Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 3  Chapter  28    Verses:  359-374

359. Even if the prince of darkness and wickedness
had now retreated, his exorbitant pride would have been
sufficiently discomfited and humiliated by the victories,
which had been gained by the Queen of heaven. But as,
even if vanquished, he continues to rise up against God
with insatiate malice, he did not acknowledge his defeat
(Ps. 73, 23). Finding himself conquered, and conquered
so completely by an apparently insignificant and weak
Woman, though he and his hosts had overcome so many
valiant men and high-minded women, his fury raged on
ward, though in smothered flames of wrath. God had
permitted the enemies to become aware of the pregnancy
of the most holy Mary, though leaving them under the
impression, that it was entirely a natural process ; for the
Divinity of the Child and other mysteries connected with
It always remained hidden to these enemies. Hence they
persuaded themselves that this was not the promised
Messias, since they held this Child to be a man like the
rest of the human race. This error also confirmed them
in the mistake that most holy Mary was not the Mother
of the Word (Gen. 3, 15) : Both of whom were to crush
the head of the dragon. Yet they were persuaded that
of a Woman so valiant and victorious, some man of dis
tinguished sanctity would be born. The great dragon,
convinced of this, conceived against the fruit of the most
holy Mary that vast fury mentioned in the twelfth chap
ter of the Apocalypse and referred to in this history, and
he awaited the birth of her Son in order to devour Him.
360. Whenever Lucifer directed his looks toward this
Child enclosed in the womb of the most holy Mary, he
felt a mysterious power oppressing him. Although his
presence seemed to cause only a certain weakening and
deadening of his strength; yet this was sufficient to en
rage him and to make him seek by all means the destruc
tion of this suspicious Child and of his victorious Mother.
Assuming the most fearful shapes of fiercest bulls and
terrible dragons or of other monsters, he sought to ap
proach Her without ever being able to succeed. He
rushed upon Her, but found himself repulsed, without
knowing by whom or how. He struggled like a wild
beast in chains and gave forth awe-inspiring howls, which,
if God had not prevented their being heard, would have
terrified the world and would have frightened many men
to death. He shot forth from his mouth fire and fumes
of sulphur mixed with poisonous spittle. All this the
heavenly Princess Mary saw and heard, without being
moved more than if She saw a gnat. He caused disturb
ances in the air, upon the earth, or in her house, dis
arranging and overthrowing it in all its parts; but most
holy Mary still remained unmoved, retaining her inward
and outward tranquillity and peace and showing Herself
invincibly superior to all his attempts.
361. Lucifer, finding himself thus vanquished, opened
his most impure mouth and set in motion his lying and
defiled tongue. He loosened the floodgates of his malice
and spouted forth in the presence of the heavenly Empress
all the heresies and infernal falsehoods of the sects, which
he and his associates spread through the world. For
after they had been hurled from heaven and after they
were informed that the divine Word was to assume
human flesh in order to be the Chief of a race, which He
would replenish with graces and celestial teachings, the
dragon resolved to concoct falsehoods and heresies, in
opposition to all the truths concerning the knowledge,
love and worship of the Most High. In this occupation
the demons consumed many years before the coming of
Christ, the Lord of the world; and all this poisonous
deceit Lucifer, the ancient serpent, had stored up within
himself. Now he poured it out in the presence of the
Mother of truth and purity ; hoping to infect Her by all
the falsehoods, which He had conceived against the truth
of God up to that day.
362. They are not fit to be described here, even less so
than some of the temptations indicated in the last chap
ter; for it would be dangerous not only for the weak
souls, but even the strongest must fear the pestilential
breath of Lucifer, who on this occasion exhaled all his
deceitful malice. According to what I saw, I believe
doubtlessly, that there was no error, idolatry or heresy
known to have existed in the world to this day, which
this dragon did not vomit forth in the hearing of the
sovereign Mary. Therefore the Church can truly con
gratulate Mary on account of her victories, affirming of
Her, that She by Herself has smothered and extinguished
all the heresies of the whole world (Office B. V. M.).
Thus in truth our victorious Sulamite, armed with her
virtues advanced like an army in battle array (Cant. 7, 1)
to confound, overwhelm and destroy the infernal hosts.
