Spiritual Almanac – Saturday, January 2, 2021: Mechtild of Magdeburg

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Inspiration for today comes from the medieval mystic, Mechtild of Magdeburg. Not much is known about Mechtild apart from what she tells us in her writings, starting with her first divine vision at the age of 12. At the age of 23, she renounced her noble upbringing to join the Beguines, a monastic lay order. Although it’s difficult to say how much of her writing is a description of her visions and how much is her own creation, it’s clear that she had the gifts of a poet.

This is Mechtild’s poem titled “Effortlessly.”

EFFORTLESSLY

by Mechtild of Magdeburg

Effortlessly,
Love flows from God into man,
Like a bird
Who rivers the air
Without moving her wings.

Thus we move in His world
One in body and soul,
Though outwardly separate in form.

As the Source strikes the note,
Humanity sings —
The Holy Spirit is our harpist,
And all strings
Which are touched in Love
Must sound.

As human beings, we’re conditioned to expect resistance: in our work, in our relationships, even in the way we think about ourselves. Mechtild paints a vision of an alternative way. Instead of friction, we encounter flow. And it starts with divine love. “As the Source strikes the note, Humanity sings.”

A few other inspirational nuggets for today

  • It’s the birthday of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, also known as the “Little Flower.” Born in 1873, Therese was the youngest of 9 children, though only 5 survived to adulthood. Her mother died when she was 4 years old and after her older sisters became nuns, she entered a Carmelite monastery at the age of 15. Like many mystics, she suffered from bouts of depression and doubt, but developed a reputation for her cheerful attitude. Despite her constant struggle, she pioneered the “Little Way” —  a spiritual approach that combined holiness with everyday life. Speaking of the Little Way, Therese said: “I will seek out a means of getting to Heaven by a little way—a very short and very straight little way that is wholly new … To get there I need not grow. On the contrary, I must remain little, I must become still less.”
  • Also on this day, the first religious radio show aired in 1921. It was broadcast by KDKA in Pittsburgh and featured the preaching of Dr. E.J. Van Etten. Based on its success, Calvary Episcopal Church aired the first religious service on the same station two months later and the program ran every Sunday evening for the next 41 years.

Be kind, take care and God bless.

 

“Effortlessly” by Mechtild of Magdeburg. Public domain.

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