Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 8  Chapter  19    Verses:  732-746

732. And now, according to the decree of the divine
will, the day was approaching in which the true and liv
ing Ark of the covenant was to be placed in the temple
of the celestial Jerusalem, with a greater glory and higher
jubilee than its prophetic figure was installed by Solo
mon in the sanctuary beneath the wings of the cherubim
(III King 8, 8). Three days before the most happy
Transition of the great Lady the Apostles and disciples
were gathered in Jerusalem and in the Cenacle. The first
one to arrive was saint Peter, who was transported
from Rome by the hands of an angel. At that place the
angel appeared to him and told him that the passing
away of the most blessed Mary was imminent and that
the Lord commanded him to go to Jerusalem in order to
be present at that event. Thereupon the angel took him
up and brought him from Italy to the Cenacle. Thither
the Queen of the world had retired, somewhat weakened
in body by the force of her divine love; for since She
was so near to her end, She was subjected more com
pletely to love s effects.
733. The great Lady came to the entrance of her ora
tory in order to receive the vicar of Christ our Savior.
Kneeling at his feet She asked his blessing and said:
"I give thanks and praise to the Almighty, that He has
brought to me the holy Father for assisting me in the
hour of my death." Then came saint Paul, to whom the
Queen showed the same reverence with similar tokens
of her pleasure at seeing him. The Apostles saluted
Her as the Mother of God, as their Queen and as Mis
tress of all creation; but with a sorrow equal to their
reverence, because they knew that they had come to wit
ness her passing away. After these Apostles came the
others and the disciples still living. Three days after,
they were all assembled in the Cenacle. The heavenly
Mother received them all with profound humility, rever
ence and love, asking each one to bless Her. Ail of them
complied, and saluted Her with admirable reverence.
By orders of the Lady given to saint John, and with the
assistance of saint James the less, they were all hospitably
entertained and accommodated.
734. Some of the Apostles who had been transported
by the angels and informed by them of the purpose of
their coming, were seized with tenderest grief and
shed abundant tears at the thought of losing their only
protection and consolation. Others were as yet ignorant
of their approaching loss, especially the disciples, who
had not been positively informed by the angels, but were
moved by interior inspirations and a sweet and forcible
intimation of God s will to come to Jerusalem. They
immediately conferred with saint Peter, desirous of
knowing the occasion of their meeting; for all of them
were convinced, that if there had been no special occa
sion, the Lord would not have urged them so strongly
to come. The apostle saint Peter, as the head of the
Church, called them all together in order to tell them of
the cause of their coming, and spoke to the assembly:
"My dearest children and brethren, the Lord has called
and brought us to Jerusalem from remote regions not
without a cause most urgent and sorrowful to us. The
Most High wishes now to raise up to the throne of eter
nal glory his most blessed Mother, our Mistress, our con
solation and protection. His divine decree is that we
all be present at her most happy and glorious Transition.
When our Master and Redeemer ascended to the right
hand of his Father, although He left us orphaned of his
most delightful presence, we still retained his most
blessed Mother. As our light now leaves us, what shall
we do ? What help or hope have we to encourage us on
our pilgrimage ? I find none except the hope that we all
shall follow Her in due time."
735. Saint Peter could speak no farther, because un
controllable tears and sighs interrupted him. Neither
could the rest of the Apostles answer for a long time,
during which, amid copious and tenderest tears, they
gave vent to the groans of their inmost heart. After
some time the vicar of Christ recovered himself and
added: "My children, let us seek the presence of our
Mother and Lady. Let us spend the time left of her life
in her company and ask Her to bless us." They all be
took themselves to the oratory of the great Queen and
found Her kneeling upon a couch, on which She was
wont to recline for a short rest. They saw Her full of
beauty and celestial light, surrounded by the thousand
angels of her guard.
736. The natural condition and appearance of her
sacred and virginal body were the same as at her thirtythird
year ; for, as I have already stated, from that age
onward it experienced no change. It was not affected
by the passing years, showing no signs of age, no wrin
kles in her face or body, nor giving signs of weakening
or fading, as in other children of Adam, who gradually
fall away and drop from the natural perfection of early
man or womanhood. This unchangeableness was the
privilege of the most blessed Mary alone, as well because
it consorted with the stability of her purest soul, as be
cause it was the natural consequence of her immunity
from the sin of Adam, the effects of which in this regard
touched neither her sacred body nor her purest soul.