All their falsehoods, and each one in particular, She re
futed, contradicting, detesting and anathematizing all
of them with invincible faith and sublime constancy. She
proclaimed the various truths opposed to his falsehoods,
magnifying the Lord by means of them as true, just and
holy. She broke out into songs of praise, in which his
virtues and doctrines were extolled as true, holy, immac
ulate and altogether praiseworthy. In fervent prayer
She besought the Lord to humiliate the arrogance of the
demons by preventing them from spreading so freely
their poisonous errors through the world, and asking Him
to diminish the influence of the false teachings, which
they had already sowed and which they were yet allowed
to sow among men.
363. On account of this victory of the great Queen
and on account of her prayers, I perceived that the Most
High in justice set narrower bounds to the demons, so
that they would not be able to scatter the seeds of error
as much as they intended and as much as the sins of men
would merit. Although their sins are the cause of so
many heresies and sects unto this day, yet they would
have caused many more, if most holy Mary had not
crushed the head of the dragon by such great victories,
by her prayers and petitions. I have been informed of a
great mystery, which affords us consolation in this con
flict of the holy Church against her wicked enemies.
Namely, on account of this triumph of most holy Mary
and on account of another, which She gained over the
demons after the Ascension of our Lord (Part III, 528),
the Almighty, in reward of her battles, decreed, that
through her intercession and virtue all the heresies and
sects of the world against the holy Church were to be
destroyed and extinguished. The time appointed for this
blessing was not made known to me; probably, the ful
fillment of this decree is dependent upon some tacit and
unknown condition . Yet I am sure, that if the Catholic
princes and their subjects would seek to please this great
Queen of heaven and betake themselves to her intercession
as being their especial Patroness and Protectress, and if
they would direct all their influence and riches, all their
power and sovereignty toward the exaltation of the faith
and the honor of God and of purest Mary (for this may
perhaps be the condition imposed), they would be as it
were the instruments, by which the infidels would be re
futed and vanquished, the sects and errors infesting the
world would be repressed, and splendid and magnificent
victories would be gained for the Catholic truth.
364. Before the birth of Christ our Redeemer it
seemed to Lucifer (as was intimated in the foregoing
chapter) that his coming was retarded by the sins of the
world. In order to prevent his coming altogether he
sought to increase this hindrance by multiplying the
aberrations and crimes of mortals. This iniquitous
pride of the devil the Lord confounded by the magnifi
cent triumphs of his most holy Mother. After the Birth
and the Death of the Redeemer, the malicious dragon
sought to hinder and divert the fruits of his blood and
redemption. For this purpose he began to sow and
spread the errors, which after the times of the Apostles
have afflicted and do now afflict the Church. The vic
tory over this infernal malice was likewise left by Christ
in the hands of his most holy Mother : for She alone could
merit, and did merit, such a victory. Through Her
idolatry was extinguished by the preaching of the Gos
pel; through Her were brought to naught the ancient
sects of Arius, Nestorius and Pelagius and of others;
She it was that instigated the zeal and solicitude of
kings, princes, fathers, and doctors of the holy Church.
Hence, how can it be doubted, if the Catholic princes,
both of the Church and of the state, would use the proper
diligence, aiding as it were this heavenly Lady, that She
on her part would not fail to help them, conferring upon
them happiness in this life and in the next, and cutting
down all the heresies of the world? For this very pur
pose the Lord has so enriched so greatly as well the
Church as the Catholic reigns and monarchies. If it
were not for this purpose, it were better that they remain
poor. It was not proper that all the results of the Gos
pel should be obtained through miracles, but through
natural means, obtainable by the proper application of
riches. But it is not for me to judge whether they ful
fill this obligation or not. I have only to report what
the Lord himself has made known to me : that those
who hold the titles of honor and sovereignty conferred
by the Church, without coming to her aid and defense
and without applying their riches toward preventing the
waste of the blood of Christ our Savior, are usurpers
and unjust possessors of those titles: for in this very
thing should the difference between Christian and infidel
princes consist.
