|How a certain lady who had died appeared to her and foretold to her the future.|
Now, during the first month that Lady Birgitta came to the said monastery of Cistercian monks - namely, Saint Mary's of Alvastra - a certain lady, already dead and very well known to her, appeared to her at prayer and said: "To you shall be given understanding of spiritual things; in all things, therefore, humble yourself. And that you may know this with greater certainty, behold, I give to you a threefold sign.
|What sort of things happened during life to that aforesaid lady who was the sister of Lady Birgitta's husband and who thus appeared to her.|
That said lady who after death appeared to Lady Birgitta was very famous for her fasts and prayers. And one time, when she was seriously ill, the devil appeared to her in a most hideous form, intending as if to snatch her as she lay there. In fact, violently terrified, she called out: "For eternity," she said, "I shall be damned!" As she many times repeated these words, her confessor spoke to her: "Why," he said, "do you speak these words, my Lady, when you have always loved God with all your heart?"
She, however, could make no answer save as before: "I shall be damned for eternity!" Finally, she fell silent in the hands of those who held her; in a wonderful way, her face began to change and to take on colors and to be, in color, now white and now a rosy red. While those present were wondering, she said in a loud voice: "Blessed are you, my God, who have created and have freed me. I confess you and I bless you."
But when she had regained her breath and was returning to herself, she called her confessor and other virtuous men and said to them: "I saw the devil in a most vile form. Taking fright at his appearance, I believed that I would be damned. And while I was in this terrible anxiety, I saw Christ, as it were, standing on the cross. As the devil fled away, Christ said: 'When a year has rolled by, you will see the same vision, but not the devil. And this will be a sign to you, when you see it, that at once your life will be at an end.' " And so it happened; for when the year had rolled by, on that very same date she saw Christ; and then her soul was loosed from the flesh after long purgation.
|How this lady appeared a third time to Christ's bride, Lady Birgitta.|
|This said lady also appeared a third time after her death to that same Lady Birgitta and said: "What I longed for, I now have. My former torments have been consigned to oblivion, and my love is now perfect. But as for you: be obedient! For you are going to come into the society of the great."|
|How, after the death of her husband, Lady Birgitta distributed her goods.|
|With her husband dead, at once Lady Birgitta distributed all her goods among her children and the poor. She changed her way of living and dressing; and she would have done even greater things but for the obstacle of the fact that she had been instructed in a revelation to make a pilgrimage to Rome. And when she was scorned by the nobles for the sudden change and the cheapness of her clothing, she answered: "It is neither for you that I start, nor for you that I stop. For I have determined in my heart to tolerate injurious words. Pray, therefore, for me that I may be able to persevere."|
|How she was divinely instructed to go to the king of Sweden.|
|And so, when she had been instructed in spirit to go to the king of Sweden, and when she pleaded the excuse that she did not know what to say to him, this answer was made to her by God: "When you arrive," he said, "open your mouth; and I will fill it." Therefore, when she arrived, divine words were at once poured into her - not only words that pertained to the king, but also many that were about the future.|
|How she was sent to a bishop and he acknowledged her coming.|
|This same Lady Birgitta also came to a certain bishop of proven life and devotion and said to him some words divinely revealed to her. When he heard those words, he, in his own conscience, discovered - right down to the last point - what she herself had understood in spirit: namely, things that, except for God and himself, no human at all had ever known. For the said lord bishop had certain less rational desires, and, in some things, a zeal at variance with knowledge; and he practiced fasts that went beyond nature. Therefore, he more willingly accepted her charitable admonitions, corrected everything by the standard of charity, and spoke to her: "Last night," he said, "I definitely saw you entering toward me and removing from my heart very great burdens. Therefore, not only do I believe your words, but I also see in my soul that God is doing wonderful things with you."|