Wednesday, November 29, 2017

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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Thursday, November 09, 2017

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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Wednesday, November 08, 2017



Remain in me (Jn 15:4). It is the Word of God who gives this order, expresses this wish. Remain in Me, not for a few moments, a few hours which must pass away, habitually, Remain in Me, pray in Me, adore in Me, love in Me, suffer in Me, work and act in Me. Remain in Me, so that you may be able to encounter anyone or anything; penetrate further still into these depths. This is truly the 'solitude into which God wants to allure the soul that He may speak to it.' as the prophet sang (Hos 2:14).
In order to understand this very mysterious saying, we must not, so to speak, stop at the surface, but enter ever deeper into the divine Being through recollection. 'I pursue my course.' (Ph 3:12) exclaimed St Paul; so must we descend daily this pathway of the Abyss (Ruysbroeck 52-53), which is God; let us slide down this slope (Ru, 52) in wholly loving confidence, "Abyss calls to abyss". It is there in the very depths that the divine impact takes place (Ru 40), where the abyss of our nothingness encounters the Abyss of mercy (Ru 2), the immensity of the all of God (todo of God of John of the Cross face to face with the 'nada' - our nothingness - of man). There we will find the strength to die to ourselves and, losing all vestige of self, we will be changed into love...."Blessed are those who die in the Lord"(Ap 14:13)
(Bl Elizabeth of the Trinity 'Haeven in Faith, First Day, Prayer 2). 

"Father, I will that where I am they also whom You have given Me may be with Me, in order that they may behold My glory which You have Me, because You have loved Me before the creation of the world" (John 17:24). Such is Christ's last wish, His supreme prayer before returning to His Father, He wills that where He is we should be also, not only for eternity, but already in time, which is eternity begun and still in progress. It is important then to know where we must live with Him in order to realize His divine dream. "The place where the Son of God is hidden is the bosom of the Father, or the divine Essence, invisible to every mortal eye, unattainable by every human intellect,"(St John of the Cross, St 1:3) as Isaiah said: "Truly You are a hidden God" (Is 45:15). And yet His will is that we should be established in Him, that we should be, so to speak, His own shadow (Ru 81).

By baptism , says St Paul, we have been united to Jesus Christ (Rom 6:4-5). And again: "God seated us together in Heaven in Christ Jesus, that He might show in the ages to come the riches of His grace" (Eph 2:6-7). And further on: "You are no longer guests or strangers, but you belong to the City of saints and the House of God." (Eph 2:19). The Trinity - this is our dwelling, our "home", the Father's house that we must never leave. The Master said one day: "The slave does not remain with the household forever, but the son remains there forever (John 8:35).

"As long as our will has fancies that are foreign to divine union, whims that are now yes, now no, we are like children; we do not advance with giant steps in love for fire has not yet burnt up all the alloy; the gold is not pure; we are still seeking ourselves; God has not consumed "all our hostility to Him. But when the boiling cauldron has consumed every imperfect love, every imperfect sorrow, every imperfect fear," "then love is perfect and the golden ring of our alliance is larger than Heaven and earth. This is the secret cellar in which love places his elect," this "love leads us by ways and paths known to him alone; and he leads us with no turning back, for we will not retrace our steps." (Spiritual Canticle 439). (Bl Elizabeth Second Day, Prayer 2).

The same saint (St John of the Cross) also says that "God is the center of the soul". So when the soul with all "its" strength will know God perfectly, love and enjoy Him fully, then it will have reached the deepest center that can be attained in Him". Before attaining this, the soul is already "in God who is the center," "but it is not yet in its deepest center, for it can still go further. Since love is what unites us to God, the more intense this love is, the more deeply the soul enters into God and the more it is centered in Him. When it "possesses even one degree of love it is already in its center"; but when this love has attained its perfection, the soul will have penetrated into the deepest center. There willl be transformed to the point of becoming very like God." (St John of the Cross, The living Flame of Love). To this soul living within can be addressed the words of Pere Lacordaire to St Mary Magdalene: No longer ask for the Master among those on earth or in Heaven, for He is your soul and your soul is He." (Second Day, Prayer 1).




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Wednesday, November 01, 2017

All Saints and All Souls Solemnities


                                                          Van Eyck, Ghent Altarpiece

 "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."(Eph 3:13, 17-19) 

St Paul admonished the Ephesians not to grow weak in their tribulations and to be strong and rooted in charity in order to comprehend with all the Saints what is the breath and height and depth and to know also the supereminent charity of the knowledge of Christ, in order to be filled with all the fullness of God. (St John of the Cross, 'The Collected Works')

'Behold, the Lord invites all since He is truth itself, there is no reason to doubt' (St Teresa of Avila, 'The Way of Perfection' ch 19). 

