Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 8  Chapter  3    Verses:  413-430

413. In the rational creature love produces on the heart
effects similar to those of the force of gravity on the stone.
The stone tends to move whithersoever its own weight
draws it, that is to its centre of attraction; love is the
weight of the heart, drawing it to its centre, namely, to
that which it loves. If at any time the heart is diverted
by necessity or inadvertence, love will immediately make
it recoil like a liberated spring returning again to its nor
mal position. This weight or sway of love in a manner
seems to take away the liberty of the heart, in so far as
it becomes subject and subservient to what it loves, and
prevents the will from commanding any other course of
action than that sought and ordered by the urgency of
this love. The happiness or unhappiness of a creature
arises from the good or evil use it makes of love, for what
man loves that he makes his master; if this master is evil
and vile, so will also the man be tyrannized and degraded ;
if good, then will he be ennobled and made happy, and
so much the more, the more noble and excellent the good
is, that he loves. By these principles I hope to be able to
explain in part, what has been made known to me con
cerning the exalted state in which the most holy Mary
lived never having dropped from it but rising higher
and higher from the first instant of her Conception with
out interruption or relaxation, until She entered the state
of a comprehensor in the beatific vision.
414. If all the love of the holy angels and of men
could be united in one person, it would be less than that
of the most holy Mary ; yet, if we could unite the love of
all the other creatures into one whole, it is certain that
such a conflagration of love would result, that, without
being infinite, it would seem so to us, on account of its
surpassing all our comprehension. If then the charity of
our great Queen exceeded all this, only the infinite Wis
dom could measure the love of this Creature and estimate
the intensity, with which it inclined and tended toward the
Divinity. We however can at least understand that in this
chastest, purest and most inflamed heart there could be
no other mastery or sway, no other movement or liberty,
except that of loving supremely the highest Good; and
this in such an exalted degree, that with our limited
capacity we can much sooner believe than understand it,
confess than penetrate it. This charity of the most pure
Virgin filled Her at the same time with the most ardent
desires of seeing the face of God, who was absent, and
assisting the holy Church, which was present to Her. Thus
She was consumed by two opposite tendencies; but She
governed them with such wisdom, that there arose from
them no conflict within Her, nor did She give Herself up
to the one to the neglect of the other ; but She attended to
both, exciting wonder in all the saints and fullest compla
cency in the Lord of the saints.
415. In this exalted and eminent state of holiness the
most holy Mary often consulted within her heart about
the condition of the primitive Church left in her charge ;
and how She could exert Herself for its peace and prog
ress. In these aspirations the liberation of saint Peter,
which made it possible for him to continue the govern
ment of the faithful, and also the casting forth of Lucifer
and his demons from Jerusalem, which freed the faithful
from their tyranny and allowed them some respite, afford
ed the most holy Mary some relief and consolation in her
anxiety. The divine Wisdom, which dispenses labors and
consolations with weight and measure (Wis. 11, 21), or
dained that the most blessed Mother should at that time
have a very intimate knowledge of the evil disposition of
Herod. She perceived the abominable ugliness of that
most unfortunate soul brought on by his boundless vices
and oft-repeated crimes, which had roused the wrath of
the just and almighty Judge. She knew how greatly
Herod and the Jews were enraged against Jesus and his
disciples after the escape of saint Peter. She saw, also,
how the seed of rage, sown by the demons in the hearts
of Herod and the Jews, had grown, and how furious their
hatred against Jesus our Redeemer and his disciples had
become; how the iniquitous ruler had conceived the pur
pose of exterminating all the faithful within the confines
of Judea and Galilee and how he would employ in this
work all his forces and means. Although the most blessed
Mary was aware of this design of Herod, She was not
informed at that time of his horrid death. But as She
knew his power and the depravity of his soul, She was
horrified at his evil state, and deeply grieved at his wrath
against the followers of the faith.
416. In her anxieties and in her reliance upon the divine
help our Queen labored incessantly in prayers and tears,
travailing in her clamors as I have shown on other
occasions. Ever governed by her most exalted prudence,
She spoke to one of the highest angels of her guard, say
ing: "Minister of the Most High and creature of his
hands, my solicitude for the holy Church strongly urges
me to seek its welfare and progress. I beseech thee to
ascend to the throne of the Most High, represent to Him
my affliction; ask Him in my name, that I may be per
mitted to suffer instead of his faithful servants and that
Herod be prevented from executing his designs for the
destruction of the Church." Immediately the angel be
took himself to the Lord with this message, while the
Queen of heaven, like another Esther, remained in prayer
for the liberty and salvation of her people and of Herself.
