Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Most Holy Trinity

                                           


God gave me to see clearly the truth of the most Holy Trinity. It is just as learned theologians told me, but I did not understand it as I do now... What I have seen is this: three distinct Persons, each one visible and who speaks and to whom we can speak. Afterwards I thought how the Son alone took human flesh, which shows clearly that the three Persons are distinct. The Persons love each other, communicate and know each other. But, if each one is distinct, how can we say that the three are one essence? For this is what we believe. This is deepest truth, and I would die for it a thousand times. In these three Persons there is but one will and one power and one might; neither can one be without the others. There is one sole Creator of all created things. Could the Son create an ant without the Father? No, because their power is one. The same is to be said of the Holy Spirit. Thus, there is one God Almighty, and the three Persons are one majesty. Is it possible to love the Father without loving the Son and the Holy Spirit? No, for those who please one of the three Persons please all three Persons, and those who offend one offend all. Can the Father exist without the Son and without the Holy Spirit? No, for they are one in being, and where one is, there are the three; they cannot be divided. How is it, then, that we see that the three Persons are distinct? And how is it that the Son, not the Father, nor the Holy Spirit, took human flesh? This is what I have never understood; theologians know it. What I know is that the three were there when that marvellous work was done. I do not busy myself with much thinking about this; all my thinking comes down to this: God is almighty, that he has done what he would do, and can do what he wills. The less I understand it, the more I believe it, and the greater the devotion it excites in me. May he be blessed for ever! Amen. St Teresa of Avila, Relations.


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Friday, May 31, 2019

Novena to the Holy Spirit starts on Friday after Ascension Day - click to pray

'The Holy Spirit' by Giaquinto Corrado, c1750.

"This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" (Jn 17:3)

"Life is your vessel, not your dwelling". When I was small. those words gave me courage; even now (...) the image of a vessel still charms my soul and help it endure exile...Doesn't Divine Wisdom tell us that "life is like a ship which slices through troubled waters, leaving no trace of its quick passage ?"(St Therese, The Story of a Soul) 

Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of Jonah, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my lambs" (Jn 21:15)

I am the child of the Church.(...)Riches and glory are not what the heart of the little child claims. (...) His glory will be the reflection of the glory that will spring from the forehead of his Mother. What he asks for is love....The child knows only one things, to love you,  Jesus. (The Story of a Soul)

"Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scriptures has said, 'Out of the believer's heart shall flow rivers of living water.'" Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive (Jn 7:37-39)

Mindful of Elisha's prayer to his father Elijah, when he dared to ask him about his dual spirit, I appeared before the angels and saints and said to them, "I am the smallest of humans, I know my misery and weakness. (...) I beg you to adopt me as your child. All the glory you help me gain will be yours alone." (The Story of a Soul). 

"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever...But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you." (Jn 14: 16-17)

Finally, the happy moment [the sacrament of confirmation] arrived. I did not feel a brisk wind when the Holy Spirit descended, but instead, I felt that high breeze on which the Prophet Elijah heard the whisper on Mount Horeh...On that day, I received the strength to suffer. (The Story of a Soul)




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Thursday, May 30, 2019

Ascension of Our Lord Jesus


For King of all the earth is God, 
Sing hymns of praise, 
God reigns over the nations, 
God sits upon His Holy Throne (Ps 47: 8-9)

The Lord gives us so much to do these days that we can hardly keep up with it all. The foundation for the friars in Cordoba was completed with greater applause and solemnity throughout the entire city than was ever given there to any other religious order. All the clergy and confraternities of Cordoba gathered, and the Most Blessed Sacrament was brought with great solemnity from the Cathedral. All streets were beautifully decorated, and the people acted as though it were the feast of Corpus Christi. This took place on the Sunday after Ascension Thursday. The Bishop came and preached, praising us highly. The house is situated in the best district of the city in the neighbourhood of the Cathedral. 
(St John of the Cross, Letter To Madre Ana de San Alberto, June 1586)

Picture represents 'Ascension of Jesus' - Rembrandt

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Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easter Sunday


Oh! how good it would be…. to live by this life of the Trinity that Jesus Christ came to bring us. He said so often that He was the Life, and that He came to give it to us in abundance.” 
(St Elizabeth of the Trinity, Letter 199)

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Monday, March 25, 2019

SOLEMNITY OF THE ANNUNCIATION



St Luke 1: 26-38

"The Angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a Virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David ; and the Virgin's name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women".


