SCIVIAS, Bk. 2, vision 5
 in the

 Scivias, illum
 The Mystical Body


 Scivias. Contributors: Mother Columba Hart - transltr, Jane Bishop - transltr, Barbara J. Newman - unknown, Caroline Walker Bynum - unknown. Publisher: Paulist Press. Place of Publication: New York. Publication Year: 1990. pp. 199 - 235. VISION FIVE The Three Orders in the Church Hildegardis Bingensis - Sciuias pars : 2, visio : 5, titulus, linea : 106 QVINTA VISIO SECVNDAE PARTIS.











After this I saw that a splendor white as snow and translucent as crystal had shone around the image of that woman from the top of her head to her throat. And from her throat to her navel another splendor, red in color, had encircled her, glowing like the dawn from her throat to her breasts and shining from her breasts to her navel mixed with purple and blue. And where it glowed like the dawn, its brightness shone forth as high as the secret places of Heaven; and in this brightness appeared a most beautiful image of a maiden, with bare head and black hair, wearing a red tunic, which flowed down about her feet.

POST HAEC uidi praefatam muliebrem imaginem quidam splendor albus ut nix et tamquam crystallus perlucidus a uertice usque ad guttur eius circumfulserat. Sed a gutture usque ad umbilicum eius quidam alius splendor rubei coloris eam circumdederat, qui de gutture usque ad ubera illius uelut aurora rutilabat, sed ab uberibus usque ad umbilicum illius quasi purpura hyacintho intermixta fulgebat. Et ubi ipse uelut aurora rutilabat, claritatem suam sursum ad secreta caeli extendit; in qua pulcherrima et puellaris imago nudo capite et subnigris capillis et rubra tunica quae circa pedes eius diffluebat induta apparuit

And I heard the voice from Heaven saying, “This is the blossom of the celestial Zion, the mother and flower of roses and lilies of the valley. O blossom, when in your time you are strengthened, you shall bring forth a most renowned posterity.”

Et audiui uocem de caelo dicentem: “Haec est floriditas in superna Sion, mater et flos rosarum et lilium conuallium. O floriditas, filio potentissimi regis desponsaberis, cui et nominatissimam prolem gignes, cum in tempore tuo confortaberis”.

And around that maiden I saw standing a great crowd of people, brighter than the sun, all wonderfully adorned with gold and gems. Some of these had their heads veiled in white, adorned with a gold circlet; and above them, as if sculpted on the veils, was the likeness of the glorious and ineffable Trinity as it was represented to me earlier, and on their foreheads the Lamb of God, and on their necks a human figure, and on the right ear cherubim, and on the left ear the other kinds of angels; and from the likeness of the glorious and supernal Trinity golden rays extended to these other images. And among these people there were some who had miters on their heads and pallia of the episcopal office around their shoulders.

Et circa eandem puellam uidi maximam turbam hominum lucidiorem sole stantem, qui omnes miro modo auro et gemmis ornati erant, ita quod etiam quidam illorum in capitibus suis uelati candidis uelaminibus aurea zona circumornatis fuerunt; supra quorum uertices similitudo gloriae ineffabilis Trinitatis, uelut mihi superius typice demonstrata est, quasi in sphaera in ipsis uelaminibus uelut sculpta apparuit, et in frontibus ipsorum agnus Dei, ac in collo eorum species hominis, et in dextra aure cherubin et in sinistra alia species angelica, ita quod et de ipsa similitudine gloriae supernae Trinitatis ad has species quasi aureus radius se extenderet. Sed inter hos quidam alii apparuerunt, qui infulas in capitibus suis et pallia episcopalis officii circa umeros habebant.

And again I heard the voice from on high, saying, “These are the daughters of Zion, and with them the harps of the harpers and all sorts of musical instruments, and the voice of all gladness, and the joy of joys.”

Et iterum audiui uocem ex alto dicentem: “Isti sunt filiae Sion, et cum eis sunt citharae citharoedorum et omne genus musicorum ac uox totius laetitiae et gaudium gaudiorum”.

But beneath that splendor, which glowed like the dawn, I saw between Heaven and earth a thick darkness appear, the horror of which exceeded what human tongue can utter.

Sed sub eodem splendore ubi ipse uelut aurora rutilabat uidi inter caelum et terram densissimas tenebras apparere, quae tanti horroris erant ultra quam humana lingua effari possit.

And again I heard the voice from Heaven saying, “If the Son of God had not suffered on the cross, this darkness would mean that no person could attain celestial glory.”

Et rursum audiui uocem de caelo dicentem: “Si filius Dei in cruce passus non esset, istae tenebrae nullo modo permitterent hominem ad supernam claritatem peruenire”.

And where the splendor shone, which was mixed with purple and blue, it encircled the woman’s image with strong ardor. But another splendor, like a white cloud, decently enveloped that image from the navel down, to the point at  which it had not yet grown further. And these three splendors around that image shone afar, showing that within her many steps and ladders were well and properly placed.

Vbi autem idem splendor quasi purpura hyacintho intermixta fulgebat, fortiter praedictam muliebrem imaginem constringens ardebat. Sed alius splendor ut candida nubes eandem imaginem ab umbilico et deorsum, quousque ultra nondum creuerat, honeste circumdederat. Et hi tres splendores circa ipsam imaginem se late diffundentes plurimos gradus et scalas in ea bene et decenter ordinatas ostendebant.

And when I saw these things, I was seized with extreme trembling; my strength failed me, and I fell to the ground, unable to speak. And behold! A great splendor touched me like a hand, and I recovered my strength and voice. And from that splendor again I heard a voice, saying;

Sed cum haec uiderem, ex nimio tremore qui me apprehenderat in terram dissolutis uiribus corrui, nec alicui responsum dare ualui. Et ecce maximus splendor uelut manus tetigit me, unde uires et uocem recepi. Et iterum audiui uocem ex illo mihi dicentem:

“These are great mysteries. For consider the sun and the moon and the stars. I formed the sun to give light by day, and the moon and stars to give light by night. The sun symbolizes My Son, Who went forth from My heart and illuminated the world when in the latest times He was born of the Virgin, as the sun goes forth and lights the world when it rises at the end of the night. And the moon symbolizes the Church, betrothed to My Son in true and celestial betrothal. And as the moon is so made that it always increases and decreases, but does not burn of itself unless it is kindled by the light of the sun, so too the Church has a cycle of movement: her children sometimes rise in increase of virtues and sometimes decline by inconstant behavior or harm by outside forces. For she is often assailed in her mysteries by ravening wolves, that is to say malicious people, whether bad Christians or Jews or pagans; and she is not fired to endurance by herself, but lit up by Me through My Son to persevere in good. But the stars, which differ from each other in the brightness of their glory, symbolize the people in the differing religious orders of the Church.”

“Magna mysteria sunt haec. Considera enim solem et lunam et stellas. Ego formaui solem ut luceat in die et lunam et stellas ut luceant in nocte. Sol autem significat Filium meum, qui de corde meo exiuit et mundum illuminauit cum natus est ex Virgine in fine temporum, sicut et sol egrediens mundum illustrat cum oritur circa finem noctis. Sed luna ecclesiam eidem Filio meo in uera et superna desponsatione desponsatam designat. Et ut luna semper incrementum et defectum in sua constitutione habet, sed a se ipsa non ardet nisi quod a lumine solis incenditur, sic et ecclesia in circuitione motionis est, ita quod filii eius saepe proficiunt in incremento uirtutum, et quod saepe deficiunt in diuersitate morum atque in dispersione aduersitatum, ita quod multoties in mysteriis suis per rapacissimos lupos impugnatur, uidelicet per malignos homines tam malorum Christianorum quam Iudaeorum et paganorum, et in hoc per semetipsam ad tolerantiam non accenditur, sed in me per Filium meum ut in bono perseueret illuminatur. Stellae autem a se differentes in claritate fulgoris sui significant populos diuersi ordinis ecclesiasticae religionis”.



1. Apostles and their followers, the priests, surround the Church with teaching




Thus you see that a splendor white as snow and translucent as crystal shines around the image of that woman from the top of her head to her throat. For the Church, who is the incorrupt Bride, is surrounded by apostolic teaching, which reveals the pure Incarnation of Him Who descended from Heaven into the Virgin’s womb and Who is the strong and clear mirror of all the faithful. And this teaching, which shines so brightly around the Church, constantly surrounded her from the start, from the time she first began to be built until she attained the strength to swallow the food of life.

Vnde etiam uides quod praefatam muliebrem imaginem quidam splendor albus ut nix et tamquam crystallus perlucidus a uertice usque ad guttur eius circumfulget: quia ecclesiam uidelicet incorruptam sponsam circumdat apostolica doctrina, quae candidissimam incarnationem illius enuntiauit, qui de caelo in uterum Virginis descendit et qui fortissimum ac lucidissimum speculum omnium credentium est, ita quod eandem ecclesiam ipsa doctrina ab hoc initio, cum primum aedificari coepit usque ad tempus illud cum cibum uitae fortiter deglutire ualuit, splendidissime eam circumfulgens fideliter circumdedit.

How? The apostolic teaching shone around the head of the Church when the apostles first began to build her up by their preaching; moving through different places, they collected workers who would strengthen her in the Catholic faith and make themselves into priests and bishops and all the ecclesiastical orders, to establish faithfully the rights of men and women who married and all other such institutions. Therefore, the chrism-makers [bishops and priests] conform to that teaching; they are like the priests of the Testament of the Law, who were appointed to nourish the multitudes with inner food under the law of circumcision. Hence also the apostles chose those orders with which, by heavenly inspiration, they adorned the Church.

