Friday, January 01, 2016

New Blog

EFFICATIOUS PRAYER  AND NOVENA TO OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL

available on my new blog
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Friday, October 16, 2015

THE TERESIAN JUBILEE YEAR WITH INDULGENCES GRANTED BY POPE FRANCIS TO ALL DIOCESES IN SPAIN, COMMENCING OCTOBER 25TH 2014 UNTIL OCTOBER 15TH 2015 - click for link

To read more click here
Audiobooks of St Teresa by LibriVox:
The Life of St Teresa HERE
Book of Foundations HERE
Conception of Divine Love HERE
The Way of Perfection HERE
Interior Castle HERE
Map of Teresian foundation in Spain HERE 
Map after BLOG

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Monday, December 08, 2014

St John of the Cross - Feast Day coming soon, 14th December

It is perhaps the best time now to meditate on the life of the greatest Saint of Carmel, who at the pick of his religious leadership and popularity preferred following Christ by choosing 'to suffer and to be looked down upon' instead of obtaining temporal rewards for his service to Christ. By meditating upon this example of extraordinary holiness we can better understand what does it really mean to love God above ourselves.


Storms clouds began to break over John's head when the Father General, Nicolas Doria, convened an Extraordinary Chapter in June 1590. John had a premonition that things would go badly for him. When one of the Segovian nuns said that she was sure he would return to them as their Provincial, he replied and with certainty, 'I shall be thrown into a corner like an old rag'. One source of disagreement went as back as 1581 at the Chapter at Almodovar del Campo. John had come into conflict (yes, even saints do this sometimes!) with Fr Ferome Gracian who had been a favourite and close collaborator of St Teresa. Gracian wanted the friars to be more active in the apostolate, whereas John insisted that they should be primarily contemplative, from which their apostolate would flow. He did not want their contemplative vocation to take second place and perhaps be squeezed out. This tension between the active and contemplative aspects of the Carmelite friar's life had a long history. The Order traces its origin back to the time of the Crusades, when some of the crusaders decided to settle in the Holy Land, on Mount Carmel, where Elija and Elisha had founded a 'school of prophets', living a life of community and contemplation. Ever since, Carmelites have looked on two great prophets as their spiritual forebears. When the Muslims defeated the crusaders and drove them out of the Holy Land, the friars fled to the West, where they took up an active apostolate, sometimes to the detriment of their contemplative base.
At the Madrid Chapter the problem was more a clash of personalities between Gracian, who represented the moderates and Doria who wanted more control. Although Teresa had not taken personality to Doria, a Genoese who had been a banker before entering the Discalced, she had prized Doria's organisational skills, but he was rigid and authoritarian. The younger Gracian had a brilliant mind, a distinguished scholar and organiser , and had a much more pleasing and charming manner, although his impetuosity and rashness made him powerful enemies - including Doria. Now, Doria put forward some proposals with which John adamantly disagreed. Doria changed the government of the Order, concentrating all power in the hands of a permanent committee. He also wanted to take revenge against the formidable Mother Ann of Jesus, who, supported by John of the Cross, opposed his plans for the nuns and wanted to seek papal approbation for their constitutions. In addition, he wanted to expel Gracian from the Order, seeing him as a dangerous rival to his own power. John of the Cross had already warned Gracian that this might happen. He had been horrified when Gracian had proposed that Doria should succeed him as Provincial: he was elected only by two votes. Now, he felt that Gracian was being unfairly treated, and said so. Although many of the other friars privately agreed with him, they were too cowed by Doria's dictatorial manner to speak out.


The moving story of St John of the Cross last years marked by his heroic love of God and the neighbour is to be continued.
Credit: on the basis of CTS little book 'John of the Cross' by Jennifer Moorcroft

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Sunday, December 07, 2014

Mariology in writings of St John of the Cross - click for link


'Ordo Beatissimae Virginis Mariae de Monte Carmelo' - painting by Gregorio Fortis, Madrid. At the bottom of this painting it is written: "Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. The Lady of Carmel saves us from eternal wailing and under her mantel souls find protection."


 In the essay entitled 'MARY AND THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE WRITINGS OF JOHN OF THE CROSS' by Emmanuel J. Sullivan, O.C.D. (click on the post's title to read the whole text under Carmelite Studies 6) we find the list of references to Mary in the writings of St John of the Cross. The first is the Ascent of Mount Carmel, and is considered the most fundamental and significant of John's Marian texts: "God alone moves these souls [who have reached habitual union with God] toward those works that are in harmony with his will and ordinance, and they cannot be moved toward others. Thus the works and prayer of these souls always produce their effect. Such were the prayer and the works of our Lady, the most glorious Virgin Raised from the very beginning to this high estate, she never had the form of any creature impressed in her soul, nor was she moved by any, for she was always moved by the Holy Spirit." (Ascend of Mt Carmel 3:2, 10). John affirms that in the state of union: all the operations of the memory and the other faculties are divine. God now possesses these faculties as their complete lord because of their transformation in him. And consequently it is He who divinely moves and commands them according to His divine spirit and will. [In this state] the operations of the soul united with God are of the divine Spirit and are divine. For John, souls in this state "perform only fitting and reasonable works and none that are not so. For God's Spirit makes them know what must be known and ignore what must be ignored, remember what ought to be remembered with or without forms and forget what ought to be forgotten, and makes them love what they ought to love, and keeps them from loving what is not in God." Precisely because "God alone moves these souls" to do the works in harmony with his will and ordinance, they cannot be moved toward other works. "Thus the works and the prayers of these souls always produce their effect" (A, 3:2, 10).