The Apostles and disciples, and some of the other faith
ful, occupied her chamber, all of them preserving the
utmost order in her presence. Saint Peter and saint
John placed themselves at the head of the couch. The
great Lady looked upon them all with her accustomed
modesty and reverence and spoke to them as follows:
"My dearest children, give permission to your servant to
speak in your presence and to disclose my humble de
sires." Saint Peter answered that all listened with at
tention and would obey Her in all things ; and he begged
Her to seat Herself upon the couch, while speaking to
them. It seemed to saint Peter that She was exhausted
from kneeling so long and that She had taken that posi
tion in order to pray to the Lord, and that in speaking
to them, it was proper She should be seated as their
737. But She, who was the Teacher of humility and
obedience unto death, practiced both these virtues in that
hour. She answered that She would obey in asking of
them their blessing, and besought them to afford Her this
consolation. With the permission of saint Peter She
left the couch and, kneeling before the Apostle, said to
him: "My lord, I beseech thee, as the universal pastor
and head of the holy Church, to give me thy blessing in
thy own and in its name. Pardon me thy handmaid for
the smallness of the service I have rendered in my life.
Grant that John dispose of my vestments, the two tunics,
giving them to the two poor maidens, who have always
obliged me by their charity." She then prostrated Her
self and kissed the feet of saint Peter as the vicar of
Christ, by her abundant tears eliciting not less the ad
miration than the tears of the Apostle and of all the by
standers. From saint Peter She went to saint John, and
kneeling likewise at his feet, said : "Pardon, my son and
my master, my not having fulfilled toward thee the
duties of a Mother as I ought and as the Lord had com
manded me, when from the Cross He appointed thee as
my son and me as thy mother (John 19, 27). I humbly
and from my heart thank thee for the kindness which
thou hast shown me as a son. Give me thy benediction
for entering into the vision and company of Him who
created me."
738. The sweetest Mother proceeded in her leave-tak
ing, speaking to each of the Apostles in particular and
to some of the disciples; and then to all the assembly to
gether ; for there were a great number. She rose to her
feet and addressed them all, saying: "Dearest children
and my masters, always have I kept you in my soul and
written in my heart. I have loved you with that tender
love and charity, which was given to me by my divine
Son, whom I have seen in you, his chosen friends. In
obedience to his holy and eternal will, I now go to the
eternal mansions, where I promise you as a Mother I
will look upon you by the clearest light of the Divinity,
the vision of which my soul hopes and desires in security.
I commend unto you my mother, the Church, the ex
altation of the name of the Most High, the spread of the
evangelical law, the honor and veneration for the words
of my divine Son, the memory of his Passion and Death,
the practice of his doctrine. My children, love the
Church, and love one another with that bond of charity,
which your Master has always inculcated upon you
(John 13, 34). To thee, Peter, holy Pontiff, I commend
my son John and all the rest."
739. The words of the most blessed Mary, like ar
rows of a divine fire, penetrated the hearts of all the
Apostles and hearers, and as She ceased speaking, all
of them were dissolved in streams of tears and, seized
with irreparable sorrow, cast themselves upon the ground
with sighs and groans sufficient to move to compassion
the very earth. All of them wept, and with them wept
also the sweetest Mary, who could not resist this bitter
and well-founded sorrow of her children. After some
time She spoke to them again, and asked them to pray
with Her and for Her in silence, which they did. Dur
ing this quietness the incarnate Word descended from
heaven on a throne of ineffable glory, accompanied by
all the saints and innumerable angels, and the house of
the Cenacle was filled with glory. The most blessed
Mary adored the Lord and kissed his feet. Prostrate
before Him She made the last and most profound act
of faith and humility in her mortal life. On this occa
sion the most pure Creature, the Queen of the heavens,
shrank within Herself and lowered Herself to the earth
more profoundly than all men together ever have or
ever will humiliate themselves for all their sins. Her
divine Son gave Her his blessing and in the presence of
the courtiers of heaven spoke to Her these words : "My
dearest Mother, whom I have chosen for my dwellingplace,
the hour is come in which thou art to pass from
the life of this death and of the world into the glory of
my Father and mine, where thou shalt possess the throne
prepared for thee at my right hand and enjoy it through
all eternity. And since, by my power and as my Mother,
I have caused thee to enter the world free and exempt
from sin, therefore also death shall have no right or
permission to touch thee at thy exit from this world.
