Sunday, July 29, 2007

Catechism on Prayer
by Saint John Vianney


See my children; the treasure of a Christian is not on the earth, it is in Heaven. Well, our thoughts ought to be where our treasure is. Man has a beautiful office, that of praying and loving. You pray, you love--that is the happiness of man upon the earth. Prayer is nothing else than union with God. When our heart is pure and united to God, we feel within ourselves a joy, a sweetness that inebriates, a light that dazzles us. In this intimate union God and the soul are like two pieces of wax melted together; they cannot be separated. This union of God with His little creature is a most beautiful thing. It is a happiness that we cannot understand.

We have not deserved to pray; but God, in His goodness, has permitted us to speak to Him. Our prayer is an incense which He receives with extreme pleasure. My children, your heart is poor and narrow; but prayer enlarges it, and renders it capable of loving God. Prayer is a foretaste of Heaven, an overflow of paradise. It never leaves us without sweetness. It is like honey descending into the soul and sweetening everything. Troubles melt away before a fervent prayer like snow before the sun. Prayer makes time pass away very quickly, and so pleasantly that one does not perceive how it passes. Do you know, when I was running up and down the country, at the time that almost all the poor priests were ill, I was praying to the good God all along the road. I assure you, the time did not seem long to me.

We see some persons who lose themselves in prayer like a fish in the water, because they are all for God. There is not division in their heart. Oh, how I love those generous souls! Saint Francis of Assisi and Saint Colette saw Our Lord and spoke to Him as we talk to each other. While we, how often we come to church without knowing what we come for, or what we are going to ask! And yet, when we go to one's house, we know very well what we are going for. Some people seem to say to God, "I am going to say two words to Thee, to get rid of Thee." I often think that when we come to adore Our Lord, we should obtain all we wish, if we would ask it with very lively faith, and a very pure heart. But, alas! we have no faith, no hope, no desire, no love!
There are two cries in man, the cry of the angel and the cry of the beast. The cry of the angel is prayer; the cry of the beast is sin. Those who do not pray, stoop towards the earth, like a mole trying to make a hole to hide itself in. They are all earthly, all brutish, and think of nothing but temporal things, . . . like that miser who was receiving the last Sacraments the other day; when they gave him a silver crucifix to kiss, he said, "That cross weighs full ten ounces." If there could be one day without worship, it would no longer be Heaven; and if the poor lost souls, notwithstanding their sufferings, could worship, there would be no more Hell. Alas! they had a heart to love God with, a tongue to bless Him with; that was their destiny. And now they are condemned to curse Him through all eternity. If they could hope that they would once pray only for one minute, they would watch for that minute with such impatience that it would lessen their torments.
"Our Father who art in Heaven!" Oh, how beautiful it is, my children, to have a father in Heaven! "Thy kingdom come." If I make the good God reign in my heart, He will make me reign with Him in His glory. "Thy will be done." There is nothing so sweet, and nothing so perfect, as to do the will of God. In order to do things well, we must do them as God wills, in all conformity with His designs. "Give us this day our daily bread." We are composed of two parts, the soul and the body. We ask the good God to feed our poor body, and He answers by making the earth produce all that is necessary for our support. . . . But we ask Him to feed our soul, which is the best part of ourselves; and the earth is too small to furnish enough to satisfy it; it hungers for God, and nothing but God can satiate it. Therefore the good God thought He did not do too much, in dwelling upon the earth and assuming a body, in order that this Body might become the Food of our souls. "My Flesh," said Our Lord, "is meat indeed. . . . The bread that I will give is my Flesh, for the life of the world". The bread of souls is in the tabernacle. The tabernacle is the storehouse of Christians. . . . Oh, how beautiful it is, my children! When the priest presents the Host, and shows it to you, your soul may say, "There is my food." O my children, we are too happy! . . . We shall never comprehend it till we are in Heaven. What a pity that is!

after http://www.catholic-forum.com

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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Saturday - Day of Our Lady!

Gate of Heaven, pray for us!

In Church's prayers Our Immaculate Lady is venerated as 'Gate of Heaven'. She indeed is heaven's gate for us because of her sanctity and holy fear of God that ultimately led to union with Him. Her union with God allowed us to have a glimpse of Heaven. In the sixth Beatitude Christ says: "Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God" (Matt 5:8). 'Clean heart' is the heart free from dangerous attachments to earthly things and other human beings. This invocation also points the fact that through Our Lady came the One who opened Gates of Heaven to us, for He said: "I am the door" (John 10:9). Our Blessed Lord came to us through Mary, with her consent and abandonment to God's Will, therefore it is well justified to venerate Our Lady with this invocation. We know Our Immaculate Mother with her constant prayers and intercessions leads countless souls to Heaven! Let us rejoice, for she is our pledge for eternal happiness in Heaven. Let us offer ourselves, our families and all we have to her protection, prayers and intercessions without reserve and with confidence and in union with Church's prayer: "Hail, thou Star of ocean! Portal of the sky! Ever Virgin Mother of the Lord Most High! Oh! by Gabriel's Ave, utter'd long ago, Eva's name reversing, establish peace below. Break the captives' fetters; light on blindness pour; All our ills expelling, every bliss implore. Show thyself a Mother; offer Him our sighs, Who for us Incarnate did not thee despise. Virgin of all virgins! to thy shelter take us: Gentlest of the gentle! Chaste and gentle make us. Still, as on we journey, help our weak endeavour, till with thee and Jesus we rejoice for ever. Through the highest heaven, to the Almighty Three, Father, Son and Spirit, One same glory be. Amen. (Ave Maris Stella)

The image is my favourite for it shows beautifully mutual affection of mother and her Child. It is one of more than 200 of crowned Madonna's one can find in Poland's Churches. This one is from Kalwaria Zebrzydowice Sanctuary of Our Lady.

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Friday, July 27, 2007


Today I will resume posting fragments of the fascinating book entitled "In the silence of Mary" - presenting life of Mother Mary of Jesus, Carmelite Prioress and Foundress 1851-1942. In Chapter 4 of this book, we continue to follow young Sister Mary of Jesus spiritual development and growing intimacy with God - described mostly in her own words. "In the Hands of the Living God" - fragments of chapter 4, part 5.

Humility and distrust of self made her feel keenly the lack of detailed direction. Left alone in the darkness and the unknown, her only security was fidelity and the sanction set upon it all by obedience and the decision of those in authority. She shows a desire to have everything explained on a strict doctrinal basis. There are questions about grace. 'I would like to know your definition'. And about the presence of God in the soul...she asks for a good, solid book of theology, and explains: 'When God has given infused knowledge of some truth, then the theological definition, the simple statement of that truth becomes luminous for the soul, and it is good for it to meet again. This explains why the soul often finds so much in what others find dry'. During her year of novitiate she had been given the works of St John of the Cross, and had found his enlightened teaching and clear-out, precise language an untold help. As her own state of soul become more and more unusual, she found an ever increasing support in his explanations. Yet, even here, she learned the truth of the saint's own maxim: 'Lean on nothing that is not God'. Round about the end of this second period, she writes: 'St John of the Cross makes me rejoice and inflames my soul. But God is now giving me a wholly passive prayer to which I should surrender....He showed me that I ought not to have wanted to enjoy reading St John of the Cross at a time when He was making me know his doctrine be experience'.
In this and in many other ways, a constant mortification was asked of her. With regard to physical suffering, one quoteation may serve. 'When my head is terrible and it seems as if a live coal were burning it, I have the simplicity to think that it is a prayer, an act of love'. The ordinary daily mortification of religious life is glimpsed in a tiny note. 'His severity fo my meals. I am not sufficiently faithful to His intimations and His lessons, though He makes me feel sure that it is He'. As for her interior sufferings, she admits time and again what it cost her to lead life of inaction, to die utterly to everything that nature could cling to or to make its own, to restrain all personal activity in order to act solemnly under obedience of God. 'These imperceptible halts to follow and watch the Holy Spirit acting in (my) soul......make it die', she wrote once. She accuses herself of infidelity in 'lingering sometimes over pleasant thoughts and memories, in not cutting short the thoughts and wanderings of my mind'; but the very accusation reveals the extent of the renunciation she was asked in this matter. In all her suffering, whether of soul or mind or body, her anser was to 'plunge with all the strength of my will into the purification that God imposed'.

Links to previous posts:
"I will be His alone" chapter 2 part 1
"I will be His alone" chapter 2 part 2
"Carmelite Heritage" chapter 3 part 1
"Carmelite Seed-Time" Chapter 3 part 2
"Carmelite Seed-Time" Chapter 3 part 3
"Carmelite Seed-Time" Chapter 3 part 3 continued
"In the Hands of the living God" Chapter 4 part 1
"In the hands of the living God" Chapter 4 part 2
"In the hands of the living God" Chapter 4 part 3
"In the hands of the living God" Chapter 4 part 4

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Saint ANNE, Mother of the Blessed Virgin (†ca. 3 B.C.)

