Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 3  Chapter  19    Verses:  243-253

243. The plenitude of the wisdom and grace of most
holy Mary, being
1 of such immense capacity, could not
remain idle at any point of time, nor in any place or
occasion. For it gave forth the plenitude of all perfec
tion, active at all times and seasons to the fullest extent of
duty and possibility, without ever falling short of the
holiest and the most excellent in virtue. And as in all
places She acted the part of a pilgrim on earth and of
an inhabitant of heaven, and as She herself was the in
tellectual and most glorious heaven, the living temple, in
which God himself had made his habitation ; so She also
carried with Her her own oratory and sanctuary and in
this respect there was for Her no difference between her
own house and that of her cousin saint Elisabeth, nor
could any other place, time or occupation be a hindrance
to Her in this regard. She was placed above all things
and without any outside claim She incessantly devoted
Herself to the influence of the love, which was contin
ually in her sight. Yet at the same time She conversed
with the creatures at opportune times and treated with
them according as occasion required, giving as much at
tention to them, as the most prudent Mistress could fit
tingly spare for each in particular. And as her most
frequent conversings during the three months, in which
She remained in the house of Zacharias, were with saint
Elisabeth and with the holy angels of her guard, I shall
relate in this chapter something of that which formed
the subject of her conferences with them, and also men
tion other things, which happened in her intercourse
with the saint.
244. When She was left alone and free to Herself
our heavenly Princess passed many hours ravished and
elevated in divine contemplations and visions. Some
times during these trances, sometimes outside of them,
She was accustomed to converse with her angels about
the sacraments and mysteries of her interior love. One
day, soon after She had arrived at the house of Zacha
rias, She spoke to them in the following manner : "Heav
enly spirits, my guardians and companions, ambassadors
of the Most High and luminaries of his Divinity, come
and strengthen my heart, which is captured and wounded
by his divine love; for it is afflicted with its own limita
tions in that it cannot properly respond to the obliga
tions which are known to it and which dictate its de
sires. Come, ye supernal princes, and praise with me the
admirable name of the Lord and let us magnify his holy
judgments and operations. Help this poor little worm
to praise its Maker, who condescends kindly to look
upon its insignificance. Let us talk of the wonders of
my Spouse; let us discuss the beauty of my Lord, of
my beloved Son! let my heart find relief in uniting its
inmost aspirations to your own, my friends and com
panions; for you do know the secrets of my Treasure,
which the Lord has deposited within me in the narrow
ness of so fragile and constrained a vase. Great are
these sacraments and admirable these mysteries; and I
contemplate them with sweet affection, but their su
pernal greatness overwhelms me, the profundity and the
greatness of my love overpowers me even while they
inflame my heart. In the ardor of my soul I cannot rest
satisfied and I find no repose ; for my desires surpass all
that I can accomplish and my obligations are greater
than my desires ; I am dissatisfied with myself, because
I do not exert myself as much as I desire, because I do
not desire to accomplish as much as I should, and be
cause I find myself continually falling short and van
quished by the greatness of the returns which are due.
Ye heavenly seraphim, listen to my loving anxieties; I
am fallen sick with love (Cant. 2, 5). Open to me
your bosoms, whence the beauty of my God is flashed
forth, in order that the splendors of his light and the
visions of his loveliness may replenish the life, which
wastes away in his love."
245. "Mother of our Creator and our Mistress," an
swered the holy angels, "Thou possessest truly the Al
mighty and our highest Good. Since Thou hast Him so
closely bound to Thee and art his true Spouse and
Mother, rejoice in Him and keep Him with Thee for
all eternity. Thou art the Spouse and the Mother of
the God of love, and as in Thee is the only cause and
fountain of life, no one shall live with Him as Thou,
our Queen and Mistress. But do not seek to find re
pose in a love so inflamed; for thy state and condition
of a pilgrim do not permit thy love to attain the repose
of perfect consummation, nor will it cease to aspire to
new and greater increase of merit and triumph. Thy
obligations surpass without comparison those of all the
nations; but they are to increase and grow continually;
never will thy so vastly inflamed love equal its Object,
since It is eternal and infinite and without measure in
its perfection; Thou shalt always be happily vanquished
by its greatness ; for no one can comprehend It ; only He
himself comprehends Himself and loves Himself in the
measure, in which He deserves to be loved. Eternally,
O Lady, shalt Thou find in Him more to desire and
more to love, since that is required by the essence of his
greatness and of our beatitude."
