Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 6  Chapter  16    Verses:  557-571

557. After Jesus had been thus insulted and struck in
the house of Annas, He was sent, bound and fettered as
He was, to the priest Caiphas, the father-in-law of
Annas, who in that year officiated as the prince and high
priest; with him were gathered the scribes and distin
guished men of the Jews in order to urge the condem
nation of the most innocent Lamb (Matth. 26, 57). The
invincible patience and meekness of the Lord of all vir
tues (Ps. 23, 10) astounded the demons, and they were
filled with a confusion and fury so great as no words
can describe. Since they could not penetrate into the
interior of the sanctuary of his humanity, and since they
noticed in the meekest Lord no inordinate movement, nor
any sign of complaint, nor any sighing, nor the least
attempt at human relief, by which they are wont to search
the hearts of other men, the dragon was in the utmost
torments and surprised as at something altogether new
and unheard of among weak and imperfect mortals. In
his fury he redoubled his efforts to irritate the scribes
and servants of the priests against Him and excite them
to shower their abominable insults and affronts upon his
devoted head. In all that the demon suggested to them
they showed themselves most eager and they executed
it as far as the divine will allowed.
558. The whole rabble of infernal spirits and merci
less foes of Christ left the house of Annas and dragged
our Lord Savior through the streets to the house of
Caiphas, exercising upon Him all the cruelty of their
ignominious fury. The highpriests and his attendants
broke out in loud derision and laughter, when they saw
Jesus brought amid tumultuous noise into their presence
and beheld Him now subject to their power and juris
diction without hope of escape. O mystery of the most
exalted wisdom of heaven ! O foolishness and ignorance
of hell, and blind stupidity of mortals ! What a distance
immeasurable do I see between the doings of the Most
High and yours! At the very time when the King of
glory, as the Lord of all virtues and mighty in battles,
(Ps. 23, 8), is vanquishing vice, and death, and all sin
by the virtues of patience, humility and charity, the world
boasts of having overcome and subjected Him to its arro
gance and proud presumption! How different were the
thoughts of Christ our Lord from those of the ministers
of wickedness! The Author of life offered up to the
eternal Father the triumph, which his meekness and
humility won over sin; He prayed for the priests, the
scribes and servants, presenting his patience and suffer
ings as a compensation for their persecutions and excus
ing them on account of their ignorance. The same prayer
and petition was sent up at the same time by his blessed
Mother, for her enemies and the enemies of her divine
Son, thus following and imitating the Lord in all his
doings; for, as I have many times said, She saw all as
if personally present. Between the actions of the Son
and the Mother there was a most sweet and wonderful
harmony and a correspondence, most pleasing to the
eyes of the eternal Father.
559. The highpriest Caiphas, filled with a deadly envy
and hatred against the Master of life, was seated in his
chair of state or throne. With him were Lucifer and
all his demons, who had come from the house of Annas.
The scribes and pharisees, like bloodthirsty wolves, sur
rounded the gentle Lamb; all of them were full of the
exultation of the envious, who see the object of their
envy confounded and brought down. By common con
sent they sought for witnesses, whom they could bribe
to bring false testimonies against Jesus our Savior
(Matth. 26, 59). Those that had been procured, ad
vanced to proffer their accusations and testimony; but
their accusations neither agreed with each other, nor
could any of their slander be made to apply to Him, who
of his very nature was innocence and holiness (Mark
25, 56; Heb. 7, 26). In order not to be foiled, they
brought two other false witnesses, who deposed, that
they had heard Jesus say, He could destroy the temple
of God made by the hands of men, and build up another
one in three days, not made by them (Mark 16, 58).
This testimony did not seem to be of much value, al
though they founded upon it the accusation, that He
arrogated to Himself divine power. Even if this testi
mony had not been false in itself, the saying, if uttered
by the Lord Almighty, would have been infallibly true
and could not have been presumptuous or false. But
the testimony was false; since the Lord had not uttered
these words in reference to the material temple of God,
as the witnesses wished to inculcate. At the time when
He expelled the buyers and sellers from the temple and
when asked by what power He did it, He answered:
"Destroy this temple" that is : destroy this sacred human
ity, and on the third day I shall restore it, which He
certainly did at his Resurrection in testimony of his
divine power.
