Venerable Mary of Agreda was a 17th-century Spanish nun (1602-1665) who saw in ecstasy the events recorded in the 4-volume history of the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary which Our Lord and Lady instructed her to write. The title of the work, Cuidad de Dios or (Mystical) City of God, refers to Mary, the unique City of God whose treasures of wisdom for the spiritual life cannot be overestimated. Here we set upon the hill-top for you excerpts from this monumental work for your edification. Each installment speaks for itself.
Volume 1 "The Conception" - Chapter 1
1. I confess to Thee (Matth 11,25) and magnify Thee, King Most High, that in thy exalted Majesty Thou has hidden these high mysteries from the wise and from the teachers, and in thy condescension hast revealed them to me, the most insignificant and useless slave of thy Church, in order that Thou mayest be the more admired as the omnipotent Author of this history in proportion as its instrument is despicable and weak.
2. After I had overcome the above mentioned reluctance and disorderly fears which caused so much timid hesitation, lest I suffer shipwreck in that sea of marvels, the most exalted Lord caused me to feel a virtue from on high, strong, sweet, efficacious and gentle; an enlightenment which illumined the intellect, subjected the rebellious will, tranquilizing, directing, governing and attracting the whole range of interior and exterior senses, thus subjecting my entire being to the will and pleasure of the Most High and directing it in all things toward his honor and glory alone.
Being thus prepared, I heard a voice from the Almighty, which called me and raised me up toward Him, exalting my dwelling-place on high (Ecclus. 51,13) and strengthening me against the lions, that hungrily roared about me in order to snatch my soul from the enjoyment of great blessings in the boundless mysteries of this holy Tabernacle and City of God. Surrounded by the sorrows of death and perdition (Ps 17, 5) and beset by the flames of Sodom and Babylon, in which we live, it liberated me from the portals of sorrow, into which I was enticed to enter. My enemies, forming visions of fallacious and deceitful delights for the misleading of my senses and the capture of them by pretended pleasures, set their allurements about me, in order that I might blindly turn toward these flames and be consumed by them. But from all these snares laid for my footsteps (Ps 56,7), the Most High has delivered me, elevating my spirit and teaching me by the most efficacious admonitions the way of perfection.
He invited me to a life spiritualized and angelic, and obliged me to live so cautiously that in the midst of the furnace, the fire touched me not (Eceli 51,6). He often liberated me from the impure tongue, when it sought to communicate to me its earthly fables (Ps. 118,85). His Majesty invited me to rise from the dust and littleness of the law of sin, to resist the defections of sin-infected nature and to restrain its disorders, combating them by his enlightening inspirations and raising myself above myself (Lam. 3,28). He called me repeatedly, sometimes by the power of his omnipotence, sometimes with the correction of a Father, and at others with the love of a Spouse, saying: Arise, my dove, creation of my hands, make haste and come to Me (Cant. 2,10), who am the light and the way (John9,12); he that follows Me walks not in darkness. Come to Me, who am the secure truth, and unchangeable holiness, to Me, who am Powerful and the Wise, and the Teacher of those that follow wisdom (Wis 7,15).
These words were like arrows of sweet love, which filled me with admiration, reverence, knowledge and dread of my sins and of my vileness, so that I retired from his presence, shrunken and annihilated in the knowledge of my nothingness. And the Lord spoke to me: "Come, O soul, come to Me, who am thy omnipotent God, and although thou has been a prodigal child and a sinner, arise from the earth and come to Me, thy Father; receive the stole of my friendship and the ring of spouse."
Editor's Note: More information about Mary of Agreda can be found here.