Thought for the Day – 19 November – The Memorial of St Matilda/Mechtilde of Hackeborn (c 1241-1298)
Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus
Matilda and Gertrude of Helfta/the Great, became ardent devotees and promoters of Jesus’ heart after it was the subject of many of their visions. The idea of hearing the heartbeat of God was very important to medieval saints, who nurtured devotion to the Sacred Heart. Women such as Saint Matilda and Saint Gertrude perceived Jesus’ heart as the breast of a mother. Just as a mother gives milk to nourish her child, so Jesus in the Eucharist gives us His life blood.
In one vision, Mechtilde reported that Jesus said, “In the morning let your first act be to greet My Heart and to offer Me your own. Whoever, breathes a sigh toward Me, draws Me to himself.”
One of the visions recounted by Mechtilde states that Jesus having appeared to her, commanded her to love Him ardently and to honour His Sacred Heart in the Blessed Sacrament as much as possible. He gave her His Sacred Heart as a pledge of His love, as a place of refuge during her life and as her consolation at the hour of her death. From this time Mechtilde had an extraordinary devotion to the Sacred Heart and she received such great graces from It, that she was accustomed to say, that if she had to write down all the favours and all the blessings which she had received by means of this devotion, a large book would not contain them.
In another, Jesus Himself recommended the Gospel. Opening to her, the wound of His most gentle heart, He said to her: “Consider how great is my love – if you want to know it well, you will not find it expressed more clearly anywhere, than in the Gospel. No-one has ever expressed stronger or more tender feelings than these – As my Father has loved me, so have I loved you (John 15:9)”.
Her accounts of these visions were later compiled in the Liber Specialis Gratiae – The Book of Special Grace.