Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 6  Chapter  26    Verses:  755-765

755. The divine soul of Christ our Redeemer re
mained in limbo from half past three of Friday after
noon, until after three of the Sunday morning following.
During this hour He returned to the Sepulchre as the
victorious Prince of the angels and of the saints, whom
He had delivered from those nether prisons as spoils
of his victory and as an earnest of his glorious triumph
over the chastised and prostrate rebels of hell. In the
sepulchre were many angels as its guard, venerating the
sacred body united to the Divinity. Some of them,
obeying the command of their Queen and Mistress, had
gathered the relics of the sacred blood shed by her
divine Son, the particles of flesh scattered about, the
hair torn from his divine face and head, and all else
that belonged to the perfection and integrity of his
most sacred humanity. On these the Mother of pru
dence lavished her solicitous care. The angels took
charge of these relics, each one filled with joy at being
privileged to hold the particles, which he was able to
secure. Before any change was made, the body of the
Redeemer was shown to the holy Fathers, in the same
wounded, lacerated and disfigured state in which it was
left by the cruelty of the Jews. Beholding Him thus
disfigured in death, the Patriarchs and Prophets and
other saints adored Him and again confessed Him as
the incarnate Word, who had truly taken upon Himself
our infirmities and sorrows (Is. 53, 4) and paid abun
dantly our debts, satisfying in his innocence and guilt
lessness for what we ourselves owed to the justice of
the eternal Father. There did our first parents Adam
and Eve see the havoc wrought by their disobedience,
the priceless remedy it necessitated, the immense good
ness and mercy of the Redeemer. As they felt the
effects of his copious Redemption in the glory of their
souls, they praised anew the Omnipotent and Saint of
saints, who had with such marvelous wisdom wrought
such a salvation.
756. Then, in the presence of all those saints, through
the ministry of those angels, were united to the sacred
body all the relics, which they had gathered, restoring
it to its natural perfection and integrity. In the same
moment the most holy soul reunited with the body,
giving it immortal life and glory. Instead of the wind
ing-sheets and the ointments, in which it had been
buried, it was clothed with the four gifts of glory,
namely: with clearness, impassibility, agility and
subtility (John 19, 40). These gifts overflowed from
the immense glory of the soul of Christ into the sacred
body. Although these gifts were due to it as a natural
inheritance and participation from the instant of its con
ception, because from that very moment his soul was
glorified and his whole humanity was united to the
Divinity; yet they had been suspended in their effects
upon the purest body, in order to permit it to remain
passible and capable of meriting for us our own glory.
In the Resurrection these gifts were justly called into
activity in the proper degree corresponding to the glory
of his soul and to his union with the Divinity. As the
glory of the most holy soul of Christ our Savior is in
comprehensible and ineffable to man, it is also impossible
entirely to describe in our words or by our examples
the glorious gifts of his deified body; for in comparison
to its purity, crystal would be obscure. The light in
herent and shining forth from his body so far exceeds
that of the others, as the day does the night, or as
many suns the light of one star; and all the beauty of
creatures, if it were joined, would appear ugliness in
comparison with his, nothing else being comparable to
it in all creation.
757. The excellence of these gifts in the Resurrection
were far beyond the glory of his Transfiguration or
that manifested on other occasions of the kind men
tioned in this history. For on these occasions He re
ceived it transitorily and for special purposes, while
now He received it in plenitude and forever. Through
impassibility his body became invincible to all created
power, since no power can ever move or change Him.
By subtility the gross and earthly matter was so puri
fied, that it could now penetrate other matter like a pure
spirit. Accordingly He penetrated through the rocks
of the sepulchre without removing or displacing them,
just as He had issued forth from the womb of his most
blessed Mother. Agility so freed Him from the weight
and slowness of matter, that it exceeded the agility of
the immaterial angels, while He himself could move
about more quickly than they, as shown in his apparitions
to the Apostles and on other occasions. The sacred
wounds, which had disfigured his body, now shone forth
from his hands and feet and side so refulgent and
brilliant, that they added a most entrancing beauty and
charm. In all this glory and heavenly adornment the
Savior now arose from the grave; and in the presence
of the saints and Patriarchs He promised universal
resurrection in their own flesh and body to all men,
and that they moreover, as an effect of his own Resur
rection, should be similarly glorified. As an earnest
and as a pledge of the universal resurrection, the Lord
commanded the souls of many saints there present to
reunite with their bodies and rise up to immortal life.
