Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 7  Chapter  9    Verses:  135-154

135. Elevated to the highest degree of grace and holi
ness possible in a mere creature, the great Lady of the
world saw with eyes of divine knowledge the little flock
of the Church increasing day by day. As a most watch
ful Mother and Shepherdess, from the heights in which
She was placed by the right hand of her omnipotent Son,
She watched with deepest insight lest any assault or at
tack from the ravenous wolves of hell threatened the lit
tle sheep of her fold; for She well knew their hatred
against the new-born children of the Gospel. The watch
fulness of the Mother of light served as a wall of de
fense to this holy family, which the loving Queen had
accepted as her own and which She looked upon as the
portion and inheritance of her divine Son, selected from
the rest of men and chosen by the Most High. For some
days the little ship of the Church, governed by this
heavenly Commandress, proceeded prosperously on
ward ; being assisted as well by her counsels, her teach
ings and warnings, as by her incessant prayers and peti
tions. Not for one moment did She remit her diligence
in attending to all that was necessary for consolation of
the Apostles and the other faithful.
136. A few days after the coming of the Holy Ghost,
while at her prayers, She spoke to the Lord : "My Son,
the God of true love, I know, my Lord, that the little
flock of thy Church, of which Thou hast made me the
Mother and Defender, is of no less price to Thee than
thy own life and blood, by which Thou hast redeemed
it from the powers of darkness (Col. 1, 13). It is there
fore reasonable that I also offer my life and all my being
for the preservation and increase of what is so highly es
teemed by Thee. Let me die, my God, if it is necessary
for the enhancement of Thy name and for the spread of
Thy glory throughout the world. Receive, my Son, the
offering of my lips and of my entire will in union with
thy own merits. Look kindly upon thy faithful ; receive
those who hope solely in Thee and give themselves to
Thee in faith. Govern thy vicar Peter, that he may
rightly direct the sheep Thou hast given him in charge.
Watch over all thy Apostles, thy ministers and my mas
ters; meet them with the blessings of thy sweetness, so
that we all may execute thy perfect and holy will."
137. The Most High answered the petition of our
Queen : "My Spouse and Beloved, I am attentive to thy
desires and petitions. But Thou already knowest, that
my Church is to follow in my footsteps and my teach
ings, imitating Me in the way of my suffering and the
Cross, which my Apostles and disciples and all my inti
mate friends and followers are to embrace ; for such they
cannot be, without this condition of labor and sufferings
(Matth. 10, 38). It is also necessary that my Church
should bear the ballast of persecutions, by which it will
pass securely through the prosperity of the world and
its dangers. Such is my high Providence in regard to the
faithful and the predestined. Attend therefore, and be
hold the manner in which this is to be brought about."
138. Immediately the great Queen in a vision saw
Lucifer and a great multitude of hellish followers rising
out of the depths of the infernal caverns, where they
had lain oppressed since the time they had been van
quished on mount Calvary and hurled to hell, as I have
described above. She saw that dragon with seven heads
coming up as it were from the depths of the sea, followed
by the rest. Although he came forth very much weak
ened, in the manner of convalescents, unable, after a long
and grievous sickness, to drag themselves along; yet in
his pride and chagrin he was lashed to implacable fury
and arrogance, having on that occasion experienced that
these passions in him are greater than his power, as Isaias
says (Is. 14, 9). For on the one hand he exhibited the
effects of the crushing defeat which he had undergone in
the victory and triumph of the Savior on the Cross ; and
on the other hand he exhibited his wrath and fury, which
now was bursting forth like the fires of a volcano against
the holy Church and her children. Having come upon
the earth, he roamed all over it and reconnoitred; then
he hastened to Jerusalem in order to strain all his rabid
fury in persecuting the sheep of Christ. He began to spy
from afar, gradually approaching and veering around
that fold, which was so humble and yet so formidable to
his arrogant malice.
