ContentsBook 1: The Book of Revelations...................................................... page 3-113
-The Life of Saint Bridget by Prior Peter and Master Peter............. page 114-141
-Prayers and Novenas....................................................................... page 142-172 St. Bridget's Revelations - Book 7
A revelation which Lady Bridget had in Rome after the year of jubilee and in which the Virgin Mary foretells to her that she will go to Jerusalem and Bethlehem when it pleases God; and Mary promises her that she will then show her the manner in which she gave birth to her blessed Son.
When Lady Bridget, the bride of Christ, was in Rome and was once absorbed in prayer, she began to think about the Virgin Birth and about the very great goodness of God who willed to choose such a very pure mother for himself. And her heart then became so greatly inflamed with love for the Virgin that she said within herself: ”O my Lady, Queen of Heaven, my heart so rejoices over the fact that the most high God forechose you as his mother and deigned to confer upon you so great a dignity that I would rather choose for myself eternal excruciation in hell than that you should lack one smallest point of this surpassing glory or of your heavenly dignity.”
And so, inebriated with the sweetness of love, she was above herself, alienated from her senses and suspended in an ecstasy of mental contemplation. The Virgin appeared then to her and said to her, ”Be attentive, O daughter: I am the Queen of Heaven. Because you love me with a love so immense, I therefore announce to you that you will go on a pilgrimage to the holy city of Jerusalem at the time when it pleases my Son. From there you will go to Bethlehem; and there I shall show you, at the very spot, the whole manner in which I gave birth to that same Son of mine, Jesus Christ; for so it has pleased him.”
In Rome Lady Bridget had this revelation which speaks about the glorious sword of sorrow that pierced the soul of the Blessed Virgin Mary and which the just man Simeon foretold to her in the temple.
While Lady Bridget, the bride of Christ, was in Rome, in the church called Saint Mary Major, on the feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, she was caught up into a spiritual vision, and saw that in heaven, as it were, all things were being prepared for a great feast. And then she saw, as it were, a temple of wondrous beauty; and there too was that venerable and just old man, Simeon, ready to receive the Child Jesus in his arms with supreme longing and gladness. She also saw the Blessed Virgin most honorably enter, carrying her young Son to offer him in the temple according to the law of the Lord.
And then she saw a countless multitude of angels and of the various ranks of the saintly men of God and of his saintly virgins and ladies, all going before the Blessed Virgin-Mother of God and surrounding her with all joy and devotion. Before her an angel carried a long, very broad, and bloody sword which signified those very great sorrows which Mary suffered at the death of her most loving Son and which were prefigured by that sword which the just man Simeon prophesied would pierce her soul. And while all the heavenly court exulted, this was said to the bride: ”See with what great honor and glory the Queen of Heaven is, on this feast, recompensed for the sword of sorrows which she endured at the passion of her beloved Son.” And then this vision disappeared.
A revelation which blessed Francis showed to Lady Bridget wherein he invited her to his chamber to eat and to drink and explained to her spiritually that his chamber was obedience and that his food was to convert souls to God and that his drink was to see his converts loving God with all their strength and fervently absorbed in prayer and in the other virtues.
On the feast of Saint Francis in his church in Trastevere in Rome, Saint Francis appeared to the same bride of Christ and said to her, ”Come into my chamber to eat and to drink with me.” When she heard this, she at once prepared for a journey in order to visit him in Assisi. After she had stayed there five days, she decided to return to Rome and entered the church to recommend herself and her loved ones to Saint Francis. He then appeared to her and said: ”Welcome! For I invited you into my chamber to eat and to drink with me. Know now that this building is not the chamber that I mentioned to you. No, my chamber is true obedience, to which I always so held that I never endured to be without an instructor. For I continually had with me a priest whose every instruction I humbly obeyed, and this was my chamber. Therefore do likewise, for this is pleasing to God.
My food, however, whereby I was refreshed with delight, was the fact that I most willingly drew my neighbors away from the vanities of worldly life to serve God with the whole of their hearts; and I then swallowed that joy as if it were the sweetest morsels. My drink, however, was that joy I had while I saw some whom I had converted loving God, devoting themselves with all their strength to prayer and contemplation, teaching others to live good lives, and imitating true poverty. Behold, daughter: that drink so gladdened my soul that, for me, all things in the world lost their taste. Enter, therefore, into this chamber of mine; and eat this, my food; and drink this drink with me. Drink it so that you may be refreshed with God eternally.”
Lady Bridget had this revelation in the city of Ortona, in the kingdom of Naples. Christ speaks to her and assures her that there are relics of the body of Saint Thomas the Apostle on the altar there and that he takes a most sweet delight in these relics and in those of his other saints, counting such relics as his precious treasure on earth and promising great merit and reward to those who honor them with due devotion.
To a person who was wide awake and at prayer, it seemed as if her heart were on fire with divine charity and entirely full of spiritual joy so that her body itself seemed to fail in its strength. She then heard a voice that said to her: ”I am the Creator and Redeemer of all. Know therefore that such a joy, as you now feel in your soul, is a treasure of mine. For it is written that 'the Spirit breathes where he will, and you hear his voice, but you know not whence he comes or whither he goes.'
This treasure I bestow on my friends in many ways and by many means and through many gifts. However, I wish to tell you about another treasure, which is not yet in heaven but is with you on earth. This treasure is the relics and bodies of my friends. For, in truth, whether they are fresh or moldering, whether they have turned into dust and ashes or not, the bodies of my saints are most certainly my treasure.
But, you may ask, since Scripture says, 'Where your treasure is, there your heart is,' how then is my heart with that treasure, namely, with the relics of the saints? I answer you: my heart's supreme delight is to bestow - according to their will, their faith, and the toils of their journey - everlasting rewards on all those who visit the places and honor the relics of my saints, namely, of those who hade been glorified by miracles and canonized by the supreme pontiffs. Thus my heart is with my treasure. Therefore, I want you to know for certain that in this place is my most choice treasure, namely, the relics of my apostle Thomas, which are not found elsewhere in such quantity as they are on this altar, where they are unspoiled and undivided.
For when that city where my apostle's body was first buried was destroyed, then with my permission this treasure was translated by certain of my friends to this city and was placed on this altar. But now it lies here as if concealed, for before the apostle's body came here, the princes of this land were of the disposition described in the Scriptures: 'They have mouths and will not speak. They have eyes and will not see. They have ears and will not hear. They have hands and will not touch. They have feet and will not walk,' etc. How could such people then, with such an attitude toward me, their God, be able to pay due honor to such a treasure?
Therefore, anyone who loves me and my friends above all, and who would rather die than offend me in the least and who also has the will and the authority to honor me and to instruct others, such a one, whoever it be, will exalt and honor my treasure, namely, the relics of this my apostle whom I chose and forechose. Therefore, it should be said and preached for very certain that, just as the bodies of the apostles Peter and Paul are in Rome, the relics of Saint Thomas, my apostle, are in Ortona.”
The bride, however, answered and said: ”O Lord, did not the princes of this kingdom have churches built; and did they not practice great almsgiving?” The Lord said to her: ”They have done many things and have offered me much money to appease me. Yet the alms of many of them were to me less pleasing and acceptable because of the marriages that they had contracted contrary to the statutes of the holy fathers. And even though those marriages that the supreme pontiffs permitted were ratified and to be upheld, nevertheless the will of those people was corrupt and was striving against the statutes of the Church. Therefore, at my divine judgment, this must be examined and judged.”
When the lady had gone to Ortona, it happened that she and her companions had to spend a whole night under God's open sky, in the cold and in a heavy rain. Then toward dawn, Christ said to her: ”For three reasons, tribulation comes to human beings: either for greater humility - as when King David was troubled; or for greater fear and caution - as when Sarah, Abraham's wife, was taken away by the King; or for a human being's greater consolation and honor. And so it has happened to you. For I gave those who met you the impulse to proceed no farther that day. But you would not believe them, and so you suffered as you have. Therefore go now into the city, and my servant Thomas will give you what you desire.”
Item concerning the same thing. Christ appeared in Ortona and said: ”I told you earlier that Saint Thomas, my apostle, was my treasure. This is certainly true. For Thomas himself is truly a light of the world. But human beings love darkness more than light.”
Then Saint Thomas also appeared and said: ”I will give to you a treasure that you have long since desired.” And in the same moment, a tiny splinter of a bone of blessed Thomas came forth from the very case of Saint Thomas's relics without anyone's touch. The lady received it with joy and reverently saved it.
Lady Bridget had this revelation in Naples at the request of Lord Elzear, son of the countess of Ariano and, at that time, a young scholar of good disposition. He had then asked Lady Bridget to pray to God for him. While she was at prayer, the Virgin Mary appeared to her and gave to her this revelation, by means of which she informs him about the measures to be maintained in his life and very beautifully says that reason must be the doorkeeper and guardian of the soul, to expel all temptations and resist them manfully lest they enter one's inner house.
To almighty God, from whom all good things proceed, be praise and honor, especially for these things that he has done for you in the time of your youth! Of his grace one must ask that the love you have for him may increase in you daily even until death.
A mighty and magnificent king constructed a house, in which he placed his beloved daughter, assigning her to the custody of a man and saying this: ”My daughter has mortal enemies and therefore you must guard her with all care. There are four things that you must beware with diligent premeditation and constant concern: first, that no one undermine the foundation of the house; second, that no one climb over the top of the outer walls; third, that no one breach the walls of the house; fourth, that no enemy enter through the gates.”
My Lord, this parable that I write for you out of divine charity - God, the searcher of all hearts being my witness - must be understood spiritually. Therefore, by the house I mean your body, which the King of heaven formed out of the earth. By the king's daughter I mean your soul, created by the power of the Most High and placed in your heart. By the guardian I mean human reason, which will guard your soul according to the will of the eternal King. By the foundation I mean a good, firm, and stable will. For on it must be built all good works, by which the soul is best defended.
Therefore, since your will is such that you wish to live for nothing else but to follow God's will, showing him by word and deed all the honor you can, and also serving him with your body and your goods and all your strength, as long as you live, in order that you may be able to commend your soul, preserved from all impurity of the flesh, to its Creator, then, oh how vigilantly must you guard this foundation, i.e., your will, by means of the guardian, i.e., your reason, so that no one may be able to undermine it with his siege-engines to the soul's harm.
By those who strive to undermine this type of foundation I mean those who speak to you thus and say: ”My Lord, be a layman and take to yourself a charming, noble, and wealthy wife so that you may rejoice in your offspring and heirs and no be weighed down by the tribulation of the flesh.” And others perhaps reply in this manner: ”If you want to become a cleric, then also learn the liberal arts, to the end that you may be called 'master' while procuring for yourself, by prayers or gifts, as much as you can of the goods and revenues of the Church.
Then you will have worldly honor for your knowledge; and by your worldly friends and your many servants, you will be glorified for the abundance of your riches.” Behold: if perhaps anyone should offer you such persuasion, immediately make the guardian, i.e., reason, answer him and say that you would be willing to endure all the tribulation of the flesh rather than lose your chastity. Answer also that you want to acquire knowledge and the arts for the honor of God and the defense of the Catholic faith, for the strengthening of good people and for the correction of the erring and of all who need your advice and teaching; and say that you do not wish to desire anything in this life beyond sustenance for your body and for the household truly necessary to you and not overly enlarged for the sake of vainglory.
Say also that, if perchance divine providence were to confer on you some added dignity, you desire to order all things wisely for the benefit of your neighbor and for the honor of God. And so indeed the guardian, i.e., reason, will be able to expel those who are exerting themselves to undermine the foundation, i.e., your good will. Reason must also constantly and diligently beware lest anyone climb over the top of the walls. By this top of the walls I mean charity, which is more sublime than all the virtues. Know therefore most certainly that the devil desires nothing more than to leap over that wall. And so he incessantly tries as much as he can that mundane charity and carnal love may surpass divine charity.
Wherefore, my Lord, as often as worldly love attempts to advance itself in your heart in preference to divine charity, immediately send the guardian, i.e., reason, out to meet it with the commandments of God and saying that you would rather endure death in soul and body than live to such an end that you would, by word or deed, provoke a God so kind, and, indeed, that you would not in any way spare your own life, your goods or possessions, or the favorable opinions of your relatives and friends provided that you might be able to please God alone in every respect and honor him in all things, and that you choose to submit voluntarily to all tribulations rather than cause any harm, scandal, or trouble to any of your neighbors - whether higher or lower than yourself - and that, in accord with the precept of the Lord, you wish instead to love all your neighbors thoroughly and in a brotherly way.
And if you do this, my Lord, you are proved to love God more than yourself, and your neighbor as yourself. Then, therefore, the guardian, i.e., reason, can rest securely because no rival of your soul is able to climb over the top of the walls.
By the house walls, in truth, I mean four delights of the heavenly court, which a human being ought to long for interiorly with attentive meditation. The first is a fervent longing in the heart to see God himself in his eternal glory and those unfailing riches that are never taken away from one who has acquired them. The second is an incessant wish to hear those sweet-sounding voices of the angels in which, without tiring and without end, they praise God and unceasingly adore him.
The third is a whole-hearted and fervently longing desire eternally to praise God even as the very angels do. The fourth is longing to possess the everlasting consolations of the angels and of the holy souls in heaven. Hence it is to be noted that, just as one who is inside a house is always surrounded by walls wherever one turns, so it is with everyone who, day and night, with supreme longing, desires those four things - namely, to see God in his glory, to hear the angels praising God, to praise God together with them, and to possess their consolations. Truly, wherever such a one turns or whatever work he is intent upon, he is then always preserved unharmed inside firm walls so that, as a result, by dwelling among the very angels in this life, he may be said to enjoy the company of God.
Oh how much, my Lord, your enemy longs to dig through walls of this sort and to take such inner delights away from the heart and to introduce and entangle into your desire others contrary to them, which could gravely harm your soul. On which account, the guardian, i.e., reason, must have diligent precaution about the two ways by which the enemy usually comes. The first way is the hearing; the second, sight. He comes indeed through the hearing when he introduces into the heart the delights of secular songs and of various sweet-sounding instruments, of useless tales and of narrations of the praises of one's own person. The more these things raise one up through pride in oneself, the more distantly one is separated from the humble Christ.
