Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 8  Chapter  12    Verses:  611-624

611. All the offices and titles of honor, which the most
blessed Mary held in the Church, that of Queen, Mistress,
Mother, Governess and Teacher, and all the rest, were
given to her by the Omnipotent not as empty and fruitless
names, but were accompanied by the superabundant pleni
tude of grace which is proper and which the Almighty
can communicate to each. This plenitude consisted in
this, that as Queen She knew all that concerned her reign
and its extent ; as Mistress She knew the measure of her
power; as Mother She knew all the children and de
pendents of her household, without excepting anyone
through all the ages of the Church until the end; as
Governess She knew all that were subject to Her; and as
Teacher, She possessed the wisdom and science through
which the holy Church, by her intercession, was to be
instructed and guided, while enjoying the presence and
the influence of the Holy Ghost until the end of the
612. Hence our great Queen had a clear knowledge
not only of all the saints that preceded or followed Her
in the Church, of their lives, their works, their deaths, and
rewards in heaven ; but also of all the rites, ceremonies,
decisions, and festivities of the Church in course of the
ages, and of all the reasons, motives, necessities and
opportunities, in and for which they were established with
the assistance of the Holy Ghost. For He gives us our
spiritual nourishment in proper time for the glory of the
Lord and the increase of the holy Church. As I have
spoken of this matter in the course of this history, espe
cially in the second part, I need not repeat it here. From
her full knowledge and her corresponding holiness, there
arose within the heavenly Instructress a certain thankful
eagerness, to introduce into the Church militant the wor
ship, veneration and festivities observed by the holy
angels in the triumphant Jerusalem, and thus imitate, as
far as was possible, what She had so often seen done in
heaven for the praise and glory of the Most High.
613. In this more than seraphic spirit She commenced
to practice by Herself many of the ceremonies, rites and
exercises, which were afterwards introduced in the
Church ; and these She also inculcated and impressed up
on the Apostles, in order that they might introduce them
as far as the circumstances then allowed. She not only
invented the exercises of the Passion, of which I have
spoken above, but many other customs and ceremonies,
which were later on received in the churches, in the con
gregations and religions. For whatever She knew as
pertaining to the worship of the Lord or the practice of
virtue, She performed, and in her wisdom She was igno
rant of nothing that ought to be known. Among these
exercises and rites was the celebration of the feasts of
the Lord and of Herself, in order to renew the memory
of the benefits for which She stood indebted, as well the
benefits relating in general to the human race, as those
especially referring to Herself, striving thus to give
thanks and adoration for all. Although She had spent her
whole life in this pursuit without relaxation or forgetfulness,
yet, when She entered upon this new mysterious
phase of her life, She prepared to signalize these feast
days by celebrating them with exercises founded on a
deeper insight. As I will speak of the other festivals in
the following chapters, I will describe here only how
She celebrated her Immaculate Conception and Nativity,
the first mysteries of her life. These commemorations or
feasts She had begun to celebrate since the Incarnation
of the Word; but She celebrated them more particularly
after the Ascension, and especially in these last years
of her life.
614. On the eighth day of December of each year She
celebrated her Immaculate Conception with a jubilee and
gratitude beyond all human words; for this privilege
was for the great Queen of the highest importance and
value. She imagined Herself altogether incapable of
ever acknowledging it with sufficient gratitude. She
commenced her exercises on the evening before and
spent the whole night in admirable devotions, shedding
tears of joy, humiliating Herself, prostrating Herself,
and singing the praises of the Lord. She deeply reflected,
that She was formed of the same earth and
descended from Adam according to the common
order of nature; that She was preserved and exempted
from the weight of the same guilt and conceived with
such a plenitude of graces and gifts only because She was
set apart and snatched from the rest by the Almighty.
She invited her own angels to help Her to return proper
thanks, and in union with them She alternated new songs
of praise. Then She asked the same favor of the
rest of the angels and saints in heaven; but during all
this time the divine love so inflamed Her, that the Lord
was obliged to strengthen Her, lest all her natural forces
be consumed and death ensue.
615. After She had spent the whole night in these ex
ercises, Christ descended from heaven and the angels
raised Her to his royal throne in heaven, where the cele
bration of the feast was continued with new glory and to
the accidental joy of the courtiers of the heavenly Je
rusalem. There the blessed Mother prostrated Herself
and adored the most holy Trinity, again giving thanks
for the benefit of her immunity from sin and her Immac
ulate Conception. Then She again took her place at the
right hand of Christ her Son and the Lord himself as
it were acknowledged the goodness of the eternal Father
in having given Him a Mother so worthy and so full of
grace, exempt from the common guilt of Adam. Anew
the three divine Persons confirmed upon Her this priv
ilege, as it were ratifying and approving it and pleasing
Themselves in thus having distinguished Her among all
the creatures. In order to give repeated testimony to
this truth, a voice proceeded from the throne in the name
of the Father, saying: "Beautiful are thy footsteps, O
prince s Daughter, conceived without sin." Another in
the name of the Son, said : "Altogether pure and with
out contact of guilt is my Mother, who gave Me human
form to redeem men." And in the name of the Spirit :
"All fair art thou, my Spouse, all fair art thou and with
out stain of the universal guilt."
