Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 2  Chapter  19    Verses:  713-727

713. The Lord did not sleep, nor did He slumber
(Psalm 120, 4) during the clamors of his beloved spouse
Mary, although He pretended not to hear them, delight
ing in the prolonged exercise of her sufferings, which
occasioned so many glorious triumphs and the admira
tions and praises of the supernal spirits. The smoulder
ing fire of the persecution already mentioned continued
unabated, in order that the Phenix, Mary, might many
times renew Herself from the ashes of her humility, and
in order that her most pure heart be regenerated over
and over again to new estates and conditions of divine
grace. But when the opportune time arrived for putting
an end to the blind envy and jealousy of those ensnared
maidens, and in order that their petulance might not al
together discredit Her who was to be the excellence of
nature and grace itself, the Lord spoke to the priest in
his sleep and said to Him: "My servant Mary is
pleasing in my eyes, and She is my perfect and my chosen
One: She is entirely innocent of anything of which
She is accused." The same revelation was given to
Anne, the instructress of the maidens. That morning
the priest and the instructress conferred with each other
about the message, which both had received. Being
now certain, they repented of the deceit, into which they
had been led, and called the Princess Mary, asking her
pardon for having given credit to the false report of the
girls and offering Her all the reparation necessary to de
fend Her from the persecution and the sufferings con
sequent upon it.
714. She that was the Mother and origin of humility,
after listening to their words, answered the priest and
the instructress: "My superiors, I am the one that de
serves your reprehensions and I beseech you do not hold
me unworthy of undergoing them, since I ask for them
as most necessary to me. The intercourse with my
sisters, the other maidens, is most highly prized by me,
and I do not wish to be deprived of it through my fault,
since I owe them so much for having borne with me;
and as a return for that benefit, I desire to serve them
more faithfully; nevertheless if you command me any
thing else, I stand prepared to obey your will." This
answer of the most holy Mary still more comforted and
consoled the priest and the instructress; and they ap
proved of her humble petition, but from that time on they
attended to Her and observed Her with new reverence
and affection. The most humble Maiden begged to kiss
the hand of the priest and of the matron, asking for
their blessing according to her custom; with this they
dismissed Her. Just as the parched desire of the thirsty
for drink is increased at the sight of clear water with
drawn beyond their reach, so was the heart of Mary our
Mistress filled with yearning regret for the exercise of
suffering. Thirsting and burning for the divine love
She feared lest through the watchful care of the priest
and of the instructress, She should from thenceforward
be deprived of the treasure of affliction.
715. Seeking- solitude and speaking with God alone,
She addressed Him: "Why, O Lord and most beloved
Master, such severity with me? Why such a long ab
sence and such a forgetfulness of her, who cannot live
without Thee? And if in the protracted solitude and
separation from thy sweet and loving presence, I was
consoled by the pledges of thy affection, given to me in
the afflictions and sufferings for thy sake, how shall I
be able to live now in my dereliction without this solace ?
Why, O Lord, dost Thou so soon withdraw thy beneficent
hand from me in refusing me this favor? Who besides
thyself could have changed the sentiments of the priests
and of the instructress? But I do not merit the benefit
of their charitable reprehensions, nor am I worthy to
bear affliction; for I am equally unworthy of thy most
loving visit and delightful presence. If I have not been
able to please Thee, my Father and Lord, I will make
amends for my negligence. There can be no relief from
the depression of my spirit as long as the joy of thy
presence is wanting to my soul. But I continue to
hope that thy divine pleasure, O my Spouse, be fulfilled
in all things."
716. The enlightenment of the priests and the in
structress concerning Mary abated the persecutions of
the maidens. The Lord also restrained them and pre
vented the demon from inciting them thereafter. But
the time, during which He absented Himself and during
which He hid Himself from this heavenly spouse, lasted
(wonderful to relate!) ten years; although the Most
High interrupted this absence a few times by allowing
the veil to fall from his face for the relief of his Be
loved; but it was not often that He dispensed this favor
during that time, and He did it with less lavishness and
tenderness than in the first years of her childhood. This
absence of the Lord was ordained for our Queen in order
that She might, by actual exercise of all perfection, be
made worthy for the dignity to which She was destined
by the Most High. For if She had continually enjoyed
the vision of his Majesty in the manner described by us
in the fourteenth chapter of this book, She could not
have suffered according to the common order of a mere
717. But during this retirement and absence of the
Lord, although most holy Mary missed the intuitive and
abstractive visions of the divine Essence and of the angels
as mentioned above, her most holy soul and her faculties
enjoyed more gifts of grace and more supernatural en
lightenment, than all the saints ever attained or received.