Therefore the guardian, i.e., reason, must resist such delight and say this: ”Just as the devil has hatred for all the humility that the Holy Spirit breathes into the hearts of human beings, so I, by the working of God's help, will have hatred for all the pomp and worldly pride that the evil spirit, with his pestilent inflammation, pours into hearts; and it shall be to me as hateful as the stench of rotten corpses, which immediately suffocates those who catch it in their nostrils.” Through sight also the enemy is accustomed to come, as if by a second way, to dig through the aforementioned house walls; and he brings with him many tools: namely, all sorts of metals wrought into various objects and forms, precious stones, prestigious clothing, lordly palaces, castles, estates, ponds, forests, vineyards, and all other sorts of costly and lucrative things.
For if all these things are fervently desired, they are a proven means of dissipating the aforementioned house walls, i.e., the heavenly delights. Therefore the guardian, i.e., reason, must run out quickly, before such things come into the heart's delight and love, and must say: ”If I shall have in my power any of the possessions of this sort, I will lay it away in that chest where thieves or moth are not feared; and with divine grace helping me, I will not offend my God through coveting others' possessions; nor, through ambition for the things of others, will I separate myself in any way from the company of those who serve Christ.”
By the gates of the said house I mean, in fact, all the body's needs, which indeed the body cannot decline: namely, eating, drinking, sleep, wakefulness, and even occasional distresses and joys. Therefore the guardian, i.e., reason, must stand by these gates, i.e., the body's needs, with concern and, with divine fear, must resist enemies wisely and persistently lest they enter toward the soul.
Therefore, just as in taking food and drink one must beware lest the enemy enter through overindulgence, which makes the soul slothful in serving God, so too one must beware lest the foe gain entrance through excessive abstinence, which makes the body weak in doing all things. Let the guardian, i.e., reason, also take note lest, either when you are alone with your household or when guests arrive, for the sake of worldly honor and the favorable opinion of human beings, there be an uninterrupted succession of too many courses; but, out of divine charity, treat each one well while excluding a multiplicity of foods and also extravagant delicacies.
Next, the guardian, i.e., reason, must with vigilance and attention consider the fact that, just as food and drink must be moderated, so too must sleep be moderated with fear in such a way that the body may be nimble and in better order for accomplishing all the honor of God so that every waking moment may be usefully spent on the divine offices and on honest labors, with all the heaviness of sleep far removed.
Moreover, at the approach of any distress or rancor, the guardian, i.e., reason, accompanied by his companion, namely, fear of God, must swiftly run forth lest, through anger or impatience, it happen that you forfeit divine grace and gravely provoke God against yourself. What is more, when some consolation or joy fills your heart, let the guardian, i.e., reason, imprint the heart more deeply with the fear of God which, with the help of the grace of Jesus Christ, will moderate that consolation or joy in a way that will be of more use to you.
When Lady Bridget was in Naples, there were revealed to her the innermost secrets of the heart of Elzear - later, a cardinal - and certain wonderful things that were going to happen to him. When he heard these things, he was stunned; and he changed for the better.
In the year of our Lord, 1371, in the month of May, on the day of blessed Urban, pope and martyr, when Lady Bridget had been living in Rome for many years, after she had returned from pilgrimages in the kingdom of Naples, while she was at prayer on the day and in the month given above, Christ appeared to her and said that she should prepare herself to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in order to visit the Holy Sepulchre.
While Lady Bridget was living continuously in Rome, she was one day at prayer and her mind was lifted up. Christ then appeared to her and spoke to her, saying this: ”Prepare yourselves now to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to visit my sepulchre and the other holy places that are to be found there. You will leave Rome when I tell you.”
In Rome before Lady Bridget went overseas a certain devout Friar Minor consulted the said lady concerning some doubts in his conscience. As this lady prayed, the Virgin Mary appeared to her and gave her complete answers to those doubts and, moreover, said that no matter how sinful the pope or the priests might be - provided that they are not heretics - the pope has the keys of the Church and the true power of binding and loosing and that at the altar the priests fully confect and handle the Blessed Sacrament of the Body of Christ even though they are unworthy of heavenly glory.
Honor and thanks be given to almighty God and to the Blessed Virgin Mary, his most worthy Mother! It seemed to me, unworthy person that I am, that while I was absorbed in prayer, the Mother of God spoke to me, a sinner, these following words: ”Say to my friend the friar, who through you sent his supplication to me, that it is the true faith and the perfect truth that if a person, at the devil's instigation, had committed every sin against God and then, with true contrition and the purpose of amendment, truly repented these sins and humbly, with burning love, asked God for mercy, there is no doubt that the kind and merciful God himself would immediately be as ready to receive that person back into his grace with great joy and happiness as would be a loving father who saw returning to him his only, dearly beloved son, now freed from a great scandal and a most shameful death.
Yes, much more willingly than any fleshly father, the loving God himself forgives his servants all their sins if they assiduously repent and humbly ask him for mercy and they fear to go on committing sins, and, with all the longing of their hearts, desire God's friendship above all things.
Therefore say to that same friar, on my behalf, that because of his good will and my prayer, God in his goodness has already forgiven him all the sins that he ever committed in all the days of his life. Tell him also that because of my prayer the love that he has for God will always increase in him right up to his death and will in no way diminish.
Likewise, say to him that it pleases God my Son that he stay in Rome, preaching, giving good advice to those who ask, hearing confessions, and imposing salutary penances, unless his superior should send him sometimes out of the city for some lawful necessity. For their transgressions, the same friar should charitably reprove his other brothers with good words, with salutary teachings, and, when he might be able to correct them, even with just rebukes, to the end that they may keep the rule and humbly amend their lives.
Furthermore, I now make known to him that his Masses and his reading and his prayers are acceptable and pleasing to God. And therefore tell him that, just as he guards himself against any excess in food and drink and sleep, so he must diligently guard himself against too much abstinence, in order that he may not suffer any faintness in performing divine labors and services. Also, he is not to have an overabundance of clothing but only necessary things, according to the Rule of Saint Francis, so that pride and cupidity may not ensue; for the less costly and valuable his clothes have been, the more lavish shall be his reward. And let him humbly obey all of his superior's instructions that are not contrary to God and that the friar's own ability permits him to perform.
Tell him also, on my behalf, what he will answer to those who say that the pope is not the true pope and that it is not the true Body of Jesus Christ my Son that the priests confect on the altar. He should answer those heretics in this way: 'You have turned the backs of your heads to God, and thus you do not see him. Turn therefore to him your faces, and then you will be able to see him.'
For it is the true and Catholic faith that a pope who is without heresy is - no matter how stained he be with other sins - never so wicked as a result of these sins and his other bad deeds that there would not always be in him full authority and complete power to bind and loose souls. He possesses this authority through blessed Peter and has acquired it from God. For before Pope John, there were many supreme pontiffs who are now in hell. Nevertheless, the just and reasonable judgments that they made in the world are standing and approved in God's sight.
For a similar reason, I also say that all those priests who are not heretical - although otherwise full of many other sins - are true priests and truly confect the Body of Christ my Son and that truly they touch God in their hands on the altar and administer the other sacraments even though, because of their sins and evil deeds, they are unworthy of heavenly glory in God's sight.”
After the abovesaid friar had received from Lady Bridget the last revelation above, he asked her to pray to God concerning the matter of Christ's private property, and also concerning the authority of the supreme pontiff and of the celebrating priests. As the lady was praying, the Virgin Mary appeared to her and answered all these points as follows.
“Say to my friend the friar that it is not licit for you to know whether the soul of Pope John XXII is in hell or in heaven. Nor indeed is it licit for you to know anything about the sins that the same pope took with him when, after his death, he came before God's judgment. But tell the same friar that those decretals that the same Pope John made or established concerning Christ's private property contain no error in the Catholic faith nor any heresy.
I, indeed, who gave birth to the true God himself, bear witness to the fact that the same Jesus Christ, my Son, had one personal possession and that he alone possessed it. This was that tunic that I made with my own hands. And the prophet witnesses to this fact, saying in the person of my Son: 'Over my garment, they cast lots.' Behold and be attentive to the fact that he did not say 'our garment' but 'my garment.'
Know too that, as often as I dressed him in that tunic for the use of his most holy body, my eyes then filled at once with tears and my whole heart was wrung with trouble and grief and was afflicted with intense bitterness. For I well knew the manner in which that tunic would in future be separated from my Son, namely, at the time of his passion when, naked and innocent, he would be crucified by the Jews. And this tunic was that garment over which his crucifiers cast lots. No one had that same tunic while he lived, but only he alone.
Know too that all those who say that the pope is not the true pope and that the priests are not true priests or rightly ordained and that what is consecrated by the priests in the celebration of Masses is not the true Body of my blessed Son, yes, all those who assert such errors are puffed up with the spirit of the devil in hell.
For truly these same heretics have committed such serious acts of malice and frightful sins against God that, because of their very great demerits, they are damnably filled with diabolic wickedness, and, through their heresy, they are cut off and cast out from the number of the whole flock of Christianity in the just judgment of the divine majesty, just as Judas was shut out and cut off from the sacred number of the apostles because of his wicked demerits: for he betrayed Christ my Son. Know that, even so, all those who want to amend their lives will obtain mercy from God.”
How Christ, speaking to Lady Bridget during prayer, instructs her to go now to Jerusalem and promises to her bodily strength and the necessary expenses.
The Son of God speaks to blessed Bridget his bride and says: ”Go now and depart from Rome for Jerusalem. Why do you plead your age? I am the Creator of nature; I can weaken or strengthen nature as it pleases me. I will be with you. I will direct your way. I will guide you and lead you back to Rome; and I will procure for you everything necessary, more adequately than you have ever had before.”
The Virgin Mary, speaking to Lady Bridget, says that in no way is it God's will that clerics should have wives or be contaminated by carnal vice - prohibiting any pope from allowing this marriage of clerics to cake place or be established in God's Church.
Rejoice eternally, O blessed Body of God, in perpetual honor and in perennial victory and in your everlasting omnipotence together with your Father and the Holy Spirit and also with your blessed and most worthy Mother and with all your glorious heavenly court. To you be praise indeed, O eternal God, and endless thanksgiving for the fact that you deigned to become a human being and that for us in the world you willed to consecrate your venerable Body out of material bread and lovingly bestowed it on us as food for the salvation of our souls!
It happened that a person who was absorbed in prayer heard then a voice saying to her: ”O you to whom it has been given to hear and see spiritually, hear now the things that I want to reveal to you: namely, concerning that archbishop who said that if he were pope, he would give leave for all clerics and priests to contract marriages in the flesh. He thought and believed that this would be more acceptable to God than that clerics should live dissolutely, as they now do. For he believed that through such marriage the greater carnal sins might be avoided; and even though he did not rightly understand God's will in this matter, nonetheless that same archbishop was still a friend of God.
But now I shall tell you God's will in this matter; for I gave birth to God himself. You will make these things known to my bishop and say to him that circumcision was given to Abraham long before the law was given to Moses and that, in that time of Abraham, all human beings whatsoever were guided according to their own intellect and according to the choice of their own will and that, nevertheless, many of them were then friends of God. But after the law was given to Moses, it then pleased God more that human beings should live under the law and according to the law rather than follow their own human understanding and choice. It was the same with my Son's blessed Body.
For after he instituted in the world this new sacrament of the eucharist and ascended into heaven, the ancient law was then still kept: namely, that Christian priests lived in carnal matrimony. And, nonetheless, many of them were still friends of God because they believed with simple purity that this was pleasing to God: namely, that Christian priests should have wives and live in wedlock just as, in the ancient times of the Jews, this had pleased him in the case of Jewish priests. And so, this was the observance of Christian priests for many years.
But that observance and ancient custom seemed very abominable and hateful to all the heavenly court and to me, who gave birth to his body: namely, because it was being thus observed by Christian priests who, with their hands, touch and handle this new and immaculate Sacrament of the most holy Body of my Son. For the Jews had, in the ancient law of the Old Testament, a shadow, i.e., a figure, of this Sacrament; but Christians now have the truth itself - namely, him who is true God an man - in that blessed and consecrated bread.
After those earlier Christian priests had observed these practices for a time, God himself, through the infusion of his Holy Spirit, put into the heart of the pope then guiding the Church another law more acceptable and pleasing to him in this matter: namely, by pouring this infusion into the heart of the pope so that he established a statute in the universal Church that Christian priests, who have so holy and so worthy an office, namely, of consecrating this precious Sacrament, should by no means live in the easily contaminated, carnal delight of marriage.
And therefore, through God's preordinance and his judgment, it has been justly ordained that priests who do not live in chastity and continence of the flesh are cursed and excommunicated before God and deserve to be deprived of their priestly office. But still, if they truthfully amend their lives with the true purpose of not sinning further, they will obtain mercy from God.
Know this too: that if some pope concedes to priests a license to contract carnal marriage, God will condemn him to a sentence as great, in a spiritual way, as that which the law justly inflicts in a corporeal way on a man who has transgressed so gravely that he must have his eyes gouged out, his tongue and lips, nose and ears cut off, his hands and feet amputated, all his body's blood spilled out to grow completely cold, and finally, his whole bloodless corpse cast out to be devoured by dogs and other wild beasts. Similar things would truly happen in a spiritual way to that pope who were to go against the aforementioned preordinance and will of God and concede to priests such a license to contract marriage.
For that same pope would be totally deprived by God of his spiritual sight and hearing, and of his spiritual words and deeds. All his spiritual wisdom would grow completely cold; and finally, after his death, his soul would be cast out to be tortured eternally in hell so that there it might become the food of demons everlastingly and without end. Yes, even if Saint Gregory the Pope had made this statute, in the aforesaid sentence he would never have obtained mercy from God if he had not humbly revoked his statute before his death.”
This is the beginning of a revelation that Lady Bridget had in Naples for the lady queen of the same city. But other things contained therein are not set down here because they are secrets that pertain to the status and person of the said lady queen.
“I am God, the Creator of all. I gave to angels and to humans free decision so that those who willed to do my will might remain with me forever and so that those who thought things contrary to me might be separated from me. And so, certain of the angels became demons because they did not will to love me or to obey me. Then when man had been created and the devil saw my love for man, the devil not only became my enemy but also promoted war against me by inciting Adam to violate my commandments. The devil prevailed on that occasion by my permission and as a result of my justice; and ever since that time, the devil and I are in discord and strife because I want man to live according to my will while the devil exerts himself to make man follow his own desires.
Therefore at that moment when I opened heaven with my heart's blood, the devil was deprived of that justice which he seemed to have; and those souls that were worthy were saved and freed. Then indeed the law was established that it should be in man's decision to follow me, his God, in order to obtain the everlasting crown. But if he follows the devil's desires, he will have everlasting punishment. Thus the devil and I do struggle, in that we both desire souls as bridegrooms desire their brides. For I desire souls in order to give them eternal joy and honor; but the devil desires to give them eternal horror and sorrow. Hear what the queen had done to me. I allowed the raising of her to a kingship, etc.”