Quomodo? Apostolica doctrina circumfulsit ecclesiam in capite, cum apostoli primum illam sua praedicatione coeperunt aedificare, scilicet cum per diuersa loca discurrentes colligerent operarios qui illam in catholica fide roborarent, et qui ipsi presbyteros et episcopos ac omnem ecclesiasticum ordinem prouiderent, atque iura uirorum ac feminarum qui sub coniugio sunt, et cetera talia fideliter constituerent. Quapropter eandem doctrinam subsequuntur pigmentarii, habentes similitudinem sacerdotum legalis testimonii, qui sub lege circumcisionis positi erant, interiori cibo enutrire populos; unde etiam apostoli ordines illos eligebant, cum quibus ecclesiam superna inspiratione exornabant.

What does this mean? That their followers, who took their places, faithfully traverse streets and farms and cities and other places, regions and lands, carrying the health giving chrisms and announcing the divine law to the people. For they are fathers and stewards, carefully chosen to make church rules known to the people by their teaching and to distribute to them the food of life; and therefore they must show themselves such in their lives that My sheep will not be offended by their works, but walk uprightly after them. For they have this office that they may openly serve the bread of life to the people, and for each one individually set in order the duties of faith; therefore they must so restrain themselves as not to desire carnal union, since they must give the spiritual food to believers and offer to God the spotless sacrifice prefigured in innocent Abel. For of him it is written:

Quid est hoc? Nam sequaces eorum in uice ipsorum saluberrima pigmenta gestantes fideliter plateas et uillas et ciuitates atque alia loca regionum et terrarum pertranseunt, et populo diuinam legem annuntiant. Ipsi enim sunt exquisiti patres et dispensatores ad ecclesiasticam disciplinam omni populo in doctrina sua proferendum et ei ad cibum uitae dispensandum, ita quod etiam se tales in uita sua exhibeant ne oues meae in operibus eorum offendantur, sed ut recte post ipsos gradiantur; quia ipsi hoc officium habent ut aperte cibum uitae populo subministrent et ut unicuique fidelia officia discrete ordinent, semetipsos etiam ita constringentes ne carnalem copulam appetant; quoniam spiritalem escam credentibus praebere et quia etiam immaculatum sacrificium Deo offerre debent, ut in innocente Abel praefigurabatur, sicut de ipso scriptum est.



 2. Example of Abel




“Abel also offered of the firstlings of his flock, and of their fat.” [Genesis 4:4] What does this mean? That at the beginning of time there shone forth in him, who was innocent in his life, a blessed and kingly manifestation, which by God’s gift touched not earth but Heaven. How? Because Abel in his integrity offered to God the purpose and the full service of his will, resolving in his heart to offer Him the first increase of his substance and successfully doing so, thus honoring the Supreme Father and showing Him proper reverence.

Abel quoque obtulit de primogenitis gregis sui et de adipibus eorum. Quid est hoc? In ortu surgentis saeculi sanctificatio regalis ostensionis in illo qui innocens in uita sua erat effulsit, quod donum omnipotentis Dei non terram sed caelum fortiter tetigit. Quomodo? Quia Abel in sua integritate obtulit Deo intentionem uoluntatis suae et plenum officium eiusdem uoluntatis, cum cogitauit in corde suo illi offerre primum germen quod in substantia sua habuit et cum illud etiam perfecto opere compleuit, ita uidelicet summum Patrem honorans ei que debitam reuerentiam exhibens.

So, as Abel was in charge of his flock, pasturing and guarding it and with simple devotion offering its increase and its fatty nourishment to God, let the aforementioned chrism-makers, who are set over the children of the Church, who are the sheep of Christ, pasture them according to His plan, faithfully nourish them by their words, teaching them the church rules, and protect them forcefully from the snares of the ancient waylayer, and offer gifts from some of them, with sincere reflection, to the Observer of all.

Vnde etiam sicut idem Abel gregi suo praefuit, et ut eum pascens custodiuit, et ut etiam simplici deuotione Deo obtulit de primis emissionibus eius ac de pinguibus nutrimentis earundem emissionum, ita etiam praedicti pigmentarii, qui filiis ecclesiae id est ouibus Christi ipsius dispensatione ad pascendum eos praelati sunt, ipsos in uerbis doctrinae ecclesiasticae disciplinae fideliter nutriant, et eos ab insidiis antiqui insidiatoris fortiter muniant, ac etiam sincera consideratione inspectori omnium aliquas donationes ex eis offerant.

How? If they cannot make them perfect in all respects, let them nonetheless offer to God some fruit that comes from them: first, like the increase of the firstborn of the flock, their good intentions, and then, like the sweet fruit of its fatlings, the perfect work of activity in their will. But why did Abel worship God so devoutly? The fact is that the wholeness of his chastity impelled him to such great devotion.

Quomodo? Quoniam si illos per omnia perfectos facere non possunt, tamen aliquem fructum ex ipsis egredientem Deo offerant, primum scilicet rectam intentionem uoluntatis eorum quasi simplex germen de primogenitis gregis ipsorum, ac deinde perfectum opus operationis in eadem uoluntate illorum uelut suauem fructum de adipibus eorum. Sed unde hoc fuit, quod idem Abel Deum tam deuote coluit? Videlicet castitas integritatis eum ad tantam deuotionem impulerat.



3. The ministers of the Church must keep their chastity




Therefore let those who are appointed by consecration to offer to God the sacred sacrifice approach His altar in the sweetness of chastity. For if they themselves are authors of corruption, how can they offer to others wounded by corruption the hand of salutary healing? And so, that they may be able to give others health-giving remedies with confidence, I will them to imitate My Son most forcefully in love of chastity. But if they should fall, let them hasten to rise immediately by penitence and flee as if naked from the shamefulness of sin; let them seek the wholesome remedy and faithfully follow Abel, whose sacrifice was acceptable to God.

Quapropter qui in consecratione constituti Deo sacrosanctum sacrificium offerre debent, in suauitate castitatis ad altare ipsius accedant. Quia si ipsi auctores corruptionis sunt, quomodo in corruptione uulneratis manum salutaris medicamenti porrigere possunt? Et ideo ut aliis tanto fiducialius salutare remedium conferre ualeant, uolo ut Filium meum in amore castitatis fortiter imitentur. Quod si ceciderint, festinent ut citius per paenitentiam surgant et in hoc ignominiam peccati uelut nudi fugiant, salubrem medicinam requirentes, et Abel cuius sacrificium Deo acceptum erat fideliter sequentes.



4. Those who live in obedience when unsupervised gain an eternal reward




But those churchmen who enclose themselves in a cloister of obedience and behave according to the ordinances of their superiors, which the latter made by My inspiration, even though they do not have bishops carefully watching over them and do not bear the burden of their anxiety, gain for themselves with those bishops the celestial reward in the city of the chosen, because they subject themselves to their superiors for the sake of eternal reward alone.

Sed qui ex his in clausura subiectionis in amore Filii mei se continent et in moribus suis institutionem maiorum suorum quam me inspirante protulerunt obseruant, sollicitudinem curationis pigmentariorum non habentes, tamen quamuis onera anxietatis eorum non gerant, quoniam propter aeterna praemia maioribus suis subiecti sunt, cum eisdem pigmentariis supernam mercedem in electa ciuitate sibimet acquirunt.



5. On the noble and joyous state of perfect virginity




But you see that from her throat to her navel another splendor, red in color, encircles her. This means that after the teaching of the apostles had so invigorated the Church that she could truly discern the saving food and make it the source of her interior strength, there arose the noblest perfection of churchly religion, which tasted heavenly sweetness with burning ardor and stringently restrained itself in order to gird itself with secret power; rejecting the union of human coupling, it avoided the division caused by the bitterness of the flesh.

Quod autem uides quoniam a gutture usque ad umbilicum eiusdem imaginis quidam alius splendor rubei coloris eam circumdat: hoc est quia post doctrinam apostolorum, cum ecclesia ita roborata est quod salutarem cibum ueraciter ualuit discernere et eum ad interiora fortitudinis suae transmittere, surrexit nobilissima perfectio ecclesiasticae religionis, quae supernam dulcedinem flagranti ardore degustauit et se asperrime constringens ad cinctionem secretioris fortitudinis se tetendit, non tamen ad diuisionem carnalis amaritudinis perueniens, quoniam copulam humanae coniunctionis abiecit.

How? That splendor glows like the dawn from her throat to her breasts; for this perfection arose from the taste of the excitement of miracles and extended in virginal gladness to the sweet nourishment of churchly religion. And it shines from her breasts to her navel mixed with purple and blue; for she fortified herself for the stringency of inner chastity by the noblest training, namely by imitating the Passion of My Son to gain the celestial love He guarded in His heart. Therefore, where it glows like the dawn, its brightness shines forth as high as the secret places of Heaven; for the perfection that flowers in the state of virginity directs its strength not downward toward earthly things, but miraculously upward to what is in Heaven.

Quomodo? Nam idem splendor de gutture usque ad ubera illius uelut aurora rutilat: quoniam eadem perfectio a gustu mirabilis uegetationis ad dulcissima nutrimenta ecclesiasticae religionis in uirginea iucunditate se dilatauit, ita quod etiam ab uberibus usque ad umbilicum illius quasi purpura hyacintho intermixta fulget: quia a nobilissimis educationibus ad constrictionem intimae castitatis se muniuit, uidelicet passionem Filii mei propter supernam dilectionem, quam in corde suo fideliter habuit, imitando; quapropter et ubi ipse uelut aurora rutilat, claritatem suam sursum ad secreta caeli extendit: quoniam illa perfectio quae in uirginitatis honore floret, uirtutem suam non deorsum ad terrenam sed sursum ad illa quae sunt in caelestibus mirabiliter dirigit.



6. On the image of the maiden




In this brightness appears a most beautiful image of a maiden, with bare head and black hair. This is serene Virginity, innocent of all foulness of human lust. Her mind is unbound by any shackle of corruption, but is not yet perfectly able to bar troubled and dark thoughts from the minds of her children, as long as they are in the world; but she forcefully resists and opposes such thoughts.

