Carmelite Online Retreat — Lent 2020

Online Carmelite Retreat 2020


With St. John of the Cross


Dear friends, here we are once again to invite you to experience this Lent in a spirit of communion through an online retreat prepared especially for you by the Discalced Carmelite friars. 

If you have registered already and received the meditations from one of the previous retreats, you do not need to register again. 

However, don’t hesitate to extend an invitation to your friends and acquaintances so that they can register using the form on the website: 

We suggest that you share this link with your Christian community, parish, ecclesial movement, association, or prayer group. You also can promote this initiative through social media. 

Inviting others to pray through the retreat is an excellent way to evangelize and witness to your faith. 

This Lent we will be guided by the beautiful writings of St. John of the Cross, a Doctor of the Church who pioneered the Discalced Carmelite reform with St. Teresa in the sixteenth century. 

At the end of February, you will receive the introductory text of this retreat. Then you will receive the meditations for each of the 7 weeks of Lent and Easter, with the following themes:

  • 1st week: The obstacle within us
  • 2nd week: Only Jesus
  • 3rd week: Straight to the heart
  • 4th week: Journey in the night
  • 5th week: New life
  • Holy Week: “The true spiritual person”
  • Easter: “On that glad night”

The content will be available so that you may organize your moments of meditation during the week. The texts were prepared by Discalced Carmelite friars from Avon, France, and the translation into English was prepared by Secular Carmelites from North America. 

The online retreat is free of charge. You can register or unsubscribe at any time.

If you have any difficulty in receiving the meditations, please send an email to:

With this invitation to the online retreat, we extend our sincere wishes for a blessed Lent!

Elijah’s Breeze on behalf of
fr. Roberto Maria OCD and
The Discalced Carmelites in Austria

Featured post

Quote of the day: 19 February

Shepherds, you who go
up through the sheepfolds to the hill,
if by chance you see
him I love most,
tell him I am sick, I suffer, and I die.

if by chance you see

This means: If by my good luck you so reach his presence that he sees and hears you. It is noteworthy that even though God has knowledge and understanding of all, and even sees the very thoughts of the soul, as Moses asserts (Dt. 31:21), it is said when he provides a remedy for us in our needs that he sees them, and when he answers our prayers that he hears them. Not all needs and petitions reach the point at which God, in hearing, grants them. They must wait until in his eyes they arrive at the suitable time, season, and number, and then it is said that he sees and hears them. This is evident in Exodus. After the 400 years in which the children of Israel had been afflicted by their slavery in Egypt, God declared to Moses: I have seen the affliction of my people and have come down to free them [Ex. 3:7-8], even though he had always seen it.

And St. Gabriel, too, told Zechariah not to fear, because God had heard his prayer and given him the son for whom he had prayed those many years, even though God had always heard that prayer [Lk. 1:13]. Every soul should know that even though God does not answer its prayer immediately, he will not on that account fail to answer it at the opportune time if it does not become discouraged and give up its prayer. He is, as David remarks, a helper in opportune times and tribulations [Ps. 9:9].

Saint John of the Cross

Spiritual Canticle Stanza 2, No. 4


BOUGUEREAU The Thank Offering PhilaMuseum
The Thank Offering
William-Adolphe Bouguereau, (French, 1825-1905)
Oil on canvas, 1867
Philadelphia Museum of Art



John of the Cross, St. 1991, The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, Revised Edition,
translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K and Rodriguez, O with revisions and introductions by Kavanaugh, K,
ICS Publications, Washington DC.


Quote of the day: 18 February

… Do not let what is happening to me, daughter, cause you any grief, for it does not cause me any. What greatly grieves me is that the one who is not at fault is blamed. Men do not do these things, but God, who knows what is suitable for us and arranges things for our good. Think nothing else but that God ordains all, and where there is no love, put love, and you will draw out love …

Saint John of the Cross

Letter 26 to Madre María de la Encarnación, Segovia
July 6, 1591


Whatsapp Aloysius Deeney
Photo credit: Discalced Carmelites



John of the Cross, St. 1991, The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, Revised Edition, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K and Rodriguez, O with revisions and introductions by Kavanaugh, K, 
ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 17 February

These nuns can be a burden for you, mi padre; but you are indeed indebted to them, for they have deeply felt your trials, especially in Toledo…

Saint Teresa of Avila

Letter 454 to Padre Jerónimo Gracián (excerpt)
Burgos, 25 June 1582



On 4 March 1581, in the chapter of Alcalá, Padre Jerónimo Gracián de la Madre de Dios was elected the first provincial of the Teresian Carmel. But not all were in favor of Gracián, and the vote was anything but unanimous. At the end of her life, Teresa herself warned Gracián against being arbitrary and authoritarian. He governed until 1585, attending to the organizational and juridical needs of the new province, extending the discalced friars’ presence outside of Spain and opening the first mission in Africa. He was forty years old at the time and had been superior for as many years as he was a professed religious.

