Friday, December 16, 2016

Jubilee Year of Mercy, December 8th, 2015 - November 20th, 2016

Announcement of the Jubilee Year of Mercy HERE More on the Jubilee Year HERE

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

St John of the Cross Feast Day

Where there is no love, bring love.

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


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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Novena for the Immaculate Conception 29th November to 7th of December


O IMMACULATE Virgin! Mary, conceived without sin!
Remember, thou wert miraculously preserved from
even the shadow of sin, because thou wert destined
to become not only the Mother of God, but also
the mother, the refuge, and the advocate of man;
penetrated, therefore, with the most lively confidence
in thy never-failing intercession, we most humbly implore
thee to look with favor upon the intentions of this novena,
and to obtain for us the graces and favors we request.
(Here form your petitions.)
Thou knowest, O Mary, how often our hearts are the
sanctuaries of God, Who abhors iniquity. Obtain for us,
then, that Angelic purity which was thy favorite virtue,
that purity of heart which will attach us to God alone, and
that purity of intention which will consecrate every thought,
word, and action to His greater glory. Obtain also for us a
constant spirit of prayer and self-denial, that we may recover
by penance that innocence which we have lost by sin,
and at length attain safely to that blessed abode of the
Saints, where nothing defiled can enter.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

EWTN version of the Novena HERE


The picture represents masterpiece by Francisco de Zurbaran

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Friday, November 11, 2016

Chirst the King Novena starts 11th November and concludes on 19th November.

Pray Novena to Christ the King here


Christ the King, Ghent Altarpiece, Jan Van Eyck.

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

When she [St Teresa of Avila] came into the world, a mere twenty years had passed since the last of the Moors were driven out of Spain and the whole peninsula united in the Catholic faith. Eight centuries of continual warfare between the Cross and the Crescent lay behind the Spanish people. During these battles they blossomed into an heroic people, into a legion of Christ the King. Teresa’s more immediate homeland, the ancient kingdom of Castile, was the strong fortress from which in resolute struggle the cross was gradually carried to the South. (Edith Stein, 'The Hidden Life')


If I leave the battleground, it isn't with a selfish desire to rest; the Thought of the eternal beatitude hardly makes my heart flutter. For a long time, suffering has become my heaven here on earth....What draws me to the heavenly homeland is the Father's call. It is the hope of finally loving Him as I so wanted and the thought that I would make him loved by a multitude of souls who would bless Him eternally. (St Therese, Letter 28)

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Sunday, November 06, 2016

Mariology in writings of St John of the Cross


'Ordo Beatissimae Virginis Mariae de Monte Carmelo' - painting by Gregorio Fortis, Madrid. At the bottom of this painting it is written: "Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. The Lady of Carmel saves us from eternal wailing and under her mantel souls find protection."


 In the essay entitled 'MARY AND THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE WRITINGS OF JOHN OF THE CROSS' by Emmanuel J. Sullivan, O.C.D. (click on the post's title to read the whole text under Carmelite Studies 6) we find the list of references to Mary in the writings of St John of the Cross. The first is the Ascent of Mount Carmel, and is considered the most fundamental and significant of John's Marian texts: "God alone moves these souls [who have reached habitual union with God] toward those works that are in harmony with his will and ordinance, and they cannot be moved toward others. Thus the works and prayer of these souls always produce their effect. Such were the prayer and the works of our Lady, the most glorious Virgin Raised from the very beginning to this high estate, she never had the form of any creature impressed in her soul, nor was she moved by any, for she was always moved by the Holy Spirit." (Ascend of Mt Carmel 3:2, 10). John affirms that in the state of union: all the operations of the memory and the other faculties are divine. God now possesses these faculties as their complete lord because of their transformation in him. And consequently it is He who divinely moves and commands them according to His divine spirit and will. [In this state] the operations of the soul united with God are of the divine Spirit and are divine. For John, souls in this state "perform only fitting and reasonable works and none that are not so. For God's Spirit makes them know what must be known and ignore what must be ignored, remember what ought to be remembered with or without forms and forget what ought to be forgotten, and makes them love what they ought to love, and keeps them from loving what is not in God." Precisely because "God alone moves these souls" to do the works in harmony with his will and ordinance, they cannot be moved toward other works. "Thus the works and the prayers of these souls always produce their effect" (A, 3:2, 10).

In the Spiritual Canticle, on two occasions, John brings the example of Mary to our attention. In the commentary on stanza 2, he tells us that: "The discreet lover does not care to ask for what she lacks or desires, but only indicates this need, so that the Beloved may do what he pleases. When the Blessed Virgin spoke to her Beloved Son at the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee, she did not ask directly for the wine, but merely remarked: They have no wine [Jn 2:3]. (Spiritual Canticle 2:8). John then lists three reasons why it is better to merely show our need to the Lord, rather than tell him how to fulfill those needs: First, the Lord known what is suitable for us better than we do; second, the Beloved has more compassion when he beholds the need and the resignation of a soul that loves him; third, the soul is better safeguarded against self-love and possessiveness by indicating its lack, rather than by asking for what in its opinion is wanting (ibid.). Here Mary is presented to us as the perfect model of the prayer of petition. In stanza 20, John is treating of the preparation of the soul for spiritual marriage. Part of that preparation consists in the subduing of the passions, which John lists as joy, sorrow, hope, and fear. When the preparation is complete, sensible sorrow is no longer felt, though the effects of such sorrow are experienced on a higher level. John tells us: "Sometimes, however, and at certain periods, God allows [the soul] to feel things and suffer from them so she might gain more merit and grow in the fervor of love, or for other reasons, as he did with the Virgin Mother, St. Paul, and others" (C, 20; 21, 10).

While the experience of sensible sorrow would otherwise have been incompatible with our Lady's state of intimate union with God, John tells us that God allowed her to experience such sorrow, precisely that she might grow in love; and, we could add, that she might increase in her compassion for all of us. Thus Mary is presented to us as the Mother of Sorrows and as one who knows by experience what it means to endure intense sorrow.

Finally, in stanza 3 of the Living Flame of Love, John once again refers to Mary's intimate union with the Holy Spirit. He is describing the state of transforming union with God, and likens the graces God bestows on a soul in this state to an "overshadowing." For John: when a person is covered by a shadow, it is a sign that someone else is nearby to protect and favor. As a result the Angel Gabriel called the conception of the Son of God, that favor granted to the Virgin Mary, an overshadowing of the Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the most High will overshadow you. (F, 3, 12). John goes on to tell us that when the Holy Spirit casts his shadow on a soul, he is so close that he not only touches but is united with it, and the soul understands and experiences the power, wisdom and glory of God (see F, 3, 15). Thus we gain further insight into what Mary's life must have been like, she being more closely united to the Holy Spirit than all other creatures.

