Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 4  Chapter  11    Verses:  489-499

489. After the courtiers of heaven had thus celebrated
the birth of God made man near the portals of Bethlehem,
some of them were immediately dispatched to different
places, in order to announce the happy news to those, who
according to the divine will were properly disposed to
hear it. The holy prince Michael betook himself to the
holy Patriarchs in limbo and announced to them, how the
Onlybegotten of the eternal Father was already born
into the world and was resting, humble and meek, as
they had prophesied, in a manger between two beasts.
He addressed also in a special manner holy Joachim and
Anne in the name of the blessed Mother, who had en
joined this upon him; he congratulated them, that their
Daughter now held in her arms the Desired of nations
and Him, who had been foretold by all the Patriarchs
and Prophets (Is. 7, 14; 9, 7, etc.). It was the most
consoling and joyful day, which this great gathering of
the just and the saints had yet had during their long ban
ishment. All of them acknowledged this new Godman
as the true Author of eternal salvation, and they com
posed and sang new songs of adoration and worship
in his praise. Saint Joachim and Anne enjoined the
messenger of heaven, saint Michael, to ask Mary their
Daughter to worship in their name the divine Child, the
blessed Fruit of her womb ; and this the great Queen of
the world immediately did for them, listening with great
jubilee to all that the holy prince reported concerning
the Patriarchs of limbo.
490. Another of the holy angels that attended and
guarded the heavenly Mother was sent to saint Elisabeth
and her son John. On hearing this news of the birth
of the Redeemer, the prudent matron and her son, al
though he was yet of so tender an age, prostrated them
selves upon the earth and adored their God made man
in spirit and in truth (John 4, 23). The child which had
been consecrated as his Precursor, was renewed interiorly
with a spirit more inflamed than that of Elias, causing
new admiration and jubilation in the angels themselves.
Saint John and his mother requested our Queen through
the angels, that She in the name of them both, adore her
most holy Son and offer Him their services ; all of which
the heavenly Queen immediately fulfilled.
491. Having thus been informed of what had hap
pened, saint Elisabeth hastened to send one of her domes
tics to Bethlehem with presents for the blessed Mother
and the infant God. They consisted in some money, some
linen and other things for the comfort of the newly born
and of his poor Mother and her spouse. The servant
betook himself on the way with no other instruction than
that he visit the blessed Virgin and saint Joseph and take
notice of what comfort or want was theirs, so that he
might bring back certain information of their circum
stances and well-being. He had no other knowledge of
the sacrament, except what he himself could perceive
with his own eyes; but renewed and touched by an in
terior and divine force he came back and in wonderful
jubilee described to saint Elisabeth the poverty and the
charming grace of her Cousin, of the Child and of saint
Joseph, and what feelings were excited in him on behold
ing them. Admirable were the sentiments roused in the
godly matron by his ingenuous narration. If it had not
been for the will of God, that the secret and privacy of
this high sacrament should be preserved, she could not
have restrained herself from visiting the Virgin Mother
and the newborn God. Of the things sent by her, the
Queen appropriated some for relieving their extreme
poverty, while She distributed the rest of them to the
poor; for She did not wish to be deprived of the com
pany of the poor during the days in which She would
have to remain in the portal or cave of the Nativity.
492. Other angels were delegated to bring the news to
Zachary, Simeon and Anne, the prophetess, and to some
other just and holy people, who were worthy to be trusted
with this new mystery of our Redemption; for as the
Lord found them prepared to receive this news with
gratitude and with benefit to themselves, He considered
it a just due to their virtue not to hide from them the
blessing conferred upon the human race. Although not
all the just upon earth were informed at that time of this
sacrament; yet in all of them were wrought certain
divine effects in the hour in which the Savior of the
world was born. For all the just felt in their hearts a
new and supernatural joy, though they were ignorant of
its cause. There were not only movements of joy in the
angels and in the just, but also wonderful movements
in the insensible creatures; for all the influences of the
planets were renovated and enlivened. The sun much
accelerated its course; the stars shone in greater bright
ness ; and for the Magi kings was formed that wonderful
star, which showed them the way to Bethlehem (Matth.
