Tuesday, August 07, 2018

St Albert Trapani, Carmelite and Confessor

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

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

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

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



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Monday, August 06, 2018

Transfiguration


Raphael, Transfiguration

    One cannot advance in faith without closing one’s eyes to everything pertaining to the senses and to clear, particular knowledge. Though St Peter was truly certain of his vision of Christ glory in the transfiguration, yet after relating the fact in his second canonical epistle (2 Pt 1:16-18) he did not want anyone to take this as the chief testimony for certitude. But leading them on to faith he declared: We have a more certain testimony than this vision of Tabor: the saying and words of the prophets bearing testimony to Christ which you must make good use of, as a candle shining in a dark place (2 Pt 1:19)

    Reflecting on this comparison, we discover the doctrine we are teaching here. Telling us to behold the faith spoken of by prophets as we would a candle shining in a dark place, he asserts that we should live in darkness, with our eyes closed to all other lights, and that in this darkness faith alone – which is dark also -  should be the light we use. If we want to employ these other bright lights of distinct knowledge, we cease to make use of faith, the dark light, and we cease to be enlightened in the dark place mentioned by St Peter. This place (the intellect – the holder on which the candle of faith is placed) must remain in darkness until the day, in the next life, when the clear vision of God dawns upon the soul; and in this life, until the daybreak of transformation in and union with God, the goal of a person’s journey.  (St John of the Cross, Ascend of Mt Carmel Book 2 ch 16)
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Friday, July 27, 2018

Blessed Titus Brandsma, Priest and Martyr

Bl Titus Brandsma - for more CLICK HERE

   You hear it said that we live in a wonderful time, a time of great mem and women. It would probably be better to say that we live in an era of decadence in which many, however, feel the need to react and to defend what is most precious and sacred. The desire for the emergence of a strong, capable leader is understandable. But we want such a leader to fight for a holy cause, for and ideal based on divine design and not merely on human might.
   Neo-paganism cosiders the whole of nature as an emanation of the divine: this is what it holds about various races and peoples of the earth. But as star differs from star by reason of its light and brightness, so it considers one race more noble and pure than another, to the extent that this one race is held to embody more light within itself, it has a duty of making that life shine and enlighten the world.....From this nation derives the cult of race ad blood, the cult of the heroes of one's own people.
    From such erroenous starting-point, this view can lead to fatal errors! It is said to see how much enthusiasm and effort are placed at the service of such an erroneous and baseless idea! However, we can learn from our enemy; from his erroneous philosophy we can learn how to purify and better oue own ideal; we can learn how to foster a great love for it; how to arouse great enthusiasm. even willingness to live and die for it; how to build up the courage to incarnate it in ourselves and in others.
   We too profess our descendence form God.
   We too want what he wants.
   But we do not accept the idea of emanation from the divine; we do not DIVINISE ourselves. We admit descdendence in dependence. When we speak of and pray for the coming of the kingdom, it is not a prayer for a kingdom based on differences of race and blood but on universal brotherhood. In union with him who makes the sun rise on the good and on the evil, all men are our brothers - even those who hate us and fight us....From Discalced Carmelites Proper Offices, Fragments from the Sermon of Titus Brandsma, October 1936.




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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Bl Maria Pilar and Companions, Virign Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War, who offered their lives for the Church when they were martyred in Guadalajara on July 24th, 1936.


