Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 5  Chapter  10    Verses:  106-118

106. Just as the doctrines of the Catholic faith pertain
to the activity of the intellect, so the commandments per
tain to the activity of the will. Although all free acts, as
well those required by the practice of the infused, as
those of the acquired virtues, depend upon the activity of
the will-power, yet they do not all depend upon it in
the same way; for the acts of faith proceed immedi
ately from the intellect, and depend upon the will only
in so far as they are embraced by it with a sincere, pious
and reverential affection. The obscure acts and truths
of faith do not force their acceptance upon the intellect
without co-operation of the will, and therefore the
intellect waits upon the decision of the will. But in the
exercise of virtues founded upon faith, the will acts for
itself and relies upon the intellect only for guidance
toward the accomplishment of that which was resolved
upon. The will is so free and independent that it per
mits no commands of the intellect, nor any kind of vio
lence. This is the order established by the Lord, so that
no one might be forced to serve Him unwillingly,
through necessity, by compulsion or violence; but that,
according to the Apostle, each one may serve God with
unrestricted liberty and joyfulness.
107. After the blessed Virgin had been so divinely
instructed in the articles and dogmas of our holy faith,
She was favored by another vision of the Divinity, simi-
lar to that mentioned in the last chapter. It was vouch
safed to Her for the purpose of renewing in Her the
understanding of the ten commandments of the Deca
logue. In it were manifested to Her, with great clear
ness and fulness, all the mysteries of the Commandments
as they were propounded by the divine clemency for the
guidance of men to eternal life and as they had been
given to Moses on the two tablets. On the first of these
tablets were written the three precepts concerning the
honor and worship of God, on the second, the seven
pertaining to our intercourse with our neighbors. The
Redeemer of the world, her most holy Son, was to
rewrite all of them in the hearts of men (I Pet. 1, 4),
while our Queen and Lady was to commence the practice
of all that each one contained. She also understood their
relation to each other, and how necessary they were to
men in order to attain to the participation of the Divin
ity. She had a clear comprehension of the equity, justice
and wisdom with which they were established by the
divine will; and that they were a holy, immaculate,
sweet, lightsome, pure, unerring and convenient law for
the creatures. She saw how well-adjusted and conform
able they were to human nature, how well they can and
ought to be embraced with joy and appreciation, and
how their Author proffered the help of his grace for
their observance. Our great Queen perceived in this
vision many other exalted mysteries and secrets concern
ing the holy Church, concerning those who, in it, would
observe the divine commands, and those who would
despise and transgress them.
108. The blessed Lady issued from this vision trans
formed by an ardent and zealous love for the divine
law. Immediately She betook Herself to her most holy
Son, in whose soul She saw the divine laws clearly
mirrored, to reproduce them in her own self according
to the order of grace. At the same time, by abundant
enlightenment, She was made aware how it pleased the
Lord to make Her a living model of the observance of
all these commandments. It is true, as I have said
several times, that our great Lady possessed a habitual
infused knowledge of all these mysteries for her contin
ual guidance; yet this habitual knowledge was renewed
and intensified day by day. As the extent and depth
of mysteries was so to say infinite, there always remained
a measureless field of new secrets open for her interior
vision. On this occasion many new points were
explained to Her by the divine Teacher, and He pro
pounded to Her the new law and precepts in their bear
ing upon each other and in the sequence, which they were
to hold in the militant Church of his Gospel. Also
concerning each one of them separately, She obtained
new and special enlightenments. Although our limited
capacity and understanding cannot comprehend such high
and sovereign sacraments, none of them were concealed
from the heavenly Lady. For we must not measure
her profound knowledge with the capacity of our short
sighted understanding.
