Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 8  Chapter  21    Verses:  760-774

760. Of the glory and felicity of the saints in the
beatific vision saint Paul says with Isaias (I Cor. 2, 9;
Is. 64, 4), that neither have mortal eyes seen, nor ears
heard, nor can it enter into the heart of man what
God has prepared for those who love Him and who hope
in Him. In accordance with this Catholic truth, we
should not wonder at what is related of saint Augustine,
the great light of the Church, that, in setting out to write
a book on the glory of the blessed, he was visited by
his friend, saint Jerome, who had just died and entered
into the glory of the Lord, and was admonished by his
visitor, that he would not be able to compass his design ;
since no tongue or pen of man could describe the least
part of the blessings enjoyed by the saints in the beatific
vision. Such is the testimony of saint Jerome; and if
through holy Scriptures we had no other information
than that this glory is eternal, it would be beyond all our
comprehension. For, however much of our intellect may
expand, it will never comprehend eternity; and as this
is infinite and boundless, it is inexhaustible and incom
prehensible, how much soever it may be known and loved.
Just as God, the Infinite and the Almighty, created all
things, without being thereby exhausted, and even if He
had created endless worlds ever anew, would remain still
infinite and immutable; so also, although seen and enjoyed
by countless saints, He will remain an infinite source of
new knowledge and love; for in creation and in glory
all creatures participate in Him only to a limited extent,
each according to its condition, while He in Himself is
without limitation or end.
761. If on this account the glory even of the least of
the saints is eneffable, what shall we say of the glory of
the most blessed Mary, since among the saints She is the
most holy and She by Herself is more like to her Son
than all the saints together, and since her grace and glory
exceed those of all the rest, as those of an empress or sov
ereign over her vassals? This truth can and should be
believed; but in mortal life it cannot be understood, or the
least part of it be explained; for the inadequacy and defi
ciency of our words and expressions rather tend to ob
scure than to set forth its greatness. Let us in this life
apply our labor, not in seeking to comprehend it, but in
seeking to merit its manifestation in glory, where we shall
experience more or less of this happiness according to our
762. Our Redeemer Jesus entered heaven conducting
the purest soul of his Mother at his right hand. She alone
of all the mortals deserved exemption from particular
judgment ; hence for Her there was none ; no account was
asked or demanded of Her for what She had received;
for such was the promise that had been given to Her, when
She was exempted from the common guilt and chosen as
the Queen privileged above the laws of the children of
Adam. For the same reason, instead of being judged
with the rest, She shall be seated at the right hand of the
Judge to judge with Him all the creatures. If in the
first instant of her Conception She was the brightest
Aurora, effulgent with the rays of the sun of the Divinity
beyond all the brightness of the most exalted seraphim,
and if afterwards She was still further illumined by the
contact of the hypostatic Word, who derived his humanity
from her purest substance, it necessarily follows that She
should be his Companion for all eternity, possessing such
a likeness to Him, that none greater can be possible be
tween a Godman and a creature. In this light the Re
deemer himself presented Her before the throne of the
Divinity ; and speaking to the eternal Father in the pres
ence of all the blessed, who were ravished at this wonder,
the most sacred humanity uttered these words : "Eternal
Father, my most beloved Mother, thy beloved Daughter
and the cherished Spouse of the Holy Ghost, now comes
to take possession of the crown and glory, which We
have prepared as a reward for her merit. She is the one
who was born as the rose among thorns, untouched, pure
and beautiful, worthy of being embraced by Us and of
being placed upon a throne to which none of our
creatures can ever attain, and to which those conceived in
sin cannot aspire. This is our chosen and our only One,
distinguished above all else, to whom We communicated
our grace and our perfections beyond the measure accord
ed to other creatures; in whom We have deposited the
treasure of our incomprehensible Divinity and its gifts;
who most faithfully preserved and made fruitful the
talents, which We gave Her; who never swerved from
our will, and who found grace and pleasure in our eyes.
My Father, most equitous is the tribunal of our justice
and mercy, and in it the services of our friends are, repaid
in the most superabundant manner. It is right that to my
Mother be given the reward of a Mother; and if during
her whole life and in all her works She was as like to Me
as is possible for a creature to be, let Her also be as like
to Me in glory and on the throne of our Majesty, so that
where holiness is in essence, there it may also be found in
its highest participation."