(Eph. 4, 16). The heavenly ambassador was sent back
by the blessed Trinity with the answer: "Princess of
heaven, the Lord of hosts says, that Thou art the Mother,
the Mistress and the Governess of the Church, and that
Thou boldest his power while Thou art upon earth ; and
He desires Thee, as the Queen and Mistress of the heaven
and earth, to execute sentence upon Herod."
417. In her humility the most blessed Virgin was some
what disturbed by this answer, and urged by her charity,
She replied to the angel : "Am I then to pronounce
sentence against a creature who is the image of the Lord ?
Since I came forth from his hands I have known many
reprobates among men and I have never called for ven
geance against them; but as far as I was concerned,
always desired their salvation if possible, and never has
tened their punishment. Return to the Lord, angel, and
tell Him that my tribunal and power is inferior to and de
pendent upon his, and that I cannot sentence any one to
death without consulting my Superior ; and if it is possible
to bring Herod to the way of Salvation, I am willing to
suffer all the travails of the world according to the dis
position of his divine Providence in order that this soul
may not be lost." The angel hastened back with this sec
ond message of his Queen and having presented it before
the throne of the most blessed Trinity, was sent back to
Her with the following answer: "Our Mistress and
Queen, the Most High says, that Herod is of the number
of the foreknown, since he is so obstinate in his malice,
that he will take no admonition or instruction ; he will not
co-operate with the helps given to him ; nor will he avail
himself of the fruits of the Redemption, nor of the inter
cession of the saints, nor of thy own efforts, O Queen and
Lady, in his behalf."
418. For the third time the most holy Mary despatched
the heavenly prince with still another message to the Most
High, saying : "If it must be that Herod die in order to
hinder him from persecuting the Church, do thou, O angel,
represent to the Almighty, how in the infinite con
descension of his charity, He has granted me in mortal
life to be the Refuge of the children of Adam, the Advo
cate and Intercessor of sinners; that my tribunal should
be that of kindness and clemency for the refuge and assist
ance of all that seek my intercession ; and that all should
leave it with the assurance of pardon in the name of my
divine Son. If then I am to be a loving Mother to men,
who are the creatures of his hands and the price of his
life-blood, how can I now be a severe judge against one
of them? Never was I charged with dealing out justice,
always mercy, to which all my heart inclines ; and now it
is troubled by this conflict of love with obedience to rigor
ous justice. Present anew, O angel, this my anxiety to
the Lord, and learn whether it is not his pleasure that
Herod die without my condemning him."
419. The holy messenger ascended for the third time
and the most blessed Trinity listened to his message with
the plenitude of pleasure and complacency at the pitying
love of his Spouse. Returning, the angel thus informed
the loving Mistress : "Our Queen, Mother of our Creator
and my Lady, the almighty Majesty says that thy mercy
is for those mortals who wish to avail themselves of thy
powerful intercession, not for those who despise and abhor
it like Herod ; that Thou art the Mistress of the Church
invested with all the divine power, and that therefore it
is meet Thou use it as is opportune : that Herod must die ;
but it shall be through thy sentence and according to thy
order." The most blessed Mary answered : "Just 1S tne
Lord and equitable are his judgments (Ps. 118, 137).
Many times would I suffer death to rescue this soul of
Herod, if he himself would not by his own free will make
himself unworthy of mercy and choose perdition. He is
a work of the Most High (Job. 10, 8), formed according
to his image and likeness (Gen. 1, 27) ; he was redeemed
by the blood of the Lamb, which taketh away the sins of
the world (Apoc. 1, 5). But I set aside all this and, con
sidering only his having become an obstinate enemy of
God, unworthy of his eternal friendship, by the most
equitable justice of God, I condemn him to the death he
has merited, in order that he may not incur greater tor
ments by executing the evil he has planned."
420. This wonder the Lord wrought for the glory of
his most blessed Mother and in witness of his having
constituted Her as the Mistress of all creatures with
supreme power to act as their Sovereign like her divine
Son. I cannot explain this mystery better than in the
words of the Lord in the fifth chapter of saint John,
where He says of Himself: "The son cannot do any
thing that the Father does not; but He does the same,
because the Father loves Him; and if the Father raises
the dead, the son also raises whom he pleases, and the
Father has given to the Son to judge all, in order that
just as all honor the Father, they may also honor the
Son ; for no one can honor the Father without honoring
the Son." And immediately He adds: that He has
given Him the power of judging, because He is the Son
of man, which He is through his most blessed mother.
