Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 7  Chapter  8    Verses:  118-134

118. Until now I have only very slightly touched upon
the miracle mentioned in the above heading, and, in order
that so great a miracle of the Lord in favor of his most
loving Mother may not be without the special mention
demanded by our piety, I have reserved it for this chap
ter. My own limited powers of explanation grieve me ;
for not only am I ignorant of infinitely more than what
I perceive concerning it, but even what I know, I can de
scribe only in most unsatisfactory and inadequate terms
and by language falling far short of my conceptions.
Nevertheless I dare not pass over in silence the benefits
conferred upon our great Queen by the right hand of her
divine Son, after She had descended from heaven to take
charge of his Church on earth; for if they were great
and ineffable before that time, they now increased in
eminent variety and exhibited at the same time the in
finite power of Him who conferred them, and the im
mense capacity of that singular and chosen Creature, who
received them.
119. To explain this rare and prodigious blessing, that
the sacramental body of Christ in the sacred species
should be preserved continually in the bosom of Mary, it
is not necessary to seek for another cause than that un-
derlying all the other favors with which God dis
tinguished this great Lady, namely : that it was his holy
will and according to his infinite wisdom, by which He
performs according to measure and weight all that is
befitting (Wis. 11, 21). Christian prudence and piety
will be content to know as a reason, that God had singled
this mere Creature out to be his natural Mother, and
that therefore She alone, of all creatures, deserved this
distinction. As this miracle of her Mothership was
unique and without parallel, it would be shameful igno
rance to seek proofs of what the Lord did in Her by com
paring it with what He did or ever will do in other souls ;
since Mary alone rises supereminently above the com
mon order of all. Yet, though all this is true, the Lord
nevertheless wishes that by the light of faith and by
other enlightenment, we seek the reasons of the propriety
and equity, according to which the powerful arm of the
Almighty wrought these wonders in his most worthy
Mother, so that in them we may know and bless Him in
Her and through Her ; and so that we may understand,
how secure our salvation, all our hope, and our lot are
in the hands of that powerful Queen, toward whom her
Son has directed all the excess of his love. In accordance
with these truths I will explain what has been made
known to me of this mystery.
120. The heavenly Mother lived thirty-three years in
the company of her Son and true God; and from the
time when He was born of her virginal womb She never
left Him to the time of his death on the Cross. She
nursed Him, served Him, followed Him and imitated
Him, conducting Herself always as a Mother, Daughter
and Spouse, as a most faithful Servant and Friend ; She
enjoyed the sight of Him, his conversation, his doctrine
and the favors, which, by all these meritorious services,
She attained in this mortal life. Christ ascended into
heaven, and the force of love and right reason demanded,
that He should take to heaven with Him his most loving
Mother, in order that He should not be deprived of Her
there, nor She in this world of his presence and company.
But the most ardent love which both of Them had for
men, dissolved in a manner these bonds of union, in
ducing our kindest Mother to return to the world in or
der to establish the Church ; and moving the Son to give
his consent to her absence from Him during that time.
But as the Son of God was powerful enough to recom
pense Her for this privation to a certain extent, it be
came for Him an obligation of his love to make such a
recompense. And the fulfillment of this obligation would
not have been so publicly acknowledged or made so
manifest, if He denied his blessed Mother the favor of
accompanying Her upon earth, while He remained seated
at the glory of the right hand of his Father. Besides, the
most ardent love of the blessed Mother, having been
accustomed and nourished in the presence of the Lord
her Son, would have inflicted upon Her insufferable vio
lence, if for so many years She was to be deprived of
that kind of presence of Him, which was possible during
her stay in the Church.
121. For all this the Lord our Savior provided by con
tinuing his sacramental presence in the heart of the most
fortunate Mother as long as She lived in the Church after
his taking his seat in heaven. To a certain extent He abun
dantly recompensed Her by this sacramental presence
for that which She had enjoyed, when He had yet lived
with Her in this world ; for in those times He often ab
sented Himself in order to attend to the work of our
salvation and thus afflicted her heart with anxieties and
fears, roused by the works in which He had to engage;
and even when He returned, He could not remain always
in her company; and when this was possible, his very
presence filled her mind with the terrors of his coming
passion and death on the Cross. This sorrow sometimes
cast a shadow on the joy of her possessing Him and at
tending upon Him. But when He was established at the
right hand of his eternal Father, having sustained the
torment of his Passion, and when this, her same Lord
and Son, took his rest sacramentally in her virginal
bosom, then the heavenly Mother enjoyed his presence
without fear or disturbance. In the Son She continually
enjoyed the presence of the entire Trinity by that man
ner of vision, which I have described before. Thus was
fulfilled and realized literally, what this great Queen says
in the Canticles: I shall hold Him, and will not leave
Him, until I bring Him to the house of my mother the
Church. There I will give Him to drink of the spiced
wine and of the juice of my pomegranates (Cant. 8, 2).