763. This decree of the incarnate Word was approved
by the Father and the Holy Ghost. The most holy soul
of Mary was immediately raised to the right hand of her
Son and true God, and placed on the royal throne of the
most holy Trinity, which neither men, nor angels nor the
seraphim themselves attain, and will not attain for all
eternity. This is the most exalted and supereminent
privilege of our Queen and Lady, that She is seated on the
throne with the three divine Persons and holds her place
as Empress, while all the rest are set as servants and
ministers to the highest King. To the eminence and
majesty of that position, inaccessible to all other crea
tures, correspond her gifts of glory, comprehension, vision
and fruition ; because She enjoys, above all and more than
all, that infinite Object, which the other blessed enjoy in
an endless variety of degrees. She knows, penetrates and
understands much deeper the eternal Being and its in
finite attributes ; She lovingly delights in its mysteries and
most hidden secrets, more than all the rest of the blessed.
Although between the glory of the divine Persons and that
of the most holy Mary there is an infinite distance; for
the light of the Divinity, as says the Apostle (I Tim. 6,
16), is inaccessible and in it alone dwells immortality and
glory by essence ; and though also the most holy soul of
Christ without measure exceeds in its gifts those of his
Mother; yet the great Queen surpasses inaccessibly all
the sajlnts in glory and has a likeness to that of Christ,
which cannot be understood in this life, nor ever described.
764. Just as little can be explained the extra joy, which
the blessed experienced on that day in singing the new
songs of praise to the Omnipotent and in celebrating the
glory of his Daughter, Mother and Spouse; for in Her
He had exalted all the works of his right hand. Although
to the Lord himself could come no new or essential glory,
because He possessed and possesses it immutably infinite
through all eternity; yet the exterior manifestations of his
pleasure and satisfaction at the fulfillment of his eternal
decrees were greater on that day, and from the throne a
voice, as if of the eternal Father resounded, saying: "In
the glory of our beloved and most loving Daughter all
the pleasure of our holy will is fulfilled to our entire sat
isfaction. To all the creatures We have given existence,
creating them out of nothing, in order that they may
participate in our infinite goods and treasures according
to the inclination and pleasure of our immense bounty.
The very ones who were made capable of our grace and
glory, have abused this blessing. Our cherished Daughter
alone had no part in the disobedience and prevarication
of the rest, and She has earned what the unworthy chil
dren of perdition have despised; and our heart has not
been disappointed in Her at any time or moment. To Her
belong the rewards, which according to our conditional
decree We had prepared for the disobedient angels and
for their followers among men, if they had been faithful
to their grace and vocation. She has recompensed Us
for their falling away by her subjection and obedience;
She has pleased Us in all her operations and has merited
a seat on the throne of our Majesty."
765. On the third day after the most pure soul of Mary
had taken possession of this glory never to leave it, the
Lord manifested to the saints his divine will, that She
should return to the world, resuscitate her sacred body
and unite Herself with it, so that She might in body and
soul be again raised to the right hand of her divine Son
without waiting for the general resurrection of the dead.
The appropriateness of this favor, its accordance with the
others received by the most blessed Queen and with her
supereminent dignity, the saints could not but see; since
even to mortals it is so credible, that even if the Church had
not certified it, we would judge those impious and foolish,
who would dare deny it. But the blessed saw it with
greater clearness, together with the determined time and
hour as manifested to them in God himself. When the
time for this wonder had arrived, Christ our Savior him
self descended from heaven bringing with Him at his
right hand the soul of his most blessed Mother and ac
companied by many legions of the Angels, the Patriarchs
and ancient Prophets. They came to the sepulchre in the
valley of Josaphat, and all being gathered in sight of the
virginal temple, the Lord spoke the following words to
the saints.
766. "My Mother was conceived without stain of sin,
in order that from Her virginal substance I might stain
lessly clothe Myself in the humanity in which I came to
the world and redeemed it from sin. My flesh is her
flesh; She co-operated with Me in the works of the Re
demption ; hence I must raise Her, just as I rose from the
dead, and this shall be at the same time and hour. For
I wish to make Her like Me in all things." All the ancient
saints of the human race then gave thanks for this new
favor in songs of praise and glory to the Lord. Those
that especially distinguished themselves in their thanks
giving were our first parents Adam and Eve, saint Anne,
saint Joachim and saint Joseph, as being the more close
partakers in this miracle of his Omnipotence. Then the
purest soul of the Queen, at the command of the Lord,
entered the virginal body, reanimated it and raised it
up, giving it a new life of immortality and glory and com
municating to it the four gifts of clearness, impassibility,
agility <and subtlety, corresponding to those of the soul
and overflowing from it into the body.