In qua pulcherrima et puellaris imago nudo capite et subnigris capillis apparet: quod est serenissima et ab omni foeditate humanae concupiscentiae innocens uirginitas, nudam mentem ab omni uinculo corruptionis habens, sed tamen nondum perfecte fatigationem tenebrescentium cogitationum in filiis suis quamdiu in mundo sunt deserere ualens, cui tamen ut resistat fortiter se opponit.

Therefore she wears a red tunic, which flows down about her feet; for she perseveres toward the goal of widest and most blessed perfection by the sweat of her labor in virtuous works, surrounded with the variety of virtues and imitating Him Who is the plenitude of sanctity. She is also, as is shown you in this hidden and supernal light, the noble daughter of the celestial Jerusalem, the glory and honor of those who have shed their blood for love of virginity or in radiant humility preserved their virginity for the sake of Christ and died sweetly in peace. For she was betrothed to the Son of Almighty God, the King of all, and bore Him a noble brood, the elect choir of virgins, when she was strengthened in the peace of the Church.

Vnde et rubra tunica quae circa pedes eius diffluit induitur: quia per sudorem laboris in uirtuosis operibus usque ad finem latae et beatae perfectionis perseuerat, scilicet circumdata uarietate uirtutum, illum imitans qui plenitudo sanctitatis est. Quae etiam, ut tibi in secreto superni luminis ostenditur, est nobilissimum germen in caelesti Ierusalem, uidelicet gloria et decus illorum qui ob amorem uirginitatis sanguinem suum fuderunt, et qui etiam in candore humilitatis uirginitatem suam pro Christo obseruantes in suauitate pacis quieuerunt; quoniam ipsa Filio omnipotentis Dei, qui rex cunctorum est, desponsata nobilissimam prolem id est elegantissimum chorum uirginum ei protulit, cum in pace ecclesiae proficiens confortata est.



7. The throng that stands around that maiden




And around that maiden you see standing a great crowd of people, brighter than the sun, all wonderfully adorned with gold and gems. This is to say that noble Virginity is surrounded and ardently embraced by a wonderful crowd of virgins. They all shine before God more brightly than the sun does on the earth; for they have conquered themselves and bravely trodden death underfoot in the glorious works they have humbly performed for Christ, and so are adorned beautifully with the highest wisdom. Some of them have their heads veiled in white, adorned with a gold circlet; for, shining in the glory of virginity, they indicate that those who seek its rank should veil their minds from harmful heat all around, and grasp the purity of innocence which is adorned with the beautiful splendor of chastity.

Quod autem circa eandem puellam uides maximam turbam hominum lucidiorem sole stantem, qui omnes miro modo auro et gemmis ornati sunt: hoc est quod ardentissimis amplexibus nobilissimam uirginitatem praecipuus chorus uirginum circumplectitur, qui omnes ardentiore claritate coram Deo fulgent quam sol in terra appareat; quia se ipsos conculcantes mortem uiriliter deuicerunt, unde etiam mirabiliter in summa sapientia propter clarissima opera quae pro Christo humiliter gesserunt decentissime exornantur. Quapropter et quidam illorum in capitibus suis uelati candidis uelaminibus aurea zona circumornatis sunt: quia ipsi in gloria uirginitatis fulgentes demonstrant, quod hi qui decus uirginitatis appetunt mentes suas ab omni noxio calore circumtegant, et candorem innocentiae pulcherrimo fulgore castitatis decorati fideliter apprehendant.

Above them, as if sculpted on the veils, is the likeness of the glorious and ineffable Trinity as it was represented to you earlier; which shows that these people’s minds firmly and strongly uphold the honor of the celestial and glorious Trinity, Which was truly shown you before in a mystery, by their knowledge of love and steadfast chastity.

Supra quorum uertices similitudo ineffabilis Trinitatis, uelut tibi superius typice demonstrata est, quasi in sphaera in ipsis uelaminibus uelut sculpta apparet: quoniam ostendunt quod intentiones hominum honorem supernae et gloriosae Trinitatis, ut tibi in ostensione mysterii uerissime praesignatum est, in comprehensione amoris et stabilitate castitatis firmiter et strenue teneant.

On their foreheads is the Lamb of God, and on their necks a human figure, and on the right ear cherubim, and on the left ear the other kinds of angels; which declares that in their reverent chastity they will imitate the mildness of the Son of God, laying aside stiffnecked wantonness and knowing themselves to be frail humans. In prosperity they will listen to and embrace true and unfailing knowledge; at the approach of adversity they will listen for angelic aid. So from the likeness of the glorious and supernal Trinity golden rays extend to these other images, for the ineffable Trinity unceasingly works the miracles of Its profound wisdom among the faithful who seek virtue and flee the seductions of the Devil.

Quod et in frontibus ipsorum agnus Dei ac in collo eorum species hominis et in dextera aure cherubin et in sinistra alia species angelica: declarat quia in reuerentia castitatis suae mansuetudinem Filii Dei imitabuntur, petulantiam superbi colli deponentes et se ipsos fragiles homines considerantes, in prosperitate etiam auditionis suae ueram et indeficientem scientiam amplectentes, ac in occursante aduersitate eiusdem auscultationis suae angelica praesidia appetentes, ita quod et de ipsa similitudine gloriae supernae Trinitatis ad has species quasi aureus radius se extendit: quoniam ineffabilis Trinitas in fidelibus hominibus, qui uirtutes quaerunt et diabolicas seductiones fugiunt, mirabilia miraculorum profundae sapientiae suae operari non desinit.

And among these people there are some who have miters on their heads and pallia of the episcopal office around their shoulders. For among those who flourish in the honor of virginity there are some in the celestial city who ably held the rank of the ancient fathers and the glory of higher offices in the world, yet did not lose the ornament of virginity. Hence, as you hear, all those who in their desire kept their integrity for the sake of celestial love are called “daughters of Zion” in the celestial habitations; for in their love of virginity they imitated My Son, Who is the flower of virginity. Therefore the sounding echoes of the blessed spirits and the outpouring of voices and the winged decorations of happy minds and the golden vision of shining stones and jewels are all with them.

Sed inter hos quidam alii apparent, qui infulas in capitibus suis et pallia episcopalis officii circa umeros habent: quia inter illos qui in uirginitatis honore florent etiam quidam in superna ciuitate consistunt, qui dignitatem antiquorum patrum et gloriam superioris magisterii in saeculo strenue gerentes, tamen decorem uirginitatis non perdiderunt. Vnde etiam, ut audis, omnes isti qui cum suspiriis suis pro caelesti amore integritatem suam conseruauerunt, in caelesti habitatione “filiae Sion” dicuntur: quia Filium meum uirginitatis florem in uirginitatis amore imitati sunt. Ideo que et cum eis sunt exspirationes sonorum spirituum et germina cunctorum sonituum ac uolantia ornamenta prosperarum mentium et aurea uisio fulgentium lapidum ac gemmarum.

How? Because the Son of God grants them this, that a sound goes forth from the Throne in which the whole choir of virgins joins in singing with great desire and harmonizing in the new song, as John, the beloved virgin, testifies, saying:

Quomodo? Quia hoc habent de Filio Dei quod de throno sonus exit, cui omnis chorus uirginum in maximo desiderio concinit, uidelicet nouum canticum symphonizando, ut Iohannes dilectus uirgo testatur dicens.



8. Words of John




“And they sang, as it were, a new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures and the ancients” [Revelation 14:3]. What does this mean? In those faithful ones who embrace chastity for a good purpose and preserve their virginity unstained for love of God, good will bursts forth wonderfully in praise of their Creator. How? In the dawn-light of virginity, which always surrounds the Son of God, steadfast praise is hidden; no worldly office and no tie of the law can resist it, and it sings in the voice of exultation a celestial song to the glory of God.

Et cantabant quasi canticum nouum ante sedem et ante quattuor animalia et seniores. Quid est hoc? In illis fidelibus qui bona intentione castitatem amplectentes uirginitatem suam pro Dei amore illibatam conseruant, bona uoluntas ipsorum in laudem creatoris sui mirabiliter erumpit. Quomodo? Quia in aurora uirginitatis quae Filio Dei semper adhaeret, fortissima laus abscondita est, cui nullum terrenum officium nec ulla ligatura legis resistere ualens, in uoce exsultationis ad gloriam Dei caeleste carmen decantat.

How? That song, which was not heard before the Only-Begotten of God, the true flower of virginity, returned in the body from earth to Heaven and sat again on the right hand of the Father, has a swift course and makes itself heard wonderfully in new liberty. And, since new customs, which have not been seen before, are regarded with amazement when they are seen, this new and unheard-of mystery resounded in Heaven in honor of virginity, before the majesty of God (for God could do this) and before the four wheels that rolled into the four corners of the earth bearing the truth of justice and the humanity of the Savior like the living creatures in the new Law, and before those ancients who were imbued with the Holy Spirit and showed the path of righteousness to the people under the old Law. Why is this? Because God by the new grace softened the rigor of the old institution.

Quomodo? Videlicet quoniam uelox iter habens canticum illud in nouitate libertatis mirabiliter promit, quod antequam Vnigenitus Dei, qui uerus flos uirginitatis est, incarnatus de mundo ad caelos rediens ad dextram Patris resedit, auditum non est; sed tunc quasi noui mores qui prius uisi non sunt, cum uidentur in stupore habentur, ita hoc nouum mysterium quod prius auditum non est tunc in caelestibus resonans in honore uirginitatis cognitum est scilicet ante maiestatem Dei, quia Deus hoc facere potuit, et ante quattuor rotas quae quattuor partes mundi percurrentes ueritatem omnis iustitiae et humanitatis saluatoris uelut animalia in noua lege ferebant, et ante illos antiquos qui Spiritu sancto imbuti uiam rectitudinis in uetere lege hominibus suo itinere demonstrabant. Quid est hoc? Quia Deus in noua gratia austeritatem antiquae institutionis deleniuit



9. Virginity offered to God must be carefully preserved




But since virginity is so glorious before God, those who have offered it to God of their own will must carefully preserve it; for this holy purpose, undertaken with great devotion to virginity, must be faithfully kept. So let those who have undertaken this mystery take care not to fall back. For when they offer themselves to God, not joined by any bond of marriage or burdened by any secular business but spurning carnal coupling and desiring to cleave to the glorious innocence of the innocent Lamb, they are beloved imitators of My Son.

