GERTRUDE the GREAT

THE HERALD of  DIVINE LOVE
selections

 

 


 

 

 

 

THE BEGINNINGS of her
CONTEMPLATIVE EXPERIENCE

(The Herald, Book. 2,1). Tr. L. Dysinger, O.S.B.: based in part on M.Winkworth, (CWS, Paulist, 1993). Latin text in SC 139 (Cerf, Paris, 1968).

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER ONE: The Way in which the Lord first
visited her
Like the Dawn from on high (Lk 1:78).

Caput Primum de eo qualiter eam dominus primo visitavit oriens ex alto

MAY the depths of uncreated wisdom call to the depths (cf. Ps. 41:8) of infinite power, worthy of all admiration, to extol that marvelous goodness which, through your overflowing mercy, has flowed down into the valley of my misery!

[p.228] 1. Abyssus increatae sapientiae invocet abyssum admirabilis omnipotentiae ad extollentiam tam stupendae benevolentiae, quae supereffluentiam misericordiae tuae per ima defluxit ad vallem meae miseriae

I was in my twenty-sixth year. (i.e. 21 years a nun) The day of my salvation was the Monday preceding the feast of the Purification of your most chaste Mother, which fell that year on the 27th of January. The desirable hour was after Compline, as dusk was falling.

Dum in vigesimo sexto aetatis meae anno in illa saluberrima mihi secunda feria ante festum Purificationis Mariae castissimae matris suae, quae feria secunda tunc fuit sexto kal. Februarii, in hora exoptabili post Completorium, quasi in initio crepusculum:

  My God, you who are all truth, clearer than all light, yet hidden deeper in our heart than any secret, (cf Augustine, Conf. 9.1) when you resolved to disperse the darkness of my night, you began gently and tenderly (Gen 50:21) by first calming my mind, which had been troubled for more than a month past. This trouble, it seems to me, served your purpose.

Tu veritas, Deus, omni luce serenior, sed omni secreto interior (Aug, Conf. 9,1), densitatem tenebrarum mearum temperare decreveras, blande leniterque initias cum sedatione turbationis illius quam ante mensam in corde meo commoveras, cum qua perturbatione, ut credo,

You were striving to destroy the towers of vanity and worldiness which I had set up in my pride, (Gen. 11) although, alas, I was - in vain - bearing the name and wearing the habit of a religious. This was the way in which you sought to show me your salvation (Ps. 49:23)

Destruere nitebaris turrim vanitatis et curialitatis meae, in quam superbia mea excreverat, quamvis heu! Inaniter nomen et vestem Religionis gestarem, ut vel sic invenires iter quo ostenderes mihi salutare tuum.

 

 

 

 

AT the stated hour, then, I was standing in the middle of the dormitory.  An older nun was approaching and, having bowed my head with the reverence prescribed by our rule, I looked up and saw before me a youth of about sixteen years, handsome and gracious. 

2. Igitur in praedicta hora dum starem in medio dormitorii et secundum reverentiam Ordinis obvianti mihi seniori caput inclinatum erigerem, astantem mihi vidi juvenem amabilem et delicatum, quasi sedecim annorum

Young as I was then, the beauty of his form was all that I could have desired, entirely pleasing to the outward eye.  in tali forma qualem tunc juventus me exoptasset exterioribus ocukis meis placiturum. 

Courteously and in a gentle voice  (cf. Gen. 50:21) he said to me:

Soon will come your salvation;
why are you so sad?

Is it because you have no one to confide in
that you discover new pain for yourself?

Qui vultu blando lenibusque verbis dixit mihi:

Cito veniet salus tua; quare moerore consumeris?

Numquid consiliarius non est tibi, quia innovavit te dolor?

(1st Matins resp. 2nd Sun., Adv.; Rorate Coeli)

While he was speaking, although I knew that I was really in the place where I have said,  it seemed to me that I was in the Choir, in the corner where I usually say my tepid prayers; and it was there that I heard these words:

Haec cum diceret, quamvis me corporaliter scirem in praedicto loco, tamen videbar mihi esse in choro, in angulo quo tepidam orationem facere consuevi, et ibi audivi sequentia verborum, scilicet:

I will save you and deliver you: do not be afraid.(Rorate Coeli)

Salvabo te et liberabo te, noli timere.  (Rorate Coeli)
With this, I saw his hand, tender and fine, holding mine, as though to plight a troth, and he added: Quae cum audivi, vidi teneram dexteram et delicatam tenentem dexteram meam quasi haec verba pollicitando firmaret; et adjecit:

With my enemies you have licked the dust (cf. Ps. 71:9) and sucked honey among thorns.(Song 4:1; 2:2)

Come back to me now, (cf Mal. 3:7) and I will inebriate you with the torrent of my divine pleasure (Ps. 35:9)

Cum inimicis meis terram lambisti et mel inter spinas linxisti,

tandem revertere ad me, et ego torrente voluptatis meae divinae inebriabo te.

