Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 2 chapter 10 verses 553-570OF THE; VIRTUE OF JUSTICE, AS PRACTICED BY MOST HOLY MARY.

  INDEX   Book 2  Chapter  10    Verses:  553-570

553. The great virtue of justice is most necessary for the exercise of the love of God and man, and therefore also for all human conversation and intercourse. It is a habit by which the will is urged to give to each one what belongs to him, and its object matter is the just and equitable dealing, which must be observed toward God. And as there are so many occasions in which man can exercise or violate this equity, and in so many different ways, the range of application of this virtue is very wide and diffused, and there are many different species or kinds of justice. In as far as it concerns the public and common good, it is called legal justice; in so far as it influences all the other virtues, it is called a general virtue, although it does not partake of the nature of the rest. In so far however as justice is employed for one deter mined object and by individuals to preserve the rights of each, it is called particular or special justice.
554. This virtue, in all its parts or kinds, the Empress of heaven exercised toward all creatures in an eminent degree ; for She alone knew by her greater enlightenment, all its obligations and comprehended them perfectly. Although this virtue does not directly have anything to do with the natural passions, as is the case with fortitude and temperance, yet in many instances, precisely on account of the failure to moderate and regulate the passions, justice toward the neighbor is set aside. This happens with those, who out of disorderly covetousness or lust usurp what does not belong to them. But as in the most holy Mary there were no disorderly passions nor any ignorance of proper measure to be maintained ac cording to justice, She fulfilled all justice toward each person, and showed the way of justice to all who were privileged to hear from her mouth the words and doc trine of eternal life. As far as legal justice is concerned, She not only observed it to the letter by obeying the common laws, as She did in the purification and other prescriptions of the old Law, although, on account of being the Queen and free from sin, She was exempt from them; but no one except her most holy Son, ever advanced so much as She the public and common good of morals. For toward this end She directed all her virtues and operations, earning thereby the divine mercy for mankind and benefiting her neighbor in many other ways.
555. Also the distributive and commutative justice be longed to most holy Mary in a heroic degree. Distributive justice regulates the distribution of the common goods to individual persons. This justice her Highness observed in many affairs, which were left to her authority and management in the primitive Church : as for instance in the distribution of the common property for the sustenance and other necessities of each person. Although She never distributed money, (for that She never hand led), yet She gave her orders and at other times her counsel for its just application. On these and similar occasions, She always acted up to strict equity and justice, according to the necessities and the circumstances of each one s condition. The same She also observed in the distribution of offices and ministerial dignities among the Apostles and the first children of the Church in their meetings and assemblies. All these things this most wise Teacher ordered and arranged with perfect equity; for besides her Ordinary knowledge and insight into the dispositions of each of her subjects, She made use of prayer and of the divine enlightenment. On this account the Apostles and others, whom She governed, had recourse to Her for direction and counsel, and whatever was done under her direction, was disposed of in perfect equity and without acceptation of persons.
556. Commutative justice procures reciprocal equality in that which is given and received by individuals ; as for instance observing the rule : to offer gift for gift, etc., or value for value. This kind of justice the Queen of heaven had fewer opportunities of exercising, than other virtues; for She never bought or sold anything for Her self. If it was necessary to buy or commute any article, it was done by the patriarch saint Joseph, while he lived, and afterwards by saint John the evangelist, or some of the Apostles. The Master of sanctity, who came to destroy and eradicate avarice (I Tim. 6, 10) the root of all evil, wished to remove from Himself and from his most holy Mother all those negotiations and transactions, in which the fire of human covetousness is enkindled and preserved. Therefore his Providence ordained, that neither his own hand nor that of his purest Mother should be soiled by the transactions of human commerce in buying and selling, even if only of things necessary for the preservation of human life. However the Queen did not omit to teach men this virtue of commutative justice, directing in the way of perfect justice all those, who in the apostolate and primitive Church were engaged in such affairs.