246. In these colloquies and conferences the fire of di
vine love was more and more enkindled in the heart of
most holy Mary; in Her was exactly fulfilled the com
mand of the Lord (Levit. 6, 12), that in his tabernacle
and on his altar should burn continually the fire of the
holocaust and that the priest of the ancient law should
see to its perpetual nourishment and maintenance. This
precept was executed to the letter in the most holy Mary,
for in Her were jointly contained the altar and the new
Highpriest, Christ our Lord, who nourished and aug
mented its flame day by day, by administering new ma
terial in favors, blessings, graces and communications
of his Divinity; while the exalted Lady on her part,
contributed her ceaseless exertions, which were ineffably
enhanced in value by the continual flow of the graces
and sanctity of the Lord. From the moment in which
this Lady entered into the world, this conflagration of
his divine love took its rise, in order never to be extin
guished on this altar through all the eternities of God
himself. For as lasting as this eternity and as contin
uous was and will be the fire of this living sanctuary.
247. At other times She spoke and conversed with the
holy angels, when they appeared to Her in human forms,
as I have said in several places. Most frequently this con
versation turned about the mystery of the incarnate
Word ; and in this She manifested so profound a knowl
edge in citing the holy Scriptures and the Prophets
that She caused wonder even in the angels. On one oc
casion in speaking to them of these venerable sacra
ments, She said : "My lords, servants of the Most High
and his friends, my heart is pierced and torn by arrows
of grief, when I meditate on what the sacred Scriptures
say of my most holy Son or what Isaias and Jeremias
wrote (Gen. 22, 2; Isai. 33, 2; Jerem. 11, 18) concern
ing the most bitter pains and torments in store for Him.
Solomon says (Wis. 2, 20), that they shall condemn
Him to a most ignominous death and the Prophets al
ways speak in weighty and superlative terms of his Pas
sion and Death, which all are to be fulfilled in Him. O
were it the will of his Majesty that I live at that time in
order to offer myself to die instead of the Author of my
life! My soul is sorely afflicted in the consideration of
these infallible truths and that my God and my Lord
should come forth from my womb only in order to suf
fer. O who will guard Him and defend Him against
his enemies! O tell me, ye heavenly princes, by what
services or by what means can I induce the eternal Fa
ther to divert the rigor of his justice upon me, in order
that the Innocent, who cannot have any guilt upon Him,
may be freed from punishment? Well do I know that
in order to satisfy the infinite God for the offenses of
men, the satisfaction of the incarnate God is required;
but by his first act my most holy Son has merited more
than all the human race can lose or demerit by its of
fenses. Since this is sufficient, tell me, is it not possible
that I die in order to relieve Him from his death and
torments? My humble desires will not be annoying to
my God, and my anxieties will not be displeasing to
Him. Yet, what am I saying? and to what lengths do
sorrow and love drive me, since I must be subject in
all things to the divine will and its perfect fulfillment?"
248. Such and like colloquy the most holy Mary held
with her angels, especially during the time of her preg-
nancy. The holy spirits met all her anxieties and com
forted her with great reverence, consoling Her by re
newing the memory of the very sacraments, which She
already knew and by reminding Her of the reasonable
ness and propriety of the death of Christ for the salva
tion of the human race, for the conquest of the demons
and spoliation of their power, for the glory of the
eternal Father and the exaltation of the most holy and
highest Lord his Son (Tim. 2, 14). So great and ex
alted were the mysteries touched upon in these dis
courses of the Queen with the holy angels, that neither
can the human tongue describe, nor our capacity compre
hend them in this life. When we shall enjoy the Lord
we shall see what we cannot at present conceive. From
this little which I have said, our piety can help us to
draw conclusions in regard to others much greater.
249. Saint Elisabeth was likewise much versed and
enlightened in the divine Scriptures, and much more so
since the Visitation; and therefore our Queen conversed
with Her concerning these heavenly mysteries, which
were known and understood by the matron, instructing
and enlightening her by heavenly teachings; for through
her intercession Elisabeth was enriched with many bless
ings and gifts of heaven. Many times she wondered
at the profound wisdom of the Mother of God, and
blessed Her over and over again, saying: "Blessed art
Thou, my Mistress and Mother of my Lord, among all
womankind (Luke 1, 42) ; and may the nations know
and magnify thy dignity. Most fortunate art Thou on
account of the rich Treasure, which Thou bearest in
thy virginal womb. I tender to Thee my humble and
most affectionate congratulations for the joy with which
thy spirit shall be filled, when Thou shalt hold in thy
arms the Son of justice and nurse Him at thy virginal
breasts. Remember me thy servant, O Lady, in that
hour and offer my heart in sacrifice to thy most holy
Son, my true and incarnate God. O who shall merit to
serve Thee from now on and attend upon Thee! But if
I am unworthy of this good fortune, may I enjoy that
of being borne in thy heart; for I fear (not without
cause) that mine will be torn asunder, when I must part
from Thee." Many other sentiments of sweetest and
most tender love saint Elisabeth uttered in her personal
intercourse with the most holy Mary ; and the most pru
dent Lady consoled her, strengthened and enlivened her
by her divinely efficacious reasonings. These so exalted
and heavenly dealings of Mary were diversified by many
other acts of humility and self-abasement in serving not
only her cousin Elisabeth, but also the servants of her
house. Whenever She could find an occasion, She
swept the house of her relative, and always her oratory
at regular times; and with the servants She washed the
dishes, and performed other acts of profound humility.
