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Mama's Memoir From Agreda: A Journey Through the City of God (Part I: Book I, 308-Part I: Book II, 757)

Let's dive back into the beauty of The City of God by Ven. Mary of Ágreda. The last part described how this historical narrative of Mary's life began with a recounting of the creation of the universe; this recounting highlighted the depravity of Lucifer/Satan (and also the glories of St. Michael). It revealed just how much Lucifer/Satan's pride blinded him to knowing the intricacies of God's plan, so much so that he believed Eve, to be the woman seen in the vision shown to then angels (see Part I Book I 88-92, 137-39). She elucidates several different bible passages. Then in Part I Book I 166-189, Ven. Mary of Ágreda describes the virtues of Sts. Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Blessed Virgin; in these paragraphs she also describes their revelations that they should marry one another and their life as husband and wife. After this, in Part I Book I 137-39, she describes the exact workings of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin and the subsequent creation of her immaculate soul. She then describes the virtues of the Blessed Virgin's soul by the exegesis of Revelation 21. So where does she go from here?

Mary of Ágreda after elucidating the various virtues of the Blessed Virgin’s soul, reveals some details about the pregnancy of St. Anne. She reveals how Satan/Lucifer targeted St. Anne during her pregnancy; this was due to the virtues he, perceived in this saint as well as the presence of “ many angels [which stood] in attendance" of St. Anne. He as Mary of Ágreda writes: "Audaciously, therefore [Lucifer/Satan] set himself to tempt Holy Anne, with many suggestions misgivings, doubts and differences about the truth of her pregnancy, alleging her protracted years" (Part I Book I, 317)

At the end of most of her chapters Mary of Ágreda recieves "an instruction" of how to live from the Blessed Mother. In Part I Book II 378-384, she describes the Blessed Virgin's early years until the BlessedMother used the capacity of speech for the first time. In the subsequent instruction of the Blessed Mother Mary of Ágreda writes she was told by the Blessed Mother: "Only with God and with his saints one can speak with security, and even then it must be with forethought and discretion" (Part I Book I, 386). This directive encourages temperance in speech with those around us. It can often be easy in long conversations to turn to negative speech, which is often unnecessary. So this direcrive is good to keep in mind even if this instruction was not given to us, but to Mary of Ágreda.

After thus, she goes on to relate how Sts. Joachim and Anne promise to give Mary into the care of the temple, giving her to the Lord. She describes the pain each experiences as Mary approaches three (the age to which they promised to give her to consecrate her to the Lord in the temple); she says of St. Joachim's sadness at Mary's imminent departure from his house: "Great also was the grief of this holy old man, though not quite so much great that of Saint Anne, for the high mystery of her being the future Mother of God, was yet concealed from him" (Part I Book I 409). Note that earlier on in the narrarive St. Anne receives the revalation that her child, is indeed to be the Mother of the Messiah.

The last line of the instruction that follows these events is as follows:?"The proper education and instruction of children will do much making them more free and habituated to the practice of virtue, since thus they will e accustomed to follow the sure and safe guiding star of reason from its first dawn" (Part I Book I, 412). This knowledge ordered education leads to the flourishing of children speaks volumes today. Often, the education children receive today, in the schools across the country in US lacks true practice of virtue. The virtues, typically taught are at best misguided and at worst a deliberate rejection of natural law and reason. These virtues, sometimes have an analogue in the true virtues. Multiculturalism for example teaches children to accept other differences, often though it is to the point where one has exclude the reality that it is possible one cultural may be closer to the truth than another or the reality only one culture has the objective truth. Yet, truth is of the upmost importance in forming children. Sometimes though truth can be hard to sallow, and requires some humility.

Humility is often associated with the Blessed Mother. Mary of Ágreda reveals how meticulous God was in cultivating this virtue in the Blessed Mother, revealing the following about the Blessed Mother's journey to the temple: "But our true and Mystical Ark, the most Holy Mary, although she was the most precious, most estimable and worshipful of all creatures was not brought to the temple with such solemn show and public ostentation" (Part I Book II, 417). As their is a hierarchy of goods in the natural life, so too in the spiritual life. Prior to the life of Christ, and his Passion, it was more important for him to be the "center of attention" not his Mother, so it makes sense that the pomp and circumstance which her prefiguration was withdraw for the benefit of all the future followers of Christ.

Catholics hold the even after Jesus' birth, Mary remained a virgin. This commitment to chastity was made quite young. Mary of Ágreda reveals soon after entering into the care of the temple: "The most Holy Child, in the presence of the Lord, made the vow of Chastity and as for the rest without binding herself, she renounced all affect for all terrestrial and created things" (Part I Book II, 434). This vow of virginity met its first test when the Lord called the Blessed Virgin from life in the temple to the vocation of marriage.

This transition though was not done without the guidance of the priests. Mary of Ágreda reveals that all the eligible men were gathered in the temple and that "Among the number was Joseph, a native of Nazareth, and living in Jerusalem, for he was one of the royal race of David. He was the thirty-three years of age, of handsome persons and pleasuring countenance, but also of incomparable modesty and gravity; above all he was most chaste in thought and conduct, and most saintly in all his inclinations. From his twelfth year he made and kept a vow of chastity" (Part I Book II, 755). It is intriguing that Joseph is thirty-three at this particular moment, for all likely note that Jesus experienced the passion at 33. It also should peak one's interest that Joseph himself, had taken a vow of chastity; he made this vow at the age at which Jesus was found in the temple and also the year before his Bar Mitzvah which marked his entrance to manhood. All this would point to hime being a great match for the Blessed Mother, but would he be chosen?

Big decisions should always involve God. The spouse of the Blessed Mother, though this was still unknown, is such a decision. Mary of Ágreda reveals the priests did in fact turn to God to choose the Blessed Virgin's life partner. She writes: "While [the priests] were engaged in prayer the staff which Joseph held was seen blossom and at the same time a dove of purest white and resplendent with admirable light" (Part I Book II, 757). What a sure sign that Joseph was the right choice to marry the Blessed Virgin.

This is where an intermission will occur. Next, time the marriage of this Holy couple will be explored pre- and post-Annuciation. Come back to see how this couple lived out their vocation, individually, and as a unity of persons. May God Bless you until then.


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