Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda

Virgin Mary Mystical City of God - Book 3 chapter 24 verses 304-313MOST HOLY MARY LEAVES THE HOUSE OF ZACHARIAS AND RETURNS TO HER HOME IN NAZARETH.

  INDEX   Book 3  Chapter  24    Verses:  304-313

304. At the call of Elisabeth, the most fortunate of
husbands, saint Joseph, had come in order to attend
most holy Mary on her return to her home in Nazareth.
On arriving at the house of Zacharias he had been wel
comed with indescribable reverence and devotion by saint
Elisabeth and Zacharias; for now also the holy priest
knew that he was the guardian of the sacramental treas
ures of heaven, though this was yet unknown to the
great patriarch saint Joseph himself. His heavenly
Spouse received him in modest and discreet jubilation,
and, kneeling before him, She, as usual, besought his
blessing, and also his pardon, for having failed to serve
him for nearly three months during her attendance upon
her cousin Elisabeth. Though She had been guilty of
no fault, not even of an imperfection in thus devotedly
fulfilling the will of God in conformity with the wishes
of her spouse, yet, by this courteous and endearing act
of humility, She wanted to repay her husband for the
want of her consoling companionship. The holy Joseph
answered that as he now again saw Her, and again en
joyed her delightful presence, he was relieved of the pain
caused by her absence. In the course of a few days
they announced the day of their departure.
305. Thereupon the princess Mary took leave of the
priest Zacharias. As he had already been enlightened
by the Lord concerning her dignity, he addressed
Her with the greatest reverence as the living sanctuary
of the Divinity and humanity of the eternal Word. "My
Mistress," he said, "praise and bless eternally thy Maker,
who in his infinite mercy has chosen Thee among all his
creatures as his Mother, as the sole Keeper of all his
great blessings and sacraments. Be mindful of me, thy
servant, before thy Lord and God, that He may lead
me in peace through this exile to the security of the
eternal peace which we hope for, and that through thee
I may merit the vision of his Divinity, which is the
glory of the saints. Remember also, O Lady, my house
and family, and especially my Son John, and pray to the
Most High for thy people."
306. The great Lady knelt before him and in pro
found humility asked him to bless Her. This Zacharias
hesitated to do and instead asked Her to give him her
blessing. But nothing could overcome the humility of
Her who was the Teacher of that virtue and of all holi
ness; and therefore She importuned the priest for his
blessing until he yielded to the impulse of the divine light.
In the words of holy Scripture, he said to Her : "The
right arm of the almighty and true God assist Thee
always, and deliver Thee from all evil (Ps. 120, 7).
Possess thou the grace of His unfailing protection, and be
filled with the dew of heaven and with the fruits of
the earth, and let Him give Thee abundance of bread
and wine (Gen. 27, 28) ; let the nations serve Thee and
let the generations worship Thee, since Thou art the
tabernacle of God (Eccl. 24, 12) ; be Thou the Mistress
of thy brethren, and let the sons of thy mother kneel in
thy presence. Those that praise and bless Thee shall
be honored and blessed; and those that bless and extol
Thee not shall be cursed. In Thee let all nations know
their God (Judith 13, 31), and through Thee let the
name of the most high God of Jacob be glorified."
307. In return for this prophetic blessing, most holy
Mary kissed the hand of the priest and asked him to for
give Her the faults committed in his house. The saintly
old man was much moved by these parting words of the
most pure and amiable of creatures, and ever thereafter
bore hidden within him the memory of the mysteries
revealed to him concerning the most holy Mary. Only
once, when he was present at a meeting of the priests
in the temple, who were congratulating him on account
of the birth of his son and the restoration of his speech,
he was moved by the excess of his joy and he answered
them : "I believe firmly that the Most High has visited
us and has already sent us the promised Messias, who
will redeem his people." But he spoke no further of
what he really knew of the mystery. The holy priest
Simeon, however, who was present and heard these
words, was seized with great joy of spirit and by divine
impulse exclaimed: "Let not, O Lord God of Israel,
thy servant depart from this valley of misery before he
has seen thy salvation and the Redeemer of his people."
To this prayer he afterwards alluded when, at the presen
tation of infant God in the temple, He received Him
into his arms, as we shall see later on. Until that event
took place he desired more and more ardently to see the
incarnate Word.
308. Leaving Zacharias in tears, Mary betook Herself
to her cousin Elisabeth. As She was a cousin of Mary,
of a tender heart, and as She had enjoyed so many days
of sweet intercourse, and had received so many favors
of the Mother of grace, she was almost overcome with
grief at the mere thought of now losing the source
whence so many blessings had flown and were yet to
flow, if she could only retain it. Hence, when the time
for taking leave of the Mistress of heaven and earth
finally arrived her heart was torn with sorrow, and she
could say only a few words amid her copious tears and
sighs revealing her inmost soul. The serene Queen, be
ing superior to all inordinate movements of the natural
passions, in affable modesty spoke to Elisabeth: "My
beloved cousin, do not grieve so much over my de
parture, since the charity of the Most High, in whom I
truly love thee, knows no distance of time or place. In
Him I behold thee, and I keep thee in my mind; and
thou also wilt find me in that same presence. Short is
the time of our bodily separation, since all the days of
human life are so fleeting (Job 14, 5), and if we gain
the victory over our enemies we shall very soon see our
selves and enjoy ourselves in the celestial Jerusalem,
where there is no sorrow, no weeping, no separation
(Apoc. 21, 4). In the meanwhile thou wilt find all
blessings in the Lord and also me thou wilt find and
