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Forums => Book Study => Topic started by: Shin on July 16, 2015, 02:11:04 AM

Title: The Death of St. Mechtilde
Post by: Shin on July 16, 2015, 02:11:04 AM
The Death of St. Mechtilde

from 'The Love of the Sacred Heart Illustrated by St. Mechtilde'

SUFFERING ends in death. Will the Sacred Heart which was with us in our tears remain with us in our agony, until our last sigh?

Yes; Jesus has promised all His devoted servants that He will be their support at that dread moment. He has deigned to give us a special pledge of this promise in the visible protection accorded to His Apostles in their last hour. All received the grace of a glorious death, not only before God, but also before men. They all prepared with the same care, with the same confidence in their Judge, and with the same peace in the last moments before their sacrifice. It was the same with St. Mechtilde.

This humble and devoted servant of Jesus Christ had spent over fifty-seven years of her life in the Religious state; at the end she suffered continual pain for about three years, which ended in death. About a month before this happened, she went, as was her custom, through the exercise of preparation for death, composed by St. Gertrude.

On the twenty-second Sunday after Pentecost of the year 1298 she received Holy Communion for the last time. She then recommended her last hour to the mercy of God. Jesus, standing before her, said very tenderly: "Honour and joy of My divinity, delight and rest of My Spirit, wilt thou come now and remain for ever with Me, fulfilling My desire and thine?" She replied: "My Lord God, I desire Thy glory more than my happiness. I beg of Thee, therefore, to allow me to expiate by suffering all that, as Thy creature, I have neglected in the praise I owed Thee."

Our Lord received this reply very graciously, and said: "As thou hast chosen this, it is another mark of likeness to Me, for I accepted and voluntarily suffered the anguish of the Cross and of death for the glory of God and the salvation of the world. And, as My sufferings penetrated and moved the Heart of My Father, so thy sufferings and death shall penetrate into My Heart and contribute to the salvation of the whole world."

Mechtilde's Sisters suffered at witnessing her terrible pain, and also at the thought of the approaching separation: "Weep not and do not be sad on my account, my well-beloved," she said to them. "I share in your sorrow, and if it were the will of our sweetest Spouse who loves us, I would live always in these pains and so always be able to console you."

What admirable dispositions! Like St. Martin, the humble Benedictine is ready to live, to suffer, to die; but she willed above all the holy will of God, and that adorable will had decreed the end of her exile. Our Blessed Lord warned her of it, saying with much tenderness: "Come, My elect, My dove, My flowering field, where I have found all I wished for, My garden full of beauty where I have tasted all the joys of My divine Heart; there flourish all virtues, there grow the trees of good works, there flow the waters of devotion and fervour; it was always open for Me to find what I wanted. I loved to retire to this garden when sinners irritated Me; in drinking of its waters I was so inebriated as to forget the insults offered Me."

On the evening of this Sunday Gertrude was praying for her friend, and received from our Lord the mission to warn her to prepare for Extreme Unction. She told her from Him that after the reception of this salutary Sacrament, our Lord, who watches with so much care over His friends, would hide her in His pure and spotless Heart in the same way, she added, as a painter takes great care of a picture newly painted, for fear it should be spoiled by the dust.

Mechtilde submitted, but without begging much for the precious Sacrament. On the Monday morning before dawn she was attacked suddenly with such violent pain that the priest was brought in great haste to give her Extreme Unction. During the ceremony Gertrude in ecstasy saw our Lord turn on Mechtilde a loving look, full of all the goodness and tenderness His divine Heart had had for her, when the priest anointed her eyes. It was as though a ray of divine light communicated to her all the merits of His most holy eyes. And the eyes of Mechtilde, under the influence of this divine goodness, seemed to distil an oil of infinite sweetness.

This mysterious fact made Gertrude understand that on account of Mechtilde's merits our Lord gave great consolation to those who invoked her with confidence; she had deserved this privilege, because during her life she had from motives of charity always shown herself kind and considerate to everyone. In the same way, when the Unction was applied to the other parts of her body, our Lord gave to each the perfect merits of the corresponding sense of His own body.

The dying servant of God spoke also very lovingly to the Holy Virgin our Mother, recommending to her the companions whom she was about to leave, begging of her for love of her to show them greater affection. The Immaculate Virgin deigned to show she granted this request by laying her delicate hands on those of Mechtilde.

During her lengthened agony, Mechtilde said no other words than: "Good Jesus! Good Jesus!" showing that she had in her heart Him whose name, amidst the bitter agony of death, came continually to her lips with so much sweetness. And all there recommended themselves to her prayers, confiding to her their concerns and those of others they loved. Mechtilde could only reply, very faintly: "Willingly" or "Yes." In this way she proved with what affection she would intercede with our Lord to grant all their petitions.

The longed-for hour came at last. Stripped of all that was earthly, perfectly resigned to the Will of her Beloved, this loving spouse was to leave the prison of the flesh to enter the nuptial chamber of her royal Bridegroom.

It was the hour for the community to rise, and the Mother Superior was the first, with a few others, at Mechtilde s side, when quite suddenly her face changed and assumed a look of exquisite tenderness, coming from an interior feeling of great love. One would have thought that by her signs and happy looks, as she was now unable to do so in words, she was inviting her dearly-loved Sisters to congratulate her on the ineffable gifts our Lord had bestowed on her. Then the God of majesty, the God of pure delights, the only One who can satisfy the loving soul, enclosed His spouse in the light of the divinity, and penetrated her entirely with it. He, the Chanter of chanters, with the sweetest voice intoned a song which surpassed all earthly melodies. In this moment He repaid this soul, which like a nightingale had so often on the earth charmed His divine Heart, less by the sweetness of her voice than by the fervour of her devotion. He therefore sang to her these words: "Come, thou blessed of My Father, receive the kingdom prepared for thee. Arise, My love, and come without delay." He reminded her of the great grace granted her nine years previously, when He had given her His Heart as a pledge of His love and protection.

