Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 2  Chapter  21    Verses:  729-754

742. At the age of thirteen and a half years, having
grown considerably for her age, our most charming
Princess, most pure Mary, had another abstractive
vision of the Divinity of the same order and kind as
those already described. In this vision, we might say,
happened something similar to that which the holy
Scriptures relate of Abraham, when God commanded
him to sacrifice his beloved son Isaac, the only pledge
of all his hopes. God tempted Abraham, says Moses
(Gen. 12, 2), trying and probing the promptness of
his obedience in order to reward it. We can say the
same thing of our great Lady, that God tried Her in
this vision, by commanding Her to enter the state of
matrimony. Thence we can also understand the truth
of the words: How inscrutable are the judgments of
the Lord and how exalted are his ways and thoughts
above our own (Rom. 11, 33) ! As distant as heaven
is from earth, were the thoughts of most holy Mary
from the plans which the Most High now made known
to Her, by commanding Her to accept a husband for
her protection and company; for as far as depended
upon her will She had desired and resolved during all
her life not to have a husband (433, 586) and She had
often repeated and renewed the vow of chastity, which
She had taken at such a premature age.
743. As already mentioned, the Lord had celebrated
his solemn espousal with the Princess Mary (435) when
She was brought to the temple, confirming and approv
ing her vow of chastity, and solemnizing it by the pres
ence of the glorious hosts of angels. The most inno
cent Dove had withdrawn Herself from all human in
tercourse, relinquishing entirely all that might be called
worldly interest and attention, or love and desire of
creatures. She was altogether taken up and transformed
by the pure and chaste love of that highest Good which
never fails, knowing that She would be only more
chaste in its love, more pure in its contact, and more
virginal in its acceptance. When therefore, without any
other explanation, the command of the Lord reached Her,
that She now accept an earthly spouse and husband,
what surprise and astonishment was it to this heav
enly Maid, who, in her fixed confidence was living
so secure in the possession of God himself as her Spouse
and who now heard from Him such a command?
Greater was this trial than that of Abraham (Gen. 22,
1, etc.), for he did not love Isaac in the same degree as
most holy Mary loved inviolate chastity.
744. Nevertheless at this unexpected command the
most prudent Virgin suspended her judgment, and pre
served the calmness of her hope and belief more per
fectly than Abraham. Hoping against hope (Rom. 4,
18), She made answer to the Lord saying: "Eternal
God and incomprehensible Majesty, Creator of heaven
and earth, and of all things contained therein, Thou, O
Lord, who weighest the winds (Job 28, 25), and by
thy commands settest bounds to the sea and subjectest
all creation to thy will, canst dispose of me, thy worth
less wormlet, according to thy pleasure, without mak
ing me fail in that which I have promised to Thee ; and
if it be not displeasing to Thee, my good Lord, I con
firm and ratify anew my desire to remain chaste dur
ing all my life and to have Thee for my Lord and
Spouse ; and since my only duty as a creature is to obey
Thee, see Thou to it, my Spouse, that according to thy
Providence I may escape from this predicament in which
thy holy love places me." There was, however, some
uneasiness in the most chaste maiden Mary, as far as
her inferior nature was concerned, just as happened
afterwards at the message of the archangel Gabriel
(Luke 1, 8) ; yet, though She felt some sadness, it did
not hinder Her from practicing the most heroic obedi
ence which until then had fallen to her lot, and She re
signed Herself entirely into the hand of the Lord. His
Majesty answered her: "Mary, let not thy heart be dis
turbed, for thy resignation is acceptable to Me and my
powerful arm is not subject to laws; by my disposition
that will happen, which is most proper for Thee."
745. Consoled only by this vague promise of the
Lord, most holy ; Mary recovered from her vision and
returned to her ordinary state. Left between doubt and
hope by the divine command and promise, She was full
of solicitude, for the Lord intended that She should
multiply Her tearful sentiments of love and confidence,
of faith, humility, of obedience, of purest chastity and
of other virtues, impossible to enumerate. In the mean
time, while our great Lady applied Herself to vigilant
prayer, and to her resigned and prudent sighs and so
licitude, God spoke in sleep to the high priest, saint
Simeon, and commanded him to arrange for the mar
riage of Mary, the daughter of Joachim and Anne of
Nazareth ; since He regarded Her with special care and
love. The holy priest answered, asking what was his
will in regard to the person, whom the maiden Mary
was to marry and to whom She was to give Herself as
Spouse. The Lord instructed Him to call together the
other priests and learned persons and to tell them that
this Maiden was left alone and an orphan and that She
did not desire to be married; but that, as it was a cus
tom for the firstborn maidens not to leave the temple
without being provided for, it was proper She should
be married to whomever it seemed good to them.
