Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Christmas Novena starts 16th December - click for link






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Monday, December 14, 2015

St John of the Cross - Memorial

It is perhaps the best time now to meditate on the life of the greatest Saint of Carmel, who at the pick of his religious leadership and popularity preferred following Christ by choosing 'to suffer and to be looked down upon' instead of obtaining temporal rewards for his service to Christ. By meditating upon this example of extraordinary holiness we can better understand what does it really mean to love God above ourselves.


Storms clouds began to break over John's head when the Father General, Nicolas Doria, convened an Extraordinary Chapter in June 1590. John had a premonition that things would go badly for him. When one of the Segovian nuns said that she was sure he would return to them as their Provincial, he replied and with certainty, 'I shall be thrown into a corner like an old rag'. One source of disagreement went as back as 1581 at the Chapter at Almodovar del Campo. John had come into conflict (yes, even saints do this sometimes!) with Fr Ferome Gracian who had been a favourite and close collaborator of St Teresa. Gracian wanted the friars to be more active in the apostolate, whereas John insisted that they should be primarily contemplative, from which their apostolate would flow. He did not want their contemplative vocation to take second place and perhaps be squeezed out. This tension between the active and contemplative aspects of the Carmelite friar's life had a long history. The Order traces its origin back to the time of the Crusades, when some of the crusaders decided to settle in the Holy Land, on Mount Carmel, where Elija and Elisha had founded a 'school of prophets', living a life of community and contemplation. Ever since, Carmelites have looked on two great prophets as their spiritual forebears. When the Muslims defeated the crusaders and drove them out of the Holy Land, the friars fled to the West, where they took up an active apostolate, sometimes to the detriment of their contemplative base.
At the Madrid Chapter the problem was more a clash of personalities between Gracian, who represented the moderates and Doria who wanted more control. Although Teresa had not taken personality to Doria, a Genoese who had been a banker before entering the Discalced, she had prized Doria's organisational skills, but he was rigid and authoritarian. The younger Gracian had a brilliant mind, a distinguished scholar and organiser , and had a much more pleasing and charming manner, although his impetuosity and rashness made him powerful enemies - including Doria. Now, Doria put forward some proposals with which John adamantly disagreed. Doria changed the government of the Order, concentrating all power in the hands of a permanent committee. He also wanted to take revenge against the formidable Mother Ann of Jesus, who, supported by John of the Cross, opposed his plans for the nuns and wanted to seek papal approbation for their constitutions. In addition, he wanted to expel Gracian from the Order, seeing him as a dangerous rival to his own power. John of the Cross had already warned Gracian that this might happen. He had been horrified when Gracian had proposed that Doria should succeed him as Provincial: he was elected only by two votes. Now, he felt that Gracian was being unfairly treated, and said so. Although many of the other friars privately agreed with him, they were too cowed by Doria's dictatorial manner to speak out.


The moving story of St John of the Cross last years marked by his heroic love of God and the neighbour is to be continued.
Credit: on the basis of CTS little book 'John of the Cross' by Jennifer Moorcroft

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

ADVENT WITH ST THERESE


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Saturday, November 21, 2015

Christ the King Solemnity


On one occasion when I was in prayer I had a vision in which I saw how all things are seen in God. I cannot explain what I saw, but what I saw remains to this day deeply imprinted on my soul. It was a great act of grace in God to give me that vision. It puts me to unspeakable confusion, shame, and horror whenever I recall that magnificent sight, and then think of my sin. I believe that had the Lord been pleased to send me that great revelation of Himself earlier in my life, it would have kept me back from much sin. The vision was so delicate, so subtle, and so spiritual, that my hard understanding cannot, at this distance of time, close with it; but, to make use of an illustration, it was something like this. Suppose the Godhead to be a vast globe of light, a globe larger than the whole world, and that all our actions are seen in that all-embracing globe. It was something like that I saw. For I saw all my most filthy actions gathered up and reflected back upon me from that World of light. I tell you it was a piteous and a dreadful thing to see. I knew not where to hide myself, for that shining light, in which was no darkness at all, held the whole world within it, and all worlds. You will see that I could not flee from its presence. Oh that they could be made to see this who commit deeds of darkness!  Oh that they but saw that there is no place secret from God: but that all they do is done before Him, and in Him!  Oh the madness of committing sin in the immediate presence of a Majesty so great, and to whose holiness all our sin is so hateful.  In this also I saw His great mercifulness in that He suffers such a sinner as I am still to live. (Santa Teresa an Appreciation: On the Godhead). 

