Mectilde de Bar: August 2011 Archives

To adore always

| | Comments (0)


Continuing alone the lines of my last entry on adoring always and everywhere, I thought it would be useful to translate some pertinent passages from the writings of Mother Mectilde-du-Saint-Sacrement. For Mother Mectilde, the adoration of Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament is not an occasional devotion; it is, rather, the direction given to one's whole life. Adoration is not perpetual because one never leaves one's prie-dieu before the Blessed Sacrament; it is perpetual when one makes the Eucharist the treasure of one's life. "For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." (Matthew 6:21) Mother Mectilde writes:


Our vow of adoration binds us indispensably to live only from the life of Jesus Christ in this divine Mystery. To observe this vow it is not sufficient to keep one's hours of adoration. It is necessary that our heart love Him and adore Him always, and that in all our actions we remain constantly united to Him. Let us apply ourselves only to loving Him and adoring Him.
You have seen His star and have come to adore Him. But what is the length of this adoration, and how extensive must it be? We must adore in all the movements of our life and in the whole extent of our being. Our adoration must be perpetual, since the same God whom we adore in the Holy Sacrament is continually present to us in every place. We must adore Him in spirit and in truth: in spirit by a holy interior recollection, in truth by acting in such wise that all our exercises become a continual adoration by our fidelity to make ourselves over to God in all that He asks of us, because as soon as we fail in fidelity, we stop adoring.
To adore always it is not necessary to be saying, "My God, I adore Thee." It is enough that we should have a certain interior attention to God present, a profound respect in homage to His greatness, believing that He is in you, just as He is in very truth: the Holy Trinity there making Their abode; the Father there acting and working by His power; the Son by His wisdom; and the Holy Spirit by His goodness. It is, therefore, in the intimate depth of your soul, where the God of majesty abides, that you must adore Him continually.

Mectilde de Bar and Reparation

| | Comments (1)


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.

They will be victims to repair by their lively faith, the honour due the real Person of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ that infidels and heretics take away by their blasphemies, by their sacrileges, and by their profanations.
They will be victims of love to repair by their union the respect that sinners have lost for the Holy of Holys when they approach It having affection for their sins, and when they try to unite Jesus Christ to Belial, and Dagon with the Ark in a profaned temple and in a soiled heart.
Finally, they will be victims to repair by their prayer the reverence that libertines and the greater part of Christians refuse or neglect to bring to the Holy Mysteries, at which they assist without a spirit of prayer and without devotion.
Happy the soul who will be found worthy of making such reparation to the Most Holy Sacrament; happier still if that soul fulfills as she ought the great obligation that makes her guilty of all the profanations of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, and consequently, subject to suffer the chastisements and all the pains merited by those who have profaned this Most Holy Sacrament and who will profane it until the end of the ages.

A Lively Eucharistic Faith

Mother Mectilde's Benedictine Adorers are characterized by a lively faith in the adorable Sacrament of the Altar. It is by faith that they penetrate beyond the veil of the Sacred Species; it is by faith that they lay hold of the Mystery at once concealed and revealed in the Most Holy Eucharist. Eucharistic faith waxes strong when it is exercised and expressed; Eucharistic faith wanes when the soul becomes listless and indifferent.

Infidels and Heretics

Mother Mectilde's faith made her acutely sensitive to the blasphemies, sacrileges, and profanations perpetrated by the faithless (infidels) and by heretics. Even within the visible Church, there are those who have lost the orthodox faith in the Most Holy Sacrament; even within the visible Church, there are those who hold heretical opinions concerning the adorable Mystery of the Eucharist.

Loss of Faith

Imprudent liturgical reforms -- Mass "facing the people"; Holy Communion given in the hand; the suppression of kneeling at Holy Communion; the use of Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion in ordinary circumstances; the disappearance of the altar rail; the desacralization of the sanctuary, etc. -- all of these things, and the various other liturgical aberrations that have so troubled the peace of the Church over the past fifty years have contributed to a loss of faith in the Most Holy Eucharist. This loss of faith has led, as it always does, to blasphemies, sacrileges, and profanations.

Blasphemies, Sacrileges, and Profanations

During Mother Mectilde's lifetime, the unrest of The Thirty Years War, and the incursions of Protestant soldiers bent on destroying Catholic worship, led to blasphemies, sacrileges, and profanations. In our own day, these same affronts against the Most Holy Sacrament are not infrequently committed within the Church herself, by those who, outwardly at least, are numbered among the faithful.


A Forerunner of Saint Thérèse

The appropriate response should be one of sorrow, of love, of reparation, and of solidarity with the poor souls who offend Our Lord in this way. Mother Mectilde's charism is not to condemn such souls from above, but rather to descend into their spiritual darkness, and to identify with them, choosing solidarity with them, and representing them before the Most Blessed Sacrament. In her solidarity with those who sin against the adorable Mystery of the Eucharist, Mother Mectilde is a forerunner of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face, who wrote:

But, Lord, your child knows that you are the Light. She asks you to forgive her unbelieving brethren; she will willingly eat the bread of sorrow for as long as you wish; she will, for love of you, sit at this table where the wretched sinners eat their bitter food and will not leave it until you give the sign. But may she not say in her own name and in the name of her guilty brethren, "O God, be merciful to us sinners! Send us away justified! May all those who have never been illumined by the light of faith see it shine at last! O God, if the table defiled by them must be cleansed by one who loves You, I will gladly stay there alone and eat the bread of sorrow until You are pleased to lead me to your kingdom of light. I ask of you only one favour, that I may never displease You.