746. The highpriest obeyed the divine order and, hav
ing called together the other priests, he made known to
them the will of the Most High, informing them of the
favor in which his Majesty held this Maiden, Mary of
Nazareth, according as it had been revealed to him. He
told them that as She was an inmate of the temple and
was now without parents, it was their duty to provide for
Her and find a husband worthy of a Maiden so modest,
virtuous and of such unimpeachable conduct as was hers
in the temple. Moreover, as Mary was of noble lineage
and as her property and other considerations made this
marriage particularly important, it was necessary to con
sider well to whom She was to be entrusted. He added
also that Mary of Nazareth did not desire to be mar
ried; but that at the same time it would not be proper
to dismiss Her from the temple unmarried, since She
was an orphan and a firstborn daughter.
747. Having conferred about this matter among
themselves the priests and learned men, moved by divine
impulse, concluded that, in a matter where so much was
involved and where the Lord himself had favorably in
terfered, it would be best to inquire farther into his
holy will and to ask Him to designate in some manner
who should be the most appropriate person to be the
spouse of Mary. Knowing that her spouse must be of
the house and of the race of David in order to comply
with the law, they appointed a day, on which all the free
and unmarried men of that race, who then might be in
Jerusalem, were to be called together in the temple. It
happened to be the very day on which our Princess com
pleted her fourteenth year. As it was necessary to
notify Her of the result of their conference and to ask
Her consent, the highpriest Simeon called Her and in
formed her of their intention to give Her a spouse be
fore dismissing Her from the temple.
748. The most prudent Virgin, with a countenance
betokening virginal modesty, answered the priest with
great composure and humility: "Sir, as far as my in
clinations are concerned, I desire to preserve perpetual
chastity during all my life; for I wished to dedicate
myself to God in the service of this holy temple in re
turn for the great blessings which I have received in it;
I never had the intention or the desire to enter the state
of matrimony, since I consider myself incapable of ful
filling the duties connected with it. This was my in
clination, but thou, my master, who art to me in place
of God, wilt teach me what is according to his holy
Will." "My Daughter," answered the priest, "thy holy
desires are acceptable to the Lord; but remember, that
no maiden of Israel abstains from marriage as long as
we expect the coming of the Messias conformably to the
divine prophecies. Therefore all who obtain issue of
children among our people, esteem themselves happy
and blessed. In the matrimonial state Thou canst serve
God truly and in great perfection; and in order that
Thou mayest obtain a companion according to the heart
of God and who will be conformable to thy wishes, we
will pray to the Lord, as I have told Thee, asking Him
to single out a husband for Thee, who shall be pleasing
to Him and of the line of David; do Thou also pray
continually for the same favor, in order that the Most
High may favor Thee and may direct us all."
749. This happened nine days before the one ap
pointed for the execution and realization of their re
solve. During this time the most holy Virgin multi
plied her prayers, beseeching the Lord with incessant
tears and sighs, to fulfill his divine pleasure in that
which She had so much at heart. On one of those nine
days the Lord appeared to Her and said to Her: "My
Spouse and my Dove, let thy afflicted heart expand and
let it not be disturbed or sad ; I will attend to thy yearn
ings and to thy requests, I will direct all things, and will
govern the priests by my enlightenment; I will give
Thee a spouse selected by Myself, and one who will put
no hindrance to thy holy desires, but who, by my grace
will prosper Thee in them. I will find for Thee a per
fect man conformable to my heart and I will choose him
from the number of my servants; my power is infinite,
and my protection and aid shall never fail Thee."
750. The most holy Mary answering said: "Highest
Good and Love of my soul, Thou well knowest the secret
of my bosom and my desires, which Thou hast excited
in me from the first moment of the existence received
from Thee; preserve me, then, my Spouse, pure and
chaste, as I have desired for Thee and through Thee.
