Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 7  Chapter  17    Verses:  334-363

334. In the eighth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles
saint Luke narrates the persecution incited by hell against
the Church after the death of saint Stephen. He calls
it a great persecution, because, through the zealous
efforts of saint Paul before his conversion, the infernal
dragon succeeded in raising it to highest pitch. Of this
persecution I have spoken in the twelfth and fourteenth
chapter of this part. But from what I have said there,
it will be understood that this enemy of God did not rest
or consider himself so completely overcome, as not to
venture new battles against the Church and the most
blessed Lady. From what saint Luke himself says in his
twelfth chapter concerning the imprisonment of saint
Peter and James by Herod, it is clear that this perse
cution began anew after the conversion of saint Paul, not
even considering his express statement, that Herod sent
soldiers to afflict some of the faithful of the Church (Acts
8, 1). In order that what I said and will say may be
better understood, I repeat, that these persecutions were
all plotted and set in motion through the demons, by incit
ing certain malicious men. And because divine Provi-
dence at times gave the demons this permission, and at
others withdrew it, casting them into hell, as at the
conversion of saint Paul and at other occasions, it
naturally happened, that the primitive Church sometimes
enjoyed peace and tranquillity, at other times, when this
truce was again broken, it was molested and afflicted;
and this is the lot of the Church in all ages.
335. Peace was favorable to the conversion of the
faithful, and persecution increased their merit and prac
tice of virtues; and this kind of variation was ordained,
and will always be maintained, by the divine Providence.
Hence, after the conversion of saint Paul the Church en
joyed some months of peace, namely, from the time when
Lucifer and his companions were hurled vanquished into
hell until their return to the earth, of which I will speak
directly. Of this time of tranquillity saint Luke speaks in
the ninth chapter where, after relating the conversion of
saint Paul, he says, that the Church had peace throughout
Judea, Galilee and Samaria, and that it increased and
walked the way of the Lord in consolation of the Spirit.
Although the Evangelist mentions this after speaking of
the coming of saint Paul to Jerusalem, yet it occurred long
before; for saint Paul s coming to Jerusalem happened
more than five years after his conversion and saint Luke,
in writing his history, mentions this coming of saint
Paul to Jerusalem before mentioning his conversion, as
is the case with many events in the Evangelists, who were
in the habit of anticipating historical facts in order to
finish and illustrate their present point ; for they did not
intend to write the history of all the events, although in
the main they did follow the course of events according
as they happened.
336. This being understood and following up what I
said in the fifteenth chapter concerning the hellish meet
ing called by Lucifer after the conversion of saint Paul,
I wish to say, that this conference lasted for some time
and the infernal dragon with his demons evolved diverse
schemes and resolved on different measures for the de
struction of the Church and for the possible debasement
of the great Queen from her high state of reputed holi
ness. But the serpent s ignorance about Her was incom
parably greater than his knowledge. The days of peace
enjoyed by the Church being past, the princes of darkness
issued forth from, the abysses in order to execute their
malicious designs fabricated in the infernal dungeons,
and at the head of them all came forth Lucifer. It is
worthy of attention, that so great was the fury and indig
nation of this blood-thirsty beast against the Church and
the most blessed Mary, that he brought with him from
hell more than two thirds of his demons for this enter
prise and without doubt he would have emptied hell of all
its demons, if a part had not been necessary for the
torture of the damned souls. For not only are the
damned ceaselessly burning in the fires lighted by divine
justice, but this dragon never permits the absence of all
the demons to relieve them of the sight and companion
ship of their tormentors. Though Lucifer is so ravenous
for the destruction of mortals on earth, he is just as
unwilling to grant any relief to the damned in hell, and
therefore he will never entirely empty it of the demons.
Such an impious, cruel and inhuman master the un
fortunate sinners on earth continue to serve !
337. The holiness of the blessed Mother, their divine
favor and protection lavished on the faithful as exhibited
in saint Stephen and saint Paul, and all the other events
after the death of the Savior, which all came to the
knowledge of the dragon, had raised his wrath to the
highest and to inconceivable pitch. Therefore he took
up his seat in Jerusalem personally to erect his batteries
against the very stronghold of the faith and in order to
direct the operation of all the infernal squadrons; for
the demons preserve order among themselves only for the
purpose of warfare against men, while in all the rest
they are full of discord and confusion. The Most High
has never permitted full sway to their envy, for in one
moment they would overturn and destroy the whole
world; but He gave them a limited freedom, in order
that by affliction the Church might take deep roots in the
blood and the merits of the saints and so that in persecu
tion and torments might be manifested the wisdom and
power of the Pilot directing this little ship of the Church.