616. In between these voices were heard the choirs
of all the angels and saints, singing in sweetest harmony :
"Most holy Mary, conceived without original sin." To
all these honors the most prudent Mother answered by
thanksgiving, worship and praise of the Most High, ren
dered with such profound humility that it passed all an
gelic understanding. In order to conclude the solemnity
She was raised to the intuitive and beatific vision of the
most holy Trinity; and after enjoying this glory for some
hours, She was brought back by the angels to the Cenacle.
This was the manner in which her Immaculate Concep
tion was solemnized after the Ascension of her divine
Son. Now this feast is celebrated in a different manner,
as I will describe in another book, which I have orders
to write concerning the holy Jerusalem, the Church tri
umphant, if the Lord shall concede this grace to me. This
feast and others She began to celebrate from the time
of the Incarnation; for finding Herself to be the Mother
of God She wished to commemorate the blessings She
had received in virtue of this dignity, and therefore in
this latter part of her life, She requited them in company
with Her holy angels by rendering her worshipful thanks
giving to the .Son of God, who had thus favored Her.
The other exercises She performed in her oratory on re
turning from heaven, and they were of the same kind
as I have often referred to on occasions of special
favors from God ; for all of them ever increased Her ad
mirable humility.
617. The feast of her Nativity She celebrated on the
eighth of September, on which She was born. She began
on the evening before with the same prostrations and
canticles as at the feast of her Conception. She gave
thanks for having been born to life into the light of this
world, and for the favor of having been raised to
heaven in the hour of her birth to look upon the Divinity
intuitively, as I have narrated in the first part of this
history. She resolved anew to spend her whole life in
fulfilling the pleasure of the Lord, acknowledging that
for this purpose alone it was given to Her. Though in
the first beginning and entrance of her life She had ad
vanced in merit as far as the highest saints and sera
phim, She resolved now, in its latter part, to begin to
labor anew as if She were just beginning the practice
of virtue. She asked the Lord to lend Her his assistance,
govern Her in all her actions and lead Her to the highest
end proposed for his glory.
618. As for the rest concerning this feast, although She
was not raised to heaven as on the day of her Conception,
yet her divine Son came down from there with many
choirs of the angels, with the Patriarchs and Prophets,
and with saint Joachim, saint Anne, and saint Joseph.
With this company Christ our Savior descended in order
to celebrate the birthday of his most blessed Mother upon
earth. And this purest of creatures, in the presence of
that celestial company, adored the Lord with wonderful
reverence and worship, and again expressed her thankful
acknowledgment for having been placed upon the earth
and for the benefits connected therewith. Then the angels
imitated Her and sang: "Nativitas tua, Dei Genetrix
Virgo," etc., signifying: Thy birth, O Mother of God,
announced to all the universe a great joy; for of Thee
was born the Sun of justice, Christ our God. The Patri
archs and Prophets sang their hymns of glory and thanks
giving; Adam and Eve also, because in Her was born the
Restorer of their ruin; her parents and her spouse, be
cause they had been blessed with such a Daughter and
Spouse. Then the Lord himself raised the heavenly
Mother from the ground on which She lay prostrate, and
placed Her at his right hand ; and straightway new mys
teries of the Divinity were manifested to Her. This
vision, although not intuitive but abstractive, afforded
Her a still deeper insight and participation in the Divin
619. By these ineffable favors She was transformed,
inflamed and spiritualized to the likeness of her divine
Son in a new and special manner, as if for a new begin
ning. On these occasions the Evangelist saint John merit
ed some measure of participation in the feast, for he heard
some of the music of the angels and he was privileged
to say Mass while the Lord and the angels were present
in the oratory, and to communicate the great Queen while
Jesus her Son, whom She was receiving sacramentally,
was Himself at her side. These spectacles were the
source of new joy to the saints, who served at the
same time as witnesses to this Communion, more worthy
than any ever was seen since Christ lived, or shall ever
be seen upon earth. At the moment of Communion her
divine Son remained with the great Lady in the sacra
mental form, while He himself, in his glorious and
natural form, ascended to heaven. O hidden marvels of
the divine Omnipotence! If the Lord shows Himself
wonderful in all his saints, (Ps. 67, 36), how wonderful
will He not have been with his exalted Mother, whom He
loved above all, and for whom He had reserved the great
and special manifestations of his wisdom and power? Let
all the creatures confess Him and give Him glory, virtue
and magnificence.
620. My daughter, first of all I wish to enlighten thee
concerning certain doubts of thy heart regarding the
exalted and extraordinary mysteries of this history. Two
misgivings have disturbed thy interior : first, whether thou
who knowest thyself to be such an insignificant, useless
and ignorant woman, art a fit instrument for recording
these mysteries ; whether it would not be better to let some
other person, more learned and perfect in virtue, write
them and thus give them more authority; since thou art
the least of all, the most useless and ignorant. Secondly,
whether these mysteries, which are so extraordinary and
never heard of, especially the frequent beatific and in
tuitive visions of the Divinity during my life, shall ever
find credit among those who read of them. To thy first
doubt I answer, that in truth thou art the least and most
useless of all; since thou hast heard it from the mouth
of the Lord and I confirm it. But remember that belief
in this history and in all that it contains, does not de
pend on the instrument, but on its Author, who is the
highest truth, and upon the contents of thy writing; and
in this regard not even the highest seraph could add
thereto, nor canst thou diminish or omit anything.
