Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 3  Chapter  7    Verses:  70-86

70. Great are the works of the Most High, for all of
them were and are executed with the plenitude of knowl
edge and goodness, ordained in equity and number
(Wis. 11, 21). None of them is faulty, useless or in
effectual, superfluous or vain ; all are exquisite and mag
nificent, finished and executed according to the full meas
ure of his holy will. Such He desired them to be, in
order that He might be known and magnified in them.
But in comparison to the mystery of the Incarnation, all
the works of God ad extra, although they are in them
selves great, stupendous and marvelous, more to be ad
mired than comprehended, are only a small spark, issuing
from the unfathomable abyss of the Divinity. This great
sacrament of vesting Himself in a passible and mortal
nature is pre-eminently the great work of his infinite
power and wisdom and the one which immeasurably ex
cels all the other works and wonders of his powerful
arm. For in this mystery, not merely a spark of the
Divinity, but that whole vast volcano of the infinite God
head, broke forth and communicated itself to men, unit
ing Itself by an indissoluble and eternal union to our
terrestrial human nature.
71. If this wonderful sacrament of the King is to be
measured only by his own vastness, it follows that the
Woman, in whose womb He was to become man, de
served to be so perfectly adorned with the plenitude of
his treasures, that no gift or grace within the range of
possibility be omitted, and all these gifts be so consum
mate, that nothing is wanting to them. As all this was
reasonable and altogether befitting the greatness of
the Omnipotent, He certainly fulfilled it in the most holy
Mary, much better than king Assuerus did with the
gracious Esther (Esther 2, 9), when he raised her to his
magnificent throne. The Most High visited our Queen
Mary with such great favors, privileges and gifts, that
the like was never even conceived in the mind of creatures,
and, when She issued forth in the presence of the cour
tiers of this great King of the eternal ages (I Tim. 1, 17),
they recognized and exalted in Her the power of God,
at the same time understanding, that He, who chose to
select a woman for his Mother, knew also how to make
her worthy of assuming that position.
72. The seventh day of this mysterious preparation
for the approaching sacrament arrived, and in the same
hour as already mentioned, the heavenly Lady was called
and elevated in spirit, but with this difference, that She
was bodily raised by her holy angels to the empyrean
heaven, while in her stead one of them remained to rep
resent Her in corporeal appearance. Placed into this
highest heaven, She saw the Divinity by abstract vision
as in other days; but always with new and more pene
trating light, piercing to new and more profound myster
ies, which God according to his free will can conceal or
reveal. Presently She heard a voice proceeding from
the royal throne, which said : "Our Spouse and chosen
Dove, our gracious Friend, who hast been found pleasing
in our eyes and hast been chosen among thousands : We
wish to accept thee anew as our Bride, and therefore We
wish to adorn and beautify thee in a manner worthy of
our design."
73. On hearing these words the most Humble among
the humble abased and annihilated Herself in the pres
ence of the Most High more than can be comprehended
by human power. Entirely submissive to the divine pleas
ure and with entrancing modesty, She responded: "At
thy feet, O Lord, lies the dust and abject worm, ready
is thy poor slave for the fulfillment of all thy pleasure in
her. Make use, O eternal Good, of this thy insignificant
instrument according to thy desire, and dispose of it with
thy right hand." Presently the Most High commanded
two seraphim, of those nearest to his throne and highest
in dignity to attend on this heavenly Virgin. Accom
panied by others, they presented themselves in visible
form before the throne, and there surrounded the most
holy Mary, who was more inflamed with divine love than
74. It was a spectacle worthy of new wonder and
jubilee for all the angelic spirits to see in this heavenly
place, never touched by other feet, an humble Maiden
consecrated as their Queen and raised to the closest
proximity to God of all the created beings; to see that
Woman, whom the world ignored and held in obliv
ious contempt, so highly esteemed and appreciated
(Prov. 31, 10) ; to see our human nature in its first fruits
receiving the pledge of superiority over the celestial
choirs and already assuming its place among them. O
what a holy and just envy must such a strange wonder
have caused in the ancient courtiers of that heavenly
Jerusalem ! What thoughts rose up within them in praise
of its Author! What sentiments of humility did it awaken
in them, subjecting all their high understandings to the
decrees of the divine Will! They saw that He was holy
and just, who exalted the humble, who favored human
lowliness and raised it above the angelic choirs.
