Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ

May it please Thee, O Lord. to deliver me: for, poor wretch that I am, what can I do, and whither shall I go without Thee? How much the more difficult this is to me, so much the easier to Thee, is the change of the right hand of the Most High (Ps 76:2)

In spite of all the graces Heaven was showering upon me, I was far from deserving them. I had a great desire for virtue, but all that I did was full of imperfections. I was so sensitive that I was a very great trial to others; it was once and for all, and God worked this little miracle to make me grow up on a date I shall never forget: December 25, 1886. The newborn Child turned my darkness into light; having for my sake became small and weak, He made me strong and brave; He armed me with His own weapons, and after that I ran my course like a giant (Ps 18), going from victory to victory. The fountain of my tears was dried up, and very rarely flowed again. This is how I received the grace of conversion.....They still treated me at home like a baby, filling my shoes with presents and putting them by the fire-place on Christmas Eve. My father had always shared in my delight as I drew out each gift, but this year Our Lord wished to cure me of my childishness. As I went up to my room after midnight Mass, I heard my father say: "Therese is too big a girl for such nonsense ; I hope this will be the last year." The words cut me to the heart, and Celine, knowing my sensitiveness, begged me not to go down at once, as I would be sure to cry, but I was no longer the same, Jesus had changed my heart. I went down to the dining-room as though nothing had happened, and gaily pulled out the presents one by one, my father joining in the merriment. Celine thought that she was dreaming, but the fact remained that I had found once more the fortitude I had lost at the age of four and a half. On that blessed night the third period of my life opened, the most beautiful and full of graces. The work I had attempted for years, was done in an instant by Our Lord, who accepted my good will. Like the Apostles, I could say: Master, we have laboured all the night, and have taken nothing (Luke 5:5), but Our Lord did more for me than He did for them, for He cast the net Himself and drew me into a fisher of souls. Charity took possession of my soul and filled me with the spirit of self-forgetfulness, and from that time I was always happy. (St Therese, Story of a Soul)

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas Novena - 16-24 December, starts today, click for link

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Friday, December 13, 2013

St John of the Cross

Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you....I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them (St John 17:25-26)

O flame of the Holy Spirit that so intimately and tenderly pierces the substance of my soul and cauterizes it with Your glorious ardor! Previously, my requests did not reach Your ears, when, in the anxieties and weariness of love in which my sense and my spirit suffered because of considerable weakness, impurity, and lack of strong love, I was praying that You loose me and bring me to Yourself, because my soul longed for you, and impatient love did not allow me to be so confirmed to the conditions of this life in which You desired me still to live. The previous impulses of love were not enough, because they did not have sufficient quality for the attainment of my desire; now I am so fortified in love that not only do my sense and spirit no longer faint in You, but my heart and my flesh, reinforced in You, rejoice in the living God (Ps 83:3), with great conformity between the sensory and spiritual parts. What You desire me to ask for, I ask for, and what You do not desire, I do not desire, nor can I, nor does it even enter my mind to desire it. My petitions are now more valuable and estimable in Your sight, since they come from You, and You move me to make them, and I make them in the delight and joy of the Holy Spirit, my judgment now issuing from Your countenance (Ps 16:2), that is, when You esteem and hear my prayer. Tear then the thin veil of this life and do not let old age cut it naturally, that from now on I may love You with plenitude and fullness my soul desires forever and ever. (The Living Flame of Love, 1:36)

Toledo by El Greco. The view similar to that St John might see from the window of his cell while imprisoned in the Carmelite Monastery, Toledo. The main picture of St John is by Zurbaran  

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