Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 6  Chapter  28    Verses:  784-797

784. During the whole course of this history the
abundance and vastness of its mysteries have made me
feel destitute of proper words. Vast is that which is
offered to the understanding in the divine light, and in
significant what can be expressed in language. On ac
count of this inequality and defect arising from the
fecundity of the intellect and the sterility of words, my
faculties have suffered a great strain; for the want of
correspondence between the results of the spoken word
and the conception of the mind continually causes a
mistrust and dissatisfaction with the words, as falling
short of the meaning and as making me hopelessly in
capable of correcting the deficiency or of filling up the
discrepancy between the things said and those perceived.
I find myself in this state just now, when I am to de
scribe what has been made known to me concerning the
hidden mysteries and exalted sacraments of the life
of Mary during the forty days after the Resurrection
of her Son and our Redeemer until the time He as
cended into heaven. The state in which the divine power
placed Her after the Passion and Resurrection was new
and more exalted : her operations were more mysterious,
the favors conferred upon Her were proportionate to
her eminent holiness and to the will of Him who
wrought them ; for according to this rule He proceeded.
If I were obliged to describe all that has been mani
fested to me, it would be necessary to extend this his
tory into many large volumes. From what I shall say
something can be gathered concerning these most divine
mysteries for the glory of that great Queen and Lady.
785. It has already been said at the beginning
of the last chapter, that during the forty days after the
Resurrection the Lord remained in the Cenacle and in
the company of his most holy Mother whenever He
was not absent in appearing to some of his chosen
friends. All the rest of the time He spent in her
presence. Any one can prudently conjecture, that all
this time, in which these two Sovereigns of the world
were together, They spent in works altogether divine and
above all the conceptions of the human mind. What
has been made known to me of these works is ineffable ;
for often They would engage in sweetest colloquy of
inscrutable wisdom and this conversation was for the
loving Mother a joy, which though inferior to the
beatific vision, was consoling and delightful beyond all
that is imaginable. At other times the great Queen,
the Patriarchs and Saints, who there assisted in their
glorified state, occupied themselves in the praise and
exaltation of the Most High. Mary had a deep knowl
edge of all the works and merits of the saints; of the
blessings, favors and gifts each one had received from
the Omnipotent ; of the mysteries, figures and prophecies
which had gone before in the ancient Patriarchs. All
this She was Mistress of, and it was present to her mind
in contemplation more completely, than the Hail Mary
is known to us for recitation. The exalted Lady con
sidered all the great motives of these saints for praising
and blessing the Author of all good. Though they,
enjoying the beatific vision, fulfilled and are fulfilling
this duty without cessation, yet in their conversations
and intercourse with the heavenly Princess, they were
constantly urged by Her to magnify and praise the
divine Majesty for all these blessings and operations
so evident to the eyes of her soul.
786. All this sacred choir of the saints joined with
their Queen and began to engage in these divine exer
cises according to a stated order; so that all of them
formed a choir, in which each one of the blessed recited
a verse, while the Mother of wisdom answered with
another. In their frequent exercise of these sweet alter
nating songs, the great Lady by Herself produced as
many hymns and canticles of praise, as all the saints
and angels together; for also the angels entered into
this competition of new songs, admirable to them and to
all the blessed. For the wise worship of God practiced
by the heavenly Princess in this life exceeded that of
all other creatures, including those who already en
joyed the beatific vision. All that the blessed Mary
did during these days is beyond the capacity and esti
mation of men. But her exalted thoughts and motives
were prudently measured by her most faithful love;
for, knowing that her divine Son tarried in this world
principally in order to assist and console Her, She re
solved to compensate Him as far as it was possible.
Therefore She did all in her power to provide for the
Lord the same praises and honors as the saints furnish
Him in heaven. By concurring in these praises Herself
She at once raised them to the highest worth and changed
the house of the Cenacle into a heaven.
