Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 6  Chapter  15    Verses:  545-556

545. Fit were it to speak of the suffering, the affronts
and the Death of our Savior Jesus in such vivid and
efficacious words, that they enter into the soul like a
two-edged sword, piercing with deepest sorrow our
inmost hearts (Heb. 4, 13). Not of an ordinary kind
were the pains He suffered and there is no sorrow like
unto his sorrow (Thren. 1, 12). For his body was not
like the bodies of the rest of men, nor did the Lord
suffer for Himself, nor for his own sins, but for us and
for our sins (I Pet. 2, 21). Hence the words and
expressions, by which we describe his torments and sor
rows, should not be of the common or ordinary kind.
But, woe is me, who cannot give sufficient force to my
words, and cannot find those my soul seeks in order
to manifest this mystery! I will speak according to my
capacity and as far as is given me, although my powers
constrain and limit the greatness of what I understand,
and my inadequate words cannot reach the secret con
cepts of the heart. Let then the vividness and force of
the faith, which we profess as children of the Church,
supply what is defective in my words. If our words
are but of the ordinary kind, let our compassion and
our sorrow be extraordinary; let our thoughts be of
the loftiest, our comprehension most real, our consid
eration of the deepest, our thankfulness heartfelt, and
our love most fervent; for all that we can do shall fall
short of what the reality demands, of what we owe as
servants, as friends, and as children adopted through
his most sacred Passion and Death.
546. Having been taken prisoner and firmly bound,
the most meek Lamb Jesus was dragged from the garden
to the house of the highpriests, first to the house of
Annas (John 18, 13). The turbulent band of soldiers
and servants, having been advised by the traitorous dis
ciple that his Master was a sorcerer and could easily
escape their hands, if they did not carefully bind and
chain Him securely before starting on their way, took
all precautions inspired by such a mistrust (Mark 14,
44). Lucifer and his compeers of darkness secretly
irritated and provoked them to increase their impious
and sacrilegious illtreatment of the Lord beyond all
bounds of humanity and decency. As they were willing
accomplices of Lucifer s malice, they omitted no out
rage against the person of their Creator within the
limits set them by the Almighty. They bound Him with
a heavy iron chain with such ingenuity, that it encircled
as well the waist as the neck. The two ends of the
chain, which remained free, were attached to large rings
or handcuffs, with which they manacled the hands of
the Lord, who created the heavens, the angels and the
whole universe. The hands thus secured and bound, they
fastened not in front, but behind. This chain they had
brought from the house of Annas the highpriest, where
it had served to raise the portcullis of a dungeon. They
had wrenched it from its place and provided it with
padlock handcuffs. But they were not satisfied with
this unheard-of way of securing a prisoner; for in their
distrust they added two pieces of strong rope: the one
they wound around the throat of Jesus and, crossing it
at the breast, bound it in heavy knots all about the body,
leaving two long ends free in front, in order that the
servants and soldiers might jerk Him in different direc
tions along the way. The second rope served to tie his
arms, being bound likewise around his waist. The two
ends of this rope were left hanging free to be used by
two other executioners for jerking Him from behind.
547. In this manner the almighty and holy One per
mitted Himself to be bound and made helpless, as if
He were the most criminal of men and the weakest of
the woman-born; for He had taken upon Himself all
the iniquities and weaknesses of our sins (Is. 53, 6).
They bound Him in the garden, adding to the chains
and ropes insulting blows and vilest language; for like
venomous serpents they shot forth their sacrilegious
poison in abuse and blasphemy against Him who is
adored by angels and men, and who is magnified in
heaven and on earth. They left the garden of Olives in
great tumult and uproar, guarding the Savior in their
midst. Some of them dragged Him along by the ropes
in front and others retarded his steps by the ropes hang
ing from the handcuffs behind. In this manner, with a
violence unheard of, they sometimes forced Him to run
forward in haste, frequently causing Him to fall; at
others they jerked Him backwards ; and then again they
pulled Him from one side to the other, according to
their diabolical whims. Many times they violently threw
Him to the ground and as his hands were tied behind He
fell upon it with his divine countenance and was severely
wounded and lacerated. In his falls they pounced upon
Him, inflicting blows and kicks, trampling upon his
body and upon his head and face. All these deviltries
they accompanied with festive shouts and opprobrious
insults, as was foretold by Jeremias (3, 30).