122. In this blessing the Lord fulfilled his promise made
to the Church in his Apostles, that He should be with
them to the end of time (Matth. 28, 20). He had already
anticipated the fulfillment of this promise even at that
time, when He resolved to ascend into heaven, for He
had remained sacramentally present in his Mother since
the last Supper, as related above. But it would not have
been entirely fulfilled after his Ascension, if He had not
wrought this new miracle in the Church; for in those
first years the Apostles had no temple or proper arrange
ment for preserving continually the sacred Eucharist,
and therefore they always consumed it entirely on the
day of its consecration. The most holy Mary alone was
the sanctuary and the temple, in which for some years
the most blessed Sacrament was preserved, in order that
the Church of Christ might not be deprived even for one
moment of the Word made flesh, from the time when He
ascended into heaven until the end of the world. Although
He was not there present in that Tabernacle for the use
of the faithful, yet He was there for their benefit and
for other more glorious ends ; since the great Queen of
fered up her prayers and intercessions for all Christians
in the temple of her own heart and She adored the
sacramental Christ in the name of the whole Church;
while by his indwelling in that virginal bosom, Christ
was present and united to the mystical body of the faith
ful. Above all, this great Lady was the cause of that
age s being supremely fortunate; for, by thus sheltering
within her bosom her sacramental Son and God, just
as He is now harbored within the sanctuaries and taber
nacles, He was continually adored with highest rever
ence and piety by the most blessed Mary, and was never
offended, as He is now in our churches. In Mary He
was satiated with the delights, which He desired to enjoy
for the eternal ages among the children of men (Prov.
8, 31), and since all the assistance rendered to the Church
was rendered with these delights as an object, the Lord
could not have gained this end more fully than by re
maining sacramentally present in the heart of his purest
Mother. She was the most legitimate sphere of the
divinity, and, as it were, the proper element and the
focusing point of its proper activity; and all the other
creatures outside of the heavenly Mary were in com
parison with Her, foreign to it, since this conflagration
of divine love, which continues to burn with infinite
charity, found no room or element for its flames.
123. From the understanding which has been given
me of the mystery of the love of Christ the Lord for his
most holy Mother and of the force with which He was
drawn toward Her, I would go so far as to say, that if
He had not found this way of remaining with Her in the
sacramental species, He would have come down from the
right hand of the Father to the world in order to render
companionship to his Mother while She sojourned with
his Church. And if it had been necessary that the heav
enly mansions and the celestial courtiers should be de
prived of the presence of the most sacred humanity from
that time, He would have considered that of less im
portance than to be deprived of the company of his
Mother. It is no exaggeration to say this, when we all
must confess, that in the purest Mary the Lord found a
correspondence and a degree of love more conformable
to his will than in all the blessed combined; and conse
quently, his own love for Her exceeded his love for all
others. If the Shepherd of the Gospel leaves the ninetynine
sheep in order to go in search of only one that is lost,
and if we nevertheless dare not say of Him that He
leaves the greater for the less ; it should not cause won
der in us that this divine Shepherd should leave all the
rest of the saints in order to be in the company of his
most sincere Sheep, who clothed Him with her own
nature and raised and nourished Him as a Mother. With
out a doubt the eyes of his beloved Spouse and Mother
would attract Him in swiftest flight from those heights
(Cant. 6, 4) to that earth, where He had lived, whither
He had before this come for the salvation of the children
of Adam, toward whom He was less attracted, yea
rather repelled by their sins and by the necessity of suf
fering for them. If now He descended to live with his
beloved Mother, it would not be to suffer and die; but
to enjoy the delights of her company. Fortunately it
was not necessary to rob heaven of his presence; since
by descending in sacramental form He could satisfy both
his own love and that of his most blessed Mother, in
whose heart, as in his couch, this true Solomon could
take up his rest without leaving the right hand of his
eternal Father (Cant. 3, 7).