560. Our Savior Jesus answered not a word to all the
calumnies and lies brought forward against his inno
cence. Caiphas, provoked by the patient silence of the
Lord, rose up in his seat and said to Him : "Why dost
Thou not answer to what so many witnesses testify
against Thee?" But even to this the Lord made no
response. For Caiphas and the rest were not only indis
posed to believe Him; but they treacherously wished to
make use of his answer in order to calumniate Him and
satisfy the people in their proceedings against the Galileean,
so that they might not be thought to have con
demned Him to death without cause. This humble
silence, which should have appeased the wicked priest,
only infuriated him so much the more because it frus
trated his evil purpose. Lucifer, who incited the high
priest and all the rest, intently watched the conduct of
the Savior. But the intention of the dragon was differ
ent from that of the high priest. He merely wanted to
irritate the Lord, or to hear some word, by which he
could ascertain whether he was true God.
561. With this purpose satan stirred up Caiphas to
the highest pitch of rage and to ask in great wrath and
haughtiness: "I adjure Thee by the living God, that
Thou tell us, if Thou be the Christ, the Son of God."
This question of the highpriest certainly convicted him
at once of the deepest folly and of dreadful blasphemy ;
for if it was sincere, he had permitted Christ to be
brought before his tribunal in doubt whether He was
the true God or not, which would make him guilty of
the most formidable and audacious crime. The doubt
in such a matter should have been solved in quite an
other way, conformable to the demands of right reason
and justice. Christ our Savior, hearing Himself con
jured by the living God, inwardly adored and rever
enced the Divinity, though appealed to by such sacrile
gious lips. Out of reverence for the name of God He
therefore answered : "Thou hast said: I am He. Never
theless I say to you, hereafter you shall see the Son of
man (who I am) sitting on the right hand of the power
of God, and coming in the clouds of heaven" (Matth.
26, 64). At this divine answer the demons and the men
were affected in different ways. Lucifer and his devils
could not bear it; but immediately felt a superior force,
which hurled them down into the abyss and oppressed
them by the truth it contained. And they would not
have dared to come again into the presence of Christ
our Savior, if the divine Providence had not allowed
them to fall again into doubts, whether this Man Christ
had really spoken the truth or had merely sought this
means of freeing Himself from the hands of the Jews.
This uncertainty gave them new courage and they came
forth once more to the battlefield. The ultimate triumph
over the demons was reserved to the Cross itself, on
which the Savior was to vanquish both them and death,
as Zachary had prophesied and as will appear later.
562. But the highpriest, furious at the answer of the
Lord, instead of looking upon it as a solution of his
doubt, rose once more in his seat, and rending his
garments as an outward manifestation of his zeal for
the honor of God, loudly cried out: "He hath blas
phemed; what further need have we of witnesses? Be
hold, now you have heard the blasphemy: what think
you?" (Matth. 26, 65.) The real blasphemy however
consisted rather in these words of Caiphas, since he
denied the certain fact that Christ was the Son of
God by his very nature, and since he attributed to
the divine Personality sinfulness, which was directly
repugnant to his very nature. Such was the folly of the
wicked priest, who by his office should have recognized
and proclaimed the universal truth. He made of himself
an execrable blasphemer in maintaining that He, who
is holiness itself, had blasphemed. Having previously,
with satanical instinct, abused his high office in prophe
sying that the death of one man is better than the ruin
of all the people, he now was hindered by his sins from
understanding his own prophecy. As the example and
the opinions of princes and prelates powerfully stirs up
the flattery and subserviency of inferiors, that whole gath
ering of wickedness was incensed at the Savior Jesus:
all exclaimed in a loud voice : "He is guilty of death
(Matth, 26, 66), let Him die, let Him die!" Roused
by satanic fury they all fell upon their most meek Master
and discharged upon Him their wrath. Some of them
struck Him in the face, others kicked Him, others tore
out his hair, others spat upon his venerable countenance,
others slapped or struck Him in the neck, which was a
treatment reserved among the Jews only for the most
abject and vile of criminals.
