Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 5  Chapter  22    Verses:  240-253

240. The love of our great Queen and Lady for her
divine Son must always remain the standard by which
we must measure as well her actions as all her emotions
either of joy or sorrow during her earthly life. But we
cannot measure the greatness of her love itself, nor can
the holy angels measure it, except by the love which they
see in God by the intuitive vision. All that can ever be
expressed by our inadequate words, similes and analogies,
is but the least portion of what this heavenly furnace of
love really contained. For She loved Jesus as the Son
of the eternal Father, equal to Him in essence and in
all the divine attributes and perfections ; She loved Him
as her own natural Son, Son to Her in as far as He was
man, formed of her own flesh and blood ; She loved Him
because as man He was the Saint of saints and the meri
torious cause of all other holiness (Dan. 9, 24). He
was the most beautiful among- the sons of men (Ps.
44, 3). He was the most dutiful Son of his Mother, her
most magnificent Benefactor ; since it was He, that by his
sonship, had raised Her to the highest dignity possible
among creatures. He had exalted Her among all and
above all by the treasures of his Divinity and by con-
ferring upon Her the dominion over all creation together
with favors, blessings and graces, such as were never to
be conferred upon any other being.
241. These motives and foundations of her love
were established and as it were, all comprehended
in the wisdom of the heavenly Lady, together with
many others, which only her exalted knowledge
could appreciate. In her heart there was no hind
rance of love, since it was the most innocent and
pure; She was not ungrateful, because her profoundest
humility urged Her to a most faithful correspondence;
She was not remiss, because in Her the most abundant
grace wrought with all its efficacy ; She was not slow or
careless, since She was filled with most zealous and dili
gent fervor; not forgetful, since her most faithful memory
was constantly fixed upon the blessings received and upon
the reasons and the precepts of deepest love. She moved
in the sphere of the divine love itself, since She remained
in his visible presence and attended the school of divine
love of her Son, copying his works and his doings in his
very company. Nothing was wanting to this peerless
One among lovers for entertaining love without limita
tion of measure or manner. This most beautiful Moon
then, being at its fullness, and looking into this Sun of
justice just as it had risen like a divine aurora from
height to height and reached the noontide splendor of the
most clear light of grace; this Moon, Mary, detached
from all material creatures and entirely transformed by
the light of this Sun, having experienced on her part all
the effects of his reciprocal love, favors and gifts, in the
height of her blessedness, at a time when the loss of all
these blessings in her Son made it most arduous, heard
the voice of the eternal Father, calling Her as once He
had called upon her prototype, Abraham, and demanding
the deposit of all her love and hope, her beloved Isaac
(Gen. 22, 1).
242. The most prudent Mother was not unaware, that
the time of her sacrifice was approaching; for her
sweetest Son had already entered the thirtieth year of
his life and the time and place for satisfying the debt
He had assumed was at hand. But in the full possession of
the Treasure, which represented all her happiness, Mary
was still considering its loss as far off, not having as
yet had its experience. The hour therefore drawing near,
She was wrapt in a most exalted vision and felt that She
was being called and placed in the presence of throne
of the most blessed Trinity. From it issued a voice of
wonderful power saying to Her: "Mary, my Daughter
and Spouse, offer to Me thy onlybegotten Son in sacri
fice." By the living power of these words came to Her
the light and intelligence of the Almighty s will, and in
it the most blessed Mother understood the decree of
the Redemption of man through the Passion and Death
of her most holy Son, together with all that from now on
would happen in the preaching and public life of the
Savior. As this knowledge was renewed and perfected
in Her, She felt her soul overpowered by sentiments of
subjection, humility, love of God and man, compassion
and tenderest sorrow for all that her Son was to suffer.
