Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Bl Titus Brandsma words on solitude

I already feel completely at home in this little cell. I haven’t been bored at all, in fact just the opposite. I am here alone, but never was our Lord so close to me. I could shout for joy that He has again let himself be found by me without me being able to be among people or people with me. He is now my only refuge and I feel safe and happy. I would like to stay here always, If He wills that. I have seldom been so happy and so content.” (Carmelnet)

Bl Titus Brandsma was Dutch Carmelite of Ancient Observance who was martyred in Nazi concentration camp of Dachau, Germany, during WW2. The portrait of him posted today is kept in Carmelite Friary in Kinsale Co Cork, Ireland, and was painted to commemorte his visit there that took place just before he commenced the lecture tour in America. His words on solitude were written during his imprisonment in Dachau years later. He was aware of his uncertain future and coming end but his optimism and love for God brightens his mind and heart and makes him, as he says, more happy and aware of Jesus presence than ever before in his life. Excellent words to meditate on our dependency on God in particular in moments of desolation and aloneness.
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Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Saint Elijah - Father and Patron of the Carmelite Order, click to read more

Elijah Fed by Ravens by Paolo Fiammingo Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco

Praises to the great Elijah! Let our song to heaven rise. His the grace to hear God's whisper Where all earthly music dies. 
 Clad in skins he made his dwelling On Mount Carmel, finding there That austere and lonely wisdom Hidden in a life of prayer.
  Now we pray our Prophet-father That our lives obtain this grace, An outpouring of the Spirit Over every time and place.
  Praise and honour to the Father, To the Son and Spirit praise Their be all love abd worship Now and for eternal days.
Hymn from the 'Discalced Carmelte Proper Offices'
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Sunday, July 18, 2021

St Anne Novena starts 17th July, click for link

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Friday, July 16, 2021

Marian Shrines in Holy Land - for the solemnity of Our Lady of Mt Carmel.

A Visit to Carmel
The monastery of Carmel, Stella Maris, is situated two miles from Haifa. It is four hundred and ninety-five feet above the sea and has all the solidity of a fortress. Its thick walls, its heavily barred windows, its low doors, present a fine specimen of Medieval Monasteries in the Orient, always exposed to attack. On reaching the esplanade you are faced with a bronze pillar set in a granite plinth and crowned by a statue of Immaculate Conception, the gift of Chile. To the right is a guest house, Stella Maris, once a villa built by Abdullah Pasha of Acre in 1821 from the ruins of the monastery. This building also serves as the base of a lighthouse, whose big white light flashes one minute out over the sea and then back over the mountain. It can be seen at a distance of fifteen miles: surely a Star of the Sea. To the right is the monastery within which is enclosed the church. In front of the monastery is a stone pyramid built in 1876, a monument to the two thousand dead of Bonaparte. The main door leads into the church, which makes a profound impression for its sheer beauty. Above the High Altar rises the statue of Our Lady of Carmel. Graceful and lonely the Virgin sits enthroned with the Child Jesus in her left arm, her sceptre in her right hand from which hangs a scapular. The original statue was carved in 1821 by the Genoese Caraventa, but strange to relate it consisted only of head, hands and feet in wood, the rest was arrayed in rich clothing. In 1933, these were attached to a new statue carved from Lebanese cedar by the sculptor Rieda. Beneath the altar is a dim grotto supported by two porphyry pillars. This grotto served on many occasions as the dwelling of St Elias. It was near this grotto that the hermits had built the small chapel, during the lifetime of the Virgin. Within the Grotto an altar hewn in the rock is adorned with a statue of St Elias, his arm raised in a threatening gesture. Beautiful dome above St Elias Grotto Thousands of pilgrims flock to Mt Carmel on July 20, the feast of St Elias. From the terrace of the monastery the view is magnificent. You seem to stand on the neck of a lusty giant resting on ancient and solid foundations, embraced by the waters of the Mediterranean. Two powerful forces, two giants, meet face to face. Between these two imposing elements puny man is ruler of all he surveys - how finite and insignificant he feels. It is difficult to decide which of the two elements encroaches upon the other - whether the land abuts on the sea, or the sea threatens the land. But it is Carmel at least that places the frame for the fascinating picture.
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Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Saint of the day, St Teresa de Los Andes, click to read more

