Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 7  Chapter  5    Verses:  58-72

58. In the company of the great Queen of heaven,
and encouraged by Her, the twelve Apostles and the rest
of the disciples and faithful joyfully waited for the ful
fillment of the promise of the Savior, that He would
send them the Holy Ghost, the Consoler, who should
instruct them and administer unto them all that they
had heard in the teaching of their Lord (John 14, 26).
They were so unanimous and united in charity, that
during all these days none of them had any thought,
affection or inclination contrary to those of the rest.
They were of one heart and soul in thought and action.
Although the election of saint Mathias had occurred,
not the least movement or sign of discord arose among
all those first-born children of the Church; yet this was
a transaction, which is otherwise apt to arouse differences
of opinion in the most excellently disposed; since each
one is apt to follow his own insight and does not easily
yield to the opinion of others. But into this holy con
gregation no discord found entrance, because they were
united in prayer, in fasting and in the expectation of the
Holy Ghost, who does not seek repose in discordant and
unyielding hearts. In order that it may be inferred, how
powerful was this union in charity, not only for disposing
them toward the reception of the Holy Ghost, but for
overcoming and dispersing the evil spirits, I will say;
that the demons, who since the death of the Savior had
lain prostrate in hell, felt in themselves a new kind of
oppression and terror, resulting from the virtues of those
assembled in the Cenacle. Although they could not
explain it to themselves, they perceived a new terrifying
force, emanating from that place, and when they per
ceived the effects of the doctrine and example of Christ
in the behavior of the disciples, they feared the ruin of
their dominion.
59. The Queen of the angels, most holy Mary, in the
plenitude of her wisdom and grace, knew the time and
predestined hour for the sending of the Holy Ghost upon
the apostolic college. When the days of Pentecost were
about to be fulfilled (Act 2, 1), (which happened fifty
days after the Resurrection of the Lord our Redeemer),
the most blessed Mother saw, how in heaven the humanity
(John 14, 6) of the Word conferred with the eternal
Father concerning the promised sending of the divine
Paraclete to the Apostles, and that the time predetermined
by his infinite wisdom for planting the faith and all his
gifts in his holy Church, was at hand. The Lord also
referred to the merits acquired by Him in the flesh
through his most holy Life, Passion and Death, to the
mysteries wrought by Him for the salvation of the human
race and to the fact, that He was the Mediator, Advocate
and Intercessor between the eternal Father and men, and
that among them lived his sweetest Mother, in whom the
divine Persons were so well pleased. He besought his
Father also, that, besides bringing grace and the invisible
gifts, the Holy Ghost appear in the world in visible form,
that so the evangelical law might be honored before all
the world; that the Apostles and faithful, who were to
spread the divine truth, might be encouraged, and that
the enemies of the Lord, who had in this life persecuted
and despised Him unto the death of the Cross, might be
filled with terror.
60. This petition of our Redeemer in heaven was sup
ported on earth by most holy Mary in a manner befitting
the merciful Mother of the faithful. Prostrate upon
the earth in the form of a cross and in profoundest hu
mility, She saw, how in that consistory of the blessed
Trinity, the request of the Savior was favorably ac
cepted, and how, to fulfill and execute it, the persons of
the Father and the Son, as the Principle from which the
Holy Ghost proceeded, decreed the active mission of
the Holy Spirit ; for to these Two is attributed the send
ing of the third Person, because He proceeds from Both ;
and the third Person passively took upon Himself this
mission and consented to come into the world. Although
all the three divine Persons and their operations spring
from the same infinite and eternal will without any in
equality; yet the same powers, which in all the Persons
are indivisible and equal, have certain operations ad intra
in each Person, which are not in the others and thus the
understanding engenders in the Father, not in the Son,
who is engendered; and the will breathes forth in the
Father and the Son, and not in the Holy Ghost, who is
breathed forth. On account of this reason the Father and
the Son, as the active Principle, are said to send the
Holy Ghost ad extra, while to the Latter is attributed
the being sent, as if in a passive manner.