Christ speaks: ”Write to her that she should make a clean confession of all that she had done from her youth and that she should have a firm purpose of amendment according to the advice of her confessor. Second, she should diligently recall the manner and the quality of her life during her marriage and during her rule; for she is going to render an account of everything to me. Third, she must have the intention of paying her debts and of restoring that which she knows was wrongly acquired. For the soul is in peril as long as such things are kept; and it does no good to give lavish gifts if debts go unpaid. Fourth, she is not to burden the community with her new inventions, but instead should lighten the burdens which have grown customary. For God will hear the sigh and the crying of those in misery.
Fifth, she must have councilors who are just and not covetous; and she must entrust her judgments to such men as love truth and do not fawn upon factions or seek to grow rich but know how to be content with what is necessary. Sixth, every day, at fixed times, she should remember God's wounds and his passion, for by this means the love of God is renewed in the heart. Seventh, at fixed times she should collect the poor, wash their feet, and refresh them. She should love all her subjects with sincere charity, bringing all those at strife to accord and consoling those who are unjustly offended. Eighth, she should grant her gifts with discretion and according to her means, not oppressing some while making others rich, but wisely relieving some without burdening anyone.
Ninth, she is not to be more attentive to the money of criminals than to justice; but setting aside all greed, she is to weigh the quality of the crimes and show more compassion where she sees greater humility. Tenth, during her lifetime, she is to apply all her diligence to ensure that her kingdom can be in a calm state after her death, for I predict to her that henceforth she will not have offspring from her womb. Eleventh, she should be content with the colors and beauty by which God has adorned her face; for extraneous color is very displeasing to God. Twelfth, she is to acquire greater humility and contrition for her sins because, in my eyes, she is a predator of many souls, a prodigal squanderer of my goods, and a rod of tribulation to my friends. Thirteenth, she must have continual fear in her heart because in all the time she has had, she has led the life of a lascivious woman rather than that of a queen.
Fourteenth, let her put aside worldly customs and those women who flatter her. The short time that she has left, she should spend in honoring me, for up to now she has treated me as if I were a human being without recollection of her sins. Let her now fear and live in such a way that she may not feel my judgment. Otherwise, if she does not listen to me, I will judge her not as a queen but as an ungrateful apostate; and I will scourge her from head to heel; and she will be a disgrace before me and my angels and my saints.”
Item, a revelation. Christ speaks: ”Write those things with fewer and gentler words, just as the Holy Spirit will inflame you, and send them through my bishop to the queen.”
Item, concerning a certain queen. A lady was seen standing in a shift spattered with sperm and mud. And a voice was heard: ”This woman is a monkey that sniffs at its own stinking posterior. She has poison in her heart and she is harmful to herself and she hastens into snares that throw her down.” And again she was seen wearing a crown of twigs spattered with human excrement and with mud from the streets and sitting naked on a tottering beam. At once there appeared a most beautiful virgin who said: ”This is that insolent and audacious woman who is reputed by mankind to be a lady of the world, but in God's eyes, she has been cast off, as you see.” And the virgin added: ”O woman, think of your entrance and be attentive to your end; and open the eyes of your heart and see that your councilors are those who hate your soul!”
Item, concerning a certain queen. A woman was seen sitting on a golden seat; and two Ethiopians stood before her - one, as it were, on the right and the other on the left. The one standing on the right called out and said: ”O lionlike woman, I bring blood. Take and pour out! For it is a mark of the lioness to thirst after blood.” The one on the left said: ”O woman, I bring to you fire in a vessel. Take - for you are of a fiery nature - and pour out into the waters in order that your memory may last in the waters as well as on the land.”
Then a virgin of wondrous beauty appeared, and the Ethiopians fled from her sight. She said: ”This woman is in a perilous state. If she prospers in accordance with her will, the result will be tribulation for many. But if she suffers tribulation, the result will be more useful to her for obtaining eternal life. She herself does not wish to give up her own will or to suffer tribulation in compliance with God. Therefore, if she is left to her own will, she will not be the cause of consolation for herself or for others.”
Item, a revelation. The Son appeared and said: ”This woman had done some things that did please me. Therefore, because of the prayers of my friends, I am willing to point out to her how she may escape the scorn of mankind and the squandering of her own soul if, indeed, she obeys well; if not, she would not escape the justice of the Judge; for she did not will to hear the Father's voice.”
Concerning Lord Gomez. The Mother of God speaks: ”Advise him to do justice wherever he can. If he knows that he has goods that were wrongly acquired, he must not delay in making restitution. He must also be careful not to impose unusual burdens on his subjects, and he must be content with the things that he has because they are sufficient for him if he manages them discreetly and with moderation. Women other than his own wife, he must avoid like poison; and he must not lead out the army against anyone nor take part in the action himself unless he fully knows that justice is on his side and that the war is just. He must also be zealous in making frequent use of confession and in receiving the Body of Christ more frequently and in occupying himself, at fixed times in the day, with the remembrance of Christ's passion and his wounds.”
Concerning Anthony of Carleto. Christ speaks: ”Tell the queen to let him stay in his position. If he rises up to greater things, it will be at the cost of his soul; and neither he himself nor his friends will have any joy out of his promotion.” And so it all turned out.
This revelation was given by God to Lady Bridget in Naples at the request of Lord Bernard, the Neapolitan archbishop. He asked her to pray to God concerning some doubts he had in his conscience. When she was at prayer, Christ appeared to her, answered all the archbishop's doubts, and gave him instruction and the measures he should maintain in governing his own house and in governing his subjects in his diocese.
Christ speaks to his bride and says: ”Tell him that if he wishes to be called a bishop in the justice of the divine judgment, he must not imitate the manners and customs of many who are now rulers of the Church. I took on a human body from a virgin in order that by words and deeds I might fulfill the law which, from eternity, had been ordained in the Godhead. I opened the gate of heaven with my heart's blood, and I so illumined the way by my words and deeds that all might use my example in order to merit eternal life. But truly, the words that I said and the deeds that I did in the world are now almost completely forgotten and neglected. For this, no one is as much a cause as the prelates of the churches. They are full of pride, greed, and the rottenness of bodily pleasure.
All of these things are contrary to my commandments and to Holy Church's honorable statutes, which my friends established out of great devotion after my ascension and after I had accomplished my will in the world. For those wicked prelates of the churches, who are filled with the malignity of an evil spirit, have left to mankind examples that are exceedingly harmful to souls; and therefore it is necessary for me to exact full justice from them by doing judgment on them, abolishing them from the book of life in heaven and placing them beside my enemy Lucifer in hell, in hellish sees that shall be the seat of their perpetual excruciation. Nevertheless, you ought to know that if anyone is willing to amend himself before death by loving me with all his heart and if he abstains from sins, then I will be prompt in showing my mercy.
Tell him also, as if on your own part, these words that follow: 'My Lord, it sometimes happens that, from a black furnace, there goes forth a beautiful flame that is useful and quite necessary for fashioning works of beauty. But that does not mean that the furnace must then be praised for its black color. The praise and honor and thanks are owed to the artist and master of those works.
It is a similar situation with me, unworthy woman that I am, if you find something useful in my advice; for then you ought continually to show infinite thanks and willing service, not to me, but to God himself, who made and makes all things and who has a perfect will to do good. My Lord, I begin by first speaking to you of those things that touch the salvation of many souls. I advise you that, if you would have God's friendship, neither you, nor any other bishop acting on your behalf, should be willing to promote anyone to sacred orders unless he has first been diligently examined by good clerics and has been found to be so suitable in his life and character that, by the testimony of wise and truthful men, he is declared worthy to receive such an office.
With diligent attention, see to it that all the bishops under you and all the suffragans of your archbishopric do the same. For no one could believe how great God's indignation is against those bishops who do not take care to know and diligently to examine the quality of those whom they promote to orders of such dignity in their bishoprics. Whether they do this at the supplication of others or out of negligence and laziness or because of fear, they shall indeed render a most strict account of this at God's judgment.
I also advise you to inquire about the number and the identities of those holders of benefices in your diocese who have the care of souls. Summon them to your presence at least once a year to discuss then with them their own welfare and that of the souls of those under them. And if, by chance, they could not all come together on the same day, then definite dates are to be set on which they may come to you individually during the year so that none of them may be able to excuse himself in any way from consulting you for a whole year.
And you are to preach to them about the kind of life to be led by those who have an office of such great dignity. Know too that priests who have concubines and celebrate Mass are as acceptable and pleasing to God as were the inhabitants of Sodom whom God submersed in hell.
And even though the Mass, in itself, always is the same and has the same power and efficacy, nevertheless, the kiss of peace that such fornicating priests give in the Mass is as pleasing to God as the kiss by which Judas handed over the Savior of all. Therefore constantly try as much as possible, with words and deeds, by enticing or rebuking or threatening, to work together with them so that they may endeavor to lead a chaste life, especially since they must touch so very holy a Sacrament and, with their hands, administer it to other faithful Christians.
Furthermore, for their salvation you should advise all the clergy, both the higher ranks made up of prelates or canons and also the minor clerics - all, that is, who are subject to your rule and have ecclesiastical incomes - that they should correct their lives in every respect. And let no one believe that, for the sake of avoiding sodomy, fornication is at all permissible for clerics; nor, for that reason, is it to be endured that they should defile themselves with women. For every Christian who has the use of intellect and who does not care about eternal life while he is living, will undoubtedly endure after death the most severe punishments of hell for eternity.
I also advise you that your household should not be too large out of pride, but that it should be well proportioned to the needs of your office as a ruler and to the requirements of your status. Those clerics, therefore, who are called your companions, you should keep with you wherever you may be, for the good of your reputation rather than for vainglory or for pomp; and they are to be few in number rather than many. But of those clerics whom you maintain for no other reason than to sing the divine office or to pursue studies or to teach others or to do writing, you may have as many as you please. And nevertheless it is to your advantage to take diligent care, as best you can, for their correction and for the salvation of their souls.
Be attentive to the rest of your servants so that each has his own task; and if some of them are superfluous, do not keep them out of vainglory lest your heart be elated at having a larger household than your peers. It is also expedient that you always have in mind those truly necessary members of your household whom you keep with you; painstakingly scrutinize their lives like a true householder, correcting their actions, lives, and characters and, with good formation, encouraging and admonishing them in a fatherly way so that they learn to flee from sins and vices and to love God above all things. It is indeed more acceptable to God and more useful to yourself that you keep with you no member of the household who is unwilling to comply with sound advice and humbly amend his transgressions.
Of your clothing, I advise you never to have in your possession more than three pairs at one time; everything beyond this, you should immediately give to God himself. Of bed covers, towels, and tablecloths, keep for yourself only what is necessary and useful to you; and give the rest to God. Of silver vessels, reserve for yourself just enough for your own person and for the guests who eat at your own table; donate the superfluous pieces to God with a cheerful mind. For the rest of your household and the guests who sit at other tables certainly can, without any embarrassment, eat and drink using vessels of tin, clay, wood, or glass. For that custom which now prevails in the houses of bishops and lords of having an overly excessive abundance of gold and silver is quite harmful to souls and very repulsive to God himself, who, for our sake, subjected himself to all poverty.
Beware, also, of having too many courses and extravagant delicacies. Nor should you have overly large and expensive horses, but rather those that are moderate in size and price. For such large horses are needed by those who expose themselves to the dangers of war for the defense of justice and the protection of life and not for pride. Indeed, I tell you that as often as prelates, out of pride and vainglory, mount big horses, the devil mounts the prelates' necks. For I know a person who, when the prelates and cardinals proudly lifted their feet to ride on the backs of their big horses, saw demons as Ethiopians who then lifted their feet and mounted the necks of the prelates and sat there laughing.
As often as the prelates pompously spurred their horses, the Ethiopians lifted their heads in their glee and kicked their heels into the breasts of those horsemen. Again, I advise you to have your vicars promise under oath that, while carrying out your business, they will not presume to do anything contrary to justice. And if they later do the opposite, you are to have them rebuked in accordance with justice. If you do as I have said, you can be confident that your conscience is quite sound.
And now I give advice for the consolation of the souls of your departed, about whom you asked me whether or not they were in purgatory and what almsdeeds ought to be done for them, etc. I answer and say that every day for one year you are to have two Masses celebrated for them and every day you are to feed two paupers, and every week take care to distribute one florin in coins to the poor.
Say also to the parish priests that they are to correct their parishioners and to rebuke them for their open sins in cases that pertain to them in order that they may be able to live better lives. Those parishioners who are unwilling to be rebuked should then be rebuked by you. If, however, you know that some are openly sinning against God and justice, and if they are such great tyrants that you cannot pass judgment on them, then tell them in sweet and gentle words to correct themselves.
If they do not wish to obey, you may leave them to God's judgment; and God will see that your intention is good. One must not throw the meek lamb into a wolf's ferocious teeth because this will make the wolf more ravenous. Nevertheless, it is fitting for you to forewarn them charitably about the peril of their souls, as a father does with his children when they oppose him. Nor are you bound to forego rebukes out of fear for your body unless, by chance, some danger to souls could come from them.' ”
This revelation, made to Lady Bridget, began in Naples immediately after the death of her son Lord Charles, a knight. The vision continued, with certain breaks, during her Jerusalem voyage until she arrived at Jerusalem; and there it ended in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre of the Lord. It contains in itself allegations made by the Virgin Mary and by an angel on behalf of the said knight's soul at the divine judgment in the presence of Christ the Judge and allegations made on the devil's part against that very soul and Christ the Judge's verdict for its liberation.
The Virgin Mary speaks to Lady Bridget and says: ”I want to tell you what I did for the soul of your son Charles when it was being separated from his body. I acted like a woman standing by another woman who is giving birth, in order that she might help the infant, lest it die in the flow of blood or suffocate in that narrow place through which an infant exits and so that, by her watchful care, the infant's enemies, who are in the same house, might not be able to kill it. I acted in the same way.
Indeed I stood near your same son Charles, shortly before he sent forth his spirit, in order that he might not have such thoughts of carnal love in his memory that, for the sake of this love, he would think or say anything against God or will to omit anything pleasing to God or will to perform, to his soul's harm, those things that could be in any way contrary to the divine will.