Spiritual Bouquet: He who has My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me... And I will love him and manifest Myself to him. St. John 14:21

Saint Anne, chosen by God to be the mother of Mary, His own Blessed Mother on earth, was the spouse of Saint Joachim. Ancestor of the Eternal King and High Priest, Joachim was of the royal house of David, while Anne was of Levitical descent. Their lives were wholly occupied with prayer and good works. One thing only was wanting to their union — they were childless, and this was held as a bitter misfortune among the Jews. At length, when Anne was well advanced in age, Mary was born, the fruit rather of grace than of nature, and the child more of God than of man. With the birth of Mary the holy matron began a new life; she watched Her every movement with reverent tenderness, and, aware of the little one’s destiny, felt herself hourly sanctified by the presence of her Immaculate Child. But she had vowed her daughter to God; to God the child Mary had already consecrated Herself, and to Him Anne gave Her back. Mary was three years old when Anne and Joachim led Her to the Temple steps, saw Her pass by Herself into the inner sanctuary, and then saw Her no more. Thus was Anne left childless in her old age, and deprived of her purest earthly joy. The holiest parents on earth could not, in the plan of God, raise this Child as was needed: Mary had to suffer from Her earliest years. Saint Anne and Saint Joachim humbly adored the Divine Will, and continued to watch and pray, until God called them to unending rest.
France and Canada possess the principal sanctuaries of Saint Anne: in France, at Apt in Provence, and at Auray in Britanny; in Canada at Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré in the Province of Quebec. At Apt the discovery in 792 of Saint Anne’s relics, brought by Lazarus and his two sisters to France, was wholly miraculous, authenticated by the presence of Charlemagne during the discovery, and the signature of Pope Adrian I on the written account of the facts.

Reflection: Saint Anne is glorious among the Saints, not only as the mother of Mary, but because she gave Mary to God. Learn from her to reverence a religious vocation as the highest privilege, and to sacrifice every natural bond, however holy, at the call of God.

after www.magnificat.ca
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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Time of Recollection: Abandoning sin

When we turn back to God with trust, we must use universal, golden remedy to erase stain of sin from the soul most effectively - the confession. Confession is the Sacrament and established by Our Lord with following words: "Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained" (John 20:23). With this words the power was given to not only to the Apostles but to all their successors to bind or loose sins. Having given that power, they had to decide the gravity of sins in terms of forgiveness. But this they could done only while listening to confessions. And this is done this way up to the present day. Even the Pope confesses as any other priest, and kings also do this the same way as all their subjects. But this excellent Sacrament is often misunderstood and disliked by those who question authority and the intermediary role of the priest between God and sinner. Can we imagine a criminal who does not care much about the court of justice and judge assigned to sentence him. He would say: "I will make a deal with the King, I do not need to go to the court and confess my crimes to the judge!" And he goes to the King asking his mercy. However, the King would say that it is his will and law to submit to the court its judges! All these objections and complains about confession are useless and not Catholic. Confession to the priest is God's law and we have respect it and submit to it, otherwise the Holy Ghost warns us: "He that hideth his sins, shall not prosper: but he that shall confess, and forsake them, shall obtain mercy" (Proverbs 28:13)

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Saturday, Our Lady's day.

Ark of Covenant, pray for us!

The Ark of Covenant was the most holy treasure of Israelites and was built to keep Commandment tablets given by God to Moses on Mount Sion. In the Ark was also kept precious vessel with the manna, God fed Israelites during forty years of their wandering through wilderness (Exodus 25). In the New Covenant, Our Immaculate Lady is the most sweet symbol of long lost original Ark of Covenant. In her soul, like in the Ark, she kept Christ, who is the real manna and our shepherd and lawgiver. She kept and guarded this treasure with most pious fear and zeal. Fear of God, unfortunately is commonly misunderstood for a servile kind of fear. However, in the Holy Scripture, fear of God means pious, elevated respect and veneration for omnipotent and most Holy God. He require from the faithful who venerate Him to prove this affection through living pious life - the most pleasing offering. Life of Our Lady was filled with such loving fear and zeal for God and she always look at herself as His maiden, exactly as she described herself in Magnificat. She wanted to always please the Lord, to conform her will to His will and Word. She was obedient to God and to the law, conforming her will to His Will, often indirectly through obedience to authority of Synagoge or Romans. When we are tempted against obedience to authority, we should remember Our Lady. Our Lord said: "He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me." (Luke 10:16). The Apostle said about authority: "Let every soul be subject to higher powers: for there is no power but from God: and those that are, are ordained of God. Therefore he that resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God."(Romans 13:1-2). Therefore, practical fear of God, as we can see in Our Lady's life, is very meritorious and pleasing to God: "Be subject therefore to God," (Jam 4:7).

Beautiful image of Our Lady is by Sandro Boticelli
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Friday, July 20, 2007

St Teresa Margaret of the Most Sacred Heart, OCD

The last installment of St Teresa Margaret gem of spiritual wisdom.

On Devotion to Most Holy Mary

“Let them recommend themselves to God,” the Saint used to say of the religious, “and they will see He will console them. Let them have recourse to the intercession of Most Holy Mary in all their necessities and they will always be heard.” (Canonical Process: Deposition of Mother Teresa Maria of the Most Holy Conception)
The Saint used to place her patients under the care of the Most Blessed Virgin, after which she remained tranquil, saying: “Let them also confide in Her assistance, because they are in good hands.” (Ibid.)
Bless us, O Virgin Mary, Mother of Compassion, Advocate and Consoler of all those who confide in You! (Affections)
Mother of Mercy, give us strength against the enemies of our souls, so that by your aid we may always be victorious. (Ibid.)

On Poverty
When she [the Saint] was insistently asked by her father, who wanted to give her a present, what she would like, she replied: “I desire nothing and I need nothing. You have made me such a beautiful gift in allowing me to wear this Holy Habit, that if I remained with my face to the ground from morning to night in gratitude, I should still be doing less that I ought.” (Canonical Process). In the last hours of her life the doctor ordered some drops of laudanum to be given to her. She received them with gratitude saying that the medicine was too good and precious for a poor Discalced Nun, and that she did not merit so much attention. (Canonical Process: Deposition of Mother Teresa Maria)

On Silence
Whoever desires peace, let her watch, suffer, and be silent. (To the Sisters)
If we wish to become holy, let us work and endure in silence, keeping our soul in peace. (To the Sisters)
When one cannot put oneself right by speaking, it is better to have recourse to prayer and silence; and thus to keep one’s peace alone with God. (To the Sisters)
Whenever there was some trouble in the monastery the Saint was unwilling to talk about it and used to say: “Prayer and silence!” (Souvenirs)

On Mortification
There is such need to mortify the intellect, the memory, and the exterior senses, so that they become almost spiritual, and then united to the soul they find in God alone their nourishment and their consolation, and they can say: “My heart and my flesh have exulted in the living God.” (Maxims)
The Saint made the resolution never to let pass an occasion that presented itself to suffer, and to suffer as far as possible in silence, keeping it between herself and God. (Canonical Process: Deposition of Mother Anna Maria of St. Anthony of Padua)

On Devotion to the Sacred Heart and to the Most Holy Eucharist
The Saint regarded the Sacred Heart as the center of the love with which the divine Word loved us from all eternity, making such devotion consist in loving It unceasingly. She wanted to be called ‘of the Sacred Heart,’ intending by this to wish neither to live nor breathe except to love It with all her strength. (Canonical Process: Deposition of Father Ildefonse)
Yes, my God, You know well that I long only to be a victim of Your Sacred Heart, entirely consumed as a holocaust in the fire of Your holy love! (Resolutions)
Your Heart will be the altar of this, my consummation in You O my God; and You will be the priest who will immolate this victim in the fire of Your holy love! (Ibid.)
Since, O my God, You inspire me to make myself like you in everything, as much as I can, I want particularly to imitate You in those virtues that are so pleasing to Your most loving Heart, namely: humility, meekness, and obedience. (Resolutions)

On Various Subjects
How is it possible that men can commit what is an offense against God? Oh! It cannot be true, they cannot have had the intention of doing evil! (Words of the Saint)
All things come to an end; therefore take heart, for just as one thing gives way to another, so eternity will come at last. On the contrary seeing how quickly the things of this world end ought to console us, because we are drawing ever nearer to that goal to which all our works ought to tend. (To one of the Sisters)

I. I will perform no action with haste or perturbation.

II. I will fix my eyes in my heart, and raise my heart to God.

III. I will speak softly and only of necessary things. (Resolutions)

“One must take care,” so the Saint used to say, “to make use of spiritual direction for what is just strictly necessary, because many times it happens that one begins the conference on a spiritual plane and ends up in self love.” (Canonical Process: Deposition of Mother Teresa Maria of the Most Holy Conception)
If we live and move in God, it does not seem to me that His company and His love can hinder us from moving and working externally. (To Father Ildefonse)
Lord, give me greater patience that I may be able to suffer still more for You. (Words of the Saint as she was dying.)


After "The Florilegio of St. Teresa Margaret" - a booklet of sayings translated from the Italian by Sister Miriam of Jesus, O.C.D.
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St. Teresa Margaret Mary of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, OCD

Excerpts from The Florilegio (sayings) of St. Teresa Margaret

On the Love of God

I am doing nothing to correspond to love.... I feel within me a continual reproach of the Sovereign Good, and on the other hand everything seems to hinder me from simply rushing forward to God. . . . I find no other remedy but to live by faith. I cannot imagine what painful fare living without love would be for one who burns with desire for this love. (
Letter to Father Ildefonse, Dec. 19, 1768)

If I should see hell open for me, I should continue to love the Lord all the same. (
Canonical Process: Words of the Saint)

It is enough to keep closed the outside doors, which are the senses; then it seems to me that the soul cannot go elsewhere than to its center which is God. (
Canonical Process: Words of the Saint)

I propose, O my God, to have no other aim than love in all my actions, interior as well as exterior, remembering that I ought to render love for love. (
Resolutions, 1768)

My only love, I abandon myself entirely to You, so that You alone may act in me according to your designs. (
Ibid.)

Dispose of me as is most pleasing to You, provided that I follow You by the way of Calvary: the thornier I find it and the heavier Your Cross, the happier I will be. (
Resolutions, 1768)

I believe that I cannot do less than marvel at the loving conduct of our good God in leading me to this holy place [Carmel] .... I thank Him for having rendered me victorious, and for having freed my heart from so many attachments, which would have separated it from the sole object in which it should rest. (
To Mother Maria Anna of the Albizi in St. Apollonia’s, January 5, 1769)

We should not be disturbed, whatever the circumstances in which God places us, but let us allow Him to act, uniting ourselves to His intentions; in this way we will love with pureness of love. (
Maxims of the Saint)

As he who loves a creature often thinks of her, so the one who loves God is always mindful of Him. (
Maxims of the Saint)

All things count for nothing when it is a matter of acquiring true love of God. (
Ibid.)