Immediately Lucifer commanded his satellites to scour
the whole earth in order to find out where the Apostles
and disciples were preaching the name of the Lord. The
dragon in Jerusalem sought the localities most remote
from the places consecrated by the mysteries and the blood
of the Lord; for he and all the demons dreaded these
spots and the nearer they approached, the more they
felt themselves weakened and oppressed by the divine
power. These effects they feel to this day, and will
feel to the end of the world. Sorrowful it is indeed,
that this sanctuary of the faithful, on account of the
sins of men, is now in the hands of pagans; and happy
are the few children of the Church who are within its
precincts, such as the sons of our great father and re
storer of the Church, saint Francis !
338. Through the information brought by his demons
Lucifer learnt the condition of the faithful in all the
places where the faith of Christ was being preached. He
issued new orders for the persecution of Christians,
assigning more or less powerful demons according as he
thought it necessary against the different Apostles, dis
ciples or followers of the faith. Others he appointed as
messengers to furnish him with accounts of what was
happening, or to transmit his orders for conducting the
warfare against the Church. Lucifer also pointed out
to his demons unbelieving, perfidious, evil-minded and
depraved men, whom they were to excite and provoke to
envious wrath against the followers of Christ. Among
these were Herod and many Jews, who abhored the Cruci
fied and wished to blot out his very name from the land
of the living (Jer. 11, 19). They also availed themselves
of the gentiles that were most depraved and most given to
idolatry. They selected, both from the ones as from the
others, the worst and most perfidious to act as helpers
and instruments of their malice. In this way they began
the persecution of the Church, and they continued in
succeeding ages to use similar diabolical arts for the ruin
of virtue, of the fruits of the Redemption and the blood
of Christ. In the primitive Church the infernal dragon
caused great havoc among the faithful, overwhelming
them with diverse kinds of tribulation, not recorded or
known to us ; although we know, that what saint Paul in
his epistle to the Hebrews says of the persecution of
the ancient saints, was repeated in the saints of the new
Testament. In addition to these exterior persecutions
the demons afflicted all the just, the Apostles, disciples
and believers with hidden temptations, suggestions, illu
sions and malicious promptings, as he continues to do
now with all those who desire to walk in the divine law
and follow Christ our Redeemer and Master.
339. But nothing of all this was hidden to the great
Mother of wisdom, because in the clearness of her emi
nent science She perceived all the secrets of hell, that were
hidden to the rest of mortals. Although blows and
wounds, when they find us prepared, are wont to cause
us less damage, and although the most prudent Virgin
was so well fortified against the coming troubles of the
holy Church that She could not be surprised by them, yet,
as they concerned the Apostles and the faithful whom
She loved from her inmost soul, the prospect of these
afflictions wounded her most tender heart and filled Her
with sorrow in proportion to her almost boundless char
ity. It would have deprived Her of life many times, if,
as I have often said, the Lord had not wonderfully pre
served it. And in truth, all just souls, who are perfected
in divine love, would be moved at seeing the wrath and
fury of such a host of demons, so vigilant and astute,
exerted against the few faithful in their needy and frail
condition and burdened with so many miseries of their
own. In consideration of their danger, the most blessed
Mary forgot all that concerned Herself and was ready
to undergo any possible suffering for the protection and
consolation of her children. She multiplied her sighs and
tears, her exertions and prayers, for their safety. Espe
cially the Apostles and disciples She sought to fortify and
encourage by renewing her counsels and exhortations.
Many times She restrained the demons by her sovereign
commands as Queen, and snatched from their claws in
numerable souls, whom they were deceiving and pervert
ing, and thus She rescued them from eternal death. At
other times She prevented great cruelties intended for the
ministers of Christ; for Lucifer sought the life of the
Apostles, as he had already done before through Saul.
All this happened likewise to the disciples, who were
preaching the faith.
340. Though the heavenly Mistress preserved her in
terior peace and tranquillity and her exterior
equanimity and serenity, yet her compassionate anxiety
and maternal solicitude failed not to reveal, in
some measure, the sorrow of her heart in her coun
tenance. And as saint John attended upon Her with
the watchful devotion of a son, the slight change in her
appearance could not remain concealed from the eagle
eyes of this seer. He was deeply afflicted, and having in
vain battled with his anxiety, he betook himself to the
Lord seeking enlightenment and saying : "My Lord and
God, Savior of the world, I acknowledge my indebtedness
to Thee for having, without my merits and out of pure
condescension, given me Her as a Mother, who is thy
own; who conceived Thee, bore and nursed Thee at her
bosom. Through this blessing I am made rich and pros
perous in the possession of the greatest Treasure of
heaven and earth. But without thy royal presence thy
Mother, my Mistress, is forsaken and alone, and for
it neither men nor angels can compensate, much less I,
a vile worm and a slave. My God and Savior of the
world, I now see Her sorrowful, who gave Thee human
form and who is the joy of thy people. I desire to con
sole Her and alleviate her grief, but I find myself in
capable of doing it. Reason and love urge me on; but
reverence and my frailty prohibits it. Give me, O Lord,
light and spirit for doing what will please Thee and serve
thy Mother."