139. The dragon saw what a multitude had subjected
themselves to the faith, and how many were hourly re
ceiving holy Baptism; how the Apostles continued to
preach and to perform such great miracles for the good
of souls ; how the new converts renounced and abhorred
riches ; how the holy Church was founded with all the
principles of invincible sanctity. At such astonishing
changes the wrath of the demon increased and his con
centrated malice and wrath vented itself in fearful howls.
Lashing himself into fury on account of his being so
powerless against God, and, thirsting to drink up the
pure waters of Jordan (Is. 16, 6), he sought to approach
nearer to the congregation of the faithful; but in this he
could not succeed, because they were all united in perfect
charity. This virtue, together with faith, hope and hu
mility, rose like an unapproachable fortification against
the dragon and his ministers of malice. He roamed
about in the vicinity to find some little sheep, that might
have carelessly strayed from the fold of Christ, in order
to attack and devour it. He schemed and plotted in many
ways to attract some one of them, who should give him an
opportunity of entering the fortress of virtue, by which
all were protected ; but everywhere he found his entrance
forestalled and prevented by the vigilance of the Apostles
and the power of grace, and especially by the protection
of most Holy Mary.
140. When the great Mother saw Lucifer and such an
army of demons rising up with malicious wrath against
the evangelical Church, her loving heart was pierced by
a dart of compassion and sorrow; for She knew on the
one hand the weakness and ignorance of men, and on
the other hand the malicious and cunning hatred of the
ancient serpent. In order to restrain and check his pride,
the heavenly Mother turned upon them and said : "Who
is like God, that dwells in the highest? (Ps. 112, 5). O
foolish and vainglorious enemy of the Omnipotent! The
same One who vanquished thee on the Cross and crushed
thy arrogance, redeeming the human race from thy
cruel tyranny, commands thee now ; this power annihilates
thee, his wisdom confounds thee, and hurls thee back to
hell. In his name now shall I do this, so as to deprive
thee of the power to hinder the exaltation and glory due
to Him from all men as their God and Redeemer." Then
the solicitous Mother continued her prayers and spoke
to the Lord: "Supreme God and Father, if the power
of thy arm do not restrain and quench the fury, which
I see in the infernal dragon and his hosts, I doubt not
that he will cover the whole face of the earth with the
ruin of its inhabitants. Be Thou a God of kindness and
mercy to thy creatures : do not permit, O Lord, that this
venomous serpent pour out its poison upon the souls re
deemed and washed in the blood of the Lamb (Apoc.
7, 14), thy Son and the true God. Is it possible, that
the souls themselves should ever deliver themselves over
to such a bloodthirsty beast, their mortal enemy ? How is
my heart constrained with fear, lest any of the souls, en
riched with the fruit of this blood, fall into such a de
plorable misfortune? O that the wrath of this dragon
might be turned upon me alone, and that thy redeemed
be placed in safety! Let me, eternal Lord, fight the
battles against thy enemies. Clothe me with thy power
in order that I may humiliate them and crush their pride
and haughtiness."
141. In virtue of this prayer and the resistance of
the powerful Queen, Lucifer was struck with great fear,
and for the time being he dared not approach any of the
congregation of the faithful. Yet his fury was not al
layed on that account, but he plotted to enlist the scribes
and pharisees, and all of the Jews, whom he perceived
still clinging to their obstinate perfidy. He betook him
self to them and by many suggestions filled them with
envy and hatred against the Apostles and the faithful of
the Church ; thus, through the unbelievers, he roused the
persecution, which he could not begin himself. He filled
them with dread, lest by the preaching of the Apostles
and disciples a like or greater damage would arise, than
from the preaching of Jesus the Nazarene. He suggested
to them, how evidently the followers of Christ intended
to spread the glory of his name; how, since they them
selves had crucified Him as a malefactor, his glory would
redound to their dishonor. And, as there were so many
disciples and as so many miracles were wrought in his
name, how all the people would be drawn toward them;
the teachers and the learned in the law would be de
spised, and lose the accustomed perquisites, as the new
believers would donate all their goods to the new
teachers; and how inevitably this damage would very
soon overtake the teachers of the law, on account of the
great multitudes following the Apostles.
