Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 4  Chapter  4    Verses:  407-417

407. The husband of Mary, saint Joseph, now better
informed, waited until his most holy Spouse had finished
her contemplation, and at the hour known to him he
opened the door of the humble apartment which the
Mother of the heavenly King occupied. Immediately upon
entering the holy man threw himself on his knees, say
ing with the deepest reverence and veneration : "My
Mistress and Spouse, true Mother of the eternal Word,
here am I thy servant prostrate at the feet of thy
clemency. For the sake of thy God and Lord, whom
Thou bearest in thy virginal womb, I beseech Thee to
pardon my audacity. I am certain, O Lady, that none of
my thoughts is hidden to thy wisdom and to thy heavenly
insight. Great was my presumption in resolving to leave
Thee and not less great was my rudeness in treating
Thee until now as my inferior, instead of serving Thee
as the Mother of my Lord and God. But Thou also
knowest that I have done all in ignorance, because I knew
not the sacrament of the heavenly King and the great
ness of thy dignity, although I revered in Thee other
gifts of the Most High. Do not reflect, my Mistress,
upon the ignorance of such a lowly creature, who, now
better instructed, consecrates his heart and his whole life
to thy service and attendance. I will not rise from my
knees, before being assured of thy favor, nor until I have
obtained thy pardon, thy good will and thy blessing."
408. The most holy Mary, hearing the humble words
of saint Joseph, experienced diverse feelings. For with
tender joy in the Lord She saw how apt he was to be
entrusted with the sacraments of the Lord, since he
acknowledged and venerated them with such deep faith
and humility. But She was somewhat troubled by his
resolve of treating Her henceforth with the respect and
self abasement alluded to in his words; for the humble
Lady feared by this innovation to lose the occasions of
obeying and humiliating Herself as a servant of her
spouse. Like one, who suddenly finds herself in danger
of being deprived of some jewel or treasure highly
valued, most holy Mary was saddened by the thought
that saint Joseph would no longer treat Her as an inferior
and as subject to him in all things, having now recog
nized in Her the Mother of the Lord. She raised her
holy spouse from his knees and threw Herself at his
feet (although he tried to hinder it), and said: "I my
self, my master and spouse, should ask thee to forgive me
and thou art the one who must pardon me the sorrows
and the bitterness, which I have caused thee ; and there
fore I ask this forgiveness of thee on my knees, and that
thou forget thy anxieties, since the Most High has looked
upon my desires and afflictions in divine pleasure."
409. It seemed good to the heavenly Lady to console
her spouse, and therefore, not in order to excuse Herself,
She added : "As much as I desired, I could not on my
own account give thee any information regarding the
sacrament hidden within me by the power of the
Almighty; since, as his slave, it was my duty to await
the manifestation of his holy and perfect will. Not be
cause I failed to esteem thee as my lord and spouse did
I remain silent: for I was and always will be thy faith
ful servant, eager to correspond to thy holy wishes and
affection. From my inmost heart and in the name of the
Lord, whom I bear within me, I beseech thee not to
change the manner of thy conversation and intercourse
with me. The Lord has not made me his Mother in
order to be served and to command in this life, but in
order to be the servant of all and thy slave, obeying thy
will in all things. This is my duty, my master, and out
side of it I would lead a life without joy and full of
sorrow. It is just that thou afford me the opportunity
of fulfilling it, since so it was ordained by the Most High.
