Monile Spirituale (sel.)
A Spiritual Necklace


 Abbot Blosius of Liessies


(Conclave animae fidelis, § 2.b)

By LUDOVICUS BLOSIUS, O.S.B. ENGLISH:  (Ser): The Sanctuary of the Faithful Soul  (Conclave Animae Fidelis) Part II.--Monile Spirituale  (A String of Spiritual Jewels) By Abbot Ludovicus Blosius, O.S.B., In an Anonymous Translation Revised and Edited by Bernard Delany, O.P. New York, Cincinnati, Chicago Benziger Brothers (1926). LATIN: Ser.) Ascetica Mystica, Manuale Vitae Spiritualis Continens Series Operum Selectorum Quae Consilio Atque Auctoritate Eminentissimi Et Reverendissimi Domini Antonii Cardinalis Fischer Archiepiscopi Coloniensis Denuo Edenda Curavit Augustinus Lehmkuhl S. J.  Ludovici Blosii, Opera Spiritualia Selecta (Herder, 1907) Friburgi Brisgoviae Sumptibus herder typographi editoris pontipicii MCMVII Argentorati, Berolini, Caroisruhae, Monachii, Vindobonae, S. Ludovici Americae, Friburgi Brisgoviae



THE reader must be warned not to follow the wayward judgement of some men, who despise divine revelations and visions as vain dreams, and thereby show themselves to be unspiritual and wanting in humility. For we should not esteem of little account the revelations that have been divinely manifested, by which the Church of God is wonderfully enlightened. It is certain that the holy Prophets—into whom the Spirit of God descended like a most sweet torrent—learnt the truth without error by revelation. And the blessed Paul, commending to the Galatians the Gospel which he preached, asserts that he received it, not of man, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. (Gal 1, 12).  Lastly, the Holy Scriptures are full of divine revelations, and the Lord ever was and ever will be able to work whatsoever he willeth in the pure souls of his elect. Let, therefore, the pious reader receive with a humble and grateful mind the holy revelations here related, for thus will he derive from them immense fruit and consolation.

Yraeuionendus lector est, ne peiversum quorundam hominum iudiciurn scquatur, qui revelationes ac visiones divinas ccu vanissima somnia contemnendo se parum spirituales et humiles esse ostendunt. Neque enim parvipendendae sunt revelationes divinitus exhibitae, quibus Ecclesia Dei mirifice illuminatur. Certum est prophetas sanctos (in quos Spiritus Dei ad instar dulcissimi torrentis illapsus est) per revelationem didicisse veritatem sine errore. Et beatus Paulus commendans Galatis Evangelium quod praedicabat, asserit se accepisse illud «non ab homine, . . sed per revelationem Iesu Christi» (Gal 1, 12). Denique Sacrae Scripturac diviuis revelationibus sunt plenae, et Domiuus sernper potuit semperque poterit operari quod vult in mundis animabus electorum suorum. Itaque pius lector sanctas revelationes hic annotatas huinili gratoque animo suscipiat; ita enitn cousolationem et fructum ingentem ex iis reportabit.




Caput I.

Of The Immense Mercy of God, and the Kindness of the Mother of God Towards Sinners Shown Forth by Various Revelations

De immensa Dei rnisericordia et benignitate matris Dei erga peccatores variis revelationibus

I. THE divine Dionysius the Areopagite, in the Epistle which he wrote to Demophilus, pointing out how great is the goodness and kindness of God towards sinners, and how much our good Lord desires their salvation, relates a beautiful vision shown to St Carpus, a bishop to whom many things were divinely revealed, which was narrated to him by Carpus himself. A certain infidel having led away a Christian from the faith of the Church, Carpus, who ought to have had compassion on them both, and to have prayed for them, conceived an excessive anger and bitterness against both of them. Wherefore he prayed to God to end their [p.3] lives at once; not being able to endure that impious men, who perverted the right ways of the Lord, should be allowed to live. And, behold, looking up, he saw the heavens opened, and Jesus sitting on a throne, with innumerable angels standing round him. But, when he turned his eyes down-wards, he beheld a deep abyss, in which were a multitude of serpents. At the mouth of this abyss, as it were on the slippery edge, stood the two men, on whom he had wished to bring evil, trembling and exceedingly miserable. And, when he was angry that they were not instantly swallowed up, looking up again to heaven, he saw the most merciful Jesus, moved with pity, arise from his heavenly seat, and descending, stretch forth to them his most kind hand, the angels at the same time assisting them. Then the Lord Jesus, turning to Carpus, said : “ I am ready to suffer again for the salvation of these men; and it would be pleasing to me, provided other men would not therefrom take occasion to sin. Consider whether it would be well for thee to prefer that dwelling full of serpents to the company of God and his good and merciful angels.”

I. Divinissimus Dionysius Areopagita in epistola, quam scripsit ad Demophilum, demonstrans quanta sit Dei benignitas et clementia erga peccatores, et quantum salutem eorum bonus Dominus desideret, pulchre admodum commemorat quandam visionem sancto Carpo episcopo (cui multa divinitus revelabantur) ostensam et sibi ab eodem Carpo enarratam. Cum enim infidelis quispiam hominem christianum ab Ecclesiae fide abduxisset, ipse Carpus, qui utrique compati et pro utroque benignissime orare debuerat, inordinatam indignationis amaritudinem adversus utrumque concepit. Unde precabatur Deum, ut amborūm vitam repente exstingueret; aegre ferens quod homines impii, qui vias Domini rectas pervertebant, adhuc viverent. Et ecce sursum aspiciens vidit coelum apertum ac Iesum in throno sedentem, innumeris angelis adstantibus. Ubi vero ad inferiora deflexisset oculos, conspexit profundissimam voraginem, in qua multitudo serpentium maxima erat. Ad huius voraginis os duo illi viri, quibus mala imprecatus fuerat, stabant velut in lubrico nutantes, trementes omninoque miserabiles. Et cum graviter ferret, quod non protinus absorberentur, aspectu ad superna revocato, vidit clementissimum Iesum misericordia motum, de coelesti sede consurgere, atque ad illos descendere et manum benignam porrigere, simulque angelos iis opem ferre. Tunc Dominus Iesus conversus ad Carpum dixit: «Yaratus sum, Carpe, iterum pro salvandis hominibus pati, et istud mihi gratum est, modo non alii homines peccent. Tu autem inspice an -tibi utile sit, illam cutn serpentibus mansionem praeferre Dei ac bonorum clementiumque angelorum consortio.»

The blessed Dionysius adds these words : “ These are the things which I heard, and I believe them to be true.”

Addit deinde beatus Dionysius ista verba: «Haec sunt quae ego audivi et vera esse credo.»

1. Gertrude, or Trutha, a holy virgin most dear to God, was once divinely taught that one who is considering in his heart the image of the Crucified, ought to think he hears Jesus Christ himself saying to him, with a gentle voice, “ Behold, thou seest how for love of thee I hung upon the cross, naked, despised, my whole Body wounded, and every limb stretched. And my heart is still full of such sweetness of love towards thee, that, if it were necessary for thy salvation, and thou couldst not otherwise attain to eternal bliss, I would suffer for thee alone all that I suffered for the whole world.”

Sanctissima Deoque carissima virgo Gertrudis sive Trutha aliquando divinitus cdocta fuit, quod homo attendens imaginem Crucifixi in corde suo aestimare debeat ipsum Iesum Christum sibi blanda voce dicere :«En vides, quomodo causa tui amoris pependeritn in cruce nudus, despectus totoque corpore vulneratus ac per singula membra distentus. Et adhuc tanto caritatis dulcore cor meum erga te afficitur, ut, si saluti tuae expediret aliterque aeternam felicitatem consequi non posses, vellem pro te solo tolerare omnia, quae toleravi pro toto mundo» (Insinuat. 1. 3, c. 41).


2. St Bridget in spirit heard Christ speak thus : “ I am perfect love, for all things which I have done from eternity, I did out of love; and, whatsoever I do or shall do in future, likewise proceeds and will proceed from my love. My love for man is now as great and incomprehensible as it was at the time of my passion, when, out of exceeding love, I delivered all the elect by my death. And, if it were possible for me to die as many times as there are souls in hell, I would with most prompt will and most perfect charity give up my Body, and would endure for each soul the same passion and death that I endured for all.”

Christus, audiente in spiritu sancta Birgitta, ait: «Ego sum caritas summa; nam omnia quae ab aeterno feci, ex caritate feci; et quaecumque facio atque in futurum faciam, similiter ex mea caritate procedunt procedentque. Dilectio mea erga hominem modo aeque grandis atque incomprehensibilis est, sicut erat tempore passionis meae, quando per mortem meam ex nimia caritate liberavi omnes electos. Et si fieri posset ut toties morerer quot sunt animae in inferno, ego promptissima voluntate et perfectissima caritate corpus meum traderem eandemque passionem et mortem pro qualibet anima sustinerem, quam sustinui pro omnibus» (Revel. 1. 7, c. 19).

3. Thus spoke Christ. Behold how tenderly and ardently God loves the rational soul, and how vehemently he desires that every man should attain to heavenly bliss. But the Lord created man noble, to his own image and likeness, giving him reason and liberty of choice, and freedom of will, so that, if he chose to obey and serve God, he might receive an eternal reward in heaven; but, if he would not, he should undergo never-ending punishment in hell. This is justice. If, however, any one who has scorned and disobeyed God by sin, should, out of love, return to God by true repentance, he shall be accepted by God, and shall not perish, however many and grievous may have been his sins, provided he perseveres in welldoing. This is mercy.

Haec Christus. Ecce quam tenere atque ardenter diligit Deus animam rationalem, et quam vehementer desiderat quemlibet hominern pervenire ad coelestem beatitudinem. Sed ipse Dominus creavit hominem nobiliter ad iinaginem ac similitudinem suam, dans ei rationem et arbitrii voluntatisque libertatem, ut, si vellet Deo oboedire et servire, reciperet in coelo praemium aeternum ; si vero nollet, reciperet in inferno supplicium numquam finiendum. Et haec est iustitia. Qui autem peccando Deum contempsit eique non oboedivit, si ex caritate per veram poenitentiam revertatur ad Deum, quantumcumque multa atque gravia sint peccata eius, recipietur a Domino et non peribit, modo perseveret in bono. Et haec est misericordia.

4. Once, when the holy virgin Gertrude was considering within herself which of those things that she had learnt from the Lord it would be most useful to make known to men, the Lord thus answered her thoughts : “ It would be most useful that men should know and ever bear in mind, that I, the Son of the Virgin, stand before God the Father, for their salvation; and, whenever they sin in their hearts through human frailty, I offer my spotless Heart to God the Father to make amends for them; and, when they offend by deeds, I show him my pierced hands; and thus, in whatsoever way they sin, I appease the Father by my innocence, in such wise, that being penitent, they may ever obtain a ready pardon of their sins.”

Cum aliquando sancta virgo Gertrudis recogitaret apud se, quidnam inter illa quae a Domino didicerat, posset utilius manifestari hominibus, Dominus sese cogitationibus eiti,s ingerens respondit :«Utilissimum foret homines scire et in memoria semper habere, quod ego Virginis filius pro salute eorum adsto ante Deum Patrem; et quandocumque ipsi ex humana fragilitate delinquunt corde suo, offero pro iis Deo Patri cor meum immaculatum in emendationem; quando vero offendunt opere, exhibeo manus meas perforatas et ita, in quibuscumque delinquunt, statim innocentia mea placo Patrem, ut illi poenitentes facilem semper obtineant veniam peccatorum» (Insinuat. 1. 3, C. 40).

5. The holy virgin Mechtild was praying for a certain man, and she was indignant because he remained incorrigible. The Lord said to her : “ Condole with me, O my chosen one, and pray for the miserable sinners, whom I bought at so great a price, and for whom I wait so patiently, desiring earnestly that they should be converted to me. Behold, as I once offered myself a sacrifice on the altar of the cross, so do I now, with the same love, stand before God the Father, on behalf of sinners; because it is my greatest desire that the sinner should turn to me by true repentance, and live.”

Orante bēata virgine Mechtilde pro quodam homine, adversus quem ipsa indignabatur, propterea quod ille adhuc quasi incorrigibilis manebat, Dominus eidem virgini ait :« Eia condole mihi, electa

De immensa Dei misericordia.mea, et ora pro miseris peccatoribus, quos tam caro emi pretio et tam longanimiter exspecto, cupiens vehementer ut ad me convertantur. Ecce sicut hostiam in ara crucis me aliquando obtuli, sic adhuc eodem amoris affectu assisto Deo Patri pro peccatoribus; quia mihi maxime optabile est, ut peccator per veram poenitentiam ad me convertatur et vivat» (Spiritus gratiae 1. 4, c. 24).

6. Again, the Lord said to the same holy virgin Mechtild, concerning another pious person: “ When he has committed any fault from human infirmity, if he presently returns to me by penance, trusting in my mercy, I am ready, for one sigh, to remit his every fault.”

Rursum de quadam alia pia persona Dominus eidem sanctae virgini Mechtildi dixit :«Quando ex humana infirmitate culpam aliquam admisit, si mox per poenitentiam rcdierit ad me, confidens in mea misericordia, paratus sum, ad unicum eius gemitum, omnem culpam ei remittere» (ib. 1. 3, C. 43).


7. St Gertrude once understood from the Lord, that if anyone, quickly repenting of all his sins of omission and commission, gives himself with his whole heart to obey the precepts of God, he is as truly sanctified and cleansed before God as was that leper who said, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean, and to whom the Lord answered, I will. Be thou made clean.

