Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 3  Chapter  1    Verses:  1-15

1. In order that her most faultless life might be to all
an example of the highest holiness, the Most High had
placed upon our Queen and Mistress the duties of a spouse
of saint Joseph which was a position requiring more inter
course with her neighbors. The heavenly Mistress,
finding Herself in this new estate, was filled with such
exalted thoughts and sentiments in the fulfillment of her
duties, and ordered all the activities of her life with such
wisdom, that She was an object of admirable emulation
to the angelic spirits and an unparalleled example for
men. Few knew Her and still fewer had intercourse with
Her : but these happy ones were so filled with that celestial
influence of Mary, that with a wonderful joy and with
unwonted flights of spirit they sought to express and
manifest the light, which illumined their hearts and
which they knew came from Her. The most prudent
Queen was not unaware of these operations of the Most
High; but neither was it yet time, nor would her most
profound humility as yet consent to their becoming
known to the world. She continually besought the Lord
to hide them from men, to make all the favors of his right
hand redound solely to his praise, and to permit Her to
be ignored and despised by all the mortals, in as far as
his infinite goodness would not be offended thereby.
2. These prayers were accepted by her divine Spouse
with great benignity and his providence arranged all
things in such a manner, that the very light, which
incited men to proclaim her greatness, at the same time
caused them to be mute. Moved by divine power, they
refrained from expressing their thoughts, inwardly prais
ing the Lord for the light, which they felt within them
selves. Filled with marvel they suspended their judg
ment, and leaving behind the creatures, they sought their
Creator. Many turned from sin at the mere sight of
Her; others amended their lives; all were affected at
seeing Her and experienced heavenly influences in their
souls. But immediately they forgot the source of these
influences; for if they could have remained in her pres
ence, or could have retained the memory of her image,
and if God had not prevented it by a mystery, nothing
would have been able to divert their attention from Her
and all would have sought Her without wavering.
3. In such fruitful occupations and in augmenting the
gifts and graces from which all this good proceeded, our
Queen, the Spouse of Joseph, busied Herself during the
six months and seventeen days, which intervened between
her espousal and the Incarnation of the Word. I cannot
pretend to refer even briefly to her great heroic acts of
all the virtues, interior and exterior, to all her deeds of
charity, humility, religion, and all her works of mercy,
the alms and benefactions ; for this exceeds the power of
the pen. The best I can do is to sum up and say : that
the Most High found in most holy Mary the fulfillment
of all his pleasure and of his wishes, as far as is possible
in the correspondence of a creature with its Creator. By
her sanctity and merits God felt Himself as it were
obliged, and, (according to our way of speaking), com
pelled, to hasten his steps and extend the arms of his
Omnipotence to bring about the greatest of wonders con
ceivable in the world before or after: namely the Incar
nation of the Onlybegotten of the Father in the virginal
womb of this Lady.
4. In order to proceed with a dignity befitting Himself,
God prepared most holy Mary in a singular manner
during the nine days immediately preceding this mystery,
and allowed the river of his Divinity to rush impetuously
forth (Psalm 45, 5) to inundate this City of God with
its floods. He communicated such great graces and
gifts and favors, that I am struck dumb by the perception
of what has been made known to me concerning this
miracle, and my lowliness is filled with dread at even the
mention of what I understood. For the tongue, the pen,
and all the faculties of a creature fall far below any pos
sibility of revealing such incomprehensible sacraments.
Therefore I wish it to be understood, that all I say here
is only an insignificant shadow of the smallest part of
these wonders and ineffable prodigies, which are not at
all to be encompassed by our limited words, but only by
the power divine, which I do not possess.
5. On the first day of this most blessed novena the
heavenly Princess Mary, after a slight rest, according to
the example of her father David and according to the
diurnal order and arrangement laid out for Her by the
Lord, left her couch at midnight (Psalm 118, 62), and,
prostrate in the presence of the Most High, commenced
her accustomed prayer and holy exercises. The angels,
who attended upon Her, spoke to Her and said : "Spouse
of our King and Lord, arise, for his Majesty calls Thee."
She raised Herself with fervent affection and answered :
The Lord commands the dust to raise itself from the
dust." And turning toward the countenance of the
Lord, who called Her, She added: "Most high and
powerful Master, what wishest Thou to do with me?"
At these words her most holy soul was raised in spirit
to a new and higher habitation, closer to the same Lord
and more remote from all earthly and passing things.