In addition to the four Marian references in his major works, there is also a very significant reference to Mary in John's "Prayer of a Soul Taken with Love." John always manifested a deep awareness that he belonged totally to Mary, and in this very beautiful little prayer, he gives expression to his equally deep conviction that Mary belongs totally and completely to each one of us. In this prayer, John speaks for all of us as he says to our heavenly Father: "You will not take from me, my God, what you once gave me, in your only Son, Jesus Christ, in whom you gave me all I desire. Mine are the heavens and mine is the earth. Mine are the nations, the just are mine, and mine the sinners. The angels are mine, and the Mother of God, and all things are mine; and God Himself is mine and for me, because Christ is mine and all for me. (Sayings of Light and Love, 26-27)

I find this reference to Mary, in a certain sense, even more significant than all the others. Here John isn't just recounting wonderful things about Mary, but is telling us she is ours, with us and for us, always and everywhere. He is telling us that we must realize and appreciate that Mary belongs totally and completely to each one of us. Our guide on the road to union with God is no distant stranger, but our very own Blessed Mother.



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Thursday, October 06, 2016

NOVENA TO ST TERESA OF AVILA starts today, Oct 6 - click to pray!



My God and my infinite Wisdom, measureless and boundless and beyond all the human and angelic intellects! love that loves me more than I can love myself or understand! Why, Lord, do I want to desire more than what You want to give me? Why do I want to tire myself in asking You for something decreed by my desire? For with regard to everything my intellect can devise and my desire can want You've already understood my soul's limits, and I don't understand how my desire will help me. In this that my soul thinks it will gain, it will perhaps lose. For I ask You to free me from a trial, and the purpose of that trial is my mortification, what is it that I'm asking for, my God? If I beg You to give the trial, it perhaps is not a suitable one for my patience, which is still weak and cannot suffer such a forceful blow. And if I suffer it with patience and am not strong in humility, it may be that I will think I've done something, whereas You do it all, my God. If I want to suffer, but not in matters in which it might seem unfitting for Your service that I lose my reputation - since as for myself I don't know of any concern in me about honour - it may be that for the very reason I think my reputation might be lost, more will be gained on account of what I'm seeking, which is to serve You.


Instruction on the Prayer of Recollection, in St Teresa's own words:

IT is called the Prayer of Recollection because in it the soul collects, or gathers together, all her powers, and enters into her own interior with God. I wish I knew how to describe to you this holy intercourse which, with out disturbing in the least her perfect solitude, is carried on between the soul and her Divine Spouse and Companion, the Holy of Holies, and which takes place as often as ever she pleases to enter into this interior paradise in company with her God, and to shut the gate to all the world besides. I say, as often as she pleases ; for you must understand that this is not altogether a supernatural thing, but is quite within our own power, and we can do it whenever we chose ; I mean, of course, with God s help, for without this we can do nothing at all, not so much as have a single good thought. For you must observe that this recollection is not a suspension of the powers of the soul, but only a shutting them up, as it were, within ourselves.

The Truth or Foundation on which the Prayer of Recollection rests:

You know that God is everywhere (therefore He is in our interior.) Now it is clear that wherever the King is, there the Court is too therefore, wherever God is, there is heaven ; and you can readily, believe that wherever this Divine Majesty is, all glory is with Him. Then consider what St. Augustine says : that he " sought God in many places, and found Him at last within himself."

It is, then, of the utmost importance to bear this truth in mind, that our Lord is within us, and that we ought to strive to be there with him. On a certain occasion, when I was assisting at the Divine Office with the rest of the Sisters, I became, on a sudden, thus recollected within my self: and here my own soul was presented before me, and it seemed to me to resemble a bright mirror, in which there was no darkness nor shadow, either behind or on either side, or above or below but all clear and resplendent ; and in the midst of it there appeared Christ our Lord, in the form under which I am accustomed to see Him. It seemed to me that His Image was shining forth from every part of my soul, as though reflected in the mirror ; and then, by a wonder full communication of love, which I know not how to describe, this same mirror of my soul seemed to be re produced and again represented, in a wondrous manner, within the Form of my Divine Redeemer.

[Again], on a certain occasion, it was shown to me that my soul was like a sponge in the midst of the ocean of the Divinity, and that it drank in this heavenly substance, so as, in a manner, to embrace within it the Three Divine Persons. But, at the same time, I was admonished that though I had the Divinity within my soul, yet I myself was much more contained in Him than He in me. Thus, whilst I beheld, as it were, hidden within me the Three Divine Persons, I saw that They, at the same time, communicated Themselves to all created things, without ceasing for an instant to abide in me.

On another occasion I was made to understand this truth with great clearness that all things are seen in God, and that He contains every thing within Himself. I do not know how to describe this ; but it has remained deeply impressed upon my mind, and is one of the greatest favours our Lord has ever granted me, and one that has filled me, more than any other, with confusion at the remembrance of my sins. If it had pleased our Lord to let me see this before I had sinned, or if others, who offend Him, could only have seen it, I believe that neither they nor I would have ever had the boldness to commit sin. No words that I can use can convey any idea of this sublime truth. The only notion I can give of it is this : beheld the Divinity like a most brilliant diamond, far greater than the whole world, and containing everything within itself ; and in this diamond was reflected, as it were, everything that is done here below. Wonderful it was, indeed, to behold in so short a time, within this glorious mirror, such a multitude of things assembled together ! But to see represented in this pure and unsullied brightness such foul abominations as my sins was a spectacle that fills me with the deepest sorrow whenever I call it to mind. In truth, when I reflect upon it, I know not how I can bear the thought ; and at the time when I beheld it, I was so covered with confusion that I did not know which way to turn. Now it seems to me that this vision may be of much profit to those who are practising this Prayer of Recollection, to teach them to consider our Lord in the interior of their own souls ; for, to repeat what I have so often said before, this consideration fixes the attention far better, and is far more profitable, than to represent Him in any other way. If, instead of this, we direct our thoughts to God in heaven, or if, in fine, we turn to any spot beyond ourselves, we do but weary our minds and distract our souls, and, after all, lose much of the fruit of our labour.

To read more St Teresa's Own Words - click HERE
This little book is a happy compilation of two chapters from the "Way of Perfection' and made for the use of Carmelite Sister of Darligton by their Bishop at the beginning of the last century.




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Thursday, September 08, 2016

Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady - click to read


Our Lady's birthday! What a beautiful feast on which to become the bride of Christ, baby Mary a day old presenting His little flower to little Jesus! On that day everything was little except the graces i received, and the peace and joy I felt when evening came and I gazed up at the starry heavens, where I would soon be united to my divine Bridegroom in everlasting happiness.
From the time I awake in the morning I was filled with peace, and it was in the peace of God which surpasses all understanding (Phil 4:7) that I pronounced my holy vows. At the close of this beautiful day I laid my wreath, as is the custom, at Our Lady's feet without any feeling of sadness, for I felt that time would not lessen my happiness.
O Jesus, I only ask Thee to give me peace!...Peace, and above all a love that knows no bounds. (St Therese, Story of the Soul) 

 On the feast of the nativity of our Lady, I feel special joy. When this day comes I think it's good to renew my vows. And once while I was about to do so, the Blessed Virgin, Our Lady, appeared to me through an illuminative vision; and it seems to me I renewed them in her hands and that they were pleasing to her. This vision remained with me for some days, as though she were next to me at my left. (St Teresa of Avila, Spiritual Testimonies)