Sed quia uirginitas tam gloriosa ante Deum est, ideo qui eam ex uoluntate sua Deo obtulerunt eam prudenter conseruent; quoniam hoc sanctum propositum cum summa deuotione uirginitatis susceptum fideliter custodiendum est. Vnde etiam qui idem sacramentum adierunt caueant ne retrorsum incedant. Nam ipsi carissimi imitatores Filii mei sunt cum se ita Deo offerunt, ut non sint legati in opinione coniugii nec onerati saeculari causa carnalem copulam respuentes, ne illi cum omni sollicitudine carnis suae subiecti sint, sed hoc cupientes ut gloriosae innocentiae innocentis agni adhaereant.

So a man who decides in his mind not to join himself to any rib, but wants to persevere in the modesty of virginity for love of My Son, will become his companion, if he perseveres in the works of chastity; for he has offered these holy gifts to My Son for the glory of a heavenly reward by the vow of a most sacred pact of churchly religion.

Quapropter uir ille qui in animo suo deliberat ne ullam costam sibi copulet, sed hoc desiderat ut in pudore uirginitatis propter amorem Filii mei perseueret, sodalitatem eius accipiet, si tamen in operibus eiusdem castitatis perseuerauerit; quia haec sancta munera in uoto sacratissimi pacti ecclesiasticae religionis ob gloriam supernae remunerationis eidem Filio meo obtulit.

But if he then breaks this pact because of an evil stinging of his flesh and commits adultery, he reduces his liberty to servitude, for by his shameful pleasure he has wickedly brought low his head when he ought to have chastely imitated My Son; and he has uttered a lie, vowing to live chastely and not fulfilling it. Therefore, if he perseveres in his rash fault he will undergo the strict judgment of the Just Judge, for no shame or lie can appear in celestial glory.

Sed si ille postea idem pactum relinquens propter turpem stimulum carnis suae adulterium perpetrauerit, libertatem suam in seruitutem redegit, quoniam honorem colli sui, ubi Filium meum pudice imitari debuit, per turpitudinem delectationis suae nequiter corrupit, et quia mendacium protulit, uouens se caste uiuere, quod non impleuit. Vnde etiam si in eadem culpa temeritatis suae perseuerauerit, districtum iudicium iustissimi iudicis inde sustinebit, quoniam nec turpitudo nec mendacium in caelesti gloria apparebit.

But if before his death the man does penance for his guilt with bitter tears, My Son’s flowing blood will receive him, since he abhors his sin; but this does not place him back among his companions who shine with the glory of integrity, for he has deserted their society, casting away the liberty of his pact and reducing it to the slavery of sin.

Quod si amaro fletu ante finem suum de hoc reatu suo paenitentiam fecerit, tamen unda sanguinis Filii mei illum suscipit, quia culpam suam exhorruit; non autem ipsum inter sodales suos qui gloria integritatis florent ponit, quoniam societatem illorum deserens libertatem pacti sui abiecit et eam in seruitutem peccati redegit.



10. She who breaks the vow of virginity will be not a lady but a handmaid




And a maiden who of her own will is betrothed in holiness to My Son is becomingly received by Him, for He wishes to have her united with Him in companionship. How? That she may embrace Him with chaste love, and He may love her in secret; for to Him she is always lovable, since she seeks Him rather than an earthly bridegroom. But if she then transgresses this pact, she is polluted in the sight of those who are in celestial joy; and if she perseveres in this rashness, by just judgment she will be deprived of heavenly glory. But if she repents, she will be received as a handmaid and not as a lady, since she has deserted her royal betrothal and loved another more than Him she should have loved. And let him who seduced and violated her, if he wants to atone for his guilt, repent as if he had broken open Heaven; only thus will he escape the condemnation of death, for he rashly violated a heavenly betrothal. What does this mean?

Sed et puella quae ex uoluntate sua in sanctissima desponsatione eidem Filio meo offertur, ab ipso decentissime suscipitur, qui eam hoc modo sibi coniunctam uult habere in consortio suo. Quomodo? Vt illum casta dilectione amplectatur, sicut et ipse eam in secreto suo diligit; quoniam illi semper amabilis est, quia magis eum quam terrenum sponsum quaerit. Quod si pactum eius postea transgressa fuerit, tunc coram his qui in caelesti gaudio sunt polluta erit; unde etiam si in eadem temeritate perseuerauerit, superna gloria iusto iudicio carebit. Sed si paenituerit, suscipitur sicut ancilla et non sicut domina; quoniam regalem desponsationem deseruit, et quia magis alium amauit quam illum quem amare debuit. Ille quoque qui eam seducendo uiolauit, si culpam suam emendare uoluerit, ita paeniteat quasi caelum rupisset, ne in perditione mortis occidatur, quia supernam desponsationem temere corrupit. Quid est hoc?



11. Illustration of this issue




If some great ruler had a bride exceedingly dear to him, who was adulterously corrupted by a servant of his servants, what would that lord do? He would certainly send his army to destroy him in greatest wrath, since this man had struck him to the very viscera. But if this servant, fearing the army, should beg his master to intercede for him, and fall at his feet with tears to ask him to spare him, then that king would suffer him to live because of his own goodness and the other’s petition, and restore him to the society of his fellow-servants. But he would not reward him like his close and familiar friends, even though he did show him the favor he deserved among his fellow-servants of the same rank. So it will be for one who seduces and violates a bride of the eternal King. For that King, issuing His judgments in righteous zeal, will send him to perdition, because in this deed he disregarded Him and held Him in scorn.

Nam si aliquis magnus princeps sponsam ualde sibi caram habet, quam seruus seruorum suorum adulterando corrumpit, quid dominus ille facit? Vere in maxima ira exercitum suum mittit ut illum perdat, quoniam eum in propriis uisceribus suis confudit. Quod si tunc seruus ille timens omnem exercitum illum exorat ut pro ipso intercedat, et insuper ad pedes domini sui flebiliter cadit quatenus sibi parcat, tunc idem rex propter bonitatem suam et propter petitionem illorum eum uiuere sinens, societatem conseruorum suorum illi reddit, sed tamen eum ita ut ceteros interiores et familiares amicos suos non remunerat, quamuis ei inter alios illi consimiles conseruos ipsius debitam gratiam exhibeat. Ita et huic erit qui aeterni regis sponsam seducendo uiolauerit. Idem enim rex in rectissimo zelo iudicia sua exercens illum ad perditionem transmittit, quia eum in hoc facto quasi illusorem in obliuione mentis suae habuit.

But if the wretch, looking forward in fear to that day of wrath, humbly begs God’s elect to ask pardon for him from the Lord and tearfully contemplates the Humanity of his Savior until he is absolved from sin by His grace, then the King, mindful of the blood that was shed for the redemption of the human race, and for love of the citizens of Heaven, will save him from his guilt and from the power of the Devil and accord him the salvation of the blessed so that he will not go to perdition. But He will not adorn him in the dance of the royal wedding, at which the other friends of God will rejoice with those sacred virgins who in celestial betrothal are dedicated to My Son; just as He will not crown with the rank of virginity one who has lost the modesty of virginity, even though He grants him with His other elect joy in the celestial city and an inestimable reward.

Sed si miser ille, diem huius indignationis anticipans, electos Dei suppliciter exorauerit ut ueniam sibi a domino suo petant, et insuper humanitatem saluatoris sui flebiliter inspexerit, quatenus per gratiam ipsius a peccato suo absoluatur, tunc idem rex sanguinem hunc qui pro redemptione humani generis effusus est, et dilectionem supernorum ciuium attendens, illum a reatu suo et a diabolica potestate, ne in perditionem eat, eripit, ac eum in saluationem beatarum animarum ponit, sed tamen tripudio regalis desponsationis, quo ceteri amici Dei his sacris uirginibus quae Filio meo superna desponsatione dicatae sunt congaudent, non decorabit, sicut et illum qui pudorem uirginitatis amisit decore uirginitatis non coronabit, quamuis ei inter alios electos suos gaudium in superna ciuitate cum inaestimabili remuneratione tribuat.





12. The great difference between celestial desire
and earthly lust




But beneath that splendor, which glows like the dawn, you see between Heaven and earth a thick darkness appear, the horror of which exceeds what human tongue can utter.

Sed quod sub eodem splendore ubi ipse uelut aurora rutilat uides inter caelum et terram densissimas tenebras apparere, quae tanti horroris sunt ultra quam humana lingua effari possit:

THIS is to say that under the glory of virginity, the fall of our first parent openly stands between the spiritual and the carnal intellect; and that fall was the darkest shadow of unfaithfulness, so that no person could expound its terror.

hoc est quod sub uirginali gloria inter spiritalem et carnalem intellectum casus primi parentis qui densissimus in offuscatione infidelitatis erat, ita ut terrorem illius nullus hominum explicare ualeret, aperte cognitus est.

Why?  Because in the Incarnation of the Son of God, born of the Virgin, celestial desire was supreme and earthly lust was lacking; so Adam’s transgression was miraculously remade into salvation by the blood of the Son of God; not earlier, since no other but the Only-Begotten of God, sent into the world by the Father, could cancel that transgression and permit entry into Heaven. Therefore, as you hear in this vision, unless the Son of God had shed His blood for human salvation, that transgression would have weighed Man down so much that he could not have attained to the joy of the citizens of Heaven.

