Today, 23 Jul 2012, is the feast day of St Bridget of Sweden, a 14th century noble woman, wife, mother, mystic and foundress of a religious order. From at least her teenage years she experienced visions from God ,and a mission to be the mouthpiece of Jesus towards many, especially rulers and monarchs.
Bridget was the daughter of a prince of Sweden. Her parents loved Jesus very much, and from them she learned a great love for His Passion. In obedience to her father, she married Prince Ulfo and had eight children, the youngest is St Catherine of Sweden. When Ulfo died, Bridget became a nun and built the monastery of Wastein, which became the mother house of the Bridgittine Order. She went to the Holy Land on pilgrimage. She died, aged 70, in Rome in 1373.
We owe St Bridget a great debt of gratitude for the set of 15 prayers attributed to her. There are several places online where you can access them, http://ladyofroses.org/brigit1.htm , http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/pray0345.htm , http://www.wjpbr.com/bridget.html and http://www.fisheaters.com/15prayersofstbridget.html . For a printer friendly version go to http://catholicdaily.net/societyofsaints/resources/ and scroll down until you find the PDF. These 15 prayers are a guided meditation upon the Passion of Jesus. Praying them on your own takes around 25-30 minutes. Praying them with someone else, where you take turns leading the meditations and the Our Fathers and Hail Marys takes around the 15 minute mark. There are special promises attached to those who pray these prayers daily for a whole year. Probably the most important promises are the release of 15 souls in Purgatory, 15 souls preserved in grace and 15 souls converted in the family lineage. So for any grandparent concerned about the eternal destiny of their children and grandchildren these prayers are an anchor of hope.
In recent times I have read parts of the Revelations of St Bridget for the first time. Sadly I haven’t been able to read much from them yet, but just enough to be thoroughly impressed. If you have been fortunate enough to have read the Dialogues of St Catherine of Siena, the Life and Revelations of St Gertrude the Great or the Diary of St Faustina, then you will understand how highly I am recommending the Revelations of St Bridget when I say that they are just as valuable. Thankfully it is possible to read them for free online via www.archive.org at the third PDF option in the list at the following link : http://archive.org/details/RevelationsOfSaintBridget
In the Revelations of St Bridget, the Lord Jesus addresses Bridget as His bride. This denotes an especially close relationship between Jesus and Bridget, the kind of relationship that He wants with each one of us. Of particular interest are several revelations about the judgement of souls, purgatory, heaven and hell. Much of it is very practical teaching for how to live a life pleasing to Jesus. Some of it is prophecy about the leaders and political climate of her times. Because the gift of prophecy rarely occurs without the gift of intercession, Bridget would have spent much of the latter part of her life interceding for situations in Europe that Jesus had revealed to her. Due to this, and to her active involvement in seeking the conversion of the leaders and nations of Europe, St Bridget of Sweden has been named one of the patrons of Europe.
And now for a taste or two of what is in the Revelations:
From Book 1 Chapter 1 : Jesus to St Bridget : ‘..I took flesh without sin, without concupiscence, entering the body of the Virgin like the sun shining through the clearest crystal. The sun does not damage the glass by entering it, nor was the Virgin’s virginity lost when I took My human nature….Brightness is never separated from fire, nor was My divinity ever separated from My humanity, not even in death. Next I willed for My pure and sinless body to be wounded from the sole of My foot to the crown of My head for the sins of men, and to be hung on the Cross. It is now offered each day on the altar in order that people might love Me more and call to mind My favours more frequently.’
From Book 4 Chapter 4 : God teaching Bridget : ‘The good spirit again speaks to the woman’s mind and advises her : ‘I know two things to be eternal – heaven and hell. no one who loves God above all things will enter into hell. Those who do not love God will not gain heaven. The incarnate God Himself trod the path to heaven and confirmed it with signs and by His death. How glorious it is to be in heaven, how bitter is the malice of the devil, and how empty are the things of the earth! His Mother and all the Saints imitated God: they preferred to endure every punishment and lose everything – they even despised their very selves- so as not to lose heavenly and eternal possessions.”
Incalculable is the debt of gratitude that we owe to this holy woman, St Bridget of Sweden, for her response to God in prayer, sacrifice and fidelity and for all the good and ongoing good she won for souls flowing from the Passion of Christ.
St Bridget of Sweden, pray for us.