The Son spoke to the bride, saying: "When the devil tempts you, tell him these three things: 'The words of God cannot be anything but true.' Second: 'Nothing is impossible for God, because He can do all things.' Third: 'You, devil, could not give me so great a fervor of love as that which God gives me.'"
Again the Lord spoke to the bride, saying: "I look at people in three ways: first, their outer body and what condition it is in; second, their inner conscience, what it tends toward and in what way; third, their heart and what it desires. Like a bird that sees a fish in the sea and assesses the depth of the water and also takes note of storm winds, I, too, know and assess the ways of each person and take note of what is due to each, for I am keener of sight and can assess the human situation better than a person knows his own self.
Therefore, because I see and know all things, you might ask me why I do not take evildoers away before they fall into the depths of sin. I Myself asked the question and I Myself will answer it for you: I am the Creator of all things, and all things are foreknown to Me. I know and see all that has been and all that will be. But, although I know and can do all things, still, for reasons of justice, I no more interfere with the natural constitution of the body than I do with the inclination of the soul. Each human being continues in existence according to the natural constitution of the body such as it is and was from all eternity in My foreknowledge. The fact that one person has a longer life and another a shorter has to do with natural strength or weakness and is related to a person's physical constitution. It is not due to My foreknowledge that one person loses his sight or another becomes lame or something like that, since My foreknowledge of all things is such that no one is the worse for it, nor is it harmful to anyone.
Moreover, these things do not occur because of the course and position of the heavenly elements, but due to some hidden principle of justice in the constitution and conservation of nature. For sin and natural disorder bring about the deformity of the body in many ways. This does not happen because I will it directly, but because I permit it to happen for the sake of justice. Even though I can do all things, still I do not obstruct justice. Accordingly, the length or brevity of a person's life is related to the weakness or strength of his physical constitution such as it was in My foreknowledge that no one can contravene.
You can understand this by way of a simile. Imagine that there were two roads with one road leading up to them. There were a great many graves in both roads, crossing and overlapping one another. The end of one of the two roads dropped directly downward; the end of the other tended upward. At the crossroads was written: 'Whoever travels this road begins it in physical pleasure and delight and ends it in great wretchedness and shame. Whoever takes the other road begins it in moderate and endurable exertion but reaches the end in great joy and consolation.' A person walking along on the single road was completely blind. However, when he reached the crossroads, his eyes were opened, and he saw what was written about how the two roads ended.
While he was studying the sign and thinking it over to himself, there suddenly appeared next to him two men who were entrusted with guarding the two roads. As they observed the wayfarer at the crossroads, they said to each other: 'Let us carefully observe which road he chooses to take and then he will belong to that one of us whose road he selects.' The wayfarer, however, was considering to himself the ends and advantages of each road. He made the prudent decision of selecting the road whose beginning involved some pain but had joy at the end, rather than the road that began in joy but ended in pain. He decided that it was more sensible and endurable to get tired from a little exertion at the start but rest in safety at the end.
Do you understand what all this means? I shall tell you. These two roads are the good and the evil within human reach. It lies within a person's power and free will to choose whatever he or she likes upon reaching the age of discretion. A single road leads up to the two roads of the choice between good and evil; in other words, the time of childhood leads up to the age of discretion. The man walking on this first road is like a blind man because he is, as it were, blind from his childhood up until he reaches the age of discretion, not knowing how to distinguish between good and evil, between sin and virtue, between what is commanded and what is forbidden.
The man walking on this first road, that is, in the age of boyhood, is like a blind man. However, when he reaches the crossroads, that is, the age of discretion, the eyes of his understanding are opened. He then knows how to decide whether it is better to experience a little pain but eternal joy or a little joy and eternal pain. Whichever road he chooses, he will not lack those who carefully count his steps. There are many graves on these roads, one after the other, one over against the other, because, both in youth and in old age, one person may die earlier, another later, one in youth, another in old age. The end of this life is fittingly symbolized by graves: it will come to everyone, one in this way, another in that, according to each one's natural constitution and exactly as I have foreknown it.
If I took anyone away against the body's natural constitution, the devil would have grounds of accusation against Me. Accordingly, in order that the devil might not find anything in Me that goes against justice in the least, I no more interfere with the natural constitution of the body than I do with the constitution of the soul. But consider My goodness and mercy! For, as the teacher says, I give virtue to those who do not have any virtue. By reason of My great love I give the kingdom of Heaven to all of the baptized who die before reaching the age of discretion. As it is written: It has pleased My Father to give the kingdom of Heaven to such as these. By reason of My tender love, I even show mercy to the infants of pagans.
If any of them die before reaching the age of discretion, given that they cannot come to know Me face to face, they go instead to a place that it is not permitted for you to know but where they will live without suffering. Those who have advanced from the one road reach those two roads, that is, the age of discretion between good and evil. It is then in their power to choose what pleases them most. Their reward will follow the inclination of their will, since by that time they know how to read the sign written at the crossroads telling them that it is better to experience a little pain at the start and joy ready and waiting for them than experience joy at the start and pain at the end. Sometimes it does happen that people are taken away earlier than their natural physical constitution would normally allow, for example, through homicide, drunkenness, and things of that kind.
This is because the devil's wickedness is such that the sinner in this case would receive an extremely long-lasting punishment if he were to continue in the world for any great length of time. Therefore, some people are taken away earlier than their natural physical condition would allow due to the demands of justice and because of their sins. Their removal has been foreknown to Me from all eternity, and it is impossible for anyone to contravene My foreknowledge.
Sometimes good people are also taken away earlier than their natural physical constitution would allow. Because of the great love I have toward them, and because of their burning love and their efforts to discipline the body for My sake, justice sometimes requires that they be taken away, as foreknown to Me from all eternity. Thus, I no more interfere with the natural constitution of the body than I do with the constitution of the soul."
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Revelations and Prophesies Imparted to St. Bridget of Sweden - Book Two: Chapter One