 As he was saying this, I looked and saw, between him and me, that is to say, on his right and on my left, a hedge of such length that I could not see the end of it, either ahead or behind.  The top of this hedge was bristling with such large thorns that there seemed no way to get back to the youth.

Quod cum diceret, respiciens vidi inter me et illum, scilicet ad dexteram illius et sinistram meam, sepam tam infinitae longitudinis ut nec post tergum finis longitudinis illius appareret.  In summitate vero eijusdem sepis tam grand strue spinarum videbatur communita ut nusquam mihi transitus pateret ad praedictum juvenum revertendi.

As I hesitated, burning with desire and almost fainting, suddenly he seized me and, lifting me up with the greatest ease, placed me beside him.  But on the hand with which he had just given me his promise I recognized those bright jewels, his wounds, which have canceled all our debts (Col. 2:4.

Et cum hinc haesitans et desiderio aestuans et quasi deficiens starem, ipse repente absque omni difficultate apprehendens me levavit et juxta se statuit.  Sed cum in manu illa, ex qua praedictum promissum recepi, recognoerim vulnerum illorum praeclara monilia quibus omnium irritantur chirographa.

I PRAISE, adore, bless, and thank you to the best of my ability for your wise mercy and your merciful wisdom!  For you, my Creator and my Redeemer, have sought to curb my stiff-necked obstinacy under your sweet yoke with the remedy best suited to my infirmity.  

laudo, adoro, benedico et gratias ago, ut possum, sapienti misericordiae et misericordi sapientiae tuae; quia tu, creator et redemptor meus, tali modo cervicem meam indomitam suavi jugo tuo submittere conabaris, conficiens temperantisime potionem invalitudini meae congruentem.  

From that hour, in a new spirit of joyful serenity, I began to follow the sweet odor of your perfumes (Song 1:3), and I found your yoke sweet and your burden light (Mat. 11:30) which a short time ago I had thought to be unbearable.

Nam ex tunc nova spiritus hilaritate serenata in suaveolentia unguentorum tuorum procedere coepi, ut et ego jugum tuum suave et onus tuum leve reputarem, quod paulo ante velut importabile judicavi.

   

 

 

 

 

ON THE FEAST of CHRISTMAS

(The Herald, Book. 2,6). Tr. L. Dysinger, O.S.B.:
 based in part on M.Winkworth, (CWS, Paulist, 1993).
Latin text in SC 139 (Cerf, Paris, 1968).

 

 

 

 

   IT was in the holy night, when the dew of divinity came down, shedding sweetness over all the earth, and the heavens were melting, made sweet like honey.  My soul, like a dampened fleece on the threshing-floor (Jdg 6.37-38) of the community was meditating on this mystery.

(2.1) In nocte sacratissima, quando dulcorante rore divinitatis per totum mundum melliflui facti sunt coeli  (2nd Resp. of Christmas; Ant. and Intr. Rorate coeli) vellus animae meae in area communitatis madefactum (Jd 6.37-38) attentavit meditando

Through the exercise of this devotion I was trying to give my poor services in assisting at the divine birth when, like a star shedding its ray, the Virgin brought forth her son, true God and true man.

 se ingere et per devotionis exercitationem ministerium exhibere supercoelesti illi partui, qua sicut radium protulit (Seq. Laetabundus) Virgo filium verum Deum et hominem (Secr. of mass De Beatd of Advent).

    In an instant I knew what it was that I was being offered and what it was that I received, as it were, into the heart of my soul: a tender newborn babe.  In him was hidden the supreme gift of perfection, truly the very best of gifts (cf Jas 1:17).

(2.6) Cognovit quasi in momentaneo quodam ostento porrigi sibi et recipi a se tamquam in parte cordis tenerum quemdam puerulum velut sub ea hora natum, in quo certe latuit donum summae perfectionis ac vere optimum datum (Js 1.17)

   And while I held him within my soul, suddenly

I saw myself entirely transformed into the color of the heavenly babe

Quem cum intra se teneret anima mea, repente

tota mutata videbatur cum ipso in eumdem colorem,

- if it is possible to describe as color that which cannot be compared with any visible form.

si tamen color dici possit quod nulli visibili speciei valet comparari.

