Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 5  Chapter  27    Verses:  298-305

298. Christ our Redeemer, having triumphed over the
devil and all his vices and having attained the high and
mysterious ends of his retirement and fast in the desert,
now resolved to leave his solitude in order to pursue
the further works enjoined upon Him by the eternal
Father for the Redemption of man. In taking leave of
the desert, He prostrated Himself upon the ground,
praising the eternal Father and giving Him thanks for
all that He had done through his sacred humanity for
the glory of the Divinity and for the benefit of the
human race. He added also a fervent prayer for all
those who would, in imitation of Him, retire either
for their whole life or for some time, into solitude,
and far from the world and its allurements follow Him
in contemplation and holy exercises for their spiritual
advancement. The Father in heaven promised his
favors and his words of eternal life as well as his
special helps and his blessings of sweetness to all those,
who on their part dispose themselves properly to receive
and correspond with them. Having said this prayer
the Savior, as true man, asked permission to leave the
desert and attended by the holy angels He departed.
299. The Master directed his most faithful steps to-
ward the Jordan, where his great Precursor saint John
was still preaching and baptizing. By his presence and
appearance there He wished to secure new testimony
of his mission and Divinity through the mouth of saint
John. Moreover He was drawn by his own love to see
and speak with him, for during his Baptism the heart
of the Precursor had become inflamed and wounded by
the divine love of the Savior, which so resistlessly at
tracted all creatures. In the hearts which were well
disposed, as was that of saint John, the fire of love
burned with so much the greater ardor and violence.
When the Baptist saw the Savior coming to him
the second time, his first words were those recorded
by the Evangelist: "Behold the Lamb of God, behold
Him who taketh away the sin of the world." Saint
John gave this testimony while pointing out the Lord
with his finger to those who were listening to his instruc
tions and were receiving Baptism at his hands. He
added: "This is He of whom I said: after me there
cometh a Man, who is preferred before me; because
He was before me. And I knew Him not; but that He
may be made manifest in Israel, therefore I am come
baptizing with water."
300. These words the Baptist spoke, because before
Jesus had come to be baptized, he had not seen Him,
nor received any revelations concerning his coming, as
was the case on this occasion and as I have said in
chapter the twenty- fourth. He continued to speak of
Christ, telling the bystanders how he had seen the Holy
Ghost descend upon the Lord in Baptism, and how he
had given testimony of his being Christ the Son of
God (John 1, 29-32). For while Jesus was in the desert
the Jews had sent to Him the embassy from Jerusalem,
which is spoken of in the first chapter of the Gospel
of saint John, asking him, who he was and the other
questions there recorded. The Baptist answered that
he was baptizing in water, but that in their midst had
been One whom they knew not (for Christ had been
among them at the Jordan). This One, saint John said,
was to come later, whose shoe-latches he was not worthy
to loosen. Hence, when saint John again saw the Savior
returning from the desert, he called Him the Lamb of
God and referred to the testimony, which shortly before
he had given to the Pharisees, at the same time adding,
that he had seen the Holy Ghost descending upon his
head, as had been promised him by revelation before
hand. Both saint Matthew and saint Luke also men
tion, that the voice of the Father was heard at his
Baptism, whereas saint John the Apostle mentions only
the appearance of the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove;
for he wished to record merely the words of saint John
to the Jews in regard to Christ.
301. The Queen of heaven, in her retirement, knew
of this faithful testimony of the Precursor in denying,
that he himself was the Christ and in asserting the
Divinity of her Son. In return She begged the Lord
to reward his faithful servant John. The Almighty
granted her prayer, for the holy Baptist was raised
above all the woman-born in the esteem of the Most
High. Because saint John refused the honors offered
to him, the Lord conferred upon him the highest honor
that is possible to give to a man next to the Redeemer.
On this occasion, when the Baptist saw the Savior the
second time, he was filled with new and vast graces of
the Holy Ghost. Some of the bystanders, when they
heard him say: "Behold the Lamb of God," were
strongly moved and asked him many questions; but,
the Savior, permitting him to inform his hearers of the
truth as explained above, turned away and left this
place to go to Jerusalem. Jesus was but a very short
time near the Precursor. He did not go directly to
the holy city; but for many days He tarried in smaller
towns, teaching the people and in a veiled manner telling
them, that the Messias was already in the world. He
directed them on the way of salvation, and induced
many to seek the Baptism of John, in order to prepare
themselves by penance for the coming Redemption.
302. The Evangelists say nothing of the time and of
the doings of Christ immediately after his fast. But I
have been informed, that the Savior remained about ten
months in Judea before He returned to Nazareth in
order to see his blessed Mother. Nor did He enter
Galilee until He had again allowed Himself to be seen
by saint John, who for the second time proclaimed Him
as the Lamb of God. This time it was done in the hear
ing of Andrew and the first Apostles; and immediately
afterward He called Philip, as related by John the Evan
gelist (John 1, 36-43). These ten months the Savior
spent in enlightening the souls and preparing them by
his helps, his teaching and admirable blessings, stirring
them up from their stupor, so that afterwards, when
He should begin to work miracles, He might find them
more ready to believe and follow Him as their Re
deemer. Many of those whom He had during this time
catechized and instructed, really became his followers.
