Here is the conclusion of Mother Mectilde’s Epiphany conference of 1694. Mother Mectilde wisely counsels against seeking extraordinary sensible manifestations of God’s will, subject to illusion and to deception. Instead, she invites her Benedictines to incline the ear of their heart to the quiet inward inspiration of the Holy Spirit and to respond to the voice of Christ who speaks in silence, saying, “Adore Me in spirit and in truth.”
Adore Me in Spirit and in Truth
God has bestowed this grace upon you, preferring you to so many other holy souls who are more worthy than you and who would carry out this duty better if Our Lord would show them the mercy that He has granted you, and if they were to hear His voice say to them: “Come ye to adore me. Come ye to be my perpetual adorers.” How they would run [to Him]! And you also, if you were to hear these words, would you not all be transported out of yourselves for sheer joy? And even so, He has spoken these words to you in the depths of your heart, by means of the appeal of His grace, more really than if you had heard them by means of a voice’s distinct sound, which could be subject to illusion and to deception. Instead, the movement of His grace and the inspiration of His Spirit within you, by which you have been called to the vocation in which you find yourselves, should give you the assurance that He has spoken these words, and that day after day He repeats them, saying to you at every moment, “Adore Me in spirit and in truth.”
One of the most remarkable characteristics of Mother Mectilde’s teaching is her conviction that all the baptized are called to holiness. This is borne out in her rich correspondence with laymen and laywomen living in the world. She never hesitates to invite them to the same life of victimhood through Jesus, with Jesus, and in Jesus that she presents to her daughters in so compelling a way. The life of perpetual adoration is not for a coterie of elite souls; it belongs to the life of all who, being baptized, are called to become the adorers in spirit and in truth whom the Father seeks.
Tend to It with All your Heart
Oh, what a boon God has given us in choosing us! I shall never be able to repeat it enough. Our hearts must remain immersed in a continual thanksgiving towards this God of goodness. All our care must be to please Him, to serve Him, and to satisfy Him. Given that we owe Him all our very selves, is it not then just that we should give ourselves to Him, continuing faithfully to free ourselves of ourselves and of creatures, so to devote ourselves to Him alone? This is our obligation, this is the perfection to which God calls us. But, for your consolation, I want to say to you that if you have not yet attained this perfection, it is enough that you should tend to it with all your heart. We are not, in fact, bound to be perfect all at once, but — under pain of mortal sin — we are bound to tend to perfection. Indeed, some theologians think this of all Christians. If this is so how few will be those who are saved, given that so few think of this! But let us reflect upon ourselves since we are doubly bound to this by our profession. Let us, then, work seriously to become faithful to what we have promised to God. It is up to us to think on these things and to examine ourselves in consequence.
Here, Mother Mectilde’s teaching corresponds to that of Saint Paul: “Whatever you are about, in word and action alike, invoke always the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, offering your thanks to God the Father through him” (Colossians 3:17). And again this text must be read in the light of Saint Paul’s injunction to the Romans: “And now, brethren, I appeal to you by God’s mercies to offer up your bodies as a living sacrifice, consecrated to God and worthy of his acceptance; this is the worship due from you as rational creatures” (Romans 12:1).
Always and Everywhere
Oh, let us begin seriously to adore Jesus Christ in spirit and in truth, to be true perpetual adorers. Let us adore Him in all places and in all that we do. There is not a single action that can dispense us from this. You will say to me, “What, then, even while eating?” Yes, because you do not eat as animals do, only to satisfy yourselves but, rather, by way of homage and submission to the will of God, to renew your necessary strength and to sacrifice yourselves anew to His majesty. Doing this with these intentions, sanctify this action and others like it that, of themselves, are merely natural. In this way, you will maintain in these [actions] that spirit of adoration that, if you are faithful, will lead you on to the highest holiness, moving you to the perpetual sacrifice of yourselves. This will cause you to die to your passions, to your disordered inclinations and to all that is opposed to your sanctification, making you, at the same time, true victims, ever immolated to His glory and to His honour.