The picture of 'Christ Blessing' painting was taken in El Greco Museum in Toledo, Spain


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Sunday, November 15, 2015

All Carmelite Souls


Jesus said to his disciples: Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God still, and trust in me. There are many rooms in my Father's house; if there were not, I should have told you. I am going now to prepare a place for you, and after I have gone and prepared you a place, I shall return to take you with me; so that where I am you may be too. You know the way to the place where I am going. (St John 14:1-6)

I had a father and a mother who both feared God. My father had his chief delight in the reading of good books, and he did his best to give his children the same happy taste. This also helped me much, that I never saw my father or my mother regard anything but goodness. Though possessing very great beauty in her youth, my mother was never known to set any store by it. Her apparel, even in her early married life, was that of a woman no longer young. Her life was a life of suffering, her death was most Christian. After my mother’s removal, I began to think too much about my dress and my appearance, and I pursued many such like things that I was never properly warned against, full of mischief though they were both to myself and to others. I too early learned every evil from an immoral relative. I was very fond of this woman’s company. I gossiped and talked with her continually. She assisted me to all the amusements I loved; and, what was worse, she found some very evil amusements for me, and in every way communicated to me her own vanities and mischiefs. I am amazed to think on the evil that woman so changed me that scarcely any trace was left in me of my natural disposition to virtue. I became a perfect reflection of her and of another who was as bad as she was. For my education and protection my father sent me to the Augustinian Monastery, in which children like myself were brought up. There was a good woman in that religious house, and I began gradually to love her. How impressively she used to speak to me of God! She was a woman of the greatest good sense and sanctity. She told me how she first came to herself by the mere reading of these words of the Gospel, ‘Many are called and few chosen.’ This good companionship began to root out the bad habits I had brought to that house with me; but my heart had by that time become so hard that I never shed a tear, no, not though I read the whole Passion through. When at last I entered the Religious House of the Incarnation for life, our Lord at once made me understand how He helps those who do any violence to themselves in order to serve Him. No one observed this violence in me. They saw nothing in me but the greatest goodwill. At that sore step I was filled with a joy so great that it has never wholly left whatsoever in the path of duty: for our God is omnipotent, and He is on our side. May He be blessed for ever! Amen. O my supreme Good and my true Rest, I know not how to go on when I call those happy days to mind, and think of all my evil life since then! My tears ought to be tears of blood. My heart ought to break. But Thou, Lord, hast borne with me for almost twenty years, till I have had time to improve. And all that it might be better known to me who Thou art and what I am. Woe is me, my Maker! I have no excuse, I have only blame. Let Thy mercy, O Lord, rest on me. Other women there have been who have done great deeds in Thy service, but I am good only to talk: all my goodness ends in so many words: that is all my service of Thee, my God. Cost me what it may, let me not go on coming to Thee with idle words and empty hands, seeing that the reward of every one will be according to his works. Depart not from me, and I can do all things. Depart from me, and I shall return to whence I was taken, even to hell. One of the reasons that move me, who am what I am, to write all this even under obedience, and to madness as mine! Where could I think to find either pardon for the past, or power for the time to come, but from Thee? What folly to the stumbler to run away from the light! Let all those who would give themselves to prayer, and to a holy life, look well to this. They should know that when I was shunning prayer because I was so bad, my badness became more abandoned than ever it had been before. Rely on the waiting and abounding goodness of God, which is infinitely greater than all the evil you can do. When we acknowledge our vileness, He remembers it no more. I grew weary of sinning before God grew weary of forgiving my sin. He is never weary of giving grace, nor are his compassions to be exhausted. May He be blessed for ever, amen: and may all created things praise Him! I have made a vow—[it is known as ‘the Teresian vow,’ ‘the seraphic vow,’ ‘the most arduous of vows,’ ‘a vow yet unexampled in the Church’], a vow never to offend God in the very least matter. I have vowed that I would rather die a thousand deaths than do anything of that kind, knowing I was doing it. I am resolved also, never to leave anything whatsoever undone that I consider to be still more perfect, and more for the honour of our Lord. Cost me what pain it may, I would not leave such an act undone for all the treasures of the world. If I were to do so, I do not think I could have the face to ask anything of God in prayer: and yet, for all that, I have many faults and imperfections remaining in me to this day. (Santa Teresa an Appreciation)

