Jan 1, 2015

The Revelation of the Birt of Jesus, given to St Bridget


When I was at the manger of the Lord in Bethlehem, I saw a Virgin, pregnant and most very beautiful, clothed in a white mantle and a finely woven tunic through which from without I could clearly discern her virginal flesh. Her womb was full and much swollen, for she was now ready to give birth.

With her there was a very dignified old man; and with them they had both an ox and an ass. When they had entered the cave, and after the ox and the ass had been tied to the manger, the old man went outside and brought to the Virgin a lighted candle and fixed it in the wall and went outside in order not to be personally present at the birth.

And so the Virgin then took the shoes from her feet, put off the white mantle that covered her, removed the veil from her head, and laid these things beside her, remaining in only her tunic, with her most beautiful hair - as if of gold - spread out upon her shoulder blades.
She then drew out two small cloths of linen and two of wool, very clean and finely woven, which she carried with her to wrap the infant that was to be born, and two other small linens to cover and bind his head; and she laid these cloths beside her that she might use them in due time.

And when all these things had thus been prepared, then the Virgin knelt with great reverence, putting herself at prayer; and she kept her back toward the manger and her face lifted to heaven toward the east.
And so, with raised hands and with her eyes intent on heaven, she was as if suspended in an ecstasy of contemplation, inebriated with divine sweetness.

And while she was thus in prayer, I saw the One lying in her womb then move; and then and there, in a moment and in the twinkling of an eye, she gave birth to a Son, from whom there went out such great and ineffable light and splendor that the sun could not be compared to it.
Nor did that candle that the old man had put in place give light at all because that divine splendor totally annihilated the material splendor of the candle.

And so sudden and momentary was that manner of giving birth that I was unable to notice or discern how or in what member she was giving birth.
But yet, at once, I saw that glorious infant lying on the earth, naked and glowing in the greatest of neatness. His flesh was most clean of all filth and uncleanness.

I saw also the afterbirth [i.e. the placenta], lying wrapped very neatly beside him. And then I heard the wonderfully sweet and most pleasant songs of the angels. And the Virgin's womb, which before the birth had been very swollen, at once retracted; and her body then looked wonderfully beautiful and delicate.

When therefore the Virgin felt that she had now given birth, at once, having bowed her head and joined her hands, with great dignity and reverence she adored the boy and said to him: “Welcome, my God, my Lord, and my Son!”

And then the boy, crying and, as it were, trembling from the cold and the hardness of the pavement where he lay, rolled a little and extended his limbs, seeking to find refreshment and his Mother's favor.
Then his Mother took him in her hands and pressed him to her breast, and with cheek and breast she warmed him with great joy and tender maternal compassion.

Then, sitting on the earth, she put her Son in her lap and deftly caught his umbilical cord with her fingers. At once it was cut off, and from it no liquid or blood went out.
And at once she began to wrap him carefully, first in the linen cloths and then in the woolen, binding his little body, legs, and arms with a ribbon that had been sewn into four parts of the outer wollen cloth.
And afterward she wrapped and tied on the boy's head those two small linen cloths that she had prepared for this purpose.

When these things therefore were accomplished, the old man entered; and prostrating on the earth, he adored him on bended knee and wept for joy.

Not even at the birth was that Virgin changed in color or by infirmity. Nor was there in her any such failure of bodily strength as usually happens in other women giving birth, except that her swollen womb retracted to the prior state in which it had been before she conceived the boy.

Then, however, she arose, holding the boy in her arms; and together both of them, namely, she and Joseph, put him in the manger, and on bended knee they continued to adore him with gladness and immense joy.


Afterwards again in the same place, the Virgin Mary appeared to me and said:

“My daughter, it is a long time ago that I promised you that I would show to you here in Bethlehem the manner of my childbearing. Know for very certain that I was in such a state and gave birth in such a manner as you have now seen: on bended knee, praying alone in the stable.

“For I gave birth to him with such great exultation and joy of soul that I felt no discomfort when he went out of my body, and no pain. But at once I wrapped him in the small clean cloths that I had prepared long before.

“When Joseph saw these things, he marveled with great gladness and the joy from the fact that I had thus, without help, given birth.

“But because the great multitude of people in Bethlehem were busy about the census, they were therefore so attentive to it that the wonders of God could not be published among them.

“And therefore know for a truth that however much human beings, following their human perception, try to assert that my Son was born in the common manner, it is nevertheless more true and beyond any doubt that he was born just as I elsewhere told you and just as you now have seen.”