Today is a vigil of All Saints, and All Souls Day is the (40th) Anniversary of my receiving the habit. Ask God to make me a geniune Carmelite nun, for better late than never, (fragment of her letter to Fr Gratian)
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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Happy Feast of St Teresa of Jesus to all who care and visit this blog sometimes! - click for link


Quote for this wonderful day: Teresa knew well the continued presence and value of suffering (physical illness, opposition to reform, difficulties in prayer), but she grew to be able to embrace suffering, even desire it: "Lord, either to suffer or to die." Toward the end of her life she exclaimed: "Oh, my Lord! How true it is that whoever works for you is paid in troubles! And what a precious price to those who love you if we understand its value."
(after Saint of the Day)
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Friday, September 22, 2017

Novena Rose Prayer to St Therese starts 22nd September


Novena Rose Prayer

O Little Therese of the Child Jesus, please pick for me a rose from the heavenly gardens and send it to me as a message of love.

O Little Flower of Jesus, ask God today to grant the favors I now place with confidence in your hands...(mention petitions)

St. Therese, help me to always believe as you did, in God's great love for me, so that I might imitate your "Little Way" each day. Amen.

credit to Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus, Manchester, St Louis


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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Exaltation of the Holy Cross

                                                  'Finding of the Holy Cross', Bartel Beham

"Hail, Cross our only hope"! - this is what the holy church summoned us to exclaim during the time for contemplating the bitter suffering of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The jubilant exclamation of the Easter Alleluia silenced the serious sing of the Cross. But the sign of our salvation greeted us amid the time of Easter joy, since we were recalling the discovery of the One who had passed from sight. At the end of the cycle of ecclesiastical feasts, the cross greet us through the heart of the Saviour. And now, as the church year draws towards an end, it is raised high before us and is to hold us spell bound until Easter Alleluia summons us anew to forget the earth for a while and rejoice in the marriage of the Lamb. 
                                 Edith Stein, 'The Hidden Life', fragment from "1939 - Ave Crux, Spes Unica"



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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel

OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL, PRAY FOR US


Prayers and meditations of Carmelite Saints in honour of Our Lady.


St Therese of the Child Jesus.

Short biography

But good Blessed Virgin, it seems to me that I am more fortunate than you, for I have you for Mother and you have no Blessed Virgin to love. Jesus on the Cross gave you to us for our Mother, so we are richer than you, since we possess Jesus and you are ours as well.

***

O Immaculate Virgin, O tenderest Mother!....you rejoiced that Jesus gave us His life and the infinite treasures of His divinity. How can we not love you and bless you, O Mary, for such great generosity. You love us as Jesus loves us, an for our sake you are willing to live far from Him. To love means to give all, to give one's self, and you wanted to prove that by remaining our support. The Saviour knew well the secrets of your Mother's heart, the immensity of your tenderness....Jesus left us to you, O Refuge of Sinners, when he left the cross to wait for us in heaven.
O Mary, I see you on Calvary's height, standing near the cross like a priest at the altar, offering the sweet Emmanuel, you dear Jesus, to appease the Father's justice. O desolate Mother, a prophet said of you: "There is no sorrow like to your sorrow." O Queen of martyrs, standing there bereft, you pour out all your heart's blood for us.

St Elizabeth of the Trinity
short biography

O faithful Virgin, when you uttered your 'fiat', the greatest of all mysteries was accomplished in you. In what peace and recollection did you live and act! Teach me to sanctify my most trivial actions and to spend myself for others when charity requires it, yet all the while to remain like you the constant adorer of God within me.

***

O Virgin most faithful, you remain night and day in profound silence, in ineffable peace, in a divine prayer that never ceases, your soul ever inundated with heavenly light. Your heart is like a crystal that reflects the divine One, the Guest who dwells in you, the Beauty that knows no setting. O Mary, you draw heaven down to you: see the Father commits His Son to you that you may be His mother, and the Spirit of love overshadows you. The Blessed Three come to you, and all heaven is opened and abases itself before you, O Virgin Mary.
Mother of the Word, show me your mystery after the Incarnation of the Lord; how you lived buried in adoration....Keep me ever in a divine embrace. Let me carry upon me the stamp of this God of love.