Who are You, and who am I? I am a creature formed by Your hands, a creature taken from nothingness, formed from clay, but with a soul that is like unto God, a soul that is like unto God, a soul that is intelligent and free, destined to give You the glory of the invisible world. My God, we are so miserable that we rebel against You, our Creator. Pardon me! For instead of loving You, we offend You. There is only one commandment You imposed on us and we do not fulfill that one. What does it profit us to gain the whole world if we lose our soul? What do riches, honours, glory, human affections matter, for they pass away and end? How do they compare with my soul, which is immortal and has been made worthy by the Blood of Jesus Christ, my God? How precious must a soul be since the devil will be watching out to destroy it. Either I am going to save my soul or I am going to condemn it forever. That is why I am resolved to save it. 
St Teresa of the Andes, 'God, the Joy of My Life'
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Tuesday, July 06, 2021



Most powerful NOVENA TO OUR LADY OF MT CARMEL - a longer version HERE

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Monday, June 28, 2021

Saints Peter and Paul, Apostles - Solemnity

  The National Gallery, Carlo Crivelli, 'St Peter and Paul'

Are you ready to ascend Mt. Carmel on the wings of a bird? Are you tired of being tied down by the things of this earth? Everything that God created is good. But He made the physical world as a means of drawing us towards Himself. One day, it will have served its purpose and be gone. Will you be ready to leave it behind when God calls you? “You can’t take it with you” - not to Heaven, and not up the mountain. Let’s follow St. Paul in enjoying the things of this earth without being consumed by them (1 Corinthians 7:31). St John of the Cross, Ascent of Mt. Carmel, Book One, 11.4. “May grace and peace be accomplished and perfect in you in the knowledge of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ, as all things of his divine power that pertain to life and piety are given us through the knowledge of him who called us with his own glory and power, by whom he has given us very great and precious promises, that by these we may be made partakers of the divine nature” [2 Pt. 1:2-4]. These are words from St. Peter in which he clearly indicates that the soul will participate in God himself by performing in him, in company with him, the work of the Most Blessed Trinity because of the substantial union between the soul and God. Although this participation will be perfectly accomplished in the next life, still in this life when the soul has reached the state of perfection…. she obtains a foretaste and noticeable trace of it in the way we are describing, although as we said it is indescribable. St. John of the Cross. Spiritual Canticle, Stanza 39. 


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Thursday, June 24, 2021

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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Saturday, June 12, 2021

Immaculate Heart of Mary

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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Thursday, June 10, 2021

Merciful Love and Returning Love for Love. Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

"O Jesus, I know that Your Heart is more grieved by the thousand little imperfections of Your friends than by the faults, even grave, which Your enemies commit. Yet, it seems to me, that it is only when those who are Your own are habitually guilty of thoughtlessness and neglect to seek Your pardon, that You can say: 'These wounds which you see in the midst of My hands I have received in the house of those who love Me.' But Your Heart thrills with joy when You have to deal with all those who truly love, and who after each little fault come to fling themselves into Your arms, imploring forgiveness. You say to Your angels what the prodigal's father said to his servants: 'Put a ring upon his finger, and let us rejoice.' O Jesus, how little known is the merciful love of Your Heart!" (St Therese of Child Jesus, Letters, Councels and Souvenirs)
In the encyclicalAnnum Sacrum, Pope Leo XIII declares, "The Sacred Heart is the symbol and image of the infinite charity of Jesus Christ, the charity which urges us to give him love in return." Indeed, nothing is more able to arouse love than love itself. St Teresa of Jesus said: "Whenever we think of Christ, we should remember with what love He has bestowed all these favours upon us...for love begets love. And though we may be only beginners...let us strive ever to bear this in mind and awaken our own love" (Life, 22). The Church offers us the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus to stir up our love and asks us "Who would not love Him who has loved us so much? Who among His redeemed would not love Him dearly?" (RB). Jesus said through the Prophet: "I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore have I drawn thee, taking pity on thee" (Jer 31:30). Devotion to the Sacred Heart, which is devotion to the infinite love of Jesus, should produce this particular effect on us: it should give us an ever increasing comprehension of "the charity of Christ which surpasseth all knowledge" (Eph 3:19). Meditating and contemplating the Heart of Jesus pierced for love of us, may be the way to learn the science of love, a science which no book on earth can teach us, because it is a science that can be acquired only from the open book of the Heart of Christ, our one and only Teacher, as St John of the Cross said: "He thought me a science most delectable". Therefore, the answer to His love is easy: He "loved me and delivered Himself for me...and I most gladly will spent and be spent myself for Him and for the souls that are His treasure" (Gal 2:20, Cor 12:15). Behold the love that raises us above all calculation, all self-love.

