Do you see, my daughter? He loved my Son so much and endured such suffering for His glory that he still said he was unworthy of reaching Heaven. How then can those people who live by their own desires be worthy? Therefore, keep ever in mind the passion of my Son and of His saints. They did not endure such sufferings for no reason, but in order to give others an example of how to live and to show what a strict payment will be demanded for sins by my Son Who does not want there to be the least sin without correction."
Then the Son came and spoke to the bride, saying: "I told you earlier what should be stored in our houses. Among other things, there should be clothing of three kinds: first, clothing made of linen, which is produced in and grows from the earth; second, that made of leather, which comes from animals; third, that made of silk, which comes from silkworms.
Linen clothing has two good effects. First, it is soft and gentle against the naked body. Second, it does not lose its color, but the more it is washed, the cleaner it becomes.
The second kind of clothing, that is, leather, has two effects.
First, it covers a person's shame; second, it provides warmth against the cold.
The third kind of clothing, that is, silken, also has two effects. First, it can be seen to be very beautiful and fine; second, it is very expensive to buy.
The linen clothes that are good for the naked parts of the body symbolize peace and concord. A devout soul should wear this with respect to God, so that she can be at peace with God both by not wanting anything other than what God wants or in a different way than He wants, and by not exacerbating Him through sins, since there is no peace between God and the soul unless she stops sinning and controls her concupiscence.
She should also be at peace with her neighbor, that is, by not causing him problems, by helping him if he has problems, and by being patient if he sins against her. What is a more unfortunate strain on the soul than always to be longing to sin and never to have enough of it, always to be desiring and never at rest? What stings the soul more sharply than to be angry with her neighbor and to envy his goods? This is why the soul should be at peace with God and with her neighbor, since nothing can be more restful than resting from sin and not being anxious about the world, nothing gentler than rejoicing in the good of one's neighbor and wishing for him what one wishes for oneself.
This linen clothing should be worn over the naked parts of the body, because, more properly and importantly than the other virtues, peace should be lodged closer to the heart, which is where God wants to take His rest. This is the virtue that God instills and keeps instilled in the heart. Like linen, this peace is born in and grows from the earth, since true peace and patience spring up from the consideration of one's own weakness. A man who is of the earth ought to consider his own weakness, namely that he is quick to anger if offended, quick to feel pain if hurt. And if he reflects in this way he will not do unto another what he himself cannot bear, reflecting to himself that: 'Just as I am weak, so too is my neighbor.
Just as I do not want to put up with such things, neither does he.'
Next, peace does not lose its color, that is, its stability, but stays increasingly constant, since, considering his neighbor's weakness in himself, he becomes more willing to put up with injuries. If a man's peace gets soiled by impatience in any way, it grows ever cleaner and brighter before God the more frequently and quickly it is washed through penance. He also becomes so much the happier and more prudent in toleration, the more often he gets irritated and then gets washed again, since he rejoices in the hope of the reward that he hopes will come to him on account of his inner peace, and he is all the more careful about not letting himself fall due to impatience.
The second kind of clothing, namely leather, denotes works of mercy. These leather clothes are made from the skins of dead animals. What do these animals symbolize if not My saints, who were as simple as animals? The soul should be covered with their skins, that is, she should imitate and carry out their works of mercy.
These have two effects. First, they cover the shame of the sinful soul and cleanse her so as not to appear stained in my sight. Second, they defend the soul against the cold. What is the cold of the soul if not the soul's hardness with respect to my love? Works of mercy are effective against such coldness, wrapping the soul so that she does not perish from the cold. Through these works God visits the soul, and the soul comes ever closer to God.
The third kind of clothing, that made of silk by silkworms, which seems very expensive to buy, denotes the pure habit of abstinence. This is beautiful in the sight of God and the angels and men. It is also expensive to buy, since it seems hard to people to restrain their tongue from idle and excessive talk. It seems hard to restrain the appetite of the flesh from superfluous excess and pleasure. It also seems hard to go against one's own will. But although it may be hard, it is in every way useful and beautiful. This is why, My bride, in whom I mean all the faithful, in our second house we should store up peace toward God and neighbor, works of mercy through compassion on and help for the wretched, and abstinence from concupiscence.
Although the latter is more expensive than the rest, it is also so much more beautiful than the other clothes that no other virtue seems beautiful without it. This abstinence should be produced by silkworms, that is, by the consideration of one's excesses against God, by humility, and by My Own example of abstinence, for I became like a worm for the sake of humankind. A person should examine in his spirit how and how often he has sinned against Me and in what way he has made amends. Then he will discover by himself that no amount of toil and abstinence on his part can make amends for the number of times he has sinned against Me.
He should also ponder My sufferings and those of My saints as well as the reason why I endured such sufferings. Then he will truly understand that, if I demand such a strict repayment from My saints, who have obeyed Me, how much more I will demand in vengeance from those who have not obeyed Me. A good soul should therefore readily undertake to practice abstinence, recalling that her sins are evil and surround the soul like worms. Thus, from these low worms she will collect precious silk, that is, the pure habit of abstinence in all her limbs. God and all the host of Heaven rejoice in this. Eternal joy will be awarded to the person storing this up who would otherwise have had eternal grief, had abstinence not come to his assistance."
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Revelations and Prophesies Imparted to St. Bridget of Sweden - Book Two: Chapter Twenty-Six