Our Lord’s Revelations And Prophesies To St. Bridget (Birgitta) Of Sweden.

Our Lord’s Revelations And Prophesies To St. Bridget (Birgitta) Of Sweden.

…continued

Jesus  Christ  speaks  to  the  bride  and compares  his  divine  nature  to  a crown  and  uses Peter  and  Paul  to symbolize  the  clerical  and  the  lay state,  and  about  the  ways  of dealing with enemies, and about the qualities that knights in the world should have. 

Chapter  7 

The  Son spoke to the  bride, saying:  

“I  am  King  of  the  crown.  Do  you know why I said  ‘King  of  the  crown’? Because  my  divine  nature  was  and will  be  and  is  without beginning  or end. My  divine  nature  is  aptly likened  to  a  crown, because  a  crown has neither  starting-point  nor  end. Just  as  a  crown  is  reserved  for  the future  king  in  a kingdom, so  too  my divine  nature  was  reserved  for  my human  nature  to  be  its crown. I  had two  servants. One  was  a  priest,  the other a layman.  

The  first  was  Peter who  had  a priestly  office, while  Paul  was,  as  it were, a layman. Peter  was  bound  in marriage, but  when  he  saw  that  his marriage  was  not  consistent  with his priestly office, and  considering  that his  upright  intention  might  be endangered  by  a  lack  of continence, he  separated  himself  from  the otherwise  licit  marriage,  in  which he divorced  himself  from  his  wife’s  bed, and  he  devoted  himself  to  me wholeheartedly. 

Paul,  however,  did  observe  celibacy and  kept  himself  unstained  by  the marriage-bed.  See  what  great  love  I had  for  these  two!  I  gave  the  keys of  heaven  to Peter  so  that  whatever he  bound  or  loosed  on  earth  might be  bound  or  loosed  in heaven.  I allowed  Paul  to  become  like  Peter in glory  and  honor.  As  they  were equals together  on  earth,  so  now they  are  united  in  everlasting  glory in  heaven  and glorified  together. However,  although  I  mentioned these  two  expressly  by  name,  by and through  them  I  mean  to  denote other  friends  of  mine  as  well.  In similar  fashion, under  the  earlier Covenant,  I  used  to  speak  to  Israel as  if  I  were  addressing  just  one person,  although  I  meant  to designate  the  entire  people  of  Israel by  that  one  name. In  the  same  way now,  using  these  two  men,  I  mean to  denote  the  multitude  of  those whom I have filled  with  my glory  and love. With  the  passage  of  time,  evils began  to  multiply  and  the  flesh began  to  grow weaker  and  to  be more  than  usually  prone  to  evil. 

Therefore,  I  set  up  norms  for  each of the  two,  that  is,  for  the  clergy  and laity,  represented  here  by  Peter  and Paul.  In  my mercy  I  decided  to allow the  clergy  to  own  a  moderate amount  of  church  property for  their bodily  needs  in  order  that  they might  grow  more  fervent  and constant  in serving  me.  I  also allowed  the  laity  to  join  in marriage according  to  the  rites  of  the church. Among  the  priests  there  was  a certain  good  man  who  thought  to himself: 

‘The  flesh  drags  me  toward  base pleasure,  the  world  drags  me  toward harmful sights,  while  the  devil  sets various  traps  to  get  me  to  sin. Therefore,  in  order  not  to be ensnared  by  carnal  pleasure,  I  will observe  moderation  in  all  my actions. I  will  be moderate  in  my rest  and recreation. I  will  dedicate  the  proper time  to  work  and  prayer  and restrain my  carnal appetites  through  fasting. Second,  in  order  that  the  world  may not  drag  me  away from  the  love  of God,  I  will  give  up  all  worldly things, for  they  are  all  perishable.  It  is safer to  follow  Christ  in  poverty.  Third,  in order  not  to  be  deceived  by  the  devil who is  always  showing  us  falsehoods instead  of  the  truth,  I  will  submit myself  to  the  rule and  obedience  of another;  and  I  will  reject  all selfishness  and  show  that  I  am ready to  undertake  whatever  is commanded me  by  the  other  person.’ 