Virgo Gertrudis aliquando intellexit a Domino, quod, si quis, velociter de omnibus commissis et omissis suis poenitendo, inclinet se integro corde ad oboediendum praeceptis Dei, tam veraciter coram Deo sanctificatur, sicut leprosus ille (Lc 5, 12 13) mundatus fuit, cui dicenti « Domine, si vis, potes me mundare», Dominus respondit: «Volo: mundare» (Insinuat. 1. 3, c. 30).


8. Jesus Christ said to St Bridget: “ Be steadfast and humble. Be not elated in thine own mind, when I make known to thee the dangers of others, and divulge not their names, unless thou be commanded to do so. For I do this not to their confusion, but that they may be converted, and acknowledge the justice and mercy of God. Nor shouldst thou fly from them, as if they were already judged and condemned; because, if he who is now most wicked should call upon me with contrition, and with the will to amend, I am ready at once to pardon him. And, on account of his true contrition, I call him to-day most dear whom yesterday I called most wicked; and, if his contrition be perfect and steadfast, I remit not only the sin, but also the punishment due to it.”

Christus dixit ad sanctam Birgittam :« Esto stabilis et humilis. Non te in cogitatu extollas, quando aliorutn pericula tibi ostendo, nec eorum nomina prodas, nisi tibi praeceptum fucrit. Ncquc enim ad eorum confusionem hoc facio, sed ut convertantur et iustitiam misericordiamque divinam cognoscant. Non etiam illos fugere debes tamquam iam iudicatos et damnatos; quia, si is, qui modo iniquissimus est, invocaverit me cum contritione et voluntatc sc emendaudi, paratus sum ei mox ignoscere. Et quem heri dixi pessimum, hodie dico carissimum, propter veram contritionem ;quae si perfecta ac stabilis fuerit, dimitto non solum peccatum, sed et poenam peccato debitam» (P.evel. 1. 3, c. 26).

9. Our Lord said to St Mechtild : “ There is no sinner too wicked to receive my forgiveness. If he truly repent, I will instantly grant him full remission of all his sins, and rest my Heart upon him with as much clemency and sweetness as if he had never sinned.” O unspeakable goodness of God ! Wherefore—as one of the saints writes—if anyone should deny that God is ready to remit the sins of the truly penitent, even as often as there are moments in time, he would set about despoiling God of great glory.

9. Dominus beatae Mechtildi ait: «Nullus est adeo magnus peccator, quin, si vere poenituerit, mox illi omnia peccata sua plene dimittam, et cor meum tanta clementia atque dulcedine super ipsum reclinem, ac si numquam peccasset» (Spiritus gratiae 1. 4, c. 26). O ineffabilem Dei pietatem ! Ergo si quis (ut quidam sanctorum scribit) negaret Deum paratum esse ad remittendum vere poenitentibus peccata, etiam tot vicibus quot momenta sunt temporis, utique Deum magno honore spoliare moliretur.

10. Again, our Lord said to the same virgin Mechtild: “ Although the stars—that is, the souls of my elect—may sometimes be greatly darkened by the clouds of sin, and the night of ignorance, yet they cannot be obscured in their firmament—that is, in my divine light. Though my elect, I say, may often be involved in great sins, yet I always regard them with the same love by which I chose them, and I wait for them in that glory to which they will at length attain. It is, therefore, good for man to reflect often with what freely-given goodness I have chosen him, and how I have thought mercifully of him, and lovingly regarded him, even while he lay in his sins; and, also, with what kindness I have rendered him good for evil.” Oh, the depth of the inscrutable wisdom and mercy of God, who endeavours in so many and such marvellous ways to recall and attract to himself the heart of the sinner, leaving him no ground for despair !

10. Rursum ipsi virgini Mechtildi dixit Dominus :«Quamvis stellae, id est electorum meorum anirnae, nube peccatorum et caligine ignorantiae nonnumquam valde obtenebrentur, in firmamento tamen suo, hoc est in divina luce mea, obscurari non possunt. Licetidico) electi rpei magnis plerumque involvantur peccatis, semper tamen illos ea caritate respicio, qua eos elegi, et ipsos in illa claritate attendo, ad quam perventuri sunt. Bonum igitur est homini, ut saepe recogitet, quam gratuita pietate ipsum elegerim et quam bene de ipso cogitaverim quamque amanter eum respexerim, etiam cum in peccatis iaceret; item quam benigne mala eius in bonum ei commutaverim» (ib. 1. 4, c. II). O altitudo inscrutabilis sapientiae et misericordiae Dei, qui tam miris et multis modis revocare sibique attrahere conatur cor peccatoris, nullum ei desperationis locum relinquens !

11. When the holy virgin Gertrude had heard in a sermon that no one could be saved who had not at least so much true charity as to repent and abstain from sin for the love of God, she reflected within herself that many pass out of this life who seem’ to repent rather from fear of hell than from love of God. While she was turning over these things in her mind, our Lord answered her thus : “ When I see those in their agony who have ever remembered me with affection, or have done any meritorious work, I show myself to them with so sweet and gentle an aspect, that they grieve from their inmost hearts for having ever offended me; and being by this repentance rendered capable of obtaining salvation, they cannot perish.”

11. Cum sancta virgo Gertrudis audisset in concione neminem posse salutem consequi, nisi saltem tantillum verae caritatis habeat i, ut ex amore Dei poeniteat abstineatque a peccato; ipsa apud se cogitabat plurimos migrare ex hac vita, qui videntur poenitere magis .timore gehennae quam Dei amore. Huic itaque talia in corde suo revolventi Dominus sic respondit: «Quando video illos agonizantes, qui mei umquam dulciter recordati fuerunt vel aliquid meritorii operis peregerunt, in ipso mortis confinio exhibeo iis mc tam pium, amabilem et bcnignum, ut ipsi ex intimis cordis medullis doleant, quod umquam me offenderint; ac per talem poenitentiam tunc salvantur» (Insinuat. 1. 3, c. 30). [Cf. tamen infra n. 21.]

12. The blessed Mechtild was once considering how immense was the loving-kindness of God, when our Lord said to her: “ Come, and contemplate the least of all the blessed who are in heaven; for in him thou wilt be able to understand my loving-kindness.” And while Mechtild was considering attentively, and longing to know who it was of whom the Lord was speaking, behold there appeared to her a man of royal aspect and dignity, in the flower of his age, with a beautiful, resplendent, and most lovable countenance; to whom she said: “ Who art thou ? and how didst thou attain to so great happiness and glory ?” He answered : “ On the earth I was a robber and a malefactor; but, because my evil deeds were done rather from ignorance and the habits in which I was trained by my parents, than out of wickedness, I at last through repentance obtained mercy. But I remained a hundred years in the place of punishment, and endured many torments, that I might be purified; and now, solely by the lavish goodness of God, I have been brought hither into rest.” In this manner St Mechtild learned the loving-kindness of God towards him who was the least of all the blessed. And if our most merciful Lord granted so much to one who had led so bad a life, what will he give to those who live in justice and holiness ?

12. Cogitante aliquando beata Mechtilde, quam -immensa esset pietas Dei, Dominus ait ad illam: « Veni et contemplare minimum omnium Beatorum qui in coelo sunt; nam in illo poteris cognoscere pictatem meam» (Spiritus gratiae 1. I, c. 59). Cum ergo Mechtildis attente consideraret, cupiens scire quisnam is esset de quo Dominus loquebatur: ecce occurrit ei vir honestate et dignitate regia aetateque florida conspicuus, pulcher et fulgens facie nimisque amabilis. Cui ipsa dixit: «Quis es tu? et quomodo ad tantum gaudium tantamque gloriam pervenisti?» Respondit ille: «Ego in terris raptor eram et malefactor; sed quia mala magis ex quadam ignorantia et consuetudine a parentibus accepta quam ex nequitia perpetravi, in fine per poenitentiam sum misericordiam consecutus. Centum autem annis fui in locis poenarum multaque t Iloc dicitur de actu contritionis extra sacramenhtm poenitentiae, non de actu attritionis cum sacramento, per quod, ut theologi censent, ex attrito fit contritus, nempe uon formaliter, sed per effectum, qui est condonatio peccati.pertuli tormcnta ut purgarer; et nuuc sola gratuita Dei pietate huc in requiem perductus sum.» Ad hunc modum virgo Mechtildis cognovit pietatem Dei in eo qui ultimus erat omnium Beatorum. Nam si clementissimus Dominus tantum praestitit ei qui tam prave vixerat, quid daturus est his qui iuste et sancte vivunt?

13. God spoke thus to the holy virgin, St Catherine of Siena : “Those sinners who, in the extremity of death, despair of my mercy, offend me more deeply, and displease me more by that one sin, than by all the iniquities that they have ever committed. For he who despairs, openly despises my mercy, and perversely imagines his wickedness to be greater than my mercy and goodness. Whence, being held captive by this sin, he grieves not for his offence against me, but for his own irreparable damnation. But if he truly grieved for having offended and scorned me, and faithfully hoped in my mercy, he would most certainly find it; since my mercy is infinitely greater than all the sins which ever were or ever can be committed by any creature.”

13. Deus loquens sanctae virgini Catharinae Senensi ait: «Peccatores qui in mortis extremitate desperant de misericordia mea, multo gravius me offendunt et magis mihi displicent hoc uno peccato, quam ornnibus aliis iniquitatibus quas umquam commiserunt. Qui enim desperat, contemnit aperte ipsam misericordiam meam, et perverse existimat iniquitatem suam maiorem esse, quam sit eadem misericordia et bonitas mea. Unde detentus huiusmodi peccato non dolet de offensa in me admissa, sed dolet de irremediabili damno suo. Qui, si in veritate doleret quod me offendisset atque contempsisset, et in miset~’tcordia mea fideliter speraret, ipse eam certissime inveniret, quoniam in infinitum maior est ipsa misericordia mea, quam sint omnia peccata, quae umquam fuerunt commissa, vel quae committi possunt ab aliqua creatura» (Div. doctr. tr. 3, C. 132).

14. It is not, however, sufficient to grieve for sins; it is also necessary to confess them sacramentally before a priest, unless this confession be really impossible. Hence, the Lord Jesus said to St Bridget: “ No one is so great a sinner that I would refuse him mercy, if he sought it with a humble and perfect heart. Therefore, let sinners who wish to be reconciled to me, and to obtain my grace and friendship, first, grieve with their whole hearts that they have offended me, their Creator and Redeemer; then, let them purify themselves before the priest by a sincere and humble confession, and amend their lives, and perform satisfaction according to the advice and discretion of the priest. If they have done this, I will draw near to them, and the devil will be kept at a distance from them. Afterwards, it will be fitting that they should receive my Body with devotion and true love, resolving never more to fall into their former sins, and purposing to persevere to the end in well-doing. These I will run to meet as a mother runs to meet her erring children, and will most gladly receive them. I will be in them, and they shall be in me, and shall live and rejoice with me to all eternity.”

14. Non autem sufficit dolere de peccatis, sed oportet etiam illa confitcri sacramentaliter coram sacerdote, nisi vera neccssitas huiusmodi confessionem excludat. Hinc Dominus Iesus dixit ad beatam Birgittam: «Nullus est tam magnus peccator, cui ego negem misericordiam, si eam humili et perfecto corde petierit. Itaque peccatores, qui mihi reconciliari et gratiam amicitiamque meam obtinere volunt, imprimis ex toto corde doleant quod me Creatorem ac Redemptorem suum offen‑

De immensa Dei misericordia.derint; deinde expurgent se coram sacerdote pura humilique confessione et vitam corrigant ac satisfactionem expleant iuxta consilium et discretionem sacerdotis. Si enim hoc fecerint, ego iis appropinquabo, et diabolus ab ipsis elongabitur. Postea conveniens erit, ut et Corpus meum cum devotione veraquae caritate accipiant, habentes voluntatem numquam amplius admittendi priora peccata, et proponentes perseverare in bono usque ad finem. Ego talibus occurram, sicut occurrit mater errantibus filiis, et libentissime eos recipiam. Ero in iis, et ipsi erunt in me viventque et gaudebunt mecum in aeternum» (Revel. 1. 7, c. 27).

15. When St Bridget out of compassion was praying for a certain powerful nobleman of renown in the world, who was dangerously ill, and yet would not confess his sins to a priest after the manner of the faithful; Jesus Christ, appearing to her, said : “ Tell thy confessor to visit that sick person, and to hear his confession.” The priest, being sent by St Bridget, visited the sick man; but he answered that he had often made his confession, and that it was not now necessary. The following day, by the command of Christ, the priest was again sent to him, and received the same answer as before. But the third day, returning to the sick man, he declared to him the things which would hinder his being saved, which our Lord had revealed to St Bridget. Then he, dissolved in tears, said to the priest : “ And how can I possibly obtain pardon, who am laden with so many crimes ?” The priest replied : “ Even if thou hadst perpetrated many more and worse crimes, thou mightest yet be saved by true contrition and confession; this I faithfully promise thee.” And he answered: “ I despaired of the salvation of my soul, because I had utterly submitted and”given myself up to the dominion of the devil, who has also frequently spoken to me. I am now sixty years old, and I have never made a sacramental confession, nor received the Body of Christ; but I now feel that I shed such tears as I never shed before.” On that day, therefore, he confessed four times to the priest, and on the morrow after his confession he received the holy Eucharist, and on the sixth day he died. Concerning him the Lord said afterwards to St Bridget : “ He went not down into hell, but reached purgatory, on account of his contrition and confession. He has obtained salvation through my goodness, whereby I wait even unto the last moment for the conversion of a sinner, and through the merits of my Mother, whose sorrows he used to compassionate while he lived in the flesh, and he will be saved.”