Picture is from the public domain and represents Rubens' All Souls Day'.
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Saturday, November 14, 2015

All Carmelite Saints


I will make my home with them and walk among them; I will be their God and they shall be my people (2Cor 6:16) 
I will set up my dwelling among them (Lev 26:11)

'O Saints of Carmel, throned above
In Mary's court, obtain this grace 
That where you are in glory now
We, too, may find a resting-place'

All of us who wear this holy Carmelite habit are called to prayer and contemplation. This is what we were founded for. We are descendant from those holy fathers of ours on Mount Carmel, those who went in search of that treasure – the priceless pearl we are talking about – in such solitude and with such contempt for the world. We must remember those holy fathers of ours who have gone before us, the hermits whose lives we are trying to imitate. We must remember our real founders. These holy fathers whose descendants we are. It was by way of poverty and humility, we know, that they came to enjoyment of God. On the subject if the beginning of Orders, I sometimes hear it said that the Lord gave greater graces to those saints who went before us because they were the foundations. Quite so, but we too must always bear in mind what it means to be foundations for those who will come later. For if those of us who are alive now have not fallen away from what they did in the past, and those who come after us do the same, the building will always stand firm. What use is it to me for the saints of the past to have been what they were, if I come along after them and behave so badly that I leave the building in ruins because of my bad habits? For obviously whose who come later don’t remember those who have died years before as clearly as they do the people they see around them. A fine state of affairs it is if I insist that I am not one of the first, and do not realize what a difference there is between my life and virtues, and the life of those God has endowed with such grace! And you who sees your Order falling away in any respect, must try to be kind of stone the building can be rebuilt with – the Lord will help to rebuilt it. For love of our Lord I beg them to remember how quickly everything comes to an end, and what a favour our Lord has done us in bringing us to this Order, and what a punishment anyone who starts any kind of relaxation will deserve. They must always look at the race we are descended from – that race of holy prophets. What numbers of saints we have in heaven who have worn this habit of ours! We must have the holy audacity to aspire, with God’s help, to be like them. The struggle will not last long, but the outcome will be eternal. (St Teresa of Avila, readings from Discalced Carmelite proper Offices for the Feast of All Carmelite Saints)

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Monday, November 02, 2015

All Souls' Day


'Come to me, all you who labour and are overburdened, and I will give you rest. Shoulder my yoke and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Yes, my yoke is easy and my burden light' (Matt 11:30) 

Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom...Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise (Luke 23: 42-43)