341. After this prayer the saint debated with himself
for some time, whether he should ask the great Mistress
of heaven concerning her sorrow or not. On the one
side his love urged him thereto, on the other he was
restrained by his holy fear and reverence for Her. Three
times he approached the door of Her oratory, and was
as many times withheld by his reverence from asking
the question. The heavenly Mother knew all that saint
John was doing and what passed through his heart. Out
of respect for him as a priest and minister of the Lord,
She thereupon rose from her prayer and sought him out
saying: "Master, tell me what thou asketh of thy serv
ant." I have already stated, that the Lady called the
priests and ministers of her Son "masters." The Evan
gelist was consoled and encouraged by this advance and
with some hesitation answered : "My Lady, my office
and desire of serving Thee has caused me to notice thy
sorrow and I am troubled at thy suffering, which I am
anxious to alleviate."
342. Saint John added no more words ; but the Queen
knew his desire to be informed of her trouble, and in
promptest obedience She fulfilled his wishes as those of
her superior, even before he should express them. Most
holy Mary turned to the Lord and said : "My God and
Son, Thou hast wished thy servant John to take thy
place as my companion and attendant, and I have re
ceived him as my prelate and superior, whose will and
desire, as soon as they become known to me, I wish to
obe} in order that I, thy humble servant, may live and
be governed by thy obedience. Give me permission to
tell him of my anxiety according to his wish." She felt
at once the fiat of the divine will and falling on her knees
at the feet of saint John, She asked his blessing and
kissed his hands. Having asked his permission to speak,
She said : "My master, lord, the sorrow of my heart
is well founded, for the Most High has shown to me the
tribulations which are to come over the Church, and the
persecutions, which all its children, especially the Apos
tles, shall suffer. In preparation and for the execution
of this wickedness in the world, I have seen the infernal
dragon with innumerable hosts of evil spirits issuing
forth from the caverns of the abyss, all filled with im
placable wrath and fury for the destruction of the
Church. This city of Jerusalem will be the first and fore
most in their assault. In it one of the Apostles will meet
his death, and others will be imprisoned and afflicted at
the instigation of the demon. My heart is filled with
compassion and sorrow at the opposition of these enemies
to the exaltation of the holy name of God and to the
salvation of souls."
343. Thus informed the Apostle was likewise aggrieved
and somewhat troubled. But in the strength of divine
grace he answered the Queen saying: "My Mother and
Lady, thy wisdom cannot ignore that the Most High will
draw great fruits for his Church and for his faithful chil
dren from these trials and tribulations, and that He will
assist them in their affliction. We Apostles are prepared to
sacrifice our lives for the Lord, who has offered his own
for the whole human race. We have received great
blessings and it is not just that they remain idle and
useless. When we were little ones in the school of our
Teacher and Lord, we behaved like children. But since
He has enriched us with the Holy Ghost and enkindled
in us the fire of love, we have lost our cowardice and
desire to walk the way of the Cross, taught us by his
doctrine and example. We know that the Church is
to be established and preserved by the blood of its min
isters and children. Pray Thou for us, my Lady, that
by the divine power and thy protection we gain the
victory over our enemies and that, for the glory of the
Most High, we triumph over all of them. But if this
city of Jerusalem is to bear the brunt of the persecution,
it seems to me, my Lady, that Thou shouldst not await
it here, lest the fury of hell, by inciting the malice of
men, attempt some indignity to the tabernacle of God."
344. The great Queen and Lady of heaven, full of
love and compassion for the Apostles and all the other
faithful, and spurning all fear, would rather have stayed
in Jerusalem, in order to visit, console and encourage all
in their impending tribulation. But this preference,
though so holy, She did not make known to saint John ;
for, as it was the choice of her heart, She preferred to
disregard it and yield in humble obedience to the wishes
of the Apostle, whom She held as her prelate and su
perior. In this subjection, giving no direct answer, She
thanked the Evangelist for his courageous desire of
suffering and dying for Christ; and, as for departing
from Jerusalem, She told him to command and dispose
as he thought fit; for She would obey him in all as
his subject and would ask the Lord to guide him by his
divine light according to his glory and pleasure. On
getting this consent of the blessed Mother, (affording
us such a great example and reprehending so much our
disobedience), the Evangelist proposed to go to Ephesus,
as the confines of Asia Minor. In suggesting this jour
ney to the most holy Mary, he said: "My Lady and
Mother, in order to leave Jerusalem and seek occasion
to labor for the exaltation of the name of the Most
High, it seems best for us to retire to the city of Ephesus,
where Thou canst bring forth the fruits of faith, which
are not to be expected in Jerusalem. Would I were
one of the angels, who assist at the throne of the blessed
Trinity, so as to serve Thee worthily in this journey;
but I am only a vile worm of the earth. The Lord
however will be with us, and Thou shalt have Him a
propitious Helper as thy God and thy Son."