15. Cum ipsa sancta Birgitta ex compassione oraret pro quodam praepotente et illustri domino secundum saeculum, qui graviter aegrotabat et tamen peccata sua more fidelium confiteri sacerdoti nolebat, Christus eidem Birgittae apparens ait :« Dic confessori tuo ut istum infirmum visitet et confessionem eius aucliat» (ib. 1. 6,_ c. 97). Missus igitur sacerdos a sancta Birgitta venit ad aegrotantem ; sed is respondit se frequenter confessionem fecisse, nec iam necesse esse ut confiteatur. Sequenti . die iussu Christi sacerdos a Birgitta itcrum mittitur ad illum, a quo etiam idem quod prius responsum accepit. Tertio autem die reversus ad infirmutn exposuit ei impedimenta salutis suae, quae Dominus beatae Birgittae revelaverat. Tunc ille resolutus in fletum dixit sacerdoti: «Et quomodo veniam ego consequi possem, qui tot sceleribus sum irretitus ?» Cui confessor: «Etiamsi», inquit, « multo plura et graviora perpetrasses, salvaberis tamen per veram contritionem atque confessionem : hoc fidenter tibi promitto.» Et ille: «h;go de salute animae meae desperabam, quia mc dominio diaboli omnino subdideram tradideramque, qui etiam mihi frequenter locutus est. Sum modo sexaginta annōrum, et numquam feci sacramentalem confessionem neque sumpsi Corpus Christi; iam vero tales lacrimas me habere sentio, quales antea non habui.» Igitur die illo ipse quater confessus est sacerdoti, et in crastino etiam post confessionem accepit sacram Eucharistiam, ac sexto die defunctus est. De quo Dominus postea ait ad sanctam Rirgittam :« Ille non descendit in infernum, sed venit ad purgatorium, propter contritionem atque confessionem suam. I3onitate mea, qua usque ad ultimum punctum exspecto hominis conversionem, et meritis Matris meae (cuius dolori vivens ille adhuc in carne compati solebat) salutem invenit, et salvus erit.»

16. God the Father said to the virgin St Catherine : “ My goodness has granted to the glorious Mother of my only begotten Son, out of reverence for the Incarnate Word, that whoever has recourse to her with devout veneration, even though he be a sinner, shall in no wise become the prey of the infernal enemy. For she has been chosen and pre-pared by me, and placed as a most sweet inducement to captivate men, and especially the souls of sinners.”

Deus Pater virgini Catharinae dixit: «Mariae, unigeniti Filii mei gloriosae genetrici, a bonitate mea concessum est propter incarnati Verbi reverentiam, ut, quicumque ktiam peccator ad eam cum devota veneratione recurrit, nullo modo diripiatur a daemone infernali. Haec enim est a mc elccta, parata, et posita tamquam esca dulcissima ad capiendos homines et praecipue animas peccatorum» (Div. doctr. tr. 4, c. 139).

17. The Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, herself said to St Bridget: “ However much a man may have sinned, if from the bottom of his heart he seeks me with true amendment and love, I am instantly ready to receive him. Nor do I consider how much he has sinned, but with what will and intention he returns to me. For I disdain not to touch, to anoint, and to heal the wounds of any sinner, let him be ever so vile and filthy; because I am called, and I truly am, the Mother of mercy.”

Ipsa benedicta Dei mater virgo Maria dixit beatae Birgittae :« Qantumcumque homo peccet, si toto corde cum vera emendatione et caritate ad me confugerit, statim parata sum recipere venientem. Nec attendo quantum quis peccaverit, sed quali intentione ac voluntatc redit ad me. Nam peccator, quamlibet vilis sit ac sordidus, non dedignor eius plagas tangere, ungerc et sanare; quia vocor et vere sum Mater misericordiae» (Revel. 1. 2, c. 23).

18. St Gertrude once saw as it were little animals of various kinds running under the mantle of Mary, the most sweet Mother of God, by which were signified those sinners who have a special devotion to her. The Mother of mercy received them all with kindness, and, as it were, protecting them under her mantle, she patted and stroked each one with her delicate hand, and kindly caressed them, as one fondles a pet.

quando vidit accurrere sub chlamydcm dulcissimae genetricis Dei Mariae veluti bestiolas quasdam diversi generis, per quas significabantur peccatores, specialem devotionetn ad illam habentes. Has omnes Mater misericordiae benigne recipiens et quasi sub pallio suo protegens delicata manu sua singulas contrectabat deliniebatque, et ipsis amicabiliter blandiebatur, quemadmodum quis blandiri solet catulo suo.

And she thus plainly showed how mercifully she receives all who call upon her, and with what maternal kindness she defends all who hope in her, even those who are still entangled in sin, until she reconciles them, as true penitents, with her Son.

Ac per hoc manifeste insinuabat, quam misericorditer suscipiat omnes invocantes se, ct quam materna pietate defendat sperantes in se, etiam eos qui peccatis adhuc impliciti sunt, doncc illos Filio suo reconciliet vere poenitentes.

19. The devil once wishing to deceive the holy virgin St Catherine, and to lead her into faintheartedness or despair, endeavoured to persuade her that her life was false, useless, and wicked. She, therefore, taught by the goodness of God, who never denies himself to those who truly seek him, humbly raised her mind to the divine mercy, saying : “ I openly confess to my Creator, that I have daily been in darkness, and done evil; but yet I will confidently hide myself in the Wounds of my Lord Jesus Christ, and I will wash away the stains of all my iniquities in his precious Blood, and will evermore rejoice with holy desire in him my Creator and Redeemer.” After these words the devil immediately fled.

Diabolus, aliquando volens decipere et ad nimiam pusillanimitatem sive ad desperationem adducere sanctam virginem Catharinam, nitebatur ei persuadere: quod vita ipsius falsa, inutilis et perversa esset. Illa igitur a Dei bonitate (quae vere petenti numquam se negat) edocta humilitcr elevavit mentem suam ad misericordiam divinam, dicens :«Ego aperte Creatori meo confiteor mc quotidie in tenebris fuisse maleque vixisse; verumtamen fiducialiter latitabo in plagis Domini mci Iesu Christi, et omnium iniquitatum mcarum maculas pretioso sanguine eius abluam, atque cum sancto desiderio iugiter gaudebo in ipso Creatore et Redemptore meo» (Div. doctr. tr. 2, c. 66). Post quae verba mox diabolus in fugam conversus est.

20. Christ said to St Gertrude: “ Anyone may attain to the hope of pardon, how much soever he may feel himself oppressed by the heavy weight of his sins, by offering to God the Father my most innocent passion and death. Let the sinner, therefore, believe that by this he obtains the saving fruit of pardon; because there is on earth no remedy against sin so efficacious as the devout remembrance of my passion, with right faith and true repentance.”

Christus sanctae Gertrudi ait :« Quilibet poterit respirare in spem veniae (quamlibet etiam gravi pondere peccatorum se senserit depressum) offerendo Deo Patri meam innocentissimam passionem et mortem. Credat igitur peccator se per hoc obtinere saluberrimum fructum indulgentiae: quia nullum tam efficax remedium contra peccata poterit in terris haberi, sicut devota memoria meae passionis cum fide recta et vera poenitentia» (Insinuat. 1. 4, c. 25).

21. But we should, in prudence, consider not only the mercy, but also the justice of God; concerning which Christ frequently spoke very terrible words to St Bridget. She once, by the will of God, heard the devils bearing witness to the truth, and saying to the Lord: “ If that creature whom thou lovest—namely, the Virgin who bore thee, and who never offended thee—had committed mortal sin, and had died without divine contrition, she would never have reached heaven, but would be tormented with us in hell; so greatly dost thou love justice.”

21. Ceterum non solum misericordia, sed et iustitia Dei prudenter consideranda est, de qua iustitia Christus frequenter beatae Birgittae valde terribilia locutus est. Haec aliquando audivit (Deo sic volente) daemones testitnonium perhibentes veritati dicentesque Domino :«Si creatura illa, quam maxime diligis, videlicet Virgo quae te genuit et numquam offendit, peccasset mortaliter ac sine divina contritione mortua esset, ipsa coelum numquam obtinuisset, sed nobiscum in inferno cruciaretur; adeo tu iustitiam diligis» (Revel. 1. 4, c. 7).

Let no sinner, therefore, say to himself: I will now follow freely my own will and my pleasures, I will enjoy the delights and joys of this world, and afterwards I will amend at the end of my life; for the mercy of God is great and boundless; whenever I shall repent of my sins, the merciful Lord will receive me, and I shall be saved; meanwhile, I will do whatever pleases me.

Igitur peccator quisque non dikat apud se : Sequar modo voluntates et voluptates meas Iibere, fruar deliciis et iucunditatibus huius mundi, postea corrigam me in fine vitae meae ; magna enim et immensa est misericordia Dei; quandocumque me poenituerit peccatorum meorum, recipiet me pius Dominus et salvus ero ; interim faciam quod libet.

Let not the sinner speak thus, let him not act thus, let him not cast himself into danger; but let him without delay strive to amend his evil life, and if it be possible, confess his sins to a priest, and that sincerely and completely. For although God promises mercy to the penitent sinner, yet he promises not true repentance, nor a long life, to one who persists in sin. And it is certain that if a sinner who has offended God by his wickedness and crimes, should not repent and have true contrition before his soul is separated from the body, he will eternally perish, for the satisfaction of divine justice. 0 how many, seduced by the persuasions of the devil, perish and die in their iniquities ! Where-fore it is sometimes said, in the Revelations of St Bridget, that souls fall into hell, as snow falls upon the earth.

Non haec dicat peccator, non sic agat, non se ipsum in periculum coniciat; sed sine procrastinatione vitam suam malam corrigere studeat et peccata sua coram sacerdote (si potest) confiteatur, idque pure ct integre. Quamvis enim Deus promittat peccatori vere poenitenti misericordiam, non tamen promittit in peccatis perseveranti veram poenitentiam nec longam vitam. Certum vero est, quia, si peccator, qui criminibus sceleribusque suis iniuriam lleo intulit, veram contritionem et poenitentiarn, antequam anima eius separaretur a cor= pore, non habuerit, exigente divina iustitia in aeternutn peribit. O quam multi persuasionibus diabolicis seducti permanent ac moriuntur in suis iniquitatibus! Unde et in revelationibus beatae Birgittae animae aliquando dicuntur descendere ad infernum, sicut nix descendit in terram.


Caput II

Of The Discretion and Purity of Intention, Which A Spiritual Man Ought to Strive After in Every Action

De discretione et intentione simplici, quam spiritualis debet in omnibus actionibus amplecti.

1. Prudence and moderation should be observed in all exercises of piety and mortification; 2. All the bodily members should be discreetly mortified, since through them all we have committed sins; 3. Continence and abstinence, however small, when offered to God, win an immense reward; 4. A right intention to seek God’s pleasure in all our acts is the topmost step in the ladder of  love; The will to have the fervent desire of pleasing God is taken by God for the desire itself. The great profit of frequent meditation on our Lord’s passion. The stigmata of Christ’s wounds were imprinted on the hands and feet of Elizabeth of Spalbeeck; An example to show that not only internal but also external works are pleasing to God.

1. Moderatio usurpanda in omnibus exercitiis pietatis ct mortificationis. 2. Omnia corporis membra discrete mortificanda, sicut per ea omnia peccavimus. 3. Continentia et abstinentia, quantumvis modica, pro 1)eo suscepta immensum praemium recipit. 4. Intentio recta beneplaciti divini in omnibus actibus excellentissimus est dilectionis gradus. 5 Velle habere fervens desiderium Deo placendi apud Deum pro ipso desiderio reputatur. 6. Devota meditatio passionis dominicae frequentius est assumenda. 7. Stigmata Christi impressa manibus ac pedibus Elisabethae de Spalbeek. 8. Exemplo aptissimo probatur non solum interna opera, verum etiam externa Deo placere.

1. THE illustrious virgin and martyr Agnes, appearing to St Bridget, said to her: “ My daughter, be steadfast; and neither draw back, nor advance beyond what is fitting. Thou shouldst not afflict thyself beyond thy strength, nor imitate others in good works above thy nature ; for God has decreed from all eternity to open heaven to sinners by works of humility and love, and he wills that moderation and discretion be observed in all things. But the devil in his envy often persuades an imperfect man to fast beyond his strength, or to take up exercises that he cannot bear, or to aim at what is too high for him. The crafty enemy does this in order that the man, continuing only through shame what he foolishly undertook, may the more quickly fail through weakness. Thou shouldst measure thyself in this matter according to thy strength or thy weakness; because some are by nature stronger, and others weaker, some are more fervent by the grace of God, others more diligent by habit.

1. Inclyta virgo et martyr Agnes apparens sanctae Birgittae dixit: «Iiilia, sis stabilis et non retrocedas, nec etiam plus debito procedas. Neque enim debes te ultra vires affligere, nec alios supra naturam tuain in bonis operibus imitari; quia Deus ab aeterno disposuit operibus humilitatis et caritatis aperire coelum peccatoribus, et vult ut servetur in omnibus discretio ac mensura. Invidus vero diabolus plerumque homini imperfecto suadet, ut supra vires ieiunet et assutnat exercitia itnportabilia aut nimis se ad sublimia extendat. Hoc facit hostis callidus, ut, dum homo continuat male incepta propter ruborem, citius deficiat propter propriam infirmitatecn. Idcirco metire te ipsam secundum fortitudinem aut debilitatem tuam; quia alii sunt natura fortiores, alii infirmiores, alii gratia Dei ferventiores, atque alii bona consuetudine alacriores.

