Ordinary Time: November 19th
Thursday of the Thirty-Third Week of Ordinary Time
Old Calendar: St. Elizabeth of Hungary, widow; St. Pontianus, pope and martyr; St. Mechtildis (Matilda) (hist)
According to the 1962 Missal of St. John XXIII the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, today is the feast of St. Elizabeth of Hungary and the commemoration of St. Pontianus (or Pontian). According to the Ordinary Form St. Elizabeth's feast is now celebrated on November 17 and St. Pontianus (or Pontian) is on August 13.Historically today is the feast of St. Mechtildis who was born to a noble family in Heifta, Saxony, and was placed in a Benedictine convent at age seven. Mechtildis was a mystic, and aided St. Gertrude with her Book of Special Graces or The Revelation of St. Mechtildis.Death does not herald the end of personal existence but rather a new triumphal beginning. Although we are faced with the certainty of death, we are at the same time consoled by the promise of a glorious bodily immortality. What Christ, the Head of the Mystical Body, did for Himself He will also do for His members. The same divine power is always operative within Him.During the final week of the ecclesiastical year, the language of the liturgy becomes very earnest and impressive. The Last Judgment with all its terrors is approaching. By this reminder the Church desires to make us realize our responsibilities, but she also desires to show us in Christ's judgment His crowning victory and the completion of His work of redemption. We should be inspired with confidence and very great hope at the thought that He who will come to judge us is the very same who came into this world to save us. Throughout the liturgical year the Church never ceases to remind us of this.
Like a Drop of Water as It Falls into the Ocean
The month of November opens with two Feast Days lived intensely by the Liturgy and by popular piety: All Saints and All Souls. These two feasts give depth to the month traditionally dedicated to praying for those who have crossed the threshold of hope. When we pray for the faithful departed, or better, for those living in the Next World, we are reminded of the ultimate realities of human existence. Authentic Christians are ever more keenly aware of this dimension as they pray for the souls in Purgatory, who are unable to help themselves and rely on our prayers.
- Today would be a good time to meditate on our own last end. Maybe pick up the Imitation of Christ and read Book 1 Chapter 24.
- Make sure you have your Advent wreath ready, candles and all. Decide what ceremony and prayers you will use with your family.
- If you are going to make or use an Advent calendar or the Jesse tree gather everything you need today.
- If you plan to stir-up plum pudding on Sunday be sure you have all the ingredients.
St. Mechtildis was one of a trio of extraordinary mystics who inhabited the same Benedictine convent in Saxony in the late thirteenth century. Aside from Mechtildis of Helfta (born in Hackeborn – and also carries that title), first came to the convent of Helfta when she was seven, there was also the ex-Beguine St Mechtild of Magdeburg (70 years prior) and the younger, St Gertrude the Great. None of these women held any notable office in their community and yet they exerted spiritual authority far beyond the convent as a result of their visions and their wide reputation for holiness.
In the case of Mechtildis, her first mystical vision occurred while receiving Holy Communion. our Lord appeared to her, held her hands, and left his imprint on her heart "like a seal in wax." Christ furthermore presented his own heart to her in the form of a cup and said, "By my heart you will praise me always; go, offer to all the saints the drink of life from my heart that they may be happily inebriated with it."Mechtildis had a great devotion to the humanity of Christ, for this humanity was the "door" by which human beings and, indeed, all creation entered into union with divinity. In one extraordinary vision she perceived that "the smallest details of creation are reflected in the Holy Trinity by means of the humanity of Christ, because it is from the same earth that produced them that Christ drew his humanity."As a result of her visions, Mechtildis wielded tremendous authority within her community and beyond. She was regarded as a prophet, teacher, and counsellor, "a tender mother of the unfortunate by her continual prayers, her zealous instruction, and her consolations." The teachings and visions of St. Mechtildis were carefully recorded, by her spiritual daughter and lifelong friend, St. Gertrude, in a work entitled the Book of Special Grace. She died on November 19, 1298.Excerpted from Belgravia Catholic Church of St AnneThings to Do:
- Read The Love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus by St. Mechtilde