365. Coming back to my subject, I say that the Most
High, in his infinite foresight, well knew the iniquity
of the dragon, and that in the pursuit of his wrath
against the Church he would bring to disorder many of
the faithful, striking down the stars of the heaven of the
militant church, namely the faithful, and thus seeking to
rouse still more the divine justice and diminish the fruits
of the Redemption. The highest Lord in immense kind
ness resolved to meet this danger that threatened the
world. In order that He might be moved in this by so
much the greater equity and for the greater glory of his
name, He arranged that the most holy Mary should
oblige Him to give this help. She alone was worthy of
the privileges, gifts and prerogatives by which She was
to overcome the world ; and this most eminent Lady alone
was capable of such an enterprise as to draw toward Her
the heart of God by her holiness, purity, merits and
prayers. For the greater exaltation of the divine power
He wished it to be known through all the eternities that
He had conquered Lucifer and all his followers through
means of a mere Creature and a Woman, just as the
devil had cast down the whole human race by another
woman, and that there was none other to whom this
salvation of the Church and whole world could be
worthily credited. On account of these and other rea
sons apparent to us in faith, the Almighty gave into the
hands of our victorious Chieftainess the sword for cut
ting off the head of the infernal dragon; a power never
to be diminished in Her, and with which She defends
and assists the militant Church according to the labors
and necessities of coming centuries.
366. While Lucifer with his infernal legions in visi
ble forms persisted in his unhappy attempts, the most
serene Mary never looked upon them nor paid any atten
tion to them, although by the permission of God She
heard the uproar. Since the hearing cannot be so easily
stopped as the sight, She took precaution, lest what She
heard should enter her imagination or interior faculties.
Nor did She deign to speak to them otherwise than to
command them to stop their blasphemies. And this com
mand was so powerful that it forced the demons to press
their mouths to the earth, while She in the meanwhile
sang great canticles of praise and glory in honor of the
Most High. This intercourse of her Majesty with God
and her profession of the divine truths, was likewise so
oppressive and painful to them that they began to attack
each other like ravenous wolves, or like rabid dogs ; every
action of the Empress Mary was for them a burning
shaft, and every one of her words a flame of fire more
dreadful than hell itself. This is not an exaggeration
for the dragon and his followers really strove to fly and
escape from the presence of most holy Mary; while the
Lord, in order to enhance the triumph of his Mother and
Spouse and confound entirely the pride of Lucifer, de
tained them by a secret force. His Majesty permitted
and ordained that the demons themselves should hu
miliate themselves so far as to ask the heavenly Lady to
command them to go and be driven from her presence,
which they had sought. Accordingly She commanded
them to return to the infernal regions. There they lay
prostrate for a time, while the great Vanquisher Mary
remained absorbed in divine praise and thanksgiving.
367. When by the permission of the Lord Lucifer
rose from his defeat, he returned to the conflict, selecting
for his instrument some of the neighbors of the holy
spouses, and sowing among them and their wives the
hellish seed of discord concerning temporal interests.
For this purpose the demon took the shape of a woman
known to them all and telling them that they should not
disagree among themselves, since the source of all their
differences was none other than Mary, the wife of
Joseph. The woman, whose shape the demon took, held
the esteem and regard of all these persons, and there
fore her words were so much the more weighty. Al
though the Lord did not allow the good name of his
most holy Mother to suffer in any important point, yet
He permitted, that for her greater glory and merit, all
these deceived persons should give Her an opportunity
of exercising her patience on this occasion. They betook
themselves in a body to the house of saint Joseph and in
his presence they called forth most holy Mary and spoke
very harshly to Her, accusing Her of disturbing their
homes and their peace. This event was painful to the
most innocent Lady, on account of the worry occasioned
to saint Joseph, who had already noticed the increase of
her virginal womb, and who, as She had perceived, was
already troubled by the thoughts beginning to arise in
his heart. Nevertheless, in her prudence and wisdom,
She sought to meet this disturbance with humility, and
overcome it by patience and lively faith. She did not
defend Herself, nor fall back on the faultlessness of her
conduct; on the contrary, She humiliated Herself and
begged Her ill-informed neighbors to pardon Her, if in
anything She had offended them. With sweet and wise
words She enlightened and pacified them, making them
understand that none of them had committed any offense
against the others. Satisfied by her explanations and
edified by the humility of her answer, they peacefully
withdrew to their houses, while the demon fled, not being
able to endure such great sanctity and heavenly wisdom.
