Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 8  Chapter  9    Verses:  557-574

557. I have described, as far as I was permitted, the
exalted state of the great Queen and Lady after the first
council of the Apostles, and also her victories over the
infernal dragon and his demons. Although the wonder
ful works which She accomplished during these times
and at all times, cannot be recorded in a history, nor even
summed up, I was nevertheless given special light for
the purpose of describing the beginnings of the Gospels
and the call of the Evangelists to undertake their writing,
the part which Mary bore in their being written, her
solicitous care for the absent Apostles, and the miracles
She wrought for them. In the second part, and on many
occasions I have stated, that the heavenly Mother had a
positive knowledge of all the mysteries of grace, of the
Gospels and other holy writings, which were to serve for
the confirmation of the new Law. In this knowledge
She was confirmed many times, especially on the day of
her ascension with her divine Son into heaven. From
that day on, without forgetting anything, She often pros
trated Herself in prayer before the Lord, asking Him
to send his divine light upon the Apostles and holy
writers and to order them to write, when the opportune
time should have come.
558. Afterwards, when the Queen returned from
heaven and was put in charge of the Church (as related in
the sixth chapter of this book), the Lord made known to
Her that the time for beginning to write the holy Gos
pels had arrived and that She should make her arrange
ments for this purpose as the Mistress and Instructress
of the Church. But in her profound humility and dis
cretion She obtained the consent of the Lord, that this
should be attended to by saint Peter, his vicar and the
head of the Church; and that he should be specially as
sisted by divine enlightenment for a matter of such
importance. All this was granted by the Most High ; and
when the Apostles met in the council mentioned by saint
Luke in the fifteenth chapter of the Acts, after they had
settled the doubts about circumcision, as I described in the
sixth chapter, saint Peter proposed to them all the neces
sity of recording in writing the mysteries of the life of
Christ our Savior and Teacher, so that they might be
preached to all the faithful in the Church without varia
tion or difference, thus doing away with the old Law and
establish the new.
559. Saint Peter had already consulted with the
Mother of wisdom; and all the council having approved
of his proposal, they called upon the Holy Ghost to point
out the Apostles and disciples who should write the
life of the Savior. Immediately a light was seen descend
ing upon saint Peter and a voice was heard saying: "The
highpriest and head of the Church shall assign four for
recording the works and the teachings of the Savior of
the world." Saint Peter and all present prostrated thermselves,
giving thanks to the Lord for this favor. When
all of them had again risen, saint Peter spoke : "Matthew,
our beloved brother, shall immediately begin to write his
Gospel in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy
Ghost. Mark shall be the second, who shall likewise
write the Gospel in the name of the Father, the Son and
the Holy Ghost. Luke shall write the third, in the name of
the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Our most be
loved brother John shall be the fourth and last to write
the mysteries of our Savior and Teacher in the name of
the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost." This decision
the Lord confirmed by permitting* the heavenly light to
remain until these words were repeated and formally
accepted by all those appointed.
560. Within a few days saint Matthew set about writ
ing the first Gospel. While praying in a retired room
of the Cenacle and asking to be enlightened for the in
ception of his history, the most blessed Mary appeared
to him seated on a throne of great majesty and splendor,
the doors of the room still remaining closed. The great
Lady told him to arise, which he did, asking for her
benediction. Then She spoke to him and said : "Matthew,
my servant, the Almighty sends me with his blessing, in
order that with it thou begin the writing of the Gospel
which thou hast the good fortune to be entrusted with.
In this thou shalt have the assistance of the Holy Ghost
and I shall beg it for thee with all my heart. But con
cerning myself it is not proper, that thou write anything
except what is absolutely necessary for manifesting the
Incarnation and other mysteries of the Word made man,
and for establishing his faith in the world as the founda
tion of his Church. This faith being established, the
Almighty will find other persons, who, when the times
arrive in which it shall become necessary, shall reveal to
the faithful the mysteries and blessings wrought by his
powerful arm in me." Saint Matthew signified his will
ingness to obey the mandate of the Queen ; and while he
conferred with Her about composing his Gospel, the
Holy Ghost came down upon him in visible form; and
in the presence of the Lady He began to write the words
as they are still extant in his Gospel. The blessed Mary
then left him and saint Matthew proceeded in his history,
finishing it in Judea. He wrote it in the Hebrew language
in the year forty-two of our Lord.
