Tuesday, August 09, 2022

St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, feast

EDITH STEIN St. TERESA BENEDICTA OF THE CROSS, Martyr, 1891-1942 "Born in Breslau, Germany, murdered in the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz, Poland, Edith Stein dedicated her life to a pursuit of truth leading from her roots in Judaism, via adolescent agnosticism to the study of philosophy, to Catholicism and ultimately to life as a Carmelite. She served God with prayer, scholarship and dedication to her fellow human beings, created in God's image.  In 1933, while others kept silent, she sought help from the Vatican for her beleaguered Jewish community, an Esther who pleaded for her people. In her writings she probed the meaning of suffering and reached for closeness to God. She endured the indignities inflicted by her Nazi persecutors sustained by prayer and caring for the children around her. With her older sister Rosa, she died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. Edith Stein was beatified and declared a saint by Pope John Paul II." Text by Susanne M. Batzdorff  (Poet and Writer; niece of Edith Stein) For more information and beautiful resume please follow the link to Vatican website http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/saints ns_lit_doc_19981011_edith_stein_en.html 

 NOVENA to St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross 

Who are You, sweet light, that fills me And illumines the darkness of my heart? You lead me like a mother's hand, And should You let go of me, I would not know how to take another step. You are the space that embraces my being and buries it in Yourself. Away from You it sinks into the abyss of nothingness, from which You raised it to the light. You, nearer to me than I to myself And more interior than my most interior And still impalpable and intangible And beyond any name: Holy Spirit eternal love! Are You not the sweet manna That from the Son's heart Overflows into my heart, The food of angels and the blessed? He who raised himself from death to life, He has also awakened me to new life From the sleep of death. And He gives me new life from day to day, And at some time His fullness Is to stream through me, Life of Your life indeed, You Yourself: Holy Spirit eternal life! Are you the ray That flashes down from the eternal Judge's throne And breaks into the night of the soul That had never known itself? Mercifully relentlessly It penetrates hidden folds. Alarmed at seeing itself, The self makes space for holy fear, The beginning of that wisdom That comes from on high And anchors us firmly in the heights, Your action, that creates us anew: Holy Spirit ray that penetrates everything! Are You the spirit's fullness and the power By which the Lamb releases the seal Of God's eternal decree? Driven by You The messengers of judgment ride through the world And separate with a sharp sword The kingdom of light from the kingdom of night. Then heaven becomes new and new the earth, And all finds its proper place Through Your breath: Holy Spirit victorious power! Are You the master who builds the eternal cathedral, Which towers from the earth through the heavens? Animated by You, the columns are raised high And stand immovably firm. Marked with the eternal name of God, They stretch up to the light, Bearing the dome, Which crowns the holy cathedral, Your work that encircles the world: Holy Spirit God's moulding hand! Are you the one who created the unclouded mirror Next to the Almighty's throne, Like a crystal sea, In which Divinity lovingly looks at Itself? You bend over the fairest work of Your creation, And radiantly Your own gaze Is illumined in return. And of all creatures the pure beauty Is joined in one in the dear form Of the Virgin, your immaculate bride: Holy Spirit Creator of all! Are You the sweet song of love And of holy awe That eternally resounds around the Triune Throne, That weds in itself the clear chimes of each and every being? The harmony, That joins together the members to the Head, In which each one finds the mysterious meaning of his being blessed And joyously surges forth, Freely dissolved in Your surging: Holy Spirit eternal jubilation! after www.cathoilcdoors.com/prayers

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Saturday, August 06, 2022

Transfiguration of the Lord - Feast

He was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white (Mt 17:2) 

Your Face is my only wealth, I ask for nothing more. By continously hiding myself in it, I will look like you, Jesus. Leave in me the Divine imprint of your Features, filled with kindness. And soon, I will become a saint, and to you, I will draw hearts (St Therese, Poems)
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Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Bl Titus Brandsma, Priest and Martyr, memoria. His thought on contemplative life, characterised in Elias.

Today is the memoria of Bl Titus and good moment to read and contemplate on the first part of lecture given by Bl Titus on the subject of Carmelite Spirituality during the lecture tour in America before WW2.

As in daily life, so also in spiritual life, it is of the greatest importance to have a model of inspiration, an exemplar for imitation. Carmelite spirituality has such a model. The Carmelite Order derives its name from the holy mountain of its beginning. In that eastern land where every mountain has its own great memories Mount Carmel has some of the most holy. Carmel is a name which is familiar in every part of the Catholic world; it is intimately known as no other, and its natural beauty seems to be exactly in keeping with its gracious associations. Its quiet outline may be seen rising above the waters of the Mediterranean and from its summit one may see the great plain of Esdraelon stretching away into the distance, where the contemplative soul looks down on the mystery of Nazareth.