When an angel offers you to be Mother of the God who will reign for all eternity, what an astonishing mystery to see you prefer the unutterable treasure of your virginity! I understand that your soul, oh Immaculate Virgin, would be more dear to the Lord than the Divine sojourn. I understand that your soul, humble and gentle valley, would contain my Jesus, the Ocean of Love. (St Therese, Poem no 54) 



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Sunday, March 10, 2019

St Joseph Novena Prayer, 10 -18 March - click for link


St Teresa of Avila devotion to St Joseph HERE

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Monday, February 11, 2019

Our Lady of Lourdes



"Man's merits are not to be estimated by his having many visions or consolations, nor by his knowledge of Scriptures, nor by his being placed in a more elevated station; but by his being grounded in true humility, and replenished with divine charity". (Imitation of Christ Bk 3)

No sudden splendour broke the grey
And even tenor of your days,
No ecstasy made you forget
Your poverty in its bright rays

Mary, the lowliest can tread
With confidence the path you trod,
Your life the bright and shining star
That leads the wayfarer to God.
(St Therese, Poems)
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Saturday, February 02, 2019

Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes starts on 2nd February - click for link


"My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely" - Song of Songs 2:14.

Credit for a beautiful photo and perfect Scripture citation to Fr Lawrence from Godz Godz blog. I may honestly say the photo of Our Lady of Lourdes is the best one I have ever seen.


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Sunday, January 06, 2019

The Epiphany of Our Lord - click for link

The fragment taken from the Imitation of Christ refers beautifully to the Child Jesus found by the Magi led by the star and St Therese commenting on it. Let us pray we may be led to Christ always in spite of all distractions of the world.


To some I speak things common, to others things more particular; to some I sweetly appear in signs and figures, to other in great light I reveal mysteries (Imitation of Christ, Bk 3, ch43)

Since Christmas Celine had begun to share my most intimate thoughts, Our Lord wished us to make progress together, and so united us in a bond closer than mere ties of blood by making our very souls sisters. I love to recall our conversations at that time, as we sat in the belvedere looking out at the starry sky. i believe that we received many graces; as the author of the 'Imitation' says: To some I sweetly appear in signs and figures, to others in great light I reveal mysteries. He revealed Himself to our hearts, and the veil that hid Him was almost transparent. To doubt would have been impossible; whilst yet on earth we had found, through love, Him whom we sought, so that faith and hope were in abeyance. (Story of the Soul)



Having sighted the divinely-moving star, the Magi followed its radiance; and holding it as a lamp, by it they sought a powerful King; and having reached the Unreachable One, they rejoiced, shouting to Him: Alleluia!
The sons of the Chaldees saw in the hands of the Virgin Him Who with His hand made man. And knowing Him to be the Master, even though He had taken the form of a servant, they hastened to serve Him with gifts, and to cry to Her Who is blessed:
Rejoice, Mother of the Unsetting Star:
Rejoice, dawn of the mystic day!
Rejoice, Thou Who didst extinguish the furnace of error:
Rejoice, Thou Who didst enlighten the initiates of the Trinity!
Rejoice, Thou Who didst banish from power the inhuman tyrant:
Rejoice, Thou Who didst show us Christ the Lord, the Lover of mankind!
Rejoice, Thou Who redeemest from pagan worship:
Rejoice, Thou Who dost drag us from the works of mire!
Rejoice, Thou Who didst quench the worship of fire:
Rejoice, Thou Who rescuest from the flame of the passions!
Rejoice, guide of the faithful to chastity:
Rejoice, gladness of all generations!
Rejoice, O Bride Unwedded!

