Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 8  Chapter  18    Verses:  713-731

713. I find myself indeed poor in words now, when
I am to speak of the activity of the most blessed Mary s
love during the last days of her life, of the impetuous
flights of her spirit, of her desires and incomparable
yearnings to reach the close embraces of the Divinity.
I find no similitude in all nature; and if anything could
serve for a comparison, it might perhaps be the element
of fire, on account of its correspondence with love. Ad
mirable is the activity and the force of that element above
all others, none is more impatient of bounds; for it will
either die in confinement, or burst its bonds in order
to rise up unconstrained to its proper sphere. If it finds
itself imprisoned in the earth, it will tear up the surface,
break in two the mountains and shatter the rocks, hurl
ing them with irresistible violence aside until its fury is
spent. And, as experience teaches, though its prison
be of bronze as in the cannon, if it does not burst it, it
at least forces an opening for itself with terrific violence
and sends forth the metal ball on its course of destruc
tion. Such is the activity of this insensible creature.
714. But if in the heart of the most holy Mary the
fire of divine love was concentrated to one point (I
cannot explain myself by other words), then clearly the
effects corresponded to their cause; and the effects of
fire are not more wonderful in the order of nature, than
the effects of her love in the order of grace, and of such
immense grace. Our great Queen was always a pilgrim
in the world and the only Phoenix upon earth; but when
She was ready to depart for heaven and assured of the
happy end of her pilgrimage, although her blessed body
still lingered upon earth, the flame of her most pure love,
with irresistible flight, pressed upward to her proper
sphere, that is, the Divinity. She could not withhold
or constrain the impetus of her heart, nor seemed to be
master of her interior activities, or hold dominion over
them; for She had yielded all her liberty to the sway
of love and to her desire of possessing the highest Good,
in whom She lived transformed and forgetful of earthly
mortality. Her love did not burst the narrow prison
walls of natural life because it was preserved more by
a miracle than by natural forces ; nor did it bear up with
it her mortal body, because it had not yet arrived at its
destined ending, although the activity of her spirit and
of her love was sufficient to ravish it from earth. But
in this sweet and unquenchable contest of love the opera
tions of nature were suspended, so that this godlike soul
seemed to receive its life only from the divine love; and
in order to preserve the natural life, a continuous miracle
was necessary, requiring the intervention of some super
natural activity for encountering death at each instant
and sustaining her natural existence.
715. It happened many times during these last days,
that in order to abate somewhat the excesses of her love
and in order to prevent her bosom from being forced
asunder, She broke the silence of her retreat and spke
to the Lord: "My sweetest Love, highest Good and
Treasure of my soul, draw me now after the sweetness
of thy ointments, which Thou hast permitted thy hand
maid and mother to taste in this world (Cant. 1, 3).
My will always found its rest entirely in Thee, the highest
Truth and my true Good ; never have I known any other
love than the love of Thee ! O my only hope and glory !
Let not my course be prolonged, let not the beginning of
that much desired freedom be postponed! (Ps. 141, 8).
Solve now the chains of that mortal existence, which still
detains me ! Let the term of my life be fulfilled, let that
end come toward which I tended from the first instant
in which I received my being from Thee. My dwelling
among the inhabitants of Cedar has been prolonged (Ps.
119, 5) ; but all the powers of my soul and all its facul
ties look toward the Sun which gives it life, follow the
fixed North-star that leads them on, and faint away in
longing for the Good they are awaiting. O ye supernal
spirits, by the most exalted condition of your spiritual
and angelic nature, by the happiness, which you enjoy
in the never-failing beauty of my Beloved, I beseech you
to have pity on me, my friends. Do ye pity this stranger
among the children of Adam, captive in the bonds of
mortal flesh. Present to my and your Lord the cause
of my sorrow, of which He is not ignorant (Cant. 5, 8) ;
tell Him that for his sake I embrace suffering in my ban
ishment, and that I so desire it ; but I cannot desire to
live in my own self; and if I am to live in Him in order
to preserve my life, how can I live in the absence of this,
my life? Love it is, which gives my life and at the
same time deprives me of it. Life cannot live without
love ; hence, how can I live without the Life, which alone
I love? In this sweet violence I am perishing; tell me
if possible of the qualities of my Beloved, for amid such
aromatic flowers the swoonings of my impatient love
shall find recovery !" ( Cant. 2, 5 ) .