368. Saint Joseph remained somewhat pensive and
sad, and he began to give way to conjecture, as I will
relate in the following chapters (Nos. 375 to 394). The
demon, although he was ignorant of the chief cause of
the troubled thoughts of saint Joseph, wished to profit by
the occasion (for he allows none to escape him), in order
to disquiet him still more. But doubting whether his dis
satisfaction did not arise from a certain disgust at his
poverty and his lowly habitation, the demon hesitated be
tween two different courses. On the one hand he sug
gested a feeling of restlessness to saint Joseph, irritating
and disgusting him against his poverty ; and on the other
hand he tried to persuade him that Mary, his Spouse,
devoted too much time to her meditations and prayers,
and led a too negligent and leisurely life, instead of ex
erting Herself to improve their poor circumstances. But
saint Joseph, upright and magnanimous of heart, readily
despised and rejected such considerations. The solici
tude with which he was secretly filled in regard to the
pregnancy of his Spouse easily smothered all other anx
ieties. The Lord, leaving him in the beginning to these
anxious thoughts, freed him from the temptations of the
demon through the intercession of the most holy Mary.
For She was very attentive to all that passed within the
heart of her most faithful spouse. She therefore be
sought her most holy Son to relieve him of these as
saults, and to be satisfied with the service which he ren
dered to God in enduring the sorrow of seeing Her
369. The Most High ordained that the Princess of
heaven should still farther prolong this great battle with
Lucifer. He permitted him and all his legions in one
general assault to strain all their forces and exert all
their malice, so that the demons might find themselves
entirely crushed and vanquished. The heavenly Lady
was to achieve the greatest triumph that ever was gained,
or could be gained, over hell by a mere creature. These
legions of wickedness arrived in all their hellish array
to present themselves before the heavenly Queen, and
with indescribable fury. Uniting all the scheming plots,
of which they had until now availed themselves sepa
rately, and adding what little they could, they advanced
to make a universal onslaught. But I will not detain
myself in describing it specially, as nearly all can be un
derstood from what has been described in the two pre
ceding chapters. She met them all and awaited their
fearful onslaught with the same tranquillity, high-mindedness
and serenity, as if She had been in the position of
the highest choirs of the angels seated on their secure
and unassailable thrones. No strange or improper emo
tion could disturb the serenity of her heavenly interior,
although the menacing terrors, illusions and falsehoods
of all hell were poured forth in torrents by the dragon
against this strong and unconquered Woman, most holy
370. While She thus in the midst of this conflict exer
cised heroic acts of all the virtues against her enemies,
She was made aware of the adorable decree of the Most
High, that She should humiliate and crush the pride of
the dragon by her great dignity as Mother of God.
Rising up in ardent and invincible valor, She turned
toward the demons and spoke to them: "Who is like
unto God, who dwells on high?" And repeating these
words, She added : "Prince of darkness, author of sin
and death, in the name of the Most High I command
thee to become mute, and with thy legions to cast thyself
into the infernal caverns, where thy place is appointed to
thee, and whence thou shalt not come forth until the
promised Messias shall vanquish thee and crush thee, or
until He otherwise permit." The heavenly Empress
shone forth in the light and splendor of heaven; and, as
the proud dragon made a pretence of resisting Her com
mand, She directed upon him the full force of her power.
His resistance drew upon him so much the greater pain,
humiliation and torment, since such he thereby merited
before all the other demons. Together they fell into
the abyss and remained fixed in its lowest caverns, as
had happened to them at the time of the Incarnation, and
as I will describe further on at the temptation and at the
death of Christ our Lord (No. 130, 999, 1421). And
when this dragon afterwards engaged in his last battle
with this Queen, which is described in the third part of
this history (Part III, 452 seq.), this heavenly Lady van
quished him so completely that through Her and her
most holy Son his head was entirely crushed. In that
final battle his strength was so weakened and ruined
that if human creatures do not deliver themselves into
the hands of his malice they can very easily resist and
overcome him with the divine grace.
371. Then the Lord himself appeared to his most holy-
Mother, and in reward of her glorious victories He com
municated to Her new gifts and privileges ; Her thou
sand guardian angels visibly presented themselves with
innumerable hosts of others, and sang to Her new canti
cles of praise in honor of the Most High and of Herself.