Immediately this divine command was executed, and
their bodies arose, as is mentioned by saint Matthew,
in anticipation of this mystery (Matthew 27, 52).
Among them was saint Anne, saint Joseph and saint
Joachim, and others of the ancient Fathers and Patri
archs, who had distinguished themselves in the faith
and hope of the Incarnation, and had desired and
prayed for it with greater earnestness to the Lord. As
a reward for their zeal, the resurrection and glory of
their bodies was now anticipated.
758. O how powerful and wonderful, how victorious
and strong, appeared even now this Lion of Juda, the
son of David! None ever woke from sleep so quickly
as Christ from death (Ps. 3, 4). At his imperious
voice the dry and scattered bones of the ancient dead
were joined together, and the flesh, which had long ago
turned to dust, was united to the bones, renewed their
former life, and adorned by the gifts of glory com
municated to it by the life-restoring soul. In one instant
all these saints gathered around their Savior, more
refulgent and brilliant than the sun, pure, transparent,
beauteous and agile, fit to follow Him everywhere and
by their own good fortune they now confirmed the
prophecy of Job, that, in our own flesh and with our
own eyes, and not with those of others, we shall see
our Redeemer for our consolation (Job 19, 26). Of
all these mysteries the great Queen of heaven was aware
and She participated in them from her retreat in the
Cenacle. In the same instant in which the most holy
soul of Christ entered and gave life to his body the joy
of her immaculate soul, which I mentioned in the fore
going chapter as being restrained and, as it were, with
held, overflowed into her immaculate body. And this
overflow was so exquisite in its effects, that She was
transformed from sorrow to joy, from pain to delight,
from grief to ineffable jubilation and rest. It happened
that just at this time the Evangelist John, as he had
done on the previous morning, stepped in to visit Her
and console Her in her bitter solitude, and thus un
expectedly, in the midst of splendor and glory, met Her,
whom he had before scarcely recognized on account of
her overwhelming sorrow. The Apostle now beheld
Her with wonder and deepest reverence and concluded
that the Lord had risen, since his blessed Mother was
thus transfigured with joy.
759. In this new joy and under the divine influences
of her supernatural vision the great Lady began to pre
pare Herself for the visit of the Lord, which was near
at hand. While eliciting acts of praise, and in her
canticles and prayers, She immediately felt within Her
a new kind of jubilation and celestial delight, reaching
far beyond the first joy, and correspondng in a won
derful manner to the sorrows and tribulations She had
undergone in the Passion; and this new favor was dif
ferent and much more exalted than the joys overflowing
naturally from her soul into her body. Moreover She
perceived within Herself another, third and still more
different effect, implying new divine favors. Namely
She felt infused into her being the heavenly light
heralding the advent of beatific vision, which I will not
here explain, since I have descanted on it in the first
part (Part I, No. 620). I merely add here, that the
Queen, on this occasion, received these divine influences
more abundantly and in a more exalted degree ; for now
the Passion of Christ had gone before and She had
acquired the merits of this Passion. Hence the conso
lations from the hands of her divine Son corresponded
to the multitude of her sorrows.
760. The blessed Mary being thus prepared, Christ
our Savior, arisen and glorious, in the company of all
the Saints and Patriarchs, made his appearance. The
ever humble Queen prostrated Herself upon the ground
and adored her divine Son; and the Lord raised Her
up and drew Her to Himself. In this contact, which
was more intimate than the contact with the humanity
and the wounds of the Savior sought by Magdalen, the
Virgin Mother participated in an extraordinary favor,
which She alone, as exempt from sin, could merit.