Quomodo? Quia in incarnatione Filii Dei qui ex Virgine natus est caeleste desiderium ascendit et terrena concupiscentia claudicauit; quoniam praeuaricatio Adae per sanguinem eiusdem Filii Dei mirabiliter in saluationem restaurata est, cum prius illam nullus nisi Vnigenitus Dei a Patre missus in mundum dissoluere ad supernum ingressum posset. Vnde, ut audis in typica manifestatione, nisi idem Filius Dei sanguinem suum pro salute hominum fudisset, eadem transgressio ita comprimeret hominem ut ad illud gaudium supernorum ciuium pertingere non posset.







And where the splendor shines, which is mixed with purple and blue, it encircles the woman’s image with strong ardor.

Quod autem ubi idem splendor quasi purpura hyacintho intermixta fulget, fortiter praedictam muliebrem imaginem constringens ardet:

This symbolizes the perfection of those who imitate the Passion of My Son in the ardor of their love and strongly adorn the Church with their self-restraint. How? Because they are the high building of the growing treasury of the divine counsel.

hoc designat perfectionem illorum qui passionem Filii mei in caritatis ardore imitantes strenue ecclesiam in constrictione sua exornant. Quomodo? Quoniam ipsi sunt alta aedificatio surgentis thesauri in diuino consilio;

FOR when the Church was invigorated and grew stronger, to increase her beauty there came forth a living fragrance [monks], vowing the way of secret regeneration [making monastic profession].

quia cum ecclesia iam roborata conualuit, egressus est ad decorem illius uiuens odor, uouens iter secretae regenerationis.

What does this mean? That there then arose the wonderful order, which attained to My Son in the beauty of His example; for as My Son came into the world separated from the common people, so this army lives in the world separated from the rest of the people.

Quid est hoc? Quia tunc surrexit mirabilis ordo qui Filium meum in specie exempli sui tetigit; quoniam ut idem Filius meus uenit in mundum de communi populo abscisus, ita et haec acies conuersatur in saeculo de reliquo populo separata.0

This people first arose in the desert and in hiding, as balsam sweetly oozes from the tree, and then grew into a great multitude, as the tree extends its branches. And I blessed and sanctified this people, for they are to Me the lovely flowers, roses and lilies, which grow in the fields without human labor; for no law constrains these people to desire such a narrow way, but they undertake it of their own will without any legal command, as I inspire them, and do more than they are told to.

Nam ut balsamum de arbore suauiter sudat, sic et populus iste primum in eremo et in abscondito singulariter exortus est, et deinde ueluti arbor ramos suos expandit, paulatim in multitudinem plenitudinis proficiens. Et istum populum benedixi et sanctificaui, quoniam ipsi mihi sunt amantissimi flores rosarum et liliorum qui sine humano opere in agro germinant, sicut et populum hunc nulla lex ad hoc constringit ut tam artam uiam appetat, sed ipse illam me suauiter inspirante sine praecepto legis sua uoluntate aggreditur, plus faciens quam sibi iussum sit;





THEREFORE, they gain a very great reward from Me, as is written in the Gospel, where the Samaritan brought that wounded man to an inn: unde et plurimam mercedem inde acquirit, sicut et in euangelio, ubi Samaritanus illum uulneratum hominem in stabulum duxit, scriptum est.



14. WORDS of the GOSPEL




“And the next day he took out two pence and gave them to the innkeeper, and said, ‘Take care of him, and whatever you spend over and above this, I will repay you when I return’ “ [Luke 10:35].

Altera die protulit duos denarios et dedit stabulario et ait: Curam illius habe et quodcumque supererogaueris, ego cum rediero reddam tibi.

What does this mean? On the first day of salvation, that is, when the miraculously incarnate Son of God was abiding in the world in His body and until His resurrection, He performed in His Humanity many marvellous works, by which He wholesomely brought the wounded man to true remedies.

Quid est hoc? In prima die salutis, uidelicet cum Filius Dei mirabiliter incarnatus corporaliter in mundo manebat, multa et admiranda opera in humanitate sua usque ad resurrectionem ipsius perfecit, per quae uulneratum hominem ad uera remedia salubriter reduxit.

But the next day, that is, after His resurrection, when all the mysteries of truth had been openly given to the Church, He figuratively offered the New and Old Testaments as a sure proof of eternal life and a sweet food for the believing people.

Sed altera die, id est cum omnia mysteria ueritatis post resurrectionem ipsius in ecclesia aperte posita sunt, protulit in typica manifestatione nouum et uetus testamentum, scilicet aeternae uitae certissimam demonstrationem et credenti populo dulcissimum cibum.

And He gave these writings by His grace to the pastors of the Church, who keep His flock; and He said to them with sweet admonition, “Use churchly rules to look after the company of Christians redeemed in My blood, which I have entrusted to you, taking care that they do not err or lack in what pertains to life. But whatever you may add in your goodwill to what I have ordered you to keep, doing more than is commanded of you, I your Leader and Savior, who now leave the world and ascend to the Father but will return to judge the world and establish it forever, with no wearing away through the passage of time, will then repay you for your labor and your goodwill, with added fruits. And I will say to you ‘O faithful and righteous servant, who has ministered faithfully!’ Whoever willingly adds more than the Law commanded him will receive a twofold reward; for I hold him glorious in My name, since he has loved Me greatly.” And I say:

Et haec scripta dedit per gratiam suam pastoribus ecclesiae qui gregem ipsius custodiunt, et ait illis in uerbis blandae admonitionis suae: In ecclesiasticis constitutionibus procurate christianam cohortem, quam in sanguine meo redemptam uobis commisi, hoc habentes in sollicitudine uestra, ne in aliquibus quae pertinent ad uitam deficiens erret. Quodcumque autem his quae uobis seruanda tradidi, in bona uoluntate uestra superaddideritis, uidelicet plus facientes quam uobis praeceptum sit, ego qui ductor et saluator uester sum, nunc mundum relinquens et ad Patrem ascendens, cum iterum rediero mundum iudicare eum que in indeficientem stabilitatem ponere, ita quod amplius per labentia tempora non debilitetur, tunc mercedem laboris uestri et bonae uoluntatis uestrae cum augmentato fructu reddam uobis. Et dicam tibi: “O fidelis et probe serue qui fideliter ministras!” Quisquis plus uoti sui addit quam sibi in lege praeceptum sit, duplicem mercedem accipiet; quia illum in nomine meo gloriosum habeo, quoniam me ualde amauit. Et ego dico.



15. The ORDERS of VIRGINS and MONKS are NOT FOUND in the PRECEPTS of the LAW




Neither the race of virgins nor this singularly devoted order, nor those who imitate them, such as desert hermits, are commanded by the Law; as the prophets too were not appointed by people under the laws of the flesh, for they arose imbued only by My inspiration. But they do more than was commanded them, which priests and those pertaining to their order do not, for these things were commanded by Abraham and Moses in the Old Testament, and the apostles took them from the Law, set them up in My will by the Holy Spirit and handed them on to be kept by the Church. And the same apostolic teaching was set forth in the Gospel by My Son, when His disciples were sent out to spread abroad the words of truth to the whole world.

Nec uirgineum genus, nec hic ordo singularis deuotionis, nec qui eos imitantur, ut hi qui in eremo iacent, sunt in praecepto legis, sicut et prophetae ab hominibus sub carnali lege constituti non sunt, quia tantum mea inspiratione madentes exorti sunt; sed hi plus addunt quam eis praeceptum sit, quod sacerdotalis ordo et reliqua institutio sacerdotalis officii non facit, quia haec in Abraham et in Moyse in ueteri testamento iussa sunt; sicut etiam et apostoli illa ex eadem lege tollentes et in Spiritu sancto ea secundum uoluntatem meam bene ordinantes ecclesiae conseruanda tradiderunt. Sed et ipsa apostolica doctrina in euangelio per Filium meum disposita est, ubi discipuli eius in uniuersum mundum uerba ueritatis effundere missi sunt.

What then? As the apostles announced the way of salvation to the people, the bright dawn of the daughters of Zion arose in the love of My Son, that is, the dawn of those who strongly repressed their flesh and harshly mortified their evil desires. And as this chaste virginity followed My Son in ardent love, that singularly devoted order greatly pleasing to Me also imitated His Incarnation. These are My true temples, where I am worshipped as if by choirs of angels; they bear in their bodies the Passion and death and burial of my Only-Begotten, not in that they die by the sword or other human terrors, but in that they imitate My Son by renouncing the will of their own flesh, separating themselves from all worldly things and ornaments in which the world rejoices.

Quid tunc? Nam cum apostoli uiam salutis populo annuntiarent, lucidissima aurora filiarum Sion in amore Filii mei exorta est, scilicet illorum qui carnem suam fortiter constrinxerunt et malam concupiscentiam in semetipsis duriter mortificauerunt. Et sicut tunc haec casta uirginitas in ardente amore Filium meum subsecuta est, ita etiam hic mihi ualde amabilis ordo singularis deuotionis incarnationem illius imitatus est; qui sunt recta templa mea, uidelicet ut chori angelorum me colentes, et eiusdem Vnigeniti mei passionem et mortem ac sepulturam in corpore suo portantes, non tamen ita ut gladio aut aliis terroribus ex quibus homines deficiunt moriantur, sed Filium meum sic imitantes quod uoluntatem carnis suae abiciunt, cum se ab omnibus saecularibus rebus et ornamentis in quibus mundus laetatur auferunt,





WHICH is written in the Gospel about John, the lamp of the world: ut in euangelio de Iohanne lucerna mundi scriptum est.







“And the same John had a garment of camel’s hair and a leathern girdle about his loins”
       [Matthew 3:4].

Ipse autem Iohannes habebat uestimentum de pilis camelorum et zonam pelliciam circa lumbos suos.

