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Chapter 13

The Virgin Mary speaks to Lady Bridget and says: ”I want to tell you what I did for the soul of your son Charles when it was being separated from his body. I acted like a woman standing by another woman who is giving birth, in order that she might help the infant, lest it die in the flow of blood or suffocate in that narrow place through which an infant exits and so that, by her watchful care, the infant's enemies, who are in the same house, might not be able to kill it. I acted in the same way.

Indeed I stood near your same son Charles, shortly before he sent forth his spirit, in order that he might not have such thoughts of carnal love in his memory that, for the sake of this love, he would think or say anything against God or will to omit anything pleasing to God or will to perform, to his soul's harm, those things that could be in any way contrary to the divine will.
I also helped him in that narrow space, i.e., at his soul's exit from his body, so that in dying he would not endure pain so hard as to cause him to become at all inconstant through despair, and so that in dying he might not forget God. I also guarded his soul from its deadly enemies, i.e., the demons, so that none of them could touch it. As soon as it had left his body, I took custody of it and defended it. This action quickly routed and dispersed that whole throng of demons who, in their malice, yearned to swallow it and torture it for eternity. But as to how, after the death of Charles, judgment was passed on his soul, this will be shown to you completely when it pleases me.”
After an interval of some days, the same Virgin Mary herself again appeared to the same Lady Bridget, who was wide awake and at prayer and said: ”Through God's goodness, it is now permitted for you to see and hear how judgment was passed on the aforesaid soul when it had left the body. That which then happened in one moment before God's incomprehensible majesty will be shown to you in painstaking detail at intervals by means of corporeal likenesses so that your understanding may be able to grasp it.”
In the same hour, therefore, Lady Bridget saw herself caught up to a certain large and beautiful palace where, upon the tribunal, the Lord Jesus Christ sat as if crowned as an emperor in the company of an infinite host of attendant angels and saints. She saw standing near him his most worthy Mother, who listened carefully to the judgment. Also in the presence of the Judge, a soul was seen standing in great fear and panic, naked as a newborn infant, and, as it were, entirely blind so that it could see nothing; but in its consciousness, it understood what was being said and done in the palace. An angel stood on the Judge's right side near the soul and a devil on his left. But neither of them touched the soul or handled it.
Then, at last, the devil cried out and said: ”Hearken, O most almighty Judge! I complain in your sight about a woman who is both my Lady and your Mother and whom you love so much that you have given to her power over heaven and earth and over all of us demons of hell. She has indeed done me an injustice regarding that soul which now stands here. According to justice, as soon as this soul had left the body, I ought to have taken it to myself and presented it in my company before your court of judgment. And behold, O just Judge: that woman, your Mother, seized this soul with her own hands, almost before it exited from the man's mouth; and in her powerful ward she has brought it to your judgment.”
Then Mary, the Virgin Mother of God, answered thus: ”Hearken, you devil, to my reply! When you were created, you understood the justice that was in God from eternity and without beginning. You also had free choice to do what most pleased you. And even though you have chosen to hate God rather than love him, nevertheless you still understand quite well what, according to justice, ought to be done. I tell you, therefore, that it was my business, rather than yours, to present that soul before God, the true judge.
For while this soul was in the body it had a great love for me, and in its heart frequently pondered the fact that God had deigned to make me his mother and that he willed to exalt me on high above all created things. As a result he began to love God with such great charity that in his heart he used to say this: 'I so rejoice because God holds the Virgin Mary his Mother most dear above all things, that there is in the world no creature and no bodily delight that I would take in exchange for that joy. No, I would prefer that joy to all earthly delights.
And if it were possible that God could remove her, in the smallest point, from that dignity in which she stands, I would rather choose for myself, in exchange, eternal torture in the depth of hell. Therefore, to God himself be endless thanksgiving and everlasting glory for that blessed grace and that glory immeasurable that he has given to his most worthy Mother!' Therefore, O devil, see now with what sort of will he passed away. Which now seems to you more just: that his soul come to God's judgment defended by me or that it come into your hands to be tortured without pity?”
The devil answered: ”I have no right to expect that this soul, which loves you more than itself, would come into my hands before judgment be passed. But even though, at the bidding of justice, you did him this favor before the judgment, nevertheless, after the judgment his works will condemn him to be punished at my hands. Now, O Queen, I ask you why you drove all of us demons from the presence of his body at his soul's exit so that none of us could cause any horror there or strike any fear into him.”