75. While the inhabitants of heaven were lost in their
praiseworthy admiration, the most blessed Trinity,
(according to our imperfect mode of understanding and
speaking), conferred within Itself, how pleasing in its
sight was the Princess Mary, how perfectly and com
pletely She had corresponded with the blessings and
gifts confided to Her, how adequately She had augmented
the glory of the Lord; and how free She was of any
fault, defect or hindrance, that might compromise the
dignity of her predestined Motherhood of the Word.
Accordingly the three Persons of the Trinity resolved to
raise this Creature to the highest position of grace and
friendship of God, such as no creature had ever or would
ever attain; and then and there They gave to Her more
than to all the rest of creatures together. The most
blessed Trinity was pleased and rejoiced in seeing that
the supreme holiness of Mary was such as had been con
ceived and determined for Her in the divine intellect.
76. In correspondence with this holiness, and as a
completion of it, and as a testimony of the benevolence
with which the Lord wished to communicate to Her ever
new influences of his Divinity, He ordained and com
manded, that most holy Mary be visibly clothed and
adorned with mysterious vestments and jewels, which
should symbolize the interior graces and privileges of a
Queen and of a heavenly Spouse. Although such bridal
adornment had already been conferred upon Her before
that time, when She was presented in the temple
(Part I, 436) ; yet now this was done under new and
wonderful conditions; for it was to serve as the imme
diate preparation for the miracle of the Incarnation.
77. Presently therefore, upon the command of the
Lord the two seraphim clothed most holy Mary with a
tunic or ample robe, which, as a symbol of her purity and
grace, was so exquisitely white and resplendent, that if
one single ray of the light so profusely emitted by it
would flash into the world, it would by itself give more
refulgence than all the stars combined, even if they were
all suns; and in comparison with it, all the light, which
is known to us, would appear as darkness. While the
seraphim vested Her, the Most High gave Her a pro
found understanding of the obligation entailed thereby :
namely, that She must make a befitting return to his
Majesty, by proportioning her faithful love and the ex
alted perfection of her actions to that, which She had
now learnt. Nevertheless, the purpose, for which the
Lord intended these blessings, that is his Incarnation
through Her, continued to be hidden to her mind. All
the rest of the mysteries our Lady understood and for
all of them She humiliated Herself with ineffable pruence,
and She asked the divine assistance for corre
sponding to these favors and blessings.
78. Over this robe the same seraphim placed a girdle,
as a symbol of the holy fear, which was infused into Her.
It was very rich, with jewels of extreme refulgence and
beauty. At the same time the fountain of light bursting
forth from the Divinity enlightened and illumined the
heavenly Princess, so that She understood the exalted
reasons, why God should be feared by all the creatures.
With this gift of fear of the Lord She was appropriately
girded, as befitted a Creature, who was to treat and con
verse so familiarly with her Creator as his Mother.
79. Presently She perceived, that the seraphim
adorned Her with most beautiful and abundant hair,
held together by a rich clasp, more brilliant than pure
and polished gold. She understood, that in this em
bellishment was conceded to Her the privilege of
spending her whole life in exalted and divine thoughts,
inflamed by the subtlest charity as signified by the gold.
In connection with this privilege She was established
anew in the habits of unclouded wisdom and science,
exquisitely binding up the hair of exalted thoughts by an
ineffable participation in the wisdom and science of God
himself. Sandals or shoes were also given to Her, to
indicate, that all her steps and movements would be most
beauteous (Cant. 7, 1), tending always to the high and
holy aim of the greater glory of the Most High. And
these shoes were laced with the especial grace of anxious
diligence in doing good both before God and man
(Luke 1, 39), as it happened when She hastened to
visit saint Elisabeth and saint John; and thus this
Daughter of the Prince issued most beautiful in her
footsteps (Cant. 7, 1).
80. Her arms were adorned with bracelets, filling Her
with magnanimity for undertaking great works in par
ticipation of the divine magnificence ; and thus She
always extended them toward courageous deeds
(Prov. 31, 19). Her fingers were embellished by rings,
in order that in smaller or more inferior matters She
might act in a superior manner, exalted in aim and pur
pose and in all respect making her doings grand and
admirable. To this they added a necklace, set with in
estimable and brilliant jewels and containing symbols
of the three most excellent virtues of faith, hope and
charity in correspondence with the three divine Persons.
Conjointly with this gift they renewed in Her the habits
of these most noble virtues, which She would especially
need in the mysteries of the Incarnation and Redemption.
