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1. Of St. Bridget.

THE blessed Bridget was born of noble parents, who descended from the kings of Sweden. Our Lord began to visit her even in her earliest childhood; and at the age of thirteen, although she especially loved virginity, yet by the command of her parents, and by the will of God, she married a most noble youth, by name Ulpho, and had by him four sons and as many daughters.

Her husband being at length dead, she chose with Mary Magdalen the best part (St. Luke x. 42), and at the command of God left her native country and came to Rome. Afterwards, by the command of the Lord, she went to Jerusalem, and subsequently returned to Rome.

After the death of her husband Christ said to this most holy woman: “I am thy God, who willeth to converse with thee. But I speak to thee not for thyself alone, but for the good of all Christians. Thou shalt be My spouse, and I will make use of thee as a canal; because by thy means I will communicate My grace to others, and will do good to them. Thou 296shalt see and hear spiritual and heavenly secrets, and My Spirit shall remain with thee till death. Thou becamest Mine by right, when at the death of thy husband thou didst resign thy will into My hands and wast prepared to relinquish all things for Me. Therefore I take thee to Myself to be My spouse, that I may find such delight in thee, as it is fitting that God should find in a chaste soul.”

Again the Lord said to her: “Many wonder wherefore I converse with thee rather than with others who are better and more perfect than thee, and have served Me longer than thou hast. But I answer them that I am like the master of a house, having various kinds of wine in his house, who sometimes drinks that which is inferior, because he then prefers it, rejecting the stronger; yet he does not therefore despise or throw away the better wine, but reserves it for his future use. I have indeed many friends, whose lives are sweeter to Me than honey and brighter than the sun; and yet I have chosen thee to be My spouse, that I might reveal to thee My secrets, not because thou art better than them or even couldst be compared to them, but because I have so willed, who make the foolish to be wise, and sinners to be just. In conferring on thee such grace, I reject not them, but shall make use of them afterwards to My honour. Therefore do thou ever humble thyself.”

A certain exceedingly holy monk, by name Gerekinus, once saw St. Bridget raised from the ground into the air, and a river flowing out of her mouth, and heard a voice uttering these words: “This woman, 297coming from the ends of the earth, shall pour forth wisdom upon innumerable nations. And this shall be a sign to thee, that she, being taught by God, shall foretell the end of thy life; wherefore thou shall exult in her words, and the desire with which thou longest for the vision of God shall quickly be fulfilled.”

This widow, so dear to God, speaking of the grace given her, said to the Lord; “When it pleaseth Thee, O Lord, thou dost still my body not indeed with bodily sleep, but with a certain spiritual quiet; but thou dost then rouse my soul as it were out of sleep, and makest it spiritually to see, hear and feel.” For when the same St. Bridget was rapt in extasy, all the powers of her body seemed to fail, but her heart exulted and was inflamed with love. She passed happily out of this life in the seventieth year of her age.99   A.D. 1373.

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