One must burn with love

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Madre_Mectilde_5072-1.jpg

Image of Mother Mectilde: detail of a painting attributed to Philippe de Champaigne, Monastery of Mas-Grenier.

I am continuing my translation of Mother Mectilde's conference for the Vigil of Christmas 1694. She emphasizes that the Incarnation is God's gratuitous expression of love for each and every human being. Christus natus est pro nobis. The pro nobis (for us) that the liturgy sings must be brought to bear upon each one. One who hasn't grasped that the Word became flesh for me cannot rightly understand what the Church means when she sings that Christ is born for us.

God Did for Me Alone What He Did for All

As I have told you, God, having within Himself everything that could make Him happy, had no need of His creatures, and these can add nothing to His felicity. He could not have given us a greater sign of His love, as Saint John says, "God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son." (John 3:16) And it can be said that in giving us His Son, He gave us all that what dearest and most precious to Him.

Let us, then, immerse ourselves in profound sentiments of gratitude towards the Eternal Father for the grand gift He offers us today. But, so as to penetrate better into the grace of the mystery and enter into a true gratitude, it is necessary, dear sisters, that each one of you make it your own and strive, with all her capacity, to think of the goodness of a God who, by His birth, comes to give Himself to us. Say then to yourselves: -- God did for me alone what He did for all. Be persuaded of this, because it is really true. In making the mystery your own in this way, it will make much more of an impression on your spirit and will dilate your heart to love God, inflaming it with love of Him. Is it, in effect, ever possible to believe without being set all ablaze with love for a God who is so good, who has done all these things for us? How? God loves me, and shall I not love Him? It is impossible. One must burn with love.

When One Feels Nothing

Somebody may say to me: -- But one does not always have so much ardour, nor a love that is felt --. This is true, but we must not fall into sadness if we are not feeling a sensible love. just as we must not refuse it when God grants it. Believe me, go to God with naturalness, in all simplicity, just as little children go to their papa, without scruple; don't be so fearful. Take what is given to you: if there are sensible feelings of love for Our Lord, so much the better: you shall be set all aflame by the desire to love Him. Receive everything and refuse nothing, not to satisfy your self-love or permit it to claim such sentiments by living them too sentimentally, but only to receive them from Our Lord so that they may produce in us the effect that He wants.

Desiring Nothing but the Reign of His Good Pleasure Within You

At the same time, when He makes you suffer a more painful disposition, darkness, dryness, incapacity, etc., receive it all equally and be indifferent to whatever state [you find yourself in], content with what God gives you, refusing nothing, and desiring nothing but the reign of His good pleasure within you, which reign will not be established except by your own destruction.

Things So Prodigious and Incomprehensible to the Human Mind

De Condren, noting that on the loveliest feasts and in the celebration of great mysteries, one often finds oneself in darkness and in interior dryness, asks why this is so. He responds, observing that our human reason wants to penetrate into the mystery in order to understand it, but because the mystery surpasses the capacities of reason, it does not succeed in going there. This is what produces our darknesses. We never, therefore, enter into the mysteries except by pure faith. Let us leave aside our reasoning and our own mind: they are not worthy, they are too material to conceive what is above the sensible; let us not even heed them. Follow with simplicity the spirit of faith that illumines and makes us believe things so prodigious and incomprehensible to the human mind.

2 Comments

Thank you for your efforts in preparing us to receive our Lord Jesus Christ this Christmas, dear Father.
God bless you and your brotherhood! Merry Christmas!

Dear Father Mark, I would like to wish you and the fledging community a very happy and peaceful Christmas with a multitude of blessings and graces...
from Norman at Santiago Chile, Dec 24/2012

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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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