Let us do all for love, and nothing will appear difficult when we reflect that love desires nothing but love. (
Ibid.)

To acquire this Love, which is God Himself, no labor should seem too arduous, nor ought one to draw back because of the difficulty one may encounter.
(To Mother Anna Maria of St. Anthony of Padua)

The mirror in which we ought to look at ourselves that we may reach divine union is Jesus Christ, because no one can attain it except by means of and through the merits of Jesus Crucified. (
To the same)

Consider the grace of God: in these plants He speaks to us without words, and reminds us to love Him. (
To the sister near her in the garden)

When a sick Sister, with whom she was staying, urged her to go down to the Choir in time to prepare herself for Holy Communion, she replied:
“It might be hard for me to remain here, but on the other hand I believe that since obedience wills me to assist here rather than in Choir, the faithful accomplishment of my duty will be the best preparation for Communion, for God is not restricted either to time or place.” (To Mother Teresa Maria of the Most Holy Conception)

If the actions of our neighbors have a hundred aspects, we ought always to consider them from the best point of view. (
To the same)

When an action is blamable, let us excuse the intention. (
To the same)

When as infirmarian she had to deny any sick Sister something that could harm her even slightly, she was wont to say:
“Now is the time of offer Jesus this sacrifice which He is expecting from you.” (Souvenirs)

Try to be all for God’s with love, our Superiors’ with submission, our neighbor’s with charity. (
To one of the Sisters)

Never complain of anyone, but turn the complaints against yourself; because if you do not succeed in doing what you long to do, how can you complain if others fail? (
From the writings of the Saint)

I believe that love would render bearable, and even sweet, the torments of hell; because love alone makes one surmount everything, as was demonstrated by the holy martyrs. (
To Father Ildefonse)

Love suffers neither delay nor repose, being al­ways eager to suffer for the Beloved. (
Maxims of the Saint)

Our good God ardently desires to give us the great treasure of His love; but He wants us to ask Him for it insistently, and to act in such a manner that each work we perform will be a request for this love. (
Thoughts)

II On Love of Neighbor

When one of the Sisters had received a public correction, the Saint went to her most tenderly, and to comfort her said:
“Now is the time to accumulate merits for a blessed eternity, making of the unpleasant experience a little bouquet to offer Jesus, not thinking of yourself anymore, excusing and forgiving everyone.” (Souvenirs)

Let us remember that our Holy Mother founded our monasteries principally so that we might help by our prayer those who are laboring to lead souls to God. If we grow negligent in this, we shall completely fall away from her spirit, and the Holy Mother will not consider us as her daughters. (
Words which the Saint frequently said to Mother Teresa Maria of the Most Holy Conception)

III On Faith and Hope

What a beautiful thing to pray to Him who wants so much to give to us! . . . With our good Father it is enough to open one’s mouth and simply show Him our desire in order to be heard. ... How can one do less to be heard? (
Maxims)

It is extraordinary that our good Jesus, even when we are asleep, when we are amusing ourselves and are not thinking at all of Him or of ourselves, still continues to pray to His eternal Father for us! (
Ibid.)

Let us remain quite calm so that however things turn out they will always be to our advantage since God always arranges what is best for us. (
To one of the Sisters)

Let us place all our trust in God, and let us remember that it is of faith that God gives us strength in proportion to the work. (
To one of the Sisters)

Don’t you see how God helps us, and at the end of the day everything is accomplished? (
To one of the Sisters)

I wish to live by faith in You, O Lord .... and I hope in the end to be saved! (
Canonical Process: Words of the Saint)

You unbeliever, O you who do not dare draw near to Him, make the test and prove how good and generous is our most loving God! (
Canonical Process: Words of the Saint)

IV On Humility

The poorer and more miserable 1 am, so much the more am I rich and strong in God. (
Canonical Process: Words of the Saint)

God will be more glorious in His mercy, the more vile and contemptible I am in my nothingness, in my sins, and in my weaknesses. (
Ibid.)

In what can we not humble ourselves after a God has so humbled Himself for us? (
Ibid.)

Especially at the end of her life she was accustomed to say: “If they knew what I am, they would not live with me, because I am so wicked.” (
Ibid.)

When something goes well, let us not believe that it is because of our prayers; but when some misfortune occurs, let us think that it is because of our sins. (
Thoughts)

The spirit of Jesus is a spirit of subjection, simplicity, humility, and of meekness. (Thoughts)

Let us seek that love which created and redeemed us, and commands us to love Him. If we long to find Him, the way is this: humility of heart and simplicity of spirit. (To the Sisters)

Since love makes lovers conform, therefore we ought to become humble like Jesus, meek like Jesus; and His humility will teach us to rejoice when we are despised and to be silent when nature leads us to excuse ourselves. (To the Sisters)

It is a great thing that our good Jesus, even though He is glorious at the right hand of His Father, takes on Himself our most vile miseries and deigns to intercede continually for us. (Canonical Process: Words of the Saint)

V On Obedience


She herself declared she wished to live by pure obedience, and therefore in all that she did she endeavored to be able to say to herself: “I am doing this through obedience and with obedience.” (Canonical Process: Deposition of Father Ildefonse)

If they work here [in the monastery] only through obedience, it does not seem to me that God can allow His work to be impeded [namely that exterior occupations would be an obstacle to union with Him]. (To Father Ildefonse)
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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Good Friday prayers of the Church! St Vincent Ferrer - ora pro nobis!


Very sad. More fuss about Good Friday prayers of the Church for the conversion of Jews, it seems they dictate what should we believe in, for more detail please follow the link: Rorate-caeli blog

True Show of Charity: Organized and fully sanctioned by the Holy Roman Catholic Church in 1414 A.D., the Congress of Tortosa for the Conversion of Israel (The Jews) bore marvelous fruit!
"...in all of these places the power of God was manifested in His enabling him (St. Vincent Ferrer) to work miracles and effect the conversion of an incredible number of Jews and sinners. The Jews of Toledo, embracing the faith, changed their synagogue into a church under the name of Our Lady's." St. Vincent Ferrer, who took part in the Congress of Tortosa, collaborated in a Treatise on the Jews which served as a base for his further labors among them... the most cautious of historians state St. Vincent converted 25,000 Jews to The Faith. (after opus dei.alert).
These prayers must be very powerful if the Jews are so keen for the Church to abandon them completely.
St Vincent Ferrer, pray for us!
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St. Teresa Margaret of the Most Sacred Heart, OCD

Excerpts from The Florilegio (sayings) of St. Teresa Margaret

On the Love of God

I am doing nothing to correspond to love.... I feel within me a continual reproach of the Sovereign Good, and on the other hand everything seems to hinder me from simply rushing forward to God. . . . I find no other remedy but to live by faith. I cannot imagine what painful fare living without love would be for one who burns with desire for this love. (Letter to Father Ildefonse, Dec. 19, 1768)

If I should see hell open for me, I should continue to love the Lord all the same. (Canonical Process: Words of the Saint)

It is enough to keep closed the outside doors, which are the senses; then it seems to me that the soul cannot go elsewhere than to its center which is God. (Canonical Process: Words of the Saint)

I propose, O my God, to have no other aim than love in all my actions, interior as well as exterior, remembering that I ought to render love for love. (Resolutions, 1768)

My only love, I abandon myself entirely to You, so that You alone may act in me according to your designs. (Ibid.)

Dispose of me as is most pleasing to You, provided that I follow You by the way of Calvary: the thornier I find it and the heavier Your Cross, the happier I will be. (Resolutions, 1768)

I believe that I cannot do less than marvel at the loving conduct of our good God in leading me to this holy place [Carmel] .... I thank Him for having rendered me victorious, and for having freed my heart from so many attachments, which would have separated it from the sole object in which it should rest. (To Mother Maria Anna of the Albizi in St. Apollonia’s, January 5, 1769)

We should not be disturbed, whatever the circumstances in which God places us, but let us allow Him to act, uniting ourselves to His intentions; in this way we will love with pureness of love. (Maxims of the Saint)

As he who loves a creature often thinks of her, so the one who loves God is always mindful of Him. (Maxims of the Saint)

All things count for nothing when it is a matter of acquiring true love of God. (Ibid.)

Let us do all for love, and nothing will appear difficult when we reflect that love desires nothing but love. (Ibid.)

