Spiritual Labors and Sufferings for the Church. — The Nuptial House. — Action in Vision.
In November, 1820, Sister Emmerich remarked: "It is now twenty years since my Spouse led me into the Nuptial House and laid me upon the hard bridal bed on which I still lie ;" — thus did she designate her labors for the Church, labors imposed upon her from her entrance into Agnetenberg.
No account had ever been demanded of this hidden operation, no director had even been willing to listen to her on the subject, and it is only now, toward the close of her career, that she testifies to the ways by which God had led her for the good of the Church; now, for the first time, does she raise the veil which conceals that mysterious action which, though operated in contemplation, derives its origin and merit, its importance and results from the divine virtue of faith.
Before her entrance into religion, her principal task consisted in expiatory sufferings referring to the religious vocation and vows; but, when she had embraced the conventual life, her action was extended to the whole Church.
What this task embodied she characterized by these striking words :
"My Heavenly Bridegroom brought meinto the Nuptial House,"
for such is the relation that the Church holds with Jesus Christ, her Spouse and Head — a relation which was shown to Sister Emmerich as an immense sphere, embracing the most varied and opposite states, for whose individual failings she was to supply by her sufferings.
Jesus is continually renewing His indissoluble union with the Church, His Spouse, and that He may present her spotless to His Father, He incessantly pours out upon her the torrents of His graces.
But every grace must be accounted for, and few among those who receive them would be found ready for this, if the Heavenly Spouse did not at all times prepare chosen souls to gather up what others waste, to utilize the talents that others bury, and to discharge the debts contracted by the negligent.
Before manifesting Himself in the flesh, in order to ratify the New Alliance with His Blood, He had by the Immaculate Conception of Mary prepared her to be the immaculate type of the Church.
He had poured upon her the plenitude of His graces, that her prayers might hasten the Messiah's advent, her purity and fidelity retain Him among the very men who received Him not, who resisted and persecuted Him.
When Jesus, the Good Shepherd, began to gather His flock together it was Mary who cared for them, particularly for the poorest, the most abandoned, in order to lead them into the way of salvation; she was the faithful stewardess, she was the support of all.
After the return of her Son to His Eternal Father, she remained many years upon earth to strengthen and protect the infant Church.
And until the second coming of her Son, the Church will never be without members who, following in her footsteps, will be so many sources of benediction to their brethren.
It is Mary, the Mother of Mercy, who assigns to these privileged souls their tasks for the ecclesiastical year; and, in accordance with this order, Sister Emmerich received, in what she denominates the " Nuptial House" her yearly portion of expiation for the Church.
Every detail was made known to her, all was to be finished in a certain time, for choice and duration of suffering are at the option of none.
This order was indicated by the different parts of the Nuptial House, which had both a symbolical and historical signification.
It was the house of Jesse near Bethlehem, the house in which David was born, in which he had been trained by God Himself for his future career as a prophet.
It was from this house, also, that the Divine Spouse Himself had sprung in His Holy Humanity. It was the house of the royal race of the Immaculate Virgin Mother of the Church, and the paternal house of St. Joseph.
It was fitting that Sister Emmerich should contemplate therein the present state of the Church and receive her mission for it, since its former holy occupants had hailed in spirit the advent of the Redeemer, had gazed upon the Church's career through coming ages, and had received their share in the good works that were to hasten Redemption.
This house with its numerous apartments,
its spacious surroundings of gardens, fields, and meadows, was a symbol of the spiritual government of the Church;
with its various parts, its functionaries, with the intruders who laid it waste, it presented to the soul allowed to contemplate it a perfect representation of the Church in her different relations with the state and the country, with certain dioceses and institutions, in fine, with all the affairs connected with her government.
The wrongs done her in her hierarchy, rights, and treasures, in the integrity of her faith, discipline, and morals, by the negligence, slothfulness and disloyalty of her own children;
all that intruders, that is, falsescience, pretended lights, irreligious education, connivance with the errors ofthe day, with worldly maxims and projects, etc., endanger or destroy — all wereshown to Sister Emmerich in visions of wonderful depth and simplicity.
The scenes of these visions were the Nuptial House and its dependencies, and thither was she conducted by her angel to receive her expiatory mission.