Carmel is the natural retreat of the contemplative, and it is not unfitting that on its slopes should stand the Cloister of Carmel, the cradle of the Order. It stands above the turmoil of life, above the world's stormy sea; its solitude is beyond the reach of "life's fitful fever"; it is wrapped in the peace of God. Such a peace we naturally associate with Carmel, but it has other associations more stirring and more turbulent. The memory of the great spiritual warfare of Elias still clings to it. It was here he gathered together all Israel and flung reproach at their heads. "How long do you halt between two sides? If the Lord be God, follow Him." Here Israel heard his challenge in words of flame, as a burning torch. But here he was more than the Prophet of the sword, here he was also the first of a long line of those who would worship God in spirit and in truth. In his lifetime disciples gathered round him and learned from him the deep secrets of his prayer and communion with God. His double spirit passed to Eliseus, and from him to the school of Prophets, and so down through the ages, the life of Elias has been continued in these hermits who ever sought inspiration in their great exemplar.

When Europe was full of the battle cry of the Crusaders, "God wills it," and the Crusaders set out to recapture the holy places, Carmel was one of the first places to be won back. There they found the ruins of the old sanctuaries, and we are told some of them remained to restore the old life. From the narrative of John Phocas, a Greek monk, 1177, we know that one of the Crusaders of the West, St. Berthold, was instructed by the holy Prophet to collect together on Mount Carmel, those who were living the eremitical life there, and to unite them in community life; the year may be 1155. So the Prophet stands at the Order's beginning. For proof of this we rely not so much on historical research, as on the fact that his memory and life has left their stamp upon the Order's life. He has ever been the Order's great exemplar. Indeed, so permanent has been his influence that St. Jerome calls him "the father of all the hermits and monks." In his epistle to Paulinus (Ep. 58: Ed. Migne, P.L. t. 22, p.583), he makes reference to Elias, Noster princeps Elias, nostri duces, filii Prophetarum . Likewise, Cassian in his conferences points to him as the great example of all monks. Similarly the testimony of Phocas, already mentioned, is completed by that of James de Vitry who was Bishop of Jean d'Acre, and well known to the hermits. It was written in 1221. He tells us that many Crusaders remained in the Holy Land for the sake of their devotion, to sacrifice their lives to God in places sanctified by His life. Some of those, he says, after the example of the Prophet Elias, dwelt in the caves of Carmel near the fountain of the Prophet and the sanctuary of Saint Margarita. Is it not providential that the first monks of the Order of Carmel, symbolising the imitation of Elias, drank the water from the fountain that bears his name?

Also we may mention here an old manuscript, the lnstitutio Primorum Monachorum, which contains the oldest traditions of the Order. It was probably written late in the 13th or at the beginning of the 14th century after the dispersion of the monks to the West, but was formerly ascribed to a much earlier date. It is a record of traditions much older than itself, and was meant to be a definite and permanent guide for the monks. In it we read that the guidance which the Holy Ghost gave to Elias and the promises made to him, must be the guiding principles in the life of the hermits on Carmel. The monastic life must follow the lines indicated by his life and experience. It must reflect his double spirit, the life of activity and the exercise of virtue in individual or social activity. This double spirit has a three-fold sense.

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Saturday, July 16, 2022

Feast of Our Lady of Mt Carmel

Most Blessed and Immaculate Virgin, ornament and splendour of Mount Carmel, thou who regardest with particular goodness those who wear Thy scapular, beningly look upon me also, and cover me with the mantle of Thy maternal protection. Fortify my weakness with Thy strength, illuminate the darkness of my mind with Thy wisdom, increase Faith, Hope and Charity within me, adorn my soul with such graces and virtues that it may be always precious to Thee and thy Divine Son, assist me in life, console me at the hour of death with they most loving presence and present me to the most sugust Trinity and thy son/daughter and devout servant, to eternally praise and bless thee in heaven. Amen. Prayer to The Blessed Virgin of Mt Carmel (with Ecclesiastical Approbation)
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Wednesday, June 29, 2022

Solemnity of St Peter and St Paul, Apostles

"Simon son of Jonah, do you love me?"..."Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you."...Feed my sheep" (Jn 21:17)