Not all the friars shared Teresa’s judgment of Gracián as “the one who was best able to bring about a union between religious perfection and gentleness.” On finishing his provincialate, Gracián presented to the chapter of Lisbon (May 1585) a detailed defense of his government. According to the opposition, he had been too soft, should have given fewer dispensations, and done more to correct abuses in the strict observance. It seems there were always those who wanted him to do more punishing and threatening.

Gracián proposed Nicolás Doria as his successor. Doria had been in Genoa during the previous three years. He was accepted and Gracián was elected as his first councilor. When the chapter continued in Pastrana, Gracián was elected vicar provincial of Portugal.

At the end of 1586, Gracián published a work zealously promoting the missions, which marked the beginning of trouble with the new provincial. He was ordered to withdraw the book from publication. Furthermore, Gracián had begun to oppose the new form of government devised by Doria at the end of 1585, called the consulta. This was to be a government consisting of a body of five members who would decide matters by vote. He also supported those nuns who opposed changes in Teresa’s constitutions.

The result was a plan to send Gracián to Mexico to serve there as vicar. While Gracián was in Seville preparing to go to Mexico, orders came from the religious authorities in Portugal, commissioning him to make some visitations in Portugal. There was fear that the English would invade, and it was rumored among Castilians that the Carmelite prior in Lisbon, Padre Antonio Calderón, was an antonista [political supporter of Dom Antonio de Avis] hiding arquebuses and making plans for betrayal. Gracián’s task was to find the friars favoring the revolution, calm them down, and urge them to stay out of politics.

This new commission, of course, prevented his going to Mexico. In 1588, Doria obtained the authority to be a vicar general of the discalced friars and nuns. In the meanwhile Gracián was carrying out his assignment as visitator of the Carmelites of the observance in Portugal.

When the nuns obtained a brief from Sixtus V confirming their desire that the constitutions of St. Teresa not be changed, it was seen as opposition to Doria’s government. Gracián was reputed to have given his strong support to the nuns. After he finished his two-year visitation in Portugal, the time seemed ripe for Gracián’s brethren to begin a process against him. He was imprisoned in the monastery of San Hermenegildo in Madrid and forbidden to write any letters without permission from Doria. The investigations and interrogations went on for six months.

On 17 February 1592, the sentence was pronounced against Gracián. He was declared incorrigible, ordered to remove the habit of the discalced Carmelite friars, and expelled for sowing discord and opposition to the superiors.

Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D.

Biographical Sketch (excerpt)


Discover more in about Padre Jerónimo Gracián on the outstanding Discalced Carmelite blog from Spain, Teresa, de la rueca a la pluma


We commend to our readers the letter, A Man on a Journey, marking the Fourth Centenary of the death of Padre Jerónimo Gracián de la Madre de Dios (1545-1614), issued in 2014 by the Prior General of the Carmelite Order, Fernando Millán Romeral, O.Carm., and the Superior General of the Discalced Carmelites, Saverio Cannistrà, O.C.D. And as always, we continue to recommend O’Mahony’s translation of the magisterial history of the Teresian Carmel by Ildefonso Moriones, O.C.D.



Teresa of Avila, St. 1985, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, 
translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O, 
ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 16 February

Thérèse entered the Benedictine abbey as a part-time boarder in October 1881. Pauline’s task with her seemed to be over; she was twenty years old and thought that she should not delay any longer in answering the divine call which had been heard for so long.

Her attraction had, until then, brought her to her beloved Visitation of Le Mans. She asked at what age she could enter. “At twenty-two or twenty-three,” was the answer.

She gave in to this delay and waited without anxiety when, on [Thursday] 16 February 1882, a decisive grace came to modify her plans.