This  man  was  the first  to  establish  a monastic  rule.  He  persevered  in  it  in praiseworthy  fashion  and left  his  life as  an  example  to  be  imitated  by others.  For  a  time  the  class  of  the laity  was  well  organized.  Some  of them  tilled  the  soil and  bravely persevered  in  working  the  land. Others  sailed  on  ships  and  carried merchandise  to  other  regions  so  that the  resources  of  one  region  supplied the  needs of  another.  Others  were diligent  craftsmen  and  artisans. Among  these  were  the defenders  of my  church  who are  now called knights. They  took  up  arms  as avengers  of  the  Holy  Church  in order  to  do  battle  against her enemies. There  appeared  among them  a  good  man  and  friend  of mine  who thought  to  himself:  

‘I  do  not  till  the  soil  as  a  farmer.  I do  not  toil  on  the  seas  as  a merchant.  I  do  not  work  with  my hands as a skilled  craftsman. What, then,  can  I  do  or  with  what  works can  I  please  my  God?  I  am not energetic  enough  in  the  service  of the  church.  My  body  is  too  soft  and weak  to  bear physical  injuries, my hands  lack  the  force  to  strike  down enemies,  and  my  mind grows  uneasy in  pondering  the  things  of  heaven. What  can  I  do  then? I  know  what  I can  do.  I  will  go  and  bind  myself  by a  stable  oath  to  a  secular prince, swearing  to  defend  the  faith  of  the Holy  Church  with  my  strength  and with my blood.’  

That  friend  of  mine  went  to  the prince  and  said:  

‘My  lord,  I  am  one  of  the defenders of  the  church. My  body  is  all  too weak  to  bear  physical  injuries,  my hands lack  the  force  to  strike  down others;  my  mind  is  unstable  when  it comes  to  thinking about  and  carrying out  what  is  good;  my  self-will  is what  pleases  me;  and  my  need for rest  does  not  let  me  take  a  strong stance  for  the  house  of  God.  I  bind myself therefore  with  a  public  oath of obedience  to  the  Holy  Church  and  to you, o Prince, swearing  to  defend  her all  the  days  of  my  life  in  order  that, although  my  mind  and will  may  be lukewarm  with  respect  to  the struggle,  I  can  be  held  and compelled to toil  because  of  my  oath.’ 

The  prince  answered  him:  

‘I  will  go  with  you  to  the  house  of the  Lord  and  be  a  witness  to  your oath  and  your  promise.’ 

 Both  of  them  came  up  to my altar,  and  my friend  genuflected  and  said: 

‘I  am  too  weak  of  body  to  bear physical injuries, my  self-will  is  all too  pleasing  to  me,  my  hands  are too  lukewarm  when  it comes  to striking  blows. Therefore,  I  now pledge  obedience  to  God  and  to  you, my  chief,  binding  myself by  an  oath to  defend  the  Holy  Church  against her  enemies,  to  comfort  the  friends of God,  to  do  good  to  widows, orphans,  and  God’s  faithful,  and never  to  do  anything contrary  to God’s  church  or  the  faith.  Moreover, I will  submit  myself  to  your correction, if  I  should  happen  to  err,  in  order that,  bound  by  obedience,  I  might fear sin  and  selfishness  all  the  more and  apply  myself  more  fervently  and readily  to carrying  out  God’s  will  and your  own  will,  knowing  myself  to  be only  the  more worthy  of condemnation  and  contempt  if  I should  presume  to  violate  obedience and transgress  your  commands.’  

After  this  profession  had  been  made at  my  altar,  the prince  wisely decided  that  the  man  should  dress differently  than  other  laymen  as  a sign  of  his  self-renouncement  and as  a  reminder  to  him  that  he  had  a superior  to whom he had to submit. The  prince  also  placed  a  sword  in his  hand,  saying:  

‘This  sword  is  for  you  to use  to threaten  and  slay  the  enemies  of God.’  

He  placed  a  shield  on  his  arm, saying: 

‘Defend  yourself  with  this  shield against  the  missiles  of  the  enemy and  patiently endure  whatever  is thrown  against  it.  May  you  sooner see  it  shattered  than  run away  from battle!’  

