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Mechthild of Magdeburg

Mechthild of Magdeburg (1210-1280): if nothing else, that name is great. But greater still was her love of God and the writings she produced which reflected this love. She lived during a high point in the production of spiritual classics. Within 100 years before and after Mechthild, at least eight spiritual classics still in circulation today were written; she added to that number.

Mechthild was born of German nobility. From the age of twelve, she felt the closeness of God, and decided to become a nun. In the convent, she reported having numerous close experiences with God. Eventually, by order of her superior, she wrote down many of these. Her most important book was a collection of her experiences which took around fifteen years to finish. She stated that God informed her that the name should be "Light of my Divinity, flowing into all hearts that live without guile [being devious]." Nevertheless, her book, in seven volumes was called The Flowing Light of the Godhead. It is filled with both poetry and prose, some of which are quoted below.

"I cannot dance, Lord, unless you lead me.
If you want me to leap with abandon,
You must intone the song.
Then I shall leap into love,
From love into knowledge,
From knowledge into enjoyment,
And from enjoyment beyond all human sensations.
There I want to remain, yet want also to circle higher still."

(A different quote)

"God: What do you bring Me, [Mechthild]?
Soul:     Lord, I bring You my precious treasure; It is greater than the mountains,
              Wider than the world, Deeper than the sea, Higher than the clouds, More glorious
              than the sun, more numerous than the sun, more numerous than the stars,
             it outweighs the entire earth!
God:     O you, the image of My Divine likeness, made noble by My humanity, adorned
              by My Holy Spirit, what do you call this precious treasure?
Soul:    O Lord, I call it my heart's desire!
             I have kept it away from worldly things,
             I have denied others and myself my heart's desire.
             Now I can no longer carry it. Where, O Lord, shall I lay it?
God:    You shall place your heart's desire nowhere but in My own Divine Heart and
             on my human breast. There alone you will find comfort and My Spirit will
             embrace you."

(Written when she was close to death.)

"Then we shall no longer complain.
Then everything that God has done with us [while on earth]
Will suit us just fine,
If you will now only stand fast
And keep hold of sweet hope."       

2007 Mark Nickens

Questions/comments contact Mark at drnickens@triad.rr.com.

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