Having become God-bearing heralds, the Magi returned to Babylon, having fulfilled Thy prophecy; and having preached Thee to all as the Christ, they left Herod as a babbler who knew not how to sing: Alleluia !
(Adoration of the Magi - Akathist Hymn attributed to Romanos the Melodist (+560). After 'A Moment with Mary'




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Sunday, December 16, 2018

Christmas Novena starts 16th December - click for link






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Friday, December 14, 2018

St John of the Cross Feast Day

Where there is no love, bring love.

John accepted all this without complaint. In July of that year, he had written to Mother Mary of the Incarnation, Prioress of the Segovia convent, who was distressed at the treatment he was receiving: '....do not let what is happening to me, my daughter, cause you any grief, for it does not cause me any....Men do not do these things, but God, who knows what is suitable for us and arranges things for our good. Think nothing else but that God ordains all, and where there is no love, put love, and you will draw out love...' Even more now, when he was being treated with such little love, he responded only with love and forgiveness. 'At the evening of life' , said John of the Cross, 'we will be judged by love.' John was approaching the evening of his life. Love was his response to everything. He refused to say an ill word of those who hated him. He received letters telling him of Fr Diego's campaign against him, which were kept in a bag at the bottom of his bed. He ordered them to be burnt, so that they would not damage the Order after his death. He had no word of complaint of his treatment, seeing everything as a permitted by God for his good. Perhaps alluding to the nun's concerns about Doria's governance, but surely applicable to his own situation, he wrote to Mother Anne of St Albert, 'you already know, daughter, the trials they are now suffering. God permits it to try his elect. In silence and in hope shall our strength be.'
'Have a great love for those who contradict and fail to love you,' he wrote to another nun, 'for in this way love is begotten in a heart that has no love. God so acts with us, for He loves us that we might love by means of the very love He bears toward us.' It worked, because at John's deathbed, the Prior knelt in tears and asked his forgiveness.


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Thursday, November 29, 2018

Novena for the Immaculate Conception 29th November to 7th of December


O IMMACULATE Virgin! Mary, conceived without sin!
Remember, thou wert miraculously preserved from
even the shadow of sin, because thou wert destined
to become not only the Mother of God, but also
the mother, the refuge, and the advocate of man;
penetrated, therefore, with the most lively confidence
in thy never-failing intercession, we most humbly implore
thee to look with favor upon the intentions of this novena,
and to obtain for us the graces and favors we request.
(Here form your petitions.)
Thou knowest, O Mary, how often our hearts are the
sanctuaries of God, Who abhors iniquity. Obtain for us,
then, that Angelic purity which was thy favorite virtue,
that purity of heart which will attach us to God alone, and
that purity of intention which will consecrate every thought,
word, and action to His greater glory. Obtain also for us a
constant spirit of prayer and self-denial, that we may recover
by penance that innocence which we have lost by sin,
and at length attain safely to that blessed abode of the
Saints, where nothing defiled can enter.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

EWTN version of the Novena HERE


The picture represents masterpiece by Francisco de Zurbaran

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Sunday, November 25, 2018

Christ the King Solemnity


On one occasion when I was in prayer I had a vision in which I saw how all things are seen in God. I cannot explain what I saw, but what I saw remains to this day deeply imprinted on my soul. It was a great act of grace in God to give me that vision. It puts me to unspeakable confusion, shame, and horror whenever I recall that magnificent sight, and then think of my sin. I believe that had the Lord been pleased to send me that great revelation of Himself earlier in my life, it would have kept me back from much sin. The vision was so delicate, so subtle, and so spiritual, that my hard understanding cannot, at this distance of time, close with it; but, to make use of an illustration, it was something like this. Suppose the Godhead to be a vast globe of light, a globe larger than the whole world, and that all our actions are seen in that all-embracing globe. It was something like that I saw. For I saw all my most filthy actions gathered up and reflected back upon me from that World of light. I tell you it was a piteous and a dreadful thing to see. I knew not where to hide myself, for that shining light, in which was no darkness at all, held the whole world within it, and all worlds. You will see that I could not flee from its presence. Oh that they could be made to see this who commit deeds of darkness!  Oh that they but saw that there is no place secret from God: but that all they do is done before Him, and in Him!  Oh the madness of committing sin in the immediate presence of a Majesty so great, and to whose holiness all our sin is so hateful.  In this also I saw His great mercifulness in that He suffers such a sinner as I am still to live. (Santa Teresa an Appreciation: On the Godhead). 