In  the  presence  of  my  priest  who was  listening,  my  friend  made the firm  promise  to  observe  all  of  this. When  he  had  made  his  promise, the priest gave  him  my  body  to  provide him  strength  and  fortitude  so  that, once  united  with me  through  my body,  my  friend  might  never  be separated  from  me.  Such  was  my friend  George  as  well  as  many others. Such,  too,  should  the  knights be. They  should get  to  hold  their title as  a  result  of  merit  and  to  wear their  knightly  attire  as  a  result of their  actions  in  defense  of  the  Holy Faith. Hear  how  my  enemies  are now  going  against  the  earlier  deeds of  my  friends.  My friends  used  to enter  the  monastery  out  of  their wise  reverence  and  love  for  God. But those  who  are  in  monasteries nowadays  go  out  into  the  world because  of  pride and  greed, following self-will,  fulfilling  the  pleasure  of their  bodies.  Justice demands that people  who  die  in  such  a  disposition should  not  experience  the  joy  of heaven but  rather  obtain  the  endless punishment  of  hell.  Know,  too,  that the cloistered monks  who  are  forced against  their  will  to  become  prelates out  of  love  for  God  are not  to  be counted  among  their  number.  The knights  who  used  to  bear  my  arms were ready  to  lay  down  their  lives for  justice  and  shed  their  blood  for the  sake  of  the  holy faith,  bringing justice  to  the  needy,  putting  down and  humbling  the  doers  of  evil. But hear  how  they  have  now  been corrupted! Now  they  would  rather die  in battle  for  the  sake  of  pride, greed, and  envy  at  the  promptings of the  devil  instead  of living  after  my commandments  and  obtaining eternal  joy.  Just  wages  will  therefore be  dealt  out  at  the  judgment  to  all the  people  who  die  in  such  a disposition, and  their souls  will  be yoked  to  the  devil  forever. But  the knights  who  serve  me  will  receive their  due  wages  in  the  heavenly host forever.  

I,  Jesus  Christ,  true  God  and  man, one with  the  Father  and  the  Holy Spirit, one  God  forever  and  ever, have  said  this.” 


Christ’s  words  to  the  bride  about  a certain  knight’s  desertion  from  the true army, that is,  from  humility, obedience,  patience,  faith,  etc.,  to  the false  one,  that  is,  to  the opposing vices,  pride,  etc.,  and  the  description of  his  condemnation,  and  about  how one can  meet  with  condemnation because  of  an  evil  will  just  as  much as  because  of  evil deeds. 


Chapter  8 

“I  am  the  true  Lord. There  is  no other  lord  greater  than  I. There  was no  lord before  me  nor  will  there  be any  after  me.  All  lordship  comes from  me  and  through me.  This  is why  I  am  the  true  Lord  and  why no one  but  I  alone  can  truly  be  called Lord,  for  all  power  comes  from  me. I  was  telling  you  earlier  that  I  had two  servants, one  of  whom  manfully took  up a  praiseworthy  way  of  life and  kept  at  it  manfully  to  the  end. Countless others followed  him  in  that same  way  of  knightly  service.  I  will now  tell  you  about  the  first man  to desert  the  profession  of  knighthood as  instituted  by  my  friend.  I  will not tell you  his  name, because  you  do not  know  him  by  name, but  I  will disclose  his  purpose and  desire.  A man  who  wanted  to  become  a knight  came  to  my  sanctuary.  When he  went in, he  heard  a  voice:  

‘Three  things  are  necessary  if  you want  to  be  a  knight: First,  you must believe  that  the  bread  you  see  on the  altar  is  true  God  and  true  man, the Creator  of  heaven  and  earth.  

Second, once  you  take  up  your knightly  service, you must  exercise more  self-restraint  than  you  were accustomed  to  doing  before.  

Third,  you  should  not  care  about worldly  honor. Rather  I  will  give you divine  joy  and everlasting  honor. 

Hearing  this  and  pondering  these three  things  to  himself, he  heard  an evil voice  in  his  mind  making  three proposals  contrary  to  the  first  three. It  said:  

‘If  you serve me,  I  will  make  you three  other  proposals.  I  will  let  you take  what  you  see, hear  what  you like,  and  obtain  what  you  desire.’ 

When  he  heard  this,  he  thought  to himself:  

‘The  first  lord  bade  me  to  have  faith in  something  I  do  not  see  and promised me  things  unknown  to  me. He  bade  me  abstain  from  the delights  that  I  can  see,  and that  I desire,  and  to  hope  for  things  of which  I  am  uncertain. The  other  lord promised  me  the  worldly  honor  that I  can  see  and  the  pleasure  that  I desire without  forbidding  me  to  hear or  see  the  things  I  like. Surely,  it  is better  for  me  to  follow  him  and  to have  what  I  see  and  to  enjoy  the things  that  are  sure  rather  than  to hope  for  things  of  which  I  am uncertain.’  

