The Mother speaks: ”Rome is like the field in which the tares had sprung up. It must first be cleansed with a sharp iron sickle, then purged with fire, and afterward plowed by a pair of oxen. I shall deal with you like a person transferring plants to a different place. A punishment is being prepared for this city, as if the judge were to say: 'Strip all its hide off, remove all the blood from its flesh, cut up all its meat into bits, and crush its bones so that all the marrow is drained off.' ”
Christ's figurative words to the bride, and their explanation in which Christ is described as a ruler on pilgrimage, his body as a treasure, the church as a house, priests as guardians. The true Lord has honored these priests with a sevenfold honor. Also about how God complains that wicked priests abuse him with a sevenfold abuse, and how they turn the seven vestments, which they should have, into seven vices.
The Son speaks: ”I am like a ruler who fought faithfully in the land of his pilgrimage, and returned with joy to the land of his birth. This ruler had a very precious treasure. At its sight, the bleary-eyed became clear-sighted, the sad were consoled, the sick regained their strength, the dead were raised. For the purpose of the safe and honest protection of this treasure, a splendid and magnificent house of suitable height was built and finished with seven steps leading up to it and the treasure. The ruler entrusted the treasure to his servants for them to watch over, manage, and protect faithfully and purely. This was in order that the ruler's love for his servants might be shown and that the servants' faithfulness toward the ruler might be seen.
As time went on, the treasure began to be despised and its house rarely visited, while the guardians grew lukewarm, and the love of the ruler was neglected. Then the ruler consulted his intimate advisers concerning what was to be done about such ingratitude, and one of them said in answer: 'It is written that the neglectful judges and guardians of the people were ordered to be hanged in the sun. However, mercy and judgment are your nature; you are lenient toward all, for all things are yours and you are merciful toward all.'
I am the ruler in the parable. I appeared like a pilgrim on earth by virtue of my humanity, although I was mighty in heaven and on earth by virtue of my divinity. I fought so hard on earth that all the muscles of my hands and feet were ruptured out of zeal for the salvation of souls. As I was about to leave the world and ascend into heaven, I left it a most worthy memorial, my most holy body, in order that, in the same way that the Old Law could glory in the ark, the manna, and the tablets of the covenant, and in other ceremonies, so the new man could rejoice in the New Law - not, as before, in a shadow but in the truth, indeed, in my crucified body that had been foreshadowed in the law. In order that my body might be given honor and glory, I established the house of the Holy Church, where it was to be kept and preserved, as well as priests to be its special guardians, who in a certain way are above the angels by reason of their ministry. The one whom angels fear to touch due to a reverent fear, priests handle with their hands and mouth.
I honored the priests with a sevenfold honor, as it were, on seven steps. On the first step, they should be my standard-bearers and special friends by reason of the purity of their mind and body, for purity is the first position near to God, whom nothing foul can touch nor adorn. It was not strange that marital relation was permitted to the priests of the law during the time in which they were not offering sacrifice, for they were carrying the shell, not the nut itself. Now, however, with the coming of the truth and the disappearance of the figure, one must strive all the more fully for purity by as much as the nut is sweeter than the shell. As a sign of this kind of continence, first the hair is tonsured, so that desire for pleasure does not rule over spirit or flesh.
On the second step, the clerics are ordained in order that they may become angelic men in all humility, for heaven is attained and the devil's pride is overcome through humility of mind and body. As a sign of such a step, the clerics are authorized to cast out demons, for the humble man is raised up to heaven from where the lofty devil fell through his pride.
On the third step the clerics are ordained for the purpose of being disciples of God through the constant reading of Holy Scripture. For this reason, a book is placed in their hands by the bishops, just as a sword is given to a knight, so that they understand what they must do and strive through prayer and meditation to placate God's anger for the sake of the people of God.
On the fourth step the clerics are ordained as guardians of God's temple and watchmen of souls. For this reason, the bishops give them keys in order that they may be deeply concerned for the salvation of their brethren and encourage them by word and deed and incite the weak to greater perfection.
On the fifth step, they are ordained as stewards and caretakers of the altars and scorners of worldly things in order that they may serve at the altar, live by the altar, and occupy themselves with earthly matters only insofar as befits their position.
On the sixth step, they are ordained to be apostolic men who preach the gospel truth and make their conduct fit their preaching.