What Saint Thérèse expresses in this text, Mother Mectilde sought to express symbolically. Thus do her Benedictine Adorers make reparation before the Blessed Sacrament, kneeling at a column surmounted by a candle in the midst of the choir, with a rope about their necks.

If Thou, O Lord, Wilt Mark Iniquities

Mother Mectilde would have her Adorers make reparation not by standing aloof from sinners, but by identifying with them, and by taking upon themselves whatever sufferings the severe and tender mercy of God permits for the healing of their souls. The Benedictine Adorer making reparation takes his place among sinners and, out of love, is content to remain in their darkness, to eat the coarse bread moistened by tears that is theirs, and to say:

If thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities:
Lord, who shall stand it.
For with thee there is merciful forgiveness:
and by reason of thy law, I have waited for thee, O Lord.
My soul hath relied on his word:
My soul hath hoped in the Lord.
From the morning watch even until night,
let Israel hope in the Lord.
Because with the Lord there is mercy:
and with him plentiful redemption.
And he shall redeem Israel
from all his iniquities. (Psalm 129:3-8)


Today 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.

They will be victims to repair by their purity of intention the worship that wicked priests take away from the Most Holy Sacrament when they make use of this august Sacrament for their own gain, and for a thousand other criminal designs.

Catherine Mectilde de Bar is acutely sensitive to the grandeur of the priesthood and to the frailty of those who bear in their souls its indelible character. She knows that the priest has power over the real and mystical Body of Christ; she also knows that the power of the priest over the Body of Christ can be abused and misused. This tragic reality causes her intense sorrow and compels her to make adoration in reparation for priests, be they wicked, or simply weak.

Mother Mectilde grieves over priests who celebrate Holy Mass hastily, irreverently, carelessly, or without a suitable preparation and thanksgiving. She grieves over priests who offer the Holy Sacrifice having a material interest in mind, that is, the stipend or offering of the faithful. She grieves over priests who ascend the altar in a state of grave sin and, thus, offend Our Lord by their sacrilege.

None of these concerns of Mectilde de Bar, and none of her motives for reparation are limited to 17th century France. They are, in fact, as relevant today as they were four hundred years ago.

Mother Mectilde was a friend and correspondent of Saint John Eudes. She reflects the Norman missionary's understanding of the priesthood, derived from that of Pierre de Bérulle and the other luminaries of the École française. She saw to it that the Feast of Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest, for which Saint John Eudes composed the Proper Office, was celebrated in the monasteries of her Institute.


In The Priest, His Dignity and Obligations, Saint John Eudes writes:

The priest is a mediator between God and man, causing the Eternal Father to be known, loved, adored and served, as well as feared, by men. His office is to make known the will of God to men, urging them to be faithful to their every duty. His concern is to be devoted unceasingly to "the things that appertain to God" (Heb. 5, 1).
The priest is one of the chief parts of the Mystical Body of Christ because he occupies the principal parts of that Body, namely, the head, the eyes, the mouth, the tongue and the heart. He is the head with the Chief Shepherd, sharing the right to rule and govern in His place. He is the eyes watching over the other members to enlighten and guide them, and to weep over them when they sin.
The priest is the mouth and the tongue to speak the language of heaven, to utter on all occasions the words of eternity. He is the heart circulating the blood stream of Christ's Precious Blood to quicken and vivify the other members, that their works and functions may be ennobled and perfected.
A holy priest is a saviour and another Christ, taking the Master's place on earth, representing Him,clothed with His authority, acting in His name, adorned with His qualifications, exercising His judgment on earth in the tribunal of penance. He is consecrated to exercise the highest functions Christ ever performed on earth, to continue the work of salvation. In imitation of His Redeemer he gives himself, mind, heart, affections, strength, time, all for God. He is ever ready to sacrifice his very blood and even life itself to procure the salvation of souls, particularly those of his own flock.
He is a god, living and walking on earth; a god by grace and by participation, clothed with the perfections and attributes of God, namely, His divine authority, power, justice, mercy, charity, benignity, purity and holiness. He is a god delegated to carry on God's noblest works, the sacerdotal and pastoral duties, as great Saint Dionysius says: Omnium divinorum divinissimum est cooperari Deo in salutem animarum. "The most divine of all divine things is to cooperate with God in the salvation of souls."
Saint Gregory Nazianzen asserts that the priest is a "God who makes gods," Deus deos efficiens, that is, Christians who are given the name of gods in Sacred Scripture.

Stretching towards Divine Love

| | Comments (0)


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.

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.

Donations for Silverstream Priory