As soon as she had rendered her last sigh in the Heart of her Beloved, Gertrude saw her in glory, resting, full of joy, on the breast of Jesus. The Angels and Saints came to salute her, less as an equal than as a queen. St. Gertrude begged her to pray that the defects of those on earth for whom she had always shown so much affec tion might be cured. Mechtilde replied: "I see very clearly in the light of truth, that all the affection I have ever felt for anyone on earth is smaller than a drop of water is to the ocean, compared with the tender affection which fills the divine Heart towards those I loved. I also see, in a manner incomprehensible to you, how good are the designs of Providence: in that God leaves man certain defects which give him cause for humbling himself and for making efforts, so making each day progress in the way of salvation. And so I could not have the thought of any will other than that of the almighty wisdom and tender goodness of my sweet and loving Lord, in which He has desired for each one according to His good pleasure. All I can do, in considering the admirable ways of the divine goodness, is to spend myself in praise and thanksgiving."

This reply was for St. Gertrude a consolation and encouragement. A consolation: she was immeasurably loved by the Sacred Heart. An encouragement: she must bear her defects and combat lovingly to the end.

The day following at the first Mass, which was a Requiem Mass, the elect of God appeared to her; she seemed drawing from the Heart of our Lord with golden tubes. In this way those who had a special devotion to her drew from the divine Heart all they desired. They seemed to be saying these or similar words: "By the love which made Thee grant so many favours to Thy beloved Mechtilde, or to any other Saint, and by Thy will to grant grace to whomsoever it may be on earth or in heaven; hear me, sweet Lord Jesus Christ, by her merits and those of Thy elect."

During the Mass which followed that of the burial, Mechtilde appeared as one settled in the divine Heart, using this Heart as a lyre of which she touched four strings, making a delicious melody in several parts, melody of praise, thanksgiving, loving complaint and prayer.

The last vision with which St. Gertrude was favoured about her holy friend resumed all her teaching: zeal for the divine praise and love for the Sacred Heart. Mechtilde always appeared to be resting in the Heart of Christ, and she left it to come and meet Gertrude, showing herself to be in the brightness of glory, clothed with a dazzling garment that seemed covered with diamonds, some shining like stars and others clear as a mirror. Gertrude asked what more she desired from her Order. "Above all," she said, "I desire the praise of my Lord. You could do nothing that would give me greater happiness than to praise Him unceasingly. He has placed me among His Saints who please Him most by praising Him best."

Gertrude replied: "How are we to praise God in you?" Mechtilde replied: "Perform all your actions with the same purity of intention and perfect love that I always had for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Do this when you enter the choir to pray or to sing. Do the same when you go to sleep or take your meals, and the same for everything else. Do all your actions for me, to the praise of my Beloved, and in that you will find your salvation."

Gertrude continued: "What do you gain for the praises we offer to God for you?" She replied: "A special embrace which renews all my joy and happiness." And Gertrude saw three rays of light which came from the divine Heart and illuminated Mechtilde and all the Saints. These turning to our Lord sang: "We praise Thee for the everlasting beauty of Thy spouse, for the delight Thou takest in her, and for the perfect union which makes her one with Thee."

Gertrude, seeing that our Lord took pleasure in these praises, said to Him: "Why, O Lord, dost Thou take so great a pleasure in being praised in this soul?" He answered: "Because while living she desired above all things to see Me praised. She has kept this desire, and I come to satisfy her with My ceaseless praise (et hanc incessabili laude mea cupio satiare)."

On the feast of St. Catherine, Mechtilde came to the choir with our Lord, as if to direct the singing according to custom. And as St. Gertrude was astonished and said to her: "Is there anything you would like to ask of your sisters?" she replied: "Rejoice ardently together in your Beloved; His love surrounds you with as much tenderness and affection as that of a mother with her only child. She would always wish it to be resting on her breast. He also protects you against all that might prove harmful. God, who loves you so much, wishes you always to remain attached to Him, and never to forsake Him. If you leave Him, He will send sorrows so that you may return to Him; so does a faithful mother act. She chastises her child if it leave her and fall, to teach it not to leave her. In the same way a mother finds great joy in the tender, loving words of her child, so does your Spouse desire of you. Therefore give Him your hearts, since He is Father, Lord and Spouse and Friend and all in all to you."

The last words Gertrude understood by a divine inspiration; since He is our Father, we ought to go to Him for all we need; since He is our Lord, we must place in Him all our hope; since He is our Spouse, we must love Him with all our heart and soul; and since He is our Friend, we must tell Him with great confidence all our pains and necessities and look for consolation from Him only.

Title: Re: The Death of St. Mechtilde
Post by: Shin on July 17, 2015, 09:03:16 PM
The death of a saint is a beautiful passing!

Title: Re: The Death of St. Mechtilde
Post by: whiterockdove on July 26, 2015, 12:21:22 AM
Thank you for posting this, I enjoyed it very much. 

St. Mechtilde, pray for us. :crucifix:

All glory and praise to God!