Before considering the details of this action in vision, let us first glance at its hidden nature and signification.
We have already remarked that what Sister Emmerich did and suffered in contemplation was as real and meritorious in itself and its results, as were the actions find sufferings of the natural waking state.
This double operation sprang from one common source ; but for the perfect understanding of it, we must study her gift of contemplation.
Her own communications will throw the greatest light upon the question, since they are both numerous and detailed.
We can compare them with the testimonyof others favored with the same graces, with the decisions of the holy Doctors, and with the principles that guide the Church in her judgment of such phenomena.
Sister Emmerich tells us that the gift of contemplation had been bestowed upon her in Baptism and that, from her entrance into life, she had been prepared in body and soul to make use of it.
Once, she denominated this preparation,
"A mystery of a nature verydifficult for fallen man to comprehend, one by which the pure in soul and bodyare brought into intimate and mysterious communication with one another."
The undimmed splendor of baptismal graceis then according to her the first, the chief condition for the reception ofthe light of prophecy, for the developing of a faculty in man, obscured byAdam's fall:
viz., capability of communicating with the world of spirit without interrupting the harmonious and natural relation of body and soul Every man possesses this capability ;
but, if we may so speak, it is hidden in his soul ; he cannot of himself overleap the barrier which separates the regions of sense from those beyond.
God alone by the infusion of superior light, can remove this barrier from the path of His elect; but seldom is such light granted, for few there are who rigorously fulfil the conditions exacted.
We may here remark that, according to the teachings of the great theologians, the principles and theory of contemplation laid down by Pope Benedict XIV.to serve as a basis for the judgment of the Church, there exists no such thing as natural contemplation. Pope Benedict in no way requires a natural disposition thereto as a favorable condition for the infusion of prophetic light, the light of prophecy.
There is no such thing as the development of a natural faculty into the so-called clairvoyance.
All phenomena produced in this regionare, without exception, either simply the result of morbid perturbations, as inanimal somnambulism, and consequently, in themselves something extremelyimperfect or even abnormal ;
or they are an over excitation of themental powers and, thereby, an extension of the sensible faculty ofapperception artificially produced by the action of mesmerism at the expense ofthe more elevated powers of the soul ;
or, in fine, we may recognize in them a demoniacal clairvoyance to which mesmeric clairvoyance necessarily and profound degradation into which the human soul is plunged by mesmeric influence can have no other result. It is only in abandoning the truth: viz., the doctrine of the human soul, as set forth by the great Doctors, upheld and followed by the Church in her process of canonization, that we can fall into the erroneous and dangerous hypothesis of natural clairvoyance and support false theories upon facts less certain, less positively attested.
Before considering Sister Emmerich'sphysical training in preparation for her action in vision, we shall glance atSt. Hildegarde, that great mistress of the mystical life, since there exists sostriking a resemblance between them.
The latter, being directed by Almighty God to reduce her visions to writing, heard these words :
"I who am the Living Light enlightening all that is in darkness, have freely chosen and called thee by Myown good pleasure for marvellous things, for things far greater than those shown by Me to men of ancient times; but, that thou mayest not exalt thyself inthe pride of thy heart, I have humbled thee to the dust.
The world shall find in thee neither joy nor satisfaction, nor shalt thou mingle in its affairs, for I have shielded against proud presumption, I have pierced thee with fear.
I have overwhelmed thee with pain.
Thou bearest thy sorrows in the marrowof thy bones, in the veins of thy flesh.
Thy soul and thy senses are bound, thoumust endure countless bodily pains that false security may not take possessionof thee, but that, on the contrary, thou mayest regard thyself as faulty in allthou dost.
I have shielded thy heart from its wanderings, I have put a bridle upon thee that thy spirit may not proudly and vain-gloriously exalt itself, but that in all things it may experience morefear and anxiety than joy and complacency, Write, then, what thou seest and hearest, O thou creature, who receivest not in the agitation of delusion, butin the purity of simplicity, what is designed to manifest hidden things."
Her contemporary and biographer, the Abbot Theodoric renders this testimony : —
"From her youngest years her purityshone so conspicuously that she seemed exempt from the weakness of the flesh.