548. During all this time Lucifer, while inciting these
ministers of evil, watched all the actions and move
ments of our Savior. His patience he thus put to the
test in order to find out, whether Jesus was only a man ;
for this doubt and perplexity tormented his wicked pride
above all others. As he was obliged to acknowledge the
meekness, patience and sweetness of Christ, his serene
majesty without change or disturbance amid all these
injuries and sufferings, the infernal dragon was enraged
only so much the more and at one time, like one crazed
by fury, he attempted to seize the ropes in order that
he and his fellow-demons might pull at them more vio
lently than his human foes and thus perhaps overcome
the meekness of the Savior. But he was withheld by
the most holy Mary, who, from her retreat by a clear
vision saw all that happened to her divine Son. When
She noticed this attempt of Lucifer, She made use of
her power as sovereign Queen and commanded him to
desist. All strength immediately left Lucifer and he
could not proceed in his presumptuous intent. It was
not becoming that his malice should add to the sufferings
and death of the Redeemer in such a manner. He was
however given permission to excite all his fellow-demons
against the Lord, and these again were left a free hand
to incite his mortal enemies among the Jews; since the
latter had liberty of will to consent or not. Lucifer used
this freedom to its full extent, and therefore said to the
other evil spirits : "What kind of a man is this, now born
into the world, who by his patience and by his works so
torments us and annihilates us? None ever maintained
such equanimity and such long-suffering in tribulations
since the time of Adam until now. Never have we found
among mortals such humility and meekness. How can
we rest, when we see in the world such a rare and
powerful example, drawing others after Him? If this is
the Messias, He will certainly open heaven and close
up the highway, by which we have so far led men into
our eternal torments; we shall be vanquished and all
our plans will be frustrated. Even if He is but a mere
man, I cannot permit such an example for the rest of
mankind. Haste then, ministers of my exalted power,
let us persecute Him through his human foes, who, obe
dient to my sway, have conceived of me some of our
own furious envy."
549. The Author of our salvation, hiding his power
of annihilating his enemies in order that our Redemption
might be the more abundant, submitted to all the conse
quences of the impious fury which Lucifer and his
hellish squadron fomented in the Jews. They dragged
Him bound and chained under continued ill-treatment
to the house of Annas, before whom they presented Him
as a malefactor worthy of death. It was the custom of
the Jews to present thus bound those criminals who
merited capital punishment; and they now made use of
this custom in regard to Jesus, in order to intimate his
sentence even before the trial. The sacrilegious priest
Annas seated himself in proud and arrogant state on the
platform or tribunal of a great hall. Immediately Luci
fer placed himself at his side with a multitude of evil
spirits. The servants and soldiers brought before Him
Jesus, bound and fettered, and said : "At last we bring
hither this wicked Man, who by his sorceries and evil
deeds has disturbed all Jerusalem and Judea. This time
his magic art has not availed Him to escape our hands
and power."
550. Our Savior Jesus was attended by innumerable
angels, who confessed and adored Him, full of admira
tion for the incomprehensible judgments of his wisdom
(Rom. 11, 33) by which the Lord consented to be held
as a sinner and a criminal. The iniquitous highpriest
pretended to be just and zealous for the honor of the
Lord, whose life he was seeking. The most meek Lamb
was silent and opened not his mouth, as Isaias prophesied
(53, 7). Imperiously and haughtily the highpriest asked
Him about his disciples (John 18, 19), and what doc
trine He was preaching and teaching. This question was
put merely for the purpose of misinterpreting his an
swer, if Jesus should utter any word that afforded such
a chance. But the Master of holiness, who is the Guide
and the Corrector of the most wise (Wis. 7, 15), offered
to the eternal Father the humiliation of being presented
as a criminal before the highpriest and of being ques
tioned by him as a prevaricator and author of a false
doctrine. Our Redeemer with an humble and cheerful
countenance answered the question as to his doctrines:
"I have spoken openly to the world : I have always taught
in the synagogue and in the temple, whither all the Jews
resort : and in secret I have spoken nothing. Why askest
thou Me ? ask those, who have heard what I have spoken
unto them: behold they know what I have said." As
the doctrine of Christ our Lord came from his eternal
Father, He spoke for it and defended its honor. He
referred them to his hearers, both because those by whom
He was now surrounded, would not believe Him and
wished to distort all He should say, and because the
truth and force of his teachings recommended and forced
themselves upon the minds of his greatest enemies by
their own excellence.