How did Jesus love his disciples and why did he love them? It wasn't their human qualities that attracted him; an infinite distance existed between them. He was knowledge, Eternal Wisdom; they were poor sinners - ignorant, filled with worldly thoughts. Yet, Jesus calls them his friends, his brothers. He wants to open his Father's Kingdom for them and see them reign with Him in this Kingdom. He wants to die on the cross because he said: "There is no greater love than to give one's life for those we love" (St Therese, Autobiographical Manuscripts, C)

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Friday, June 24, 2022

Most Sacred Heart Solemnity

St Teresa Margaret Redi, Carmelite nun best known for her devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus wrote during her spiritual exercises in 1768: "My God, I only wish to become a perfect copy of Thee, nothing else. Because Thy life was a hidden one of humility, love and sacrifice, so must mine be, since Thou knowest that I desire nothing else but to become a victim of the Sacred Heart entirely consumed in the fire of Thy Divine Love"
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Thursday, June 23, 2022

St John the Baptist Litany and Prayer

Lord, have mercy on us, Christ, have mercy on us.
Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.
God the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God, the Holy Ghost, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, Have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, Pray for us.
Queen of Prophets, Pray for us.
Queen of Martyrs, Pray for us.

St. John the Baptist, Pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, precursor of Christ, Pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, glorious forerunner of the Sun of Justice, Pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, minister of Baptism to Jesus, Pray for us.

St. John the Baptist, burning and shining lamp of the world, Pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, angel of purity before thy birth, Pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, special friend and favorite of Christ, Pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, heavenly contemplative, whose element was prayer, Pray for us.

St. John the Baptist, intrepid preacher of truth, Pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, voice crying in the wilderness, Pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, miracle of mortification and penance, Pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, example of profound humility, Pray for us.

St. John the Baptist, glorious martyr of zeal for God’s holy law, Pray for us.
St. John the Baptist, gloriously fulfilling thy mission, Pray for us.

Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world, Graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world, Have mercy on us.

Christ, hear us. Christ, graciously hear us.

V. Pray for us, O glorious St. John the Baptist,
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let Us Pray: O God, Who hast honored this world by the birth of Saint John the Baptist, grant that Thy faithful people may rejoice in the way of eternal salvation, through Jesus Christ Our Lord.


Prayer to St. John the Baptist

O God, You raised up St. John the Baptist to prepare a perfect people for Christ. Fill Your people with the joy of possessing His grace, and direct the minds of all the faithful in the way of peace and salvation.

Grant that as St. John was martyred for truth and justice, so we may energetically profess our Faith in You, and lead others to the Way, the Truth, and Eternal Life.


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Sunday, June 19, 2022

Corpus Christi, solemnity

Daily food of the soul.

Christ by instituting the Blessed Eucharist gave the culminating proof of his love for God, His Father, and for men, his brethren. In that upper room in which the last Feast of the Old Law was celebrated, the God-made-man fulfilled, not only the first commandment, but also the second which is like to it. He gave endless honour to his Father, and to man the Food which is eternal life. Sacrifice and Communion make one in the Heart of Christ, of the Incarnate Word, whose love embraces his Father in heaven and his children on earth. The Christ of the Eucharist invites us to the table: "Take and eat: take and drink."
If he makes himself present under the species of bread, it is that we may feed upon Him. His will is to be our daily nourishment, our subsistence. St John declares that "the Word was made flesh"; was united, by His Incarnation, to the flesh that is an essential portion of our humanity, in a union so actual that it glorified the very depth of our nature. In Communion, he goes yet farther; as food, He unites himself to the flesh of each one of us, personally. "The Word was made flesh, and come to dwell among us". I can add, "and to be the Food which sustains the life of my soul." An old ecclesiatical decree declares: This Sacrament is for life of the soul what food is for the life of the body. It is our subsistence, the cause of growth, the joy of life. On the other hand, because the life of the soul consists in union with Christ, the effects of the divine Food are different from those of unconsecrated bread. Natural food becomes part of ourselves, and ceases to exist as and when we do, but by the divine Bread of the Eucharist our life is absorbed in His, so that we can say with St Paul, "I am alive; or rather, not I; it is Christ that lives in me." (Gal. 2:20). The branch lives by the sap of the Vine; it is Communion that the true Vine pours its sap into each one of its branches. "He who eats my flesh, and drinks my blood, lives continually in me, and I in him" (John 6:56). To live in Christ is to identify thought and will with His in a word, to become one Spirit with Him. When he enters the soul, h becomes the soul of all it says or does. He gives His Flesh to each one individually, that all may form but one Body. Not content with keeping life in us, he makes it sanctifies and supernaturalizes out human faculties by claiming them for his own. As we grow in grace, our lips will speak Christ's words, our affection bear the mark of his loving-kindness. the heart that loves God in man will become yet more loving, since it will be the love of the Heart of Jesus. Full-grown, we shall become other Christs. The fire of divine love which the Son of God brought upon earth will not only burn in our hearts but will warm and enlighten others, that his wish may be accomplished. "It is fire that I have come to spread over the earth, and what better wish can I have that it should be kindled?" (Luke 12:49).
Thus, in Communion heavenly joys and blessings are poured into our hearts without stint or measure. "God, who in this wonderful sacrament hast left us a memorial of thy passion, enable us, we pray thee, so to venerate the mysteries of thy Body and Blood that we may constantly feel in our lives the effects of thy redemption!"(Collect for Corpus Christi.)