The Virgin Mary answered: ”I did this in return for the ardent charity that he had toward my body and in return for the joy that he had from the fact that I am the Mother of God. Therefore I obtained from my Son the favor that, wherever he was and even where he now is, no evil spirit might approach his body.”
After this, the devil speaks to the Judge and says: ”I know that you are justice and power itself. You do not judge less justly for the devil than for an angel. Therefore adjudge that soul to me! Using the wisdom that I had when you created me, I had written all his sins. Indeed, I had kept watch over all his sins with that malice of mine that I had when I fell from heaven. For when that soul first came to the age of reason and really understood that what it was doing was sinful, its own will then drew it to live in worldly pride and carnal pleasure, rather than resist such things.”
The angel answered: ”When his mother first understood that his will was wavering toward sin, she immediately rushed to his aid with works of mercy and daily prayers that God might deign to have mercy on him lest he withdraw himself from him. Because of those works of his mother, he finally obtained a godly fear so that, as often as he fell into sin, he immediately hurried to make his confession.”
The devil answered, ”I must tell his sins.” And at the very moment he intended to begin, he immediately started to exclaim and lament and carefully search himself, including his head and all the limbs that he seemed to have; and he was seen to tremble all over; and with great confusion he cried out: ”Woe to me in my misery! How have I wasted my long labor? Not only is the text blotted out and ruined, but even the material on which everything was written has burnt up completely. Moreover, the material indicates the times that he sinned. And I do not recall the times any more than the sins written down in connection with them.” The angel answered: ”This was done by his mother's tears and long labors and many prayers. God sympathized with her sighs and gave to her son this grace: namely, that for every sin he committed, he obtained contrition, making a humble confession out of love for God. Therefore those sins have been blotted out and are unheeded by your memory.”
The devil answered, asserting that he still had a sack full of those writings according to which the abovesaid knight had purposed to make amends for his sins but did not take care [to do so and asserting that the writings gave grounds on which] to torture him until, through punishment, satisfaction had been made. And indeed that same knight had not yet taken care to amend those sins during his lifetime. The angel answered: ”Open the sack and seek a judgment on those sins for which you must chastise him.” At those words, the devil cried out like a madman, saying: ”I have been plundered in my power. Not only my sack has been taken, but also the sins that filled it! The sack in which I put all the reasons that I had to punish him was his laziness; for, because of his laziness, he omitted many good things.”
The angel answered: ”His mother's tears have plundered you and have burst the sack and have destroyed the writing. So greatly did her tears please God!” The devil answered: ”I still have here a few things to bring forth: namely, his venial sins.”
The angel answered: ”He had the intention to make a pilgrimage from his fatherland, leaving his goods and his friends and visiting, by many labors, the holy places. He complemented these things, furthermore, by so preparing himself that he was worthy to gain an indulgence from Holy Church. Moreover, he desired, by making amends for his sins, to appease God his Creator. As a result, all those charges, which you just said that you had written down, have been pardoned.”
The devil answered: ”Nevertheless, I still must punish him for all those venial sins that he committed; and therefore, through indulgences, they have not been deleted at all. For there are thousands upon thousands of them, and they have all been written on my tongue.” The angel answered: ”Extend your tongue and show the writing.” The devil answered with loud howling and clamor like a maniac; and he said: ”Woe is me. I have not one word to say; for my tongue has been cut off at the root together with its strength!”
The angel answered: ”His mother did this with her continual prayers and her labor; for she loved his soul with her whole heart. Therefore, for the sake of her love, it pleased God to pardon all the venial sins that he committed from his infancy right up to his death; and therefore your tongue is said to have lost its strength.”
The devil answered: ”I still have one thing carefully stored in my heart, and no one can abolish it. This thing is the fact that he acquired some things unjustly and never attended to their restoration.” The angel answered: ”His mother made satisfaction for such things with her alms, her prayers, and her works of mercy so that the rigor of justice inclined toward the mildness of mercy; and God gave him the perfect intention of making full satisfaction - according to his opportunities and without sparing any of his own goods - to all those from whom he had taken anything unjustly. God accepted that intention in place of its effect because he was not well enough to live any longer. Therefore, his heirs must make satisfaction for such things to the extent that they can.”