142. These malicious suggestions appealed very
strongly to the avarice and ambition of the Jews and
therefore they accepted them readily as sane and as very
conformable to their own desires. Hence arose the
many meetings and cabals of the pharisees, sadducees,
magistrates, and priests against the Apostles, as men
tioned by saint Luke in the Acts. The first occasion arose
at the miracle wrought by saint Peter and saint John in
healing the paralytic, who had suffered under his mal
ady for forty years from the time of his birth and who
was known throughout the city. As this miracle was
so evident and remarkable, the inhabitants gathered in
great multitudes, all astonished and excited beyond con
trol. Saint Peter preached them a great sermon, proving
that they could not be saved except by the name of Jesus,
in virtue of which he and saint John had cured this pa
ralytic of forty years standing. In reference to this event
the priests held a meeting, in which they called the two
Apostles to account. But as the miracle was so notorious
and as the people glorified God in it, the iniquitous judges
were too much confused to attempt to punish the Apos
tles, although they commanded them not to preach or
teach in the name of Jesus the Nazarene for the future.
But saint Peter with invincible courage told them, that
they could not obey this command; because God com
manded them the contrary, and it was not right to obey
men in opposition to God (Acts 4, 19.) With this warn
ing they were dismissed and the two Apostles immediate
ly repaired to the most holy Queen to report their ex
perience, although She, by a special vision, had been in
formed of it all. Then they engaged in most exalted
prayer, in which the Holy Ghost again came upon all of
them with visible signs.
143. A few days afterwards happened the miraculous
chastisement of Ananias and Saphira, who, tempted by
their avarice, tried to deceive saint Peter. They lied to
the Apostle in bringing to him a portion of the price of
an inheritance they had sold and secreting the other part.
Shortly before, Barnabas, also called Joseph, a levite and
a native of Cyprus, had likewise sold his inheritance and
brought all the proceeds of it to the Apostles. In order
that it might be impressed upon all, that each one should
act with the same integrity, Ananias and Saphira were
punished, falling dead at the feet of saint Peter one after
the other. Through this formidable wonder all in Jeru
salem were struck with fear and the Apostles preached
with greater freedom. But the magistrates and sadducees
were roused to anger and had them seized and cast
into the public prison. There they remained but a short
time, because the Queen liberated them, as I shall soon
144. I will not pass over in silence the mystery con
nected with the fall of Ananias and Saphira, his wife.
When the great Mistress of heaven and earth perceived,
that Lucifer and his demons incited the priests and mag
istrates against the preaching of the Apostles, and that
through his suggestions, they had dragged saint Peter
and saint John before their tribunals after the miracle of
the paralytic, this loving Mother feared lest the con
version of other souls might be prevented and therefore,
as her divine Son had enjoined Her, She, with greater
courage than that of Judith, took up their cause as her
own and addressed that cruel tyrant: "Enemy of the
Most High, how dost thou dare, and how shalt thou
be able to rise up against his creatures, when by the
passion and death of my Son and the true God thou art
so completely vanquished, subjected and despoiled of
thy tyrannous empire? What canst thou do, O venom
ous basilisk, chained and imprisoned in hellish torments
for all eternity by the Almighty? Dost thou not know,
that thou art subjected to his infinite power, and that
thou canst not resist his invincible will? He commands
thee, and I in his name and power command thee, imme
diately to descend with thy hordes to the depths, from
which thou hast risen to persecute the children of the
145. The infernal dragon could not resist the mandate
of the powerful Queen ; for her divine Son, to the greater
terror of the demons, permitted them all to see Him
sacramentally present in the bosom of the invincible
Mother, as in the throne of his omnipotence and majesty.