557. This virtue of justice comprises also other kinds of activity in regard to the neighbor, such as judging others in the public and civil courts, or in private. Our Savior refers to the contrary vice, when he says in saint Matthew: "Judge not that you may not be judged" (Matt. 7,1). These judgments are formed by each one according to the estimate which is in his own mind : therefore they are just judgments, if they are conform able to reason, and unjust, if they disagree with it. Our sovereign Queen never exercised the office of a public or civil judge, although She had the power to be the judge of all the universe; but by her most equitous counsels during the time of her life, and afterwards through her intercession, She fulfilled what was written about Her in the proverbs: "I walk in the paths of justice and through me the mighty decree justice" (Prov. 8, 20, 16).
558. As regards particular judgments no injustice ever could find a place in the most pure heart of most holy Mary ; for She could never be imprudent in her suspicions, or rash in her judgments, nor was She troubled by doubts ; nor, if She had any, would She ever decide them unkindly for the worse part. These vices of in justice are proper and natural as it were to the children of Adam, who are dominated and enslaved by the disorderly passions of hate, envy, ill natured emulation, and other evil inclinations. From these bad roots sprout unjust suspicions with slight foundations, rash judgments and prejudiced solution of doubts; for each one easily presumes in his brother his own faults. Because they are filled with hate and envy at the prosperity of their neighbor, and rejoice at his misfortune, they lightly give belief, where there are no grounds, only yielding to their bad desires, and allowing their judgments to drift in accordance with their wishes. From all these consequences of sin our Queen was free, as She had no part in sin : all was chanty, purity, sanctity and perfect love, whatever entered or came from the sanctuary of her heart: in Her was all the grace of truth and the way of life (Eccli. 24, 25). In the plenitude of her sanctity and science She doubted nothing, She suspected nothing ; for She was aware of all the secrets hidden in the hearts of men and searched their souls with the light of truth and mercy, not suspecting evil and never attributing blame, where none was due. On the contrary She was solicitous to excuse the sins of men, in justice and equity yielding to each and every one his dues. Her most earnest de sire was to fill all men with the sweetness and the graciousness of her virtues.
559. In the two different kinds of commutative and distributive justice there are contained many other kinds or species of virtues, but I will only refer to them in so far as to say, that all of them, both as habits and as acts, were possessed by the most holy Mary in the highest and most excellent degree. Some of these virtues are related to justice, because they are exercised in our intercourse with our neighbor and partake to a certain extent, though not in all their bearings, of the nature of justice; either because we are unable to pay fully what we owe, or because, if we are able, the debt or obligation is not so strict as that which is incurred by commutative or distributive justice. I will not enter upon a full explanation of these virtues, since they are various and numerous ; but in order not to pass them over entirely, I will give a short summary, so as to show how our Sovereign and most high Princess was adorned with all of them.
560. It is a just obligation to give worship and reverence to those, who are placed above us. According to the greatness of their excellence and their dignity and according to the benefits which we receive at their hands, varies also our obligation and the reverence which we owe them, although no return on our part can equal the benefit or the dignity. The first virtue of this kind is that of religion, by which we give to God due worship and reverence, though his magnificence and his gifts exceed in finitely all that we will ever be able to return in thanks or praise. Among the moral virtues this one is the most noble on account of its object, namely the worship of God, and its subject matter is as extensive as there are ways and means of directly praising and reverencing God. In this virtue of religion are comprehended all the interior acts of prayer, contemplation and devotion, with all their parts, conditions, causes, effects and purposes. Among exterior actions, latria, which is the supreme outward adoration due only to God, falls under this head, and with it also all its different kinds of parts, namely: sacrifices, oblations, tithes and vows, oaths, exterior and vocal offering of praise. For in all these actions, if they are per formed in the proper manner, God is honored and reverenced by the creatures, just as He is very much offended in the contrary vices.