The picture is "Eucharist in the fruit wreath" by Jan van de Heem
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Sunday, June 12, 2022

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, 'The Romances'.
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Saturday, June 04, 2022

Pentecost 1883, Our Lady's smile

One Sunday, during the novena (Whit Sunday, 1883), Marie went into the garden, leaving me with Leonie, who was reading near the window. After a few minutes, I began to call softly: "Marie! Marie!" Leonie, accustomed to hear me moan like that, paid no attention, so I called louder, until Marie came back to me. I saw her come into the room quite well, but, at first, I did not recognize her. I looked around myself. I glanced anxiously into the garden, still calling: "Marie! Marie!"

What unutterable anguish that forceful struggle was, and Marie perhaps suffered even more than her poor little Therese. Finally, after vain efforts to make me recognize her, she whispered a few words to Leonie, and went away pale and trembling.

Soon my dear Leonie carried me to the window. There I saw the garden, but still I did not recognize Marie, who walked slowly, held out her arms, smiling at me, and calling me tenderly: "Therese, dear little Therese!" That last attempt failed again, my dear sister came in again and knelt at the foot of my bed in tears. She turned towards the statue of Our Lady, and pleaded her with the fervor of a mother who begs for her child's life. Leonie and Celine joined Marie in prayer, and that cry of faith forced open the gates of Heaven.

I too turned to my Heavenly Mother, finding no relief on earth and nearly dead with pain, begging Our Lady from the bottom of my heart to have pity on me.
 Suddenly, the statue came to life! The Virgin became very beautiful, so divinely beautiful that I shall never find words to describe her. The expression of Our Lady's face radiated an ineffable gentleness, goodness, and tenderness, but what touched me to the very depths of my soul was her gracious smile. Then, all my pain vanished; two big tears welled up in my eyes and flowed silently.

Ah, they were indeed tears of unmixed heavenly joy. "Our Blessed Lady has come to me, she has smiled at me. How happy I am, but I shall tell no one, or my happiness might disappear!" Such were my thoughts. Then, without any effort, I lowered my eyes, and I recognized my darling Marie. She looked lovingly at me, seemed very agitated, and she appeared as if she doubted the grace that I had just received.

Ah, indeed thanks to her prayers I had received the most unfathomable favor - a smile from the Blessed Virgin! Seeing my eyes fixed on the statue, she said to herself: "Therese is cured!" Yes, it was true. The Little Flower had come back to life again - a bright ray from Our Lady's glorious Sun had warmed and set her free forever from her cruel enemy. "The dark winter is past, the rain is over and gone," and the Virgin Mary's Little Flower became so strong that five years later she opened wide her petals on the fertile mountain of Carmel.
(Story of the Soul, ch. 3)