 What does this mean? Divine grace had woken miraculous abstinence in him, and by that grace he had a defense of his virtue, for in his mind he had despised honor and earthly riches, and in his body he had tamed the wanton urges through the restraints that, to mortify vice, he had put on the pleasures of the flesh. For, advancing through hard and rough ways and trampling down earthly lust, he built greater towers of virtue than his predecessors.

Quid est hoc? Ille in quo diuina gratia mirabilem abstinentiam suscitauerat, per eandem gratiam habebat defensionem uirtutis huius, quod in mente sua honorem et diuitias saeculares contempserat, et quod etiam per constrictionem quam in mortificatione uitiorum circa uoluptatem carnis suae posuerat, petulantes motus eiusdem corporis sui fortiter domuerat, cum maiores aedificationes quam praedecessores sui instrueret, uidelicet cum per duras et asperas uias incedens terrenas concupiscentias conculcaret.

How? Because, vigorously performing many works of virtue, he ardently loved chastity and showed the way of healing to those who devotedly sought it. Therefore, all monks who make profession should follow John in his way of life, who shone by his lofty works of blessed virtue amid the great darkness of the world; they should flee from the meaningless expanse of worldly things, restrain their wandering minds and so force their bodies to renounce evil desire. Thus they will outshine by more excellent means those who before their time walked simply in the way of the Lord and made their simple habitations; they will take the steep and narrow path by firmly treading underfoot those things that are the pleasures of the world.

Quomodo? Quia plurima opera uirtutum strenue faciens, castitatem ardenter amauit, praebens etiam his uiam medicamenti qui illud deuote exquirebant. Vnde etiam illi qui sunt uiuens odor, uouens iter secretae regenerationis, eundem Iohannem in maximis tenebris saeculi lucentem per acutissimas operationes beatarum uirtutum in uita sua subsequentes, ineptam altitudinem et latitudinem mundialium rerum fugiant, et in constrictione diffusi animi sui corpus suum coercentes malam concupiscentiam abiciant, ita excellentioribus instrumentis quam hi qui ante ipsos simpliciter in uia Domini gradientes simplicia habitacula faciebant, serenissime fulgentes, acutam et angustam semitam arripiant, scilicet ea quae in uoluptatibus saeculi sunt fortiter sub pedibus suis conculcantes.

How? Because, despising themselves and subjecting their bodies to the service of Christ in the work of the virtues, they will shun wantonness by austere behavior and so shine brightly for others by their good examples. For they faithfully imitate the angelic choir. How? By renouncing worldly things; for, as the angels do not seek or long for the things of earth, these people follow them miraculously in despising all fleeting things.

Quomodo? Quoniam semetipsos despicientes et corpus suum seruituti Christi in operatione uirtutum subicientes petulantiam in austeritate morum suorum declinent, sic per bona exempla sua ceteris hominibus lucidissime fulgentes. Nam angelicum chorum fideliter imitantur. Quomodo? In abiectione saecularium; quoniam ut angeli nec terrena quaerunt nec concupiscunt, ita et isti eos hoc modo mirabiliter subsequuntur quod omnia caduca contemnunt.







So as My Son brings the message of the healthful sacraments, and is the Priest of priests and the Prophet of prophets and the builder of blessed towers, if a necessity arises a monk who is firmly rooted and competent for it may be a messenger and priest, prophet and counselor of the Church. He is not to be kept away from these offices, as long as his sight is clear and he does not slumber at his churchly duty but attends to his teaching; he must only reject being occupied by secular business and its contagion. For neither angels nor priests nor prophets will hide God’s justice, but will make it known in truth from His precepts; as in the Gospel it is written again of John, whose austerity they follow, that he was not a reed shaken in the wind.

Vnde etiam sicut Filius meus est nuntius salutiferorum sacramentorum et sacerdos sacerdotum ac propheta prophetarum et aedificator felicium turrium, etiam ita si necessitas se opposuerit, qui inter huiusmodi homines radicem odoris cum utilitate habet sit nuntius et sacerdos, sit propheta et consiliator ecclesiasticae aedificationis, nec omnino ab his separandus est, si tantum oculus claritatis in eo lucet, nec ad usum ecclesiasticum dormiat, sed ad instrumentum eius uigilet, occupationem tantum saecularis causae et contagia saecularium rerum abiciens; quia nec angeli nec sacerdotes nec prophetae iustitiam Dei occultabunt, sed eam ex praecepto illius in ueritate proferent, quemadmodum de Iohanne qui arundo uento agitata non fuit, cuius austeritatem isti subsequuntur, in euangelio iterum scriptum est.



18. Words of the Gospel concerning John




“And all the country of Judea went out to him, and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins” [Mark 1:5].

Et egrediebantur ad illum omnis Iudaeae regio et Ierosolymitae uniuersi, et baptizabantur ab illo in Iordane flumine confitentes peccata sua.

 What does this mean? They, whose hearts had been struck by fear of death and love of life, went out with sighs and groans from the pleasures of vice to him who had the divine grace to do everything for them, by means of simple confession from their devoted wills and visions of peace. How? Because John, the forerunner of the Truth, conveyed to them both bitterness and sweetness. Therefore they entreated from his rectitude an outpouring of penance, so that, by avoiding evil deeds and doing good ones and confessing their crimes, they might deserve to reach Him Who would confer on them true salvation in the light of the New Testament instead of the remedy in the shadow of the Old. And just as John taught those who came to him and baptized them in the river after receiving their words of repentance in honor of the Savior to come, so now, in the name of the Savior Who has come and brought salvation to the faithful, let those who add shining works to the testimony of sanctification not neglect to do so. Inspired by the Holy Spirit, let them reach new heights of austerity in renouncing worldly things, following the model they adopted when they listened to that testimony and put on the new man through the regeneration of the Spirit and water, rejecting the service of the Devil. And, when necessity impels, let them offer the hand of assistance to those who ask, admonishing, uplifting and healing; and if they have worthily attained an office by churchly promotion, let them faithfully imitate their Forerunner, so as truly to complete in the new light what he showed in the shadow.

Quid est hoc? In suspiriis et gemitibus a delectatione uitiorum egrediebatur ad illum, in quo diuina gratia operabatur, tota simplicis confessionis deuota uoluntas et uisionis pacis unanimiter omnis effectus, scilicet illorum hominum quorum corda per timorem mortis ad amorem uitae concussa fuerant. Quomodo? Quoniam idem Iohannes praecursor ueritatis et amaritudinem et dulcedinem eis intimauerat. Vnde et ipsi perfusionem paenitudinis a rectitudine eius flagitabant, quatenus per declinationem malorum et per erectionem bonorum confessionem scelerum suorum ponentes, illum mererentur adipisci qui ipsis non in umbra antiquitatis remedium denuntiaret, sed qui eis in luce nouitatis ueram salutem conferret. Sed ut idem Iohannes homines ad se uenientes docens et flumine irrigationis perfundens uerba paenitudinis eorum ad honorem uenturi saluatoris suscipiebat, ita etiam nunc in nomine eiusdem saluatoris, qui ueniens salutem fidelibus contulit, et illi facere non neglegant qui testimonio sanctificationis fulminantis operis plus addunt; uidelicet per inspirationem Spiritus sancti in abrenuntiatione saecularium rerum nouam austeritatem secundum similitudinem illam aggredientes, quam ex praecepto eiusdem testimonii sanctificationis per regenerationem Spiritus et aquae in abiectione diabolicae seruitutis nouum hominem induentes adierunt. Sed ubi stimuli impellentis necessitatis se obtulerint, admonendo et erigendo ac sanando manum deuoti iuuaminis petentibus porrigant, si tamen ad eandem dignitatem ecclesiastica promotione digne peruenerunt, et in hoc praedecessorem suum fideliter imitentur, ut quod ille uelut in umbra ostendit, ipsi in nouitate lucis ueraciter compleant.

For the monks are the girdle of the Church and strongly encircle her, since they are concerned with My Son’s Incarnation and also exercise the function of the angels; that is, they do not cease at any hour to sing melodiously or pray in compunction, with the freshness of remorse and not with the useless dry dust of noisy cries, and they do not seek to handle worldly things but examine themselves thoroughly with charity and humility.

Ipsi enim sunt zona ecclesiae, eam ualde constringentes, quoniam incarnatione Filii mei occupati sunt, et quia etiam angelicum ordinem exercent, scilicet non cessantes in ullis horis cantando cum sonitu aut orando in compunctione, non autem excussis clamoribus ut inutilis puluis aut aridus absque uiriditate compunctionis; et quia etiam non recusant operari pro necessitate sua, non tamen in manibus suis saecularia quaerentes, sed cum caritate et humilitate se ipsos acute circumspicientes.

Oh, these are My strong and loving people, for in them I contemplate the sufferings that My Son underwent in the flesh; and they die His death, when they forsake their own will and submit to obedience for the sake of eternal life, walking in the commands of their superiors.

O ipsi fortissimus atque amantissimus populus meus, cum in eis afflictionem illam attendo quam Filius meus in carne sua passus est, quoniam et ipsi secundum mortem illius moriuntur, cum uoluntatem suam deserentes et propter uitam aeternam magisterio se subicientes secundum imperium praelatorum suorum gradiuntur.



19. The monks’ unique garment symbolizes Christ’s Incarnation and burial




Therefore their garment is unlike that of other people, for it symbolizes the incorrupt Incarnation of My Son, which is completely different from the procreation of other people. For the command of the Law concerning men and women did not touch the Incarnation, in the same way that no written law obliges these people to their strictness of life; though one who undertakes it with a vow by his own will for the love of God should persevere in it, lest he recoil and fall, like Lucifer who forsook light and went into darkness.

Quapropter et uestitus eorum uestitui aliorum populorum non assimilatur; quia et ipse integer incorruptam incarnationem Filii mei quae plurimum distat a procreatione aliorum hominum ostendit. Nam eandem incarnationem legale imperium uiri ac mulieris non tetigit, sicut nec iste populus ulla conscripta lege ad hanc constrictionem cogendus est; sed qui eam pro dilectione Dei sua uoluntate uouendo aggreditur, hic in ipsa perseueret ne retrocedens corruat, sicut Lucifer qui lucem deseruit et tenebras recepit.

