand
maid. My heart is prepared and it is overwhelmed with
gratitude for thy mercies and consumed with affection,
as long as it cannot satisfy its vehement longings. But
if I shall find grace in thy eyes, I will speak, O my Lord
and Master, in thy presence, asking only this, that Thou
do with thy slave whatever Thou wishest and commandest;
for no one is able to execute it unless Thou
thyself assist him, O Lord and most high King. If
Thou desirest from me a heart free and devoted, I now
offer it to Thee, ready to obey Thee and suffer for Thee
until death." Immediately the heavenly Princess felt
new influences of the Divinity, being enlightened, purified
and spiritualized with such plenitude of the Holy Ghost
as to exceed all that had happened to Her until that day ;
for this blessing was one of the most memorable ones for
the peerless and sovereign Lady. Although all of them
were exalted and without equal in any of the rest of
creatures, reaching the highest perfection; yet in the
participation of the divine perfections there is no meas
ure, as long as the capacity of the creature to receive
them does not fail. As this power of participation was
so vast in this Queen and increased with each participa
tion, the great gifts merely disposed Her for still greater
,ones. The divine power, therefore, not rinding in Her
any obstacle, set all its treasures in motion and laid
them up in the secure and most faithful depository of the
most holy Mary our Queen.
71. She issued from this ecstatic vision and betook
Herself to her most holy Son, prostrating Herself at his
feet and saying : "My Lord, my Light and my Teacher,
behold thy unworthy Mother prepared for the fulfillment
of thy wishes; admit me anew as thy disciple and
servant and make use of me as the instrument of
thy wisdom and power. Execute in me thy pleas
ure and that of thy eternal Father." Her most holy
Son received Her with the majesty and authority
of a divine Teacher and instructed Her in most exalted
mysteries. In most persuasive and powerful words He
explained to Her the profoundest meanings of the works
enjoined upon Him by the eternal Father in regard to
the Redemption of man, the founding of the Church and
the establishment of the new evangelical law. He de
clared and reaffirmed, that in the execution of these high
and hidden mysteries She was to be his Companion and
Coadjutrix, receiving and enjoying the first-fruits of
grace ; and that therefore She, the most pure Lady, was
to follow Him in his labors until his death on the Cross
with a magnanimous and well prepared heart in invincible
and unhesitating constancy. He added heavenly instruc
tion such as enabled Her to prepare for the reception of
the whole evangelical Law, the understanding and prac
tice of all its precepts and counsels in their highest per
fection. Other sacramental secrets concerning his works
in this world the Child Jesus manifested to his most
blessed Mother on this occasion. And the heavenly Lady
met all his words and intentions with profound humility,
obedience, reverence, thanksgiving and most ardent love.
72. My daughter, many times in the course of thy
life, and especially while thou art writing this history of
my own life, I have called upon thee and invited thee to
follow me by the closest imitation possible to thee. I
now renew this invitation and demand, for now thou hast
by the condescension of the Most High received light and
intelligence in this sacrament of his powerful arm in my
heart : how He wrote therein the whole law of grace and
all the doctrine of the Gospel, what effects this favor
wrought in me, and how I corresponded by the closest
and most perfect imitation of my most holy Son and
Teacher. The knowledge of all this thou must consider
as one of the greatest favors ever bestowed upon thee by
the Lord. For in it thou wilt find the sum total and
essence of the most exalted sanctity and perfection, re
flected as in the clearest mirror. The paths of divine
light will therein be revealed to thee, whereon thou canst
walk secure from the darkness of ignorance enveloping
other mortals.
73. Come then, my daughter, come and follow me.
And in order that thou mayest imitate me as I desire and
that thy understanding may be properly enlightened, thy
spirit sufficiently ennobled and prepared, and thy will
inflamed, separate thyself from all earthly things as thy
Spouse wishes; withdraw thyself from what is visible,
forsake all the creatures, deny thyself, close thy senses
to the deceits and fabulations of the world (Ps. 39, 5).
And in thy temptations I exhort thee not to be troubled
or afflicted very much; for if they cause thee to halt in
thy course, they will already have gained a great ad
vantage over thee and they will prevent thee from becom
ing strong in the practice of perfection. Listen therefore
to the Lord alone, who is desirous of the beauty of thy
soul (Ps. 44, 12) ; who is liberal in bestowing his gifts
upon it, powerful to deposit therein the treasures of his
wisdom, and anxious to see thee prepare thyself to re
ceive them. Allow Him to write into thy heart the
evangelical Law. Let that be thy continual study, thy
meditation day and night, the sweet nourishment of thy
memory, the life of thy soul and the sweet nectar for thy
spiritual taste. Thus wilt thou obtain what the Most
High and I require of thee, and what thou thyself
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