Gertrude the Great was born in 1256 and grew up in a monastery from the age of five or six

Gertrude the Great was born in 1256 and grew up in a monastery from the age of five or six

In religious mysticism the ultimate reality with which one feels united is generally God, but the same basic characteristics can apply to experiences of union with the universe, nature, humanity, or aliens.

I was twenty-five when my conversion began. It was the Monday before the Feast of the Purification of Mary, your most chaste Mother. It was evening, during the joyful hour after compline [night prayers]. You, who are the true light that is clearer than any light and deeper than any depth, chose to enlighten my darkness. How sweetly and gently you began my conversion! You settled the anxiety and restlessness that had plagued me for more than a month…

At this time I was in the middle of our dormitory, bowing reverently to an older religious as our rule requires. When I raised my head, I saw you, my gracious love and redeemer. You were the most handsome and amiable young man of sixteen years. How you surpassed all others in beauty! You attracted my heart and eyes by the infinite light of your glory, which you kindly revealed only in proportion to the weakness of my nature. Why are you so consumed with grief? Do you have no one to console you that you are so overcome by sadness?”

You stood before me, and with wonderful tenderness and love you said, “Your salvation is at hand!

I knew that I was physically standing in my place in choir as you spoke. This was the place where I offered by tepid prayers. Yet as I heard these words, “I will save and deliver you. Do not be afraid,” I saw you put your right hand in mine, as if to ratify your promise. You spoke again. “You have been afflicted in ways similar to my enemies. Though you have sucked honey, it has been amid thorns. Now come back to me. I will receive you and inebriate you with an overflow of my heavenly delights.”

My soul melted within me as you spoke these words. When I tried to come to you I beheld a great distance between you and myself. Between your outstretched right hand and my left hand, there was such a long hedge that I could see neither an end nor a beginning to it! The top of it appeared so full of thorns that I could find no way to come to you who are the only consolation of my soul. I then wept over my faults and crimes. The hedge that divided us stood for these crimes. You knew the sincere fervor with which I desired you, and my weakness as well. Most loving Father of the poor, “whose mercies are greater than all your works,” you then took my hand and placed me instantly beside you without any difficulty! In looking at the precious hand you extended to me as a pledge of your promises, I recognized your radiant wounds through which you took away our transgressions (Col 2:14).

You enlightened and opened my mind by such illuminations. These revelations gave me the power to be inwardly detached from an inordinate love of literature and from all installment loans NE my vanities. Soon I counted as nothing those things that had formerly pleased me. You alone gave pleasure to my soul…

Everything that was not you, O God of my heart, appeared vile to me

In this night I suddenly saw a delicate child before me. The child had just been born, but already it could be seen that it possessed the greatest gifts of perfection. I imagined that I received this previous child within my bosom with the tenderest affection. While I possessed him to me, it seemed that I was suddenly changed into the color of this divine infant. I say that knowing I am calling something a color which cannot be compared to anything visible.

Comments are closed.