ST. GERTRUDE, VIRGIN
Born at Eisleben, Germany, St. Gertrude (1256-1301) was received into the Cistercian nunnery. Aside from her deep spiritual life, nurtured in prayer and contemplation, she was known for her studies of literature and philosophy. She introduced the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus which, centuries later, would spread throughout the Church.
From the Revelations of Divine Peace of St Gertrude
Your thoughts of me are thoughts of peace
May my soul bless you, O Lord God my Creator, may my soul bless you. From the very core of my being may all your merciful gifts sing your praise. Your generous care for your daughter has been rich in mercy; indeed it has been immeasurable, and as far as I am able I give you thanks. I praise and glorify your great patience which bore with me even though, from my infancy and childhood, youth and early womanhood, until I was nearly twenty-six, I was always so blindly irresponsible. Looking back I see that but for your protecting hand I would have been quite without conscience in thought, word or deed. But you came to my aid by giving me a natural dislike of evil and a natural delight in what is good, and provided me with necessary correction from those among whom I lived. Otherwise I should now have to admit to doing my own will whenever the opportunity offered itself, living like some pagan in a pagan society, and never understanding that you, my God, reward good deeds while punishing evil. Yet you had chosen me to be specially trained to serve you. I was a child of five when I began to live in a convent surrounded by your most devoted friends.
To make amends for the way I previously lived, I offer you, most loving Father, all the sufferings of your beloved Son, from that first infant cry as he lay on the hay in the manger, until that final moment when, bowing his head, with a mighty voice, Christ gave up his spirit. I think, as I make this offering, of all that he underwent, his needs as a baby, his dependence as a young child, the hardships of youth and the trials of early manhood.
To atone for all my neglect I offer, most loving Father, all that your only begotten Son did during his life, whether in thought, word or deed. That sacred life was, I know, utterly perfect in all respects, from the moment he descended from your heavenly throne and came into this world, until finally he presented the glory of his victorious human nature to you, his Father.
And now, as an act of thanksgiving, I praise and worship you, Father, in deepest humility for your most loving kindness and mercy. Though I was hurrying to my eternal loss, your thoughts of me were thoughts of peace and not of affliction, and you lifted me up with so many great favours. To these you added the inestimable gift of your intimate friendship, and in various ways allowed me to possess your Son’s own heart, that most noble ark of God united with the Godhead. You refused me no delight that could be mine.
Finally, you drew me to yourself by your faithful promises of the good things you would give me from the hour of my death. So great are these promises that for their sake alone, even if you had given me nothing besides, my heart would sigh for you always and be filled with a lively hope.
℟. The Lord loved Gertrude with an everlasting love;* from childhood he drew her to himself and took her out into the desert, and there he spoke to her heart.
℣. He betrothed her to himself for all eternity in faith and in love;* from childhood he drew her to himself and took her out into the desert, and there he spoke to her heart.
Let us pray.
O God, who prepared a delightful dwelling for yourself in the heart of the Virgin Saint Gertrude, graciously bring light, through her intercession, to the darkness of our hearts that we may joyfully experience you present and at work within us. Through our Lord.