124. The manner of operating this miracle was as fol
lows : at the Communion of the most blessed Mary, the
sacramental species, instead of entering the portion of
the stomach where the natural food is commingled and
rarified, and instead of being mixed up or digested with
even the little nourishment sometimes taken by the great
Lady, halted on their passage and lodged within the
heart of Mary, as if in repayment of the blood which it
had given up at the Incarnation of the Word and from
which was formed the sacred humanity for hypostatical
union with the Word, as has been explained in the second
part. The participation in the holy Eucharist is called
an extension of the Incarnation, and therefore it was
proper that the blessed Mother should share in this par
ticipation in a new and singular manner, since She also
concurred in the Incarnation of the Word in a miraculous
and extraordinary manner.
125. The heat of the heart in the perfectly healthy
beings is very great, and in man it is certainly not the
less on account of his greater excellence and nobility of
nature and of his prolonged life and activity; and the
providence of nature supplies it with air and ventilation
for its refreshment and for moderating that heat, which
is the source of all the other animal warmth. Yet, though
in the noble constitution of our Queen the ardors of her
heart were intense, and though the affections and opera
tions of her inflamed love still more increased them,
nevertheless the sacred species, while lodged in her heart,
were not changed or consumed. Moreover, although mul
tiplied miracles were required in order to preserve them,
they are not to be attributed sparingly in this singular Be
ing : a Creature, who was altogether a prodigy and a sum
mary of wonders. This favor began at the first Com
munion and through the preservation of the species con
tinued until the second Communion received at the hands
of saint Peter on the octave of Pentecost. Then, as the
new species took their place in her heart, the former
ones were consumed. By this miraculous exchange, the
previous sacramental species continued to yield their
place to those She received in her Communions until the
end of her life, so that She was never deprived of the
presence of her Son and God in sacramental form.
126. Through this privilege, and that of the continual
and abstractive vision of the Divinity mentioned before,
the most blessed Mary was made so godlike, and her
operations and faculties were raised so far above human
conception, that it will be impossible to understand them in
this mortal life, or to attain of them a proportionate idea
as is possible for us concerning other things. Nor can I
find words to explain the little which could be made clear
to me. After She returned from heaven She was en
tirely renewed and transformed in regard to the use of
her senses ; for on the one hand, She was absent from her
divine Son, in whom She had worthily employed them,
when He was sensibly present; on the other hand, She
felt and perceived Him resting in her heart, whereon all
her attention was centered. From the day on which She
descended She made a new treaty with her eyes and ex
ercised a new dominion and sway over them of not per
mitting any terrestrial and visible images to enter ex
cept those that were necessary for the government of the
Church and for the discharge of her duties. She made
no use of these images, nor were they necessary to Her,
for conversing or meditating interiorly, and they were
merely stored in her memory and understanding ; her in
terior meditations and contemplations were actuated by
infused images and by the science connected with the ab
stract vision of the Divinity, after the manner in which
the saints know and see in God, or through vision, or
knowledge of the creature in themselves. In this manner
our Queen understood the will of God in all her works,
and She did not make use of her sight in knowing or
learning any of these things, although She used her eyes
to see where She was going or with whom She was con
versing in all the sincerity of heart.
127. The sense of hearing She made use of somewhat
more frequently; for it was necessary to listen to the
faithful and to the Apostles in what they reported of the
state of souls, of the Church, and of its needs and spir
itual advancement, in order to answer them, and give
them her instruction and counsels. But She governed her
sense of hearing so completely, that it was affected by no
sound or word, which disagreed in the least with the holi
ness and perfection of her state, or which were not neces
sary for the advance of charity toward her fellow-men.
Of her sense of smell She made no use for terrestrial
odors, or of the common objects of that sense; but by the
intervention of the angels She was regaled by the celestial
perfumes, which were perceived by Her in praise of the
Creator. She experienced a great change also in the
sense of taste; for She was made aware, that, after her
sojourn in heaven, She could live without earthly
nourishment, though that was not commanded Her, but
left to her own free will. Therefore She ate very sel
dom and sparingly, and this only at times, when saint
Peter or saint John asked Her, or in order to avoid as
tonishment in others at not seeing Her eat. But when
She thus in obedience or in humility tasted food, She per
ceived not the common taste or savor of it, so that her
sense reacted not upon it any more than if She had eaten
some apparent or glorified substance. Her touch like
wise conformed to this kind of change, for through it
She perceived little of that which She touched and had
in it no sensible delight ; but She felt the contact of the
sacramental species in her heart, to which She ordinarily
attended with feelings of admirable sweetness and joy.
