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Revelations of St. Bridget

Revelations and Prophecies Imparted to St. Bridget

Book Three

Chapter Fifteen

          The Mother's words to her daughter in which another such bishop is allegorically described as a gadfly, his wordy eloquence as flying, his two concerns as two wings, his flattery of the world as a sting; and about the Virgin's amazement at the life of these two bishops; also, about preachers.

    The Mother of God speaks again to the bride, saying: "I have shown you another bishop whom I called the pastor of the flock. Let us compare him to a gadfly with an earthy color that flies about noisily. Wherever he alights, his bite is terrible and painful. This pastor has an earthy color, for, although he was called to poverty, he would rather be rich than poor, he would rather be in charge than submit, he would rather have his own will than be disciplined through obedience to others. He flies about noisily in the sense that he is full of wordy eloquence in his pious preaching, and lectures about worldly vanities instead of spiritual doctrine, praising and following worldly vanities rather than the holy simplicity of his order.

    He has two wings as well, that is, two ideas: The first is that he wants to offer people charming and soothing speech so that he may win their esteem. The second is that he wants everyone to yield to him and obey him. The sting of a gadfly is unbearable. Likewise, this man stings souls to damnation. Although he should be a doctor of souls, he does not tell the people who come to him about their danger and infirmity nor does he use a sharp scalpel, but speaks soothingly to them in order to be called meek and so as not to cause anyone to avoid him.

    These two bishops are quite simply astonishing. One of them makes an appearance of being poor, solitary, and humble in order to be called spiritual. The other one wants to possess the world in order to be called merciful and generous. The one wants to seem to own nothing and yet longs to possess everything secretly. The other openly wants to have many possessions in order to have a lot to give away and thus win the esteem of others. Accordingly, as the proverb goes, 'since they serve Me in a way I cannot see (because I do not accept it), I shall reward them in a way they will not see.'

    Do you wonder why such men are praised for their preaching? I will tell you: Sometimes a bad man speaks to good people and the good Spirit of God is poured into them, not because of the goodness of the teacher but through the teacher's words in which the good Spirit of God is found for the good of the listeners.

    Sometimes a good man speaks to bad people who are made good by hearing it both because of the good Spirit of God and the goodness of the teacher.

    Sometimes a cold man speaks to cold people in such away that these cold hearers recount what they have heard to fervent people who had not been there, rendering their listeners more fervent. So, do not worry about what kind of people you are sent to. Wonderful is God Who tramples gold underfoot and places mud amidst the rays of the sun!"

Revelations and Prophesies Imparted to St. Bridget of Sweden - Book Three: Chapter Fifteen