Extracts from the Mystical City of God
'With the help of the Almighty's grace, thou canst rise above thyself and make thyself a daughter of heaven, whence all grace comes.'
Our Lady's Words to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. I, 310
The Sacramental Mysteries of the Life of the Mother of God from the Return out of Egypt up to her divine Son's Ascension into Heaven.
"For thy consolation take notice, that He has exercised this office of Teacher not only once and not only at the time, when He taught his holy doctrine while yet in mortal flesh, as is related in the Gospels (Matt. 28, 20); but that He continues to be the Teacher of souls to the end of the world. He admonishes, instructs and inspires them, urging them to put in practice whatever is most perfect and most holy. Thus He acts toward all without exception, although according to His divine ordainment, and according to the disposition and the attentiveness of each soul, every one receives more or less of the benefits (Matt. 11, 5). If thou hadst always applied this truth, thou wouldst have known by abundant experience, that the Lord does not refuse to act as the Teacher of the poor, of the despised and of the sinners, if they wish to listen to his secret doctrines.'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 12
'Nothing can be hid from this great Master and Teacher (Heb. 4, 13), and He withdraws in disgust from those who are ungrateful and disobedient. . . He is accustomed to withdraw from. . . creatures in order to visit them with merited punishment for their many sins, outrages, ingratitudes and negligences.'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 13
'When the divine Child grew larger He sometimes helped saint Joseph as far as his strength would permit; at other times, as his doings were always kept a secret in the family, He would perform miracles, disregarding the natural forces in order to ease and comfort him in his labors.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 24
'Deny thyself to all that is earthly and visible; ignore it and refuse to look upon it; have no desire for it and pay no attention to it; avoid being known, and let no creatures have any part in thee; guard thou thy secret (Is. 24, 16), and thy treasure (Matth. 13, 44) from the fascination of men and from the devil. In all this thou will have success, if, as a disciple of my most holy Son and of me, thou puttest in perfect practice the evangelical doctrine inculcated by Us. In order to compel thyself to an exalted undertaking always be mindful of the blessing of being called by divine Providence to the imitation of my life and virtues and to the following of my footsteps through my instruction.'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 25
'The shortest and the most secure course to follow, both for thee and for all men, is to welcome bitterness and sorrow and put aside ease and pleasure of the senses, and inviolably to resolve not to allow them to become dissipated or enjoy greater freedom than the strict rule of reason permits. In addition to this thou must continually seek after the greater pleasure of the Lord and aspire to the great last end of all thy longings. For this purpose thou must always be solicitous to imitate me, for to this I call and invite thee, desiring that thou arrive at the summit of virtue and holiness. Consider the punctuality and fervor with which I achieved so many and so great results; not because the Lord urged me on by his commands, but because I wished to please him more.'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 34
'These [holy angels], who numbered ten thousand, She [Blessed Mary] asked saying: "My friends and companions, you well know the cause of my sorrow: in this bitter affliction be my consolation and give me some information concerning my Beloved, so that I may seek and find Him (Cant. 3, 2). Give some relief to my wounded heart, which torn from its happiness and life, bounds from its place in search of Him." The holy angels, who, though they never lost sight of the Creator and Redeemer, were aware that the Lord wished to furnish his Mother this occasion of great merit, and that it was not yet time to reveal the secret to Her, answered by speaking words of consolation without manifesting to Her the whereabouts and doings of their Lord. This evasive answer raised new doubts in the most prudent Lady. Her anxiety of heart caused Her to break out in tears and sighs of inmost grief, and urged Her onward in search, not of the lost drachm, like the woman in the Gospel, but of the whole treasure of heaven and earth (Luke 15, 8 ).'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 38
'Moreover, during these three days the Lord left Her [Blessed Mary] to her natural resources of nature and of grace, deprived of special privileges and favors; for, with the exception of the company and intercourse of the angels, He suspended all the other consolations and blessings so constantly vouchsafed to her most holy soul.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 41
'On this occasion [when the rabbis were gathered together in the temple and then joined by the Child Jesus] the coming of the Messias was discussed; for on account of the report of the wonderful events, which had spread about since the birth of the Baptist and the visit of the Kings of the east, the rumor of the coming of the Redeemer and of his being already in the world, though yet unknown, had gained ground among the Jews.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 49
