Birgittinsk vägledning. Yta och djup i predikningar för Petri kedjors fest
Sammanfattning: In Rev.IV:137, Christ told St. Birgitta that pilgrims to Vadstena could receive the same plenary indulgence as the one granted to the church San Pietro in Vincoli in Rome. The privilege was highly disputed, but in Vadstena the pilgrims crowded anyway on the feast of St. Peter in Chains on August 1, a feast where the deliverance from the captivity of sin was pivotal. This study is based on extant sermons from Vadstena Abbey for the feast of S. Petrus ad vincula. It draws the conclusion that the reason why the brethren so eagerly wanted people to come, was their concern for the salvific path of the layman. It uses the concept of the 'via perfectionis', the monastic principle for advancement towards Heaven, to describe the brethren's adjusted educational program for lay people, whose purpose was to transmit knowledge of how to progress through the 'vallis lacrimarum' and reach Heaven after death. The pilgrims were instructed about the importance of knowing one's own faults, repenting and confessing them. This was the very prerequisite for receiving the indulgence, although the disputes about the privilege forced the brethren to be silent about it. However, in this silence the echoes of the plenary indulgence could be heard at many points in their teaching. For most people, some time in Purgatory was unavoidable, but with help from St. Peter, through the penance system, and the Virgin Mary, through her advocay and intercession, the pilgrim could shorten the punishment in Purgatory considerably, or even eliminate it. The underlying substrate of the sermons' spirituality reveals the necessity of the pilgrim's ability to see. As much as, or more than, images in words and pictures frightened the pilgrim in order to turn him away from Hell, the preachers endeavoured to make him see with his inner eye the place he was heading towards, to make him try even harder to strive for the goal he saw. The mortal sin of acedia was then extremely important to thwart, because it destroyed the willingness to strive. The preachers, though they frightened the listener, never left him in that fear. Instead they always gave him a hopeful assurance that he would in fact be able to reach the end of the 'via perfectionis' where it flows into Heaven, even if it required that he worked hard with himself. In the sermons, they presented to him the know-how to succeed.
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