To acquire this Love, which is God Himself, no labor should seem too arduous, nor ought one to draw back because of the difficulty one may encounter. (To Mother Anna Maria of St. Anthony of Padua)

The mirror in which we ought to look at ourselves that we may reach divine union is Jesus Christ, because no one can attain it except by means of and through the merits of Jesus Crucified. (To the same)

Consider the grace of God: in these plants He speaks to us without words, and reminds us to love Him. (To the sister near her in the garden)

When a sick Sister, with whom she was staying, urged her to go down to the Choir in time to prepare herself for Holy Communion, she replied: “It might be hard for me to remain here, but on the other hand I believe that since obedience wills me to assist here rather than in Choir, the faithful accomplishment of my duty will be the best preparation for Communion, for God is not restricted either to time or place.” (To Mother Teresa Maria of the Most Holy Conception)

If the actions of our neighbors have a hundred aspects, we ought always to consider them from the best point of view. (To the same)

When an action is blamable, let us excuse the intention. (To the same)

When as infirmarian she had to deny any sick Sister something that could harm her even slightly, she was wont to say: “Now is the time of offer Jesus this sacrifice which He is expecting from you.” (Souvenirs)

Try to be all for God’s with love, our Superiors’ with submission, our neighbor’s with charity. (To one of the Sisters)

Never complain of anyone, but turn the complaints against yourself; because if you do not succeed in doing what you long to do, how can you complain if others fail? (From the writings of the Saint)

I believe that love would render bearable, and even sweet, the torments of hell; because love alone makes one surmount everything, as was demonstrated by the holy martyrs. (To Father Ildefonse)

Love suffers neither delay nor repose, being al­ways eager to suffer for the Beloved. (Maxims of the Saint)

Our good God ardently desires to give us the great treasure of His love; but He wants us to ask Him for it insistently, and to act in such a manner that each work we perform will be a request for this love. (Thoughts)


II On Love of Neighbor

When one of the Sisters had received a public correction, the Saint went to her most tenderly, and to comfort her said: “Now is the time to accumulate merits for a blessed eternity, making of the unpleasant experience a little bouquet to offer Jesus, not thinking of yourself anymore, excusing and forgiving everyone.” (Souvenirs)

Let us remember that our Holy Mother founded our monasteries principally so that we might help by our prayer those who are laboring to lead souls to God. If we grow negligent in this, we shall completely fall away from her spirit, and the Holy Mother will not consider us as her daughters. (Words which the Saint frequently said to Mother Teresa Maria of the Most Holy Conception)


III On Faith and Hope

What a beautiful thing to pray to Him who wants so much to give to us! . . . With our good Father it is enough to open one’s mouth and simply show Him our desire in order to be heard. ... How can one do less to be heard? (Maxims)

It is extraordinary that our good Jesus, even when we are asleep, when we are amusing ourselves and are not thinking at all of Him or of ourselves, still continues to pray to His eternal Father for us! (Ibid.)

Let us remain quite calm so that however things turn out they will always be to our advantage since God always arranges what is best for us. (To one of the Sisters)

Let us place all our trust in God, and let us remember that it is of faith that God gives us strength in proportion to the work. (To one of the Sisters)

Don’t you see how God helps us, and at the end of the day everything is accomplished? (To one of the Sisters)

I wish to live by faith in You, O Lord .... and I hope in the end to be saved! (Canonical Process: Words of the Saint)

You unbeliever, O you who do not dare draw near to Him, make the test and prove how good and generous is our most loving God! (Canonical Process: Words of the Saint)

IV On Humility

The poorer and more miserable 1 am, so much the more am I rich and strong in God. (Canonical Process: Words of the Saint)

God will be more glorious in His mercy, the more vile and contemptible I am in my nothingness, in my sins, and in my weaknesses. (Ibid.)

In what can we not humble ourselves after a God has so humbled Himself for us? (Ibid.)

Especially at the end of her life she was accustomed to say: “If they knew what I am, they would not live with me, because I am so wicked.” (Ibid.)

When something goes well, let us not believe that it is because of our prayers; but when some misfortune occurs, let us think that it is because of our sins. (Thoughts)

The spirit of Jesus is a spirit of subjection, simplicity, humility, and of meekness. (Thoughts)

Let us seek that love which created and redeemed us, and commands us to love Him. If we long to find Him, the way is this: humility of heart and simplicity of spirit. (To the Sisters)

Since love makes lovers conform, therefore we ought to become humble like Jesus, meek like Jesus; and His humility will teach us to rejoice when we are despised and to be silent when nature leads us to excuse ourselves. (To the Sisters)

It is a great thing that our good Jesus, even though He is glorious at the right hand of His Father, takes on Himself our most vile miseries and deigns to intercede continually for us. (Canonical Process: Words of the Saint)

V On Obedience


She herself declared she wished to live by pure obedience, and therefore in all that she did she endeavored to be able to say to herself: “I am doing this through obedience and with obedience.” (Canonical Process: Deposition of Father Ildefonse)

If they work here [in the monastery] only through obedience, it does not seem to me that God can allow His work to be impeded [namely that exterior occupations would be an obstacle to union with Him]. (To Father Ildefonse)


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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

St. Teresa Margaret of the Most Sacred Heart, OCD

Excerpts from "Divine Intimacy"- by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdelen- fragments relating to St Teresa Margaret spirituality

"The Proof of Love" St Teresa Margeret of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

Presence of God - O Jesus Crucified, make me understand that the Cross is the greatest proof of love.

Meditation

1. After the Incarnation, the Cross of Jesus is the greatest proof of His love for man. Similarly, mortification, which is suffering eagerly accepted for the love of God, is one of the greatest proofs of love that we can give Him. It means freely giving up a satisfaction or a pleasure in order to impose on ourselves, for love of God, something which is contrary to our own natural inclinations; we thus prove that we prefer to satisfy God rather than ourselves. Every act of voluntary mortification, whether physical or moral, says to God, “Lord, I love You more than myself!” And since a soul in love has an ardent desire to give proof of its love, it is very vigilant not to miss a single opportunity for renunciation. It was in this sense that St. Teresa Margaret of the Heart of Jesus resolved “not to let a single occasion for suffering escape, as far as she was able - and always in silence between God and herself.” In fact, she made every effort to find at each moment some occasion for suffering or bodily pain, so as never to satisfy the slightest appetite or desire, and she sought ways to make even what was necessary, painful and wearying to her body” (Spirituality). Her ardent love for God found an outlet in this generous, untiring exercise of mortification. Using a different expression, St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus called this practice “scattering flowers”, that is, profiting by every least opportunity to suffer in order to give God a proof of her love. Knowing that the value of mortification depends upon the generosity of the dispositions with which it is done, the Saint said, “I shall always sing, even should my flowers be gathered from the midst of thorns” (Story of a Soul, 13).

2. The value of voluntary mortification consists much more in the good will with which it is practiced than in the intensity of the suffering which is imposed, although the latter may contribute to it in the sense that a more painful mortification requires more good will. The amount of suffering must be wisely proportioned, and limited to the physical strength of each one; but what must never be limited is the love, the spirit of generosity with which we perform each act of sacrifice. From this point of view, a slight mortification done with all the love of which a soul is capable has greater value than a painful penance performed in a material way, with no interior spirit. Hence before performing an act of mortification, especially when it concerns certain customary practices such as those which are used in Religious Institutes, it is necessary to arouse our good will and our sincere desire to suffer willingly for the love of God. This will prevent a mere mechanical performance of the act that has little or no value. Loving contemplation of the Crucified was the soul of all the austerities of St. Teresa Margaret. “This humiliated, suffering God, of whom she was constantly thinking, was the One who gave her the interior strength to overcome every difficulty, however arduous, and to take on spontaneously so many labors and works of charity and mortification; it was He who gave her an insatiable desire for suffering “ (St Teresa Margaret, Spirituality). Contemplating Jesus Crucified, the soul feels that, even if’ it is mortifying itself much for love of Him, its sacrifices and renunciations amount to very little, and instead of conceiving sentiments of vain complacency for the mortifications already practiced, it feels the need of humbling itself and of always doing more. “Have great love for suffering,” says St. John of the Cross, “and consider it very little to attain the favor of the Spouse, who hesitated not to die for thee” (Spiritual Maxims II, 15).
Colloquy

O my Beloved, how shall I show my love, since love proves itself by deeds? I have no other means of proving my love than to strew flowers, and these flowers will be each word and look, each little daily sacrifice. I wish to make profit out of the smallest actions and to do them all for Love. For Love’s sake I wish to suffer and to rejoice: so shall I strew my flowers. Not one that I see but, singing all the while, I will scatter its petals before You. Should my roses be gathered from amid thorns, I will sing notwithstanding; and the longer and sharper the thorns, the sweeter will grow my song” (St Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Story of a Soul, 13).O Lord, dispose of me according to Your will, for I am content with everything if only I am following You on the road to Calvary. The more thorns there are on this road and the heavier the Cross is, the more consoled shall I be, for I desire to love You with an effective love, with a patient love, with a love which is dead to self and entirely surrendered to You. O Lord, You on the Cross for me and I on the Cross for You! Oh! if I could but once understand how sweet and precious it is to suffer: to suffer in silence for You, O Jesus! O dear suffering! O good Jesus!” (St Teresa Margaret, Spirituality). Yes, suffering is dear to me because it permits me to give God proofs of my love; because in the darkness of faith, in which I must live here below, it gives me the assurance of loving not only in words, but with a strong, effective love. O Jesus, now I understand why St. Teresa of Avila asked for only one thing: to die or to suffer,” professing to have no other reason for living except to suffer for love of You (Life, 40).
O Lord, may I too have such strong, true, and ardent love! Grant it to me, You who can give me all things, and who can, in one instant, transform this dry, cold heart into a furnace of charity.

"Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus"

Presence of God
- O Sacred Heart of Jesus, teach me how to know You and to love You.

Meditation

1. The object of devotion to the Sacred Heart is, properly speaking, the physical Heart of Jesus which is worthy of adoration, because it is a part of His sacred Humanity, hypostatically united to the Word. However, the ultimate object of this devotion is the love of Jesus, the symbol of which is His Heart. In other words, beneath the symbolic image of the Heart, we contemplate and venerate our divine Redeemer’s immense charity and generous love” (Pius VI). This is the real meaning of the devotion to the Sacred Heart by which the Church asks us to honour the Heart of Jesus as the visible representation of His invisible love.Your charity has allowed You to be wounded by the visible blow of the lance,” the liturgy of the feast sings, “so that we may venerate the wounds of Your invisible love” (Roman Breviary). Therefore, the principle object of this devotion is the love of Jesus, an uncreated love with which He, as the Word, together with the Father and the Holy Spirit, loved us from all eternity, and from all eternity willed to become incarnate for our salvation. It is also the created love of charity with which, as Man, He loved us even to the death of the Cross, meriting for us by His love that same charity by which we are enabled to love Him in return. Here we find the most profound significance of the devotion to the Sacred Heart. St Teresa Margaret of the Heart of Jesus had such a thorough understanding of this meaning that she made this devotion the centre of her life. The process of her canonization says that the Saint “saw the Heart of Jesus as the centre, the source of the love with which the divine Word, in the bosom of the Father, loved us from all eternity, and merited for us in time the power to love Him in return, on earth and in heaven, by our sharing in this love.”