In the Spiritual Canticle, on two occasions, John brings the example of Mary to our attention. In the commentary on stanza 2, he tells us that: "The discreet lover does not care to ask for what she lacks or desires, but only indicates this need, so that the Beloved may do what he pleases. When the Blessed Virgin spoke to her Beloved Son at the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee, she did not ask directly for the wine, but merely remarked: They have no wine [Jn 2:3]. (Spiritual Canticle 2:8). John then lists three reasons why it is better to merely show our need to the Lord, rather than tell him how to fulfill those needs: First, the Lord known what is suitable for us better than we do; second, the Beloved has more compassion when he beholds the need and the resignation of a soul that loves him; third, the soul is better safeguarded against self-love and possessiveness by indicating its lack, rather than by asking for what in its opinion is wanting (ibid.). Here Mary is presented to us as the perfect model of the prayer of petition. In stanza 20, John is treating of the preparation of the soul for spiritual marriage. Part of that preparation consists in the subduing of the passions, which John lists as joy, sorrow, hope, and fear. When the preparation is complete, sensible sorrow is no longer felt, though the effects of such sorrow are experienced on a higher level. John tells us: "Sometimes, however, and at certain periods, God allows [the soul] to feel things and suffer from them so she might gain more merit and grow in the fervor of love, or for other reasons, as he did with the Virgin Mother, St. Paul, and others" (C, 20; 21, 10).

While the experience of sensible sorrow would otherwise have been incompatible with our Lady's state of intimate union with God, John tells us that God allowed her to experience such sorrow, precisely that she might grow in love; and, we could add, that she might increase in her compassion for all of us. Thus Mary is presented to us as the Mother of Sorrows and as one who knows by experience what it means to endure intense sorrow.

Finally, in stanza 3 of the Living Flame of Love, John once again refers to Mary's intimate union with the Holy Spirit. He is describing the state of transforming union with God, and likens the graces God bestows on a soul in this state to an "overshadowing." For John: when a person is covered by a shadow, it is a sign that someone else is nearby to protect and favor. As a result the Angel Gabriel called the conception of the Son of God, that favor granted to the Virgin Mary, an overshadowing of the Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the most High will overshadow you. (F, 3, 12). John goes on to tell us that when the Holy Spirit casts his shadow on a soul, he is so close that he not only touches but is united with it, and the soul understands and experiences the power, wisdom and glory of God (see F, 3, 15). Thus we gain further insight into what Mary's life must have been like, she being more closely united to the Holy Spirit than all other creatures.

In addition to the four Marian references in his major works, there is also a very significant reference to Mary in John's "Prayer of a Soul Taken with Love." John always manifested a deep awareness that he belonged totally to Mary, and in this very beautiful little prayer, he gives expression to his equally deep conviction that Mary belongs totally and completely to each one of us. In this prayer, John speaks for all of us as he says to our heavenly Father: "You will not take from me, my God, what you once gave me, in your only Son, Jesus Christ, in whom you gave me all I desire. Mine are the heavens and mine is the earth. Mine are the nations, the just are mine, and mine the sinners. The angels are mine, and the Mother of God, and all things are mine; and God Himself is mine and for me, because Christ is mine and all for me. (Sayings of Light and Love, 26-27)

I find this reference to Mary, in a certain sense, even more significant than all the others. Here John isn't just recounting wonderful things about Mary, but is telling us she is ours, with us and for us, always and everywhere. He is telling us that we must realize and appreciate that Mary belongs totally and completely to each one of us. Our guide on the road to union with God is no distant stranger, but our very own Blessed Mother.



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Thursday, December 04, 2014

St John of the Cross abduction and imprisonment in Toledo

It is very fitting to read and reflect today upon the letter written by St Teresa to the King Don Philip II on 4th December 1577. During the previous night, St John of the Cross was taken prisoner and no one knew his whereabouts. The whole city was scandalized and Teresa is worried sick for his life. The situation was aggravated by the on-going oppression of the nuns at the Incarnation. St Teresa highly regarded Fray John of the Cross and considered him a saint. St John was taken prisoner on the night December 3rd 1577 and transferred to the Carmelite monastery in Toledo. He was horribly mistreated during nine months of imprisonment, suffered public lashes in front of a community of friars at least once a week, he was kept in a tiny cell with tiny window placed near the ceiling and his diet was of the strict penitential character. He managed to escape one night on August 15th 1578. During his imprisonment he wrote most of his famous ‘Spiritual Canticle’.