We shall weave these garlands flowering in your love and bound with one hair of mine.
This verse most appropriately refers to Christ and the Church, for in it, the Church, the Bride of Christ, addresses him saying: let us weave garlands (understanding by garlands all the holy souls engendered by Christ in the Church). Each holy soul is like a garland adorned with the flowers of virtues and gifts, and all of them together forms a garland for the head of Christ, the Bridegroom....And bound with one hair of mine - this hair is her will and the love sha has for the Beloved. This love assumes the task od the thread in a garland.
From 'Discalced Carmelite Proper Offices', the Office of Reading, Spiritual Canticle (Strophe 30, 7-8)
To read more CLICK HERE

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Friday, July 20, 2018

Saint Elijah - Father and Patron of the Carmelite Order

Elijah Fed by Ravens by Paolo Fiammingo Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco


Praises to the great Elijah! Let our song to heaven rise. His the grace to hear God's whisper Where all earthly music dies. 
 Clad in skins he made his dwelling On Mount Carmel, finding there That austere and lonely wisdom Hidden in a life of prayer.
  Now we pray our Prophet-father That our lives obtain this grace, An outpouring of the Spirit Over every time and place.
  Praise and honour to the Father, To the Son and Spirit praise Their be all love abd worship Now and for eternal days.
Hymn from the 'Discalced Carmelte Proper Offices'
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Saturday, July 07, 2018

Novena to Our Lady of Mt Carmel starts today


Let us put our petitions in the hands of Our Lady of Mt Carmel with confidence and devotion of Bl Mary of Jesus Crucified:

...I dwell in the heart of my Mother
There I find my Beloved
Am I then an orphan? In the bossom of Mary
I have found life
Do not say I am an orphan:
I have Mary for Mother and God for Father
The serpent, the dragon wished to catch me
And take my life;
But at the feet of Mary, I recovered my life.
Mary called me, and, in this monastery,
Will I remain forever.
At the feet of Mary
I came to life again. 
(Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified)
To pray Novena click here



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Friday, June 08, 2018

Most Sacred Heart Solemnity



St Teresa Margaret Redi, Carmelite nun best known for her devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus wrote during her spiritual exercises in 1768: "My God, I only wish to become a perfect copy of Thee, nothing else. Because Thy life was a hidden one of humility, love and sacrifice, so must mine be, since Thou knowest that I desire nothing else but to become a victim of the Sacred Heart entirely consumed in the fire of Thy Divine Love"
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Thursday, May 31, 2018

Corpus Christi Solemnity and Reflections



 "The eternal tide flows hid in living bread. That with its heavenly life to be fed" (St John of the Cross 'Poems')

"O eternal Father, I ask to be permitted to receive the heavenly Bread with such dispositions that, if I have not the happiness of contemplating Jesus with the eyes of my body. I may at least contemplate Him with the eyes of my soul. This is Bread which contains all sweetness and delight, and sustains our life." 
(St Teresa 'Way of Perfection') 

"All graces are contained in You, O Jesus in the Eucharist, our celestial Food! What more can a soul wish when it has within itself the One who contains everything? If I wish for charity, then I have within me Him who is perfect charity, I possess the perfection of charity. The same is true of faith, hope, purity, patience, humility and meekness, for You form all virtues in our soul, o Christ, when You give us the grace of this Food. What more can I want or desire, if all the virtues, graces, and gifts for which I long, are found in You, O Lord, who are as truly present under the sacramental spieces as You are in heaven, at the right hand of the Father? Because I have and possess this great wonder, I do not long for, or desire, any other!" (St Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi)
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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Novena starts today, May 30th


To pray Novena CLICK HERE

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Sunday, May 27, 2018

The Holy Trinity Sunday

Masaccio, The Holy Trinity with Virgin Mary, St John and donors fresco 
Santa Maria Novella, Florence 

