Book One |
Christ is likened to a mighty lord who built a great city and a marvelous castle, signifying the world and the Church, and how the judges and defenders and workers in the Church of God have been changed because they have not faith and perseverance nor love the Lord.
Our Lord Jesus Christ said: "I am like a powerful lord who built a great city and named it after himself. Thereafter, he built a castle in the city in which there were many rooms for storing all kinds of useful necessities. Then, when he had built the castle and arranged all his things, he divided his people into three groups, saying: 'I am going away to a far away country. Stand firm and work manfully for my glory! I have made arrangements for your food and your necessities, and you have judges to judge you and defenders to defend you from your enemies. I have also arranged for working men who shall feed you and give me a tenth part of their work, saving it for my use and my honor.'
But after some time had gone by, the name of the city was forgotten. Then the judges said: 'Our lord has traveled to a far away country. Let us judge righteous judgments and do justice so that, when our lord returns, we may not be punished and be accused but receive honor and blessing.'
Then the defenders said: 'Our lord trusts us very much and has left the defense of his house to us. Let us therefore abstain from superfluous food and drink so that we may not become unfit for battle. Let us also abstain from excessive sleep so that we may guard ourselves and not be trapped unawares. May we be well armed and constantly watchful so that we may not be found unprepared when enemies come. The honor of our lord and the salvation of our people depend very much on us.'
Then the workers said: 'The glory of our lord is great and his reward is glorious and grand. Let us therefore work mightily and give him not only a tenth of our work but also offer him everything above our living expenses! Our reward shall become more glorious the greater the love he sees in us.'
Thereafter, some time went by, and the name of the city and the lord of the castle became forgotten. Then the judges said to themselves: 'The delay of our lord is long, and we do not know if he will return or not. Let us therefore judge according to our own will and do what we please.'
The defenders said: 'We are fools, because we work and know not what reward we shall receive. Let us enter into a covenant with our enemies instead and sleep and drink with them, for we do not care about whose enemies they have been.'
Thereafter, the workers said: 'Why do we save our gold for others, when we do not know who will get it after us? It is better that we use it ourselves and dispose of it after our own will. Let us therefore give the tenth to the judges and placate them so that we then can do what we want.'
In truth, I am like this mighty lord, for I built Myself a city, that is, the world, and placed a castle there, that is, the Church. The name of the world was divine wisdom, for the world had this name from the beginning, since it was created in divine wisdom. This name was venerated by all, and God was praised in His wisdom and wondrously proclaimed by His creatures. But now the name of the city has been dishonored and changed, and a new name has been taken, that is, human wisdom.
For the judges, who before had made judgments in righteousness and the fear of the Lord, have now turned to pride and are trying to deceive simple men. They desire to be eloquent so that they may win human praise, and they speak and preach that which pleases men so that they may obtain favors. They tolerate calmly all words so that they may be called good and patient, and they accept bribes to overturn righteous judgments. They are wise for the sake of their own temporal benefit and their own will, but dumb when it comes to My praise. They trample and press down simple men under their feet and force them into silence. They extend their greed to all and make right into wrong. This is the kind of wisdom that is loved now, while My wisdom is forgotten.
The defenders of the Church, who are the noblemen and knights, see My enemies and the attackers of My Church but do not care about it. They hear their words of blasphemy and mockery but do not care about it. They perceive and understand the deeds of those who attack My commandments and still bear them patiently. They behold them daily committing all kinds of mortal sins, as if they were allowed, and feel no compunction about it, but sleep and associate with them, binding themselves by oath to their company.
The workers, that is, the entire people, reject My commandments and withhold My gifts and Ny tenth. They offer gifts to their judges and show them honor and reverence in order to win their favor and goodwill. In truth, I can boldly say that the sword of fear for Me and for My Church is thrown away in the world, and that a sack of money has been put in its place."
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Revelations and Prophesies Imparted to St. Bridget of Sweden - Book One: Chapter Fifty-five