787. In such exercises She consumed the greater
part of the forty days and during that time were com
posed more canticles and hymns than all the saints and
Prophets have left for our use. Sometimes this heavenly
gathering made use of the psalms of David or the
prophecies of the Scripture, commenting, as it were, or
expatiating on these so divine and profound mysteries;
and the holy fathers, who had been the authors of the
prophecies, when they recognized the gifts and favors
of the right hand of God and the revelations of such
numerous and great sacraments, referred them especially
to our Queen. Admirable was also the delight She drew
from her conversation with her holy mother, her father
Joachim, saint Joseph, saint John the Baptist, and the
great Patriarchs. In mortal flesh no state can be imag
ined, which approaches so close to the beatific fruition
as the one enjoyed at that time by the great Lady and
Queen. Another wonder happened during those days,
which was: that all the souls of the just who died in
grace within those forty days, gathered in the Cenacle,
and those who had no debt to pay, were there beatified.
But those who were subject to purgatory were obliged
to wait in the same place without seeing the Lord,
some three, some five days, others again for a shorter
or longer period. For the Mother of mercy satisfied
for their defects by genuflections, prostrations or some
work of satisfaction, but much more by the ardent
charity with which She wrought for them and applied
!to them the infinite merits of her divine Son. Thus She
helped to abbreviate their punishment and the pain of
not seeing the Lord (for they suffered no sensible
pains) and soon they were beatified and admitted to the
choir of the saints. For each one that thus joined
their ranks, the great Lady composed new hymns of
praise to the Lord.
788. Amidst all these delights and jubilations the
kindest Mother, with ineffable generosity, did not for
get the misery and poverty of the children of Eve
deprived of this glory ; but like a true Mother of mercy,
turning her eyes upon the condition of mortals, She
offered for all of them her most fervent prayers. She
besought the eternal Father for the spreading of the
new Law through all the world; the multiplication of
the children of the Church; for its defense and pro
tection and for the extension of the fruits of the Re
demption to all men. The fulfillment of this petition
was regulated by the eternal decrees of the divine wis
dom ; but as far as the desires and affections of the most
loving Queen were concerned She wished the Redemp
tion and eternal life to be extended to the whole human
race. Besides these general petitions, She made special
ones for the Apostles, and particularly for saint John
and saint Peter: for the one, as her son; for the other,
as the head of the Church. She prayed also for Mag
dalen and the Marys, and all the other faithful then
belonging to the Church. Finally She prayed for the
exaltation of the faith and of the name of her divine
Son Jesus.
789. A few days before the Ascension of the Lord,
while the blessed Mary was engaged in the one of the
above-mentioned exercises, the eternal Father and the
Holy Ghost appeared in the Cenacle upon a throne of
ineffable splendor surrounded by the choirs of angels
and saints there present and other heavenly spirits,
which had now come with the divine Persons. Then
the incarnate Word ascended the throne and seated
Himself with the other Two. The ever humble Mother
of the Most High, prostrate in a corner of a room, in
deepest reverence adored the most blessed Trinity, and
in it her own incarnate Son. The eternal Father com
manded two of the highest angels to call Mary, which
they did by approaching Her, and in sweetest voices in
timating to Her the divine will. She arose from the
dust with the most profound humility, modesty and
reverence. Accompanied by the angels She approached
the foot of the Throne, humbling herself anew. The
eternal Father said to Her: "Beloved, ascend higher!"
(Luke 14, 10). As these words at the same time ef
fected what they signified, She was raised up and placed
on the throne of royal Majesty with the three divine
Persons. New admiration was caused in the saints to
see a mere Creature exalted to such dignity. Being
made to understand the sanctity and equity of the works
of the Most High, they gave new glory and praise pro
claiming Him immense, Just, Holy and Admirable in
all his counsels.
790. The Father then spoke to the blessed Mary
saying : "My Daughter, to Thee do I entrust the Church
founded by my Onlybegotten, the new law of grace He
established in the world, and the people, which He re
deemed: to Thee do I consign them all." Thereupon
also the Holy Ghost spoke to Her : "My Spouse, chosen
from all creatures, I communicate to Thee my wisdom
and grace together with which shall be deposited in
thy heart the mysteries, the works and teachings and all
that the incarnate Word has accomplished in the world."