345. Having resolved upon this journey, the necessary
notice and advice was yet to be given to the faithful in
Jerusalem. The great Lady therefore retired to her
oratory and prayed as follows : "Most high and eternal
God, this humble handmaid prostrates herself before
thy royal presence and from my inmost heart I beseech
Thee to direct and guide me in thy greater pleasure and
good will. I will make this journey in obedience to
thy servant John, whose will shall be as thy own. It
is not just that thy handmaid and Mother, who has been
so favored by the right hand, should take any step which
is not for the greater glory and exaltation of thy holy
name. Attend, O Lord to my desires and prayers, in
order that I may act most appropriately and justly."
Then the Lord answered Her and said : "My Dove and
dearest Spouse, I have ordained this journey for my
greater pleasure. Obey John, and go to Ephesus; for
there in due time I wish to manifest my clemency to
some souls through thy mediation and presence." By
this answer of the Lord the most blessed Mary was con
soled in the knowledge of the divine will, and She asked
the Lord for his blessing and for permission to prepare
for her departure at the time set by the Apostle. Full
of the fire of charity She was inflamed with the desire
of promoting the good of souls in Ephesus, of which
the Lord had given Her hopes. I will now relate, how
the most blessed Mary, in obedience to her Son s, our
Savior s, will, came to Saragossa in Spain to visit saint
James, in what year and day this happened, and what
took place on this occasion.
346. All the solicitude of our great Mother and Lady
was centered upon the increase and spread of the holy
Church, the consolation of the Apostles, disciples and
the other faithful, and in defending them from the
persecutions and assaults prepared by the infernal dragon
and his hosts. In her matchless charity, before She
departed from Jerusalem to take up her abode in
Ephesus, She ordered and arranged many things, both
by Herself and through her holy angels, in order, as
much as possible, to provide all that seemed proper
for the needs of the Church in her absence; for at that
time She had no knowledge of the duration of her so
journ or of her return to Jerusalem. The most effec
tual service She could render to the faithful was her
continual prayer to secure the assistance of the infinite
power of her Son for the defense of the Apostles and
the faithful against the proud and vaunting schemes of
Lucifer s wickedness. The most prudent Mother knew,
that among the Apostles James would be the first one
to shed his blood for Christ our Savior, and because She
loved him in a special manner, as I have stated above,
She offered up more particular prayers for him than for
the other Apostles.
347. While the heavenly Mother continued in these
prayers, on one of the days, the fourth before leaving
for Ephesus, She felt in her chastest heart new and
sweetest affections, as was usual, when She was about
to receive some signal favor. They are called words of
the Lord in the language of holy Scriptures. Respond
ing to them as the Mistress of holy science, the most
blessed Lady said: "Lord, what dost Thou command
me to do? What dost Thou desire of me? Speak, O
Lord, for thy handmaid heareth." Repeating these
words She saw her divine Son, descending in person to
visit Her, seated upon a throne of ineffable majesty
and accompanied by innumerable angels of all the heav
enly choirs and hierarchies. With all his court the Lord
entered the oratory of his most blessed Mother, and the
humble and devout Virgin worshipped Him in deepest
reverence from the inmost of her purest soul. Then the
Lord spoke to her saying: "My most beloved Mother,
of whom I have received human being for the salvation
of the world, I am attentive to thy petitions and holy
desires and they are pleasing to Me. I shall defend my
Apostles and my Church, and I shall be their Father
and Protector, so that it shall not be overcome nor the
gates of hell prevail against it (Matth. 18, 18). As
thou already knowest, it is necessary for my glory, that
the Apostles labor with my grace, and that at the end
they must follow Me to the cross and to the death I
have suffered for the whole human race. The first one
who is to imitate Me therein is my faithful servant
James, and I wish that he suffer martyrdom in this city
of Jerusalem. In order that he come hither, and for
other purposes of my glory and thine, I desire thee to
visit him in Spain, where he is preaching my name. I
desire my Mother, that thou go to Saragossa where he
now is, and command him to return to Jerusalem. But
before he leaves that city, he is to build a temple in
thy name and title, where thou shalt be venerated and
invoked for the welfare of that country, for my glory
and pleasure, and that of the most blessed Trinity."
348. The great Queen of heaven accepted this com
mission from her divine Son with new jubilee of her
soul. And with sincerest gratitude She answered : "My
Lord and true God, let thy holy will be done in thy
servant and Mother for all eternity, and let all the
creatures praise Thee for the admirable works of kind
ness done to thy servants. I, O Lord, bless and magnify
Thee in them and give humble thanks for them in the
name of the entire Church and in my own name. Grant
me, my Son, that in the temple Thou commandest to be
built by thy servant James, I may be permitted to promise
the special protection of thy almighty arm, and that this
sacred place shall be part of my inheritance for the use
of all those that call with devotion upon thy holy name
and ask me to intercede for them with thy clemency."