El Greco painting of the Carmelite Monastery in Toledo, where St John was kept prisoner.


The grace of the Holy Spirit be with your majesty, amen. I strongly believe that our Lady has chosen you to protect and help her order. So, I cannot fail to have recourse to you regarding her affairs. For the love of our Lord, I beg you to pardon me for so much boldness. I am sure your majesty has received news of how the nuns at the Incarnation tried to have me go there, thinking they would have some means to free themselves from the friars, who are certainly a great hindrance to the recollection and religious observance of the nuns. And the friars are entirely at fault for the lack of observance previously present in that house. The nuns are very much mistaken in their desire that I go there, for as long as they are subject to the friars as confessors and visitators, I would be of no help -- at least not of any lasting help. I always said this to the Dominican visitator, and he understood it well. Since God allowed that situation to exist, I tried to provide a remedy and placed a discalced friar (St John of the Cross) in a house next to them, along with a companion friar (German de San Matias). He is so great a servant of our Lord that the nuns are truly edified, and this city is amazed by the remarkable amount of good he has done there, and so they consider him a saint; and in my opinion he is one and has been one all his life. When the previous nuncio through a long report sent him by the inhabitants of the city was informed of the things that were happening and of the harm that the friars of the cloth were doing, he gave orders under pain of excommunication that the confessors be restored to their house (for the Calced friars had driven them from the city heaping abuse on them and giving much scandal to everyone). And he also ordered that no friar of the cloth under pain of excommunication go to the Incarnation for business purposes, to say Mass, or hear confessions, but only the discalced friars and secular clergy. As a result, the house was in a good state until the nuncio died. Then the Calced friars returned -- and so too the disturbance -- without demonstrating the grounds on which they could do so. And now a friar (Hernando Maldonado) who came to absolve the nuns caused such a disturbance without any concern for what is reasonable and just that the nuns are deeply afflicted and still bound by the same penalties I have been told. And worst of all he has taken from them their confessors (St John of the Cross and German de San Matias). They say that he has been made vicar provincial, and this must be true because he is more capable than the others of making martyrs. And he is holding these confessors captive in his monastery after having forced his way into their cells and confiscating their papers. The whole city is truly scandalized. He is not a prelate nor did he show any evidence of the authority on which these things were done, for these confessors are subject to the apostolic commissary. Those friars dared so much, even though this city is so close to where your majesty resides, that it doesn't seem they fear either justice or God. I feel very sad to see these confessors in the hands of those friars who for some days have been desiring to seize hold of them. I would consider the confessors better off if they were held by the Moors, who perhaps would show more compassion. And this one friar (St John) who is so great a servant of God is so weak from all that he has suffered that I fear for his life. I beg your majesty for the love of our Lord to issue orders for them to set him free at once and that these poor Discalced friars not be subjected to so much suffering by the friars of the cloth. The former do no more than suffer and keep silent and gain a great deal. But the people are scandalized by what is being done to them. This past summer in Toledo, without any reason, the same superior took as prisoner Fray Antonio de Jesús -- a holy and blessed man, who was the first discalced friar. They go about saying that with orders from Tostado they will destroy them all. May God be blessed! Those who were to be the means of removing offenses against God have become the cause of so many sins. And each day matters will get worse if your majesty does not provide us with some help. Otherwise, I don't know where things will end up, because we have no other help on earth. May it please our Lord that for our sakes you live many years. I hope in him that he will grant us this favour. He is so alone, for there are few who look after his honour. All these servants of your Majesty's, and I, ask this of him continually. Your Majesty's unworthy servant and subject, Teresa of Jesus, Carmelite
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Saturday, November 29, 2014

Anniversary of the first Discalced Friars foundation in Duruelo, on 28th November 1548