And with celestial concord of sweet and audible voices
they sang of Her, that which the holy Church figura
tively sings of the triumph of Judith : "Thou art all
beautiful, Mary our Lady, and there is no stain of sin
in Thee; Thou art the glory of the heavenly Jerusalem;
Thou the honor of the people of God ; Thou art She, who
magnifiest his name, the Advocate of sinners, who defendest
them against their proud enemy! O Mary!
Thou are full of grace and of all perfection." The
heavenly Lady was filled with glad jubilee, praising the
Author of all good and acknowledging Him as the source
of all She possessed. Whereupon She began to pay
more particular attention to the well-being of her spouse,
as I shall relate in the following chapter of the fourth
372. My daughter, the silence which the soul should
maintain when the invisible enemies advance with their
specious reasonings, should not prevent it from imposing
silence upon them in the name of the Most High, and
from commanding them to leave its presence in confu
sion. Therefore I desire this to be thy prudent behavior
when they assault thee; for there is no other defense so
powerful against the dragon than to be conscious of the
power which we possess as children of God, and to use
the advantage which this confidence gives us by exercis
ing our dominion and superiority over the infernal
spirits (Matth. 6, 9). For the whole aim of Lucifer,
after he had fallen from heaven, consists in enticing souls
from their Creator and in sowing the seed of discord, by
which he hopes to separate from the heavenly Father his
adopted children, and the spouses of Christ from their
Bridegroom. Whenever he perceives that a soul is
united with his Creator and in living communion with
its head Christ, he tries to surpass himself in his furious
attempts at persecuting it; his envy arouses the utmost
exertion of his deceitfulness and malice for its destruc
tion. But as soon as he sees that he cannot succeed in
his attempts, because the soul takes refuge in the unfail
ing and unassailable protection of the Most High, he
weakens in his attempts and begins to writhe in exquisite
torments. If the soul, thus strengthened with the au
thority of God s truth, despises and casts him out, there
is no creeping worm or ant so weak as that giant of
iniquitous pride.
373. By this most true doctrine thou must comfort
and strengthen thyself, when, according to the decree of
the Almighty, thou meetest tribulations and art sur
rounded by the sorrows of death in temptations such as
I have suffered. For they afford thy Spouse the best
occasion of verifying thy fidelity by experience. There
fore love must not be satisfied merely with mere protes
tations of affection without looking for more valuable
fruit; for the desire which costs nothing is not a suffi
cient proof of love in a soul, nor of its proper esteem of
the good which it pretends to hold clear and love. If
thou wishest to give a satisfactory proof of thy love to
thy Spouse, show thyself invincible in thy trust in Him
also then when thou findest thyself most afflicted and for
saken by human aid; confide in the Lord thy God, and
hope in Him, if necessary, against hope (Rom. 4, 18).
For He does not slumber, nor does He sleep, who calls
Himself the protection of Israel (Ps. 120, 4). In due
time He will command the waves and the wind, and
restore tranquillity (Matth. 8, 26).
374. Thou must be much more wary, my daughter, in
the beginning of the temptations; for there is then
greater danger lest the soul, yielding to the concupiscent
or the irascible passions, by which the light of reason
is obscured and darkened, allow itself to be thrown into
confusion. As soon as the demon notices such a state
of mind he will raise a whirlwind of dust in the faculties.
His fierceness is so immeasurable and implacable that it
will then increase in fury. He will add flame to flame,
thinking that the soul has no one to defend and rescue
it from his hands (Ps. 120, 11). With the force of his
temptations increases also the danger of failing in the
necessary resistance, since the soul has commenced to
yield in the very beginning. All this I make known to
thee, in order that thou mayest fear the danger of being
remiss in guarding against the first approaches of the
demon. Do not incur it in what is so important. Thou
shouldst continue in the even tenor of thy duties in every
temptation ; keeping up the sweet and devout union with
the Lord and preserving thy prudent and loving inter
course with thy neighbors, thou shouldst forestall by
prayer and by restraint of thy feelings the disorder which
the enemy seeks to bring about in thy soul.
the Work of God Apostolate - mcog #79                                                

INDEX  Page up ^^


 The Work of God

 Mistical City of God