For in regard to this the hand of God never withdrew
from Her. But in comparison with the frequent visita
tions of the Lord in her first years, I call the state of
her privation of his presence for such a long time, an
absence and withdrawal of the Lord. It commenced
eight days before the death of her father, saint Joachim,
and afterwards the persecution of hell began, followed by
the persecutions on the part of creatures. They lasted
until our Princess reached the age of twelve years. Hav
ing passed this age, the holy angels on a certain day,
without manifesting themselves, spoke to Her as fol
lows : "Mary, the end of the life of thy holy mother Anne
as ordained by the Most High, is now about to arrive,
and his Majesty has resolved to free her from the prison
of her mortal body and bring her labors to a happy ful
718. At this unexpected and sorrowful message the
heart of the affectionate Daughter was filled with com
passion. Prostrating Herself in the presence of the Most
High, She poured forth a fervent prayer for the happy
death of her mother saint Anne in the following words :
"King of the ages, invisible and eternal Lord, immortal
and almighty Creator of the Universe, although I am but
dust and ashes and although I must confess, that I am
in debt to thy greatness, I will not on that account be
prevented from speaking to my Lord (Gen. 18, 17), and
I pour out before thee my heart, hoping, O my God, that
Thou wilt not despise her, who has always confessed
thy holy name. Dismiss, O Lord, in peace thy servant,
who has with invincible faith and confidence desired to
fulfill thy divine pleasure. Let her issue victoriously and
triumphantly from the hostile combat and enter the por
tal of thy holy chosen ones; let thy powerful arm
strengthen her; at the close of her mortal career, let that
same right hand, which has helped her to walk in the
path of perfection, assist her, and let her enter, O my
Father, into the peace of thy friendship and grace, since
she has always sought after it with an upright heart"
719. The Lord did not respond expressly in words to
this petition of his Beloved; but his answer was a mar
velous favor, shown to Her and to her mother, saint
Anne. During that night his Majesty commanded the
guardian angels of the most holy Mary to carry Her bod
ily to the sickbed of her mother and one of them to remain
in her stead, assuming for this purpose an aerial body
as a substitute for hers. The holy angels obeyed the
mandate of God and they carried their and our Queen
to the house and to the room of her holy mother Anne.
Being thus brought to the presence of her mother, the
heavenly Lady kissed her hand and said to her: "My
mother and mistress, may the Most High be thy light
and thy strength, and may He be blessed, since He has
in his condescension not permitted me in my necessity to
remain without the benefit of thy last blessing; may I
then receive it, my mother, from thy hand." Holy Anne
gave her last blessing to Mary and with overflowing
heart also thanked the Lord for the great favor thus
conferred upon Herself. For She knew the sacrament
of her Daughter and Queen, and she did not forget to
express her gratitude for the love, which Mary had
shown her on this occasion.
720. Then our Princess turned toward her mother
and comforted her against the approach of death; and
among many other words of incomparable consolation,
She spoke also the following: "Mother, beloved of my
soul, it is necessary that we pass through the portal of
death to the eternal life, which we expect; bitter and
painful is the passage, but also profitable. For it is insti
tuted by the divine Goodness as the beginning of our
security and rest; it satisfies by itself for the negligences
and shortcomings of the creature in fulfilling the duties.
Accept death, O my mother ; through it pay the common
debt with joy of spirit, and depart in confidence to the
company of the holy Patriarchs, Prophets, the just and
the friends of God, who were our ancestors. There
await with them the beatitude, which the Most High
will send to us through our Savior and his Redemption.