Having the permission of these two provincials, I now figured that nothing was lacking. We arranged that Father Fray John of the Cross would go to the house and get it ready so that, in spite of all, it could be lived in. For me, what was most urgent was that the friars begin, for I was very fearful lest some obstacle would come along our path. And this they did. Father Fray Antonio had already gathered some of the things necessary. Insofar as we could, we helped him; although our help amounted to little. He came to Valladolid with great happiness to speak to me and told me what he had collected, which was very little. It was only with clocks that he was well provided, for he had five of them; this greatly amused me. He told me they were meant as a help to follow the daily schedule, which he wanted well fixed; I don't think he even had any bed yet to sleep in.
On the First or Second Sunday of Advent (I don't remember which of these Sundays it was), in the year 1568, the first Mass was said in that little stable of Bethlehem, for it doesn't seem to me the house was any better (It was the First Sunday of Advent, November 28, 1568)... When I entered the little church, I was astonished to see the spirit the Lord had put there. And it wasn't only I, for the two merchants, my friends from Medina who had accompanied me there, did nothing else but weep. There were so many crosses, so many skulls! I never forget a little cross made for the holy water fount from sticks with a paper image of Christ attached to it; it inspired more devotion than if it had been something very expertly carved….The choir was in the loft. In the middle of the loft the ceiling was high enough to allow for the recitation of the Hours, but one had to stoop low in order to enter and to hear Mass. There were in the two corners facing the church two little hermitages, where one could do no more than either lie down or sit. Both were filled with hay because the place was very cold, and the roof almost touched one's head. Each had a little window facing the altar and a stone for a pillow; and there, too, the crosses and skulls. I learned that after the friars finished Matins they did not leave the choir before Prime but remained there in prayer, for their prayer was so deep that when it came time to say Prime their habits were covered with snow without their having become aware of the fact. The two Fathers recited the Hours with another Father from among those of the cloth who went to stay with them (although he didn't change his habit because he was very sickly) and another young, unordained brother who was also there. These two were Father Lucas de Celis and Brother José de Cristo, a deacon. (St Teresa - Book of Foundation, Ch 4)

Book of Foundation audio by LibriVox HERE

Map Of St Teresa foundations in Spain HERE

Picture after 'Rumbo al V centenario Teresiano'
Map after this blog

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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 23, 2014

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 21, 2014

Presentation of Our Lady in the Temple


O Thou Lord of my soul, and my Eternal Good, why is it that when a soul resolves to follow Thee, and to do her best to forsake all for Thee,—why is it that Thou dost not instantly perfect Thy love and Thy peace within that soul?  But I have spoken unadvisedly and foolishly, for it is we who are at fault in prayer, and never Thee.  We are so long and so slow in giving up our hearts to Thee.  And then Thou wilt not permit our enjoyment of Thee without our paying well for so precious a possession.  There is nothing in all the world wherewith to buy the shedding abroad of Thy love in our heart, but our heart’s love.  If, however, we did what we could, not clinging with our hearts to anything whatsoever in this world, but having our treasure and our conversation in heaven, then this blessedness would soon be ours, as all Thy saints testify.  God never withholds Himself from him who pays this price and who perseveres in seeking Him.  He will, little by little, and now and then, strengthen and restore that soul, till at last it is victorious.  If he who enters on this road only does violence enough to himself, with the help of God, he will not only go to heaven himself, but he will not go alone: he will take others with him.  God will give him, as to a good leader, those who will go after him.  Only, let not any man of prayer ever expect to enjoy his whole reward here.  He must remain a man of faith and prayer to the end.  Let him resolve, then, that whatever his aridity and sense of indevotion may be, he will never let himself sink utterly under his cross.  And the day will come when he will receive all his petitions in one great answer, and all his wages in one great reward.  For he serves a good Master, who stands over him watching him.  And let him never give over because of evil thoughts, even if they are sprung upon him in the middle of his prayer, for the devil so vexed the holy Jerome even in the wilderness.  But all these toils of soul have their sure reward, and their just recompense set out for them.  And, I can assure you, as one who knows what she is saying, that one single drop of water out of God’s living well will both sustain you and reward you for another day and another night of your life of life-long prayer. St Teresa On Prayer 

More info on the Feast HERE
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

St Raphael Kalinowski, OCD


We entrust our task to our Most Holy Mother, the Virgin Mary, under her maternal care.  If there is anything to correct, let it be corrected once and for all; may the good that is done continue to increase. Toward this purpose, may God's love flood your souls along this earthly life, and finally lead you to the fountain of love, that is, to God Himself in eternity. (St Raphael Kalinowski, 1835-1907) 

On 19th of November we celebrate the Feast of Carmelite Friar, St Raphael Kalinowski, OCD. To read more, please visit some previous posts on this blog HERE
Picture posted today represents painting displayed in the choir of the Discalced Carmelite Church of Our Lady of the Brown Scapular and St Elijah in Czerna Friary near Cracow in Poland where St Raphael Kalinowski was a prior. To visit photogalery of the Church and the cloister click here


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Saturday, November 15, 2014

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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Friday, November 14, 2014

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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Saturday, November 08, 2014

Feast of the Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity


O Virgin most faithful, you remain night and day in profound silence, in ineffable peace, in a divine prayer that never ceases, your soul ever inundated with heavenly light. Your heart is like a crystal that reflects the divine One, the Guest who dwell in you, the Beauty that knows no setting. O Mary, you draw heaven down to you: see, the Father commits His Son to you that you may be His mother, and the Spirit of love overshadows you. The Blessed Three come to you, and all heaven is opened and abases itself before you...I adore the mystery of this God who made flesh in you, O Virgin Mary. Mother of the Word, show me your mystery after the Incarnation of the Lord; how you lived buried in adoration...Keep me ever in a divine embrace. Let me carry upon me the stamp of this God of love. (Bl Elizabeth of the Trinity, 1880-1906)
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Monday, November 03, 2014

All Souls' Day


'Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light' (Matt 11:30) 

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

'..here we recommended her to the Lord and offered prayers for her soul in all our monasteries'...'it is those who do not recall there is an everlasting life that feel such pain when someone departs from the miseries of this life' (St Teresa letter to Lorenzo de Cepeda, 1570) 
'..you can consider all the nuns of this house to be your servants and capellanas (Carmelites devoted to pray for specific souls) (St Teresa letter to Diego de San Pedro de Palma, 1570)
'...why we should feel sorry about those who depart for a safe heaven, whom God draws out of this world with its dangers and instability'.  (St Teresa letter to Dona Luisa de la Cerda, 1571).