563. Never among men were such outrageous and
frightful insults heaped upon any one as were then
heaped upon the Redeemer. Saint Luke and saint Mark
say that they covered his face and then struck Him
with their hands and fists saying : Prophesy, prophesy to
us, Thou Prophet, who was it that struck Thee? The
reason for their doing this was mysterious : namely, the
joy with which our Savior suffered all these injuries and
blasphemies (as I will soon relate) made his face shine
forth in extraordinary beauty, and on this account those
ministers of wickedness were seized with unbearable con
sternation and shame. They sought to attribute it to
sorcery and magic and, by a resolution befitting also
well their unworthiness, they covered the face of the
Lord with an unclean cloth, so that they might not be
hindered and tormented by its divine light in venting
their diabolical wrath. All these affronts, reproaches
and insults were seen and felt by the most holy Mary,
causing in Her the same pains and wounds in the same
parts of her body and at the same time as inflicted upon
the Lord. The only difference was, that in our Lord
the blows and torments were inflicted by the Jews them
selves, while in his most pure Mother they were caused
by the Almighty in a miraculous manner and upon re
quest of the Lady. According to natural laws, the
vehemence of her interior sorrow and anxiety would
have put an end to her life; but She was strengthened
by divine power, so as to be able to continue to suffer
with her beloved Son and Lord.
564. The interior acts performed by the Savior under
these barbarous and unheard of persecutions, cannot be
fathomed by human reason or faculties. Mary alone
understood them fully, so as to be able to imitate them
with the highest perfection. But as the divine Master
now experienced in his own Person, how necessary his
sympathy would be for those who were to follow him
and practice his doctrine, He exerted Himself so much
the more in procuring for them grace and blessings on
this occasion, in which He was teaching them by his
own example the narrow way of perfection. In the
midst of these injuries and torments, and those which
followed thereafter, the Lord established for his perfect
and chosen souls the beatitudes, which He had promised
and proposed to them some time before. He looked upon
the poor in spirit, who were to imitate Him in this virtue
and said: "Blessed are you in being stripped of the
earthly goods; for by my Passion and Death I am to
entail upon you the heavenly kingdom as a secure and
certain possession of voluntary poverty. Blessed are
those who meekly suffer and bear adversities and tribu
lations ; for, besides the joy of having imitated Me, they
shall possess the land of the hearts and the good will
of men through the peacefulness of their intercourse
and the sweetness of their virtues. Blessed are they
that weep while they sow in tears; for in them, they
shall receive the bread of understanding and life, and
they shall afterwards harvest the fruits of everlasting
joy and bliss."
565. "Blessed are also those who hunger and thirst
for justice and truth ; for I shall earn for them satiation
far beyond all their desires, as well in the reign of grace
as in the reign of glory. Blessed are they, who, imitat
ing Me in my offers of pardon and friendship, merci
fully pity those that offend and persecute them; for I
promise them the fulness of mercy from my Father.
Blessed be the pure of heart, who imitate Me in cruci
fying their flesh in order to preserve the purity of their
souls. I promise them the vision of peace and of my
Divinity, by becoming like unto Me and. by partaking
of Me. Blessed are the peaceful, who, yielding their
rights, do not resist the evil-minded and deal with them
with a sincere and tranquil heart without vengeance;
they shall be called my children, because they imitate
my eternal Father and I shall write them in my memory
and in my mind as my adopted sons. Those that suffer
persecution for justice s sake, shall be the blessed heirs
of my celestial kingdom, since they suffer with Me; and
where lam, there also they shall be in eternity. Rejoice,
ye poor ; be consoled all ye that are and shall be afflicted ;
glory in your lot, ye little ones and despised ones of
this world, you who suffer in humility and longanimity,
suffer with an interior rejoicing; since all of you are
following Me in the path of truth. Renounce vanity,
despise the pomp and haughtiness of the false and de
ceitful Babylon ; pass ye through the fires and the waters
of tribulation until you reach Me, who am the light,
the truth and your guide to the eternal rest and
566. In such divine acts and in other aspirations for
the good of sinners, our Savior Jesus occupied Himself,
while He was surrounded by his malignant enemies as
by ravenous dogs (Ps. 21, 17), who pursued Him and
satiated Him with insults, affronts, blasphemies and
wounds. The Virgin Mary, who was most attentive to
all that passed, accompanied Him in all his acts and peti
tions ; for She made the same petitions for his enemies.
