Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 6  Chapter  8    Verses:  417-429

417. All the mysteries connected with the triumph of
our Savior were great and admirable; but not the least
wonderful were the hidden effects of the divine power on
the hellish fiends, when, at the entrance of Jesus into
Jerusalem, they were cast into the infernal abysses. Two
entire days, from Sunday until Tuesday of that week, the
demons lay shattered by the right hand of the Almighty,
manifesting their furious torment to the damned souls
of those hellish caverns by their horrid and confused
howls of despair. The whole infernal dominion was
filled on that occasion with unwonted confusion and
pain. The prince of this darkness, Lucifer, more con
founded than all the rest, called to his presence all the
devilish hosts, and stationing himself on an eminence,
spoke to them as their chief.
418. "It cannot be otherwise than that this Man, who
thus persecutes us and destroys our influence, and who
thus crushes my power, is more than a Prophet. For
Moses, Elias and Eliseus and others of our enemies
among the ancients never vanquished us so completely, al
though they performed miracles; nor did they ever suc
ceed in hiding from me so many of their doings as this
One ; for especially of his interior works I can obtain little
information. How can a mere man perform such works
and manifest such supreme power over all creation, as
are publicly ascribed to Him? Without any change or
inflation of mind He received the praise and glorification
for these works from the mouths of men. In celebrating
this triumphal entry into Jerusalem He has shown new
power over us and over all the world; for even now I
find my strength for visiting destruction upon Him and
blotting out his name from the land of the living vanish
ing away (Jer. 11, 19). In his present triumph not only
his own friends have extolled Him and proclaimed Him
as blessed, but even many of those who were subject to
me have done the same and have called Him the Messias
promised in their law ; He has drawn them all to venerate
and adore Him. This certainly seems to exceed mere
human power; and if He is no more than man, there
never was one who partook of the divine power in such
a degree, and He is doing and will do us great damage.
Since the time when we were cast from heaven we
have never experienced such ruinous defeat, nor have
I ever encountered such overwhelming power before
this man came into the world. If He should be the in
carnate Word (as we suspect) there is necessity for
thorough deliberation; for if we permit Him to live, He
will by his example and teaching draw after Him all
mankind. In my hate I have several times sought to bring
about his death; but without success. In his own coun
try, when I instigated his countrymen to cast Him from
the precipice, He contemptuously took his way through
the midst of those who were to execute the sentence
(Luke 4, 30). On another occasion He simply made
Himself invisible to the pharisees, whom I had incited to
stone Him."
419. "But now, with the help of his disciple and our
friend Judas, matters seem to promise better success. I
have so wrought upon the mind of Judas, that he is will
ing to sell and betray his Master to the pharisees, whom
I have likewise incited to furious envy. They are anxious
to inflict upon Him a most cruel death, and will no
doubt do so. They are only waiting for an occasion,
which I will try my utmost to procure for them; for
Judas and the priests and the pharisees are ready to do
anything I suggest. Nevertheless I see in this a great
danger, which demands our closest attention; for if this
Man is the Messias expected by his people, He will offer
his Death and all his sufferings for the Redemption of
men and thereby satisfy for their misdeeds and gain
infinite merits for all of them. He will open the heavens
and pave the way for mortals to the enjoyment of those
rewards of which God has deprived us. Such an issue,
if we do not prevent it, shall indeed be a terrible torment
for us. Moreover this Man will leave to the world a
new example of patience in suffering and show its merit
to all the rest of mankind; for He is most meek and
humble of heart, and was never seen impatient or ex
cited. These same virtues He will teach all men, which
even to think of is an abomination to me, since these are
the virtues most offensive to me and to all those who
follow my guidance or are imbued with my sentiments.
Hence it is necessary to unite on a course of action in
regard to persecuting this strange Man, Christ, and
that you let me know what is your understanding of this
420. Then the princes of darkness, lashing themselves
to incredible fury against our Redeemer held long con
sultations concerning this enterprise. They deeply de
plored their having been probably led into great error,
by plotting his death with so much cunning and malice.
They concluded henceforth to make use of redoubled
astuteness and cunning to repair the damage done and
hinder his death, for they were by this time confirmed in
their suspicion, that He was the Messias, although they
did not reach altogether definite conclusions in this mat
ter. This suspicion was for Lucifer the cause of so much
anxiety and torment, that he approved of the new de
termination to hinder the death of the Savior and he
closed the meeting by saying: "Believe me, friends,
that if this Man is at the same time true God, He will,
by his Passion and Death, save all men; our dominion
will be overthrown and mortals will be raised to new
happiness and dominion over us. We were greatly mis
taken in seeking his death. Let us immediately proceed
to repair our damage."