On account of the likeness of the heavenly Mother to
her Son (of which I have often spoken) the relation or
proportion of the Mother with the Son in this power of
judgment must be transferred to the Mother in the same
manner as that of the Son from the Father. Mary is
the Mother of mercy and clemency to all the children of
Adam that call upon Her; but in addition to this the
Almighty wishes it to be understood that She possesses
full power of judging all men and that all should honor
Her, just as they honor her Son and true God. As his
true Mother He has given Her the same power with him
in the degree and proportion due to Her as his Mother
and a mere creature.
421. Making use of this power the great Lady sent
the angel to Csesarea, where Herod then was, to take
away his life as the minister of divine justice. The
angel executed the sentence without delay. The evan
gelist saint Luke says, that the angel of the Lord struck
Herod and, eaten up by worms, the unhappy man died
the temporal and eternal death. The wound of this
stroke was interior and from it sprang the corruption
and the worms that so miserably finished him. From
the same text it appears that, after having beheaded saint
James and after saint Peter had escaped, Herod de
scended to Csesarea in order to compose some differences
that had arisen between him and the inhabitants of Sidon
and Tyre (Acts 12, 23). Within a few days, vested in
the royal purple and seated upon a throne, he harangued
the people with great show of words. The people, full
of vain flattery, proclaimed him as a victor and as a
god ; and Herod, in foolish vanity, was pleased with this
adulation of the people. Because he had not given honor
to God, but usurped to himself divine honor in vain pride,
as saint Luke says, the angel of the Lord struck him.
Although this was his last crime, which filled the measure
of his iniquity, he merited the chastisement not only for
this, but for so many other crimes committed by him
in persecuting the Apostles, mocking the Lord our Sa
vior (Luke 23, 11), beheading the Baptist (Mark 6, 27),
committing adultery with his sister-in-law Herodias, and
for many other abominations.
422. Immediately the angel returned to Ephesus and
gave an account of the execution of the sentence against
Herod. The merciful Mother wept over the loss of
this soul; but praised the judgments of the Lord and
gave him thanks for the benefit, which the Church would
derive from his chastisement; for, as saint Luke says
(Acts 12, 24), the Church grew and increased by the
word of God. This was true not only in Galilee and
Judea, where the persecutor Herod was removed, but,
through saint John and the help of the most holy Mother,
the Church was taking root in Ephesus. The science of
the blessed Apostle was full as that of the cherubim, and
the love of his heart was inflamed like that of the sera
phim ; and he had with him as his Mother and Teacher,
the Mistress of wisdom and grace. On account of these
precious advantages the Evangelist could undertake
great and wonderful works for the foundation of the
law of grace, not only in Ephesus, but in all neighboring
regions of Asia and in the borderlands of Europe.
423. Arriving at Ephesus the Evangelist began to
preach in the city, baptizing those whom he converted to
the faith of Christ our Savior and confirming the faith
by great miracles and prodigies, such as had never been
witnessed by those gentiles. Since the Greek schools in
those countries turned out many philosophers and men
learned in what, notwithstanding the admixture of many
errors, could be called human sciences, the blessed
Apostle convincingly taught them the true science, mak
ing use not only of miracles and signs, but of argumenta
tion for the credibility of the Christian faith. All his
catechumens he immediately sent to the most holy Mary
and She instructed many; as She knew the interior
inclinations of all, She spoke to the heart of each one
and filled it with heavenly light. She wrought prodi
gies and miracles for the benefit of the unfortunate,
curing the possessed and the infirm, succored the poor
and the needy and, by the labor of her own hands, gave
assistance to the sick in the infirmaries, attending upon
them in person. In her house the kindest Queen had a
supply of clothes for the most poor and forsaken of her
fellowmen. She helped many in the hour of their death,
gaining these souls in their last agony and bringing them
safely through all the assaults of the demon to their Cre
ator. So many souls did She draw to the path of truth
and life eternal, and so numerous were the wonders She
wrought for this end, that they could not be recorded
in many books ; for no day passed in which She did not
increase the possessions of the Lord by the copious and
abundant fruit of souls.