She describes it in these terms:

I attended the six o’clock Mass in Saint-Jacques, in the chapel of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, with Papa and Marie. Suddenly, a very bright light came into my soul, the good Lord showed me clearly that it was not at the Visitation that he wanted me, but at Carmel… I must say that the memory of a friend of mine, who had been predestined to die the year before, came to mind. She certainly must have been praying for me. I had been assured that she was thinking of entering Carmel and taking the name of Sister Agnès de Jésus. I remember that I felt myself blushing with emotion and, as I was going forward and returning from Communion, I was afraid that this emotion would become apparent. I had never thought about Carmel and, in an instant, I found myself driven toward it by an irresistible attraction.

On her return to Les Buissonnets, she confided her secret to her sister Marie who, in spite of her grief, only expressed the fear that her health was too frail for such an austere rule. Seeking to comfort her, Pauline randomly picked out a spiritual bouquet from her beloved book, The Imitation of Christ and came across this passage:

“To a fervent spirit, having to make use of food, drink, clothing and other things to keep the body going is a burden.” (The Imitation of Christ, III:26) That was the answer to the objection. Her resolution being firm, she soon drew up her plans, and on the same day, she sought her generous father’s permission. He made the same remark that Marie did, but seemed pleased with the honor of offering to Carmel the first of his daughters who wanted to give themselves to God.

Circular of Agnès of Jesus (excerpts)

Read the entire circular letter here


Église Saint-Jacques, Lisieux
Église Saint-Jacques, Lisieux | © Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)


Quote of the day: 15 February

Edith’s six months of probation passed quickly. On 15 February 1934, she knelt before the assembled community and asked to receive the habit of Our Blessed Lady of Mount Carmel.

Teresia Renata Posselt, O.C.D.

Edith Stein: The Life of a Philosopher and Carmelite
Chapter 14: In the School of Humility (excerpts)

José-María Moreno García / Flickr CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Very Reverend and dear Mother,
Many sincere thanks for your new gifts of love. Our dear Mother [Maria Josefa of the Blessed Sacrament] had to spend a long time yesterday going through all these treasures with me. They will be shown to the [sisters in the] novitiate—who are currently living in joyful anticipation—on Sunday, since at recreation on weekdays we do manual work, according to the wise direction of our Holy Mother [Teresa of Avila] (for which I am very grateful. You have no idea how little it takes to make Carmel’s children happy, and how munificent your package is for us. I would feel deeply embarrassed by such great love and goodness did I not know that it counts less for my person than for the holy vocation for which I have been chosen without deserving any of it, and which you appreciate so deeply. Therefore, every new token of love is a stimulus to collect all my powers in order to be a less unworthy vas electionis [chosen vessel].
I know well that all I have written to you is colorless. But in comparison with the fullness of grace that each day brings, a poor miserable human soul is so tiny. Yet, compared to what that soul can nevertheless comprehend, all words are inadequate. And when one has to write about this to so many people, one is afraid of making the sacred into something banal.
It would make me so very happy if you were able to come sometime. In the first place because I could then learn a bit more about your concerns that it is possible to put into writing, for you have not ceased to be mea res [my care]. And the more concrete a picture one has, the more one is impelled to come to the aid of our Sisters out there. I think, too, that it would do you good to spend some time with us. Of course, we have nothing great to offer you—no beautiful liturgy at all, or the like. Only our joyful poverty and our peace. These are so much more easily maintained by us than by those who have to go into battle daily and hourly. Therefore I am always glad when someone is able to derive some strength from it for the [ongoing] struggle…
The Feast of the Purification was my Confirmation Day, so it still has particular significance for me. I will be happy if you remember me especially that day. But I ask urgently for prayers in the coming weeks, for I know I will have to earn the holy habit with some severe trials. They have already started in that my mother has begun with renewed vigor to oppose the forthcoming decision. It is so hard to witness the pain and the pangs of conscience of such a mother and to be unable to help with any human means.
In faithful remembrance, your grateful

Edith Stein

Letter 165 to Mother Petra Brüning, OSU
26 January 1934
Excerpts from Edith’s last letter before her petition to receive the habit

Continue reading “Quote of the day: 15 February”

Quote of the day: 14 February

The Need for Love and the Character of Love

Love’s great-hearted;
love is kind,
knows no jealousy,
makes no fuss,
is not puffed up,
no shameless ways,
doesn’t force its rightful claim,
doesn’t rage or bear a grudge,
doesn’t cheer at others’ harm,
rejoices, rather, in the truth.
Love bears all things,
believes all things,
love hopes all things,
endures all things.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Discalced Carmelites witness to the many virtues of love every day. We’d like to share images of love at work in the lives of the Discalced Carmelite nuns of the monastery at Maryton Grange, Liverpool, England. Founded in 2012, the communities of Golders Green, Liverpool, and Upholland united as one in a new monastery. It was a new beginning for all, filled with a united spirit and a “very determined determination,” as St. Teresa would say.