109. With a most humble and ready heart She sub
jected Herself to the observance of all his command
ments, and petitioned God to instruct Her and grant
Her this divine grace to execute all that He had com
manded. The Lord answered Her as follows: "My
Mother, thou art the one whom I have eternally chosen
and predestined for the greater pleasure of my Father,
one in Divinity with Me. Our eternal love, which urges
Us to communicate the blessings of our Divinity to
creatures and thus raise them to the participation of
our glory and felicity, has established this holy and pure
law, by which mortals may attain the end for which they
were created. This our wish shall be fulfilled perfectly
in thee, my beloved Dove, for in thy heart our divine
law shall be written so clearly and deeply, that from the
very beginning of thy existence to all eternity it shall not
be effaced; and in no wise shall it remain unfulfilled or
ineffectual in thee, as is the case with other children of
Adam. Take notice, dearest Sulamite, that this law is
entirely pure and immaculate; and that therefore, We
wish to deposit it in thee, who art also pure and immacu
late and in whom all our intentions and operations are
110. These words, which were realized in the heavenly
Mother without any hindrance, enriched and deified Her
with the full understanding and acceptance of the ten
Commandments and the mysteries contained therein.
Directing her intellect by the celestial light and conform
ing her will to that of the divine Teacher, She entered
into the meaning of the first and most noble of all the
commandments : "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with
thy whole heart, and with thy whole soul, and with thy
whole mind" (Matth. 22, 37), for in these words it was
given afterwards by the Evangelists and long before
by Moses in Deuteronomy. Her mind grasped it with
all the qualifications added thereto by the Lord : that men
should preserve it in their hearts, that the fathers should
teach it to their children, and that they should meditate
upon it in their houses and outside of them, on their
journeys, during sleep and in their watching, and that
they should incessantly have it before the eyes of their
soul. Just as deep as was her understanding of this
commandment, so great was her zeal in fulfilling all that
the Lord wished to command thereby. Though no other
child of Adam has succeeded in fulfilling it perfectly
during mortal life, yet most holy Mary succeeded, and
more completely than the highest and most ardent Sera
phim, than all the saints and the blessed of heaven. I
will not tarry in explaining this more fully, for in the
first part of this history, when speaking of her virtues, I
have sufficiently discoursed upon the love of the blessed
Virgin. On this occasion particularly She shed the most
bitter tears because of the sins which were to be com
mitted against this great Commandment; and She took
it upon Herself to satisfy by her love for the defects and
faults of mortals.
111. Upon the first precept follow the two others;
not to dishonor the name of God by false and vain
swearing, and to honor Him by observing and sancti
fying his feasts. These Commandments the Mother of
wisdom understood and penetrated, engraving them in
her pious and humble heart and resolving to render
supreme veneration and worship to the Deity. Deeply
she pondered on the injuries committed by creatures
against the immutable being of God and his infinite good
ness by false and vain oaths, or by blasphemies against
God and against his saints. In her sorrow on account
of the presumptuous transgression of these command
ments by the rational creatures She conjured her attend
ing angels in her name to charge the guardian spirits of
all men to prevent the comtnittance of this outrage against
God; to restrain men, by holy inspirations and by the
fear of God, from perjuring or blaspheming his holy
name. Moreover, She besought the Almighty to shower
his benedictions of sweetness on those, who abstained
from vain oaths and who reverenced his holy name.
112. In regard to the keeping of the holidays, which
is the third Commandment the great Queen was made
acquainted by her guardian angel with all the feasts,
which were to be instituted by the Church, and with the
manner of their celebration and observance. As I have
mentioned in its place, She had commenced to celebrate
those which commemorate the already consummated
mysteries of her life, such as that of the most holy
Trinity, and those pertaining to her most holy Son and
the angels. To celebrate these and other mysteries,
afterwards solemnized by the Church, She invited the
heavenly court, and, in union with them, She sang hymns
of praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. The days
which are especially assigned for the worship of God,
She spent entirely therein ; not that her exterior activity
ever interfered with her interior attention, or hindered
the flights of her soul, but because She wished to sanc
tify the feasts of the Lord in such a manner as was
required by the new law of grace; and all this as the
first disciple of the Redeemer of the world, She eagerly
strove to fulfill.
113. The same understanding and knowledge most
holy Mary possessed in regard to the seven Command
ments, which concern our duties toward our neighbor.
Regarding the fourth Commandment, to honor father
and mother, She understood well who were to be included
under the name of parents; how, after the honor due to
God, that due to parents comes next; and how children
are to render them this honor in all reverence ; also what
are the obligations of parents toward their children. She
saw the justice of the fifth commandment,, forbidding
murder, since the Lord is the Master of life and being
of man, and withheld power over it even from its owner,
and therefore much more from any of his fellow beings.
