Tuesday, August 07, 2018

St Albert Trapani, Carmelite and Confessor

He shone in his days as the morning sun in the midst of a cloud, and as the moon at the full. And as the sun when he shineth, so did he shine in the temple of God. (Ecclus 50)

Albert, the Carmelite, was born of noble parents in Sicily, of Benedict Adaltibo and Joanna of Mt Trapani. His parents has been married for twenty-six years and were childless. Therefore, they made a vow to the Blessed Mary, ever Virgin, binding themselves, in case she would obtain for them a son, to consecrate him to her in the Carmelite monastery which stood near to Mt Trapani. Their prayer was heard, and in their sleep they saw a torch which came forth from the mother's womb. On account of this vision the latter foretold to her husband that the boy would be great before God, and this hath been proven by the event. For while, as a boy, he was being trained in liberal sciences, the blessing of God fell upon him, and he entered the monastery of Trapani at the age of eight years. Rejoicing in the rudeness of the life, as well as in the strict discipline of the Rule, his progress was such that he soon showed himself an example of virtue to the rest.

Prayer of St Albert [composed during a famine in Messina]
O my God! Was it not said that by You and Your ineffable power You have created mankind? Is it not as a result of Your clemency that You call us to partake of Your glory and the happiness of eternal life? When original sin condemned us to suffer death, did it not please your goodness to repurchase us through the blood of Your Son, to unite us to You through our faith and Your great mercy? You have repurchased us from the shame of original sin; You have covered our dishonour with a fragment of Your glory. And now here is this difficult work built by You, this work with which You soften the limbs and joints, with which You have ennobled the destiny of the immortal soul with sublime beauty, and Satan's attacks! the father of hatred, pride, with the introduction of his jealousy, in order to wound this body which You have created. Deign therefore, Lord, to rebuilt Your work! Deign to cure this blindness, so that Your power may be glorified and that the malice of the enemy may be confounded. [repeated three times by St Albert while praying over a sick child]

Text adopted from "Saints of Carmel" and "Drink of the Stream". The painting "Mary Presenting the Child Jesus to St. Albert" from Carmelite Monastery - Straubing, Germany.



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Monday, August 06, 2018

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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