“Rule thyself, and order thy life, according to the advice of those who fear God. Desire not to seem what thou art not, nor seek anxiously what is above thy strength. There are some who believe they will obtain heaven entirely by their own merits; and some who think they can by their own works adequately satisfy for the sins they have committed. But these are damnable errors; for if a man were to give up his body to death a hundred times, he could not answer to God for one in a thousand.” Thus spoke the blessed Agnes.

Rege te et ordina vitam tuam iuxta consilium timentium Deum, nec velis videri quod non es, nec illud inquiete appetas quod supra vires tuas est. Sunt nonnulli, qui omnino meritis suis credunt se obtenturos coelum; et sunt qui operibus suis putant se posse digne satisfacere pro peccatis quae commiserunt. Sed horum 1 error damnabilis est; quia, si homo etiam centies traderet corpus suum ad rnortem, non posset respondere Deo unum pro mille» (Revel. 1. 4, c. 2). Haec beata Agnes.

2. Christ said several times to St Bridget that satisfaction should be made by all our members, as they have all assented to sin. Let a man, therefore, with all diligence and humility correct himself, and neglect not to make all possible satisfaction to God (who, for a moderate penance rightly performed with good will here, remits grievous punishments in the next world), restraining, for the love of God, his eyes from beholding evil and vanity, his ears from hearing hurtful and foolish things, his tongue from evil and idle words, his heart from pernicious and foolish thoughts and wicked desires, and his whole body from all that soils the mind. Let him abstain not only from unlawful things, but also with prudence from some things that are lawful. Let him studiously mortify in himself his own will and his vices; let him patiently bear all adversity, and devote him-self to good works, to virtue and holy exercises. Let him, however, always trust rather in the satisfaction and merits of Jesus Christ than in his own works and merits; for one little drop of the precious Blood of our Lord Jesus is of more value than all human merits.

2. Aliquoties Christus dixit ipsi Birgittae (ib. 1. i, c. 2 et 1. 4, c. 26), quod satisfactio iit facienda omnibus membris, sicut peccata membris omnibus fuerunt admissa. Homo igitur cum omni diligentia et humilitate corrigat se ac Deo (qui pro modica emendatione hic rite ex bona voluntate peracta gravia supplicia in alio saeculo remittit) utcumque satisfacere non neglcgat, cohibendo, propter amorem Dei, oculos a malo atque inutili aspectu, aures a noxio et inepto auditu, os a malis et otiosis verbis, cor a perniciosis et insulsis cogitationibus pravisque desideriis, ac totum corpus ab his quae animam contaminant. Abstineat ~ non solurn ab illicitis, sed etiam a quibusdam Iicitis prudenter. Mortificet in se studiose propriam voluntatem et vitia; patienter ferat quaeque adversa, et bonis operibus sanctisque exercitiis ac virtutibus deditus sit. Verumtarnen in satisfactione et meritis Iesu Christi potius quam in propriis operibus ac ‘ Si excludant Dei gratiam et in solis suis viribus atque operibus confidant.meritis semper confidat; nam unica guttula pretiosi sanguinis Domini lesu dignior est quam omnia merita hurnana

3. Christ spoke thus to the blessed Bridget : “ Abstinence and continence, however slight, discreetly undertaken, and observed for my love and honour, will deserve from me a great reward.” And, assuredly, he who for the love of God prudently restrains him-self, so that he sees, hears, smells, tastes, speaks, and touches nothing that is not necessary or useful, and who discreetly strives to overcome his own will and sensuality even in the least things, does what is more pleasing to God than if he recalled many dead persons to life. Hence the Fathers say as follows : “ If two men, passing the same way, find a beautiful flower, and one of them wishes, indeed, to gather it, but, thinking better of it, leaves it for God’s sake; and the other, without reflection, gathers the flower; the latter, by gathering it in simplicity, sins not; but the former, by leaving the same flower for God’s sake, gains as much merit over him who gathers it as there is distance between heaven and earth. If, however, he who gathers the flower gathers it purely to the praise of God, he also acquires great merit.” In the same way, he who fittingly abstains from food for God’s sake is greatly pleasing to God, and he who fittingly eats to the honour of God, is also pleasing to God.

3. Christus beatae Birgittae ait :«Abstinentia et continentia, quantumvis modica, pro honore’ et amore meo discrete suscepta atque peracta, meretur a me magnum praemium» (Revel., extrav. c. 65). Et profecto, •qui prudenter propter lleum continet se, ne id, quod necessarium vel utile non est, aspiciat, audiat, odoretur, gustet, loquatur, tangat, quique propriae voluntati ac sensualitati etiam in rebus minimis cum discretione reluctatur, rem Deo magis gratam facit, quam si multos mortuos ad vitam revocaret. Hinc Patres dicunt istud quod sequitur :« Si duo homines, in eodem itinere constituti, elegantem flosculum invenirent, quorum alter cuperet quidem illum decerpere sed melius deliberans dimitteret eum propter Deum., alter vero nihil praemeditatus carperet florem; iste quidem simpliciter decerpendo non peccaret, at ille propter Deurn dimittendo florem ipsum tantum prae decerpente obtineret meritum, quanta est distantia coeli a terra. Verumtamen si is, qui decerpit florem, pure ad laudem Dei eum decerperet, etiam ipse maximum meritum acquireret.» Itidem et qui convenienter propter Deum a cibo abstinet, Deo valde placet, et qui convcnienter ad honorem Dei manducat, etiam placet lleo.

4. The blessed Gertrude heard from our Lord that she showed her exceeding love of him when she offered in his praise all her thoughts, words, looks, and actions. She understood, also, that, as often as anyone looks with devout intention on the image of Christ crucified, so often is he lovingly regarded by the most gracious mercy of God; and hence his soul, like a clear mirror, receives in itself from the divine love a most joyful image, which causes rejoicing in the whole court of heaven. And this will be to his eternal glory. She under-stood, also, that, if a person even lifts a straw from the ground, or takes one step for the honour and love of God, it is pleasing to God, and worthy of reward.

Beata Gertrudis (Insinuat. 1. 4; c. 45) audivit a Domino, quod tunc eximiam illi dilectionem exhiberet, quando ad laudem eius cogitabat, aspiciebat, audiebat, loquebatur vel faciebat aliqua utilia. Intellexit etiam, quod, quoties quis devota intentione inspicit imaginem Christi crucifixi, toties respicitur amanter a Dei benignissima misericordia; et hinc anima ipsius, tamquam lucidum speculum, suscipit in se ex divino amore imaginem admodum iucundam, unde etiam tota curia coelestis mirifice laetatur. Et hoc erit illi in gloriam aeternam. Intellexit item 1)eo gratum remunerationeque dignunl esse, si honore atque amore Dei etiam calamum quis e terra levaverit aut passum unum fecerit.

When the same virgin, St Gertrude, once complained that she could not feel as much desire of God as she ought, she was divinely taught that it was amply sufficient in the sight of God if a man willed to have a great desire, though he might feel little or no desire within himself; because he has before God as great a desire as he willeth to have, and God dwells in the heart containing such a desire (that is to say, the will to have the desire) more gladly than a man could dwell amid fresh and pleasant flowers.

5. Cum eadem virgo Gertrudis (Insinuat. 1. 3, c. 30) aliquando conquereretur, quod tantum desiderium ad Deum habere non posset, quantum habere debebat, divinitus edocta optime Deo sufficere, si homo vere velit et optet habere magnum desiderium, quando modicum vel nullum desiderium in se sensit; quia, quam magnum vellet habere, tam magnum habet coram Deo, et Deus in corde cont;inente huiusmodi desiderium (scilicet voluntatem habendi desiderium) libentius habitat, quam homo posset habitare in vernantibus amoenissimisque floribus.

Our Lord very often revealed to his most dear spouses, Gertrude, Bridget, Mechtild, and Catherine, how acceptable it is to him, and how profitable to man, to contemplate the passion of Christ with pious, humble, and sincere attention and devotion, which they themselves were always most diligent in doing. For they engraved so deeply on their inmost hearts the passion of the Lord Jesus—which, though it was most bitter and cruel, is yet all full of the sweetness of love—and were accustomed to meditate upon it with such ardent and sweet affection, that it was to them honey to the taste, harmony to the ear, and joy to the heart.

6. Frequentissime Dominus revelavit carissimis sponsis suis Gertrudi, Birgittae, Mechtildi, Catharinae, quam sit et sibi acceptum et homini fructuosum recolere passionem Christi pia, humili et sincera attentionevel devotione, quod et ipsae diligentissime semper fecerunt. Nam eandem Domini lesu passioneln (quae, licet amarissima acerbissimaque fuerit, tota tamen caritatis dulcedine plena est) adeo profunde visceribus animarum suarum infixerant, et tatn ardenti suavique affectu ruminare solebant, ut illa esset iis mel in ore, melos in aure, iubilus in corde.

The holy virgin Elizabeth of Spalbeeck also was accustomed daily to contemplate the passion of our Lord with immense devotion. Whence the stigmata of his five wounds were truly imprinted by Christ on her hands, feet, and side, so that blood often copiously flowed from them, as if from recent wounds, more especially on Fridays. And this most pure virgin was seven times a day so rapt in God that no feeling, movement, or breath were perceptible in her : for her whole body used to become rigid, and no part of it could be moved without moving the whole. Let us, in imitation of these virgins, engrave on our hearts the passion of the Lord Jesus, and sedulously give thanks for it.

7. Itidem sanctissilna virgo Elisabeth de Spalbeek ingenti devotione quotidie passionem dominicam recolere consueverat. Unde et Christus stigmata quinque vulnerum suorum manibus ac pedibus et lateri eius verissime impressit, adeo ut ex ipsis, tamquam e recentibus plagis, copiosus sanguis plerumque efflueret, idque potissilnum Feriis sextis. Quae quidem virgo purissima septies quotidie ita rapicbatur in Deum, ut nullus sensus, nullus motus, nullus flatus in ea apparerct: Totum enim corpusculum illius prorsus obrigescebat, nec ulla pars eiusdem sacri corporis tunc moveri poterat, quin totum corpus moveretur 1. Nos praedictas virgines imitati, iusculpanius cordibus nostris passionem Domini lesu et pro ea gratias sedulo agannts.

Our Lord once instructed the blessed Gertrude by this simile : “ Even as a powerful emperor not only is pleased to have in his palace gentle and accomplished maidens, but also appoints and ordains princes, generals, and soldiers, and other ministers fitted for various labours, who may be ready always to attend to his affairs; so I also not only delight in the interior joys of those who, following my guidance, seek the quiet of divine contemplation, but I am, moreover, attracted to remain with the sons of men, when they undertake any useful work for my love and honour.”

8 Beatam Gertrudem Dominus hac similitucline aliquando instruxit: Quemadmoclum praepotens aliquis imperator non solum gaudeat habere familiares ad domesticum servitium, sed etiam principes, duccs et milites aliosque ministros diversis operibus aptos, qui sclnper parati sint ad negotia eius peragencia, ita et se non solum delectari in interioribus deliciis eorum qui divinae contemplationis quietem se trahente sequantur, verum etiam se allici ad manendum cum filiis hominum, dum ipsi quaelibet exercitia utilium negotiorum Dei honoris et amoris causa suscipiant.

Therefore, pure and frequent prayer does, indeed, greatly adorn the soul of him who has leisure to pray continually, and who has the grace of prayer: (for what is more honour-able than to converse assiduously with the heavenly King ?) but, nevertheless, exterior works, rightly performed for God’s sake, also confer great grace on the faithful soul.

Igitur frequens ct pura oratio plurimum quidem ornat animarn eius, cui vacat crebro orare et qui gratiam orandi habet (quid enim dignius quam assidue loqui cum Rege coelesti ?) : attamen etiam opera externa, propter Deum rite peracta, magnum decorem conferunt animae fideli


Caput III


Documenta orationis et officii divini.

Good will is a continual prayer. All self-will should be abandoned when it is question of following the call of God. The words of prayer should be uttered with actual attention. Dryness and involuntary distractions do not lessen, but increase the merit of prayer. Inconstancy of mind cannot altogether be got rid of in this life; but it should be discreetly dealt with. The devil grievously attacks the prayerful. y. It is good to commend ourselves to the prayers of others. The desire for prayer is sweet in God’s eyes. 8. Short and fervent prayer is powerful with God. 9. Love, discretion, and confidence make up for deficiencies. 10. The canonical Hours should be united with the prayers which Christ poured out for us. 11. The prayer we should say after the canonical Hours. The Heart of Jesus will supply what is lacking in our prayers when by his grace we have done our best. The smallest works offered to God through Christ become great and noble.

