Saturday, June 14, 2008

In the day of Our Lady we can meditate on her love of God, as she explained it to St Bridget of Sweden.

Early life of the Blessed Virgin

As soon as I understood that there was a God, I was always solicitous and fearful for my salvation and observance. And when I heard more fully that God was, too, my Creator and judge of all my actions, I loved Him intensly, and every hour feared and pondered lest I should offend Him in word or deed. Then when I heard that He had given a law to His people, and His commandments, and wrought so many wonders with them, I firmly resolved in my mind to love naught but Him, and all wordly things became most bitter to me. Hearing after this that this same God was to redeem the world and be born of a virgin, I was filled with such love for her, that I thought of naught but God, wished naught but Him. I withdrew as much as possible from the converse and presence of kindred and friends. All that I could have I gave to the poor, reserving to myself only necessary food and clothing. Nothing pleased me but God. Ever did I long in my heart to live to the time of His birth, if perchance I might be worthy to be unworthy handmaid of the mother of God. I also vowed in my heart to observe virginity if it was pleasing to Him, and to possess nothing in the world. But if God willed otherwise, that His will, not mine, be done; because I believed Him omnipotent and desirous of naught but my good, so that I committed my will absolutely to Him.
As the time approached, when by rule, virgins were presented in the Temple of the Lord, I went up among them in submission to my parents, thinking that nothing was impossible to God. And as He knew that I desired nothing, wished nothing but Himself, He could, if it pleased Him, preserve me in my virginity; if not, His will be done. After hearing all the instructions in the Temple, I returned home, inflamed with still greater love of God, enkindled daily by new fervor and desire of love. I accordingly retired apart from all more than usual, and I was alone night and day fearing most intensly lest tongue should speak or ear hear aught against my God, or eyes see aught delightful. Even in my silence was I timid and most anxious, lest I should be silent when I ought rather to speak. When I was thus troubled in heart alone by myself, and committed all my hope to God, at once it came into my mind to think of God's great power, how the angels and all things created serve Him, and what was His glory, which is ineffable and interminable. For I saw the sun, bot not as it shines in Heaven; I saw light, but not such light as shines in the world. I perceived an odor, not like that of plants or anything of the kind, but most sweet and almost ineffable with which I was all filled, and exulted for joy. Then immediately I heard a voice, but from no human lips. And on hearing it I feared considerably, thinking within myself whether it was an illusion, and forthwith an angel of God appeared before me, like a most beautiful man, but not clothed in flesh, who said to me: "Hail Mary etc". When I heard this, I wondered what this meant, or why he uttered such a salutation; for I knew myself, and deemed myself unworthy of this or of any good. But it is not impossible to God to do whatsoever He willeth. Then the angel said again: "What is born in thee is holy, and shall be called the Son of God ; and as it shall please Him, so shall it be done." Still I deemed myself unworthy, and asked the angel not why or when, but how it should be done, that I, unworthy, should be the Mother of God, not knowing man. And the angel answered me as I said: "Nothing is impossible to God, but whatsoever He willeth shall come to pass, etc." Haring the words of the angel, I felt a most fervent desire to be the Mother of God, and my soul spoke in love: "Here I am, let Thy will be done in me." At this word my Son was instantly conceived in my womb, with unspeakable exultation of my soul and my whole body. And when I had Him in my womb, I bore Him without pain, without any weight or feeling of inconvenience. In all things I humbled myself, knowing that He was almighty whom I bore. And when I brought Him forth, I brought Him forth without pain and sin, as I conceived Him, with such exultation of soul and body, that for exultation my feet did not feel the ground the stood upon. And as He entered all my members with the joy of my whole soul, so with the joy of my whole body, my soul exulting with ineffable joy, He came forth, my virginity untouched. And when I beheld Him and considered His beauty, my soul in joy distilled, as it were, dew, knowing myself unworthy of such a Son. But when I considered the places of the nails in His hands and feet, which according to the prophets, I heard were to be crucified, then my eyes filled with tears and my heart was breaking with sadness. And when my Son gazed into my streaming eyes, He was sorrowful unto death. But when I considered the power of His deity, I was again consoled, knowing that He so willed it, and that so it was expedient, and I conformed my will to His will, and thus my joy was tempered by pain.