This happened also on other occasions, whenever Mary
put Lucifer to confusion, as I shall relate farther on. This
time he hurled himself into the abysses with all that had
accompanied him, and they fell oppressed and annihilat
ed by the divine strength of that peerless Woman. For
some time the demons remained there in consternation
and lashed themselves to fury on account of their woeful
state, which they could not escape, and because they de
spaired of overcoming this powerful Queen or all those
who should come under her protection. In this furious
dismay Lucifer conferred with his demons and said : "In
what calamity do I see myself plunged! Tell me, what
can I do against this my Enemy, who thus torments and
overwhelms me? She alone battles against me more
strenuously than all the creatures together. Shall I then
give up persecuting Her, in order that She may not suc
ceed in destroying me? Ever have I come forth from
battle with Her vanquished, while She remains victorious.
I must acknowledge, that She is continually diminishing
my powers and that step by step She will succeed in an
nihilating me, so that I shall be powerless against the
followers of her Son. Yet how am I to suffer such an
unjust oppression? Where is my exalted sovereignty?
Am I then to subject myself to a Woman of a condition
and nature so inferior and vile in comparison with mine ?
But I dare not at present battle with Her. Let us seek
to overthrow some of her followers, so that in some
measure my confusion may be allayed and my revenge
146. The Lord permitted the dragon and his hordes
to return and tempt the faithful for their probation. But
on becoming acquainted with the state of their souls and
the great virtues, with which they were adorned, they
found no approach open, nor any of the faithful that
would listen to their insane deceits and illusions. Yet
on searching the dispositions and natural inclinations of
each one, through which unfortunately they always carry
on their fierce war against us, the demons found that
Ananias and Saphira were attached to money and had
always sought after it with a certain amount of avarice.
Of this weakness they availed themselves for their at
tack and they suggested to their imagination the ex
pediency of reserving a part of the price of a heritage,
which they had sold in order to give its proceeds to the
Apostles in thankful acknowledgment of the faith and
Baptism received at their hands. They permitted them
selves to be entrapped by this low deceit, because they
found it harmonizing with their base inclination, and
they sought to deceive saint Peter. The Apostle knew
of their sin through a revelation and he chastised them
by permitting them both, first Ananias then Saphira,
suddenly to fall dead at his feet. Saphira, without know
ing what had happened to her husband, shortly after
wards practiced the same deceit and expired in the same
way in the presence of the Apostles.
147. Our Queen knew from the very beginning what
Lucifer was plotting and that Ananias and Saphira were
listening to his wily suggestions. Full of compassion and
sorrow the loving Mother prostrated Herself in the
divine presence and called out from the bottom of her
soul: "Alas, my Son and Lord, that this bloodthirsty
dragon should snatch these simple sheep of our flock!
How does my heart suffer, O my God, to see the con
tagion of avarice and deceit infect the souls, who have
tasted life and thy blood! If this most cruel enemy
scathlessly thus mixes up with them, the evil example of
sin will do great damage on account of the weakness of
men, and one will follow the other in their fall. I shall
lose my life, O Lord, for grief, since I know what an
evil sin is in thy eyes, and especially the sin, not of
strangers, but of thy children. Do Thou, my Beloved,
provide some remedy of this evil, which Thou hast made
known to me." The Lord answered Her : "My Beloved
Mother, let not thy heart, in which I reside, be afflicted ;
for I shall draw much good out of this evil for my
Church, and it is for this end that my Providence shall
permit it. In chastising these sins I shall teach the other
faithful, by a visible example, to fear such sins in the
Church; and thus shall caution them against the deceit
and the covetousness of money. For the same chastise
ment, or my anger, impends over all that shall commit
the same fault; since my justice shall always remain the
same against all that are rebellious to my will as taught
by my holy law."
148. With this answer the most holy Mary consoled
Herself, although She continued to pity those two en
snared ones, Ananias and Saphira, on account of the
divine vengeance about to fall upon them in chastisement.
In the meanwhile She offered up most exalted prayers
for the rest of the faithful, in order that they might not
fall into the snares of satan; and She again turned upon
him, to frighten and repel him from irritating the Jews
against the Apostles. Prevented by her power he desist
ed, and the first children of the Church enjoyed much
peace and tranquillity. This happiness under the pro
tection of the great Queen and Lady would have con
tinued forever, if men had not thought little of it, giving
themselves up to the same and worse deceits than Ananias
and Saphira. O that the faithful would fear this ex
ample and imitate that of the Apostles !