When she had bound herself to Christ bythe religious vows, she mounted from virtue to virtue.
Charity burned in her breast for allmankind, and the tower of her virginity was protected by the rampart ofhumility, whence sprang abstinence in diet, poverty in clothing, etc.
As the vase is tried in the furnace ofthe potter, as strength is made perfect in infirmity, so from her earliestinfancy, frequent, almost continual sufferings were never wanting to her.
Very rarely was she able to walk and, asher body ever seemed near its dissolution, her life presented the picture of aprecious death.
But in proportion as her physicalstrength failed, was her soul possessed by the spirit of knowledge andfortitude ; as her body was consumed, her spiritual fervor becameinflamed."
Hildegarde herself laid down as a law established by God, that the prophetic light was never received without constant and extraordinary sufferings. —
"The soul by its nature tends towardeternal life, but the body, holding in itself this passing life, is not in accordance with it ;
for, though both unite to form man, yetthey are distinct in themselves, they are two.
For this reason, when God pours His Spirit out on a man by the light of prophecy, the gift of wisdom, or miracles, He afflicts his body by frequent sufferings, that the Holy Spirit may dwell in him.
If the flesh be not subdued by pain, it too readily follows the ways of the world, as happened to Samson, Solomon, and others who, inclining to the pleasures of the senses, ceased to hearken to the inspirations of the spirit; for prophecy, wisdom, and the gift of miracles give birth to delight and joy.
Know, O thou poor creature, that I have loved and called by preference those that have crucified their flesh in spirit."
St. Hildegarde continues : "I seeknot repose, I am overwhelmed by countless sufferings, whilst the Almighty poursupon me the dew of His grace.
My body is broken by labor and pain, like clay mixed with water."
And again, "It is not of myself that I utter the following words, - the veritable Wisdom pronounces them by my mouth.
It speaks to me thus : 'Hear these words, O creature, and repeat them not as from thyself.
But as from Me, and taught by Me, dothou declare what follows :'
In the moment of my conception, when God awoke me by the breath of life in my mother's womb, He endowed my soul with the gift of contemplation.
My parents offered me to God at my birth and in my third year I perceived in myself so great a light that my soul trembled; but unable yet to speak, I could say nothing of all these things.
In my eighth year I was again offered to God and destined for the religious life, and up to my fifteenth year I saw many things that I recounted in all simplicity.
They who listened asked in amazement whence or from whom I had received them.
Then I began to wonder within myself at this that, although seeing everything in my inmost soul, yet at the same time I perceived exterior objects by the sense of sight, and, as I never heard the like of others, I commenced to hide my visions as best I could.
I am ignorant of many things around me, on account of the state of constant sickness in which I have lain from my birth to the present moment, my body consumed, my strength utterly wasted.
When inundated with the light of contemplation, I have said many things that sounded strange to my hearers; but, when this light had grown a little dim, and I comported myself more like a child than one of my real age, I became confused, I wept, and longed to be able to keep silence.
The fear I had of men was such that Idared not impart to any one what I saw."
How strikingly do not the above wordscharacterize Sister Emmerich! Her body was from her birth a vessel ofsufferings and like Hildegarde, she too was told by the Celestial Spouse why she endured them :
"Thy body is weighed down by pain and sickness that thy soul may labor more actively, for he who is in good health carries his body as a heavy burden."
And when, during the investigation, the Vicar-General expressed astonishment that she could have received a wound in the breast unknown to herself, she replied simply :
"I did feel as if my breast hadbeen scalded, but I never looked to see what it was ; I am too timid for that.
From my childhood I have always been tootimid to look upon my person.
I have never seen it, I never think ofit, I know nothing about it."
This was literally true, for Sister Emmerich had never thought of her body excepting to mortify it and burden it with suffering.
In vain do we strive to understand her great love for penance and mortification.
We may form some idea of it as witnessed in a monk in all the vigor of manhood, or in one advanced in years to whom but little sleep and food are necessary, or in the cloistered contemplative ; but in a young and delicate child, lively and ardent, employed in hard labor from her earliest years, having no example of the kind before her, it is truly astonishing !
How powerful must have been the strength infused into her young heart by the grace of the Holy Ghost !