'During the rest of the journey the heavenly Mother discoursed with her sweetest Son on the mysteries, interiorly manifested to Her concerning the discussion with the teachers. He repeated by word of mouth, what He had shown Her interiorly. In particular He told Her, that these doctors had not recognized Him as the Messias because they were inflated and arrogant in their own knowledge. Their understanding was obscured by the darkness of their pride, so that they could not perceive the divine light shining forth in such profusion form Him; while, if they had the humble and loving desire of seeing the truth, his reasoning would have sufficiently convinced them. On account of these obstacles they saw it not, though it was open before their eyes.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 58
'Consider all the delights and joys of the world as insanity, its laughing as sorrow, sensible enjoyment as self deceit, as the source of foolishness, which intoxicates the heart and hinders and destroys all true wisdom. Live in constant and holy fear of losing eternal life and rejoice in nothing except in the Lord until thou obtainest full possession of Him. Fly from conversations with men and dread its dangers. If sometimes God places thee in the way of human intercourse for his glory and by obedience, although thou must trust in his protection, yet never be remiss or careless in guarding thyself from contamination. Do not trust thy natural disposition when there is a question of friendship and close intercourse with others; in this consists for thee a greater danger; for the Lord has given thee a pleasing and mild disposition, so that thou mayest naturally incline toward Him, resist none of his intentions and make a proper return for the blessings bestowed upon thee. But as soon as thou givest entrance to creatures into thy heart thou wilt certainly be carried away and alienated by them from the highest good, and thou wilt pervert the intentions and operations of his infinite wisdom in thy behalf. It would certainly be most unworthy of thee to divert that which is most noble in thy nature to an unseemly end. Raise thyself above all created things, and above thyself (Thren. 3, 28). Perfect the operations of thy faculties and set before them the exalted perfections of thy God, of my beloved Son and thy Spouse, who is beautiful among the sons of men (Ps. 44, 3). Love Him with all the powers of thy heart and soul.'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Vol. III, 63
'And in many temptations I exhort thee not to be troubled or afflicted much; for if they cause thee to halt in thy course, they will already have gained a great advantage over thee and they will prevent thee from becoming strong in the practice of perfection. Listen therefore to the Lord alone, who is desirous of the beauty of thy soul (Ps. 44, 12); who is liberal in bestowing his gifts upon it, powerful to deposit therein the treasures of his wisdom, and anxious to see thee prepare thyself to receive them. Allow Him to write into thy heart the evangelical Law. Let that be thy continual study, thy meditation day and night, the sweet nourishment of thy memory, the life of thy soul and the sweet nectar for thy spiritual taste. Thus wilt thou obtain what the Most High and I require of thee, and what thou thyself desirest.'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 73
'That those who walk in the way of salvation are the smaller number, is due to the vice and the depraved habits imbibed in youth and nourished in childhood. For that saying of Deuteronomy is very true: "As the days of thy youth, so also shall thy old age be" (Deut. 33, 25). Hence the demons gain courage and increase their tyrannical influence over souls in the early years of man's life, hoping that they will be able to induce men to commit so much the greater and more frequent sins in later years, the more they have succeeded in drawing them into small and insignificant faults in their childhood. By these they draw them on to a state of blind presumption; for with each sin the soul loses more and more the power of resistance, subjects itself to the demon, and falls under the sway of its tyrannical enemies. The miserable yoke of wickedness is more and more firmly fastened upon it; the same is trodden underfoot by its own iniquity and urged onward under the sway of the devil from one precipice to another, from abyss to abyss (Ps. 41, 8 ): a chastisement merited by all those, that allow themselves to be overcome by evil-doing in the beginning. By these means Lucifer has hurled into hell so great a number of souls and continues so to hurl them every day, rising up in his pride against the Almighty.'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 83
'The most holy Mary understood, more than any tongue can explain, the value and excellence of tears, and at the same time the foolishness and danger of laughter and human enjoyment. For, while all the children of Adam, though they are conceived in original sin and afterwards incur many other actual sins, give themselves over to laughter and gaiety, this heavenly Mother, being without sin at her Conception and after, was aware, that this mortal life should be consumed in weeping over the absence of the supreme Good and over the sins, which have been and are committed against God. For the sake of all men She wept over their sins, and merited by her most innocent tears the great consolations and favors of the Lord. Her most pure heart was in continual distress at the sight of the offenses committed against her Beloved and her God; her eyes distilled incessant tears (Jer. 9,1), and her bread day and night was to weep over the ingratitude of sinners toward their Creator and Redeemer (Ps. 41, 4). No creatures, not all of them together wept more than the Queen of Angels, though for men, on account of their sins, their is abundant cause of wailing and weeping, while in Her there was cause only for joy and delight on account of her treasures of grace.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 90