And the Son also said : "My most beloved Mother, I go
to my Father and in my stead I shall leave Thee and I
charge Thee with the care of my Church; to Thee do I
commend its children and my brethren, as the Father
has consigned them to Me." Then the three Divine
Persons, addressing the choir of holy angels and the
other saints, said: "This is the Queen of all created
things in heaven and earth; She is the Protectress of
the Church, the Mistress of creatures, the Mother of
piety, the Intercessor of the faithful, the Advocate of
sinners, the Mother of beautiful love and holy hope
(Eccli. 24, 24) ; She is mighty in drawing our will to
mercy and clemency. In Her shall be deposited the
treasures of our grace and her most faithful heart shall
be the tablet whereon shall be written and engraved
our holy law. In Her are contained the mysteries of
our Omnipotence for the salvation of mankind. She
is the perfect work of our hands, through whom the
plenitude of our desires shall be communicated and sat
isfied without hindrance in the currents of our divine
perfections. Whoever shall call upon Her from his
heart shall not perish; whoever shall obtain her inter
cession shall secure for himself eternal life. What She
asks of Us, shall be granted, and We shall always hear
her requests and prayers and fulfill her will; for She
has consecrated Herself perfectly to what pleases Us."
The most blessed Mary, hearing Herself thus exalted,
humiliated Herself so much the deeper the more highly
She was raised by the right hand of the Most High
above all the human and angelic creatures. As if She
were the least of all, She adored the Lord and offered
Herself, in the most prudent terms and in the most ardent
love, to work as a faithful servant in the Church and to
obey promptly all the biddings of the divine will. From
that day on She took upon Herself anew the care of
the evangelical Church, as a loving Mother of all its
children; She renewed all the petitions She had until
then made, so that during the whole further course of her
life they were most fervent and incessant, as we shall see
in the third part, where will appear more clearly what the
Church owes to this great Queen and Lady, and what
blessings She gained and merited for it. By the favor
now vouchsafed to Mary and by those conferred upon
Her later, She was raised to a participation in the being
of her Son beyond all possibility of words to explain;
for He communicated his attributes and perfections to
Her in correspondence to her ministry as Instructress
and Mother of the Church and as supplying his own
ministry. He elevated Her into a new state of knowl
edge and power, by means of which nothing was to be
hidden from Her either of the divine mysteries or of
the inmost secrets of the human heart. She was made
to understand and know when and how She was to use
this communicated power of the Divinity in her dealings
with men, with the demons and with all creatures. In
short, all that can possibly be conferred upon a mere
creature was received and given over in all its fulness
and excellence to our great Queen and Lady. Of these
sacramental operations saint John was to a certain extent
made aware, in order that he might form an estimate,
how much he was to esteem and appreciate the inestima
ble Treasure consigned to his care. From that day
on he venerated and served the great Lady with new
solicitude and reverence.
791. Other wonderful favors the Most High wrought
for Mary in those forty days, and there was none of
them, in which He did not show forth his beneficent
power and holiness toward his Mother and his solicitude
to enrich Her more and more before his Ascension into
heaven. When the pre-ordained time for the return
of the eternal Wisdom to his Father had arrived, after
having proved his Resurrection by many apparitions
and by many arguments (as saint Luke says, Acts 1, 3),
He resolved to appear and manifest Himself once more
to that whole gathering of Apostles and disciples, num
bering one hundred and twenty persons. This appari
tion took place in the Cenacle on the very day of the
Ascension and in addition to the one mentioned by saint
Mark in the last chapter (Mark 16, 14) ; for all this
happened on one and the same day. After the sojourn
of the Apostles in Galilee, whither the Lord had com
manded them to go and where He appeared to them
close to the sea of Tiberias, after they had seen and
adored Him on the mountain, as mentioned by Mark,
and after He had been seen by the five hundred according
to saint Paul, the disciples returned to Jerusalem in
order to be present according to the wishes of the Lord,
at his wonderful Ascension. While the eleven Apostles
were reclining at their meal, as is related by saint Mark
and saint Luke in the Acts, the Lord entered and ate
with them, moderating, with admirable affability and
condescension, the splendors of his beauty and glory
in order that He might be looked upon by all. Having
finished their meal He spoke to them in earnest yet
sweetly tempered majesty.