I also helped him in that narrow space, i.e., at his soul's exit from his body, so that in dying he would not endure pain so hard as to cause him to become at all inconstant through despair, and so that in dying he might not forget God. I also guarded his soul from its deadly enemies, i.e., the demons, so that none of them could touch it. As soon as it had left his body, I took custody of it and defended it. This action quickly routed and dispersed that whole throng of demons who, in their malice, yearned to swallow it and torture it for eternity. But as to how, after the death of Charles, judgment was passed on his soul, this will be shown to you completely when it pleases me.”
SECOND REVELATION ON THE SAME MATTER
After an interval of some days, the same Virgin Mary herself again appeared to the same Lady Bridget, who was wide awake and at prayer and said: ”Through God's goodness, it is now permitted for you to see and hear how judgment was passed on the aforesaid soul when it had left the body. That which then happened in one moment before God's incomprehensible majesty will be shown to you in painstaking detail at intervals by means of corporeal likenesses so that your understanding may be able to grasp it.”
In the same hour, therefore, Lady Bridget saw herself caught up to a certain large and beautiful palace where, upon the tribunal, the Lord Jesus Christ sat as if crowned as an emperor in the company of an infinite host of attendant angels and saints. She saw standing near him his most worthy Mother, who listened carefully to the judgment. Also in the presence of the Judge, a soul was seen standing in great fear and panic, naked as a newborn infant, and, as it were, entirely blind so that it could see nothing; but in its consciousness, it understood what was being said and done in the palace. An angel stood on the Judge's right side near the soul and a devil on his left. But neither of them touched the soul or handled it.
Then, at last, the devil cried out and said: ”Hearken, O most almighty Judge! I complain in your sight about a woman who is both my Lady and your Mother and whom you love so much that you have given to her power over heaven and earth and over all of us demons of hell. She has indeed done me an injustice regarding that soul which now stands here. According to justice, as soon as this soul had left the body, I ought to have taken it to myself and presented it in my company before your court of judgment. And behold, O just Judge: that woman, your Mother, seized this soul with her own hands, almost before it exited from the man's mouth; and in her powerful ward she has brought it to your judgment.”
Then Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, answered thus: ”Hearken, you devil, to my reply! When you were created, you understood the justice that was in God from eternity and without beginning. You also had free choice to do what most pleased you. And even though you have chosen to hate God rather than love him, nevertheless you still understand quite well what, according to justice, ought to be done. I tell you, therefore, that it was my business, rather than yours, to present that soul before God, the true judge.
For while this soul was in the body it had a great love for me, and in its heart frequently pondered the fact that God had deigned to make me his mother and that he willed to exalt me on high above all created things. As a result he began to love God with such great charity that in his heart he used to say this: 'I so rejoice because God holds the Virgin Mary his Mother most dear above all things, that there is in the world no creature and no bodily delight that I would take in exchange for that joy. No, I would prefer that joy to all earthly delights.
And if it were possible that God could remove her, in the smallest point, from that dignity in which she stands, I would rather choose for myself, in exchange, eternal torture in the depth of hell. Therefore, to God himself be endless thanksgiving and everlasting glory for that blessed grace and that glory immeasurable that he has given to his most worthy Mother!' Therefore, O devil, see now with what sort of will he passed away. Which now seems to you more just: that his soul come to God's judgment defended by me or that it come into your hands to be tortured without pity?”
The devil answered: ”I have no right to expect that this soul, which loves you more than itself, would come into my hands before judgment be passed. But even though, at the bidding of justice, you did him this favor before the judgment, nevertheless, after the judgment his works will condemn him to be punished at my hands. Now, O Queen, I ask you why you drove all of us demons from the presence of his body at his soul's exit so that none of us could cause any horror there or strike any fear into him.”
The Virgin Mary answered: ”I did this in return for the ardent charity that he had toward my body and in return for the joy that he had from the fact that I am the Mother of God. Therefore I obtained from my Son the favor that, wherever he was and even where he now is, no evil spirit might approach his body.”
After this, the devil speaks to the Judge and says: ”I know that you are justice and power itself. You do not judge less justly for the devil than for an angel. Therefore adjudge that soul to me! Using the wisdom that I had when you created me, I had written all his sins. Indeed, I had kept watch over all his sins with that malice of mine that I had when I fell from heaven. For when that soul first came to the age of reason and really understood that what it was doing was sinful, its own will then drew it to live in worldly pride and carnal pleasure, rather than resist such things.”
The angel answered: ”When his mother first understood that his will was wavering toward sin, she immediately rushed to his aid with works of mercy and daily prayers that God might deign to have mercy on him lest he withdraw himself from him. Because of those works of his mother, he finally obtained a godly fear so that, as often as he fell into sin, he immediately hurried to make his confession.”
The devil answered, ”I must tell his sins.” And at the very moment he intended to begin, he immediately started to exclaim and lament and carefully search himself, including his head and all the limbs that he seemed to have; and he was seen to tremble all over; and with great confusion he cried out: ”Woe to me in my misery! How have I wasted my long labor? Not only is the text blotted out and ruined, but even the material on which everything was written has burnt up completely. Moreover, the material indicates the times that he sinned. And I do not recall the times any more than the sins written down in connection with them.” The angel answered: ”This was done by his mother's tears and long labors and many prayers. God sympathized with her sighs and gave to her son this grace: namely, that for every sin he committed, he obtained contrition, making a humble confession out of love for God. Therefore those sins have been blotted out and are unheeded by your memory.”
The devil answered, asserting that he still had a sack full of those writings according to which the abovesaid knight had purposed to make amends for his sins but did not take care [to do so and asserting that the writings gave grounds on which] to torture him until, through punishment, satisfaction had been made. And indeed that same knight had not yet taken care to amend those sins during his lifetime. The angel answered: ”Open the sack and seek a judgment on those sins for which you must chastise him.” At those words, the devil cried out like a madman, saying: ”I have been plundered in my power. Not only my sack has been taken, but also the sins that filled it! The sack in which I put all the reasons that I had to punish him was his laziness; for, because of his laziness, he omitted many good things.”
The angel answered: ”His mother's tears have plundered you and have burst the sack and have destroyed the writing. So greatly did her tears please God!” The devil answered: ”I still have here a few things to bring forth: namely, his venial sins.”
The angel answered: ”He had the intention to make a pilgrimage from his fatherland, leaving his goods and his friends and visiting, by many labors, the holy places. He complemented these things, furthermore, by so preparing himself that he was worthy to gain an indulgence from Holy Church. Moreover, he desired, by making amends for his sins, to appease God his Creator. As a result, all those charges, which you just said that you had written down, have been pardoned.”
The devil answered: ”Nevertheless, I still must punish him for all those venial sins that he committed; and therefore, through indulgences, they have not been deleted at all. For there are thousands upon thousands of them, and they have all been written on my tongue.” The angel answered: ”Extend your tongue and show the writing.” The devil answered with loud howling and clamor like a maniac; and he said: ”Woe is me. I have not one word to say; for my tongue has been cut off at the root together with its strength!”
The angel answered: ”His mother did this with her continual prayers and her labor; for she loved his soul with her whole heart. Therefore, for the sake of her love, it pleased God to pardon all the venial sins that he committed from his infancy right up to his death; and therefore your tongue is said to have lost its strength.”
The devil answered: ”I still have one thing carefully stored in my heart, and no one can abolish it. This thing is the fact that he acquired some things unjustly and never attended to their restoration.” The angel answered: ”His mother made satisfaction for such things with her alms, her prayers, and her works of mercy so that the rigor of justice inclined toward the mildness of mercy; and God gave him the perfect intention of making full satisfaction - according to his opportunities and without sparing any of his own goods - to all those from whom he had taken anything unjustly. God accepted that intention in place of its effect because he was not well enough to live any longer. Therefore, his heirs must make satisfaction for such things to the extent that they can.”
The devil answered: ”If I therefore do not have the power to punish him for sins, I must nevertheless chastise him because he did not practice good deeds and virtues according to his ability while he had his full senses and a healthy body. For virtues and good deeds are those treasures that he ought to bring with him to such a kingdom, namely, to the glorious kingdom of God. Permit me therefore, by means of punishment, to supply what he lacks in virtuous deeds.”
The angel answered: ”It is written that, to one who asks, it shall be given and, to one who knocks with perseverance, it shall be opened. Listen then, you devil! By her charitable prayers and pious works his mother has perseveringly knocked at the gate of mercy on his behalf; and, for more than thirty years, she has shed many thousands of tears that God might deign to pour the Holy Spirit into his heart so that this same son of hers might willingly offer his goods, his body, and his soul to God's service. And God did so, for that knight became so fervent that it pleased him to live for nothing other than to follow God's will. And behold: God, who had been petitioned for so long a time, did pour his blessed Spirit into his heart.
And the Virgin Mother of God has given to him, out of her own virtue whatever he lacks in those spiritual weapons and garments that are proper for knights who must, in the kingdom of heaven, enter the presence of the highest Emperor. Those saints too, who now have a place in the heavenly kingdom and whom this knight loved during his life in the world, added to his consolation out of their merits. For he himself truly did assemble a treasure as those pilgrims do who daily exchange perishable goods for eternal riches.
And because he did so, he will therefore obtain everlasting joy and honor, especially for his burning desire to make a pilgrimage to the holy city of Jerusalem, and for the fact that he fervently longed to risk his life willingly in warfare so that if he had been a match for so great a work, the Holy Land might be restored to the dominion of Christians to the end that the glorious sepulchre of God might be held in due reverence. Therefore you, O devil, have no right to supply those things that he did not personally accomplish.”
The devil answered: ”Still, he lacks a crown. For if I could devise anything to spoil its perfection, I would willingly do so.” The angel answered: ”It is entirely certain that all who will themselves from hell by truly repenting their sins, by voluntarily conforming themselves to the divine will, and by loving God himself with all their heart, will obtain his grace. And it pleases God himself to give them a crown out of the triumphal crown of his blessed human body if they have been purged according to strict justice. Therefore, it is not at all suitable for you, O devil, to devise anything related to his crown.”
When the devil heard this, he cried out impatiently, roaring, and said: ”Woe is me. For all my memory has been taken from me! I do not now recall in what respect that knight followed my will; and - what is more amazing - I have even forgotten what name he was called by while he lived.”
The angel answered: ”Know that now, in heaven, he is called 'Son of Tears.' ” The devil cried out loudly and answered: ”Oh, what a cursed sow his mother, that she-pig, is, who had a belly so expansive that so much water poured into her that her belly's every space was filled with liquid for tears! Cursed be she by me and by all my company!”
The angel answered: ”Your curse is God's honor and the blessing of all his friends.” Then, however, Christ the Judge spoke, saying this: ”Depart, O devil, my enemy!” Then he said to the knight: ”Come, O my chosen one!” And so, at once, the devil fled.
When the bride saw these things, she said: ”O Power eternal and incomprehensible, you yourself, God and Lord, Jesus Christ! You pour into hearts all good thoughts and prayers and tears. You conceal your gracious gifts; and for them you confer eternal rewards in glory. Therefore, to you be honor and service and thanks for all that you have created! O my sweetest God, you are most dear to me and truly to me dearer than my body and soul!”
The angel also then spoke to that same bride of Christ and said: ”You ought to know that this vision has been shown to you by God not only for your own consolation but also in order that God's friends may be able to understand how much he deigns to do in answer to the prayers, tears, and labors of his friends who charitably pray and labor for others with perseverance and good will. You also ought to know that this knight, your son, would not have had such a grace if he had not, since infancy, had the will to love God and his friends and to amend his life willingly after every fall into sin.”
Lady Bridget had this revelation in the holy city of Jerusalem, the first time that she was in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In it, Christ declares the pardon and grace that good pilgrims have in the said church when they come there with a right intention and a holy purpose.
The Son spoke to the bride: ”When you people entered my temple, which was dedicated with my blood, you were as cleansed of all your sins as if you had at that moment been lifted from the font of baptism. And because of your labors and devotion, some souls of your relatives that were in purgatory have this day been liberated and have entered into heaven in my glory. For all who come to this place with a perfect will to amend their lives in accord with their better conscience, and who are not willing to fall back into their former sins, will have all their former sins completely forgiven; and they will have an increase of grace to make progress.”
This vision Lady Bridget saw in Jerusalem in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the chapel of Mount Calvary, on the Friday after the octave of the Ascension of the Lord, when, caught up in spirit, she saw the whole passion of the Lord in painstaking detail, as it is here contained at greater length.
While I was at Mount Calvary, most mournfully weeping, I saw that my Lord, who was naked and scourged, had been led by the Jews to his crucifixion. He was being guarded by them diligently. I then saw too that a certain hole had been cut into the mount and that the crucifiers were round about and ready to work their cruelty. The Lord, however, turned toward me and said to me: ”Be attentive; for in this hole in the rock the foot of the cross was fixed at the time of my passion.” And at once I saw how the Jews were there fixing and fastening his cross firmly in the hole in the rock of the mount with bits of wood strongly hammered in on every side in order that the cross might stand more solidly and not fall.
Then, when the cross had been so solidly fastened there, at once wooden planks were fitted around the trunk of the cross to form steps up to the place where his feet were to be crucified, in order that both he and his crucifiers might be able to ascend by those plank steps and stand atop the planks in a way more convenient for crucifying him. After this, they then ascended by those steps, leading him with the greatest of mockery and scolding. He ascended gladly, like a meek lamb led to the slaughter. When he was finally on top of those planks, he at once, willingly and without coercion, extended his arm and opened his right hand and placed it on the cross. Those savage torturers monstrously crucified it, piercing it with a nail through that part where the bone was more solid.
And then, with a rope, they pulled violently on his left hand and fastened it to the cross in the same manner. Finally, they extended his body on the cross beyond all measure; and placing one of his shins on top of the other, they fastened to the cross his feet, thus joined, with two nails. And they violently extended those glorious limbs so far on the cross that nearly all of his veins and sinews were bursting.
Then the crown of thorns, which they had removed from his head when he was being crucified, they now put back, fitting it onto his most holy head. It pricked his awesome head with such force that then and there his eyes were filled with flowing blood and his ears were obstructed. And his face and beard were covered as if they had been dipped in that rose-red blood. And at once those crucifiers and soldiers quickly removed all the planks that abutted the cross, and then the cross remained alone and lofty, and my Lord was crucified upon it.
