Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 5  Chapter  23    Verses:  254-262

254. When the Redeemer of the world had left the
bodily presence of his most loving Mother, She felt Her
self as it were in an eclipse or under a shadow, caused by
the transposition of the clear Sun of justice, which had
illumined and rejoiced Her; yet, though this might be
true of her senses, her soul lost nothing of the light in
which it bathed and in which it was raised above the burn
ing love of the seraphim. As all the operations of her fac
ulties, during the absence of the human personality of her
Son, concerned themselves with the Deity, She so ordered
all her doings, that, retired within her dwelling and sepa
rated from all human intercourse, She might apply Her
self to the contemplation and praise of the Lord. She
wanted to give Herself up entirely to the exercise of
prayer and petition in order that the seed of the divine
word and doctrine, which the Lord was to plant into the
hearts of men, might not be lost on account of their
hardness and ingratitude and not fail to give abundant
fruit of eternal life and salvation of souls. By means of
her infused knowledge She knew the intentions of the in
carnate Word and therefore the most prudent Lady re
solved not to converse with any human creature, in order
to imitate Him in his fasting and retirement of the desert,
as I will relate farther on; for She was a living image
and faithful reproduction of Christ, whether He was
absent or present.
255. Shut up in her house during all the days in which
her divine Son was absent, our blessed Lady spent her
time in exercise of devotion. Her prayers were so ardent,
that She shed tears of blood in weeping over the sins
of men. She genuflected and prostrated Herself upon
the ground more than two hundred times each day; and
this was an exercise, which She practiced with especial
earnestness during all her life, as an exterior manifesta
tion of her humility, charity, reverence and worship of
God. Of it I shall speak many times in the course of this
history. Thus co-operating with her absent Son and Re
deemer, She interceded so powerfully and efficaciously
with the eternal Father, that on account of her merits
and on account of her presence here upon this earth,
(according to our way of speaking) He forgot the sins
of all the mortals, who were then making themselves un
worthy of the preaching and doctrine of his most holy
Son. Mary then, cleared away this hindrance by the
clamors of her burning charity. She was the Mediatrix,
who merited and gained for us the blessing of being
taught by our Lord himself and of receiving the law of
his holy Gospel from his own lips.
256. What time still remained after her prolonged con
templations and exalted prayers, the great Queen spent
in conversation and intercourse with her holy angels;
for the Lord had commanded them anew to attend upon
their Mistress in bodily forms during all the time in
which her Son was to be absent. It is in this form that
they were to serve his Tabernacle and guard the holy City
of his habitation. The ministers of God obeyed most
diligently and served their Queen with admirable and
befitting reverence. As love is so active and so impatient
of the absence and privation of the object beloved, it
finds its greatest comfort in speaking of its sorrow and
rehearsing the cause of it, in renewing ever again the
memory and discussing the excellences and conditions of
the beloved; by such discourse it beguiles its sorrow,
diverts its grief, and recalls to memory the images of
her well-beloved. Such was also the course pursued by
the most loving Mother of our truest and highest Good ;
for while her faculties were overwhelmed by the immense
ocean of the Divinity She felt not the bodily absence of
her Son and Lord; but as soon as She again recovered
the use of her senses, which had been accustomed to his
amiable intercourse, and now found Herself deprived
of it, She immediately felt the irresistible force of her
most intense, chaste and sincere love, unfathomed by any
creature. It would have been impossible for nature to
suffer such pain and still retain life, had it not in Her
been divinely supported and strengthened.