716. With such and other still more fervent aspira
tions the most blessed Mother assuaged the fires of her
spirit, that She excited the wonder of the holy angels
who attended upon Her and served Her. And as they,
by means of their high intelligence and heavenly science,
were able to understand these excesses, they on one oc
casion answered Her as follows : "Our Queen and Lady,
if Thou wishest again to hear us speak of the tokens of
thy Beloved that we know of, consider that He is beauty
itself and that He contains within Himself all the per
fections beyond all desire. He is amiable without defect,
delightful beyond comparison, pleasing without the least
flaw. In wisdom He is inestimable, in goodness without
measure, in power boundless, in greatness immeasurable,
in essence infinite, in majesty inaccessible, and all his
perfections are infinite. In his judgments He is terrible
(Ps. 65, 5), his counsels inscrutable (Rom. 11, 33), in
his justice most equitable (Ps. 118, 137), in his thoughts
unsearchable, in his words most true, in his works holy
(Ps. 144, 13), rich in mercies (Ephes. 2, 4). Space
cannot overreach Him, narrowness cannot confine Him,
sorrow cannot disturb Him, joy cannot cause any change
in Him ; nor does He ever fail in his wisdom, or change
in his will (Jas. 1, 17) ; abundance cannot overwhelm,
or want come near Him, memory adds nothing, forgetfulness
takes away nothing from his knowledge; what
was, is not past for Him, and what is to come, never
happens to Him; the beginning gave no origin to his
being, and time will bring to Him no end. Without
being caused, He causes all things (Eccli. 18, 1), and
He has not need of anything, but all things need partici
pation in Him; He preserves them without labor, He
governs them without confusion. Those who follow
Him walk not in darkness (John 8, 12), those who know
Him are happy, who love and extol Him, are blessed;
for He exalts his friends, and at last glorifies them by
his eternal vision and intercourse (John 17, 3). This,
O Lady, is the Good which Thou lovest and whose em
braces Thou shalt shortly enjoy without intermission
through all his eternities." Thus spoke the holy angels.
717. Such colloquies took place frequently between the
great Queen and her ministers. But just as the thirst
of one laboring under a burning fever is not allayed by
small drops of water, but rather increased, so also these
incitements of love did not quench the divine flame in
that loving Mother, because they rather opened up new
sources of loving anguish. During the last days of her
life She not only enjoyed the favors mentioned above,
namely those of the feast days and the Sundays, and
many other favors impossible to enumerate, but in order
to sustain and nourish Her in her anguishes of love, her
divine Son visited Her more frequently than before.
During these visits He recreated Her and comforted Her
with wonderful favors and caresses, assuring Her again
and again that her banishment would now be short, that
He would bear Her up to his right hand, where She
would be placed on her royal throne by the Father and
the Holy Ghost and be absorbed in the abyss of the
Divinity. Thus was She to be the source of new joy
to the saints, all of whom were awaiting and desiring to
see Her. On these occasions the loving Mother multi
plied her petitions and prayers for the holy Church, for
the Apostles and disciples, and all the ministers, who in
coming ages were to serve in the preaching of the Gospel
and the conversion of the world, and for all the mortals
who were to accept its teachings and to come to the
knowledge of the divine truth.
718. Among the wonders which the Lord wrought
with the most blessed Mother during these last years,
there was one, which was manifest not only to the Evan
gelist, but to many of the faithful. This was, that
when the blessed Lady received holy Communion, She
shone for some hours with a clearness so wonderful,
that She seemed transfigured and gifted with glory.
This was caused by the sacred body of her Son, who,
as I have before stated, showed Himself to Her in a
transfigured and more glorious state than on mount
Tabor. All that then beheld Her were filled with a joy
and with effects so divine that they could be indeed felt
but not described.
719. The devout Queen resolved to take leave of the
holy places before her departure into heaven, and having
obtained the consent of saint John She left the house
with him and with the thousand angels of her guard.