 Then I received in my soul intelligence of those sweetest and most ineffable words: God shall be all in all (1 Cor 15.28) I rejoiced that I was not denied the welcome presence and delightful caresses of my Spouse.

(2.13) Hinc percepit anima mea intellectum quemdam ineffabilem verborum illorum suavifluorum: Erit Deus omnia in omnibus (1 Cor 15.28)  cum dilectum praecordiis suis immissum se continere sentiret et cum jucundissimae blanditatis sponsi gratam praesentiam sibi non deesse gauderet.

    With insatiable avidity, therefore, I drank in, like deep draughts from a cup of nectar, divinely inspired words such as these:

             Unde melita pocula talium verborum divinitus propinata insatiabili aviditate imbibebat:

“As I am the image [lit: figure] of the substance (Heb 1.3) of God the Father, through my divinity, so also will you be[come] the figure of my substance through my human [nature],

(2.20) “Sicut ego sum figura substantiae Dei Patris (Heb 1.3) in divinitatae, sic tu eris figura substantiae meae ex parte humanitatis,

receiving in your deified soul the brightness of my divinity, as the air receives the sun’s rays

suscipiens in tuam deificatam animam emissiones meae divinitatis, sicut aer suscipit solares radios; (cf. Benedict, RB Pr.9)

and, penetrated by this unifying [light] within your innermost depths, you will become capable of an ever closer union with me.”

quo unitivo medullitus penetrata habilitaris ad familiariorem mei unionem” (SC 139, pp. 256-258)

   

 

 

 

 

ON THE FEAST
of T
HE EPIPHANY

(The Herald, Book. 4).
tr. based in part on  Doyle and Jurgens: C.
Vagaggini, Theol. Dimensions of the Liturgy, (Collegeville 1976).
 Latin text in SC 255 (Paris,1978).

 

 

 

 

  WHILE the Gospel was being read, They entered in adoring Him and opened their treasures (Mt. 2.11),  Gertrude, urged on by the example of the most blessed Magi and inflamed in the spirit,

(3.1) Alia vice in festo eodem, dum in evangelio legeretur: Et procidentes adoraverunt eum et apertis thesauris suis, ista iterum exemplo beatorum Magorum provocata, in fervore spiritus exurgens,

rose up to prostrate herself in great devotion at the feet of the Lord Jesus, adoring Him on behalf of all beings,

humillima devotione coram sanctissimis pedibus Domini Jesu se prostravit, adorans ex parte omnium

heavenly,
earthly,
   and infernal
(Phil 2:10).

caelestium,

terrestrium,

 et infernorum (Ph 2.10)

And since she could find nothing that she might offer Him worthily,

(3.7) Et cum nihil invereret quod ipsi digne posset offerre,

with anxious desire she began to pass in review the whole world,

nxio coepit desiderio per universum discurre mundum,

seeking among all creatures to see if she could not find something worthy to be offered for His unique pleasure.

a quarens in omni creatura si vel aliqua posset investigare unice dilecto suo condigne offerenda.

And while she was thus excited and breathless, hastening about in the thirst of her burning desire, she came upon some objects which every creature ought rightly despise, because they did nothing for the praise and glory of the Savior.

Cumque sic aestuans et anhelans curreret in siti ferventis desiderii, repperit quaedam abjecta et ab omni creatura digne despicienda, tamquam in laudem et gloriam Salvatoris non cedentia,

     But Gertrude seized upon them avidly and endeavored to lead them to render that same glory and praise which it is the duty of every creature to give.

quae ipsa sibi avide usurpans, revocare curabat ad illum cui servire tenetur omne creatum.

 

 

 

 

THUS she drew into her heart through her burning desire all the pains, fears, sorrows and anxieties that ever any creature has suffered not for the praise of the Creator, but through the depravities of their own weakness.

(4.1) Unde primo intraxit cordi suo per fervens desiderio omnem poenam, timorem et dolorem et anxietatem quam unquam aliqua creatura sustinuit, non pro laude creatoris, sed ex vitio propriae infirmitatis.

AND she offered them to the Lord as myrrh of finest quality.

Et haec obtulit Domino, quasi pro myrrha probata.

 

 

 

 

THEN she drew into herself all the simulated sanctity and devotion of all the hypocrites, Pharisees, heretics, and the like.

Secundo, intraxit sibi omnem simulatoriam sanctitatem et devotionem ostentativem hypocritarum, pharasaeorum, haereticorum, et similium.

