for the Annunciation
and Incarnation Part 2
From THE MYSTICAL CITY OF GOD, Ven. Mary Agreda
TAN Books and Publishers; With Ecclesiastical Appr.
The fifth day of the novena, which the most blessed Trinity celebrated in the temple of most holy Mary, in order that the eternal Word might assume human shape in Her, had arrived. Just as in the preceding days She was elevated to an abstractive vision of the Divinity, and, as the veil fell more and more from the secrets of the infinite wisdom, She discovered new mysteries also during this day. For the preparations and enlightenments emitted ever stronger rays of light and Divine graces, which flashed into her most holy soul and emptied the treasures of infinity into her faculties, assimilating and transforming the heavenly Lady more and more to a likeness of her God in order to make Her worthy of being His Mother.
The Princess Mary, through these words of the Most High, was instructed in the great mysteries regarding the number of the predestined and the reprobate; and also regarding the hindrances and impediments by which sinful men delayed the coming of the eternal Word as man into the world. Having present before Herself the vision both of the infinite bounty and equity of the Creator and of the measureless iniquity and malice of men, the most prudent Mistress, inflamed by the fire of Divine love, spoke to His Majesty and said:
"My Lord and infinite God of wisdom and incomprehensible sanctity, what mystery is this, which Thou hast manifested to me? Without measure are the misdeeds of men, so that only Thy wisdom can comprehend them. But can all these and many more, perhaps, extinguish Thy bounty and love, or vie with them? No, my Lord and Master, it must not be so; the malice of men must not detain Thy mercy. I am the most useless of all the human race; yet on its behalf I remind Thee of Thy fidelity. Infallibly true it is, that heaven and earth will come to naught, before Thy word can fail (Is. 51, 6), and it is also true, that Thou hast many times given Thy word through the holy Prophets; and Thou hast promised them by word of mouth, a Redeemer and our salvation. How then, my God, can these promises fail of fulfillment without conflicting with Thine infinite wisdom; or how can man be deceived without conflicting with Thy goodness? In order to induce Thee to fulfill Thy promise and to secure them eternal felicity through Thine incarnate Word, I have nothing to offer on the part of mortals nor can any creature oblige Thee; and if this blessing could be merited, then Thine infinite and bounteous clemency would not thereby be glorified. Only through Thine Own Self can this obligation be imposed upon Thee, for only in God can a sufficient reason be found for His becoming man: in Thee alone was the reason and the motive for our creation, and therefore in Thee alone also the reason for our reparation after our fall. Do not seek, my God and most high King, for merits, nor for a greater motive, than Thine Own mercy and the exaltation of Thy holy name."
"It is true, My Spouse," answered the Most High, "that on account of My goodness I bound Myself to the promise of vesting Myself in human nature and of dwelling among them, and that no one could merit in My sight such a promise; but the ungrateful behavior of men, so abominable in My sight and in My justice, does not merit the execution of this promise.
It is impossible to describe the hidden secrets, which most holy Mary then saw in the Lord; for She perceived in Him all the creatures of the past, present and the future, and the position of each one in creation, the good and bad actions and the final ending of each one.
If She had not been strengthened, She could not have preserved her life under the effects and feelings caused by the knowledge and insight into these hidden sacraments and mysteries. But as His Majesty, in these new miracles and blessings had such high ends in view, He was not sparing but most liberal with the beloved One, whom He had chosen as His Mother. And as our Queen derived this science from the bosom of God itself, She participated also in the fire of His eternal Charity, which inflamed Her with the love of God and the neighbor. Therefore, continuing her intercession, She said:
"Lord and eternal God, invisible and immortal, I confess Thy justice, I magnify Thy works, I adore Thine infinite Essence and hold in reverence Thy judgments. My heart melts within me with tenderest affection, when I perceive Thine unlimited bounty toward men and their dark ingratitude and grossness toward Thee. For all of them, O my God, Thou seekest eternal life; but there are few who are thankful for this inestimable benefit, and many who will perish by their malice. If on this account, O my eternal Good, Thou relinquishest Thy undertaking, we mortals are lost; but while Thou, in Thy Divine foreknowledge, perceivest the sins and the malice of men who offend Thee so much, Thou also foreseest Thine Only-begotten made man and His works of infinite price and value in Thy sight; and these will counterbalance and exceed the malice of sin beyond all comparison."