561. The second virtue falling under the above class is piety, by which we are inclined to honor our parents, to whom after God we owe our being and our education. By it we also show proper regard for those, who participate in a manner of the quality of parents, such as for in stance our relatives, or our country, which sustains and governs us. This virtue is so important, that we must prefer its dictates to the acts of supererogation in the virtue of religion. So Christ the Lord teaches us in saint Matthew, when He reprehended the pharisees for setting aside piety toward their parents under the pre text of the worship of God. In the third place must be mentioned veneration, which inclines us to give honor and reverence to those, who possess some superior excellence or dignity of a different kind from that of our parents or fatherland. This virtue the doctors divide into two kinds : dulia and obedience. Dulia is the veneration due to those who participate to a certain measure in the majesty and dominion of the highest Lord God, to whom is due, as we said above, the worship of adoration or latria. Therefore we honor the saints by the reverence called dulia, and likewise those in the higher dignities, to whom we subject ourselves as servants. Obedience is the subjection of our will, inducing us to do the will of our superior in preference to our own. Our free will is so estimable, that this virtue is admirable and excellent above all the moral virtues; for the sacrifice is greater than in any other.
562. These three virtues of religion, piety and veneration (observance) were possessed by Mary in such great plenitude and perfection, that nothing possible pertaining to them was wanting. What intellect can ever comprehend the honor, veneration and worship with which this Lady served her most beloved Son, adoring Him as true God and Man, as Creator, Redeemer, Glorifier, the Highest, the Infinite, the Immense in essence, in goodness and in all attributes? She knew more of Him than any other creature and more than all of them together ; and ac cording to her knowledge She rendered due honor, teaching even the Seraphim how to reverence Him. In this virtue She was so great a Teacher, that merely to see Her was sufficient to rouse, urge and incite all by a secret force to worship the supreme Lord and Author of heaven and earth ; and without any other effort on her part She induced many to praise God. Her prayers, contemplations and devotions, together with the wonderful effects and the power of her intercession, are known to all the angels and saints, but cannot be comprehended by them, exciting their endless admiration. To Her all the intellectual creatures are indebted, since She satisfied and made recompense not only for that which they have culpably neglected in this regard, but also for that which they could never attain, or execute, or merit. This Lady outraced the salvation of the world, and if She had not been in it, the eternal Word would not have issued from the bosom of the Father. She excelled the seraphim from her first instant in contemplation, in prayer, in petition, and in devout promptitude for the service of God. She offered the proper sacrifice, gave oblations and tithes ; and all this in such a perfect manner, that nothing on the part of men was more acceptable next to that of her most holy Son. In the ceaseless praise, hymns, canticles and vocal prayers, which She offered, She was above all the Patriarchs and Prophets; and if in the Church militant Her doings were known as in the Church triumphant, they would be the admiration of the world.
563. The virtues of piety and veneration her Majesty exercised in proportion as She knew how to estimate better her obligation toward her parents and their heroic sanctity. The same was true in regard to her relations. For instance, She procured special graces for John the Baptist and his mother, for holy Elisabeth and some others in the apostolate. Certainly, if her fatherland had not been made unworthy of favor by the ingratitude and hardheartedness of its inhabitants, She would have made it the most fortunate country on earth; nevertheless, in as far as the Most High permitted, She conferred upon it great benefits and favors, both spiritual and material. In reverence toward the priests She was admirable, for She alone knew and could set proper value on the dignity of the anointed of the Lord. She has taught us all in this matter, and also how to honor the Patriarchs, Prophets and Saints, as well as the temporal masters and those in authority. She omitted no act pertaining to these virtues, being solicitous according to time and opportunity to instruct others in the exercise of them, especially the first faithful in the establishment of the evangelical Church. There, obeying not any more the verbal commands of her most holy Son, or of her husband, but submitting to her Son s substitutes, She became an example to the world of a new kind of obedience; for in those times, not She owed obedience to any creature, but the whole earth, in an especial manner, owed obedience to Her, since She was staying upon it as its Queen and Mistress for the very purpose of governing it.
