In her letters to Marguerite, the Duchess of Orléans (1613-1672), Mother Mectilde de Bar has some very beautiful things to say about the mystery of the Child Jesus. To me they seem to reflect something of the experience of Jesus, the King of Love, that one finds in the writings of Saint Thérèse, of the Trappist Abbot, Dom Vital Léhodey, and of Mother Yvonne-Aimée. Here, in my own translation, is what Mother Mectilde has to say:
It seemed to me that the desire to belong to God and to love Him enlivened your heart several times. Your heart wants to rise above itself, so as to abide in God: but the weight of human misery does not allow it to enjoy this happiness without intermission in this life. One must suffer the length of our exile in patience. This will be lighter for us to bear if we look upon the Eternal Word under the figure of our flesh; he comes . . . to make Himself our companion on pilgrimage.
He comes into the world, and the world has not received Him. He comes among His own, and they know Him not. Here, then, is Jesus upon earth like a stranger who has nowhere to rest His head. It is the love He bears us that reduces Him to this indigence. But, my God, how great this love is, that it casts Jesus into nothingness. Among His subjects, He is like a slave, and all that He does are but wondrous inventions of His love to draw us to Himself. It is to win our hearts, and to give us the freedom to converse with Him, and never more to doubt of his kindnesses toward us; and so that we will cling no longer to the thoughts of distrust and fear that get in our way and disquiet our spirits. . . .
If this Child God manifests Himself in the secret of your soul, His presence will bring you joy, and His love will make you strong. There is nothing so sweet as to love and to know (and to love) Jesus; the prophet assures us of this. Love, love this lovable Saviour who loves you so tenderly, and who presses upon you His merits and all that He is in Himself. Possess Him, and find in His fulness all that you lack. Make use of His virtues and of His love to make up for everything, and rest in His goodness by means of a childlike confidence. And you will experience that your hope is not in vain, nor your confidence disappointed.