He has furnished me with thy protection and devoted
assistance, in order that I may live securely in the shade
of thy provident solicitude and with thy aid rear the
Fruit of my womb, my God and my Lord." With these
words and others most sweet and persuasive most holy
Mary consoled and quieted saint Joseph, and he raised
Her from her knees in order to confer with Her upon all
that would be necessary for this purpose. Since on this
occasion the heavenly Lady was full of the Holy Ghost
and moreover bore within Her, as his Mother, the divine
Word, who proceeds from the Father and the Holy
Ghost, saint Joseph received special enlightenment and
the plenitude of divine graces. Altogether renewed in
fervor of spirit he said :
410. "Blessed art Thou, Lady, among all women,
fortunate and preferred before all nations and genera
tions. May the Creator of heaven and earth be extolled
with eternal praise, since from his exalted kingly throne
He has looked upon Thee and chosen Thee for his dwell
ing-place and in Thee alone has fulfilled the ancient
promises made to the Patriarchs and Prophets. Let all
generations bless Him : for in no one has He magnified
his name as He has done in thy humility; and me, the
most insignificant of the living, He has in his divine con
descension selected for thy servant." In these words of
praise and benediction saint Joseph was enlightened by
the Holy Ghost, in the same manner as saint Elisabeth,
when she responded to the salutation of our Queen and
Mistress. The light and inspiration, received by the most
holy spouse was wonderfully adapted to his dignity and
office. The heavenly Lady, upon hearing the words of
the holy man, answered in the words of the Magnificat,
as She had done on her visit to saint Elisabeth, and She
added other canticles. She was all aflame in ecstasy and
was raised from the earth in a globe of light, which sur
rounded Her and transfigured Her with the gifts of glory.
411. At this heavenly vision saint Joseph was filled
with admiration and unspeakable delight ; for never had
he seen his most blessed Spouse in such eminence of
glory and perfection. Now he beheld Her with a full
and clear understanding, since all the integrity and purity
of the Princess of heaven and mystery of her dignity
manifested themselves to him. He saw and recognized
in her virginal womb the humanity of the infant God and
the union of the two natures of the Word. With pro
found humility and reverence he adored Him and recog
nized Him as his Redeemer, offering himself to his
Majesty. The Lord looked upon him in benevolence and
kindness as upon no other man, for He accepted him as
his foster-father and conferred upon him that title. In
accordance with this dignity, He gifted him with that
plenitude of science and heavenly gifts which Christian
piety can and must acknowledge. I do not dilate upon
this vast excellence of saint Joseph made known to me,
because I would extend this history beyond the pre
scribed bounds.
412. However, if it was a proof of the magnanimity
of the glorious saint Joseph and a clear evidence of his
great sanctity, that he did not wear away and die of the
grief sustained at the thought of the loss of his beloved
Spouse, it is yet more astonishing, that he was not over
whelmed by the unexpected joy of this revelation of the
true mystery connected with his Spouse. In the former
he proved his high sanctity; but in the latter he showed
himself worthy of gifts, such which, if the Lord had not
expanded his heart, he could neither have been capable of
receiving nor could he have outlived to bear in the joy
of his spirit. In all things he was renewed and elevated,
so as to be able to treat worthily Her, who was the
Mother of God himself and his Spouse, and to co-operate
with Her in the mystery of the Incarnation and in tak
ing care of the Word made man, as I shall relate farther
on. In order that he might be still more apt and so much
the more recognize his obligation to serve his heavenly
Spouse, it was also made known to him, that all the gifts
and blessings came to him because of Her: those before
his espousal, because he had been selected for her hus
band, and those afterward, because he had won and
merited this distinction. He also perceived with what
prudence the great Lady had acted toward him, not only
in serving him with such inviolate obedience and pro
found humility, but also in consoling him in his affliction,
soliciting for him the grace and assistance of the Holy
Ghost, hiding her feelings with such discretion, tranquilizing
and soothing his sorrow, thus fittingly dispos
ing him for the influence of the divine Spirit. Just as the
Princess of heaven had been the instrument for the sanctification
of saint John the Baptist and his mother, so She
also was instrumental in procuring for saint Joseph the
plenitude of graces in still greater abundance. All this
the most faithful and fortunate man understood and for
it, as a most faithful servant, was proportionately thank
413. These great sacraments and many others con
nected with our Queen and her spouse saint Joseph, the
sacred Evangelists passed over in silence, not only because
they wished to treasure them in their hearts, but also be
cause neither the humble Lady nor saint Joseph had
spoken of them to any one. Nor was it necessary to men
tion these wonders in the life of Christ our Lord, which
they wrote in order to establish our belief in the new
Church and the law of grace ; for such things might give
rise to many inconveniences among the heathens in their
first conversion. The admirable providence of God, in
his hidden and inscrutable judgments, reserved these
secrets for a more suitable time foreseen in divine wis
dom. He wished that, after the Church had been al
ready established and the Catholic faith well grounded,
the faithful, standing in need of the intercession, the as
sistance and protection of their great Queen and Lady,
should draw, from the knowledge of these mysteries,
new and old treasures of grace and consolation (Matth.
