Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 6  Chapter  1    Verses:  322-332

322. The evangelist, saint John, who in his first
chapter mentions the calling of Nathanael, the fifth
disciple of the Lord, begins his second chapter with the
words: "And the third day, there was a marriage at
Cana of Galilee; and the Mother of Jesus was there.
And Jesus also was invited and his disciples to the mar
riage" (John 2, 1). Hence it appears that the blessed
Lady was in Cana before her most holy Son was invited
to the wedding. I was ordered by my superiors to in
quire how this harmonizes with what I have said in the
preceding chapter and to ascertain what day was meant.
Then I was informed that, notwithstanding, the dif
ferent opinions of the commentators, this history of
the Queen and that of the Gospels coincided with each
other, and that the course of events was as follows:
Christ the Lord, with the five Apostles or disciples on
entering Galilee, betook themselves directly to Nazareth,
preaching and teaching on the way. On this journey He
tarried only a short time, but at least three days. Hav
ing arrived at Nazareth He baptized his blessed Mother,
as I have related, and thereupon immediately went forth
to preach with his disciples in some of the neighboring
places. In the meanwhile the blessed Lady, being invited
to the marriage mentioned by the Evangelist, went to
Cana ; for it was the marriage of some of her relatives in
the fourth degree on her mother s, Saint Anne s, side.
While the great Queen was in Cana, the news of the com
ing of the Redeemer into the world and of his having
chosen some disciples had already spread. By the dis
position of the Lord, who secretly ordained it for his own
high ends, and through the management of his Mother,
He was called and invited to the wedding with his
323. The third day mentioned by the Evangelist as
the wedding day of Cana is the third day of the week,
and, although he does not say this expressly, yet like
wise he does not say that it was the third day after the
calling of the disciples or his entrance into Galilee. If
he had meant this he certainly would have been more
explicit. According to the ordinary course, it was im
possible that Jesus should be present at a wedding on the
third day after his entering Galilee from Judea at the
place where He chose his first disciples; for Cana lay
within the limits of the tribe of Zabulon, near the
boundary of Phoenicia, far northward from Judea and
adjoining the tribe of Aser, a considerable distance
from the place where the Savior entered from Judea
into Galilee. If the wedding at Cana had been on the
third day after the calling of the first disciples, then only
two days intervened, whereas the journey from Judea to
Cana required three days ; moreover, He would first have
to be near Cana in order to receive such an invitation,
which would likewise require some time. Then, also,
in order to journey from Judea to Cana, He would
have to pass through Nazareth, for Cana is nearer to the
Mediterranean sea and to the tribe of Aser, as I have
said; hence his Mother would certainly have known of
his coming, and therefore would have awaited his arrival
instead of going on her visit to Cana. That the Evan
gelist does not mention the visit of the Lord to Nazareth,
nor the Baptism of the blessed Lady, was not because
it did not really happen, but because He and the other
writers confine themselves to that which pertains to
their purpose. Saint John himself says that they omit
the mention of many miracles performed by the Lord
(John 20, 30), since it was not necessary to describe
all of them. From this explanation it will be seen that
this history is confirmed by the Gospels themselves and
by the very passage in question.
324. While, therefore, the Queen of the world was
in Cana, her most holy Son with his disciples was in
vited to the marriage; and as in his condescension He
had brought about this invitation, He accepted it. He
betook himself to this wedding in order to sanctify and
confirm the state of Matrimony and in order to begin
to establish the authenticity of his doctrine by the mira
cle which He was to perform and of which He was to
declare Himself openly as the Author. As He had
already proclaimed Himself as the Teacher by admitting
his disciples, it was necessary to confirm their calling
and give authority to his doctrine in order that they
might receive and believe it. Hence, though He had
performed other wonders in private, He had not made
Himself known as the Author of them in public, as on
this occasion. On this account the Evangelist says:
"This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Gali
lee" (John 2, 11). This miracle took place on the same
day on which a year ago had happened the Baptism of
Jesus by saint John. This day was also the anniversary of
the adoration of the Kings, and, therefore, the holy
Roman Church celebrates the three mysteries on one
and the same day, the sixth of January. Our Lord had
now completed the thirtieth year of his life and had
begun his thirty-first year thirteen days before, being
those from the Nativity to Epiphany.
325. The Master of life entered the house of the
marriage feast saluting those present with the words:
"The peace of the Lord and his light be with you,"
literally fulfilling them by his arrival. Thereupon He
began to exhort and instruct the bridegroom concern
ing the perfection and holiness of his state of life. In
the meanwhile the Queen of heaven instructed the bride
in a similar manner, admonishing her in sweetest and yet
most powerful words concerning her obligations. Both
of the marriage couple afterwards fulfilled most per
fectly the duties of their state, into which they were
ushered and for which they were strengthened by the
Sovereigns of heaven and earth. I will not detain
myself in declaring that this bridegroom was not saint
John the Evangelist. It is enough to know (as I have
stated in the last chapter), that saint John had come
with the Savior as his disciple. The Lord had not
come to this wedding in order to disapprove of matri
mony, but in order to establish it anew and give it
credit, sanctifying and constituting it a Sacrament by
his presence. Hence He could not have had the inten
tion of separating the two married people immediately
after they had entered into this union. Nor did the
Evangelist ever have any intention of marrying. On
the contrary, our Savior, having exhorted the bride
groom and bride, added a fervent prayer addressed to
the eternal Father, in which He besought Him to pour
his blessings upon the institution for the propagation of
the human race in the new Law and to vest this state
with sacramental power to sanctify all those who would
receive it worthily in his holy Church.