'The powerful arms for battling against those who make war on thee, must be the doctrines of the Catholic faith (Rom. 1, 17), for the firm belief in them and the continual exercise of them, the incessant meditation and remembrance of them, illumine the souls, drives away errors, disclose the deceits of satan and disperse his falsehoods just as the rays of the sun dispel the dark clouds.'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 104
'The more vivid and penetrating thy knowledge of the mysteries of the faith, so much the greater and more powerful will be its effects upon thee.'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 105
'In regard to the love of neighbors apply always the first law of doing unto others as thou wishest done to thyself, which is the standard of all intercourse with men. If thou desirest them to think and act well toward thee, thou thyself must do the same with thy brethren. If thou feel that they offend thee in little things, avoid thou giving them any such offense. If thou see others doing what seems evil and disagreeable to their neighbor, avoid it thyself; for thou knowest how much it offends against the law of the Most High. Weep over thy faults and those of thy fellow men; because they are against the law of God; this is true charity toward the Lord and toward thy neighbor. Sorrow over the afflictions of others as over thy own, for thus wilt thou imitate me.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 118
' . . . and I tell thee, my daughter, that the men of the present age have so outraged the justice of the Lord, that I cannot even manifest to them, what in my kindness I desire as a remedy of this evil. But let them know at present that his sentence shall be dreadful and without mercy, rendered against those wicked and faithless servants who are condemned by the words of their own mouth (Luke 19, 22).'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 134
'Particularly do I wish thee to understand the wrath of the Almighty against those who dare to receive the Sacraments unworthily, especially the august Sacrament of the Altar. O soul! How dreadful is this sin in the eyes of the Lord and his saints! Yea, not only the receiving of Him unworthily, but the irreverences committed in his real presence on the altar! How can they be called children of the Church, who, claiming to believe and respect this mystery, not only neglect to visit Him in the many places where He is sacramentally present, but also dare to indulge in such disrespect toward Him as even the heathens are not guilty of against their false idols? This is a matter which could not be deplored sufficiently in many discourses ; and I tell thee, my daughter, that the men of the present age have so outraged the justice of the Lord, that I cannot even manifest to them, what in my kindness I desire as a remedy of this evil. But let them know at present that his sentence shall be dreadful and without mercy, rendered against those wicked and faithless servants who are condemned by the words of their own mouth (Luke 19, 22). This thou canst announce to all that will hear thee; and counsel them to come at least once a day to the churches in which their God is sacramentally present, in order to adore and worship Him; and let them assist at the sacrifice of the Mass, for men do not know how much they lose by their negligence in this regard.'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 134
'During prayer our Blessed master sometimes assumed a kneeling posture, sometimes He was prostrate in the form of a cross or at other times raised in the air in this same position which He loved so much.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 138
'Whenever thou must perform any interior or exterior work, consider beforehand whether what thou art going to say or do corresponds with the doings of thy Lord, and whether thou hast the intention thereby to honor thy Lord and benefit thy neighbor. As soon as thou art sure that this is thy motive, execute thy undertaking in union with Him and in imitation of Him; but if thou findest not this motive let the undertaking rest. This was my invariable course in pursuing the imitation of my Lord and Teacher; thou in me there was no reluctance toward the good, but only the desire of imitating Him perfectly. In this imitation consists the fruit of his holy teaching, in which He urges us to do, what is most pleasing and acceptable to the eternal God. Moreover from this day on be mindful not to undertake any work, not to speak or even think any of anything, without first asking my permission and consulting me as thy Mother and Teacher. And as soon as I answer thee give thanks to the Lord; if I do not answer after continued inquiry, I promise and assure thee on the part of the Lord, that He will, nevertheless, give thee light as to what will be according to his most perfect will. In all things, however, subject thyself to the guidance of thy spiritual director, and never forget this practice!'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 143
'As He [St. Joseph] had the happiness and good fortune of continually enjoying the sight and the intercourse of the divine Wisdom incarnate, and of Her, who was the Mother of It, this man of God reached such a height of sanctity, that his heavenly Souse excepted, no one ever surpassed Him and he far outstripped other creatures.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 147