792. "Know ye, my disciples, that my eternal Father
has given Me all power in heaven and on earth, and
I wish to communicate it to you in order that you may
establish my new Church throughout the whole world.
You have been slow and tardy in believing my Resur
rection; but it is now time that as true and faithful
disciples, you be the teachers of the faith to all men.
Preaching my Gospel as you have heard it from my
lips, you shall baptize all that believe, giving them Bap
tism in the name of the Father, and of the Son (who
am I) and of the Holy Ghost. Those that shall believe
and be baptized, shall be saved, and those that shall
not believe, shall be damned. Teach the believers to
observe all that concerns my holy Law. In confirmation
thereof the faithful shall perform signs and wonders;
they shall cast out the demons from their habitations;
they shall speak new tongues; they shall cure the bites
of serpents; if they drink aught poisonous, it shall not
hurt them; and they shall cure the sick by the laying
on of hands." Such miracles Christ our Savior prom
ised for the foundation of the Church in the preaching
of the Gospel; and all of them were verified in the first
ages of the Church. For the propagation of the faith
in the rest of the world and for the preservation of
the Church where it exists, He continues the same signs,
when and how his Providence deems it necessary; for
He never will forsake the holy Church, his most beloved
793. On that same day, by divine dispensation, while
the Lord was at table with the eleven Apostles, other
disciples and pious women gathered at the Cenacle to
the number of one hundred and twenty; for the divine
Master wished them to be present at his Ascension.
Moreover, just as He had instructed the Apostles, so He
now wanted to instruct these faithful respectively in
what each was to know before his leaving them and as
cending into heaven. All of them being thus gathered
and united in peace and charity within those walls in the
hall of the last Supper, the Author of life manifested
Himself to them as a kind and loving Father and said
to them :
794. "My sweetest children, I am about to ascend to
my Father, from whose bosom I descended in order to
rescue and save men. I leave with you in my stead my
own Mother as your Protectress, Consoler and Advocate,
and as your Mother, whom you are to hear and obey in
all things. Just as I have told you, that he who sees
Me sees my Father, and he who knows Me, knows
also Him; so I now tell you, that He who knows
my Mother, knows Me; he who hears Her, hears
Me; and who honors Her, honors Me. All of you shall
have Her as your Mother, as your Superior and Head,
and so shall also your successors. She shall answer
your doubts, solve your difficulties; in Her, those who
seek Me shall always find Me; for I shall remain in
Her until the end of the world, and I am in Her now,
although you do not understand how." This the Lord
said, because He was sacramentally present in the bosom
of his Mother; for the sacred species, which She had
received at the last Supper, were preserved in Her until
consecration of the first Mass, as I shall relate further
on. The Lord thus fulfilled that which He promised in
saint Matthew : "I am with you to the consummation of
the world" (Matth. 28, 20). The Lord added and said:
"You will have Peter as the supreme head of the Church,
for I leave him as my Vicar ; and you shall obey him as
the chief highpriest. Saint John you shall hold as the
son of my Mother; for I have chosen and appointed
him for this office on the Cross." The Lord then looked
upon his most beloved Mother, who was there present,
and intimated his desire of expressly commanding that
whole congregation to worship and reverence Her in a
manner suited to the dignity of Mother of God, and
of leaving this command under form of a precept for
the whole Church. But the most humble Lady besought
her Onlybegotten to be pleased not to secure Her more
honor than was absolutely necessary for executing all
that He had charged Her with; and that the new chil
dren of the Church should not be induced to show Her
greater honor than they had shown until then. On the
contrary, She desired to divert all the sacred worship
of the Church immediately upon the Lord himself and
to make the propagation of the Gospel redound entirely
to the exaltation of his holy name. Christ our Savior
yielded to this most prudent petition of his Mother,
reserving to Himself the duty of spreading the knowl
edge of Her at a more convenient and opportune time;
yet in secret He conferred upon Her new extraordinary
favors, as shall appear in the rest of this history.