257. In order to afford some relief to her sorrowladen
heart, She therefore returned to her holy angels
and complained to them as follows: "Ye diligent min
isters of the Most High, fashioned by the hands of my
Beloved, my friends and companions, give me intelli
gence of my cherished Son and Master; tell me where
He tarries, and inform Him that I am dying on account
of the want of his life-giving presence. O sweet and
bounteous love of my soul! Where art Thou, more
beautiful than all the sons of men? Where dost Thou
lay thy head? Where rests thy most delicate and most
holy body from its fatigues? Who is there to attend
upon Thee, light of my eyes? How can my tears ever
cease to flow, deprived of the clear light of the Sun,
which illumined mine? Where, O my Son, canst Thou
find repose ? Where shall this thy lonely and poor little
bee find Thee? What course shall this thy little bark
pursue in the vast billows of this ocean of love ? Where
shall I find peace? O Beloved of my desires, to forget
thy presence is not possible to me ! How then can it be
possible to live in mere memory of Thee without actual
intercourse? What shall I do? O who shall console
me and lend me his company in this bitter solitude, whom
shall I seek among creatures, as long as Thou art absent,
who art the only One and all that my heart yearns after
in its love? Sovereign spirits, tell me, what does my
Lord and my Beloved? Inform me of his exterior
movements, and omit nothing of his interior doings, as
far as in the light of his Divinity is made clear to you.
Point out to me all his footsteps in order that I may
follow and imitate Him."
258. The holy angels obeyed their Queen, consoling
Her in the sorrows of her mournful love, speaking of the
Most High and repeating to Her most exalted praises
of the most sacred humanity of her son and of all his
perfections. They informed Her of all his occupations
and undertakings, and of the places in which He wan
dered. This they did by enlightening her understanding
in the same way a higher angel is wont to enlighten
those of an inferior order: for this was her manner of
intercourse with the angels, unhindered by her body and
the senses. The heavenly Spirits communicated to Her
the prayers of the incarnate Word, his teachings, his
visits to the poor and the sick, and other actions, so that
the heavenly Lady was enabled to imitate Him in all
these proceedings according to her condition. She thus
engaged in most excellent and magnanimous undertak
ings, as I shall yet describe, and by this means She was
eased in her sorrow and grief.
259. She also several times sent the holy angels to
visit in her name her sweetest Son. On such occasions
She gave them most prudent instructions, full of deep
and reverential love: also supplying them with linen
cloths and towels, prepared by her own hands, in order
that they might wipe the divine visage of the Savior,
when they saw him exhausted and covered with a bloody
sweat; for the blessed Mother knew, that He was thus
overcome more and more often, as He approached the
fulfillment of all the works of the Redemption. The
holy angels obeyed their Queen therein with incredible
reverence and holy fear, because they knew that the
Lord himself permitted it in order to yield to the ardent
desires of his most holy Mother. At other times, in
formed by the angels or by a special vision or revelation
of the Lord, She knew of his prayers and petitions for
mankind in the mountains : then She would perform the
same prayers in her house in the same posture and with
the same words. Sometimes, when She saw that the
Lord of all creation was in want of food, She also sent
Him, by the hands of the angels, some nourishment,
although this happened but seldom; for the Lord, as I
have indicated in the foregoing chapter, did not always
permit his Mother to act according to the promptings
of her love; therefore, during the forty days of his fast,
She did not send any food, because She understood
such to be his will.
260. At other times the heavenly Lady occupied Her
self in composing hymns of praise and thanksgiving to
the Most High; this She did by Herself or in company
and alternating songs with the angels. All these can
tides were most exalted in style and contained the
deepest mysteries. At other times She hastened to the
assistance of her neighbor in imitation of her most holy
Son. She visited the sick, consoled the sorrowful and
afflicted, enlightened the ignorant, brought relief to them
and enriched them with divine grace and bounty. Only
during the time of the great fast of our Lord She retired
and remained in her house, as I have already mentioned.
During this retirement, our Queen and Lady separated
Herself from all human company and She was favored
by almost continually recurring ecstasies, in which She
received peerless gifts and treasures of the Divinity;
for the hand of the God imprinted and painted, as upon
an admirably prepared canvas, the outlines and images
of his infinite perfections. All these new graces and
gifts She employed in working for the salvation of men,
and all her occupations and thoughts followed closely
the doings of the Savior, as becoming the Coadjutrix
of the Lord in his labors for the Redemption of mor
tals. Although these benefits and close intercourse with
the Lord could not but bring Her a great and ever new
joy and exultation of soul in the Holy Spirit, yet in the
inferior and sensible parts of her being She experienced
the pains, which She had sought and asked of the
Savior in union with Him and in imitation of his suf
ferings. In this desire of following Him in his suffer
ings, She was insatiable, and She besought the eternal
Father for this privilege with incessant and burning love.