As life is the very first of the natural goods and the
foundation of grace, She gave thanks to the Lord for
having by his Commandment so bountifully protected
it. She looked upon all men as creatures of his hand,
capable of his grace and glory, and purchased by the
blood of her Son; and therefore She earnestly prayed
for the faithful observance of this commandment in
the Church of God. Our most pure Lady understood
the nature of the sixth Commandment in the same
manner as the blessed, who need no precaution against
human passions and can look upon it without being
touched by it. The most blessed Lady, altogether pre
served from the taint of sin, understood the nature of
this Commandment even from a higher standpoint of
grace than the saints. Such were the sentiments awak
ened in this great Paragon of chastity while She excited
love for it and sorrow for the impurities committed by
men, that She wounded anew the heart of the Almighty
(Cant. 4, 9) ; and, according to our way of speaking, con
soled her divine Son for the offenses of mankind against
this precept. Since She knew that in the new law of the
Gospel the observance of this Commandment was to be
carried so far as to make possible congregations of
virgins and men, who would promise inviolate chastity
by vow, She besought the Lord to guarantee them his
unbroken blessings. The Lord granted this request of
his purest Mother and He assured Her that, as a reward
of virginal purity, its devotees should have the privilege
of being the followers of Her, who was the Virgin Mother
of the Lamb (Ps. 44, 15). With incomparable joy She
gave thanks to the Lord for thus extending the practice
of virginity, which She herself had inaugurated in the
new law. I will not stop to descant upon the priceless
value of this virtue, since I have already spoken of it in
the first part and in other places.
114. Equally remarkable was Mary s understanding
of the other Commandments, of the seventh: "Thou
shalt not steal"; of the eighth, "Thou shalt not give
false testimony"; of the ninth, "Thou shalt not covet
thy neighbor s wife"; of the tenth, "Thou shalt not
covet thy neighbor s goods and possessions." In regard
to each of them She excited great acts of interior com
pliance with them and for each of them She praised
and thanked the Lord, that He should have provided
for men such wise and effectual means of attaining their
eternal happiness through these beneficent and well
adapted laws. For She saw, that by their observance,
men would not only secure eternal reward due to them,
but could also enjoy true peace and tranquillity adapted
to each one s state and circumstances. For if all rational
creatures would submit to the just requirements of God s
law, and would resolve to follow and observe his Com
mandments, they would enjoy that most delightful and
exquisite happiness, which is produced by the testimony
of a good conscience. All the human delight cannot be
compared to the consolation of having been faithful to
the divine law in all things, great and small (Matth. 25,
21). This blessing we owe mostly to Christ, our
Redeemer, who confirmed us in doing good and thus
secures for us sweet rest, and peace, and consolation,
and many other blessings in this life. If all of us do not
attain them, it is because we do not observe his Com
mandments. The labors, misfortunes, and unhappiness
of the people are the inseparable effects of the trans
gressions of mortals, and, though each one contributes
his share in causing our misfortunes, yet we are so sense
less, that as soon as we are overtaken by any adversity,
we begin to lay the blame on others, while we should lay
it only on ourselves.
115. Who can estimate the evils of this life springing
from dishonest dealings, forbidden by the seventh com
mandment, or from the want of contentment with one s
own lot in reliance on the help of the Lord, who forgets
not the birds of the air, or the smallest worm of the
earth? What miseries and afflictions do not Christian
nations suffer merely because their rulers are not satis
fied with the territories given into their charge by the
highest King? Seeking to extend their sway and influ
ence they have left in the world neither peace, nor quiet
possession, nor any souls for the service of their Crea
tor. No less evil and discord is caused by false testimony
and lies, which offend the infinite truth and hinder human
intercourse, sowing the seed of strife, destroying peace
and tranquillity in the human hearts. Both the one as
well as the other prevent the Creator to dwell in them as
is his wish. Coveting another s wife and adultery vio
late the holy law of matrimony, confirmed and sanctified
by the Sacrament, and how many hidden and open evils
have they not caused, and do they not cause, among
Catholics? If we consider how many transgressions are
manifest to the eyes of the world, and how many more
remain hidden to men, while they are not hidden to God,
the exact and just judge, who punishes them even now,
shall we not be convinced that He will be so much the
severer in his punishments, the more He has overlooked
our sins at present and the longer He has patiently
allowed the Christian commonwealths to continue in
existence ?