With thoughts  such  as  these, this man  was  the  first  to  commence  the desertion  from  the service  of  a  true knight.  He rejected  the  true profession  and  broke  his  promise. He threw  down  the  shield  of  patience at my  feet  and  let  the  sword  for  the defense  of  the faith  drop  from  his hands  and  left  the  sanctuary.  The evil  voice  told  him: 

‘If,  as  I  said, you  would  be  mine, then  you  should  walk  proudly  in  the fields  and  streets. That other  Lord commands  his  men  to  be  constantly humble.  Therefore,  be  sure  not  to avoid  any  sign  of  pride  and ostentation!  While  that  other  Lord made  his  entrance  in obedience  and subjected  himself  to  obedience  in every  way,  you  should  let  no  one be your  superior.  Bend  not  your  neck  in humility  to  another.  Take  up  your sword  to shed  the  blood  of  your neighbor  and  brother  in  order  to acquire  his  property! Strap  the  shield to  your  arm  and  risk  your  life  for the  sake  of  winning  renown! Instead of  the  faith  that  he  holds  out,  give your  love  to  the  temple  of  your  own body without  abstaining  from  any  of the  pleasures  that  delight  you.’  

While  the  man  was making  up  his mind  and  strengthening  his  resolve with  such  thoughts,  his  prince laid his  hand  on  the  man’s  neck  in  the appointed  place.  No  place whatsoever  can harm  anyone  who has  a  good  will  or  help  anyone whose  intention  is  wicked.  After the confirmation  of  his  knighthood,  the wretch  betrayed  his  knightly  service, exercising  it  only  with  a  view  to worldly  pride,  making  light  of  the fact  that  he  was now  under  a greater  obligation  to  live  an  austere life  than  before.  

Countless  armies of  knights  imitated and  still  imitate  this  knight  in  his pride,  and  he  has  sunk  all  the deeper  into  the  abyss  due  to  his knightly  vows. But,  given  that  there are  many  people  who  want  to  rise in  the  world  and achieve  renown but do  not  manage  to  do  so,  you  might ask:  Are  these  people  to  be punished for  the  wickedness  of  their intentions as  much  as  those  who  achieve  their desired  success?  To  this  I  answer you:  I  assure  you  that  anyone  who fully  intends  to rise  in  the  world and does  all  he  can  to  do  so  in  order  to gain  an  empty  title  of worldly honor, although  his  intention  never achieves its  effect  due  to  some  secret decision of  mine,  such  a  man  will  be punished  for  the  wickedness  of  his intention just  as  much  as  the  one who  does  manage  to  achieve  it,  that is,  unless  he  rectifies his intention through  penance. 

Look,  I  will  put  to  you  the  example of  two  persons  known  well  enough to  many people.  One  of  them prospered  according  to  his  wishes and  obtained  almost everything  he desired. The  other  had  the  same intention,  but  not  the  same possibilities. The  first  one  obtained worldly  renown;  he  loved  the  temple of  his  body in  its  every  lust;  he  had the  power  he  wanted;  everything  he put  his  hand  to prospered.  The  other was  identical  to  him  in  intention but received  less  renown.  He would willingly  have  shed  his  neighbor’s blood  a  hundred  times  over  in  order to be able  to  realize  his  plans  of greed. He  did  what  he  could  and carried  out  his  will  in  accordance with  his  desire. These  two  were alike in  their  horrible  punishment. Although  they  did  not  die  at exactly the  same  time,  I  can  still  speak  of one  soul  rather  than  two,  since  their condemnation  was  one  and  the same.  Both  had  the  same  thing  to say  when  body and  soul  were separated  and  the  soul  departed. Once  having  left  the  body,  the  soul said  to  it:  

‘Tell  me,  where  now  are  the  sights to  delight  my  eyes  that  you promised me, where  is  the  pleasure  you showed me, where  are  the  pleasant words  that  you bade  me use?’  

The devil  was  there  and answered: 

‘The  promised  sights  are  no  more than  dust,  the  words  are  but  air,  the pleasure  is  but  mud  and  rot.  Those things  are  of  no  value  to  you  now.’  

The  soul exclaimed  then:  

‘Alas, alas,  I  have  been  wretchedly deceived! I  see  three  things. I  see  him who  was  promised  to  me  under  the semblance  of  bread. He  is  the very King of kings and  Lord  of  lords.  I  see what  he  promised, and  it  is indescribable and inconceivable.  I hear now  that  the  abstinence  he recommended  was  really  most useful.’  

Then,  in  an  even  louder  voice,  the soul  cried  out  ‘woe’  three  times: 

‘Woe  is me that  ever  I  was  born! Woe is  me  that  my  life  on  the  earth  was so  long!  Woe  is  me that  I  shall  live in  a  perpetual  and  never ending death!’ 

Behold  what  wretchedness  the wretched  will  have  in  return  for their contempt of  God  and  their fleeting  joy!  You  should  therefore thank  me, my  bride,  for  having called you  away  from  such wretchedness!  Be  obedient  to  my Spirit  and  to  my  chosen ones!”

…to be continued

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