349. Christ our Redeemer answered Her: "My
Mother, in whom I am well pleased, I give thee
my royal word, that I shall look with especial clemency
and fill with blessings all those who with devotion and
humility call upon Me through thy intercession in that
temple. In thy hands have I deposited and consigned
all my treasures; as my Mother, who holds my place
and power, thou canst signalize that place by depositing
therein thy riches and promising in it thy favors ; for all
will be fulfilled according to thy will and pleasure."
Again the most blessed Mary thanked her Son and God
for this promise. Then, at the command of the Lord,
a great number of the angels that accompanied Her
formed a royal throne of a most resplendent cloud and
placed Her thereon as the Queen and Mistress of all crea
tion. Christ the Savior gave them his blessing and as
cended with the rest of the angels to heaven. The purest
Mother, borne by the hands of the seraphim and accom
panied by her thousand angels and the rest, departed
body and soul for Saragossa in Spain. Although this
journey could have been made in the shortest moment
of time, the Lord ordered the angels to move along
singing hymns of praise and jubilee to their Queen in
choirs of sweetest harmony.
350. Some of them sang the "Ave Maria," others
the "Salve sancta Parens" and "Salve Regina"; others
the "Regina coeli laetare," etc., choir answering choir
in such harmony and concord of sounds, as no human
art could ever attain. The great lady also, with a heart
as humble as this favor was exalted, opportunely re
sponded, referring all this glory to the Most High. She
repeated many times : "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God
Sabaoth (Is. 6, 3), have pity on the poor children of
Eve. Thine is the glory, thine the power and majesty.
Thou alone art holy, the most High and the Lord of
all the celestial armies and of all creation." The angels
then would respond also to these songs of the Virgin,
so sweet in the hearing of the Lord. Proceeding in this
manner till about midnight, they arrived in Saragossa.
351. The most fortunate Apostle saint James was
encamped with his disciples outside of the wall running
along the banks of the river Ebro. In order to engage
in prayer, he had separated some distance from his
companions. Some of his disciples had fallen asleep
and others were absorbed in prayer, all of them far
from expecting the strange event. The procession of
the angels spread out somewhat and sang still louder,
so that not only saint James, but also his disciples could
hear them from afar. Those that were asleep awoke and
all of them were filled with interior sweetness and won
der, with heavenly consolation, which caused them to re
main speechless with admiration and to shed tears of joy.
They saw in the sky a most brilliant light, brighter than
that of the sun ; but it was not diffused beyond a certain
space and seemed like a large luminous globe. Lost
in admiration and joy they stood motionless until called
by their teacher. Through the miraculous effects, which
they felt within them, the Lord wished to prepare them
for what would be manifested to them concerning this
great mystery. The holy angels placed the throne of
their Queen and Lady within sight of the Apostle, who
was still wrapt in most exalted prayer and heard much
more plainly the celestial music and saw more of the
light than his disciples. The angels bore with them a
small column hewn of marble or jasper ; and a not very
large image of their Queen, made of some other ma
terial. This image was carried by the angels with great
veneration. During that night, the angels, exerting their
skill in fashioning the things of nature, had prepared
all this for the occasion.
352. Seated on her throne in the cloud and surrounded
by the angelic choirs the Queen of heaven manifested
Herself to saint James. In wonderful beauty and reful
gence the great Lady far outshone all the angels. The
blessed Apostle prostrated himself upon the earth and
in deepest reverence venerated the Mother of his Creator
and Redeemer. He was shown at the same time the
image and the pillar or column in the hands of some of
the angels. The loving Queen gave him her blessing
in the name of her divine Son and said : "James, servant
of the Most High, be thou blest by his right hand : may
He raise thee up and show thee the light of his divine
countenance." All the angels answered : "Amen." The
Queen of heaven continued: "My son James, this place
the most high and omnipotent God of heaven has des
tined to be consecrated by thee upon earth for the erec
tion of a temple and house of prayer, where, under my
patronage and name He wishes to be glorified and mag
nified, where the treasures of his right hand shall be
distributed, and v
all his ancient mercies shall be
opened up for the faithful through my intercession, if
they ask for them in true faith and sincere piety. In
the name of the Almighty I promise them great favors
and blessings of sweetness, and my protection and assist
ance ; for this is to be my house and temple, my inher
itance and possession. A pledge of this truth and of
my promise shall be this column with my image placed
upon it. In the temple which thou shalt build for me,
it shall remain and be preserved, together with the holy
faith, until the end of the world. Thou shalt imme
diately begin to build this temple of God, and after thou
hast completed it, thou shalt depart for Jerusalem; fpr
my divine Son wishes thee to offer the sacrifice of thy
life in the same place where He offered his for the sal
vation of the human race."