Although it was not the greatest of the favors She
attained on this occasion, yet She could not have re
ceived it without failing of her faculties, if She had not
been previously strengthened by the angels and by the
Lord himself. This favor was, that the glorious body
of the Son so closely united itself to that of his purest
Mother, that He penetrated into it or She into his, as
when, for instance, a crystal globe takes up within itself
the light of the sun and is saturated with the splendor
and beauty of its light. In the same way the body of the
most holy Mary entered into that of her divine Son
by this heavenly embrace; it was, as it were, the portal
of her intimate knowledge concerning the glory of the
most holy soul and body of her Lord. As a consequence
of these favors, constituting higher and higher degrees
of ineffable gifts, the spirit of the Virgin Mother rose
to the knowledge of the most hidden sacraments. In the
midst of them She heard a voice saying to Her: "My
beloved, ascend higher!" (Luke 18, 10). By the power
of these words She was entirely transformed and saw
the Divinity clearly and intuitively, wherein She found
complete, though only temporary, rest and reward for
all her sorrows and labors. Silence alone here is proper,
since reason and language are entirely inadequate to
comprehend or express what passed in the blessed Mary
during this beatific vision, the highest She had until
then enjoyed. Let us celebrate this day in wonder and
praise, with congratulations and loving and humble
thanks for what She then merited for us, and for her
exaltation and joy.
761. For some hours the heavenly Princess continued
to enjoy the essence of God with her divine Son, partici
pating now in his triumph as She had in his torments.
Then by similar degrees She again descended from this
vision and found Herself in the end reclining on the
right arm of the most sacred humanity and regaled in
other ways by the right hand of his Divinity (Cant. 2, 6).
She held sweetest converse with her Son concerning the
mysteries of his Passion and of his glory. In these
conferences She was again inebriated with the wine of
love and charity, which now She drank unmeasured
from the original fount. All that a mere creature can
receive was conferred upon the blessed Mary on this
occasion; for, according to our way of conceiving such
things, the divine equity wished to compensate the in
jury (thus I must call it, because I cannot find a more
proper word), which a Creature so pure and immacu
late had undergone in suffering the sorrows and tor
ments of the Passion. For, as I have mentioned many
times before, She suffered the same pains as her Son,
and now in this mystery She was inundated with a pro
portionate joy and delight.
762. Then, still remaining in her exalted state, the
great Lady turned to the holy Patriarchs and all the
just, recognizing them and speaking to each in suc
cession, praising the Almighty in his liberal mercy to
each one of them. She was filled with an especial de
light in speaking to her parents, saint Joachim and Anne,
with her spouse, saint Joseph, with saint John the Bap
tist, and with them She conversed more particularly
than with the Patriarchs and Prophets and with the
first parents, Adam and Eve. All of them prostrated
themselves before the heavenly Lady, acknowledging
Her as the Mother of the Redeemer of the world, as
the cause of their rescue and the Coadjutrix of their
Redemption. The divine wisdom impelled them thus to
venerate and honor Her. But the Queen of all virtues
and the Mistress of Humility prostrated Herself on the
ground and reverenced the saints according to their due.
This the Lord permitted because the saints, although
they were inferior in grace, were superior in their state
of blessedness, endowed with imperishable and eternal
glory, while the Mother of grace was yet in mortal
life and a pilgrim and had not as yet assumed the state
of fruition. The presence of Christ our Savior con
tinued during all the conference of Mary with the holy
Fathers. The most blessed Mary invited all the angels
and saints there present to praise the Victor over death,
sin and hell. Whereupon all sang new songs, psalms,
hymns of glory and magnificence, until the hour arrived,
when the risen Savior was to appear in other places,
as I shall relate in the following chapter.
