READING OF THE DAY: 19 NOVEMBER, 2013

Zaccheus

“At that time, Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.

Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature.

So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way.

When he reached the place, Jesus looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house.”

And he came down quickly and received him with joy.

When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying, “He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner.”

But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, “Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over.”

And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.

For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost.” -Luke 19:1-10.

SAINT OF THE DAY: 19 NOVEMBER, 2013

saint_mechtildis_of_hackeborn

Saint Mechtildis of Hackeborn
Abbess
(1240-1298)

Saint Mechtildis, born in 1240 in Saxony, was the younger sister of the illustrious Abbess Gertrude of Hackeborn.

She was so attracted to religious life at the age of seven, after a visit to her sister in the monastery of Rodardsdoft, that she begged to be allowed to enter the monastic school there.

Her gifts caused her to make great progress both in virtue and learning.

Ten years later, when her sister had transferred the monastery to an estate at Helfta offered by their brothers, Mechtildis went with her.

She was already distinguished for her virtues, and while still very young became the valuable Assistant to Abbess Gertrude.

One of the children who in the monastic school were committed to her care, was the child of five who later became known as Saint Gertrude the Great.

Saint Mechtildis was gifted with a beautiful voice, and was choir mistress of the nuns all her life.

Divine praise, it has been said, was the keynote of her life, as also of her famous book, The Book of Special Grace.

When she learned, at the age of fifty, that two of her nuns had written down all the favors and words of their Abbess, which she had become, she was troubled, but Our Lord in a vision assured her that all this has been committed to writing by My will and inspiration, and therefore you have no cause to be troubled over it.

He added that the diffusion of the revelations He had given her would cause many to increase in His love.

She immediately accepted the Lord’s bidding, and the book became extremely popular in Italy after her death.

Its influence on the poet Dante’s Purgatorio is undeniable, for she had described the place of purification after death under the same figure of a seven-terraced mountain.

The Donna Matelda of his Purgatorio, who guides him at one point in his vision, is Saint Mechtildis as she represents mystical theology. She died in 1298 at the monastery of Helfta.

*On leap years, the feast day of this Saint is celebrated on February 27.

(SOURCE: The Catholic Encyclopedia, edited by C. G. Herbermann with numerous collaborators (Appleton Company: New York, 1908))