61. On Pentecost morning the blessed Virgin Mary
exhorted the Apostles, the disciples and the pious women,
numbering about one hundred and twenty, to pray more
fervently and renew their hopes, since the hour was at
hand in which they were to be visited by the divine Spirit
from on high. At the third hour (nine o clock), when
all of them were gathered around their heavenly Mistress
and engaged in fervent prayer, the air resounded with a
tremendous thunder and the blowing of a violent wind
mixed with the brightness of fire or lightning, all cen
tering upon the house of the Cenacle. The house was
enveloped in light and the divine fire was poured out
over all of that holy gathering (Acts 2, 2). Over the
head of each of the hundred and twenty persons ap
peared a tongue of that same fire, in which the Holy
Ghost had come, filling each one with divine influences
and heavenly gifts and causing at one and the same
time the most diverse and contrary effects in the Cenacle
and in the whole of Jerusalem, according to the diversity
of the persons affected.
62. In the most holy Mary these effects were alto
gether divine, and most wonderful in the sight of all
the heavenly courtiers; for as regard us men, we are
incapable of understanding and explaining them. The
purest Lady was transformed and exalted in God; for
She saw intuitively and clearly the Holy Ghost, and for
a short time enjoyed the beatific vision of the Divinity.
Of his gifts and divine influences She by Herself received
more than all the rest of the saints. Her glory for that
space of time, exceeded that of the angels and of the
blessed. She alone gave to the Lord more glory, praise
and thanksgiving than all the universe for the benefit
of the descent of his Holy Spirit upon his Church and
for his having pledged Himself so many times to send
Him and through Him to govern it to the end of the
world. The blessed Trinity was so pleased with the
conduct of Mary on this occasion, that It considered
Itself fully repaid and compensated for having created
the world; and not only compensated, but God acted
as if He were under a certain obligation for possessing
such a peerless Creature, whom the Father could look
upon as his Daughter, the Son as his Mother, and the
Holy Ghost as his Spouse; and whom (according to our
way of thinking) He was now obliged to visit and enrich
after having conferred upon. Her such high dignity. In
this exalted and blessed Spouse were renewed all the
gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit, creating new effects
and operations altogether beyond our capacity to under
63. The Apostles, as saint Luke says (Acts 2, 2),
were also replenished and filled with the Holy Ghost;
for they received a wonderful increase of justifying
grace of a most exalted degree. The twelve Apostles
were confirmed in this sanctifying grace and were never
to lose it. In all of them, according to each one s con
dition, were infused the habits of the seven gifts : Wis
dom, Understanding, Science, Piety, Counsel, Fortitude
and Fear. In this magnificent blessing, as new as it was
admirable in the world, the twelve Apostles were created
fit ministers of the new Testament and founders of the
evangelical Church for the whole world: for this new
grace and blessing communicated to them a divine
strength most efficacious and sweet, which inclined them
to practice the most heroic virtue and the highest sanc
tity. Thus strengthened they prayed, they labored will
ingly and accomplished the most difficult and arduous
tasks, engaging in their labors not with sorrow or from
necessity, but with the greatest joy and alacrity.