421. With this intention Lucifer and all his ministers
betook themselves to the city and neighborhood of
Jerusalem, and there, as is referred in the Gospels, they
exerted their influence with Pilate and his wife to pre
vent the death of the Lord (Matth. 27, 19), and to
place other hindrances, which certainly arose, but are
not recorded in the Gospels. For before all others they
beset Judas with new suggestions, dissuading him from
his intended treachery toward his divine Master. When
by their suggestions they failed to change his mind or
make him desist from his purpose, Lucifer appeared to
him in visible and corporeal form and reasoned with
him not to procure the death of Christ through the help
of the pharisees. Being aware of the unbounded avarice
of the disciple, the demon offered him great riches, if he
would not deliver Him over to his enemies. Lucifer
now tried much more earnestly to deter Judas than
formerly to persuade him to sell his most meek and
divine Master.
422. But, O woe and misery of human aberration!
Judas had given himself up to the leading of satan s
malice, but would not now follow his guidance away
from it! For the enemy could not call to aid the force
of divine grace, and vain are all other motives and in
fluences to prevent man from falling into sin and to make
him follow his true good. It was not impossible for
God to convert the heart of this perfidious disciple; but
the persuasion of the demon, who had torn him from
grace, was of no avail for this purpose. The Lord how
ever was justified in not supplying Judas with further
help, since he had cast himself into his exceeding great
obstinacy while in the very school of his divine Master,
continuing to resist his teaching, inspirations and vast
favors; disregarding, in dreadful presumption, the coun
sels of the Lord and those of his most holy Mother;
despising the living example of their lives, the intercourse
with them and with all the Apostles. Against all these
influences for good the impious disciple had hardened
himself with more than demoniacal obstinacy and beyond
all the malice of a man free to follow the right. Having
run such a course of evil, he arrived at a state, in
which his hatred of Christ and of his Mother made him
incapable of seeking any of their mercy, unworthy of
any light to recognize it and blind to all reason and natu
ral law, which could have made him hesitate to in
jure the guiltless Originator of so many blessings con
ferred upon him. This is indeed an astounding example
and dreadful warning for the foolish weakness and
malice of men, all of whom, if they have no fear, may
be drawn into similar dangers and destruction, and bring
upon themselves a like unhappy and lamentable ruin.
423. The demons, in despair of ever being able to
influence Judas, betook themselves to the pharisees. By
many suggestions and arguments they sought to dissuade
them from persecuting Christ, our Lord and Savior.
But the same happened with them as with Judas and for
the same reasons; they could not be diverted from their
purpose nor from the wicked deed which they had
planned. Although some of the scribes, from motives
of human prudence, were led to reconsider whether what
they had resolved was advisable; yet, as they were not
assisted by divine grace, they were soon again overcome
by their hate and envy of the Savior. Hence resulted
the further efforts of Lucifer with the wife of Pilate and
with Pilate himself. The former, as is recorded in the
Gospels, they incited to womanly pity in order that she
might urge Pilate to beware of condemning that just
Man (Matth. 27, 19). By these suggestions and by
others, which they themselves made to Pilate, they in
duced him to resort to so many different shifts in order
to evade passing sentence of death upon the innocent
Savior. Of these I will speak in their proper place. As
Lucifer and his satellites were entirely discomfited in
their efforts, they again changed their purpose and in
their fury now resolved to induce the pharisees, the
executioners and their helpers, to heap the most atrocious
cruelties upon the Lord and, by the excess of torment, to
overcome the invincible patience of the Redeemer. All
these machinations of the devil the Lord permitted in
order that the high ends of the Redemption might be at
tained; yet He did not allow the executioners to execute
on the sacred person of the Savior some of the more
indecent atrocities, to which they were incited by the
424. On the Wednesday following his triumphal entry
into Jerusalem Christ our Lord remained at Bethany
without going to Jerusalem, and on this day the scribes
and pharisees met at the house of Caiphas in order to
plan the death of the Savior of the world (Mark 14, 1).
