“I gave myself to my Heavenly Spouse and He accomplished His will in me. To suffer in repose has ever seemed to me the most enviable state in this world, but one to which I never attained. “ In these words Sister Emmerich summed up the mystery of her whole life both in the convent and out of it, for sufferings never failed her. She accepted them gratefully from the hands of God , she welcomed them as a precious gift, but never was repose in suffering hers, never did a peaceful, hidden life fall to her lot. She was to arrive at perfect conformity with her Spouse.
He consummated His mission amidst contradictions, tribulations, and persecutions — His servant was not to accomplish hers otherwise. From her infancy she had suffered for others ; but now these sufferings assumed a more elevated, a more extended character. The wounds of the body of the Church, that is the falling off of whole dioceses, the self-will and negligence of ecclesiastics, the deplorable state of society — all was laid upon her to be expiated by varied and multiplied sufferings.
Her infirmities resulted from spiritual wounds entailed upon the flock of Christ by the sins of its own members. In this she may be compared to Blessed Lidwina of Schiedam who together with Christina of Saint-Trond (Christina mirabilis) is, perhaps, the most wonderful instrument of expiation ever made use of by Almighty God for the good of the Church. A glance at her life will give us a clear insight into Sister Emmerich's mission (1).
(1) Blessed Lidwlna's life was compiled by a contemporary, Brother John Brugmann, Provincial of the Friars Minor, In Holland, who died in the odor of sanctity. Communications were made for this end by Lidwina’s confessor, Walter von Leyden, and John Gerlach, his friend. The Burgomaster and Council of Schiedam testified thereto. as also the blessed Thomas & Kempis.-See Acta Sanctorum, April 14th.
(1) 真福李维娜的生平是由同时代的若望．布鲁格曼修士编纂的，他是荷兰的小兄弟会省会长，李维娜在神圣的气味中去世。为了修士编纂的李维娜的生平，李维娜的告解神师沃尔特．冯．莱登和他的朋友若望．盖拉赫进行了沟通。市长和希丹市议会作证，还有真福托马斯和肯皮斯。参见《圣训学报 Acta Sanctorum》，4 月 14 日。
Lidwina, the daughter of a poor watchman of Schiedam, was born some weeks previously to the death of St. Catherine of Sienna and, by a special privilege, dedicated to the Mother of God to receive from her strength to continue the mission of suffering for the Church bequeathed to her by the saint. Catherine had been raised up by God in the fourteenth century, like St. Hildegarde in the twelfth, to aid Christianity by the spirit of prophecy.
Her life counted but thirty-three years ; for her heart, riven by divine love, could not longer endure the sight of the un-happy divisions in the Church caused by the election of an anti-pope opposed to Urban VI. A schism burst forth two years before her death, and St. Catherine shrank from no sacrifice to restore peace and unity, even imploring Almighty God to permit the rage of hell to be unchained against her own person rather than against the Head of the Church. Her prayer was heard.
During the last three months of her life from January 19, 1380, Sexagesima, till April 30, fifth Sunday after Easter, hell did indeed make her its victim, as it had formerly done St. Hildegarde who for three consecutive years wrestled with the infernal cohorts for the good of the Church. On Palm Sunday, 1380, only a few weeks before the death of St. Catherine, Lidwina, the heiress of her sufferings and struggles, was born in Holland. From her very cradle she was a little victim of pain, the intolerable agony of the stone being her portion ;
从 1380 年 1 月 19 日四旬期前第二主日，到 4 月 30 日复活节后的第五主日，在圣女加大利纳生命的最后三个月里，地狱确实让她成为了牺牲者，就像以前连续三年与地狱势力搏斗的圣女希尔德加德所做的那样为教会的利益而战。1380 年的苦难主日，就在圣女加大利纳去世前几周，她的苦难和斗争的继承人李维娜在荷兰出生。从她的摇篮开始，「她就是一个痛苦的小牺牲品，结石就是她受苦的一部分，使她承受着难以忍受的痛苦。」
yet, in spite of her ill health, she was so beautiful and presented so robust an appearance that her hand was sought in marriage at the early age of twelve. But long before she had consecrated her virginity to God by vow ; and now, to free herself from suitors, she begged Him to deprive her of her beauty, a prayer most pleasing to the Author of all beauty. In her fifteenth year she fell ill.