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Monday, June 07, 2021

Blessed Anne of Saint Bartholomew, memoria

Ana Garcia was born at Almendral, Castlle in 1549. In 1572 she made her profession as a Carmelite in the hands of St Teresa, at St Joseph’s, Avila. The saint later chose her as her companion and nurse, and she subsequently brought the Teresian spirit to France and Belgium, where she proved herself, like Teresa, a daughter of the Church in her great zeal for the salvation of souls. She died in Antwerp in 1626. More about the life of Bl Anne on the Discalced Carmelite Nuns website link: https://carmelitenuns.uk/blessed-anne-of-st-bartholomew/ 

If Jesus kept silence, it was not because he hated anyone. He was simply saying to his eternal Father what he said on the cross: ’Lord, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.’ What infinite love burned in that sacred heart of yours. Lord Jesus! Without uttering a single word you spoke to us: without a word you worked the mysteries you came to accomplish – teaching virtue to the ignorant and blind. What our Lord did was no small thing. Where should we get patience and humility and poverty and the other virtues, and how could we carry the cross for one another, if Christ had not taught us all this first, and given himself as a living model of all perfection? 

 Blessed silence! In it you cry out and preach to the whole world by your example. Volumes could be written about your silence, Lord! There is more wisdom to be learned from it by those who love you than from books or study. Is there any way to achieve it except by taking it from Christ as he taught it to us Our Lord became a spring for us, so that we should not die of thirst among all the miseries that surround us. How truly he said in the Gospel that he came to serve and not to be served! What tremendous goodness! Can we fail to be shamed by your words and deeds, and the patience you show with us every day? How truly, again Lord, did you say: ‘Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart’. Where can we obtain this patience and humbleness of heart? Is there any way to achieve it except by taking it from Christ as he taught it to us with those other virtues we need – faith, hope and charity? Without faith we cannot follow that royal road of the divine mysteries. It is faith that opens our eyes and makes us see the truth; and where faith is wanting there is no light, and no way leading to goodness. Excerpts from ‘Meditation on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ’ by Bl Anne of Saint Bartholomew. 

Benedictus ant. Where humility is, there is wisdom, the wisdom of the humble will protect them from defeat. 
Magnificat ant. God has chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he promised to those who love him. 

All after Discalced Carmelite Proper Offices, A Supplement to the Divine Office. 2006 revised edition.
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Thursday, June 03, 2021

Corpus Christi Solemnity

I invite all visitors to this blog, to read this beautiful devotional meditation written by Fr Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, OCD, which may help us to understand better Our Lord's love and compassion for us, poor sinners, that prompted Him to remain with us for ever in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar.

PRESENCE OF GOD: "The eternal tide flows hid in living bread. That with its heavenly life to be fed" (St John of the Cross 'Poems').

1. We have gone, step by step, in the course of the liturgical year, from the consideration of the mysteries of the life of Jesus to the contemplation of the Blessed Trinity, whose feast we celebrated last Sunday. Jesus, our Mediator, our Way, has taken us by the hand and led us to the Trinity; and today it seems as though the three Persons Themselves wish to take us back to Jesus, considered in His Eucharist. "No man cometh to the Father but by Me" (Jn 14:6), Jesus said, and He added, "No man can come to Me except the Father...draw him" (Jn 6:44). This is the journey of the Christian soul: from Jesus to the Father, to the Trinity; from the Trinity, from the Father, to Jesus. Jesus brings us to the Father, the Father draws us to Jesus A Christian cannot do without Christ; He is, in the strictest sense of the word, our Pontiff, the great Bridge-builder who has spanned the abyss between God and us. At the end of the liturgical cycle in which we commemorate the mysteries of the Savior, the Church, who like a good Mother knows that our spiritual life cannot subsist without Jesus, leads us to Him, really and truly present in the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar. The solemnity of the Corpus Christ is not just the simple memorial of an historical event which took place almost two thousand years ago at the Last Supper; rather, it recalls us to the ever-present reality of Jesus always living in our midst. We can say, in truth, that He has not "left us orphans", but has willed to remain permanently with us, in the integrity of His Person in the fullness of His humanity and His divinity. "There is no other nation so great," the Divine Office enthusiastically sings, "as to have its gods so near as our God is present to us" (Roman Breviary). In the Eucharist, Jesus is really Emmanuel, God with us.