***

O Mary, you are the one created being who knew the gift of God, and lost no particle of it; a creature so pure and luminous that you seemed to be the light itself. "Mirror of justice": your life was so simple, so lost in God, that there is but little to say of it; "faithful virgin": who kept all these things...in your heart." You were so lowly, so hidden in God in the seclusion of the temple that you drew upon yourself the complacent regard of the Holy Trinity. "For he has regarded the low estate of his handmaid, for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed."
The Father, bending down to you, a creature so lovely, so unaware of your own beauty, chose you for the Mother in time of him whose Father is in eternity. Then the Spirit of love, who presides over all the works of God, overshadowed you, and, O Virgin, you uttered your 'Fiat': Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to your word," and the greatest of all mysteries was accomplished. By the descent of the Word into your womb, you became God's own for ever and ever.

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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Corpus Christi with Carmelite Saints


Carl Emil Doepler, Corpus Christi Procession

Lord, you have given your people the food of angels, from heaven untiringly sending them bread already prepared, containing every delight, satisfying every taste. (Wisdom 16:20)

This is what I received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you: that on the same night that he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.’ In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.’ (1 Cor 11:23-25)

Bl Titus Brandsma:
In speaking of Carmelites' tender devotion to the Sacrament of the Altar...They have always seen a symbol of the sacred host in the wonderful food which the angels pointed out to Elijah and which strengthened the prophet in finding the way that he was able to cross the desert. The Eucharist is the power which permits them to arrive at contemplation...St Peter Thomas who died in 1365 was prior general at the time of the Avignon popes....He was not hindered by the many occupations of his busy life from spending several hours each night before the Blessed Sacrament, oftentimes he was found lost in adoration...Blessed John Soreth...a great reformer of the Carmelites in fifteenth century, his life imperiled, grasped the Blessed Sacrament from a burning church...Bl Bartholomew Fanti, who counted Bl Baptist Spignola among his disciples, taught his novices that it was not possible to be a good Carmelite without special devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. What determined St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi to enter the Carmel of Florence was the practice of daily Communion observed in this convent - a thing rare for the times. The Carmelites are rightly numbered among the mendicant orders, for their constitutions demand the greatest simplicity in their monasteries. BUT for their churches and the cult of the Eucharist, grandeur was always permitted. (from the teaching on the Blessed Sacrament given during retreat) 

St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi:
1. When you are to receive Communion, think that you are about to perform the greatest and most worthy action that can be done, which is to receive the Lord God within yourself.
2.Guard against going to Communion through habit or by chance, but go with actual devotion.
3 If you realize that as long as the sacramental species continue, you have within yourself the entire Most Holy Trinity, you would not go to Communion only occasionally; you would also think about it before you left off Communion, in order not to be deprived of so great a good.
4. Take care lest, on account of your little desire and disposition, you may be the cause of closing that little window of heaven.
5. One cannot find a more effective means of perfecting a soul than to approach this divine table; and if you knew how to use this well, in a short time you would become filled with the love of God, for only one Communion is enough to make a soul holy.
6. Never of your own will deprive yourself of Communion, because you do not know if that Communion might be the very time when God has determined to give you some grace and particular gift. (Teaching on the Most Holy Communion in Complete Works of St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi)  

St Teresa of Avila:
Receiving Communion is not like picturing with the imagination. as when we reflect upon the Lord on the cross or in other episodes of the Passion, when we picture within ourselves how things happened to him in the past. In Communion, the event is happening now, and it is entirely true. Since we know that Jesus is with us as long as the natural heat doesn't consume the accidents of bread, we should approach him. Now, then, if when he went about in the world the mere touch of his robes cured the sick, why doubt, if we have faith, that miracles will be worked while He is within us and that he will give what we ask of him since he is in our house? His Majesty is not accustomed to paying poorly for his lodging if the hospitality is good. (The Way of Perfection)

Augustin-Marie of the Blessed Sacrament, OCD (Hermann Cohen):
My well-Beloved when all are asleep
And seem to forget your love
Do permit me to watch
Alone with you in this abode
(Canticle from his music collection 'Love of Jesus Christ')

Blessed Mary of Jesus Cricified:
...To fly to my Beloved
Hail, hail, blessed tree;
Thou bearest the fruit of life
Under Thy shade, I wish to sigh;
At thy feet, I wish to die.
(Mariam, the Little Arab)

St Therese of Child Jesus:
Living Bread, Bread of Heaven, Divine Eucharist,
O touching mystery produced by Love,
Come dwell within my heart, Jesus, my white Host...
Deign to unite me unto Thee, O holy and sacred Vine, 
That my feeble branch may yield its fruit to Thee;
And I will offer Thee a gilded cluster...
This cluster of love of which the grapes are souls.
(Poems)