On her recovery she was so disfigured as to be no longer an object of attraction. In this way she was prepared to be a vessel of sufferings, and the miseries which at that period afflicted the Church were laid upon her. Whilst skating on the ice a companion struck against her. Lidwina fell and broke a rib of her right side. An internal abscess formed which no remedies could relieve and from which she endured horrible pains. About a year after this accident, her father approached her bed one day to soothe and comfort her, when in a paroxysm of agony she threw herself into his arms.
The sudden movement broke the abscess, the blood gushed violently from her mouth and nose, and she was in imminent danger of suffocating. From this moment she grew worse ; the suppuration of the abscess hindered her taking nourishment and if she forced herself to eat, her stomach refused to retain the food. Burning thirst consumed her and when she dragged herself out of bed to swallow a mouthful of water, it was only to throw it off immediately.
Nothing gave her any relief; and, what was still more deplorable, she was for years deprived of spiritual consolation and direction. Once a year, at Easter, she was carried to the church to receive Holy Communion, and that was all. Sometimes it seemed to her as if she could not possibly endure her state of suffering and abandonment longer ; but sickness, even such as hers, could not at once crush her youthful buoyancy and she was often seized with a longing desire to be cured.
A miserable little room on the ground floor, more like a cave than an apartment, was the one assigned her and the merry voices of the young people as they passed the narrow window intensified her feelings of utter abandonment. Three or four years passed away, and then God sent to her a holy confessor and director in the person of John Pot, who taught her how to meditate on the dolorous Passion of Christ, from which exercise she drew fortitude and resignation.
She was docile and faithful to his instructions, but perfect relief came to her desolate soul only when the gift of tears was granted to her, which happened one day after Holy Communion. For fourteen days her tears flowed constantly and uncontrollably over her former impatience and tepidity whilst, at the same time, her. soul was inundated with consolation. From that moment she made such progress in prayer that all hours of the day and night found her absorbed in contemplation, and she regulated the time as precisely by her own interior admonition, as if by the sound of a clock.
In the eighth year of her sickness, she could say ; " It is not I who suffer ; it is my Lord Jesus who suffers in me !" and she continually offered her- self as a victim of expiation. Once upon Quinquagesima Sunday she asked for some special pain to atone for the sins committed during the Carnival ; whereupon she was attacked by pains in her limbs so excruciating that she no longer dared to make such petitions. Again she offered herself as a victim to avert the plague from her native city, and instantaneously two pestilential sores appeared on her throat and breast ; she begged for a third in honor of the Most Holy Trinity, and another appeared on her knee.
Soon the entire dismemberment and devastation of the Church were cast upon her. The three-fold havoc made at the time of the great schism by freedom of opinion, immorality, and heresy, was represented in her by swarms of greenish worms that generated in her spine, attacked her kidneys and devoured the lower part of her body, in which they made three large holes. About two hundred of these worms, an inch in length, were daily generated.
很快，整个教会的解体和毁坏就落在了她的身上。言论自由、不道德、异端，在大分裂时期造成的三重破坏，在她身上表现为成群的绿色蠕虫，它们从她的脊椎中滋生，攻击她的肾脏，吞噬她的下半身，并在她的身体上钻了三个大洞。每天产生大约 200 条这样的蠕虫，一英寸长。
To protect herself in some degree, Lidwina fed them on a mixture of honey and flour, or with capon fat spread on linen and laid over the wounds. This she had to beg as an alms; and, if it happened not to be fresh, the worms attacked her instead. As infidelity, heresy, and schism spring from pride of intellect and sins against the sixth commandment, this triple evil had to be expiated in a manner analogous in its nature, that is by putrefaction and worms.
What remained of the other internal parts of her body after the action of the purulent abscess, was, at Lidwina's own desire, buried and the cavity of the abdomen filled up with wool. She was attended by the physician of the Duchess Margarite of Holland. The agony she endured from the stone, notwithstanding the decomposition of her organs, reached at times such a degree of intensity as to deprive her of consciousness. This suffering was in expiation of the abomination of concubinage even among clerics.
Her kidneys and liver rotted away ; purulent tumors formed on her breasts, because of the milk of scandal given to multitudes of children, instead of the nourishment of pure doctrine ; and, for the strife and discord that reigned among Christian theologians, Lidwina endured the most agonizing toothache, which was often so violent as to affect her reason. The unhealthy excitement agitating the body of the Church was atoned for by a tertian fever that, like a withering blast, dried up her bones or shook her with icy chills.