On the seventh step, they are ordained to be mediators between God and man through the sacrifice of my body. In some way, at this point, priests rank above the angels in dignity.
My grievance now, however, is that these steps have fallen apart. Pride is loved more than humility, impurity is practiced instead of purity, the divine lessons are not read but the book of the world, negligence is to be seen at the altars, God's wisdom is regarded as foolishness, the salvation of souls is not a concern. As if this were not enough, they even throw away my vestments and scorn my weapons. On the mountain, I showed Moses the vestments that the priests of the law were to use. It is not as though there were anything material in God's heavenly dwelling, but it is because spiritual things cannot be understood except by means of physical symbols. Thus, I revealed a spiritual truth by means of something physical in order that people might realize how much reverence and purity are needful for those who have the truth itself - my body - given that those who were wearing but a shadow and a figure had so much purity and reverence.
Why did I reveal such magnificence in material vestments to Moses? It was, of course, in order to use them to teach and symbolize the magnificence and beauty of the soul. As the vestments of the priests were seven in number, so too the soul that approaches the body of God should have seven virtues without which there is no salvation. The first vestment of the soul, then, is contrition and confession. These cover the head. The second is desire for God and desire for chastity. The third is work in honor of God as well as patience in adversity. The fourth is caring neither for human praise nor reproach but for the honor of God alone. The fifth is abstinence of the flesh along with true humility. The sixth is consideration of the favors of God as well as fear of his judgments. The seventh is love of God above all things and perseverance in good undertakings.
These vestments, however, have been changed and are now despised. People love to make excuses and smooth over their guilt instead of going to confession. They love constant lewdness instead of chastity. They love work for the benefit of the body instead of work for the salvation of the soul. They love worldly ambition and pride instead of the honor and love of God. They love all kinds of redundancy instead of praiseworthy thrift, presumption and criticizing God's judgments instead of the fear of God, and the clergy's thanklessness toward everyone instead of God's love toward all. Therefore, as I said through the prophet, I shall come in indignation, and tribulation shall give them understanding.”
Then the Mother of Mercy, being present, replied: ”Blessed are you, my son, for your justice. I am speaking to you who know all things for the sake of this bride. You want her to understand spiritual truths, but she is unable to grasp the spiritual meaning except by means of images. Before you received a human nature from me, you once spoke as God, saying that if ten righteous men could be found in the city, you would be willing to show mercy to the whole city for the sake of those ten. There still are countless priests who placate you with the offering of your body. Therefore, because of these priests, have mercy on those who have little good in them. This I beg, I who gave birth to you in your human nature. All your elect ask this together with me.”
The Son answered: ”Blessed are you and blessed is the word of your mouth! You see that I pardon in three ways because of the threefold good in the offering of my body. Three good things were revealed in me through the effrontery of Judas. In the same way three good things come to souls through the offering of this sacrifice. First, my patience is to be praised because, though I knew who my betrayer was, I did not reject his company. Second, my power was revealed when, in the presence of my betrayer, all those who were with him fell to the ground at a single word of mine. Third, the divine wisdom and love were manifested, since I transformed all the wickedness of Judas and the devil into salvation for souls.
Similarly, three good things come from the offering of the priests. First, my patience is praised by all the heavenly host because I remain the same in the hands of good as well as of bad priests, and because there is no partiality in me, and because this sacrament is brought about not by human merits but by my words. Second, this offering benefits everybody, no matter which priest offers it. Third, it benefits those who offer it as well, however bad they may be. Just as the single phrase 'I am' made my enemies collapse physically on the ground, so too when my words 'This is my body' are spoken, the devils flee from tempting the souls of the ministers, and they would not dare to return to them with such audacity, if the desire to sin was not there.
So my mercy shows pardon to them all and endures them all. However, my justice calls for retribution, for I cry out each day and you see well enough how many answer me. Nevertheless, I will still send out the words of my mouth. Those who listen will complete the days of their lives in that joy that can neither be expressed nor imagined because of its sweetness. To those, however, who do not listen, there will come, as it is written, seven plagues in the soul and seven plagues in the body. They will find this out, if they think and read about what has been done. Otherwise, they will quake and quail when they do experience it.”
Christ's words to the bride about how three duties belong to the priest: first, to consecrate the body of Christ; second, to have purity of body and spirit; third, to care for his congregation. Also about how he should have a book and oil; and about how a priest is an angel of the Lord, because his office is greater than that of an angel.