of St. Colette
The Pure Vision into Sanctity
a Poor Clare's
on the Testament)
"Jesus! Maria! Anna!
honour, awe and reverence to the three Divine Persons in one unity.
... My dearly beloved sisters and daughters, in the charity of our
merciful, sweet and loving Redeemer, Jesus, and of his loyal
spouse, our mother Holy Church, with all humility of heart and devotion,
I commend myself to you, in life and in death. I commend both my
intentions and the burden which I have to carry before our Lord,
that I may render a good account of it to him on the day of judgment.
... My dearly beloved sisters, chosen out of the valley of the shadow
of death by the uncreated wisdom of our sovereign Father, to enter
into the gospel way of life of his dearly beloved Son Jesus. To
be his spouses, true daughters of the sovereign King, temples of
the blessed Holy Spirit, heiresses and queens of the most high realm
of heaven; and for a little labour to obtain repose, honour, glory,
and unending salvation without limit or measure.
... Therefore, my dearly beloved daughters, be aware of your call
from God to holiness, your great dignity and high perfection. Ignorance
of these things is damaging, consciousness of them will enable you
to bear much fruit.
Living The Gospel
Know, then, that you have entered on the true way through the door
of divine inspiration and God's loving call. For as our dear Saviour
says, no one can come to me, unless my Father draw them by his inspiration.
... This gateway into the rich field of the gospel way of life is
total renunciation of the world, the flesh and one's own will. For
thus says the blessed Son of the pure Virgin: "If any want to become
my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and
follow me" by continually repenting of their sins and failings,
so as to keep the grace God gives whole and alive and avoid future
falls. This is shown in St. John the Baptist, who was sanctified
in his mother's womb. All his life long he carried the cross of
continual penance, not because he had committed any actual offence
but so as to persevere in grace and give good example. If this is
what the just man does, what ought the sinner do? Whether here below
or in the life to come, every sin will have its consequences.
... The Lord says follow me. Follow' by final perseverance, keeping
completely until death all that you have promised in accordance
with the Holy Gospel, so as to be found in your last hour only desiring
the fullness of my holy will; rooted in the perfect love of God.
Note well then, my beloved daughters, that you have been called
by grace to perfect obedience, so as to obey at all times and in
all things, save in sin. Jesus Christ did this even unto death.
... For it is not sufficient to obey when it suits you, or in certain
limited things only. We should obey, even unto death, in everything
not opposed to God, or contrary to your own souls, or to the Holy
Rule. Following the example of our merciful Redeemer, who became
obedient for our sakes even unto death, we in our turn ought to
obey, for his sake, even unto death.
... Let us not to set our own judgments and feelings above those
of our superiors, for the even the true Wisdom, Jesus Christ, was
submissive to Joseph and obeyed his dear Virgin Mother.
... The truly obedient person is concerned only with the work of
true obedience, obeying purely for God sake and as with much reverence
as if he had received his orders from the lips of Jesus. The more
humble the command in human eyes, the more precious is devout obedience
in the eyes of God. The truly obedient person fears more to be lacking
in obedience than to run the risk of bodily death; after the example
of our blessed Saviour Jesus Christ, of whom St. Bernard wrote,
saying: remember, that Jesus Christ much rather preferred to loose
his life through his bitter Passion, than to fail in obedience to
God his Father.
... All evil comes through disobedience. As another St. said: one
prayer of a really obedient person is worth a hundred thousand of
a disobedient one. If we are obedient to God, and to our Superiors
for God's sake, God himself will obey us in granting all our good
... Rid yourselves then of all self-will for it is the one fuel
for eternal destruction.
... Above all the other virtues I recommend to you holy obedience,
in which the excellence of charity is shown forth, when in all things
we obey the creature for love of the Creator. In this virtue with
Jesus on the cross, may we be able to die and obtain life everlasting!
After the renunciation of ourselves through complete obedience,
our Saviour wishes us to carry our cross daily - that is, our vow
of holy poverty. Poverty is the heavy cross of not wishing for anything
under heaven, except him who bore the cross on his shoulders, and
deigned to die for our love on this cross: pierced with nails, crowned
with thorns, spat upon and heaped with blows;
his side pierced by a lance.
... O holy poverty! Finery of our redemption! Precious jewel and
certain sign of salvation!
... It is to poverty that the King gives possession of the kingdom
of heaven ,lastingly and without end. .... And you, daughters of
Adam and Eve, 0 why do you not love this precious jewel, this noble
pearl, whose worth and dignity is that of the kingdom of heaven,
and so is far more precious than innumerable worlds?
... Alas, and more than a hundred thousand times, alas! You could
possess poverty more easily and as an incomparably better bargain
than this wretched world, which is full of wrong choices, traps
and snares, lies and clinging mire; in the midst of which, you can,
all to easily, lose the kingdom of heaven and saddle yourself with
pain and eternal torments.
... O my most beloved sisters, love, love, love most perfectly this
noble and precious and most excellent virtue, the poverty of the
gospel; loved by God and hated by the world.