128. All these privileges in regard to the senses were
granted Her at her petition; for She consecrated all of
them and her faculties anew to the greater glory of the
Most High and for producing in Her the plenitude of
virtue, holiness and the most eminent perfection: And
though through her whole life, from the first instant of
her Immaculate Conception, She had complied with all
the requirements of a faithful servant (Matth. 25, 20)
and of a prudent dispenser of the plenitude of her graces
and gifts (as appears from the whole course of this his
tory), yet after She ascended to heaven with her Son,
She was perfected in all things and was furnished by the
divine Omnipotence with new faculties of operating.
Though She was yet a pilgrim, since She did not yet en
joy the beatific vision as a comprehensor, nevertheless the
operations of her senses partook of and were rather
similar to those of the saints glorified in body and soul
than to the operations of the other viators. There is no
other way of comparing this state so singular, so blessed
and divine, in which our great Queen and Lady returned
from heaven to govern the holy Church.
129. To this exalted activity of the sensible faculties
corresponded her interior wisdom and knowledge; for
She knew the decrees of the most high Will in all that
She wished and was obliged to do ; in what time, in what
manner, in what order and circumstance each work was
to be accomplished ; with what words and under what ar
rangements; so that in this She was not excelled even
by the angels, who assist us without ever losing sight of
the Lord. The great Queen practiced the virtues with
such high wisdom, that She excited their admiration;
for they saw that no other mere creature could exceed
Her or could arrive at that summit of perfection and
holiness, which they saw Her attain. One of the things
that filled Her with highest joy was the adoration and
reverence exhibited by the supernal spirits to the Lord
sacramentally present in her bosom. The same was also
shown by the saints, whenever She ascended into heaven
bearing her most divine Son with Her in her heart ; and
this was a sight furnishing new joy and jubilee for all
the blessed. The joy of seeing the blessed Sacrament
thus honored by the angels was a recompense for the
gross negligence of mortals in venerating the sacred body
of the Lord. And as such the blessed Lady also offered
up the worship and reverence of the celestial spirits, who
knew how to estimate this mystery and venerated it with
out fail or negligence.
130. Sometimes the body of her Son manifested itself
to Her openly within Her; at other times with all the
beauty of his most holy humanity; at other times, and
almost continually, were made known to Her all the
miracles contained in the most august Sacrament. All
these wonders, and many others, which we cannot un
derstand in this corruptible life, most holy Mary enjoyed,
sometimes becoming manifest to Her in themselves,
sometimes in the abstractive vision of the Divinity; and
with the images of the Divinity were presented to Her
also all that She was to do for Herself and for all the
Church. What was most consoling to Her, was to per
ceive the joy and pleasure of her divine Son in remaining
sacramentally present in her sincerest heart, which with
out a doubt (according to what was made known to me)
was greater than to be in the company of the saints. O
extraordinary, singular and exalted privilege! Thou by
Thyself wert more pleasing to the Creator than the high
heavens He had made for his habitation (Ps. 113, 16).
He who cannot be contained in those illimitable spaces,
measured and enclosed Himself in Thee alone, and found
a pleasant throne and resting-place, not only in thy vir
ginal womb, but in the immensity of thy capacious love.
Thou alone wast a heaven from the first of thy existence,
so that God lived in Thee after He gave Thee being and
shall rest in Thee in fullest delight through all the ages of
his eternity. Let all the nations know Thee; for in Thee
they know and praise their true God and Redeemer, since
through Thee alone He has visited us and repaired our
unfortunate fall (Luke 1, 68).
131. Who of mortals, or even of the angels, can de
scribe the conflagration of love burning in the purest
heart of this great Queen so full of wisdom? Who can
comprehend the impetus of the river of the Divinity,
which inundated and absorbed this City of God? (Ps.
44, 5). What aspirations and acts of virtue did She not
enter into while exercising the measureless gifts of grace
showered upon Her! What prayers and petitions did
She not send forth for the holy Church ! What entrancements
of love for us did not overwhelm Her! What gifts
did She not merit and obtain for us ! Only the Author of
this prodigy could know them. But let us on our part
raise our hopes, enliven our faith, and incite our love in
union with this kind Mother; let us solicit her interces
sion and assistance, since He, who is her Son and our
Brother, will deny nothing to Her whom He has so
singled out for his love, as I have described, and will de
scribe further on.
