Mystical City of God - Virgin Mary

By Sor Maria of Agreda


  INDEX   Book 4  Chapter  17    Verses:  565-572

565. From the grotto of the Nativity, into which the
three Kings had entered directly on their way to Jerusa
lem, they betook themselves to a lodging inside of the
town of Bethlehem. They retired to a room where, in
an abundance of affectionate tears and aspirations, they
spent the greater part of the night, speaking of what they
had seen, of the feelings and affections aroused in each,
and of what each had noticed for himself in the divine
Child and his Mother. During this conference they
were more and more inflamed with divine love, amazed
at the majesty and divine effulgence of the Infant Jesus;
at the prudence, modesty and reserve of his Mother; at
the holiness of her spouse Joseph, and the poverty of all
three; at the humbleness of the place, where the Lord
of heaven and earth had wished to be born. The devout
kings felt a divine fire, which flamed up in their hearts,
and, not being able to restrain themselves, they broke out
into exclamations of sweet affection and acts of great
reverence and love. "What is this that we feel?" they
said. "What influence of this great King is it that
moves us to such desires and affections? After this, how
shall we converse with men? What can we do, who
have been instructed in such new, hidden and super
natural mysteries? O greatness of his Omnipotence un-
known to men and concealed beneath so much poverty!
O humility unimaginable for mortals! Would that all
be drawn to it, in order that they may not be deprived
of such happiness !"
566. During these divine colloquies the Magi remem
bered the dire destitution of Jesus, Mary and Joseph in
their cave, and they resolved immediately to send them
some gifts in order to show their affection and to satisfy
their desire of serving them, since they could not do any
thing else for them. They sent through their servants
many of the presents, which they had already set aside
for them, and others which they could procure. Most
holy Mary and Joseph received these gifts with humble
acknowledgment and they made a return not of emptyworded
thanks, as other men are apt to make, but many
efficacious blessings for the spiritual consolation of the
three Kings. These gifts enabled our great Queen to
prepare for her ordinary guests, the poor, an abundant
repast; for the needy ones were accustomed to receive
alms from Her, and, attracted still more by her sweet
words, were wont to come and visit Her. The Kings
went to rest full of incomparable joy in the Lord; and
in their sleep the angels advised them as to their journey
567. On the following day at dawn they returned to
the cave of the Nativity in order to offer to the heavenly
King the special gifts which they had provided. Ar
riving they prostrated themselves anew in profound
humility; and opening their treasures, as Scripture re
lates, they offered Him gold, incense and myrrh (Matth.
2, 11). They consulted the heavenly Mother in regard
to many mysteries and practices of faith, and concerning
matters pertaining to their consciences and to the gov
ernment of their countries; for they wished to return
well instructed and capable of directing themselves to
holiness and perfection in their daily life. The great
Lady heard them with exceeding pleasure and She con
ferred interiorly with the divine Infant concerning all
that they had asked, in order to answer and properly to
instruct these sons of the new Law. As a Teacher and
an instrument of divine wisdom She answered all their
questions, giving them such high precepts of sanctity
that they could scarcely part from Her on account of the
sweetness and attraction of her words. However, an
angel of the Lord appeared to them, reminding them of
the necessity and of the will of the Lord that they should
return to their country. No wonder that her words
should so deeply affect these Kings; for all her words
were inspired by the holy Spirit and full of infused
science regarding all that they had inquired and many
other matters.
568. The heavenly Mother received the gifts of the
Kings and in their name offered them to the Infant Jesus.
His Majesty showed by signs of highest pleasure, that
He accepted their gifts: they themselves became aware
of the exalted and heavenly blessings with which He
repaid them more than a hundredfold (Matth. 19, 29).
According to the custom of their country they also offered
to the heavenly Princess some gems of great value; but
because these gifts had no mysterious signification and
referred not to Jesus, She returned them to the Kings,
reserving only the gifts of gold, incense and myrrh. In
order to send them away more rejoiced, She gave them
some of the clothes in which She had wrapped the infant
God; for She neither had nor could have had any
greater visible pledges of esteem with which to enrich
them at their departure. The three Kings received these
relics with such reverence and esteem that they encased
them in gold and precious stones in order to keep them
ever after. As a proof of their value these relics spread
about such a copious fragrance that they revealed their
presence a league in circumference. However, only those
who believed in the coming of God into the world were
able to perceive it ; while the incredulous perceived none of
the fragrance emitted by the relics. In their own coun
tries the Magi performed great miracles with these relics.
