Monday, January 16, 2006

Second Week after Epiphany. St Peter Thomas Carm. BC
What does it mean to be a Carmelite in the words of St Elizabeth of the Trinity, CTS Publications, tr. by J.Moorcroft

To the Mother, August 1905
The whole of nature seems so full of God to me: the breeze rustling in the great trees, the singing of the little birds, the beautiful blue sky - everything speaks to me of him. I just have to tell you that my happiness is growing all the time - it is getting nearly as infinite as God himself, and it is such a calm and gentle joy. I have to share my secret with you! St Peter says in his first letter: "You believe in him, although you do not see him. So you rejoice with a great and glorious joy which words cannot express (1 Peter 1:8). I believe that a Carmelite can indeed get all her happiness from this divine source. She believes in 'the love which God has for us', as St John says (1 Jn 4:16). She believes that the same love which drew him down to earth draws him to herself, for Truth itself said in the Gospel:, 'live in me and I in you' (John 15:9), so she simply obeys this loving command and lives in close union with the God who lives within her, and who is far more present to her than she is to herself (St Augustine, Confessions). This is not wishful thinking or imagination but a pure faith that makes her so strong that the good God can say to her the word he spoke of old: 'You are a woman of great faith' (Matthew 15:28).

To Germaine de Gemeaux, 7 August 1902
A Carmelite is someone who has looked at the Crucified One, who has seen him offering himself to the Father as a Victim for us; pondering on this tremendous vision of Christ's love she has longed to give herself as he has....
On the mountain of Carmel, in silence and solitude, in unceasing prayer that continues whatever the circumstances, the Carmelite lives as if she is already in heaven 'with God alone'. The One who will one day be her bliss and will completely satisfy her in glory is already giving himself to her. He never leaves her, he lives within her, more than that, they are but one.
She is hungry for silence in order to listen, to penetrate at every moment more deeply into his infinite Being. She is identified with the one she loves, she finds him everywhere, she sees his radiance in everything!

Surely this is heaven on earth! You carry heaven within you, you can be a Carmelite already because Jesus recognizes a Carmelite by what she is like inside, in the depths of her being. Never leave him, do everything beneath his divine grace and live joyfully in his peace and love, bringing happiness to those you love.

St. Peter Thomas - Bishop
Born about 1305 in southern Perigord in France, Peter Thomas entered the Carmelites when he was 21. He was chosen by the Order as its procurator general to the papal court at Avignon in 1345. After being made bishop of Patti and Lipari in 1354, he was entrusted with many papal missions to promote peace and unity with the Eastern Churches. He was translated to the see of Corone in the Peleponnesus in 1359 and made papal legate for the East. In 1363 he was appointed Archbishop of Crete and in 1364 Latin Patriarch of Constantinople. He won a reputation as an apostle of church unity before he died in Farmagosta on Cyprus in 1366.