Saint Bridget of Sweden on the Jews

Saint Bridget of Sweden on the Jews

Saint Bridget of Sweden is one of the six Patron Saints of Europe and a major fourteenth century mystical thinker associated with the Roman Catholic Church. Thus, it behoves us to look at her attitudes – as expressed in her ‘Revelations’ – towards the jews.

She writes in ‘Revelations’ that the jews are the devoted enemies of Jesus Christ, because they are ‘envious’ by nature (1) and hated him. (2)

To quote Saint Bridget on the matter of jewish responsibility for the death of Jesus:

‘While I was at Mount Calvary, most mournfully weeping, I saw that my Lord, who was naked and scourged, had been led by the Jews to his             crucifixion.’ (3)

‘And at once I saw how the Jews were there fixing and fastening his cross firmly in the hole in the rock of the mount with bits of wood strongly hammered in on every side in order that the cross might stand more solidly and not fall.’ (4)

‘Glory unmeasured be to you, my Lord Jesus Christ. For us you humbly endured that the Jews stretched out your venerable hands and feet with rope, that they cruelly fixed them with iron nails to the wood of the cross, that they called you a traitor, that in manifold ways they derided you with unspeakable words while above you was inscribed that title of confusion.’               (5)

‘But my grievance is that his enemies who are now in the world crucify my Son more harshly than the Jews crucified him.’ (6)

‘They care less about God and love him less than created things. The Jews prepared three kinds of punishment for me in my passion: first, the wood on which, after being scourged and crowned, I was hung; second. The iron by which they nailed my hands and feet; third, the gall that they gave me to drink. Moreover, they blasphemed me as being a fool because of the death I freely endured, and they called me a liar because of my teachings.’               (7)

She also explains that Pontius Pilate and the Romans were not responsible for the death of Jesus when she writes that:

‘Pilate knew well indeed that my Son had not sinned and did not deserve death. However, because he feared the loss of temporal power and the sedition of the Jews, he reluctantly sentenced my Son to death.’ (8)

Further in Saint Bridget’s words the jews continue their campaign against Jesus:

‘Mary spoke to the Son: ’’Blessed are you, my Son, my God and Lord of angels! You are he whose voice the prophets heard, whose body the             apostles saw, he whom the Jews and your enemies perceived. With your divinity and humanity and with the Holy Spirit you are one God. For the prophets heard the Spirit, the apostles saw the glory of your divinity, the Jews crucified your humanity. Therefore may you be blessed without beginning and without end!”’ (9)

The Son spoke to the bride: ’’Christians are now treating me the way the Jews treated me. The Jews threw me out of the temple and were entirely intent on murdering me, but, because my hour had not yet come, I escaped from their hands. Christians treat me like that now. They throw me out of their temple, I mean, out of their soul, which should be my temple, and would soon kill me if they could.’ (10)

‘Who are the Jews who sought to kill Lazarus if not those who become indignant because you lead better lives than theirs, who have learned to speak loftily but to do little, who, seeking the approval of others, scorn the deeds of their predecessors with all the greater scorn the less they             themselves deign to understand the higher truths?’ (11)

‘This day the Jews treated me like a worm, for they held me to be the lowest and most unworthy of creatures.’ (12)

‘I shall guard and protect you from these Jews so that you will not leave me because of what they do or say.’ (13)

Yet while the jews are the enemies of Christ and Christianity and will not to go to heaven (14) as well as being inveterate usurious moneylenders preying on desperate Christians. (15) She tells us that sincere jewish Christians can exist, (16) but that jews generally are not sincere in their adherence to Christianity. (17)

In essence Saint Bridget thoroughly opposed both the jews and Judaism as the implacable opponents of Christianity but held that jews could be saved if they sincerely repented and then converted to Christianity.

To end this I need but quote Saint Bridget on the subject:

‘The sentence for those Christians to be saved will be the vision of God and glorification in God and goodwill toward God. Excluded from these             rewards are pagans and Jews as well as bad and false Christians.’ (18)

References

(1) Saint Bridget of Sweden, ‘Revelations’, 4:71

(2) Ibid, 1:53; 4:61

(3) Ibid, 7:15

(4) Ibid.

(5) Ibid, 12:1

(6) Ibid, 1:37

(7) Ibid, 1:30

(8) Ibid, 1:37

(9) Ibid, 1:53

(10)Ibid, 1:57

(11)Ibid, 4:72

(12)Ibid, 4:99

(13)Ibid, 4:72

(14)Ibid, 3:26

(15)Ibid, 4:32

(16)Ibid, 1:41

(17)Ibid, 1:47; 3:25

Ibid, 3:26