Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 6  Chapter  9    Verses:  430-444

430. Let us now proceed in our history and return to
our Savior in Bethany, whither, after his triumphal entry
into Jerusalem, He had returned with his Apostles. In
the last chapter we anticipated the course of events in re
lating what was undertaken by the demons before the
betrayal of Christ and what resulted from the infernal
consultation, the treachery of Judas and the council of
the pharisees. We will now take up the thread of events
in Bethany, where the great Queen attended upon and
served her divine Son during the three days intervening
between the Palm Sunday and Maundy Thursday. All
this time, except what was consumed on Monday and
Tuesday in going to Jerusalem and teaching in the
temple, the Author of life spent with his blessed Mother;
for on Wednesday He did not go to Jerusalem, as I have
already said. On these last journeys He instructed his
disciples more clearly and fully concerning the mysteries
of his Passion and of human Redemption. Nevertheless,
although they listened to the teachings and forewarnings
of their God and Master, each one was affected thereby
only in so far as his disposition allowed and according to
the motives and sentiments of his heart. They were
always tardy in their response and in the weakness they
fell short of their protestations of zealous love, as the
events afterwards showed and as we shall see later on.
431. But to the most blessed Mother our Savior, dur
ing the day immediately preceding his Passion, com
municated such exalted sacraments and mysteries of the
Redemption and of the new law of grace, that many
of them will remain hidden until they shall be revealed
in the beatific vision. Of those which I have understood
I can say very little : but into the heart of the great
Queen her Son deposited all that David calls uncertain
and hidden of his divine wisdom (Ps. 50, 8). Namely
the greater part of the secrets of his works ad extra;
such as our salvation, the glorification of the predestined
and the consequent exaltation of his holy name. The
Lord instructed Mary in all that She was to do during
his Passion and Death and enlightened Her anew with
divine light. In all these conferences her most holy
Son spoke to Her with a new and kingly reserve, such as
was in harmony with the greatness of the matter treated
of ; for now the tenderness and caresses of a Son and
Spouse had entirely ceased. But as the natural love of
the sweetest Mother and the burning charity of her
purest soul had now reached a degree above all com
prehension of the human mind, and as the conversation
and intercourse with her divine Son was now drawing
to a close, no created tongue can describe the tender and
mournful affections of that purest of hearts and the sighs
of her inmost soul. She was as the mysterious turtle
dove, that already began to feel the approach of that
solitude, which the company of no creature in heaven or
on earth could ever relieve or compensate.
432. Thursday, the eve of the Passion and Death of
the Savior, had arrived ; at earliest dawn the Lord called
to Him his most beloved Mother and She, hastening to
prostrate Herself at his feet, responded; "Speak, my
Lord and Master, for thy servant heareth." Raising
Her up from the ground, He spoke to Her in words of
soothing and tenderest love: "My Mother, the hour
decreed by the eternal wisdom of my Father for ac
complishing the salvation and restoration of the human
race and imposed upon Me by his most holy and accept
able will, has now arrived ; it is proper that now We sub
ject to Him our own will, as We have so often offered
to do. Give Me thy permission to enter upon my suffer
ing and death, and, as my true Mother, consent that I
deliver Myself over to my enemies in obedience to my
eternal Father. In this manner do Thou also willingly
co-operate with Me in this work of eternal salvation,
since I have received from Thee in thy virginal womb
the form of a suffering and mortal man in which I am
to redeem the world and satisfy the divine justice. Just
as thou, of thy own free will, didst consent to my Incar
nation, so I now desire thee to give consent also to my
passion and death of the Cross. To sacrifice Me now
of thy own free will to the decree of my eternal
Father, this shall be the return which I ask of thee for
having made thee my Mother; for He has sent Me in
order that by the sufferings of my flesh I might recover
the lost sheep of his house, the children of Adam"
(Matth. 18, 11).
