SAINT OF THE DAY: 26 FEBRUARY, 2015

Saint Mechtildis of Hackeborn

Abbess
(1240-1298)

Saint Mechtildis of Hackeborn

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); Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, a compilation based on Butler’s Lives of the Saints and other sources by John Gilmary Shea (Benziger Brothers: New York, 1894).)

COMMENTARY FOR 26 FEBRUARY, 2015

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Commentary on The Reading of the day provided by :
Homily attributed to Saint Macarius of Egypt (?-390), monk
Spiritual Homilies no. 30, 3-4

“Ask, seek, knock”

Try hard to please the Lord, pay him unwearying attention within yourself, seek for him with the aid of your thoughts, keep a check on your will and its decisions, control them so they are constantly directed towards him.

Then you will see how he draws near you and makes his dwelling within you… He stands there, taking note of your reasoning, thoughts, reflexions, examining how you are seeking him, whether it is with all your soul or whether sluggishly and carelessly.

And as soon as he sees you seek him fervently, he will make himself known to you.

He will appear to you, grant you his help, bestow the victory on you and save you from your enemies.

In fact, when he sees how you are looking for him, how you continually place all your hope in him, then he will instruct you, teach you true prayer, give you that authentic charity that is himself.

Then he will become everything to you: your paradise, life-giving tree, precious pearl, crown, architect, farmer, one subject to suffering but not afflicted with suffering, man, God, wine, living water, lamb, bridegroom, soldier, armor, Christ who is “all in all” (1Cor 15,28).

Just as a child cannot feed or take care of itself but can only look at its mother and cry until she takes pity and gives it her attention, so believing souls always hope in Christ and attribute to him all righteousness.

As the shoot withers if it is separated from the vine (Jn 15,6) so does someone who wants to become righteous apart from Christ.

Just as “someone is a thief and robber who does not enter the sheepfold through the gate but climbs over elsewhere” (Jn 10,1), so it is with someone who wants to become just without him who justifies.

READING OF THE DAY: 26 FEBRUARY, 2015

jesusknockingatourdoor

“Jesus said to his disciples: “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

For everyone who asks, receives; and the one who seeks, finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

Which one of you would hand his son a stone when he asks for a loaf of bread,or a snake when he asks for a fish?

If you then, who are wicked, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good things to those who ask him.

Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.”” -Matthew 7:7-12.