Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 8  Chapter  17    Verses:  696-712

696. In writing of what still remains of the history of
our Lady, of our only and heavenly Phoenix, the most
blessed Mary, it is no more than right that our hearts be
filled with tenderness and our eyes with tears at the sweet
and touching marvels of the last years of her life. I
should wish to exhort the devout faithful not to read of
them nor consider them as past and absent, since the
powerful virtue of faith can make these truths present
to the mind; and if we look upon them with the proper
piety and Christian devotion, without a doubt we shall
gather the sweetest fruit, and our hearts shall feel the
effects and rejoice in the good, which our eyes cannot see.
697. The most holy Mary had arrived at the age of
sixty-seven years without having tarried in her career,
ceased in her flight, mitigated the flame of her love, or
lessened the increase of her merits from the first instant
of her Conception. As all this had continued to grow
in each moment of her life, the ineffable gifts, benefits and
favors of the Lord had made Her entirely godlike and
spiritual ; the affectionate ardors and desires of her most
chaste heart did not allow Her any rest outside the centre
of her love ; the bounds of the flesh were most violently
irksome ; the overwhelming attraction of the Divinity to
unite Itself with Her with eternal and most close bonds,
(according to our mode of speaking) had attained the
summit of power in Her; and the earth itself, made un
worthy by the sins of mortals to contain the Treasure of
heaven, could no longer bear the strain of withholding
Her from her true Lord. The eternal Father desired his
only and true Daughter; the Son his beloved and
most loving Mother; and the Holy Ghost the embraces
of his most beautiful Spouse. The angels longed for
their Queen, the saints for their great Lady; and all the
heavens mutely awaited the presence of their Empress
who should fill them with glory, with her beauty and de
light. All that could be alleged in favor of Her still re
maining in the world and in the Church, was the need
of such a Mother and Mistress, and the love, which God
himself had for the miserable children of Adam.
698. But as some term and end was to be placed to the
earthly career of our Queen, the divine consistory
(according to our mode of understanding), conferred
upon the manner of glorifying the most blessed Mother
and established the kind of loving reward due to Her for
having so copiously fulfilled all the designs of the divine
mercy among the children of Adam during the many
years in which She had been the Foundress and Teacher
of his holy Church. The Almighty therefore resolved
to delight and console Her by giving Her definite notice
of the term still remaining of her life and revealing to
Her the day and hour of the longed for end of her
earthly banishment. For this purpose the most blessed
Trinity despatched the archangel Gabriel with many
others of the celestial hierarchies, who should announce
to the Queen when and how her mortal life should come
to an end and pass over into the eternal.
699. The holy prince descended with the rest to the
Cenacle in Jerusalem and entered the oratory of the great
Lady, where they found Her prostrate on the ground in
the form of a cross, asking mercy for sinners. But hear
ing the sound of their music and perceiving them present,
She rose to her knees in order to hear the message and
show respect to the ambassador of heaven and his com
panions, who in white and refulgent garments surrounded
Her with wonderful delight and reverence. All of them
had come with crowns and palms in their hands, each
one with a different one ; but all of them represented the
diverse premiums and rewards of inestimable beauty and
value to be conferred upon their great Queen and Lady.
Gabriel saluted Her with the Ave Maria, and added
thereto: "Our Empress and Lady, the Omnipotent and
the Holy of the holy sends us from his heavenly court
to announce to Thee in his name the most happy end of
thy pilgrimage and banishment upon earth in mortal life.
Soon, O Lady, is that day and hour approaching, in
which, according to thy longing desires, Thou shalt pass
through natural death to the possession of the eternal
and immortal life, which awaits Thee in the glory and at
the right hand of thy divine Son, our God. Exactly
three years from today Thou shalt be taken up and re
ceived into the everlasting joy of the Lord, where all
its inhabitants await Thee, longing for thy presence."
700. The most holy Mary heard this message with in
effable jubilee of her purest and most loving spirit, and,
prostrating Herself again upon the earth, She answered
in the same words as at the incarnation of the Word:
"Ecce ancilla Domini, fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum."
"Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done according
to thy word" (Luke 1, 38). Then She asked the holy
angels and ministers of the Most High to help Her give
thanks for this welcome and joyful news. The blessed
Mother alternately with the seraphim and other angels,
sang the responses of a canticle that lasted for two hours.
Although by their nature and supernatural gifts the an
gelic spirits are so subtle, wise and excellent, they were
nevertheless excelled in all this by their Queen and Lady,
as vassals are by their sovereign; for in Her, grace and
wisdom abounded as in a Teacher, in them, only as in
disciples. Having finished this canticle and humiliating
Herself anew, She charged the supernal spirits to beseech
the Lord to prepare Her for her passage from mortal to
eternal life, and to ask all the other angels and saints in
heaven to pray for the same favor. They offered to obey
Her in all things, and therewith saint Gabriel took leave
and returned with all his company to the empyrean
701. The great Queen and Lady of all the universe
remained alone in her oratory, and amid tears of humble
joy prostrated Herself upon the earth, embraced it as
the common mother of us all, saying: "Earth, I give
thee thanks as I ought, because without my merit thou
hast sustained me sixty-seven years. Thou art a creature
of the Most High and by his will thou hast sustained me
until now. I ask thee now to help me during the rest
of my dwelling upon thee, so that, just as I have been
created of thee and upon thee, I may through thee and
from thee be raised to the blessed vision of my Maker."
She addressed also other creatures, saying : "Ye heavens,
planets, stars and elements, created by the powerful
hands of my Beloved, faithful witnesses and proclaimers
of his greatness and beauty, you also I thank for the
preservation of my life ; help me then from today on, that,
with the divine favor, I may begin anew to perfect my
life during the time left of my career, in order that I may
show myself thankful to my and your Creator."
702. The third anniversary of the day following this
message, according to the prediction of the archangel
was to be the day of the glorious Transition of the most
blessed Mary. But from the very hour in which She re
ceived the announcement, She became so inflamed with the
fires of divine love and so multiplied her exercises of
devotion, that it seemed as if She wished to make up
for any relaxation or negligence in her fervor up to that
time. The traveler hastens his footsteps when a great
part of his way is still before him as the day declines;
the laborer or the merchant redoubles his exertions, when
evening overtakes him before the completion of his task.
But our great Queen hastened on in her heroic efforts,
not for fear of the approaching night or the risks of
journeying in the dark, but urged on by the loving desires
of the eternal light and in order to enter more rich and
prosperous into everlasting joys of the Lord. She im
mediately wrote to the Apostles and disciples to encourage
them in their labors for the conversion of the world, and
thereafter, during those three years, more frequently than
before, repeated her injunctions. She used still greater
diligence in exhorting and confirming the faithful living
near Her by her personal intercourse. Although She
kept her own secret, yet her behavior was that of one
who begins to take her departure and desires to leave her
friends rich and prosperous, filled with celestial benedic
703. But in regard to the evangelist saint John She
had reason to take a different course ; for She regarded
him as her son, who attended upon Her and assisted Her
in a special manner. Hence it seemed good to the most
blessed Lady to inform him of the message regarding
her death. After some days therefore and after having
asked his permission and blessing, She said to him : "Thou
dost already know, my son and master, that among the
creatures of the Most High, I am the most indebted of all
and under the greatest obligations to submit to his holy
will. If all other creatures are subject to Him, certainly
in me ought to be fulfilled entirely all his pleasure for
time and eternity ; and thou, my son, shouldst help me in
this fulfillment, as one who knows by how many titles I
belong body and soul to my God and Lord. In his con
descending mercy He has revealed to me, that the end of
my mortal life is near; and that from the day on which
I have been thus informed, there remain only three more
years of banishment until my passage into eternal life.
I beseech thee, my son, to aid me during this short space
of time, in order that I labor in giving thanks to the
Most High and render Him some return for the immense
blessings I have received of his most liberal love. I beseech
thee from the bottom of my heart, pray for me."