AND this too she likewise offered to the Lord in place of the sacrifice of the most fragrant incense.

Et haec similiter obtulit Deo pro fragrantissimi thuris sacrificio.

 

 

 

 

IN the third place she endeavored to draw into her heart all the human affections and false and impure love of all creatures.

(4.9) Tertio intrahere nitebatur cordi suo universum humanum affectum et amorem falsum et impurum omnium creaturum.

AND this she offered to the Lord as precious gold.

Et hoc obtulit Domino pro auro pretioso.

 

 

 

 

AND all these things together, completely purified of every blemish and wonderfully ennobled in her heart by the heat of her loving desire

Quae omnia simul in corde suo per ardorem amantis desiderii, quo universa reducere nitebatur

- namely that these be transformed through submission to their lover -

like gold purified in the crucible, these she seemed to present to the Lord.

in obsequium sui amatoris, tamquam aurum in camino probatum, omni scoria ad plenum decocta et miro nobilitata, videbantur Domino praesentata.

(Vag. pp 772-773:

 SC  255, pp. 92-94)
   

 

 

 

 

ON THE FEAST of
THE BLESSED TRINITY

(The Herald, Book. 4). tr. based in part on  Doyle and Jurgens: C. Vagaggini,
Theol. Dimensions of the Liturgy
, (Collegeville 1976).
Latin text in SC 255 (Paris,1978).

 

 

 

 

While [on the Feast of the Trinity] the antiphon Osculetur me [Let him kiss me] (Cant. 1:1) was being sung, a voice from the throne said

Hinc dum cantaretur antiphona Osculetur me, (Cant. 1.1) facta est vox de throno dicens:

“Draw near, My beloved Son, in whom I am in every way well-pleased (Mt 3.17;17.5), and delight me with [your] most sweet kiss.”

“Accedat Filius meus dilectus, in quo mihi per omnia optime complacui (Mt 3.17;17.5), et deliciositati meae persuavissimum praebeat osculum.”

Then the Son of God in human form drawing near, gave a most sweet kiss to the incomprehensible Divinity,

Tunc procedens Filius Dei in humana forma, praebuit suavissimum osculum incomprehensibili divinitati,

to which bond of inseparable union only the most holy humanity happily merited to be joined [. . .]

cui foedere inseperabilis unionis sola ejus humanitas sanctissima felicissime meruit copulare . . .

[Gertrude] understood then that on that feast every time the Person of the Son was named,

Intellexit etiam quod quoties in festo illo nominabatur persona filii,

God the Father caressed His most beloved Son in an incomprehensible and inexpressible way.

totius Deus Pater ineffabili et inaestimabili modo ipsi Filio amantissimo blandiebatur;

By that caress the humanity of Jesus Christ was wonderfully illuminated;

and by that illumination of the Christ's humanity all the saints conceived a new knowledge of the incomprehensible Trinity

et ex illa blanditate humanitas Jesu Christi miro modo clarificabatur;

et ex ille clarificatione humanitatis Christi, omnes sancti percipiebant novam cognitionem incomprehensiblis Trinitatis

 

 

 

 

[. . .] then it seemed to her that the whole resplendent and ever-tranquil Trinity, with great kindness deigned to incline itself toward the most worthy Heart of Jesus,

. . .videbatur quod tota fulgida semperque tranquilla Trinitas benignissima dignatione acclinaretur ad Cor Jesu dignissimum,

which, like a lyre, began to vibrate wonderfully and to resound sweetly in the presence of the Trinity.

quod in modum citarae in conspectu sanctissimae Trinitatis mirabiliter volvebatur ac dulciter resonabat,

And the Trinity set three strings [in that lyre-like heart] which would be able without interruption

 et in illud poneret tres chordas quae sine intermissione 

to supply for Gertrude’s every defect, with the invincible omnipotence of God the Father, the Wisdom of the Son of God, and the benevolence of the Holy Spirit, according to the good pleasure of the Most Blessed Trinity.  

secundum insuperabilem Dei Patris omnipotentiam ac Filii Dei sapientiam necnon Spiritus Sancti benevolentiam, omnem ipsius defectum ac placitum beatissimae Trinitatis persolvere deberent.

(Vag. 764-765)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Images of the Sacred Heart formerly found on this webpage have been removed at the request of the Abbess of St. Walburga's Abbey, Eichstaett, Germany.

 


This Webpage was created for a workshop held at Saint Andrew's Abbey, Valyermo, California in 1990....x....   “”.