Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 5  Chapter  11    Verses:  119-134

119. In order to complete the beauty and the riches
of the holy Church, it was proper that her Founder,
Christ our Redeemer, should institute the seven sacra
ments, which were to serve as the common treasury of
all his merits. Yea, the Creator of all these blessings
himself was to remain really present in one of them as
the nourishment and consolation of the faithful and as
a pledge of their enjoying Him eternally face to face.
For the perfection of the knowledge and grace of the
most holy Mary it was necessary that the fulness of
these sacramental blessings be transplanted into her
dilated and ardent soul, in order that to its full extent
and in the same manner as it existed in the heart of her
holiest Son, the law of grace might be written and
recorded in the tablets of her mind. In his absence She
was to be the Teacher of the Church and She was to
instruct the primitive Christians to venerate and enjoy
these Sacraments with all the perfection possible.
120. By a new enlightenment, each of these mysteries
in particular were accordingly made manifest to the
blessed Mother in the interior of her most holy Son. In
regard to the first of these Sacraments She saw, that the
ancient law of circumcision was to be honorably laid
aside and to be replaced by the admirable and sweet
sacrament of Baptism. She was informed that the
matter of this Sacrament was to be pure natural water
and that its form was to contain the names of the three
Persons, the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, thus
implicitly including faith in the most holy Trinity. She
understood how Christ, its Author, was to impart to this
Sacrament the power of taking away all sins and of
perfectly sanctifying its recipient She saw the admir
able effects it was to cause in men, regenerating them
so as to constitute them adoptive sons of God and heirs
of heaven; infusing into them the virtues of faith, hope
and charity with many other virtues, and impressing
upon their souls the character of children of the holy
Church. This and all other effects of this holy Sacra
ment were made manifest to most holy Mary. There
upon She sought her divine Son with burning desire
to be allowed to receive it in proper time; which He
promised Her, and as I shall describe later on, after
wards really fulfilled.
121. A like understanding the great Lady also
received concerning the second Sacrament, that of Con
firmation. This is given in the second place, because
Baptism is intended to engender the children of the
Church, while Confirmation is to make them strong and
courageous in confessing the faith received in Baptism,
augmenting the first graces and adding thereto the graces
suited to each one s state. She understood the form,
matter, minister and effects of this Sacrament, and the
character it impresses upon the soul; and how, by the
holy oil and chrism, which form the matter of this Sacra
ment, is typified the odor of the good works of Christ in
which the faithful participate by faith, while the same
only in a different way, is also indicated by the form of
the Sacrament, namely, by the words used in its admin
istration. Corresponding with these enlightenments, our
great Queen elicited heroic acts of praise, thanksgiving
and fervent petition, desiring that all men draw from
these fountains of the Lord and enjoy these incomparable
treasures, while acknowledging and confessing Him
as the true God and Redeemer. She wept bitterly over
the lamentable loss of so many, who, in spite of the
preaching of the Gospel, feel not its healing powers.
122. In regard to the third Sacrament, that of Pen
ance, the heavenly Lady saw the usefulness and necessity
of this means of restoring souls to the grace and friend
ship of God, since by their frailty they lose it so often.
She understood its requirements and the power of its
ministers and the ease with which the faithful can secure
to themselves its blessings. As the true Mother of mercy
She gave special thanks to the Almighty for providing
such a powerful medicine against the repeated and daily
faults of her children. She prostrated Herself upon
the ground and, in the name of the holy Church, She
reverently acknowledged the sacred tribunal of Con
fession, where the Lord, with ineffable kindness, relieved
and solved all doubts of the souls in regard to their justi
fication or condemnation, leaving it to the judgment of
the priests, whether they should grant or deny absolu
123. Especially deep was the intelligence of the most
prudent Lady in regard to the sovereign sacramental
mystery of the most holy Eucharist. Her penetration of
its secrets surpassed that of the most exalted seraphim.