'I feel it, we must go to heaven by the same route, the one of suffering united with love. When I reach the harbour, I will teach you...how to navigate on the stormy sea of the world, with the abandon and love of a child who knows that his Father cherished him and would not leave him alone in a time of danger'. ( St Therese Letters)

'...I cannot bring myself to fear Purgatory; I know that I am not worthy to enter that place of expiation with the Holy Souls, but I also know that the fire of love is more sanctifying that that of Purgatory, that Our Lord does not want us to suffer needlesly, and that He would never inspire me with desires that He does not intend to fulfill'. (St Therese Story of a soul)

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Friday, October 31, 2014

Feast of All Saints

I saw a great multitude which no man could number, of all nations and tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and in the sight of the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and with palms in their hands. (Ap 7:2-12).

Who are those glorious saints? They have lived upon earth as we have, they have known our miseries, our difficulties, our struggles. Some of them we recognize easily, for the Church has raised them to the honours of the Altar; but the great majority are entirely unknown to us. They are humble people who lived obscurely in the accomplishment of duty, without display, without renown, whom no one here below remembers, but whom the heavenly Father looked upon, knew in secret, and, having proved their fidelity, called to His glory. The honourable positions occupied by some in this vast gathering, or the mighty deeds accomplished by others, no longer possess any value of themselves: eternal beatitude is not determined by the great things achieved here below. One things only endures, for the humble and the great, the poor and the wealthy: the degree of love they had attained, to which corresponds the degree of glory which now renders them eternally happy. (Ven Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, OCD)

O blessed souls, who knew so well how to profit by the gifts of God, and to purchase with the precious ransom so delectable and enduring a heritage, tell us how you won through Him such an eternal blessing! Assist us, since you are so near the Fountainhead. Draw water for those of us on earth who are perishing with thirst. Teresa of Jesus, Exclamation of the Soul to God



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Friday, October 17, 2014

Cardinal Pell: Synod says 'no' to secular agenda' - click for link

Although it is not in the scope of this blog, however, I feel strongly like sharing this Youtube video posted yesterday with comments made by Cardinal Pell on the latest summary of Synod's work. Another commentary from Cardinal Sarah of Guinea on the latest events and secular agendas here
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

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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Friday, October 03, 2014

Praying the Rosary with St Therese of the Child Jesus and St Teresa of Avila during October, the month of the Most Holy Rosary


Joyful Mysteries
The Annunciation of Our Lord - Humility
Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven (Matt 18:4
Our Father
*
Sanctity is an interior disposition which makes us humble and little in God's arms, conscious of our weakness and trusting even to audacity in the goodness of our Father. 3 Hail Mary
*
Spiritual Childhood also means not to attribute to ourselves the virtues we practice, not to believe that we are capable of anything, but to acknowledge that it is the good Lord who has placed that treasure in the hand of His little child that He may use it when He needs it. 3 Hail Mary
*
Humility is truth. 4 Hail Mary. Glory be. Hail Holy Queen.
(St Therese)
or:
*
It is proper to divine love to lower itself; hence, the loser we are, the more we attract God.
*
We would like never to fail. What an illusion! What does it matter, my Jesus, if I fall at every moment? I come to recognise by it how weak I am and that is gain for me. You see by that how little I am able to do and You will be more likely to carry me in Your arms.
*
If I am humble, I am entitled, without offending the good Lord, to do small foolish things until I die.
*


The Visitation to Elizabeth - Love of Neighbour
You shall love your neighbour as yourself (Mark 12:31)
Our Father
*
I saw some new virtues arise in me...not speaking evil of anyone, no matter how slight, but ordinarily avoiding all fault-finding. I was very much aware that I should not desire to say of another person what I would not want them to say of me. I was extremely cautious about this. 3 Hail Mary
*
If through my intercession I could play a part in getting a soul to love and praise God more, even if it be for just a short time, I think that would matter more to me than being in glory. 3 Hail Mary
*
Whoever fails to love their neighbour, fails to love You, my Lord, since we see You showed the very great love You have for the children of Adam by shedding so much blood. 4 Hail Mary, Glory to be, Hail Holy Queen
(St Teresa)
or:
*
Let us strive always to look at the virtues and good deeds we see in others and cover their defects with the thought of our own great sins.
*
While we live in this mortal life, earthly joys are uncertain, even when they seem to be given by You.ig they are not accompanied by love of neighbour.
*
For at times it happens that some trifle will cause as much suffering to one as a great trial will to another; little things can bring much distress to persons who have sensitive nature. If you are not like them, do not fail to be compassionate.