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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary


Peter Paul Rubens Assumption of the Virgin Mary

Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world - Matthew 25:34

He showed me [His Mother's] ascend to heaven, the happiness and solemnity with which she was received, and the place where she is...The glory my spirit experienced in seeing so much glory was magnificent. The effects of this favour were great. (St Teresa of Avila, 'Collected Works' 1:353)


Among his favourite feasts, besides those of the Blessed Trinity and Corpus Christ, were the feasts of the Blessed Virgin. In his prison cell, on the Vigil of the Assumption, after nine months of severe privation, he 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. (St John of the Cross, The Collected Works, A Portrait of the Saint) 

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Saturday, August 06, 2016

Transfiguration


Raphael, Transfiguration

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

    Reflecting on this comparison, we discover the doctrine we are teaching here. Telling us to behold the faith spoken of by prophets as we would a candle shining in a dark place, he asserts that we should live in darkness, with our eyes closed to all other lights, and that in this darkness faith alone – which is dark also -  should be the light we use. If we want to employ these other bright lights of distinct knowledge, we cease to make use of faith, the dark light, and we cease to be enlightened in the dark place mentioned by St Peter. This place (the intellect – the holder on which the candle of faith is placed) must remain in darkness until the day, in the next life, when the clear vision of God dawns upon the soul; and in this life, until the daybreak of transformation in and union with God, the goal of a person’s journey.  (St John of the Cross, Ascend of Mt Carmel Book 2 ch 16)
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Thursday, July 07, 2016

Novena to Our Lady of Mt Carmel starts today


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

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



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Saturday, June 04, 2016

Immaculate Heart of Mary



In the Traditional liturgical calendar, the Feast of Immaculate Heart is celebrated on 22nd of August. In new Liturgy on this day is celebrated Mary's Queenship. Devotion to Immaculate Heart of Our Lady is connected on many points with that to the Heart of Jesus. The attention of Christians was early attracted by the love and virtues of the Heart of Mary. The Gospels recount the prophesy delivered to her at Jesus' presentation at the temple: that her heart would be pierced with a sword. This image of the pierced heart is the most popular representation of the Immaculate Heart. The Gospels further invited attention to Mary's heart with its depictions of Mary at the foot of the cross at Jesus' crucifixion. St. Augustine said of this that Mary was not merely passive at the foot of the cross; "she cooperated through charity in the work of our redemption"

O most pure Mary, I offer and give myself to you, not only with that purity and innocence that I received when I consecrated myself to you, but adorned beyond that, and then repurified, and then adorned again. Receive me, therefore, O Mary, and keep me within yourself. St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi.



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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - click to read more

Jacques Daret - Visitation of the Blessed Virgin

It seems to me that the attitude of the Virgin during the months that elapsed between the Annunciation and the Nativity is the model for interior souls, those whom God has chosen to live within, in the depths of the bottomless abyss. In what peace, in what recollection Mary lent herself to everything she did! How  even the most trivial things were divinized by her! For through it all the Virgin remained the adorer of the gift of God! This did not prevent her from spending herself outwardly when it was a matter of charity.

The Gospel tells us that Mary went in haste to the mountains of Judea to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Never did the ineffable vision that she contemplated within herself in any way diminish her outward charity. For, a pious author [Ruusbroeck] says, if contemplation "continues towards praise and towards the eter­nity of its Lord, it possesses unity and will not lose it. If an order from Heaven arrives, contemplation turns towards men, sympa­thizes with their needs, is inclined towards all their miseries; it must cry and be fruitful. It illuminates like fire, and like it, it burns, absorbs and devours, lifting up to Heaven what it has de­voured. And when it has finished its work here below, it rises, burning with its fire, and takes up again the road on high." (Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity)



Commentary after DGO

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Meditation, Novena and Offering to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Novena starts today - click for link


"You know, my God, that my one desire is to be a victim of Your Sacred Heart, wholly consumed as a holocaust in the fire of Your holy love. Your Heart will be the altar on which I shall be consumed by You, my dear Spouse, and You will be the Priest who will consume this victim by the fires of Your most Sacred Heart. But, O my God, how ashamed I am to see how guilty is this victim and how unworthy to have her sacrifice accepted by You! But I am confident that all will be consumed by this divine fire!
By offering my whole self to You, I understand that I am giving You my free will, so that henceforth, You alone will be the Master of my heart, and Your will alone will regulate my actions. Therefore, dispose of me always according to Your good pleasure; I am content with everything, since I wish to love You with a love that is patient, mortified, wholly abandoned to You, an active love, a strong, undivided love and, what is more important, a persevering love." (St Teresa Margaret Redi)


All ye who bear a burden
Come unto Me, Who know
A place of quiet refreshment,
Where living waters flow!...
O Heart, the well-spring of all love,
Within Thy depths I hide,
And drink the living waters
That flow down from Thy side!
(St Therese "Poems")



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Feast of St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, Carmelite Saint


Holy Spirit, I see you coming down into the soul like the sun which, finding no obstacle, no impediment, illumines everything; I see You descending like a fiery thunderbolt which, in failing, goes to the lowest place it finds and there it reposes, never stopping on the way nor resting on the mountainous or high places but rather in the center of the earth. Thus You, O Holy Spirit, when You come down from heaven with the fiery dart of Your divine love, You do not repose in proud hearts or in arrogant spirit, but You make Your abode in souls that are humble and contemptible in their own eyes (St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi).

Picture represents fragment of the main altar depicting St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi and St Agnes in the Carmelite Church in Cordoba


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St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi - click to read more

Alessandro Rosi, 'The Ecstasy of St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi'

O Lord, if I see my neighbour committing sin, I shall make an excuse for him on the grounds of his intention, which being hidden cannot be seen, and even if I see plainly that his intention was distorted and evil, help me to know how to make allowance for the temptation, which is something from which no mortal is excluded.
And if someone should come to speak to me of my neighbour's fault, I do not want to listen, and I shall answer that I will pray for him and ask the Lord to let me first amend myself. Besides, it will be easier for me to speak to my erring neighbour himself about his fault than to talk about it with others, because instead of remedying that fault, many others, much more serious, may be committed than those that are being discussed. (St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi)

..to read more click here

..to read online 'The Life of St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi' by Fr Placido Fabrini click HERE

St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi was the mystical soul who experienced the very intimate union with God, manifesting in ecstasies and raptures. Her soul was filled with the Holy Spirit and through His spiritual gifts to her she experienced these favours in prayer. St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross writings gives us inside into this kind of spiritual favours. 