The picture of 'Christ Blessing' painting was taken in El Greco Museum in Toledo, Spain


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Friday, November 16, 2018

Chirst the King Novena starts 16th November and concludes on 24th November.

Pray Novena to Christ the King here


Christ the King, Ghent Altarpiece, Jan Van Eyck.

Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom....Today, you will be with me in Paradise (Luke 23:42-43)

When she [St Teresa of Avila] came into the world, a mere twenty years had passed since the last of the Moors were driven out of Spain and the whole peninsula united in the Catholic faith. Eight centuries of continual warfare between the Cross and the Crescent lay behind the Spanish people. During these battles they blossomed into an heroic people, into a legion of Christ the King. Teresa’s more immediate homeland, the ancient kingdom of Castile, was the strong fortress from which in resolute struggle the cross was gradually carried to the South. (Edith Stein, 'The Hidden Life')


If I leave the battleground, it isn't with a selfish desire to rest; the Thought of the eternal beatitude hardly makes my heart flutter. For a long time, suffering has become my heaven here on earth....What draws me to the heavenly homeland is the Father's call. It is the hope of finally loving Him as I so wanted and the thought that I would make him loved by a multitude of souls who would bless Him eternally. (St Therese, Letter 28)

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Thursday, November 15, 2018

All Carmelite Souls


Jesus said to his disciples: Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still, and trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father's house; if there were not, I should have told you. I am going now to prepare a place for you, and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you with me; so that where I am you may be too. You know the way to the place where I am going. (St John 14:1-6)

I had a father and a mother who both feared God. My father had his chief delight in the reading of good books, and he did his best to give his children the same happy taste. This also helped me much, that I never saw my father or my mother regard anything but goodness. Though possessing very great beauty in her youth, my mother was never known to set any store by it. Her apparel, even in her early married life, was that of a woman no longer young. Her life was a life of suffering, her death was most Christian. After my mother’s removal, I began to think too much about my dress and my appearance, and I pursued many such like things that I was never properly warned against, full of mischief though they were both to myself and to others. I too early learned every evil from an immoral relative. I was very fond of this woman’s company. I gossiped and talked with her continually. She assisted me to all the amusements I loved; and, what was worse, she found some very evil amusements for me, and in every way communicated to me her own vanities and mischiefs. I am amazed to think on the evil that woman so changed me that scarcely any trace was left in me of my natural disposition to virtue. I became a perfect reflection of her and of another who was as bad as she was. For my education and protection my father sent me to the Augustinian Monastery, in which children like myself were brought up. There was a good woman in that religious house, and I began gradually to love her. How impressively she used to speak to me of God! She was a woman of the greatest good sense and sanctity. She told me how she first came to herself by the mere reading of these words of the Gospel, ‘Many are called and few chosen.’ This good companionship began to root out the bad habits I had brought to that house with me; but my heart had by that time become so hard that I never shed a tear, no, not though I read the whole Passion through. When at last I entered the Religious House of the Incarnation for life, our Lord at once made me understand how He helps those who do any violence to themselves in order to serve Him. No one observed this violence in me. They saw nothing in me but the greatest goodwill. At that sore step I was filled with a joy so great that it has never wholly left whatsoever in the path of duty: for our God is omnipotent, and He is on our side. May He be blessed for ever! Amen. O my supreme Good and my true Rest, I know not how to go on when I call those happy days to mind, and think of all my evil life since then! My tears ought to be tears of blood. My heart ought to break. But Thou, Lord, hast borne with me for almost twenty years, till I have had time to improve. And all that it might be better known to me who Thou art and what I am. Woe is me, my Maker! I have no excuse, I have only blame. Let Thy mercy, O Lord, rest on me. Other women there have been who have done great deeds in Thy service, but I am good only to talk: all my goodness ends in so many words: that is all my service of Thee, my God. Cost me what it may, let me not go on coming to Thee with idle words and empty hands, seeing that the reward of every one will be according to his works. Depart not from me, and I can do all things. Depart from me, and I shall return to whence I was taken, even to hell. One of the reasons that move me, who am what I am, to write all this even under obedience, and to madness as mine! Where could I think to find either pardon for the past, or power for the time to come, but from Thee? What folly to the stumbler to run away from the light! Let all those who would give themselves to prayer, and to a holy life, look well to this. They should know that when I was shunning prayer because I was so bad, my badness became more abandoned than ever it had been before. Rely on the waiting and abounding goodness of God, which is infinitely greater than all the evil you can do. When we acknowledge our vileness, He remembers it no more. I grew weary of sinning before God grew weary of forgiving my sin. He is never weary of giving grace, nor are his compassions to be exhausted. May He be blessed for ever, amen: and may all created things praise Him! I have made a vow—[it is known as ‘the Teresian vow,’ ‘the seraphic vow,’ ‘the most arduous of vows,’ ‘a vow yet unexampled in the Church’], a vow never to offend God in the very least matter. I have vowed that I would rather die a thousand deaths than do anything of that kind, knowing I was doing it. I am resolved also, never to leave anything whatsoever undone that I consider to be still more perfect, and more for the honour of our Lord. Cost me what pain it may, I would not leave such an act undone for all the treasures of the world. If I were to do so, I do not think I could have the face to ask anything of God in prayer: and yet, for all that, I have many faults and imperfections remaining in me to this day. (Santa Teresa an Appreciation)