"God chose us in Him before creation, that we should be holy and immaculate in His presence, in love"(Eph 1:4.) 
The Holy Trinity created us in its image, according to the eternal design that it possessed in its bossom before the world was created, in this beginning without beginning of which Bosuet speaks following St John: "In principio erat Verbum" (John 1:1). In the beginning was the Word; and we could add: in the beginning was nothing, for God in His eternal solitude already carried us in His thought. The Father contemplated Himself in the abyss of His fecundity, and by the very act of comprehending Himself He engendered another person, the Son. His eternal Word. The archetype of all creatures who had not yet issued out of the void eternally dwelt in Him, and God saw them and contemplated them in their type Himself. This eternal life which our archetypes possessed without us in God, is the cause of our creation.
Our created essence asks to be rejoined with its principle. The Word, the Splendour of the Father, is the eternal archetype after which creatures are designed on the day of their creation. This is why God wills that, freed from ourselves, we should stretch our arms towards our exemplar and possess it, rising above all things towards our model. This contemplation opens the soul to unexpected horizons.In a certain manner it possesses the crown towards which it aspires. The immense riches that God possesses by nature, we may possess by virtue of true love, by His dwelling in us and by our dwelling in Him. It is by virtue of this immense love that we are drawn into the depths of the intimate sanctuary where God imprints on us a true image of His majesty. Thus it is, thanks to love and through love, as the Apostle says, that we can be holy and immaculate in God's presence (Eph 1:4), and can sing with David: I will be unblemished and I will guard myself from the depths of sinfulness within me.(Ps 17:24)
Bl Elisabeth of the Trinity, Prayer One, Day Seven, Collected works, vol 1


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Friday, May 11, 2018

Pentecost Novena starts today, Friday 11th! - click here to pray


And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place: And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them: And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak.Acts 2:1-4.

The grace of the Holy Spirit be with your paternity, mi padre. I hope that this Pentecost has brought you so many of his gifts and blessings that through them you may render His Majesty the service you owe him for having willed to come to the aid of his people, at so great a cost to yourself. May he be praised for everything. (On the vigil of the Pentecost Sunday, 7 June 1579, while praying in the hermitage of Nazareth, St Teresa received the four counsels for the discalced friars). From the letter 297 of St Teresa to Fr Jeronimo Gracian, written in Avila, 10th of June 1579.


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Sunday, April 22, 2018

Good Shepherd Sunday



Great was the desire of the Bridegroom to free and ransom his bride completely from the hands of sensuality and the devil. Like the good shepherd rejoicing and holding on his shoulder the lost sheep for which he has searched along many winding paths (Lk 15:4-5), and like the woman who, having lit the candle and hunted through her whole house for the lost drachma, holding it up in her hands with gladness and calling her friends and neighbours to come and celebrate saying, rejoice with me, and so no (Lk 15:8-9), now, too, that the soul is liberated this loving Shepherd and Bridegroom rejoices. And it is wonderful to see his pleasure in carrying the rescued, perfected soul on hos shoulders, held there by his hands in this desired union. Not only he himself rejoice, but also makes the angels and saintly souls share in his gladness, saying in the words of the Songs of Song; Go forth, daughters od Zion, and behold king Solomon in the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his espousal and on the day of the joy in his heart (Sg 3:11). By these words he calls the soul his crown, his bride, and the joy of his heart, and he takes her now in his arms and goes forth with her as the bridegroom from his bridal chamber (Ps 19:5) He refers to all this in the following stanza: The bride has entered the sweet garden of her desire, and she rests in delight, laying on her neck on the gentle arms of her Beloved. (St John of the Cross, Stanza 22)
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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Lent, Holy Week and Easter with St Therese and Carmelite Saints


Gratitude is the one thing which disposes God to grant his blessings. If we thank Him for His graces, He is grateful and showers us with ten more graces...My gratitude is limitless for all he has given me and I show it to Him in a thousand ways (Advice and Memories 72). There are certain souls who require regular payment. For me, I take my chances at the bank of Love...I go for the big win. If I lose, I will know. I don't concern myself with the ups and downs, Jesus takes care of them for me. I do not know if I am rich or poor but I will know this later (Advice and Memories 71)

"The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and they will fast" (Mt 9:15)
Blessed Husband of our souls! If we had the love from all the hearts, all that love would be for you...Give us this love and quench your thirst through your humble brides. (Prayers 12)


"I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance" (Lk 5:32)
When you are angry with someone, the way to find peace is to pray for that person (Advice and Memories 150)