Bona voluntas est oratio continua, quae tamen saepe debet elevari ad actualem orationem. 2. (>mni proprietati in voluntariis exercitiis rentmtiandum , ut llei vocationi pareamus.3. Orationis verba cum actuali attentione recitanda. 4. Ariditas mentis invaluntariaeque distractioncs non minuunt, sed augent orationis meritum. 5. Cordis instabilitas non potest in hac vita omnino tolli, sed debet discrete curari. 6. Orantes gravius impugnat diabolus ; propterea tunc animosius orationi insistendum, ut ille confusus recedat. 7. Aliorum orationibus se commendare pium est et Deus adspicit etiam orandi desiderium. 8. Brevis et ardens oratio valde efficax apud Deum. 9. Affectus, discretio et pia fiducia supplent ea, quae legitime impediti complere non potuimus. 10. Horae canonicae orationibus Christi, quas pro nobis tn terra fudit, sunt uniendae. I I. Oratio post Preces horarias qualiter offcrenda. 12. (luod deest orationibus nostris, Cor dulce lesu supplet, quando fecinms per 1)ei gratiam quod potuimus. 13. Opera etiam minima per Christum Deo oblata fiunt magna et nobilia

1. OUR Lord said to the virgin Catherine : “ The holy desire of the soul—that is to say, good will—is a continual prayer, because it has the power of prayer. And whatsoever man does for the love of God and of his neighbour, may be called prayer since love is accounted as prayer. Good will and pious affections should, however, at certain seasons and hours, be raised to me by actual devotion. Know, 0 daughter, that the soul that perseveres in humble and faithful prayer attains to all virtue. Wherefore, on no account is the duty of prayer to be neglected or omitted because of any difficulties, whether they proceed from the illusions of Satan, or from human frailty, or from unclean thoughts, or from inordinate carnal motions of the flesh. For the devil often strives more during the time of prayer than at other times to infest the soul with various images and phantoms. And he then cunningly suggests to him who prays, that such a prayer avails him nothing, since he ought to have no thoughts but of his prayer. The wicked enemy strives to persuade him of this, in order that he may incur weariness and con-fusion of mind, and so be led to omit the exercise of prayer, which is the strongest defence against all enemies. Oh! how useful to the soul, and how pleasing to me is that prayer which man makes with love, in the thought of his own vileness and of my goodness.”

1. Dominus dixit ad virginem Catharinam : (<Sanctum desiderium animae, videlicet bona voluntas, continua oratio est, quia virtutem habet orationis. Et quidquid homo in Dei proximique caritate facit, potest vocari oratio, cum caritatis affectus pro oratione reputetur. Bona tamen voluntas piusque affectus certis temporibus et horis elevari debet in me per actualenl devotionem. Scito, filia, quod anima perseverans in humili fidelique oratione adipiscitur omnem virtutem. Unde nullo modo orationis studium neglegendum aut oinittendum est propter aliqua adversantia, sive ea procedant ab illusione satanae, sive a fragilitate propria, sive a cogitationibus imnlundis, sive ab inordinatis stimulis et carnali motu corporis. Frequenter enim diabolus orationis tenlpore animam variis imaginibus et phantasmatibus magis infestare conatur quam extra tempus orationis. Et tunc callide suggerit oranti, quod talis oratio nihil ipsi prosit, cum alia cogitare non debeat, quam illa quae orat. Malignus hostis hoc persuadere nititur, ut is qui orat taedium confusionemque mentis incurrat, atque ita omittat exercitium orationis, quae est armatura fortissima adversus omnes inimicos. O quantum animae utilis et mihi grata est ea oratio, quae in vilitatis propriae et bonitatis meae cogitatione peragitur cum caritate!» (lliv. doctr. tr. 2, c. 66 post initium et sub finem.)

2. Again, our Lord said to St Catherine : “ A man sometimes resolves to recite a certain number of Psalms, or other prayers, to which he is not obliged by duty or obedience; if, in the meantime, I should visit his soul, he abandons the grace of my visitation, that he may fulfil the number of prayers which he had intended in his own mind to say. But he ought not to do thus, nor to believe the devil who wishes to deceive him. Let him, therefore, when he feels himself specially visited by me, immediately follow my grace, and not impede it by the prayers which he had proposed to recite. He may, however, read them afterwards, if he has leisure; but if he cannot conveniently do this, let him not be in any way distressed, nor allow his mind to be disturbed. He obtains little fruit from prayer who looks only to the utterance of many words.”

2. Rursum ad eandem Catharinam ait Dominus : «Aliquando homo statuit legere certum aliquem numerum Psahnorum vel aliarum orationum, quas ex oboedientia aut debito legere obligatus non est; cuius mentem si interea benigne visitavero, ipse visitationis meae SYatlam deserit, ut OYat10nU111 numerum, quem in corde suo concepit, explere possit. Sed non debet ita facere, neque credere diabolo ipsum fallere volenti. Igitur mox, ubi sentit se a me specialiter visitari, sequatur gratiam meam et eam non impediat per orationes quas persolvere proposuerat. Postea vero poterit (si ei vacat) illas perlegere. Quodsi commode eas explere non potest, nullo modo inde angatur, nec mentis confusionem in se admittat. Qui orando hoc solum spectat, ut multa verba proferat, modicum fructum obtinet» (ib. post medium).

3. It was once shown in spirit to St Gertrude, that the words of prayer recited with attention of mind and holy devotion, are, as it were, brilliant jewels or most lovely flowers; but that the words of prayers said negligently, and, from habit, without earnest devotion, are like dull gems and faded flowers. And when the same virgin Gertrude had read a certain verse two hundred and twenty-five times, saluting Jesus, she understood that each salutation was presented to the Lord in the likeness of the melodious sound of a musical instrument; but those salutations which she had read with devout attention gave out most sweet harmony, while those which she had read less accurately yielded lower and less joyful sounds.

3. Virgo Gertrudis (Insinuat. 1. 4, c. 2) aliquando in spiritu intellexit, verba orationum cunl animi diligentia seu sancta devotione fusarum esse veluti splendidissimas gemmas vel vernantissimos flores, at verba orationum neglegentius et ex consuetudine sinc intenta devotione expletarum esse talnquam gemmas floresque obscuriores. Et cum eadecn virgo Gcrtrudis quendam versiculum ducentis viginti quinque vicibus Iesum salutando legisset, cognovit quamlibet salutationem praesentari Domino in similitudine instrumenti musici bene sonantis; sed illae salutationes, quas cum devota intentione legerat, suavissimos reddebaut concentus, aliae vero, quas legerat minus accurate, submissiores iniucundioresque edebant sonos.

4. Let him who prays take care lest his mind be distracted, voluntarily and by his own fault, through negligence; let him also beware of giving up prayer, because he may perhaps feel no consolation in it. As distractions which occur against the will of him who prays take not away the fruit and utility of the prayer, so neither does aridity of heart, so long as a good intention remains. Hence our Lord once said to St Gertrude : “ I wish my elect to know that their good works and exercises are very pleasing to me, when they serve me at their own cost. And those do me service at their own cost, who, although they taste not the sweetness of devotion, yet faithfully go through their prayers and other pious exercises, trusting in my compassion, that I shall willingly and gladly receive them. There are many whose merit would be greatly diminished if sweetness and interior consolation were granted them, nor would it avail for their salvation.”

4. Caveat is qui orat, ne voluntarie ac data opera per gravem neglegentiam inter orandum mente distrahatur; caveat item, ne orationem propterea deserat, quod in ea nullam forte consolationem sentit. Sane, sicut mentis distractio, quae practer voluntatem orantis accidit, fructum et utilitatem orationis non tollit, ita nec cordis ariditas, dum bona voluntas adest. Hinc Dominus ad ipsam Gertrudem virginem aliquando dixit: «Vellem electis meis persuasum esse, quod eorum bona exercitia et opera mihi omnino placeant, quando ipsi serviunt expensis suis. Illi autem expensis suis mihi servitium praestant, qui, licet saporem devotionis minime sentiant, fideliter tamen (ut possunt) orationes et alia pia exercitia sua peragunt, confidentes de pietate mea, quod ego illa libenter et grate suscipiam.» Plerique sunt, quibus si sapor et consolatio interna concederetur, non iis prodesset ad salutem, et meritum ipsorum valde minueretur (Insinuat. 1. 3, c. 18, § 11).

5. Man sometimes labours under such inconstancy of mind, that when he wishes to elevate his heart to God in prayer or meditation, or to fix it on any pious thought, he is presently driven away from it. This is treated of by St Augustine, saying: “ Prayer is often impeded by vain thoughts, so that hardly has the heart fixed itself on God, desiring to remain so fixed, than it flies off as it were from itself, and cannot find a secure place in which to enclose itself, nor bars to restrain its flight and its wanderings. There is scarcely one persevering prayer among many. And God bears with the hearts of those who pray and admit various thoughts, not to say thoughts that are some-times evil, perverse, and hostile to God. Wherefore, because his mercy is great, let us say to him: “ Rejoice the heart of thy servant, because I have lifted up my heart unto thee, O Lord. And how have I lifted it up ? As I was able, as thou hast given me strength.” Thus speaketh St Augustine. Therefore, let not him who is of good will be unduly disquieted, because of the unsteadiness of his thoughts; but let him peacefully do what is in his power, so long as he humbly and patiently perseveres in prayer; for thus will he be most acceptable to God. Hence, the Lord taught the blessed Gertrude that when any one in prayer, meditation, or contemplation, fixes his mind and his thoughts holily on God, he then presents to God a throne of glory, as it were a mirror of marvellous splendour, in which the Lord, the Giver of all good, beholds with delight his own image. And when man, from impediments and the instability of his heart, finds difficulty in doing this, the more earnestly and patiently he labours, the more fair and resplendent does that mirror appear in the sight of the adorable Trinity and of all the saints. But too great vehemence must be guarded against, lest the head should be injured, and the spirit disturbed.

5. Homo nonnumquam tanta mentis instabilitate laborat, ut, si per orationem vel meditationem cor suum ad Deum elevare illudque in pia aliqua cogitatione figere velit, mox inde pellatur. Id quod et beatus Augustinus ostendit dicens :« Plerumque orationes impediuntur vanis cogitationibus, ita ut vix stet cor ad Deum suutn : et vult se tenere ut stet, sed quodam modo fugit a se, nec invenit cancellos quibus se includat, aut obices quosdam quibus retineat avolationes suas et vagos quosdatn motus. . . Vix est ut occurrat talis [stabilis] oratio inter multas orationes. ... Et tolerat Deus tot corda precantium et diversas res cogitantium, omitto dicere: et noxias, omitto dicere: aliquando et perversas et inimicas Deo. . . . Quia magna est eius misericordia, dicamus ei : Iucunda animam servi tui, quoniam ad te, Domine, animam meam levavi. Et quomodo eam levavi? Quomodo potui, quoinodo tu vires dedisti.» (In Ps 85, n. 7F 167ignc, Patr. lat. ?iXXVII Io86].) Igitur qui bonac voluntatis est, non perturbetur inordinate propter instabilitatem cogitationum suarum, sed placide faciat, quod in se est, dum orat et humiliter paticnterque perseveret; ita enim Deo phtrimum acceptus erit. Hinc beatam Gertrudem eclocuit Dominus, quod, cum quispiam orando, meditando vel contemplando sancte dirigit tnentem et cogitationes suas in Deum, tunc thronum gloriae praesentat Dco quasi speculum miri splendoris, in quo Dominus, bonorum omnium immissor, imaginem suam iucundissime speculatur. Et quando homo propter itnpeditnenta cordisque instabilitatem tnaiori difficultate hoc facit, quanto gravius et patiēntius laborat, tanto speculum illud in conspectu venerandae Trinitatis omniumque sanctorum venustius atque ornatius apparet. Sed cavenda est nimia vehementia, ne caput laedatur et spiritus impediatur.

6. When St Bridget was harassed by temptations in prayer, Mary the Mother of God said to her : “ The devil with malicious watchfulness seeks to hinder the good from praying. But do thou, 0 daughter, whatever temptation may assail thee in prayer, persist in thy desire or good will, and in thy holy endeavours, as best thou canst; because thy pious desires and endeavours will be reputed as effectual prayer. Even if thou art not able to cast out the base and evil thoughts that come into thy mind, yet for those endeavours thou shalt receive a crown in heaven; thus these troubles will profit thee, provided thou consentest not to the temptation, but art displeased with whatever is unbecoming.”

6. Cum sancta Birgitta orans tentationibus fatigaretur, dixit ei DeiparaVirgo Maria: «Diabolus explorator invidus quaerit itnpedire bonos dum orant. Tu vero, filia, quacumque tentatione pulseris inter orandum, persiste in desiderio vel bona voluntate et conatu sancto, sicut commode potes; quia desiderium et conatus tuus pius reputabitur pro effectu orationis. Etiam si pravas ac sordidas cogitationes, quae cordi tuo incidunt, eicere non potueris, tamen pro illo conatu coronam in coelo recipies; ita tibi proderit illa molestia, modo non consentias tentationi et tibi displiceat quod indecens est» (Revel. 1. 6, c. 94).

7. It was revealed by our Lord to St Gertrude, that when anyone commends himself to the prayers of another, trusting that by his merits he will obtain divine grace, the merciful Lord, without doubt, blesses him according to his faith and desire, even if he to whom he had commended himself should neglect to pray devoutly for him.

7. Virgo Gertrudis (Insinuat. 1. 3, c. 73, § i) a Domino instructa est, quod, quando quis se alterius orationibus commendat, confidens sc per eius merita posse divinam gratiam obtinere, pius Dominus indubitanter secundum desiderium et fidem ipsius benefacit ei, etiam si ille, cui se commendavit, neglexerit devote orare pro ipso.

8. A certain very simple man, who scarcely knew how to read the Lord’s prayer, asked holy counsel of St Bridget, and as St Bridget was praying for him, Christ said to her: “ The simplicity of this man is more pleasing to me than the wisdom of the proud. There-fore, thou shalt instruct him to continue his work and his praiseworthy habits; and I will reward him. His good will is very acceptable to me. He has learnt from my Spirit the true wisdom, that is to say, the love of God, through which he keeps the law, and all the divine commandments. I say to thee, 0 daughter, whosoever with faith and a perfect will says these words—Jesus, have mercy on me—is more acceptable to me than one who reads a thousand verses without attention.” The Lord likewise said to St Gertrude : “ Although the souls in purgatory derive great profit from what is done for their relief by reciting the Office or Vespers of the Dead, and other prayers; yet a short prayer uttered with burning love sometimes avails them more and obtains for them greater relief.” But no one should, on account of these words of our Lord, omit the long prayers which he is under obligation to say, unless he is forced to do so by real necessity. For it is right always to prefer to other exercises those prayers to which we are bound by duty and obedience, and which can well be said.