353. The great Queen finished speaking and ordered
the holy angels to set up the column, and upon it the
sacred image, in the same place where they now stand;
and the angels fulfilled her command in one moment.
As soon as the column and the image were in place, the
angels and the holy Apostles recognized that spot as a
house and portal of God, as holy ground, consecrated
as a temple to the glory of the Most High and the invo
cation of his holy Mother. As witness to this fact they
immediately worshipped and reverenced the Divinity.
Saint James prostrated himself upon the ground and
with the holy angels celebrated with new canticles the
first dedication of a temple instituted in this world under
the name and title of the great Mistress of heaven and
earth. This was the happy origin of the sanctuary of
our Lady of the Pillar in Saragossa, which is justly
called the angelic chamber, the house of God and of
his purest Mother, worthy of the veneration of the whole
world and a secure pledge and earnest of the favors and
benefits not prevented by our sins. It seems to me, that
our great patron and Apostle, the second Jacob, gave
a more glorious beginning to this temple, than the first
Jacob to his in Bethel, when he journeyed to Mesopo
tamia, although in that name and on that rock was
built the temple of Solomon. There Jacob saw in his
sleep the mystical and figurative representation of the
ladder with the accompanying angels ; but here our Jacob
saw the true Stair of Heaven with his bodily eyes, and
accompanied by many more angels. There the stone
was consecrated as a temple, which was to be destroyed
many times and after some centuries was to cease to
exist; but here, in the firmness of this truly consecrated
pillar, was established the temple, the faith and the wor
ship of the Most High until the end of the world, where
the angels were to ascend with the prayers of the faith
ful and to descend with incomparable blessings and
favors to be distributed to all htose that in this place
devoutly call upon and venerate this great Queen and
354. Our apostle gave most humble thanks to the most
blessed Mary and asked Her for the special protection
of this Spanish kingdom and particularly of this place
consecrated to her devotion and name. The heavenly
Mother granted him all his requests; and having again
given him her blessing", She was carried back to Jeru
salem in the same order by the holy angels. At her
petition the Most High charged an angel with the care
and defense of this sanctuary, and from that day until
now this angel fulfills this office and will continue it as
long as the sacred image and column shall remain there.
All the faithful Catholics may see with their own eyes
the wonderful preservation of this sanctuary, since it
has remained intact and uninjured for more than sixteen
hundred years* amid all the perfidy of the Jews, the
idolatry of the Romans, the heresy of the Arians, and
the savage fury of the Moors and pagans; and still
greater would the astonishment of Catholics be, if they
could know of the plots and schemes which all hell has
fabricated in different ages through the hands of these
infidel nations for the destruction of this sanctuary. I
will not detain myself in relating these events, because
it is not necessary and does not belong to my purpose.
It is enough to say, that Lucifer has set all these ene
mies to attack it many times and the guardian angel
of this sanctuary has foiled all his attempts.
355. But I wish to mention two points which have been
made known to me for record here. First, that in regard
to the promises of Jesus Christ and of his most blessed
Mother, although they seem absolutely to assure the
preservation of this temple and sanctuary, yet they con
tain an implicit condition, as is the case with many other
promises of holy Scripture in regard to particular bless
ings of divine grace. This implicit condition here is,
that we on our part conduct ourselves in such a way
as not to oblige God to deprive us of this merciful privi
lege, thus promised and offered to us. Because the
Lord, beneath the mysterious decrees of his justice, hides
this compelling measure of sins, therefore this condition
is not declared or made manifest to us; and moreover,
we know from the teachings of holy Church, that his
favors and promises are not to be used by us against
the Lord and that we must not sin in reliance upon his
liberal mercy, since this, more than aught else, will make
us unworthy of it. So many and so great may become
the sins of these kingdoms and of that devout city of
Saragossa, that we justly draw upon ourselves the loss
of this wonderful blessing and of the protection of the
great Queen and Lady of the angels.
356. The second point which I will touch upon and
which is not less worthy of our consideration, is, that
Lucifer and his demons, since they know of these facts
and of the promises of the Lord, have attempted and
are still attempting to introduce into this illustrious city,
with a more refined malice than elsewhere, heinous vices
and sins, especially such as may offend against the purity
of the most blessed Mary. The purpose of the ancient
serpent is to bring about two most execrable effects:
first, either to induce the inhabitants of that city, if
possible, so to offend God, as to cause Him to abolish
the sanctuary, thus reaching the end which he could not
otherwise attain; or, if that is not possible, at least to
hinder souls from showing proper reverence and devo
tion to the sacred temple and to the great blessings prom
ised through Mary to all her devout supplicants. Lu
cifer and his demons know very well that the inhabitants
of Saragossa and its neighborhood are much more
heavily indebted to the great Queen of heaven than many
other cities and provinces of Christianity. For it holds
within its walls the storehouse and fountainhead of
the favors and blessings, to draw which, others must
come from afar; therefore if its inhabitants, while pos
sessing these advantages, would lead a more wicked
life and consequently treat with contempt this conde
scending clemency, which no one can ever merit, then
certainly their ingratitude to God and his most blessed
Mother would provoke a greater indignation and pun
ishment in divine Justice. Joyfully I will confess to
all that shall read this history, that I consider myself
extremely fortunate in being permitted to write it in a
place which is only two days foot-journey from the city
of Saragossa and I look upon that sanctuary with inmost
affection of soul, in acknowledgment of the debt, which,
as all know, I owe to the great Mistress of the world.