569. The holy Kings also offered their property and
possession to the Mother of the sweetest Jesus, or, if She
did not wish to accept of them and preferred to live in
this place, where her most holy Son had been born, they
would build Her a house, wherein She could live more
comfortably. The most prudent Mother thanked them
for their offers without accepting them. On taking leave
of Her, the three Kings besought Her from their inmost
hearts not to forget them, which She promised and ful
filled ; in the same way they spoke to saint Joseph. With
the blessing of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, they departed,
so moved by tenderest affection that it seemed to them
they had left their hearts all melted into sighs and tears
in that place. They chose another way for their return
journey, in order not to meet Herod in Jerusalem; for
thus they had been instructed by the angel on the pre
night. On their departure from Bethlehem the
same or a similar star appeared in order to guide them
home, conducting them on their new route to the place
where they had first met, whence each one separated to
reach his own country.
570. For the rest of their lives these most fortunate
Kings lived up to their divine vocation as true disciples
of the Mistress of holiness, governing both their souls
and the people of their states according to her teaching.
By the example of their lives and the knowledge of the
Messias, which they spread about, they converted a great
number of souls to the belief in the true God and to the
way of salvation. Finally, full of days and merits, they
closed their careers in sanctity and justice, having been
favored both in life and in death by the Mother of mercy.
After dismissing the Kings, the heavenly Queen and saint
Joseph spent their time in new canticles of praise of the
wonders of the Most High, conferring them with the
sayings of the Scriptures and the prophecies of the Pa
triarchs, which they saw fulfilled one after another in
the Infant Jesus. But the most prudent Mother, who
profoundly penetrated into the deepest meaning of these
high sacraments, remembered them all and treasured
them up in her bosom (Luke 2, 19). The holy angels,
who were witnesses of these holy mysteries, congratu
lated their Queen, that her most holy Son had been mani
fested and that his Majesty had been adored by men;
and they sang to Him new canticles, magnifying his
mercies wrought upon mankind.
571. My daughter, great were the gifts which the
Kings offered to my most holy Son ; but greater still was
the affection with which they offered them and the mys
tery concealed beneath them. On account of all this
they were most acceptable to his Majesty. I wish that
thou also offer up similar gifts, thanking Him for hav
ing made thee poor in condition and profession. For I
assure thee, my dearest, there is no more acceptable gift
to the Most High than voluntary poverty. There are
very few in the world in our days who use well the
temporal riches and offer them to their God and Lord
with the generosity and love of these holy Kings. The
poor of the Lord, so numerous in our day, experience
and give witness how cruel and avaricious human nature
has become; since in their great necessities they are so
little succored by the rich. This gross uncharitableness
of men offends the holy angels and grieves the Holy
Ghost, since they are bound to witness the nobility of
the souls so degraded and abased in the service of vile
greed of gold with all its evil powers (Eccles. 10, 20).
As if all things had been created for the individual use
of the rich, they appropriate them to themselves and de
prive the poor, their brothers springing from the same
nature and flesh; and denying them even to God, who
created and preserves all things, and who can give or
take at will. It is most lamentable that while the rich
might purchase eternal life with their possessions, they
abuse them to draw upon themselves damnation as sense
less and foolish creatures (Luke 16, 9).
572. This evil is common among the children of
Adam; and therefore voluntary poverty is so excellent
and safe a remedy. By it, making man willing to part
joyfully with his possessions for the sake of the poor, a
great sacrifice is offered to the Lord. Thou also canst
make such an offering of the things necessary for suste
nance, giving a part of it to the poor and desiring, if it
were possible by thy labor and sweat, to help all of them.
Thy ceaseless offer, however, must be love, which is the
gold; continual prayer, which is the incense; and the
patient acceptance of labors and true mortifications,
which is the myrrh. All that thou dost for the Lord,
thou should offer up to Him with fervent affection and
promptitude, without negligence or fear; for negligent
works, and those not enlivened by love, are not an ac
ceptable sacrifice in the eyes of his Majesty. In order
to make those incessant offerings, it is necessary that
divine faith and light continually inflame thy heart, hav
ing before thy eyes the great object of thy praise and ex
altation, and the stimulus of love, by which thou art
bound to the right hand of the Most High. Thus
shouldst thou continue incessantly in this sweet exercise
of love, so proper to the spouses of his Majesty; for their
name implies such a continual payment of the debt of
love and affection.
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