"The Love of Esteem"

Presence of God
- O my God, sovereign and infinite Good, grant that I may esteem nothing more than You and prefer nothing to You.

Meditation
2. A further effect of this great love of esteem for God is “that the greatest sufferings and trials of which [the soul] is conscious in this night are the anguished thoughts that it has lost God, and the fears that He has abandoned it.” (St John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul, II, 13, 5). Just as it is not concerned about acquiring any possession except the possession of God, neither is the soul concerned about any loss, if it be not the loss of God. Everything can be taken from it: health, riches, honours, esteem, trust, the affection of the most cherished creatures, and these creatures themselves; but never could the soul endure that God should be taken from it, or that it should be prevented from loving Him. Thus have the saints thought and acted. In her immense desire to love God, St Teresa Margaret Redi declared that she was ready to suffer even the pains of hell to obtain that grace; and to one who asked how she would be able to support such unspeakable torments she replied: “I think that love would render them bearable for me and perhaps even sweet, for of itself love makes all things else seem as naught.” (St Teresa Margaret of the Heart of Jesus, Spirituality). That is also what St Teresa of Jesus thought when she wrote to her daughters these beautiful lines: “Let your desire be to see God; your fear, that you may lose Him; your sorrow, that you are not having fruition of Him; your joy, that He can bring you to Himself.” (Maxims For Her Nuns) Such is the characteristic of true love: to create but one preoccupation in the soul, one fear, one desire and one joy — all of which are concentrated on God alone.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Carmelite Martyrs of Compiegne

The Blessed Carmelites of Compiègne – July 17

On July 17, 1794, the sixteen Carmelites nuns of Compiègne were guillotined in Paris, convicted of crimes against the state by the tribunal of the French Revolution. On this day they were born to eternal life. Mother Henriette de Jesus, renowned for her great beauty and strong personality, stood up to represent the other Carmelite sisters before the revolutionary tribunal and was remarkable for her heroic resolution. Since the prosecutor accused the Carmelites of being fanatics and counter-revolutionaries, she asked him to explain the meaning of those words. The irritated judge vomited a torrent of offenses against her, and then said: “It is your attachment to your Religion and the King.” Hearing these words, she replied, “I thank you for the explanation.” Then, addressing her companion Carmelites, she said: “My dear Mother and my Sisters, we must rejoice and give thanks to God for we die for our Religion, our Faith, and for being members of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.” She was the last one before the Prioress to mount the scaffold to die. To the end, she encouraged her Sisters to persevere. When a charitable person offered a glass of water to one of the Sisters, Mother Henriette told her: “In Heaven, my Sister, in Heaven we will soon have water aplenty to drink.” These Sisters knew that they were being put to death for their fidelity to the Catholic Church and the King, but they wanted the prosecutor to admit it out loud, because this would be a public witness of their martyrdom and an encouragement for them in face of the dangers of apostasy. This is why Mother Henriette was charged with asking that question. When the answer came, she was happy and transmitted it to her Mother and Sisters in religion. All of them shared that joy and went forward to die. Mother Henriette, who was very resolute, offered assistance to each of them until the end. Only the Prioress, Mother Teresa of St. Augustine, died after her, because she was the superior, and the Captain must always be the last one to leave the sinking ship.

The episode with the glass of water is beautiful. Certainly there were some Carmelites who were nervous facing the trauma of such a violent death. To drink a glass of water could give them some relief. When Mother Henriette saw that one Carmelite Sister was inclined to accept the offer, she was probably thinking: “This small sacrifice can be yet another pearl for her crown in Heaven.” So, she advised her to not take it, and gave this magnificent reason: “My Sister, in Heaven soon we will have water aplenty to drink.” She was clearly referring to Our Lord, Who is the source of all living waters, to the face-to-face contemplation of God that gives eternal happiness. The thirsty Sister understood that when she would receive her crown of martyrdom, it would have an additional star because she made that sacrifice.
Mother Henriette faced death bravely and encouraged the others. You can contrast Mother Henriette de Jesus with an imaginary personage in a popular novel, The Dialogue of the Carmelites by George Bernanos. The character was called Blanche de la Force and was presented as a weak and timid Carmelite Sister. She is an imaginary personage, but it is worthwhile considering her, because she represents a common character type. In his novel, Bernanos presented her as a Sister who had panicked when the other Sisters were taken by the revolutionary soldiers and sentenced, and for this reason had apostatized from the Order. She was no longer living inside the Carmelite community, but she went to see the execution of her former companions who would suffer martyrdom that day. The Sisters were chanting the Veni Creator in chorus and, one by one, they walked up the steps to the scaffold to be guillotined. When she saw this, she was moved by a grace, stepped out of the mob and, singing, joined the cortege to be executed along with them.

The two attitudes of both religious – Mother Henriette and Sister Blanche – express well the different paths of Divine Providence for different souls - the different marvels God works with His chosen ones. For some He chooses the glory of repentance – this is one of the glories attributed to the Apostles who fled during His Passion. For others He gives the strength that he gave to Mother Henriette of Jesus, that is, to view death from a distance and face it bravely, walking toward it joyfully. This was what He did with Mother Henriette, who helped all the others face their martyrdoms. These are two different paths God chooses to lead and direct souls. Seeing these two contrasting paths, you can admire the infinite beauty of God in the unity and variety of His ways. This is why the Saints are different from one another and why there are different schools of spirituality in the Catholic Church. It serves to show the beauty and richness of Holy Mother Church, a reflection of the beauty of the Heavenly Jerusalem.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

CARMELITE DEVOTIONS

O Queen, who art the beauty of Carmel, pray for us

Primacy of the contemplative spirit.

A direct and intimate experience with God is the basis of Carmel spirituality. Therefore, before any Rule, and in order that the Rule may
be lived when it is formulated, a contemplative spirit and a deep sense of God are required of those who wish to lead the life of Carmel. Of one who understands how to stay before God, no special activity, no special practical disposition is required. While, on the contrary, this sense of God, this thirst to remain in His presence does not belong to that category of realities that a Rule or a technique can call into being. Nor can they be developed in any way ascertainable by the sense. They must exist prior to the realization of a contemplative religious life. God Himself has placed them in the soul's very center and ceaselessly maintains them by means of His grace and His Holy Spirit. This enables us to understand how, although it is not an institution in the western meaning of the term but only a place for the election of a spiritual reality, Carmel has long been able to exist in a free, spontaneous, elementary way and to subsist through the sheer power of its "spirit". This primacy of "spirit", necessary in every religious institute seems even more necessary in Carmel.No exterior activity, whatever be its form, not even fidelity to the Rule, jealously guarded though this must be, can ever take the place of what ought to be the soul of Carmel, we mean the divine current that reaches the depths of man's being and impels the Carmelite to return constantly to his center. This search for God, so essential and so secret, leads of itself to simplicity and spiritual poverty. Instinctively the soul seeking God longs to be disencumbered, to be delivered from all things spiritual and material, in order to think of God alone, to be freed from things of the flesh in order to attain to life in the spirit, and to become altogether spiritual. An idea like this necessarily leads to a spiritual conception of religious life. In fact, nowhere as much as in Carmel must life and observances be vivified by the spirit. That is why a religious as familiar with the origins of Carmel as John of Saint-Samson could write in "De la perfection et decadence de la vie religieuse": "I say that in the days of these first patriarchs and founders, religious life (at Carmel) was a body strongly and excellently animated by spirit, or rather it was all spirit, and all fervent spirit." In fact the ideal of Carmel was always, according to the expression of this same author in "Le vrai esprit du Carmel," "to live in a state of great purity... and to enter into God with all one's strength". It is obvious that John of Saint-Samson here refers to the "Institution des premiers moines," a text highly representative of the spirit of Carmel and of its oldest and purest mystical traditions. In it we read these lines in which the author seeks to describe the life of the first hermits of Carmel. "This life has a double end. The first is ours as the result of our virtuous work and effort, divine grace aiding us. It consists in offering God a holy heart, freed from all stain of actual sin. We attain this end when we are perfect and in Carith (which means ' hidden in charity ')... The second end of this life is communicated to us as God's pure gift. I mean that not only after death but here in this mortal life we can in some way in our hearts taste and experience in spirit the power of the divine presence and the sweetness of heavenly glory. This is called drinking from the torrent of divine pleasure."
At Carmel, purity of heart is never disassociated from delight in things divine. The illusion most to be dreaded has always been to aspire to the highest gifts while disdaining or underestimating the necessary publications. There is another and equally dangerous snare: to try to live a life of high perfection for its own sake and not to aspire to receive the communication of divine life. Carmelite spirituality consists of a supernatural balance which is only possible where there is habitual recourse to the spirit with humility of heart. Although Carmel can see the weakness of its children without astonishment or pessimism, and because it counts on the abundance of divine mercy to remain undisturbed, it has no pity for the slightest shadow that soils the soul. A man who voluntarily harbors some vain attachment in his heart is not a spiritual man. But of what price is purity without spiritual fruitfulness? A detachment in which there is no love? In fact theological primacy makes it impossible for the Carmelite soul to deviate in his pursuit of his double goal. If he aspires to love with the love of God Himself, it is because he is strong in his hope, resolute in his faith, docile in all things to the invitations of the Spirit; it is because he depends on God alone.