There are over 200 Discalced Carmelite nuns in England, Scotland, and Wales in 15 monasteries. The Discalced Carmelite nuns in Malta have joined with them to form the Association of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. You can learn more about the Association through their website or through their active social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Enjoy the slideshow of scenes from daily life at Maryton Carmel. If you’re viewing from a handheld device, swipe left to begin; on a desktop, click the display.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We are grateful to the nuns of Maryton Carmel Liverpool and the Association of Our Lady of Mount Carmel for the kind use of these photos.

For discernment information for the Discalced Carmelite nuns in Great Britain click here.

To contact the Reverend Mother Prioress of the Maryton Carmel Liverpool, click here or write to:

Rev. Mother Prioress,
Carmelite Monastery, Maryton Grange,
Allerton Road, Liverpool, L18 3NU, UK

Quote of the day: 13 February

Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Sister Euphrasia Eluvathingal, who was a member of the religious Institute founded by him, remind each of us that God’s love is the source, the support and the goal of all holiness, while love of neighbour is the clearest manifestation of love for God. Father Kuriakose Elias was a religious, both active and contemplative, who generously gave his life for the Syro-Malabar Church, putting into action the maxim “sanctification of oneself and the salvation of others”. For her part, Sister Euphrasia lived in profound union with God so much so that her life of holiness was an example and an encouragement to the people, who called her “Praying Mother”. There are many consecrated religious here today, especially consecrated women. May you also may be known as “Praying Sisters”.

Pope Francis

Address to the faithful of the Syro-Malabar Church
Canonization of Kuriakose Elias Chavara of the Holy Family
Euphrasia Eluvathingal of the Sacred Heart
24 November 2014

The religious institute to which Pope Francis referred in his address was the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel, founded by Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara and Father Leopold Beccara, O.C.D. on 13 February 1866 at Koonammavu, Kerala in India.

The Sisters’ website says that “St. Kuriakose Elias Chavara was much aggrieved at the absence of a religious congregation for women in the Apostolic Church of St Thomas. He longed for a house of sanctity where the girls of this land could learn spiritual matters and grow up as good Christians.”

St. Euphrasia is the first saint of the congregation. Her Vatican biography tells us:

Rose Eluvathingal was born on 17 October 1877 in the village of Kattoor, in the Diocese of Trichur, India. Her mother’s deep piety and great devotion to the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, had a strong influence on little Rose from her childhood.

During her developing years, Rose began to detach herself from earthly possessions and pleasure and took a great interest in spiritual matters. This was all the more rooted in her at the age of 9 by means of an apparition of the Blessed Mother, after which the young girl offered herself totally to the Lord.

Notwithstanding the strong opposition of her father, who wanted Rose to marry into a rich family, she wanted to become a religious Sister. Her intense prayer life, which included the rosary, fasting, and abstinence, as well as the rather sudden death of her younger sister, brought about a change of heart in her father, Anthony, who granted Rose permission to enter the convent.

In fact, her father accompanied her personally to the convent of the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel at Koonammavu, the first indigenous congregation of Syro-Malabars.

On 10 May 1897 Rose became a postulant and took the name Sr Euphrasia of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and on 10 January 1898 she received the holy habit of Carmel.

Although Sr Euphrasia wanted to live a hidden life, she was chosen as Superior of the Convent of St Mary at Ollur. She held the post from 1913 to 1916.

For almost 48 years the convent of St Mary was home to Mother Euphrasia. Observing her life of prayer and holiness, the local people called her “Praying Mother”, and her Sisters in community referred to her as the “Mobile Tabernacle”, because the divine presence she kept within her radiated to all she encountered…

You can read the complete Vatican biography here.

You can explore the website of the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel here.

View a timeline of the milestones in the life of the Congregation and the life and canonization of St. Euphrasia here.

Thrissur Beats news service has a video of today’s landscape surrounding St. Mary’s Convent in Ollur where St. Euphrasia lived as a “Mobile Tabernacle” for 48 years.