13, 52). Perceiving by new enlightenment what a lov
ing Mother and powerful Advocate they had in heaven
with her most holy Son, to whom the Father has given
the power to judge (John 5, 52), let them fly to Her
for help as to the only and sacred refuge of sinners. Let
the tribulations and the tears of the Church themselves
give witness, whether such times of affliction have not
come upon us in our days; for never were her trials
greater than now, when her own sons, reared at her
breast, afflict her, seek to destroy her, and dissipate the
treasures of the blood of her Spouse with a greater
cruelty than was done by her most embittered enemies.
In this crying need, when the blood, shed by her chil
dren calls heavenward, and much more loudly, the
blood of our high Priest Christ (Heb. 12, 24) trodden
under foot and polluted under pretext of justice, re
sounds in anguish, what are the most faithful children
of the Church doing ? Why are they so speechless ? Why
do they not call upon most holy Mary? Why do they
not invoke her aid and urge Her to help ? What wonder
if help is delayed, since we postpone seeking Her and
acknowledging Her as the true Mother of God? I give
witness, that great mysteries are enclosed in this City
of God and that in lively faith we should confess and
extol them. They are so great, that the deeper insight
into them is reserved for the time after the general resur
rection, when all the saints will know them in the Most
High. But in the meanwhile let the pious and faithful
souls acknowledge the condescension of this their most
loving Queen and Lady in revealing some of the great
and hidden sacraments through me, a most unworthy
instrument; for I, in my weakness and insignificance,
could be induced to attempt this work only by the
repeated command and encouragement of the Mother of
piety, as was stated several times.
414. My daughter, my object in revealing to thee in
this history so many sacraments and secrets, both those
which thou hast written and many others, which thou
art unable to manifest, is, that thou use them as a mirror
of my life and as an inviolable rule of action for thy own.
All of them should be engraven in the tablets of thy heart
and I recall to thy mind the teachings of eternal life,
thereby complying with my duty as thy Teacher. Be
ready to obey and fulfill all commands as a willing and
careful pupil; let the humble care and watchfulness of
my spouse saint Joseph, his submission to divine direc
tion and his esteem for heavenly enlightenment, serve
thee as an example. For only because his heart had been
well disposed and prepared for the execution of the divine
will, was he entirely changed and remodeled by the pleni
tude of grace for the ministry assigned to him by the
Most High. Let therefore the consciousness of thy
faults serve thee as a motive to submit in all humility to
the work of God, not as a pretext to withdraw from the
performance of that which the Lord desires of thee.
415. However, I wish on this occasion to reveal to
thee the just reproach and indignation of the Most High
against mortals ; so that, comparing the conduct of other
men with the humility and meekness, which I exercised
toward my spouse saint Joseph, thou mayest understand
it better in divine enlightenment. The cause of this
reproach, which the Lord and I have to make against
men, is the inhuman perversity of men in persisting to
treat each other with so much want of humility and love.