At this prayer of most pure Mary, the eternal Father (in our way of speaking) represented to Himself His Only-begotten as borne in the virginal womb of this great Queen; and He was moved by her humble and loving petitions. His apparent hesitation was merely a device of His tender love in order to enjoy so much the longer the voice of His Beloved, causing her sweet lips to distill most sweet honey (Cant. 4, 11) and her emissions to be like those of paradise (Cant. 4, 13). And to draw out still more this loving contention, the Lord answered Her: "My sweetest Spouse and chosen Dove, great is that which thou askest of Me and little is that which obliges Me on the part of men; how then shall such a singular blessing be conferred on those unworthy ones? Leave Me, my friend, to treat them according to their evil deserts." Our powerful and kind Advocate responded: "No, my Master, I will not desist from my importunity; if much I ask, I ask it of Thee, Who are rich in mercies, powerful in action, true in Thy words. My father David said of Thee and of the eternal Word: "The Lord hath sworn, and He will not repent: Thou art a priest forever according to the order of Melchisedech" (Ps. 109, 4). Let then that Priest come, Who is at the same time to be the sacrifice for our rescue; let Him come, since Thou canst not repent of Thy promise; for Thou dost not promise in ignorance. Let me be clothed.
In this contest (just as it once happened to Jacob) our Lady and Queen was asked, what was her name; and She said: "I am a daughter of Adam, formed by Thy hands from the insignificant dust." And the Most High answered:
"Henceforth Thou shalt be called: Chosen for the Mother of the Only-begotten." But the, latter part of this name was heard only by the courtiers of Heaven, while to Her it was as yet hidden until the proper time. She therefore heard only the word "Chosen." Having thus protracted this amorous contention according to the disposition of His Divine wisdom and as far as served to inflame the heart of this elected One, the whole blessed Trinity gave to Mary, our most pure Queen, the explicit promise, that They would now send into the world the eternal Word made man. Filled with incomparable joy and exultation by this fiat, She asked and received the benediction of the Most High. Thus this strong Woman issued forth from the contest with God more victorious than Jacob; for She came out rich, strong and laden with spoils, and the One that was wounded and weakened (to speak in our way) was God Himself; for He was drawn by the love of this Lady to clothe Himself in that sacred bridal chamber of her womb with the weakness of our passible nature. He disguised and enveloped the strength of His Divinity, so as to conquer in allowing Himself to be conquered, and in order to give us life by His death. Let the mortals see and acknowledge, how most holy Mary, next to her most blessed Son, is the cause of their salvation.During this vision were also revealed to this great Queen the works of the fifth day of the creation in the manner in which they happened; She saw how, by the force of the Divine command, were engendered and produced in the waters beneath the firmament, the imperfect reptiles, which creep upon the earth, the winged animals that course through the air, and the finny tribes that glide through the watery regions. Of all these creatures She knew the beginnings, the substance, the form and figure according to their kinds; She knew all the species of the animals that inhabit the fields and woods, their conditions, peculiarities, their uses and connections; She knew the birds of heaven (for so we call the atmosphere), with the varied forms of each kind, their ornaments, feathers, their lightness; the innumerable fishes of the seas and the rivers, the differences between the whales, their forms, composition and qualities, their caverns and the foods furnished them by the sea, the ends which they serve, the use to which they can be put in the world. And his Majesty especially commanded all these hosts of creatures to recognize and obey most holy Mary, giving Her the power to command all of them, as it happened on many occasions to be mentioned later on. Therewith She issued from the trance of this day and She occupied Herself during the rest of it in the exercises and petitions, which the Most High had pointed out to Her.
After seeing the creation of all the irrational creatures, She became aware, how the most blessed Trinity, in order to complete and perfect the world, said: "Let us make man to Our image and likeness" (Gen. 1, 26), and how by virtue of this Divine decree the first man was formed of the earth as the first parent of all the rest. She had a profound insight into the harmonious composition of the human body and soul and of their faculties, of the creation and infusion of the soul into the body and of its intimate union with the body. Of the structure of the human body and all its parts, She obtained a deep knowledge: She was informed of the number of the bones, veins, arteries, nerves and ligatures; of the concourse of humors to compose the befitting temperaments, the faculties of nutrition, growth and locomotion; She learned in what manner the disturbances or changes in this harmony caused the sicknesses, and how these can be cured. All this the most prudent Virgin understood and comprehended without the least error, better than all the wise men of the world and better than even the Angels.