2,2). Many trees began to bloom and others to produce
fruit. Some temples of the idols were overthrown; and
in others the idols were hurled down and their demons
put to flight. These wonders and other happenings in
the world on that day men accounted for in different
ways, but far from the truth. Only among the just there
were many, who by divine impulse suspected or believed
that God had come into the world; yet no one knew it
with certainty, except those to whom it was revealed.
Among these were the three Magi, to each of whom in
their separate Oriental kingdoms angels of the Queen s
guard were sent to inform them by interior and intellect
ual enlightenment that the Redeemer of the human race
had been born in poverty and humility. At the same
time they were inspired with the sudden desire of seek
ing Him and adoring Him and immediately they saw the
star as a guide to Bethlehem, as I will relate farther on.
493. Amongst all these, the shepherds of that region,
who were watching their flocks at the time of the birth
of Christ, were especially blessed (Luke 2, 8) ; not only
because they accepted the labor and inconvenience of
their calling with resignation from the hand of God ; but
also because, being poor and humble, and despised by the
world, they belonged in sincerity and uprightness of
heart to those Israelites, who fervently hoped and longed
for the coming of the Messias, speaking and discoursing
of Him among themselves many times. They resembled
the Author of life, as they were removed from the riches,
vanity and ostentation of the world and far from its dia
bolical cunning (John 10, 14). They exhibited in the
circumstances of their calling the office, which the good
Shepherd had come to fulfill in knowing his Sheep and
being known to them. Hence they merited to be called
and invited, as the first fruits of the saints by the Savior
himself, to be the very first ones, to whom the eternal
and incarnate Word manifested Himself and by whom
He wished to be praised, served and adored. Hence the
archangel Gabriel was sent to them as they watched on
the field, appearing to them in human form and with
great splendor.
494. The shepherds found themselves suddenly en
veloped and bathed in the celestial radiance of the angel,
and at his sight, being little versed in such visions, they
were filled with great fear. The holy prince reassured
them and said: "Ye upright men, be not afraid: for I
announce to you tidings of great joy, which is, that for
you is born today the Redeemer Christ, our Lord, in
the city of David. And as a sign of this truth, I announce
to you, that you shall find the Infant wrapped in swad
dling-clothes and placed in a manger" (Luke 2, 10, 12).
At these words of the angel, suddenly appeared a great
multitude of the celestial army, who in voices of sweet
harmony sang to the Most High these words : "Glory to
God in the highest and on earth peace to men of good
will." Rehearsing this divine canticle, so new to the
world, the holy angels disappeared. All this happened
in the fourth watch of the night. By this angelic vision
the humble and fortunate shepherds were filled with
divine enlightenment and were unanimously impelled by
a fervent longing to make certain of this blessing and to
witness with their own eyes the most high mystery of
which they had been informed.
495. The signs which the holy angels had indicated
to them did not seem appropriate or proportioned for
attesting the greatness of the Newborn to eyes of the
flesh. For to lie in a manger and to be wrapped in
swaddling-clothes, would not have been convincing proof
of the majesty of a king, if these shepherds had not been
illumined by divine light and been enabled to penetrate
the mystery. As they were free from the arrogant wis
dom of the world, they were easily made proficient in
the divine wisdom. Conferring among themselves the
thoughts excited by this message, they resolved to hasten
in all speed to Bethlehem and see the wonder made known
to them by the Lord. They departed without delay and
entering the cave or portal, they found, as saint Luke
tells us, Mary and Joseph, and the Infant lying in a
manger. Seeing all this they recognized the truth of what
they had heard of the Child. Upon this followed an in
terior enlightenment consequent upon seeing the Word
made flesh; for when the shepherds looked upon Him,
He also glanced at them, emitting from his countenance
a great effulgence, which wounded with love the sincere
heart of each of these poor yet fortunate men ; with divine
efficiency it changed them and renewed them, constituting
them in a new state of grace and holiness and filling them
with an exalted knowledge of the divine mysteries of the
Incarnation and the Redemption of the human race.