564. There are other virtues, which can also be classed under the head of justice; for they dispose us to yield to others that which we owe them on account of some moral obligation, founded upon an honest and just title. These virtues are : gratitude or thankfulness, truth or veracity, vindication, liberality, friendship or affability. By gratitude we create a certain equality of ourselves with those from whom we have received benefits giving them thanks in return, according to the nature of the benefits and the kindness, with which they were bestowed (which after all is the most valuable part of the benefit). The grateful also take into account the position and dignity of the benefactor. Gratitude bears in mind all these elements and can be manifested in different ways. Veracity in clines us to be truthful in all our intercourse, as is proper in human life and conversation, avoiding all lying, (which is never allowed), deceitful simulation, hypocrisy, boastfulness and irony. These vices are all opposed to truth; and though it is possible and even advisable to minimize when we are speaking of our own excellence or virtue in order not to offend by boasting, yet it is not right to do so by telling a falsehood, imputing vice to ourselves untruthfully. Vindication is a virtue, which teaches us to recompense or make up for damage done by our selves or by the neighbor, satisfying for it by some punishment. Among mortals the practice of this virtue is difficult; for they are so much moved by immoderate anger and dislike of their brethren, and so tardy in charity and justice, this vindication of the particular or general wellbeing is no unimportant virtue. Christ our Lord made use of this virtue, when He expelled from the temple those, who desecrated it by their irreverence (John 2, 15) ; Elias and Eliseus drew down fire from heaven in order to chastise some sins (IV King 1, 20) ; and in the Proverbs it is said : "He that spareth the rod hateth his son" (Prov. 13, 24). Liberality or generosity serves to distribute in a reasonable manner money or other goods, without falling into the vices of prodigality or niggardliness. Friendship or affability consists in conversing and acting in a decent and becoming manner toward all, with out quarrelling or flattery, which are the vices opposed to friendship.
565. None of these virtues, nor any others which might be related to justice, were wanting to the Queen of heaven ; of all these She had the habit and practiced them as occasion offered. Moreover as the Teacher and Mistress of all sanctity She- instructed and enlightened many souls how they were to exercise and practice them with the greatest perfection. The virtue of gratitude toward God She exercised by acts of religion and worship, as we have already described : for this is the best way to show our gratitude toward Him: and as the dignity of the most pure Mary and her concomitant sanctity was exalted above all created understanding, this eminent Mistress gave a return of gratitude proportionate to his benefits within the measure possible to a creature. The same holds true in regard to her piety toward her parents and her country, as mentioned above. To her fellowmen this most humble Princess returned thanks for each favor as if She deserved no consideration from any one ; and, al though all favors were due to Her in justice, She nevertheless gave thanks for them with gracious affability. She alone knew and practiced this virtue to such an ex tent, as to return thanks for injuries and offenses as if they were great benefits ; for in her incomparable humility She never recognized anything as an injury and considered Herself under obligation for what really were such. Moreover, as She never forgot any benefit, She also never ceased in her gratitude.
566. About the truthfulness of Mary our Lady, little need be said, since She who was so superior to the demon, the father of lies and deceit, could not tolerate even the shadow of that despicable vice. The standard, by which the virtue of truthfulness is to be measured in our Queen, is her dove-like charity and simplicity, which excluded all duplicity or deceit in her intercourse with creatures. And how could the guilt of deceit be found in the mouth of that Lady, who with one word of truest humility falling from her lips drew down to her womb that One, who is essential truth and holiness? In regard to the exercise of the virtue called vindication the most holy Mary like wise was proficient: not only instructing others as a Teacher during the time of the first beginnings of the evangelical Church; but zealously advancing the honor of the Most High and trying to convert many sinners through fraternal correction, as was the case in regard to Judas many times, and commanding the creatures, (which were obedient to her wishes), to punish some of the sinners in order that they might be converted and be saved from the eternal punishment due to their sins. Al though on these occasions She was most sweet and kind in her punishments, yet She did not remit them, whenever necessary to secure an effective cleansing from sin. Most of all however did She exercise retribution toward the demon, in order to free the human race from his slavery.