The welcome, which the Redeemer had met with among
the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and which had followed
so shortly upon the resurrection of Lazarus and the
many other miracles of those days, had excited their
envy to the highest pitch. Besides they had already
resolved to take away his life under the false pretext
of the public good, as Caiphas had prophesied so con
trary to his intention (John 11, 49). The demon, who
saw them thus determined, suggested to some of them
not to execute their design on the feast of the Pasch
lest the people who venerated Christ as the Messias or a
great prophet, should cause a disturbance. Lucifer
sought by this delay an opportunity to hinder the death
of the Lord altogether. But as Judas was now entirely
in the clutches of his avarice and hate, and altogether
deprived of any saving grace, he came to the meeting of
the priests in great disturbance and terror of mind, and
began to treat with them concerning the betrayal of his
Master. He closed the deal by accepting thirty pieces
of silver, contenting himself with such a price for Him
who contained within Himself all the treasures of
heaven. In order not to lose their opportunity the priests
put up with the inconvenience of its being so near the
Pasch. All this was so disposed by divine Providence
directing these events.
425. At the same time happened what our Savior is
recorded as saying in saint Matthew : "You know that
after two days shall be the Pasch, and the Son of man
shall be delivered up to be crucified" (Matth. 26, 2).
Judas was not present when these words were uttered
by Christ ; but in the same furious spirit in which he had
sold Jesus, he returned to the Apostles and perfidiously
began to inquire of his companions, and even of the
Lord and his blessed Mother, whither They were to go
from Bethany and what the Master was to do on the
following few days. All this was merely a treacherous
preparation of the perfidious disciple for the betrayal of
his Master to the chief pharisees. Like a consummate
hypocrite, Judas sought to palliate his treachery by a
pretended interest and anxiety. But both the Savior and
his most blessed Mother well understood the purpose of
feverish activity; for the holy angels immediately re
ported to Them his shameful contract to which he had
bound himself for thirty pieces of silver. On that very
day, when the traitor approached the great Lady to
ask Her, where the Lord proposed to partake of the
Pasch, She, with ineffable meekness, answered him:
"Who can penetrate, O Judas, the secret judgments of
the Most High?" Thenceforward She ceased to warn
him against committing the sin; but both She and the
Lord tolerated his presence, until he himself despaired
of remedy and eternal salvation. But this meekest Dove,
now certain of the irreparable ruin of Judas and of the
delivery of her most holy Son into the hands of his
enemies, broke out in tenderest lamentations in the pres
ence of the angels, for they were the only ones with
whom She could confer about her heartrending sorrow.
In their presence She permitted the sea of her sorrow
to overflow and gave expression of words of greatest
wisdom and affection. She excited the wonder of these
holy angels, who saw such an exalted and new perfection
practiced by a mere Creature in the midst of bitterest
sorrows and tribulations.
426. My daughter, all that thou hast understood and
written in this chapter contains great and instructive
mysteries for the mortals who will meditate upon it.
Prudently consider first of all, how my most holy Son,
though He, in order to foil and overcome the devil, and
in order to weaken his power against men, permitted him
to retain the nature and the penetrating knowledge of an
angel, nevertheless concealed many things from him,
as thou hast already recorded in other places. In with
holding them from his knowledge the Almighty foiled
the malice of this dragon in a manner most befitting his
sweet and irresistible Providence. On this account was
the hypostatic union of the divine and the human natures
concealed, and the devil was allowed to fall into so great
confusion regarding this mystery and to be driven into
so many cross purposes, until the Lord revealed himself
and convinced him of the divine glory of his soul even
from the moment of his conception. Likewise He per
mitted the devil to witness some of the miracles of his
most holy life, and concealed from him many others. In
a similar manner the Lord provides for the welfare of
souls in our days, for, although the devil can by his
natural powers inform himself of all the doings of each
soul, God will not permit it and hides much from him
for reasons of his own Providence. Afterwards He
allows him to find them out for his greater humiliation.
Thus after the work of the Redemption, He permitted
the demon for his greater torment and confusion to be
come aware of so many unheeded mysteries. The in
fernal dragon is continually lurking about to search into
the doings of souls, not only into the exterior, but into
the interior activities of each soul. But my most holy
Son exerts a most loving care over them ever since He
was born and died for them.
