MARY OF AGREDA
2April 1602 – 24 May 1665
She was the daughter of Francis Coroneland Catherine of Arana, born April 2, 1602, in the small town of Agreda nearTarazona in Spain.
In 1617 she entered the convent of thediscalced Franciscan Nuns in the Convent of the Immaculate Conception in Agredaand took her vows one year later.
In 1625 she was chosen abbess, muchagainst her wishes, and, except during a short intermission, was re-electedevery three years until she died, in 1665.
The fame of her prudence and foresight,not only in the government of her convent but in other matters, soon spreadoutside the convent walls and persons of the highest rank in state and Churchwere eager to obtain her counsel in important affairs.
King Philip IV visited her several timesin her convent and corresponded with her about national affairs for many years.
But she was no less famous for herexalted virtues. In many respects her life was a faithful copy of that of St.Francis.
The miracle of bilocation related of heris in fact more remarkable and lasted a longer time than that recorded anywherein the lives of the saints.
Her good sense, her truthfulness, hersincerity, her humility, her unselfish love of God and man eminently adaptedher for the communication of messages from God to men.
WHAT INDUCED HER TO WRITE
In all writing that lays claim toprivate revelation, the motives of the writer must be closely scrutinized.
If it appears to be a self-imposed task,for selfish ends, pecuniary or otherwise, tending to particularity in religiousteachings or practice not approved by the established faith or written withoutknowledge or consultation of the rightful superiors, it ought to be rejected asspurious.
God will reveal nothing for such purposeor under such circumstances, and He will permit human error and deceit and thesinister influence of hell to run their natural course.
Nothing of all this appears in thewritings of Mary of Agreda. Though she was urged interiorly and exteriorly torecord the facts of history revealed to her concerning the Mother of God, sheresisted for twelve years and was finally induced to write only through the positivecommands of her superiors.
Reluctantly she began her history in theyear 1637 and finished it in the year 1645, continually asking to be relievedfrom the task because she thought herself unworthy.
As soon as the insistence of hersuperiors relaxed and an error of judgment on the part of an outside confessorgave her a plausible excuse, she burned all her writings, thus destroying thelabor of many years.
When this came to the knowledge of thehigher authorities and when they insisted on her rewriting the history whichcontinued to be supernaturally made known to her, she again succeeded indelaying the task for ten years.
Only the strictest command underobedience and the threat of censures finally induced her to write themanuscript which she began in 1655 and finished in 1665, and which is stillpreserved in the convent of Agreda.
WHY REVEALED TO A WOMAN
It is to be remembered that God’s almighty power is restricted to no particular instrument; Hecreates out of nothing. In the case of Balaam, he used not only that wicked manbut even his beast for special revelation.
It does seem that He prefers women forprivate revelation.
He chose men to reveal the great publictruths of the Bible and to attend to the public teaching, but to women in thenew law He seems to have consigned the task of private revelations.
At least most of the known privaterevelations have been furnished us by women and not men. We must infer fromthis that they are better adapted for this work.
In fact, no special learning or greatnatural insight is required of a messenger; such qualities might tend tocorrupt or narrow down the inspired message to mere human proportions, whereasprivate revelation is given precisely for the purpose of communicating highertruths than can be known or understood naturally.
Humility, great piety and love, deepfaith are the requisites of God’s special messengers.
Women as a rule are more inclined tothese virtues than men, and therefore are not so apt to trim the message of Goddown to their own natural powers of understanding.
In choosing women for his specialrevelations He gives us to understand from the outset, that what He wishes toreveal is above the natural faculties of perception and insight of either manor woman.
how was “ciudad” received?
As soon as the “City of God” appeared in print it was welcomed and extolled as a most wonderfulwork.
The different translations found no lessenthusiastic welcome in nearly all the European countries.
It secured the immediate approbation andencomium of the ordinaries, the universities, the learned and eminent men ofchristendom.
There is probably no other book whichwas so closely scrutinized by those in authority, both civil and religious,andafterwards so signally approved as the “City of God.”
By order of Innocent XI., AlexanderVIII., Clement IX., Benedict XIII., and Benedict XIV. it was repeatedlysubjected to the closest scrutiny and declared authentic, worthy of devoutperusal and free from error.
The title “Venerabilis” was conferred upon the author. A large sized volume would berequired to record the praises and commendations written in favor of the great “City of God.”
As the “City of God” so strenuously maintains the prerogatives of the Mother of God andthe authority of the Popes, it was not to be expected that it should escape themalicious slander and intrigues of those tainted with Jansenism andGallicanism.
Many members of the Sorbonne in Pariswere secret or open adherers of these sects at the time when the “Ciudad” was first published in French about the year 1678.
The first translation in French was veryinexact and contained many interpolations and false versions of the original.
Dr. Louis Elias Du Pin and Dr. Hideux ofthe Sorbonne made this translation the foundation of virulent attacks. Du Pinwas called by Pope Clement XI. “Nequioris doctrinae homi-nem,”“A man of pernicious doctrines.”
Hideux turned out to be a rabid andfanatical Jansenist, cut off from the Church as a heretic.
As they and other members of theSorbonne succeeded in enlisting the sympathy of influential Gallican courtiersand church dignitaries, both in Paris and at Rome, they secured a clandestineprohibition of the “City of God,” which appeared in the acts of the Congregation of the Office.
［The Congregation Of The Office信理部］–天主教于罗马梵蒂冈教廷内下设圣部 圣部内有九个部门 首要的就是信理部 简单说信理部就是天主教的法庭 为保卫天主教的教义而设立 为检视一切可能发生的异端学说］
When it was discovered, no one could befound who would dare stand sponsor for it, and immediately Pope Innocent XI.,on November 9, 1681, annulled the act, positively decreeing that the “City of God” be freely spread among the clergy and laity.
The very fact that this prohibition didnot issue from the Index Commission but from a department not concerned withthe examination of books, proves that it owes its insertion to Gallicanintrigue, secretly extending even to high circles in Rome, and to thefair-minded, this sectarian attempt will be a convincing argument for theexcellence and orthodoxy of the doctrines contained in the revelations of Maryof Agreda.
The popularity and excellence of thegreat history of the Mother of God is also evidenced by its widespreaddiffusion. It has appeared in over sixty editions in Spanish, Italian, French,Portuguese, German, Latin, Arabic, Greek, and Polish.
Does it not seem providential that thefirst English translation of this great work should have been reserved for ourown times?
No other language on the face of theearth is the medium of so many theories, sects and isms as the English languageand the “City of God” is a most timely and efficient antidote for the epidemic of falsedoctrines, which is sweeping over all the earth, and affects especially theEnglish-speaking portion of the human race.
EXPECTATIONS OF THE TRANSLATOR
The translator and promoter of the “City of God” is confident that it will not be one of the books idly filling theshelves of libraries, but one which at the first cursory inspection will arousethe desire of further inquiry and lead to repeated and attentive perusal.
The translation here with offered is asexact and as perfect a rendition of the original Spanish into English, as tenyears of assiduous labor and a considerable experience in literary productiongive a right to expect.
The subject-matter surely ought tosecure for it a proper place in the more elevated ranks of English Literature.
May this first English translation,under the guidance of our holy faith, bring forth abundant fruits of the Spiritamong English-speaking people in all parts of the world.
Feast of the Annunciation, 1912.
Fiscar Marison, South Chicago.