561. The Evangelist Mark wrote his gospel four years
later, in the forty-sixth year after the birth of Christ. He
likewise wrote it in Hebrew and while in Palestine. Be
fore commencing he asked his guardian angel to notify
the Queen of heaven of his intention and to implore her
assistance for obtaining the divine enlightenment for
what he was about to write. The kind Mother heard his
prayer and immediately the Lord commanded the angels
to carry Her with the usual splendor and ceremony to
the Evangelist, who was still in prayer. The great
Queen appeared to him seated on a most beautiful
and resplendent throne. Prostrating himself before Her,
he said : "Mother of the Savior of the world and Mis
tress of all creation, I am unworthy of this favor, though
I am a servant of thy divine Son and of Thyself.
" The
heavenly Mother answered: "The Most High, whom
thou servest and lovest, sends me to assure thee, that thy
prayers are heard and that his holy Spirit shall direct
thee in the writing of the Gospel, with which He has
charged thee." Then She told him not to write of the
mysteries pertaining to Her, just as She had asked of
saint Matthew. Immediately the Holy Ghost, in visible
and most refulgent shape, descended upon saint Mark,
enveloping him in light and filling him with interior
enlightenment; and in the presence of the Queen he be
gan to write his Gospel. At that time the Princess of
heaven was sixty-one years of age. Saint Jerome says,
that saint Mark wrote his short Gospel in Rome, at the
instance of the faithful residing there ; but I wish to call
attention to the fact, that this was a translation or copy of
the one he had written in Palestine; for the Christians
in Rome possessed neither his nor any other Gospel, and
therefore he set about writing one in the Roman or Latin
562. Two years afterwards, in the year forty-eight
and of the Virgin the sixty-third, saint Luke wrote his
Gospel in the Greek language. To him also, as to the
others, Mary appeared when he was about to begin it.
Having represented to the heavenly Mother, that, in
order to manifest the Incarnation and life of her divine
Son, it was necessary to touch upon the manner of the
actual conception of the Word made man and upon other
things concerning her dignity as the natural Mother of
Christ, and having received orders from Her to pass
over in silence the other mysteries and wonders connected
with her dignity as Mother of God, saint Luke obtained
her permission to write somewhat more freely of the
heavenly Mary in his Gospel. The Holy Ghost descended
upon him and in the presence of the great Queen he
began to write his Gospel, drawing his information prin
cipally from direct inspiration of her Majesty. Saint
Luke continued a most devoted servant of the Lady and
never permitted the image of the sweetest Mother seated
on the throne of majesty, as he had seen Her on this
occasion, to be effaced from his mind. Thenceforward
he lived continually in her presence. Saint Luke was
in Achaia, when this apparition happened to him, and
there also he wrote his Gospel.
563. The last of the four Evangelists who wrote the
Gospels, was the apostle saint John in the year fiftyeight
of the Lord. He wrote his in the Greek language,
during his stay in Asia Minor after the glorious transi
tion and assumption of the most blessed Mary. His
Gospel was directed against the heresies and errors,
which, (as indicated above), the devil immediately after
the transition of the Virgin Mother began to sow for
undermining the faith in the Incarnation of the divine
Word. For as Lucifer had been humiliated and van
quished by this mystery, he at once directed the on
slaught of heresy against it. For this reason the evan
gelist saint John writes so sublimely and adduces so
many arguments for the true and undoubted Divinity of
Christ our Savior, far surpassing the other Evangelists
in this regard.
564. Although when the Evangelist was about to
begin his Gospel the most blessed Mary was already in
heaven, She descended in person, resplendent with inef
fable glory and majesty and surrounded by thousands
of angels of all choirs and hierarchies. Appearing to
saint John She said : "John, my son and servant of the
Most High, now is the proper time for writing the life
and mysteries of my divine Son, so that all mortals may
know Him as the Son of the eternal Father, as true God
and at the same time as true man. But it is not yet
the opportune time for recording the mysteries and
secrets which thou knowest of me; nor shall they as
yet be manifested to a world so accustomed to idolatry,
lest Lucifer abuse them for disturbing those who are to
receive the faith in their Redeemer and in the blessed
Trinity. The Holy Ghost will assist thee and I desire
thee to begin writing in my presence." The Evangelist
worshipped the great Queen of heaven and was filled
with the divine Spirit as the others had been. Assisted
by the kind Mother, he immediately set about writing
his Gospel. Before She departed to the right hand of
her divine Son, She gave him her benediction and prom
ised him her protection for all the rest of his life. Such
were the beginnings of the sacred Gospels, all of them
having been commenced with the assistance and by the
intervention of the most blessed Mary, giving the Church
to understand, that all these benefits have been vouch
safed at her hands. After having thus anticipated the his
tory of the Evangelists, in order to account for the begin
nings of the Gospels, we shall now return to our narrative.