I acknowledge also my obligations and my gratitude
toward the piety of that city. In return I desire urgently
to bring to the remembrance of its inhabitants the sin
cere and ardent devotion they owe to the most blessed
Mary, the favors they can obtain for themselves by it,
and the blessings they may lose by forgetfulness and
inattention. Let them consider themselves as more fa
vored and indebted than other faithful. Let them es
teem their treasure, happily enjoy it, and let them not
make the propitiatory of their God a useless and com
mon dwelling, converting it into a court of justice; for
the most holy Mary has appointed it as a workhouse or
councilhouse of her mercies.
357. The vision of the most blessed Mary having
faded away, saint James called his disciples, who were
absorbed in the music and in wonder at the brightness,
though they did not hear or see anything else. Their
great teacher revealed to them as much as was calculated
to animate them toward helping to build the temple, with
which he had been commissioned; and, with the assist
ance of the holy angels, before he left Saragossa, com
pleted the little chapel, in which now the image and
the column are still preserved. Afterwards the Catho
lics erected the sumptuous temple and whatever else sur
rounds and adorns that celebrated sanctuary. The
evangelist saint John at the time knew nothing of this
excursion of the heavenly Mother to Spain, nor did
She tell him about it; for these privileges and favors
did not concern the faith of the universal Church,
wherefore she kept the secret of them to Herself. Other
greater ones however She made known to saint John
and the other Evangelists, because they were necessary
for the common instruction and faith of the Christians.
But when saint James arrived from Spain and saw his
brother John in Jerusalem, He related what had hap
pened to him in his preaching-tours through Spain. He
told him also of the two visions of the most blessed
Mary and of what had happened in Saragossa in con
nection with the temple he had erected in that city.
Through the Evangelist many of the other Apostles and
disciples learnt of this miracle, for he afterwards told
them of it in Jerusalem in order to confirm them in their
faith and devotion to the Mistress of heaven and awaken
their confidence in her protection. Hence, those that
knew of these favors to saint James, from that time
called upon Her in their labors and necessities; and the
loving Mother helped some of them often, and all of
them at different times in certain difficulties and dangers.
358. The miraculous appearance of the most blessed
Mary in Saragossa took place in the beginning of the
fortieth year of the birth of the Lord, during the night
of the second of January. Four years, four months
and ten days had passed from the time when saint James
left Jerusalem on his missionary tour up to this event;
for he had left in the year thirty-five, on the twentieth
of August, as I mentioned above (No. 319) ; and after
the apparition he spent, in building the temple, in return
ing to Jerusalem and in preaching, one year, two months
and twenty-three days. He died on the twenty-fifth of
March in the year forty-one. The great Queen of the
angels, at the time She appeared to him in Saragossa,
was fifty-four years, three months and twenty-four days
of age. For immediately on coming back to Jerusalem,
She prepared to depart for Ephesus, as I will relate in
the next book and chapter ; and She left four days after
wards. Thus this temple was dedicated many years
before her glorious transition, as will be evident, when
I shall mention her age at her death; for from this ap
parition to her death intervened a longer time than is
ordinarily assumed. During all these years She was
already publicly venerated in Spain and had temples
built in her honor; for in imitation of that in Saragossa
others were soon erected, where altars were raised in
her honor and solemn veneration.
359. This wonderful distinction without a doubt
exalts Spain beyond all that can be said in its praise;
since thereby it signalized itself before all nations and
kingdoms in the public veneration, reverence and devo
tion due to the great Queen and Mistress of heaven and
earth, and was more zealous to worship and invoke Her
even while She was yet living, than other nations were
after her death and transition to heaven. In return
for this ancient and universal devotion, the most blessed
Mary, as I was given to understand, has enriched these
realms more than the other kingdoms of the earth by
spreading the public veneration of so many miraculous
images, and sanctuaries dedicated in Spain to her honor.
By multiplying these favors the heavenly Mother has
sought to familiarize intercourse with Her throughout
the kingdoms, offering her protection in so many temples
and sanctuaries and meeting the devotions of the faithful
in so many places throughout the provinces. This
should induce us to acknowledge Her as our Mother
and Patroness and give us to understand, that the de
fense and the spreading of her honor through the whole
world is a special privilege of this nation.