And as I, filled with sorrow, gazed at their cruelty, I then saw his most mournful Mother lying on the earth, as if trembling and halfdead. She was being consoled by John and by those others, her sisters, who were then standing not far from the cross on its right side. Then the new sorrow of the compassion of that most holy Mother so transfixed me that I felt, as it were, that a sharp sword of unbearable bitterness was piercing my heart. Then at last his sorrowful Mother arose; and, as it were, in a state of physical exhaustion, she looked at her Son. Thus, supported by her sisters, she stood there all dazed and in suspense, as though dead yet living, transfixed by the sword of sorrow. When her Son saw her and his other friends weeping, with a tearful voice he commended her to John. It was quite discernible in his bearing and voice that out of compassion for his Mother, his own heart was being penetrated by a most sharp arrow of sorrow beyond all measure.
Then too, his fine and lovely eyes appeared half dead; his mouth was open and bloody; his face was pale and sunken, all livid and stained with blood; and his whole body was as if black and blue and pale and very weak from the constant downward flow of blood. Indeed, his skin and the virginal flesh of his most holy body were so delicate and tender that, after the infliction of a slight blow, a black and blue mark appeared on the surface. At times, however, he tried to make stretching motions on the cross because of the exceeding bitterness of the intense and most acute pain that he felt. For at times the pain from his pierced limbs and veins ascended to his heart and battered him cruelly with an intense martyrdom; and thus his death was prolonged and delayed amidst grave torment and great bitterness.
Then, therefore, in distress from the exceeding anguish of his pain and already near to death, he cried to the Father in a loud and tearful voice, saying: ”O Father, why have you forsaken me?” He then had pale lips, a bloody tongue, and a sunken abdomen that adhered to his back as if he had no viscera within. A second time also, he cried out again in the greatest of pain and anxiety: ”O Father, into your hands I commend my spirit.” Then his head, raising itself a little, immediately bowed; and thus he sent forth his spirit. When his Mother then saw these things, she trembled at that immense bitterness and would have fallen onto the earth if she had not been supported by the other women. Then, in that hour, his hands retracted slightly from the place of the nail holes because of the exceeding weight of his body; and thus his body was as if supported by the nails with which his feet had been crucified. Moreover, his fingers and hands and arms were now more extended than before; his shoulder blades, in fact, and his back were as if pressed tightly to the cross.
Then at last the Jews standing around cried out in mockery against his Mother, saying many things. For some said: ”Mary, now your Son is dead”; but others said other mocking words. And while the crowds were thus standing about, one man came running with the greatest of fury and fixed a lance in his right side with such violence and force that the lance would have passed almost through the other side of the body. Thus, when the lance was extracted from the body, at once a stream, as it were, of blood spurted out of that wound in abundance; in fact, the iron blade of the lance and a part of the shaft came out of the body red and stained with the blood. Seeing these things, his Mother so violently trembled with bitter sighing that it was quite discernible in her face and bearing that her soul was then being penetrated by the sharp sword of sorrow.
When all these things had been accomplished and when the large crowds were receding, certain of the Lord's friends took him down. Then, with pity, his Mother received him into her most holy arms; and sitting, she laid him on her knee, all torn as he was and wounded and black and blue. With tears, she and John and those others, the weeping women, washed him. And then, with her linen cloth, his most mournful Mother wiped his whole body and its wounds. And she closed his eyes and kissed them; and she wrapped him in a clean cloth of fine linen. And thus they escorted him with lamentation and very great sorrow and placed him in the sepulchre.
Christ complains to the bride about all the earth's princes and prelates because they will not keep in their memory and recall in their heart these his sorrows and his passion and because they will not consider those sacred places of the Holy Land; and he threatens them if they do not amend themselves.
After this, in that same hour, Christ spoke to his same bride, Lady Bridget, saying: ”To these things that you have now seen and to the other things that I endured, the world's princes are not attentive; nor do they consider the places in which I was born and I suffered. For they are like a man who has a place designated for wild and untamed beasts and where he sets loose his hunting dogs and takes delight in gazing at the dogs and the wild things as they run.
It is a similar case with the princes of the earth and the prelates of the churches and all states of the world. They gaze at earthly delights with greater eagerness and pleasure than at my death and my passion and my wounds. Therefore, I shall now send them my words through you; and, if they do not change their hearts and turn them toward me, they will be condemned along with those who divided my clothing and, over my garment, cast lots.”
Here follows a revelation made to blessed Bridget in Famagusta. The Son speaks: ”This city is Gomorrah, burning with the fire of lust and of superfluity and of ambition. Therefore its structures shall fall, and it shall be desolated and diminished, and its inhabitants shall depart, and they shall groan in sorrow and tribulation, and they shall die out, and their shame shall be mentioned in many lands because I am angered at them.”
Concerning the duke, who was privy to his brother's death. Christ speaks: ”This man boldly expands his pride. He boasts of his incontinence and is not attentive to the things that he has done to his neighbor. Therefore, if he does not humble himself, I will act in accord with the common proverb: 'No lighter wails he who afterward weeps than he who wailed afore.' For he shall have a death no lighter than his brother's - no, a death more bitter - unless he quickly amends himself.”
Concerning the duke's confessor. Christ speaks: ”What did that friar say to you? Did he not say that the duke is good and cannot live in a better way? Did he not excuse the duke's incontinence? Such men are not confessors but deceivers. They go about like simple sheep, but they are more truly foxes and flatterers. Such are those friends who see and propose 'assumptions and dejections' to human beings for the sake of some temporal trifle. Therefore if that friar had sat in his convent, he would have obtained less punishment and a greater crown. Now, however, he will not escape the hand of one who rebukes and afflicts.”
Certain people advised the lady to change clothes and blacken faces because of the Saracens. Christ speaks: ”What advice are they giving you? Is it not to disguise your clothes and blacken your faces? Would I, God, who instruct you, truly be like someone who does no know the future or like someone powerless who fears all things? Not in the least! But I am wisdom itself and power itself, and I foreknow all and can do all. Therefore retain your accustomed manner of clothing and faces, and entrust your wills to me. For I, who saved Sarah from the hands of her captors, will also save all of you on land and sea and will provide for you in a way that is to your advantage.”
Concerning a bishop. The Mother speaks: ”My friend ought to love you as a mother, as a lady, as a daughter, and as a sister. As a mother, because of your age and because of the advice that he must seek. Second, as a lady, because of the grace given to you by God, who through you has shown the secrets of his wisdom. Third, as a daughter, by teaching and by consoling and by providing you with more useful things. Fourth, as a sister, by reproving - when this would be opportune - and by admonishing and by inciting to more perfect things through words and examples. Also, tell him that he ought to be like one who carries the best of flowers.
These flowers are my words, which are sweeter than honey to those who savor them, sharper and more penetrating than arrows, and more effective in remuneration. It is therefore the duty of the bearer to protect the flowers from the wind, the rain, and the heat: namely, from the wind of worldly talk; from the rain of carnal delights; from the heat of worldly favor. For one who glories in such things causes the flowers to become worthless and shows himself unsuitable to carry them.”
Concerning the queen of Cyprus. The Son speaks: ”Advise the queen not to return to her native land for this is not to her advantage. But let her stay in the place in which she has been set, serving God with all her heart. Second, she is not to marry, taking a second husband, for it is more acceptable to God to weep for the things that have been done and, by penance, to make up for time that has been uselessly spent. Third, she should guide the people of her kingdom toward mutual concord and charity; and she should labor that justice and good morals be laudably maintained and that the community not be weighed down with unusual burdens. Fourth, for God's sake, she should forget the evils that were committed against her husband and not burn for revenge.
For I am the Judge, and I shall judge for her. Fifth, she should nurture her son with divine charity and appoint as his councilors men who are just and not covetous, and as members of his household, men who are modest, composed, and wise, from whom he may learn to fear God, to rule justly, to sympathize with the unfortunate, to flee from flatterers and sycophants like poison, and to seek the advice of just men, even if they are poor, lowly, or despised. Sixth, she is to put down the shameful custom of women involving tight clothing, display of the breasts, unguents, and many other vanities; for these are things entirely hateful to God.
Seventh, she should have a confessor who, having left the world, loves souls more than gifts and who neither glosses over sins nor fears to reprove them. And, in those things that pertain to the salvation of the soul, she is to obey him just as she obeys God. Eighth, she should seek out and be attentive to the lives of holy queens and saintly women; and she is to labor for the increase of God's honor. Ninth, she should be reasonable in her gifts, avoiding both debts and the praises of men, for it is more acceptable to God to give little or even nothing than to contract debts and to defraud one's neighbor.”
On the crowning of the new king. The Son speaks: ”It is a great burden to be a king, but also a great honor and a very great enjoyment. It is fitting, therefore, that a king be mature, experienced, prudent, just, and a hard worker who loves his neighbors' welfare more than his own will. Therefore, in ancient times, kingdoms were well ruled when such a man was elected as king - one who had the will and the knowledge and the ability to rule with justice. Now kingdoms are not kingdoms but scenes of childishness, folly, and brigandage. For just as the brigand searches for ways and times to lay his ambush in order to acquire lucre without being marked, so kings now search for inventions by which to elevate their offspring, fill their purses with money, and discreetly burden their subjects. And they all the more gladly do justice in order to obtain temporal good, but they do not love justice in order to obtain everlasting reward.
Therefore, a wise man wisely said: 'Woe to that kingdom whose king is a child who lives daintily and has dainty flatterers but feels no anguish at all about the advancement of the community.' But because this boy will not bear his father's iniquity, therefore, if he wishes to make progress and to fulfill the dignity of his kingly name, let him obey my words that I have already spoken concerning Cyprus.
And let him not imitate the behavior of his predecessors, but let him lay aside childish levity and lead a kingly life, having assistants of the sort who fear and who do not love his gifts more than his soul and his honor, who hate flatteries, and who are not afraid to speak the truth and to follow it and to assert it. Otherwise, the boy will have no joy in his people, and his people no joy in the one elected.”
When Lady Bridget was in Jerusalem, she was doubtful as to whether it were better for her to lodge in the monastery of the Friars Minor on Mount Zion or in the pilgrims' hostel in Jerusalem; and then the Virgin Mary appeared to her at prayer and told her that she should lodge in the hostel as a good example to others.
The Mother of God speaks: ”In that place on Mount Zion there are two kinds of human beings. Some love God with all their heart. Others want to have God, but the world is sweeter to them than God is. And therefore, so that the good may not be scandalized and so that you may not give an occasion to the lukewarm or an example to the future, it is therefore better to reside in the place appointed for pilgrims. For my Son will provide for you in all things as it pleases him.”
In the kingdom of Cyprus, Lady Bridget was asked by Lady Eleanor, the queen of the said kingdom, to pray to God for her son the king and for that kingdom. Lady Bridget then crossed over to Jerusalem; and there one day, while she was at prayer, Christ appeared to her and spoke to her these counsels, which she was to write to the said king and to his paternal uncle, the prince of Antioch. And he instructed her to write those things to them as if from herself and not from the part of Christ.
The bride writes to the king of Cyprus and to the prince of Antioch: ”The first counsel is that each of you, in the presence of his confessor, is to make a clean and complete confession of all the things that he has done against the will of God; and thus you are to receive the blessed Body of our Lord Jesus Christ with fear and love of God. The second counsel is that both of you are to be united in true love so that you may be one heart toward God and his honor, ruling the kingdom for the honor of God and the good of your subjects.
The third counsel is that both of you are to be united in true charity with your subjects and that, solely out of reverence for the passion and death of Jesus Christ, you are to forgive and spare all who, by advice, deed, or approbation, cooperated in the death of your father King Peter. Include them in your charity with all your heart in order that God may deign to include you in his mercy and also that he may will to strengthen you to rule the kingdom for his honor.
The fourth counsel is that, since divine providence has appointed you the governors of the kingdom, you should use all possible diligence in speaking to all the prelates, both of the churches and of the religious orders, effectively but charitably advising them that they and their subjects should all correct themselves in all those matters in which they have in any way deviated spiritually or temporally from the holy state of their predecessors, the holy fathers of earlier times, and that they should quickly return to living purely in the pristine state of their predecessors, so that their state may be totally reformed in order that they and their subjects, having thus truly amended their lives, may obtain God's friendship and be made worthy to pray that God may mercifully deign to renew in holiness of virtues the state of the universal Church.
The fifth counsel is that, for the sake of that great charity with which God has loved your souls, you should will to love the souls of your subjects, advising your military people that all who have in any way offended God should quickly and humbly correct themselves, and that all who are under obedience to the Roman Church and who have reached the age of reason should humbly exercise the practice of confession; that they should reconcile themselves to those neighbors they have offended and establish a concord with them; and that, having amended their lives, they should receive the awesome Body of Christ.
Thereafter, moreover, they are to lead a Catholic life: namely, living faithfully in marriage or in widowhood or even in the state of praiseworthy virginity; observing all that Holy Church teaches; leading, with loving heart, the members of their household and their domestics and their subjects and all others possible, by their good example and by word and deed, to do the same; and strengthening those in such states by their good admonitions. And know for very certain that all who are not willing to obey in these matters will suffer the cost in body and soul.
The sixth counsel is that you should tell all prelates that they must effectively and frequently admonish all their clerics, namely, the rectors of churches, that each of them is to inquire diligently in his parish as to whether there be any of his parishioners who persist in living wickedly in public sins, causing offense to God and contempt for Holy Mother Church.
Any such people whom they find living impudently in their public sins, they are to forewarn with effective admonishments concerning the peril of their souls; and they are to teach them such measures and spiritual remedies by means of which they can and must humbly amend their lives. If, however, some of those who live in public sins will not humbly obey, then the same rectors must not delay in reporting to their superiors and the bishops in order that the prelates may juridically correct the forwardness of such obstinate persons by means of an ecclesiastical censure.
If, in fact, because of the sinners' stubbornness and pride or because of their temporal power, the aforesaid bishops and prelates are unable to correct or punish them, then you, my lords, are advised to be, with your powerful hands, co-workers with the lord prelates so that by your help the said sinners may be brought to correct themselves and that having amended their lives they may attain God's mercy.”
A revelation made to Lady Bridget in the holy city of Jerusalem concerning the kingdom of Cyprus and its reformation, which she her self transmitted to the lord king and to the prince of Antioch that they might publish it to the whole kingdom. And because the aforesaid prince did not put complete faith in that revelation, therefore the said lady, on her return trip from Jerusalem, published it in the city of Famagusta on the eighth day of October, in the presence of the said lord king and the queen and the said prince and all the royal council.
