Stretching towards Divine Love

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I am continuing my translation of Mother Mectilde's introduction to her Constitutions on the Rule of Saint Benedict and, once again, adding something in the way of a commentary after each section.

Here then are the obligations of the religious of the Holy Sacrament: they will be in the state that their vocation requires of them if they have the spirit of prayer, if they stretch toward Divine Love, if they live from faith, if their intention is wholly pure, if all their being is truly consumed with Jesus Christ to the glory of His Father.


Mother Mectilde enumerates the spiritual qualities needed by one called to a life of Eucharistic adoration and reparation. They are five in number:

1) The spirit of prayer or of "oraison." This is the heart's continual attention to the God; it is an habitual state of recollection. My own experience is that this spirit of prayer is sustained by developing the habit of frequent invocations or aspirations. These are very short prayers, frequently repeated, and aimed like burning arrows at the Heart of God.

2) Being stretched toward Divine Love. Mother Mectilde uses the expression, "tendent à l'amour divin." This is the disposition of one who lives every moment in the grace of the "Sursum corda" of the Mass, It has to do with tending toward Divine Love, that for which the soul was created.

3) If they live from faith. Mother Mectilde's spiritual teaching is austere. It rests upon faith. Hers is not the self-indulgent piety of the spiritual dilettante. It is a steady abiding toward God that is not dependent upon feelings, intellectual understanding, or rewards of any kind.

4) If their intention is wholly pure. This has to do with why one does something. It challenges one to scrutinize the mixed motivations that muddy even the best actions. So long as there is an admixture of self-seeking in the practice of virtue and in fidelity to prayer, it does not proceed from an intention that is wholly pure. One should not become discouraged by Mother Mectilde's radicality. She is presenting complete purity of intention as something that one should desire, something towards which one should tend.

5) If all their being is truly consumed with Jesus to the glory of the Father. For Mectilde de Bar there are no half-measures; there is only the immeasurable measure of Crucified Love. So long as one is holding something back from the holocaust one has not yielded, with Jesus, to the embrace of the Cross, His holocaust of glory to the Father.

The spirit of prayer disposes them to unitive love, to pure faith, and to purity of intention. A lively faith and pure love will make them victims to repair by their immolation the glory of which sorcerers and magicians rob the Son of God, when they so abominably consume consecrated Hosts in casting evil spells and practicing their magic.

Mother Mectilde is ordered and methodical in her presentation. Here she treats of the spirit of prayer, which flowers into pure faith and purity of intention. One cannot have pure faith and purity intention without the spirit of prayer. Prayer, then, is the beginning, the principle, the wellspring out of which all else springs. By pure faith and by loving with a pure intention the adorer makes up for (repairs) the glory denied the Son of God by those who practice satanism, idolatry, and the occult arts. This was written, mind you, in 1697.

There is nothing new about the darker vagaries of The New Age. Sacred Hosts are still stolen, sold, and bought by the practitioners of occult rituals. The disastrous introduction of Holy Communion given in the hand, has, alas made it very easy for those with wicked intentions to obtain Sacred Hosts, or for those with little or no sacramental catechesis to carry them away without consuming them.

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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