Lastly, as Christianity for forty years was divided between popes and anti-popes, so, too, was Lidwina's body literally separated into two parts. Her shoulders had to be bandaged to keep them from falling asunder. A split extended vertically through her forehead down to the middle of her nose ; her lips and chin were in the same condition ; and the blood sometimes flowed so abundantly from them as to prevent her speaking.
As the Pope could no longer guard the entire flock, Lidwina lost the use of her right eye, and the left was so weak that she could not endure the light. The fire of revolt paralyzed the Sovereign Pontiff's power — and Lidwina's right arm was attacked by St. Anthony's fire ; the nerves lay upon the fleshless bones like the cords of a guitar, the arm itself being attached to the body merely by a tendon. With the use of only her left hand she lay upon her back, helpless and motionless, and for seven consecutive years she could not be moved lest she would literally fall to pieces.
［注：圣安东尼之火 (SAF) 是一种因摄入受真菌污染的黑麦谷物而导致的麦角中毒（麦角中毒）疾病。这种疾病的俗名来源于中世纪的本笃会修士，他们献身于为患者提供治疗，有时会使用圣人的遗物来治疗。“火”元素指的是疾病患者经常在身体四肢感受到的灼烧感。 SAF的知名度不如黑死病瘟疫，但它在整个中世纪都一直存在。尽管仅在一次事件中（公元 994 年在法国爆发），这种疾病在全国造成 20,000-40,000 人死亡，但尚无数据表明可能死于 SAF 的人数。 SAF 经常出现坏疽、抽搐、溃疡甚至幻觉的症状，困扰着中世纪社会，导致许多人常常过着悲惨的生活。 ］
Her body, deprived of sleep and nourishment, was like a worm-eaten tree supported only by the bark ; and yet there daily flowed from her mouth, nose, eyes, ears, from all the pores of her body so great a quantity of blood and other fluids that two men would not have been able to carry it away in the space of a month. Lidwina well knew whence came this substitute for the vital sap which had entirely dried up in her frame, for once being questioned as to its origin, she answered : “Tell me whence the vine derives its rich sap which in winter is apparently all dried up !”
She felt herself a living branch of the true vine, whose benedictions stream to the ground when they find no member to receive them. Lidwina expiated this waste by the blood which flowed from every pore, and which day by day was miraculously replenished. The wonderful vase of her body, notwithstanding its corruption and worms, emitted a most sweet odor. It became at last a victim so agreeable in the sight of Our Lord that He impressed upon it the seal of His Sacred Stigmata.
For thirty-three years Lidwina presented this amazing spectacle of suffering, utterly in contradiction to nature's laws, and which no natural experience could explain. When plied with questions such as these : “ How can you live without lungs, liver, or intestines, and almost consumed by worms!” — she would quietly answer : “God and my conscience bear witness that I have lost piecemeal what He once gave me. You may well believe this loss was hard to bear, but God alone knows what, in the fulness of His almighty power, He has done in me to replace that loss."
Lidwina's pious biographer, Francis Brugmann, Provincial of the Minorites, throws light upon these inexplicable facts when he says that God, in miraculously preserving the wasted body of His spouse, willed to manifest to all ages the means by which He daily preserves the grace of Redemption to men who persecute the Church, her faith, and her mysteries, as the worms, the fever, and the putrid matter consumed the body of Blessed Lidwina.
That it might be evident to all that Lidwina bore in her own person the wounds of the entire Church, God restored her to her perfect state some time before her demise. When Christianity again acknowledged one Head, Lidwina' s task was accomplished, and she received once more all that she had sacrificed for the interests of the Church.
We may now very lawfully inquire how life could possibly be prolonged in a body entirely destitute of vital organs, and we find Lidwina on several occasions alluding to a supernatural nourishment. Her biographer says : “Curiosity impelled crowds to visit the pious virgin, some actuated by laudable intentions, others coming merely to condemn and blaspheme. All saw indeed but a picture of death ; yet the former beheld also in this mutilated vase the balm of sanctification ; in this disfigured image the wonder-working Lord ; in this semblance of death the Author of life, the most lovely among the children of men.
Were Lidwina asked in amazement what fever could lay hold of in her, since she took no nourishment, she would answer : “ You are surprised that fever finds anything to feed upon in me — and I, I wonder that I do not become like a barrel in a month ! You judge by the cross you see me bearing, but you know not of the unction attached thereto, you cannot see the interior."
When holy persons expressed their surprise at seeing her alive in such a state, saying ; " You could not live if God in His mercy did not preserve you " — she would reply : “ Yes, I acknowledge that I do receive, though I am unworthy of it, a sustenance which God pours out upon me from time to time. Poor whelp that I am, I could not live in such a body, if some crumbs from my Master's table fell not to me ; but it becomes not the little dog to say what morsels it receives."
