The Revelations of St. Elizabeth translated, by Alexandra Barratt, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand

QUOTE: The visions of the blessed virgin Elizabeth, daughter of the king of Hungary.


Once on the Vigil of the Nativity of Our Lord 4 while praying with great concentration, she was reciting the Hail Mary in a loud voice, with much devotion and shedding of tears. The Blessed Virgin appeared to her in visible form and said to her, "I have come to teach you the prayer which I made as a young girl when I was still living in the Temple. I resolutely decided in my heart that I wished to have God as father and I made up my mind to do whatever would please him, so that I might find favour in his sight. I made myself learn his law and all the commandments contained in it. In particular I committed to memory three commandments, being eager to keep them with the greatest care and with all my might. These are: 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. Love your neighbour as yourself (Dt 6:5). Love your friend and hate your enemy" (Lv 19:18 and Mt 5: 3). For I understood that man and angel were good, and my enemy was the devil and, insofar as he is evil, the evil man. From that love of God and neighbour, and from the fear and hatred of the enemy (that is, of the devil and sin), every fulness of grace and virtue has descended to me. That love cannot take root in the human heart unless there is there hatred of the enemy, that is, of the devil and sin.

"If therefore you wish to obtain that love, do as I did in the Temple in my earliest youth.  For I would rise in the middle of the night and, standing before the altar with complete concentration of mind, I would ask the Lord for his grace by which I might be able to keep these commandments I have mentioned, and I would make seven petitions, one after the other, in prayer before the altar.

"The first was, that he would give me his grace by means of which I should be able to fulfill the first commandment, that is, on loving God above all things, with all my heart, all my mind and all my strength.

"The second was, that I should be able to fulfill the second commandment, on loving my neighbour as myself, and that he should make me love what he himself loved.

"The third was, that I should be able to fulfill the third commandment and that he should make me hate the enemy of the human race because from him derive vice, sin, and whatever he himself hates.

"The fourth was, that he should give me humility, patience, kindliness, gentleness and other virtues, by which I might be made lovely in his eyes.

"The fifth was, that he should allow me to see the time when that blessed virgin should be born who, according to the sayings of the prophets, was to bear his son; and that he would keep safe my eyes with which I might see her, my ears with which I might hear her speak, my tongue with which I might praise her, my hands with which I might touch her, my feet with which I might run to her, my knees on which I might do her homage, and see and do homage to her son lying on her lap.

"The sixth was, that he would give me grace by which I might be able to keep all the commandments of the priests and the rules of the Temple.

"The seventh and last was that he would deign to keep safe his holy Temple and all his own People, to serve him forever."

Having heard this, blessed Elizabeth burst out with these words: "Most excellent lady, were you not sanctified in your mother's womb? How was it that you said these things?

Were you not free from every sin and filled with every grace?"

The Blessed Virgin replied, "Listen, Elizabeth. Undoubtedly, daughter, I was such as you say. However, you should know this in truth, that at that time I considered myself vile and wretched and unworthy of every grace of God's, just as you now consider yourself, and even more so. And so I was always asking God that he would deign to infuse into me his grace and strength."

Furthermore, one night Christ's handmaid, Elizabeth, had begun to meditate on how God the Father was well pleased in the glorious Virgin while she was yet living, in that he was willing to take flesh from her. The Blessed Virgin replied, "God did with me, my dear daughter, as one who knows how to play the cithara or viol. For first he tunes the instrument, so that it makes a sweet, harmonious sound; afterwards, chanting and plucking, he makes music. In this way did God the Father first tune and adjust in me every movement and sensation, both of body and mind. Then he touched me with the finger of his Spirit and tuned all my words and deeds to his good pleasure.

"Frequently he would raise me, accompanied by angels, to contemplate the court of heaven, where I would find such great solace and increase of mental sweetness that when at length I came to myself, I was so intoxicated with love for that heavenly homeland that I longed to embrace stones, trees, animals and all other creatures, and to serve them for love of him who had created them. I would also long to serve all the ladies who came to the Temple, for love of their creator, whose ineffable sweetness I was tasting.

"Therefore, daughter, when God wishes to give you some grace or consolation, you should accept it with humility and allow him to do whatever he likes with you. You ought not to be arrogant under the cloak of humility and say, 'Lord, why do you do these things to me? I am not worthy', and suchlike. For just as he is most wise, so he knows what he should do with you better than you do yourself. And the glory is his if he performs some miracle in you, not your own."

Now it so happened that while this intimate conversation was continuing at some length, one of Elizabeth's fellow nuns walked past the place where Christ's handmaid was praying. Blessed Elizabeth, reproaching her soundly, said with great asperity, "Why at this time of day did you walk across me from one side to the other?" She began almost to threaten her with her words and gestures.

As that woman was retreating, the Blessed Virgin said to Christ's handmaid, Elizabeth, "Daughter, how foolish and undiscriminating you still are! While you have me here with you, you should not pay attention to anything of this world. Now therefore profit from my presence this night. For by my son's special grace I have been sent to you so that you may confidently ask questions and I shall tell you the truth concerning everything that you ask. However, since you allowed your attention to wander to the action of that fellow of yours, and you rebuked her with such lack of discretion, I wish to give you as penance that you may not go back to bed tonight. Nor do I at present intend to reveal to you any secrets that I would have told you if you had not affronted my dignity."

Blessed Elizabeth immediately said, "Lady, I ask you to tell me what it was that prompted you to ask the Lord to promise, of his special grace, that you would see the birth of that virgin from whom his son was to be born."

She replied, "One day when I had had consolation from God, more wonderful than I had ever experienced before, and had come to myself, with most burning heart I began to consider whether I could do something, or have something in myself, on account of which God would permit me never to be separated from him, and this I began to strive.  And with this thought I rose up and went to a book and began to read it. And on the first page of the book there met my eyes that text of Isaiah the prophet, 'Behold, a virgin shall conceive …' (Is 7:14). And while I considered and meditated on how greatly virginity pleased God, given that he wished his Son to be born of a virgin, in my heart I resolved at once to preserve my own virginity out of reverence for her and, if I should chance to live to see her, to serve her in virginity all the days of my life, wandering with her, if necessary, through the whole world.

"The principal reason God did me this grace was the faith and humility with which I gave full credence to the angel's words, and humbled myself completely and yielded to the divine will. And so he condescended to bestow on me so great a grace. So you too, daughter, in all that God promises you or does, do not hesitate from lack of faith or resist him, saying, 'Lord, why are you doing this to me?' But following my example say, 'Behold the handmaid of the Lord,' and so on. Even if sometimes what he promised you is not fulfilled, or what has been bestowed on you by the Lord is taken away from you, blame yourself and think that you have committed some offence in the sight of the divine majesty, on account of which the divine decree has changed. Therefore anyone who wants to obtain eternal life must obey God's commands from his heart in firm faith, submitting himself to him through true humility and obedience, because these are the opposites of the two sins of our first parents, Adam and Eve, who lost the grace and dignity in which they had been created on account of pride and disobedience."

Moreover the handmaid of Christ, Elizabeth, was praying on when suddenly with the eyes of her mind she saw a hand 11 which had long fingers and a wide broad palm. In the midst of the palm was a bleeding wound. She immediately understood that it was the hand of Christ. She was wondering why it was so slender and long: immediately she was given the answer that it was so slender because when Christ was living in the flesh, during the night he held his hands stretched out in prayer, and during the day while preaching the kingdom of God through the towns and villages, he toiled with his hands, feet, and whole body.

COMMENTS: The Virgin Mary praises the evil Jewish law.


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