496. Prostrating themselves on the earth they adored
the Word made flesh. Not any more as ignorant rustics,
but as wise and prudent men they adored Him, acknowl
edged and magnified Him as true God and man, as Re
storer and Redeemer of the human race. The heavenly
Lady and Mother of the Child took notice of all that they
did interiorly and exteriorly; for She saw into their in
most hearts. In highest wisdom and prudence She pre
served the memory of all these happenings and pondered
them in her soul, (Luke 2, 19), comparing them with
the other mysteries therein contained and with the holy
prophecies and sayings of the Scriptures. As She was
then the organ of the holy Spirit and the representative
of the Infant, She spoke to the shepherds, instructing
and exhorting them to persevere in divine love and in the
service of the Most High. They also conversed with Her
on their part and showed by their answers that they un
derstood many of the mysteries. They remained in the
cave from the beginning of dawn until mid-day, when,
having given them something to eat, our great Queen
sent them off full of heavenly grace and consolation.
497. During the days in which most holy Mary, the
Child and saint Joseph remained in the gates of Bethle
hem, these holy shepherds returned a few times and
brought such presents as in their poverty they could spare.
What saint Luke says about those that wondered at what
the shepherds said concerning the holy Family, happened
later, after the Queen, the Child and saint Joseph had de
parted and fled from the neighborhood of Bethlehem;
for divine Providence so arranged things, that the
shepherds were unable to spread about these news before
that time. Not all of those that heard them speaking about
this matter believed them, for they held them to be uncul
tured and ignorant people. These shepherds however
were saints and were filled with divine knowledge until
they died. Among those who believed them was Herod,
although not because of any laudable faith or piety, but
on account of his worldly and wicked fear of losing his
kingdom. Among the children, who merited to be sacri
ficed by him, there were also some belonging to these holy
men. Their parents consented joyfully to the martyr
dom, which the children themselves desired and offering
themselves up to the Lord, whom they were made to
know beforehand.
498. My daughter, forgetfulness and inattention re
garding the works of the Redeemer are as reprehensible
as they are common and frequent among mortals. Yet
these works are most mysterious, loving, merciful and in
structive. Thou hast been called and chosen to receive
knowledge and enlightenment for avoiding such dan
gerous and gross torpidity; therefore I wish, that in the
mysteries thou hast just written, thou take notice of and
ponder over the burning love of my most holy Son in com
municating Himself to men as soon as He was born, in
order to make them immediate partakers of the joyful
fruit of his coming. Men do not know of this obliga
tion, because few of them penetrate to the significance
of this great blessing, just as there were few who saw
the Word at his Birth and thanked Him for his arrival.
They are not aware of the cause of their evil state and
of their blindness, which neither was nor is to be ascribed
to the Lord nor to any fault in his love, but to the sins
and the bad dispositions of men. If their own bad dis
positions would not impede or make them unworthy of
this favor, the same light, which was given to the just,
to the shepherds and to the kings, would have been
vouchsafed to all or to many. That there should be so
few, will make thee understand in what an unhappy
condition the world was at the time of the coming of the
incarnate Word ; and also the unhappiness of the present
times, when these mysteries have become so evident and
when grateful memory of them is become so scarce.
499. Consider the wicked disposition of mortals in
the present age, in which the light of the Gospel has been
spread out and confirmed by so many miracles wrought
by God in his Church. In spite of all this there are so
few, who are perfect and who seek to dispose themselves
for greater participation in the fruits and benefits of the
Redemption. Although the number of fools is so great
and the vices are become so measureless, there are those
who think, that also the perfect are numerous, because,
forsooth, men do not so openly dare to act in opposition
to God : there are fewer than one thinks, and many less
than there should be, seeing that God is so much offended
by the infidels and continually desires to communicate
the treasures of grace in his Church according to the
merits of his Onlybegotten made man. Be mindful,
dearest, of the obligation imposed upon thee by thy clear
knowledge of these truths. Live cautiously, with great
attention and watchfulness correspond to his graces, los
ing no time, occasion or circumstance for acting in the
most holy and perfect manner known to thee; for thou
canst not fulfill thy duty otherwise. Remember what
I tell thee, command and urge upon thee, that thou re
ceive not such great favor in vain (II Cor. 6, 1) ; do
not allow thy grace and light to be without profit, but
make use of them in the perfection of thankfulness.
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