64. In all the rest of the disciples and the faithful,
who received the Holy Ghost in the Cenacle, the Most
High wrought proportionally and respectively the same
effects, except that they were not confirmed in grace
like the Apostles. According to the disposition of each
the gifts of grace were communicated in greater or less
abundance in view of the ministry they were to hold in
the holy Church. The same proportion was maintained in
regard to the Apostles; yet saint Peter and saint John
were more singularly favored on account of the high
offices assigned to them : the one to govern the Church
as its head, and the other to attend upon and serve the
Queen and Mistress of heaven and of earth, most holy
Mary. The sacred text of saint Luke says, that the Holy
Ghost filled the whole house in which this happy congre
gation was gathered (Acts 2, 7), not only because all
of them were filled with the Holy Ghost and his admir
able gifts, but because the house itself was filled with
wonderful light and splendor. This plenitude of won
ders and prodigies overflowed and communicated itself
also to others outside of the Cenacle; for it caused
diverse and various effects of the Holy Spirit among
the inhabitants of Jerusalem and its vicinity. All those,
who with some piety had compassioned our Savior Jesus
in his Passion and Death, deprecating his most bitter
torments and reverencing his sacred Person, were inte
riorly visited with new light and grace, which disposed
them afterwards to accept the doctrine of the Apostles.
Those that were converted by the first sermon of saint
Peter, were to a great extent of the number of those
who, by their compassion and sorrow at the death of
the Lord, had merited for themselves such a great bless
ing. Others of the just who were in Jerusalem outside
of the Cenacle, also felt great interior consolations, by
which they were moved and predisposed by new effects
of grace wrought in each one proportionately by the
Holy Ghost.
65. Not less wonderful, although more hidden, were
some contrary effects produced on that day by the Holy
Ghost in Jerusalem. By the dreadful thunders and
violent commotion of the atmosphere and the lightnings
accompanying his advent, He disturbed and terrified
the enemies of the Lord in that city, each one according
to his own malice and perfidy. This chastisement was
particularly evident in those who had actively concurred
in procuring the death of Christ, and who had signalized
themselves in their rabid fury against Him. All these
fell to the ground on their faces and remained thus for
three hours. Those that had scourged the Lord were
suddenly choked in their own blood, which shot forth
from their veins in punishment for shedding that of
the Master. The audacious servant, who had buffeted
the Lord, not only suddenly died, but was hurled into hell
body and soul. Others of the Jews, although they did
not die, were chastised with intense pains and abominable
sicknesses. These disorders, consequent upon shedding
the blood of Christ, descended to their posterity and even
to this day continue to afflict their children with most
horrible impurities. This chastisement became notorious
in Jerusalem, although the priests and pharisees diligently
sought to cover it up, just as they had tried to conceal
the Resurrection of the Savior. As these events, how
ever, were not so important, neither the Apostles nor the
Evangelists wrote about them, and in the confusion of the
city the multitude soon forgot them.
66. The chastisement and terror extended also to the
depths of hell, where the demons felt themselves seized
with new confusion and oppression for three days, just
as the Jews lay on the earth for three hours. During
these three days Lucifer and his demons broke forth in
fearful howlings, communicating new terror and con
fusion of torments to all the damned. O ineffable and
powerful Spirit! The holy Church calls Thee the finger
of God, because Thou proceedest from the Father and
the Son, as the finger from the arm and the body; but
on this occasion it was manifested to me, that Thou
holdest the same infinite power with the Father and the
Son. Through thy sovereign presence the heaven and the
earth are moved by such opposite effects in all its inhabi
tants at one and the same time; but they are similar to
those, that will happen at the last judgment. The saints
and the just Thou fillest with thy grace, thy gifts and thy
ineffable consolations; and the impious and the proud
Thou chastisest and overwhelmest with confusion and
pain. Truly I see here fulfilled what Thou sayest through
the mouth of David; that Thou art a God of vengeance
and workest freely, dealing out retribution to the wicked,
in order that they may not glory in their unjust malice
nor say in their heart that Thou failest in perception or
judgment while reproving and chastising their sins (Ps.
93, 1).