... After the example of Jesus Christ, who had nowhere here below
to lay his head, and the example of our glorious father, St. Francis,
and our mother, Lady St. Clare, be utterly content with the form
of your poor habit allowed by your Rule, and hold everything else
as suspect, such as books, chaplets, thread, needles, pins and whatever
trivia; kerchiefs, veils and other things which may be for your
own use and on which you may set your affection.
... Have only those things which are truly necessary, and possess
all things in common.
... In this present life, be content with what is necessary, so
as to attain more easily to the true goods of the celestial kingdom,
to which you already have a claim by reason of that holy poverty
which you have willingly promised and vowed for the love of God.
... The kingdom of God will be ours without fail if we keep faith
with Lady Holy Poverty.
... By this cross of holy poverty I mean: to live a life of continual
abstinence, not eating meat, fasting daily, going barefoot and enduring
the cold, sleeping on hard beds, wearing poor clothing, being content
with scanty and coarse food, and bearing the burden of labour, both
manual and spiritual.
... Whoever at the hour of death is found possessing anything, in
fact, or in deliberate desire, will be dispossessed of the
kingdom of heaven.
... Live and die truly poor, my dearly beloved daughters, just as
our sweet Saviour died on the cross for us; for if it seems that
few love him in this way, it is all the more reason that we should
so love him.
... After Lady Holy Obedience in the order, I recommend to you above
all else, Poverty, which is the straight ladder by means of which,
without anxious wobbling, one mounts easily to that self-same kingdom,
thanks to the complete renunciation of all passing goods for the
love of God, who is so good, and who promises us his kingdom and
does not lie.
Since our Lord has said follow me, I understand that we really are
to follow Jesus Christ - the spotless lamb, the virginal Son of
a virgin Mother - through true purity of heart and body until death.
Through this true vow of angelical chastity, one becomes a loyal
bride of Jesus Christ, in virtue of that faithfulness promised and
given at the time when we made our vows in the hands of superiors,
who represented God on earth; a pledge made in the presence of witnesses:-
the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Francis, St. Clare, and all the Saints,
and before those other witnesses who were present when we made our
vows at our holy profession; a profession through which we obtained
the remission of all our sins and the full assurance of eternal
... O noble and most precious virtue of chastity! Loved by God as
his loyal bride, honoured by the angels as spouse of their Lord
and King, most highly praised by the Saints, and so splendidly proclaimed
in sacred scripture!
... It is the noble crown you will wear in the kingdom of heaven
at the true wedding feast of your true spouse, Jesus.
... O most excellent garden! Full of all the plants that are truly
good! You never let thorns, nettles, or poisonous weeds grow in
you; you do not allow any profane thing to enter. 0 how good is
your strong surrounding wall!
... How loyal is the one who keeps faithful watch at your gates
and allows none but the true messengers of your true spouse and
king to enter!
... Naturally you will find your place in the imagery of Sacred
Scripture as the finest flowering trees bearing this noble fruit,
which is served to the King of true love in his kingdom!
... O worthy and excellent virtue! Your dignity, your meaning and
your worth, and the excellence of your victory - it is impossible
to understand them properly and to express them! God alone is your
reward, whom you will see in bliss divine! This virtue, coming next
in order and merit in the sight of God, who loves holy chastity,
I commend to you, so that through her you will have honour and merit
on the great day of judgment. But those who are false to the vows
that they have promised before God, and who have not made fitting
reparation, will suffer the consequences!
... Our merciful Redeemer, through his highest obedience, poverty
and chastity is the sole source of the virtues for us. Through him
let us live in blessed penance, for it can win for us full reconciliation
with our beloved Father.
The Lord willingly allowed himself to be shut away in a sepulchre
... As it pleased him to be enclosed for forty hours, my dear Sisters,
you, too, must follow him; for after obedience, poverty and pure
chastity, you have your holy enclosure to support you. In it you
may well live forty years, more or less; and in which you will die.
You are therefore already in your sepulchre of stone; that is to
say, the enclosure which you have vowed.
... O how precious is the sepulchre of Jesus; that tomb visited
by so many out of devotion!
... O how precious is that sepulchre - your enclosure - into which
devout souls enter to obtain their salvation. From the depths of
that tomb, these souls take flight, with the help of the three vows
already mentioned, soaring to the great celestial palace without
difficulty, or hardly any, and without danger, having carried out
all the works required in accordance with the call they have received
from God, How much comfort, delight and aid, should these fellow
captives feel when a new bride enters into the noble realm of the
Bridegroom she has loved and desired.
... Such is the abundance and superabundance at the table of this
blissful marriage feast, that when a tiny part of the great and
immeasurable joy and bounty of the noble King and Spouse falls from
it, it cannot but delight the poor captives, whom sin still keeps
from entering into this noble wedding feast.
... O happy enclosure, which can remove you from many vices and
occasions of evil and keeps you secluded securely and worthily in
the midst of noble virtues.
... O noble castle, powerful and strong, of the King of heaven!
It fears not the assaults of the world, the flesh and the devil.
... O impregnable tower, you enclose within yourself all truth's
provisions against the assault of the devil.