'Her blessed Son, like his heavenly Mother, ate no meat; their nourishment was only fish, fruit and herbs, and these only in the greatest moderation.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 149
'Other morals, on account of the decline of the natural humors and temperature, ordinarily begin to deteriorate and gradually approach decay as far as their body is concerned; the exquisite balance of bodily humors is disturbed and the earthly ones begin to predominate more and more; the hair begins to whiten, the countenance to wrinkle, the blood to cool, some of the strength to weaken; and the whole human frame, in spite of the greatest care, commences to decline toward old age and corruption. But in the most holy Mary it was not so; for the wonderful beauty and strength, which She had attained at the age of thirty-three years, remained unchanged; and when She had reached her seventieth year, as I shall relate later on, She still retained the same beauty and entirety of her virginal body at the age of thirty-three.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 145
'In order to increase his [St. Joseph's] merits and crown before the time of his meriting should come to an end, He visited him in the last years of his life with certain sicknesses, such as fever, violent headaches and very painful rheumatisms, which greatly afflicted and weakened him. In the midst of these infirmities, he was suffering from another source, more sweet, but extremely painful, namely from the fire of his ardent love which was so vehement, that the flights and ecstasies of his most pure soul would often have burst the bounds of his body if the Lord, who vouchsafed them, had not strengthened and comforted him against these agonies of love.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 155
'There was never a sick person, nor will there ever be one, who was so well nursed and comforted [as St. Joseph was].'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 157
'Very tardy is that charity (and even the politeness), which waits until the needy one asks for help. I did not wait, but hastened to assist before I was asked. My charity and attention anticipated the requests of my spouse and thus I consoled him not only by my services but by my loving solicitude and attention. I shared his sufferings and hardships with heartfelt compassion; but at the same time I praised the Most High and thanked Him for the blessings of affliction conferred on his servant. If sometimes I sought to relieve his pains, it was not in order to deprive him of the occasion of meriting, but that he might by this aid excite himself to glorify so much the more the Author of all goodness and holiness; and to these virtues I exhorted and encouraged him.'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 161
"'Our Savior answered: "My Mother, thy request is pleasing to me, and the merits of Joseph are acceptable in my eyes. I will now assist him and will assign him a place among the princes of my people (Ps. 115, 15), so high that he will be the admiration of the angels and will cause them and all men to break forth with highest praise. With none of the human born shall I do as with thy spouse." The great Lady gave thanks to her sweetest Son for this promise; and, for nine days and nights before the death of saint Joseph he uninterruptedly enjoyed the company and attendance of Mary and her divine Son. By command of the Lord the holy angels, three times on each of the nine days, furnished celestial music, mixing their hymns of praise with the benedictions of the sick man. Moreover, their humble but most precious dwelling was filled with the sweetest fragrance and odors so wonderful that they comforted not only saint Joseph, but invigorated all the numerous persons who happened to come near the house.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 163
'Love was then the real cause of the death of saint Joseph, as I have said before.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 167
'In order that the utmost propriety might be observed by the Virgin Mother, God enveloped the body of saint Joseph in a wonderful light, which hid all except his countenance; and thus his purest Spouse, although She clothed him for burial, saw only his face. Sweetest fragrance exhaled from his body and it remained so beautiful and lifelike, that the neighboring people eagerly came to see it and were filled with admiration.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 168
'Hence thou wilt understand the great danger in the hour of death, when both the good works and the bad will begin to show their effects. I will not tell thee how many are thus lost, in order that thy sincere love of God may not cause thee to die of sorrow at this loss. But the general rule is: a good life gives hope of a good end; all other reliance is doubtful, and salvation resting upon it is very rare and merely accidental.'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 172
'Since he was chosen by God, saint Joseph was no doubt the most perfect man on earth.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 176
'He [St. Joseph] was sanctified in the womb of his mother seven months after his conception, and the leaven of sin was destroyed in him for the whole course of his life, never having felt any impure or disorderly movement.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 177
'The Lord hastened in him [St. Joseph] the use of his reason, perfecting it in his third year, endowing it with infused science and augmenting his soul with new graces and virtues.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 178