795. In considering the loving exhortations of their
divine Master, the mysteries which He had revealed to
them, and the prospect of his leaving them, that whole
congregation was moved to their inmost hearts; for
He had enkindled in them the divine love by the vivid
faith of his Divinity and humanity. Reviving within
them the memory of his words and his teachings of
eternal life, the delights of his most loving intercourse
and company, and sorrowfully realizing, that they were
now all at once to be deprived of these blessings, they
wept most tenderly and sighed from their inmost souls.
They longed to detain Him, although they could not,
because they saw it was not befitting; words of parting
rose to their lips, but they could not bring themselves
to utter them; each one felt sentiments of sorrow arising
amid feelings both of joy and yet also of pious regret.
How shall we live without such a Master ? they thought.
Who can ever speak to us such words of life and consola
tion as He ? Who will receive us so lovingly and kindly ?
Who shall be our Father and protector ? We shall be help
less children and orphans in this world. Some of them
broke their silence and exclaimed : "O most loving Lord
and Father! O joy and life of our souls! Now that
we know Thee as our Redeemer, Thou departest and
leavest us! Take us along with Thee, O Lord; banish
us not from thy sight. Our blessed Hope, what shall
we do without thy presence? Whither shall we turn,
if Thou goest away? Whither shall we direct our steps,
if we cannot follow Thee, our Father, our Chief, and
our Teacher?" To these and other pleadings the Lord
answered by bidding them not to leave Jerusalem and
to persevere in prayer until He should send the Holy
Spirit, the Consoler, as promised by the Father and as
already foretold to the Apostles at the last Supper.
Thereupon happened, what I shall relate in the next
796. My daughter, it is just, that in thy admiration
of the hidden favors vouchsafed to me by the right
hand of the Almighty, thy love be awakened in eternal
benedictions and praise of his wonderful operations.
Although I withhold from thy knowledge many of them,
which thou shalt know after leaving mortal flesh; yet
I wish, that from now on thou consider it thy especial
duty to praise and magnify the Lord, because, in spite
of my being formed of the same material as Adam
(Luke 1, 51), He has raised me from the dust and has
manifested to me the power of his arm, operating in
me such great things as can never be merited. In order
to exercise thyself in these praises of the Most High,
repeat many times over the canticle of the Magnificat,
in which I have briefly comprehended them. When
thou art alone, say it prostrate and upon thy knees;
and above all, let it be done with the sincerest love
and veneration. This exercise shall be especially agree
able and pleasing in my eyes; and I shall present it to
the Lord, if thou perform it in the manner I tell thee.
797. As thou art now again astonished, that the
Evangelists should not have made any mention of these
wonderful favors of the Lord toward me, I will repeat
what I have already told thee; for I wish that all
mortals should remember the reason for the reticence
of the Gospels. I myself have commanded the Evan
gelists not to write anything about my privileges except
what is contained in the articles of faith and in the
commandments of the divine law and what was nec
essary for the establishment of the Church. For, as
the Teacher of the Church, I knew by the infused science
of the Most High, what would then be proper for its
beginning. The manifestation of my prerogatives, being
included in the dignity of Mother of God and in my
being full of grace, was reserved by the divine Provi
dence for a more opportune and convenient time ; namely,
when the faith should be better known and established.
In the course of the centuries some mysteries pertaining
to me have been made plain; but the plenitude of light
has been given to thee, who art a poor and insignificant
creature; and this has been done on account of the
necessities and unhappy state of the world. God in his
kindness wishes to offer this opportune remedy to men,
in order that all of them may seek help and eternal sal
vation through my intercession. This thou hast always
understood, and thou shalt understand it still better.
But above all I desire, that thou occupy thyself en
tirely in the imitation of my life and in the continual
contemplation of my virtues and works, in order that
thou mayest gain the desired victory over my and thy
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