In this they commit three faults, which displease the
Most High very much and which cause the Almighty
and me to withhold many mercies. The first is, that men,
knowing that they are all children of the same Father in
heaven (Is. 64, 8), works of his hands, formed of the
same nature, graciously nourished and kept alive by his
Providence, reared at the same table of divine mysteries
and Sacraments, especially of his own body and blood,
nevertheless forget and despise all these advantages, con
centrating all their interest upon earthly and trivial
affairs, exciting themselves without reason, swelling with
indignation, creating discords, quarrels, indulging in
detractions and harsh words, sometimes rising up to most
wicked and inhuman vengeance or mortal hate of one
another. The second is, that, when through human
frailty and want of mortification, incited by the tempta
tion of the devil, they happen to fall into one of these
faults, they do not at once seek to rid themselves of it
nor strive to be again reconciled, as should be done by
brothers in the presence of a just judge. Thus they
deny Him as their merciful Father and force Him to
become the severe and rigid Judge of their sins; for no
faults excite Him sooner to exercise his severity than
the sins of revenge and hate. The third offense, which
causes his great indignation, is, that sometimes, when a
brother comes in order to be reconciled, he that deems
himself offended will not receive him and asks a greater
satisfaction than that which he knows would be accepted
by the Lord, and which he himself offers as satisfaction
to God s Majesty. For all of them wish that God, who
is most grievously offended, should receive and pardon
them, whenever they approach Him with humility and
contrition; while those that are but dust and ashes, ask
to be revenged upon their brothers and will not content
themselves with the satisfaction, which the Most High
himself readily accepts for their own sins.
416. Of all the sins, which the sons of the Church
commit, none is more horrible than these in the eyes of
the Most High. This thou wilt readily understand by
the divine light and in the vigor of God s law, which
commands men to pardon their brethren, although they
may have offended seventy times seven. And if a brother
offend many times every day, as soon as he says that
he is sorry for it, the Lord commands us to forgive the
offending brother as many times without counting the
number. And those that are not willing to forgive, He
threatens with severest punishment on account of the
scandal, which they cause. This can be gathered from
the threatening words of God himself : Woe to him from
whom scandal comes and through whom scandal is
caused ! It were better for him, if he fell into the depths
of the sea with a heavy millstone around his neck. This
was said in order to indicate the danger of this sin and
the difficulty of obtaining deliverance therefrom, which
must be compared to that of a man dropping into the
sea with a grinding-stone around his neck. It also points
out that the punishment is the abyss of eternal pains
(Matth. 18, 9). Therefore the command of my most holy
Son is good advice to the faithful, that they rather per
mit their eyes to be torn out and their hands chopped off,
than allow themselves to fall into this crime of scandaliz
ing the little ones.
417. O my dearest daughter! How thou must bewail
the wickedness and evils of this sin with tears of blood!
That is the sin, which grieves the Holy Ghost (Eph. 4,
30), affords proud triumphs to the demons, makes mon
sters of rational creatures, and wipes out in them the
image of the eternal Father ! What thing more unbecom
ing, or hateful and monstrous, than to see creatures of
the earth, the food of worms and corruption, rise up
against one another in pride and arrogance? Thou wilt
not find words strong enough to describe this wicked
ness, in order to persuade mortals to fear it and guard
against the wrath of the Lord (Matt. 3, 7). But do
thou, dearest, preserve thy heart from this contagion,
stamp and engrave in it the most useful doctrine for thy
guidance. Never think for a moment, that in offending
thy neighbor or scandalizing him in this way, the guilt
can be small, for all these sins are weighty in the sight
of God. Place a damper on all thy faculties and feel
ings in order to observe most strictly the rules of charity
toward all creatures of the Most High. To me also
afford this pleasure, since I wish thee to be most per
fect in this virtue. I impose upon thee as my most
vigorous precept, that thou give offense neither in
thought, word or deed to any of thy neighbors ; and that
thou prevent any of thy subjects, and, as far as thou
canst, any other person in thy presence from injuring
their neighbor. Meditate well on this, as I ask it of thee,
my dearest; for it is a doctrine most divine and least
understood by mortals. Serve thyself with the only
remedy against these passions : namely, with the compell
ing example of my humility and meekness, the effect of
the sincere love not only toward my spouse, but toward
all the children of the heavenly Father; for I esteemed
them and looked upon them as redeemed and bought for
a great price (I Pet. 1, 18). With true fidelity and in
genious chanty watch over thy religious. The divine
Majesty is offended grievously by any one who does not
fulfill this command expressly inculcated and called a
new one by my Son (John 15, 12) ; but He is roused to
incomparably greater indignation against religious per
sons, who offend against it. Among these there are
many, who should distinguish themselves as perfect
children of the Father and Teacher of this virtue; never
theless they cast it aside and thereby become more odious
and detestable in his sight than worldly persons.
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