Vigils Reading

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Vigils Reading

March 6, 2023 @ 8:00 am - 5:00 pm

Be Merciful2
from the mystical writings of St Gertrud the Great

…The Lord Jesus appeared to her as he is seen when scourged at the pillar, standing bound between two men, of whom the one seemed to strike him with thorns and the other a knotted scourge, but each was striking him in the face. As a result his face appeared so wretched that, with melted heart, all her inner organs were moved to compassion as she gazed on him, so much so that throughout that day, as often as that picture came to her mind, she could not restrain her tears; for she had never considered in her heart that one would see on earth someone of such wretched appearance as was the Lord’s at that moment. For that part of his face that she saw struck with thorns appeared so lacerated that even the pupil of his inner eye was wounded, black and blue from the swelling caused by the knotted scourge. Also from the bitterness of his suffering he seemed to turn his face away, and when he turned away from one, the other assaulted him the more keenly.

Then turning to the woman who saw these things, he said, “Have you not read what is written of me: We saw him as it were a leper and so on?” Then she replied, “Ah, Lord, how can the pain, so wretched and sharp, of your most tender face now be relieved?” Then the Lord said, “If anyone meditating on my passion with devout heart were pierced through love of compassion and in such charity prayed for sinners, that person’s heart would be a gentlest dressing for me, by which all that pain would be relieved.” Also she understood that the two who were striking him symbolized those who at that time were devoted to the attractions of gluttony, that is, laypeople who openly <strike the Lord> as if with thorns, and some religious who, the more greatly they offend against their religious state, the more they <strike him> as if with knotted scourges. And this <they do> in the face: for as far as they can they do not [fear] to dishonor the sight of him who reigns in heaven. From this she understood that this is why the account of the Lord’s passion is recited in the gospel… that that passion may be more devoutly honored by the special <friends> of Christ, both to the honor of the Lord and to the amendment of the church. But in particular she understood that there is good reason that there are two mentions of the flagellation in the same gospel, the manner of which was shown her on that very day so wretchedly.

Then she also understood that love is so greatly commended in <the epistle> because, as the proverb says, the love of friends is proved in dire necessity. Hence on those days the Lord’s special friends ought particularly to exert themselves in the love of both God and neighbor, that is, by whole-heartedly feeling compassion for God, because the little son of the gentle Virgin, so lovable and delicate, is suffering so innocently and undeservedly at the hands of those for whom he died. Also we should have compassion on our neighbors as if they were our brothers, because they are provoking so stern a judge against themselves. Hence for the amendment of both let us be particularly mindful of the benefit of the Lord’s passion, for which let us devoutly give praise to the Lord, and let us pray that he may have mercy and spare those for whom he suffered

2 Gertrud the Great of Helfta. The Memorial of the Abundance of the Divine Sweetness. Trans. Alexandra Barratt. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2022. 278-279.




March 6, 2023
8:00 am - 5:00 pm
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