There is another kind of rapture -- I call it flight of the spirit -- which, though substantially the same as other raptures, is interiorly experienced very differently. For sometimes suddenly a movement of the soul is felt so swift that it seems the spirit is carried off, and at a fearful speed especially in the beginning. This is why I have told you that strong courage is necessary for the one to whom God grants these favours, and even faith and confidence and a full surrender to our Lord so that He may do what He wants with the soul. Do you think it is a small disturbance for a person to be very much in his senses and see his soul carried off (and in the case of some, we have read, even the body with the soul) without knowing where that soul is going, what or who does this, or how?.... is there some means by which one can resist it? None at all; rather, to resist makes matters worse, for I know this was so with a certain person.It is such that the spirit truly seems to go forth from the body. On the other hand, it is clear that this person is not dead; at least, he cannot say whether for some moments he was in the body or not. It seems to him that he was entirely in another region different from this in which we live, where there is shown another light so different from earth's light that if he were to spend his whole life trying to imagine that light, along with the other things, he would be unable to do so. It happens that within an instant so many things together are taught him that if he were to work for many years with his imagination and mind in order to systematize them he wouldn't be able to do so, not with even one thousandth part of one of them. This is not an intellectual but an imaginative vision, for the eyes of the soul see much better than do we with bodily eyes here on earth, and without words understanding of some things is given; I mean that if a person sees some saints, he knows them as well as if he had often spoken with them. 8. At other times, along with the things seen through the eyes of the soul by an intellectual vision, other things are represented, especially a multitude of angels with their Lord. And without seeing anything with the eyes of the body or the soul, through an admirable knowledge I will not be able to explain, there is represented what I'm saying and many other things not meant to be spoken of. Anyone who experiences them, and has more ability then I, will perhaps know how to explain them; although doing so seems to me very difficult indeed. (St Teresa of Avila, Interior Castle, Sixth Dwelling Place, Ch 5) 

Stanzas concerning an ecstasy experienced in high contemplation. 
I entered into unknowing, and there I remained unknowing transcending all knowledge. 
1. I entered into unknowing, yet when I saw myself there, without knowing where I was, I understood great things; I will not say what I felt for I remained in unknowing transcending all knowledge. 
2. That perfect knowledge was of peace and holiness held at no remove in profound solitude; it was something so secret that I was left stammering, transcending all knowledge. 
3. I was so 'whelmed, so absorbed and withdrawn, that my senses were left deprived of all their sensing, and my spirit was given an understanding while not understanding, transcending all knowledge. 
4. He who truly arrives there cuts free from himself; all that he knew before now seems worthless, and his knowledge so soars that he is left in unknowing transcending all knowledge. 
5. The higher he ascends the less he understands, because the cloud is dark which lit up the night; whoever knows this remains always in unknowing transcending all knowledge. 
6. This knowledge in unknowing is so overwhelming that wise men disputing can never overthrow it, for their knowledge does not reach to the understanding of not understanding, transcending all knowledge. 
7. And this supreme knowledge is so exalted that no power of man or learning can grasp it; he who masters himself will, with knowledge in unknowing, always be transcending. 
8. And if you should want to hear: this highest knowledge lies in the loftiest sense of the essence of God; this is a work of his mercy, to leave one without understanding, transcending all knowledge. (St John of the Cross, The Living Flame of Love, Fourth Stanza)

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Holy Trinity Sunday

Masaccio, Holy Trinity fresco, Santa Maria Novella, Florence

In the beginning the Word was; he lived in God and possessed in him his infinite happiness. The same Word was God, who is the Beginning… The Word is called Son; he was born of the Beginning who had always conceived him, giving of his substance always, yet always possessing it. And thus the glory of the Son was the Father’s glory, and the Father possessed all his glory in the Son….and the Love that unites them is one with them, their equal, excellent as the One and the Other; Three Persons and one Beloved among all three…. In that immense love proceeding from the two the Father spoke words of great affection to the Son….: “My Son, only your company contents me, and when something pleases me I love that thing in you; whoever resembled you most satisfies me most, and whoever is like you in nothing will find nothing in me. I am pleased with you alone, O life of my life! You are the light of my light, you are my wisdom, the image of my substance in whom I am well pleased. On creation. “My Son, I wish to give you a bride who will love you. Because of you she will deserve to share our company and eat at our table, the same bread I eat, that she may know the good I have in such a Son; and rejoice with me in your grace and fullness.” “I am very grateful, the Son answered; “I will show my brightness to the bride you give me, so that by it she may see how great my Father is, and how I have received my being from your being”….“Let it be done, then” said the Father, for your love has deserved it. And by these words the world was created, a palace for the bride made with great wisdom and divided into rooms, and above, the other below. The lower was furnished with infinite variety, while the higher was made beautiful with marvellous jewels, that the bride might know the Bridegroom she had. The orders of angels were placed in the higher, but humanity was given the lower place, for it was, in its being, a lesser thing. And though beings and places were divided in this way, yet all form one, who is called the bride; for love of the same Bridegroom made one bride of them. Those higher ones possessed the Bridegroom in gladness; the lower in hope, founded on the faith that he infused in them, telling them that one day he would exalt them, and that he would lift them up from their lowness so that no one could mock it anymore; for he would make himself wholly like them, and he would come to them and dwell with them; and God would be man and man would be God, and he would walk with them and eat and drink with them; and he himself would be with them continually until the consummation of this world…..For as the Father and the Son and he who proceeds from them live in one another, so it would be with the bride; for, taken wholly into God, she will live the life of God. By this bright hope which came to them from above, their wearying labours were lightened; but the drawn-out waiting and their growing desire to rejoice with their Bridegroom wore on them continually, So with prayers and sigh and suffering, with tears and moaning they asked night and day that now he would determine to grant them his company….. In these and other prayers a long time had passed; but in the later years their fervour swelled and grew when the aged Simeon burned with longing, and begged God that he might see this day. And so the Holy Spirit answering the good old man gave him his word that he would not see death until he saw Life descending from the heights, until he took God himself into his own hands and holding him in his arms, pressed him to himself. The Incarnation. Now that the time had come when it would be good to ransom the bride serving under the hard yoke of that law which Moses had given her, the Father, with tender love spoke… “Surely your bride’s delight would greatly increase were she to see you like her, in her own flesh.” “My will is yours,” the Son replied …..”This is fitting, Father, what you, the Most High, say, for in this way your goodness will be more evident, your great power will be seen and your justice and wisdom I will go and tell the world….I will go and seek my bride and take upon myself her weariness and labours in which she suffers so; and that she may have life, I will die for her, and lifting her out of that deep I will restore her to you”. Then he called the archangel Gabriel and sent him to the virgin Mary, at whose consent the mystery was wrought....and the Word lived incarnate in the womb of Mary. And he who had only a Father now had a Mother too, but she was not like others who conceived by man. From her own flesh he received his flesh, so he is called Son of God and of man. When the time had come for him to be born, he went forth like the bridegroom from his bridal chamber, embracing his bride, holding her in his arms, whom the gracious Mother laid in a manger among the animals that were there at that time. Men sang songs and angels melodies….but God there in the manger cried and moaned; and these tears were jewels the bride brought to the wedding. The Mother gazed in sheer wonder on such an exchange: in God, man’s weeping, and in man, gladness, to the one and the other things usually so strange. St John of the Cross, Romances on the Blessed Trinity.
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Sunday, April 03, 2016

