Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 6  Chapter  13    Verses:  512-528

512. While our Savior occupied Himself in praying
to his Father for the spiritual salvation of the human
race, the perfidious disciple Judas sought to hasten the
delivery of Christ into the hands of the priests and
pharisees. At the same time Lucifer and his demons,
not being able to divert the perverse will of Judas and
of the other enemies of Christ from their designs on
the life of Christ their Creator and Master, changed the
tactics of their satanic malice and began to incite the
Jews to greater cruelty and effrontery in their dealings
with the Savior. As I have already said several times,
the devil was filled with great suspicions lest this most
extraordinary Man be the Messias and the true God.
He now resolved to ascertain whether his misgivings
were well founded or not by instigating the Jews and
their ministers to the most atrocious injuries against the
Savior. He imparted to them his own dreadful envy
and pride, and thus literally fulfilled the prophecy of
Solomon (Wis. 2, 7). For it seemed to the demon,
that if Christ was not God and only a man, He cer
tainly must weaken and be conquered in these persecu
tions and torments. If on the other hand He was God,
He would manifest it by freeing Himself and perform
ing new miracles.
513. Similar motives urged on the priests and phari-
sees. At the instigation of Judas they hastily gathered
together a large band of people, composed of pagan sol
diers, a tribune, and many Jews. Having consigned to
them Judas as a hostage, they sent this band on its way
to apprehend the most innocent Lamb, who was awaiting
them and who was aware of all the thoughts and schemes
of the sacrilegious priests, as foretold expressly by Jeremias
(Jer. 11, 19). All these servants of malice, bearing
arms and provided with ropes and chains, in the glaring
torch and lantern-light, issued from the city in the direc
tion of mount Olivet. The prime mover of the treach
ery, Judas, had insisted upon so much precaution; for,
in his perfidy and treachery, he feared that the meekest
Master, whom he believed to be a magician and sorcerer,
would perform some miracle for his escape. As if arms
and human precautions could ever have availed if Jesus
should have decided to make use of his divine power!
As if He could not have brought this power into play in
the same way as He had done on other occasions, should
He now choose not to deliver Himself to suffering and
to the ignominies of the Cross!
514. While they were approaching, the Lord returned
the third time to his Apostles and finding them asleep
spoke to them: "Sleep ye now, and take your rest. It
is enough : the hour is come ; behold the Son of man
shall be betrayed into the hands of sinners. Rise up,
let us go. Behold he that will betray Me is at hand"
(Mark 14, 41). Such were the words of the Master of
holiness to the three most privileged Apostles; He was
unwilling to reprehend them more severely than in this
most meek and loving manner. Being oppressed, they
did not know what to answer their Lord, as Scripture
says (Mark 14, 40). They arose and Jesus went with
them to join the other eight disciples. He found them
likewise overcome and oppressed by their great sorrow
and fallen asleep. The Master then gave orders, that
all of them together, mystically forming one body with
Him their Head, should advance toward the enemies,
thereby teaching them the power of mutual and perfect
unity for overcoming the demons and their followers and
for avoiding defeat by them. For a triple cord is hard
to tear, as says Ecclesiastes (4, 12), and he that is mighty
against one, may be overcome by two, that being the
effect of union. The Lord again exhorted all the Apos
tles and forewarned them of what was to happen. Al
ready the confused noise of the advancing band of sol
diers and their helpmates began to be heard. Our Savior
then proceeded to meet them on the way, and, with
incomparable love, magnanimous courage and tender
piety prayed interiorly: "O sufferings longingly desired
from my inmost soul, ye pains, wounds, affronts, labors,
afflictions and ignominious death, come, come, come
quickly, for the fire of love, which burns for the salva
tion of men, is anxious to see you meet the Innocent one
of all creatures. Well do I know your value, I have
sought, desired, and solicited you and I meet you joyous
ly of my own free will; I have purchased you by my
anxiety in searching for you and I esteem you for your
merits. I desire to remedy and enhance your value
and raise you to highest dignity. Let death come, in
order that by my accepting it without having deserved
it I may triumph over it and gain life for those who
have been punished by death for their sins (Osee 13, 14).