243. But with an undismayed and magnanimous heart
She gave answer to the Most High: "Eternal King and
omnipotent God of infinite wisdom and goodness, all that
has being outside of Thee exists solely for thy mercy and
greatness, and Thou art undiminished Lord of all. How
then dost Thou command me, an insignificant wormlet
of the earth, to sacrifice and deliver over to thy will the
Son, whom thy condescension has given me? He is
thine, eternal Father, since from all eternity before the
morning star Thou hast engendered Him (Ps. 109, 3),
and Thou begettest Him and shalt beget Him through
all the eternities; and if I have clothed Him in the form
of servant (Philip 2,7) in my womb and from my own
blood, and if I have nourished his humanity at my breast
and ministered to it as a Mother: this most holy
humanity is also thy property, and so am I, since I have
received from Thee all that I am and that I could give
Him. What then can I offer to Thee, that is not more thine
than mine? I confess, most high King, that thy mag
nificence and beneficence are so liberal in heaping upon
thy creatures thy infinite treasures, that in order to bind
Thyself to them Thou wishest to receive from them as a
free gift, even thy own onlybegotten Son, Him whom
Thou begettest from thy own substance and from the light
of thy Divinity. With Him came to me all blessings
together and from his hands I received immense gifts
and graces (Wis. 7, 11) ; He is the Virtue of my virtue,
the Substance of my spirit, Life of my soul and Soul of
my life, the Sustenance of all my joy of living. It would
be a sweet sacrifice, indeed, to yield Him up to Thee who
alone knowest his value ; but to yield Him for the satis
faction of thy justice into the hands of his cruel enemies
at the cost of his life, more precious than all the works of
creation ; this indeed, most high Lord, is a great sacrifice
which Thou askest of his Mother. However let not my
will but thine be done. Let the freedom of the human race
be thus bought; let thy justice and equity be satisfied;
let thy infinite love become manifest; let thy name be
known and magnified before all creatures. I deliver Him
over into thy hands before all creatures. I deliver over
into thy hands my beloved Isaac, that He may be truly
sacrificed; I offer my Son, the Fruit of my womb, in
order that, according to the unchangeable decree of thy
will, He may pay the debt contracted not by his fault,
but by the children of Adam, and in order that in his
Death He may fulfill all that thy holy Prophets, inspired
by Thee, have written and foretold."
244. This sacrifice with all that pertained to it, was
the greatest and the most acceptable that ever had been
made to the eternal Father since the creation of the world,
or ever will be made to the end, outside of that made by
his own Son, the Redeemer; and hers was most inti
mately connected with and like to that, which He offered.
If the greatest charity consists in offering one s life for
the beloved, without a doubt most holy Mary far sur
passed this highest degree of love toward men, as She
loved Her Son much more than her own life. For in
order to preserve the life of her Son, She would have
given the lives of all men, if She had possessed them, yea
and countless more. Among men there is no measure by
which to estimate the love of that heavenly Lady, and it
can be estimated only by the love of the eternal Father
for his Son. As Christ says to Nikodemus (John 15, 13):
so God loved the world, that He gave his only Son in
order that none of those , who believed in Him might
perish; so this might also be said in its degree of the love
of the Mother of mercy and in the same way do we
owe to Her proportionately our salvation. For She also
loved us so much, that She gave her only Son for our
salvation; and if She had not given it in this manner,
when it was asked of Her by the eternal Father on this
occasion, the salvation of men could not have been exe
cuted by this same decree, since this decree was to be
fulfilled on condition, that the Mother s will should co
incide with that of the eternal Father. Such is the ob
ligation which the children of Adam owe to most holy
245. Having accepted the offering of the great Lady,
it was fitting that the most Blessed Trinity should re
ward and immediately pay Her by some favor, which
would comfort Her in her sorrow and manifest more
clearly the will of the eternal Father and the reasons
for his command. Therefore the heavenly Lady, still
wrapped in the same vision and raised to a more exalted
ecstasy, in which She was prepared and enlightened in the
manner elsewhere described (I, 623), the Divinity mani
fested Itself to Her by an intuitive and direct vision. In
this vision, by the clear light of the essence of God, She
comprehended the inclination of the infinite Good to com
municate his fathomless treasures to the rational crea
tures by means of the works of the incarnate Word,
and She saw the glory, that would result from these
wonders to the name of the Most High. Filled with
jubilation of her soul at the prospect of all these sacra
mental mysteries, the heavenly Mother renewed the offer
ing of her divine Son to the Father ; and God comforted
Her with the life-giving bread of heavenly understand
ing, in order that She might with invincible fortitude
assist the incarnate Word in the work of Redemption as
his Coadjutrix and Helper, according to the disposition
of infinite Wisdom and according as it really happened
afterwards in the rest of her life.
