Always at the door of our heart

Image of Mother Mectilde courtesy of the Benedictines of Perpetual Adoration of Warsaw, Poland In this conference, Mother Mectilde instructs us on the feast and grace of Pentecost. I first translated this text in 2011.

God's Gift to Us The Holy Spirit is the fruit of the coming of the Son of God into the world, the fruit of His sufferings and of His labours. In order for us to receive Him, it was necessary that the Son of God suffer all His great sorrows; moreover, had He not asked the Holy Spirit for us, we would not have received Him. The Holy Spirit is, therefore, God's Gift to us. Like a powerful King who seeks among the good things of His kingdom, what is most precious to make of it a gift to the person dearest to him, even so does the Eternal Father. Possessing nothing greater than His Holy Spirit, He gives Him to men in recompense for the suffering of His Son.

How Great a Gift This festival is, then, most important, and so the entire Church disposes herself for it with a very particular devotion. What then must one do in so as to to receive Him well and partake of His fruits? Two things are needed to know how great a gift is the Holy Spirit and what is needed to keep Him. These will be the two points of my instruction and the subject of your reflection.

Light, Strength, Fire The Holy Spirit is, first of all, the light that illumines us in our darkness; strength in our weakness; fire in our coldness. We know by experience how much we have need of all these things, since we are so immersed in shadows that we see not even a single ray of light, and nearly always we know not what we are doing and where we are going. So weak are we that we are unable to carry out even those things that we know God expects of us. So cold are we towards God, so little fervour do we have and so low are our feelings. that we are ashamed of ourselves. See then how great is our need to receive the Holy Spirit. But what must we do to keep the Holy Spirit? Listen to what the Apostle Saint Paul says: "My brothers, above all else I pray you and recommend that you be very attentive not to grieve the Holy Spirit." (Eph 4:30) And how can we grieve Him? Let us listen to what He Himself says to the Spouse: "Open to me, my sister," "Open to me my sister, my spouse." (Ct 5:2)

A Great Will and Ardent Desires The Holy Spirit is always at the door of our heart: let us be very careful not to shut Him out, because this grieves Him. In the little time that remains we must train ourselves to have a great will and ardent desires to receive Him; this will be how we open the door to Him. But this is not enough. It is necessary also to remove the obstacles that may keep Him for entering. And how? By emptying ourselves of the spirit of the world and of ourselves, because two things opposed to each other cannot subsist together; what is black can never become so white as to have nothing of blackness left. So it is with us. Our soul will never be so bright that all the blackness of sin will have gone out of it. But we must empty ourselves if we would be filled with the Holy Spirit; in fact, he who would fill a vessel must empty it first.

Humility, Submission, Abandonment And finally, what must we do to receive the fruits of the Holy Spirit and have Him abide in us? Three things. The first is humility. Our Lord, in fact, when He was asked on whom He would make His Spirit rest, answered, upon one who is humble. Let us therefore abandon all the thoughts that turn to our own interests, to our self-love, and to our own judgment; this is necessary if the we want the Spirit to live in us. The second thing is a perfect submission to all that He wants of us. And the third; the one that is highest, the most excellent, and unfailing, is abandonment. If He wills that we be in health or in sickness, we must will it; in joy or in sorrow, in labour or in rest, in suffering or in enjoyment, we must will it.

Ask and Receive In the end, we must necessarily burn with this fire of the Spirit in this world here below, so as not to burn eternally in the fire of hell. Make your choice: It is God who has said it. Let us not cease from asking Him [for the Holy Spirit] also because God says that if a child asks his father for something, this will never be refused him. And therefore, it is assured that we will be heard:and it is this that I wish for you with all my heart. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.

Mother Mectilde du Saint-Sacrement (1614-1698)