I give permission to my friends to forsake Me; for I
alone desire and am able to enter into this battle and
gain for them triumph and victory" (Is. 53, 3).
515. During these words and prayers of the Author
of life, Judas advanced in order to give the signal upon
which he had agreed with his companions (Matth. 26,
48), namely the customary, but now feigned kiss of
peace, by which they were to distinguish Jesus as the
One whom they should single out from the rest and
immediately seize. These precautions the unhappy dis
ciple had taken, not only out of avarice for the money
and hatred against his Master, but also, on account of
the fear with which he was filled. For he dreaded the
inevitable necessity of meeting Him and encountering
Him in the future, if Christ was not put to death on this
occasion. Such a confusion he feared more than the
death of his soul, or the death of his divine Master, and,
in order to forestall it, he hastened to complete his
treachery and desired to see the Author of life die at
the hands of his enemies. The traitor then ran up to
the meekest Lord, and, as a consummate hypocrite, hid
ing his hatred, he imprinted on his countenance the kiss
of peace, saying: "God save Thee, Master." By this
so treacherous act the perdition of Judas was matured
and God was justified in withholding his grace and help.
On the part of the unfaithful disciple, malice and temerity
reached their highest degree; for, interiorly denying or
disbelieving the uncreated and created wisdom by which
Christ must know of his treason, and ignoring his power
to destroy him, he sought to hide his malice under the
cloak of the friendship of a true disciple; and all this for
the purpose of delivering over to such a frightful and
cruel death his Creator and Master, to whom he was
bound by so many obligations. In this one act of treason
he committed so many and such formidable sins, that it
is impossible to fathom their immensity; for he was
treacherous, murderous, sacrilegious, ungrateful, inhu
man, disobedient, false, lying, impious and unequalled in
hypocrisy ; and all this was included in one and the same
crime perpetrated against the person of God made man.
516. On the part of the Lord shone forth his ineffable
mercy and equity, since those words of David were ful
filled in an eminent manner: "With them that hated
peace I was peaceable ; when I spoke to them they fought
against Me without cause" (Ps. 119, 7). So completely
did the Lord fulfill this prophecy, that when, in answer
to the kiss of Judas, He said : "Friend, whereto art thou
come?" He sent into the heart of the traitorous disciple
a new and most clear light, by which Judas saw the
atrocious malice of his treason, the punishment to follow,
if he should not make it good by true penitence, and the
merciful pardon still to be obtained from the divine
clemency. What Judas clearly read in those few words
of Christ was: "Friend, take heed lest thou cause thy
perdition and abuse my meekness by this treason. If
thou seek my friendship, I will not refuse it to thee on
account of this deed, as soon as thou art sorry for thy
sin. Consider well thy temerity in delivering Me by
false friendship and under cover of a false peace and a
kiss of reverence and love. Remember the benefits thou
hast received of my charity, and that I am the Son of
the Virgin, by whom thou hast been so often favored
and rejoiced with motherly advice and counsel during
thy apostolate. Even if it were only for her sake, thou
shouldst not commit such a treason as to sell and deliver
her Son. In no wise does her loving meekness deserve
such an outrageous wrong, for She has never been unkind
to thee. But although thou hast now committed this
wrong, do not despise her intercession, for She alone
will be powerful with Me and for her sake I offer thee
pardon and life, since She has many times besought Me
to do so. I assure thee, that We love thee ; for thou art
yet in life, where there is hope and where we will not
deny thee our friendship, if thou seek it. But if thou
refuse it, thou wilt merit our abhorrence and eternal
chastisement and pain." The seed of the divine words
took no root in the heart of that unhappy reprobate. It
was harder than adamant and more inhuman than that
of a wild beast. Resisting the divine clemency he finally
fell into despair, as I shall relate in the next chapter.