6. She felt at once, that She was being prepared by
those illuminations and purifications, which at other times
She had experienced in some of the most exalted visions
of the Divinity. I do not dwell on them, since I have
described them in the first part (Part I, 620-629). The
Divinity manifested Itself not by an intuitive, but by an
abstractive vision; however so clearly, that by it She
understood more of this incomprehensible Object, than
what the blessed see and enjoy by intuition. For this
vision was more exalted and more profound than the
others of that kind ; since this heavenly Lady made Her
self more capable day by day and, because She made such
perfect use of graces, She disposed Herself for ever
greater ones. Moreover, the repeated enlightenments
and visions of the Divinity continually enabled Her
to respond more and more befittingly to its infinite
7. In this vision our Princess Mary learned most high
secrets of the Divinity and of its perfections, and espe
cially of God s communications ad extra in the work of
creation. She saw that it originated in the goodness and
liberality of God, that creatures were not necessary for
supplementing his Divine existence, nor for his infinite
glory, since without them He was glorious through the
interminable eternities before the creation of the world.
Many sacraments and secrets were manifested to our
Queen, which neither can nor should be made known to
all; for She alone was the only One (Cant. 6, 8; 7, 6),
the chosen One, selected by the highest King and Lord
of creation for these delights. But as her Highness in
this vision perceived this impulse and inclination of the
Divinity to communicate Itself ad extra with a force
greater than that which makes all the elements tend
toward their center, and as She was drawn within the
sphere of this divine love, She besought the eternal
Father with heart aflame, that He send his Onlybegotten
into the world and give salvation to men, since in this
manner He should satisfy, and, (speaking humanly),
execute the promptings of his Divinity and its perfections.
8. These petitions of his Spouse were very sweet to
the Lord, they were the scarlet lace, with which She
bound and secured his love. And in order to put his
desires into execution He sought first to prepare the
tabernacle or temple, whither He was to descend from
the bosom of the eternal Father. He resolved to furnish
his beloved and chosen Mother with a clear knowledge
of all his works ad extra, just as his Omnipotence had
made them. On the first day therefore, and in this same
vision, He manifested to Her all that He had made on
the first day of the creation of the world, as it is recorded
in Genesis, and She perceived all with greater clearness
and comprehension, than if She had been an eye-witness ;
for She knew them first as they are in God, and then as
they are in themselves.
9. She perceived and understood, how the Lord in
the beginning (Gen. 1; 1, 5), created heaven and earth;
in how far and in what way it was void, and how the
darkness was over the face of the abyss; how the spirit
of the Lord hovered over the waters and how, at the
divine command, light was made, and what was its
nature; how, after the darkness was divided, it was
called night and the light day, and how thus the first
day was made. She knew the size of the earth, its
longitude, latitude and depth, its caverns, hell, limbo and
purgatory with their inhabitants; the countries, climes,
the meridians and divisions of the world, and all its
inhabitants and occupants. With the same clearness She
knew the inferior orbs and the empyrean heaven; how
the angels were made on the first day ; She was informed
of their nature, conditions, diversity, hierarchies, offices,
grades and virtues. The rebellion of the bad angels was
revealed to Her, their fall and the occasion and the cause
of that fall, though the Lord always concealed from Her
that which concerned Herself. She understood the pun
ishment and the effects of sin in the demons, beholding
them as they are in themselves ; and at the conclusion of
the first day, the Lord showed to Her, how She too was
formed of this lowly earthly material and endowed with
the same nature as all those, who return to the dust;
He did not however say, that She would again return to
it; yet He gave Her such a profound knowledge of the
earthly existence, that the great Queen humiliated Her
self to the abyss of nothingness ; being without fault, She
debased Herself more than all the children of Adam with
all their miseries.
10. This whole vision and all its effects the Most High
arranged in such a way as to open up in the heart of Mary
the deep trenches that were required for the foundations
of the edifice, which He wished to erect in Her: namely
so high a one, that it would reach up to the substantial
and hypostatic union of the human and divine nature.