A Christmas 2018 video featuring the students of St. Mary’s Convent Nursery School in Ollur is lovely; the children sing and recite greetings in English and Malayalam.


Euphrasia Eluvathingal Philip K flickr 32395313921 (2)
St. Euphrasia of the Sacred Heart of Jesus | CatholicArtist / Flickr / CC PDM 1.0


Quote of the day: 12 February

As St. Paul says: love is patient, it triumphs over all difficulties, and it suffers everything for the sake of the beloved. Therefore we cannot doubt Brother Lawrence’s patience in his infirmities, he who loved God so perfectly. In fact, in keeping with the thought of the same apostle, patience has this fine rapport with love… we will see that he practiced these two virtues during the [three] very painful illnesses with which it pleased God to afflict him.

In the first case, he gave evidence of a desire for death, for when speaking with the physician after his fever went down, he told him, “Ah, Doctor, your remedies have worked too well for me, you only delay my happiness!”

In the second, he seemed to have no preference whatsoever. He remained completely indifferent regarding life and death, perfectly resigned to God’s orders.

I can testify that he gave signs of altogether extraordinary constancy, resignation, and joy during the third illness, the one that separated his soul from his body, uniting it with his Beloved in heaven. He received much consolation from this blessed moment when it finally arrived, because he had longed for it for so long. 

The sight of death that frightens and dismays the most hardy did not intimidate him at all. He regarded it with complete confidence, and you could even say he defied it. When he saw the poor bed prepared for him, having overheard one of his friends say, “It’s for you, Brother Lawrence. It’s time to depart,” he replied, “It is true. There is my deathbed, but someone who does not expect it at all will follow me immediately.”

This is exactly what happened, just as he had predicted. Although this friar [Frère Philibert des Anges, a fellow lay brother] was in perfect health, he became ill the next day and died the same day Brother Lawrence was buried, and the following Wednesday he was buried in the same grave. It seems that love united these two fine brothers in life and did not want them separated at death, for there was no other place [for burial] but the common grave.

Father Joseph de Beaufort



Father Beaufort leaves us this simple record of the death of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection: Monday, February 12, 1691, at nine o’clock in the morning, fully conscious, without agony or convulsions, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection died in the embrace of the Lord and offered his soul to God with the peace and tranquility of one asleep.


lily jez-timms-Z0AZuN4pjGE-unsplash
Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash


You can explore our blog posts by and about Brother Lawrence here.



Lawrence of the Resurrection, B 2015, Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God, translated from the French by Sciurba, S, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 11 February

To Lourdes, in the Pyrenees


Beneath my trembling fingers, vibrate, O my lyre,
Together let us sing a new hymn
To greet this beautiful country
And to express what it inspires within me.
Hello, hello, beautiful nature!
Hello, immortal mountains
Hello, you who make us dream of Heaven,
O solitary and blessed grotto
Where I so love to contemplate Mary,
Where everything is pure, calm, quiet.
O Lourdes, miraculous land,
A foretaste of the Eternal Home,
Are you not a little corner of Heaven…
In the midst of the valley of darkness?
I would never wish to leave you.
Alas, we must be separated,
And for how many years will that be?
You whom I love, dear Pyrenees!…
Who knows? One day, among you,
Perhaps she will bring me back,
That Madonna of Massabielle?
How sweet that happiness would seem to me!
I would return, poor, lonely
And having nothing left on this earth
If not the Heart, the Cross of Jesus.
Oh! Can one desire anything more!…
Is this not the supreme treasure
That Jesus gives to all those whom He loves:
For to the privileged ones within His Heart
Jesus shares his pain!

In the meantime, mountains so dear,
O blessed and lonely grotto,
Beautiful country that makes you dream of Heaven,
I must, therefore, tell you
   A Dieu.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity

P 59 To Lourdes, in the Pyrenees
22 July 1898


Lourdes Our Lady prays the rosary window detail paullew flickr 2085623379
Detail of the window in the upper basilica at Lourdes depicting the first apparition. This is how St. Bernadette described it: ‘She looked at me immediately, smiled at me and signed to me to advance as if she had been my mother. All fear had left me, but I seemed to know no longer where I was. I rubbed my eyes, I shut them; but the lady was still there continuing to smile at me making me understand that I was not mistaken. Without thinking of what I was doing I took my rosary in my hands and went on my knees. The lady made with her head a sign of approval and herself took into her hands a rosary which hung on her right arm. When I attempted to begin the rosary and tried to lift up my hand to my forehead my arm remained paralyzed, and it was only after the lady had signed herself (with the sign of the cross) that I could do the same. The lady left me to pray all alone; she passed the beads of her rosary through her fingers, but she said nothing; only at the end of each decade did she say the Gloria with me. When the recitation of the rosary was finished, the lady returned to the interior of the rock and the golden cloud disappeared with her.’ | Commentary and photo credit: Fr. Lawrence Lew, OP / Flickr CC BY-NC 2.0 


Sous mes doigts tremblants, vibre, ô ma lyre,
Chantons ensemble un hymne nouveau
Pour saluer ce pays si beau
Et pour exprimer ce qu’il m’inspire.
Salut, salut, nature si belle !
Salut, montagnes immortelles
Salut, toi qui fais rêver aux Cieux,
O grotte solitaire et bénie
Où j’aime tant contempler Marie,
Où tout est pur, calme, silencieux.
O Lourdes, terre miraculeuse,
Avant-goût du Séjour éternel,
N’est-tu pas un petit coin du Ciel
Au milieu de la vallée ombreuse ?
J’aimerais ne jamais vous quitter.
Hélas, il faudra nous séparer,
Et ce sera pour combien d’années ?
Vous que j’aime, chères Pyrénées !…
Qui sait ? Un jour, au milieu de vous,
Peut-être me ramènera-t-elle,
Cette Madone de Massabielle ?
Que ce bonheur me semblerait doux !
Je reviendrais, pauvre, solitaire
Et n’ayant plus rien sur cette terre
Sinon le Coeur, la Croix de Jésus.
Oh ! peut-on désirer rien de plus !…
N’est-ce pas là le trésor suprême
Que Jésus donne à tous ceux qu’Il aime :
Car aux privilégiés de son Coeur
Jésus fait partager sa douleur !

En attendant, montagnes si chères,
O grotte bénie et solitaire,
Beau pays qui fais rêver aux Cieux,
Il faut donc que je vous dise
   A Dieu.



de la Trinité, E 1996, Oeuvres complètes / édition critique réalisée par le P. Conrad de Meester, carme, Les Editions du Cerf, Paris.
Translation from the French text is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission


Quote of the day: 10 February

How rightly confession is called the sacrament of peace! Could anything make us realize how we should be at peace and in charity with others more than pondering the great condescension of God! Truly, we will never be asked to forgive anyone the great offenses God freely pardons in us.

I have been thinking about the text that was preached on Sunday, the unforgiving servant. We come to the great King of Heaven with empty hands, in debt to Him for everything: life itself, and grace, and all the gifts He lavishes on us. Yet all we can say is, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all I owe,” (Mt 18:26) while all the time we could never pay anything toward the remission of our own debts if God did not put into our hands the means to do so. And then, how often do we go away and refuse pardon for some slight fault in our neighbors, withholding our love, remaining aloof, or even nursing a grievance against them, and building up grudges that cool charity.

Saint Teresa Margaret Redi

God is Love Saint Teresa Margaret: Her Life
Chapter 1: Who Is God? (excerpt)


Teresa Margaret-Redi
St. Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart | Credit: Discalced Carmelites



Rowe, M 2003, God is Love Saint Teresa Margaret: Her Life, ICS Publications, Washington, DC.

21 Lirios: ESPECIAS SOLIDARIAS. Domingo V Ordinario — Antonio Mas Arrondo. Blog

No podremos decir que el profeta se haya mostrado hoy misterioso. No deja resquicio alguno para la duda. Está proclamando un oráculo que habla del ayuno como modo de que las súplicas del hombre sean oídas en lo alto. Pero el ayuno habitual no le es grato al Señor; por eso propone él otro ayuno diferente: romper yugos y liberar a los quebrantados. Es aquí donde comienza nuestra lectura de hoy: partir tu pan con el hambriento, hospedar al pobre, cubrir al desnudo y no desentenderte de los tuyos…

via 21 Lirios: ESPECIAS SOLIDARIAS. Domingo V Ordinario — Antonio Mas Arrondo. Blog

Quote of the day: 9 February

Since this is the proper moment, we ought to point out another benefit resulting from this night and dryness of the sensory appetite. So that the prophecy—your light will illumine the darkness (Is. 58:10)—may be verified, God will give illumination by bestowing on the soul not only knowledge of its own misery and lowliness but also knowledge of His grandeur and majesty.