Presence to God and zeal for souls.

No one will be surprised that in such a climate a connatural form of activity will spontaneously come into being, we mean prayer understood not so much as an exercise but as being present to God. This is altogether objective and interior, silent and sustained, detached and spiritual.To prayer, as it is understood at Carmel, there are no limits; just as there are no limits to the quality of interior silence that it realizes and the links it fashions between man and his God. According to the measure of the soul's generosity and divine grace, the living God possesses and vivifies this solitude.The exercise of prayer at Carmel is accompanied by a minimum of material conditions. Prayer involves no rigorously prescribed methods. For its development it requires the liberty and fidelity of a soul constantly visited and vivified by the spirit. The Rule faithfully preserves this conception of life with God. The central obligation there laid down is "to meditate night and day on the Law of the Lord". But the example of Elias, as well as an inner exigency, urges the hermits to realize within themselves and without, a spirit of silence and solitude eminently favorable to prayer and of which the desert is the most perfect expression. The desert calls out to the spirit and the spirit calls out to the desert. Between the spirit of Carmel and the desert there is a living relation. Carmel's prayer is the desert in which the spirit dwells. But the desert also induces thirst, and prayer slakes the soul's thirst only to create new capacities for the infinite. "They that drink me shall yet thirst" (Eccl. 24: 29). If it is not without meaning that the word of God was heard in a desert, it is equally significant that the possession of the Promised Land was conditioned by an exodus through that same desert. The soul, too, arrives at a meeting with God, in prayer, only at the price of an exodus painful to sense and spirit. This search for God in silence and solitude, this absence of imposed forms of prayer, a colloquy that is free and truly heart-to-heart in "the place of the espousals"--this is what the desert means, this is what has characterized Carmel from the beginning. Life of God and desert: these timeless realities are never separated in the Old Testament or in the New. The desert of the soul is the very place of God's communication. "The land that was desolate and impassable shall be glad, and the wilderness shall rejoice, and shall flourish like the lily" (Is. 35: 1). The depth in which the intuitions of the Carmelite soul are rooted may make them seem obscure. They are, nevertheless, astonishingly living and active. Consciously or not, the soul unceasingly returns there, to strive to live them fully and directly. If no one is more convinced than the Carmelite of the riches and benefits of tradition, it is also true that no one is more faithfully and lovingly attached to it, yet no one else is more fully persuaded that it is necessary to live personally and to experience in direct contact the mystery of God. Tradition may indeed explain and give a love for the divine realities tasted in prayer: it cannot confer that supreme and incommunicable knowledge which is a fruit of divine wisdom. This comes only to him who suffers God in his soul and in his life.

To remain living and active, the revelation of the divine transcendence and mercy ought to be renewed in each one of us. But as soon as the divine revelation crosses the threshold of our inner dwelling, there is a dawn and centuries vanish. The soul brought back to an absolute beginning watches the flowering of an eternal spring in his own soul. Is not "the verdant one" the meaning of Elias' name? God Himself is there and speaks to the soul. And the soul making her own the words of the prophet, murmurs: "He liveth. He before whom I am".--"As the Lord liveth, and as thy soul liveth. . . " (3 Kgs. 1 7: 1, 4 Kgs. 2: 6). The spirit of Carmel is none other than this power and life which spring from the divine word and seek to enter the soul; none other than this divine presence which is waiting to be received and communicated in a reciprocal gift. Today, no more than in the first days, can this word wait for tomorrows in which it will be accomplished. If the impossible were to take place and the past were suddenly obliterated and tradition no longer existed, and the call of the living God were to sound for the first time in a soul, this call would carry with it the spirit of Carmel in all its freshness, its newness, its eternal richness. Because it is of God and is pure reference to God, this spirit is distinguished by a clarity, a simplicity and a limpidity that are absolute. It has nothing to do with techniques. It fears more than all else material and spiritual encumbrances, multiplicity of means, devotions and spiritual exercises. It is God just as He is that it seeks and desires: God, for the mind all mystery, but for the soul light and delicious knowledge.

The spirit of Carmel is a spirit of childhood, of original life, of newness, of immediate proximity to the divine outpouring. It drinks "of the torrent" without a shell; it does not kneel down but stands erect. It is born of God in all its profundity and passes into man renewing and in truth creating him. That is why this spirit is so immediate, so lacking any kind of transition, so without compromise; so bare, with the bare life of the Old Testament; that is why it is so essential. Strengthened by a power that transcends human means and traverses, without ignoring, what is relative, it discovers its goal and goes straight towards it with a totalitarian exigency of unitive transformation. In short, it advances with a thirst for the absolute, which, once having been felt, can never more be slaked. Without the least shadow of pessimism, the least disdain for the world, the Carmelite is deeply conscious of the infinite distance separating the created from the uncreated, God from His creature. Prayer gives him an understanding, better still, permits him to acquire a kind of experience of the absolute. It is also through prayer that the Carmelite, we read in the second chapter of the "Institution des premiers moines," "tastes in his heart and experiences in his soul the strength of the divine Presence and the sweetness of the glory from above". This does not make the spirit of Carmel aloof toward what is created and toward those who live and grow in the earthy and the relative; this experience of God, on the contrary, is the origin of the most active zeal for souls which is characteristic of the action and person of the prophet Elias. Carmel has never, in fact, separated the apostolic from the contemplative life in its father Elias "who was afire with zeal for the Yahweh of armies" (3 Kgs. 19: 10; 18) with fierce energy preserved in the people of Israel belief in the true God, and who has never ceased to serve as a model to the Order that claims him as founder. In 1275 Nicholas the Frenchman, the seventh prior general, recalled this in these words in his "Ignea Sagitta": "Conscious of their own imperfection, the hermits of Mount Carmel remained long in solitude. But because they desired to be in some way useful to their neighbor, and lest on this point they incur guilt, at times, yet very rarely, they left their hermitage. And as it was with the scythe of contemplation that they harvested in the desert so now in preaching they will scatter the grain on the threshing floor and with open hands they will sow the seed." So it came about that from the beginning Carmelite prayer has had an apostolic side and overflows with missionary fervor. Although these spiritual realities are part of the distant epochs of its pre-history, they have come down through the ages and will always be characteristic of Carmel. This inalienable treasure transmitted to us from century to century by the hermits seems to us in its brilliance and marvelous freshness like an ancient jewel discovered in all its beauty in the desert sands.



THE ROSARY OF SAINT JOSEPH

This Rosary, composed of nine mysteries in all, is divided into three parts, each part consisting of three decades, in honor of the thirty years that St. Joseph passed in the company of Jesus and Mary. Like the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, each decade is comprised of one Our Father, ten Hail Marys, and a Glory Be. Each part concludes with an act of contrition, asking St. Joseph to obtain pardon and mercy for you. As with the Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, it may thus be conveniently divided into thirds, not necessarily recited consecutively.

First Part

The Incarnation.

The Perplexity of St. Joseph (as to whether he should abandon his Virgin Spouse).

The Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ in Bethlehem.

Second Part

The Presentation of the Infant Jesus in the Temple.

The Flight of the Holy Family into Egypt.

The Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple.

Third Part

The Hidden Life of Jesus at Nazareth.

The death of St. Joseph.

The Coronation of St. Joseph in Heaven.

BLESSING OF THE ROSARY OF ST. JOSEPH

(Formerly reserved to the Order of Carmelites)

P: Our help is in the name of the Lord.
All: Who made heaven and earth.
P: The Lord be with you.
All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.
Almighty and merciful God, who, out of exceeding love for us,
willed that your only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, come
down from heaven to earth for our salvation, taking flesh at the
angel's message in the sacred womb of the blessed Virgin, in
order to snatch us from Satan's tyranny; we humbly beg you in
your boundless goodness to bless + this rosary, made and
dedicated to the honor and praise of the Mother of your Son and
of St. Joseph, her devoted spouse. Let it be endowed with such
power of the Holy + Spirit, that whoever carries it on his
person, or reverently keeps it in his home, may always and
everywhere in this life be shielded from every visible and
invisible foe, and at his death deserve to be presented to you by
these holy spouses, laden with the merits of good works; through
Christ our Lord.
All: Amen.

It is sprinkled with holy water.

Credits: Particia S. Quintiliani, “My Treasury of Chaplets” (WORCESTER: Particia S. Quintiliani, 1994), pp 190-191; Philip T. Weller, “The Roman Ritual, Volume II” (MILWAUKEE: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1964) (
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Devotion to the Seven Sorrows and Seven Joys of St Joseph


Devotion to the Holy Face

Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre, born in 1816 at Rennes (France), entered the Carmelite monastery at Tours in 1839, having already a rich prayer life and an intense devotion to the Infant Jesus. In 1843 our Lord urged her to undertake herself and to encourage in others reparation for blasphemies, revealing that the adoration of His holy face would honor Him and serve in the work of reparation.
Further, our Lord informed that adoration of His holy face in reparation would render Him the same service as St. Veronica’s wiping from His holy face the spittle, dust, sweat, and blood that covered it as He struggled on the road to Calvary. In a later vision that same year, our Lord told Sr. Marie that His sacred face is “like a divine stamp” that reproduces the image of God in souls. During the course of the revelations, which took place over five years (from 1843 until 1848), our Lord made several promises to the Carmelite nun.

On October 27, 1845, our Lord said, “By My holy face you will work wonders.”

On November 5, 1845, Sr. Marie realized by “divine illumination” that through devotion to His holy face in reparation for the outrages committed against God, our Lord would restore His image in souls by applying to them the virtue of His holy face.
On March 12, 1846, our Lord promised that “all who defend His cause in the work of reparation, whether by their words, their prayers, or their writings, He would Himself present before His eternal Father and that He would give them His kingdom.” Moreover, He promised that at the death of those who strive to atone for blasphemies “He would purify . . . their souls by effac- ing the stains of sin and that He would restore to them their original beauty.”