517. The signal of the kiss having been given by
Judas, the Lord with his disciples and the soldiers, who
had come to capture Him, came face to face, forming
two squadrons the most opposed and hostile that ever
the world saw. For on the one side was Christ our
Lord, true God and man, as the Captain of all the just,
supported by his eleven Apostles the chieftains and cham
pions of his Church with innumerable hosts of angelic
spirits full of adoring wonder at this spectacle. On the
other side were Judas, the originator of the treason, filled
with hypocrisy and hatred, and many Jews and gentiles,
bent on venting their malice with the greatest cruelty.
Surrounding these were Lucifer and a multitude of
demons, inciting and assisting Judas and his helpers
boldly to lay their sacrilegious hands upon their Creator.
With unfathomable love for suffering and great force
and authority the Lord then spoke to the soldiers, say
ing: "Whom seekye?" (John 18, 4-5). They answered :
"Jesus of Nazareth." Jesus said to them: "I am He."
By these inestimably precious and blessed words Christ
declared Himself as our Redeemer and Savior; for only
by his offering Himself freely to redeem us by his Pas
sion and Death, could our hope of eternal life ever rest
on firm foundation.
518. His enemies could not understand or fathom the
true meaning of these words : I am He. But his most
blessed Mother and the angels understood them, as did
also, to a great extent, the Apostles. It was as if He
had said: "I am who am" (Exod. 3, 14), as I have
said to my prophet Moses; for I am of Myself, and all
creatures have their being and existence from Me : I am
eternal, immense, infinite, one in substance and attri
butes; and I have made Myself man hiding my glory,
in order that, by means of my Passion and Death, to
which you wish to condemn Me, I might save the world.
As the Lord spoke with divine power, his enemies could
not resist and when his words struck their ears, they all
fell backwards to the ground (John 18, 6). This hap
pened not only to the soldiers, but to the dogs, which
they had brought with them, and to the horses on which
some of them rode: all of them fell to the ground and
remained motionless like stones. Lucifer and his demons
were hurled down with them, deprived of motion and
suffering new confusion and torture. Thus they re
mained for some seven or eight minutes, showing no
more signs of life than if they had died. O word of
a God, so mysterious in meaning and more than invin
cible in power! Let not the wise glory before Thee in
their wisdom and astuteness; nor the powerful in their
valor (Jer. 9, 23) ; let the vanity and arrogance of the
children of Babylon be humbled, since one word from
the mouth of the Lord, spoken with so much meekness
and humility, confounds, destroys and annihilates all the
pride and power of man and hell. Let us children of the
Church also learn, that the victories of Christ are gained
by confessing the truth, by giving place unto wrath
(Rom. 12, 19), by showing meekness and humility of
heart (Matth. 11, 29), by overcoming and being over
come with dove-like simplicity, by the peacefulness and
resignment of sheep free from resistance of furious and
ravenous wolves.
519. Sadly our divine Lord contemplated the picture
of eternal damnation exhibited in them and listened to
the prayer of his most holy Mother to let them rise,
for upon her intercession his divine will had made that
dependent. When it was time for them to come to
themselves, He prayed to the eternal Father, saying:
"My Father and eternal God, in my hands Thou hast
placed all things (John 13, 3), and hast consigned to Me
the Redemption required by thy justice. I wish to satisfy
it and give Myself over to death with all my heart, in
order to merit for my brethren participation in thy treas
ures and the eternal happiness held out to them." By
this expression of his efficacious will the Lord gave per
mission to that whole miserable band of men, demons
and animals to arise and be restored to the same condi
tion as before their falling down. A second time the
Savior said to them : "Whom seek ye ?" and they again
answered: "Jesus of Nazareth." The Lord answered
most meekly: "I have already told you, that I am He.
If therefore you seek Me, let these go their way" (John
18, 8). With these words He gave permission to the
servants and the soldiers to take Him prisoner and exe
cute their designs, which, without their understanding it,
meant nothing else than to draw upon his divine Person
all our sorrows and infirmities (Is. 53, 4).