He did not speak with the pharisees and scribes during
this time; for they were not so well disposed to believe
that the Messias had come. They did not admit such
belief even afterwards, when this truth had been con
firmed by his preaching and when his miracles and other
testimonies had so clearly given witness to Christ our
Lord (Matth. 11, 5). To the humble and the poor, who
on account of their station of life merited to be the first
to be evangelized and instructed (Luke 4, 18), the
Savior preached during these ten months in the kingdom
of Judea; to them He showed his merciful liberality not
only by individual instruction, but by his hidden favors
and private miracles. Hence they received Him as a
great Prophet and a holy Man. He stirred the hearts
of innumerable persons to forsake sin and to seek the
kingdom of God, which was now approaching.
303. Our blessed Lady remained during all this time
in Nazareth, knowing of all the doings of her Son;
She was kept informed of them not only by the divine
light, of which I have spoken, but also by the messages
brought to Her by her thousand angels, who, during
the absence of the Redeemer, always appeared to Her
in bodily forms. In order to imitate Him perfectly, She
left her solitude at the same time as the Savior. Though
She could not grow in love, yet, after the overthrow
of the demons through our Lord s fasting and other
virtues, She manifested it by greater fervor. The
heavenly Mother having received new increase of
grace, ardently set about imitating all the works of her
Son for the benefit of the human race and acting as his
messenger in the manifestation of his office as Re
deemer of mankind. Accompanied by her angels, filled
with the plenitude of wisdom and furnished with the
power of Mistress of the universe, She went forth from
her house in Nazareth to the neighboring places and per
formed great miracles, although in a hidden manner,
just as the incarnate Word was doing in Judea. She
spoke of the advent of the Messias without revealing
who He was; She instructed many in the way of life,
drew them from their sins, put to flight the demons,
enlightened the erring and the ignorant and prepared
them for the Redemption by inducing them to believe
in its Author. To these spiritual works of mercy She
added many bodily blessings, healing the sick, consoling
the afflicted, visiting the poor. Though She labored
mostly among the women, yet She benefited also many
of the men, who, if they were despised and poor, were
not deprived of her aid and of the happiness of being
visited by the Sovereign of the angels and of all the
304. In imitation of all that the Lord was doing in
Judea, She also went about on foot spending nearly all
this time on her excursions, yet She returned a few
times to her dwelling in Nazareth. During these ten
months She ate very little; for, as I have indicated in
the preceding chapter, She had been so satiated and
strengthened by the celestial food sent to Her by her
Son from the desert, that She was enabled not only to
travel afoot to many places and over great distances,
but also to abstain from other nourishment. The blessed
Lady likewise knew of the doings of saint John while
preaching and baptizing on the banks of the Jordan.
Several times She sent him a multitude of her angels in
order to encourage him and thank him for the loyalty he
had shown to her Lord and Son. In the midst of all these
occupations the loving Mother suffered great agonies of
desire to enjoy the sight and the presence of her most
holy Son; while the heart of Jesus in return was
wounded by the clamors of her chaste and heavenly
love. Before returning to visit Her and before begin
ning his public preaching and miracles, happened what
I shall relate in the following chapter.
305. I will give thee two important lessons deducted
from this chapter. First, love solitude and seek it with
particular affection in order that thou mayest partake
of the blessings promised and merited by my divine
Son for those who imitate Him therein. As far as
possible, when thou art not obliged to converse with thy
neighbor in virtue of obedience always try to be alone;
and when thou art obliged to come out of thy retire
ment and solitude, carry it with thee in the secret of thy
heart in such a manner that thy senses and thy occu
pations shall not deprive thee of it. Attend to thy out
ward employments as if they were to be done only in
passing, and consider thy retirement as something which
is to be permanent; for this purpose thou must not
allow the images of creatures to enter thy mind, for,
very often, they occupy the mind more completely than
the objects themselves, and they .always embarrass the
soul and take away from it the liberty of the heart. It
is unworthy of thee to let thy heart be interested in
anything or be taken up by any creature. My divine
Son wishes to be in it all alone and this is also what
I desire. My second lesson is that thou learn to set a
proper value on thy soul, in order to preserve it in its
purity and innocence. Over and above this, however,
although it is my will that thou labor for the justifica
tion of all men, I wish that thou, in imitation of my Son
and of me, busy thyself especially with the poor and
despised of this world. These little ones often beg for
the bread of counsel and instruction (Thren. 4, 4), and
they find none to give it to them, as do the rich and
powerful of the earth who have many to advise them.
Of these poor and despised ones many come to thee;
admit them with true compassion; console them kindly,
so that, in their simplicity, they may follow enlightened
counsel; for counsel is to be administered to the better
instructed in a different way. Seek to gain those souls,
who, on account of their temporal necessities, are so
much the more precious in the eyes of God; I wish that
thou labor incessantly, that they and all others may not
waste the fruit of Redemption; nor do thou ever rest
from this labor; be ready even to die, if necessary, to ad
vance this enterprise.
the Work of God Apostolate - mcog #137                                                

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