Let no one think it strange that I particularize in these
small matters; for the greatness of our Queen has made
them of importance for our instruction and in order that
knowing of them, our pride may vanish and our vileness
may come to shame. When saint Elisabeth learnt
of the humble services, performed by the Mother of
piety, She was deeply moved and tried to prevent them;
and therefore the heavenly Lady concealed them from
her cousin wherever it was possible.
250. O Queen and Mistress of heaven and earth, my
Protectress and Advocate, although Thou art the
Teacher of all sanctity and perfection, lost in astonish
ment at thy humility, I dare, O my Mother, to ask Thee :
how was it possible that, knowing of the Onlybegotten
of the Father within thy virginal womb, and wishing in
all things to conduct Thyself as his Mother, thy great
ness should abase itself to such lowliness, as sweeping
the floor and similar occupations ; since, according to our
notions, Thou couldst, on account of the reverence due
co thy most holy Son, easily have excused Thyself with
out failing against the duties of thy most perfect Moth
erhood. My desire is, O Lady, to understand how thy
Majesty was governed in this matter.
251. My daughter, in order to solve thy difficulty
more explicitly than as already noted down in the fore
going chapter, thou must remember that no occupation
or exterior act pertaining to virtue, no matter how lowly
it may be, can, if it is well-ordered, impede the worship,
reverence and exaltation of the Creator of all things ; for
these acts of virtue do not exclude one another ; but they
are all compatible with one another in the creature, and
much more in me, who lived in the continual presence of
the highest Good without ever losing It out of sight by
exterior activity. I adored and remembered God in all
my actions, referring them all to his greater glory; and
the Lord himself, who orders and creates all things, de
spises none of them, nor is He offended, or irritated by
their smallness. The soul that loves Him, is not dis
concerted by any of these little things in his divine pres
ence; for it seeks and finds Him as the beginning and
the end of all creatures. And because terrestrial crea
tures cannot exist without these humble performances
and without others that are inseparable from our lowly
condition and the preservation of our nature, it is neces
sary to understand this doctrine well, in order that we
may be governed by it. For if we engage in these
thoughts and occupations without reference to their Cre
ator, they will cause many and great interruptions in the
practice of virtue and in our merits, as well as in the
right use of interior advantages. Our whole life will be
blameworthy and full of reprehensible defects, little re
moved from the earthliness of creatures.
252. According to this doctrine thou must so regu
late thy terrestrial occupations, whatever they may be,
that thou do not lose thy -time, which can never be re
covered. Whether thou eat, labor, rest, sleep, or watch,
in all times and places, and in all occupations, adore,
reverence and look upon thy great and powerful Lord,
who fills all things and conserves all things (I Cor. 10,
3; Matth. 11, 29). I wish also that thou pay special
attention to that which moved and incited me most to
perform all acts of humility; namely, the thought that
my divine Son came in the guise of humility in order
to teach the world this virtue in word and example, to
inculcate the hate of vanity and pride and rooting out
its seed sown by Lucifer among mortals in the first sin.
His Majesty gave me such a deep knowledge of how
much He is pleased with this virtue, that in order to be
allowed to perform only one of the acts mentioned by
thee, such as sweeping the floor or kissing the feet of
the poor, I would have been ready to suffer the greatest
torments of the world. Thou wilt never find words to
express the love for humility which I had, nor to de
scribe its excellence and nobility. In the Lord thou
wilt know and understand what thou canst not describe
in words.
253. But write this doctrine in thy heart and observe
it as the rule of thy life; continue to exercise thyself in
the contempt of all things belonging to human vanity,
and esteem them as odious and execrable in the eyes of
the Most High. But in connection with this humility of
thy life, let thy thoughts always be of the noblest and
thy conversation in heaven and with the angelic spirits
(Philip 3, 20) ; deal with them and converse with them
in order to obtain new light concerning the Divinity and
the mysteries of Christ my most holy Son. With crea
tures let thy intercourse be such as will continually in
crease thy fervor and serve thee as means of advancing
and profiting by means of humility and divine love. In
thy own mind assume the lowest place beneath all crea
tures, so that when the occasion and the time of exer
cising the acts of humility arrive, thou mayest be found
prompt and willing to exercise them. Only then wilt
thou be the mistress of the passions, if first thou hast
acknowledged thyself in thy heart as the least and weak
est and most useless of all the creatures.
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