"The entire span of this life is but as a single hour for Me. Therefore, what I am telling you now has always been in My foreknowledge. I told you before about a man who began the true knighthood, and about another who deserted it like a scoundrel. The man who deserted from the ranks of true knights threw down his shield at My feet and his sword at My side by breaking his sacred promises and vows. The shield he threw down symbolizes nothing other than the upright faith by which he was to defend himself against the enemies of the faith and of his soul.
The feet, on which I walk toward humanity, symbolize nothing other than the divine delight by which I attract a person to Myself and the patience by which I patiently bear with him. He threw this shield down when he entered My sanctuary, thinking to himself: 'I want to obey the lord who counseled me not to practice abstinence, the one who gives me what I desire and lets me hear things pleasant to my ears.' This was how he threw down the shield of My faith by wanting to follow his own selfish desire rather than Me, by loving the creature more than the Creator.
If he had had an upright faith, if he had believed Me to be almighty and a just judge and the giver of eternal glory, he would not have wished for anything but Me, he would not have feared anything but Me. But he threw down My faith at my feet, despising it and counting it for nothing, because he did not seek to please Me and had no regard for My patience. Then he threw down his sword at My side. The sword denotes nothing other than the fear of God, which God's true knight should continuously have in his hands, that is, in his acts. My side symbolizes nothing other than the care and protection with which I shelter and defend My children, like a mother hen sheltering her chicks, so that the devil does not harm them and no unendurable trials come upon them.
But that man threw away the sword of My fear by not bothering to think about My power and by not having any regard for My love and patience.
He threw it down at My side as if to say: 'I neither fear nor care about your defense. I got what I have by my own doing and my noble birth.' He broke the promise he made to Me. What is the true promise that a man is bound to vow to God? Surely, it is deeds of love: that whatever a person does, he should do out of love for God. But this he set aside by twisting his love for God toward self-love; he preferred his selfishness to future and eternal delight.
In this way he separated himself from Me and left the sanctuary of My humility. The body of any Christian ruled by humility is My sanctuary. Those ruled by pride are not My sanctuary but the sanctuary of the devil who steers them toward worldly desire after his own purposes. Having gone out of the temple of my humility, and having rejected the shield of holy faith and the sword of fear, he walked out proudly to the fields, cultivating every selfish lust and desire, scorning to fear Me and growing in sin and lust.
When he reached the final end of his life and his soul had left the body, the demons charged out to meet him. Three voices from hell could be heard speaking against him.
The first said: 'Is not this the man who deserted from humility and followed us in pride? If his two feet could take him up even higher in pride so as to surpass us and hold the primacy in pride, he would be quick to do so.'
The soul answered him: 'I am the one.'
Justice answered him: 'This is the reward of your pride: you will descend handed by one demon down to the next until you reach the lowest part of hell. And given that there was no demon who did not know his own particular punishment and the torment to be inflicted for every useless thought and deed, neither will you escape punishment at the hands of any one of them but share in the malice and evil of them all.'
The second voice cried out saying: 'Is not this the man who separated himself from his professed service to God and joined our ranks instead?'
The soul answered: 'I am the one.'
And Justice said: 'This is your allotted reward: that everyone who imitates your conduct as a knight will add to your punishment and sorrow by his own corruption and pain and will strike you at his coming as though with a deadly wound. You will be like a man afflicted by a severe wound, indeed like one afflicted by wound upon wound until his whole body is full of wounds, who endures intolerable suffering and bewails his fate constantly. Even so, you will experience misery upon misery. At the height of your pain, your pain will be renewed, and your punishment will never end and your woes will never decrease.'
The third voice cried out: 'Is not this the man who exchanged his Creator for creatures, the love of his Creator for his own selfishness?'
Justice answered: 'It certainly is. Therefore, two holes will be opened in him. Through the first there will enter into him every punishment earned for his least sin up to his greatest, inasmuch as he exchanged his Creator for his own lust. Through the second there will enter into him every kind of pain and shame, and no divine consolation or charity will ever come to him, inasmuch as he loved himself rather than his Creator. His life will last forever and his punishment will last forever, for all the saints have turned away from him.'
My bride, see how miserable those people will be who despise Me and how great will be the pain they purchase at the price of so little pleasure!"
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Revelations and Prophesies Imparted to St. Bridget of Sweden - Book Two: Chapter Nine