We are prone to represent the saints to ourselves at immeasurable heights above us, and not amid weakness and miseries such as our own.
We see their sanctity, without reflecting on their heroic efforts in its attainment; we forget that the nature of these valiant conquerors was the same as our own, that they reached the goal only by patient struggling.
The practice of heroic virtue was as difficult for Sister Emmerich as for Blessed Clair Gambacorta, of Pisa (1302-1419), who tells us that fasting was so painful to her that once in herehildhood she struck herself in the stomach with a stool, in order to benumbthe pangs of hunger by pains of another kind.
Like all children, she was exceedingly fond of fruit; to abstain from it cost her the greatest efforts. And have we not seen our own little Anne Catherine struggling against nature until penance and renunciation became, as it were, her only nourishment and the gift of angelic purity natural to her?
By pain and mortification her body became in a measure spiritualized, dependent on the soul for its support, and endued with the capability of serving the latter as an instrument in the labors accomplished in vision.
The following truth cannot be too strongly insisted upon : in those regions, to which intuitive light opens the way, the soul acts not alone as if separated from the body, but soul and body act together, according to the order established by God.
This truth flows of necessity from faith, which teaches that man can merit, expiate, suffer for another only as long as he is a viator acting in and with the body. Nothing throws more light upon this subject than the facts recorded in the life of St. Lidwina：
"When Lidwina," says an eyewitness, "returned from visiting the Holy Places, Mt. Olivet or Mt.Calvary, for instance, her lips were blistered, her limbs scratched, her knees bruised, her whole person bore not only the wounds made by her passage through briers, but even the thorns themselves remained in the flesh.
Her angel told her that she retainedthem as a visible, palpable proof that she had been to the Holy Places notmerely in dreams or in imagination, but really and truly bearing with her thefaculty of receiving sensible, corporeal impressions.”
Once in vision she had to cross aslippery road on which she fell and dislocated her right limb and, whenreturned to consciousness, she found one eye bruised and inflamed.
The pain in the limb and other memberswas violent for several days.
In these far-off journeys she woundedsometimes her hands, sometimes her feet, and the marvellous perfume exhaled byher person betrayed to her friends whither she had been conducted.
By a divine dispensation her soul not only communicated to her body the superabundant consolations it experienced, but it also employed the latter as an instrument, as a beast of burden in its journeys, and made it a share in the fatigue and accidents resulting therefrom.
The soul of the saintly virgin struggled in her body, and her body struggled conjointly with her soul up to the moment of her last agony.
They ran together the same career; they endured together the same hardships, like companions under the same roof.
We must not, then, be surprised if theyjourney together, rejoice together in the Lord and, during the pilgrimage ofthis earthly life, receive together a foretaste of the glory that is to come,the first fruits of the Spirit, the abundant dew that falls from heaven.
In all her supernatural journeys the angel was her companion and she treated with him as a friend with a friend.
He constantly appeared to her surrounded by a wonderful light which surpassed the brilliancy of a thousand suns.
On his forehead shone the sign of the cross, that Lidwina might not be deceived by the evil one, who often appears as an angel of light.
At first she used to experience so great an oppression on her chest that she thought herself dying ; but the feeling passed as she became accustomed to the ecstatic state.
起初，李维娜常常感到胸口上有一种巨大的压迫感，她以为自己要死了；但当她习惯了这种神魂超拔境界后，这种感觉就消失了。（注：ecstatic state：神魂超拔境界；出神状态；身外境界：指人与天主非比寻常的结合，为宗教神秘经验之一；因热爱天主，人的感官功能暂时停止，心神游于物外之状态；又称 rapture 。）
She lay like a corpse perfectly insensible to external impressions whilst her spirit obeying the angelic voice, after a short visit to the Blessed Virgin's altar in the parish church of Schiedam whither the angel always led her first, set out on the journey imposed upon her.
Now, Lidwina's sufferings were such as never to allow her to leave her bed; and yet many circumstances combined to certify to the truth of her spiritual and corporal ravishment.
She tells us that more than once she was raised, bed and all, to the ceiling of her 'room by the force of the spirit; and the bruises she bore on her person after her journeys lend strength to her angel’s testimony that her body, as well as her soul, had shared in the rapture.