'..here we recommended her to the Lord and offered prayers for her soul in all our monasteries'...'it is those who do not recall there is an everlasting life that feel such pain when someone departs from the miseries of this life' (St Teresa letter to Lorenzo de Cepeda, 1570) 
'..you can consider all the nuns of this house to be your servants and capellanas (Carmelites devoted to pray for specific souls) (St Teresa letter to Diego de San Pedro de Palma, 1570)
'...why we should feel sorry about those who depart for a safe heaven, whom God draws out of this world with its dangers and instability'.  (St Teresa letter to Dona Luisa de la Cerda, 1571).
'I feel it, we must go to heaven by the same route, the one of suffering united with love. When I reach the harbour, I will teach you...how to navigate on the stormy sea of the world, with the abandon and love of a child who knows that his Father cherished him and would not leave him alone in a time of danger'. ( St Therese Letters)

'...I cannot bring myself to fear Purgatory; I know that I am not worthy to enter that place of expiation with the Holy Souls, but I also know that the fire of love is more sanctifying that that of Purgatory, that Our Lord does not want us to suffer needlesly, and that He would never inspire me with desires that He does not intend to fulfill'. (St Therese Story of a soul)

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Sunday, November 01, 2015

All Saints Day


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

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


Previous posts HERE
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Friday, October 16, 2015

THE TERESIAN JUBILEE YEAR WITH INDULGENCES GRANTED BY POPE FRANCIS TO ALL DIOCESES IN SPAIN, COMMENCING OCTOBER 25TH 2014 UNTIL OCTOBER 15TH 2015 - click for link

To read more click here
Audiobooks of St Teresa by LibriVox:
The Life of St Teresa HERE
Book of Foundations HERE
Conception of Divine Love HERE
The Way of Perfection HERE
Interior Castle HERE
Map of Teresian foundation in Spain HERE 
Map after BLOG

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Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Our Lady of the Rosary

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

I sought out solitude to pray my devotions, and they were many, especially the rosary, to which my mother was very devoted; and she made us devoted to it too.  (St Teresa of Avila, The Book of her Life, ch 1)


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Sunday, October 04, 2015

St Francis of Assisi

Bartolomeo Della Gatta 'Stigmata of St Francis' 

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

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

In the presence of the angels, come, let us adore the Lord.


Filippino Lippi, Archabgels and Tobias 


I thank you, Lord, with all my heart: you have heard the words of my mouth. In the presence of the angels I will bless you. I will adore before your holy temple. Psalm 137:1 

The third kind of place comprises those in which God chooses to be invoked and worshipped. Examples [include] Mount Garganus, the place St. Michael dedicated to God's worship by appearing to the Bishop of Siponto and telling him how he guarded that place so a chapel might be dedicated to God there in memory of the angels;… God alone knows why he chooses one place in which to receive praise more than another. What we should know is that he does all for our own benefit and so he may hear our prayers in these places - or anywhere we beseech him with integral faith. Yet those places consecrated to his worship are more appropriate as places for our prayers to be heard since the Church has so marked and dedicated them. St John of the Cross, 'The Ascent of Mt Carmel' ch 42  

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Sunday, September 13, 2015

Bl Mary of Jesus (Mary Lopez Rivas Martinez)


This is the authorization for Sister María de Jesús to make her profession. I grant it with great pleasure. May the blessing of the Lord "of the dew of heaven and the fatness of earth (Gn. 27:28)” be granted her. From the letter of St Teresa of Avila permitting the profession for Sister Maria of Jesus on 8th September 1578.
More about the life of Bl Mary of Jesus here


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Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Carmel devotion


Domenico Ghirlandaio - Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary

[St John of the Cross] in his prison cell…. after nine months of severe privation, was asked what he was thinking of. He replied, 'I was thinking that tomorrow is the feast of our Lady and that it would give me great joy to say Mass.' The sight of an image of the Mother of God brought love and brightness to his soul. Once, on seeing an image of our Lady while he was preaching to the nuns in Caravaca, he could not conceal his love for her and exclaimed: "How happy I would be to live alone in a desert with that image."After 'The Collected Works of S John of the Cross'. 