If thou wishest not to pass through it, come with Me
now to partake of my glory, which thou hast merited."
740. The most prudent Mother prostrated Herself at
the feet of her Son and with a joyous countenance an
swered: "My Son and my Lord, I beseech Thee let thy
mother and thy servant enter into eternal life by the
common portal of natural death, like the other children
of Adam. Thou, who art my true God, hast suffered
death without being obliged to do so; it is proper that,
as I have followed Thee in life, so I follow Thee also
in death." Christ the Savior approved of the decision
and the sacrifice of his most blessed Mother, and con
sented to its fulfillment. Then all the angels began to
sing in celestial harmony some of the verses of the Can
ticles of Solomon and other new ones. Although only
saint John and some of the Apostles were enlightened as
to the presence of Christ the Savior, yet the others felt
in their interior its divine and powerful effects; but the
music was heard as well by the Apostles and disciples,
as by many others of the faithful there present. A di
vine fragrance also spread about, which penetrated even
to the street. The house of the Cenacle was filled with
a wonderful effulgence, visible to all, and the Lord or
dained that multitudes of the people of Jerusalem gath
ered in the streets as witnesses to this new miracle.
741. When the angels began their music, the most
blessed Mary reclined back upon her couch or bed. Her
tunic was folded about her sacred body, her hands were
joined and her eyes fixed upon her divine Son, and She
was entirely inflamed with the fire of divine love. And
as the angels intoned those verses of the second chapter
of the Canticles: "Surge, propera, arnica mea," that is
to say: "Arise, haste, my beloved, my dove, my beau
tiful one, and come, the winter has passed," etc., She
pronounced those words of her Son on the Cross : "Into
thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit." Then She
closed her virginal eyes and expired. The sickness which
took away her life was love, without any other weakness
or accidental intervention of whatever kind. She died
at the moment when the divine power suspended the
assistance, which until then had counteracted the sensible
ardors of her burning love of God. As soon as this
miraculous assistance was withdrawn, the fire of her
love consumed the life-humors of her heart and thus
caused the cessation of her earthly existence.
742. Then this most pure Soul passed from her vir
ginal body to be placed in boundless glory, on the throne
at the right hand of her divine Son. Immediately the
music of the angels seemed to withdraw to the upper
air; for that whole procession of angels and saints
accompanied the King and Queen to the empyrean heav
ens. The sacred body of the most blessed Mary, which
had been the temple and sanctuary of God in life, con
tinued to shine with an effulgent light and breathed forth
such a wonderful and unheard of fragrance, that all the
bystanders were filled with interior and exterior sweet
ness. The thousand angels of her guard remained to
watch over the inestimable treasure of her virginal body.
The Apostles and disciples, amid the tears and the joy
of the wonders they had seen, were absorbed in admira
tion for some time, and then sang many hymns and
psalms in honor of the most blessed Mary now departed.
This glorious Transition of the great Queen took place
in the hour in which her divine Son had died, at three
o clock on a Friday, the thirteenth day of August, she
being seventy years of age, less the twenty-six days in
tervening between the thirteenth of August, on which
She died, and the eighth of September, the day of her
birth. The heavenly Mother had survived the death of
Christ the Savior twenty-one years, four months and
nineteen days; and his virginal birth, fifty-five years.
This reckoning can be easily made in the following man
ner: when Christ our Savior was born, his virginal
Mother was fifteen years, three months and seventeen
days of age. The Lord lived thirty-three years and three
months; so that at the time of his sacred Passion the
most blessed Lady was forty-eight years, six months and
seventeen days old ; adding to these another twenty-one
years, four months and nineteen days, we ascertain her
age as seventy years, less twenty-five or twenty-six days.*
743. Great wonders and prodigies happened at the
precious death of the Queen; for the sun was eclipsed (as
I said above in No. 706) and its light was hidden in sor
row for some hours. Many birds of different kinds gath
ered around the Cenacle, and by their sorrowful clamors
and groans for a while caused the bystanders themselves
to weep. All Jerusalem was in commotion, and many of
the inhabitants collected in astonished crowds, confessing
loudly the power of God and the greatness of his works.