The Birth of Jesus - Spirit of Poverty
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matt 5:3)
Our Father
*
My way is the way of spiritual childhood. 3 Hail Mary
*
My peace consists in remaining small. 3 Hail Mary
*
The thing that pleases Jesus when He beholds my soul is that I love my littleness and my poverty and have a blind hope in His mercy. 4 Hail Mary, Glory be, Hail Holy Queen.
(St Therese)
or:
*
The God of strength loves to show His power by making use of nothing.
*
It is possible to remain little even when we are charged with the most formidable functions and ...even when we are in extreme old age.
*
Remain always little and poor, in order to expect everything from God.

Presentation in the Temple - Obedience
If you love me, you will keep my commandments - (John 14:15)
Our Father
*
Let Your will be done in me in every way, and may it not please Your Majesty that something as precious as Your love be given to anyone who serves You only for the sake of consolation. 3 Hail Mary
*
We shouldn't care at all about not having devotion - as I have said - but we ought to thank the Lord who allows us to be desirous of pleasing Him, even though our works may be weak. This method of keeping Christ present with us is beneficial in all stages and is a very safe means of advancing. 3 Hail Mary
*
Everything other than pleasing God is nothing. 4 Hail Mary, Glory be, Hail Holy Queen.
(St Teresa)
or:
*
No matter how much I did, I strove that it be done in such a way that it would not displease the One who I clearly saw was witnessing it.
*
Nor does God ever fill anyone who serves Him.
*
The Lord helps those who are resolved to render Him service and glory.

The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple - Piety
You...must be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect (Matt 5:48)
Our Father
*
The Way of Spiritual Childhood...is the only means to make rapid progress in love and the only way by which saints are made. 3 Hail Mary
*
Take Jesus by His Heart...It is this way that I took hold of the good Lord and that is why I shall be well received by Him. 3 Hail Mary
*
Practice all the virtues and so always lift up your little foot to mount the ladder of holiness. 4 Hail Mary, Glory be, Hail, Holy Queen
(St Therese)
or:
*
The good Lord does not demand more from you than good will....He looks at you with love. Very soon, won over by your useless efforts, He will come down and take you in His arms. He will carry you up.
*
I know that there are saints who spent their lives practicing extraordinary mortifications,,,but after all, there are many mansions in the house of our heavenly Father. Jesus had told us so and that is why I follow the way He has traced out for me.
*
The best rule is that we should follow what love inspires us to do from moment to moment, with the sole desire of pleasing the good Lord in everything He asks of us.



Glorious Mysteries
The Resurrection of Jesus from the Dead - Faith
Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe (John 20:29)
Our Father
*
The Lord said to me: "Why are you afraid? Do you not know that I am all powerful? I will fulfill what I have promised" 3 Hail Mary
*
 I thought I would be able to serve God much better if I were in good health. This is our mistake: not abandoning ourselves entirely to what the Lord does, for He knows best what is fitting for us. 3 Hail Mary
*
I often thought that St Peter didn't lose anything when he threw himself into the sea, even though he grew frightened afterward. These first acts of determination are very important. 4 Hail Mary. Glory be. Hail, Holy Queen.
(St Teresa, Collected Works)
alternative quotations:
*
*Let us believe that all is  for our own greater good. Let His Majesty lead the way along the path He desires. We belong no longer to ourselves but to Him.
*
God's words cannot fail.
*
God always understand us and is with us. There is no doubt about this understanding and presence...He wants to begin to work in the soul in a special way. 
*
I write this for the consolation of weak souls like myself that they might never despair or fail to trust in the greatness of God.
*
The Lord helps us, strengthen us, and never fails; He is a true friend.
*
He shows no partiality, He loves everyone.

Ascension of Jesus into Heaven - Hope
Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you (Luke 11:9) Our Father
*
We never have too much confidence in the good Lord who is so powerful and merciful. We obtain from Him as much as we hope for. 3 Hail Mary
*
In order to remain a little child, we must expect everything fro our Good Lord, as a child expects everything from his father, without worrying about anything. 3 Hail Mary
*
When I fall on the road I can quickly rise again and Jesus takes me by the hand. 4 Hail Mary, Glory be, Hail, Holy Queen.
St Therese, various sources.
alternative quotations:
*
It is confidence and confidence alone that should lead us to Love.
*
Justice itself, amd justice even more than any other divine perfection, seems to me to be clothed in love.
*
That justice which frightens so many souls is for me a source of joy and confidence. To be just means more than to be severe in punishing the guilty. It takes account of right intentions and wishes to reward virtue. 
or:
Abandon yourself with absolute confidence to His infinite mercy.
*
He measures His gifts according to the amounts of confidence He finds us.
*
Jesus does not wish to give me provisions for the future. He feeds me from the moment to moment.
*
The whole of nature, in fact, enchanted me and raised my soul towards Heaven.