Although these sovereign princes had always served and
accompanied Her in all her errands, occupations and
journeys, without having absented themselves for one
moment since the instant of her birth; yet on this occa
sion they manifested themselves to Her with greater
beauty and refulgence, as if they felt special joy in seeing
themselves already at the beginning of her last journey
into heaven. The heavenly Princess, setting aside hu
man occupations in order to enter upon her journey to
the real and true fatherland, visited all the memorable
places of our Redemption, marking each with the sweet
abundance of her tears, recalling the sorrowful memories
of what her Son there suffered, and fervently renewing
its effects by most fervent acts of love, clamors and
petitions for all the faithful, who should devoutly and
reverently visit these holy places during the future ages
of the Church. On Calvary She remained a longer time,
asking of her divine Son the full effects of his redeeming
Death for all the multitudes of souls there snatched from
destruction. The ardor of her ineffable charity during
this prayer rose to such a pitch, that it would have de
stroyed her life, if it had not been sustained by divine
720. Thereupon her divine Son descended in person
from heaven and appeared to her on this place of his
death. Answering her petitions He said : "My Mother
and my Dove, Coadjutrix in the work of human Re
demption, thy petitions have come to my hearing and
have touched my heart. I promise Thee that I shall be
most liberal with men, and I shall dispense to them con
tinually the helps of my graces and favors, in order that
with their own free will they may merit the glory earned
for them by my blood, if they do not of their own ac
cord despise this happiness. In heaven thou shalt be
their Mediatrix and Advocate; and all those that shall
obtain thy intercession I shall fill with my treasures and
infinite mercies." This promise therefore was renewed
by the Lord on the very place on which He had redeemed
us. The most blessed Virgin, prostrate at his feet, gave
Him thanks and there begged Him by his precious and
bloody Death, to give Her his last benediction. The
Lord gave it, ratified all his royal promises, and then re
turned to the right hand of his eternal Father. Com
forted in her loving anguish, the most blessed Mary
pursued her devotions, kissed and worshipped the ground
on Calvary, saying: "Holy earth and consecrated
spot, from heaven shall I look upon thee with reverence,
bathed in that light, which manifests all in its fount and
origin and from whence came forth the divine Word to
enrich thee in his immortal flesh." Then She again
charged the holy angels to assist Her in the custody of
those sacred places, to inspire with holy thoughts all the
faithful who should visit them with devotion, so that they
might know and esteem properly the admirable blessing
of the Redemption wrought thereon. She charged them
also with the defense of those sanctuaries; and if the
temerity and the crimes of men had not demerited this
favor, without a doubt the holy angels would have
warded off the profanations of the heathens and the
infidels. Even as it is, they defend them in many ways
to the present day.
721. The Queen asked also the angels of the sanctu
aries and the Evangelist to give Her their blessing in this
last leave-taking; and therewith She returned to her
oratory shedding tears of tenderest affection for what
She loved so much upon earth. There She prostrated
Herself with her face upon the earth and poured forth
another long and most fervent prayer for the Church;
and She persevered in it, until in an abstractive vision of
the Divinity, the Lord had given Her assurance that He
had heard and conceded her petitions at the throne of
his mercy. In order to give the last touch of holiness
to her works, She asked permission of the Lord to take
leave of the holy Church, saying: "Exalted and most
high God, Redeemer of the world, head of the saints
and the predestined, Justifier and Glorifier of souls, I am
a child of the holy Church, planted and acquired by thy
blood. Give me, O Lord, permission to take leave of
such a loving Mother, and of all my brethren, thy chil
dren, belonging to it." She was made aware of the con
sent of the Lord and therefore turned to the mystical
body of the Church, addressing it in sweet tears as
follows :
722. "Holy Catholic Church, which in the coming ages
shall be called the Roman, my mother and Mistress, true
treasure of my soul, thou hast been the only consolation
of my banishment; the refuge and ease of my labors; my
recreation, my joy and my hope; thou hast sustained me
in my course; in thee have I lived as a pilgrim to the
Fatherland; and thou hast nourished me after I had re
ceived in thee my existence in grace through thy head,
Christ Jesus, my Son and my Lord. In thee are the
treasures and the riches of his infinite merits; thou shalt
be for his faithful children the secure way to the prom
ised land, and thou shalt safeguard them on their dan
gerous and difficult pilgrimage. Thou shalt be the mis
tress of the nations to whom all owe reverence; in thee
are the rich and inestimable jewels of the anxieties, la
bors, affronts, hardships, torments, of the cross and of
death, which are all consecrated by those of my Lord,
thy Progenitor, thy Master, thy Chief, and are reserved
for his more distinguished servants and his dearest
friends. Thou hast adorned and enriched me with thy
jewels in order that I might enter in the nuptials of the
Spouse; thou hast made me wealthy, prosperous and
happy, and thou containest within thee thy Author in the
most holy Sacrament. My happy Mother, Church mili
tant, rich art thou and abundant in treasures ! For thee
have I always reserved my heart and my solicitude ; but
now is the time come to part from thee and leave thy
sweet companionship, in order to reach the end of my
course. Make me partaker of thy great goods; bathe
me copiously in the sacred liquor of the blood of the
Lamb, preserved in thee as a powerful means of sancti
fying many worlds. At the cost of my life a thousand
times would I bring to thee all the nations and tribes
of mortals, that they might enjoy thy treasures. My be
loved Church, my honor and my glory, I am about to
leave thee in mortal life; but in the eternal life I will
find thee joyful in an existence which includes all good.