551. Concerning the Apostles He said nothing, be
cause it was not necessary on this occasion and because
they were not reflecting much credit upon their Master
by their present conduct. Though his answer was so
full of wisdom and so well suited to the question, yet
one of the servants of the highpriest rushed up with
raised hand and audaciously struck the venerable and
sacred face of Jesus, saying : "Answerest Thou the high
priest so?" The Lord accepted this boundless injury,
praying for the one who had inflicted it; and holding
Himself ready, if necessary, to turn and offer the other
cheek for a second stroke, according to the doctrine
He had himself inculcated (Matth. 5, 39). But in order
that the atrocious and daring offender might not shame
lessly boast of his wickedness, the Lord replied with
great tranquillity and meekness : "If I have spoken evil,
give testimony of the evil; if well, why strikest thou
Me?" O sight most astounding to the supernal spirits!
Since this is He, at the mere sound of whose voice the
foundations of the heavens tremble and ought to tremble
and the whole firmament is shaken! This is the Lord
of whom Job says, He is wise of heart and mighty in
strength; who hath resisted Him and hath peace? Who
hath removed mountains, and they, whom He overthrew
in his wrath, knew it not; He who moveth the earth
out of its place; who commandeth the sun, and it riseth
not; and shutteth up the stars as it were under a seal;
who doth things great and incomprehensible, whose
wrath no man can resist, and under whom they stoop,
that bear up the world (Job 9, 4, etc.) ; this is the One,
who for the love of men patiently suffers a servant to
strike and wound Him in the face by a buffet!
552. By the humble and appropriate reply of the Lord,
the wickedness of the sacrilegious servant stood repri
manded. Yet neither the shame of this reprimand, nor
the shameful negligence of the highpriest, which per
mitted such a criminal unfairness in his very presence,
moved either him or the other Jews to moderate their
conduct toward the Author of life. While this illtreatment
of the Lord was going on, saint Peter and
the other disciple, who was none other than saint John,
arrived at the house of Annas. Saint John, as being well
known there, readily obtained entrance, while saint
Peter remained outside. Afterwards the servant maid,
who was an acquaintance of saint John, allowed also him
to enter and see what would happen to the Lord (John
18, 16). The two disciples remained in the portico
adjoining the court-hall of the priest, and saint Peter
approached the fire, which the soldiers, on account of
the coldness of the night, had built in the enclosure near
the portico. The servant maid, on closer inspection,
noticed the depressed bearing of saint Peter. Coming
up to him she recognized him as a disciple of Jesus, and
said : "Art thou not perhaps one of the disciples of this
Man?" This question was asked by the maid with an
air of contempt and reproach. Peter in his great weak
ness and hesitancy yielded to a sense of shame. Over
come also by his fear he answered: "I am not his dis
ciple." Having given this answer, he slipped away to
avoid further conversation, and left the premises. But
he soon afterwards followed his Master to the house
of Caiphas, where he denied Him again at two different
times, as I shall relate farther on.
553. The denial of Peter caused greater pain to the
Lord than the buffet which He had received; for this
sin was directly opposed and abhorrent to his immense
charity, while pains and sufferings were sweet and wel
come to Him, since He could thereby atone for our sins.
After this first denial of Peter, Christ prayed for him
to his eternal Father and ordained that through the
intercession of the blessed Mary he should obtain pardon
even after the third denial. The great Lady witnessed
all that passed from her oratory, as I have said. As
She contained in her own breast the propitiatory and
sacrifice of her Son and Lord in sacramental form, She
directed her petitions and loving aspirations to Him,
eliciting most heroic acts of compassion, thanksgiving,
adoration and worship. She bitterly wept over the denial
of saint Peter, and ceased not, until She perceived that
the Lord would not refuse him the necessary helps for
effectually rising from his fall. The purest Mother also
felt all the wounds and torments of her Son in the same
portions of her virginal body as the Savior. When the
Lord was bound with the chains and ropes, She felt on
her wrists such pains, that the blood oozed from her
fingernails, as if they had been really bound and crushed :
in the same manner also the other wounds affected her
body. As to these tortures were added the sorrows of
her heart in seeing Christ our Lord suffer, She shed mir
aculous tears of blood. She felt also the buffet in the
same way, as if that sacrilegious hand had struck at the
same time her Son and Herself. At this wicked affront
and at the blasphemous insult offered to the Lord, She
called out to her holy angels to join Her in magnifying
and adoring their Creator in compensation for the in
juries offered Him by sinners, and in many most sor- I
rowful lamentations She conferred with the angels con-
cerning the cause of her affliction and mourning.