It happened to a person who was wide awake and absorbed in prayer that while she was suspended in an ecstasy of contemplation, she saw herself caught up in spirit to a palace that was of incomprehensible size and indescribable beauty. And it seemed to her that Jesus Christ was sitting among his saints on the imperial seat of majesty. He opened his blessed mouth and uttered these words that are noted down below:
”I truly am supreme charity itself; for all things that I have done from eternity, I have done out of charity; and, in the same way, all things that I do and shall do in the future proceed entirely from my charity. For charity is as incomprehensible and intense in me now as it was at the time of my passion when, through my death and out of exceeding charity, I freed from hell all the elect who were worthy of this redemption and liberation. For if it were still possible that I might die as many times as there are souls in hell so that for each of them I might again endure such a death as I then endured for all, my body would still be ready to undergo all these things with a glad will and most perfect charity. But, in fact, it is now impossible that my body could once more die or suffer any pain or tribulation. And it is also just as impossible that any soul that after my death has been or will be condemned to hell would ever again be freed from there, or would enjoy the heavenly gladness that my saints and chosen ones enjoy at the glorious sight of my body.
No, the damned will feel the pains of hell in an everlasting death because they did not will to enjoy the benefit of my death and passion and did not will to follow my will while they lived in the world. However, because no one is judge over the offenses done to me except myself, and, for this reason, my charity that I have ever shown to human beings makes its complaint in the presence of my justice, it therefore pertains to justice to render judgment on this in accord with my will.
Now I make my complaint about the inhabitants of the kingdom of Cyprus as if about one human being. But I do not complain about my friends who dwell there and who love me with all their heart and follow my will in all things; but I speak in complaint, as if to one person, to all those who scorn me and always resist my will and so very greatly oppose me. And therefore I now begin to speak to them all as if to one.
O people of Cyprus, my adversary, listen and be diligently attentive to what I say to you! I have loved you as a father loves his only son, whom he has willed to exalt to all honor. I conferred on you a land in which you could have in abundance all things necessary for the sustenance of your body. I sent to you the warmth and light of the Holy Spirit that you might understand the right Christian faith to which you faithfully bound yourself, humbly subjugating yourself to the sacred statutes and to the obedience of Holy Church.
Indeed, I placed you in a place that would be quite fitting for a faithful servant, namely, among my enemies, so that in return for your earthly labors and for the physical struggle of battles you would obtain in my heavenly kingdom an even more precious crown. I also carried you for a long time in my heart, i.e., in the charity of my Godhead, and kept you as the apple of my eye in all your adversities and tribulations. And as long as you observed my precepts and faithfully kept obedience and the statutes of Holy Church, then, of a certainty, did an almost infinite number of souls come from the kingdom of Cyprus to my heavenly kingdom to enjoy eternal glory with me for ever.
But because you now do your own will and all those things that delight your heart, without fearing me who am your Judge and without loving me who am your Creator and who also redeemed you through my very hard death; and because you spat me out of your mouth like some foul and unsavory thing; and, indeed, because you have enclosed the devil together with your soul in the chamber of your heart; and because you have driven me thence as if I were a thief and a robber; and because you were no more ashamed to sin in my sight than irrational animals are in their mating, it is therefore a fitting justice and a just judgment that you should be driven out from all my friends in heaven and be placed forever in hell amidst my enemies.
And know this without a doubt: that my Father - who is in me, and I am in him, and the Holy Spirit is in us both - is himself my witness that nothing but truth has ever gone forth from my mouth. Wherefore know for a truth that if anyone has been so disposed as you now are and if he will not amend his life, his soul will go the same way along which went Lucifer because of his pride, and Judas, who sold me because of his greed, and Zimri, whom Phinehas killed because of his lust. For Zimri sinned with a woman against my precept; and therefore, after his death, his soul was condemned to hell.
Wherefore, O people of Cyprus, I now announce to you that if you will not correct yourself and amend your life, then I shall so destroy your generation and progeny in the kingdom of Cyprus that I shall spare neither the poor person nor the rich. Indeed, I shall so destroy this same generation of yours that in a short time, your memory will thus slip away from the hearts of human beings as if you had never been born in this world. Afterward, however, it is my pleasure to, plant new plants in this kingdom of Cyprus that will carry out my precepts and will love me with all their heart.
But, nevertheless, know for a certainty that if anyone of you wills to correct himself, amend his life, and humbly turn back to me, then like a loving shepherd, I shall joyfully run out to meet him, lifting him onto my shoulders and personally carrying him back to my sheep. For by my shoulders I mean that if anyone amends his life, he will share in the benefit of my passion and death, which I endured in my body and shoulders; and he will receive with me eternal consolation in the kingdom of heaven.
You should also know for very certain that you, my enemies who dwell in this said kingdom, were not worthy that such a vision or divine revelation of mine should be sent to you. But some friends of mine who live in the same kingdom and faithfully serve me and love me with their whole heart have, by their labors and tearful prayers, inclined me to make you understand, by means of this my revelation, the grave peril of your souls. For, to some of my said friends there, it has been divinely shown by me how many countless souls from this said kingdom of Cyprus are being excluded from heavenly glory and are being eternally doomed to the death of Gehenna.
However, the above words I speak to those Latin Christians subject to the obedience of the Roman Church, and who, at baptism, vowed to me right Roman Catholic faith, and who, through works contrary to me, have totally withdrawn from me. Greeks, however, who know that all Christians must hold only one Catholic Christian faith and be under only one Church, namely, the Roman, and have, as spiritual pastor over them, only my sole vicar general in the world, namely, the supreme Roman pontiff, and who, nevertheless, will not spiritually subject and humbly subjugate themselves to that same Roman Church and to my vicar because of their stubborn pride or because of greed or because of the wantonness of the flesh or because of some other thing that pertains to the world, are unworthy to obtain pardon and mercy from me after death.
But the other Greeks, who would desirously wish to know the Roman Catholic faith, but cannot, and who nevertheless, if they knew it and had the ability, would willingly and devoutly receive it and would humbly subjugate themselves to the Roman Church and who, nonetheless, following their conscience in their state and faith in which they are, do abstain from sin and live piously - to such as these, after their death, I must show my mercy in the matter of punishment when they are called to my judgment.
Let the Greeks also know that their empire and kingdoms or domains will never stand secure and tranquil in peace, but that they themselves will always be subject to their enemies from whom they will always sustain the gravest of losses and daily miseries until, with true humility and charity, they devoutly subject themselves to the Church and faith of Rome, totally conforming themselves to the sacred constitutions and rites of that same Church.”
When, however, these things had thus been seen and heard in spirit as reported above, the said vision disappeared; and the said person remained at prayer, suspended in no little fear and wonder.
In the kingdom of Cyprus, a certain Friar Minor asked the said lady to advise him as to what he ought to do about some doubts in his conscience, especially concerning the observance of the Rule of his order. When indeed the lady was praying for the abovesaid friar one day in the holy city of Jerusalem, Christ appeared to her and spoke to her, saying many things about the Order of Friars Minor. And at the end he threatens all property-owning religious with everlasting death.
Infinite thanksgiving and humble service, praise, and honor be to God in his power and everlasting majesty - to him who is one God in three persons! It pleased his immense goodness that his most worthy humanity should speak to a person at prayer, saying this: ”Hear, O you to whom it has been given to hear and see spiritual things; and diligently hold in your memory these my words. There was a man named Francis. When he turned away from worldly pride and covetousness and from the flawed delight of the flesh and turned toward a spiritual life of penance and perfection, he then obtained true contrition for all his sins and a perfect intention of amendment, saying: 'There is nothing in this world that I am not willing to give up gladly for the sake of the love and honor of my Lord Jesus Christ. There is also nothing so hard in this life that I am not willing to endure it with gladness because of his love, doing all that I can for the sake of his honor, according to my strength in body and soul. And I want to lead and strengthen all others that I can to love God above all with the whole of their heart.'
The Rule of this Francis, which he himself began, was not dictated and composed by his human understanding and prudence, but by me in accord with my will. For every word that is written in it was breathed into him by my Spirit; and afterwards, he brought that Rule forth and held it out to others. So too, all other Rules that my friends began and themselves personally kept and observed and effectively taught and held out to others were not dictated and composed by their own understanding and human wisdom, but by the breathing of that same Holy Spirit. For a number of years, the brothers of this Francis - who are called Friars Minor - held and kept that Rule of his well and very spiritually and devoutly, in whole accordance with my will.
As a result, the devil, the ancient fiend, felt great envy and unrest because he had not the strength to conquer the said friars by his temptations and deceits. Therefore, the devil sought diligently that he might find a man whose human will he could mix together with his own malign spirit. At last he found a cleric who inwardly thought thus: 'I would like to be in a state where I could have worldly honor and my bodily pleasure and where I could amass so much money that I would lack nothing at all that pertains to my needs and pleasures. Therefore, I wish to enter the Order of Francis; and I will pretend to be very humble and obedient.' And so, with that intention and will, the aforementioned cleric entered the said order; and at once the devil entered into his heart. And thus the said cleric became a friar in the said order.
Inwardly, however, the devil considered in this manner: 'Just as Francis with his humble obedience wishes to draw many from the world to receive great rewards in heaven, so this my friar - who will be named 'Adversary' because he will be the adversary of the Rule of Francis - will draw many in the Order of Francis from humility to pride, from rational poverty to covetousness, from true obedience to the doing of one's own will and to the pursuit of bodily pleasure.'
And when the aforesaid Brother Adversary entered the Order of Francis, at once, at the devil's instigation, he began to think inwardly thus: 'I will show myself so humble and obedient that all will reckon me a saint. When the others are fasting and keeping silence, then I, with special companions, shall do the contrary: namely, by eating and drinking and talking so secretly that none of the others will know or understand this. Also, according to the said Rule, I cannot lawfully touch money or possess gold or silver; therefore I will have some special friend to keep my money and gold secretly with him on my behalf so that I may use that money as I will.
I also want to learn the liberal arts and science, so that from them I may be able to have some honor and dignity in the order, having horses and silver vessels and handsome clothes and costly ornaments. And if anyone reproves me for these things, I shall answer that I do it for the honor of my order, if besides, I could work further and do so much that I would be made a bishop, then I would truly be happy and blessed in such a life as I then could lead, for then I would enjoy my personal freedom and I would have all my bodily pleasure.'
Now hear what the devil had done in the aforesaid Order of Francis. For it is truly so that in the world the friars who, either in action or in will and desire, hold the aforesaid Rule that the devil taught to Brother Adversary, are more numerous than those who keep the Rule that I myself taught to Brother Francis. You should nevertheless know that however much those friars - namely, those of Francis and those of Brother Adversary - are mixed together as long as they live in the world, I will nevertheless separate them after death, for I am their Judge. And I shall judge that those friars of the Rule of Francis are to remain with me, together with Francis, in everlasting joy. But those who belong to Brother Adversary's Rule will be doomed to eternal punishments in the depth of hell if before death they would not will to correct themselves and humbly amend their lives.
Nor is this to be wondered at, for those who ought to give examples of humility and sanctity to worldly human beings actually furnish them with vile and ribald examples through their pride and covetousness. And therefore both the said friars themselves and all other religious who are prohibited by rule from having private property and yet have some property against their Rule, and who wish to appease me by conferring upon me a part of it, should know for very certain that their gifts are abominable to me and hateful and unworthy of any good gift in return. For it is more agreeable and pleasing to me that they diligently observe the blessed poverty that they professed according to their Rules, than that they might present to me all the gold and silver and even all the metals that there are in the world.
You, O woman who hear my words, should also know that it would not have been permitted for you to know this aforespoken vision if it had not been for a good servant of mine who sincerely petitioned me with all his heart on behalf of that Friar Minor, and who, out of divine charity, desired to give to that same friar some advice useful to his soul.” When, however, these things had been seen and heard, this vision disappeared.
A vision that Lady Bridget had in Bethlehem, where the Virgin Mary showed to her the whole manner of her childbearing and how she gave birth to her glorious Son just as the Virgin herself had promised the same Lady Bridget in Rome fifteen years before she went to Bethlehem as can be seen in the first chapter of this book.
When I was at the manger of the Lord in Bethlehem, I saw a Virgin, pregnant and most very beautiful, clothed in a white mantle and a finely woven tunic through which from without I could clearly discern her virginal flesh. Her womb was full and much swollen, for she was now ready to give birth. With her there was a very dignified old man; and with them they had both an ox and an ass. When they had entered the cave, and after the ox and the ass had been tied to the manger, the old man went outside and brought to the Virgin a lighted candle and fixed it in the wall and went outside in order not to be personally present at the birth.
And so the Virgin then took the shoes from her feet, put off the white mantle that covered her, removed the veil from her head, and laid these things beside her, remaining in only her tunic, with her most beautiful hair - as if of gold - spread out upon her shoulder blades. She then drew out two small cloths of linen and two of wool, very clean and finely woven, which she carried with her to wrap the infant that was to be born, and two other small linens to cover and bind his head; and she laid these cloths beside her that she might use them in due time.
And when all these things had thus been prepared, then the Virgin knelt with great reverence, putting herself at prayer; and she kept her back toward the manger and her face lifted to heaven toward the east. And so, with raised hands and with her eyes intent on heaven, she was as if suspended in an ecstasy of contemplation, inebriated with divine sweetness. And while she was thus in prayer, I saw the One lying in her womb then move; and then and there, in a moment and the twinkling of an eye, she gave birth to a Son, from whom there went out such great and ineffable light and splendor that the sun could not be compared to it. Nor did that candle that the old man had put in place give light at all because that divine splendor totally annihilated the material splendor of the candle.
And so sudden and momentary was that manner of giving birth that I was unable to notice or discern how or in what member she was giving birth. But yet, at once, I saw that glorious infant lying on the earth, naked and glowing in the greatest of neatness. His flesh was most clean of all filth and uncleanness. I saw also the afterbirth, lying wrapped very neatly beside him. And then I heard the wonderfully sweet and most dulcet songs of the angels. And the Virgin's womb, which before the birth had been very swollen, at once retracted; and her body then looked wonderfully beautiful and delicate.
When therefore the Virgin felt that she had now given birth, at once, having bowed her head and joined her hands, with great dignity and reverence she adored the boy and said to him: ”Welcome, my God, my Lord, and my Son!” And then the boy, crying and, as it were, trembling from the cold and the hardness of the pavement where he lay, rolled a little and extended his limbs, seeking to find refreshment and his Mother's favor. Then his Mother took him in her hands and pressed him to her breast, and with cheek and breast she warmed him with great joy and tender maternal compassion.