8. Quidam simplex admodum et vix sciens plene legere orationem dominicam, petivit consilium salutis a sancta Birgitta. Igitur orante eadem Birgitta pro eo Christus dixit: «Magis mihi placet simplicitas huius hominis quam superborum prudentia. Itaque monebis eum, ut opus suum laudabilemque consuetudinem continuet, et ego mercedem reddam. Eius bona voluntas mihi valde grata est. Ipse a Spiritu meo didicit veram sapientiam, videlicet dilectionem Dei, per quam servat legem omniaque divina mandata. Dico tibi, filia: quicumque fide et voluntate perfecta legit haec verba : Iesu miserere mei, magis mihi acceptus est, quam is qui mille versus sine attentione pronuntiat» (Revel. 1. 6, c. i i). Itidem Dominus ait ad beatam Gertrudem :(< Quamvis animabus purgandis multum prosit, quidquid pro earum remedio fit, legendo officium seu vigilias dcfunctorum aliasque orationes ; magis tamen eas iuvat et maiorem relaxationem iis quandoque obtinet oratio paucissimis verbis ex ardenti affectu fusa.» Sed propter haec verba Domini nullus prolixas preces, quas lcgere obligatus est, omittere debet, nisi ex iusta necessitate illas omittere cogatur. Oportet enim eas orationes, quae ex debito et oboedientia legendae sunt ac bene legi possunt, semper aliis orationum exercitiis praeferre.

9. Once also, when St Gertrude was confined to her bed by illness, and was unable to say her office, or even, according to her desire, to say the whole angelical salutation in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary, she yet endeavoured often to repeat at least these words: Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee.* Whereupon, the Virgin Mother of God appeared to her, clothed in a mantle marvellously adorned with golden flowers, which represented the salutations recited by her with difficulty; and in them shone forth brilliantly the pious affection with which she had desired to salute the glorious Virgin. There shone forth also the holy discretion with which she had recited those words only, when she felt herself unable to do more ; and the entire confidence with which she trusted that the Mother of our Lord would graciously accept this her little service.

9. Ipsa sancta Gcrtrudis aliquando aegrotans et lecto decumbens, cum horas suas legere non posset neque etiam, iuxta desiderium suum, ad honorem beatissimae Virginis Mariae valeret dicere ex integro Salutationem Angelicam, conata est tamen saepius iterare saltem haec verba: «Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum.» Hinc Virgo 1)eipara ei apparuit, induta pallio aureis floribus mire exornato, quibus designabantur salutationes ab ista cum labore lectae; et in his excellentissime relucebat pius affectus, quo ipsam gloriosam Virginem salutare desicleraverat. Relucebat etiam sancta discretio, qua illa tantum verba legerat, cum sentiret se alia legere non posse. Relucebat item integra fiducia, qua confidebat Matrem Domini benigne suscipere hoc ipsum exiguum servitium suum.

10. It was revealed to St Mechtild that he who has to recite the canonical Hours, will do it with great advantage if he unites his task of the Hours with the prayer of Christ. Therefore, when he is about to begin the Hours which he is obliged to recite, he may pray in this or in like manner, either in his heart or with his lips : “ 0 Lord Jesus, I desire for thy honour humbly to obey, faith-fully to serve thee, and purely to praise thee, in union with that most perfect attention with which thou didst praise and pray to thy Father on earth; help me by thy grace, for I can do nothing without thee.” Thus his exercise will be wonderfully ennobled, and will be highly pleasing to God, for it will be reputed to be one with the prayer of Christ, as a little water mixed with wine is reckoned to be wine.

10. Beatae Mechtildi revelatum fuit, quod is qui legere habet horas canonicas, utiliter admodum faceret, si pensum horarum suarum uniret orationibus Christi. Itaque quilibet inchoaturus horas quas legere obligatur, potest, corde vel etiam ore, hoc aut simili modo orare: «Domine Iesu, ego humiliter pro tui honore oboedire et tibi fideliter servire teque pure laudare desidero, in unione illius perfectissimae attentionis, qua tu Patrem orasti et laudasti in terris; adiuva me gratia tua, quia sine te nihil possum» (Spiritus gratiae 1. 3, c. 30). Hac ratione exercitium eius mire nobilitabitur Deoque Patri plurimum placebit, nam reputabitur quasi unum exercitium cum Christi exercitio, sicut modica aqua missa in vinum et vino unita iam vinum reputatur.

11. When the same virgin, Mechtild, was praying for a certain person who had complained to her that he often recited the canonical Hours thinking, through human infirmity, of other things, she received from our Lord this answer: “ Let him for whom thou prayest, always say these words humbly after the Hours: God be merciful to me a sinner. For, if these words of the Publican availed him so much, that on account of them he was absolved from his sins and justified, why should they not also obtain pardon for any other ? Since my mercy and clemency are not less ready to forgive now than they were then.” Happy, indeed, is he who carefully fulfils his task of the Hours both by willing and humble obedience, and by reciting all the sacred words; for he is not voluntarily distracted, though he may suffer distraction of heart.

11. Cum eadem virgo Mechtildis oraret pro quodam, qui conquestus apud ipsam fuerat, quod horas canonicas frequenter, ex humana infirmitate cogitando alia, legeret, tale a Domino responsum

accepit :«Ille, pro quo oras, dicat semper post horas hacc verba humiliter: Deus, propitius esto mihi peccatori (Lc 18, 13). Si enim in publicano eadem verba tantum valuerunt, ut ipse a peccatis propter illa absolveretur et iustificaretur, cur non etiam cuilibet alteri vcniam impetrent? Nam misericordia et clementia mea non minus nunc parata est ignoscere, quam tunc erat» (Spiritus gratiae 1. 3, c. 3 L). Felix vero est, qui et ex bona voluntate humiliter oboediendo et sacra verba integre pronuntiando pensum horarum suarum studiose explet: is enim, etsi cordis distractionem patitur, non tamen voluntarie distrahitur.

12. St Gertrude was once saying the divine Office with the other virgins of her monastery, and was striving to pronounce every word attentively, but since she was often distracted through human infirmity, she said mournfully to herself: “ And what fruit can be derived from this endeavour, which is combined with so much inconstancy ?” The Lord, therefore, wishing to console her, showed to her his Heart, that treasury of all good and of all blessedness, and said : “ Behold, I display to the eyes of thy mind my most sweet Heart, to which thou shalt confidently commend all things which, of thyself, thou art unable to accomplish, that they may be fulfilled for thee; for thus will they all appear very perfect in my sight. Assuredly, my divine Heart, knowing the frailty and inconstancy of man, with desire always expects that thou shouldst, if not in words, at least in thought, commit to it whatever thou canst not of thyself perform, to be supplied, amended, and perfected for thee.” Therefore, after finishing the Hours, which must be read not only with the mind, but also pronounced with the lips, anyone may pray in this or in like manner : “O good Jesus, be merciful to me a sinner. I commend my tepid and distracted service to thy most sweet Heart, to be amended and perfected, and I offer it to thee for the salvation of all men, in union with that most perfect attention wherewith thou didst on earth praise and pray to thy Father. Hearken, I beseech thee, satisfy and supply for me most fully. Amen.”

12. Virgo Gertrudis divinum officium cum ceteris monasterii sui virginibus aliquando peragens singula verba attente pronuntiare studebat, sed cum ex infirmitate humana saepius mente distraheretur, inaesta dixit intra se :«Et quis fructus provenire poterit ex hoc studio, cui tanta instabilitas coniuncta est?» (Insinuat. 1. 3, c. 2 5.) Dominus igitur volens eam consolari, praesentavit ei dignissimum illud totius boni totiusque beatitudinis gazophylacium, nempe Cor sutim, et dixit :« Ecce Cor meum dulcissimum oculis mentis tuae praetendo, cui omnia, quae per te minus supplere sufficis, fiducialiter pro te perficienda commendabis; ita enim omnia coram oculis meis apparebunt valde perfecta. ... Ccrte ipsum Cor meum divinum, humanam fragilitatcm instabilitatemquc cognoscens, semper cum desiderio exspectat, ut tu, si non verbis, saltem cogitatione committas ei pro te supplendum, emendandum ac perficiendum, quidquid minus per te perficere vales.» Igitur quilibet post horas expletas (quae quidem non mente tantutn legi, sed etiam ore pronuntiari debent) potest hoc aut consimili modo orare :«Ijone Iesu, propitius esto mihi peccatori. Ego tepidum et distractum servitium meum commendo mellifluo Cordi tuo emendandum ac perficiendum, tibique ipsum offero ad salutem omnium, in unione illius perfectissimae attentionis, qua tu Patrem orasti et laudasti in terris. Responde, quaeso, satisfac et supple pro me plenissime.» Amen.

13. Another time, St Gertrude, feeling great difficulty in performing a certain work, said to God the Father, “ 0 Lord, I offer thee this work, to thine eternal praise, through thine only Son, in the virtue of the Holy Ghost “; and she understood that as a thing looks green or yellow, seen through a green or yellow glass, so everything which is offered to the Father through the Son, and everything which is humbly asked through the Son, is made magnificent beyond all human estimation, and becomes most acceptable to God the Father. 35

13. Cum ipsa virgo Gertrudis, sentiens in quodam opere magnam difficultatem, diceret Deo Patri : «Domine, hoc opus offero tibi in laudem aeternam, per unicum Filium tuum, in virtute Spiritus Saneti»; intellexit, quod, quidquid pie offertur Patri per Filium, quidquid item humiliter petitur per Filiutn, illud mirifice supra humanam aestimationem nobilitatur et redditur Deo Patri acceptum, quemadmodum viride vel aureum apparet, quidquid per vitrum aut gemmam viridis aureive coloris conspicitur.


Caput IV.

Defectuum quotidianorum censura et remedia,
cum solatio in tentationibus.

1.. The fight against daily shortcomings is ordained for the greater increase of piety. The shortcomings of superiors are permitted for the greater merit both of themselves and of their subjects. The humble avowal and correction of daily faults are an excellent preparation for the increase of grace. Frequent faults do not lessen the perfection of love. Love and resignation quickly blot out the stains of daily faults. Impatience and anger should be quelled by thinking of Christ’s meekness in his sufferings. The correction of daily faults, made with sorrow and love, is most pleasing to God. We should have a real fear of God’s judgements, yet tempered with holy trust. Evil thoughts, carefully quelled, purify and cleanse the soul. 10. The victory over impure imaginations is best attained by patience and hard work. 11. Even the holiest of God’s servants were afflicted with grievous temptations in this life, that they might win a greater reward in the next.

1. Pugna contra defectus quotidianos relicta nobis est ob maius lucrum pietatis. 2. Defectus praesidentium perntittuotur, ut tam se ipsos quam sibi subditos ad maiorem perducant profectum. 3. Humilis retractatio quotidianorum defectuum insignis est dispositio ad gratiac augmentum. 4. Eam frequentanti defectus ipsi non minuunt perfectionis integritatem. 5. Amor fervens et plcna resignatio cito absorbent tnaculas ex defectibus quotidianis contractas. 6. Impatientia et ira reprimenda est ex considcratione mansuetudinis ct passionis Christi. 7. Retractatio quotidianorutu defectuum cum maerore et amore facta Deo est gratissima. S. Iudiciutn Dei timendum revera est, sed moderate tamen. 9. Cogitationes pravae caute repressae purgant et mundant animam. ro. Gravissimus conflictus impurarum imaginum vincitur optime pia resignatione et sancta occupatione. t[. Etiam sanctissimi famuli Dei gravibus tentationibus in hac vita irnpugnantur, ut copiosius praetnientur in coelis.

1. ST GERTRUDE, severely rebuking and reproving herself for some slight fault, earnestly besought God to enable her to amend it, and completely rid herself of it. To whom the Lord lovingly replied : “ And wherefore wishest thou that I should be deprived of much honour, and that thou shouldst miss a great reward ? For thou gainest a great reward every time that thou, acknowledging that or a similar defect, resolvest to avoid it for the future; and, whenever anyone for love of me labours to overcome his faults, he offers to me as much honour and fidelity as a soldier offers to his king by strenuously opposing his enemies in war, and manfully overcoming them.”

1. Eadem virgo Gertrudis, propter minutiorem quendam .defectum sese multum arguens ac reprehendens, desideravit et petiit a Domino, ut illum penitus in ipsa emendaret atque ab ipsa auferret. Cui benignus Dominus blande respondit: «Et quare velles, ut et ego magno honore privarer et tu ingenti praemio careres? Nam grande nimis praemium lucraris, quotiescumque illum vel similem defectum recognoscens proponis de cetero eum vitare; et quandocumque quis stndet pro amore meo defectus suos devincere, tantum mihi honoris ac fidelitatis exhibet, quantum miles exhiberet domino suo, si strenue se ipsum in bello inimicis opponeret eosque viriliter expugnaret atque prosterneret» (Insinuat. 1. 3, c. 58).

