The Letter to Ermentrude of Bruges
To her dearest Sister Ermentrude: Clare of Assisi, a lowly servant of Jesus Christ: health and peace.
I have learned, O most dear sister, that, with the help of God’s grace, you have fled in joy the corruptions of the world. I rejoice and congratulate you because of this and, again, I rejoice that you are walking courageously the paths of virtue with your daughters. Remain faithful until death, dearly beloved, to Him to whom you have promised yourself, for you shall be crowned by Him with the garland of life.
Our labour here is brief, but the reward is eternal. Do not be disturbed by the clamour of the world, which passes like a shadow. Do not let the false delights of a deceptive world deceive you. Close your ears to the whisperings of hell and bravely oppose its onslaughts. Gladly endure whatever goes against you and do not let good fortune lift you up: for these things destroy faith, while these others demand it. Offer faithfully what you have vowed to God, and He shall reward you.
O dearest one, look up to heaven, which calls us on, and take up the cross and follow Christ who has gone on before us: for through Him we shall enter into His glory after many and diverse tribulations. Love God from the depths of your heart and Jesus, His Son, who was crucified for us sinners. Never let the thought of Him leave your mind but meditate constantly on the mysteries of the cross and the anguish of His mother as she stood beneath the cross.
Pray and watch at all times! Carry out steadfastly the work you have begun and fulfil the ministry you have undertaken in true humility and holy poverty. Fear not, daughter! God who is faithful in all His words and holy in all His deeds, will pour His blessings upon you and your daughters. He will be your help and best comforter for He is our Redeemer and our eternal reward.
Let us pray to God together for each other for, by sharing each other’s burden of charity in this way, we shall easily fulfil the law of Christ.