427. This blessed care would be much more general
and continual with many, if they themselves did not
make themselves unworthy by delivering themselves over
to the enemy and listening to his deceits and his mali
cious and cunning advice. Just as the virtuous and the
friends of God gradually become instruments in the
hands of the Lord and resign themselves entirely to his
divine disposition, so that He alone governs and directs
them and does not allow them to be moved by other
agencies; so, in like manner, many of the reprobate and
of those who are forgetful of their Creator and Re
deemer and who deliver themselves over to the devil
by repeated sins, are moved and drawn into all kinds of
wickedness and are mere tools of his depraved malice.
An example of this we have in the perfidious disciple and
in the murderous pharisees persecuting their Redeemer.
None of the mortals are blameless in this respect : for,
just as Judas and the priests by the use of their own free
will, refused to follow the good advice of the demon
and desist from persecuting Christ our Savior, so they
could much more easily have refused to join him in
persecuting Christ, when they were first tempted. For
then they were assisted by grace, if only they wished to
use it, while afterwards they were assisted only by their
own free choice and led by their bad habits. That they
were in the second instance deprived of grace and help
of the Holy Ghost, was only just, because they had
given themselves up and subjected themselves to the
demon. They had made up their minds to follow him in
all his malice and allow themselves to be governed en
tirely by his perversity, without ever considering the
goodness and power of their Creator.
428. Hence you will understand that this infernal
serpent can have no power to lead anyone toward the
good, but very much toward leading those souls into
sin, who are neglectful in issuing from their evil state.
Truly I say to thee, my daughter, that if mortals would
thoroughly understand this danger, they would be
struck with great terror; for there is no created power,
which can prevent a soul that has once yielded to sin
from casting itself from abyss to abyss. Since the sin
of Adam, the weight of human nature, burdened with the
concupiscible and irascible passions, is drawn toward sin
as the stone toward its center. Joined to this tendency
are the bad habits and customs, the power of satan over
those who have sinned, and his unceasing tyranny. Who
is there, that is so much an enemy of his own welfare
as to despise these dangers? The Almighty alone can
free him and to his right hand is reserved the remedy.
In spite of all this mortals live as secure and forgetful of
their ruin as if each one had it in his own power to
prevent and repair it at his pleasure. Though many
know and openly confess that they cannot rise from their
own ruin without the help of God; yet they allow this
consciousness to become a mere habit and a vague senti
ment and instead of lovingly seeking his aid, they offend
and irritate God, expecting Him to wait upon them with
his grace until they are tired of sinning or until they
are unable to continue their abominable wickedness and
429. Do thou fear, my dearest, this dreadful clanger
and beware of the first sin, for after the first sin thou
wilt be still less able to resist the second, and thou increasest
the power of the devil over thee. Remember
that thy treasure is most valuable and the vase, in which
thou carriest it, fragile: by one fall thou canst lose it
all (II Cor. 4, 7). Great is the cunning and sagacity
which the serpent uses against thee, and thy insight is
but small. Therefore thou must collect thy senses and
close them to all outward things; thou must withdraw
thy interior within the wall of protection and refuge
raised for thee by the Almighty, whence thou canst repel
all the inhuman assaults of thy enemies. To excite this
fear in thee, it will be sufficient to consider the punish
ment of Judas which has been made clear to thy under
standing. In regard to thy imitation of my behavior in
other matters : how thou shouldst act toward those who
hate and persecute thee, how thou shouldst love them
and bear with them in charity and patience, and how
thou shouldst pray for them to the Lord with true zeal
for their salvation, as I have done for the traitor Judas :
in all this I have before this often exhorted thee. I
desire that thou excel and distinguish thyself therein,
and that thou instruct thy religious and all those with
whom thou dealest in this manner of acting. For in
view of the patience and meekness of my most holy
Son and my own example, the wicked and all mortals
shall be covered with unutterable confusion because they
have not pardoned each other with fraternal charity.
The sins of hate and vengeance shall be punished with
greater severity than other sins on the judgment day;
and in this life these vices will soonest drive away the
infinite mercy of God and cause eternal punishment of
men, unless they amend in sorrow. Those that are kind
and sweet toward their enemies and persecutors, and
who forget injuries, resemble on that account more par
ticularly the incarnate Word: for Christ always went
about seeking to pardon and to load with blessings those
who were in sin. By imitating the charity and the meek
ness of the Lamb, the soul disposes itself to receive and
maintain that noble spirit of charity and love of God
and the neighbor, which makes it apt for all the influences
of divine grace and benevolence.
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