The devil answered: ”If I therefore do not have the power to punish him for sins, I must nevertheless chastise him because he did not practice good deeds and virtues according to his ability while he had his full senses and a healthy body. For virtues and good deeds are those treasures that he ought to bring with him to such a kingdom, namely, to the glorious kingdom of God. Permit me therefore, by means of punishment, to supply what he lacks in virtuous deeds.”
The angel answered: ”It is written that, to one who asks, it shall be given and, to one who knocks with perseverance, it shall be opened. Listen then, you devil! By her charitable prayers and pious works his mother has perseveringly knocked at the gate of mercy on his behalf; and, for more than thirty years, she has shed many thousands of tears that God might deign to pour the Holy into his heart so that this same son of hers might willingly offer his goods, his body, and his soul to God's service. And God did so, for that knight became so fervent that it pleased him to live for nothing other than to follow God's will. And behold: God, who had been petitioned for so long a time, did pour his blessed Spirit into his heart.
And the Virgin Mother of God has given to him, out of her own virtue whatever he lacks in those spiritual weapons and garments that are proper for knights who must, in the kingdom of heaven, enter the presence of the highest Emperor. Those saints too, who now have a place in the heavenly kingdom and whom this knight loved during his life in the world, added to his consolation out of their merits. For he himself truly did assemble a treasure as those pilgrims do who daily exchange perishable goods for eternal riches.
And because he did so, he will therefore obtain everlasting joy and honor, especially for his burning desire to make a pilgrimage to the holy city of Jerusalem, and for the fact that he fervently longed to risk his life willingly in warfare so that if he had been a match for so great a work, the Holy Land might be restored to the dominion of Christians to the end that the glorious sepulchre of God might be held in due reverence. Therefore you, O devil, have no right to supply those things that he did not personally accomplish.”
The devil answered: ”Still, he lacks a crown. For if I could devise anything to spoil its perfection, I would willingly do so.” The angel answered: ”It is entirely certain that all who will themselves from hell by truly repenting their sins, by voluntarily conforming themselves to the divine will, and by loving God himself with all their heart, will obtain his grace. And it pleases God himself to give them a crown out of the triumphal crown of his blessed human body if they have been purged according to strict justice. Therefore, it is not at all suitable for you, O devil, to devise anything related to his crown.”
When the devil heard this, he cried out impatiently, roaring, and said: ”Woe is me. For all my memory has been taken from me! I do not now recall in what respect that knight followed my will; and - what is more amazing - I have even forgotten what name he was called by while he lived.”
The angel answered: ”Know that now, in heaven, he is called 'Son of Tears.' ” The devil cried out loudly and answered: ”Oh, what a cursed sow his mother, that she-pig, is, who had a belly so expansive that so much water poured into her that her belly's every space was filled with liquid for tears! Cursed be she by me and by all my company!”
The angel answered: ”Your curse is God's honor and the blessing of all his friends.” Then, however, Christ the Judge spoke, saying this: ”Depart, O devil, my enemy!” Then he said to the knight: ”Come, O my chosen one!” And so, at once, the devil fled.
When the bride saw these things, she said: ”O Power eternal and incomprehensible, you yourself, God and Lord, Jesus Christ! You pour into hearts all good thoughts and prayers and tears. You conceal your gracious gifts; and for them you confer eternal rewards in glory. Therefore, to you be honor and service and thanks for all that you have created! O my sweetest God, you are most dear to me and truly to me dearer than my body and soul!”
The angel also then spoke to that same bride of Christ and said: ”You ought to know that this vision has been shown to you by God not only for your own consolation but also in order that God's friends may be able to understand how much he deigns to do in answer to the prayers, tears, and labors of his friends who charitably pray and labor for others with perseverance and good will. You also ought to know that this knight, your son, would not have had such a grace if he had not, since infancy, had the will to love God and his friends and to amend his life willingly after every fall into sin.”

Lady Bridget had this revelation in the holy city of Jerusalem, the first time that she was in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. In it, Christ declares the pardon and grace that good pilgrims have in the said church when they come there with a right intention and a holy purpose.

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