For to Her was manifested the supernatural manner of
the presence of the humanity and Divinity of her Son
under the appearances of bread and wine, the power of
the words of consecration, by which the substance of
the bread and wine is changed into the substance of his
body and blood, while the appearances remained; how
He could be present at the same time in so many diverse
parts; how the sacred mystery of the Mass was to be
instituted, in order that He may be consecrated and
offered to the eternal Father to the end of times; how
He should be reverenced and adored in the holy Sacra
ment in so many temples of the Catholic Church through
out the world; what effects of grace He would produce
in those, who were to receive Him more or less well
prepared, and what punishments would come to those
who receive Him unworthily. She was informed also of
the faith of the believers and the errors of the heretics
in regard to this mystery, and especially of the immense
love of her Son in thus resolving to give Himself as food
and nourishment of eternal life to each one of the
124. By these and other enlightenments concerning
the most holy Eucharist, her most chaste bosom was
visited with new conflagrations of love beyond the con
ception of human intellect. Although She had invented
new canticles of praise and worship at the enlighten
ments, which She had received concerning each article
of faith and each mystery; yet in considering this great
Sacrament her heart expanded more than ever before,
and, prostrate on the ground, She spent Herself in new
demonstrations of love; worship, praise, thanksgiving
and humility; in sentiments of deepest sorrow for those,
who were to abuse it for their own damnation. She
burned with the desire of seeing this Sacrament
instituted, and if She had not been sustained by the
power of the Almighty, the force of her affection would
have bereft Her of natural life. Moreover the presence
of her most holy Son was also calculated to moderate the
excess of her longings and enabled Her to abide the time
of its institution. Even from that time on She wished
to prepare Herself for its reception, and asked Her Son
to be allowed to receive Him in the holy Sacrament as
soon as it should be instituted. She said to Him :
Supreme Lord and life of my soul, shall I, who am
such an insignificant worm and the most despicable
among men, be allowed to receive Thee? Shall I be so
fortunate as to bear Thee once more within my body
and soul? Shall my heart be thy dwelling and taber
nacle, where Thou shalt take thy rest and shall I thus
delight in thy close embrace and Thou, my Beloved, in
125. The divine Master answered: "My beloved
Mother, many times shalt thou receive Me in the holy
Sacrament, and after my Death and Ascension into
heaven that shall be thy consolation; for I shall choose
thy most sincere and loving heart as my most delightful
and pleasant resting-place." At this promise of the
Lord the great Queen humbled Herself anew and, pros
trate in the dust, She gave Him thanks, exciting the
admiration of heaven itself. From that hour She began
to dispose all her thoughts and actions with the object of
preparing Herself for the time when She would be
allowed to receive her most holy Son in the holy Sacra
ment; and during all the years She never forgot, or
interrupted these acts of her will. Her memory, as I
have already said, was more tenacious and constant than
that of an angel, and her intelligence was greater than
that of all the angels; therefore, as She always bore in
mind this and other mysteries, her actions corresponded
to her great knowledge. From that time on also, She
continually and fervently besought the Lord, that He give
light to mortals in order that they might know and revere
this, the greatest of all the Sacraments, and that they
might receive it worthily. Whenever we receive this
holy Sacrament in proper disposition (and so it should
be always), we owe it, next to the influence of the
Redeemer, to the tears and prayers of this heavenly
Mother, who merited this grace for us. If any one of us
audaciously receives it in the state of sin, let him know
that, besides the sacrilegious insult offered to his Lord
and God, he also offends the most holy Mother; since
he despises and abuses her love, her pious desires, her
prayers, tears and sighs. Let us exert ourselves to avoid
such horrible crimes.
126. In regard to the fifth Sacrament, that of Extreme
Unction, most holy Mary understood the object for
which it was instituted, its matter and form and the part
borne by its minister. She saw that its matter must be
the blessed oil of olives, serving as a symbol of mercy;
that its form should be the words of supplication, spoken
while the senses, with which we have sinned are anointed,
and that none other than a priest could be its minister.
She knew its object and results, which are the help
afforded to the faithful in the danger of death, and
strengthening them against the temptations and assaults
of the devil, so frequent and terrible in the last hour.
Thus he that receives this sacrament worthily recovers
the strength of soul, which has been lost by the sins pre
viously committed, and also, if it is useful, health of the
body. At the same time the sick are moved to sentiments
of devotion and to a desire of seeing God, while venial
sins are forgiven together with some of the effects of
mortal sin; it stamps upon the body the seal of heaven
(though not an indelible one), so that the demon dares
not approach where, by grace and by his Sacraments,
the Lord has taken up his habitation. By the power of
this Sacrament Lucifer loses the authority and right
acquired over man through original and actual sin, so
that the body of the just, which is to rise and, with the
soul, is to enjoy its God, may be properly marked for
its union with its soul. All this the most faithful Mother
and Lady knew and for it She gave thanks in the name
of the faithful.