她告诉我们，她不止一次地被灵性的力量，从床上，提到她房间的天花板上；她旅行后身上的瘀伤，为她的天使的见证提供了力量，证明她的身体和她的灵魂在神魂超拔中分享了这一点。（注：rapture ：神魂超拔；出神状态；身外境界：宗教神秘经验之一，因热爱天主，使感官功能暂时停止，心神游于物外之出神状态。又称 ecstasy 。）
How this was effected the angel aloneknew."
There can, however, be no question hereof the material body, no question of the pious virgin's being caught up in her state of ordinary life.
The angel only intended to say that her soul in its flights or, as St. Hildegarde expresses it, when it flashed through the realms of space like a ray of light, separated not from the body, ceased not its communication with that infinitely subtle fluid which we term the vital spirits which, in truth, belong to the body, but which are at the same time so closely connected with the nature of the soul as to form the first and chief instrument of its vital activity.
The more spiritualized the physical organism of God's chosen ones becomes (a result which follows extraordinary mortification), the more penetrating become also the vital spirits, like untofire and, consequently, the nearer do they approach to the nature of the soul ;
so that the latter, the soul, acting in vision as if out of the body and without the body, is rendered capable of communication with the world of spirit without really separating from the body, without actually loosening the natural and necessary bond that holds them together.
It may be said, therefore, to act in a corporal manner.
Freed from the confines of space and the obstacles opposed to it by the weight of the body, it can act in and with the body, effect that for which the senses serve as instruments and receive impressions through their medium.
The interior senses, now become spiritualized, no longer offer resistance to the workings of the soul, but follow it whithersoever it leads.
Thus, the whole man, body and soul, acts in contemplation, suffers and operates, although the exterior organs of sense remain inactive and, as it were, closed, and the body, owing to its weight, cannot really follow the soul into the far-off regions through which it journeys.
We entirely reverse the natural relation existing between the soul and the body when we fancy that the former can receive without the intervention of the latter, impressions of material objects, impressions so powerful that they are forced, so to speak, to find an exit out of it into the body on which they exercise an action wholly new.
If we now consider the spiritual and supernatural preparation of a soul to dispose her for the reception of prophetic light, we shall see that, besides sanctifying grace, it is the infused virtue of faith that renders her capable of receiving and making use of this gift.
And yet, infused faith is not a simple condition, it is the proper cause and end, by virtue of which God bestows the gift of contemplation.
For man to attain beatitude, the first, the most necessary of God's gifts, is the light of faith.
All extraordinary gifts of grace relate to faith as the inferior to the superior, the means to the end, although the visible effects of these gifts are often more striking, more wonderful than the invisible, which are, however, incomparably more elevated.
［注：信心是来自天主 人经过操练养成习惯叫信德 所以信德是先天所赐加上后天的努力才有，所以称为德行］
Faith, and not visions, is the source, the root of justification.
No one can draw near to God or bepleasing to Him without faith.
St. Paul, in his epistle to the Hebrews, calls faith the substance, that is the real and essential possession of things hoped for, the real sign of invisible goods.
圣保禄在他写给希伯来人的书信中说出信德的本质：信德是所希望之事的担保，是未见之事的确证。 (希 11:1)
Although faith gives not a clear, precise intuition of the facts and mysteries of our Redemption, yet it excludes even the possibility of error or doubt, and enables the believer to acquire the immense treasures contained in God's revelations and promises to His infallible Church.
The believer by virtue of his faith, possesses actually the goods acquired for him by the Redemption, however multiplied or admirable they may be; but, owing to his imperfect intelligence they are veiled from him just as the appearance and form of the future plant are concealed in the germ.
To arrive at a clear perception of his treasures, to appreciate them as they deserve, he needs light to penetrate whatis hidden, to read at a glance the history of by-gone ages, or the unfulfilledpromises of the future.
This Almighty God communicates by the angel guardian of the soul, who sustains its weakness and renders it capable of supporting its brilliancy.
The angel's assistance is necessary; without it, the soul could never rise to the marvellous regions of contemplation.
The first effect of the angelic teaching is an awakening to the practices of the theological virtues ; for the soul receives this light, not to find in it a source of joy, but an increase of intelligent faith.