"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil" (Mt 4:10).
The more you press forward, the less you have to fight, or rather you win because you see the good side of things. It is then that your soul rises above the humans. It is incredible how, in the end, everything anyone tells me doesn't even graze my soul because I have understood the weakness of human judgement. (Advice and Memories 186)

Jesus said to his disciples: «In praying, do not babble like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. This is how you are to pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread; and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors; and do not subject us to the final test, but deliver us from the evil one. If you forgive others their transgressions, your heavenly Father will forgive you. But if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your transgressions.(Mat 6:7-15)
Outside the Divine Office which I am very unworthy to recite, I do not have the courage to force myself to search out beautiful prayers in books. There are so many of them it really gives me a headache! and each prayer is more beautiful than the others...However, I would not want you to believe, dear Mother, that I recite without devotion the prayers said in common in the choir or the hermitages. On the contrary, I love very much these prayers in common, for Jesus has promised to be in the midst of those who gather together in His name. (Mt 18:19-20).  I feel then that the fervor of my Sisters makes up for my lack of fervor; but when alone (I am ashamed to admit it) the recitation of the rosary is more difficult for me than the wearing of an instrument of penance. I feel I have said this so poorly! I force myself in vain to meditate on the mysteries of the rosary; I don't succeed in fixing my mind on them. For a long time I was desolate about this lack of devotion which astonished me, for I love the Blessed Virgin so much that it should be easy for me to recite in her honor prayers which are so pleasing to her. Now I am less desolate; I think that the Queen of Heaven, since she is my Mother, must see my good will and she is satisfied with it. Sometimes when my mind is in such a great aridity that it is impossible to draw forth one single thought to unite me with God, I very slowly recite an "Our Father" and then the angelic salutation; then these prayers give me great delight; they nourish my soul much more than if I had recited them precipitately a hundred times.(Autobiography)

'Later, Jesus took with Him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, and His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became dazzling white. (Mt 17:1-2)
'Oh Holy Face, more beautiful than the lilies and spring roses! You are not hidden from us! The tears which come from your Divine Face are like diamonds...of infinite value. We want to gather them so we can buy back the souls of our brothers and sisters. (Prayers 12)

"Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and he will be raised on the third day."  (Mat 20:17)
  Jesus declared himself to be head of the mystical Body of which we are the members. He is the vine, we the branches (Jn 15:5). He stretched himself out on the winepress and began to tread it. Thus he gave us the wine by which we might, by drinking, live his life and share his sufferings. 'If anyone wishes to do my will, let him take up his cross daily. Whoever follows me has the light of life. I am the Way. I have given you an example that you also might do what I have done for you' (Lk 9:23; Jn 8:12; 14:6; 13:15). And as his disciples themselves did not understand that his way was to be a way of suffering, he explained it to them, saying: 'Was it not necessary that the Messiah should suffer these things and so enter into his glory?' (Lk 24:26). Then the disciples' hearts burned within them (v.32). God's Word inflamed them. And when the Holy Spirit came down like a divine flame upon them to set them on fire (Acts 2), then they were happy to suffer scorn and persecution (Acts 5:41) since in this way they would become like him who had gone before them on the path of suffering. The prophets had already foretold this path of Christ's suffering and the disciples finally understood that he had not avoided it. From the crib to his agony on the cross, poverty and incomprehension had been his lot. He had spent his life teaching that God's view of suffering, poverty and human incomprehension is different to the world's foolish wisdom (1Cor 1:20)... In the cross is salvation. In the cross is victory. This is how God wanted it to be. (Bl Titus Brandsma 'The Mysticism of Suffering')

No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me; and I will raise that person up on the last day...Whoever believes has eternal life. (Jn 6:44-47)
To live in charity is to give without seeking return here on earth;... being sure that when we love, we do not measure. Divine Heart, overflowing with tenderness, I gave you my all! I run unburdened. I have nothing but my humble treasure which is to live in love . (St Therese, Poetry, 17)