 credit: after A Moment with Mary

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Tuesday, May 31, 2022

The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - Feast

When the angel announced to me that I should bear a Son, as soon as I consented, I felt something amazing and inexplicable in me, so that greatly wondering, I at once went up to my cousin Elizabeth to console her in her pregnancy and confer with her on what the angel had announced to me. And when she met me at the well, and we enjoyed each other's embrace and kiss, the infant in her womb, by a wonderful and visible motion, rejoiced. And I likewise was then moved in my heart by unwonted exultation, so that my tongue spoke unpremeditated words of God, and my soul could scarce contain itself for joy. And when Elizabeth wondered at the fervor of spirit that spoke in me, and I not otherwise wondered at the grace of God in her, we remained together many days blessing God. And after this a certain thought began to impress my mind, how and how devoutly I should act after so great a favour bestowed on me. What should I reply, if asked how I conceived, or who was the father of the Son I was to bear; or lest perchance Joseph, instigated by the enemy, should suspect me of evil. While thinking of these things, an angel, not unlike the one whom I had seen before, stood by me, saying: "Our God, who is eternal, is with thee and in thee. Fear not then, He will give thee to speak, He will direct thy steps and abode, he will perfect His work with thee powerfully and wisely." But Joseph, to whom I had been confided, when he perceived me to be pregnant, wondering and thinking himself unworthy to dwell with me, was troubled, not knowing what to do, till the angel told him in the sleep: "Depart not from the virgin confided to thee, for it is most true as thou hast heard from her, for she has conceived of the Spirit of God, and shall bear a Son, the Saviour of the world. Therefore, serve her faithfully, and be thou the guardian and witness of her purity." Then from that day Joseph served me as his lady, and I humbled to his lowest labour. After this I was constantly in prayer, rarely wishing to see or be seen, and I most rarely going forth, unless to the appointed feasts; and I was assiduous in the watches and readiness given by our priests. I had a fixed time for manual labour, and I was discreet in fasting as much as my constitution could bear in God's service. Whatever we had over our daily sustenance we gave to the poor, content with what we had. Joseph so served me, that no scurrilous, murmuring, or angry word was heard from him, for he was most patient in poverty, solicitous in labour when it was necessary, most mild to those who reproached, most obedient in my service, a most prompt defender against those who gainsaid my virginity, a most faithful witness of the wonders of God. For he was so dead to the world and the flesh that he never desired aught but heavenly things. And so confident was he in God's promises, that he would constantly exclaim: "Would that I could live to see God's will fulfilled!" Most rarely did he go to gatherings of men and their councils, because his whole desire was to obey the will of God, and therefore is his glory now so great (Lib VI, c.59).

Picture credit: unknown Flemish artist "Visitation". Text from "Revelations of St Bridget on the life and Passion of Our Lord and the Life of His Blessed Mother".

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Thursday, May 26, 2022

The Ascension of Our Lord

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

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

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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Feast of St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi - click to read

"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 falling, goes up 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 spirits, but You make Your abode in souls that are humble and contemptible in their own eyes" (St. Mary Magdalen dei Pazzi).
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Monday, May 16, 2022

St Simon Stock, Carmelite, memoria, 16th May

Corrado Giaquinto, 'St Simon Stock'

Simon, an Englishman, died at Bordeaux in mid-thirteenth century. He has been venerated in the Carmleite Order for his personal holiness and his devotion to Our Lady. A liturgical celebration in his honour was observed locally in the 15th century, and later extended to the whole Order. ....'It was this rule of our Saviour, a rule of utmost holiness, that some of our predecessors followed of old. They tarried long in the solitude of the dessert, concious of their own imperfection. Sometimes however - though rarely - they came down from the dessert, anxious, so as not to fail in what they regarded as their duty, to be of service to their neighbours, and sowed broadcast of the grain, threshed out in preaching, that they had so sweetly reaped in solitude with the sickle of contemplation. (Fragment of the reading from 'The Flaming Arrow' Ch. 6 by Nicholas of Narbonne, Prior General, after Discalced Carmelite Proper Offices for 16th May) 

Father, you called Saint Simon Stock to serve you in the brotherhood of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Through his prayers help us to live in your presence and to work for man's salvation. Grant this through our Lord. (Morning Prayer from Discalced Carmelite Proper Offices for 16th May)

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Thursday, May 05, 2022

St Angelus, Carmelite Friar and Martyr

St. Angelus was one of the first Carmelite to come to Sicily form Mount Carmel about the year 1217. He preached at Palermo and Messina. He was martyred by a certain Count Berenger, a powerful lord of that country, who for several years had lived openly in unhallowed union with his own sister. St. Angelus rebuked him severely, as St John the Baptist had formerly rebuked Herod, and found the same recompence. By command of Berenger he was hung upon a tree and shot with arrows. Only in 1632 were his relics transferred to the Carmelite Church. Veneration of St. Angelus spread throughout the Carmelite Order as well as among the Universal Church. He has been named patron of many places in Sicily and up to this day many Catholics invoke his intercession faithfully in their needs. Hymn in honour of St Angelus (fragments from Thaditional Carmelite Propers of Divine Office) Hail, happy Angelus of blest renown! Hail, in the beauty of thy martyr's crown! Rejoice, O Carmel, at his heavenly birth, Rejoice to greet thy favoured child, O Earth! This chosen son, as presage of his fame, Hears from the Virgin's lips his angel name, Sweet pledge and token Heaven doth bestow, his kinship with the Blessed to foreshow. Sing glory to the Father and the Son And to the Holy Spirit, Three in one! Then haste to join the glad angelic lay, And praise our glorious Mother on this day. Prayer O Lord, let Thy people glorify Thee by honouring the Blessed Angelus, Thy Priest and Martyr, and through his intercession, may they deserve to be led by Thee. Through our Lord.
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Wednesday, May 04, 2022


