Collection of Letters: Detail
- Ivo, bishop of Chartres
To Matilda, excellent queen of the English, Ivo, humble minster of the church of Chartres, the service of devoted prayers.
The reputation of your pious devotion has inspired the minds of many religious and sweetened them with a certain delight of holy love. Wherefore for the grace divinely conferred on us we give thanks to the bestower of all goods who placed a man’s [virile] strength in a woman’s [feminine] breast, not only to avoid shame and crime but also to give necessary aid to those in need.
We who are mindful of common as well as private benefits, devoutly received the prayers of your excellence and we pour out devoted prayers to God for the soul of your brother the religious king which, given our sins, are of little value though we are confident that his soul reposes in Abraham’s bosom if his life was what it is said to have been. But since the state of souls after [corporal] life is uncertain, it does not seem superfluous for us to intercede for those who already enjoy rest, that their rest be increased, and for those who are in purgatory, that they receive indulgence through the prayers of the faithful. These and other things which do not exceed our strength, your excellence can place on our shoulders.
Vestrae piae devotionis opinio multorum maxime religiosorum mentes afflavit, et quadam sanctae dilectionis suavitate indulcavit. Unde pro gratia nobis divinitus collata grates summo referimus bonorum omnium largitori, qui femineo pectori virile robur immisit, non solum ad evitanda flagitia vel facinora, sed etiam ad impendenda indigentibus necessaria suffragia. Nos igitur tam communium quam privatorum beneficiorum non immemores, excellentiae vestrae preces devote suscepimus, et pro anima fratris vestri religiosi regis, quod peccatis nostris exigentibus parum est, devotas Deo preces effundimus, quamvis animam ejus in sinu Abrahae collocatam, si vita ejus ita se habuit ut dicitur indubitanter confidamus. Sed, quia incertus est status animarum post animal, non videtur otiosum si pro his intercedimus, qui jam requie perfruuntur, ut eorum requies augeatur, et pro his qui locis purgatoriis deputati sunt, ut fidelium orationibus indulgentiam consequantur. Haec et alia quae vires nostras non excedant humeris nostris imponere potest excellentia vestra. Valete.
Ivo agrees to pray for the soul of Matilda’s brother, king Edgar of Scotland, who died in 1107, and in the attempt to praise her brother without making his own function superfluous makes some curious remarks about the state of souls after death.
PL162 ep.174 c177