It is the spirit that gives life; the flesh is useless. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life (Jn 6:63)
Some of the thoughts of the soul can't be translated into human language without losing their heavenly and intimate meaning. They are like this white stone which will be given to the victor, upon which is written the name no one knows, except the person who receives it. (The story of a soul)

Very truly, I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. Whoever enters by me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture (Jn 10:7,9)
I also feel the desire to love the Lord alone and to find joy only in Him (The Story of a soul) 

Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen my Father...I am in the Father and the Father is in me (Jn 14:9-11).

Yes, the Face of Jesus shines. If we consider it beautiful in spite of its wounds and tears, what will it be when we see it in heaven?...Yes, just to have the chance to see the Face of Jesus and contemplate the eternal beauty of Jesus, the poor grain of sand is willing to be scorned on earth (St Therese, Letters 95)


I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Juat as I have loved you, you also should love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another (Jn 13:34-35)


I understand that love encompasses all vocations and that love is everything. Love encompasses all times and places. In a word, it is eternal! Then, in the overabundance of my extraordinary love, I exclaimed "Oh Jesus, my love....my vocation, I finally found my vocation"...(The Story of a Soul)

"These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you - that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled." Then He opened their minds to understand the scriptures (Lk 24:44-45).

Beloved Sister, how happy we are to understand the intimate secrets of our Divine Spouse! If you would write down all you know of them, we would have some brautiful pages to read. However, you prefer to keep "the secrets of the King" deep within your heart (The Story of a Soul) 

Now before the festival of the Passover, Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart from this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end (Jn 13:1)

At the Last Supper, when Jesus knew his disciples' hearts burned with devoted love after he had just given himself to them through the unfathomable mystery of the Eucharist, this gentle Saviour gave them a new commandment. (...)Love one another just as I have loved you .(The story of a soul) 

When Jesus knew that all was now finished, he said (in order to fulfill the Scripture), "I am thirsty."...When Jesus had received the wine, he said, "It is finished." Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit (Jn 19:28, 30).

The cry of the Lord on the Cross, "I am thirsty" sounded continually in my heart...I wanted to give my Beloved a drink, and felt myself devoured by the thirst of all souls...It was not the souls of priests that attracted me, but those of the big sinners. I burned with the desire to pull them from the eternal flames. (The Story of a Soul) 

There was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid....They laid Jesus there (Jn 19:41-42)

When I saw the blood running from the wounds of Jesus, the thirst of all souls entered my heart.(....) Oh, each day since this special blessing [Pranzini conversion], my desire to save these souls grew, I felt I heard Jesus tell me, "give me something to drink!" (The Story of a Soul)


"Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen" (Lk 24:5)


Celebrations! Even if the most important feasts do not come very often, my heart is brought to celebrate one every Sunday...That is God's feast, the feast of rest...The whole family goes to Mass (The Story of a Soul). 

"Stay with us, because it is towards evening, and the day is now far spent" (Lk 24)
Rejoice, O my soul...and since the Lord finds His delights in you, may all things on earth not suffice to make you cease to delight in Him and rejoice in the greatness of your God. (St Teresa of Avila, Exclamation of the Soul to God)


Picture at the top represents Crucifixion of Christ by Lucas Cranach and engraving is by Gustave Dore.
Some citationd adopted from 'Through the Year with St Therese'





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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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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Christmas Novena starts 16th December - click for link






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Thursday, December 14, 2017

St John of the Cross Feast Day

Where there is no love, bring love.