Sometimes indiscreet females tormented her with questions as to the reality of her taking no nourishment ; then she would answer sweetly : " If you cannot understand it, yet do not join the number of the incredulous, do not despise God's wonderful operations. He it was who supported Mary Magdalen in her solitude and Mary of Egypt in the wilderness. There is no question as to what you think of me — but do not rob God of His glory."
Lidwina did not mean merely the unction communicated by the gifts and fruits of the Holy Ghost. She alluded more particularly to the relief received from the terrestrial paradise, which invigorated her in a manner altogether miraculous. The Fathers tell us that paradise still exists in all its first beauty untouched by the waters of the Deluge. Here Enoch and Elias were transported to await the coming of anti-Christ, at which time they will reappear upon earth to announce to the Jews the Word of Salvation. St. Hildegarde says: " Enoch and Elias are in paradise, where they have no need of corporal food ; and, in like manner, a soul rapt in the contemplation of God has no necessity whilst in that state of those things of which mortals make use ."
The terrestrial paradise was not created for pure spirits, but for man composed of soul and body ; consequently, it is provided with whatever is requisite not only for his sustenance but also for his safeguard against sickness and death, by virtue of the state of original justice in which he was first created.
The creatures of this magnificent abode, its animals and plants, belong to a higher order, as much elevated above those of earth as the body of Adam before his sin was superior to his fallen posterity. And as the body of Adam was a real body of flesh and blood, not pure spirit, so, too, paradise is not a celestial or purely spiritual region, but a material place connected with human nature and with the earth itself. This relation between the earth and paradise is clearly indicated in the Holy Scriptures.
The manna in the desert revealed to the children of the Old Law the food prepared for man during his earthly pilgrimage. St. Hildegarde says on this subject in her Scivias, Lib. I., visio II. : — " When Adam and Eve were expelled from paradise, a wall of light was raised around it, and the Divine Power effaced from it all marks of their sin. It was fortified, as it were, by this great light so that no enemy could reach it ; but by this God also testified that the transgression which had taken place in paradise should in time be effaced by His mercy.
［注：Scivias 是 Hildegard von Bingen 的插图作品，完成于 1151 年或 1152 年，描述了她经历的 26 种宗教异象。这是圣女著作描述她愿景的三部作品中的第一部，其它是 Liber vitae Meritorum 和 De operatione Dei（也称为 Liber divinorum operum）。标题来自拉丁语短语“Sci vias Domini”（“知道主的道路”）。这本书有 35 个微型插图，比她后来的两本异象书中包含的还要多。 ］
Paradise still exists, a region of joy, blooming in all its pristine loveliness, and imparting abundant fruitfulness to the sterile earth. As the soul communicates life and strength to the body it inhabits, so the earth receives from paradise her supreme vitality; the darkness and corruption of sin, which shroud this miserable world cannot entirely check its beneficent influence."
Man's spiritual bond with paradise is the grace of Redemption, which not only restored him the high gifts possessed by Adam in that abode, but conferred on him besides that superior beauty, dignity, and worth which emanate from the Precious Blood of Christ. By virtue of baptismal innocence, God in every age bestows upon certain chosen souls many of those privileges which Adam received by virtue of original justice.
Baptism confers a certain right to those extraordinary gifts, for its innocence is superior to that of paradise. St. Hildegarde wrote to the Cathedral Chapter of Mayence : " God who, by the light of truth leads on His elect to beatitude, has been pleased at various epochs to renew the spirit of faith among them by the gift of prophecy ; by its illumination they may, in a measure, recover that happiness possessed by Adam before his fall."
It is not a matter of surprise, then, that not only the spiritual but also the material favors of paradise, should be bestowed upon God's chosen ones as a recompense for their fidelity ; but such gifts are merited by sufferings and privations.
Man, even whilst living in the flesh, is conducted to paradise and its fruits are brought to him by pain and self-renunciation, and by the good works performed by souls in the splendor of unsullied innocence. The way to these heights is absolute self-denial open only to those who have been, as it were, spiritualized in the fire of affliction. No extraordinary natural faculty, no mysterious malady, no disarrangement between the functions of soul and body, only purity and heroic fortitude fit man though still an exile upon earth to enter the terrestrial paradise.