704. These words of the most blessed Mother tore the
heart of saint John, and, unable to restrain his sorrow and
his tears, he answered : "My Mother and my Lady, thy
will and that of the Most High I am bound to obey in
whatever Thou commandest, although my merits are far
below what they ought to be and what I desired. But do
Thou, most loving Lady and Mother, help thy poor child,
who is to be left an orphan, deprived of thy most desir
able company." Saint John could add no more, because
of the sighs and tears pressed from him by his sorrow.
Although the loving Queen encouraged and consoled
him by sweet and efficacious words ; yet on that day the
heart of the Apostle was as pierced by a <3art of pain and
sorrow, which struck him down and caused him to wither,
like the flowers in their bloom, which, when at evening
they are about to be deprived of the sun and, after hav
ing followed and been rejoiced in its light in its course
during the day, sadden and close up at evening. Lest
he should lose his life in this affliction, the most blessed
Mother came to the relief of saint John by her loving
promises, assuring him, that She would be his Mother
and Advocate with her divine Son. He informed saint
James the less, who, as bishop of Jerusalem and
according to the orders of saint Peter mentioned above,
assisted saint John in the service of the Empress of the
world. From that time on the two Apostles, mindful of
what was coming, were still more solicitous in their at
tendance upon their Queen and Lady. This was especially
true of the Evangelist, who would not leave her presence.
705. During the course of these three last years of the
life of our Queen and Lady the divine power permitted a
certain hidden and sweet force to throw all nature into
mourning and sorrow at the prospective death of Her,
who by her life beautified and perfected all creation. The
holy Apostles, although they were scattered over the
earth, began to feel new anxiety and misgivings regard
ing the time when they should be deprived of their
Mistress and her help; for already the divine light inti
mated to them, that this event could not be far off. The
others of the faithful living in Jerusalem and in the
country around, began secretly to feel that their treasure
and joy should not be theirs much longer. The heavens,
the stars and planets lost much of their brightness and
beauty, like the day at the approach of night. The birds
of the air fell into singular demonstrations of sorrow
during these last years. A great multitude of them ordi
narily gathered where the most blessed Mary happened to
be. Surrounding her oratory in unusual flight and mo
tions, they uttered, instead of their natural songs, sor
rowful notes, as if they were lamenting and groaning in
their grief, until the Lady herself ordered them again to
praise their Creator in their natural and musical tones. Of
this miracle saint John was often a witness, joining them
in their lamentations. A few days before the Transition
of the heavenly Mother innumerable hosts of the little
birds gathered, laying their heads, and beaks upon the
ground, picking at their breasts in groans, like some one
taking farewell forever and asking the last benediction.
706. Not only the birds of the air indulged in this
sorrow, but also the brute beasts of the earth; for when
one day, according to her custom, the Queen of heaven
went to visit the holy places of the Redemption and
arrived on mount Calvary many wild beasts came
from the surrounding mountains to wait for Her. Some
of them prostrated themselves upon the ground, others
bowed their necks, and all of them uttered sorrow
ful sounds and thus for some hours manifested
their grief at the impending departure of Her, whom they
recognized as the Lady and the honor of all creation. The
most wonderful sign of this general mourning among the
creatures was that the light of the sun, the moon and
the stars was diminished and on the day of her Transition
they were eclipsed as at the death of the Redeemer of
the world. Although many of the wise and thoughtful
men noticed these unwonted changes in the celestial orbs,
all were ignorant of the cause, and could only express
their astonishment. But the Apostles and disciples, who,
as I shall relate further on, were present at her most
sweet and happy death, knew then that all these signs
were tokens of sorrow in insensible nature. The unin
telligent things of creation justly anticipated their mourn
ing for the loss of their Queen, while intelligent human
nature failed to weep over the departure of its Sovereign,
its legitimate Mistress, its true beauty and adorning glory.