Others were astounded and as if beside themselves. The
Apostles and disciples with others of the faithful broke
forth in tears and sighs. Many sick persons came who
all were cured. The souls in purgatory were released.
But the greatest miracle was that three persons, a man
in Jerusalem and two women living in the immediate
neighborhood of the Cenacle, died in sin and impenitent
in that same hour, subject to eternal damnation; but
*In figures as follows:
Birth of Christ, 15 years, 3 months, 17 days.
Death of Christ, 33 years, 3 months, . . days.
48 years, 6 months, 17 days.
Death of Mary, 21 years, 4 months, 19 days.
Age at death, 69 years, 11 months, 5 or 6 days.
when their cause came before the tribunal of Christ, his
sweetest Mother interceded for them and they were
restored to life. They so mended their conduct, that
afterwards they died in grace and were saved. This
privilege was not extended to others that died on that
day in the world, but was restricted to those three who
happened to die in that hour in Jerusalem. What festivi
ties were celebrated on that occasion in heaven I will
describe in another chapter, lest heavenly things be mixed
up with the sacred things of earth.
744. My daughter, besides what thou hast understood
and written of my glorious Transition, I wish to inform
thee of another privilege, which was conceded to me by
my divine Son in that hour. Thou hast already re
corded, that the Lord offered me the choice of entering
into beatific vision either with or without passing through
the portals of death. If I had preferred not to die, the
Most High would have conceded this favor, because sin
had no part in me, and hence also not its punishment,
which is death. Thus it would also have been with my
divine Son, and with a greater right, if He had not
taken upon Himself the satisfaction of the divine justice
for men through his Passion and Death. Hence I
chose death freely in order to imitate and follow Him,
as also I did during his grievous passion. Since I had
seen my Son and true God die, I would not have satis
fied the love I owe Him, if I had refused death, and I
would have left a great gap in my conformity to and
my imitation of my Lord the Godman, whereas He
wished me to bear a great likeness to Him in his most
sacred humanity. As I would thereafter never be able
to make up for such a defect, my soul would not enjoy
the plenitude of the delight of having died as did my
Lord and God.
745. Hence my choosing to die was so pleasing to
Him, and my prudent love therein obliged Him to such
an extent, that in return He immediately conceded to me
a singular favor for the benefit of the children of the
Church and conformable to my wishes. It was this, that
all those devoted to me, who should call upon me at the
hour of death, constituting me as their Advocate in mem
ory of my happy Transition and of my desiring to imi
tate Him in death, shall be under my special protection
in that hour, shall have me as a defense against the
demons, as a help and protection, and shall be presented
by me before the tribunal of his mercy and there experi
ence my intercession. In consequence the Lord gave me
a new power and commission and He promised to confer
great helps of his grace for a good death and for a purer
life on all those who in veneration of this mystery of my
precious death, should invoke my aid. Hence I desire
thee, my beloved daughter, from this day on to keep in
thy inmost heart a devout and loving memory of this
mystery, and to bless, praise, and magnify the Omnipo
tent, because He wrought such sacred miracles for me
and for the mortals. By this solicitude thou wilt oblige
the Lord and me to come to thy aid in that last hour.
746. And since death follows upon life and ordinarily
corresponds with it, therefore the surest pledge of a good
death is a good life; a life in which the heart is freed
and detached from earthly love. For this it is, which in
that last hour afflicts and oppresses the soul and which
is like a heavy chain restraining its liberty and prevent
ing it from rising above the things loved in this world.
O my daughter! How greatly do mortals misunder
stand this truth, and how far they err from it in their
actions! The Lord gives them life in order that they
may free themselves from the effects of original sin, so
as to be unhampered by them at the hour of their death ;
and the ignorant and miserable children of Adam spend
all their life in loading upon themselves new burdens and
fetters, so that they die captives of their passions and in
the tyranny of their hellish foes. I had no share in orig
inal sin and none of its effects had any power over my
faculties; nevertheless I lived in the greatest constraint,
in poverty and detached from earthly things, most per
fect and holy; and this holy freedom I did indeed ex
perience at the hour of my death. Consider then, my
daughter, and be mindful of this living example; free
thy heart more and more each day, so that with advanc
ing years thou mayest find thyself more free, more de
tached and averted from visible things, and so that when
the Spouse shall call thee to his nuptials, thou wilt not
need to seek in vain the required freedom and prudence.
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