Do not despise my sighs and deprive me not of thy
countenance. Remember, my Lord and God, that I am
but a useless wormlet, weak and despicable on account
of my insignificance; and if I should fall away from
virtue in the state of matrimony, I shall disappoint Thee
and my desires; provide Thou for my security and be
not deterred by my demerits. Although I am but use
less dust (Gen. 18, 27), I will call on thy greatness, O
Lord, trusting in thy infinite mercies."
751. The most chaste Maiden also approached her
holy angels, whom She surpassed in sanctity and purity,
and conferred with them many times concerning her
anxieties in regard to the new state, which She was ex
pected to enter. One day the holy spirits said to Her:
"Spouse of the Most High, since Thou canst not ignore
this title, nor much less the love which He, who is al
mighty and unfailing in his truth, has shown Thee, let
thy heart, O Mistress, be at peace; for sooner will the
heavens and the earth fail, than the fulfillment of his
promises (Matth. 24, 27). All the events of thy life
succeed each other according to the foreknowledge of
thy Spouse; and his powerful arm, which governs the
elements and all creatures, can suspend the forces of the
impetuous waves and temper the vehemence of the ele
ments, so that neither fire will burn nor the earth show
its weight His high judgments are secret and holy, his
decrees are most just and wonderful, nor can creatures
comprehend them; though they must revere them. If
his Majesty wishes that Thou serve Him in matrimony,
it will be better for Thee to please Him therein, than to
displease Him in some other state of life. He will no
doubt provide for Thee the most holy and perfect ; trust
Thou securely in his promises." This advice of the
angels quieted somewhat the anxieties of our Princess.
She asked them anew for protection and assistance, and
that they present to the Lord in her name her entire
subjection to that which his divine pleasure should or
dain in her regard.
752. My dearest daughter, most high and venerable
are the judgments of the Lord, and they should not be
scrutinized by mortals, since they are impenetrable. His
Majesty commanded me to enter the state of matrimony
and at the same time concealed from me the sacrament
dependent upon entering it. Matrimony was required,
in order that my parturition might be respectable in the
eyes of the world, and that the Word, made incarnate
in my womb, might be reputed as the son of my hus
band, since at the same time the world was to remain
ignorant of this mystery. It was also a suitable means
to conceal this mystery from Lucifer and the demons,
who in such rage were bent on wreaking their fury
upon me. When they saw me enter the married state
as other women, their fury was appeased, not thinking
it compatible, that She should have a husband, who was
to be the Mother of God himself; Lucifer himself was
somewhat quieted by this means and made a truce with
his malice. The Lord had also other ends in view,
which have become manifest, although, on account of
circumstances, they were hidden to me at that period of
my life.
753. I wish Thee to understand, my daughter, that
the certain prospect of being espoused to any man, with
out at the same time knowing the mystery concealed
from me by the Lord, was the greatest sorrow and af
fliction, which until then I had ever experienced; and if
the divine power had not strengthened me in this pain,
and had not given me some kind of confidence, although
it was only obscure and undetermined, I would have lost
my life in this suffering. But from this event thou
shouldst learn how complete must be the resignation of
the creature to the will of the Most High, and how it
must restrict its shortsighted judgment and guard
against scrutinizing the secrets of a Majesty so exalted
and mysterious. If any danger or difficulty seems to
present itself in that which the Lord commands, let
man confide in Him and firmly believe that he was not
placed therein in order to be forsaken, but in order that
he may come forth victorious and triumphant, if he co
operates on his own part with the assistance given by
the Lord. Whenever the soul seeks to scrutinize the
decrees of his wisdom and satisfy itself before it obeys
and believes, let it be convinced that it defrauds the
Creator of its glory and honor, and at the same time
loses for itself the merit of its works.
754. I was aware that God is superior to all crea
tures and that He had no need of our foresight ; for He
seeks only the subjection of our will, since the creature
cannot give Him counsel, but only obedience and praise.
And although, on account of not knowing what He
wished of me and ordained for me in the state of matri
mony, the love, which I had for chastity caused me
much affliction; yet that grievous sorrow did not make
me curious and inquisitive, but served to make my obe
dience more excellent and pleasing in his eyes. By this
example thou thyself must regulate the subjection to
that which thou perceiyest to be according to the pleas
ure of the Lord thy Spouse, resigning thyself entirely to
his protection and confiding in the firmness of his prom
ises. And wherever thou hast the approbation of thy
priests and superiors, allow thyself to be governed with
out any resistance to their commands and to the divine
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