On November 22, 1846, our Lord assured Sr. Marie that through His holy face she would obtain the conversion of many sinners: “Nothing that you ask in virtue of the holy face will be refused you.”

The Golden Arrow
On March 16, 1844 Our Lord told Sister Mary of St. Peter, “Oh! If you only knew what great merit you acquire by saying even once, ‘Admirable is the Name of God,’ in a spirit of reparation for blasphemy.” He revealed the following prayer to her:

May the most holy,
most sacred,
most adorable,
most incomprehensible
and ineffable Name of God
be forever praised,
blessed,
loved,
adored
and glorified
in Heaven,
on earth,
and under the earth,
by all the creatures of God,
and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Amen.

After receiving this prayer, Sister Mary of St. Peter was given a vision in which she saw the Sacred Heart of Jesus delightfully wounded by this “Golden Arrow” as torrents of graces streamed from It for the conversion of sinners.

Prayer to the Holy Face (Composed by St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face)
As she herself tells in The Story of a Soul, St. Thérèse had a fervent devotion to the holy face, where she found unfathomable “depths of treasures hidden.” She wrote further, “Ah, I desired that, like the face of Jesus, [and now quoting Isaiah] ‘my face be truly hidden that no one on earth would know me.’”
On August 5, 1899, just a few weeks before her death, to celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration her sisters brought to the infirmary from the choir the “picture of the holy face she so much loved and hung it where she could see it” Looking at the picture, she said, “Oh, how much good that holy face has done me in my life!”

O adorable face of Jesus,
sole beauty which ravishes my heart,
vouchsafe to impress on my soul
Your divine likeness
so that it may not be possible
for You to look at Your spouse
without beholding Yourself!
O my Beloved,
for love of You I am content
not to see here on earth
the sweetness of Your glance,
nor to feel the ineffable kiss
of Your sacred lips,
but I beg of You
to inflame me with Your love
so that it may consume me quickly
and that soon I (name) may behold
Your glorious countenance in heaven.

Credits:“The Little Book of Carmelite Spirituality and Practice” and various web sites ( www.ctocds.com)

"Practice of the Presence of God" according to Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (1611-1691), Discalced Carmelite of Paris, translated by Donald Attwater, St Pauls Press

Necessary practices for attaining the Spiritual Life
1. The most holy, the most general and the most necessary practice in the spiritual life is the practice of the presence of God, whereby the soul finds her joy and contentment in His companionship, talking humbly and lovingly to Him always and at all times, but particularly in moments of temptation, of trouble, of spiritual dryness, of revulsion, and especially when we fall into unfaithfulness and sin
2. We should try unceasingly to allow each one of our actions to become a moment of communion with God: not a studied act, but just as it comes from purity and simplicity of heart.
3. We must act recollectedly, not with that impetuosity and thoughtlessness that mark an undisciplined mind; and we must work quietly, calmly and lovingly before God, beseeching Him to accept our labours. By such unceasing turning to God we shall crush the head of Satan and strike his weapons from his hands.
4. During our work and other activities, during our spiritual reading or study, yes, even in our set devotions and vocal prayer, we ought to stop for a moment, as often as we can, in order to worship God in our hearts, to touch Him as it were by stealth as He passes. Since you know that God is with you in all your actions, that He is at the very depth and centre of your soul, why not then pause an instant in your external occupations, and even in your prayers, to worship Him inwardly, to praise Him, to petition Him, to offer Him your heart and to thank Him? What can be more pleasing to God than this quitting many times a day of material things, in order to withdraw within ourselves and worship Him? Furthermore, these moments of recollection little by little purge us of those things of sense, among which alone self-love can flourish. Indeed, we can give God no more convincing evidence of our faithfulness than often to put aside and avoid the creature, that we may rejoice for one moment in the Creator. I am not proposing to you to give up material things entirely; that is impossible: Prudence, the queen of virtues, must be your guide. Nevertheless, I maintain that it is a common mistake among religious people to neglect this periodical recollection in which they may worship God inwardly and enjoy for a few moments the peace of His holy presence. The digression has been long, but no longer that I believe the matter to require; let us then return to our subject.
5. All these acts of worship must be the fruit of faith. We must believe that God is indeed within our hearts, and that we must worship, love and serve Him in spirit and in truth; that He knows all that happens or can happen among His creatures; that He is self-existent, while we depend entirely upon Him; that His infinite perfections are such sovereign excellence and authority that we are required to put everything, ourselves, our souls and bodies at the disposition of His will now and for ever; that in justice we owe Him our thoughts, our words and our deeds. Let us see that we act accordingly.
6. We must diligently examine our conscience to find out of what virtues we are most in need, and which are the most difficult for us to acquire; and to learn our habitual sins and the occasions upon which we generally fall into them. In times of temptation we should go straight to God with complete trust: remain recollected in His presence, humbly worshiping the divine majesty: tell Him our woes and weaknesses: lovingly beg for the aid of His grace; and we shall find in Him the strength that we ourselves lack.




Devotion to the Infant Jesus of Prague

In 1628, the Carmelite friars in Prague received a gift of a beautiful statue of the infant Jesus from a devout noblewoman, a Princess Polixena. They placed the statue in their Church in order to venerate the infant Jesus of Prague, their veneration then being the source of numerous and miraculous favors.

In 1631, when enemies of the Church sacked Prague, they mocked the Holy Infant and threw the statue into a heap of trash in an obscure place. Some years later, Ven. Father Cyril of the Mother of God, a Carmeiite of the Prague monastery, found the statue. One day, while praying before the holy image, Father Cyril heard the consoling words, “Have pity on Me and I will have pity on you; restore My hands and I will give you peace; the more you honor Me, the more I will bless you.”

So many graces, blessings, and miraculous cures came to those who embraced this devotion that it spread throughout the Catholic world and continues to be a source of much grace to this day.




Prayer of Ven. Father Cyril, O.C.D.

Infant Jesus,
unto You With a humble trust I pray.

Through Your mother’s sinless heart,
Help me in my need today.

I believe that You are God,
With a power that is divine.
Full of confidence I ask
That You grant this prayer of mine.

Firm my purpose to amend,
I resolve to grieve no more
That most loving heart of Yours
Out of which all mercies pour.

My whole life I give to You,
I will serve You , Infant King,
Suffer for You patiently,
Do Your will in everything.

Little Jesus, for Your sake
I will love my neighbor, too.
I will seek the other’s good
Through the love I bear for You.
Save me through Your mother’s prayers,
And St. Joseph’s, grant me then
With the heavenly choirs to sing
Endless praise to You. Amen!

Source: “The Little Book of Carmelite Spirituality and Practice”

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Santa Maria della Bruna

Story of the Miraculous Painting of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

According to legend, St. Luke painted this image of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, who holds the Infant Jesus in her arms. An expression of great tenderness seems to suggest that our Lady is contemplating the great mysteries of redemption. The Infant’s right hand caresses His mother’s face, and the left grasps the edge of her veil. His position and expression seem to speak of His great love for His mother. A crown on top of her large veil, with star ornaments on the veil at the shoulder, is reminiscent of St. Bernard’s words that Mary is a “brilliant star who enlightens us with the splendor of her virtues.” This image was venerated by the hermit Friars of the Blessed Virgin Mary in their original home on Mount Carmel.

In the beginning of the thirteenth century, the religious of the Carmelite Order, forced by Mohammedans to flee their peaceful solitude by the sea, brought the painting from Mount Carmel to Naples. When settled, their first concern was to place the painting above the high altar in their Church, where it secured countless miracles for the people venerating it. It hung there for more than 100 years, until placed in a side chapel at the order of the Empress Margaret. Then, in the jubilee year of 1500, the ancient picture of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was carried in procession to Rome by the pious Neapolitans. During the pilgrimage, several people were miraculously cured, including Thomas Saccone, who had been blind and lame.

Skeptical of these miracles, “King Frederic II of Naples conceived a plan to test the power of the Heavenly Mother. He ordered that all the sick and infirm [of the city] assemble before the image with written documentation of their maladies. High Mass was celebrated and special hymns were sung, and when the miraculous picture was unveiled, a ray of light fell upon the face of the Madonna, reflecting its brilliance on the assembled sick. The instantaneous healing of each person was authenticated” (Cruz, p. 160).

Sources: “The Little Book of Carmelite Spirituality and Practice”, with additional information from Joan Carroll Cruz's “Miraculous Images of Our Lady” (Rockford: TAN Books and Publishers, Inc., 1993).

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Mater Gratiae (Our Lady of the Bowed Head)

This miraculous oil painting was rescued from a heap of rubbish and restored in 1610 by Ven. Dominic of Jesus and Mary, Prepositor General of the Order of Discalced Carmelites. According to the testimony of Ven. Dominic, our Lady spoke to him and promised, "'All those who implore my protection, devoutly honoring this picture, will obtain their petitions, and will receive many graces. Moreover, I shall hearken in a special manner to the prayers that shall be addressed to me for the relief of the souls in purgatory'" (Joan Carroll Cruz, Miraculous Images of Our Lady, [TAN Books & Publishers, Inc., 1993) p. 13].

PRAYER

Lord, Jesus, the hour is come:
glorify Thy Mother that Thy Mother may glorify Thee.
Manifest to all her power and efficacious mediation,
and grant us the favors we implore through her intercession.
Hear us for Thy Mother's sake,
hear us for love of Thy Mother,
we beseech Thee, Lord Jesus!
Show Thyself her Son and procure her triumph
which we desire in view of Thine Own.
That Thy Kingdom may come,
may we have the kingdom of Mary, Mother of Grace. Amen.

