St Birgitta of Sweden is another one of my favorite Saints. Her writings, like St Catherine of Siena's are informative, inspirational and at times even overwhelming. The wonderful trait that I find among both of these women is their love of God and their desire to speak the truth on how we should live. They did not mince words. Contrary to our modern theologians in Rome and elsewhere who are now telling us that their type of theology was rigid, dry and lacking love, they preached the truth in season and out of season because the truth is love! The lies now being told from theologians on high are now reaching the point of blasphemy; for example, those claiming that those who preach that God's Commandments must be followed are now rigid fundamentalists who are hell bent on only following the "rules" are unjust in their accusations. This "rule" type of mentality is not nor has ever been part of Catholic teaching, and none of the Saints were guilty of this, nor are Catholics today who are attempting to follow in their footsteps. Loyal Catholics follow the Commandments because Christ told us to so, and we do so not out of just following the "rules", but because we trust God's word and we want to show our love for Him by attempting to follow the Commandments. There is a sense of justice when it comes to honoring God in His Commandments. If we fail in living them we go to confession and make a firm resolve not live in that sin again, with God's help.
In reading Book I of St. Birgitta of Sweden, Chapter 41, I thought it to be very interesting and thought provoking. We often think today that God grades everyone on a curve, at least that is what we are being told today by many theologians in the Church. For example, how about one of Pope Francis' top theologians Cardinal Coccopalmiero who refers now to marriage as "an ideal" that can not always be met, and therefore a person living in adultery could now receive communion, as long as his conscience tells him so. He gives us modernist doublespeak, “It is always the same doctrine, but it takes account of the concrete situation. You affirm the doctrine and can say they should live as brother and sister, but the reality at times does not make this possible.” Thus so we see that according to this Cardinal, God has given us a Commandment that is "impossible" to follow. Anyone who has common sense can see this error from a mile away. Let me get to the point of St. Birgitta's writing that I have come across, which in reality was a revelation given to her by Jesus concerning the just judgment and punishment he was going to inflict upon people. This punishment concerned the laity and also the Pope of her time in relation to His Commandments. The times in which she lived also saw great infidelity to Christ and His teachings, much similar to our own. I will give you a taste of what was revealed to her as a warning to all of us about taking His teachings and Commandments seriously.
The first person addressed is the pope himself.
"I now state my grievance about you, head of my church, you who sit on my seat. I gave this seat to Peter and his successors to sit on with a threefold dignity of authority: first, in order that they might have the power of binding and loosing souls from sin; second, so that they would open heaven for penitents; third, so that they would close heaven to the damned and to those who scorn me.
But you, who should be absolving souls and presenting them to me, you are really a slayer of souls. I set up Peter as shepherd and servant of my sheep. But you scatter and wound them; you are worse than Lucifer. He was envious of me and longed to kill none but me so that he might rule in my stead. But you are all the worse in that not only do you kill me by cutting me off from yourself by your bad works but you also kill souls through your bad example. I redeemed souls with my blood and entrusted them to you as a faithful friend. But you hand them back to the enemy from whom I redeemed them. You are more unjust than Pilate. He only sentenced me to death. But you not only sentence me as if I were a worthless lord of nothing, you also sentence the souls of my chosen ones and let the guilty go free. You are more merciless than Judas. He only sold me. But you not only sell me but also the souls of my chosen ones for your own base profit and empty reputation. You are more abominable than the Jews. They only crucified my body. But you crucify and punish the souls of my chosen ones for whom your evil and transgression are harsher than any sword. And so since you are like Lucifer and more unjust than Pilate and more merciless than Judas and more abominable than the Jews, my grievance about you is justified."There are some interesting things to note here. Notice that Jesus is not upset about the pope holding the faithful accountable for their actions or being too strict on them for following the Commandments. Jesus is upset about just the opposite, for the pope being judgmental against those trying to live the Commandments and letting the guilty ones, those who are unfaithful to His Commandments, go free! Is Jesus not being merciful here? Is Jesus being too rigid? He is also upset because the pope is not guiding His flock which he has entrusted to them. Jesus says that the pope is in fact scattering his flock. I also found it interesting that he accuses this particular pope of being worse than Lucifer, Pilate and Judas! To say the least these accusations are not for the faint of heart. This is not the type of language our theologians today from on high would use, unless it be to criticize anyone actually trying to live their commitment to following the Commandments and not making them out to be just ideological suggestions.
The second accusation however is directed at the laity. They did not get off the hook just because the pope was worse than Lucifer, Judas and Pilate. Here is some of what Jesus says on the judgement of the laity.
The Lord said to the second man, that is, to the laity: "I created all things for your use. You gave your consent to me and I to you. You pledged me your faith and promised by your oath that you would serve me. Now, however, you have departed from me like someone who does not know God. You regard my words as a lie, my works as meaningless. You say my will and my commandments are too heavy. you have violated the faith you pledged. You have abandoned my name. You have disassociated yourself from the company of my Saints and have joined the company of the devils and become their associate. You do not think anyone is worthy of praise and honor except yourself. You find difficult everything having to do with me and you are obliged to do for me, while the things you do are easy for you. That is why my grievance concerning you is justified, for yo have broken the faith you pledged me both in baptism and subsequently.Here Jesus is once again upset about the very same thing! The laity are also not following the Commandments! He says instead they join the company of the devils. Is Jesus again being too severe? Is he too rigid in insisting that we keep our pledge to Him? If we listen to many of today's prominent theologians we would think so.
This gives us food for thought. In my next post I will show you what Jesus said about the punishment for these offenses.