Therefore, in Sister Emmerich faith was never inactive.
From her very Baptism, it manifested itself in uninterrupted acts of love, so much the more perfect as her soul never rested on sensible goods.
St. Thomas teaches that faith holds the first rank in the spiritual life, since it is by faith alone that the soul is bound to God, the foundation and source of its life.
As the body lives by the soul, the soullives by God, and that which gives life to the soul is that which binds it toGod, namely, faith.
This light made known to Sister Emmerich through the angel the signification of the Twelve Articles of the Creed, which is a summary of the mysteries of salvation hidden in God from all eternity, revealed first as a promise and, in the fulness of time, accomplished in Jesus Christ.
The whole history of Redemption, withall its circumstances of time, place, and actors, passed before her soul inpictures.
Thousands of years could not separate her from these different events.
She saw all by faith and penetrated into the interior and mutual relation between the most remote and the most recent facts connected with our Redemption, standing face to face with one another, the promise and the fulfilment.
Every outward sign of faith renewed its effects in her soul.
Did she witness the administration of a Sacrament, its supernatural effects were revealed to her by floods of light which either flowed in upon the soul of the recipient or were repelled in their course, thus making known to her his spiritual disposition.
Were a pious picture placed under her eyes, she instantly perceived a representation infinitely more faithful than the one before her, since faith awakened in her soul a perfect image of the original.
Pious reading, holy conversation, the breviary, the chanting of psalms, everything, in fine, connected with religion, awoke in her emotions so strong and lively that, to resist absorption in vision, she was often obliged to use violence with herself.
Sister Emmerich tried several times to give the Pilgrim some idea of her contemplation, but in vain ; she could never satisfactorily explain the spiritual activity of her visions.
We quote what the Pilgrim was able to write on different occasions : —
"I see many things that I cannot possibly express.
Who can say with the tongue what he sees not with the bodily eyes? ……"
"I see it not with the eyes.
It seems as if I saw it with my heart in the midst of my breast.
It makes the perspiration start !
At the same time I see with my eyes the objects and persons around me ; but they concern me not, I know not who or what they are.
I am in contemplation even now whilst Iam speaking…… "
"For several days I have been constantly between the state of vision and the natural waking state.
I have to do violence to myself. In the middle of a conversation I suddenly see before me other things and pictures and I hear my own words as if proceeding from another, as if coming out of an empty cask.
I feel as if I were intoxicated and reeling.
My conversation goes on coolly and often more animatedly than usual, but when it is over I know not what I have said, though I have been speaking connectedly.
It costs me an effort to maintain this double state.
I see passing objects dimly and confusedly like a sleeper awaking out of a dream.
The second sight attracts me more powerfully, it is clearer than the natural, but it is not through the eyes……"
After relating a vision one day, she laid aside her work, saying : "All this day have I been flying and seeing; sometimes I see the Pilgrim, sometimes not.
Does he not hear the singing ?
It seems to me that I am in a beautiful meadow, the trees forming arches over me. I hear wondrously sweet singing like the clear voices of children.
All around me here below is like a troubled dream, dim and confused, through which I gaze upon a luminous world perfectly distinct in all its parts, intelligible even in its origin and connected in all its wonders.
In it the good and holy delight more powerfully since one sees his way from God to God ; and what is bad and unholy troubles more deeply as the way leads from the demon to the demon in opposition to God and the creature.
This life in which nothing hinders me, neither time nor space, neither the body nor mystery, in which all speaks, all enlightens, is so perfect, so free that the blind, lame, stammering reality appears but an empty dream.
In this state I always see the relics by me shining, and sometimes I see little troops of human figures floating over them in a distant cloud.
When I return to myself, the boxes and caskets in which the shining relics lie reappear."
Once the Pilgrim gave her a little parcel into which without her knowledge he had slipped a relic.
She took it with a significant smile, as if to say she could not be so deceived, and laying it on her heart, she said :"I knew directly what you were giving me.
I cannot describe the impression it produces. I not only see, I feel a light like the will-of-the-wisp, sometimes bright, sometimes dull, blowing toward me as if directed by a current of wind.