The certainty of this hope will be thy consolation until
we attain to the full possession of that which we expect."
721. Saint Anne answered her Daughter with a re
turn of love and in a spirit of joy worthy of herself and
of such a Daughter on such an occasion. In maternal
tenderness she said: "Mary, my beloved Daughter, ful
fill now thy obligation by not forgetting me in the pres
ence of our Lord God and Creator and reminding Him
of the need I have of his protection in this hour. Re
member what thou owest to her, who has conceived Thee
and bore Thee in her womb nine months, who after
wards nourished Thee at her breast and has always held
Thee in her heart. Beseech the Lord, my Daughter, that
He extend a hand of mercy toward me, his useless crea
ture, who has her beginning only through his mercies,
and that I may receive his blessing in this hour of my
death; for I place my confidence and have always placed
it altogether in his holy name. Do not leave me, my Be
loved, before Thou hast closed my eyes. Thou wilt be
left an orphan and without the protection of man; but
thou wilt live under the guardianship of the Most High ;
confide in the mercies which He has shown of old.
Daughter of my heart, walk in the path of the justifica
tions of the Lord and ask his Majesty to govern thy
aspirations and thy powers and to be thy Teacher in
the holy law. Do not leave the temple before choosing
thy state of life, and let it be done only with the sound
advice of the priests of the temple, and continue to pray
to the Lord that He dispose of thy affairs according to
his own pleasure. Pray that, if it be his will to give
Thee a spouse, he may be of the tribe of Juda and of the
race of David. The possessions of thy father Joachim
and of myself, which shall belong to Thee, share with
the poor, with whom thou shouldst deal in loving gen
erosity. Keep thy secret hidden within thy Bosom and
ask the Omnipotent without ceasing to show his mercy
by sending his salvation and redemption through his
promised Messiah. Ask and beseech his infinite bounty
to be thy protection, and may his blessing come over
Thee together with mine."
722. In the midst of such exalted and heavenly collo
quies the blessed mother saint Anne felt the throes of
death approacihing and, reclining upon the throne of
grace, that is, in the arms of her most holy Daughter
Mary, she rendered her most pure soul to her Creator.
Having closed the eyes of her mother, as saint Anne
had requested, and leaving the sacred body in position
for burial, the Queen Mary was again taken up by the
holy angels and restored to her place in the temple. The
Most High did not impede the force of her filial love,
which naturally would cause a great and tender sorrow
at the death of her mother and a sense of loneliness at
being deprived of her assistance. But these sorrows
were most holy and perfect in our Queen, governed by
the graces of her most prudent innocence and purity.
In the midst of them She gave praise to the Most High
for the infinite mercies, which He had shown to her
mother both in life and in death, while her sweet and
loving complaints on account of the absence of the Lord
continued unabated.
723. However this most holy Daughter could not
know the full extent of the consolation afforded her
mother in having Her present at her death. For the
Daughter was not aware of her own exalted dignity and
the sacrament connected with Her, as was known to the
mother. This she had always kept secret, as the Most
High had commanded her. But finding at her bedside Her,
who was the light of her eyes and of the whole world,
and having the privilege of expiring in her arms, all the
desires of her mortal life were fulfilled, making its end
more happy than that of all the mortals up to that hour.
She died, not so much in the fullness of years as in the
fullness of merits, and her most holy soul was placed by
the angels in the bosom of Abraham, where she was
recognized and reverenced by all the Patriarchs,
Prophets and the just, who were in that place. This
most holy matron was naturally endowed with a great
and generous heart, with a clear and aspiring intellect
fervent and at the same time full of tranquillity and peace.
She was of medium stature, somewhat smaller than her
Daughter, most holy Mary ; her face was rather round,
of a suffused whiteness, her countenance was always
equable and composed, and finally She was the mother of
Her, who was to be the Mother of God himself; this
dignity in itself included many perfections. Saint Anne
lived fifty-six years, portioned off into the following
periods; at the age of twenty-four she espoused saint
Joachim and she remained without issue for twenty
years ; then in the forty-fourth year she gave birth to the
most holy Mary, and of the twelve years which she lived
during the lifetime of Mary, three were passed in her
company and nine during her absence in the temple,
which altogether make fifty-six years.