246. Then most holy Mary issued forth from this ex
alted rapture in the description of which I will not further
detain myself; for it was accompanied by the same cir
cumstances as the other intuitive visions already men
tioned. But by its effects and the strength imparted
through it, She was now prepared to separate from her
divine Son, who had already resolved to enter upon his
fast in the desert in view of receiving his Baptism. He
therefore called his Mother and, speaking to Her with
the tokens of sweetest love and compassion, He said:
"My Mother, my existence as man I derive entirely from
thy substance and blood, of which I have taken the form
of a servant in. thy virginal womb (Phil. 2, 7). Thou
also hast nursed Me at thy breast and taken care of Me
by thy labors and sweat. For this reason I account Me
more thine own and as thy Son, than any other ever
acknowledged, or more than any ever will acknowledge
himself as the son of his mother. Give Me thy permis
sion and consent toward accomplishing the will of my
eternal Father. Already the time has arrived, in which
I must leave thy sweet intercourse and company and be
gin the work of the Redemption of man. The time of
rest has come to an end and the hour of suffering for
the rescue of the sons of Adam has arrived. But I wish
to perform this work of my Father with thy assistance,
and Thou art to be my companion and helper in preparing
for my Passion and Death of the Cross. Although I
must now leave Thee alone, my blessing shall remain
with Thee, and my loving and powerful protection. I
shall afterwards return to claim thy assistance and com
pany in my labors; for I am to undergo them in the
form of man, which Thou hast given Me."
247. With these words, while both Mother and Son
were overflowing with abundant tears, the Lord placed
his arms around the neck of the most tender Mother, yet
Both maintaining a majestic composure such as befitted
these Masters in the art of suffering. The heavenly
Lady fell at the feet of her divine Son and, with ineffable
sorrow and reverence, answered : "My Lord and eternal
God : Thou art indeed my Son and in Thee is fulfilled
all the force of love, which I have received of Thee : my
inmost soul is laid open to the eyes of thy divine wisdom.
My life I would account but little, if I could thereby save
thy own, or if I could die for Thee many times. But the
will of the eternal Father and thy own must be fulfilled
and I offer my own will as a sacrifice for this fulfillment.
Receive it, my Son, and as Master of all my being, let
it be an acceptable offering, and let thy divine protection
never be wanting to me. It would be a much greater
torment for me, not to be allowed to accompany Thee in
thy labors and in thy Cross. May I merit this favor,
my Son, and I ask it of Thee as thy true Mother in re
turn for the human form, which Thou hast received of
me." The most loving Mother also besought Him to
take along some food from the house, or that He allow
it to be sent to where He was to go. But the Savior
would not consent to anything of the sort, at the same
time enlightening his Mother of what was befitting for
the occasion. They went together to the door of their
poor house, where She again fell at his feet to ask his
blessing and kiss his feet. The divine Master gave Her
his benediction and then began his journey to the Jordan,
issuing forth as the good Shepherd to seek his lost sheep
and bring them back on his shoulders to the way of
eternal life, from which they had been decoyed by deceit
(Luke 15, 5).
248. When our Redeemer sought saint John in order
to be baptized, He had already entered his thirtieth year,
although not much of it had yet passed; for He betook
Himself directly to the banks of the Jordan, where saint
John was baptizing (Matth. 3, 13), and He received Bap
tism at his hands about thirty days after He had finished
the twenty-ninth year of his life on the same day as is
set aside for its celebration by the Church. I cannot
worthily describe the sorrow of most holy Mary at his
departure, nor the compassion of the Savior for Her.
All words and description are far too inadequate to mani
fest what passed in the heart of the Son and Mother.
As this was to be part of their meritorious sufferings,
it was not befitting that the natural effects of their mutual
loves should be diminished. God permitted these effects
to work in Them to their full extent, and as far as was
compatible with the holiness of both Mother and Son.
Our divine Teacher found no relief in hastening his steps
toward the goal of our Redemption, to which He was
drawn by the force of his immense charity ; nor was the
thought of what He intended, a lessening of the sense
of loss, which She sustained at his departure ; for all this
only made more certain and more conspicuous the tor
ments which He was to undergo. O my dearest Love!