'In virtue of these special privileges the intercession of St. Joseph is most powerful: first, for attaining the virtue of purity and overcoming the sensual inclinations of the flesh; secondly, for procuring powerful help to escape sin and return to the friendship of God; thirdly, for increasing the love and devotion to most holy Mary; fourthly, for securing the grace of a happy death and protection against the demons in that hour; fifthly, for inspiring the demons with terror at the mere mention of his name by his clients; sixthly, for gaining health of body and assistance in all kinds of difficulties; seventhly, for securing issue of children in families. These and many other favors God confers upon those who properly and with good disposition seek the intercession of the spouse of our Queen, saint Joseph.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 181
'I wish also that thou learn from this chapter to conceal carefully the special works thou undertakest in imitation of my own; for although I had no need of refraining from any work in the presence of saint Joseph, yet I was careful to add retirement as an additional observance of perfection and prudence, since retirement of itself makes good works more praiseworthy. But this is not to be understood of ordinary and obligatory works, since thou must give an good example and let thy light shine, avoiding any danger of scandal or cause for cavil. There are many works which can be done in secret and unobserved by the eyes of creatures, and which are not lightly to be exposed to the danger of publicity and ostentation. In thy retirement thou canst make many genuflections; prostrate in the dust, thou canst humiliate thyself, adoring the supreme Majesty of the Most High and offering thy mortal body, which oppresses thy soul, as a sacrifice for the disorderly inclinations against justice and reason. Thus thou wilt not reserve any part of thy being from the service of thy Creator and Spouse, and thou wilt force thy body to make up the loss which it causes to the soul by its passions and earthly affections.
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 196
'Mortify and crush it [thy mortal body] until it is dead to all that is delightful to the senses, so that even the common actions necessary for life shall appear to thee more painful than agreeable, taste more of bitterness than of dangerous enjoyment.'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 197
'If I, who never had displeased or offended the Lord since the beginning of my existence, judged this virtue of humility so necessary in order to find grace in his eyes and be raised up by his right hand, how much more is it necessary for thee to humble thyself to the dust and annihilate thyself in his sight, who was conceived in sin and hast so often offended Him? (Ps. 50, 7). Humiliate thyself to nothingness, and acknowledge that what being the Most High has given thee, thou hast but ill employed, and that, therefore, thy very existence should be subject of humiliation to thee. Thus wilt thou at last find the treasure of grace.'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 197
'The perdition of Judas began by his despising her good will and by conceiving against the Mother of God a sort of ill-will and impiety.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 206
'O my dearest Daughter, if men would place no hindrance by their sins, and if they would not resist this infinite bounty, how measureless would be the favors and blessings upon them! According to thy way of understanding thou must look upon Him as being outraged and made sorrowful by the opposition of mortals to his boundless desires of doing them good.'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 207
'On former occasions I have already told thee, that the number of those foreknown as doomed, is so great, and of those that save themselves is so small, that it is not expedient to say more in particular. For if thou hast the sentiments of a true daughter of the Church, the spouse of Christ, my Son and Lord, thou wouldst die at seeing such misfortune. What thou mayest know, is, that all the loss and misfortune apparent in Christian nations and governments, as well among chiefs as among subjects of the Church and of the secular state, all originate and flow from the forgetfulness and contempt of the works of Christ and of the works of his Redemption. If there were a way of rousing them to a sense of thankfulness and to a sense of their duty as faithful and acknowledged children of their Creator and Redeemer, and of me, who am their Intercessor, the wrath of the divine Judge would be appeased, and their would be some diminution of the widespread ruin and perdition among Catholics. The eternal Father, who is justly zealous for the honor of his Son and rigorously chastises the servants, who know the will of their Lord and refuse to fulfill it, would again be reconciled.'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 220
'So great was the efficacy of their [Jesus' and Mary's] prayers, that all those who pronounce these names in reverence and faith, overcome their hellish enemies and precipitously repel them in virtue of the prayers, triumphs and victories of our Savior and of his most holy Mother. On account of the protection thereby offered to us against the arrogant giants of hell, and on account of all the other helps furnished us in the holy Church of our Lord, no excuse is left for us not battling legitimately and valiantly, or for not overcoming and vanquishing the demon, as the enemy of the eternal God and our own. For in this we should follow the example of our Savior according to our ability.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 227