When the sensory appetites, gratifications, and supports are quenched, the intellect is left clean and free to understand the truth, for even though these appetites and pleasures concern spiritual things, they blind and impede the spirit. Similarly, the anguish and dryness of the senses illumine and quicken the intellect, as Isaiah affirms: Vexation makes one understand (Is. 28:19). But God also, by means of this dark and dry night of contemplation, supernaturally instructs in His divine wisdom the soul that is empty and unhindered (which is the requirement for his divine inpouring), which He did not do through the former satisfactions and pleasures.

Isaiah explains this clearly: To whom will God teach his knowledge? And to whom will he explain his message? To them that are weaned, he says, from the milk, and to them who are drawn away from the breasts (Is. 28:9). This passage indicates that the preparation for this divine inpouring is not the former milk of spiritual sweetness or aid from the breast of the discursive meditations of the sensory faculties that the soul enjoyed, but the privation of one and a withdrawal from the other.

In order to hear God, people should stand firm and be detached in their sense life and affections, as the prophet himself declares: I will stand on my watch (with detached appetite) and will fix my foot (I will not meditate with the sensory faculties) in order to contemplate (understand) what God says to me (Heb. 2:1).

We conclude that self-knowledge flows first from this dry night and that from this knowledge as from its source proceeds the other knowledge of God. Hence St. Augustine said to God: “Let me know myself, Lord, and I will know you.” For as the philosophers say, one extreme is clearly known by the other.

Saint John of the Cross

The Dark Night: Book One, Chapter 12


Zodiacal Light over La Silla European Southern Laboratory Flickr 5161784698
This image beautifully captures the zodiacal light, a triangular glow seen best in night skies free of overpowering moonlight and light pollution. The photograph was taken at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile in September 2009, facing west some minutes after the Sun had set. A sea of clouds has settled in the valley below La Silla, which sits at an altitude of 2400 metres (1.49 miles), with lesser peaks and ridges poking through the mist. | Credit: ESO/Y. Beletsky, European Southern Observatory / Flickr 



John of the Cross, St. 1991, The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, Revised Edition, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K and Rodriguez, O with revisions and introductions by Kavanaugh, K, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 8 February






Nahru Stadium of Kottayam
Saturday, 8 February 1986

“I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to the little ones” (Mt 11:25).

What things has the Lord hidden? What mysteries has he revealed? Truly the deepest ones, the mysteries of his own divine life, those known here on earth only by him, only by Christ himself. For he says: “All things have been delivered to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him”.

And behold, the Son does reveal these things. At the same time, he reveals the Father. The Father is revealed through the Son. And to whom does the Son reveal these things? He reveals them to those whom he chooses: “for such was your gracious will”, Jesus tells the Father. He reveals these things to the little ones.


Children having fun, Backwaters at Kottayam, Kerala
Children having fun, Backwaters at Kottayam | Saurabh Chatterjee / Flickr 


Today, in this Sacred Liturgy, we wish to unite ourselves in a special way with Christ the Lord. Together with him, we wish to bless the Father, for the particular love which he has shown to a son and daughter of the Church in India. We praise the Father for his countless blessings during the two thousand years that the Church has existed on Indian soil. With Christ, we glorify the Father for the love that he has shown to the little ones of Kerala and all India.

Father Kuriakose Elias Chavara was born here in Kerala, and for nearly all of his sixty-five years of earthly life he laboured generously for the renewal and enrichment of the Christian life. His deep love for Christ filled him with apostolic zeal and made him especially careful to promote the unity of the Church. With great generosity, he collaborated with others, especially brother priests and religious, in the work of salvation.

In co-operation with Fathers Thomas Palackal and Thomas Porukara, Father Kuriakose founded an Indian religious congregation for men, now known as the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate. Later, with the help of an Italian missionary, Father Leopold Beccaro, he started an Indian religious congregation for women, the Congregation of the Mother of Carmel. These congregations grew and flourished, and religious vocations became better understood and appreciated. Through the common efforts of the members of new religious families, his hopes and works were multiplied many times over.


