Monday, January 01, 2018

New Blog

EFFICATIOUS PRAYER  AND NOVENA TO OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL

available on my new blog
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Friday, December 16, 2016

Jubilee Year of Mercy, December 8th, 2015 - November 20th, 2016

Announcement of the Jubilee Year of Mercy HERE More on the Jubilee Year HERE

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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

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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Purification of Our Lady and Presentation of Jesus in the Temple


Today's Feast, which marks the end of the Christmas season, is the feast both of Jesus and Mary: of Jesus, because He is presented by His Mother in the Temple forty days after His birth, according to the requirement of the law; of Mary, because [being obedient to the law] she submitted herself to the rite of purification.

"What do You teach me, O Lord, offering Yourself thus in the Temple? You show me respect for the law by Your willingness to observe it. You teach me adoration, for You offered Yourself to the Father, not as His equal, which You really were, but as man. Here You have given me a model of the respect which I owe to Your law, not only to the Ten Commandments, but also to my Holy Rule and Constitutions. This law is all sweetness and delight for me, but I make it bitter when I do not renounce myself, for then, instead of my bearing it sweetly, the law is obliged to bear me" (St Mary Magdalen di Pazzi)

Adopted from 'Divine Intimacy' Fr Gabriel of St Mary Magdalene, OCD



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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Baptism of Our Lord

Pierro della Frencesca, Baptism of Christ


John bore witness: I saw the Spirit descend as a dove from heaven, and it remained on him.(Stanbrook Abbey Hymnal)
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Wednesday, January 06, 2016

Feast of 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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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas Novena starts 16th December - click for link






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Monday, December 14, 2015

St John of the Cross - Memorial

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, November 29, 2015

ADVENT WITH ST THERESE


IT is Jesus alone, content with my feeble efforts, who will lift me to his side. Covering me with his infinite virtue, he will make a saint of me (Story of the Soul)

I have understood that Our Lord's love will reveal itself as well in the simplest soul which offers no resistance, as in the most noble (Story of the Soul)

Like a mother caressing her child, in this way I will comfort you, I will carry you at my breast and caress you in my lap...Having said this, there's nothing else to say all that's left is to wrap in gratitude and love (Story of the Soul). 

I understand that to become a saint, one must suffer a great deal, always seek perfection and forget one's self (Story of the Soul)

Now nothing surprises me, I am not concerned when i see that I am weak. On the contrary, it is that weakness which glorifies me. Every day I expect to discover new imperfections within myself.

God wanted to create great Saints who could be compared to lilies and roses, but also created lesser Saints. They should be content to be daises and violets, destined to simply enjoy God's glance as they lie humbly at His feet. 

I do not know if you are still feeling as you did when you last wrote, but I am sending you in answer this passage from the Canticle of Canticles, which describes so vividly a soul in a state of dryness, who can find no comfort anywhere: "I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of the valleys, and to look if the vineyard had flowered, and the pomegranates budded. I knew not: my soul troubled me for the chariots of Aminadab (Cant 6:10,11)." That is a picture of our souls. How often we go down to the fertile valleys where we found spiritual food, to the pleasant fields fo Scripture where we discovered so many treasures, but which now seem like a waterless desert. We no longer know where we are: instead of peace and light our lot is darkness and distress, but like the Bride we know the cause of this trial. We are not yet in our fatherland, but have still to be tried by temptation as gold in the furnace. Sometimes we feel utterly abandoned, and cannot make sure whether the chariots, that is the noise and commotion which surround us, are whitin or without. We do not know, but Jesus knows, and He sees our sorrow, and suddenly in the dark night, His voice is heard: "Return, return, O Sulamitess: return, return that we may behold thee (ibid, 6:12).

But if the son comes to know the dangers from which he has been spared, will he not love him [his Father] more? Well, I am this child, object of the provident love of a Father who did not send his Son to redeem the righteous, but the sinners.

  Oh! I love you, Mary, saying you are the servant
Of the God whom you charm by your humility
(Lk 1: 38).
This hidden virtue makes you all-powerful.
It attracts the Holy Trinity into your heart.
Then the Spirit of Love covering you with his shadow,
(Lk 1: 35)
The Son equal to the Father became incarnate in you,
There will be a great many of his sinner brothers,
Since he will be called: Jesus, your first-born!
(Lk 2: 7)

O beloved Mother, despite my littleness,
Like you I possess The All-Powerful within me.
But I don't tremble in seeing my weakness:
The treasures of a mother belong to her child,
And I am your child, O my dearest Mother.
Aren't your virtues and your love mine too?
So when the white Host comes into my heart,
Jesus, your Sweet Lamb, thinks he is resting in you! ...