433. These and other words of the Savior, spoken
on that occasion, pierced the most loving heart of Mary
and cast Her into the throes of a sorrow greater than
She had ever endured before. For now had arrived
that dreadful hour, whence there was no issue for her
pains, neither in an appeal to the swift-fleeting time nor
to any other tribunal against the inevitable decree of the
eternal Father, that had fixed the term of her beloved
Son s life. When now the most prudent Mother looked
upon Him as her God, infinite in his attributes and per
fections, and as the true Godman in hypostatical union
with the person of the Word, and beheld Him sanctified
and ineffably exalted by this union with the Godhead:
She remembered the obedience He had shown Her as
his Mother during so many years and the blessings He
had conferred upon Her during his long intercourse with
Her; She realized that soon She was to be deprived of
this blessed intercourse and of the beauty of his counte
nance, of the vivifying sweetness of his words; that She
was not only to lose all this at once, but moreover that
She was to deliver Him over into the hands of such
wicked enemies, to ignominies and torments and to the
bloody sacrifice of a death on the Cross. How deeply
must all these considerations and circumstances, now so
clearly before Her mind, have penetrated into her tender
and loving heart and filled it with a sorrow unmeasurable
! But with the magnanimity of a Queen, vanquish
ing this invincible pain, She prostrated Herself at the
feet of Her divine Son and Master, and, in deepest
reverence, kissing his feet, answered :
434. "Lord and highest God, Author of all that has
being, though Thou art the Son of my womb, I am thy
handmaid; the condescension of thy ineffable love alone
has raised me from the dust to the dignity of being thy
Mother. It is altogether becoming that I, vile wormlet,
acknowledge and thank thy most liberal clemency by
obeying the will of the eternal Father and thy own. I
offer myself and resign myself to his divine pleasure,
in order that in Me, just as in Thee, my Son and Lord,
his eternal and adorable will be fulfilled. The greatest
sacrifice which I can make, is that I shall not be able to
die with Thee, and that our lot should not be inverted;
for to suffer in imitation of Thee and in thy company
would be a great relief for my pains, and all torments
would be sweet, if undergone in union with thine. That
Thou shouldst endure all these torments for the sal
vation of mankind shall be my only relief in my pains.
Receive, O my God, this sacrifice of my desire to
die with Thee, and of my still continuing to live, while
thou, the most innocent Lamb and figure of the substance
of thy eternal Father undergoes! Death (Heb. 1, 3).
Receive also the agonies of my sorrow to see the in
human cruelty of thy enemies executed on thy exalted
Person because of the wickedness of the human kind.
O ye heavens and elements and all creatures within them,
ye sovereign spirits, ye Patriarchs and Prophets, assist
me to deplore the death of my Beloved, who gave you
being, and bewail with me the misery of men, who are
the cause of this Death, and who, failing to profit of
such great blessings, shall lose that eternal life so dearly
bought! O unhappy you, that are foreknown as
doomed! and O ye happy predestined, who shall wash
your stoles in the blood of the Lamb (Apoc. 7, 14), you,
who knew how to profit by this blessed sacrifice, praise
ye the Lord Almighty ! O my Son and infinite delight of
my soul, give fortitude and strength to thy afflicted
Mother; admit Her as thy disciple and companion, in
order that she may participate in thy Passion and Cross,
and in order that the eternal Father may receive the
sacrifice of thy Mother in union with thine."
435. With these and other expressions of her senti
ments, which I cannot all record in words, the Queen
of heaven answered her most holy Son, and offered
Herself as a companion and a coadjutrix in his Passion.
Thereupon, thoroughly instructed and prepared by
divine light for all the mysteries to be wrought by the
Master of life towards accomplishing all his great ends,
the most pure Mother, having the Lord s permission,
added another request in the following words: "Be
loved of my soul and light of my eyes, my Son, I am
not worthy to ask Thee what I desire from my inmost
soul; but Thou, O Lord, art the life of my hope, and in
this my trust I beseech Thee, if such be thy pleasure, to
make me a participant in the ineffable Sacrament of thy
body and blood. Thou hast resolved to institute it as a
pledge of thy glory and I desire in receiving Thee sacramentally
in my heart to share the effects of this new and
admirable Sacrament. Well do I know, O Lord, that no
creature can ever merit such an exquisite blessing, which
Thou hast resolved to set above all the works of thy
magnificence; and in order to induce Thee to confer it
upon me, I have nothing else to offer except thy own self
and all thy infinite merits. If by perpetuating these
merits through the same humanity which thou hast re
ceived from my womb, creates for me a certain right,
let this right consist not so much in giving Thyself to
me in this Sacrament, as in making me thine by this new
possession, which restores to me thy sweetest companion
ship. All my desires and exertions I have devoted to the
worthy reception of this holy Communion from the mo
ment in which Thou gavest me knowledge of it and ever
since it was thy fixed decree to remain in the holy Church
under the species of consecrated bread and wine. Do
Thou then, my Lord and God, return to thy first habita
tion which Thou didst find in thy beloved Mother and
thy slave, whom Thou hast prepared for thy reception
by exempting Her from the common touch of sin. Then
shall I receive within me the humanity, which I have
communicated to Thee from my own blood, and thus
shall we be united in a renewed and close embrace. This
prospect enkindles my heart with most ardent love, and
may I never be separated from Thee, who art the infinite
Good and the Love of my soul."
436. Many words of incomparable love and reverence
were spoken on that occasion by the Queen and Lady;
for in the wonderful love of her heart She sought of
her most holy Son the privilege of participating in his
sacred body and blood. The Lord on his part answered
Her with great tenderness and granted her request,
promising Her the blessing of holy Communion at the
hour of its institution. The purest Mother, in deepest
devotion, broke out in heroic acts of humility, thank
fulness, reverence and living faith in expectation of the
desired participation in the most holy Eucharist. Then
happened what I shall relate next.