Picture is from the public domain and represents Rubens' All Souls Day'.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

All Carmelite Saints


I will make my home with them and walk among them; I will be their God and they shall be my people (2Cor 6:16) 
I will set up my dwelling among them (Lev 26:11)

'O Saints of Carmel, throned above
In Mary's court, obtain this grace 
That where you are in glory now
We, too, may find a resting-place'

All of us who wear this holy Carmelite habit are called to prayer and contemplation. This is what we were founded for. We are descendant from those holy fathers of ours on Mount Carmel, those who went in search of that treasure – the priceless pearl we are talking about – in such solitude and with such contempt for the world. We must remember those holy fathers of ours who have gone before us, the hermits whose lives we are trying to imitate. We must remember our real founders. These holy fathers whose descendants we are. It was by way of poverty and humility, we know, that they came to enjoyment of God. On the subject if the beginning of Orders, I sometimes hear it said that the Lord gave greater graces to those saints who went before us because they were the foundations. Quite so, but we too must always bear in mind what it means to be foundations for those who will come later. For if those of us who are alive now have not fallen away from what they did in the past, and those who come after us do the same, the building will always stand firm. What use is it to me for the saints of the past to have been what they were, if I come along after them and behave so badly that I leave the building in ruins because of my bad habits? For obviously whose who come later don’t remember those who have died years before as clearly as they do the people they see around them. A fine state of affairs it is if I insist that I am not one of the first, and do not realize what a difference there is between my life and virtues, and the life of those God has endowed with such grace! And you who sees your Order falling away in any respect, must try to be kind of stone the building can be rebuilt with – the Lord will help to rebuilt it. For love of our Lord I beg them to remember how quickly everything comes to an end, and what a favour our Lord has done us in bringing us to this Order, and what a punishment anyone who starts any kind of relaxation will deserve. They must always look at the race we are descended from – that race of holy prophets. What numbers of saints we have in heaven who have worn this habit of ours! We must have the holy audacity to aspire, with God’s help, to be like them. The struggle will not last long, but the outcome will be eternal. (St Teresa of Avila, readings from Discalced Carmelite proper Offices for the Feast of All Carmelite Saints)


