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Chapter 12

Christ speaks to his bride and says: ”Tell him that if he wishes to be called a bishop in the justice of the divine judgment, he must not imitate me manners and customs of many who are now rulers of the Church. I took on a human body from a virgin in order that by words and deeds I might fulfill the law which, from eternity, had been ordained in the Godhead. I opened the gate of heaven with my heart's blood, and I so illumined the way by my words and deeds that all might use my example in order to merit eternal life. But truly, the words that I said and the deeds that I did in the world are now almost completely forgotten and neglected. For this, no one is as much a cause as the prelates of the churches. They are full of pride, greed, and the rottenness of bodily pleasure.

All of these things are contrary to my commandments and to Holy Church's honorable statutes, which my friends established out of great devotion after my ascension and after I had accomplished my will in the world. For those wicked prelates of the churches, who are filled with the malignity of an evil spirit, have left to mankind examples that are exceedingly harmful to souls; and therefore it is necessary for me to exact full justice from them by doing judgment on them, abolishing them from the book of life in heaven and placing them beside my enemy Lucifer in hell, in hellish sees that shall be the seat of their perpetual excruciation. Nevertheless, you ought to know that if anyone is willing to amend himself before death by loving me with all his heart and if he abstains from sins, then I will be prompt in showing my mercy.
Tell him also, as if on your own part, these words that follow: 'My Lord, it sometimes happens that, from a black furnace, there goes forth a beautiful flame that is useful and quite necessary for fashioning works of beauty. But that does not mean that the furnace must then be praised for its black color. The praise and honor and thanks are owed to the artist and master of those works.

It is a similar situation with me, unworthy woman that I am, if you find something useful in my advice; for then you ought continually to show infinite thanks and willing service, not to me, but to God himself, who made and makes all things and who has a perfect will to do good. My Lord, I begin by first speaking to you of those things that touch the salvation of many souls. I advise you that, if you would have God's friendship, neither you, nor any other bishop acting on your behalf, should be willing to promote anyone to sacred orders unless he has first been diligently examined by good clerics and has been found to be so suitable in his life and character that, by the testimony of wise and truthful men, he is declared worthy to receive such an office.

With diligent attention, see to it that all the bishops under you and all the suffragans of your archbishopric do the same. For no one could believe how great God's indignation is against those bishops who do not take care to know and diligently to examine the quality of those whom they promote to orders of such dignity in their bishoprics. Whether they do this at the supplication of others or out of negligence and laziness or because of fear, they shall indeed render a most strict account of this at God's judgment.
I also advise you to inquire about the number and the identities of those holders of benefices in your diocese who have the care of souls. Summon them to your presence at least once a year to discuss then with them their own welfare and that of the souls of those under them. And if, by chance, they could not all come together on the same day, then definite dates are to be set on which they may come to you individually during the year so that none of them may be able to excuse himself in any way from consulting you for a whole year.
And you are to preach to them about the kind of life to be led by those who have an office of such great dignity. Know too that priests who have concubines and celebrate Mass are as acceptable and pleasing to God as were the inhabitants of Sodom whom God submersed in hell.
And even though the Mass, in itself, always is the same and has the same power and efficacy, nevertheless, the kiss of peace that such fornicating priests give in the Mass is as pleasing to God as the kiss by which Judas handed over the Savior of all. Therefore constantly try as much as possible, with words and deeds, by enticing or rebuking or threatening, to work together with them so that they may endeavor to lead a chaste life, especially since they must touch so very holy a Sacrament and, with their hands, administer it to other faithful Christians.

Furthermore, for their salvation you should advise all the clergy, both the higher ranks made up of prelates or canons and also the minor clerics - all, that is, who are subject to your rule and have ecclesiastical incomes - that they should correct their lives in every respect. And let no one believe that, for the sake of avoiding sodomy, fornication is at all permissible for clerics; nor, for that reason, is it to be endured that they should defile themselves with women. For every Christian who has the use of intellect and who does not care about eternal life while he is living, will undoubtedly endure after death the most severe punishments of hell for eternity.