2. When the same holy virgin was praying because of the defects of a person who was at the head of the community, our Lord appeared to her and said : “ Out of the abundance of my divine pity, sweetness, and love, by which I have chosen this community, I permit some defects to remain in those who preside over it, in order that the merit of the community may be increased. For there is much more merit in submitting to one whose faults are known, than to one whose works seem perfect in every respect. I allow superiors to have some faults, and to be sometimes blemished by the diversity of their cares, that so they may be the more humbled. The merit of subjects is increased as much by the defects as by the perfection of those who govern them; and, in like manner, the merit of those who govern well is as much increased by the progress as by the defects of their subjects.” By these words of our Lord, St Gertrude understood the super-abounding kindness of the divine wisdom, which so carefully provides for the salvation of the elect, permitting faults in them, in order that he may lead them to greater perfection. It seemed, therefore, to her, that even if the goodness of God shone forth in no other matter more than in this, yet God could not be sufficiently praised by every creature.

2. Orante eadem virgine pro defectu cuiusdam personae, quae Congregationi praeerat, Dominus illi apparens dixit :«Ego ex abundantia pietatis, dulcedinis et dilectionis meae divinae, qua Congregationem hanc ejegi, permitto inhaerere aliquos defectus etiam illis qui praesunt, ut inde meritum Congregationis augeatur. Nam multo maior virtus est subici ei cuius defectus cognoscitur, quam alteri cuius opera per omnia probata videntur. Ego sino superiores habere aliquos defectus et ex divcrsitate curarum quandoque maculari, ut tnagis humilientur. Subditarum meritum crescit tam ex defectibus quam ex profectibus earum quae praesunt, et similiter meritum illarum quae bene praesunt, crescit tam ex profectibus quam ex defectibus subditarum» (Insinuat. 1. 3, c. 83). In quibus verbis Domini Gertrudis intellexit supereffluentem divinae sapientiae pietatem, quae tam subtiliter salutem electorum disponit, permittens in iis esse defectus, ut ipsos ad maiores ducat profectus. Videbatur itaque sibi, quod, etiamsi bonitas Dei numquam in alia re magis claruisset quam in ista, omnis tamen creatura Deum satis laudare non posset.

3. St Gertrude being confined to bed at the approach of Christmas, gave way to impatience, through human frailty. And she sorrowfully revolved her fault in her mind, thinking herself most unworthy of any of the gifts of God, since because of some little negligence of those who attended her she had fallen into such impatience. While doing this, she was divinely taught that every thought by which man sorrow-fully renounces his faults, after fitting penance, prepares and disposes him to receive the grace of God—concerning which God says in Scripture: In whatever hour the sinner shall be converted, and repent, I will no more remember all his sins.

3. Instante festo Nativitatis Domini lesu ipsa Gertrudis (ib. 1. 4, c. 2), propter infirmitatem lecto decumbens, inciderat ex fragilitate humana in impatientiam. Cum igitur cum maerore revolveret in corde suo illum suum defectum, reputans se omnibus Dei donis nimis indignam, propterea quod ex parva quadam neglegentia sibi servientium prolapsa ad tantam impatientiam fuerat, divinitus edocta est, quod omnes cogitationes, quibus homo cum maerore suum retractat defectum, post digne peractam poenitentiam (de qua Deus in Scriptura dicit: In quacumque hora conversus fuerit peccator et ingemuerit, omnium peccatorum eius non recordabor amplius) nihil aliud sunt quam quaedam dispositio et praeparatio ad gratiam Dei recipiendam.

4. Again, St Gertrude, through inordinate sadness and impatience, once experienced such darkness that she seemed to have lost in great part the joy of the divine Presence. This darkness was, however, afterwards mitigated through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. When, therefore, being graciously visited by our Lord, she reflected on her impatience and her other faults, she was much displeased with herself, and said to our Lord in great dejection of mind : “ 0 Lord, I beseech thee, put an end to my miseries, for I myself put no end to them. Deliver me, and set me beside thee, and let any man’s hand fight against me.” And our Lord, having compassion on her desolation, enquired of her whether she would choose any delight in the world rather than him, and would prefer anything to him. To which she answered : “ Far, far be it from me that I should ever prefer anything to thee, the true, supreme, unchanging, and eternal Good.” And the Lord said : “ Since thou dost prefer nothing to me, and desirest ever to submit thy will to mine, thou art clearly in grace and charity; wherefore, then, speakest thou so despondingly on account of thy sins ?” For the Scripture is witness that charity covereth a multitude of sins.t

4. Rursum haec virgo Gertrudis aliquando ex inordinata quadam tristitia simul et impatientia tantas incurrerat tenebras, ut magna ex parte iucunditatem divinae praesentiae videretur amisisse, quae tamen tenebrae postea per interventionem beatae Mariae Virginis fucrunt teniperatae atque mitigatae. Cum ergo benignius a Domino visitata recoleret illam suam impatientiam ac ceteros defectus suos, ipsa sibi valde displicens, cum magna spiritus deiectione dixit ad Dominum :« Obsecro, Domine, impone finem malis meis, nam ego illis nullum finem impono. Libera me Domine, et pone me iuxta te, et cuiusvis manus pugnet contra me» (Iob i 7, 3). Cuius desolationi Dominus compatiens scitatus est ab ea, utrum delectationem aliquam in mundo potius eligeret quam se, et aliquid sibi praeponerc vellet. Ad quod illa :« Absit, absit, ut ego tibi vero, summo, stabili et aeterno bono aliquid praeferam.» Et Dominus: «Cum nihil mihi praeponas et voluntatem tuam voluntati meae semper subicere cupias, constat te in caritate et gratia esse : cur ergo propter peccata tua tam desperanter loqueris?» Nam Scriptura teste caritas operit multitudinem peccatorum ( I Petr 4, 8).

5. When St Gertrude again gave way to impatience, and was, nevertheless, most graciously visited by God, she said at length to our Lord : “ 0 most sweet God, how couldst thou bestow such consoling gifts of thy grace on me, who am now so unworthy and so unprepared ?” The Lord answered : “ Love constrained me.” And she said : “ Where are the stains contracted by me through the impatience which I felt and showed somewhat in my words ?” To which the Lord replied : “ The fire of my divinity hath consumed them.” Then she said : “ 0 most merciful God, since thy grace so often remedies my vileness, I should wish to know whether my soul will require to be purified after death from this impatience and from similar faults.” As our Lord in his mercy delayed answering, she added : “ Verily, 0 Lord, if the glory of thy justice required it, I would willingly of my own accord even go down into hell, that so I might make thee more worthy amends for my faults; but if it is more becoming to the bounty and mercy of thy nature that, by thy love, my stains be utterly effaced and reduced to naught, I fearlessly beseech thee that thy love may fully cleanse my soul from these stains.” The Lord then, with his accustomed mercy, quickly granted her petition and desire.

5. Cum eadem virgo Gertrudis iterum incidisset in impatientiam, et tamen Deus benignissime eam visitaret, tandem dixit ad Dominum :« O dulcissime Deus, quomodo potuisti mihi nunc tam indignae atque imparatae tam consolatoria gratiae tuae dona impertiri?» Respondit Dominus: «Amor coegit me.» Et illa: «Ubinam sunt maculae illae a tne contractae per impatientiam, quam incurri et aliquantulum verbis ostendi?» Ad quod Dominus: «Ignis divinitatis meae consumpsit eas.» Tunc illa: «O clementissime Deus, cum toties gratia praeveniat vilitatem meam, vellem scire, utrum praedicta impatientia et similes defectus post mortem in anima mea purgari debebunt. » Cui cum Dominus benigne dissimulando non responderet, ipsa subiunxit: «Vere Domine, si decor iustitiae tuae exigeret, sponte et libens descenderem etiam in infernum, ut eo digniorem emendationem tibi pro culpis meis exhiberem; si vero naturali bonitati et misericordiae tuae magis congruit, ut maculae meae amore tuo prorsus consumantur atque ad nihilum redigantur, liberrime exposcam, ut idem  Nimirum salva semper Dei amicitia, qui gradus resignationis eminentissimus saepe iam occurrit et Deo placet. Est autcm amorosa ista resignatio remedium efficax ad evadendum realum omnem, tam culpae quam poenae. amor tuus ipsas animae meae maculas plene expurget.» Dominus igitur solita pietate sua petitioni ct desiderio eius promptissime satisfecit.

6. Christ, gently reproving St Bridget for the anger and impatience which had disturbed her, said: “ I, thy Creator and thy Spouse, have endured stripes for thee; but thou wert so impatient that thou couldst not endure even words. Standing before the judge when I was accused, I was silent, and opened not my mouth; but thou didst raise thy voice in bitter answers and reproaches. Thou oughtest to have borne all things patiently for my sake, who for thee was transfixed with nails; thou oughtest by thy patience to have won to a better mind him who had erred. Henceforth, be more cautious, and when thou art provoked by anyone to anger, speak not readily, until the anger shall have been removed from thy mind. When the disturbance of thy mind has passed away, and thou hast carefully weighed the cause of that disturbance, thou wilt be able to speak with gentleness. But if thou canst do no good by speaking, and there would be no sin in being silent, it will then be better and more meritorious for thee to hold thy peace.”

6. Christus leniter reprehendens sanctam Birgittam propter impatientiam et iram, qua perturbata fuerat, ait :«Ego creator et sponsus tuus pro te sustinui verbera, tu vero ita impatiens fuisti, ut non potueris portare verba. Ego stans ante iudicem cum accusarer, tacui et non aperui os meum; sed tu acerbius respondendo et exprobrando vocem tuam nimis exaltasti. Tu debueras omnia patienter tolerare propter me, qui clavis affixus fui pro te : debueras per patientiatn tuam eum, qui erravit, ad meliora provocare. Sis ergo posthac cautior et, ubi ab aliquo ad iram provocata fueris, non facile loquaris, donec ira ab animo tuo semota fuerit. Transacta autem animi commotione et causa ipsius commotionis diligenter pensata poteris loqui cum mansuetudine. Quodsi loquendo nihil proficeres et tacendo non peccares, melius tunc faceres ct maius meritum acquireres, si sileres» (Revel. 1. 8, c. 6).

7. St Gertrude was given to understand that the divine Heart feels ineffable sweetness each time that anyone reflects with sorrow on his having by distraction of mind, or by the dissipation of useless words andworks, fallen away from the Lord his God, who so graciously surrounds him with blessings at every hour and moment. She understood that when a man says within himself these or similar words, with compunction of heart : “ Alas ! miserable that I am, how have I wasted this time ! how little have I fixed my thoughts on God, who loveth me !” and earnestly resolves to avoid such negligences and offences for the future, he becomes truly the tabernacle of God, in which the majesty of the Most High deigns to dwell, as in his own abode. And thus are our shortcomings supplied by the most holy conversation of the Son of God; and the faithful man is renewed in holiness of life; and hence there is joy in heaven, because the infinite goodness of God deigns to find delight in a truly penitent soul.

7. Intellexit virgo Gertrudis cor divinum inaestimabili dulcedine affici, quoties aliquis cum maerore recolit se per evagationem mentis vel per verborutn operumve inutilium dissolutionem decidisse a Domino Deo suo, qui ipsum singulis horis ac momcntis tarn benignc beneficiis praevenit et subsequitur. Intellesit, quod, quando homo corde compuncto apud se dicit haec aut similia verba: «Heu me miserum! quomodo tempus istud consumpsi? quam parum Deo amatori meo intendi!» et curn desiderio proponit de cetero vitare huiusmodi neglegentias atque offensas, efficitur revera tabernaculum 1)ei, in quo, tamquam in domo propria, habitarc dignatur Dominus summae maiestatis. Sicquc per sanctissimam Filii Dei conversationem supplentur neglegentiae et sancta vita renovatur in homine fideli: atque inde fit gaudium in coelo, eo quod infinita Dei bonitas dignatur in anima vere poenitente suas habere delicias.

8. The Lord Jesus said to St Bridget : “ Wherefore, 0 daughter, art thou anxious and disquieted ?” She answered: “ Because I am afflicted with many unprofitable and evil thoughts, which I cannot drive away, and the fear of thy judgements oppresses me.” Then the Lord said: “ This is true justice; that as thou hast formerly taken delight in the vanities of the world against my will, so thou shouldst now be molested by various perverse thoughts against thy own will. Do thou, however, fear my judgements with moderation and discretion, ever firmly trusting in me thy God. For thou must know for certain, that evil thoughts, which the mind resists and detests, are the purification and crown of the soul. If thou art unable to avoid them, bear it patiently, and let thy will strive against them. And, although thou consent not to them, fear lest thou take pride in that and fall; for whosoever stands, stands by the power of God alone.”

8. Dominus Iesus ait ad Birgittatn: «Cur turbaris et sollicita es, f lia ?» Respondit illa :« Quia diversis et inutilibus malisque affligor cogitationibus quas removere nequeo, et terror iudicii tui me angit.» Tunc Dominus: «Haec», inquit, «vera est iustitia, ut, sicut prius delectabaris in vanitatibus mundi contra voluntatem meam, ita modo tibi molestae sint variae perversaeque cogitationes contra tuam voluntatem. Verumtamen time iudicium meum moderate et cum discrctione, firmiter semper confidens in me Deo tuo. Certissime enim scire debes malas cogitationes, quibus mens reluctatur et quas detestatur, esse purgationem animae atque coronam. Si tu illas prohibere non potes, fer patienter ac voluntate iis renitere. Et quamvis ipsis non consentias, time nihilominus ne inde superbias et cadas; nam, quicumque stat, solius Dei virtute stat» (Revel. 1. 3, c. 19).