In 1936 seventeen Spanish members of various Carmelite communities gave their lives in defence of and in witness to their Christian faith and consecration to Jesus Christ.

On 28 July at the railway station in Tarrega, twelve religious belonging to the Tarrega community were arrested. They were moved to Clots dels Aubens di Cervera and were shot at dawn on 29 July while they called on Jesus’ name and that of the Mother of Carmel. These men were: Fr. Ángel Maria Prat Hostench, the prior, Fr. Eliseo Maria Maneus Besalduch, novice master, Fr. Anastasio Maria Dorca Coramina, from the community of Olot (Girona) who had been preaching at Tarrega for the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Fr. Eduardo Maria Serrano Buj, a professor. There were also philosophy students: Bros. Pedro Maria Ferrer Marin, Andrés Maria Solé Rovina, Juan Maria Puigmitjà Rubió, Miguel Maria. Soler Sala and Pedro–Tomás MariaPrat Colledecarrara and the lay brother Eliseo Maria Fontdecaba Quiroga, as well as the novices, Bros. Elías Maria Garre Egea and José Maria Escoto Ruíz.

During the night of 13 August in Vic, Barcelona, Sr. Mary of St. Joseph Badía Flaquer, an enclosed nun from the monastery of Vic, was arrested. She was killed the same night defending her chastity and witnessing to her consecration to Christ.
Bro. Eufrosino Maria Raga Nadal, a sub deacon and member of the community of Olot, was killed on 3 October.
Bros. Ludovico Maria Ayet Canós and Angel Maria Presta Batlle, Carmelites from the community of Terrassa (Barcelona) were arrested on 21 July and imprisoned in the Modelo jail in Barcelona. On 13 August they were shot in the cemetery in Terrassa.
The prior of the community of Olot, Fr. Fernando Maria Llobera Puigsech, was killed in the ditches of Santa Elena of Montjuic (Barcelona) after a summary trial, and for simply being a religious.

The process for the beatification of this group began in the diocese of Barcelona in September 1959. On 26 June 2006, the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, signed the decree for their beatification. On 28 October 2007 the were declared Blesseds among a group of 498 Spanish Martyrs of the 20th Century.

Text and picture after O.Carm website
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Monday, April 25, 2022

Feast of St Mark the Evangelist

St Mark by Donatello

Let us give thanks to Jesus Christ, who has sent teachers and evangelist to be ministers of faith to all peoples who believe in him, alleluia (Universalis Benedictus)

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Monday, April 18, 2022

Easter with St Therese

"Why seek you the living with the dead? He is not here, but is risen" (Lk 24:5).
Celebrations! Even if the most important feasts do not come very often, my heart is brought to celebrate one every Sunday....That is God's feast, the feast of rest...The whole family goes to Mass (The Story of a Soul)

And they went out quickly from the sepulcher with fear and great joy, running to tell his disciples. And behold Jesus met them, saying: All hail. But they came up and took hold of his feet, and adored him.  (Mt 28:8, 9)
During the Passover of Our Lord, the women showed more courage than the apostles. (...) Undoubtedly, this  is why he allowed contempt to be their lot in life on earth, because he chose it for himself....It will be shown, in heaven, that his thoughts were not those of humankind, because the last will be the first (The Story of  a Soul)

Jesus saith to her: Do not touch me, for I am not yet ascended to my Father. But go to my brethren, and say to them: I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and your God (Jn 20:17).
At times, we are so uncomfortable within ourselves we must quickly reach out. Our Lord doesn't force us to stay within ourselves; oftentimes, he allows us this discomfort so we can reach out. To resolve this, I reach out to Jesus and Mary by throwing myself into acts of charity (Advice and Memories)

