I have, as it were, two treasuries. The first treasury stores heavy things as lead, and the house where they are stored is surrounded with sharp and stinging spikes. But to the one who first begins to turn and roll these heavy things, and then learns how to carry them, they seem as light as feathers. And so the things that before looked heavy, become very light, and the things that before were thought to be bitter and stinging, become sweet. The second treasury stores things that seem to be like shining gold with precious stones and delicious drinks. But the gold is really filth and the drinks are poison. There are two ways into these treasuries, even though there used to be only one way.
At the crossroads, that is, at the beginning of these two ways, there stood a man who cried out to three men who were walking on a different way, and he said: 'Hear, hear my words! But if you do not want to hear with your ears, then at least see with your eyes that what I say is true. But if you do not want hear or see, then at least use your hands to touch and prove that my words are true and not false.' Then the first of them said: 'Let us hear and see if his words are true.' The second man said: 'All he says is false.' The third said: 'I know that everything he says is true, but I do not care about what he says.'
What are these two treasuries if not My love and the love of the world? There are two ways into these two treasuries: privation and a complete denial of one's own will lead to My love, while the fleshly lust and a man's own will lead to the love of the world. To some people, My love appears to be a heavy burden of lead, for when they should be fasting or keeping vigil in My service or restrain their flesh from sinful desires, they feel as if they are carrying heavy lead. And if they have to hear words or insults, they think it is heavy and hard, or if they must spend time in purity or prayer, it is as if they were sitting between spikes or thorns and they worry every moment.
The one who wants to remain in My love should first begin to lift and turn the burden over, that is, he should attempt to do the good through his good will and constant desire. Then he should gradually lift the burden a little, that is, do the good he can do, thinking thus to himself: 'This I can do well if God gives me His help and grace.' Then he may persevere in the undertaken task and with great joy bear that which before seemed heavy to him so that every trouble in fasts and vigils or any other trouble will seem to be as light as feathers to him.
My friends rest in such a place, which, to the wicked and lazy, seems to be surrounded with things like spikes and thorns, but to My friends it is as the highest peace and soft as roses. The right way into this treasury is to deny and despise your own will, which happens when a man contemplates My suffering and My love, and does not care about his own will or lust but resists it with all his power and might and constantly strives for the things that are higher and better. And although this way is somewhat heavy in the beginning, it pleases so much in the continuation of it that the things that before seemed impossible to bear later become very light, so that he can rightfully say to himself: 'The yoke and work of God is good and sweet.'
The second treasury is the world. In it there are gold, precious stones, and drinks that seem delicious and pleasant-smelling but are bitter as poison when they are tasted. Each and everyone who carries and owns this gold, must - when his body is weakened and his limbs lose their strength, when his marrow is wasted and his body falls dead to the ground - leave the gold and the precious stones behind for they are of no more use to him than filth. And the drinks of the world, that is, her delights, seem delicious, but once in the stomach, they make the heart heavy and the head weak and ruin the body, and then man dries and withers away like grass, and when the pangs of death approach, all these pleasures become as bitter as poison. The way leading to this treasury is his self-will and lust, whenever a man does not care about resisting his evil desires and does not contemplate on what I have commanded or done, but immediately does whatever comes to mind, whether it may be licit or not.
Three men are walking on this way, and by these I mean all evil and unrighteous men who love the world and all their self-will. I cried out to these three men as I stood at the crossroads or the beginning of the ways, for when I came to the world in human flesh and body, I showed mankind two ways, as it were, namely, the one to follow and the one to avoid, in other words, the way leading to life and the one to death. For before My coming in the flesh, there was only one way, and on it, all men - good and bad - wandered toward hell.
I am the one Who cried out, and My cry was this: 'People, hear My words that lead to the way of life, for they are true! Use your senses to understand that what I say is true. If you do not want to hear My words or cannot listen to them, then at least see them, that is, with faith and reason, see that My words are true. For just as something visible can be discerned with the eyes of the flesh, so too can invisible things be discerned and believed by the eyes of faith. There are many simple men in the Church and Christendom who do few good deeds but still are saved through their faith wherein they believe Me to be the Creator of all things and the Redeemer of souls. There is no one who cannot understand and believe that I am God, if he considers how the earth bears fruit and how the heavens give rain, how the trees bloom, how each and every animal exists in its own kind, how the stars serve man, and how troubles and sorrows come and often happen against the will of man. From all these things, man can see that he is mortal and that it is God Who arranges and directs all these things. For if God did not exist, everything would be disorganized. Thus, all things are of God, and everything is rationally arranged for the use and knowledge of mankind. And there is not the least little thing that is created or exists in the world without reasonable cause.
So, if a man cannot understand or comprehend My virtues and powers as they are because of his weakness, he can still see them with faith and believe. But if you people in the world do not want to use your reason to consider My power, you can still use your hands to touch and sense the deeds that I and My saints have done. They are namely so obvious that no one can doubt them to be the deeds of God. Who raised the dead and gave sight to the blind if not God? Who cast out the evil devils from men if not God? What have I taught if not things beneficial for the prosperity of soul and body and easy to bear?
But what the first man said means that some people say: 'Let us listen and test if what He says is true!' They stand a while in My service, not for the sake of love or charity but as an experiment and to imitate others; and they do not give up their own will but exercise it along with My will. They are in a dangerous position, for they want to serve two masters, even though they can serve neither one well. When they are called, they shall be rewarded by the master that they have loved the most.
What the second man said means that some people say: 'All His words are false and the Scripture is false.' I am God and the Creator of all things and without Me nothing has been made. I laid down the New and the Old Laws; they came out of My mouth, and there is no falsehood in them because I am the Truth. Therefore, those who say that I have spoken falsely and that the Holy Scripture is false shall never see My face; for their conscience tells them that I am truly God, since all things happen according to My will and ordination. The sky gives them light, nor can they give any light to themselves. The earth bears fruit, the air makes the earth fertile, all the animals have a specific ordinance, the devils fear and confess Me to be God and righteous men suffer incredible things for their love of Me. All these things they see, and yet they do not see Me. They could also see Me and understand My justice, if they considered and thought on how the earth swallowed the ungodly and how the fire consumed the unrighteous. So could they likewise see Me in My mercy when the water flowed for the righteous out of the rock or the water of the ocean parted for them, when the fire avoided harming them or when Heaven gave them food like the earth. Because they see all these things and still say I am a liar, they shall never see My face.
What the third man said means that some people say: 'We know full well that He is the true God, but we do not care about it.' These people will suffer and be tormented for all eternity, because they despise Me, Who Am their God and Lord. Is it not a great contempt of them to use My good gifts but nonetheless refuse to serve Me? For if they had earned these things by their own diligence and not wholly and entirely from Me, their contempt would be small.
But I will give My grace to those who begin to turn over My burden, that is, to those who voluntarily and with a passionate desire attempt to do the little good they can. I will work with the people who lift My weights, that is, those who advance in good deeds day by day for the sake of My love, and I will be their strength and enlighten them so that they will want to do more good. But those who sit in the place that seems to sting them, but really is most peaceful, they work patiently day and night without tiring, increasing more and more in the ardent fire for My honor, thinking that what they do for My sake is very little. These are My most dear friends, and they are very few, since the drinks found in the other treasury are more pleasing to the others.
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Revelations and Prophesies Imparted to St. Bridget of Sweden - Book One: Chapter Fifteen