127. Concerning the sixth Sacrament, Holy Orders,
She understood how her most blessed Son, the provi
dent Founder of grace and of the Church, thereby con
stituted apt ministers of his Sacraments for the sanctification
of his mystical body and for the consecration
of his body and blood ; giving them a dignity above that
of all men and of the angels themselves. This caused in
Her such an extreme reverence for the dignity of priests,
that She began from that moment to revere and honor
them. She asked the Almighty to make them worthy
and efficient ministers of his graces and to inspire the
faithful with a high veneration for the priesthood. She
wept over the faults as well of the priests as of the people
in regard to their duties toward each other. But since
I have already spoken of the great respect due to the
priests, I will not now expatiate upon this subject. All
the rest which pertains to this Sacrament, its matter and
form, its effects and ministry, was likewise made known
to the most blessed Mother.
128. She was also instructed in the great object of
Matrimony, the seventh and last of the Sacraments;
namely, to sanctify and bless the propagation of the
faithful in the evangelical law and to typify the mystery
of the spiritual marriage and close union of Christ with
his Church (Ephes. 5, 32). She understood how this
Sacrament was to be perpetuated, what is its matter and
form ; what great benefits resulted from it for the faith
ful children of the Church, and all the other mysteries
concerning its effects, necessity and power. For all this
She composed hymns of praise and thanksgiving in the
name of the faithful, who were to share in its blessings.
At the same time She was informed of the rites and
ceremonies to be instituted by the Church in future
times for the ministration of the Sacraments and for the
well ordering of divine worship among the faithful : also
of the laws of the holy Church for the government of
the faithful, especially of the five precepts of the Church :
namely, to hear Mass on feast days ; to confess and par
take of the most sacred body of Christ at stated times;
to fast on the appointed days; to give tithes and firstfruits
of our earthly goods to the Lord.
129. In all these precepts of the Church the most
blessed Lady perceived the mysteries of our justification,
the object of their establishment, the effects caused by
them in the faithful, and the necessity of their existence
in the new Church of God. She saw how necessary for
the faithful was the first of these commandments, estab
lishing days consecrated to the Lord, that men might
seek their God, assist at the sacred and mysterious sacri
fice of the Mass, which was to be offered for the living
and the dead; that they might renew the profession of
faith and the memory of the divine Passion and Death,
by which we were redeemed ; that they might, as much as
possible, co-operate in the offering of this great sacrifice
and partake of the blessings and fruits gained by the
Church in the most sacred mystery of the Mass. She
saw also the necessity of stirring up our loyalty and
fervor by sacramental Confession and holy Communion,
in order to restore to us the friendship and love of the
Almighty. For besides the danger incurred by for
getting or neglecting the use of these two Sacraments,
men commit another injury by frustrating the loving
desires of their God in establishing such Sacraments for
our benefit; since such neglect cannot exist without great
contempt of the divine goodness, either tacit or
expressed, it is a very serious insult to God in the
guilty ones.
130. She had the same understanding of the last two
precepts : to fast and to pay tithes. She saw how neces
sary it was for men to vanquish their enemies by
restraint and mortification of the passions, which cause
so many unhappy and negligent Christians to lose eter
nal happiness. It is the disorder of the flesh, which
foments these passions, and the flesh is subdued by
fasting. Herein the Teacher of life himself has given
us an example, although He had no need to conquer
the disorders of sin. The paying of tithes most holy
Mary recognized as specially ordained by the Lord, in
order that thereby the faithful might acknowledge Him
as the supreme Creator and Lord of all, paying tribute to
Him of their temporal goods and thanking Him for the
gifts of his Providence in the preservation of life. He
wished also that these offerings be appropriated for the
sustenance and comfort of his priests. For, seeing that
their sustenance is secured by the sweat of the people,
they were to be thankful to the Lord for so abundantly
supplying their needs and mindful of their obligation to
seek the spiritual welfare of souls and to devote their
whole life to the worship of God and the advance of his
holy Church.
131. I have tried to be very succinct in my explana
tions of these great mysteries, which secretly transpired
in the inflamed and magnanimous heart of the Queen
of heaven, when She was instructed by the Almighty in
the laws and precepts of the new Church of the Gospel.