326. The blessed Virgin, co-operating in this work
and in all others for the benefit of the human race,
knew of the wishes and the prayer of her divine Son
and joined Him therein; and as She took upon Herself
the duty of making a proper return, which is so much
neglected by other men, She broke out in canticles of
praise and thanksgiving to the Lord for this benefit, and
the angels, at her invitation, joined Her in the praise of
God. This, however, was known only to the Lord and
Savior, who rejoiced in the wise behavior of his purest
Mother as much as She rejoiced in his. Then They
spoke and conversed with those that came to the wed
ding; but always with a wisdom and gravity worthy of
Themselves and with a view of enlightening the hearts
of all that were present. The most prudent Lady spoke
very few words and only when She was asked or when
it was very necessary; for She always listened and at
tended without interruption to the doings and sayings
of the Lord, treasuring them up and meditating upon
them in her most pure heart. All the words and be
havior of this great Queen during her life furnish an
exquisite example of retirement and modesty; and on
this occasion She was an example not only for the reli
gious, but especially for women in the secular state, if
they could only keep it before their mind in similar
circumstances (such, for instance, as this marriage feast
afforded), thus learning to keep silence, to restrain them
selves, compose their interior and allow no levity or
looseness to creep into their exterior deportment. For
never is moderation more necessary than in times of
danger ; and in women the most precious adornment and
the most charming beauty is silence, restraint and
modesty by which many vices are shut out and by which
all virtues of a chaste and respectable woman receive
their crowning grace.
327. At table the Lord and his most holy Mother ate
of some of the food, but with the greatest moderation;
yet also without showing outwardly their great absti
nence. Although when They were alone They did not
eat of such food, as I have already recorded, yet these
Teachers of perfection, who wished not to disapprove of
the common life of men, but wished to perfect it, accom
modated Themselves to all circumstances without any
extremes or noticeable singularity wherever it was pos
sible to do so without blame and without imperfection.
The Lord not only inculcated this by his example, but
He commanded his disciples and Apostles to eat of what
was placed before them on their evangelical tours of
preaching and not to show any singularity in their way
of life, such as is indulged in by the imperfect and those
little versed in the paths of virtue; for the truly poor
and humble must not presume to have a choice in their
victuals. By divine arrangement and in order to give
occasion to the miracle, the wine gave out during the
meal and the kind Lady said to her Son: "They have
no wine." And the Lord answered : "Woman, what is
that to Me and to thee? My hour is not yet come."
This answer of Christ was not intended as a reproach,
but contained a mystery; for the most prudent Queen
had not asked for a miracle by mere accident, but by
divine light. She knew that the opportune time for the
manifestation of the divine power of her Son was at
hand. She, who was full of wisdom and knowledge
concerning the works of the Redemption and was well
informed at what time and on what occasions the Lord
was to perform them; therefore, She could not be ig
norant of the proper moment for the beginning of this
public manifestation of Christ s power. It must also
be remembered that Jesus did not pronounce these words
with any signs of disapproval, but with a quiet and
loving majesty. It is true that He did not address the
blessed Virgin by the name of Mother, but Woman;
however, this was because, as I have said before, He
had begun to treat Her with greater reserve.
328. The mysterious purpose hidden in this answer
of Christ was to confirm the disciples in their belief of
his Divinity and to show Himself to all as the true God,
independent of his Mother in his being and in his power
of working miracles. On this account, also, He sup
pressed the tender appellation of Mother and called Her
Woman, saying: What does it concern thee or what
part have We, thou and I, in this? As if He wanted to
say: The power of performing miracles I have not re
ceived from thee, although thou hast given Me the
human nature in which I am to perform them. My
Divinity alone is to perform them and for It the hour
is not yet come. He wished to give Her to understand
that the time for working miracles was not to be de
termined by his most holy Mother, but by the will of
God, even though the most prudent Lady should ask for
them at an opportune and befitting time. The Lord
wished to have it understood that the working of mir
acles depended upon a higher than the human will, on
a will divine and above that of his Mother and alto
gether beyond it; that the will of his Mother was to be
subject to that which was his as the true God. Hence
Christ infused into the minds of the Apostles a new
light by which they understood the hypostatic union of
his two natures, and the derivation of the human na
ture from his Mother and of the divine by generation
from his eternal Father.