Then, sitting on the earth, she put her Son in her lap and deftly caught his umbilical cord with her fingers. At once it was cut off, and from it no liquid or blood went out. And at once she began to wrap him carefully, first in the linen cloths and then in the woolen, binding his little body, legs, and arms with a ribbon that had been sewn into four parts of the outer wollen cloth. And afterward she wrapped and tied on the boy's head those two small linen cloths that she had prepared for this purpose.
When these things therefore were accomplished, the old man entered; and prostrating on the earth, he adored him on bended knee and wept for joy. Not even at the birth was that Virgin changed in color or by infirmity. Nor was there in her any such failure of bodily strength as usually happens in other women giving birth, except that her swollen womb retracted to the prior state in which it had been before she conceived the boy. Then, however, she arose, holding the boy in her arms; and together both of them, namely, she and Joseph, put him in the manger, and on bended knee they continued to adore him with gladness and immense joy.
A revelation in Bethlehem at the manger of the Lord, on the same matter as above.
Afterwards again in the same place, the Virgin Mary appeared to me and said: ”My daughter, it is a long time ago that I promised you in Rome that I would show to you here in Bethlehem the manner of my childbearing. And even though I showed to you in Naples something about this - namely, what state I was in when I gave birth to my Son - nevertheless, know for very certain that I was in such a state and gave birth in such a manner as you have now seen: on bended knee, praying alone in the stable. For I gave birth to him with such great exultation and joy of soul that I felt no discomfort when he went out of my body, and no pain. But at once I wrapped him in the small clean cloths that I had prepared long before.
When Joseph saw these things, he marveled with great gladness and the joy from the fact that I had thus, without help, given birth. But because the great multitude of people in Bethlehem were busy about the census, they were therefore so attentive to it that the wonders of God could not be publish among them. And therefore know for a truth that however much human beings, following their human perception, try to assert that my Son was born in the common manner, it is nevertheless more true an beyond any doubt that he was born just as I elsewhere told you and just as you now have seen.”
It was at the manger of the Lord that this revelation was made to the same lady in Bethlehem: how the shepherds came to the manger to adore the newborn Christ.
I saw also in the same place, while the Virgin Mary and Joseph were adoring the boy in the manger, that shepherds and guardians of the flock then came to see and adore the infant. When they had seen it, they first wished to inquire whether it were male or female because the angels announced to them that the Savior of the world had been born and had not said ”savioress.” Therefore the Virgin Mother then showed to them the infant's natural parts and male sex; and at once they adored him with great reverence and joy; and afterward they returned praising and glorifying God for all these things that they had heard and seen.
This revelation she had in Bethlehem, in the chapel where Christ was born. In it, Mary tells her how the three magi kings adored Christ, her Son.
The same Mother of the Lord also said to me: ”My daughter, know that when the three magi kings came into the stable to adore my Son, I had foreknown their coming well in advance. And when they entered and adored him, then my Son exulted, and for joy he had then a more cheerful face. I too rejoiced exceedingly; and I was gladdened by the wonderful joy of exultation in my mind, while being attentive to their words and actions, keeping those things and reflecting on them in my heart.”
The Mother of God, speaking to Lady Bridget, tells her some things about her own humility and that of her Son; and she says that just as she and her Son were humble while they were in the world, so too are they humble now although they are in heaven.
The Mother speaks: ”There is the same humility in my Son now in the power of his Godhead as there was then, when he was laid in the manger. Although he knew all things in accordance with his Godhead, nevertheless, while lying between two animals, he spoke nothing at all, in accordance with his humanity. So too now, sitting at the right hand of the Father, he hears all who speak to him with love; and he answers through infusions of the Holy Spirit. To some he speaks with words and thoughts, to others as if from mouth to mouth, just as it pleases him.
Similarly, I, who am his Mother, am, in my body which has been raised on high above all things created, now as humble as I then was when I was betrothed to Joseph. Moreover, you ought to know for very certain that before Joseph betrothed me, he understood, in the Holy Spirit, that I had vowed my virginity to God and that I was immaculate in thought, word, and deed. He betrothed me with the intention that he might serve me, treating me as his lady, not as his wife.
I too in the Holy Spirit knew for very certain that my virginity would remain forever unharmed even though, as a result of God's hidden plan, I was being betrothed to a husband. But after I gave my consent to the messenger of God, Joseph, seeing my womb swell by virtue of the Holy Spirit, feared very greatly. Not suspecting me of anything sinister, but mindful of the sayings of the prophets who had foretold that the Son of God would be born of a virgin, he reckoned himself unworthy to serve such a mother until the angel instructed him in his sleep not to be afraid but to serve me with charity.
But of our riches, Joseph and I reserved nothing for ourselves except the necessities of life, for the honor of God. The rest we let go, for the love of God. When my Son's hour of birth was at hand - an hour that I very well knew beforehand - I came, in accord with God's foreknowledge, to Bethlehem, bringing with me, for my Son, clean clothing and cloths that no one had ever used before. In them I wrapped, for the firs time, him who was born from me in all purity.
And even though from eternity it was foreseen that I would sit in honor on a most sublime seat above all creatures and above all human beings, yet nonetheless, in my humility, I did not disdain to prepare and serve the things that were necessary for Joseph and myself. Similarly also, my Son was subject to Joseph and to me. Therefore, just as I was humble in the world - known to God alone and to Joseph - so too am I humble now as I sit on a most sublime throne, ready to present to God the rational prayers of all. But some I answer by means of divine outpourings. To others, however, I speak more secretly as is well pleasing to God.”
When Lady Bridget now wished to return from Jerusalem to Rome, she went on the birthday of the Virgin Mary to visit her sepulchre and the other shrines that are there near the city of Jerusalem. As she prayed at the said sepulchre, that same Virgin appeared to her, assuring her about the time of her death and assumption and testifying that this was literally her sepulchre.
When I was in the Valley of Jehoshaphat, praying at the sepulchre of the glorious Virgin, that same Virgin appeared to me, shining with exceeding splendor, and said: ”Be attentive, daughter! After my Son ascended to heaven, I lived in the world for fifteen years and as much time more as there is from the feast of the ascension of that same Son of mine until my death. And then I lay dead in this sepulchre for fifteen days.
Thereupon I was assumed into heaven with infinite honor and joy. However, my garments with which I was buried then remained in this sepulchre; and I was then clothed in such garments as those that clothe my Son and my Lord, Jesus Christ. Know also that there is no human body in heaven except the glorious body of my Son and my own body. ”Therefore go now, all of you, back to the lands of Christians; ever amend your lives for the better; and in future, live with the greatest of care and attention now that you have visited these holy places, where my Son and I lived in the body and died and were buried.”
When Lady Bridget, in returning from Jerusalem, passed through the city of Naples, at the request of the lady queen and of the archbishop of the said city she prayed to God for that same city's inhabitants. And Christ, speaking to her, reproved the aforesaid inhabitants for their too many sins, showing to them the means by which sinners might reconcile themselves to him, promising them mercy if they would be reconciled and would amend their lives. He also threatens them with the severity of justice if they will not correct themselves but rather persevere in sin. Lady Bridget published this revelation herself in the presence of the said Lord Bernard the archbishop and three masters of theology and two doctors of canon and civil law and some knights and citizens of the said city.
To a person who was wide awake at prayer and absorbed in contemplation - and while she was in a rapture of mental elevation - Jesus Christ appeared; and he said to her this: ”Hear, O you to whom it has been given to hear and see spiritual things; and be diligently attentive; and in your mind beware in regard to those things that you now will hear and that in my behalf you will announce to the nations, lest you speak them to acquire for yourself honor or human praise. Nor indeed are you to be silent about these things from any fear of human reproach and contempt; for these things that you are now going to hear are being shown to you not only for your own sake, but also because of the prayers of my friends.
For some of my chosen friends in the Neapolitan citizenry have for many years asked me with their whole heart - in their prayers and in their labors on behalf of my enemies living in the same city - to show them some grace through which they could be withdrawn and savingly recalled from their sins and abuses. Swayed by their prayers, I give to you now these words of mine; and therefore diligently hear the things that I speak.
I am the Creator of all and Lord over the devils as well as over the angels, and no one will escape my judgment. The devil, in fact, sinned in a threefold manner against me: namely, through pride; through envy; and through arrogance, i.e., through love of his own will. He was so proud indeed that he wished to be lord over me and that I should be subject to him. He also envied me so much that if it were possible, he would gladly have killed me in order to be lord himself and sit on my throne. Indeed, his own will was so dear to him that he cared nothing at all about my will so long as he could perform his own will. Because of this, he fell from heaven; and, no longer an angel, he became a devil in the depth of hell.
Afterward, however, I, seeing his malice and the great envy that he had toward humankind, showed my will and gave my commandments to human beings that by doing them they could please me and displease the devil. Finally, because of the charity that I have toward human beings, I came into the world and took flesh of a virgin. Indeed, I personally taught them the true way of salvation by work and by word; and to show them perfect charity and love, I opened heaven for them by my own blood.
But what are those human beings who are my enemies doing to me now? In truth, they have contempt for my precepts; they cast me out of their hearts like a loathsome poison; indeed, they spit me out of their mouths like something rotten; and they abhor the sight of me as if I were a leper with the worst of stenches. But the devil and his works they embrace in their every affection and deed. For they bring him into their hearts, doing his will with delight and gladness and following his evil suggestions. Therefore, by my just judgment they shall have their reward in hell with the devil eternally without end.
For in place of the pride that they practice, they will have confusion and eternal shame to such a degree that angels and demons will say of them: 'They are filled with confusion to the very utmost!' And for their insatiable greed, each devil in hell will so fill them with his deadly venom that in their souls there will remain no place that is not filled with diabolic venom. And for the lust with which they burn like senseless animals, they will never be admitted to the sight of my face but will be separated from me and deprived of their inordinate will.
Moreover, know that just as all mortal sins are very serious, so too a venial sin is made mortal if a human being delights in it with the intention of persevering. Wherefore, know that two sins, which I now name to you, are being practiced and that they draw after them other sins that all seem as if venial. But because the people delight in them with the intention of persevering, they are therefore made mortal, and the people in the city of Naples commit many other abominable sins that I do not wish to name to you.
The first of the two sins is that the faces of rational human creatures are being painted with the various colors with which insensible images and statues of idols are colored so that to others, these faces may seem more beautiful than I made them. The second sin is that the bodies of men and women are being deformed from their natural state by the unseemly forms of clothing that the people are using. And the people are doing this because of pride and so that in their bodies they may seem more beautiful and more lascivious than I, God, created them.
And indeed they do this so that those who thus see them may be more quickly provoked and inflamed toward carnal desire. Therefore, know for very certain that as often as they daub their faces with antimony and other extraneous coloring, some of the infusion of the Holy Spirit is diminished in them and the devil draws nearer to them. In fact, as often as they adorn themselves in disorderly and indecent clothing and so deform their bodies, the adornment of their souls is diminished and the devil's power is increased.
O my enemies, who do such things and with effrontery commit other sins contrary to my will, why have you neglected my passion; and why do you not attend in your hearts to how I stood naked at the pillar, bound and cruelly scourged with hard whips, and to how I stood naked on the cross and cried out, full of wounds and clothed in blood? And when you paint and anoint your faces, why do you not look at my face and see how it was full of blood? You are not even attentive to my eyes and how they grew dark and were covered with blood and tears, and how my eyelids turned blue.
Why too do you, not look at my mouth or gaze at my ears and my beard and see how they were aggrieved and were stained with blood? You do not look at the rest of my limbs, monstrously wounded by various punishments, and see how I hung black and blue on the cross and dead for your sake. And there, derided and rejected, I was despised by all in order that, by recalling these things and attentively remembering them, you might love me, your God, and thus escape the devil's snares, in which you have been horribly bound.
However, in your eyes and hearts, all these things have been forgotten and neglected. And so you behave like prostitutes, who love the pleasure and delight of the flesh, but not its offspring. For when they feel a living infant in their womb, at once they procure an abortion by means of herbs and other things so that without losing their fleshly pleasure and further wicked delight, they may thus be always absorbed in their lust and their foul carnal intercourse. This is how you behave. For I, God, your Creator and Redeemer, visit all with my grace, knocking, namely, at your hearts, because I love all.
But when you feel, in your hearts, any knock of an inpouring - namely of my Spirit - or any compunction; or when, through hearing my words, you conceive any good intention, at once you procure spiritually, as it were, an abortion, namely, by excusing your sins and by delighting in them and even by damnably willing to persevere in them. For that reason, you do the devil's will, enclosing him in your hearts and expelling me in this contemptible way. Therefore, you are without me, and I am not with you. And you are not in me but in the devil, for it is his will and his suggestions that you obey.
And so, because I have just spoken my judgment, I shall also now speak my mercy. My mercy, however, is this: namely, that none of my very enemies is so thorough or so great a sinner that my mercy would be denied him if he were to ask for it humbly and wholeheartedly. Wherefore, my enemies must do three things if they wish reconcile themselves to my grace and friendship. The first is that with all their heart they repent and have contrition because they have offended me, their Creator and Redeemer. The second thing is confession - clean, frequent, and humble - which they must make before their confessor.
And thus let them amend all their sins by doing penance and making satisfaction in accord with that same confessor's council and discretion. For then I shall draw close to them, and the devil will be kept far away from them. The third thing is that after they have thus performed these things with devotion and perfect charity, they are to go to communion and receive and consume my Body with the intention of never falling back into former sins but of persevering in good even to the end.
If anyone, therefore, amends his life in this manner, at once I will run out to meet him as a loving father runs to meet his wayward son; and I will receive him into my grace more gladly than he himself could have asked or thought. And then I will be in him, and he in me; and he shall live with me and rejoice forever. But upon him who perseveres in his sins and malice my justice shall indubitably come. For when the fisherman sees the fish in the water playing in their delight and merriment, even then he drops his hook into the sea and draws it out, catching the fish in turn and then putting them to death - not all at once, but a few at a time - until he has taken them all.
This is indeed what I shall do to my enemies who persevere in sin. For I shall bring them a few at a time to the consummation of the worldly life of this age in which they take temporal and carnal delight. And at an hour that they do not believe and are living in even greater delight, I shall then snatch them away from earthly life and put them to eternal death in a place where they will nevermore see my face because they loved to do and accomplish their inordinate and corrupted will rather than perform my will and my commandments.” However, after these things had thus been seen and heard, this vision disappeared.