767. Endowed with these gifts the most blessed Mary
issued from the tomb in body and soul, without raising
the stone cover and without disturbing the position of
the tunic and the mantle that had enveloped her sacred
body. Since it is impossible to describe her beauty and
refulgent glory, I will not make the attempt. It is suffi
cient to say, that just as the heavenly Mother had given
to her divine Son in her womb the form of man, pure,
unstained and sinless, for the Redemption of the world,
so in return the Lord, in this resurrection and new re
generation, gave to Her a glory and beauty similar to his
own. In this mysterious and divine interchange each One
did what was possible: most holy Mary engendered
Christ, assimilating Him as much as possible to Herself,
and Christ resuscitated Her, communicating to Her of
his glory as far as She was capable as a creature.
768. Then from the sepulchre was started a most sol
emn procession, moving with celestial music through the
regions of the air and toward the empyrean heaven. This
happened in the hour immediately after midnight, in
which also the Lord had risen from the grave ; and there
fore not all of the Apostles were witness of this prodigy,
but only some of them, who were present and watching
at the sepulchre. The saints and angels entered heaven
in the order in which they had started; and in the last
place came Christ our Savior and at his right hand the
Queen, clothed in the gold of variety (as David says Ps.
44, 10), and so beautiful that She was the admiration
of the heavenly court. All of them turned toward Her to
look upon Her and bless Her with new jubilee and songs
of praise. Thus were heard those mysterious eulogies
recorded by Solomon: Come, daughters of Sion, to see
your Queen, who is praised by the morning stars and
celebrated by the sons of the Most High. Who is She
that comes from the desert, like a column of all the
aromatic perfumes? Who is She, that rises like the
aurora, more beautiful than the moon, elect as the sun,
terrible as many serried armies ? Who is She that comes
up from the desert resting upon her Beloved and spread
ing forth abundant delights? (Cant. 3, 6-9; 8, 5). Who
is She in whom the Deity itself finds so much pleasure
and delight above all other creatures and whom He exalts
above them all in the heavens ! O novelty worthy of the
infinite Wisdom ! O prodigy of his Omnipotence, which
so magnifies and exalts Her !
769. Amid this glory the most blessed Mary arrived
body and soul at the throne of the most blessed Trinity.
And the three divine Persons received Her on it with an
embrace eternally undissoluble. The eternal Father said to
Her : "Ascend higher, my Daughter and my Dove." The
incarnate Word spoke: "My Mother, of whom I have
received human being and full return of my work in thy
perfect imitation, receive now from my hand the reward
thou hast merited." The Holy Ghost said : "My most
beloved Spouse, enter into the eternal joy, which corres
ponds to the most faithful love; do Thou now enjoy thy
love without solicitude ; for past is the winter of suffering
for Thou hast arrived at our eternal embraces." There
the most blessed Mary was absorbed in the contemplation
of the three divine Persons and as it were overwhelmed
in the boundless ocean and abyss of the Divinity, while
the saints were filled with wonder and new accidental
delight. Since, at the occasion of this work of the Om
nipotent happened other wonders, I shall speak of them as
far as possible in the following chapter.
770. My daughter, lamentable and inexcusable is the
ignorance of men in so knowingly forgetting the eternal
glory, which God has prepared for those who dispose
themselves to merit it. I wish that thou bitterly bewail
and deplore this pernicious forgetfulness ; for there is
no doubt, that whoever wilfully forgets the eternal glory
and happiness is in evident danger of losing it. No one
is free from this guilt, not only because men do not apply
much labor or effort in seeking and retaining the remem
brance of this happiness; but they labor with all their
powers in things that make them forget the end for which
they were created. Undoubtedly this forgetfulness arises
from their entangling themselves in the pride of life, the
covetousness of the eyes, and the desires of the flesh
(John 2, 16) ; for employing therein all the forces and
faculties of their soul during the whole time of their life,
they have no leisure, care or attention for the thoughts
of eternal felicity. Let men acknowledge and confess,
whether this recollection costs them more labor than to
follow their blind passions, seeking after honors, posses
sions or the transitory pleasures, all of which have an
end with this life, and which, after much striving and
labor, many men do not, and can never attain.