Divine Mercy Sunday and Feast of St Teresa of the Andes


Let us listen today to St Teresa as she extols the blessings of the friendship that Christ offers to all (excerpts from the letter 150 written to her father):
I feel need to bring Him to you. I want Jesus to be your intimate friend, to whom you may entrust your heart, tired and filled with sorrow. Who…can fathom the intensity, the torrent of worries pouring over you as can Our Lord who delves into our deepest hearts and with delicate touch can touch those painful wounds whose depths even we ourselves don’t understand, Oh…how your life would change if you went to Him often as a Friend. Can you be thinking Jesus won’t to welcome you as a friend? If that’s what you thought, it would be a sign that you don’t know Him. Jesus is all tenderness, all love for his sinful creatures. He lives in the tabernacle with His Heart open to receive us, waiting for our arrival that He may console us. After ‘God the Joy of My Life. Saint Teresa of the Andes’

Divine Mercy photo after catholicinjapan.wordpress.com
St Teresa picture after lacasadelossuegnos.blogspot.com
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Monday, March 21, 2016

PALM SUNDAY and HOLY WEEK - click for link


Holy Week begins with the description of the triumphal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem on the Sunday before His Passion. Jesus, who had always been opposed to any public manifestation and who had fled when the people wanted to make Him their king (Jn 6:15), allows Himself to be borne in triumph today. Not until now, when He is about to die, does He submit to being publicly acclaimed as the Messiah, because by dying on the Cross, He will be in the most complete manner Messiah, Redeemer, King, and Victor. He allows Himself to be recognized as King, but a King who will reign from the Cross, who will triumph and conquer by dying on the Cross. The same exultant crowd that acclaims Him today will curse Him in a few days and lead Him to Calvary; today's triumph will be a vivid prelude to tomorrow's Passion. As the joyful procession advances, Jesus sees the panorama of Jerusalem spread out at His feet. St Luke says (19:41-44): "When He drew near, seeing the city, he wept over it, saying: "If thou also hadst known, and that in this thy day, the things that are to thy peace!...Thy enemies...shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation."' St Teresa of Jesus says: "O Jesus, what bitter tears You shed over the city which refused to recognize You! And how many souls, like Jerusalem, go to perdition on account of their obstinate resistance to grace! For them I pray with all my strength. "My God, this is where Your power and mercy should be shown. Oh! what a lofty grace I ask for, O true God, when i conjure You to love those who do not love You, to answer those who do not call to You, to give, to give health to those who take pleasure in remaining sick!...You say, O my Lord, that you have come to seek sinners. Here, Lord, are the real real sinners. But, instead of seeing our blindness, O God, consider the precious Blood which Your Son shed for us. Let Your mercy shine out in the midst of such great malice. Do not forget, Lord, that we are Your creatures, and pour out on us Your goodness and mercy" (Exclamations of the Soul to God).

 Pope Francis blesses the Palms - St Peter's Square


Palm Sunday Procession - St Peter's Square

"A second word: why does Jesus enter Jerusalem? Or better: how does Jesus enter Jerusalem? The crowds acclaim him as King. And he does not deny it, he does not tell them to be silent (cf. Lk 19:39-40). But what kind of a King is Jesus? Let us take a look at him: he is riding on a donkey, he is not accompanied by a court, he is not surrounded by an army as a symbol of power. He is received by humble people, simple folk, who sense that there is more to Jesus, who have the sense of faith that says, "This is the Savior."
Jesus does not enter the Holy City to receive the honours reserved to earthly kings, to the powerful, to rulers; he enters to be scourged, insulted and abused, as Isaiah foretold in the First Reading (cf. Is 50:6). He enters to receive a crown of thorns, a staff, a purple robe: his kingship becomes an object of derision. He enters to climb Calvary, carrying his burden of wood. And this brings us to the second word: Cross. Jesus enters Jerusalem in order to die on the Cross. And it is here that his kingship shines forth in godly fashion: his royal throne is the wood of the Cross! I think of what Benedict XVI said to the cardinals: "You are princes but of a Crucified King"that is Christ's throne. Jesus takes it upon himself..why? Why the Cross? Jesus takes upon himself the evil, the filth, the sin of the world, including our own sin, and he cleanses it, he cleanses it with his blood, with the mercy and the love of God. Let us look around: how many wounds are inflicted upon humanity by evil! Wars, violence, economic conflicts that hit the weakest, greed for money, which no-one can bring with him. My grandmother would say to us children, no shroud has pockets! Greed for money, power, corruption, divisions, crimes against human life and against creation! And - each of us knows well - our personal sins: our failures in love and respect towards God, towards our neighbour and towards the whole of creation. Jesus on the Cross feels the whole weight of the evil, and with the force of God’s love he conquers it, he defeats it with his resurrection. This is the good that Christ brings to all of us from the Cross, his throne. Christ’s Cross embraced with love does not lead to sadness, but to joy! The joy of being saved and doing a little bit what he did that day of his death." (Excerpt from Pope Francis Palm Sunday
(homily)
 

Text of meditations below are excerpts from 'Divine Intimacy' chapter on Passion Sunday. The post is illustrated by Tissot picture representing procession leading Jesus into Jerusalem

HOLY WEEK WITH THE SAINTS OF CARMEL - SHORT, SELECTED REFLECTIONS

Tuesday of the Holy Week 
In today's Mass Epistle, Jeremiah (11:18-20) speaks to us as the suffering Saviour: "I was as a meek lamb that is carried to be a victim." This sentence expresses the attitude of Jesus towards the bitterness of His Passion. He knew every one of these sufferings in all their most concrete particulars; His heart had undergone them by anticipation, and the thought of them never left him for an instant during the course of His life on earth. If the Passion, in its historical reality, took place in less than twenty-four hours, in its spiritual reality it spanned his entire life.
Let us reflect on the gravity of sin with St Teresa: "O Lord of my soul, how quick we are to offend You! But how much quicker are You to forgive us! What am I saying, Lord! 'The sorrows of death have encompassed me' Alas! What a great evil is sin, since it could put God Himself to death with such terrible sufferings! And these same sufferings surround You today, O my Lord! Where can You go that You are not tortured? Men cover You with wounds in all Your members." (Exclamations of the Soul to God: 10)


Wednesday in the Holy Week
Today's Mass contains two lessons from Isaias (62:11-63:1-7, 53:1-12) which describe in a very impressive way the figure of Jesus, the Man of Sorrows, covered with the shining purple of His blood, wounded from head to foot, "Why then is Thy apparel red, and Thy garments like theirs that tread in the winepress? I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the Gentiles, there is not a man with Me." All alone Jesus trod the winepress of His Passion. Let us think of His agony in the Garden of Olives, where the vehemence of His grief covered all His members with a bloody sweat. Let us think of the moment when Pilate, after having Him scourged, brought Him before the mob, saying: "Behold the Man!".