And this garment flies with wings of subtlety like the glitter of supernal spirits, and points to the Incarnation and burial of My Son; for one who gives himself up to strictest obedience has on his garment the sign of My Son’s Incarnation, and one who renounces secular business for the works of justice has on his garment the sign of My Son’s burial. Hence one who by purity of will is clothed in this garment is uplifted by a heathful remedy.

Idem enim uestitus secundum coruscationem supernorum spirituum cum alis subtilitatis suae circumuolat et incarnationem ac sepulturam Filii mei designat; quia signum eiusdem incarnationis in eodem uestitu habet qui se ad fortissimam oboedientiam exhibet; et signum eiusdem sepulturae in ipso uestitu portat qui in operibus iustitiae saecularibus causis abrenuntiat. Vnde qui pura uoluntate eodem uestitu induitur, salubri remedio alleuiatur.

And therefore, let one who receives it with blessings and the invocation of the Holy Spirit not renounce it; for he who despises it in persistent and evil rejection will be with the one who spurned the order of angels and was entombed in death. What does this mean? These people are not spurred on by any precept of the Law to their strictness of life, but have undertaken to observe My pact of their own will and thus make My Church illustrious by the holiness of their ways. How? This order rose after the apostles’ preaching as the sun rises after the first light of day. What does this mean?

Et ideo qui illum per inuocationem Spiritus sancti in benedictionibus suscipit, non illum abiciat; quoniam qui eum per abiectionem perseuerantis mali contempserit cum illo erit qui angelicum ordinem spreuit et in morte sepultus est. Quid est hoc? Quoniam hic populus ex praecepto legis ad hanc constrictionem stimulatus non est, sed uoluntate sua aggressus est pactum meum obseruare et ita ecclesiam meam sua sancta conuersatione illustrare. Quomodo? Vt post primam lucem diei aurora solis aspicitur, ita ordo iste post uoces apostolorum exortus est. Quid est hoc?



20 Benedict, who is a second Moses, made this order a separate way




The first light of day designates the faithful words of the apostolic teaching; the dawn, the beginning of this way of life, which following that teaching first came about in solitude and in caves; but the sun symbolizes the separate and well-disposed way I then brought about through My servant Benedict, whom I passed by in burning fire, teaching him to honor the Incarnation of My Son in the garment of his way of life, and imitate His Passion in the abnegation of his will. For Benedict is like a second Moses, lying in the cleft of the rock and tormenting and repressing his body with great harshness for the love of life, as the first Moses wrote on the stone tablets at My command and gave the Jews a Law that was harsh and hard. But as My Son penetrated that same Law with the sweetness of the Gospel, so also My servant Benedict by the sweetness of the Holy Spirit’s inspiration made the plan of this order a separate and level path, which before him was an exceedingly hard way of life. And he gathered together by it large numbers for his order, as My Son, through the sweetness of His fragrance, gathered to Himself the Christian people.

Prima lux diei fidelia uerba apostolicae doctrinae designat, aurora uero initium huius conuersationis, quae primum in solitudine et in speluncis post eandem doctrinam germinauit demonstrat, sol autem discretam et bene dispositam uiam deinde in seruo meo Benedicto declarat, quem ego in ardente igne pertransiui, docens eum in uestitu conuersationis suae incarnationem Filii mei colere et in abnegatione uoluntatis suae passionem illius imitari; quia idem Benedictus est quasi alter Moyses, in lapideo foramine iacens et corpus suum in multa asperitate ob amorem uitae crucians et constringens, quemadmodum etiam primus Moyses in lapideis tabulis ex praecepto meo asperam et duram legem scribens Iudaeis dedit. Sed ut Filius meus eandem legem per dulcedinem euangelii perforauit, sic etiam Benedictus famulus meus propositum huius ordinis, quod ante ipsum durissima conuersatio fuit, per dulcedinem inspirationis Spiritus sancti discretam et planam uiam fecit, ac per hoc plurimam cohortem suae religionis collegit, ut etiam Filius meus per suauitatem odoris sui christianum populum sibi coadunauit.

And so then the Holy Spirit spoke in the hearts of His elect who sighed for life, telling them that as in the washing of baptism the crimes of the peoples are washed away, so they themselves should renounce the pomps of the world as a sign of the Passion of My Son. How? Because in holy baptism a person is converted from the power of the Devil and rejects his old stains of sin, and thus these too should reject earthly business by the sign of their garment, which is also an angelic sign. How? Because by My will they are appointed protectors of the people.

Et deinde Spiritus sanctus cordibus electorum suorum suspiria uitae habentium inspirauit, ut sicut in lauacro baptismi crimina populorum abluuntur, ita et ipsi in significatione passionis eiusdem Filii mei saeculares pompas abicerent. Quomodo? Nam ut homo a diabolica potestate in sancto baptismo conuertitur, crimina ueteris maculae abiciens, sic et isti terrenas causas in signo uestitus sui abnegant, in quo etiam et angelicum signum habent. Quomodo? Ipsi enim in uoluntate mea protectores populi mei positi sunt.



21. For Church necessities a proven monk may receive priesthood




For this reason, those of them who are found proven in their holy way of life may be established as pastors of My Church, as the angels, who are touched by no stain from earthly affairs, are the guardians of My people. For, as the angels hold before God a twofold rank, so the people of this religious order live in a twofold life. How? The angels in the heavenly places serve God without interruption, and on earth continually protect people from the snares of the Devil. So these people imitate the angelic order when they despise earthly things and serve God daily, and also defend all other people from evil spirits day and night by their prayers. Therefore, if My Church does not have a fitting pastor, let the people of this religious order come to her aid, crying out and weeping; and let the one among them who is found proven defend her with vigorous zeal, receiving priesthood too if necessary.

Vnde qui ex ipsis in sancta conuersatione probati inueniuntur pastores ecclesiae meae constituantur, quia et angeli qui nulla macula terrenae causae tanguntur custodes populi mei sunt. Nam sicut angeli coram Deo in duplici honore sunt, sic et homines huius religionis sunt in duplici uita. Quomodo? Angeli in caelestibus Deo sine intermissione seruiunt, et etiam in terris homines a diabolicis insidiis semper protegunt. Sic et populus iste angelicum ordinem imitatur, cum terrena despiciens Deo cotidie famulatur et cum etiam reliquos homines suis orationibus a malignis spiritibus die ac nocte defendit. Vnde si ecclesia mea rectum pastorem non habet, tunc populus huiusmodi religionis clamando et flendo ipsi subueniat, et qui in eo probatus inuenitur, si necesse fuerit superextensum sacerdotium suscipiens, ipsam in zelo meo strenue defendat.



22. No one should undertake this order without being very closely examined




But no one should undertake the religious life of this order suddenly and as if just waking from a dream, but let him first be tested with close examination as to the self-control of his mind, and whether he can persevere in this purpose; for if he were to undertake it by his own will in the pact of blessing and later in perverse error renounce it and impenitently mock Me, he would perish miserably in the condemnation of death. Therefore, 0 my dearest children, who are so scattered by opposition, rise up quickly in humility and charity, and manfully and unanimously consent to your holy purpose.

Nullus autem religionem istorum repente et uelut ex somno euigilans aggrediatur, nisi prius in constrictione animi sui si in hoc proposito perseuerare ualeat ex intima probatione examinetur, ne si illud uoluntate sua in foedere benedictionis susceperit et postmodum in peruersitate erroris sui abiciens mihi sine paenitentia illuserit, in damnatione mortis miserabiliter pereat. Quapropter, o carissimi filii mei, qui ualde in contrarietate dissipati estis, surgite citius in humilitate et in caritate, et sancto proposito uestro uiriliter et unanimiter consentite. 



23. Secular people who keep God’s laws greatly adorn the Church




But, as you see, another splendor, like a white cloud, decently envelops that image from the navel down, to the point at which it has not yet grown further. This is the secular life, which with pure and calm purpose surrounds the Church with reverence and renders her just assistance, from the fullness of her growing strength until the point past which she has not yet developed in her children. How? Because what lies closest to the navel is the womb, from which the whole human race is procreated. Therefore this refers to the secular people in the Church, through whom she must be brought to the full number of her orders, for here are gathered kings and dukes, princes and rulers, and their subjects, rich and poor, and the destitute living among the others.

Sed, ut uides, alius splendor ut candida nubes praedictam muliebrem imaginem ab umbilico et deorsum, quousque ultra nondum creuit, honeste circumdat: qui est saecularis uita quae in candore serenae intentionis ecclesiam a plenitudine germinantis fortitudinis usque ad extremitatem illam ubi ultra iam nondum in filiis suis processit, in reuerentia iustae subuentionis circumplectitur. Quomodo? Quia circa umbilicum est germen membrorum de quo omne genus humanum procreatur; unde et ibi in ecclesia saecularis populus per quem ipsa ad plenum numerum in ordinibus suis prouehenda est demonstratur, cum ibi reges et duces, principes ac praesides cum subiectis suis, ac etiam ceteri diuites et pauperes ac egeni cum reliquo populo conuersantes denuntiantur.

And by all these the Church is exceedingly adorned, for when laypeople faithfully observe the Law of God, which is laid down for them, they beautify the Church greatly; when they obey their superiors with sincere humility and devotion, and chastise their bodies for God’s love by alms and vigils and continence and widowhood and other good works that are of God, they embrace God with many embraces. Therefore they who keep the law appointed for them by My will are most lovable to Me.