St Benedicta of the Cross on her Carmelite vocation: 'I need Carmel . . . with its perfection and way of perfection, Carmel with its purity, its apostolate, its martyrdom; Carmel with its special love for the sacred humanity of our Lord and its veneration of the Blessed Virgin without being restricted to one of her states or mysteries.' After Edith Stein, Collected Works. 

Little Flower's consecration to the Blessed Virgin: During the afternoon I read the act of consecration to Our Lady, for myself and my companions. I was chosen probably because I had been deprived of my earthly Mother while still so young. With all my heart I consecrated myself to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and asked her to watch over me. She seemed to look lovingly on her Little Flower and to smile at her again, and I thought of the visible smile which had once cured me, and of all I owed her. St Theres of Lisieux, The Story of a Soul


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Sunday, August 16, 2015

Assumption of Our Lady



Peter Paul Rubens 'Assumption of Our Lady'

Christ has been raised from the dead, the first-fruits of all who have fallen asleep. Death came through one man and in the same way the resurrection of the dead has come through one man. Just as all men die in Adam, so all men will be brought to life in Christ; but all of them in their proper order: Christ as the first-fruits and then, after the coming of Christ, those who belong to him. After that will come the end, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father, having done away with every sovereignty, authority and power. For he must be king until he has put all his enemies under his feet and the last of the enemies to be destroyed is death, for everything is to be put under his feet. 
1 Corinthians, 15:20

On one of these same days, the feast of the Assumption of our Lady while at a monastery of the order of the glorious St. Dominic, I was reflecting upon the many sins I had in the past confessed in that house and many things about my wretched life. A rapture came upon me so great that it almost took me out of myself. I sat down; it still seems to me I couldn't see the elevation or hear Mass, and afterward I had a scruple about this. It seemed to me while in this state that I saw myself vested in a white robe of shining brightness, but at first I didn't see who was clothing me in it. Afterward I saw our Lady at my right side and my father St. Joseph at the left, for they were putting that robe on me. I was given to understand that I was now cleansed of my sins. After being clothed and while experiencing the most marvelous delight and glory, it seemed to me then that our Lady took me by the hands. She told me I made her very happy in serving the glorious St. Joseph, that I should believe that what I was striving for in regard to the monastery would be accomplished, that the Lord and those two would be greatly served in it, that I shouldn't fear there would ever be any failure in this matter even though the obedience which was to be given was not to my liking, because they would watch over us, and that her Son had already promised us He would be with us, that as a sign that this was true she was giving me a jewel. It seemed to me she placed around my neck a very beautiful golden necklace to which was attached a highly valuable cross. This gold and these stones are incomparably different from earthly ones. Their beauty is very different from what is imaginable here below. And the intellect cannot attain to an understanding of the nature of the robe that the Lord desires to have represented, nor can one imagine its whiteness; everything here on earth in comparison is like a sketch made from soot, so to speak. The beauty I saw in our Lady was extraordinary, although I didn't make out any particular details except the form of her face in general and that her garment was of the most brilliant white, not dazzling but soft. I didn't see the glorious St. Joseph so clearly, although I saw indeed that he was there, as in the visions I mentioned that are not seen. Our Lady seemed to me to be a very young girl. They were with me a little while; and I was in a state of wonderful glory and happiness, which in my opinion I had never experienced and which I did not want to see come to an end; then it seemed to me I saw them ascend to heaven with a great multitude of angels. I was left in deep loneliness, although so consoled and elevated and recollected in prayer and moved to love that I remained some time without being able to stir or speak, but almost outside myself. I was left with a great impulse to be dissolved for God and with similar effects. And everything happened in such a way that I could never doubt, no matter how much I tried, that the vision was from God. It left me very comforted and with great peace. St Teresa of Avila 'The Book of Her Life', ch.33.
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Monday, July 20, 2015

Feast of St Elijah the Prophet, spiritual father and leader of Carmelites




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.