Rewards and punishments are meted out by Almighty God according to the nature and importance of good or evil works ; and so for every pain, every sorrow, for every privation borne upon earth there blooms in Paradise a corresponding production which, as a flower or a fruit, as food or drink, as consolation or relief, is communicated to souls according to their special need, and this not merely spiritually, but really and substantially.
This is the wonderful repairer of their corporal life, this explains their miraculous vitality. It is related of Lidwina that once a woman very virtuous, but a prey to the deepest melancholy, came to implore her help. Lidwina received her with kind words and promised her relief. Some days later the poor sufferer was admitted with Lidwina herself to the earthly Paradise, a favor obtained by Lidwina's prayers ; but in spite of the wonders she beheld on all sides, the poor woman ceased not to lament and weep.
Then Lidwina led her to a certain locality which seemed to serve as the storehouse of the whole world ; — here were perfumes, health-giving spices, and healing herbs, and here the poor sufferer was finally cured and so inundated with celestial consolations that, for several days after, she could not support even the smell of food. As a reward for her docility to Lidwina's advice and directions her melancholy entirely disappeared.
In the life of St. Colette, contemporary with blessed Lidwina, it is related that during the whole of Lent, she abstained from food excepting perhaps a few crumbs of bread. On a certain Easter-day God sent her from Paradise a bird resembling a hen, one of whose eggs sufficed her for a long time and, as she had need of some little recreation amid her great labors (she reformed the Poor Clares) there was sent her from Paradise in reward for her incomparable purity a charming little animal, dazzlingly white and perfectly tame when with her.
It used to present itself at the door or window of her cell, as if craving entrance and, after a short time, disappear as mysteriously as it had come. Her sister-religious regarded it with intense interest and curiosity, but they could never succeed in catching it; for, if they happened to meet it in Colette's cell or any place about the convent, it instantaneously vanished (1). Colette entertained the deepest reverence for holy relics and, above all, for the Cross upon which the Saviour died, and as she ardently longed for a little piece of it, her desire was miraculously gratified.
A small golden cross, not made by hand of man but a natural production, containing a particle of the True Cross, was brought her from the garden of paradise, and Colette ever after carried it on her person. Again, as she was one day conferring with her confessor on the reform of her Order, a cincture of dazzling whiteness descended from above and rested on her arm.
Lidwina often acknowledged that, without the help of divine consolation, she would have sunk under her accumulation of suffering. Her strength was daily renewed in those hours of rapture which transported her either to heaven itself or to the terrestrial paradise, and the sweetness she then tasted rendered the bitterness of her pains not only supportable but even delightful. Her guardian-angel, ever visible to her, was her conductor on these spiritual journeys.
Before setting out, he used to take her to the parish church to an image of the Mother of God, whence after a short prayer they rose swiftly above the earth in an easterly direction until they reached the garden. The first time Lidwina made this aerial journey, she was afraid to enter the beautiful gates. It was only on the angel’s assuring her that her feet would not hurt the flowery carpet stretching out before her that she ventured in, holding the while her guardian's hand who went on before and gently drew her after him. When, at times, she paused in hesitating wonder at the height and luxuriance of the flowers which seemed no longer to afford a passage, the angel lifted her lightly over the fragrant barrier.
The meadows bathed in light, inaccessible to cold or heat, surpassed Lidwina's powers of description. She ate the luscious fruits presented by her angel, and inhaled their delightful perfume; and when returned to her little chamber, her family dared not approach her from the respect which her appearance inspired. She was wholly embalmed with the glory of another world. Her emaciated frame shone with light; perfumes unlike those of earth breathed around her poor couch; the hand held by the angel on their joyous expedition exhaled a peculiarly delicious odor, and a sensation was experiencd by one who approached her such as is produced by aromatic spices. On one occasion, the light surrounding her was so brilliant that her little nephew thinking her in flames ran away in terror.
Lidwina kept near her bed a stalk of dried hemp, light yet firm, with which she could with her left hand open and close the curtain to admit air to her feverish brow. A fire broke out at Schiedam on the night of the 22d of July, and in the confusion this stick was lost. Poor Lidwina was the sufferer, for she was now unable to procure even the small relief of a breath of fresh air. Her angel promised her assistance and, in a short time, she felt something laid gently on the coverlet of her bed.