81. In her ears they hung earrings of gold, filigreed
with silver (Cant. 1, 10), thus preparing her ears for
the message, which She was shortly to hear from the arch
angel Gabriel, and at the same time they furnished Her
with knowledge in order that She might listen attentively
and give discreet and acceptable answers to the divine
proposals. Thus would the pure silver of her innocence
resound in the ears of the Lord and re-echo, in the bosom
of the Divinity, those charming and sacred words : "Fiat
mihi secundum verbum tuum." "Be it done to me ac
cording to thy word" (Luke 1, 38).
82. Then they spread over her garment inscriptions,
which at the same time served as embroidery or borders
of the finest colors mixed with gold. Some of them bore
the legend.: "Mary, Mother of God;" others: "Mary,
Virgin and Mother." But these inscriptions were not
intelligible to Her, nor were they explained to Her, but
their meaning was known to the holy angels. The differ
ent colors symbolized the habits of all the virtues in the
most excellent degree and their active exercise, surpassing
all that was ever practiced by the rest of the intellectual
creatures. And as a complement of all this beauty, they
furnished Her as if with lotions for her face, by illumi
nating Her with the light drawn from the proximity and
participation of the inexhaustible Being and perfection
of God himself. For as She was destined actually and
truly to shelter within Her virginal womb the infinite
perfection of God, it was befitting, that She should have
received it beforehand by grace in the highest measure
possible to a mere creature.
83. In this adornment and beauty our Princess Mary
stood before the Lord so beautiful and charming, that
even the supreme King could desire Her as Spouse
( Ps. 44, 12). I do not detain myself here in repeating
what I have already said, what I will yet say in this
history about her virtues ; I only say that this adornment
was accompanied by new features and effects altogether
divine. All this was proper to the infinite power and to
its immense perfection and sanctity, which offer to our
comprehension ever new fields of speculation. And when
there is question of this ocean of perfection in most holy
Mary, we certainly can hope only to skirt its shores. My
understanding of that which I perceive, is always preg
nant with vast fields of thought, on which I cannot
84. My daughter, the work-shops and treasure-rooms
of the Most High are those of a divine Lord and omnip
otent King, and therefore without number or limit are
the riches and treasures which they contain for the en
dowment of his chosen brides. He can enrich innumer
able others just as He has enriched my soul, and yet
infinitely more will remain. Although He will give to no
creature as much as He has conferred upon me, it is not
because He is not able or does not wish, but because no
one will dispose himself for his grace as I did. But the
Almighty is most liberal with some souls and enriches
them so munificently, because they impede his gifts less,
and dispose themselves better than others.
85. I desire, my most beloved, that thou place no ob
stacle to the love of thy Lord; but I wish, that thou
dispose thyself for the jewels and gifts, intended for thee
in order to make thee worthy of his bridal chamber.
Remember that all the just souls receive this adornment
from his hands, though each one according to the degree
of the friendship and grace, which makes them capable of
receiving them. If thou wishest to attain the highest
purity of that perfection and become worthy of standing
in the presence of thy Lord and Spouse, strive to be
robust and strong in love ; and thou knowest, that this is
augmented in the same degree, as mortification and selfabnegation
are practiced. Thou must deny thyself and
forget all earthly things; thou must expel all thy mean
ings toward thyself and toward visible things, in the
divine love solely thou must increase and advance. Wash
and purify thyself in the blood of thy Redeemer, Christ,
and apply this cleansing many times by renewing thy
loving sorrow for thy sins. Thereby wilt thou find grace
in his eyes and thy beauty will be desired by Him, and all
thy adornments will be full of the greatest perfection and
86. And as thou hast been so highly favored and dis
tinguished by the blessings of the Lord, it is just that
thou, more than many generations of men, give thanks
and with incessant praises magnify Him for what, He
has condescended to do for thee. If this vice of ingrati
tude is so vile and reprehensible in the creatures, who owe
Him little and in their earthliness and coarseness, forget
the benefits of the Lord ; greater will thy guilt be in fall
ing short of thy obligations. And do not deceive thyself
with the pretext of being humble; for there is a great
difference between thankful humility and humble thanklessness.
Remember that the Lord very often shows
great favors to the unworthy, in order to manifest his
goodness and munificence. On the contrary let no one
become inflated, but let every one acknowledge so much
the more his unworthiness, using it as a medicine and
treacle against the poison of presumption. But gratitude
will agree with this humble opinion of self, since we must
acknowledge, that every good gift comes from the Father
of lights and cannot ever be merited by creatures
(James 1, 17). All have their source only in his good
ness, binding us and obliging us to grateful recognition.
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