And they said one to the other: Was not our heart burning within us, whilst he spoke in this way, and opened to us the scriptures? And rising up, the same hour, they went back to Jerusalem (Lk 24; 32, 33).
For a long time, I fed my soul with the knowledge of "pure flour" that I found in a book called Imitation. This was the only book I was comfortable with because I had not as yet found the hidden treasures in the Gospel. (...) When I was fourteen, given my interest in knowledge, the Lord found it necessary to combine that "pure flour" with plenty of "oil and honey" (The Story of a Soul)


At length he appeared to the eleven as they were at table: and he upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of heart, because they did not believe them who had seen him after he was risen again. And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature (Mk 16:14-15)
God needs no person to do his divine work. But he does allow a talented gardener to raise  exotic and delicate plants by giving him the necessary knowledge but keeping the secret of their creation to himself. In the same way, Jesus wants to be helped in his divine gardening of souls (The Story of a Soul)


Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut, where the disciples were gathered together, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst, and said to them: Peace be to you. And when he had said this, he shewed them his hands and his side. The disciples therefore were glad, when they saw the Lord. He said therefore to them again: Peace be to you. (....)And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus cometh, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said: Peace be to you  (Jn 20: 19-26).
This joyous day [Sunday] which passes by all too quickly, has a tinge of sadness....One must start life over again the next day - work, study. My heart feels as if it is in exile on earth....I yearn for eternal rest in heaven, where Sundays never end, in my Father's house (The Story of a Soul)


Today the glorious Alleluia of Easter resounds. Today's Gospel from John emphasizes that on the evening of that day he appeared to the Apostles and "showed them his hands and his side" (Jn 20: 20), that is, the signs of the painful passion with which his Body was indelibly stamped, even after the Resurrection. Those glorious wounds, which he allowed doubting Thomas to touch eight days later, reveal the mercy of God who "so loved the world that he gave his only Son" (Jn 3: 16).
This mystery of love is at the heart of the liturgy today, the Second Sunday of Easter, dedicated to the devotion of Divine Mercy. As a gift to humanity, which sometimes seems bewildered and overwhelmed by the power of evil, selfishness and fear, the Risen Lord offers his love that pardons, reconciles and reopens hearts to love. It is a love that converts hearts and gives peace. How much the world needs to understand and accept Divine Mercy!  Lord, who reveal the Father's love by your death and Resurrection, we believe in you and confidently repeat to you today: Jesus, I trust in you, have mercy upon us and upon the whole world. (Regina Caeli of the 3 April 2005, the day following the death of Pope John-Paul II)

Group photo of young Karol Wojtyla (arrow) - posing together with other altar boys and their Parish Priest, photo taken in Karol's hometown of Wadowice, circa 1932 

In his intimate life, God "is love," (1Jn 4,8) the essential love shared by the three divine Persons: personal love is the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of the Father and the Son. Therefore he "searches even the depths of God," (1Cor 2,10) as uncreated Love-Gift.... Here we have an inexhaustible treasure of the reality and an inexpressible deepening of the concept of person in God, which only divine Revelation makes known to us. At the same time, the Holy Spirit, being consubstantial with the Father and the Son in divinity, is love and (uncreated) gift from which derives as from its source... the gift of grace to human beings through the whole economy of salvation. As the Apostle Paul writes: "God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us" (Rm 5,5). (Bl John Paul II)

Word yet to be created, Word of God!
Oh, you know, I love you, Divine Jesus!
The Spirit of Love embraces me with its fire.
By loving you I attract the Father,
My weak heart keeps  him in me without expectation;
Oh Trinity, you are prisoners of my love (St Therese Poem 17).


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Sunday, April 17, 2022


PRESENCE OF GOD - O risen Jesus, make me worthy to share in the joy of Your Resurrection.

This is a day which the Lord hath made; let us be glad and rejoice therein (Psalm 118:24).

1. Joy in truth: According to the vibrant admonition of St. Paul. "Let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven....but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." In this world there are many ephemeral joys, based on fragile, insecure foundations; but the Paschal joy is solidly grounded on the knowledge that we are in the truth, the truth which Christ brought to the world and which he confirmed by His Resurrection. The Resurrection tells us that our faith is not in vain, that our hope is not founded on a dead man, but on a living one, the Living One par excellence, whose life is so strong that it vivifies, in time as in eternity, all those who believe in Him. "I am the Resurrection and the Life; he that beliveth in Me, although he be dead, shall live" (Jn 11:25). Joy in truth: for only sincere and upright souls who seek the truth lovingly and, still more, "do the truth" can fully rejoice in the Resurrection. We are sincere when we recognise ourselves for what we are, with all our faults, deficiencies, and need for conversion. From this knowledge of our miseries springs the sincere resolve to purify ourselves of the old leaven of the passions in order to be renewed completely in the risen Christ. Truth, however, must be accomplished in charity - veritatem facientes in caritatem, doing the truth in charity (Eph 4:15); therefore the Postcommunion prayer that is placed on our lips is more timely than ever: "Pour forth upon us, O Lord, the spirit of Thy love, to make us of one heart." Without unity and mutual charity there can be no real Paschal joy.