116. All these truths our great Queen perceived in
the Lord. Although She was aware of the wickedness
of men in thus lightly throwing aside the respect and
reverence due to their God after He had so kindly pro
vided for them such necessary laws and precepts; yet
the most prudent Lady was neither scandalized at human
frailty, nor did She wonder at man s ingratitude; but
like a kind Mother, She pitied the mortals, and with most
ardent love She thanked the Almighty for his benefits
trying to satisfy for the transgressions against the evan
gelical law and asking for the grace to observe them per
fectly. The summary of all these Commandments:
to love God above all and our neighbor as ourselves,
the most holy Mary comprehended perfectly; also the
truth, that the proper understanding and practice of these
two Commandments is the perfection of true virtue.
He that practices them is not far from the kingdom of
God, and the observance of them is to be preferred to the
offering of holocausts, as the Lord himself teaches us
in the Gospel (Mark 12, 34, 33). In the proportion as
our Queen understood these precepts, so She put them
into practice, fulfilling them as they are contained in the
Gospel, without the omission of the least of its precepts
or counsels. This heavenly Princess put the teachings of
the Redeemer more perfectly into practice than all the
saints and faithful of the holy Church.
117. My daughter, when the Word of the eternal
Father issued forth from his bosom and assumed human
ity in my womb, He came to enlighten those that walk in
the darkness and in the shadow of death (Luke 1, 79),
and to restore them to their lost happiness. Hence, in
order to be their light, their way, their truth and their
life, it was necessary that He should give them a law so
holy, that it would justify them; so clear that it would
enlighten them ; so secure, that it would encourage them ;
so powerful, that it would move them ; so efficacious, that
it would help them; so truthful, that it would bring joy
and delight to all that would observe it. The immaculate
law of the Gospel has in it the power to produce all
these and other more wonderful effects; and God has
created and constituted rational creatures in such a way,
that all their happiness, corporal and spiritual, temporal
and eternal, depends entirely upon observing this law.
Hence thou canst judge of the blind ignorance with
which their deadly enemies have fascinated mortals (Gal.
3,1), since all men, in the inordinate desire and pursuit
of happiness, neglect the divine law, where alone it can be
found ; and hence few really attain happiness.
118. Knowing this, prepare thy heart so that the Lord
may write in it his holy law. Forget and put away from
thee all that is visible and earthly, so that all thy facul
ties may be free and unencumbered of any images except
of those which are fixed there by the finger of God and
are contained in the doctrine and precepts of the gospel
truths. In order that thy desires may not be frustrated
beseech the Lord day and night, to make thee worthy
of the blessings and promises of my most holy Son.
Remember that the negligence is more abominable in thee
than in all the other mortals; for no one else has his
divine love so urgently called, or assisted with the like
blessings and helps. In the days of abundance as well
as in the days of affliction and temptation remember thy
debt to the Lord and his jealous zeal, so that neither
favors may exalt thee nor sufferings and pain oppress
thee. If in the one as in the other state do thou turn to
the divine law written in thy heart, observing it inviol
ably and incessantly with all attention and perfection. In
regard to the love of the neighbors apply always the first
law of doing unto others as thou wishest done to thyself,
which is the standard of all intercourse with men. If
thou desirest them to think and act well toward thee,
thou thyself must do the same with thy brethren. If
thou feel that they offend thee in little things, avoid
thou giving them any such offense. If thou see others
doing what seems evil and disagreeable to their neighbor,
avoid it thyself; for thou knowest how much it offends
against the law established by the Most High. Weep
over thy faults and those of thy fellow-men; because
they are against the law of God; this is true charity
toward the Lord and toward thy neighbor. Sorrow over
the afflictions of others as over thy own, for thus wilt
thou imitate me.
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