The Lord manifested to Her also the happy state of original justice, in which He placed the first parents Adam and Eve; She understood their condition, beauty and perfection of innocence and grace, and for how short a time they persevered in it. She perceived how they were tempted and overcome by the astuteness of the serpent (Gen. 2, 51), and what were the consequences of their sin; and how great were the fury and hate of the demon against the human race. At the vision of all these things our Queen made great and heroic acts of virtue, highly pleasing to God. She understood, that She was a daughter of these first parents and that She descended from a nature so thankless to its Creator. In the remembrance of this She humiliated Herself in His Divine presence, thereby wounding the heart of God and obliging Him to raise Her above all that is created. She took it upon Herself to weep for the first sin and for all the rest, that followed from it, as if She Herself had been guilty of them all. Hence, even at that time, that first sin might have been called a fortunate fault, which caused tears so precious in the eyes of the Lord, and which earned us such sureties and pledges of our Redemption.
The seventh day of this mysterious preparation for the approaching sacrament arrived, and in the same hour as already mentioned, the heavenly Lady was called and elevated in spirit, but with this difference, that She was bodily raised by her holy Angels to the empyrean heaven, while in her stead one of them remained to represent Her in corporeal appearance. Placed into this highest heaven, She saw the Divinity by abstract vision as in other days; but always with new and more penetrating light, piercing to new and more profound mysteries, which God according to His free will can conceal or reveal. Presently She heard a voice proceeding from the royal throne, which said: "Our Spouse and chosen Dove, Our gracious Friend, who hast been found pleasing in Our eyes and hast been chosen among thousands: We wish to accept thee anew as Our Bride, and therefore We wish to adorn and beautify thee in a manner worthy of Our design."
On hearing these words the most Humble among the humble abased and annihilated Herself in the presence of the Most High more than can be comprehended by human power. Entirely submissive to the Divine pleasure and with entrancing modesty, She responded: "At Thy feet, O Lord, lies the dust and abject worm, ready is Thy poor slave for the fulfillment of all Thy pleasure in her. Make use, O eternal Good, of this Thine insignificant instrument according to Thy desire, and dispose of it with Thy right hand." Presently the Most High commanded two seraphim, of those nearest to His throne and highest in dignity to attend on this heavenly Virgin. Accompanied by others, they presented themselves in visible form before the throne, and there surrounded the most holy Mary, who was more inflamed with Divine love than they.
The heavenly Princess, most holy Mary, had now attained such fullness of grace and beauty and the heart of God was so wounded by her tender affections and desires (Cant. 4, 9), that He was so to say irresistibly drawn to begin His flight from the bosom of the eternal Father to the bridal-chamber of her virginal womb and end the long delay of more than five thousand years.
Nevertheless, since this new wonder was to be executed in the plenitude of His wisdom and equity, the Lord arranged this event in such a way, that the Princess of the heavens Herself, being the worthy Mother of the incarnate Word, should at the same time be also the most powerful Mediatrix of His coming and the Redeemer of His people much more than Esther was of Israel (Esther. 7 and 8). In the heart of most holy Mary burned the flame, which God Himself had enkindled, and without intermission She prayed for the salvation of the human race. However, as yet the most humble Lady restrained Herself in modesty, knowing that on account of the sin of Adam, the sentence of death and of eternal privation from the vision of God had been promulgated (Gen. 3, 9).
The Most High received His holy and chosen Bride, most holy Mary, into His presence. Although this happened not in an intuitive, but in an abstractive vision of the Divinity, it was accompanied with incomparable favors of light and purification proceeding from the Lord Himself, such as were specially reserved for this day. For they were so Divine, that, in our way of speaking, God Himself Who wrought them, was astonished and was charmed with the work of His hand. As if entranced with love, He spoke to Her and said: "Revertere, revertere, Sulamitis, ut intueamur te" (Return, return, O Sulamitess, that We may behold thee). "My Spouse, My most perfect and beloved Dove, pleasing in My sight, turn and advance toward Us, that We may behold thee and be charmed by thy beauty. I do not regret to have created man and I delight in his formation, since thou hast been born of him. Let my celestial spirits see how justly I have desired and do desire to choose thee as My Spouse and the Queen of all the creatures. Let them see what good reason I have to rejoice in this My bridal chamber, from whence My Only-begotten, next to that of My Own bosom, shall derive the greatest glory. Let all understand, that if I justly repudiated Eve, the first queen of the earth, on account of her disobedience, I now place thee and establish thee in the highest dignity, showing My magnificence and power in dealing with thy purest humility and self-abasement."
