I referred to this text of Mother Mectilde de Bar in yesterday’s homily. It is taken from Le véritable esprit [The True Spirit], the book in which she describes the vocation of one called to a life of perpetual adoration. This particular page of Le véritable esprit is worthy of the greatest mystics of the Church.
Jesus Christ in the Sanctuary of the Soul
Oh, behold here the mystery of mysteries! Jesus Christ enters the soul by means of Holy Communion without obliging it to prepare the room or open the Sancta Sanctorum into which he retires. I know that entering therein he withdraws to the holy sanctuary, to the innermost depth of our being, where he renews his adorable mysteries, and chiefly that of his sacrifice. This he does in the manner most profitable to the soul, because being united in substance with us in the divine Eucharist; we are according to the opinion of the fathers, one with him, the bone of his bone, the flesh of his flesh.
A Transformation Accomplished by the Infinite Love of Christ
This union is so intimate that it astonishes the whole church which cannot understand or adequately grasp it. Yet it is a dogma of faith which we must accept. Now I ask you; when you go to Communion, is it you who effect this union or transformation? Certainly not, it is Jesus Christ by virtue of his divine sacrament. All that is required of you is to be in a state of grace; the rest is accomplished by the infinite love of Jesus Christ.
Adhere to Jesus; Allow Him to Act
This being true and even an article of faith, then why are souls left in ignorance as to how they should act in this divine exchange? I maintain that they have but little to do, merely two things.
— First to adhere to Jesus in the depth of their will.
— Secondly to abstain from interfering and from wishing to enter and examine Our Lord’s actions within them.
Amen: A Word Full of Mystery
In order to feel and realize his operations they need only be recollected, if possible, and assent in all simplicity to what the divine virtue and personality of Jesus Christ is accomplishing in their soul. If they cannot possess themselves in peace, reverence and attention, let them from their very heart repeat over and over again in union with the church, Amen. This word is full of mystery, it is the soul’s acknowledgement of, and consent to what God does in his Church and to what the Church does for God.
A Word Originating in Heaven
It is fitting to repeat it often with this intention, such being the manifest reason why the Bride of Christ introduces it so frequently into her liturgy. The word Amen takes its origin in the church triumphant. Saint John draws our attention to it when speaking of the four animals and the twenty four elders who prostrate before the throne of the Lamb, answered Amen to all the acts of praise, adoration and blessing rendered to the living God and to Him who alone had power to open the book closed with seven seals, namely Jesus Christ, the Lamb immolated from the beginning of the world.
Acquiescence and Full Assent
It is not mentioned that the twenty four princes of the Apocalypse uttered any other word than this precious word, which likewise contains an acquiescence and full assent to the operations of Jesus Christ in [the soul] and to their hidden effect upon communicant. What then does the soul become through Holy Communion? Another Jesus Christ! What? Another Jesus Christ! But I feel nothing, see nothing, experience nothing. Undoubtedly because this transformation is wrought in the very substance of your soul, and though your body is likewise affected, yet you can neither see nor savour the change, unless God reveals it to you, as I know he has done to some souls.
The Great High Priest in the Temple of the Soul
Not withstanding your being unable neither to see nor feel this divine work, yet it is unmistakably real; you must believe it, and it is the happiness of a soul, while deprived of all light upon this matter, to persevere in faith, that she may thus be rendered more perfectly submissive to these incomprehensible mysteries. What then does Jesus Christ do in the soul wherein he abides? Where does he retire? I repeat what I have already said. He withdraws into its Sancta Sanctorum, its inmost depth which serve as a sanctuary for this great High Priest and as a temple wherein to celebrate the divine and awesome immolation of himself to his Father. This sacrifice he wishes to renew in the soul as in the sacred temple which he sanctified on the day of its baptism. Oh, inconceivable marvel! Jesus Christ descends into our hearts to immolate himself and in profound silence to celebrate his Solemn Mass.
Catherine-Mectilde de Bar (1614-1698)
Le véritable esprit