The bride of God saw the Queen of Heaven, the Mother of God, wearing a priceless and beautiful crown on her head and her wonderfully shining and indescribably beautiful hair hanging down over her shoulders, with a golden tunic shining with an indescribable light, and a blue mantle of the color azure or a clear sky. When the bride of God, Saint Bridget, was full of wonder at such a lovely sight, and in her wonderment was standing there totally enraptured and amazed, then blessed John the Baptist appeared to her and said: “Listen closely to what all this signifies. The crown signifies that she is the Queen and Lady and Mother of the King of angels; the hair hanging down signifies that she is an unstained and pure virgin; the sky colored mantle signifies that all worldly things were as dead in her heart and will; the golden tunic signifies that she was fervent and burning in the love of God, both inwardly and outwardly. Her Son, Jesus Christ, placed seven lilies in her crown, and between the lilies he placed seven gems.
The first lily is her humility; the second lily is her fear; the third, her obedience; the fourth, her patience; the fifth, her steadfastness; the sixth, her kindness, for she is kind and gives to all who beg of her with love and a will to amend; the seventh, her mercy in difficulties, for in whatever difficulty a man may be in, if he calls on her with all his heart, he will receive mercy and help from her because she is full of compassion and mercy.
Between these shining lilies her Son placed seven precious gem stones. The first gem is her incomparable virtue, for there is no virtue in any other spirit or in any other body, which she does not have in a higher fashion. The second gem is her perfect purity, for the Queen of the kingdom of Heaven was so pure that from her first entrance into the world up to the final day of her death, not a single stain of sin was ever to be found in her; and none of all the devils could ever find enough impurity in her to fit on the head of a needle-point. She was truly the most pure, for it was not fitting for the King of glory to lie in any vessel but the purest, chosen before all angels and men and more pure than they. The third gem was her beauty, for God is praised constantly by his saints for his Mother’s beauty, and all the holy angels and holy souls are filled with joy over her beauty. The fourth precious gem in the crown is the Virgin Mother’s wisdom, for she is filled with all divine wisdom in God and all wisdom is fulfilled and perfected through her. The fifth gem is her power and might, for she is so powerful and strong with God in her that she can subdue anything that has been created. The sixth gem is her clarity, for she shines so clear that she even illuminates the angels, whose eyes are clearer than light, and the devils do not dare to look upon her clarity. The seventh gem is the fullness of every delight and joy and all spiritual sweetness, for her fullness is such that there is no joy that she does not increase, no delight that is not made fuller and more perfect by her and through the blessed vision of her, for she is filled with grace and mercy above all the holy saints. She is the most pure vessel in which the Bread of angels laid and in which all sweetness and all beauty is found.
Between the seven lilies in her crown, her Son placed these seven gemstones. Therefore may you, her Son’s bride, honor and praise her with all your heart, for she is in truth worthy of all praise and all honor with her Son!”
About how, on God’s exhortation, the bride of Christ chose poverty for herself and renounced riches and carnal behavior, and about the truth of the things revealed to her, and about three remarkable things that Christ showed her.
Our Lord said to his bride: “You should be like a person who leaves and like one who gathers. For you should leave riches and gather virtues, leave perishable things and gather eternal things, leave visible things and gather invisible. I shall namely give you the exultation of the soul instead of the pleasures of the flesh, the joy of heaven instead of the joy of the world, the honor of the angels instead of the honor of the world, the sight of God instead of the sight of your friends; I, the giver and Creator of all good things, will give you myself, instead of the possession of worldly goods.
Answer me on the three things I am going to ask you. First, do you want to be rich or poor in this world?” She answered: “O my Lord, I would rather be poor since riches do me no good; instead they bother and distract me very much and draw me away from serving you.” “Tell me, second, do you find anything reprehensible or false according to your conscience and heart in the words that you heard from my mouth?” She answered: “Certainly not, all your words are reasonable.” Our Lord said for the third time: “What delights you more, the sensual lust of the flesh you earlier had or the spiritual consolation and delight that you now have?” She answered: “I feel ashamed and disgraced in my heart to think of my earlier fleshly lust and it is now to me like poison and tastes all the more bitter in proportion to my earlier ardent love for it. I would rather die than ever return to such a lust; it cannot be compared to this spiritual delight and happiness.”