'He [Lucifer] with tireless malice labors to overthrow the barriers of restraint, so that, forgetful of the last things and of eternal torment, men may give themselves over, like brute beasts, to sensual pleasures, and unmindful of themselves consume their lives in the pursuit of apparent good, until, as Job says (Job. 21, 13), they suddenly fall a prey to eternal perdition. Such is in reality the fate on innumerable foolish men, who abhor the restraint imposed upon them by this truth. Do thou, my daughter, allow me to instruct thee, and keep thyself free from such harmful deceit and from this forgetfulness of the worldly people.'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 230
'The anchoret John, many years before [his preaching] had made for himself a large cross, which he had placed at the head of his couch: with it he performed some exercises of penance and he was accustomed to place himself upon it in the form of one crucified, when he was engaged in prayer. He did not wish to leave this treasure in the desert; therefore, before issuing forth, he sent it by the hands of the holy angels to the Queen of heaven and earth and requested them to tell Her that the cross had been his greatest and most beloved companion in his long banishment; that he sent it to Her as a precious treasure, because he knew what was to be wrought upon it by the Son of God, and also because the holy angels had told him, that her most holy Son and Redeemer of the world often made use of a cross like this, when performing his prayers in his oratory. The angels had made this cross fashioning it from a tree in the desert at his request; for the saint had neither the necessary strength nor the instruments for this kind of work, whereas the holy angels wonted not the skill and needed no instruments on account of the power they have over material creation. With this present and message of saint John the holy princes returned to their Queen, and She received this token form their hands with innermost emotions of sorrow and consolation, at the thought of what mysteries were in so short a time to be enacted upon the hard wood of the Cross. She addressed it in words of tenderness and placed it in her oratory, where She kept it ever afterwards together with the other cross which had been used by her Son.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 236
'In addition to this, I wish that thou, in imitation of saint John the Baptist prepare thy heart for all that the Holy Spirit wishes to work in thee for his own glory and for the benefit of souls. As far as depends on thee, love solitude and withdraw thy soul from the confusion of created things. Whenever thy duty to God forces thee to deal with creatures, seek always thy own sanctification and the edification of thy neighbor, so that in thy outward conversation and intercourse the zeal of thy spirit may shine forth. His exalted virtues now known to thee and those resplendent in the lives of other saints, should serve thee as a spur and as an example: seek, like a busy bee, to build up the sweet honeycomb of sanctity and innocence so much desired in thee by my divine Son.'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 239
'He gives thee a free hand only in regard to thy love of Him and in thy desire to suffer for Him, while in all the rest thy desires will only make thee drift away from his will and mine. This will surely be the result of following thy own will and inclinations, desires and appetites. Deny and sacrifice them all, raising thyself above thyself, up to the high and exalted habitation of the Lord and Master; attend to His interior lights and to the truth of his words of eternal life (John 6, 69), and in order that thou mayest follow them, take up the Cross (Matth. 16, 24), tread in his footsteps, walk in the odor of his ointments (Cant. 1, 3), and be anxious to reach thy Lord; and having obtained possession of Him, do not leave Him (Cant. 3, 4).'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 253
'Her [Blessed Mary's] prayers were so ardent, that She shed tears of blood in weeping over the sins of men.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 255
'Do not allow thyself to be retarded and ensnared away from my following by intercourse with creatures; let them alone, avoid them, despise them in so far as they can hinder thee on thy way. In order that thou mayest advance in my school, I wish to see thee poor, humble, despised, abased yet always with a cheerful heart and countenance. Do not try to repay thyself with the applause or the love of any creature, nor allow human sentiment to rule thee; for the Most High has not destined thee for such useless entanglements, or for occupations so lowly and adverse to the religious state to which He has called thee. Think attentively and humbly of the tokens of his love received at his hands; and of the treasures of his grace, which He has showered upon thee. Neither Lucifer nor any of his minsters and followers are ignorant of them: they are filled with wrath against thee and in their cunning they will let no stone unturned for thy destruction. His greatest efforts will be directed against thy interior, where he has planted his battery of cunning and deceit. Do thou live well prepared and watchful against all his attacks, close the portals of thy senses and preserve the authority of thy will, without allowing it to be spent on human undertakings no matter how good and upright they may appear to thee; for if in the least point thou curtail the love which God requires of thee, this very point will be seized upon by thy enemies as a portal of entrance. All the kingdom of God is within thee (Luke 17, 210) keep it there, and there wilt thou find it, and in it all the good thou desirest. Forget not my teachings and discipline, lock it up in thy bosom and remember how great is the danger and damage from which I therefore wish to preserve thee. That thou art called to imitate and follow me, is the greatest blessing, which thou canst ever desire. I am ready in my extreme clemency to grant thee this blessing, if thou dispose thyself to high resolves, holy words and perfect works, which alone can raise thee to the state which the Almighty and I desire thee to attain.'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 262