621. That an angel should write this history is not
befitting; and if he should, the unbelievers and the slug
gish of heart will nevertheless find occasion to slander
him. It is necessary that the instrument be a human
person; but it was not proper that this person be the
most learned or wise; for then this work might be
ascribed to his knowledge and thus occasion the danger
of having the divine light esteemed no higher, or even
lower, than human knowledge, or it might be attributed
entirely to human forethought and industry. It is more
to the glory of God, that this person should be a woman,
who can rely neither on her own knowledge, nor her own
industry. I likewise take special pleasure and honor
from the fact that thou art this instrument; because
thou (and all others) wilt know, that there is nothing
of thy own in this history and that thou must not
attribute more to thyself than to the pen with which
thou writest, since thou art but the instrument in the
hands of the Lord and the repeater of my words. And,
as thou art such, so insignificant and sinful, thou wilt not
be disturbed in seeing mortals refuse to believe; since,
in disbelieving what thou writest, they will not do any
wrong to thee, but by their unbelief fail in proper rever
ence for my words. Although thy faults and short
comings are many, they can all be neutralized by the char
ity and kindness of the Lord, who has riot looked for any
other instrument of this work, but has raised thee from
the dust and manifested in thee his liberal power. He has
communicated his doctrine by one in whom the power
of his truth would appear more plainly; and hence I
desire that thou follow it up in thy conduct and reach
the perfection thou desirest.
622. In answer to the second misgiving and anxiety,
whether the greatness of these mysteries will not pre
vent belief in what thou writest, I have said many things
in the course of this history. Those that take care to
attain a worthy concept and appreciation of me, will
find no difficulty in believing me; for they will under
stand the relation and proportion of my privileges to
the dignity of Mother of God. They will understand
that God s works are perfect; and if any one begins to
doubt in these matters, it is certain that he does not
know what God is, or what I am. If God has shown
Himself so powerful and liberal in the other saints,
that many in the Church are held to have seen the Divin
ity in mortal life, and certainly have seen it, how, or on
what grounds can that be denied to me, what is con
ceded to so many others inferior to me? All that my
divine Son merited and did for them, was ordained for
his glory, and secondarily in my honor ; the end must be
held in higher esteem and valuation than the means:
hence greater was the divine love, which inclined God
to favor me than all the rest, whom He has benefited
for my sake. There is no reason for surprise in stating
that what He has done sometimes for them, He has done
many times for Her, whom He has chosen as his Mother.
623. Let the pious and the prudent keep in mind what
has been taught in the Church, that the measure of the
favors I received from the hands of my divine Son, is his
Omnipotence and my capacity; for He has conceded
to me all the favors which He could confer, and which I
was capable of receiving. These graces were in me not
barren, but always fruitful to the fullest extent in which
it was possible in a creature. The divine Master himself
was my Son, powerful to operate as far as the creature
placed no obstacle; since I placed no such obstacle, how
can any one dare to limit his works of love toward me
his Mother, whom He himself had made worthy of his
benefits and favors above all the rest of his saints, not
one of whom deprived himself, like I have, of his frui
tion, even an hour, for the sake of helping his Church?
And if what He did for me seem much, I desire thee and
all the rest to understand, that all his favors were
grounded upon and included in the one privilege of my
being conceived without sin; for it was a greater favor
to make me worthy of his glory, when I could not merit
it, than to show me his glory when I had merited it and
had placed no hindrance.
624. By these considerations thy doubts will be solved ;
and as for the rest, let that be my concern, and let it
be thine, to follow and imitate me; for as far as thou
art concerned, this is the purpose of all thou understandest
and writest This should be thy solicitude, that
thou omit the practice of no virtue made known to thee.
I wish that thou also attend to what the other saints
have done in following my divine Son and me ; for thou
dost not owe less than they to his mercy, and with none
have I been more kind and liberal. In my school I wish
thee to learn the love, the gratitude and humility of a true
disciple of mine; for I desire thee to distinguish thyself
and advance thyself exceedingly. All my festivals thou
shouldst celebrate with a sincere devotion and invite the
saints and angels to assist thee therein; especially the
feast of the Immaculate Conception, hi which I was so
highly favored by the divine power and from which I
derived so much joy. In these times, more than for
merly, I am solicitous of seeing it acknowledged by men
and of their praising the Most High for this extraordi
nary miracle. On the day of thy own birth into the
world thou shouldst render special thanks to the Lord
in imitation of me and perform some extra work in
his service. Above all thou shouldst resolve thenceforth
to amend thy life and to commence to labor in this anew.
And all the mortals, instead of spending the anniversary
of their birth in demonstration of vain earthly joy,
should make similar resolutions.
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