Make your way towards ennothingment

Madre_Mectilde_corde au_cou.jpgFrom Mother Mectilde de Bar’s Letter 92, my translation:

To receive Holy Communion well, not much is needed in the way of ceremony. It is enough to have purity of heart and humility. If you have this, don’t worry about the rest. Of this I can assure you.

All your trouble is that you want to be what God does not want [for you]. If you were faithful, you would, a long time ago already, have become more detached from yourself and more ennothinged* in Jesus Christ.

I will see you, to persuade you that I am telling you the truth, and that you must make your way towards ennothingment. Otherwise, you will always be unhappy.

When I was about sixteen years old, precociously pious, and seeking how best I might follow Our Lord, a wise Vietnamese Trappist monk who, at the time seemed very old to me, used to say in his inimitable accent, “You be humble, brother Mark, and you be happiest man in town.”

Now, all these many years later, I hear Mother Mectilde saying the same thing” “You must make your way towards ennothingment. Otherwise you will always be unhappy.” Put positively, one might say, “Enter into your own nothingness, and you will find happiness.” The psalmist says, “My happiness lies in Thee alone” (Psalm 15:2). This is where adoration begins: in the humble awareness of one’s absolute nothingness, and in the offering of all that one is back to God, who is the uncreated Source of all being, and who is all Love, without beginning or end, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

Out of love Thou didst create me
and from Thee alone have I received the gift of being,
and it is to Thee alone
that I desire to give myself back
as a victim, an offering of pure adoration.
Without Thee, I am not,
and I am
only because at every moment
Thou lovest me and keepest me in being
so that I might freely love Thee in return
with all my heart, and all my mind, and all my strength.
I am Thy creature, receiving all from Thee,
and Thou art God without beginning or end,
receiving nothing from Thy creatures
apart from that which they have first received from Thee.

Anything that makes one aware of one’s nothingness, anything that demonstrates that one is nothing and that God is all is precious to a soul. This is why Saint Benedict says that the novice is to love humiliations. What is a humiliation if not anything that brings one closer to the realization of one’s nothingness in the sight of God?

* And yes, I made up the words “To ennothing oneself” and “ennothingment” to express Mother Mectilde’s frequently used s’anéantir and anéantissementannientarsi and annientamento in Italian. The English, “to annihilate” and “annihilation” do not give quite the same meaning.


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