Backwaters at Kottayam, Kerala
Backwaters at Kottayam, Kerala | Saurabh Chatterjee / Flickr 


Father Kuriakose’s life, and the lives of these new religious, were dedicated to the service of the Syro-Malabar Church. Under his leadership or inspiration, a good number of apostolic initiatives were undertaken: the establishment of seminaries for the education and formation of the clergy, the introduction of annual retreats, a publishing house for Catholic works, a house to care for the destitute and dying, schools for general education and programmes for the training of catechumens. He contributed to the Syro-Malabar liturgy and spread devotion to the Holy Eucharist and the Holy Family. In particular, he dedicated himself to encouraging and counselling Christian families, convinced as he was of the fundamental role of the family in the life of society and the Church.

But no apostolic cause was dearer to the heart of this great man of faith than that of the unity and harmony within the Church. It was as if he had always before his mind the prayer of Jesus, on the night before his Sacrifice on the Cross: “That they may all be one; even as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us”. Today the Church solemnly recalls with love and gratitude all his efforts to resist threats of disunity and to encourage the clergy and faithful to maintain unity with the See of Peter and the universal Church. His success in this, as in all his many undertakings, was undoubtedly due to the intense charity and prayer which characterised his daily life, his close communion with Christ and his love for the Church as the visible Body of Christ on earth.

Truly extraordinary is this day in the history of the Church and Christianity on Indian soil. It is important, too, in the history of the pastoral ministry of the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Saint Peter. It is the first time that he has had the joy of raising to the glory of the altars a son and a daughter of the Church in India, in their native land.


Egret backwaters near Kottayam_22 Saurabh Chatterjee Flickr 5134285929
Egret flying over the backwaters at Kottayam | Saurabh Chatterjee / Flickr 


You can explore all of our blog posts about Saint Kuriakose Elias Chavara here.


Photography by SaurabhChatterjee is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Quote of the day: 7 February

The Child Jesus wants us to seek Him alone, in simplicity of spirit; and the Divine Simplicity banishes from our souls all folly and depravity. No amusement: neither in ourselves nor in creatures. Nothing but Jesus who is sought and served simply and in truth.

Venerable Margaret of the Blessed Sacrament

Conversations with Mother Elizabeth of the Trinity



Venerable Margaret of the Blessed Sacrament (Margaret Perigot, 7 February 1619 – 26 May 1648) was a professed Discalced Carmelite nun of the Carmel of Beaune, France. Orphaned in her early adolescence, her uncle, a priest, entrusted the devout child to the Discalced Carmelite nuns of Beaune. She had a particular devotion to the Infant Jesus, and soon discovered that He entrusted her with a special mission: to make him known as the Little King of Grace. Venerable Margaret died at age 20, but devotion to the Infant Jesus of Beaune and Venerable Margaret continues to this day.


Marguerite of the Blessed Sacrament of Beaune 01

La oración de recogimiento con «contentos» — Antonio Mas Arrondo. Blog

En repetidas ocasiones hemos mencionado la unidad de las tres primeras moradas. A partir de las cuartas comienza una nueva etapa de la que pronto hablaremos. Al final de las terceras se nos ofrece la primera alegría de vivir en cristiano. Teresa de Jesús le llama «contentos«, para diferenciarlo de los «gustos«, propio de las

via La oración de recogimiento con «contentos» — Antonio Mas Arrondo. Blog

50 Aniversario del doctorado de Teresa de Jesús: Actos en Alba de Tormes — Teresa, de la rueca a la pluma

En el año 1970, el papa Pablo VI declaró a Teresa de Jesús Doctora de la Iglesia. La primera mujer que recibía este título. Fue un 27 de septiembre. Este evento, del que en 2020 se cumplen 50 años, tendrá eco en muchos lugares. Alba de Tormes, municipio donde falleció y donde se halla el […]

via 50 Aniversario del doctorado de Teresa de Jesús: Actos en Alba de Tormes — Teresa, de la rueca a la pluma

Quote of the day: 6 February

There are three signs of inner recollection:

  1. a lack of satisfaction in passing things;
  2. a liking for solitude and silence, and an attentiveness to all that is more perfect; and,
  3. the considerations, meditations, and acts that formerly helped the soul now hinder it, and it brings to prayer no other support than faith, hope, and love.
Saint John of the Cross

Sayings of Light and Love, 119


hands people woman girl
Photo by Public Domain Pictures on



John of the Cross, St. 1991, The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, Revised Edition, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K and Rodriguez, O with revisions and introductions by Kavanaugh, K, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

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