567. The sovereign Queen practiced also the most exalted liberality and friendliness. Her generosity in giving and distributing was on a scale befitting the Empress of all creation and one who knows the proper value of all invisible and visible things. This Lady never possessed anything of her own that She did not consider just as much the property of her neighbor as hers nor did She ever deny anything to anybody, not even waiting till they should pay the price of asking for it, whenever She could be beforehand in giving. The poverty and miseries which She alleviated, the benefits which She bestowed, the mercies which flowed from Her, even as regards only temporal matters, could not be recounted in an immense volume. Her amiable friendliness toward all creatures was so singular and admirable, that, if She had not concealed it with rare prudence, She would have drawn to Herself all the world, entranced by her most sweet intercourse; her mildness and kindness, though tempered by a divine seriousness and wisdom, displayed in her intercourse the marks of superhuman excellence. The Most High himself regulated this perfection in Her, allowing at times some of the signs of the sacrament of the King to show themselves, but taking care, that the veil should fall immediately and again conceal the mystery beneath earthly labors, thus forestalling the applause of men. All their honors were far below that which She deserved, and men would never be able to attain, and would fall either below or exceed, the correct measure of honor due to One who was at the same time a creature and the Mother of God. This was reserved for the time when as children of the Church, men should be enlightened by the Catholic faith.
568. For the adequate and perfect exercise of this great virtue of justice the doctors point out another part or aid to it, which they call epikeia, which guides us in some affairs, that are above the common and ordinary rules and laws. For not all affairs, with their varying circumstances, can be covered by the ordinary laws, and therefore it is necessary to proceed on certain occasions by the light of a superior and extraordinary reasoning. This part of justice the sovereign Queen practiced on many occasions during her life, both before, and especially after the Ascension of her only-begotten Son. In order to regulate the affairs of the primitive Church, as I will say in its place, She often made use of epikeia, as required by the interests of the Most High.

Instructions vouchsafed by the Queen of Heaven.
569. In this extensive virtue of Justice, my daughter, although thou hast been taught much of its value, thou still art ignorant of the greater part of it on account of thy condition in this state of mortality ; and therefore also this thy account of it is insufficient for a full understanding of its excellence. Nevertheless thou hast in it a copious summary to direct thy intercourse with creatures and thy worship of the Most High. In regard to this latter I re mind thee, my dearest, that the supreme majesty of the Omnipotent is highly indignant at the offenses of mortals, who forget the veneration, adoration, and reverence due to Him. If some of them do render it, it is so coarse, in attentive and discourteous, that they do not merit re ward but chastisement. They revere and adore profoundly the princes and magnates of the earth ; they ask favors and seek to obtain them with the utmost diligence ; they are effusive in their thanks, when they succeed, pro testing their lifelong gratitude. But the supreme Lord, who gives them being, life and activity, who preserves and sustains them, who has redeemed them and raised them to the dignity of sons, who wishes to confer upon them his own glory, who is in Himself the infinite and the highest Good; Him, the highest Majesty, they forget, because they cannot see Him with their corporal eyes. As if not all good came from Him, they return, at the highest, merely a sluggish remembrance and a hasty thanksgiving. I will not even mention at present, how much those offend the most just Ruler of the universe, who wickedly break through and overturn all the order of justice toward their neighbor, perverting the whole natural order in wishing to their brothers, what they would not wish for themselves.
570. Abhor, my daughter, such execrable conduct, and as far as thy forces will allow, make up by thy works for this want of acknowledgment in the service of the Most High. And as by thy state of life thou art consecrated to the divine worship, let that be thy principal occupation and delight, striving to imitate the angelic spirits in their ceaseless fear and worship of the Lord. Preserve reverence for holy things, including also the ornaments and sacred vessels used in divine service. During divine office, prayer, and sacrifice see that thou remain on thy knees ; implore with faith and receive his favors with humble thanksgiving ; the same consideration thou shouldst show also to all men, even if they offend thee. To all be kind, affable, meek, simple and truthful; without deceit or double-dealing, without detraction or ill will, without rash judgment of thy neighbor. And in order that thou mayst fulfill all justice, revive the memory of it constantly and desire to do to thy neighbor that which thou wishest done to thyself. Especially remember how my most holy Son, and I in imitation of Him, acted toward all men.
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