You make me feel that it's not impossible
To follow in your footsteps, O Queen of the elect.
You made visible the narrow road to Heaven
While always practicing the humblest virtues.
Near you, Mary, I like to stay little.
At the home of Saint Elizabeth, receiving your visit,
I learn how to practice ardent charity.

There, Sweet Queen of angels, I listen, delighted,
To the sacred canticle springing forth from your heart
(Lk 1: 46).
You teach me to sing divine praises,
To glory in Jesus my Savior.
Your words of love are mystical roses
Destined to perfume the centuries to come.
In you the Almighty has done great things.
I want to ponder them to bless him for them.
 

("Why I love you, o Mary" from 'The Poetry of St Therese of Child Jesus')

All citation from the 'Story of the Soul' unless otherwise specified.


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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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Saturday, November 21, 2015

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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Sunday, November 15, 2015

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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Saturday, November 14, 2015

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 12, 2015

Chirst the King Novena starts 13th November and concludes on 21st 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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Monday, November 02, 2015

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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Sunday, November 01, 2015

All Saints Day


I am He who made all the saints; I gave them grace; I have brought them to glory. I know the first and the last; I embrace them all with an inestimable love.  I am to be praise in all my Saints; I am to be blessed above all things, and to be honoured in every one of them, whom I have thus gloriously magnified and eternally chosen, without any foregoing merits of their own. The Imitation of Christ, 3, 58.

Today is the vigil of All Saints. All Souls Day is the anniversary of my receiving the habit. Ask God to make me a genuine Carmelite nun, for better late than never. Your unworthy servant and loyal subject. Blessed be God, for I will always be so, come what may. Teresa of Jesus. Collected Letters, vol 1.


Previous posts HERE
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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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Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Our Lady of the Rosary

The feast of the Holy Rosary was instituted by Pope Pius V to celebrate the anniversary of the defeat of the Turkish fleet at the battle of Lepanto on the first Sunday in October 1571, which ended the threat of Muslim domination of the Mediterranean and was ascribed in part to the prayers and processions of the Rosary confraternity in Rome. Later the feast was moved to the fixed date of 7 October.

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.  (St Teresa of Avila, The Book of her Life, ch 1)


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Tuesday, October 06, 2015

NOVENA TO ST TERESA OF AVILA starts today, Oct 6 - click to pray!



My God and my infinite Wisdom, measureless and boundless and beyond all the human and angelic intellects! love that loves me more than I can love myself or understand! Why, Lord, do I want to desire more than what You want to give me? Why do I want to tire myself in asking You for something decreed by my desire? For with regard to everything my intellect can devise and my desire can want You've already understood my soul's limits, and I don't understand how my desire will help me. In this that my soul thinks it will gain, it will perhaps lose. For I ask You to free me from a trial, and the purpose of that trial is my mortification, what is it that I'm asking for, my God? If I beg You to give the trial, it perhaps is not a suitable one for my patience, which is still weak and cannot suffer such a forceful blow. And if I suffer it with patience and am not strong in humility, it may be that I will think I've done something, whereas You do it all, my God. If I want to suffer, but not in matters in which it might seem unfitting for Your service that I lose my reputation - since as for myself I don't know of any concern in me about honour - it may be that for the very reason I think my reputation might be lost, more will be gained on account of what I'm seeking, which is to serve You.


Instruction on the Prayer of Recollection, in St Teresa's own words:

IT is called the Prayer of Recollection because in it the soul collects, or gathers together, all her powers, and enters into her own interior with God. I wish I knew how to describe to you this holy intercourse which, with out disturbing in the least her perfect solitude, is carried on between the soul and her Divine Spouse and Companion, the Holy of Holies, and which takes place as often as ever she pleases to enter into this interior paradise in company with her God, and to shut the gate to all the world besides. I say, as often as she pleases ; for you must understand that this is not altogether a supernatural thing, but is quite within our own power, and we can do it whenever we chose ; I mean, of course, with God s help, for without this we can do nothing at all, not so much as have a single good thought. For you must observe that this recollection is not a suspension of the powers of the soul, but only a shutting them up, as it were, within ourselves.