565. In proportion as the most blessed Lady after the
council of the Apostles was exalted by her divine knowl
edge and the abstractive vision of God, so her care and
solicitude for the welfare of the Church increased ; for
the faith was now spreading out over the earth day by
day. As a true Mother and Teacher, She lavished her
special attention upon the Apostles, whose names and
whose welfare She bore written in her heart. All of them,
except saint John and saint James the less, immediately
after the termination of the council, left Jerusalem for
the field of their labors, and the kindest Mother was
deeply concerned at the thought of the hardships and
difficulties connected with their preaching. She looked
upon them with tender pity in their peregrinations, and
held them in highest veneration on account of their
holiness and dignity as priests, as Apostles of her divine
Son, founders of the Church, preachers of his doctrine,
and as the elect .of the divine Wisdom chosen for such
high ministries to the glory of the Most High. It was
truly necessary that the most blessed Lady and Mistress,
in order to attend to and take care of so many matters
throughout the holy Church, should be raised to the state
which She now held: for in any lower condition She
could not have so easily and properly attended to so many
duties and at the same time maintain that interior tran
quillity and peace, which her soul enjoyed.
566. Besides her own knowledge and solicitude for
the whole Church, the most holy Mother again charged
her angels to take care of all the Apostles and disciples,
to console them in all their tribulations and to haste to
their aid in all their difficulties. For by the subtlety of
their spiritual nature they could attend to all this without
losing sight of the face of God and enjoying beatific
vision. She thus charged them because it was so impor
tant to establish the Church and because they were the
ministers of the Most High and the works of his hands.
She told them also to inform Her of all that the Apostles
and disciples were doing, and especially when they were
in need of any clothing; for to this matter the watchful
Mother wished to attend in particular, in order that they
might go about clothed in a uniform manner, such as
they wore when they departed from Jerusalem. By this
prudent foresight, the Apostles showed no difference in
their garments as long as the great Lady was alive ; but
all of them wore clothes of the same form and color,
similar to that worn by her divine Son. Assisted by
the holy angels, She wove with her own hand the tunics
for this purpose and sent them through the angels to
the Apostles on their journeys. In thus making it pos
sible for them to wear vestments similar to those which
had been worn by Christ our Savior, the great Mother
provided that even in their exterior appearance the Apos
tles preached his doctrines and his most holy life. In
regard to the other necessities of life, such as food, She
left them to begging and to the labor of their hands,
or to the alms which were offered to them.
567. At the orders of the Queen the angels frequently
assisted the Apostles in their travels and tribulations
and in the persecutions as well of the gentiles and the
Jews, as of the demons, who continually excited evil
minded men against the preachers of the Gospel. The
angels often visited them in visible shapes, conversing
with them and consoling them in the name of the most
blessed Mary. At other times they performed the same
office interiorly without manifesting themselves; some
times they freed them from prison; sometimes they
warned them of dangers and snares; sometimes they
accompanied them on their way or carried them from
one place to another where they were to preach,
or informed them of what they were to do ac
cording to the circumstances peculiar to certain places
or peoples. Of all these things they also kept their
blessed Lady informed; for She took care of all of them
and labored with them more than all of them together.
It is not possible to enumerate the cares, solicitudes and
diligent doings of this kindest Mother ; for not a day or
a night passed, in which She did not perform many mira
cles for the Apostles and for the Church. Besides all
this She wrote to them many times, animating them with
heavenly exhortations and doctrines, and filling them with
consolation and strength.