554. My daughter, to great deeds art thou called and
invited on account of the divine enlightenment thou receivest
concerning the mysteries of the sufferings of m)
most holy Son and of myself for the human race, and 01
account of the knowledge which thou hast obtained coi
cerning the small return made by heartless and ungrate
ful men for all our pains. Thou livest yet in mortal
flesh and art thyself subject to this ignorance and weak
ness; but by the force of truth thou art now roused to
great wonder, sorrow and compassion at the want of
attention displayed by mortals toward these great sacra
ments and at the losses sustained by them through their
lukewarmness and negligence. What then are the
thoughts of the angels and saints, and what are my
thoughts in beholding this world and all the faithful in
such a dangerous and dreadful state of carelessness,
when they have the Passion and Death of my divine
Son before their eyes, and when they have me, for their
Mother and Intercessor and his most pure life and mine
for an example? I tell thee truly, my dearest, only my
intercession and the merits of his Son, which I offer
to the eternal Father, can delay the punishment and
placate his wrath, can retard the destruction of the world
and the severe chastisement of the children of the Church,
who know his will and fail to fulfill it (John 15, 15).
But I am much incensed to find so few who condole with
me and try to console my Son in his sorrows, as David
says (Ps. 68, 21). This hardness of heart will cause great
confusion to them on the day of judgment; since they
will then see with irreparable sorrow, not only that they
were ungrateful, but inhuman and cruel toward my di
vine Son, toward me and toward themselves.
555. Consider then thy duty, my dearest, and raise
thyself above all earthly things and above thyself; for
I am calling thee and choose thee to imitate and follow
me into the solitude, in which I am left by creatures,
whom my Son and I have pursued with so many bless
ings and favors. Weigh in thy heart, how much it cost
my Lord to reconcile mankind to the eternal Father
(Colos. 1, 22) and regain for them his friendship. Weep
and afflict thyself that so many should live in such forgetfulness
and that so many should labor with all
their might at destroying and losing what was bought
by the blood of God itself and all that I from the first
moment of my Conception have sought to procure and
am procuring for their salvation. Awaken in thy heart
the deepest grief, that in his holy Church there should
be many followers of the hypocritical and sacrilegious
priests who, under cover of a false piety, still condemn
Christ; that pride and sumptuousness with other grave
vices should be raised to authority and exalted, while
humility, truth, justice and all virtues be so oppressed
and debased and avarice and vanity should prevail. Few
know the poverty of Christ, and fewer embrace it. Holy
faith is hindered and is not spread among the nations
on account of the boundless ambition of the mighty
of this earth; in many Catholics it is inactive and dead;
and whatever should be living, is near to death and to
eternal perdition. The counsels of the Gospel are for
gotten, its precepts trodden under foot, charity almost
extinct. My son and true God offers his cheeks in pa
tience and meekness to be buffeted and wounded (Thren.
3, 30). Who pardons an insult for the sake of imitating
Him? Just the contrary is set up as law in this world,
not only by the infidels, but by the very children of the
faith and of light.
556. In recognizing these sins I desire that thou imi
tate me in what I did during the Passion and during my
whole life, namely practice the virtues opposed to these
vices. As a recompense for their blasphemies, I blessed
God ; for their oaths, I praised Him ; for their unbelief,
I excited acts of faith, and so for all the rest of the sins
committed. This is what I desire thee to do while living
in this world. Fly also the dangerous intercourse with
creatures, taught by the example of Peter, for thou art
not stronger than he, the Apostle of Christ; and if thou
fall in thy weakness, weep over thy fault and imme
diately seek my intercession. Make up for thy ordinary
faults and weaknesses by thy patience in adversities,
accept them with a joyous mien and without disturbance,
no matter what they may be, whether they be sickness
or the molestations coming from creatures, or whether
they arise from the opposition of the flesh to the spirit,
or from the conflicts with visible or invisible enemies.
In all these things canst thou suffer and must thou bear
up in faith, hope and magnanimous sentiment. I remind
thee, that there is no exercise more profitable and useful
for the soul than to suffer: for suffering gives light,
undeceives, detaches the heart from visible things and
raises it up to the Lord. He will come to meet those in
suffering, because. He is with the afflicted and sends to
them his protection and help (Ps. 40, 15).
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