李维娜在她的床边放着一根干麻茎，轻而结实，她可以用左手拿着它打开和关闭窗帘，让空气吹拂她发烧的额头。7 月 22 日晚上，希丹发生了一场火灾，这根棍子在混乱中丢失了。可怜的李维娜很痛苦，因为她现在连呼吸新鲜空气的一点点安慰都没有了。她的天神答应帮助她，不久之后，她感觉到有什么东西轻轻地放在了她的床单上。
It was a stick about a yard and a quarter long. But in vain did she try to lift it, her poor hand refused its weight, and laughingly she exclaimed : “Ah ! yes, now, indeed, I have a stick !' — Next morning she begged her confessor to whittle it for her and thus render it lighter. He did so or, at least, tried to do so ; but, even with a sharp knife, he could scarcely cut away a few chips, which shed around so delicious a fragrance that he dared not whittle any more of the precious wood.
He took it to Lidwina, asking her where she got it, but she could answer only that she thought her angel had brought it to her. On August 8th, Feast of St. Cyriacus, being again conducted to Paradise, the angel pointed out to her a cedar near the entrance and showed her the bough from which he had broken a branch for her. He reproved her for not sufficiently honoring the precious gift, which possessed the power of expelling evil spirits. Lidwina kept this branch a long time.
告解神师把棍子带回到李维娜那里，问她从哪里得到的，她只能回答她认为是她的天神给她带来的。 8 月 8 日，圣西里亚库斯庆日她再次被带到伊甸乐园，天神指给她看入口附近的一棵雪松，并指出为她折断的那树枝。天神责备她没有充分尊重这份具有驱邪能力的珍贵礼物。李维娜从此保留了这个树枝很长一段时间。
It lost its fragrance only in a hand stained by sin. On another visit to Paradise, Dec. 6th, of the same year, she was fed from a date-palm laden with magnificent fruit whose stones shone like crystals. We shall mention only one more of the gifts brought from Paradise to console and strengthen the patient sufferer.
只有在被罪玷污的手里，它才失去了香气。同年 12 月 6 日，在另一次访问伊甸乐园时，她吃了一颗枣椰树上的枣，树上装满了华丽的果实，果实的核像水晶一样闪闪发光。我们将再提及一项从乐园带来的用于安慰和加强病患者的礼物。
" She was one day rapt to the choirs of the blessed and the Mother of God addressed her in the following words : ‘My child, why do you not put on a crown and join these glorious spirits ? ‘— to which Lidwina answered simply; 'I came with my angel ; I must do what he tells me.' Then Mary gave her a beautiful crown with instructions to keep it herself for seven hours and then give it to her confessor, who was to hang it at Our Lady's altar in the parish church of Schiedam, whence it would be removed later. When Lidwina returned to earth, she remembered all that had passed ; but she dreamed not of taking it literally until she felt the crown of lovely flowers upon her head. When the seven hours had elapsed, she sent for her confessor at dawn, gave him the crown, which was hung at Our Lady's shrine according to order, whence it disappeared before full daylight."
After this digression, more apparent than real, we return to Sister Emmerich whose sufferings were of the same nature and signification as Lidwina's. Besides her interior torments, she endured a succession of cruel maladies most varied in form and opposite in symptoms, since she atoned both for the whole Church and her individual members. God had accepted the sacrifice of her whole being, and every part of her body offered its tribute of expiation, the natural order of things being entirely reversed in her regard — sickness and pain becoming health and strength to her whilst she lay consumed in the fire of tribulation.
Her body was, so to speak, the crucible in which the Physician of souls prepared healing remedies for His people, whilst her soul was keenly alive to terror, sadness, anguish, dryness, desolation, to all those withering impressions which the passions of one man can cause another, or by which diabolical malice can assail its victims. She was burdened with the fears of the dying, the corruption of morals, with the consequences of wrath, revenge, gluttony, curiosity; with them she struggled, over them she gained the victory, the fruits of which she relinquished in favor of poor sinners. But these pains were nothing to the anguish she endured at the sight of the unprecedented degradation of the priesthood.
The evil one succeeded in intruding many of his own servants into Holy Orders, men lost to the faith, members of secret societies who, with the indelible stamp of ordination upon their soul, shrank not from the blackest crimes against Christ and His Vicar upon earth. There was no attack made on the Church, her rights, her worship, her doctrine, and her Sacraments, that was not inspired by a Judas from among her own.
The Saviour felt His Apostle's treason more keenly than all His other sufferings ; and, in like manner, the sharpest wounds in the Church's body are ever from one clothed with the sacerdotal dignity. The impious attacks of heretics did not call for so grievous expiation as did the crimes of fallen priests, and the latter were followed by far more terrible consequences than the former.