2. The Gospel (Mk 16:1-7) places before our eyes the faithful holy women who, at the first rays of the Sunday dawn, run to the sepulcher, and on the way, wonder: "Who will roll back the stone from the door of the sepulcher for us?" This preoccupation, although it is well justified on account of the size and weight of the stone, does not deter them from proceeding with their plans; they are too much taken up with the desire of finding Jesus! And behold! Hardly have they arrived when they see "the stone rolled back". They enter the tomb and find an Angel who greets them with the glad announcement: "He is risen; He is not here." At this time, Jesus does not let Himself be found or seen; but a little later when, in obedience to the command of the Angel, the women leave the tomb to bring the news to the disciples, he will appear before them saying, "All hail!" (Mt 28:9), and their joy will be overwhelming.
We, too, have a keen desire to find the Lord; perhaps we have been seeking Him for many long years. Further, this desire may have been accompanied by serious preoccupation with the question of how we might rid ourselves of the obstacles and roll away from our souls the stone which has prevented us thus far from finding the Lord, from giving ourselves entirely to Him, and from letting Him triumph in us. Precisely because we want to find the Lord, we have already overcome many obstacles, sustained by His grace; divine Providence has helped us roll away many stones, overcome many difficulties. Nevertheless, the search for God is progressive, and must be maintained during our whole life. For this reason, following the example of the holy women, we must always have a holy preoccupations about finding the Lord, a preoccupation which will make us industrious and diligent in seeking Him, and at the same time confident of the divine aid, since the Lord will certainly take care that we arrive where our own strength could never bring us, because He will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. Every year Easter marks a time of renewal in our spiritual life, in our search for God; every year we reascend the path toward Him in novitate vitae, in newness of life (Rom 6:4).

....."I pray You, Lord, give my soul the wings of an eagle, that I may fly without weakening, fly, until I reach the splendour of Your glory. There, You will feed me on Your secrets at the table of the heavenly citizens, in the place of Your Pasch, near the celestial fount of eternal satiety. Let my heart rest in You, my heart which resembles a great ocean, agitated by tumultuous waves" (St. Augustine). This is the most excellent day, the happiest day in the whole year, because it is the day when "Christ, our Pasch, has been sacrificed." Christmas, too, is a joyous feast, but whereas Christmas vibrates with a characteristic note of sweetness, the Paschal solemnity resounds with an unmistakable note of triumph; it is joy for the triumph of Christ, for His victory. The liturgy of the Mass shows us this Paschal joy under two aspects: joy in truth and joy in charity

Credit: text from "Divine Intimacy" - 'The Resurrection of the Lord' (by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen OCD)

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Friday, April 15, 2022


Matt 27:60-61
And laid it in his own new monument, which he had hewed out in a rock. And he rolled a great stone to the door of the monument, and went his way. And there was there Mary Magdalen, and the other Mary sitting over against the sepulchre

Matt 27:59

And Joseph taking the body, wrapped it up in a clean linen cloth.

Matt 27:57-58
And when it was evening, there came a certain rich man of Arimathea, named Joseph, who also himself was a disciple of Jesus. He went to Pilate, and asked the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded that the body should be delivered.

Matt 27:35
And after they had crucified him, they divided his garments, casting lots; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: They divided my garments among them; and upon my vesture they cast lots.

Matt 27:33-34
And they came to the place that is called Golgotha, which is the place of Calvary. And they gave him wine to drink mingled with gall. And when he had tasted, he would not drink.

Matt 27:29-30
And platting a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand. And bowing the knee before him, they mocked him, saying: Hail, king of the Jews. And spitting upon him, they took the reed, and struck his head.

Matt 27:26
Then he released to them Barabbas, and having scourged Jesus, delivered him unto them to be crucified.

Matt 26:40-41
And he cometh to his disciples, and findeth them asleep, and he saith to Peter: What? Could you not watch one hour with me? Watch ye, and pray that ye enter not into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh weak.

Pictures credit: Gustave Dore 'Bible Illustrations'

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