2. The Eucharist is not only Jesus actually living among us, but it is jesus become our Food. This is the chief aspect under which today's liturgy present the mystery to us; there is no part of the Mass which does not treat of it directly, or which does not, at least, make some allusion to it. The Introit refers to it when it mentions the wheat and honey with which God once fed the Hebrews in the desert, a miraculous food, and yet a very poor representation of the living, life-giving bread of the Eucharist. The Epistle (1 Cor 11: 23-39) speaks of it, recalling the institution of this Sacrament, when Jesus "took bread, and giving thanks, broke, and said, 'Take ye, and eat; this is My Body'"; the Gradual chants, "The eyes of all hope in You, O Lord, and You give them meat in due season". The very beautiful Sequence, Lauda Sion, celebrates it at length, and the Gospel (Jn 6: 56-59), echoing the Alleluia, cites the most significant passage in the discourse when Jesus Himself announced the Eucharist, "My Flesh is meat indeed, and My Blood is drink indeed"

The Communion Hymn repeats a sentence of the Epistle, and reminds us that we receive the Body of the Lord worthily. Finally, the Postcommunion tells us that Eucharistic Communion is the pledge of eternal communion, in heaven. But in order to have a better understanding of the immense value of the Eucharist, we must go back to the very words of Jesus, most opportunely recalled in the Gospel of the day, "He that eateth My Flesh and drinketh My Blood, abideth in Me and I in Him." Jesus made Himself our food in order to assimilate us to Himself, to make us live His life, to make us live in Him, as He Himself lives in His Father. The Eucharist is truly the Sacrament of the union and at the same time it is the clearest and most convincing proof that God calls us and pleads with us tp come to intimate union with Himself.


"O God, O Creator, O Spirit of life overwhelming Your creatures with ever new graces! You grant to Your chosen ones the gift which is ever renewed: the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ!...O my soul, how can you refrain yourself from plunging deeper and deeper into the love of Christ, who did not forget you in life or in death, but who willed to give Himself wholly to you, and to unite to Himself forever "St Angela of Folignio.

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Wednesday, June 02, 2021

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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Monday, May 31, 2021

The 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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Sunday, May 30, 2021

The Most Holy Trinity, Solemnity


God gave me to see clearly the truth of the most Holy Trinity. It is just as learned theologians told me, but I did not understand it as I do now... What I have seen is this: three distinct Persons, each one visible and who speaks and to whom we can speak. Afterwards I thought how the Son alone took human flesh, which shows clearly that the three Persons are distinct. The Persons love each other, communicate and know each other. But, if each one is distinct, how can we say that the three are one essence? For this is what we believe. This is deepest truth, and I would die for it a thousand times. In these three Persons there is but one will and one power and one might; neither can one be without the others. There is one sole Creator of all created things. Could the Son create an ant without the Father? No, because their power is one. The same is to be said of the Holy Spirit. Thus, there is one God Almighty, and the three Persons are one majesty. Is it possible to love the Father without loving the Son and the Holy Spirit? No, for those who please one of the three Persons please all three Persons, and those who offend one offend all. Can the Father exist without the Son and without the Holy Spirit? No, for they are one in being, and where one is, there are the three; they cannot be divided. How is it, then, that we see that the three Persons are distinct? And how is it that the Son, not the Father, nor the Holy Spirit, took human flesh? This is what I have never understood; theologians know it. What I know is that the three were there when that marvellous work was done. I do not busy myself with much thinking about this; all my thinking comes down to this: God is almighty, that he has done what he would do, and can do what he wills. The less I understand it, the more I believe it, and the greater the devotion it excites in me. May he be blessed for ever! Amen. St Teresa of Avila, Relations.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2021

St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, click for link

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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Sunday, May 23, 2021