329. The blessed Lady well understood this mys
tery and She said with quiet modesty to the servants,
"Whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye." In these
words, showing her wise insight into the will of her
Son, She sj>oke
as the Mistress of the whole human race,
teaching us mortals, that, in order to supply all our
necessities and wants, it was required and sufficient on
our part to do all that the Savior and those taking his
place shall command. Such a lesson could not but come
from such a Mother and Advocate, who is so desirous
of our welfare and who, since She so well knew what
hindrance we place in the way of his great and numerous
miracles for our benefits, wishes to instruct us to meet
properly the beneficent intentions of the Most High.
The Redeemer of the world ordered the servants to fill
the jars or waterpots, which according to the Hebrew
custom had been provided for the occasion. All having
been filled, the Lord bade them draw some of the wine
into which the water had been changed, and bring it to
the chief steward of the feast, who was at the head of
the table and was one of the priests of the Law. When
this one had tasted of the wine, he called the bridegroom
in surprise and said to him : "Every man at first setteth
forth good wine, and when men have well drunk, then
that which is worse, but thou hast kept the good wine
until now."
330. The steward knew nothing of the miracle when
he tasted of the wine; because he sat at the head of
the table, while Christ and his Mother with his disciples
occupied the lower end of the table, practicing the doc
trine which He was afterwards to teach us; namely,
that in being invited to a feast we should not seek to
occupy the better places, but be satisfied with the lowest.
Then the miracle of changing the water into wine and
the dignity of the Redeemer was revealed. The disciples
believed anew as the Evangelist says, and their faith
in Him was confirmed. Not only they, but many of the
others that were present, believed that He was the true
Messias and they followed Him to the City of Caper
naum, whither the Evangelist tells us He, with his
Mother and disciples went from Cana. There, accord
ing to saint Matthew, He began to preach, declaring
Himself the Teacher of men. What saint John says of
his manifesting His glory by this sign or miracle does
not contradict his having wrought miracles before, but
supposes them to have been wrought in secret. Nor
does he assert that his glory was not shown also in
other miracles; but infers merely that Jesus did not
wish to be known as their Author, because the right
time determined by divine wisdom had not come. It
is certain that He performed many and admirable
wonders in Egypt; such as the destruction of the
temples and their idols. To all these miracles most
holy Mary responded with heroic acts of virtue in praise
and thanksgiving to the Most High, that his Holy name
was thus gloriously manifested. She was intent on
encouraging the new believers and in the service of her
divine Son, fulfilling these duties with peerless wisdom
and charity. With burning love She cried to the eternal
Father, asking Him to dispose the hearts and souls
of men for the enlightening words of the incarnate
Word and drive from them the darkness of their ig
331. My daughter, without any excuse is the forgetfulness
and negligence shown by each and everyone of
the children of the Church in regard to the spread and
manifestation of the glory of their God by making
known his holy name to all rational creatures. This
negligence is much more blamable now, since the eternal
Word became man in my womb, taught the world and
redeemed it for this very purpose. With this end in
view the Lord founded his Church, enriched it with
blessings and spiritual treasures, assigned to it min
isters and endowed it with temporal riches. All these
gifts are intended not only to preserve the Church in its
present state, but to extend it and draw others to the
regeneration of the Catholic faith. All should help
along to spread the fruits of the Death of their Re
deemer. Some can do it by prayer and urgent desires
for the exaltation of his holy name; others by alms
giving, others by diligent preaching, others by fervent
works of charity. But if this remissness is perhaps less
culpable in the ignorant and the poor, who have none
to exhort them; it is very reprehensible in the rich and
the powerful, and especially in the ministers and pre
lates of the Church, whose particular duty is the ad
vancement of the Church of God. Many of them, for
getting the terrible account which they will have to
render, seek only their own vain honor instead of
Christ s. They waste the patrimony of the blood of the
Redeemer in undertakings and aims not even fit to
mention; and through their fault allow innumerable
souls to perish, who by proper exertions could have
been gained for the holy Church ; or at least they lose the
merit of such exertions and deprive Christ of the glory
of having such faithful ministers in his Church. The
same responsibility rests upon the princes and the
powerful of the world, who receive from the hands of
God, honors, riches and temporal blessings for advanc
ing the glory of the Deity, and yet think less of this
obligation than of any other.
332. Do thou grieve for all these evils and labor, as
far as thy strength will allow, that the glory of the
Most High be manifest, that He be known in all na
tions, and that from the very stones may be generated
sons of Abraham (Matth. 3, 9), since of all this thou
art capable. Beseech Him to send able workers and
worthy ministers to his Church in order to draw men
to the sweet yoke of the Gospel; for great and plentiful
is the harvest, and few are the faithful laborers and zeal
ous helpers for harvesting it. Let what I have told
thee of my maternal and loving solicitude in gaining fol
lowers for my Son and in preserving them in his doc
trine and companionship, be to thee a living example for
thy own conduct. Never let the flame of this charity
die out in thy breast. Let also my silence and modesty
at the wedding feast be an inviolable rule for thee and
thy religious in all exterior actions, in retirement, mod
eration and discretion of words, especially in the pres
ence of men; for these virtues are the court dress, with
which the spouses of Christ must adorn themselves in
order to find grace in his divine eyes.
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