360. Therefore I pray and humbly beseech all the
subjects and inhabitants of Spain, and, in the name of
this great Lady, exhort all of them to refresh their
memory, enliven their faith, renew and excite their an
cient devotion toward the most blessed Mary, and con
sider themselves more bound and obliged to her service
than other nations. Let them hold especially the sanc
tuary of Saragossa in highest veneration, as excelling
all the others and as being the starting-place of the piety
and devotion toward this Queen in Spain. And let all
those who read this history believe, that the former hap
piness and greatness of Spain was a gift of the most
blessed Mary and a reward for the service rendered to
Her by the Spanish people. If we in our days see the
glory and happiness of Spain so much diminished, it is
the fault of our negligence by which we oblige Her to
withdraw her protection. If we desire a remedy for
so many calamities, we can obtain it only through this
powerful Queen, gaining her favor by new and extraor
dinary proofs of our devotion. And as the admirable
blessing of the Catholic faith and the other benefits I
have mentioned, have come to us through our great
patron and Apostle saint James, let our devotion and
confidence toward him likewise be renewed, in order that
the Almighty through his intercession may renew his
361. My daughter, thou knowest, that not without
some mysterious reason I have in the course of this
history so many times shown thee the secret machina
tions and treacherous counsels of hell for the ruin of
mankind, and the furious and restless wrath with which
Lucifer seeks to encompass it. In this assault hell
misses no opening, no occasion, and lets no stone un
turned, nor forgets any path, any state or person in
laying snares for their fall and in trying to find ways so
much the more dangerous and deceitful, the more they
find their victims desirous of eternal life and of the
friendship of God. Besides these general warnings thou
hast often been shown the council-meetings and the plots
laid against thee. It is important for all the children of
the Church to escape the ignorance in which they live
concerning the dangers besetting their eternal salvation;
for they do not know or take notice, that their igno
rance of these secrets is the chastisement of the sin of
Adam, and how, after being enlightened, they again
lose it and become more unworthy of it than before
through their own sins. Many of the faithful are as
oblivious and careless, as if there were no demons to
persecute and deceive them; and if they sometimes think
of them, it is superficially and lightly, falling immedi
ately back into their forgetfulness, which for many of
them means no less than eternal punishment. If at all
times and in all places, in all their works and on all oc
casions the demons set their snares, it is but just and
proper that Christians on their part take not one step
without asking divine light to see and avoid the danger.
But as the children of Adam are so torpid in regard to
this matter, they perform scarcely one work without
being assailed by the infernal serpent and infected by
his poison. Thus they accumulate sins upon sins, evil
upon evil, irritating the divine justice and shutting
out mercy.
362. In these dangers I exhort thee, my daughter,
that just as the fury and watchfulness of hell against
thee is greater, so also, with the divine grace, thy watch
fulness be more earnest and continual in order to van
quish those astute enemies. Consider what I did, when
I saw the designs of Lucifer to persecute me and the
holy Church : I multiplied my prayers, tears, sighs and
supplications; and when the demons tried to avail them
selves of the help of Herod and the Jews of Jerusalem,
although I needed not fear the least for myself in the
city and desired to remain there, I nevertheless gave up
my desire of staying in order to furnish an example of
caution and of obedience by flying from danger and
by yielding to the will of saint John. Thou art not
strong and art in great danger from creatures ; and, what
is still more, thou art my disciple, and hast my life and
works for thy model. Therefore I desire thee to fly
from danger as soon as thou seest it; and if necessary,
avoid it at the cost of the greatest sensible pain, always
acting under obedience, which thou must look upon as
thy guiding-star and as thy support against the danger
of a fall. Cautiously examine, whether beneath some
apparent work of piety there lurk not the snares of the
demon and see that thou do not suffer evil in doing good
to others. Do not trust to thy own judgment, although
it may seem good and secure to thee; never hesitate to
obey in all things, seeing that I by obedience safely
passed through many labors and difficulties,
363. Renew also the loving desire of following my
footsteps and of imitating me perfectly, so as to finish
what still remains of my history, at the same time writ
ing it in thy heart. Run on the way of humility and
obedience after the order of my life and virtues, and if
thou obey me (as I have wished and so often asked of
thee) I will assist thee as my daughter in thy necessities
and tribulations. My divine Son shall execute his de
signs in regard to thee, as thou hast desired before begin
ning this work; his promises so often repeated to thee
will be fulfilled and thou wilt be blessed by his powerful
right hand. Praise and magnify the Most High for
the favor shown to my servant James in Saragossa, for
the temple there erected before my Assumption into
heaven, and for all the wonders concerning it. Remem
ber that this was the first temple of the evangelical law
and was most pleasing to the will of the most blessed
the Work of God Apostolate - mcog #186                                                

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