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


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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

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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Thursday, November 09, 2017

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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Wednesday, November 08, 2017



Remain in me (Jn 15:4). It is the Word of God who gives this order, expresses this wish. Remain in Me, not for a few moments, a few hours which must pass away, habitually, Remain in Me, pray in Me, adore in Me, love in Me, suffer in Me, work and act in Me. Remain in Me, so that you may be able to encounter anyone or anything; penetrate further still into these depths. This is truly the 'solitude into which God wants to allure the soul that He may speak to it.' as the prophet sang (Hos 2:14).
In order to understand this very mysterious saying, we must not, so to speak, stop at the surface, but enter ever deeper into the divine Being through recollection. 'I pursue my course.' (Ph 3:12) exclaimed St Paul; so must we descend daily this pathway of the Abyss (Ruysbroeck 52-53), which is God; let us slide down this slope (Ru, 52) in wholly loving confidence, "Abyss calls to abyss". It is there in the very depths that the divine impact takes place (Ru 40), where the abyss of our nothingness encounters the Abyss of mercy (Ru 2), the immensity of the all of God (todo of God of John of the Cross face to face with the 'nada' - our nothingness - of man). There we will find the strength to die to ourselves and, losing all vestige of self, we will be changed into love...."Blessed are those who die in the Lord"(Ap 14:13)
(Bl Elizabeth of the Trinity 'Haeven in Faith, First Day, Prayer 2). 

"Father, I will that where I am they also whom You have given Me may be with Me, in order that they may behold My glory which You have Me, because You have loved Me before the creation of the world" (John 17:24). Such is Christ's last wish, His supreme prayer before returning to His Father, He wills that where He is we should be also, not only for eternity, but already in time, which is eternity begun and still in progress. It is important then to know where we must live with Him in order to realize His divine dream. "The place where the Son of God is hidden is the bosom of the Father, or the divine Essence, invisible to every mortal eye, unattainable by every human intellect,"(St John of the Cross, St 1:3) as Isaiah said: "Truly You are a hidden God" (Is 45:15). And yet His will is that we should be established in Him, that we should be, so to speak, His own shadow (Ru 81).

By baptism , says St Paul, we have been united to Jesus Christ (Rom 6:4-5). And again: "God seated us together in Heaven in Christ Jesus, that He might show in the ages to come the riches of His grace" (Eph 2:6-7). And further on: "You are no longer guests or strangers, but you belong to the City of saints and the House of God." (Eph 2:19). The Trinity - this is our dwelling, our "home", the Father's house that we must never leave. The Master said one day: "The slave does not remain with the household forever, but the son remains there forever (John 8:35).

"As long as our will has fancies that are foreign to divine union, whims that are now yes, now no, we are like children; we do not advance with giant steps in love for fire has not yet burnt up all the alloy; the gold is not pure; we are still seeking ourselves; God has not consumed "all our hostility to Him. But when the boiling cauldron has consumed every imperfect love, every imperfect sorrow, every imperfect fear," "then love is perfect and the golden ring of our alliance is larger than Heaven and earth. This is the secret cellar in which love places his elect," this "love leads us by ways and paths known to him alone; and he leads us with no turning back, for we will not retrace our steps." (Spiritual Canticle 439). (Bl Elizabeth Second Day, Prayer 2).

The same saint (St John of the Cross) also says that "God is the center of the soul". So when the soul with all "its" strength will know God perfectly, love and enjoy Him fully, then it will have reached the deepest center that can be attained in Him". Before attaining this, the soul is already "in God who is the center," "but it is not yet in its deepest center, for it can still go further. Since love is what unites us to God, the more intense this love is, the more deeply the soul enters into God and the more it is centered in Him. When it "possesses even one degree of love it is already in its center"; but when this love has attained its perfection, the soul will have penetrated into the deepest center. There willl be transformed to the point of becoming very like God." (St John of the Cross, The living Flame of Love). To this soul living within can be addressed the words of Pere Lacordaire to St Mary Magdalene: No longer ask for the Master among those on earth or in Heaven, for He is your soul and your soul is He." (Second Day, Prayer 1).




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Wednesday, November 01, 2017

All Saints and All Souls Solemnities


                                                          Van Eyck, Ghent Altarpiece

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

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

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

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