Saint Gertrude the Great

Her Special Graces

Of the many favors lavished on His spouse, Our Lord bestowed four graces of special importance. Saint Gertrude does not definitely name the first. She called it the great grace, and when she attempts to speak of it, her heart immediately overflows with praise and gratitude toward her Divine Spouse. It is only from a careful study of her life that one surmises that this grace was the impression of Our Lord's Sacred Wounds upon her heart which was received after and through ardent desire and constant prayer.  After Our Lord's first visit, she wrote
this most sublime prayer in honor of His Passion:

O Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, grant that I may aspire towards Thee with my whole heart, with yearning desire and with thirsting soul, seeking only Thy sweetness and Thy delights, so that my whole mind and all that is within me may ardently sigh to Thee, who art our true Beatitude.

O most merciful Lord, engrave Thy Wounds upon my heart with Thy most Precious Blood, that I may read in them both Thy grief and Thy love; and that the memory of Thy Wounds may ever remain in my inmost heart, to excite my compassion for Thy sufferings and to increase in me Thy love. Grant also that I may despise all creatures, and that my heart may delight in Thee alone. Amen. [10]
"This prayer," wrote Gertrude, "pleased me very much. I memorized it and recited it frequently. One afternoon, during the same winter . . . I suddenly became conscious that Our Lord had deigned to hear me, I felt, O my God, how Thou didst imprint on my heart Thy adorable Wounds, even as they are on Thy Sacred Body. Notwithstanding my exceeding unworthiness, Thy infinite bounty has even to this hour preserved therein the
impression." [11]

We are certain that even though this special form of stigmata was a spiritual one and not that of the physical, Gertrude suffered exceedingly real pains the rest of her life. Yet, her suffering was relieved by the increase of her devotion to Our Lord.

The second grace, frequently mentioned in her book of Revelations, occurred during Advent, seven years later, while she was at Holy Mass: "After I had received the Sacrament of Life, I saw a ray of light, like an arrow, dart forth from the Sacred Wound in Thy right Side, on the Crucifix . . . It advanced toward me and pierced my heart. Then Thou didst say to me: 'May the full tide of thy affection rise to Me, so that all thy pleasure, thy hope, thy joy, thy grief, thy fear and every other feeling may be sustained by My love!' "

Years later our Saint listened to the inspirations of a Dominican Father who spoke most impressively on the love of our Heavenly Master, "Love is like an arrow," he said, "what ever we shoot with it, we may call our own!" These words of his filled her heart with vehement love and happiness and she exclaimed: "Ah! who will grant me that I may obtain such an arrow! Immediately I would transpierce Thee, the Only-beloved of my heart, that I might possess Thee eternally!" Instantly she beheld her heavenly Spouse Who carried a golden arrow in His hand, and said: "Thou didst desire to wound Me; but I have a golden arrow with which I will pierce thee so that thy wound may never heal." This arrow sank pierced her heart so deeply that her soul was wounded in three ways:

1. All earthly pleasures became distasteful, and there was nothing in the world could her soul enjoyment or consolation.
2. It caused an ardent desire in her soul to be united to God, so that she felt she could live apart from Him or even take a breath without Him.

3. It so transfixing her soul as to almost separate it from her body which filled her with a surge of Divine delights.
The third special grace, consists of an exchange of hearts between Our Lord and St. Gertrude. Writing of this, she says: "Thou hast granted me Thy secret friendship, by opening to me the sacred ark of Thy Deified Heart in so many different ways as to be the source of all my happiness. Sometimes as a special mark of our mutual friendship,
THE INFANT JESUSThou didst exchange It for mine!" Afterwards the holy virgin felt her Divine Spouse live and love within he, which is really beyond all comprehension.

The visit of the Infant Jesus to Gertrude's heart is the fourth special favor of our Saint. Her account of this grace is most exquisite: "It was the anniversary of the blessed night of Our Lord's Nativity. In spirit, I tried to fulfill the office of servant of the glorious Mother of God when I felt that a tender, new-born Infant was placed in my heart. At the same instant, I beheld my soul entirely transformed. Then I understood the meaning of these sweet words: 'God will be all in all' [1 Cor. 15:28]. My soul, which was enriched by the presence of my Beloved, soon knew, by its transports of joy, that it possessed its Spouse. My thirst for Thee was satisfied by these words: 'As I, in My Divinity, am the figure of the substance of My Father, so also shalt thou be the figure of My substance in My Humanity. As the sun communicates to the air its own brightness and light, thus will I deify thy soul, penetrating it with the rays of My Divinity to prepare thee for the closest union with Me.' " [12]

God not only granted these extraordinary graces to St. Gertrude, He also promised great graces to all who, after her death, should venerate her.


11. Ibid., pp. 20-21.

12. Ibid., pp. 23-24.

Excerpts Published on the web with permission of Tan Books.

Forward for the Promises Regarding Saint Gertrude.


HOME---------------PRAYERS AND DEVOTIONS-----------------LITANIES