The Descent of the Holy Spirit, Feast

Pentecost is the plenitude of God's gift to men. On Christmas Day, God gives us His only begotten Son, Christ Jesus, the Mediator, the Bridge connecting humanity and divinity. During Holy Week, Jesus, by His Passion, gives Himself entirely to us, even to death on the Cross. He bathes us, purifying and sanctifying us in His Blood. At Easter, Christ rises, and His Resurrection, as well as His Ascension, is the pledge of our own glorification. He goes before us to His Father's house to prepare a place for us, for in Him and with Him, we have become a part of the divine Family; we have become children of God, destined for eternal beatitude. But the gift of God to men does not end there; having ascended into heaven, Jesus, in union with the Father, sends us His Spirit, the Holy Spirit. The Father and the Holy Spirit loved us to the point of giving us the Word so loved us as to give us the Holy Spirit. Thus the three Persons of the Trinity give Themselves to man, stooping to this poor nothing to redeem him from sin, to sanctify him, and to bring him into Their own intimacy. Descending upon the Apostles under the form of tongues of fire, the Holy Spirit shows us how He, the Spirit of love, is given to us in order to transform us by His charity, and having transformed us, to lead us back to God. Our supernatural life has developed under the action of the Holy Spirit; it is caught up in the life-giving transforming current of His love. In this way we understand how the Feast of Pentecost can and should represent a new out-pouring of the Holy Spirit in our souls, a new visit in which he fills us with his gifts:

Veni Creator Spiritus - mentus tuorum visita,
Imple superna gratia - que to creasti pectora,

Come, Holy Ghost, Creator blest,
And in our hearts take up Thy rest,
Come with Thy grace and heavenly aid,
To fill the hearts which Thou hast made.

Let us pray with Sr Carmela of the Holy Spirit, O.C.D: "Come, O life-giving Spirit, to this poor world and renew the face of the earth; preside over new organizations and give us Your peace, that peace which the world cannot give. Help Your Church, give her holy priests and fervent apostles. Fill with holy inspirations the souls of the good; give calm compunction to sinful souls, consoling refreshment to the suffering, strength and help to those who are tempted, and light to those in darkness and in the shadow of death". Text after 'Divine Intimacy'

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Sunday, May 16, 2021

St Simon Stock

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

Flos Carmeli is the prayer attributed to St Simon Stock: 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After "Drink of the Streat, Prayers of Carmelites"

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Friday, May 14, 2021

Novena to the Holy Spirit starts on Friday after Ascension Day - click to pray

'The Holy Spirit' by Giaquinto Corrado, c1750.

"This is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent" (Jn 17:3)

"Life is your vessel, not your dwelling". When I was small. those words gave me courage; even now (...) the image of a vessel still charms my soul and help it endure exile...Doesn't Divine Wisdom tell us that "life is like a ship which slices through troubled waters, leaving no trace of its quick passage ?"(St Therese, The Story of a Soul) 

Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon son of Jonah, do you love me more than these?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Jesus said to him, "Feed my lambs" (Jn 21:15)

I am the child of the Church.(...)Riches and glory are not what the heart of the little child claims. (...) His glory will be the reflection of the glory that will spring from the forehead of his Mother. What he asks for is love....The child knows only one things, to love you,  Jesus. (The Story of a Soul)

"Let anyone who is thirsty come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. As the scriptures has said, 'Out of the believer's heart shall flow rivers of living water.'" Now he said this about the Spirit, which believers in him were to receive (Jn 7:37-39)

Mindful of Elisha's prayer to his father Elijah, when he dared to ask him about his dual spirit, I appeared before the angels and saints and said to them, "I am the smallest of humans, I know my misery and weakness. (...) I beg you to adopt me as your child. All the glory you help me gain will be yours alone." (The Story of a Soul). 

"And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever...But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and remind you of all that I have said to you." (Jn 14: 16-17)

Finally, the happy moment [the sacrament of confirmation] arrived. I did not feel a brisk wind when the Holy Spirit descended, but instead, I felt that high breeze on which the Prophet Elijah heard the whisper on Mount Horeh...On that day, I received the strength to suffer. (The Story of a Soul)

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St Matthias, the Apostle

You are no longer aliens or foreign visitors; you are citizens like all the saints and part of God's household. You are part of a building that has the apostles and prophets for its foundations, and Christ himself for its main cornerstone. (Ephesians 2:19-21)

Lord God, you chose Saint Matthias by lot to complete the number of the twelve apostles, By his prayer, include us among your chosen ones, since we rejoice to see that the lot marked our for us is your love. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. (after Morning Prayer)

Picture after British Museum, Peter Paul Rubens print
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