763. My daughter, rejoice in thy very anxiety of not
being able to explain in words what thy interior faculties
perceive concerning the exalted mysteries recorded in
thy writing. To acknowledge oneself conquered by such
sovereign sacraments as these must be looked upon as
a victory for creatures, and as redounding to the glory
of God; and in mortal flesh still more so. I felt the
pains of my divine Son, and, although I did not lose
my life, I endured the agonies of death mysteriously;
therefore I experienced in myself also this wonderful
and mystical resurrection to a most exalted state of
grace and activity. The essence of God is infinite; and
although the creature can participate in it so highly, yet
there remains much to understand, love and enjoy. In
order that now thou mayest by the help of thy under
standing trace something of the glory of Christ my Son,-
of my own and of the saints, I wish to give thee some
rules, by which thou canst pass on from the considera
tion of the gifts of the glorified body to those of the
soul. Thou already knowest that the gifts of the soul
are vision, comprehension and fruition, while thou hast
already mentioned those of the body as being: clearness,
impassibility, subtility and agility.
764. Each of these gifts are correspondingly aug
mented in him who in the state of grace performs the
least meritorious work, even if it be no more than re
moving a straw or giving a cup of water for the love
of God (Matth. 10, 42). For each of the most insig
nificant works the creature gains an increase of these
gifts; an increase of clearness exceeding many times
the sunlight and added to its state of blessedness; an
increase of impassibility, by which man recedes from
human and earthly corruption farther than what all
created efforts and strength could ever effect in resisting
or separating itself from such infirmity or changefulness;
an increase of subtility, by which he advances
beyond all that could offer it resistance and gains new
power of penetration; an increase of agility, surpassing
all the activity of birds, of winds, and all other active
creatures, such as fire and the elements tending to their
centre. From this increase of the gifts of the body
merited by good works, thou wilt understand the aug
mentation of the gifts of the soul; for those of the
body are derived from those of the soul and correspond
with them. In the beatific vision each merit secures
greater clearness and insight into the divine attributes
and perfections than that acquired by all the doctors and
enlightened members of the Church. Likewise the gift
of apprehension, or possession of the divine Object, is
augmented; for the security of the possession of the
highest and infinite Good makes the tranquillity and rest
of its enjoyment more estimable than if the soul pos
sessed all that is precious and rich, desirable and worthy
of attainment in all creation, even if possessed all at
one time. Fruition, the third gift of the soul, on ac
count of the love with which man performs the smallest
acts, so exalts the degrees of fruitional love, that the
greatest love of men here on earth can never be com
pared thereto; nor can the delight resulting therefrom
ever be compared with all the delights of this mortal life.
765. Elevate therefore now thy thoughts, my daugh
ter, and from these wonderful rewards, gained by one
little deed done for God, consider what shall be the lot
of the saints, who for the love of God have performed
such heroic and magnificent works, and have suffered
such cruel torments and martyrdom as are known in the
Church of Christ. And if these things happen in mere
men, subject to faults and imperfections that retard
merit, imagine, as far as thou canst, the exaltation of
my divine Son. Then thou wilt feel how limited is
human capacity, especially in mortal life, to comprehend
worthily this mystery and to conceive in a becoming
manner such greatness. The most holy soul of my Lord
was united substantially to the Divinity and on account
of this hypostatic union the ocean of his Divinity nec
essarily communicated Itself to his divine and human
personality, beatifying it as participating in the very
essence of God in an ineffable manner. Although his
glory depended not on merits, since it was given to
Him as consequent upon the hypostatical union from
the first instant of his conception in my womb; yet the
works of the thirty-three years of his life, his being
born in poverty, living in labor, loving as a pilgrim,
operating in all the virtues, redeeming the human race,
founding the Church and the doctrines of the faith: all
this demanded, that the glory of his body be measured
by that of his soul. And therefore his greatness is in
effable and immense, to be manifested only in eternal
life. In connection with the magnificent exaltation of
my divine Son, the right hand of the Almighty wrought
also in me effects proportionate to a mere creature, and
in them I forgot all the tribulations and sorrows of the
Passion. Similar was the lot of the Fathers of limbo
and the other saints, when they received their rewards.
I forgot the bitterness and labors I had suffered; for
the great joy drove out pain, though I never lost from
view what my Son had suffered for the human race.
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