The Descent of the Holy Spirit - Love of God
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength (Mark 12:30) Our Father
*
Prayer is and exercise of love. 3 Hail Mary
I liked images so much. Unfortunate are those who through their own fault lose this great good. It indeed appears that they do not love the Lord, for if they loved Him they would rejoice to see a portrait of Him, just as here on earth it really gives joy to see one whom you deeply love. 3 Hail Mary
*
The love of God does not consists in tears or in this delight and tenderness, which for the greater part we desire and find consolation in; but it consists in serving with justice and fortitude of soul and in humility. Without such service it seems to me we would be receiving everything and giving nothing. 3 Hail Mary
*
It is very obvious that we love others more when we often recall the good works they do for us....Keep always in mind that we have our being from God, that He created us from nothing and sustains us, and all the other benefits flowing from His death and trials. 4 Hail Mary, Glory be, Hail Holy Queen.
St Teresa
or:
*
What a charming way to seek the love of God!
*
The perfect attainment of this true love of God brings with it every blessing....There is nothing on earth with which one can buy so wonderful a blessing.
*
The soul is therefore neither content with nor desirous of the world's satisfactions, because it has in itself what pleases it more...a desire to enjoy Him more and to be with Him. Being with Him is what it wants.
*Virtue always inspires love.
*
The Lord goes to in search of those who do love Him so as to give more to them.
*
Come to love a goodness so perfect and a mercy so unmeasurable.

Assumption of Mary into Heaven - Desire for Heaven
Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (Matt 25:34) Our Father
I will spend my heaven in doing good upon earth. Why not, since the Angels can take care of us while still enjoying the Beatific Visions? 3 Hail Mary
*
If my wishes are granted, my heaven will be spent on earth until the end of the world. 3 Hail Mary
*
When the Angel shall have said "time is no more" then will I rest. I shall then be able to rejoice because the number of the elect will be complete and all shall have entered into joy and repose. 4 Hail Mary, Glory be, Hail Holy Queen.
St Therese
or:
*
I feel always the same audacious confidence that I will become a great saint, for I do not count on my own merits since I have none, but I hope in Him.
*
It is He and He alone who, being satisfied with my feeble efforts, will raise me to Himself and, covering me with His infinite merits, will make me a saint.
*
If we abandon ourselves, and place our confidence in God, while making every small effort and hoping everything from His mercy, we shall be rewarded as much as the greatest saints. 
*
One glance, one moment of His Heart can cause His flower to open out for all eternity.
*
If it is necessary to suffer and weep in order to reach heaven, I want to suffer whatever may please Jesus.
*
Eternal reward has no proportion to our small sacrifices in this life.

The Crowning of Mary Queen of Heaven and Earth - Devotion to Mary
Behold, your Mother (John 19:27) Our Father
*
I sought out solitude to pray my devotions, and they were many, especially the rosary, to which my mother was very devoted; and she made us devoted to it too. 3 Hail Mary
*
I remember that when my mother died I was twelve years old...When I began to understand what I had lost, I went, afflicted, before an image of our Lady and besought her with many tears to be my mother. It seems to me that although I did this in simplicity it helped me. 3 Hail Mary
*
I have found favour wuth this souvereign Virgin in everything I have asked of her, and in the end she has drawn me to herself. 4 Hail Mary, Glory be, Hail Holy Queen
or:
*
To see a work accomplished that I knew was for the service of the Lord and to the honour of the habit of His glorious Mother - these were my concerns.
*
I prayed very much to St Joseph, as I did also to our Lady.
*
I saw our Lady in the greatest glory clothed in a white mantle; it seemed she was sheltering us all under it. I understood how high degree of glory the Lord would give to those living in this house.
*
He told me: 'I gave my Son, and the Holy Spirit, and this Blessed Virgin. What can you give Me?
*
He showed me His Mother ascend to heaven, the happiness and solemnity with which she was received, and the place where she is....The glory my spirit experienced in seeing so much glory was magnificent. The effects of this favour were great.
*
On another day the Lord told me this: 'Do you think, daughter, that merit lies in enjoyment? No, rather it lies in working and suffering and loving...When you see My Mother holding Me in her arms, don't think she enjoyed those consolations without heavy torment. From the time Simeon spoke those words to her, My Father gave her clear light to see what I was to suffer.
*