She renewed that most pleasing sacrifice of the life of her
Son and her own, which She had made in accordance
with the will of God, and She was consumed with the
desire of suffering with her Beloved, enduring the great
est pains precisely because of the want of such suffering.
261. My dearest daughter, the wisdom of the flesh
has made men ignorant, foolish and hostile to God, be
cause it is of the devil, deceitful, earthly and rebellious
to the divine laws (Rom. 8, 7). The more the children
of Adam study and exert themselves to reach the evil
objects of their carnal and animal passions, and to attain
the means of indulging them, so much the more will they
fall into ignorance of divine things, by which alone they
can come to their true ultimate end. This ignorance
and worldly prudence is still more abominable and still
more hateful in the eyes of God, when it occurs in the
children of the Church. By what right can the children
of this world call themselves sons of God, brethren of
Christ and inheritors of his possessions? The adopted
son must be, in all that is possible, like unto the natural
son. A brother is not of different blood or position from
that of his brother. One is not called an heir merely
because he is in some way concerned with the possessions
of his father, but because he has the full enjoyment and
comes into the possession of the principal property of
the testator. How then are those heirs of Christ, who
love, desire and seek only earthly goods and are perfectly
satisfied with them? How can those be his brothers,
who so widely depart from his position, his teachings
and his holy rule of life? How can they be similar to
Him and claim to be his image and likeness, when they
so often destroy in themselves all likeness of Him and
allow themselves to be so often sealed with the image
of the infernal beast? (Apoc. 16, 2).
262. By divine light thou knowest, my daughter, these
truths, and how much I exerted myself to make myself
the image of the Most High, namely, my Son and Lord.
Do not think, that I have given thee such deep insight
into my works without some purpose; for it is my wish
that this remain written in thy heart and be forever
before thy eyes, serving thee as a rule for all thy conduct
during the remainder of thy life, which cannot be of
very long duration now. Do not allow thyself to be
retarded and snared away from my following by inter
course with creatures; let them alone, avoid them, de
spise them in so far as they can hinder thee on thy way.
In order that thou mayest advance in my school, I wish
to see thee poor, humble, despised, abased yet always
with a cheerful heart and countenance. Do not try to
repay thyself with the applause or the love of any crea
ture, nor allow human sentiment to rule thee; for the
Most High has not destined thee for such useless en
tanglements, or for occupations so lowly and adverse
to the religious state to which He has called thee. Think
attentively and humbly of the tokens of his love received
at his hands; and of the treasures of his grace, which
He has showered upon thee. Neither Lucifer nor any
of his ministers and followers are ignorant of them : they
are filled with wrath against thee and in their cunning
they will let no stone unturned for thy destruction. His
greatest efforts will be directed against thy interior,
where he has planted his battery of cunning and deceit.
Do thou live well prepared and watchful against all his
attacks, close the portals of thy senses and preserve the
authority of thy will, without allowing it to be spent on
human undertakings no matter how good and upright
they may appear to thee: for if in the least point thou
curtail the love which God requires of thee, this very
point will be seized upon by thy enemies as a portal of
entrance. All the kingdom of God is within thee (Luke
17, 21), keep it there, and there wilt thou find it, and
in it all the good thou desirest. Forget not my teachings
and discipline, lock it up in thy bosom and remember
how great is the danger and damage from which I there
by wish to preserve thee. That thou art called to imitate
and follow me, is the greatest blessing, which thou canst
ever desire. I am ready in my extreme clemency to
grant thee this blessing, if thou dispose thyself to high
resolves, holy words and perfect works, which alone can
raise thee to the state which the Almighty and I desire
thee to attain.
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