149. When the Apostles were taken prisoners as re
lated above, they called upon the divine mercy and the
protection of their heavenly Queen and Mother; and
when She by divine enlightenment became aware of their
condition, She prostrated Herself in the form of a cross
before the throne of God and made for them the follow
ing petition: "My supreme Lord, Creator of the uni
verse! From my whole heart I subject myself to thy
divine will, and I know it is according to the dispositions
and ordainment of thy infinite wisdom, that the disciples
follow Thee as their Master, the true light and guide of
thy chosen ones. This I confess, my Son, because Thou
earnest upon this world in the appearance and habit of
humility, in order to give it credit and destroy pride and
in order to teach the way of the cross by patience in
labor and in the contempt coming from men. I know al
so that thy Apostles and disciples must follow this doc
trine and establish it in thy Church. But if it is possible,
God of my soul, that they at present retain their freedom
and their life in order to found the Church, preach thy
holy name and bring the world to the true faith, I be
seech Thee, my Lord, to permit me to favor thy vicar
Peter, and my son, thy beloved disciple John, and all
those who by the cunning of Lucifer, are imprisoned.
Let not that enemy glory in having now triumphed over
thy servants, nor let him raise his head over the other
children of the Church. Crush his haughtiness, my Lord,
and let him be confounded in thy presence."
150. To her petition the Most High answered: "My
Spouse, let what thou desirest be done, for this is also
my will. Send thy angels to undo the work of Lucifer,
for my power is with thee." With this loving consent
the Queen of angels immediately sent one of her guard,
of a very high hierarchy, to the prison of the Apostles
in order to free them from their fetters and draw them
from their dungeon. This was the angel of whom saint
Luke speaks in the fifth chapter of the Acts of the Apos
tles, freeing the Apostles at night at the order of the
heavenly Mother; although the Evangelist makes no
mention of the secret connected with this miracle. But
he was seen by the Apostles, appearing to them full of
light and glory and telling them, that he was sent by his
Queen to liberate them from prison. He commanded
them to preach, as they also did. Besides this angel
She sent also others to the magistrates and priests in
order to drive away from them Lucifer and his demons,
who were irritating and inciting them against the Apos
ties. They were to inspire them instead with holy
thoughts, and instill into them the fear of injuring these
men or hindering their preaching. The heavenly spirits
obeyed, and they fulfilled their mission so well, that
the venerable Gamaliel delivered himself of the opinion
recorded by saint Luke (Act 5, 34). For when the other
judges were thrown into consternation at the news, that
the Apostles, whom they had cast into prison, were freely
preaching in the temple without its being known through
whom and how they had been freed from the prison,
Gamaliel counseled the priests not to trouble these men,
but to let them continue their preaching; since if this was
the work of God they could not hinder it, and if it was
not, it would soon come to naught of itself. For the
same would happen as what had happened some time
before with the false prophets, Theodas and Judas of
Galilee, who had risen in Jerusalem and Palestine and
who had both perished with all their followers.
151. This counsel was inspired by the holy angels of
the Queen and through their influence the judges acted
upon it, though their own reputation and worldly inter
est induced them to forbid the Apostles to preach any
more in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. When therefore
they had again brought the Apostles before their tribunal
after their liberation from prison, they dismissed them
with a punishment. The Apostles immediately reported
all their undertakings and experiences to the most blessed
Mary as to their Mother and Teacher ; and the most pru
dent Queen received them with maternal affection and
joy to see them so constant in suffering and so zealous
for the welfare of souls. "Now, my masters," she said,
"you appear to me true imitators and disciples of your
Master, since you suffer affronts and injury for his name
and with a joyous heart help Him to bear the cross. You
become his worthy ministers and assistants in applying
the fruit of the blood He has shed for the salvation of
men. May his right hand bless you and strengthen you
with divine virtue." This she said to them on her knees
and kissing their hands; whereupon She ministered to
their wants, as described above.