She took charge of the blessings lavished by her Son
upon the just and the predestined, and constituted Her
self as their Mother, their Helper and Protectress. In
the name of all of them She composed hymns of praise
and thanksgiving, because the Lord had assigned such
an exalted position in the reign of grace to the despised
and poor of this earth. On this account also, and on
account of what She afterwards witnessed in the interior
of Christ, She chose anew labor and contempt, tribula
tions and pains as her share during the Passion and
during the rest of her most holy life.
567. Saint Peter had followed the Lord Jesus from
the house of Annas to that of Caiphas, although he took
care to walk at some distance behind the crowd of
enemies for fear that the Jews might seize him. He
partly repressed this fear on account of the love of his
Master and by the natural courage of his heart. Among
the great multitude which crowded in and out of the
house of Caiphas and in the darkness, it was not diffi
cult for the Apostle to find entrance into the house of
Caiphas. In the gates of the courtyard a servant-maid,
who was a portress as in the house of Annas, likewise
noticed saint Peter; she immediately went up to the
soldiers, who stood at the fire with him and said : "This
man is one of those who were wont to accompany Jesus
of Nazareth." One of the bystanders said: "Thou art
surely a Galileean and one of them." Saint Peter denied
it and added an oath, that he was not a disciple of Jesus,
immediately leaving the company at the fire. Yet, in his
eagerness to see the end, although he left the courtyard,
he did not leave the neighborhood. His natural love
and compassion for the Lord still caused him to linger
in the place, where he saw Him suffer so much. So the
Apostle moved about, sometimes nearer, sometimes
farther from the hall of justice for nearly an hour. Then
a relative of that Malchus, whose ear he had severed,
recognized him and said: Thou art a Galileean and a
disciple of Jesus; I saw thee with Him in the garden."
Then Peter deeming himself discovered, was seized with
still greater fear, and he began to assert with oaths and
imprecations, that he knew not the Man (Matth. 26, 72).
Immediately thereupon the cock crowed the second time,
and the prediction of his divine Master, that he should
deny Him thrice before the cock crowed twice, was ful
filled to the letter.
568. The infernal dragon was very anxious to destroy
saint Peter. It was Lucifer that incited the two maids,
whom he could more easily influence, and afterwards,
the soldiers, to molest the Apostle by their attention and
inquiries. At the same time as soon as he saw him in
his dangerous hesitation and change of mind he tried
to disturb saint Peter by vivid imaginations of impend
ing cruelty. Thus tempted, Peter simply denied the
Lord at first, added an oath to the second denial, and
curses and imprecations against himself at the third.
Hence, from one sin he fell into another greater one,
yielding to the cruel persecutions of the enemies. But
saint Peter, now hearing the crowing of the cock, re
membered the warning of his divine Master (Luke 22,
61 ); for, the great Queen in her gentle love having inter
ceded for him, the Lord now cast upon him a look of
boundless mercy. From her oratory in the Cenacle She
had witnessed the denials together with all the circum
stances and the causes which had brought the Apostle
to fall so deeply. She had seen him beset with natural
fear and much more by the merciless assaults of Lucifer.
She threw Herself upon the ground and tearfully inter
ceded for him, alleging his frailty and appealing to the
merits of her divine Son. The Lord himself moved
the heart of Peter, and by means of the light sent to
him, gently reproached him, exhorting him to acknowl
edge his fault and deplore his sin. Immediately the
Apostle left the house of the highpriest, bursting with
inmost sorrow into bitter tears over his fall. In order
to weep in the bitterness of his heart he betook himself
to a cave, even now called that of the Crowing Cock;
there he poured forth his sorrow and confusion in a
flood of tears. At the end of three hours he had obtained
pardon for his crimes ; and the holy impulses and inspir
ations had continued during that whole time until he
was again restored to grace. The most pure Mother
and Queen sent to him one of her angels, who secretly
consoled him and excited in him the hope of forgiveness,
so that he might not delay his full pardon by want of
trust in the goodness of God. The angel was ordered
not to manifest himself, because the Apostle had so
recently committed his sin. Hence the angel fulfilled his
commission without being seen by the Apostle. Saint
Peter was consoled and strengthened in his great sorrow
by these inspirations and thus obtained full pardon
through the intercession of most holy Mary.