“Thus,” our Lord said, “you confess in your mind that all the things I have told you are true. Why then are you afraid and worried that I am delaying the things I told you would happen? Behold the prophets and remember the apostles and the holy teachers of the Church. Did they find anything in me except the truth? That is why they did not care about the world or the desire for it. Why else did the prophets foretell the future things so far in advance unless it was because God wanted them first to proclaim the words with the deeds coming after so that the ignorant should be taught in the faith? In truth, all the mysteries of my Holy Incarnation were proclaimed to the prophets before I assumed manhood and became man, even the star that went before the three kings. They believed the words of the prophet and deserved to see what they believed in, and they were made certain immediately after they saw the star. In the same way now, my words should first be announced so that, when the deeds come later, they will be believed more surely.
I showed you three things. First, the conscience of a man whose sin I revealed and proved to you by the most clear and evident signs. But why did I do so? Could I not have killed him myself? Or could I not have drowned him in a moment, if I wanted? Of course I could have. But, so that others may be instructed and my words revealed showing how just and patient I am and how unhappy this man is whom the devil rules, I endure him still. Because of his evil will of remaining in sin and through his sinful lust in it, the devil’s power over him has increased so much that neither gentle words nor harsh threats nor the fear of hell can make him turn back from his sin. And this is true justice too, because, since he always had the will of sinning, even though he did not fulfill his sin by deed, he rightly deserves to be handed over to the devil for all eternity. For the smallest sin, lusted after, is enough to damn anyone from the kingdom of Heaven, who does not repent.
I showed you two others. The devil tormented the body of one but was not in his soul. He darkened the other’s conscience through his intrigues and yet did not get into his soul and had no power over him. But now you might ask: ‘Is not the soul the same as the conscience? Is the devil not in the soul when he is in the conscience?’ By no means! The body has two eyes to see with, and even if they lose their sight, the body can still be healthy. So it is with the soul. For even though the reason and conscience are sometimes distracted and troubled, nevertheless, the soul does not always get hurt by the sin. And thus, the devil had power over his conscience but not over his soul.
I shall show you a third man whose soul and body are completely ruled by the devil, and unless he is forced by my power and by my special grace, he will never be expelled from the man or leave him. From some people, the devil goes out willingly and quickly, but out of others, only reluctantly and by force. For in some people the devil enters because of the sin of their parents or because of some hidden judgment of God; this happens for example with children and witless men. He enters into others because of their infidelity or for the sake of some other sin. From these, the devil goes out willingly if he is exorcised by people who know conjurations or the art on how to exorcise devils. If they undertake such an exorcism for the sake of vainglory or for some worldly gain, then the devil has the power of entering into the one exorcising him, or again, into the same person he got exorcised from, for neither of them had any love of God. From those whose soul and body the devil possesses completely, he never goes out, unless he is forced through my power. Just as vinegar, if mixed with a sweet and good wine, spoils all the sweetness of the wine and can never be separated from it, so too will the devil not go out of the soul whom he possesses, unless he is forced through my divine power.
What is this wine if not the human soul that was sweeter to me above all created beings and so dear to me that I let my sinews be slashed and my body lacerated to the ribs for her sake? I suffered death for her sake rather than lose her. This wine was conserved in dregs, for I placed the soul in a body where it was kept according to my will as in a sealed vessel. But now this sweet wine has been mixed with the worst vinegar, that is, with the malice of the devil, whose evilness is more bitter and abominable to me than any vinegar. By my power, this vinegar shall be separated from this man whose name I will tell you, so that I may show my mercy and wisdom through him, but my judgment and justice through the former man.”
The first man was a high-born and proud cantor who, without the pope’s permission, went to Jerusalem and was attacked by the devil. About this demon-possessed man more can be read in book III, chapter 31 and in book IV, chapter 115. The second demon-possessed man in the same chapter became a Cistercian monk. The devil tormented him so much that four men could barely hold him down. His outstretched tongue looked like an ox tongue. The shackles on his hands were invisibly broken in pieces. After a month and two days this man was cured by Saint Bridget. The third demon-possessed man was a bailiff of Ostergotland. When he was admonished to do penance, he said to the one advising him: “Cannot the owner of the house sit where he likes? The devil has my heart and my tongue, how can I do penance?” He also cursed the saints of God and died the same night without the sacraments and confession.
Our Lord’s words of admonishment to the bride about true and false wisdom, and about how good angels aid the wise who are good while devils aid the wise who are evil.