152. My daughter, in what thou hast understood and
written in this chapter, thou possessest many and impor
tant admonitions for thy salvation and for the salvation
of the faithful in the Church. First of all thou must
meditate upon the solicitude and watchfulness with which
I sought after the eternal salvation of all the faithful
without overlooking the least of their necessities and
dangers. I taught them the truth, prayed incessantly,
encouraged them in their labors, urged the Lord to assist
them; and above all I defended them from the demons
and their cunning and furious wrath. All these bless
ings I procure for Christians from heaven in our times ;
and if not all experience them, it is not because I do not
solicit them, but because there are very few of the faithful
who call to me with all their heart and who dispose
themselves toward meriting and reaping the fruit of my
maternal love. I would defend them all from the dragon,
if all would call upon me and if all would fear his per
nicious deceits, by which they are ensnared and entrapped
to eternal damnation. In order that all may wake up to
this frightful danger, I now give them this new remind
er. I assure thee, my daughter, that all those, who damn
themselves after the death of my Son and in spite of the
benefits and favors procured by my intercession, will suf
fer greater torments in hell than those who were lost be
fore his coming and before I was in the world. Thus
those who from now on understand these mysteries and
despise them to their loss, shall be subject to new and
greater punishments.
153. They must also remember in what estimation
they should hold their souls, since I did and am doing so
much every day for them, after they have been redeemed
by the passion and death of my divine Son. This forgetfulness
among men is very blameworthy and deserves a
fearful chastisement. How unreasonable and how dam
nable is the conduct of a man, who for a momentary sen
sible pleasure, which at most must end with life and
generally lasts only for a short time, labors so much and
still claims to have the faith, while at the same time he
takes no account of his immortal soul, and forgets it, as
if it ended and were consumed with the visible things?
They consider not, that when all comes to an end, the
soul begins to suffer or enjoy the eternal and everlasting
things. As thou knowest this truth and the perversity of
mortals, thou wilt not be astonished at the power of the
dragon in our days ; for where there is continual combat,
he that comes out victorious will gain the strength, which
the vanquished loses. This is especially true of the cruel
and incessant conflict of the demons, where the souls will
gain in strength by victory and the devils will be weak
ened, as happened when my Son conquered them and I
afterwards. But when this serpent finds itself victorious
over men, then it will raise its proud head, gain new
strength from its weakness and a greater sway, as it does
now in the world ; for the lovers of its vanity have sub
jected themselves and are following the standard and the
fabulations of the devil. In the midst of this ruin hell
has opened its maw and the more it is glutted, the more
insatiable becomes its hunger, seeking to bury in its in
fernal caverns all the rest of mankind.
154. Fear, my dearest, this danger as thou knowest
it, and do thou live in a continual watchfulness not to
open the gate of thy heart to the wiles of this bloodthirsty
beast Thou hast a warning in Ananias and Saphira, in
to whose soul the demon entered as soon as he had found
out their desire of money and could assault them through
this portal. I do not wish thee to strive after anything
pertaining to this mortal life; and I wish thee so to
suppress and extinguish within thyself all the passions
and inclinations of weak nature, that not even the evil
spirits, with all their watchfulness, shall find in thee the
least disorderly movement of pride, covetousness, van
ity, anger or any other passion. This is the science of
the saints, and without it no one can live secure in mortal
flesh. On account of ignoring it, innumerable souls per
ish. Do thou learn it diligently, and teach it thy religious,
in order that each one may be vigilant over her own self.
With it they shall live in true peace and charity without
deception; each one, and all of them together, united in
the peaceful tranquillity of the divine Spirit and adorned
by the exercise of all virtues, will be an impregnable for
tress for their enemies. Remind thyself and thy religious
of the chastisement of Ananias and Saphira, exhort them
to be very solicitous in the observance of their rules and
constitutions ; for thus shall they merit my protection and
special assistance.
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