Bl Elizabeth of the Trinity:
Every Sunday, we have the Blessed Sacrament exposed in the oratory. When I open the door and contemplate the divine prisoner who has made ma a prisoner in this dear Carmel, it seems to me rather like the gate of heaven opening! Then I present to Jesus all those who are in my heart, and there, close to him, I find them again. (Light, Love, Life)

St Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein):
Communion delivers us from evil, because it cleanses us of sin and gives us peace of heart that takes away things of all other 'evils'. It brings us the forgiveness of past sins and strengthens us in the face of temptations. It is itself the bread of life that we need daily to grow into eternal life. It makes our will into an instrument at God's disposal. Thereby, it lays the foundation for the kingdom of God in us and gives us clean lips and a pure heart to glorify God's holy name. participation in the sacrifice  and in the sacrificial meal actually transforms the soul into a living stone in the city of God - in fact, each individual soul - into a temple of God. (Essential Writings)

Servant of God, Pere Jacques de Jesus Bunel:
Our participation at Mass, our grace filled actions, our Communions must be religious acts stamped with prayer and love. Our material work of the day must be a work bathed in prayer. (Resplendent in Victory).

St Teresa of Jesus of the Andes:
Thank God, we have always had Mass and we've had the Blessed Sacrament. Since Eli, Gorda, and I are the sacristans, we've spent moments of heaven by our Lord's side. (Letters).









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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Novena to the Sacred Heart of Jesus starts today - click to pray


St John of the Cross says: "to hide itself in the  breast of its Beloved, for to these clefts He invites it in the Canticle of Canticles saying: 'Arise, and make haste, my love, my fair one, and come into the clefts of the rock, and into the cavern of the enclosure" (Spiritual Canticle 31:5). And St Teresa Margaret of the Heart of Jesus wrote in her resolutions: My God, I wish to enclose myself in Your most loving Heart as in a desert, to live there in You, with You, and for You, a hidden life of love and sacrifice" (Spirituality Of St Teresa Margaret)

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Friday, May 26, 2017

Pentecost Novena starts Friday 26th! - click to read


And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place: And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them: And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak.Acts 2:1-4.

The grace of the Holy Spirit be with your paternity, mi padre. I hope that this Pentecost has brought you so many of his gifts and blessings that through them you may render His Majesty the service you owe him for having willed to come to the aid of his people, at so great a cost to yourself. May he be praised for everything. (On the vigil of the Pentecost Sunday, 7 June 1579, while praying in the hermitage of Nazareth, St Teresa received the four counsels for the discalced friars). From the letter 297 of St Teresa to Fr Jeronimo Gracian, written in Avila, 10th of June 1579.


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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Ascension of Our Lord Jesus


For King of all the earth is God, 
Sing hymns of praise, 
God reigns over the nations, 
God sits upon His Holy Throne (Ps 47: 8-9)

The Lord gives us so much to do these days that we can hardly keep up with it all. The foundation for the friars in Cordoba was completed with greater applause and solemnity throughout the entire city than was ever given there to any other religious order. All the clergy and confraternities of Cordoba gathered, and the Most Blessed Sacrament was brought with great solemnity from the Cathedral. All streets were beautifully decorated, and the people acted as though it were the feast of Corpus Christi. This took place on the Sunday after Ascension Thursday. The Bishop came and preached, praising us highly. The house is situated in the best district of the city in the neighbourhood of the Cathedral. 
(St John of the Cross, Letter To Madre Ana de San Alberto, June 1586)

Picture represents 'Ascension of Jesus' - Rembrandt
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Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Sunday


Oh! how good it would be…. to live by this life of the Trinity that Jesus Christ came to bring us. He said so often that He was the Life, and that He came to give it to us in abundance.” 
(St Elizabeth of the Trinity, Letter 199)
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Friday, March 10, 2017

St Joseph Novena Prayer, 10 -18 March - click for link


St Teresa of Avila devotion to St Joseph HERE

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Friday, February 10, 2017

Our Lady of Lourdes



"Man's merits are not to be estimated by his having many visions or consolations, nor by his knowledge of Scriptures, nor by his being placed in a more elevated station; but by his being grounded in true humility, and replenished with divine charity". (Imitation of Christ Bk 3)

No sudden splendour broke the grey
And even tenor of your days,
No ecstasy made you forget
Your poverty in its bright rays

Mary, the lowliest can tread
With confidence the path you trod,
Your life the bright and shining star
That leads the wayfarer to God.
(St Therese, Poems)
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Thursday, February 02, 2017

Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes starts on 2nd February - click for link


"My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely" - Song of Songs 2:14.

Credit for a beautiful photo and perfect Scripture citation to Fr Lawrence from Godz Godz blog. I may honestly say the photo of Our Lady of Lourdes is the best one I have ever seen.


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