424. On account of the growth of the primitive
Church through the holiness, solicitude and labors of the
Queen of Heaven, the demons were filled with confusion
and furious disappointment. Although they rejoiced in
the condemnation of all souls because it swelled the
numbers of the damned in hell yet they were grievously
put out at the death of Herod; for on account of his
obstinacy they had expected from him no amendment of
his vile and abominable life and therefore had consid
ered him a powerful instrument for the persecution of
the followers of Christ our Lord. The divine Provi
dence permitted Lucifer and the other infernal dragons
to emerge from the depths of hell, whither they had been
cast forth from Jerusalem by the most blessed Mother,
as I have related in the last chapter. After having
spent their time in hell in planning and preparing tempta
tions for their conflict with the invincible Queen of the
angels, Lucifer resolved to make complaint against Her
to the Lord himself, as he had done against holy Job
(Job 1, 9) ; although he now did it with greater wrath.
With this intent, before issuing from the abyss, he spoke
to his ministers as follows :
425. "If we do not vanquish this Woman, our Enemy,
I fear that without a doubt She will destroy my sov
ereignty; for we all find in Her a strength more than
human, which annihilates and oppresses us, whenever
and in whatsoever manner She pleases to exercise it.
This is what makes Her intolerable to me; for if She
were God, who is offended by my high aspirations and
hostility and who has infinite power to destroy us, I
would not feel so much confusion at being overcome;
but this Woman, though She is the Mother of God, of the
incarnate Word, is not God ; She is a mere creature of
a nature inferior to ours. I shall not further endure
to be treated by Her in such an imperious manner and
be ruined by her opposition to me. Let us all go forth
to destroy Her and let us make our complaint to the
Omnipotent as we have now concluded to do." In
reliance upon his pretended rights the dragon executed
his resolve; for he alleged, that God, instead of
leaving Her in her humble condition exposed to the
persecutions and temptations of the demons, had by his
graces and gifts unjustly raised this Woman above him,
though She was but dust of the earth while he was an
angel of such superior essence. But I must remark,
that these hellish foes did not present themselves before
the Lord so as to see Him, being entirely incapable
thereof; but through their knowledge and belief in the
supernatural mysteries, which is conceded to them in a
curtailed yet by them unavoidable measure, they are per
mitted to speak to God. This is what is meant, when
they are mentioned as being in the presence of God to
make complaint or to have converse with Him.
426. The Almighty gave Lucifer permission to go
forth in battle against the most blessed Mother; but the
conditions asked by Satan were unjust, and therefore
many of them were not conceded. The divine Wisdom
furnished those weapons, which were appropriate to each
combatant, in order that the victory of his Mother might
be so much the more glorious and crush the head of this
ancient and poisonous serpent (Gen 3, 15). This battle
was mysterious, no less than its triumphant issue, as we
shall see in the following chapters; moreover its myste
rious character is plainly evident in the twelfth chapter
of the Apocalypse and from the other mysteries of which
I have spoken in my explanations of the first part of this
history (Part 1, No. 94). I wish only to state here, that
the divine Providence foreordained all this, not only for
the greater glory of his most holy Mother and for the ex
altation of the divine power and wisdom, but also in order
to bring relief to the Church from the persecutions roused
against it by the demons; and also to bind Himself with
some show of justice to the bestowal of the infinite favors
and blessings which the most holy Mary alone and no
other souls could ever merit for the whole Church. The
Lord continually works in this manner in his Church :
preparing and fortifying some chosen souls, against
which, as members and parts of his holy Church, the
dragon may exert all his wrath and fury. If they over
come him by the help of divine grace, their victories
redound to the benefit of the whole mystical body of the
faithful and the enemy loses some of his right and power
over them.
427. My daughter, when in the course of this history
I so often call thy attention to the lamentable state of
the world and to that of the holy Church in which thou
livest, and when I so often express my maternal solici
tude that thou imitate me, remember, my dearest, that I
have great reasons for obliging thee to lament with me
and for wishing thee to weep over that which I bewailed
in my mortal life ; and which would afflict me in my pres
ent state, if in it I were capable of sorrow. I assure
thee, soul, thou hast reached times, in which thou
oughtest to shed tears of blood because of the calamities
coming over the children of Adam. Since thou canst
not at one and the same time attain a full knowledge
of them all, I remind thee of what from my place in
heaven I see going on in the whole world among the be
lievers of the holy faith. Turn then thy eyes upon those
multitudes and behold the greater part of the children
of Adam in the darkness and errors of unbelief, rushing
without hope of salvation to eternal perdition. Behold
also the children of the faith and of the Church, how
heedless and forgetful of this damage they continue to
be, so that there are none who seem to deplore it. For in
contempt of their own salvation, they care not about
that of others and, their faith being dead and their love
extinct, they sorrow not for the loss of souls created by
God and redeemed by the blood of the incarnate Word.
