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The Ungrateful Bishop Udo Is Punished

St. Alphonsus de Liguori
It is narrated by Tritemius, Camsius and others, that in Magdeburg, a city of Saxony, there was a certain man named Udo, who from his youth had been so destitute of talent that he was the ridicule of all his school fellows.

.Bishop Udo

Our Lady assists Udo & he is made Bishop of Magdeburg

Now one day, being more than usually disheartened, he went to pray to the Most Holy Virgin before her image. Mary appeared to him in a dream, and said to him: “Udo, I will console you with abilities that will not only protect you from derision, but will even make you admired. Moreover, after the death of the Bishop, I promise that you shall be elected in his place.”

Thus Mary said, and thus it came to pass. Udo made great progress in the sciences, and obtained the bishopric of that city.

But Udo was so ungrateful to God and to his Benefactress for those favors, that he neglected all his devotions and became the scandal of the area. While he was in bed one night with a wicked companion, he heard a voice saying to him: “Udo, cease this sinful pastime; you have sinned enough.”

At first he was irritated by these words, thinking it was some person who was reproving him. But hearing it repeated a second and a third night, he began to tremble a little, lest it should be a voice from Heaven.

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The empty Church fills with judges from Heaven

Notwithstanding all this, he continued in his wickedness. But after God had given him three months for repentance, behold the punishment!

One night in the Church of St. Maurice a devout canon named Frederick was praying that God would remove the scandal which Udo gave; when, behold, the door of the Church was burst open by a strong wind.

Two youths entered with lighted torches in their hands, and stood on each side of the high altar. Then, two others followed, who spread before the Altar a carpet and placed upon it two thrones of gold.

Another youth, in military attire, followed, with a sword in his hand, and stopping in the midst of the church, cried: “Oh ye Saints of Heaven, whose relics are preserved in this Church, come to assist at the great trial of justice which the Sovereign Judge is about to execute.”

At these words many Saints appeared, and also the Twelve Apostles, as assistants in this judgment. Lastly, Jesus Christ entered, and seated Himself on one of these thrones. Afterwards Mary appeared, attended by many holy virgins, and seated herself on the other throne at the side of her Son.

The Judge now ordered that the culprit should be brought forward, and he was the miserable Udo. St. Maurice spoke and demanded, in the name of the people whom he had scandalized, justice for his infamous life.

.our lady

Our Lady sadly leaves the Church to not be present at that tremendous act of justice

All present raised their voices and said: “Oh Lord, he merits death.”

“Let him die, then,” said the Eternal Judge.

But before the sentence was executed – see how great is the mercy of Mary – she, the kind Mother, that she might not be present at that tremendous act of justice, left the Church. And then the heavenly minister, who entered among the first with the sword in his hand, approaching Udo, with one blow severed the head from the body, and the vision vanished. The place was left dark.

The canon, trembling, went for a light from a lamp which was burning in the Church. When he returned, he saw the body of Udo with the head cut off, and the pavement all covered with blood. When daylight came, the people thronged the Church, and the canon related the whole vision and the circumstances of that fearful tragedy. And on the same day the wretched Udo, who was condemned to Hell, appeared to one of his chaplains, who knew nothing of what had taken place in the Church, and confirmed all that had passed.

The body of Udo was thrown into a marsh, and his blood remained as a perpetual memorial on that pavement, which was always covered with a carpet. Thenceforth it became the custom to uncover it when a new Bishop took possession of that Diocese so that, at the sight of such a punishment, he might be mindful to lead a good life, and not be ungrateful for the graces of the Lord and of his Most Holy Mother.


A soul at its personal judgment


Blason de Charlemagne
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Excerpt from The Glories of Mary by St. Alphonsus de Liguori,
Discourse II, On the Birth of Mary, Example
Posted September 23 2023

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