569. My daughter, the mysterious sacrament of the
patience of my Son, by which He bore all the affronts
and insults, is a sealed book, which can be opened and
understood only by the divine light. Thou hast come to
the knowledge of it, as it has been partly laid open for
thee, although on account of thy limited powers, thou
writest much less than thou hast seen. But as this mys
tery is being made clear and intelligible to thee in the
secret of thy heart, I wish that it be also written there
and that thou study by this living example that divine
science, which neither flesh nor blood can teach thee.
For the world does not know, nor does it merit to know,
this science. This philosophy consists in recognizing and
loving the happy lot of the poor, the humble, the afflicted,
the despised, and those unknown among the children of
vanity. This school my most holy and loving Son estab
lished in his Church, when He proclaimed and set up
the eight beatitudes (Matth. 5, 2-10). Afterwards, when
He himself assumed all the sufferings of his Passion,
He became for us a Teacher, who practices what He
teaches, as thou hast seen. Nevertheless, although this
is set before the eyes of the Catholics, and can be plainly
read by them in this book of life during their whole
earthly pilgrimage, there are but few and scattered souls
who enter into this school and study this book, while
countless are the wayward and foolish, who ignore this
science in their unwillingness to be taught.
570. All abhor poverty and thirst after riches, none of
them being willing to recognize their emptiness. Infinite
is the number of those who are carried away by their
anger and vengeance, despising meekness. Few deplore
their real miseries and struggle merely for terrestrial
consolations; scarcely any love justice, or loyally pursue
it in their dealings with the neighbors. Mercy is almost
extinct, purity of heart is sullied and infringed upon,
peace is constrained. None grant pardon, none wish to
suffer for justice s sake, yea not even the least of the
many torments and pains, which they have so justly
merited. Thus, my dearest, there are few who attain
the blessings promised by my divine Son and by me.
Many times the just indignation and anger of the Al
mighty is roused against the professors of the true faith;
since in the very sight of the living example of their
Master, they live almost like infidels; many of them
being even more abominable in their lives ; for they are
properly those who despise the fruits of the Redemp
tion, which they have come to know and confess. In
the land of saints they impiously perform the works of
wickedness (Is. 26, 10), and make themselves unworthy
of the remedies, which are put at their disposal in more
merciful abundance.
571. Of thee I desire, my daughter, that thou labor
valiantly for this blessedness, by seeking to imitate me
perfectly according to thy grace of so deeply understand
ing this doctrine, which is hidden from the prudent and
wise of this world (Mark 11, 25). Day for day I mani
fest to thee new secrets of my wisdom, in order that it
may be established in thy heart and thou mayest extend
thy hands to valiant deeds (Prov. 31, 19). And now
I will tell thee of an exercise which I practiced and which
thou canst imitate to a certain degree. Thou knowest
already, that from the very first instant of my Concep
tion I was full of grace, without the least stain or par
ticipation of the least effect of original sin. On account
of this singular privilege I was blessed in all the virtues,
without feeling any repugnance or opposition in the
exercise of them, and without being conscious of owing
satisfaction for any sins of my own. Nevertheless the
divine enlightenment taught me, that I was a Daughter
of Adam by nature, which in him had sinned, and there
fore I felt bound to humiliate myself to the very dust,
even though I shared none of the guilt of that sin. And
since I also possessed senses of the same kind as those,
through which sin and its effects were contracted and
which then and afterwards are operative in present
human conditions, I thought myself obliged to mortify
them, humiliate them and deprive them of the enjoyment
proper to their nature, simply on account of this my
parentage from Adam. I acted like a most faithful
daughter of a family, who assumes the debt of her father
and of her brothers as her own, though she had no share
in contracting it, and who strives to pay and satisfy for
it the more earnestly, the more she loves her family and
the more they are unable to satisfy and free themselves
from it, not giving herself any rest until she succeeds.
This have I done with all the human race, whose miseries
and transgressions I bewailed. Because I was a Daughter
of Adam I mortified in me the senses and faculties with
which he sinned, and I humiliated myself as one that had
fallen and one guilty of his sin and disobedience, though
I was entirely free from them. All this I did not only
for Adam, but for all who by nature are my brethren.
Thou canst not imitate me under like conditions, since
thou art a partaker in his sin and guilt. But I herewith
impose upon thee to labor without ceasing for thyself
and for thy neighbor, and to humiliate thyself to the
very dust ; since a contrite and humble heart draws down
mercy from the divine goodness.
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