520. The first one who hastened to approach in order
to lay hands upon the Master of life, was a servant of
the highpriests named Malchus. In spite of the fear and
consternation of all the Apostles, saint Peter, more than
all the rest, was roused with zeal for the defense of the
honor and life of the divine Master. Drawing a cutlass
which he had with him, he made a pass at Malchus and
cut off one of his ears, severing it entirely from the head
(John 18, 10). The stroke would have resulted in a
much more serious wound, if the divine providence of
the Master of patience and meekness had not diverted
it. The Lord would not permit that any other death
than his own should occur at his capture; his wounds,
his blood and suffering alone should rescue to eternal
life the human race, as many of it as are willing. Nor
was it his will, or according to his teaching, that his Per
son be defended by the use of arms, and He did not
wish to leave such an example in his Church as one
to be principally imitated for her defense. In order to
confirm this doctrine, which He had always inculcated,
He picked up the severed ear and restored it to its place,
perfectly healing the wound and making Malchus more
sound and whole than he was before. But He first
turned to saint Peter and reprehended him, saying:
"Put up thy sword into the scabbard, for all that shall
take it to kill with it, shall perish. Dost thou not wish
that I drink the chalice, which my Father hath given
Me? Thinkst thou that I cannot ask my Father, and
He will give me presently many legions of angels for
my defense? But how then shall the Scriptures and the
Prophets be fulfilled?" (John 18, 11 ; Matth. 26, 53).
521. Thus saint Peter, the head of the Church, by this
loving exhortation had been taught and enlightened, that
his arms for the establishment and defense of the Church
were to be spiritual and that the law of the Gospel does
not inculcate battles and conquests with material weapons,
but conquests of humility, patience, meekness and perfect
charity, which overcome the demon, the world, and the
flesh; that divine virtue would triumph over its enemies
and over the power and intrigues of this world; that
arms for attack and defense were not for the followers
of Christ our Savior, but for the princes of the earth to
safeguard their earthly possessions; while the sword of
the Church was to be spiritual, reaching rather the soul
than the body. Then Christ our Lord, turning toward
his enemies and the servants of the Jews, spoke to them
with great majesty and grandeur: "You are come as it
were to a robber with swords and clubs to apprehend
Me. I sat daily with you, teaching in the temple, and
you laid not hands on Me. But this is your hour and
the power of darkness" (Matth. 26, 55; Luke 22, 53).
All the words of our Savior contained the profoundest
mysteries, and it is impossible to comprehend them all
or explain them, especially those which He spoke at his
Passion and Death.
522. Well might those ministers have been softened
and made ashamed of their wickedness by this reprehen
sion of the divine Master; but they were far from it,
because they were of the cursed and sterile earth, drained
of the dew of virtue and human kindness. Nevertheless
the Author of life wished to admonish them of the truth
to that extent. Thereby their malice would be so much
the more inexcusable and this sin and all the others, com
mitted in the very presence of the highest holiness and
justice, would have its due correction and they themselves
a powerful help for conversion, if they should desire it;
moreover it would thereby become evident that He knew
all that was to happen, that He delivered Himself into
their hands and over to this Death of his own free will.
For these, and for many other sublime reasons, the Lord
spoke the above words, penetrating their inmost mind.
For He knew and fully understood the cause of their
malice, hatred and envy: namely, because He had pub
licly reprehended the vices of the priests and pharisees;
because He had taught the truth and the way of life
to the people; because He had, by his example and his
miracles, captured the good will of the humble and the
pious and brought many sinners to his friendship and
grace. He reminded them, that one who had power to
bring about all these results in public, and who could
not be apprehended in the temple or in the city in which
He taught, could certainly not be captured in the open
field without his consent. He clearly made them sen
sible, that the reason of their failing to do so before,
was because He himself had not given his permission to
men or demons until the hour chosen by Himself. In
order to signify to them, that the hour of his being cap
tured, illtreated and afflicted had come He said : "This
is your hour and the power of darkness." As if He
had said to them : Until now it was necessary for Me
to be with you as your Master for your instruction,
therefore I did not permit you to take my life. But I
desire to consummate by my death the work of the
Redemption consigned to Me by my eternal Father ; and
therefore I now permit you to take Me prisoner and to
execute your will upon my Person. Thereupon they
fell upon the most meek Lamb like fierce tigers, binding
Him securely with ropes and chains in order thus to
lead Him to the house of the highpriest, as I shall
presently relate.