9. Again, the Lordsaid to St Bridget: “ In order that man may understand his own weakness, and the strength he receives from me, it is necessary that he should some-times be allowed to be attacked by evil thoughts; and if he consents not to them, they become the purification of his mind, and the safeguard of his virtues. And although they are hard to bear, they heal the soul, and conduct it to eternal life, which cannot be gained without sufferings. The soul should, therefore, labour diligently, lest it consent to them, or take any pleasure in them.” Some are permitted to be more violently tempted in the beginning of their conversion, others in middle life, and others in old age. Hence the Mother of God said to St Bridget: “ Thou dost wonder why temptations multi-ply upon thee in thy old age, and why thou feelest now those which thou didst not experience either in thy youth or during thy married life. This comes to pass that thou mayest know that thou art nothing, and canst do nothing, without my Son. For, unless he kept thee, there is no sin so grievous that thou wouldst not commit.”

9. Rursum dixit Dominus ad eandem Birgittam : «Ut homo intelligat infirmitatetn quam habet a se ipso et fortitudinem quam habet a me, necesse est, ut quandoque permittatur pulsari pravis cogitationibus; quibus si non consentit, illae efficiuntur ei purgatio animae et custodia virtutum. Et licet valde amarae sint ad ferendum, sanant tamen anitnam et ducunt eam ad aeternam vitain, quae non potest haberi sine amaritudinibus. Diligenter vero laborare debet anima, ne iis consentiat aut in iis delectetur» (ib. 1. 2, c. 27). Nonnulli in initio conversionis suae, alii in vitae medio, atque alii in senectute gravius tentari permittuntur. Hinc Mater Dei eidem Birgittae ait: «Tu miraris, cur in senectute tentationes tibi accrescant et eas modo sentias, quas nec in iuventute nec in coniugio experta es. Hoc ideo fit, ut cognoscas te nihil esse et nihil posse sine Filio meo. Nisi enim ille te servasset, non est aliquod peccatum tam grave, quod non commisisses» (ib. 1. 9, c. 94).

10. The holy virgin St Catherine was, by the permission of God, bitterly tormented for several days by carnal temptations. For the evil spirits thrust themselves upon her eyes and ears, not only by the suggestion of obscene thoughts and the illusions of dreams, but also by manifest apparitions. They pictured to her images of men and women embracing each other immodestly in her sight, and by gestures, words, and actions, provoking her to wantonness. Thus was this most chaste virgin forced to see and hear what she most abhorred; and though she shut her eyes, those most filthy and abominable images yet remained before her. At the same time, she was deprived even of spiritual consolations, and felt not her usual fervour of devotion. She did not, however, on account of these troubles, omit her pious exercises, but persevered most diligently in prayer to the utmost of her power, saying to herself: “ Thou, a most vile sinner, art unworthy of any consolation. What then, would it not be enough for thee if thou wert preserved from damnation, even though thou shouidst have to bear these crosses and this darkness during thy whole life ? Surely, thou didst not choose to serve God that thou mightest receive consolations from him here, but that thou mightest enjoy him for ever in heaven. Arise, therefore, and pursue thy accustomed exercises, and remain faithful to thy Lord.”

10. Sancta virgo Catharina 1 Dei permissione pluribus diebus acerrime divexata fuit carnalibus tentationibus. Nam maligni spiritus eam non solum per obscoenarum cogitationum immissiones et somniorum illusiones, sed etiam per manifestas apparitiones sese oculis et auribus eius ingerebant. Effingebant imagines turpissimas, quibus illam provocarent ad libidinem atque luxuriam. Ad hunc modum castissima virgo cogebatur videre atque audire id quod maxime horrebat; et licet oculos clauderet, nihilominus perdurabant spurcissimae et abominandae illae imagines. Inter haec etiam spiritualibus consolationibus destituta erat, et solitum devotionis fervorem minime sentiebat. Attamen propter huiusmodi molestiam non omisit sua pia exercitia, sed diligentissime instabat orationi sicut poterat, ac se ipsam ita alloquebatur: «Tu vilissima peccatrix nullis consolationibus digna es. Quid enim ? nonne tibi fuerit satis, si non damneris, etiamsi toto vitae tuae tempore has cruces et tenebras ferre deberes? Certe non ideo elegisti servire Deo, ut hic consolationes ab eo accipias, sed ut in coelis illo fruaris in aeternum. Surge igitur et consueta exercitia tua prosequere Docninoque tuo fidelis permane.»

. Afterwards, when one demon maliciously said to her: “ We will not desist, but will vex thee till thy death, unless thou consentest to us,” she answered : “ I have chosen affliction for my refreshment, nor will it be difficult, but pleasant to me to endure these and other sufferings for the honour of my Lord Jesus Christ, so long as it shall please him.” At these words the whole troop of evil spirits fled in confusion, and a brilliant light, in which was the holy Virgin, illumined the place, and the Lord appearing to her said : “ While thy heart was assailed by evil thoughts, I was hidden in the midst of it, and prevented thee from consenting to them or taking pleasure in them. I permitted thee to be tempted as much as was for thy good, that, with my help, thou mightest over-come.

. Postea cum unus 1 Ex c. i t Primae partis vitae eius. daemon proterviter illi diceret :« Non desisternus, sed ad mortem usque tibi molesti erimus, nisi nobis consentias» ; respondit illa :« Ego afflictionem elegi pro refrigerio, nec difficile, immo iucundum mihi erit et has et alias poenas pro honore Domini mei lesu Christi sustinere, quamdiu ei placuerit.» Ad quae verba tota cohors malignorum spirituum confusa discessit, et lux ingens locum, in quo sancta virgo erat, illustravit, Dominusque ei apparens dixit: «Quando cor tuum sordidis cogitationibus abundabat, ego intus in medio eius latebam et efficiebam, ne illis consentires aut delectareris. Permittebam te tentari, quantum saluti tuae expediebat, ut me adiuvante vinceres.»

11. The virgin St Gertrude was once most clearly shown how God sometimes permits a man to be grievously assailed by many vices, in order that he may in the end more happily triumph, and obtain greater glory in heaven. She saw that many were faithful followers of chastity and purity (such were the Apostles of Christ), who indeed avoided all things that were open to suspicion, but admitted, as was reasonable, what was not open to it. And these, if they are assailed by any temptation, striving manfully with the help of God’s grace, overcome it: but if, from human frailty, they sometimes give way a little, they labour to efface their fault by worthy fruits of penance.

11. Virgo Gertrudis in spiritu aliquando clarissime cognovit, quomodo Deus nonnumquam permittat hominem pluribus vitiis gravissime impugnari, ut is postea de triumpho felicius exsultet et maiorem gloriam in coelo obtineat. Cognovit plerosque esse eximios castitatis et puritatis sectatores (quales fuerunt apostoli Christi) qui suspecta quidem omnia fugiunt, sed ea quae suspecta minime sunt, rationabiliter admittunt. Et hi, si interea tentatione aliqua pulsentur, viriliter certando (adiuvante gratia D2i) ipsam tentationem devincunt; si vero interdum ex humana fragilitate aliquantulum succumbunt, student hoc dignis poenitentiae fructibus delere.


The blessed Augustine thus exhorts combatants of this sort : “ Attend, 0 ye saints who are fighting. I speak to combatants; those who fight, understand; whosoever fighteth not, understandeth me not. The chaste man wishes that on no account should any desire contrary to chastity arise in his members. He wishes for peace, but he hath it not yet. For if he had attained to this, that no adverse desire should arise, there would be no enemy with whom to strive; nor is a victory expected where the enemy is already conquered and triumphed over. But now is the battle, whilst the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh.* We do not the things that we would. Wherefore ? Because we would that there were no lusts, but it cannot be. Whether we will or no, we have them;t whether we will or no, they excite, they entice, they provoke, they molest, they will arise, they are repressed, they are not yet extinguished. For the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh, so that you do not the things that you would. What do ye desire, 0 saints ! 0 good combatants ! 0 valiant soldiers of Christ ! what do ye desire ? That evil lusts should in nowise exist. But it cannot be. Carry on the war, hope for the triumph. Do what ye are able to do, as saith the same Apostle in another place: Let not sin reign in your mortal body, so as to obey the lusts thereof.$ He saith not, let there be no sin; but, let it not reign. So long as thou livest, there must be sin in thy members; only let the power be taken away from it, let not its commands be obeyed.” Thus saith St Augustine.§

I-luiusmodi proeliatores beatus Augustinus ita exhortatur: «Attendite, sancti quicumque pugnatis. Proeliantibus loquor : intelligunt qui pugnant, non me intelligit qui r]on pugnat. . . Quid vult homo castus? Ut nulla omnino surgat in membris eius concupiscentia adversaria castitati. Pacem vult, sed nondum habet. Quando enim ad illud ventum fuerit, ut nulla omnino exsurgat concupiscentiaadversanda, nullus erit hostis cum quo luctemur: nec exspectatur ibi victoria, quia de hoste iam victo triumphatur. . . . Modo autem quando caro concupiscit adversus spiritum et spiritus adversus carnem, contentio mortis est. Non quod volumus, facimus. Quare? Quia volumus iit nullae sint concupiscentiae, sed non possumus. Velimus nolimus, habemus illas; velimus nolimus, titillant, blandiuntur, stimulant, infestant, surgere volunt; premuntur, nondum exstinguuntur. . . . Caro enim concupiscit adversus spiritum et spiritus adversus carnem, ut non ea quae vultis faciatis. Quid enim vultis, o sancti, o boni proeliatores, o fortes milites Christi, quid vultis? Ut non sint omnino concupiscentiae malae. Sed non potestis. Exercete bellum, sperate triumphum. . . . Facite quod potestis, quod ait ipse apostolus alio loco: Non regnet peccatum in vestro mortali corpore ad oboediendum desideriis eius. . . . Non, inquit, regnet peccatum in vestro mortali corpore. Quamdiu enim portatis mortale corpus, pugnat contra vos peccatum 1; sed non regnet. . . . Si coeperitis oboedire, regnat.» 2 Haec Augustinus.























I. God’s kindness towards sinners.; Christ is ready to suffer again for souls.; And to suffer as many times as there are souls in hell.; Christ ever stands imploring the Father on our behalf.;He awaits the sinner’s conversion with the same burning love with which he bore the cross for him.; One groan from a truly penitent heart is enough to win the pardon of God.; Swift sorrow wins swift pardon.; Sinners are not to be rashly scorned.; God’s mercy ever runs out to meet the truly penitent.; The sins of the elect are not unto everlasting death.; II. God leaves no good work unrewarded.; 1.2. God’s compassionate love shines forth in the least of his saints.; Despair is an evil judgement of God’s goodness, an insult offered to God.; Besides contrition, confession is necessary.;God’s pardon towards a very great sinner for whom St Bridget prayed.; The privilege of holy Mary as the advocate of sinners.; Mary is the mother of mercy and the refuge of sinners.; She mercifully receives all sinners who lovingly invoke her.; The wounds and death of Christ are the weapons for fighting despair.; 2.0. Christ’s passion devoutly offered wins pardon for those who are truly sorry.; 2.1. Ponder, therefore, the mercy of God. Yet defer not conversion through hope in his mercy.

1. Exemplum memorabile divinae benignitatis erga pcccatores ex revelatione facta sancto Carpo episcopo. 2. Si expediret saluti cuiusvis animae, Christus pro ea iterum ascenderet crucem. 3. Passionem eandem subiret toties, quot sunt in inferno animae, si opus esset. 4. Memoriale suavissimum, quod Christus semper assistat Patri pro nobis interpellans. 5. Eodemque amoris affectu nunc exspectans conversionem nostram, quo fuerat olim pro eadem crucifixus. 6. Unicus gemitus vere poenitentis sufficit Deo ut veniam indulgeat. 7. Velox poenitentia velociter obtinet remissionem peccatorum. 8. Non aversemur temere peccatores : qui enim hodie videtur pessimus, poterit cras esse optimus ; 9. Etenim Dei misericordia semper est poenitentibus obvia. to. AdmirabiliS est Dei erga electos gratia, quos ex cius libro ne gravissima quidem peccata expungunt, eo quod praevideatur ea non fore finalia, sed ante morlem per poenitentiam deletum iri. 11. Cum nullmn opus pium relinquat Deus indonatum, pie potest credi iis plerumque Deum in agone mortis inspirare poenitentiam, qui atiquid boni pro ipsius amore in vita egerint. 12. Pietas Dei relucet in gloria, etiam sanctorum minimo collata. 13. Desperatio Detun maxime inhonorat, qui iubet nos de eo sentire in bonitate, hoc est, quod sit indulgentissimus. 14. Contritio non sufficit sine confessione ; debet esse confessio in voto, suo tempore in  re. 15. Mira Dei indulgentia erga maximum peccatorem, pro quo S. Birgitta oravit. 16. Praerogativa beatissimae Virginis intercedentis pro peccatoribus bonae voluntatis, ut semper exaudiatur; 17. Nempe, quia est mater misericordiae, ideo miserorum est refugium. 18. Omnesque ipsam pie invocantes suscipit. 19. Contra desperationem obicienda est memoria sanguinis Christi;’ quo nos abluit a peccatis. 20. Qui passionem Christi devote per fidem et poenitentiarn offert Deo, veniam ohtinebit peccatorum. 21. Ita ex his omnibus disce Dei misericordiam ut agnoscas tamen formidabilem eius iustitiam erga neglegentes.




[1] Nihil Obstat: F. Aidanus Elrington, O.P., D.Sc.,F. Hilarius Carpenter, O.P., S.T.L., B.LITT. Imprimiatur: F. Beda Jarrett, Prov. O.P., S.T.L., M.A. Nihil Obstat: Georgius D. Smith, S.T.D., Censor deputatus. Imprimiatur: edm. Can. Surmont, Vicarius generalis. Blackfriars, Oxford. Westminster, Die Is. June, 1926.




xcxxcxxc  F ” “ This Webpage was created for a workshop held at Saint Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, California in 1990....x....   “”.