In the former alone seemed to be fulfilled the prophecy
of Zacharias : that in that day the earth shall weep, and
the families of the house of God, each one for itself, and
that this mourning shall be as for the death of the first
born, over which all are accustomed to weep. This mourn
ing which the prophet predicts for the Onlybegotten of
the eternal Father, was due in proportion also to the
death of the most pure Lady, as the first-born Daughter
of grace and of life. And just as the faithful vassals and
servants clothe themselves in mourning not only at the
death of their prince or their Queen, but also at the
prospect of their danger or of their loss ; so the irrational
creatures anticipated the feeling and the tokens of their
sorrow, at the approach of the Transition of the most
holy Mary.
707. The Evangelist before all others shared in their
sorrow and in a special manner and more deeply than all
the rest felt this impending loss, without being able to
conceal it or dissemble it from the more familiar inmates
of the house. Two daughters of the master of the house,
who were much in attendance upon the Queen of the
world, and some other very devout persons, chanced to
see him shedding many tears in his sorrow. As they
knew the peaceful and tranquil disposition of the saint,
they conjectured that this unusual emotion was caused
by some very weighty event ; and in their kind solicitude
they a few times urged him to tell them the cause of this
unusual sorrow in order to relieve him if possible. The
holy Apostle suppressed his grief and for a long time
concealed its cause. But not without divine dispensation
he finally yielded to their importunities and told them
that the happy Transition of their Mother and Lady was
approaching, for these were the titles the Evangelist ap
plied to the most blessed Mary in her absence. Hence,
some time before it really took place, this impending loss
of the Church became known to some of the more fa
miliar acquaintances of the Queen ; for none of those that
came to know of it, could restrain their tears and sorrow
at this irreparable loss. Thenceforward they multiplied
their intercourse and their petitions with the blessed
Mother, throwing themselves at her feet, kissing the spots
where her sacred feet had trod, asking Her to bless them
and take them with Her, and not to forget them in the
glory of the Lord, whither She was about to carry away
with Her the hearts of all her servants.
708. It was a great mercy and providence of the Lord,
that many faithful of the primitive Church were thus
timely forewarned of the death of their Queen; for He
does not send labors and evils to his people without first
manifesting them to his servants, as is said by the prophet
Amos (Amos 3, 7). Although this loss could not be
spared to the faithful of that age, the divine clemency
ordained, that in as far as was possible the primitive
Church should find a compensation for the loss of its
Mother and Mistress, and that its tears and sorrow should
be the means of obliging Her, during the space of time
which still remained of her life, to favor and enrich them
with the treasures of divine grace, which as the Mistress
of them all She could confer upon them in her departure,
as for their consolation She really did. For the maternal
bosom of the blessed Lady in this extremity was moved
by the tears of the faithful, and during those last days of
her life, She obtained from her divine Son for them and
for all the Church new mercies and blessings of the Di
vinity. In order not to deprive the Church of these new
favors, the Lord did not wish to take away from them
unwarned his blessed Mother, in whom they trusted for
help, consolation, joy, relief in necessities, lightening of
their labors, counsel in their doubts, succor in their
afflictions and all kinds of blessings.
709. At no time and on no occasion were those ever
disappointed who trusted in the great Mother. She re
lieved and helped all that did not resist her loving and
clement advances. But during the last two years of her
life, no one could count or estimate the wonders of
beneficence She wrought upon the mortals of all classes
that flocked in multitudes around Her. All the sick that
presented themselves before Her She healed in body and
soul ; She converted many to the evangelical truth ; She
drew innumerable souls from sin to the state of grace.
She relieved the great miseries of the poor, dispensing
what She possessed or what was offered to Her as gifts,
and succoring many others by miraculous means. She
confirmed all in the fear of God, in faith and obedience
to the Church; and, as Mistress and only Treasurer of
the riches of the Divinity, of the life and death of her
divine Son, She wished to throw open all her riches of
liberal mercy before her death, in order to enrich all
her children in the holy Church ; and above all She con
soled them and encouraged them by her promise, that
She would continue to this day to favor us at the right
hand of her divine Son.