Why does not our ingratitude and hardness of heart al
low us to meet Thee with a responsive love ? Why does
not the perfect uselessness of man, and still more, his
ingratitude, influence Thee to desist ? Without us, O my
eternal Goodness and Life, Thou wilt be just as happy
without us as with us, just as infinite in perfections,
holiness and glory; we can add nothing to that which
Thou hast in Thyself, since Thou art entirely independent
of creatures. Why then, O my Love, dost Thou so anx
iously seek us out and care for us? Why dost Thou, at
the cost of thy Passion and the Cross, purchase our hap
piness? Without doubt, because thy incomprehensible
love and goodness esteems it as thy own, and we alone
insist in treating our own happiness as alien to Thee and
to ourselves.
249. My daughter, I wish that thou ponder and pene
trate more and more this mystery of which thou hast
written, so fixing it in thy soul, that thou wilt be drawn
to imitate my example at least in some part of it. Con
sider then, that in the vision of the Divinity which I had
on this occasion, I was made to comprehend the high
value which the Lord sets upon the labors, the Passion
and Death of my Son, and upon all those who were to
imitate and follow Jesus in the way of the Cross. Know
ing this, I not only offered to deliver my Son over to Pas
sion and Death, but I asked Him to make me his com
panion and partaker of all his sorrows, sufferings and tor
ments, which request the eternal Father granted. Then,
in order to begin following in the footsteps of his bitter
ness, I besought my Son and Lord to deprive me of in
terior delights; and this petition was inspired in me by
the Lord himself, because He wished it so, and because
my own love taught me and urged me thereto. This de
sire for suffering and the wishes of my divine Son led
me on in the way of suffering. He himself, because He
loved me so tenderly, granted me my desires; for those
whom He loves, He chastises and afflicts (Prov. 3, 12).
I as his Mother was not to be deprived of this blessed
distinction of being entirely like unto Him, which alone
makes this life most estimable. Immediately this will of
the Most High, this my earnest petition, began to be ful
filled : I began to feel the want of his delightful caresses
and He began to treat me with greater reserve. That
was one of the reasons, why He did not call me Mother,
but Woman, at the marriage-feast at Cana and at the foot
of the Cross (John 2, 4, 19, 26) ; and also on other occa
sions, when He abstained from words of tenderness. So
far was this from being
1 a sign of a diminution of his love,
that it was rather an exquisite refinement of his affection
to assimilate me to Him in the sufferings which He chose
for Himself as his precious treasure and inheritance.
250. Hence thou wilt understand the ignorance and
error of mortals, and how far they drift from the way
of light, when, as a rule, nearly all of them strive to avoid
labor and suffering- and are frightened by the royal and
secure road of mortification and the Cross. Full of this
deceitful ignorance, they do not only abhor resemblance
to Christ s suffering and my own, and deprive themselves
of the true and highest blessing of this life ; but they make
their recovery impossible, since all of them are weak and
afflicted by many sins, for which the only remedy is suf
fering. Sin is committed by base indulgence and is re
pugnant to suffering sorrow, while tribulation earns the
pardon of the just judge. By the bitterness of sorrow
and affliction the vapors of sin are allayed ; the excesses of
the concupiscible and irascible passions are crushed ; pride
and haughtiness are humiliated; the flesh is subdued;
the inclination to evil, to the sensible and earthly creatures,
is repressed ; the judgment is cleared ; the will is brought
within bounds and its desultory movements at the call
of the passions, are corrected ; and, above all, divine love
and pity are drawn down upon the afflicted, who embrace
suffering with patience, or who seek it to imitate my
most holy Son. In this science of suffering are renewed
all the blessed riches of the creatures ; those that fly from
them are insane, those that know nothing of this science
are foolish.
251. Exert thyself then, my dearest daughter, to ad
vance in this knowledge, welcome labors and suffering,
and give up ever desiring human consolations. Remem
ber also that in the spiritual consolations the demon con
ceals his pitfalls for thy ruin and destruction, for thou
shouldst know his continual attempts to ruin the spirit
ually inclined. The pleasures of contemplating and look
ing upon the Lord, and his caresses great or small, are
so enticing, that delight and consolation overflow in the
faculties of the mind and cause some souls to accustom
themselves to the sensible pleasures of this intercourse.