437. The Savior commanded the holy angels of her
guard to attend upon Her in visible forms and to serve
and console Her in her sorrow and loneliness. With this
command they complied most faithfully. The Lord
also expressed his desire, that after his departure for Jeru
salem with his disciples, She should follow shortly after
in company with the holy women who had accompanied
them from Galilee, and that She should instruct and en
courage them, in order that they might not be scandal
ized in seeing Him suffer the great ignominies and tor
ments of the frightful death of the Cross. At the close
of this interview the Son of the eternal Father gave
his blessing to his beloved Mother and prepared to
enter upon that last journey, which led to his suffering
and Death. The sorrow which filled the hearts of
both Son and Mother passes all conception of man; for
it was proportioned to the love They had for each other,
and this love again was proportioned to the dignity and
greatness of the persons concerned. But, although we
can so little describe it in words, we are not free to
exempt ourselves from meditating upon it and following
Them on their sorrowful journey with the deepest com
passion. For if we neglect to do so as far as our
strength and ability permits, we cannot avoid being
reprehended as hard-hearted ingrates.
438. Our Savior, having thus parted with his most
beloved Mother and sorrowful Spouse, and taking along
with Him all his Apostles, a little before midday of the
Thursday of the last Supper, departed on his last jour
ney from Bethany to Jerusalem. At the very outset He
raised his eyes to the eternal Father, and, confessing
Him in words of thankfulness and praise, again pro
fessed his most ardent love and most lovingly and
obediently offered to suffer and die for the Redemption
of the human race. This prayer and sacrifice of our
Savior and Master sprang from such ineffable love and
ardor of his spirit, that it cannot be described; all that
I say of it seems to me rather a gainsaying of the truth
and of what I desire to say. "Eternal Father and my
God," said Christ our Lord, "in compliance with thy
holy will I now go to suffer and die for the liberation of
men, my brethren and the creatures of thy hands. I
deliver Myself up for their salvation and to gather those
who have been scattered and divided by the sin of Adam
(John 11, 52). I go to prepare the treasures, by which
the creatures, made according to thy image and likeness,
are to be enriched and adorned, so that they may be re
stored to the height of thy friendship and to eternal
happiness, and in order that thy holy name may be
known and exalted among all creatures. As far as
shall depend upon Thee and Me, no soul shall be deprived
of a salvation most abundant; and thy inviolate equity
shall stand justified in all those who despise this copious
439. Then following the Author of life, the most
blessed Mother, in the company of Magdalen and of the
other holy women who had attended upon the Savior
and had followed Him from Galilee, took leave of
Bethany. In the same manner as the divine Master
instructed his Apostles and prepared them for his
Passion, in order that they might not desert Him on ac
count of the ignominies they were to witness and on
account of the temptations of satan: so also the Queen
and Mistress of all virtues exerted Herself in preparing
the devoted band of her disciples for witnessing coura
geously the Death and the frightful scourging and tor
ments of their divine Master. Although, on account
of their feminine nature, these women naturally were
more frail and weak than the Apostles, yet some of
them showed much more fortitude in adhering to the
teachings and in relying on the previous exhortations
and examples of their great Mistress and Queen. Among
them all, as the Evangelists relate, Mary Magdalen dis
tinguished herself, for she was entirely consumed in the
flames of her love; and even naturally She was of a
magnanimous, courageous and energetic disposition,
well educated and full of a noble fidelity. She, before
all others of the apostolate, had taken it upon herself
to accompany the Mother of Jesus and attend upon Her
during the entire Passion and this her resolve she ful
filled as the most faithful friend of the blessed Mother.
440. The most holy Mother imitated and joined the
Savior in his prayer and the offering which He made at
this time; for, as I have often said, in the clear mirror
furnished Her by the divine light, She was made to see
all the works of her divine Son in order that She might
imitate them as closely as possible. The holy angels of
her guard, obeying the orders of the Savior, accompanied
and attended upon Her in visible forms. With these
heavenly spirits She conversed about the great sacra
ment of the Passion, which was yet hidden to her com
panions and to all the human creatures. They well per
ceived and deeply pondered the measureless conflagration
of love in the pure and candid heart of the Mother and
the force with which they saw Her drawn after the sweet
ointments of mutual love between Her and Christ, her
Son, Spouse and Redeemer. They presented to the eter
nal Father the sacrifice of praise and expiation offered to
Him by his first-born and only Daughter among the
creatures. Since all the mortals were insensible of this
benefit and of the indebtedness, in which they were
placed by the love of Christ their Lord and his blessed
Mother, She ordered the holy angels to give benediction,
glory and honor to the Father, the Son and the Holy
Ghost; and they eagerly fulfilled the wish of their great
Princess and Queen.