771. How much easier is it for mortals to avoid such
perversity, especially for the children of the Church, since
they have at hand the easy means of faith and hope for
attaining the truth! Even if to gain eternal happiness
were as difficult to obtain as honors and riches and other
apparent advantages, it would be very foolish to labor as
much for the false as for the true advantages for eternal
punishment as for eternal glory. This abominable fool
ishness thou wilt perceive and bewail with tears, my
daughter, if thou wilt consider the world in which thou
livest : how it is disturbed by wars and discords ; how
many unhappy ones it contains, who seek death in ex
change for a short and vain honor, vengeance and other
most vile advantages, while they do not think or care
for eternal life than irrational animals. It would be a
blessing for them if like animals they could end alto
gether with the temporal death ; but as the most of them
act against justice, and others, who still seek to be just,
live in forgetfulness of their end, the ones as well as the
others incur the eternal death.
772. This is a sorrow beyond all sorrows, and a mis
fortune without equal and without remedy. Afflict thy
self, lament and grieve without consolation over this ruin
of so many souls bought by the blood of my divine Son.
I assure thee, my dearest, that, if men would not make
themselves so unworthy of it, my charity would urge me,
in the celestial glory where thou knowest me to be, to send
forth a voice through the whole world exclaiming:
"Mortal and deceived men, what are you doing? For
what purpose are you living? Do you realize what it is to
see God face to face, and to participate in his eternal
glory and share his company? Of what are you thinking?
Who has thus disturbed and fascinated your judgment?
What will you seek, if once you have lost this true bless
ing and happiness, since there is no other? The labor
is short, the reward is infinite glory, and the punishment
is eternal."
773. In connection with this sorrow, which I am try
ing to excite in thee, seek to labor assiduously in order
to evade the danger. A living example thou hast in my
life, which was a continual suffering such as thou hast
known; but when I came to my reward all of it seemed
as nothing, and I forgot it as if it Had not occurred.
Resolve, my dear, to follow me in my labor ; and though
thy labor seem to exceed that of all the mortals, look
upon it as most insignificant; let nothing seem to thee
difficult or hard, or bitter, even to passing through fire and
sword. Extend thy hand to great things, and shield
thy domestics, the senses, with double vestments (Prov.
31, 19, 21 ), against hardships and sufferings to the utmost
of their powers. At the same time I wish thee to be free
from another error, that of men who say : let us secure
salvation : greater or less glory does not matter ; we shall
all be together in that life. By this false principle, my
daughter, eternal life is not made secure, but rather put
at hazard ; since it arises from great foolishness and want
of divine love. Who seeks to make such a bargain with
God, offends Him, and tempts Him to permit such souls
to live in continued danger of perdition. Human weakness
always tends to do less good than it desires to do; and
when this desire is small, then it will execute very little,
and hence risks losing all.
774. He who contents himself with the mediocre or
lowest in virtue, always leaves in his will and in his in
clinations an opening for earthly affections and love of the
passing things. Such an opening is contrary to divine
love and therefore unavoidably causes the loss of the
latter and the ascendency of the former. When the
creature resolves to love God from all its heart and with
all its powers, as He commands, God overlooks its human
defects and shortcomings, and is pleased with their re
solve to reap the highest rewards. But to despise them
or wilfully undervalue them shows not the love of chil
dren or of true friends, but the base fear of slaves, who
are content to live and be let alone. If the saints could
return to merit some additional degree of glory by suf
fering all torments to the day of judgment, they would
doubtlessly return; because they have a true and perfect
knowledge of the value of the reward and they love God
with a perfect charity. It is not proper that this privilege
be granted to the saints; but it was conceded to me, as
thou hast recorded in this history ; and my example con
firms this truth. It also reproves the foolishness of those,
who, in order to avoid suffering and the cross of Christ,
are looking for a curtailed reward, one which is contrary
to the inclination of God s goodness and contrary to his
desire of seeing souls multiply their merits and gain
copious rewards in the eternal felicity.
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