67. Let the insipid of this world then understand, and
let the foolish be warned, that the Most High knows
the vain thoughts of men ; that if He is liberal and most
kind to the just, He is also rigid in punishing the im
pious and the wicked (Ps. 93, 11). It was befitting
that the Holy Ghost should show Himself to be the one
as well as the other on this occasion; for He proceeded
from the incarnate Word, who had assumed human
nature for the sake of men, who had died for their sal
vation, and had suffered ignominies and torments without
opening his mouth or seeking retribution for those in
sults and offenses. In coming down into this world it
was just that the Spirit should be zealous for the honor
of that same incarnate Word ; though He did not punish
all his enemies, yet He indicated in the punishment of
the most wicked, what all the others deserved, who, in
their stubborn perfidy had despised Him, if by the respite
allowed them, they did not return to truth in heartfelt
penance. It was also befitting, that the few, who had
received the Word and had followed Him as their Master
and Redeemer, and those who were to preach his faith
and doctrine, be rewarded and furnished with the proper
means for establishing the Church and the evangelical
law. The Apostle says, that leaving one s father and
mother and uniting oneself with a wife (as also Moses
had said), is a great sacrament in Christ and the Church
(Gen. 2, 24; Ephes. 5, 32), because He descended from
the bosom of the Father in order to unite Himself with
it in his humanity. Since then Christ came down from
heaven in order to be with his spouse, the Church, it
follows that the Holy Ghost came down on account of the
most holy Mary, who was not less his Spouse than Christ
was of the Church, and who was not less beloved by Him
than the Church was beloved of Christ.
68. My daughter, in small esteem and thankfulness
do the children of the Church hold this blessing of the
Most High, by which, in addition to sending of his Son
as their Master and Redeemer, He sent also the Holy
Ghost into his Church. So great was the love, by which
He sought to draw them to tjimself, that, in order to
make them sharers of his divine perfections, He sent
them first the Son, who is wisdom (John 3, 16) and
afterwards the Holy Ghost, who is love, so that all
might be enriched in the manner in which they were
capable. The divine Spirit, in coming for the first time
upon the Apostles and the others gathered with them,
intended it as a pledge and testimony, that He would
confer the same favor on the rest of the children of
the Church, of light and of the Gospel, and that He
was ready to communicate his gifts to all, if all will
dispose themselves toward receiving them. In witness
to this truth the Holy Ghost came upon many of the
faithful in visible form and with visible effects (Acts
8, 17; 10, 44; 11, 15), because they were truly faithful
servants, humble and sincere, pure and ready of heart
to receive Him. Also in our times He comes to many
just souls, although not with such open manifestations,
because it is neither necessary nor proper. The interior
effects and gifts are all of the same nature, acting ac
cording to the disposition and state of the one who re
ceives them.
69. Blessed is the soul which sighs and aspires after
this blessing and seeks to participate in this divine fire,
which enkindles, enlightens and consumes all that is ter
restrial and carnal, which purifies and raises it up to a
new existence, union and participation with God himself.
This happiness, as thy true and loving Mother, I desire
for thee, my daughter, and in order that thou mayest
attain it in its fullness, I again exhort thee to prepare
thy heart by seeking to preserve inviolable tranquillity
and peace in all that may happen to thee. The divine
clemency wishes to raise thee to a habitation very exalted
and secure, where the torments of thy spirit shall come
to an end and whither tfye assaults neither of the world
nor of hell can reach ; where in thy own repose the Lord
shall rest and find in thee a worthy dwelling-place and
a temple of his glory. Thou shalt not escape the attacks
and temptations, directed against thee by the dragon
with the most cunning astuteness ; but do thou live in con
tinued wariness, lest thou be disturbed or disquieted in the
interior of thy soul. Guard thy treasures in secret ; enjoy
the delights of the Lord, the sweet effects of his chaste
love, the influences of his holy science; for in this regard
He has singled thee out from many generations in utmost
70. Take heed then of thy calling and assure thyself,
that the Most High offers thee anew the participation and
communication of his divine Spirit and his gifts. Re
member however, that when He confers them, He does
not take away the freedom of thy will ; for He ever leaves
the election of good or evil to its free arbitrament.