From that place I shall look upon thee with love, and
pray always for thy increase, thy prosperity and thy
723. This was the parting of the most blessed Mary
from the mystical body of the holy Roman Catholic
Church, the mother of the faithful, in order that all who
should hear of Her, might know by her sweet tears and
endearments, in what veneration, love and esteem She
held that holy Church. After thus taking leave, the
great Mistress, as the Mother of Wisdom, prepared to
make her testament and last Will. When She mani
fested this most prudent wish to the Lord, He deigned to
approve of it by his own royal presence. For this pur
pose, with myriads of attending angels, the three Per
sons of the most blessed Trinity descended to the oratory
of their Daughter and Spouse, and when the Queen had
adored the infinite Being of God, She heard a voice
speaking to Her: "Our chosen Spouse, make thy last
will as thou desirest, for We shall confirm it and execute
it entirely by our infinite power." The most prudent
Mother remained for some time lost in the profoundness
of her humility, seeking to know first the will of the
Most High before She should manifest her own. The
Lord responded to her modest desires and the person
of the Father said to Her : "My Daughter, thy will shall
be pleasing and acceptable to Me ; for thou art not want
ing in the merits of good works in parting from this
mortal life, that I should not satisfy thy desires." The
same encouragement was given to Her by the Son and
the Holy Ghost. Therewith the most blessed Mary
made her will in this form :
724. "Highest Lord and eternal God, I, a vile wormlet
of the earth, confess and adore Thee with all the rever
ence of my inmost soul as the Father, the Son and the
Holy Ghost, three Persons distinct in one undivided and
eternal essence, one substance, one in infinite majesty
of attributes and perfection. I confess Thee as the one
true Creator and Preserver of all that has being. In
thy kingly presence I declare and say, that my last will
is this: Of the goods of mortal life and of the world
in which I live, I possess none that I can leave; for
never have I possessed or loved anything beside Thee,
who art my good and all my possession. To the heav
ens, the stars and planets, to the elements and all crea
tures in them I give thanks, because according to thy will
they have sustained me without my merit, and lovingly
I desire and ask them to serve and praise Thee in the
offices and ministries assigned to them, and that they
continue to sustain and benefit my brethren and fellowmen.
In order that they may do it so much the better,
I renounce and assign to mankind the possession, and as
far as possible, the dominion of them, which thy Majesty
has given me over these irrational creatures, so that they
may now serve and sustain my fellowmen. Two tunics
and a cloak, which served to cover me, I leave to John
for his disposal, since I hold him as a son. My body
I ask the earth to receive again for thy service, since it
is the common mother and serves Thee as thy creature ;
my soul, despoiled of its body and of all visible things,
O my God, I resign into thy hands, in order that it may
love and magnify Thee through all thy eternities. My
merits and all the treasures, which with thy grace through
my works and exertions I have acquired, I leave to the
holy Church, my mother and my mistress, as my residu
ary heiress, and with thy permission I there deposit them,
wishing them to be much greater. And I desire that
before all else they redound to the exaltation of thy
holy name and procure the fulfillment of thy will on
earth as it is done in heaven, and that all the nations
come to the knowledge, love and veneration of Thee, the
true God."