... You have within yourself universal obedience, the daughter of
Holy Humility, which condemns all self-will, the cause and root
of all evil; you are fully supplied with Lady Holy Poverty, which
has no care about worldly things and who makes it her entire aim
and desire to tend entirely towards his glorious kingdom, without
anxiety about the untrustworthy things of this passing world. Against
the strong and harmful assaults of the flesh, our particular enemy
here below, we have its adversary Holy Chastity, continual prayer,
fasting cold and bare feet, close guard of the senses, holy silence,
chapter, correction, meditation, tears, sighs, regular discipline,
the Divine Office, sacred Scripture, holy Mass, the sweet partaking
of the precious Body of Jesus Christ, purity of heart, right instruction,
the remembrance of death, the cross, the passion, the sight of the
cemetery, the faithful guardianship of your good angel, the fidelity
loyally promised to your dear Spouse, the hope of eternal reward
- and the thought of the terrible punishment of those who will have
... Be gone then, away with you, foolish and rebellious flesh, full
of distracting promptings and evil inclinations; you who seek to
lure us from the way of perfection, bringing shameful death and
... Be led by Lady Holy Grace as her servant, and by wise reason,
for your profit and, ultimately, your glory.
... Sin passes away swiftly and its punishment is unending; penitence
is short, but its ending will be your eternal glory.
... O happy enclosure! 0 soul completely enclosed, according to
the will of its superior, which nothing causes to go straying abroad
here and there, but which rests at all times completely submissive
to the will of its superiors. There is its only rest!
... O precious and sure enclosure! To be enclosed by continual remembrance
in the precious wounds of Jesus Christ!
... O happy captives, soaring above the heavens to hear with the
ears of the spirit the nine choirs of angels, whose sweet praise
and chanting magnifies the Holy and Blessed Trinity, one God in
Praise and Glory
With all the angels praise God, glorify him - in him and through
him, and through all his creatures in heaven and on earth: exalt
him above all for his inestimable favour in creating the human person
in the image of the Creator, and for the sovereign gift of the sacred
Incarnation of our God, who is so good that, after having created
all things for our sake, he himself became truly man and our loving
Brother, so as to restore all things by his glorious death and his
... O infinite good!
... O bounty without measure!
... O ingratitude which forgets so great a gift!
... Praise him! Exalt him with all your voice for the great gift
received in Holy Baptism, that of knowing complete innocence and
becoming temples of the blessed Holy Spirit.
... Give thanks worthily to the Lord for having borne, so generously,
with your sins and failings. His pity has recalled us to himself
through contrition, confession, atonement and the resolution to
lead a good life. He has drawn us through our call to the religious
life, to enter into the state of perfection found in the Form of
Life, with a good company which will not desert us, so as to glorify
him at all times for the holy promise of eternal life, the promise
he has already made to us.
... Praise him, love him, serve him worthily so you can be sure
of everlasting life - as sure as those who are already in full possession
of it and who see God in the clear vision of his sweetness and infinite
goodness, in the highest bliss arid perfect
surety of their eternal inheritance.
... In order to be able to attain to this by his grace and his aid,
we must loyally keep the vows that which we have promised him, and
if we commit some fault through human frailty, we must make haste
every time pick ourselves up, to make ourselves clean and to make
up our losses through holy penance. And our dear Father, during
this life receives us without delay into his mercy and his sweet
reconciliation, considering that first, holy and good intention,
which he gave us in our holy vocation and in his loving binding
of us to himself, and for the sake of all his innumerable favours,
graces present and to come.
... Praise, praise always, praise everlastingly, and love the Father,
the Son and the blessed Holy Spirit; the most humble Virgin who
bore Jesus Christ, the holy and sacred soul of our Redeemer, and
his precious body which hung upon the cross for us all; love the
Saints, men and women, and all the angels, and all the good and
just people who serve God day and night.
... Set your minds on living well and dying holily. The end is approaching;
the world not improving: malice increases; goodness, loyalty and
truth decrease; iniquity abounds, charity grows cold again; devotion
and religion are found in very few hearts. Many are called, but
few are chosen.
... Alas ! The pity of it all ! For God, according to his holy will,
wants to save all humankind without exception! Yet so few of them
let themselves be chosen ! All are called, but few consent to come;
and if there are those who start out and go on for some time, nevertheless
there are very few who persevere to the end in keeping the law of
... There are many who make solemn vows in religion but alas, and
more than a hundred thousand times alas, there are all too few today
who acquit themselves of them loyally in the sight of God who misses
nothing. In order to be saved people are obliged to keep in completely,
justly and loyally, all that they have promised and vowed; the punishment
for dishonesty is eternal! Surely it would be better not to promise
anything and so fail in nothing, than to promise much and then fall
... The greater the promise, the greater the injury, and the more
awful the fate of the transgressor. But for the good, the greater
the promise, the greater is the merit and the greater the salvation,
which will be given us as a pure gift by the Father of all mercy,
the Son by his holy Passion, and by the blessed Holy Spirit, the
fountain of peace, of sweetness, of love and of all consolation.
... Amen, amen, without recall."
See a Poor
COMMENTARY on the Testament
Courtesy of the Ty
Mam Duw Poor Clare Colettine Community, Hawarden, Wales, GB