568. But what is more wonderful : She not only com
muned with them by means of her angels and by letters,
but She appeared to them Herself, whenever they called
upon Her or when they were in some tribulation or ne
cessity. Although (besides appearing to the Evangel
ists, concerning which I have already spoken), She ap
peared to many of the Apostles, I will here speak only
of her apparitions to saint Peter, who, as head of the
Church, stood in greater need of the counsels and as
sistance of the most blessed Mary. Hence to him She sent
her angels more frequently, and the saint sent those,
which were assigned to him as pontiff of the Church,
and he wrote to Her and communicated with Her oftener
than the other Apostles. Soon after the council of Jeru
salem saint Peter was journeying to Asia Minor and
came to Antioch, where he first established his pontifical
see. On account of the difficulties which he met in the
execution of his design, the vicar of Christ was down
cast and afflicted, and the most blessed Mary well knew
of it and how much he stood in need of her favor. In
order to confer it upon him in the manner suited to the
importance of the occasion, She had her holy angels
bring Her to saint Peter, and appeared to him, seated
on a throne of majesty as at other times. The Apostle,
seeing Her before him so resplendent, prostrated him
self before Her with wonted fervor, and bathed in tears,
said to Her: "Whence this favor to me, a sinner, that
the Mother of my Redeemer should come to where I
am?" The heavenly Teacher of the humble descended
from her throne, and, moderating the splendors which
surrounded Her, knelt before the highpriest of the
Church and asked his blessing. With none of the other
Apostles, but only with saint Peter did She observe this
conduct in her apparitions to them; although except at
these apparitions, when She conversed with them in the
natural way, She was wont to ask their blessing on her
569. But because saint Peter was the vicar of Christ
and the head of the Church She descended from her
royal throne and showed him reverence, acting as one
of the members of the Church yet in mortal flesh.
Speaking familiarly with the holy Apostle She con
ferred with him upon the weighty matters then under
consideration. One of them was the advisability of
beginning to celebrate some of the feasts of the Lord.
After they had resolved on the course to be taken, the
holy angels took Her back from Antioch to Jerusalem.
Later on, when saint Peter, in obedience to the orders
of the Savior, had gone to Rome with the intention of
transferring the apostolic see to that city, the blessed
Lady appeared once more to saint Peter. There it was
ordained that in the Roman Church should thenceforth
be celebrated the feast of the Nativity of her divine Son,
of the Passion, and of the institution of most holy Sac
rament in the manner as it is now done on Holy Thurs
day or Maundy Thursday. Later on, after many years,
was established also the feast of Corpus Christi to be
celebrated on the first Thursday after the octave of
Pentecost, as is still the rule. But the first feast of the
blessed Sacrament on Holy Thursday, was instituted
by saint Peter, as also the feast of the Resurrection, the
Sundays, the Ascension, with the paschal and other ob
servances of the Roman Church to the present day; and
all of these were instituted by the order and according
to the counsel of the most blessed Mary. After these
doings saint Peter went to Spain, visiting some of the
churches founded by saint James and establishing others
before returning to Rome.
570. On another occasion, before (though very near),
the glorious transition of the heavenly Mother, saint
Peter being likewise at Rome, a dispute arose among
the Christians, which greatly distressed and afflicted
both him and all those concerned. The Apostles remem
bered the favors he had received in his tribulations at
the hands of the great Queen and grieved very much that
he should now be deprived of her counsel and assistance.
He therefore besought the angels of his guard and those
given him as assistants in his office of highpriest, to
manifest his troubles and necessity to the blessed Mother
in order to obtain help in his difficulties by her powerful
intercession with her Son. The Queen, who knew the
fervor and humility of saint Peter, failed not in respond
ing to his wishes. She commanded the angels of the
Apostle to bring him to Jerusalem, where She then was.
They immediately executed her command and brought
saint Peter to the Cenacle and the presence of his Queen.
This singular favor inflamed the fervent affections of the
Apostle, and he prostrated himself before the most
blessed Mary, full of joy and tears to see the prayer of
his heart fulfilled. The great Lady commanded him to
arise, and She, instead, fell on her face saying: "My
master, give: thy servant thy blessing as vicar of Christ
our Lord my Son." Saint Peter obeyed and gave
Her his blessing. Then they gave thanks to the Lord
for having fulfilled their wishes ; and although the humble
Mistress of virtues was not unaware of the tribulations
of saint Peter and of the faithful of Rome, She listened
to his account of what had happened.
571. The most blessed Mary advised him of all that
he needed to know and do in order to allay the trouble
and restore peace in the church of Rome. She spoke
with such wisdom, that, although he had had a high
concept of her prudence, he was carried beside himself
in his admiration and joy of what he heard and ex
perienced of it on this occasion, and he gave humble
thanks for this new favor. Having thus informed him
of many things for establishing the Church in Rome, She
asked his blessing and took leave of him. The angels
brought him back to Rome, while, as was her wont, the
most blessed Mary remained prostrate upon the ground
in the form of a cross, asking the Lord to quiet this dis
turbance. Her prayer was heard; for on coming back
to Rome, saint Peter found matters in a better state, and
soon the consuls permitted the faithful freely to follow
the law of Christ. From these miracles, which I have
adduced, some insight is afforded in the doings of Mary
in the government of the Apostles and of the Church.
