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Revelations of St. Bridget

Revelations and Prophecies Imparted to St. Bridget

Book Four

Chapter Twenty-three

          In Book Four, Chapter Twenty-three of the Prophesies and Revelations of the holy mystic St. Bridget of Sweden, she hears the holy St. John the Evangelist conversing with the glorious Blessed Virgin Mary about a mere sinful hypocrite, and then Our Lady's answer to the beloved disciple before she addresses Bridget regarding a certain Cistercian priest's characteristics as she describes the devil's deceptions toward this man who had been in apostasy for 18 years, and what happened to him. Our Lady describes how the good spirit is recognized by seven signs and the bad spirit can also be discerned by as many contrasting signs.

    John the Evangelist said to God's Mother: "Hear me, Virgin and Mother of one Son, not several sons, Mother of the only begotten Son of God, the fashioner and redeemer of all things. Listen, I say, as you surely do listen, to how this man has been deceived by the devil, how he is struggling to obtain something impossible, how and in what matters he has been instructed by the spirit of lies, how far he has removed himself from God in his sheep's clothing but with his lion's heart.

    "I taught that there are three who bear witness in Heaven and on earth: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The evil spirit, however, bears witness to this man that he has become completely holy. Yet the Father does not strengthen him with His power nor does the Son visit him with His wisdom nor does the Holy Spirit inflame him with His love. That is no wonder, for he aspires to power against the power of the Father; he wants to be wise against the wisdom of the Son; he is inflamed but not as the Holy Ghost sets aflame. So ask your Son either to take him away soon, so that no more souls may be lost, or to humble him quickly for his errors."

    The Mother answered: "Hear me, then, virgin, though you are a male and not a female person. You are the one whom it pleased God to call away from the world through the easiest of deaths after my own. Indeed, it was as though I had fallen asleep when my soul and body were separated, but then I awoke in everlasting joy. No wonder, indeed, for I had suffered more bitterly than all the others at my Son's death, and it pleased God thus to separate me from the world through the easiest of deaths.

    "But you were closest to me among the apostles, and the object of greater signs of affection than all the others, and my Son's passion was bitterer for you than for the rest, because you beheld it at a closer distance than others, and you also lived longer than the others, as if you became a martyr through the deaths of them all. It therefore pleased God to call you from the world through the easiest of deaths after my own, for the Virgin had been entrusted to a virgin. Therefore, what you asked for shall be done without delay.

    "My daughter, let me show you what sort of person this man is of whom we are speaking. He is like a servant of that coin-maker, the devil. The devil melts down and then stamps his coin - that is, his servant - with his suggestions and temptations, until he has fashioned him after his liking. Once he has corrupted and twisted a person's will toward the pleasures of the flesh and the love of the world, he then impresses his image and signature on the person, and it becomes apparent enough from external signs who it is whom that person wholeheartedly loves.

    "When a man carries out in act the desire of his mind and wants to get more involved in worldly affairs than his state in life requires, and would do and desire even more things, if he were able, then he is shown to be the devil's perfect coin.

    "You should realize, however, that God's coin differs from the devil's coin. God's coin is of gold, shining, pliable, and precious. Every soul with the stamp of God on it shines with divine love, is pliable in her patience, and precious in her continual good works. Accordingly, every good soul is melted down by God's power and tested with many temptations. Through them the soul, contemplating her defects and her origins as well as God's kindness and patience toward her, is rendered all the more precious to God, the more humble, patient, and conscientious she is found to be.

    "The devil's coin, however, is of copper and lead. It is copper, because it bears a likeness to gold: It is hard and pliable, yet not the way gold is. Likewise, the unrighteous soul seems to herself to be righteous, judges everyone, is more interested in herself than in others, is unpliable with respect to humble actions, soft in acting in her own interest, intractable in her own plans, admirable to the world, despicable to God.

    "The devil's coin is also leaden in that it is ugly, soft and pliable, and heavy. Likewise, the unrighteous soul is ugly in her lustful desires, burdensome in her longing for the world, as pliable as a reed that bends in the direction of whatever the devil inspires in her mind, sometimes, indeed, being even more ready to do it than the devil is to tempt her to it.

    "This is the disposition of the coin-maker's servant. He gets bored in keeping the observances of his rule, as he vowed, and thinks up ways of gaining people's appreciation through a pretended holiness, all the while feeding his body sumptuously. The devil, then, soon filled his head with lies at night. They deluded him into believing impossible things that will not come to be. Instead, his life will be cut short, and he will not obtain the honor for which he so longs.

    "Whenever one comes across an unknown coin, one sends it to a wise expert who has sufficient knowledge of its weight and shape. But where will we find such an expert? Even if we did find him, he may care little or nothing about whether the coin is counterfeit or genuine. There is only one solution in such a case, as I will explain by way of a comparison.

    "If you handed a florin to a dog, it would not bother to take it. But if the florin were coated with fat, there is no doubt that the dog would take it then. The present case is like that. If you went to a theological expert and said: 'That man is a heretic,' he would not be bothered, for his love of God is altogether grown cold. However, if you said: 'He has plenty of florins,' then everyone would rush to him. Therefore, it will soon be as Paul says: 'I will destroy and humble the wisdom of the wise, and I will exalt the humble.'

    "My daughter, you can recognize both the Holy Spirit and the unclean spirit through seven signs. First, the Spirit of God makes a man deem the world worthless and consider in his heart all worldly honor as mere air. Second, it endears God to the soul, and all delight in the flesh grows cold. Third, it inspires him to patience and to glorying only in God. Fourth, it stimulates the mind to be loving and compassionate with one's neighbor and even with one's enemies. Fifth, it inspires him to all kinds of abstinence, even from licit things. Sixth, it makes him trust in God in the midst of hardships and even to glory in hardships. Seventh, it gives him the desire of wanting to depart and to be with Christ, rather than to prosper in the world and become soiled.

    The evil spirit has seven effects to the contrary. First, it makes the world seem sweet, and heaven distasteful. Second, it makes a man seek honors and forget about the meaning of his life. Third, it arouses hatred and impatience in the heart. Fourth, it makes him bold toward God and obstinate in his own plans. Fifth, it leads him to make light of his sins and to make excuses for them. Sixth, it inspires in him frivolity of mind and every carnal impurity. Seventh, it inspires in him the hope of a long life and a feeling a shame about going to confession. Guard your thoughts carefully, then, so that you do not get deceived by this spirit."


    This was a priest of the Cistercian order who, after eighteen years of apostasy, repented and returned to the monastery. He said that it was impossible for anyone to be damned and denied that God spoke with anyone in this world or that anyone could see the face of God prior to God's judgment.

    When Lady Bridget heard this, the Holy Ghost said to her: "Go and tell that brother this: 'Brother, you do not see as I do how the devil still keeps your mind and tongue tied even in your old age. God is eternal, and his reward is eternal. Therefore, return quickly and wholeheartedly to God and to the true faith, for you will assuredly not get up out of this bed but die. However, if you believe, you will be a vessel for God's honor.' "

    He was reduced to tears and thanked Lady Bridget, and he reformed his life so perfectly that, when his brothers were called together at the hour of his death, he told them: "O my brothers, I am assured that God all merciful has accepted my contrition and will grant me pardon. Pray for me, because I believe everything that the Holy Church believes."

    Then, after having received God's sacraments, he passed away.

Revelations and Prophesies Imparted to St. Bridget of Sweden
Book Four: Chapter Twenty-three