In order to put the last touch to this prodigious work of preparing the most holy Mary, the Lord extended His powerful arm and expressly renewed the spirit and the faculties of the great Lady, giving Her new inclinations, habits and qualities, the greatness and excellence of which are inexpressible in terrestrial terms. It was the finishing act and the final retouching of the living image of God, in order to form, in it and of it, the very shape, into which the eternal Word, the essential image of the eternal Father (II Cor. 4, 4) and the figure of His substance (Heb. 1, 3), was to be cast. Thus the whole temple of most holy Mary, more so than that of Solomon, was covered with the purest gold of the Divinity inside and out, (III Kings, 6, 30), so that nowhere could be seen in Her any grossness of an earthly daughter of Adam. Her entire being was made to shine forth the Divinity; for since the Divine Word was to issue from the bosom of the eternal Father to descend to that of Mary, He provided for the greatest possible similarity between the Mother and the Father.
No words at my disposal could ever suffice to describe as I would wish, the effects of these favors in the heart of our great Queen and Mistress. Human thought cannot conceive them, how then can human words express them? But what has caused the greatest wonder in me, when I considered these things in the light given to me, is the humility of this heavenly Woman and the mutual contest between her humility and the Divine power. Rare and astonishing prodigy of humility, to see this Maiden, most holy Mary, though raised to the supremest dignity and holiness next to God, yet humiliating Herself and debasing Herself below the meanest of the creatures; so that, by the force of this humility, no thought of her being destined for the Mothership of the Messias could find entrance into her mind! And not only this: She did not even have a suspicion of anything great or admirable in Herself (Ps. 130, 1). Her eyes and heart were not elated; on the contrary the higher She ascended by the operation of the right hand of her God, so much the more lowly were her thoughts concerning Herself. It was therefore just, that the Almighty should look upon her humility (Luke 1, 48), and that therefore all generations should call her fortunate and blessed.
WORDS of the QUEEN
My daughter, whoever has only a selfish and servile love is not a worthy spouse of the Most High, for she must not love or fear like a slave, nor is she supposed to serve for her daily wages. Yet although her heart must be a filial and generous love on account of the excellence and immense goodness of her Spouse, she must nevertheless also feel herself much bounden to Him, when she considers how rich and liberal He is; how, on account of His love for souls, He has created such a variety of visible goods in order that they might serve those who serve Him; and especially, when she considers how many hidden treasures He has in readiness in the abundance of His sweetness (Ps. 30, 20) for those that fear Him as His true children. I wish that thou feel deeply obliged to thy Lord and Father, thy Spouse and Friend, at the thought of the riches given to those souls, who become His dearest children. For, as a powerful Father, He holds in readiness these great and manifold gifts for His children, and if necessary, all of His gifts for each one of them in particular. In the midst of such motives and incentives of love the disaffection of men is inexcusable, and at the sight of so many blessings, given without measure, their ingratitude is unpardonable.
Remember, also, my dearest, that thou wast no foreigner, or stranger in
this house of the Lord, His holy Church (Ephes. 2, 19); but thou wast
a domestic and a spouse of Christ among the Saints, favored by His
and by the dowry of a bride. Since all the treasures and riches of the
bridegroom belong to the legitimate spouse, consider of how great
He makes thee participant and mistress. Enjoy them all, then, as His
and be zealous for His honor as a much-favored daughter and spouse;
Him for all
these works and benefits,
as if they had all been prepared for thee alone by the Lord. Love and
Him for thyself and for all thy neighbors, to whom God has been so
In all this imitate, with thy weak faculties, that which thou hast
of what I have done. I assure thee also, daughter, that it will be very
pleasing to me, if thou magnify and praise the Omnipotent with fervent
affection, for the favors and riches which, beyond all human
the Divine right hand showered upon me.