'Ecce Homo' by Simon Bening

Jesus stood there, His head crowned with thorns, His flesh lacerated by the wipes; the brilliant red of His Blood mingled with the purple of His cloak, that cloak of derision with which the soldiers had clothed their mock king. Christ was offering Himself as a sacrifice for men, shedding His Blood for their salvation, and men were abandoning Him. "I looked about and there was none to help, I sought, and there was none to give aid" (Roman Missal). Where were the sick whom He had cured, the blind, who at the touch of His Hand recovered their sight, the dead who were raised to life, the thousands whom He had miraculously fed with bread in the wilderness, the wretched without number who in countless ways had experienced His goodness? Before Jesus there was only an infuriated mob clamoring: Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Even the Apostles, His most intimate friends, had fled; indeed one of them had betrayed Him: "If he that hated Me had spoken great things against Me, I would perhaps have hidden Myself from him! But thou, a man of one mind, My guide, and My familiar, who didst take sweetmeats together with Me" (Ps 54:13,14). We read these words today, as on all the Wednesdays of the year, in the psalms of Terce. To this text which so deeply expressive of the bitterness Jesus felt when betrayed and abandoned by His own, there is a corresponding response in Matins: "Instead of loving Me, they decried Me, and returned evil for good, and hate in exchange for My love" (Roman Breviary).
As we contemplate Jesus in His Passion, each one of us can say to himself, dilexit me, et tradidit semetipsum pro me - He loved me, and delivered Himself for me (Gal 2:20); and it would be well to add, "How have I repaid His love?"

Holy Thursday - the Gift of Love
Jesus, I want to tell all little souls of the wonder of your love (St Therese).

Today's Mass is , in a very special way, the commemoration and the renewal of the Last Supper, in which we are all invited to participate. Let us enter the Church and gather close around the altar as if going into the Cenacle to gather around Jesus; Here we find, as did the Apostles at Jerusalem, the Master living in our midst, and He Himself, through the person of His minister, will renew once again the great miracle which changes bread and wine into His Body and Blood; He will say to us, "Take and eat...take and drink." Jesus reveals to us the perfection of fraternal charity on the same evening that He instituted the Eucharist, as if to indicate that such perfection should be both fruit of the Sacrament of the Eucharist and our response to this great gift. Says St Teresa: "O good Jesus, to sustain our weakness and to stir up our love, You have chosen to remain always in our midst, although You well foresaw the way that men would treat You and the shame and outrages from which You would have to suffer. O eternal Father, how could You permit Your Son to live with us, to endure fresh insults every day? O my God! What great love in that Son! and also, what great love in that Father!...O Holy Father who art in Heaven, if Thy divine Son has left nothing undone that He could do for us in granting sinners so great a favour as that of the Blessed Sacrament, do not permit Him to be so ill-treated. Since Thy holy Son has given us this excellent way in which we can offer Him up frequently as a sacrifice, let us make use of this precious gift so that it may stay the advance of such terrible evil and irreverence as in many places is paid to this most holy Sacrament (Way of Perfection). Let us pray with St Augustine: O Lord, Lord, how small and narrow is the house of my soul for You to enter! Enlarge it Yourself. It is in ruins; repair it. I know and admit that there are things in it that are offensive in Your sight. But who will cleanse it? Or to whom but You shall I cry, purify me, Lord, from my hidden sins?"

Good Friday - The Mystery of the Cross 
St John of the Cross says Good Friday is the day which invites us more than any other to 'enter into the thicket of the trials and pains...of the Son of God' (Spiritual Canticle), and not only with the abstract consideration of the mind but with the loving heart and willingness to unite our sufferings with His. Says St John: "the purest suffering brings with it the most intimate and the purest understanding" (Spiritual Canticle). The atrocious martyrdom, which within a few hours will torture His body, has not yet begun, and yet the agony of Jesus in the Garden of Olives marks one of the most sorrowful moments of His Passion, one which best reveals the bitter suffering of His soul. His most sacred soul finds itself immersed in inexpressible anguish; it is extreme abandonment and desolation, without sligthest consolation, either from God or from man. 
The Saviour feels the weight of the enormous burden of all the sins of mankind; He the Innocent One, sees Himself covered with the most execrable crimes, and made, as it were, the enemy of God and the target of the infinite justice which will punish all our wickedness in Him. As God, Jesus never ceased, even in the most painful moment of His Passion to be united to His Father; but as man, He felt Himself rejected by Him, "struck by God and afflicted" (Is 53:4). This explains the utter anguish of His spirit, much more sorrowful than the dreadful physical sufferings which await Him, explains the cruel agony which made Him sweat blood; explains His complain, "My soul is sorrowful even unto death" (Mt 26:38). His humanity finds itself facing the hard reality of the fact, deprived of the sensible help of the divinity, which seems not only to withdraw, but even more, to be angry with Him, and Jesus groans: "My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from Me!" But this anguished cry of human nature is immediately lost in that perfect conformity of His will to the Father's: "Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt" (Mt 26:39)
The Agony in the Garden is soon followed by the treacherous kiss of Judas,



the arrest, the night passed in the interrogation by the high priest and insults from the soldiers who strike Jesus, spit on His face and blindfold Him, while in the outer court, Peter is denying Him.




At dawn they commence anew the questioning and accusations; the going back and forth from one tribunal to another begins - from Caiphas to Pilate, from Pilate to Herod, and back again to Pilate,


- followed by the horrible scourging and the crowning with thorns


Finally, clothed as a mock king, the Son of God is presented to the mob which cries out: "Away with this man, and release Barabbas" 


for Jesus, the Saviour, the crowd can only shout: "Crucify Him, crucify Him!" (Luke 23: 18-21). Loaded down with the wood for His torture, Jesus is led away to Calvary where he is crucified between two thieves.


These terrible physical sufferings reach their climax when the Saviour, in agony on the Cross, utters the cry: "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken  Me? (Mt 27:46). Although personally united to the Word, His humanity is, by a miracle, deprived of all divine comfort and support, and feels instead the weight of all malediction due to sin: "Christ," says St Paul, "has redeemed us from the curse...being made a curse for us" (Gal 3:13). Here we touch the most profound depths of the Passion of Jesus, the most atrocious bitterness which He embraced for our salvation. Yet, the last words of Jesus are an expression of total abandonment: "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit" (Lk 23:46). Thus Jesus teaches us to overcome the anxieties and anguish caused in us by sorrow and death, by acts of complete submission to the will of God and trustful abandonment into His hands.


"I weep for You, my King, my Lord, and Master, my Father and Brother, my beloved Jesus" (St Bonaventure

Pictures illustrating the Good Friday post are by Rembrandt, Tissot and Dore


HOLY SATURDAY - THE VICTORY OF THE CROSS
As soon as Jesus expired, "the veil of the Temple was torn in two....the earth quaked, the rocks were rent. And the graves were opened; and many bodies...arose," so that those who were present were seized with a great fear and said: "Indeed this was the Son of God" (Mt 27:51-54). St John of the Cross, describing the agony of Jesus on the Cross, affirms: "He wrought herein the greatest work that He had ever wrought, whether in miracles or in mighty works, during the whole of His life, either upon earth or in Heaven, which was the reconciliation and union of mankind, through grace, with God. And this, as I say, was at the moment and the time when this Lord was most completely annihilated in everything. Annihilated, that is to say, with respect to human reputation; since, when men saw Him die, they mocked Him rather than esteemed Him; and also with respect to nature, since His nature was annihilated when He died; and further with respect to the spiritual consolation and protection of the Father, since at that time He foresook Him...". And he concludes: "Let the truly spiritual man may understand the mystery of the gate and of the way of Christ, and so become united with God, and let him know that, the more completely he is annihilated for God's sake, according to these two parts, the sensual and the spiritual, the more completely he is united to God and the greatest is the work which he accomplishes" (Ascent of Mt Carmel, 2:7,11).