'By thus hesitating to baptize Christ his Lord and asking Him for baptism instead, he gave evidence that he recognized Him as the true Redeemer and there is no contradiction between this and what saint John records of the Baptist as saying to the Jews: "And I knew Him not; but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me" "He, upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining, He it is that baptizeth with the Holy Ghost." And I saw, and I gave testimony that this is the Son of God" (John 1, 33, 34). There is also no contradiction between these words of saint John and those of saint Matthew; for the testimony of heaven and the voice of the eternal Father over Christ on the banks of the Jordan happened when the Precursor had the vision mentioned in the preceding paragraph. Hence he had not seen Christ's bodily until then and could, therefore, deny having known Christ, at least in the same way as he then knew Him; for just because he knew Christ then both by sight and by intellectual vision, he prostrated himself at the feet of the Savior.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 267
'When saint John had finished baptizing our Lord, the heavens opened and the Holy Ghost descended visibly in the form of a dove upon his head and the voice of his Father was heard: "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Matth. 3, 17). Many of the bystanders heard this voice, namely, those who were not unworthy of such a wonderful favor; they also saw the Holy Ghost descending upon the Savior.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 268
'As soon as the great Lady understood that our Redeemer was on the way to the desert to fulfil his intention, She locked the doors of her dwelling, without letting anyone know of her presence; and her retirement during the time of our Lord's fast was so complete, that her neighbors thought that She left with her divine Son. She entered into the oratory and remained there for forty days and nights without ever leaving it and without eating anything, just as She knew was done by her most holy Son. Both of them observed the same course of rigorous fasting. In all his prayers and exercises, his prostrations and genuflections She followed our Savior, not omitting any of them; moreover She performed them just at the same time; for, leaving aside all other occupations, She thus profited by the information obtained from the angels and by that other knowledge, which I have already described. Whether He was present or not, She knew the interior operations of the soul of Christ. All his bodily movements, which She had been wont to perceive with her own senses, She now knew by intellectual vision or through her holy angels.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 279
'My daughter, corporal penances are so appropriate and fitted to mortal creatures, that the ignorance of this truth and the neglect and contempt of bodily mortification cause the loss of many souls and bring many more into the danger of eternal loss.'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 281
'The interior sorrow is not sufficient for atonement, if the flesh seeks to evade the punishment corresponding to the guilt. Moreover, the debt is so great and the satisfaction that can be given by the creature so limited and scanty that there remains continual uncertainly whether the Judge is satisfied even after the exertions of a whole lifetime: hence, the soul should find no rest to the end of life.'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 281
'It is true, my daughter, that by the bodily afflictions and mortifications of my most blessed Son, the defects and deficiencies of human merits have been atoned for; and that He wished me, as a mere creature and as one taking the place of other creatures, to co-operate with Him most perfectly and exactly all in his penances and exercises. But this was not in order to exempt men from the practice of penance, but in order to encourage them to it; for in order merely to save them, it was not necessary to suffer so much. Our blessed Savior, as a true Father and Brother, wished also to enhance the labors and penances of those who were to follow in his footsteps; for the efforts of creatures are of little value in the eyes of God unless they are made precious by the merits of Christ. If this is true of works which are entirely virtuous and perfect, how much more is it true of those which are infected with so many faults and deficiencies, even in the greatest acts of virtue, as ordinarily performed by the children of Adam? For in the works of even the most spiritual and virtuous persons many deficiencies occur. These deficiencies are made good by the merits of Christ, our Lord, so that the works of men may become acceptable to the eternal Father. But those who neglect good works and remain altogether idle can by no means expect to apply themselves the good works of Christ; for they have in themselves nothing that can be perfected by the works of Christ, but only such things as deserve condemnation.'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 283