A revelation of the Virgin Mary which Lady Bridget had in the city of Naples. And she directs it to Lord Bernard, the Neapolitan archbishop. The revelation reproaches those who do not instruct their servants or infidel slaves, newly converted to the faith, in that same Catholic faith and Christian law. The Virgin Mary also reproves those masters who maltreat these said servants of theirs and exasperate them beyond measure. She also threatens with great punishment fortune-tellers and enchanters and diviners and also those who support them and put faith in them.
The bride of Christ writes to Lord Bernard, archbishop of Naples, saying: ”Reverend Father and Lord! When that person, whom you know well, was praying suspended in a rapture of contemplation, the Virgin Mary appeared to her and said to her this: 'I, who speak to you, am the Queen of heaven. I am, as it were, a gardener of this world. For when a gardener sees the rise of a strong wind harmful to the little plants and the trees of his garden, at once he runs to them quickly and binds them fast with sturdy stakes as well as he can. And thus he comes to their aid, in various ways according to his ability, lest they be broken by the rushing wind or wretchedly uprooted.
I, the Mother of mercy, do the same in the garden of this world. For when I see blowing on the hearts of human beings the dangerous winds of the devil's temptations and wicked suggestions, at once I have recourse to my Lord and my God, my Son Jesus Christ, helping them with my prayers and obtaining from him his outpouring of some holy infusions of the Holy Spirit into their hearts to prop them up and savingly confirm them that they may be kept spiritually uninjured by the diabolic wind of temptations lest the devil prevail against human beings, breaking their souls and plucking them up by the stem in accord with his wicked desire.
And thus when, with humility of heart and active compliance, human beings receive these said stakes of mine and my assistance, at once they are defended against the diabolic onslaught of temptations; and remaining firm in the state of grace, they bear for God and for me the fruit of sweetness in due season. But as for those who scorn the aforesaid spiritual stakes of my Son and me and are swayed by the wind of temptations through consent to the devil and through action, they are uprooted from the state of grace and, through illicit desires and deeds, are led by the devil even to the profound and eternal pains and darkness of hell. Now, however, know that in the Neapolitan citizenry many different horrible and secret sins are being committed which I am not relating to you. But instead I am speaking to you now about two kinds of open sins that greatly displease my Son and me and all the heavenly court.
The first sin is the fact that in this said city many buy pagans and infidels to be their slaves and that some masters of those slaves do not bother to baptize them and do not want to convert them to the Christian faith. And even if some of them are baptized, their masters bother no more, after the slaves' baptism, to have them instructed and trained in the Christian faith or to train them in the reception of the Church's sacraments than they did before the slaves' baptism and conversion. And so it results that the said convert slaves, after accepting the faith, commit many sins and do not know how to return to the sacraments of penance and communion or how to be restored in the state of salvation and of reconciliation with God and of grace.
Moreover, some keep their female servants and slaves in extreme abjection and ignominy, as if they were dogs - selling them and, what is worse, frequently exposing them in a brothel to earn money that is a disgrace and an abomination. Others, in fact, keep them in their own houses as prostitutes both for themselves and for others; and this is extremely abominable and hateful to God and to me and also to the whole heavenly court.
Some other masters so grieve and exasperate these said servants of theirs with abusive words and blows that some of the said servants come to a state of despair and want to kill themselves. Indeed these sins and acts of negligence much displease God and all the heavenly court.
For God himself loves them because he created them; and to save all, he came into the world, taking flesh from me, and endured suffering and death on the cross. Know too that if anyone buys such pagans and infidels with the intention of making them Christians and wants to instruct and train them in the Christian faith and virtues and intends, during his life or at his death, to set these slaves at liberty so that the said slaves may not pass to his heirs, such a master of slaves merits much by this and is acceptable in the sight of God. But know for very certain that those who do the contrary will be heavily punished by God.
The second kind of sin is that many men and women, with various inordinate marks of respect, keep about them and consult wicked fortune-tellers and diviners and the most evil of enchantresses. For sometimes they ask them to perform witchcraft and incantations in order that they may be able to conceive and beget children. Others require them to perform incantations and to make fetishes that will cause certain men and women, or even their temporal lords, to be enamored of them to the point of distraction and to love them with all their heart. Others, in fact, beg foreknowledge of the future from these same accursed witches.
Many others ask them to give them health in their infirmities through their art of enchantment and witchcraft. All indeed who keep these same warlock diviners or enchantresses in their households and at their own expense and all who seek from such people such wicked advice and diabolic remedies, and, indeed, all those same warlock diviners and enchantresses who promise the things mentioned above - all are cursed and hateful in the sight of God.
As long as they persevere in such a state and purpose, no infusion or grace of the Holy Spirit will ever descend or enter into their hearts. But nevertheless, if they repent and humbly amend their lives with the true purpose of not falling back again, they will obtain grace and mercy from my Son.' ” However, when these things had thus been heard, this vision disappeared.
A certain bishop, who was the ruler of the March of Ancona on behalf of the holy Roman Church, asked Lady Bridget about the fact that he was pricked in conscience on the grounds that he was absent and too remote from his diocese because of his aforesaid office in the marquisate where he resided, and thus could not attend to the sheep entrusted to him in his diocese. And he wondered, therefore, whether it would be more pleasing to God that he reside in his office in the marquisate or that he return to rule the sheep entrusted to him in his diocese. And when at this request the abovesaid lady prayed for the aforementioned bishop, then Christ appeared to her and said to her the words that are contained below.
Blessed be God forever for all his bounties! Amen. My Lord, most reverend Father, first of all I humbly recommend myself to you. You have written to me with humility that I, a woman unknown to you, should humbly pray to God for you. To this I reply and tell you truthfully, according to my conscience, that I am inadequate for such a task: being a sinner, alas, and unworthy. You have also written to me that I should write to you some spiritual advice for the salvation of your soul. And therefore God, attending to your faith and humility, willed with devoted fatherly love to satisfy your desires and faith and was attentive, not to my sins, but to the heartfelt affection of his humble petitioner.
For when I, a sinner unworthy of doing so, was praying for you on the preceding day to my Lord Jesus Christ, he then appeared to me in spirit and spoke with me, using a similitude and saying this: ”O you, to whom it has been given to hear spiritually and to see, be attentive now and know for very certain that all bishops and abbots and also all the other ecclesiastical prelates and benefice-holders who have the care of souls and who leave their churches and my sheep, which have been entrusted to them, and who receive and hold other offices and positions of rulership with the intention and purpose that in these offices they may be more honored by human beings and may be exalted and raised to a higher status in the world, then, even though in those offices these rulers neither steal nor plunder anything nor commit any other injustice, nevertheless, because they glory and delight in those offices and honors and, for this reason, leave my sheep and their churches, they are, in doing such things, to my eyes like pigs dressed in pontifical or sacerdotal ornaments.
This situation might be expressed by means of the following similitude: There was a great lord who had invited his friends to supper. And at the hour of the supper, those pigs - dressed as above - entered into the palace in the sight of that lord and in the sight of the banqueters who sat at the table. The lord, however, wished to give to them some of those precious foods on his table; but then the aforesaid pigs cried out with a loud sound, grunting their opposition with their pig voices and refusing to eat those precious foods, although they were avidly eager to eat, in their usual way, the cheap husks meant for pigs.
Then, however, when that lord saw and understood this, he loathed their vileness and filth; and at once he said to his servants with great wrath and indignation: 'Expel them from my palace and cast them forth to be refreshed and sordidly sated with the pigs' husks of which they are worthy! For they are neither willing nor worthy to eat of my foods, which have been prepared for my friends.' ”
By these things, my most reverend Father and Lord, I then understood in spirit that this is what you must do: namely, that you must decide in your own conscience whether or not those sheep of Christ, namely, those entrusted to you in your bishopric, are being well and spiritually ruled in your absence. If in your absence they are being well ruled in accord with what is spiritually appropriate to their souls' advantage and benefit, and if furthermore you see that by ruling the March you can do God greater honor and be more useful to souls than in your own bishopric, then indeed I say that you can quite lawfully stay in your office as ruler of the March in accord with the will of God, provided that it is neither desire for honor nor empty glorying in that office that seduces you into staying there.
If, in fact, your conscience dictates to you the contrary, then I advise you to leave that office of the marquisate and go back to reside personally in your own church and in the bishopric entrusted to you: namely, in order to rule those sheep of yours, or rather, of Christ, specially entrusted to you and to feed them by word, example, and work, not negligently and faultily like a wicked hireling, but carefully and virtuously like a true and good shepherd.
Be forbearing with me, my Lord, in that I, although an ignorant woman and an unworthy sinner, write such things to you. I ask of him, our true and good Shepherd, who deigned to die for his sheep, that he may bestow on you the Holy Spirit's grace, by which you may worthily rule his sheep and always do his glorious and most holy will, even till death.
The Judge complains to the bride about the universal number of sinners of all states and conditions, narrating the good deeds that he did for them and their ingratitude. He also threatens them with the terrible sentence of his wrath. Nevertheless, he admonishes them to be converted to him; and he will receive them with mercy, like a father.
I saw a grand palace like the serene sky. In it was the host of the heavenly army, innumerable as the atoms of the sun and having a gleam as of the sun's rays. But in the palace, on a wonderful throne there sat, as it were, the person of a human being, a Lord of incomprehensible beauty and immense power; his clothes were wonderful and of inexpressible brightness. And before him who sat on the throne there stood a Virgin who was more radiant than the sun.
All those of the heavenly host, who stood nearby, reverently honored her as the queen of heaven. But then he who sat on the throne opened his mouth and said: ”Hearken, all you my enemies who live in the world; for to my friends who follow my will, I am not speaking. Hearken, all you clerics: archbishops and bishops and all of lower rank in the Church! Hearken, all you religious, of whatever order you are! Hearken, you kings and princes and judges of the earth and all you who serve!
Hearken, you women: princesses and all ladies and maidservants! All you inhabitants of the world, of whatever condition or rank you are, whether great or small, hearken to these words that I myself, who created you, now speak to you! I complain because you have withdrawn from me and have put faith in the devil, my enemy. You have abandoned my commandments and you follow the will of the devil and you obey his suggestions.
You do not attend to the fact that I, the unchanging and eternal God, your Creator, came down from heaven to a Virgin and took flesh from her and lived with you. Through my own self, I opened the way for you and showed the counsels by which you might go to heaven. I was stripped and scourged and crowned with thorns and so forcefully extended on the cross that, as it were, all the sinews and joints of my body were being undone. I heard all insults and endured a most contemptible death and most bitter heartache for the sake of your salvation.
To all these things, O my enemies, you are not attentive because you have been deceived. Therefore you bear the yoke and burden of the devil with false sweetness and neither know nor feel them before the approach of sorrow over the interminable burden. Nor is this enough for you; for your pride is so great that if you could ascend above me, you would gladly do it. And the pleasure of the flesh is so important to you that you would more gladly forfeit me than give up your inordinate delight.
Moreover, your greed is as insatiable as a sack with a hole in it; for there is nothing that can satisfy your greed. Therefore, I swear by my Godhead that if you are to die in the state in which you now are, you shall never see my face; but for your pride you shall sink so deeply into hell that all the devils will be above you, afflicting you beyond all consolation. Indeed, for your lust you shall be filled with horrible diabolic venom; and for your greed you shall be filled with sorrow and anguish; and you shall be partakers of all the evil that there is in hell.
O my enemies - abominable and ungrateful and degenerate - I seem to you, as it were, a worm dead in winter. Therefore, you do whatever things you will, and you prosper. Therefore, I will arise in summer and then you shall be silent, and you shall not escape my hand. But nevertheless, O my enemies, because I have redeemed you with my blood and because I am in quest of naught but your souls, therefore return to me even now with humility and I will gladly receive you as my children. Shake off from you the devil's heavy yoke and recall my charity and you shall see in your conscience that I am sweet and meek.”
In Rome Christ speaks to his bride, blessed Bridget, foretelling to her the day and manner of her death and ordering what should be done with the books of revelations. He also says that when he so pleases, there will be many in the world who will receive them with devotion and who will obtain his grace. The Lord also makes arrangements concerning the body of his bride and where it ought to be buried.
It happened five days before the day of the passing of Lady Bridget, the often-mentioned bride of Christ, that our Lord Jesus Christ appeared to her in front of the altar that stood in her chamber. He showed himself with a joyful face and said to her: ”I have done to you what a bridegroom usually does, concealing himself from his bride so that he may be more ardently desired by her. Thus I have not visited you with consolations during this time; for it was the time of your testing.
Therefore, now that you have already been tested, go forward and prepare yourself; for now is the time for the fulfillment of that which I promised you: namely, that before my altar you shall be clothed and consecrated as a nun. And henceforth you shall be counted, not only as my bride, but also as a nun and a mother in Vadstena. Nevertheless, know that you will lay down your body here in Rome until it comes to the place prepared for it. For it pleases me to spare you from your labors and to accept your will in place of the completed action.”
And having turned toward Rome, he said as if making a complaint: ”O my Rome, O my Rome, the pope scorns you and does not attend to my words but accepts the doubtful in place of the certain. Therefore he shall hear my pipe no more; for he makes the time of my mercy dependent on his own choice.”
Then he said to the bride: ”As for you, however: tell the prior to hand over all these words of mine, in all the revelations, to the brothers and to my bishop, to whom I shall give the fervor of my Spirit and whom I shall fill with my grace. And know that when it so pleases me, those human beings will come who, with sweetness and joy, will receive those words of the heavenly revelations that up until now have been made to you; and all the things that have been said to you will be accomplished.
And although my grace has been withdrawn from many because of their ingratitude, nevertheless others will come who will arise in lieu of them and who will obtain my grace. But among the very last words of the revelations made to you, put that common and universal revelation that I gave to you in Naples. For my judgment shall be carried out on all the nations who do not humbly return to me, as it has there been shown to you.”
However, after these and many other things not written here had been said, the bride of Christ made mention of and arrangements for some persons living with her and whom, before death, she said she had seen in God's presence.
After those things had been heard, the Lord added these words: ”On the morning of the fifth day, after you have received the sacraments, call together one by one the persons who are present and living with you and whom I have just now named to you and tell them the things that they must do. And thus, amidst these words and their hands, you will come to your monastery, i.e., into my joy; and your body will be placed in Vadstena.”
Then, as the fifth day approached, at the moment of dawn, Christ appeared to her again and consoled her. But when Mass had been said and after she had received the sacraments with very great devotion and reverence, in the hands of the aforesaid persons she sent forth her spirit.