725. "In the second place I offer these merits for my
masters the Apostles and priests, of the present and of
the future ages, so that in view of them thy ineffable
clemency may make them apt ministers, worthy of their
office and state, rilled with wisdom, virtue and holiness,
by which they may edify and sanctify the souls redeemed
by thy blood. In the third place I offer them for the
spiritual good of my devoted servants, who invoke and
call upon me, in order that they may receive thy protec
tion and grace, and afterwards eternal life. In the
fourth place I desire that my services and labors may
move Thee to mercy toward all the sinning children of
Adam, in order that they may withdraw from their sin
ful state. From this hour on I propose and desire to
continue my prayers for them in thy divine presence, as
long as the world shall last. This, Lord and my God, is
my last will, always subject to thy own." At the con
clusion of this testament of the Queen, the most blessed
Trinity approved and confirmed it; and Christ the Re
deemer, as if authorizing it all, witnessed it by writing
in the heart of his Mother these words : "Let it be done
as thou wishest and ordainest."
726. If all we children of Adam, and especially we
who are born in the law of grace, had no other obliga
tion toward the most blessed Mary than this of having
been constituted heirs of her immense merits and of all
that is mentioned in this short and mysterious testament,
we could never repay our debt, even if in return we
should offer our lives and endure all the sufferings of
the most courageous martyrs and saints. I do not com
pare them with the infinite merits and treasures left by
Christ our Savior in the Church, because that is not pos
sible. But what excuse or pretense have the reprobate,
who avail themselves neither of the one nor the other?
All of them they despise, forget and squander. What tor
ment and despair will be theirs, when they unavailingly
come to know that they have lost forever such great
blessings and treasures for a momentary delight? Let
them confess the justice and equity with which they are
chastised and cast off by the Lord and his loving Mother,
whom they despised in such foolish temerity.
727. When the great Queen had made her testament,
She gave thanks to the Almighty and asked permission
to add another petition, saying: "Most clement Lord and
Father of mercies, if it is according to thy pleasure, my
soul desires that at its departure be present the Apostles,
my masters and thy anointed, together with the other
disciples, in order that they pray for me and bless me
at my transition from this to the eternal life." To this
her divine Son answered: "My most beloved Mother,
the Apostles are already on the way to come to thee,
and those that are near shall shortly arrive, while those
that are far off shall be carried by my angels; because,
for my and thy greater glory it is my will that all assist
at thy glorious departure for the eternal mansions, so
that thou and they may be consoled." For this new favor
the most blessed Mary gave thanks prostrate upon the
ground, and therewith the three divine Persons returned
to the empyrean heavens.
728. My daughter, since thou admirest my esteem and
love for the holy Church, I wish to assist thy affection in
conceiving new appreciation and love for it. Thou canst
not in thy mortal flesh understand what passed in my
soul in contemplating the holy Church. In addition to
what thou hast understood already, thou wilt see more,
if thou consider what moved my heart; namely, the
loving works of my divine Son in the interest of the
holy Church; they should be thy meditation day and
night; for in what He did for the Church, thou wilt be
able to estimate his love toward it. In order to be its
Head and the Chief of the predestined in this world
and forever (Col. 1, 18; Rom. 8, 29), He descended from
the bosom of the eternal Father and assumed flesh in my
womb. In order to regain his children (Luke 19, 10),
lost through the first sin of Adam, He took passible and
mortal flesh. In order to leave the example of his un
blemished life and his true and salutary doctrine (I Pet.
2, 21), He lived and conversed with men thirty-three
years (Baruch 3, 38). In order to redeem them ef
fectually and merit for them infinite blessings of grace
and glory, which they themselves could not merit, He
suffered most cruelly, shed his blood accepting a most
painful and frightful death on the Cross (Phil. 2, 8).
In order that from his sacred body after its death might
spring mysteriously his Church, He permitted it to be
torn by the lance (John 19, 34).