Barocci. The Entombment

If you would understand that the Cross is Our Lord's triumph, hear what He Himself said:' If I am lifted up, I will draw all people to myself'. In sharing His Cross, you are seeking His glory (St John of the Cross).


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Saturday, March 05, 2016

The first of the Romances poem is based on St John’s Gospel (John 1:1) - ‘In pronciptio erat Verbum or In the beginning was the Word’, regarding the Blessed Trinity. Very beautiful poem for the Lenten meditation. 




1. In the beginning the Word was; He lived in God And possessed in him His infinite happiness. That same Word was God, Who is the Beginning; He was in the beginning. He was himself the Beginning And therefore had no beginning. The Word is called Son; He was born of the Beginning Who had always conceived him, Giving of his substance always, Yet always possessing it. And thus the glory of the Son was the Father’s glory, and the Father possessed all his glory in the Son. As the lover in the beloved Each lived in the other, And the Love that unites them Is one with them, their equal, excellent as the One and the Other: Three Persons, and one Beloved Among all three. One love in them all Makes of them one Lover, And the Lover is the Beloved In whom each one lives. For the being that the three possess Each of them possesses, And each of them loves Him who bears this being, Which alone unites them, Binding them deeply, One beyond words. Thus it is boundless Love that unites them, For the three have one love Which is their essence; And the more love is one The more it is love.

 2. On the communication among the Three Persons.
In that immense love proceeding from the two, the Father spoke words of great affection to the Son. Words od such profound delight that no one understood them; they were meant for the Son, and he alone rejoiced in them. What he heard was this: "My Son, only your company contents me, and when something pleases me I love that thing in you; whoever resembles you most satisfies me most, and whoever is like you in nothing will find nothing in me. I am please with you alone, O life of my life! You are the light of my light, you are my wisdom, the image of my substance in whom I am well pleased. My Son, I will give myself to him who loves you and I will love him with the same love I have for you, because he has loved you whom I love so."

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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Why we should pray always

You will seek the Lord your God, and if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul, you shall find him. In your distress, all that I have said will overtake you, but at the end of days you will return to the Lord your God and listen to his voice. For the Lord your God is a merciful God and will not desert or destroy you or forget the covenant he made on oath with your fathers. (Deuteronomy 4; 29-31) 


In the fragment from her ‘Life’ (ch 11/10,11), St Teresa encourages and explains to us why we should never abandon prayer, even if we are all the time experiencing nothing but aridity. Very good read for Lent.

  Beginners in prayer, we may say, are those who drew up the water out of the well: this, as I have said, is a laborious proceeding, for it will fatigue them to keep their senses recollected, which is a great labour because they have accustomed to a life of distraction. Beginners must accustom themselves to pay no heed to what they see or hear, and they must practise doing this during hours of prayer; they must be alone and in their solitude think over their past life – all of us, indeed, whether beginners or proficient, must do this frequently. There are differencies, however, in the degree to which it must be done, as I shall show later. At first it causes distress, for beginners are not always sure that they have repented of their sins (though clearly they have, since they have so sincerely resolved to serve God). Then they have to endeavour to meditate upon the life of Christ and this fatigue their minds. Thus far we can make progress by ourselves - of course with the help of God, for without that, as is well known, we cannot think a single good thought. This is what is meant by beginning to draw up water from the well, and God grant there may be water in it! But that, at least, does not depend on us: our task is to draw it up and to so what we can to water the flowers. And God is so good that when, for reasons known to His Majesty, perhaps to our great advantage, He is pleased that the well should be dry, we. Like good gardeners, do all that in us lies, and He keeps the flowers alive without water and makes the virtues grow. By water here I mean tears – or, if there be none of these, tenderness and an interior feeling of devotion. 
  What then, will he do here who finds that for many days he experiences nothing but aridity, dislike, distaste and so little desire to go and draw water that he would give it up entirely if he did not remember that he is pleasing and serving the Lord of the garden; if he were not anxious that all his service should not be lost, to say nothing of the gain which he hopes for from the great labour of lowering the bucket so often into the well and drawing it up without water? It will often happen that, even for that purpose, he is unable to move his arms – unable, that is, to think a single good thought, for working with the understanding is of course the same as drawing water out of the well. What, then, as I say, will the gardener of so great an Emperor; and, as he knows that is pleasing Him by so working (and his purpose must be to please, not himself, but HIM), let him render Him a great praise for having placed such confidence in him, when He has seen that without receiving any recompense, he is taking such great care of that which He had entrusted to him; let him help Him to bear the Cross and consider how He lived with it all His life long; let him not wish to have his kingdom on earth or ever cease from prayer; and so let him resolve, even if this aridity should persist his WHOLE LIFE long, never to let Christ fall beneath the Cross. The time will come when he shall receive his whole reward at once. Let him have no fear that his labour will be lost. He is serving a good Master, Whose eyes are upon him. Let him pay no heed to evil thoughts, remembering how the devil put such thoughts into the mind of Saint Jerome in the desert.
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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

LENT and HOLY WEEK with St Therese


Why do we need the virtue of temperance and how is St Therese a model of temperance, read: HERE

"Prayers and Meditations on the Life of Christ" by Thomas a Kempis - to read online click HERE

"Imitation of Christ" by Thomas a Kempis - to read online click HERE

Stations of the Cross with Carmelite Saints HERE

Now there was in the place where he was crucified, a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein no man yet had been laid. There, therefore, because of the parasceve of the Jews, they laid Jesus, because the sepulchre was nigh at hand.  (Jn 19:41, 42)
When I saw the blood running from the wounds of Jesus, the thirst of all souls entered my heart.(...) Oh, each day since this special blessing [Pranzini's last minute conversion], my desire to save these souls grew. I felt I heard Jesus tell me "Give me something to drink!" (The Story of a Soul)
 
Afterwards, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said: I thirst. Now there was a vessel set there full of vinegar. And they, putting a sponge full of vinegar and hyssop, put it to his mouth. Jesus therefore, when he had taken the vinegar, said: It is consummated. And bowing his head, he gave up the ghost. (Jn 19:28, 30).
The cry of the Lord on the cross, "I am thirsty" sounded continually in my heart....I wanted to give my Beloved a drink, and felt myself devoured by the thirst of all souls... It was not the souls of priests that attracted me, but those of the big sinners. I burned with desire to pull them from the eternal flames (The Story of a Soul)

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

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


Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus' feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume (Jn 12:3)
Lord, at the twilight of this life, I will appear to you with empty hands because I do not ask you to keep count of my good deeds. All of our laws are flowed in your eyes. I would like, then, to clock myself with your law and from your love, receive you for eternity. I want no other crown than you (Prayer 6)

