Mectilde de Bar: January 2013 Archives


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In her meditations for the Feast of Reparation, solemnized on the Thursday of Sexagesima week, Mother Mectilde reflects on the sins of those who serve in the sanctuaries of the Lord.

The Church, in her desolation, cries, O you who have some love for me, you who know all the glory that my Bridegroom deserves, see and consider if there be any sorrow like unto mine. O you, ministers of the Lord and friends of the Bridegroom, the Bride address these laments to you. Hasten to relieve her pain by making reparation for the affronts to Jesus Christ; give Him the glory that others would strip from Him.

Having once shown the disorders of the children of Israel to the prophet Jeremias, the Lord led him to the entrance of the temple; He ordered him to pierce an opening in its wall, and to look upon what was going on inside. The prophet obeyed, and says that therein he saw even greater abominations.

Who, alas, does not grasp that this is but a figure? Who does not know that the sanctuary is the theatre par excellence of the Lord's ignominies? Who does not know that, alongside of priests who are fervent and truly divine, there are priests who are lukewarm and indifferent, priests who are wicked [...]? And so, the Church, in calling [us] to reparation, begs us not to forget the outrages made against the glory of her Divine Spouse by His own ministers. Yours it is, she says, to expiate the sins of the Sanctuary; yours it is to bear the weight of the sins of the priesthood.

Let us enter into these intentions of the Church, and united in spirit with what remains on earth of fervent Christians, and of priests pressed by the charity of Jesus Christ, let us strive to repair the outrages of indifference and impiety; let us lift up the throne of the Lord, and offer Him the tribute of homage that, by so many titles, He deserves.

Mother Mectilde de Bar, Meditations for the Day of Great Reparation

The Saints Understand One Another

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Father Willie Doyle and Mother Mectilde de Bar belonged to different religious Orders, different cultures, and different moments in history. Their experience of prayer, nonetheless, engages them in a conversation that transcends all else.

Not Trying to Do Anything, Except Love Him

As regards prayer, you should try to follow the attraction of the Holy Spirit, for all souls are not led by the same path. It would not be well to spend all the time in vocal prayer, there should be some meditation, thought or contemplation. Try "basking in the sun of God's love," that is, quietly kneeling before the Tabernacle, as you would sit enjoying the warm sunshine, not trying to do anything, except love Him; but realizing that, during all the time you are at His feet, more especially when dry and cold, grace is dropping down upon your soul and you are growing fast in holiness.

Father Willie Doyle, S.J.


Remain Humbly at Jesus' Feet

Remain faithfully in the presence of God and do not regret that you cannot do anything. It is Jesus Christ who lives in us; we must only cling to Him with humility and simplicity of heart and spirit ( . . .) Do not resist being in the presence of God without doing anything. He wants you silent and humble. You do so much already if you leave and surrender yourself to His might. Just be faithful! Do not be concerned too much about your distractions; let them pass by, and remain humbly at Jesus' feet, and count yourself unworthy to receive His graces.

Mother Mectilde de Bar, O.S.B. of Perpetual Adoration


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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

Adoring the Silence of the Word

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Mother Mectilde de Bar (1614-1698) belongs to the family of great mystics who, like Saint John of the Cross, are content to remain in darkness, and cast themselves into an adoring silence. Here is my translation of a chapter talk she gave in 1661.

Silence in the Presence of the Word

Who would dare speak, and what can be said in the presence of the Eternal Word, who keeps so profound a silence and, all the same, with His silent language, makes Himself understood of souls who remain immersed in that sacred and most intimate silence that spreads peace abroad in the soul?

Stillness Within and Without

What could a creature, who is but darkness and deep ignorance, ever say concerning the Eternal Wisdom, the Divine Intelligence that contains in Itself all that is? We should be put to confusion were we to speak while He utters not a word and, by His silence, teaches us to be still within ourselves and without. The Angels are struck silent at the sight of the Divine Infant, seeing how He is become so little upon the straw, and how He has emptied Himself in the Host. What see we among these blessed Spirits except a holy amazement that casts them into an abyss of silence and respect?

Dum medium silentium

I find the words: Dum medium silentium admirable. The God of majesty is born amidst darkness and in silence. Oh . . . if only I could say something about the birth of Jesus Christ in a soul! He comes to birth in silence and darkness: silence within us and silence without, in our dealings with creatures. In darkness: not the obscurity caused by the soul's imperfections, but the godly darkness that hides from us the sacred mysteries that He works within us: mysteries that we must adore and honour, and this, without having knowledge of them.

Mother Mectilde de Bar
Chapter Conference
31 December 1661

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.

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