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Thursday, November 01, 2018

All Saints and All Souls Solemnities


                                                          Van Eyck, Ghent Altarpiece

 "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."(Eph 3:13, 17-19) 

St Paul admonished the Ephesians not to grow weak in their tribulations and to be strong and rooted in charity in order to comprehend with all the Saints what is the breath and height and depth and to know also the supereminent charity of the knowledge of Christ, in order to be filled with all the fullness of God. (St John of the Cross, 'The Collected Works')

'Behold, the Lord invites all since He is truth itself, there is no reason to doubt' (St Teresa of Avila, 'The Way of Perfection' ch 19). 

Today is a vigil of All Saints, and All Souls Day is the (40th) Anniversary of my receiving the habit. Ask God to make me a geniune Carmelite nun, for better late than never, (fragment of her letter to Fr Gratian)
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Monday, October 15, 2018

Happy Feast of St Teresa of Jesus to all who care and visit this blog sometimes! - click for link


Quote for this wonderful day: Teresa knew well the continued presence and value of suffering (physical illness, opposition to reform, difficulties in prayer), but she grew to be able to embrace suffering, even desire it: "Lord, either to suffer or to die." Toward the end of her life she exclaimed: "Oh, my Lord! How true it is that whoever works for you is paid in troubles! And what a precious price to those who love you if we understand its value."
(after Saint of the Day)

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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Novena Rose Prayer to St Therese starts 22nd September


Novena Rose Prayer

O Little Therese of the Child Jesus, please pick for me a rose from the heavenly gardens and send it to me as a message of love.

O Little Flower of Jesus, ask God today to grant the favors I now place with confidence in your hands...(mention petitions)

St. Therese, help me to always believe as you did, in God's great love for me, so that I might imitate your "Little Way" each day. Amen.

credit to Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus, Manchester, St Louis


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Tuesday, August 07, 2018

St Albert Trapani, Carmelite and Confessor

He shone in his days as the morning sun in the midst of a cloud, and as the moon at the full. And as the sun when he shineth, so did he shine in the temple of God. (Ecclus 50)

Albert, the Carmelite, was born of noble parents in Sicily, of Benedict Adaltibo and Joanna of Mt Trapani. His parents has been married for twenty-six years and were childless. Therefore, they made a vow to the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, binding themselves, in case she would obtain for them a son, to consecrate him to her in the Carmelite monastery which stood near to Mt Trapani. Their prayer was heard, and in their sleep they saw a torch which came forth from the mother's womb. On account of this vision the latter foretold to her husband that the boy would be great before God, and this hath been proven by the event. For while, as a boy, he was being trained in liberal sciences, the blessing of God fell upon him, and he entered the monastery of Trapani at the age of eight years. Rejoicing in the rudeness of the life, as well as in the strict discipline of the Rule, his progress was such that he soon showed himself an example of virtue to the rest.

Prayer of St Albert [composed during a famine in Messina]
O my God! Was it not said that by You and Your ineffable power You have created mankind? Is it not as a result of Your clemency that You call us to partake of Your glory and the happiness of eternal life? When original sin condemned us to suffer death, did it not please your goodness to repurchase us through the blood of Your Son, to unite us to You through our faith and Your great mercy? You have repurchased us from the shame of original sin; You have covered our dishonour with a fragment of Your glory. And now here is this difficult work built by You, this work with which You soften the limbs and joints, with which You have ennobled the destiny of the immortal soul with sublime beauty, and Satan's attacks! the father of hatred, pride, with the introduction of his jealousy, in order to wound this body which You have created. Deign therefore, Lord, to rebuilt Your work! Deign to cure this blindness, so that Your power may be glorified and that the malice of the enemy may be confounded. [repeated three times by St Albert while praying over a sick child]

Text adopted from "Saints of Carmel" and "Drink of the Stream". The painting "Mary Presenting the Child Jesus to St. Albert" from Carmelite Monastery - Straubing, Germany.



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