Elijah the prophet originated from Tishbe in Transjordania. He lived in the ninth century before Christ. Elijah heard to voice of the Lord telling him to go and hide himself and drink of the stream and that ravens would feed him there. He did as he was told, and thus he was chosen by God to lead the people back to Him. Some had been worshipping the god Baal, while the rest followed Yahweh. The Kingdom was divided. In  the accomplishment of his mission, there was a test on Mount Carmel. The prophets of Baal cried out from morning until evening invoking him, but to no avail. The prophet of Yahweh, Elijah, rebuilt the altar of the Lord with twelve stones (representing the twelve tribes of Israel). Elijah prepared the holocaust and surrounded it with water (in the midst of a drought), and the Lord consumed it with fire. The truth had been shown in a dramatic way. The drought ended, and Elijah was recognized as a prophet of the true God. The cult of Baal survived, and Elijah faced many challenges and humiliations but remained steadfast in his faith. The prophet listened for the Lord to pass by and found Him, not in an earthquake or fire, but in gentle breeze. Elijah's prayers are direct and clear. He is confident in the power of the one true God.

Lord God of Abraham, Issac, and Israel, let it be known this day 
that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things by your command. Answer me Lord! Answer me, that this people may know that you Lord, are God and that you have brought them back to their senses (1 Kings 18:30-37)


Siah brook on west site of Mt Carmel, where, according to Carmelite tradition, prophet ELijah lived 'And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there' (1Kings 19:9). More about Elijah in pictures on Bibile walks


Every year on the feast of St Elijah, July 20, Mount Carmel in Palestine is filled with pilgrims who come by the thousands to celebrate the Feast of the Prophet. East and West combine to do him homage. Elijah is invoked in time of drought or flood for his prayers both opened and closed the heavens. He is also invoked against pestilence, to avert public calamities, to restore peace of soul, and to draw the blessings of God on those aspiring to perfection. In Holy Scriptures we read that Elijah was taken up from the earth in a fiery chariot, and that he will return at the end of the world to fight against anti-Christ and to convert Jews. After preaching in sackcloth for 'one thousand and two hundred and sixty days' he will be overcome by anti-Christ and slain in Jerusalem. For three days and a half day his body will lie unburied in the street, then the spirit of life from God will enter into him, and he will be taken up to heaven in a cloud.
Devotion to Elijah is proper to our times when crimes and wars abound, and every day brings us nearer to the time when he will 'come and restore all things'.

Post on the Carmelite devotion to St Elijah HERE

After: "Carmel, Its History, Spirit, and Saints", "Drink of the Stream" and "Carmelite Devotions"

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Sunday, July 19, 2015

Bill to legalise assisted suicide soon in the House of Commons, again

On 11th September, 2015, the House of Commons will vote on a Bill to legalise assisted suicide - the local MPs may be contacted via the Catholic Bishops' Conference website and everyone can contact their local MP to urge them to attend the debate and vote against the Bill HERE
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Monday, July 13, 2015

Saint of the day, St Teresa de Los Andes


Who are You, and who am I? I am a creature formed by Your hands, a creature taken from nothingness, formed from clay, but with a soul that is like unto God, a soul that is like unto God, a soul that is intelligent and free, destined to give You the glory of the invisible world. My God, we are so miserable that we rebel against You, our Creator. Pardon me! For instead of loving You, we offend You. There is only one commandment You imposed on us and we do not fulfill that one. What does it profit us to gain the whole world if we lose our soul? What do riches, honours, glory, human affections matter, for they pass away and end? How do they compare with my soul, which is immortal and has been made worthy by the Blood of Jesus Christ, my God? How precious must a soul be since the devil will be watching out to destroy it. Either I am going to save my soul or I am going to condemn it forever. That is why I am resolved to save it. 
St Teresa of the Andes, 'God, the Joy of My Life'
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Monday, June 29, 2015