Hence, trusting in the divine favor, thou must effica
ciously resolve to imitate me in the works shown to thee
of my life and thou must never hinder the effects and the
operations of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In order
that thou mayest understand better this my doctrine, I
will explain to thee the effects of all his seven gifts.
71. The first one, which is the gift of Wisdom, fills
the mind with the knowledge and the delight of divine
things and moves the heart to a sincere love toward
the practice and exercise of all that is good, all that is
best, most perfect and agreeable in the eyes of the Lord.
With this impulse thou must concur, yielding thyself
entirely to the pleasure of his divine will and despising
all that might hinder thee, no matter how pleasant it
may seem to thy inclinations or alluring to thy appetite.
Wisdom is aided by the second gift, that of Intellect,
which gives special light to penetrate profoundly into
the object presented to the understanding. With this
gift thou must co-operate by diverting and turning aside
thy attention and thoughts from all the bastard and
foreign objects of knowledge, which the demon either
by himself or through other creatures shall present to
thy mind in order to distract it and prevent it from
penetrating deeply into the truth of divine things. This
kind of distraction greatly embarrasses the mind, for the
two kinds of knowledge are incompatible with each
other, and whenever the limited faculties of man are
divided into their attention to many objects, they enter
into them less and attend less, than if all their operations
were riveted on one alone. In this is evident the truth
of what the Gospel says : that no one can serve two mas
ters (Matth. 6, 24). When the whole attention of the
soul has thus been riveted on understanding the good,
Fortitude, the third gift, is necessary, in order to exe
cute resolutely all that the understanding has perceived
as most holy, perfect and agreeable before the Lord.
The difficulties and hindrances in the pursuit of the good
are to be overcome by Fortitude, making the creature
ready to suffer whatever labor or pain, in order not to
be deprived of the true and highest Good it has come
to know.
72. But it often happens, that natural ignorance and
doubt added to temptation withhold the creature from
following out the conclusions and consequences of the
divine truth, and thus create hindrances in the execution
of what is more perfect. Hence, against the false prudence
of the flesh, God furnishes the fourth gift, that of Science,
which gives light to distinguish between different kinds
of good, teaches the most certain and secure way, and de
cides upon it, when necessary. To this is joined the
gift of Piety, the fifth, which inclines the soul with
sweet urgency to all that is truly pleasing and acceptable
to the Lord and to what is of real spiritual benefit to the
one executing it. It inclines the creatures to these things
not through the natural passions, but by holy, perfect
and virtuous motives. Then, in order that man may be
guided by high prudence, the sixth gift, that of Counsel,
supports his understanding, in order that he may act with
precision and without temerity; weighing the means and
taking counsel with himself and with others discreetly for
gaining honest and holy ends by the selection of the
proper means. To all these is added Fear, the last, which
guards and sets the seal upon all of them. This gift
inclines the heart to fly and avoid all that is imperfect,
dangerous or alien to the virtues and perfections of the
soul, thus serving as a wall of defense. It is necessary
to understand the object and the manner of this holy
Fear, lest it grow excessive and cause the creature to
fear, where there is no occasion. Such has often hap
pened to thee through the astuteness of the serpent, when,
under guise of holy Fear, the devil entangled thee in
an inordinate liking for the blessings of the Lord. But
by this instruction thou art now informed how thou
must exercise in thee the gifts of the Most High and
prepare thyself for them. I remind and admonish thee,
that this science of holy Fear is the accompaniment
of the favors communicated to thee by the Most High,
and that it fills the soul with sweetness, peace and tran
quillity. It enables the creature properly to estimate and
appreciate the gifts, which come from the powerful hand
of the Almighty; neither are any of them unimportant,
nor does this Fear hinder a proper estimate of these
gifts. It induces the soul to give thanks with all its
powers and to humiliate itself to the dust. In under
standing these truths without error and in suppressing
the cowardly fear of slaves, thou shalt be filled with
filial Fear, which, as thy guiding star, will help thee to
navigate securely in this ocean of tears.
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