523. The most pure Mother of Christ our Lord was
most attentive to all that passed in his capture, and by
means of her clear visions saw it more clearly than if
She had been present in person; for by means of her
supernatural visions She penetrated into all the mys
teries of his words and actions. When She beheld the
band of soldiers and servants issuing from the house
of the high priest, the prudent Lady foresaw the irrev
erence and insults with which they would treat their
Creator and Redeemer; and in order to do what was
within her power, She invited the holy angels and many
others in union with Her to render adoration and praise
to the Lord of creation as an offset to the injuries and
affronts He would sustain at the hands of those min
isters of darkness. The same request She made to the
holy women who were praying with Her. She told
them, that her most holy Son had now given permission
to his enemies to take him prisoner and illtreat him,
and that they were about to make use of this permis
sion in a most impious and cruel manner. Assisted by
the holy angels and the pious women the faithful Queen
engaged in interior and exterior acts of devoted faith
and love, confessing, adoring, praising and magnifying
the infinite Deity and the most holy humanity of her
Creator and Lord. The holy women imitated Her in
the genuflections and prostrations, and the angelic
princes responded to the canticles with which She mag
nified, celebrated and glorified the Divinity and humanity
of Christ. In the measure in which the children of
malice increased their irreverence and injuries, She
sought to compensate them by her praise and veneration.
Thus She continued to placate the divine justice, lest it
should be roused against his persecutors and destroy
them; for only most holy Mary was capable of staying
the punishment of such great offenses.
524. And the great Lady not only placated the just
Judge, but even obtained favors and blessings from the
divine clemency for the very persons who irritated Him
and thus secured a return of good for those who were
heaping wrongs upon Christ the Lord for his doctrine
and benefits. This mercy attained its highest point in
the disloyal and obstinate Judas ; for the tender Mother,
seeing him deliver Jesus by the kiss of feigned friend
ship, and considering how shortly before his mouth had
contained the sacramental body of the Lord, with whose
sacred countenance so soon after those same foul lips
were permitted to come in contact, was transfixed with
sorrow and entranced by charity. She asked the Lord
to grant new graces, whereby this man, who had enjoyed
the privilege of touching the face whereon angels desire
to look, might, if he chose to use them, save himself from
perdition. In response to this prayer of most holy Mary,
her Son and Lord granted Judas powerful graces in the
very consummation of his treacherous delivery. If the
unfortunate man had given heed and had commenced to
respond to them, the Mother of mercy would have
obtained for him many others and at last also pardon
for his sin. She has done so with many other great
sinners, who were willing to give that glory to Her,
and thus obtain eternal glory for themselves. But Judas
failed to realize this and thus lost all chance of salva
tion, as I shall relate in the next chapter.
525. Likewise, when the great Lady saw all the serv
ants and soldiers who had come to take Him, fall to the
ground at his divine word, She, in company with the
angels, broke out in a song of praise of his infinite
power and of the virtue of his humanity, which thereby
renewed the victory of the Most High over Pharao and
his troops in the Red sea (Exod. 15, 4). She exalted
the Lord of hosts, because He was about to deliver Him
self in an admirable manner to suffering and death in
order to save the human race from the captivity of
Lucifer. Then She besought the Lord to permit all
these dumbfounded and vanquished enemies to regain
their senses and to arise. She was moved to the peti
tion by her most generous kindness and deep compassion
for these men created by the Lord according to his own
image and likeness; on the other hand, She wanted to
fulfill in an eminent degree the law of loving our enemies
and doing good to those who persecute us, inculcated and
practiced by her own Son and Master (Matth. 5, 44),
and finally because She knew that the prophecies of holy
Scripture were to be fulfilled in the Redemption of man.
Although all these were infallible, this did not hinder
the most holy Mary from giving voice to her prayer
and thereby moving the Most High to grant these
favors; for in the infinite wisdom and in the decrees of
his eternal will all these means were foreseen as produc
ing these effects in the manner most conformable to the
foreknowledge and foresight of the Lord. But it is not
necessary to enter into further explanation of such mys
teries at present. When the servants of the high priest
laid hands on and bound the Savior, the most blessed
Mother felt on her own hands the pains caused by the
ropes and chains, as if She Herself was being bound and
fettered; in the same manner She felt in her body the
blows and torments further inflicted upon the Lord,
for, I have already said, this favor was granted to his
Mother, as we shall see in the course of the Passion.
