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Chapter 69

The Son speaks: ”You can tell that water from a spring is not good, depending on three things. First, if the water does not have the proper color; second, if it is muddy; third, if it is always stagnant and not in motion, letting in dirt but not getting rid of it.

By these waters, I have in mind the conduct and hearts of the clergy. In the goodness of their conduct, they should be like springwater that is sweet to drink, impervious to all the dirt of vice. Therefore, a priest's proper color is true humility. The more he sees himself as obliged to work for God, the more he will humble himself in thought and deed. The devil's color is found wherever there is pride. Pride is like a leprous hand scooping up water from a spring and making the water itself seem repulsive to those watching. In the same way, a priest's pride shows his works to be defiled.
The water is muddy if a priest is greedy and not content with the necessities of life. When he is anxious he is useless to himself and harmful to others through the example of his greed. Third, the water is unclean when it lets in but does not rid itself of any dirt. This arises both from its outlet being closed and because it has no motion. A priest is thus unclean when he loves carnal pleasures in his heart and body and does not get rid of the unclean things that occur to him. Blemishes anywhere on the body are ugly but especially so on the face. In the same way, impurity should be hateful to everyone but especially to those who are called to higher things. Accordingly, those priests should be chosen for my work who are not full of verbose knowledge but of humility and purity, who behave well in themselves and teach others by word and example. Even a leprous hand is useful for my work, provided the mind is good and the spiritual hand is not lacking.”

The Mother's words to her daughter narrating in order the passion of her blessed Son, and describing her Son's beauty and form.

      1. Chapter 70

The Mother speaks: ”When my Son's passion was near at hand, tears filled his eyes and sweat covered his body from fear of suffering. Next, he was taken from my sight, and I did not see him again until he was led out to be scourged. He was then dragged along the ground and thrown down so cruelly and violently that it knocked his head about and broke his teeth. He was struck on his neck and cheek so forcefully that the sound of the blows reached my ears. At the command of the executioner, he undressed himself and freely hugged the pillar. He was bound with a rope and then scourged with barbed whips. The barbs caught in his skin and were then pulled backward, not just tearing but plowing into him so as to wound his whole body.

At the first blow, it was as though my heart had been pierced and I had lost the use of my senses. Then, coming out of it, I see his whole wounded body - for his body was naked during the scourging. Then one of his enemies said to the executioners: 'Do you intend to kill this man without a sentence and cause his death yourselves?' He cut the ropes as he said this. Once released from the pillar, my Son turned first to get his clothes, yet he was not given the time to put them on but was led away while still putting his arms into his sleeves. The footprints he left at the pillar were so full of blood that I could easily make them out and see which way they led by the mark of his blood. And he wiped his bloody face with his tunic.
After the sentence he was led out carrying the cross, but, along the way, another man took his turn carrying it. Once he arrived at the place for crucifixion, a hammer and four sharp nails were ready for him there. He took off his clothes when ordered but covered his private parts with a small cloth. He proceeded to tie it on as though it gave him some consolation to do so. The cross was planted firmly, and the crossbeam was so placed that the juncture was at the center of the shoulder blades. The cross did not have any kind of headrest. The sign with his sentence on it was attached to each arm of the cross sticking out above the head.

On being ordered, he lay down with his back to the cross and, when he was asked to do so, first stretched out his right hand. Then, since his left hand could not reach the other corner of the cross, it had to be stretched out at full length. His feet were similarly stretched out to reach the slots for the nails and placed crosswise, and, as if they had been loosened from the shinbones, were fastened to the wood of the cross by two nails driven through solid bone, as had been done with his hands. At the first hammer stroke, I was thrown into a stupor of sorrow, and when I awoke I saw my Son already fastened to the cross. I heard men saying to one another: 'What has this man committed - theft, robbery, or fraud?' Others answered that he was a fraud. Then the crown of thorns was pushed down on his head so hard that it came down to the middle of his forehead. Streams of blood poured down from where the thorns sat and filled his face and hair and eyes and beard so that almost nothing at all but blood could be seen. He could not even see me standing there by the cross without blinking to get rid of the blood.

After he had entrusted me to his disciple, he lifted up his head, raised his weeping eyes to heaven, and cried out with a voice from deep within his chest, saying: 'My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?' Never was I able to forget that cry, not until I came to heaven, the cry that he uttered, moved more by my suffering than by his own. Now the color of death appeared in those parts of his body that were visible beneath the blood. His cheeks cleaved to his teeth. You could count his thin, naked ribs. His stomach, emptied now of all its juices, was sucked in toward his back, and even his nostrils looked thin now. When his heart was near to breaking, his whole body shook and his beard fell toward his chest. Right then, I collapsed lifeless to the ground. His mouth remained open, as he had already breathed his last. His tongue and teeth and the blood in his mouth were visible to onlookers. His half-closed eyes had rolled backward. His now dead body sagged downward, with his knees bent to either side, and his feet bending on the nails like hinges.

Meanwhile other people standing nearby were saying almost insultingly, 'O, Mary, your son is dead.' Others, more nobleminded, were saying: 'Lady, your son's suffering is now ended unto his eternal glory.' A little later, after his side had been opened, the lance was pulled out with blood that was brown in color showing on its tip, which meant that the lance had pierced his heart. That penetrating lance was also felt going through my own heart, and it is a wonder that my heart did not burst. Though the others were going away, I could not go away. I felt almost comforted to be able to touch his body when it was taken down from the cross, and take it in my arms, and explore his wounds and wipe away the blood. I closed his mouth with my fingers and shut his eyes as well. I could not bend his rigid arms all the way back to repose on his chest but only across his stomach. His knees could not be straightened out but pointed outward in the same position in which they had stiffened on the cross.”

The Mother speaks again: ”Though you cannot see my Son as he exists in heaven, hear at least how he was in body on earth. He was so fair of face that no one, not even someone very sad at heart, could see him face-to-face without being cheered at his sight. The righteous were cheered with spiritual comfort, but even the wicked found relief from the sorrow of the world for as long as they looked on him. For that reason, people who were sad used to say: 'Let us go and see Mary's son and at least find some relief as long as we are there.'
In his twentieth year of age, he was perfect in size and manly strength, tall for the men of medium height in those days, not fleshy but well built as to muscles and bones. His hair, eyelashes, and beard were golden brown. His beard was a palm-width in length. His forehead was neither sunken but straight. His nose was evenly built, neither too little nor too large.

His eyes were so limpid that even his enemies loved to gaze on him. His lips were not too thick and were bright red. His jaw did not jut out and was not too long but attractive and of a fine length. His cheeks were nicely rounded. He was fair-skinned with traces of red, and he had straight posture. There was not a blemish on his whole body, as his scourgers can testify who saw him bound to the pillar completely naked. There were never any vermin or knots or dirt in his hair.”



Christ puts loving questions to the bride, and she gives humble answers to him, and about how Christ submitted three praiseworthy states to the choice of the bride: the state of virginity, the married state, and the widowed state.




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