The Truth or Foundation on which the Prayer of Recollection rests:

You know that God is everywhere (therefore He is in our interior.) Now it is clear that wherever the King is, there the Court is too therefore, wherever God is, there is heaven ; and you can readily, believe that wherever this Divine Majesty is, all glory is with Him. Then consider what St. Augustine says : that he " sought God in many places, and found Him at last within himself."

It is, then, of the utmost importance to bear this truth in mind, that our Lord is within us, and that we ought to strive to be there with him. On a certain occasion, when I was assisting at the Divine Office with the rest of the Sisters, I became, on a sudden, thus recollected within my self: and here my own soul was presented before me, and it seemed to me to resemble a bright mirror, in which there was no darkness nor shadow, either behind or on either side, or above or below but all clear and resplendent ; and in the midst of it there appeared Christ our Lord, in the form under which I am accustomed to see Him. It seemed to me that His Image was shining forth from every part of my soul, as though reflected in the mirror ; and then, by a wonder full communication of love, which I know not how to describe, this same mirror of my soul seemed to be re produced and again represented, in a wondrous manner, within the Form of my Divine Redeemer.

[Again], on a certain occasion, it was shown to me that my soul was like a sponge in the midst of the ocean of the Divinity, and that it drank in this heavenly substance, so as, in a manner, to embrace within it the Three Divine Persons. But, at the same time, I was admonished that though I had the Divinity within my soul, yet I myself was much more contained in Him than He in me. Thus, whilst I beheld, as it were, hidden within me the Three Divine Persons, I saw that They, at the same time, communicated Themselves to all created things, without ceasing for an instant to abide in me.

On another occasion I was made to understand this truth with great clearness that all things are seen in God, and that He contains every thing within Himself. I do not know how to describe this ; but it has remained deeply impressed upon my mind, and is one of the greatest favours our Lord has ever granted me, and one that has filled me, more than any other, with confusion at the remembrance of my sins. If it had pleased our Lord to let me see this before I had sinned, or if others, who offend Him, could only have seen it, I believe that neither they nor I would have ever had the boldness to commit sin. No words that I can use can convey any idea of this sublime truth. The only notion I can give of it is this : beheld the Divinity like a most brilliant diamond, far greater than the whole world, and containing everything within itself ; and in this diamond was reflected, as it were, everything that is done here below. Wonderful it was, indeed, to behold in so short a time, within this glorious mirror, such a multitude of things assembled together ! But to see represented in this pure and unsullied brightness such foul abominations as my sins was a spectacle that fills me with the deepest sorrow whenever I call it to mind. In truth, when I reflect upon it, I know not how I can bear the thought ; and at the time when I beheld it, I was so covered with confusion that I did not know which way to turn. Now it seems to me that this vision may be of much profit to those who are practising this Prayer of Recollection, to teach them to consider our Lord in the interior of their own souls ; for, to repeat what I have so often said before, this consideration fixes the attention far better, and is far more profitable, than to represent Him in any other way. If, instead of this, we direct our thoughts to God in heaven, or if, in fine, we turn to any spot beyond ourselves, we do but weary our minds and distract our souls, and, after all, lose much of the fruit of our labour.

To read more St Teresa's Own Words - click HERE
This little book is a happy compilation of two chapters from the "Way of Perfection' and made for the use of Carmelite Sister of Darligton by their Bishop at the beginning of the last century.




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Sunday, October 04, 2015

St Francis of Assisi

Bartolomeo Della Gatta 'Stigmata of St Francis' 

This Lord of ours is the one through whom all blessings come to us. He will teach us these things. In beholding His life we find that He is the best example. What more do we desire than to have such a good friend at our side, who will not abandon us in our labors and tribulations, as friends in the world do? Blessed are they who truly love Him and always keep Him at their side!....Once I had come to understand this truth, I carefully considered the lives of some of the saints, the great contemplatives, and found that they hadn't taken any other path: St. Francis demonstrates this through the stigmata. St Teresa of Avila. The Book of Her Life, Ch.22 
Let us return to the work of that seraph, for he truly inflicts a sore, and wounds inwardly in the spirit. Thus, if God sometimes permits an effect to extend to the bodily senses in the fashion in which it existed interiorly, the wound and sore appear outwardly, as happened when the seraph wounded St. Francis. When his soul was wounded with love by the five wounds, their effect extended to the body, and these wounds were impressed on the body, which was wounded just as his soul was wounded with love.[ St. Francis of Assisi received the marks of the wounds on his hands, feet, and side on Mount La Verna in October 1224]. St. John of the Cross 'Collected Works'

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