Et per hos omnes ecclesia ualde ornatur, quia cum saeculares homines legem Dei quae ipsis posita est fideliter conseruant, eandem ecclesiam plurimum exornant, scilicet cum multis amplexibus Deum amplectuntur, ita quod sincera humilitate et deuotione magistris suis oboediunt, et quod elemosynis et uigiliis ac continentia et etiam uiduitate ac ceteris bonis operibus quae Dei sunt corpus suum pro Dei amore castigant. Vnde isti qui constitutam sibi legem secundum uoluntatem meam custodiunt ualde amabiles mihi sunt.



24. Married people cannot become monastics unless both agree to do it




If any layperson desires to renounce worldly things to bear the yoke of My liberty, let him come to Me quickly, unless he is in the bonds of a fleshly union. This tie he may not rashly loose unless his consort wills it. How? Husband may not leave wife and wife may not leave husband for this purpose unless it is the will of both, and they both decide either to remain in the world or to separate from the world; for it cannot be that a whole person can remain well if one foot remains with his body and the other is cut off from it. So it is not fitting for a husband to worship the world while his wife deserts the world, or for a wife to reside in the world while her husband flees the world, if they wish to have glory in celestial life; for if this is done indiscreetly and foolishly, it will be called a robbery rather than an offering. So let those who are legally joined in a fleshly union live together with one mind, and not foolishly separate from each other without a dispensation or declaration from Church authority, as is written again in the Gospel:

Sed si quis ex istis iugum libertatis meae in abiectione saecularium ferre desiderat ad me citius ueniat nisi in iunctura carnalis copulae sit, quam ligaturam temere non soluat nisi per uoluntatem illius cuius consortium habet. Quomodo? Nec maritus uxorem nec uxor maritum in hoc proposito deserat, nisi uoluntas amborum sit; et tunc si ita deliberauerint, aut ambo remaneant in saeculo, aut ambo a saeculo separentur, quoniam esse non potest ut pes unus permaneat in corpore et alter a corpore abscidatur saluo homine. Sic etiam non congruit ut maritus saeculum colat et uxor saeculum deserat, aut ut uxor in saeculo resideat et maritus saeculum fugiat, si in superna uita decorem suum inuenire uolunt; quia si hoc indiscrete et insipienter agitur, non hostia sed rapina appellabitur. Quapropter qui in carnali copula legali iure sibi coniuncti sunt, unanimiter simul uiuant, nec alterum ab altero sine consensu alterius, nec sine dispositione aut demonstratione ecclesiastici uigoris insipienter se discindat, quemadmodum in euangelio iterum scriptum est.



25 Words of the Gospel




“What therefore God has joined together, let not Man put asunder” [Matthew 19:6]. What does this mean? God, creating the human race, took flesh out of flesh and joined them in a union, and thus established that this connection must not hastily be broken. How? Because in the union of man and woman flesh will be united to flesh and blood to blood by a legal ceremony, so that they cannot be divided from each other in foolish haste, unless both dissolve the bond for a just cause or a rightful devotion; for God in His secret wisdom graciously formed this union of male and female for the propagation of people. And because He so rightly constituted this union, foolish human desire should not cause a breach between the two parts, and neither part should take the dowry of its blood to an alien place; for, as God commanded that people should not slay each other, He also commanded that they should not divert their blood from its rightful place by cruel fornication.

Quid est hoc? Deus in creatione humani generis carnem de carne tulit et in unam copulationem coniunxit, ita constituens ne haec conexio praecipitanter ab inuicem separaretur. Quomodo? Quia ita in coniunctione uiri ac mulieris erit ubi caro carni et sanguis sanguini legali ostensione copulatur, ne ab inuicem sua stulta praecipitatione disiungantur, nisi hoc ex iusta causa aut ex rationabili deuotione utriusque ligaturae euenire occurrat; quoniam Deus in secreto sapientiae suae hanc coniunctionem maris et feminae ad propagationem hominum benigne disposuit. Et quia haec coniunctio ab ipso ita decenter constituta est, idcirco stulta cupiditas hominis abscisionem in his duabus partibus non faciat, nec pars haec nec illa dotem sanguinis sui in alienum locum ducat; quoniam sicut Deus praecepit ne homo occidat hominem, ita etiam iussit ne homo per crudelitatem fornicationis sanguinem suum a recto loco suo abscidat.

Therefore, let people repress the ardor of their longing and not transmit their flame to an alien fire. For if an ardent will takes hold of the will of another and stirs it up to fervent lust for a stronger or weaker reason, the two will coalesce into one by the first person’s mental desire and the other’s consent to be embraced by it. For the sight of the outer eye makes the inner heat burst into flame. And even if the one body does not sin with the other, the living will still makes them burn, so that all their viscera are shaken by their feelings. Therefore, let the outer person be guarded with such caution that the inner person may never be wounded by carelessness.

Quod ergo Deus coniunxit, homo non separet. Vnde etiam homo ardorem cupiditatis suae deprimat, nec incendium suum ad alienum ignem transmittat; quia si haec ardens uoluntas calorem alterius uoluntatis cum feruente concupiscentia fortioris uel mollioris causae conceperit, uere tunc cum desiderio animi sui et cum colligatione amplexionis mentis illius in unum coagulantur. Nam exterior uidens oculus interiorem calorem in adustionem excitat. Et quamuis corpus hoc peccatum cum corpore illo non operetur, tamen uiuens uoluntas facit opus ardoris in illis, ita quod omnia uiscera eorum propter conscientiam suam concutiuntur. Quapropter claustra exterioris hominis tam cauta custodia obseruentur, ne interior homo per insipidam neglegentiam saucietur.



26. These orders consolidate the Church in their ranks and degrees




And you see that these three splendors around that image shine afar; which is to say that these three institutions surround and consolidate the blessed Church in a wondrous way in honor of the heavenly Trinity, causing her to burst forth with buds and spread out with blessed verdure. Therefore they show that within her many steps and ladders are well and properly placed. These are the various orders of laypeople and religious, in which the Church by good habits and the practice of virtue guides her children, educated in sweet reverence, to Heaven. How? When they spurn earthly things and love celestial ones. What does this mean? When they faithfully fulfil in divine love the precepts instituted for them.

Et ut uides quod hi tres splendores circa ipsam imaginem se late diffundunt: hoc est quod in honore supernae Trinitatis praedictae tres ecclesiasticae institutiones ubique felicem ecclesiam in dilatatione erumpentium germinum et in diffusione beatarum uiriditatum miro modo circumplectentes consolidant. Vnde etiam plurimos gradus et scalas in ea bene et decenter ostendunt: qui sunt diuersi ordines tam in saecularibus quam in spiritalibus hominibus, per quos eadem ecclesia in bonitate morum et in disciplina uirtutum filios suos cum suauissima reuerentia educatos ad superna perducit. Quomodo? Cum terrena spernunt et cum caelestia diligunt. Quid est hoc? Quia legalia praecepta qui ipsis instituta sunt in diuino amore fideliter complent.





27. Each order must avoid diversity, singularity and novelty in way of life




But as in three Persons there is one God, so in these three orders there is one Church, founded by Him Who has planted all good things. For whatever He has not planted will not be able to stand. And thus those institutions He has not instituted will fall into great errors. How? Those institutions that in haughty pride seek to ascend and do not wish to be subject to those higher than they were not planted by God. And this happens when a lesser order strives to raise itself above a greater one, which was constituted by My will on the ancient counsel of the first Fathers; and when it tries in its madness to appear more important by distinctive signs in its vestments; as if the order of angels tried to raise itself above the order of archangels. What would this mean? That they were nil and useless, since with vain ideas they tried to divide the orders duly constituted by God. But this should not be.

Sed sicut in tribus personis unus Deus est, ita etiam in his tribus praedictis ordinibus una ecclesia est, cuius fundator ille est qui plantator omnium bonorum est. Quodcumque enim ille non plantauit, hoc stare non poterit. Vnde illa institutio quam ipse non instituit, haec in magnis illusionibus decidet. Quomodo? Quia Deus haec non plantauit quae ad superiora cum flatu superbiae ascendere tentant, nec altioribus suis subici uolunt. Hoc ibi est ubi minor ordo supra maiorem ordinem qui de antiquo consilio principalium magistrorum in uoluntate mea constitutus est se eleuare contendit, et ubi quidam in diuersis signis uestitus sui se uolunt extendere secundum mores suos, ut in insania sua excogitant, ueluti si ordo angelorum se erigere uellet super ordinem archangelorum. Et quid hoc esset? Quasi nihilum et inane essent qui sic recte constitutos Dei ordines in uanitatibus suis diuidere uellent. Sed hoc esse non debet.

So it is not fitting that I should be invoked by those who, with a mania for diversity, always wish for a new purpose, and who, not knowing their own minds, leave the well-trodden path and the well-plowed ground of the early Fathers, who were inspired by the Holy Spirit. Many of these, in the greatness of their pride, forsake the established ordinances that the Church has from the early Fathers, and make schisms in their various institutions. And they wish in their wanderings to be called fruitful trees, but they cannot even be called empty reeds, as is shown by the beloved John, who writes about those who wither in apathy and are cut off:

Sic etiam nec hoc esse decet ut ab his in insania diuersitatis suae inuocer qui in proposito suo semper noui esse uolunt, et rudes in scientia sua ad discendum ea quae in mentibus suis sunt, deserentes bene contritam uiam et bene exaratam aream antiquorum patrum, quam illis Spiritus sanctus inspirauit. Vnde multi ex istis constitutas ordinationes quas ecclesia in antiquis patribus habet in magna superbia destituunt, et hoc in plurimis schismatibus diuersarum institutionum suarum faciunt. Ipsi enim in diuersis circuitionibus suis fructiferae arbores dici uolunt, sed nec uacuae arundines possunt appellari, quemadmodum dilecto Iohanni de illo ostenditur, qui in tepore marcens abicitur, ut scriptum est.






(Chapters 1-7: Antony the young ascetic)






















CHAPTER 1. Of the vigils which we endured. 1. De uigiliis quas pertulimus.







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