'Before all see that thou keep in subjection thy flesh and the influences of the world. Mortifying thy flesh and flying the world by retiring from creatures to the interior of thy soul, thus conquering both these enemies and preserving the blessed light of grace, which thou there receivest, and loving nothing except in as far as well ordered charity permits . . . Consent not to any movement of thy appetites, no matter in how small a matter; and allow thy senses no liberty, except for the exaltation of the Most High, or for suffering or for doing something for the benefit and love of thy neighbor . . . Arm thyself with living faith, unwavering hope and love of humility, for these are the virtues by which the dragon is crushed and vanquished and against which he dares not make a stand. He flies from them because they are powerful weapons against his pride and arrogance.'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 297
'I will give thee two important lessons deducted from this chapter. First, love solitude and seek it with particular affection in order that thou mayest partake of the blessings promised and merited by my divine Son for those who imitate Him therein. As far as possible, when thou art not obliged to converse with thy neighbor in virtue of obedience always try to be alone; and when thou art obliged to come out of thy retirement and solitude, carry it with thee in the secret of thy heart in such a manner that thy senses and thy occupations shall not deprive thee of it. Attend to thy outward employments as if they were to be done only in passing, and consider thy retirement as something which is to be permanent; for this purpose thou must not allow the images of creatures to enter thy mind, for, very often, they occupy the mind more completely than the objects themselves, and they always embarrass the soul and take away from it the liberty of the heart. It is unworthy of thee to let thy heart be interested in anything or be taken up by any creature. My divine Son wishes to be in it all alone and this is also what I desire. My second lesson is that thou learn to set a proper value on thy soul, in order to preserve it in its purity and innocence. Over and above this, however, although it is my will that thou labor for the justification of all men, I wish that thou, in imitation of my Son and of me, busy thyself especially with the poor and despised of this world. These little ones often beg for the bread of counsel and instruction (Thren. 4, 4), and they find none to give it to them, as do the rich and powerful of the earth who have many to advise them. Of these poor and despised ones many come to thee; admit them with true compassion; console them kindly, so that, in their simplicity, they may follow enlightened counsel; for counsel is to be instructed to the better instructed in a different way. Seek to gain those souls, who, on account of their temporal necessities, are so much the more precious in the eyes of God; I wish that thou labor incessantly, that they and all others may not waste the fruit of Redemption; nor do thou ever rest from this labor; be ready even to die, if necessary, to advance this enterprise.'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 305
'The Lord lifted Her from the ground and spoke to Her words of life and eternal salvation, yet quietly and serenely. For at this period He began to treat Her with greater reserve in order to afford Her a chance of merit, as I have mentioned when I spoke of this departure for the desert and for his Baptism.'
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 318
'The most blessed Lady also asked Him for the Sacrament of Baptism, which He had now instituted, and which He had promised Her before. In order that this might be administered with a dignity becoming as well the Son as the Mother, an innumerable host of angelic spirits descended from heaven in visible forms. Attended by them, Christ himself baptized his purest Mother. Immediately the voice of the eternal Father was heard saying: "This is my beloved Daughter, in whom I take delight." The incarnate Word said: "This is my Mother, much beloved, whom I have chosen and who will assist me in all my works." And the Holy Ghost added: "This is my Spouse, chosen among thousands."
Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 319
'I desire, then, that thou labor until all love of self die within thee, that thou suppress all the effects of the first sin until all the earthly inclinations consequent upon it are totally extinguished; that thou seek to restore within thee that dove-like sincerity and simplicity which destroys all malice and duplicity. In all thy doings thou must be an angel, since the condescension of the Most High with thee was so great as to furnish thee with the light and intelligence more of an angel than that of a human creature. I have procured for thee these great blessings and, therefore, it is but reasonable on my part to expect thee to correspond with them in thy works and in thy thoughts. In regard to me thou must cherish a continual affection and loving desire of pleasing and serving me, being always attentive to my counsels and having thy eyes fixed upon me in order to know and execute what I command. Then shalt thou be my true daughter, and I shall be thy Protectress and loving Mother.'
Our Lady to Ven. Mary of Agreda, Mystical City of God, Vol. III, 321
Volume II - Part II . . . Volume III - Part II
Inspirational Books from the Saints
The Mystical City of God