Vigils Reading – St Patrick

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Vigils Reading – St Patrick

March 17, 2023

Words of God to Humanity,
that They Should Obey the Divine Precepts6

From the Fourth Vision of St Hildegard of Bingen

…O My dearest children, open your eyes and ears and obey My precepts! Why do you despise your Father, Who has delivered you from death? The choirs of angels sing, “You are just, O Lord!”, because God’s justice has no flaw in it; for God delivered Man not by power but by mercy, when He sent His Son into the world to redeem him…

But you, when you consider good and evil, are standing, as it were, where two roads branch off. If you despise the darkness of evil and want to see Him Whose creature you are, and Whom you acknowledged in holy baptism where the old sin of Adam was nullified in you; and if you say, “ I want to fly from the Devil and his works and follow the true God and His precepts”; then think how you have been taught to turn away from evil and do good, and how the Heavenly Father did not spare His Only-Begotten but sent Him for your deliverance; and pray to God to help you. And He, hearing you, will say, “These eyes are pleasing to me!” And if you then cast off weariness and run courageously in God’s commands, He will always hear the cry of your prayers…

But if you have fallen into sin, quickly rise by confession and pure penitence, before death lays claim to you. For your Father wants you to cry out, weep and ask for help so as not to remain in the squalor of sin. For if you have been wounded, you seek a physician lest you die. Does not God often send peopletroubles, so that they will more intently invoke Him? But you, O human, say “I cannot do good works!” I say you can. And you say “How?” And I say, “By thought and action.” And you answer, “I lack decision.” And I answer, “Learn to fight against yourself!” And you say, “I cannot fight against myself unless God helps me.” Hear then how you can fight against yourself. When evil rises up in you and you do not know how to get rid of it, then, touched by My grace, which reaches you in the paths of your inner vision, at once cry out, pray, confess and weep so that God will help you, and remove evil from you, and grant you strength in good. For this good is yours by the knowledge that lets you understand God by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit…

So let the faithful person recognize his pain and seek a physician before he falls dead. If he considers his pain and seeks a physician, the latter when found will show him the bitter medicine that can save him; that is, the bitter words by which he must be tested to see whether his penitence comes from the root of his heart or only from his unstable breath. And when he has tested this, he will give him the wine of penitence, with which to wash away the pus from his wounds, and the oil of mercy, with which to anoint the wounds to heal them. Then he will enjoin him to be careful of his health, saying, “See that you keep taking this medicine carefully and regularly, and do not tire of it, for your wounds are serious.” There are many who accept penance for their sins only with difficulty; but, though with much effort, they nonetheless carry it out for fear of death. But I give them My hand, and change their bitterness into sweetness… But he who neglects repentance for his sins, saying it is hard for him to chastise his body, will be wretched, for he does not want to look at himself, or seek a physician, or have his wounds healed, but hides the dreadful wound in himself and covers over death with false appearance to conceal it…

Therefore, O ye faithful, run in God’s precepts lest the damnation of death seize upon you

6 Hildegard of Bingen. Scivias. Trans. Mother Columba Hart and Jane Bishop. New York: Paulist Press, 1990. 125-128.




March 17, 2023
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