possess in Him. He will remain in thy heart and con
sole thee." Our most prudent Queen said no more to
allay the grief of saint Elisabeth ; instead She knelt down
at her feet and asked her blessing, and her pardon for
what might have been disagreeable in her intercourse
with her; nor would Mary yield to the protests of Elisa
beth until her petition was granted. Elisabeth then in
sisted on her part and asked the blessing of the heavenly
Lady in return, and not wishing to deny her this con
solation, most holy Mary complied.
309. The Queen visited also the child John, received
him in her arms and bestowed upon him many myste
rious blessings. The wonderful infant by divine dispen
sation spoke to the Virgin, although in a low and in
fantile voice: "Thou art the Mother of God himself,
the Queen of all creation, the Keeper of the ineffable
Treasure of heaven, my help and protection: grant me,
thy servant, thy blessing, and may thy intercession and
favor never fail me." Three times he kissed the hand of
the Queen of heaven; likewise he adored the incarnate
Word in her virginal Womb, and asked Him for his
benediction and grace. The infant God manifested his
pleasure and benevolence toward his Precursor, while the
most happy Mother Mary beheld and understood all that
was passing. In all things She acted with the plenitude
of divine science, venerating all these mysteries accord
ing to their proper import; for She responded with a
magnanimous heart to all the works of his divine wisdom
(II Mach. 2, 9).
310. The whole household of Zacharias had been sanc
tified by the presence of most holy Mary and of the
incarnate Word in her womb; all its inmates had been
edified by her example, instructed by her conversations
and teachings, and sweetly affected by her intercourse
and modest behavior. While She had drawn toward
Herself all the hearts of that happy family, She also
merited and obtained for them from her most holy Son
the plenitude of celestial gifts. Holy Joseph was held
in high veneration by Zacharias, Elisabeth and John ; for
they had come to know his high dignity before he him
self was yet aware of it. The blessed Patriarch, happy
in his Treasure, the full value of which as yet he did not
know, took leave of all and departed for Nazareth : what
happened on the way I will narrate in the following
chapter. But before they began their journey most holy
Mary, on bended knees, besought saint Joseph to bless
Her, as She was accustomed to do on such occasions, and
after She had received his blessing, they betook them
selves on their journey.
311. My daughter, the happy souls which God has
chosen for his intimate friendship and perfection must
keep themselves in continual readiness and peace, in order
to perform all that his Majesty may ordain without hesi
tation or delay. That is what I did when the Most High
commanded me to leave the beloved retreat of my house
and betake myself to Elisabeth; likewise, when he or
dered me to return. I obeyed in all these things with
joyful alacrity; and although I had received so many
benefits from Elisabeth and her family and so many
tokens of love and friendship, as thou hast seen, yet,
knowing the will of the Lord, I set aside all obligation
and my own inclination and followed them only so far
as was strictly demanded by charity and compassion, and
in so far as the promptest obedience to the divine com
mand permitted.
312. My dearest daughter, how wilt thou not hasten
to obtain this true and perfect resignation as soon as thou
knowest its vast value! How pleasing it is in the eyes
of the Lord, and how profitable for thy soul! Labor
then to attain it in imitation of me, as I have already
so often invited thee and urged thee. The greatest hin
drances toward its attainment are the leanings and special
likings to earthly things; for these make the soul un
worthy of the caresses of the Lord and of knowing
fully his will. And even if the soul knows his will, the
base love of unworthy things will keep the soul from
fulfilling it; for on account of its inclinations, it will be
wanting in the ready and joyful obedience required by
the Lord. Take notice of this danger, my daughter, and
do not allow any particular affection to enter into thy
heart, for I wish that thou be well versed and perfect in
this art of divine love, and that thy obedience be that of
an angel, and thy love that of a seraphim. Thus show
thyself in all thy actions, for to this my love urges thee,
and thus art thou taught by the knowledge and light
imparted to thee.
313. I do not say that thou must do away with all
sensible feeling, for that is not naturally possible to the
creature; but whenever thou meetest adverse happenings,
or when thou art deprived of what is useful, necessary
or agreeable thou must bear it with joyful resignation
and give praise to the Lord, because his will is being
fulfilled in thy regard. By seeking only his pleasure,
and considering all else as of passing moment, thou wilt
gain a quick and easy victory over thyself, and thou wilt
seek all occasions to humiliate thyself under the mighty
hand of the Lord (I Pet. 5, 6). I also exhort thee to
imitate me in my esteem and veneration of the priests,
and that thou always ask their blessing before speaking
to them and in leaving them. Do this also in regard to
the Most High before beginning any work. Toward thy
superiors always show thyself devoted and submissive.
If any married women come to seek thy advice, exhort
them to be obedient to their husbands (Tit. 5, 2), peace
fully subjecting themselves, living retired in their houses
and carefully fulfilling their obligations toward their
families. Tell them not to give themselves up entirely
to their occupations, nor to lose themselves in their daily
cares on pretext of necessity; for much more must be
trusted to the goodness and liberality of God than to
one s own immoderate bustle and activity. In whatever
happened to me in my condition, thou wilt find true
instruction and example ; and my whole life will be an
example of perfection for the guidance of souls, and
therefore I will not need to give thee further direction.
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