The fear of being too prolix, and much more that of
committing an error, has prevented me from manifesting
all that has interiorly been made known to me and all
that I have understood in this matter; the light of our
holy faith, assisted by Christian piety and prudence, will
teach Catholics the greatest venerations for these high
mysteries; it will lead them to contemplate with lively
faith the wonderful harmony of the Sacraments, laws,
doctrines and mysteries contained in the Catholic Church,
and how she has governed herself steadily from the
beginning and will govern herself to the end
of the world. All this was treasured up admirably in the
soul of the blessed Lady and Queen; in Her, according
to our way of speaking, Christ brought his Church to
the highest purity and perfection; in Her He deposited
all the riches of the new law in order that She might be
the first to enjoy them to their full extent and that She
might fructify, love, increase them and render thanks
for them in the name of all the other mortals. She was
also to weep over their sins, in order that the flood of
mercy for the human race might not be impeded. The
soul of Mary was to serve as the public record of -all
that God was to do for the Redemption of man, and
the document, which was to bind Him to complete his
Redemption. She was to be both the Coadjutrix and
the everlasting memorial of all the wonders He intended
to work among us.
132. My daughter, many times I have reminded thee
how injurious to the Almighty and how dangerous to
mortals is the forgetfulness and the neglect of the
mysterious and wonderful works of his divine
clemency toward men. My maternal solicitude
urges me to renew in thee the memory and the sorrow
for this lamentable tendency. Where is the judgment
and good sense of men, that they should forget their
eternal welfare and the glory of their Redeemer and
Creator ? The gates of grace and of glory are open ; and
yet they not only do not enter, but they fly from
light and life, and they shut them out from hearts dark
ened by the shadows of death. O more than inhuman
cruelty of the sinner toward himself ! Overtaken by the
most dangerous and deathly sickness, He does not wish
to accept the remedy so graciously offered to him ! Who
would not willingly be snatched from death and restored
to life? What sick person would not be grateful to the
physician for curing him of his sickness? If men know
how to be thankful for the restoration of health, which
is so soon to be again taken from them by death and
only serves them to endure new labors and dangers, why
are they so foolish and hard of heart as not to be thank
ful for or even recognize the blessings of Him, who
gives them eternal life and happiness, who rescues them
from pains without end and inconceivably great?
133. O my dearest daughter, how can I receive as
children and be a Mother to those who thus despise my
dearest Son and Lord and all his clemency? The angels
and saints of heaven understand his kindness, and they
are astounded at the gross and dangerous ingratitude of
mortals, and they see how the rectitude of divine judg
ments shall become manifest before the whole world.
Already in previous parts of this history I have declared
to thee many of these secrets; and now I have made
known to thee still more, in order that thou mayest
imitate me so much the more closely and weep with me
over this unhappy state of mortals, by which God has
been, and is, so greatly offended. Weep thou over their
sins and at the same time try to make up for them. I
wish that thou let no day pass without having given
most humble thanks to his greatness; since He had
instituted the great Sacraments and receives only abuse
in return. Do thou receive them with profound rever
ence, faith and firm hope. Especially must thou be
filled with highest esteem for the sacrament of Penance
and try to excite in thee the dispositions and fulfill the
requirements, which the holy Church and its teachers
point out as necessary for its worthy reception.
Approach it with an humble and thankful heart day after
day; and whenever thou art conscious of any fault, do
not postpone the remedy afforded by this Sacrament.
Wash and cleanse thy soul ; for it is the most abominable
carelessness to know oneself stained with sin, and to
remain in such disgrace for a long time, yea even for
one instant
134. Particularly do I wish thee to understand the
wrath of the Almighty against those who dare to receive
the Sacraments unworthily, especially the august Sacra
ment of the Altar. O soul! How dreadful is this sin
in the eyes of the Lord and his saints ! Yea, not only the
receiving of Him unworthily, but the irreverences
committed in his real presence on the altar! How can
they be called children of the Church, who, claiming to
believe and respect this mystery, not only neglect to
visit Him in the many places where He is sacramentally
present, but also dare to indulge in such disrespect
toward Him as even the heathens are not guilty of
against their false idols? This is a matter which could
not be deplored sufficiently in many discourses ; and I tell
thee, my daughter, that the men of the present age have
so outraged the justice of the Lord, that I cannot even
manifest to them, what in my kindness I desire as a
remedy of this evil. But let them know at present that
his sentence shall be dreadful and without mercy, ren
dered against those wicked and faithless servants who are
condemned by the words of their own mouth (Luke 19,
22). This thou canst announce to all that will hear thee;
and counsel them to come at least once a day to the
churches in which their God is sacramentally present,
in order to adore and worship Him ; and let them assist
at the sacrifice of the Mass, for men do not know how
much they lose by their negligence in this regard.
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