Palm Sunday
And they brought the colt to Jesus; and they lay their garments on him, and he sat upon him. And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down boughs from the trees, and strewed them in the way. And they that went before and they that followed, cried, saying: "Hosanna, blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. Blessed be the kingdom of our father David that cometh: Hosanna in the highest. " (Mk 11:7-10
After being exiled on earth, I hope to go and rejoice in your presence in our Father's house. However, I do not want to gain merits just for heaven. I want to work for your Divine Love for the sole purpose of pleasing you, consoling your Sacred Heart and saving souls who will love you for all eternity. (Prayer 6)

"It is better for you to have one man die for the people than to have the whole nation destroyed"(Jn 11:50)
My Lord, I thank you for all the blessings you have granted me, in particular, for having me pass the stringent test of suffering. On judgment day, i will think of you carrying the scepter of the cross. As you have judged me worthy to share this most precious cross with you, when I am in heaven, I hope to look like you and see my body glorified with the blessed wounds of your Passion (Prayer 6)

"I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die" (Jn 11: 25-26)
Adored Face, since you are the only home for our souls, our hymns will not be sung on foreign soil. While we await eternity when we will gaze upon your infinite glory, our only desire is to enchant your Divine Eyes while hiding our faces so no one can recognize us...Your veiled glance, that is our heaven, Oh Jesus! (Prayer 12)


When they heard these words, some in the crowd said, "This is really the prophet. Never has anyone spoken like this! (Jn 7:40, 46)
I know from experience, "That the kingdom of God is inside us." Jesus, (...) the Doctor of all doctors, teaches without words,...I have never heard him speak but I know he is inside me. At each and every moment, he guides me to do what I must do. Just when I need it, I discover lights I had never seen before (Story of the Soul)

"In peace, in the self-same, that is in Thee, the one sovereign Good, I will sleep and I will rest. Amen (Ps 4)

"During Lent of last year I was feeling stronger than ever, and in spite of the rigorous fast my health kept up to the end, when, in the early hours of Good Friday, Our Lord gave me reason to hope that I would soon go to join Him in Heaven. 
I had not been given leave to spend the whole night before the altar of repose, and so I went up to our cell at about midnight on Thursday. No sooner had I laid my head on the pillow than I felt a warm flood rise suddenly to my lips. I felt as though I were dying, and rejoiced at the thought. As I put out the little lamp, I mortified my curiosity and fell asleep peacefully. When I was called at five o'clock, I remembered that there was a pleasant discovery to be made, and on going to the window I found our handkerchief all stained with blood. I was convinced that our loving Lord had given me a first warning on the anniversary of His death, a faint murmur which told me that His joyful coming was not far distant." (The Story of a Soul)

"The Pharisee, standing by himself was praying.... The tax collector  was standing far off..."God, be merciful for me, a sinner!"...Those who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted" (Luke 18:11, 13-14)
It seems to me that humility is truth. I don't know if I am truly humble, but I feel that I see the truth in all things (Advice and Memories, 19)


For the Feast of Annunciation
"O Lord, my God, my Creator and Redeemer, I desire to receive Thee today with such affection, reverence, praise and honour; with such gratitude, worthiness, and love; with such faith, hope and purity, as Thy most holy Mother, the glorious Virgin Mary, received and desired Thee, when she humbly and devoutly answered the angel, who declared to her the mystery of the Incarnation: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord: be it done to me according to thy word"(Luke 1: 38)". (Imitation, B 4:17)

When an angel offers you to be the Mother of the God who will reign for all eternity, what an astonishing mystery to see you prefer the unutterable treasure of your virginity! I understand that your soul, oh Immaculate Virgin, would be more dear to the Lord, than the Divine sojourn. I understand that your soul, humble and gentle valley, would contain my Jesus, the Ocean of Love (Poems, 54)

"You will indeed drink my cup, but to sit on my right hand and at my left, this is not mine to grant, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by my Father" (Mt 20:23)
Since it had been necessary for Christ to suffer so that he would enter thtough that into glory, you must also drink his same chalice if you want to have a place at his side (The Story of a Soul)

For the Feast of St Joseph
"Protect and defend the soul of Thy poor servant amidst so many dangers of this corruptible life, and direct him in the company of Thy grace, through the way of peace to the country of everlasting light. Amen" (Imitation Bk 3:59)
I had never come into contact with evil, but dreaded the thought of doing so, and I realized that I would come across many disturbing things on my journey. I had not yet learned that all things are clean to the clean (Tit 1:15), that evil is not in material things but in unclean minds. From my childhood my devotion to Our Lady and St Joseph had been one thing, and every day I said the prayer: St Joseph, father and protector of virgins. I therefore placed myself under his protection and felt safe from all danger. (The Story of a Soul)

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

"If you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing than others? (Mt 5:46-47).
You say you want to be good with those who are good, gentle with those who are gentle. And when someone disagrees with you, you strike out against them...On the contrary: "Do good for those who hate you, pray for those who persecute you" (Advice and Memories, 103)

..when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go, first be reconcile to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift (Mt 5:23-24)
If you always want to be right, you do this to the detriment of your soul. And to tell others what to do, even if you are truly right, still puts you in conflict. Yours is not to control other people's behaviour. You must not set yourself up as a judge - that is God's right alone - your only mission is to be an angel of peace (Advice and memories, 106)

First Sunday of Lent
Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil (Mt 4:1)
The more you press forward, the less you have to fight, or rather, the easier you win because you see the good side of things. It is then that your soul rises above the humans. It is incredible how, in the end, everything anyone tells me doesn't even grave my soul because I have understand the weakness of human judgment (Advice and Memories, 186)

Saturday after Ash Wednesday
I have come to call not the righteous but sinners to repentance (Luke 5:32)
When you are angry with someone, the way to find peace is to pray for that person and ask God to reward them for making you suffer. In spite of all their efforts to better themselves, God leave certain souls with weakness because it would be detrimental if they had  virtues others could in them (Advice and Memories, 150)


Friday after Ash Wednesday
The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast (Mt 9:15)
We have heard loving complaints from your beloved mouth. Understanding that the thirst which consumes you is one of love, we want to quench it and possess an infinite love! Blessed Husband of our souls! If we had the love from all the hearts, all that love would be for you...Give us this love and quench your thirst through your humble brides. (Prayers, 12)

Thursday after Ash Wednesday
For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it (Luke 9:24)
There are certain souls who require regular payment. For me, I take my chances at the bank of Love...I go for the big win. If I lose, I will know, I don't concern myself with the ups and downs, Jesus takes care of them for me, I do not know if I am rich or poor but I will know this later (Advice and Memories 71

Ash Wednesday
But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you (Mt 6:6)
Gratitude is the one thing which disposes God to grant his blessings. If we thank him for his graces, he is grateful and showers us with ten more. If we continue in this manner, with the same enthusiasm, imagine the incalculable multitude of blessings! I have done this. Try it and you will see. My gratitude is limitless for all he has given me and I show it to him in a thousand ways. (Advice and Memories ,72)



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