724. Concerning this great and admirable woman, as
I have been informed, some grave authors assert, that
saint Anne was married three times and that in each one
of these marriages she was the mother of one of the
three Marys; others have the contrary opinion. The
Lord has vouchsafed to me, solely on account of his
goodness, great enlightenment concerning the life of this
fortunate saint; yet never was it intimated to me that
she was ever married except to saint Joachim, or that
she ever had any other daughter besides Mary, the
Mother of Christ. Perhaps because it does not per
tain to nor was necessary for the history which I
am writing, information was not given to me whether
the other Marys who are called her sisters, were or were
not her cousins, that is daughters of the sister of saint
Anne. When her spouse saint Joachim died, she was in
the forty-eighth year of her age, and the Most High
selected and set her apart from the race of women, in
order to make her the mother of Her, who was the Su
perior of all creatures, inferior only to God, and yet his
Mother. Because of her having such a Daughter and of
her being the grandmother of the Word made man, all
the nations may call the most fortunate saint Anne
725. My daughter, the most valuable science of man
is to know how to resign himself entirely into the hands
of his Creator, since He knows why he has formed him
and for what end each man is destined. Man s sole duty
is to live in obedience and in the love of his Lord. God
will charge himself most solicitously with the care of
those that thus confide in Him; He will take upon Him
self the management of all the affairs and all the events
of this life in order to draw blessings and benefits for
those that thus trust in his fidelity. He afflicts and cor
rects the just by adversities, He consoles and rejoices
them with his favors, He inspires them with hope in his
promises, and threatens them and inspires them with fear
by his threats; He absents Himself in order to attract
their love, He shows Himself to the souls in order to
reward and preserve them in fervor, and in all these
things He makes the lives of the chosen ones more de
lightful and beautiful. All this happened to me in that
which thou hast written of me ; He visited me and pre
pared me in his mercy with many different kinds of bless
ings, difficulties and labors, persecutions of creatures,
and the separation from my parents and from all men.
726. In the midst of these various trials the Lord did
not forget my weakness, for with the sorrow for the
death of my mother, holy Anne, He combined the con
solation and comfort of permitting me to be present at
her death. O my soul, how many blessings do men lose
by not attaining to this wisdom! They hold themselves
aloof from the divine Providence, which is powerful and
sweet and unfailing, which measures the orbs of heaven
and the elements; which counts the footsteps, discerns
the thoughts, and disposes everything for the benefit of
the creatures. Instead of all this men are given over to
their own solicitudes, which are inefficient and weak,
blind, uncertain and inconsiderate. From this false be
ginning originate and follow irreparable evils for man;
for he deprives himself of the divine protection and falls
from the dignity of having his Creator as his Helper and
Defender. What is still worse, if by his carnal wisdom
and by diabolical astuteness to which man resigns him
self, he succeeds sometimes in obtaining what he seeks,
he deems himself fortunate on account of this, his own
misfortune! And with sensible pleasure he imbibes the
poison of eternal death in the deceitful delight, which he
has gained, while incurring the alienation and abhorrence
of his God.
727. Mind well, then, my daughter, this danger, and
let thy whole solicitude be to cast thyself securely into
the arms of thy provident God and Lord. He being in
finite in wisdom and power, loves thee much more than
thou lovest thyself, and He knows and desires for thee
greater goods, than thou ever canst learn to desire and
request. Confide in his goodness and in his promises,
which do not admit of failure; remember what He says
through his Prophet to the just: that it is well with man
(Is. 3, 10) since God takes upon Himself his desires and
cares, and charges Himself with them in order to deal
with them according to his generosity. By means of
this most secure confidence thou wilt even in this mortal
life enjoy the blessedness of a tranquil and peaceful con
science; and although thou mayest find thyself sur
rounded by the tempestuous waves of trial and adversity
which cast over thee the sorrows of death (Psalm 17,
5), and although the terrors of hell may surround Thee,
suffer thou and hope in patience, so that thou err not
from the portal of the grace and the good will of the
Most High.
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