Featured News
View our Vocations Brochure
Home / Blogging With Purpose / It is all about the Heart
It is all about the heart

It is all about the Heart

The fact that this year Ash Wednesday falls on St. Valentine’s Day is a simple reminder, if one were needed, that Love is all about the Heart!

The 13thC mystic Mechthild of Magdeburg in her writings The Flowing Light of the Godhead expresses the reality of a lifelong Love and yearning for intimacy of relationship with God, and how this unfolded.  In the face of this bursting forth of a passion for God, that she describes as being awakened by a spark of God’s spirit through God’s love, resulted in everything else suddenly retreating into the background.

She manages to articulate the most intimate relationship that there is between God and the human person, now preserved eloquently in these writings.  The Flowing Light of the Godhead is nothing other than the moving story of God’s heart, and the human heart.  Mechthild shares that this was her mission ‘to write this book out of God’s heart and mouth’.  As an editor of these writings expressed it:

“The writing of this book flowed out of the living Godhead into Sister Mechthild’s heart, and has been as faithfully set down here as it was given by God out of her heart”. (VI 43)

Her mystical understanding of her immediate experiences take on the function of both supporting the human person and strengthening the church.  We know that the heart is the principle and centre of one’s life as a person.  But, as Karl Rahner, SJ wrote, it is also the place  “where the human being in its own source borders on the mystery of God”. 

Experiencing God, in the case of Mechthild became a vital mutual interaction between the heart of God and the human heart, in which longing lies in God’s heart.  Mechthild write:

“Lord, because I have no earthly treasure, I do not have an earthly heart either.  For you, Lord, are my treasure, just as you are also my heart; and you alone are my good” (IV 7)

Just as we begin our journey from Cross to Resurrection this Eastertide, starting now on Ash Wednesday, may we gain a greater understanding of what it is to give our hearts completely to Love, in whatever form this may take as part of the plan of God in our lives.

The Eucharist and Our Daily Lives

Come, Lord, enter my heart
you who are crucified, who have died, who love,
who are faithful, truthful, patient, and humble,
you who have taken upon yourself a slow and toilsome life
in a single corner of the world,
denied by those who are your own,
too little loved by your friends,
betrayed by them, subjected to the law,
made the plaything of politics right from the very first,
a refugee child, a carpenter’s son, a creature who found
only barrenness and futility as a result of his labours,
a man who loved and who found no love in response,
you who were too exalted for those about you to understand,
you who were left desolate,
who were brought to the point of feeling yourself forsaken by God,
you who sacrificed all,
who commend yourself into the hands of your Father,
you who cry: “My God, my Father, why have you forsaken me?”

I will receive you as you are,
make you the innermost law of my life.
When I receive you I accept my everyday just as it is,
for I receive it from you yourself,
the everyday and its inward light,
the everyday and its meaning,
the everyday and the power to endure it,
which becomes the dimmed-ness of your eternal life.

~ Karl Rahner


Mechthild of Magdeburg: The Flowing Light of the Godheadtranslated by Frank Tobin, is published by Paulist Press, New Jersey, USA.

Mechthild of Magdeburg (c. 1208 – c. 1282/94) lived most of her life as a beguine.  Beguines were women who led lives of voluntary poverty, chastity and religious devotion without joining an approved religious order.  The movement began in the larger towns of the Low Countries during the twelfth century.  It flourished form about 1220 to 1318.The reasons motivating women to undertake this way of life seem to be the same as those contributing to the founding of the Franciscan and Dominican orders about the same time: the wish to return to the ideals of earl Christianity and imitate more closely the lies of the the apostles.  Beguines strove to be unworldly while living in the world.

Karl Rahner, SJ (5 March 1904 – 30 March 1984) was a German Jesuit priest and theologian who, alongside Henri de Lubac, Hans Urs von Balthasar, and Yves Congar, is considered to be one of the most influential Catholic theologians of the 20th century. He was the brother of Hugo Rahner, also a Jesuit scholar. Rahner was born in Freiburg, at the time a part of the Grand Duchy of Baden, a state of the German Empire; he died in Innsbruck, Austria.

Before the Second Vatican Council, Rahner worked alongside Yves Congar, Henri de Lubac, and Marie-Dominique Chenu, theologians associated with the emerging school of theological thought known as Nouvelle Théologie. Some elements of Nouvelle Théologie were condemned in the encyclical Humani generis by Pope Pius XII. The Second Vatican Council was influenced by Rahner’s theology and his understanding of Catholic faith.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


View our Vocations Brochure