I also advise you that your household should not be too large out of pride, but that it should be well proportioned to the needs of your office as a ruler and to the requirements of your status. Those clerics, therefore, who are called your companions, you should keep with you wherever you may be, for the good of your reputation rather than for vainglory or for pomp; and they are to be few in number rather than many. But of those clerics whom you maintain for no other reason than to sing the divine office or to pursue studies or to teach others or to do writing, you may have as many as you please. And nevertheless it is to your advantage to take diligent care, as best you can, for their correction and for the salvation of their souls.
Be attentive to the rest of your servants so that each has his own task; and if some of them are superfluous, do not keep them out of vainglory lest your heart be elated at having a larger household than your peers. It is also expedient that you always have in mind those truly necessary members of your household whom you keep with you; painstakingly scrutinize their lives like a true householder, correcting their actions, lives, and characters and, with good formation, encouraging and admonishing them in a fatherly way so that they learn to flee from sins and vices and to love God above all things. It is indeed more acceptable to God and more useful to yourself that you keep with you no member of the household who is unwilling to comply with sound advice and humbly amend his transgressions.

Of your clothing, I advise you never to have in your possession more than three pairs at one time; everything beyond this, you should immediately give to God himself. Of bed covers, towels, and tablecloths, keep for yourself only what is necessary and useful to you; and give the rest to God. Of silver vessels, reserve for yourself just enough for your own person and for the guests who eat at your own table; donate the superfluous pieces to God with a cheerful mind. For the rest of your household and the guests who sit at other tables certainly can, without any embarrassment, eat and drink using vessels of tin, clay, wood, or glass. For that custom which now prevails in the houses of bishops and lords of having an overly excessive abundance of gold and silver is quite harmful to souls and very repulsive to God himself, who, for our sake, subjected himself to all poverty.

Beware, also, of having too many courses and extravagant delicacies. Nor should you have overly large and expensive horses, but rather those that are moderate in size and price. For such large horses are needed by those who expose themselves to the dangers of war for the defense of justice and the protection of life and not for pride. Indeed, I tell you that as often as prelates, out of pride and vainglory, mount big horses, the devil mounts the prelates' necks. For I know a person who, when the prelates and cardinals proudly lifted their feet to ride on the backs of their big horses, saw demons as Ethiopians who then lifted their feet and mounted the necks of the prelates and sat there laughing.
As often as the prelates pompously spurred their horses, the Ethiopians lifted their heads in their glee and kicked their heels into the breasts of those horsemen. Again, I advise you to have your vicars promise under oath that, while carrying out your business, they will not presume to do anything contrary to justice. And if they later do the opposite, you are to have them rebuked in accordance with justice. If you do as I have said, you can be confident that your conscience is quite sound.
And now I give advice for the consolation of the souls of your departed, about whom you asked me whether or not they were in purgatory and what almsdeeds ought to be done for them, etc. I answer and say that every day for one year you are to have two Masses celebrated for them and every day you are to feed two paupers, and every week take care to distribute one florin in coins to the poor.

Say also to the parish priests that they are to correct their parishioners and to rebuke them for their open sins in cases that pertain to them in order that they may be able to live better lives. Those parishioners who are unwilling to be rebuked should then be rebuked by you. If, however, you know that some are openly sinning against God and justice, and if they are such great tyrants that you cannot pass judgment on them, then tell them in sweet and gentle words to correct themselves.

If they do not wish to obey, you may leave them to God's judgment; and God will see that your intention is good. One must not throw the meek lamb into a wolf's ferocious teeth because this will make the wolf more ravenous. Nevertheless, it is fitting for you to forewarn them charitably about the peril of their souls, as a father does with his children when they oppose him. Nor are you bound to forego rebukes out of fear for your body unless, by chance, some danger to souls could come from them.' ”

This revelation, made to Lady Bridget, began in Naples immediately after the death of her son Lord Charles, a knight. The vision continued, with certain breaks, during her Jerusalem voyage until she arrived at Jerusalem; and there it ended in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre of the Lord. It contains in itself allegations made by the Virgin Mary and by an angel on behalf of the said knight's soul at the divine judgment in the presence of Christ the Judge and allegations made on the devil's part against that very soul and Christ the Judge's verdict for its liberation.




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