The Mother speaks: ”There are seven animals. The first has enormous horns and is quite conceited about them. It wages war against other animals but dies quickly, because the enormous size of its horns does not allow it to run with any speed but gets it entangled in briars and branches. The second animal is small with only one horn that has a precious gem beneath it. This animal cannot be caught except by a maiden. When it sees a maiden, it runs to her lap and is thus killed by her. The third animal has no joints, so it rests leaning heavily against a tree. An attentive hunter cuts the tree midway, so when the animal tries to rest in its accustomed way, the tree falls down and the animal is taken.
The fourth animal seems gentle and does not attack anyone with its feet or horns. However, anyone who smells its breath becomes a leper, because this animal is by nature completely leprous inside. The fifth animal is always fearful and foresees and suspects any traps. The sixth animal fears nothing but itself. If it sees its own shadow, it runs away from it as from death. It always wants to live and dwell in darkness and in hiding. The seventh animal does not fear anything, not even death, for it does not sense death ahead of time. This animal has four remarkable features. First, it experiences an incredible inner solace. Second, it does not worry about food, for it eats the basest things on earth. Third, it never stands still but is always running. Fourth, it rests even while walking and makes its advance in a measured way.
The first animal resembles a man who is conceited about his own dignity. Because he is slow and heavy in running toward good deeds, he gets easily caught when he is not careful. The second animal that is proud of the precious gem beneath its horn symbolizes the man who is confident in and presumptuous of the precious gem of chastity, who disdains to be moved by any warnings and regards himself as better than others. He has to be carefully on guard in order not to be caught by pride, which has the face of a maiden but a most powerful sting. The third animal, without any joints, resembles the man who lacks the joints of spiritual feelings and so gets captured by the things that please him precisely when he is expecting to take his rest in safety. The fourth animal, which is completely leprous inside, symbolizes the man who is completely leprous with pride. Anyone who joins with him in agreement becomes defiled.
The three other animals will be revealed in their time. The first animal is like a piously doubting Thomas and like a polished and square-set stone. The second is like gold in the fire and like a golden pipe kept in the finest casing. The third is like a painting that is susceptible of even nobler colors. If those immoral men denoted by the four animals above convert to me, I shall run out to meet them on the way and ease their burden. If not, I shall send them an animal swifter than a tiger to consume them. As it is written, their days shall be few, their children fatherless, and their wives widows, and their honors shall be turned into reproach and shame.”
The first animal, that is, the first bishop proud of his noble birth, was converted by the words of the Holy Spirit. He came to Rome and accompanied Lady Bridget to Naples. While they were in Benevento, he was suffering seriously from a kidney stone. The Holy Spirit spoke to him through the lady as he lay sick: ”The king of Israel was commanded to put a poultice on his wound. Let this man do likewise: May he receive into his heart perfect love for God, which is the best medicine, and he shall immediately feel healthy.” When he heard this, he made a vow and regained both his mental and physical strength. One can also read about this bishop in Book 3, Chapter 12.
The second animal, that is, the second bishop, was a man of great purity, about whom see Book 3, Chapter 13.
The third animal, that is, the third bishop, who was compared to an elephant, made a change for the better. Christ speaks again: ”What did that elephant advise? Was it not to celebrate a marriage illegally so as not to waste expenses already made, saying that a dispensation could easily be acquired from the pope? Listen now to what I say. Anyone who knowingly and deliberately sins against God, unless he shows very great contrition, will meet with God's judgment and unhappiness in the world. A person who places another's sinful burden on his own back sins more seriously, for he has neither the fear of God nor seeks the salvation of the soul. What great presumption! What a lack of charity to have the keys of justice in one's hand and to make an attempt against the keys and justice for the sake of some small corruptible gain! May he therefore hasten to appease God and bring that couple to fruitful penance and fitting absolution! Otherwise his days will be shortened, and he shall come to my judgment, and the fall of his church will be so great that it will be rebuilt with difficulty, and his clergy will suffer, and their wishes will come to naught and they themselves will be held in contempt. You, however, my daughter, shall write to the couple whom you know, and say that, unless they make amends and do something to deserve absolution, they will not bear long-lived fruit, and their children will not live many years, and that the goods they have collected will go to strangers.”
Again about the same bishop: ”This bishop came to me as humble as the son who had spent his inheritance and eaten husks and returned humbly to his father. Truly, daughter, those worldly concerns are like husks once the innermost grain, that is, God, has been expelled from the heart, when one desires meaningless and fruitless activity and prefers the world to God. However, because this bishop is already starting to get to know me and himself, I will be like a loving father to him and forget the past. I shall run out to meet midway and give him a ring for his finger and shoes for his feet and a fatted calf to eat. From this day on, my love will be more fervent in his actions, divine patience and wisdom will more perfectly be seen in him to attract his fellow men, and he will more frequently and attentively receive and honor my body. My dearest Mother, the patron of his church, has gained this gift for him.” One can read about the same man at the beginning of Chapter 130, Book 4.
The fourth animal, that is, the bishop who continued in his leprosy was summoned hence suddenly and without the sacraments. About this man, see Book 6, Chapter 97.
The fifth animal was like a square-set stone, a man temperate and prudent in every way. About him, see Book 3, Chapter 33.
The sixth animal, that is, the sixth bishop was a God-fearing and self-examining man who governed his church wisely and obtained exemptions for it from many duties. When he died, Christ said: ”The Golden scripture says that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. That is true, but I say that the fear of God is also the goal of perfection. This bishop had it, and came to the way of salvation by a salutary shortcut.”
The seventh animal, that is, the seventh bishop was a man of great abstinence. He had zeal for God and did not keep silent about the truth, neither because of fear nor affection nor injury. He surrendered his spirit while at prayer. There are several revelations about this bishop in the Life of St. Bridget. He was the Reverend Lord Hemming, Bishop of Åbo and friend to the Blessed Virgin, as is clear from Extravagantes (Book 9), Chapter 104.
A revelation about the bishop who was the successor to the second animal.
The Son of God speaks: ”Write to the bishop and tell him that rapacious birds have entered the land in order to build their nests in it. This bishop should, therefore, work together with his friends to cut their claws, so that they do not gain possession of the summits of the land nor spread out their wings among the people. Otherwise, they will use their beaks and claws to root up the fruitful areas and fly above the peaks and mountains and reduce the land to desolation and ruin.”
The Virgin Mary spoke with the bride of her Son about a certain bishop for whom the bride was praying devoutly. Here she gives noteworthy instructions and offers a virtuous model according to which true bishops should live and govern themselves and their subjects spiritually and devoutly.