441. Words fail me, and worthy sentiments of sorrow,
for expressing properly what I understood on this occa
sion concerning the amazement of the holy angels, when
on the one hand they saw the incarnate Word and his
most holy Mother wending their way in most ardent love
of mankind toward the accomplishment of man s Re
demption, and on the other beheld the vileness, ingrati
tude, and hard-hearted neglect of men concerning their
obligations consequent upon this blessing; a blessing
which would have moved to recognition even the demons,
if they had been the objects of such a benefit. The amaze
ment of the angels arose not from any ignorance on
their part, but from indignation at our unbearable in
gratitude. I am but a weak woman and less than a
wormlet of the earth; but in the light which has been
given me concerning this matter, I wish to raise up my
voice, so that it may be heard through all the world and
rouse up the children of vanity and lovers of deceit
(Cant. 1, 3), to a sense of their obligation toward Christ
and his holy Mother. Prostrate on the ground, I wish to
implore all men, not to be so dull of heart and hostile
to themselves as not to rise from this stupor of forgetfulness,
which keeps us in constant danger of eternal
death and deprives us of the celestial life and happiness
merited for us by the Redeemer and Lord by the bitter
ness of the Cross.
442. My daughter, as thy soul has been furnished with
special gifts of enlightenment, I call and invite thee anew
to cast thyself into the sea of mysteries contained in the
passion and death of my divine Son. Direct all thy fac
ulties and strain all the powers of thy heart and soul, to
make thyself at least somewhat worthy of understanding
and meditating upon the ignominies and sorrows of the
Son of the eternal Father in his death on the Cross for
the salvation of men ; and also of considering my doings
and sufferings in connection with his bitterest Passion.
This science, so much neglected by men, I desire that
thou, my daughter, study and learn, so as to be able to
follow thy Spouse and imitate me, who am thy Mother
and Teacher. Writing down and feeling deeply all that
I shall teach thee of these mysteries, thou shouldst de
tach thyself entirely of human and earthly affections and
of thy own self, so as freely to follow our footsteps in
destitution and poverty. And since I do thee the special
favor of calling thee aside to instruct thee in fulfillment of
the will of my holy Son and since We seek through thee to
teach others; thou shouldst correspond to this copious
Redemption as if it was solely for thy benefit and as if
all of it would be lost, if thou dost not profit by its
blessings. So much must thou esteem it; for in the love
which caused my most holy Son to die for thee, He looked
upon thee with as great an affection, as if thou hadst been
the only one that needed the remedy of his Passion and
443. This is the standard by which thou must meas
ure thy obligations and thy gratitude. Since thou then
both seest the base and dangerous forgetfulness of men
in regard to this benefit, and knowest that for these
very men their God and Creator had died, it should be
thy earnest endeavor to compensate Him for their neg
lect by thy ardent love, as if the proper return for his
benefits was left entirely to thy fidelity and gratitude
alone. At the same time grieve over the blind folly
of men in despising eternal felicity and in treasuring up
for themselves the wrath of the Lord by frustrating the
boundless effects of his love for the world. This is the
purpose for which I make known to Thee so many secrets
and my unparalleled sorrow in the hour of his parting
from me to go to his sacred sufferings unto death. There
are no words which can describe the bitterness of my
soul on that occasion; but the contemplation of it should
cause thee to esteem no hardship great, to seek no rest
or consolation on earth, except to suffer and die for
Christ. Do thou sorrow with me ; for this faithful cor
respondence is due to me, who favor thee with these
444. I wish thee also to ponder, what a horrible crime
it is in the eyes of the Lord, in mine, and in those of all
the saints, that men should despise and neglect the fre
quent reception of the holy Communion, and that they
should approach it without preparation and fervent de
votion. Principally in order that thou mayest under
stand and record this warning, I have manifested to
thee, what I did on that occasion and how I prepared
myself so many years for receiving my most blessed Son
in the holy Sacrament and also the rest, which thou art
yet to write for the instruction and confusion of men.
For if I, who was innocent of any hindering sin and
filled with all graces, sought to increase my fitness for
this favor by such fervent acts of love, humility and
gratitude, consider what efforts thou and the other chil
dren of the Church, who every day and hour incur new
guilt and blame, must make in order to fit yourselves for
the beauty of the Divinity and humanity of my most
holy Son? What excuse can those men give in the last
judgment, who have despised this ineffable love and
blessing, which they had always present in the holy
Church, ready to fill them with the plenitude of his
gifts, and who rather sought diversion in worldly pleas
ures and attended upon the outward and deceitful vani
ties of this earthly life? Be thou amazed at this insanity
as were the holy angels, and guard thyself against fall
ing into the same error.
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