In consequence thereof they make themselves unfit for
other duties belonging* to reasonable life of human
creatures ; and when it is necessary to attend to them they
are annoyed, lose their interior peace and control, become
morose, intractable, full of impatience toward their
neighbors, forgetting all humility and charity. When
they then perceive their own restlessness and its conse
quences, they blame all to their exterior occupations, in
which the Lord has placed them for the exercise of their
obedience and charity, failing to see or acknowledge that
all their troubles arise from their want of mortification
and subjection to providence and from their attachment
to their own selfish inclinations. The demon tries to be
guile them by mere desires for quiet and solitude and the
secret communications of the Lord in solitude; for they
imagine, that in retirement all is good and holy, and that
all their trouble arises from inability to follow their pious
desires in solitude.
252. In these very faults thou hast fallen sometimes,
and from now on I wish that thou guard against them
especially. For all things there is a time, as the Wise
man says (Eccles. 3, 5), both for enjoying delightful em
braces and for abstaining therefrom. To seek to pre
scribe to the Lord a time for his intimate embraces is
the error of souls only beginning imperfectly to serve
the Lord and to strive after virtue; and similar is the
fault of feeling too deeply the want of these consolations.
I do not tell thee therefore purposely to seek distraction
and exterior occupations, nor to find thy pleasure in them,
for this is nothing short of dangerous : but to obey with
peace of mind whenever thy superiors command, and
willingly to leave the delights of the Lord in order to
find Him again in useful labor and in the service of thy
neighbor. This thou must prefer to retirement and to
private consolations, and on this account thou must not
love them too much ; for in the anxious cares of a superior
thou must learn to believe, hope and love so much the
more deeply. In this manner thou must find thy Lord at
all times, in all places and occupations, as thou hast al
ready experienced. I desire that thou never consider
thyself deprived of his sweetest vision and presence, or of
his most loving intercourse, or that thou doubt with
pusillanimity, whether thou canst find and enjoy God
outside of thy retirement. All creation is full of his
glory (Eccli. 42, 16), and there is no void, and thou
livest and movest and hast thy being in God (17, 28).
Enjoy thou thy solitude whenever He does not oblige
thee to these exterior occupations.
253. All this thou wilt still more fully understand in
the nobility of the love, which I require of thee for the
imitation of my Son and of me. With Him thou must
rejoice sometimes in his youth; sometimes accompany
Him in his labors for the salvation of men; sometimes
retire with Him to solitude; sometimes be transfigured
with Him to a new creature; sometimes embrace with
Him tribulations and the cross, following up the divine
lessons which He taught thereby; in short, I wish thee
to understand well, that in me there was a continual de
sire to imitate, or an actual imitation, of all that was most
perfect in his works. In this consisted my greatest per
fection and holiness, and therein I wish thee to follow
me, so far as thy weak strength, assisted by grace, will
allow. For this purpose thou must first die to all the
inclinations of a daughter of Adam, without reserving
in thee any choice of desires, any self-constituted judg
ment as to admitting or rejecting the good; for thou
knowest not what is befitting, and thy Lord and Spouse,
who knows it and who loves thee more than thou dost
thyself, will decide all this for thee, if thou resignest thy
self entirely to his will. He gives thee a free, hand
only in regard to thy love of Him and in thy desire to
suffer for Him, while in all the rest thy desires will only
make thee drift away from his will and mine. This will
surely be the result of following thy own will and incli
nations, desires and appetites. Deny and sacrifice them
all, raising thyself above thyself, up to the high and
exalted habitation of the Lord and Master; attend to his
interior lights and to the truth of his words of eternal
life (John 6, 69), and in order that thou mayest follow
them, take up the Cross (Matth. 16, 24), tread in his
footsteps, walk in the odor of his ointments (Cant. 1, 3),
and be anxious to reach thy Lord ; and having obtained
possession of Him, do not leave Him (Cant. 3, 4).
the Work of God Apostolate - mcog #132                                                

INDEX  Page up ^^


 The Work of God

 Mistical City of God