132. My daughter, thou hast so far been well in
formed of my life and activity, considering that thou art
a mere creature. Besides me, there is no other created
being, which thou canst Better use as thy model and
original for thy greater holiness and perfection. But
now thou hast entered upon the description of the su
preme state of virtue reached by me in mortal life. This
favor should oblige thee to renew thy desires and direct
all the attention of thy faculties toward the perfect
imitation of all that I teach thee. It is time, my dearest,
and there is reason, that thou deliver thyself entirely over
to my will in what I seek of thee. In order that thou
mayest animate thyself to the attainment of this blessing,
I wish thee to take notice, that, though the species of the
Sacrament are consumed, my divine Son, whenever souls
receive Him with reverence and fervor and prepare for
Him a pure and ardent heart, remains with them with
special graces, by which He assists them, enriches and
directs them in return for their hospitality. Few are the
souls, who partake of this blessing, because many know
ing of it, approach the holy Sacrament without the
proper disposition, as if by haphazard or habit, and with
out being solicitous for the reverence and holy fear due
to it. But as thou art now informed of this secret, I de
sire that, since by the orders of thy superiors thou receivest
it every day, thou prepare thyself worthily each
time and thus partake of this great blessing.
133. For this end thou must avail thyself of the re
membrance of what I did, and by it regulate thy aspira
tions, thy fervor, thy love, and all that is necessary to
prepare thy heart as a temple and habitation of thy
Spouse and highest King. Labor then to collect all thy
powers within thyself; before and after receiving ob
serve all that pertains to the fidelity of a Spouse, and
especially must thou place a guard over thy eyes and a
watch over all thy senses, in order that no profane or
foreign image may enter into the temple of the Lord.
Keep thy heart entirely pure and unspotted; for when
it is impure or preoccupied, the plenitude of divine light
and wisdom cannot enter (Wis. 1, 4). All this thou
wilt know from what God has shown thee, if thou hast
attended to it with an upright purpose. Even supposing
that thou canst not exempt thyself from all intercourse
with creatures, it is befitting that thou hold thy senses
in great subjection, and that thou do not permit them
to introduce the image of any sensible thing, by which
thou wouldst not be assisted in striving after the most
holy and pure of virtue. Separate the precious from the
worthless, the truth from deceit. In order that thou
mayest imitate me perfectly, I wish that from now on
thou attend to the choice thou art to make in all things
great or small, so that thou err in none, perverting the
order of divine light.
134. Consider attentively the common deception of
mortals and the woeful damage they suffer. For in the
decisions of their will they ordinarily are moved solely
by what they perceive through the senses, and they im
mediately proceed to act upon their choice without fur
ther consideration or counsel. Since the sensible
impressions immediately move the animal passions and
inclinations, it is evident that men do not act according to
right reason, but according to the impulse of passion, ex
cited by the senses and their objects. Hence, he that
considers only the injury and pain caused, is straightway
moved to vengeance ; he that follows only his hankering
after strange property, as soon as he lays his eyes upon
it, is impelled to injustice. In the same manner act so
many unfortunates, who follow the concupiscence of the
eyes, the movements of the flesh, and the pride of life,
because these are the only things offered by the world
and the devil. In their blind deception they follow dark
ness as their light, taste the bitter as sweet, take deadly
poison for remedy of their souls, and hold that for wis
dom which is nothing but diabolical and earthly ignor
ance. Do thou guard thyself against these pernicious
errors, and never resolve on anything, or govern thyself
by anything that is merely sensible or arising from sensi
ble impressions, nor pursue the advantages held out
through them. In thy actions take counsel first of all
from the interior knowledge and light communicated to
thee by God, in order that thou mayest not go blindly
forward; and He shall always grant thee sufficient
guidance. Immediately seek the advice of thy superiors
and teachers, if thou canst do so before making thy
choice. And if thy superior or teacher is not at hand,
seek counsel of others, even inferiors; for this is more
secure than to follow thy own will, which may be dis
turbed and blinded by passion. This is the rule to be fol
lowed especially in the exterior works, pursuing them
with recollection, with secrecy, and according to the de
mands of circumstances and fraternal charity as they
occur. In all of them it is necessary not to lose out of
sight the north-star of interior light, while moving in the
profound gulf of the intercourse with creatures, where
there is continual danger of perishing.
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