By exploring some themes in Sophie Barat's life, we can see how these reveal her spiritual task, for her time and circumstances. But we can also glimpse how Sophie's destiny impacts on our personal and corporate biography, because across time and experience, it is her spiritual impulse which remains vital. This impulse is her quest to transform her world, by seeking to incarnate the love of God revealed in the Heart of Christ, wounded on Calvary.
That impulse, glimpsed in 1800, set Sophie Barat and her companions on a long journey.We journey too. Many of us can date the time and place, when we heard a call to go forth into the unknown, and this led us mysteriously to the Heart of Christ.
Whenever we travel, inwardly or outwardly, we meet the origins of our journey again. We reflect on how Providence has shaped every step of our path, over long years, perhaps in ways we have not yet fully seen. Maybe the level and depth of this Divine care is too breathtaking to take in, but it is there, solidly and consistently, nonetheless.
To get the range of this Providence, we first look back, we meet our beginnings, the impulses that set us on our path in life.Then we look at what God has offered us over the years, time and again, and how we have responded to those gifts, in whatever guises they came.
We chose to journey in response to an invitation, to an inner urge or desire or longing. Such journeying affirms our inner freedom. In that context, Sophie Barat's life and destiny speaks to us.We can use the depth of her experience to enrich us at this time in our lives and history.
St Madeleine Sophie Barat was canonised in 1925 and her feast day is May 25. From her presence in the spiritual worlds, she greets us and guides us.The opening words of her feast day liturgy speak the essential truth of Sophie Barat, beyond time and beyond all historical accumulations.Typically, it is from the Song of Songs, where the Beloved, Christ, speaks to the soul, in an exchange of radiant joy:
Set me as a seal upon your heart
as a seal upon your arm.
For love is as strong as death,
passion fierce as the grave.
My heart is steadfast, O God,
my heart is steadfast.
I will sing and make melody.
(Song of Songs 8.6; Ps 108.1)