And as the dignity of Mother of God was without limits
and to a certain extent infinite, it was becoming that She
should be grounded in a proportionate humility, such as
would be without limits though still within the bounds
of reason itself. Attaining the summit of virtue, this
blessed One among women humiliated Herself to such
an extent, that the most holy Trinity was, as it were, fully
paid and satisfied, and (according to our mode of under
standing) constrained to raise Her to the highest position
and dignity possible among creatures and nearest to the
Divinity itself. In this highest benevolence his Majesty
spoke and said to Her :
11. "My Spouse and Dove, great is my desire of
redeeming man from sin and my immense kindness is
as it were strained in waiting for the time, in which I
shall descend in order to repair the world ; ask Me con
tinually during these days and with great affection for
the fulfillment of this desire. Prostrate in my royal
presence let not thy petitions and clamors cease, asking
Me that the Onlybegotten of the Father descend in
reality to unite Himself with the human nature." Where
upon the heavenly Princess responded and said : "Lord
and God eternal, whose is all the power and wisdom,
whose wish none can resist (Esther 13, 9), who shall
hinder thy Omnipotence? Who shall detain the im
petuous current of thy Divinity, so that thy pleasure
in conferring this benefit upon the whole human race
remain unfulfilled? If perhaps, O my Beloved, I am a
hindrance to such an immeasurable benefit, let me perish
before I impede thy pleasure ; this blessing cannot depend
upon the merits of any creature ; therefore, my Lord and
Master, do not wait, as we might later on merit it so
much the" less. The sins of men increase and the offenses
against Thee are multiplied ; how shall we merit the very
blessing, of which we become daily more unworthy? In
Thee thyself, my Lord, exists the last cause and motive
of our salvation; thy infinite bounty, thy numberless
mercies incite Thee, the groans of thy Prophets and of
the Fathers of thy people solicit Thee, the saints sigh
after Thee, the sinners look for Thee and all of them
together call out to Thee ; and if I, insignificant wormlet,
on account of my ingratitude, am not unworthy of thy
merciful condescension, I venture to beseech Thee, from
the bottom of my heart, to speed thy coming and to
hasten thy Redemption for thy greater glory."
12. When the Princess of heaven had finished this
prayer, She returned to her ordinary and more natural
state ; but anxious to fulfill the mandate of the Lord, She
continued during that whole day her petitions for the
Incarnation of the Word and with the deepest humility
She repeated the exercises of prostrating Herself to the
ground and praying in the form of a cross. For the
Holy Ghost,, who governed Her, had taught Her this
posture, by which She so highly pleased the most blessed
Trinity. God saw, in the body of the future Mother of
the Word, as it were the crucified person of Christ and
therefore He received this morning sacrifice of the most
pure Virgin as an advance offering of that of his most
holy Son.
13. My daughter, the mortals are not capable of un
derstanding the ineffable operations of the arm of the
Omnipotent in preparing me for the Incarnation of the
eternal Word. Especially during the nine days, which
preceded this exalted sacrament was my spirit elevated
and united with the immutable being of the Divinity. I
was submerged in the ocean of his infinite perfections,
participating in all those eminent and divine effect, which
are beyond all presentiment of the human hearts. The
knowledge of creatures communicated to me penetrated
into their very essence, so that it was more profound and
piercing than that of all the angelic spirits, though their
knowledge of creation, on account of the beatific vision,
is altogether admirable. Moreover the images of them
all were impressed upon my mind to be used by me
according as I desired.
14. What I wish of thee today is to take notice how
I used this knowledge and to imitate me according to
thy power with the help of the infused light, which thou
hast received for this purpose. Profit by the knowledge
of creatures by making of them a ladder to ascend unto
God thy Creator ; so that thou mayest seek in all of them
their first beginning and their last end. Let them serve
thee as a mirror from which the Godhead is reflected,
reminding thee of his Omnipotence and inciting thee to
the love, which He seeks in thee. Be thou filled with
wonder and praise at the greatness and magnificence of
the Creator and in his presence humiliate thyself to the
dust. Shun no difficulty or suffering in order to become
meek and humble of heart. Take notice, my dearest,
that this virtue of humility was the firm foundation of
all the wonders, which the Most High wrought in me;
and in order that thou mayest esteem this virtue so much
the more, remember that of all others, it is at the same
time the most precious, the most delicate and perishable ;
for if thou lose it in any respect, and if thou be not
humble in all things without exception, thou wilt not
be humble in anything. Remember thy earthly and cor
ruptible nature, and be not ignorant of the fact, that the
Most High has providentially formed man in such a way
that his own existence and formation intimate and re
hearse the important lesson of humility never allowing
him to be without this salutary teaching. On this
account He has not formed him of the most excellent
material, and has concealed the noblest part of his being
in the sanctuary of his interior (Exod. 30, 24), teaching
him to weigh as in a balance on the one side, the infinite
and eternal existence of the Lord, and on the other, his
own ignoble material existence. Thus he is to give unto
God what belongs to Him, and to himself what belongs
to his own self (Matth. 22, 21).
15. Most zealously I attended to this adjustment, be
coming an example and guide therein to all the mortals.
I wish that thou also do it in imitation of me, and that
thou zealously study to acquire the humility, which
pleases the Most High and myself, who desire thy true
advancement. I wish that thy perfection be built up in
the deep trenches of thy own self-knowledge; in order
that the deeper its foundations are laid, to so much the
higher and more exalted perfection may rise the edifice
of thy virtue. Thus thy will shall find a most intimate
conformity with that of the Lord, who looks down from
the eminence of his throne upon the humble of the earth.
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