For if all were to be recorded, more volumes would be
required than I am now writing lines. Hence I refrain
from enlarging upon them, in order that in the rest of
this history I may describe the wonderful and unheard-of
favors, which the Lord conferred upon the most holy
Mary in the last years of her life ; although at the same
time I confess, that I can give only some stray hints of
what I have seen, in order that Christian piety may be
led to the contemplation and praise of the Omnipotent,
the Author of these venerable sacraments.
572. My dearest daughter, at other times I have
spoken to thee of a complaint, which I have against the
children of the Church, and especially against the women,
in whom the fault is greater. In my sight it is abomi
nable, because it is so much opposed to my own conduct
in life. I repeat it here, in order that thou mayest imi
tate me and keep away from what the foolish women
and daughters of Belial are guilty of : namely, treating
the priests of the Most High without reverence, esteem,
or respect. This fault increases day by day in the
Church, and therefore I renew this warning already
several times recorded. Tell me, my daughter, what
must be thought of the fact, that priests, the anointed of
the Lord, appointed to represent Christ and to consecrate
his body and blood, are serving vile, impure, and earthly
women? That they should stand uncovered and do
reverence to a proud and miserable woman, only because
she is rich and they are poor ? I ask, has the poor priest
less dignity than the rich? Or do riches confer a greater
or equal dignity, power and excellence, than the one
given to priests and ministers by my divine Son? The
angels have no regard for the rich on account of their
possessions, but they respect priests for their exalted dig
nity. Hence, how could such an abuse and perversity
creep into the Church, that the anointed of the Lord
should be outraged and despised by the faithful, who
know and confess them to be sanctified by Christ him
.573. It is true that the priests themselves are very
guilty and reprehensible when they, disregarding their
dignity, enslave themselves to the service of other men,
and much more, of women. But if priests have some
excuse in their poverty, the rich have none in their pride,
that they should, on account of the poverty of the priests,
oblige them to be servants, when in reality they are
masters. This monstrosity is very abominable to the
saints and very disagreeable in my eyes on account of
the veneration I had for the priests. Great was my
dignity as Mother of God; yet I often prostrated myself
at their feet and considered it a great happiness to kiss
the ground on which they trod. But the blindness of
the world has obscured the sacerdotal dignity and con
founded the precious with the vile (Jer. 15, 19); it
has lowered the priests to the position of the common
people by its laws and disorderly customs (Is. 25, 2),
making use of the one as well as the other for their
degradation ; and the same minister who now at the altar
offers the tremendous sacrifice of the sacred body and
blood, afterwards leaves it to serve and subject himself
to the service even of women, who by nature and by the
condition are so inferior, and sometimes are made even
more unworthy by their sins.
574. I wish then, my daughter, that thou seek to make
up for this fault and abuse among the children of the
Church as far as possible. I give thee to understand,
that even from my throne in heaven I look with venera
tion and respect upon the priests who are on earth. Thou
must always regard them with the same veneration, as
if they were at the altar, or holding the most blessed
Sacrament in their hands or at their breast; and even
the ornaments and all their vestments thou shouldst hold
in great veneration, just as I with reverence provided
garments for the Apostles. Then, besides what thou hast
understood and written concerning the divine Scriptures,
thou must gage thy esteem for these writings by what
they contain and enclose, and by the means which the
Almighty took to incite the Evangelists to write them.
As well in the Gospels as in the rest of holy writings the
Holy Ghost himself lent his assistance, in order that the
Church might be rich and prosperous in the abundance
of doctrine, of science and light concerning the mys
teries and operations of the Lord. To the supreme pon
tiff of Rome thou must render highest obedience and
veneration before all other men ; and when thou hearest
him mentioned, show reverence by inclining thy head
as if thou heardst the name of my divine son or my own
named in thy presence; for on earth he takes the place
of Christ, and when I lived in the world, I showed my
reverence whenever the name of saint Peter was pro
nounced. In order that thou mayest practice my doc
trine and find grace in the eyes of the Most High, whom
all these works please very much and who considers
none of them small if done for his love, I wish that thou
be very attentive and a most faithful follower of my
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