428. All are the children of the eternal Father who is
in heaven (Matth 23, 9) and all are obliged to have a
care of their brethren according to each one s condition.
This obligation rests more especially upon the children of
the Church, who can live up to it by their prayers and
supplications. But this duty lies still more directly upon
those who have influence, upon those who are nourished
by the Christian faith, and who enjoy more of the bene
fits of the liberal hand of the Almighty. Those who
through the law of Christ are favored with temporal
advantages and who make use of them for the service
and the delights of the flesh, are they who, as the power
ful, are to be more powerfully tormented (Matth 23, 9).
If the pastors and the chiefs of the house of the Lord
seek only a life of ease, without caring to engage in true
earnest labor, they will make themselves accountable for
the ruin of the flock of Christ and for the carnage brought
on by the infernal wolves. O my daughter, into what a
lamentable state has the Christian people been cast by
the powerful, by the pastors, and by the wicked ministers,
whom God has given them in his secret judgments ! O
what confusion and chastisements await them! Before
the tribunal of the just Judge they will have no excuse;
since the Catholic truth undeceives them, their conscience
loudly protests, while they wilfully remain deaf to all
429. The cause of God remains neglected and without
a champion ; his possessions, which are the souls, are left
without increase; all as it were look but to their own
interest and preservation, each one according to his own
diabolical cunning and according to his state of life.
Truth is obscured, flattery raises its voice, avarice is un
bridled, the blood of Christ is trodden under foot, the
fruits of the Redemption are held in contempt; no one
wishes to risk his own comfort or interest in order to
save what has cost the Savior his blood and life. Even
the friends of God are influenced by the evils ; for they do
not make use of their charity and its holy liberty as they
ought; and most of them allow themselves to be over
come by their cowardice and content themselves with
working for themselves alone, forsaking the common
cause of the souls of others. Hence thou mayest under
stand, my daughter, that now, after the evangelical
Church has been established by my divine Son and fertil
ized by his own blood, those unhappy times have come,
of which the Lord himself complains through his holy
Prophets, saying : what the palmerworm hath left the
locust has eaten, and what the locust left the bruchus
consumed, and the residue is destroyed by the mildew;
(Joel 1, 4) and in order to gather some fruits from his
vineyard, the Lord goes about like the gleaner after the
vintage, who seeks some remaining grape, or some olive,
which is not dried up, or carried away by the demons
(Is. 24, 13).
430. Tell me now, my daughter, how is it possible, if
thou still hast a true love for my divine Son and for me,
that thou find consolation or rest in thy heart at the sight
of the loss of souls, which He redeemed by his blood and
I have sought with blood-mingled tears? Even today,
if I could shed them, I would begin to do so with new
weeping and compassion ; and since it is not possible for
me now to weep over the dangers threatening the Church,
I wish that thou do it and that thou spurn consolation in
a misfortune so calamitous and so worthy of lament.
Weep bitterly then, and lose not the merit of such a
sorrow; and let it be so deep, that thou findst no relief
except in affliction for the sake of the Lord whom thou
lovest Think of what I did, in order to stave off the
damnation of Herod and to prevent it for those who wish
to avail themselves of my intercession. In the beatific
vision I pray without ceasing for the salvation of my
clients. Let not the labors and tribulations sent to thee
by my divine Son intimidate thee from helping they breth
ren and acquiring them for the possession of Christ
Amidst the injuries done to Him by the children of
Adam, do thou labor to recompense them in some meas
ure by the purity of thy soul, which I desire shall be
rather that of an angel than of an earthborn woman.
Fight the battles of the Lord against his enemies and in
his name and mine, crush their head, reign over their
pride and cast them into hell. Do thou also counsel the
ministers of Christ with whom thou conversest, to use
their power in doing the same, to defend the souls in
lively faith and, in them, the honor and glory of the
Lord; for thus shall they repress and vanquish them
with divine power.
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