729. Since the eternal Father was so well pleased with
his Life, Passion and Death, the Redeemer instituted in
his Church the sacrifice of his body and blood (Luke 22,
19), in which his memory should live and which the faith
ful might offer as a satisfaction and peace-offering to
the divine Justice. At the same time through it He
wished to remain perpetually present in his Church as
a Sacrament for the spiritual nourishment of its chil
dren and as a fountain of grace, a viaticum and certain
pledge of eternal life. In addition to this He sent upon
his holy Church the Holy Ghost, to fifl it with his gifts
and his wisdom, promising that He should guide and
govern it always without error free from uncertainty and
danger (John 15, 26). He enriched it with all the mer
its of his Life, Passion and Death,, applying them by
means of the Sacraments, furnishing all that was neces
sary for men from their birth to their death for rigang
them from their sins, for persevering in grace, for de
fending themselves frff""5t the demons and vanquish
ing them by the arms of his Church, for crushing their
own natural passions ; and at the same time He instituted
fit and apt ministers for securing to his faithful all these
blessings. In the Church militant He communicates
familiarly with all the holy souls ; He makes them partici
pants in ills lWM*n and secret favors ; He works wonders
and miracles for them, and when it is for his glory, as
sumes their works ; He hears their prayers for themselves
or for others, thus maintaining the communion of -
730. He left in it also other fountains of light and
truth, the holy Gospels and writings dictated by the Holy
Ghost, the decisions of the sacred councils, the assured
and ancient traditions. He sends at opportune times
holy doctors full of wisdom ; He furnishes teachers and
learned men, preachers and ministers in abundance. He
spreads the renown of the Church through his wonderful
saints; beautifies it with a variety of religious orders,
wherein the perfect and apostolic life is professed and
preserved; He governs it by many prelates and digni
taries. In order that all may proceed in harmony. He
placed over it a supreme bead, the Roman Pontiff, his
vicar, with the plenitude of fitghggf and divine authority,
as the head of this mystical and most beautiful body.
He defends and protects him to the end of the world
against all the powers of the earth and the infernal
abysses (Matth. 16, 18). Among all these blessings be
stowed and still to be bestowed upon his beloved Church,
not the least one was, that he left me in it after his
wonderful Ascension in order that it might be spread
and governed by my merits and my presence. From
that time on and forever I hold this Church as my pos
session; for the Most High has consigned it to me as
a gift and has commanded me to take care of it as its
Mother and Mistress.
731. These, my dearest, are the greatest reasons and
motives for my past and present love of the holy Church,
here made known to thee; and I desire that they rouse
and enkindle thy heart to an ardent performance of all
that pertains to thee as my disciple, as my daughter and
that of the holy Church. Love it, respect and esteem it
from thy whole heart, enjoy its treasures, gather in the
riches of heaven, deposited together with its Author, in
his Church. Seek to unite it with thee and to unite thy
self with it ; for in it thou findest thy refuge and thy sal
vation, consolement in thy labors, hope in thy banish
ment, light and truth to guide thee in the darkness of
this world. For this holy Church I desire thee to labor
during all the rest of thy life ; since this is the purpose
for which thou hast been called into existence ; thus shalt
thou imitate and follow me in my tireless solicitude for
the Church on earth; this is thy greatest good fortune,
for which thou owest eternal gratitude. I wish thee, my
daughter, to be mindful of the fact, that with this desire
and intent I have applied to thee a great portion of the
treasures of the Church for the writing of my life; and
the Lord has chosen thee as an instrument and as secre
tary of its mysteries and hidden sacraments for purposes
of his greater glory. Do not conceive, that by having
labored somewhat in this work, that thou hast made even
a partial return, absolving thee of thy obligations; but
rather feel thyself more deeply pledged and obliged to
put in practice the doctrine thou hast recorded; and as
long as thou refusest to do so, thou wilt remain poor, un
relieved of thy indebtedness, and subject to a rigorous
account for all thou hast received. Now is the time to
work, so that thou mayest find thyself prepared, at lei
sure, and disengaged to receive the Spouse at the hour
of death. Look upon my freedom and detachment from
all earthly things : govern thyself by it, and let not the
oil of light and of love fail thee (Matth. 25, 3), in order
that thou mayest enter the nuptials of the Spouse through
the open gates of his infinite mercy and clemency.
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