Solemnity of St Peter and St Paul

Peter Paul Rubens, St Peter and St Paul


After Jesus had shown himself to his disciples and eaten with them, he said to Simon Peter, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me more than these others do?’ He answered, ‘Yes Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my lambs.’ A second time he said to him, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ He replied, ‘Yes, Lord, you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Look after my sheep.’ Then he said to him a third time, ‘Simon son of John, do you love me?’ Peter was upset that he asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” and said, ‘Lord, you know everything; you know I love you.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Feed my sheep’(John 21:15-19)

The Saints - they can do everything in Christ, as St Paul said (St Teresa, Collected works, vol 2 p201)

O College of Christ, where St Peter, being a fisherman, had more authority - and the Lord wanted it - than St Bartholomew, who was a king's son (St Teresa, Collected works, vol 2 p139).

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Saturday, May 30, 2015

The Holy Trinity Sunday

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

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


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Saturday, May 23, 2015

Feast of the Pentecost


                  St Teresa of Avila's Vision of the Holy Spirit by Peter Paul Rubens


I desire nothing but to love You...In this love - besides everything else - there is greater security than with earthly loves; in loving God we are certain that he loves us. Remember here, my daughters, the gain there is in this love, and the loss in not having it.  
(St Teresa, Collected works, vol.2) 






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Monday, May 18, 2015

Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified, OCD



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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Bl Mary of Jesus Crucified canonized today by Pope Francis.

Today, Pope Francis canonized Bl Miriam Baouardy, Little Arab, also known for her religious name as Mary of Jesus Crucified. She was a Discalced Carmelite nun, professed at Carmel of Pau, France, in 1867. To read more about her life click here and here



"Lord, I adore your word. The earth will pass away, but Your word will never pass away. Mary, my mother, come to my help! Everyone cry out with me: Jesus, wake up! Lord, I accept all that You will. Love, O love, You are not known!" 

"I unite myself to Jesus when He was carrying His cross in the streets Of Jerusalem. May You be blessed my God. I unite my voice with that of Jesus in the garden of olives. May You be blessed, my God. I unite sufferings to those of Jesus betrayed by Judas. May You be blessed, my God. I unite myself to Jesus falling under the weight of the cross. May You be blessed, my God" 

"Holy Spirit inspire me. Love of God, consume me. Along the true road, lead me. Mary, my mother, look upon me. With Jesus bless me. From all evil, from all illusion, From all danger, preserve me."

After "Drink of the Stream, Prayers of Carmelites"


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St Simon Stock

Today is the Feast of St Simon Stock, who was an Englishman and lived in the thirteen century. He became the prior general of the Carmelite Order at Aylesford, Kent. Our Lady appeared to St Simon Stock on 15th July, 1251, and giving him the brown scapular she told him that "this shall be to thee and all Carmelites a privilege, that whosoever dies clothed in this shall never suffer eternal fire". Carmelites always venerated St Simon Stock for his personal holiness and his great devotion to Our Lady. He died in Bordeaux in the mid-thirteen century.


Flos Carmeli is the prayer attributed to St Simon Stock: 

Flower of Carmel, 
Tall vine blossom laden; 
Splendour of heaven 
Child-bearing, yet maiden. 
None equals thee 

Mother so tender, 
Whom no man did know, 
On Carmel's childern
Thy favours bestow. 
Star of the Sea. 

Strong stem of Jesse,
Who bore one bright flower,
Be ever near us
And guard us each hour,
Who serve thee there.

Purest of lilies,
That flower among thorns,
Bring help to the true heart
That in weakness turns
And trusts in thee.

Strongest of armour,
We trust in thy might:
Under thy mantle,
Hard press'd in the fight,
We called to thee.

Our way uncertain,
Surrounded by foes,
Unfailing counsel
You give to those
Who turn to thee.

O gentle mother
Who in Carmel reigns,
Share with your servants
That gladness you gained
And now enjoy.

Hail, Gate of Heaven,
With the glory now crowned,
Bring us to safety
Where thy Son is found,
True joy to see. 