Sorrowful Mysteries
The Agony of Jesus in the Garden - Sorrow for sin
The cares of the world, and the delight in riches, and the desire for other things, enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful (Mark 4:19)
Our Father.
*
Many times the feeling of my great faults is tempered by the happiness experienced in the thought that the multitude of Your mercies may be known. 3 Hail Mary
*
I found great consolation in sinners whom, after having been sinners, the Lord brought back to Himself. It seemed to me I could find help in them and that since the Lord had pardoned them He could also pardon me. 3 Hail Mary
*
Oh, what a good friend You make, my Lord! How you proceed by favouring and enduring...You take into account, my Lord, the times when they love You, and in one instant of repentance You forget their offences. 4 Hail Mary. Glory be.
(St Teresa Collected Works)
or:
*
The scene of His prayer in the garden, especially, was a comfort to me: I strove to be His companion there. If I could, I thought of the sweat and agony He had undergone in that place...I remained with Him as long as my thought allowed me to.
*
Where, my Lord, did I think I could find a remedy save in You? What folly; to flee from the light so as to be always stumbling!
*
Where, my Lord, did I think I could find a remedy save in You? What a folly; to flee from the light so as to be always stumbling!

The Scourging at the Pillar - Purity
Clean the inside of cup and dish so that the outside may become clean as well (Matthew 23:26). 
Our Father
*
Jesus is pleased to teach [me] the science of glorying in [my] infirmities. That is a great grace and I pray Jesus to teach it also to you, for there alone are found peace and repose of heart. 3 Hail Mary
*
Why should we defend ourselves when we are misunderstood and misjudged? Let us leave that aside. Let us not say anything....O blessed silence, which gives so much peace to the soul. 3 Hail Mary
*
I prefer to be accused unjustly...and joyfully offer this to the good Lord. Then I humble myself at the thought that I am indeed capable of doing the thing of which I have been accused. 4 Hail Mary. Glory be.
(St Therese, various sources)
or:
*
In the hidden struggle of interior resurrection, nature cannot get such a hold on us and we can more easily attain humility and peace.
*
When something was wanting I was much more satisfied, because I was then truly giving up something.
*
It suffices that we refrain from indulging in a selfish sort of happiness, and offer to our Spouse the small joys He strews on the path of our life to delight our souls and raise them even to Himself. 

The Crowning with Thorns - Courage
Courage! It is I! Do not be afraid (Matthew 14:27
Our Father
*
I don't understand these fears, "The devil! The devil!", when we can say "God! God!", and make the devil tremble. 3 Hail Mary
*
I would never counsel anyone - if there were someone to whom I should have to give counsel - to fail out of fear to put a good inspiration into practice when it repeatedly arises. For if one proceeds with detachment for God alone, there is no reason to fear that the effort will turn out bad; for God has the power to accomplish all. 3 Hail Mary
*
His Majesty wants this determination, and He is a friend of courageous souls if they walk in humility and without trusting in self. 4 Hail Mary. Glory be.
(St Teresa of Avila, Collected works)
or:
*
By understanding the love He bore me, I regained my courage, for I never lost confidence in His mercy.
*
God does not deny Himself to anyone who perseveres. Little by little He will measure out the courage sufficient to attain this victory. I say 'courage' because there are so many things the devil puts in the minds of beginners to prevent them in fact from starting out on this path.
*
Since we have an all-powerful King and so great a Lord that He can do all and that He brings all under His subjection, there is nothing to fear, if one walks, as I have said, in truth in the presence of His Majesty and with a pure conscience.

The Carrying of the Cross - Patience
As for the seeds in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with patience (Luke 8:15). Our Father.
*
The glory of my Jesus, that is all. For my honour, I abandon it to Him, and if He seems to forget me, well! He is free to do so, for I no longer belong to myself but to Him. 3 Hail Mary
*
He will tire more quickly of making me wait than I shall tire of waiting for Him. 3 Hail Mary
*
To humble ourselves, to suffer our imperfections with patience, this is true sanctity, the source of peace. 4 Hail Mary, Glory be.
(St Therese)
or:
*
God's mercy exercises endless patience.
*
I am willing to wait until the day which has no setting sun, and when my darksome faith will vanish at His sight.
*
In one instance Jesus accomplished what I had been unable to do for several years, having been content, on my part, with my good will, which had never been wanting.


The Crucifixion - Self-Denial
If any man come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me (Luke 9:23). Our Father.
*
Even in sickness itself and these other occasions the prayer is genuine when i comes from a soul that loves to offer the sickness up and accept what is happening and be conformed to it. 3 Hail Mary
*
All bear their crosses even though these crosses be different. For all who follow Christ, if they don't want to get lost, must walk along the path that He trod. And blessed be the trials that even here in this life are so super-abundantly repaid. 3 Hail Mary
*
There are many who begin, yet they never reach the end. I believe this is due mainly to a failure to embrace the cross from the beginning. 4 Hail Mary, Glory be.
 (St Teresa)
or:
*
If people wish to gain freedom of spirit and not be always troubled, let them begin by not being frightened by the cross, and they will see how the Lord also helps them carry it and they will gain satisfaction and profit from everything.



All quotation after John McClernon 'Sermon in a Sentence' books.



















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