This her sensible participation in his sufferings was some
kind of relief of the pain, which She would have suf
fered in her loving soul at the thought of not being with
Him in his torments.
526. My daughter, in all that thou art made to under
stand and write concerning these mysteries, thou drawest
upon thyself (and upon mortals) a severe judgment, if
thou dost not overcome thy pusillanimity, ingratitude
and baseness by meditating day and night on the Passion
and Death of Jesus crucified. This is the great science
of the saints, so little heeded by the worldly; it is the
bread of life and the spiritual food of the little ones,
which gives wisdom to them and the want of which
starves the lovers of this proud world (Wis. 15, 3).
In this science I wish thee to be studious and wise, for
with it thou canst buy thyself all good things (Wis.
7, 11). My Son and Lord taught us this science when
He said: "I am the way, the truth and the life: no one
cometh to my Father except through Me" (John 14, 6).
Tell me then, my daughter: if my Lord and Master has
made Himself the life and the way for men through his
Passion and Death, is it not evident that in order to
go that way and live up to this truth, they must follow
Christ crucified, afflicted, scourged and affronted? Con
sider the ignorance of men who wish to come to the
Father without following Christ, since they expect to
reign with God without suffering or imitating his Pas
sion, yea without even a thought of accepting any part
of his suffering and Death, or of thanking Him for it.
They want it to procure for them the pleasures of this
life as well as of eternal life, while Christ their Creator
has suffered the most bitter pains and torments in order
to enter heaven and to show them by his example how
they are to find the way of light.
527. Eternal rest is incompatible with the shame of
not having duly labored for its attainment. He is not
a true son of his father, who does not imitate him, nor
he a good disciple, who does not follow his Master,
nor he a good servant, who does not accompany his
lord; nor do I count him a devoted child, who does not
suffer with me and my divine Son. But our love for
the eternal salvation of men obliges us, who see them
forgetful of this truth and so adverse to suffering, to
send them labors and punishments, so that if they do
not freely welcome them, they may at least be forced to
undergo them and so be enabled to enter upon the way
of salvation. And yet even all this is insufficient, since
their inclinations and their blind love of visible things
detains them and makes them hard and heavy of heart;
they rob them of remembrance and affection toward
these higher things, which might raise them above them
selves and above created things. Hence it comes, that
men do not find joy in their tribulations, nor rest in
their labors, nor consolation in their sorrows, nor any
peace in adversities. For, altogether different from the
saints who glory in tribulation as the fulfillment of
their most earnest desires, they desire none of it and
abhor all that is painful. In many of the faithful this
ignorance goes still farther; for some of them expect to
be distinguished by God s most intimate love, others, to
be pardoned without penance, others, to be highly fa
vored. Nothing of all this will they attain, because they
do not ask in the name of Christ the Lord and because
they do not wish to imitate Him and follow Him in his
528. Therefore, my daughter, embrace the Cross and
do not admit any consolation outside of it in this mortal
life. By contemplating and feeling within thyself the
sacred Passion thou wilt attain the summit of perfection
and attain the love of a spouse. Bless and magnify
my most holy Son for the love with which He delivered
Himself up for the salvation of mankind. Little do
mortals heed this mystery; but I, as an Eyewitness, as
sure thee, next to ascending to the right hand of his
eternal Father, nothing was so highly estimated and so
earnestly desired by Him, as to offer Himself for suffer
ing and death and to deliver Himself up entirely to his
enemies. I wish also that thou lament with great sorrow
the fact that Judas, in his malice and treachery, has
many more followers than Christ. Many are the in
fidels, many the bad Catholics, many the hypocrites, who
under the name of a Christian, sell and deliver Him and
wish to crucify Him anew. Bewail all these evils, which
thou understandest and knowest, in order that thou
mayest imitate and follow me in this matter.
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