After "Drink of the Streat, Prayers of Carmelites"

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

The Ascension of Our Lord


Ascension is the feast of joyful hope, a foretaste of heaven. We are rising our hearts toward heaven, so that we may begin to dwell in spirit where Jesus had gone before us as we pray the beautiful prayer in the liturgy today: "Grant, O almighty God, that we, too, may dwell in spirit in the heavenly mansions" (Collect).  St Leo says: "Christ's Ascension is our own ascension; our body has the hope of one day  being where its glorious Head has preceded it" (Roman Breviary). In fact, Our Lord had already said in His discourse after Last Supper: "I go to prepare a place for you. And if I shall go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to Myself; that where I am, you also may be" (John 14:2,3). By going before us, Jesus our Head has given us the right to follow Him there some day for "in the person of Jesus, we have penetrated the heights of heaven" (St Leo RB). As in Christ Crucified we die to sin, as in the risen Christ we rise to the life of grace, so too, we are raised up to heaven in the Ascension of Christ. Our right to heaven has been given to us, our place is ready; it is for us to live in such a way that we may occupy it some day, for Christ says: "Where thy treasure  is, there is thy heart also" (Mt 6:21).

Let us thank Our Lord for all He has done for us and love Him with our imperfect love as much as we can. Let us express our gratitude and love with beautiful words of St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi: "O my God, O my Jesus, You are going away and leaving us! Oh! what joy there will in heaven! But we have to remain here on earth. O eternal Word, what has Your creature done for You, that You should do so much for him and then ascend into heaven to glorify him even more? What has he given You? What do You look for in him? You love him so much that You give Yourself to him, You who are all things, and besides whom there is nothing. You want from him his entire will and intellect, because when he gives them to You, he gives You all that he has. O infinite Wisdom, O supreme Good, O Love, O Love so little known, little loved, and possessed by so few! Oh! our ingratitude, cause of every evil! O Purity, so little known and so little desired! O my Spouse, now that You are in heaven, seated at the right hand of the eternal Father, create in me a pure heart and renew a right spirit within me"


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Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Christmas Epiphany prayer


O Infant Jesus
(Prayer revealed to Venerable Cyril of the Mother of God, OCD, by Our Lady)

O Infant Jesus! I have recourse to You
O beg of You by Your holy Mother, deliver me
from (mention your petition here) for
I firmly believe Your Divinity will protect me
I hope with all confidence to obtain Your holy grace

I love You with all my heart and soul
I repent of my sins and I beseech You
O Jesus, to pardon them.
I firmly resolve to correct myself and never more to offend You.

Therefore I offer myself to You,
In order to suffer much and patiently
Moreover, I wish to serve You patiently
And to love myself for Your sake.

O holy Infant Jesus!
O adore You, O powerful Child.
I beg of You to deliver me from
(here mention your particular need)
In order that I may enjoy You
With angels eternlly. Amen


Ven Cyril of the Mother of God (1590-1675) was born Nicholas Schockwilerg in 1590 at Luxemburg. He entered the Carmelite Order at an early age and was ordained a priest in 1624 and was later elected a prior. In 1628 he left monastery to join the more austere Discalced Carmelites at Prague. Fr Cyril is known chiefly for his work in promoting devotion to the Infant Jesus of Prague. It was he who rescued the statue of Infant Jesus from the rubble of a church, after it had been ransacked by Saxons. The statue had been damaged and the hands broken off. One day when Father Cyril was praying in the oratory he heard the words: "Hve pity on Me and I will have pity on you. Give Me back my hands and I will give you peace. The more you honour Me, the more I will bless you." Father Cyril was able with much difficulty to have the statue repaired, and immediately the friars were blessed with relief from their financial difficulties. Many miracles have been received throughout the centuries through the intervention of the Divine Child. Father Cyril died in 1675 and is entombed in the catacombs beneath the church of Discalced Carmelites in Prague where the statue is enshrined.


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