I feel, too, a certain connecting link between the light and the shining body, and between the latter and a luminous world, itself born of light.
Who can express it? — The light seizes me, I cannot prevent it from entering my heart; and, when I plunge in deeper, it seems as if I passed through it into the body from which it emanates, into the scenes of its life, its struggles, its sufferings, its triumphs!
Then I am directed in vision as is pleasing to God.
There is a wonderful, a mysterious relation between our body and soul.
The soul sanctifies or profanes the body; otherwise, there could be no expiation, no penance by means of the body.
As the saints whilst alive, worked in the body, so even when separated from it they continue to act by it upon the faithful.
But faith is essential to the reception of holy influences.
"Often whilst speaking with others on quite different subjects, I see far in the distance the soul of a deceased person coming toward me and I am forced to attend to it at once, I become silent and thoughtful. I have apparitions also of the saints in the same way"
"I once had a beautiful revelation on this point, in which I learned that seeing with the eyes is no sight, that there is another, an interior sight which is clear and penetrating.
But, when deprived of daily Communion, a cloud obscures my clear inward sight, I pray less fervently, with less devotion, I forget important things, signs, and warnings, and I see the destructive influence of exterior things which are essentially false.
I feel a devouring hunger for the Blessed Sacrament and, when I look toward the church, I feel as if my heartwere about to escape from my breast and fly to my Redeemer ……?
"When I was in trouble, because in obedience to my guide's orders I refused to be removed to another abode, Icried to God to direct me.
I was overwhelmed with trials, and yet I saw so many holy visions that I knew not what to do. In my prayer I was calm.
I saw a face, a countenance approach me and melt, as it were, into my breast as if uniting with my being.
It seemed as if my soul becoming one with it returned into itself and grew smaller and smaller, whilst my body appeared to become a great massive substance large as a house.
The countenance, the apparition in me appeared to be triple, infinitely rich and varied, but at the same time always one.
It penetrated (that is, its beams, its regards) into all the choirs of angels and saints.
I experienced joy and consolation from it, and I thought : Could all this come from the evil spirit ?
And whilst I was thus thinking, all the pictures, clear and distinct like a series of bright clouds, passed again before my soul, and I felt that they were now out of me, at my side in aluminous sphere.
I felt also that although I was larger, yet I was not so massive as before.
There was now, as it were, a world outside of me into which I could peer through a luminous opening.
A maiden approached who explained this world of light to me, directed my attention here and there, and pointed out tome the vineyard of the holy Bishop in which I now had to labor.
"But I saw too on my left, a second world full of deformed figures, symbols of perversity, calumny, raillery and injury.
They came like a swarm, the point directed toward me.
Of all that came to me from this sphere, I could accept nothing, for the just, the good were in the pure, luminous sphere on my right.
Between these two spheres I hung by one arm poor and abandoned, floating, so to say, between heaven and earth.
This state lasted long and caused me great pain ; still I was not impatient.
At last, St. Susanna came to me from the luminous sphere with St. Liborius in whose vineyard I had to work.
They freed me, and I was brought again into the vineyard which was uncultivated and overgrown. I had to prune the wild, straggling branches on the trellises that the sun might reach the young shoots.
With great trouble I worked at a gap in the lattice.
I gathered the leaves and decayed grapes into a pile, wiped the mould from others and, as I had no fine cloth, I had to take my kerchief.
This labor tired me so that I lay on my bed next morning all bruised and sore ; I felt as if not a bone were left in my body.
My arms still ache……"
"The way in which a communication from the blessed is received, is hard to explain.
What is said is incredibly brief; by one word from them I understand more than by thirty from others.
I see the speaker's thought, but not with the eyes; all is clearer, more distinct than in the present state.
One receives it with as much pleasure as he hails a breeze in summer. Words cannot well express it……"
"All that the poor soul said to me was, as usual, brief.
To understand the language of the souls in purgatory is difficult.
Their voice is smothered as if coming through something that dulls the sound; it is like one speaking from a pit or a cask.
The sense, also, is more difficult to seize.
Closer attention is required than when Our Lord, or my guide, or a saint speaks to me, for their words penetrate like a clear current of air, one sees and knows all they say.
One of their words says more than a lengthy discourse……"