710. My daughter, in order to understand the jubilee
used in me by the announcement of the end of my mor
tal life men must consider the desire and force of the love
that urged me on to reach and see God in the glory He
nad prepared for me from all eternity. This mystery
entirely exceeds human capacity; and what the children
of the Church are able to understand of it for their con
solation, they do not seek to merit or make themselves
capable of; for they do not apply the interior light, or
purify their consciences for its proper reception. On thee
my divine Son and I have liberally conferred this and
other mercies ; and I assure thee, my dearest, that happy
are the eyes which see what thou hast seen, and the
ears which hear what thou hast heard. Guard thy trea
sure, and do not lose it. Labor with all thy power to
gain the fruit of this knowledge and of my teaching. I
desire of thee that part of this fruit shall be to dispose
thyself from this hour for thy death in imitation of me;
since, having the certainty of its coming, any space of
time should seem short to thee for completing this busi
ness of eternal loss or gain. No rational creature was so
certain of eternal reward as I ; yet, notwithstanding this
certainty, I received notice of my death three years in
advance, and thou hast seen, how nevertheless I disposed
myself and prepared myself for the hour of death with
the holy fear proper to a mortal and earth-born creature.
In this I acted as a creature subject to death and as the
Teacher of the Church, giving an example to the rest of
the faithful of what they are to do as mortals and as
more in want of such preparation for avoiding eternal
711. Among the absurd fallacies introduced by the
demon into the world none is greater or more pernicious
than the forgetfulness of the hour of death and of what
is to happen at the court of the rigorous Judge. Consider,
my daughter, that through this portal sin entered into
the world; for the serpent sought to convince the first
woman principally, that she would not die and need not
think of that matter (Gen. 3, 4). Thus continually
deceived, there are uncountable fools who live without
thought of death and who die forgetful of the un
happy lot that awaits them. In order that thou mayest
not be seized by this human perversity, begin to convince
thyself now that thou must die irrevocably; that thou
hast received much and paid little ; that the account shall
be so much the more rigorous, as the Judge has been
more liberal in the gifts and talents lavished upon thee
in thy sphere. I do not ask of thee more, and also not
less, than what thou owest to thy Spouse and to thy
Lord, which is always to operate the best in all places,
times and occasions, without permitting any forgetfulness,
intermission or carelessness.
712. If in thy weakness thou incurrest the guilt of
some omission or negligence, let not the sun go down
or the day pass without having sorrowed for it, or con
fessed it, if thou canst, as if it were for the last account.
Proposing amendment, even of the slightest fault, com
mence to work with new fervor and solicitude, like one
from whom the time is slipping away for accomplishing
such an arduous and laborious task as the gaining of the
eternal glory and felicity and the avoiding of everlasting
death and punishment. This is to be the continual oc
cupation of all thy spiritual and sensitive faculties, in
order that thou make thy hope certain and joyful (II
Cor. 1, 7) ; in order that thou mayest not labor in vain
(Phil. 2, 16), nor run on into the uncertain (I Cor. 9,
26), like those who content themselves with some good
works which they mix up with many reprehensible and
detestable crimes. These cannot walk in security and joy
of interior hope ; since their own conscience assails them
and saddens them, unless they are lost in forgetfulness
and in the foolish delights of the flesh. In order to fill
all thy works with perfection continue the exercises I
have shown thee, and also those thou art accustomed to
in preparation for death, and all the prayers, prostra
tions and aspirations thou usually practicest. Then re
ceive the spiritual Viaticum as if for departure from the
earth to the other life, taking leave and forgetting ailthat
thou hast in this life. Enkindle thy heart with the
desire of seeing thy God, and rise up to his presence,
where is to be thy future habitation and thy present con
versation (Phil. 3,20).
the Work of God Apostolate - mcog #203                                                

INDEX  Page up ^^


 The Work of God

 Mistical City of God