PRAYER

Virgin most holy,
Mother of the Word Incarnate,
Treasurer of graces,
and Refuge of poor sinners:
we fly to thy motherly affection
with lively faith,
and we beg of thee the grace
ever to do the will of God.
Into thy most holy hands
we commit the keeping of our hearts,
asking thee for health of soul and body,
in the certain hope that thou,
our most loving Mother,
wilt hear our prayer.
Wherefore with lively faith we say:

followed by Hail Mary three times

Prayers taken from a holy card distributed by the Monastary of Discalced Carmelites, New Orleans, LA, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur dated March 5, 1949.

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ST. ALBERT'S WATER

St. Albert was born at Mount Trapani, in Sicily. His father was of the illustrious family of Abbatibus and was possessed of an immense fortune; his mother, Jeanne de Palizze, was also of the nobility. They had no children, and in their distress vowed to consecrate to Our Lady the child God might give them. Little Albert, the fruit of the promise, was the delight of all for knowledge and virtue far beyond his years. When little more than a child, he received the habit in the Carmelite Monastery near his home, and at his profession all the nobility of the country were present. His life was an extraordinary mingling of prayer, penance, charity to his neighbor, and zeal for souls, to which God added visions and miracles. The Infant Jesus used to appear to him and rest in his arms. He lived to a great age, and in his later years retired into a desert to give himself wholly to prayer. The hour of his death was revealed to him, and many marvels announced its advent, August 7, 1306. At his funeral two Angels appeared to all present and intoned the Mass Os justi of Confessors, instead of the Requiem about to be celebrated. The clergy put on white vestments, as if for a Saint, and all considered that Albert was Canonized from Heaven. At the petition of Blessed John Soreth, his cultus was confirmed by Calixtus III, in 1453.

The use of water, blessed with a relic of the Saint, for the cure of the sick, and particularly for cases of fever, is well established in the Order of the Carmelites: and is justified by countless miracles, which have continued without interruption to the present day. This custom is of heavenly origin. St. Albert, being attacked with a grave illness, had recourse to the Blessed Virgin, who deigned to appear to him, holding a crystal cup, filled with water, which she offered him to drink. The Saint implored her to bless this water, and upon tasting it he was immediately cured.

Inflamed with charity for his neighbor, he besought the Most Holy Virgin to attach a healing power to all water which he would bless in her name and in that of her Divine Son. His prayer was granted; he used this power during life, and has continued to exercise it since his death, with marvellous efficacy, by means of his holy relics, as has been proved by innumerable persons who have taken this water with faith and confidence, while invoking his intercession.

BLESSING OF WATER IN HONOR OF ST. ALBERT, CONFESSOR

(Formerly reserved to the Order of Discalced Carmelites)

The priest is vested in surplice and stole, or at least in a
stole. Assisted by a server who carries a lighted candle, he goes
to the place where the relics of St. Albert are preserved and
reverently exposes them. The water to be blessed is at hand in a
fitting vessel.

P: Our help is in the name of the Lord.

All: Who made heaven and earth.

P: Blessed be the name of the Lord.

All: Both now and forevermore.

P: Lord, hear my prayer.
All: And let my cry be heard by you.
P: The Lord be with you.
All: May He also be with you.

Let us pray.
Lord Jesus Christ, health and strength of all the faithful, who
once completely cured the mother-in-law of your apostle, Peter,
of her high fever; be pleased to bless + and to hallow + this
creature, water. By the prayers of Blessed Albert, your
confessor, whom you called to forsake the world and to enter the
Order of your Mother, the Virgin Mary, and by the humble use of
this water, may all who suffer from fever be delivered from every
infirmity of body and soul, and so deserve to be restored
unharmed to your Church, where they will always offer their
prayers of gratitude. We ask this of you who live and reign
forever and ever.
All: Amen.

Then he reverently takes the relics and immerses them in the
water tracing with them the sign of the cross, and saying:

By the merits of St. Albert, bless, + O Lord, this creature,
water, as you once consecrated the waters of the Jordan through
contact with your sacred body. And grant that all who taste of it
may regain health in body and soul; you who live and reign
forever and ever.

All: Amen.

Antiphon: O Blessed Albert, model of purity, chastity,
continency; intercede with the Mother of mercy that she may keep
us from evildoing in this vale of tears, and help us to attain
everlasting rest after we have laid aside this mortal body.

P: Pray for us, O Blessed Albert.

All: That we may be worthy of Christ's promise.

Let us pray. Almighty and merciful God, grant, we beg you, that
by the prayers of Blessed Albert, your confessor, all the
faithful who reverently drink of this water may regain health in
body and soul, and so persevere in your holy service; through
Christ our Lord.
All: Amen.
Sources: “Carmel, Its History, Spirit, and Saints” (NEW YORK: P.J. KENNEDY & SONS, 1927); Philip T. Weller, “The Roman Ritual, Volume II” (MILWAUKEE: The Bruce Publishing Company, 1964).

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Devotion to Our Holy Father St. Elijah

Those to whom Elijah is little more than a myth, should visit Mount Carmel on July 20 — his Feast. They would behold a revelation. The chronicles of the Order give accounts of it each year, for it is a thing not of the past but of the present. The Holy Mountain is a teeming mass to celebrate Mar Elijah, as it is called. It is not by hundreds, but by thousands, the people are counted. For centuries, they have come on foot, on asses, on camels, on horseback, in carriages, and now, in automobiles! They come in caravans on pilgrimages, and singly on the eve, the pilgrims take their places nearest the Monastery, in every possible costume. The accounts are fascinating, and the ceremonies lend themselves to vivid description, but they would over-pass our space. The tone of the Feast is of innocent joy and profound veneration. There are two statues of Elijah, one in the original grotto under the Sanctuary, reached by steps from the Basilica, another exposed in the Basilica itself; they go from one to the other, praying and asking protection — the devotion to the Prophet enters into the very life of the people.

The good Fathers lend themselves with the utmost charity to all harmless local customs. The archives of the Monastery record many well-authenticated incidents of miraculous favors, and even of apparitions of the Prophet. Children are dedicated to him and offered to God in his grotto. There are always many baptisms. The Arabs of the Greek Catholic Rite wish their children baptised in that spot, and often defer the Sacrament until their yearly pilgrimage.

The closing of the Feast leaves a beautiful picture; the sun sets in the deep blue of the Mediterranien; the Mountain, so lovely in form that the Canticle says of the Bride, “Thy head is as Carmel,” is veiled in shadow, the moon rises over the olives, and it is night! The monks come out upon the terrace, and the traditional illumination takes place, the Monastery is outlined in fire, and as it fades away once more, the pilgrims in their turn continue the display far into the night.

Devotion to the Holy Prophet was brought into the West with the advent of Carmel, and probably no living man has so many adherents, followers, and devotees as he. East and West combine to do him homage: East, because of traditions which hang without dispersion, as clouds in summer, over those dreamy, non forgetting, changeless peoples; West, because of the diffusion of Carmel throughout every nation.

A volume might be filled, indeed many have been filled, with memories of Elijah. The Prophet had no home, but a solitary cave in the mountain, and divine hospitality has opened a home for him in every quarter of the world. And what more in keeping with the idea of divine economy than to believe that when an ambassador of God returns to earth after thousands of years, God should thus provide for him, and how better provide than by constituting him the father of innumerable children who everywhere claim him as their own; who treasure every detail of his life, and, what is most sublime, who offer the supreme Sacrifice many times each day in the humble cave wherein he dwelt, which has be come a Sanctuary enclosed in the Basilica of Carmel. There in the Tabernacle, he will find his Master awaiting him.

The Manual of the Carmelite Order contains prayers for a procession to be made in time of drought or flood, for the holy Prophet both opened and closed the heavens, and in many countries messages are sent to the Monasteries for prayers in either necessity. In May, 1779, there was a great drought in Rome and a Triduum was inaugurated at the four Carmelite Churches in the City. Prayers were said in honor of Elijah, and the Cardinal Vicar of Rome urged the faithful to follow the exercises. The people came in crowds to the statue of the Thaumaturgus, and from the first day the prayer was granted, rain began to fall, and the devotions were continued in thanksgiving. This is only one of many analogous cases.

The Holy Prophet is invoked against pestilence, to avert public calamities, to restore peace of soul, and to draw down the blessings of God on those aspiring to perfection, as is proved in innumerable cases among the Saints and Blessed of Carmel. He is also called upon to avert wars and a remarkable instance is given when Roger of Sicily had to sustain terrible combats against the Saracens. So immediate was the answer of his prayers, that the pious Count built a Church and Monastery in honor of Elijah and presented it to the Carmelites. Many churches, altars, and statues have been erected in his name; states and cities have chosen him for Patron.

This devotion is proper to these latter times when the crimes of men are such as to weary the Divine patience and draw down calamities upon the human race. It is well to seek the charitable aid of him “who has been chosen to appease the wrath of God.” (Ecclesiasticus) Then, too, each day brings us nearer the time when he will come among us with the last message of mercy and forgiveness, ere he sheds his blood for the Lord “in whose sight he stands.”

PRAYER TO ST. ELIJAH

Holy Prophet of God Elijah, Leader and Father of Carmelites, intercede
for us and for the salvation of all.

V: Pray for us, O holy Father Elijah.
R: That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
Grant, we beseech You, O Almighty God, that we who believe that the
Blessed Elijah Your Prophet and our Father was wonderfully carried up in
a fiery chariot, may by his intercession be raised to the desire of
heavenly things and rejoice in the society of Your saints. We ask this
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source: “Carmel, Its History, Spirit, and Saints” (NEW YORK: P.J. KENNEDY & SONS, 1927), pp 240-42.

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