Elijah: Fear and Hope

19th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

Homily of H.E. Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
Parish of San Anthony of Mount Tabor, Managua
12th August 2018


Today’s first reading (1 Kings 19:4-8) tells us about the prophet Elijah, who one day is filled with fear and goes to the desert because, disappointed in himself, in religion, and in the society in which he lives, he wants to die: “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors’” (1 Kg 19:4).

The previous verse tells us why Elijah decides to go to the desert and wants to die: “He was afraid; he got up and fled for his life” (1 Kg 19:3). He had made a great effort for years to show the people the true face of God; he had committed himself completely so that the people of Israel would keep the faith intact against the religion of the false god Baal and defend the poor against the acts of violence and injustice of King Ahab and his wife Jezebel, the royal couple who ruled at that time.

Elijah was a great prophet, a man of God, and a giant of the faith.

After having defeated the false prophets of the queen, unmasking the religious deceptions of the royal couple with which they dominated the people, and having denounced the great acts of injustice they committed, the queen had persecuted him and threatened to kill him. The prophet is afraid and runs away. Nelson Mandela said that “the brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

Even the great men of God can suffer moments of crisis and fear, as in this case with the prophet Elijah, who flees in fear before the threats and persecution of the powerful Phoenician queen Jezebel who ruled at that time in Israel. A prophet of God was running away from a soulless woman, whose will was supposed to be the law; who was the manipulator of religion; she who was the unjust and violent one. The prophet is afraid and flees to the desert.

 

Leighton, Frederic, 1830-1896; Elijah in the Wilderness
Elijah in the Wilderness
Frederic Leighton (British, 1830–1896)
Oil on canvas, 1877-78
Walker Art Gallery

 

The prophet’s crisis, however, becomes a moment of grace because God approaches him in the desert and feeds him, giving him new strength to live.

Elijah goes to the desert, lies down and goes to sleep. He’s just waiting to die. The fact that Elijah lies down and wishes for death shows the drama of the moment he is experiencing: “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors” (1 Kings 19:4).

Like so many other believers in the Bible, Elijah complains before God and goes on about the weariness of his life, the fatigue of the struggle, the temptation to make the final withdrawal. All that remains is to throw in the towel; everything has been useless. He has probably experienced that his prophetic ministry and his efforts to fight against Baalism and against the injustice of the system in Israel have proved to be of little value.

In reality, nothing has changed and now his life is threatened.

And further, now Elijah is afraid. The powerful queen has intimidated him and threatened to take his life. To dominate others, fear is the most effective instrument. It is the preferred weapon of oppressors. Fear leads Elijah not only to run away but also to fall asleep. Falling asleep is to remain unconscious, in a certain way: it’s an escape from reality.

However, when things turn dark; when what’s transpired becomes indecipherable and the future, uncertain: that’s when we have to be wide awake. We must not turn off the light of conscience and discernment, for that is when we must be more clear-headed than ever. Poor Elijah. Defeated. Full of fear, running away from Queen Jezebel, running away from reality, and running away from himself.

 

BAEZ - We must not turn off the light IGsize

 

The biblical story tells us that Elijah was awakened and fed by God, because God doesn’t want anyone to be asleep and fearful. Precisely at the moment of the greatest darkness and fatigue is when the prophet turns to hear the word of the Lord through an angel, saying two times: “Get up and eat” (1 Kings 19:5).  After eating the first time, Elijah goes back to sleep. Sometimes the crisis is so great and the discouragement is so strong that it is difficult to get up and walk.

God is not overcome by our weakness

God insists for the second time in feeding him: “Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you” (1 Kings 19:7). God doesn’t want us to feel fearful, neither does he want us to sleep. That is why he feeds the prophet, as he feeds all of us when we feel fallen, frustrated, and hopeless. God makes the boundary seem like it becomes a new horizon; what is experienced as death is transformed into the beginning of a new life.

 

Leighton, Frederic, 1830-1896; Elijah in the Wilderness
That kind of effective nutrition to recover strength and hope, only God can provide.

 

God offered Elijah—through his messenger—frugal and simple food: a pilgrim’s meal (“a cake baked on hot stones” and “a jar of water”, 1 Kings 19:6). At that moment you don’t need a succulent feast, but effective nutrition. That kind of effective nutrition to recover strength and hope, only God can provide. Elijah ate and “he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God” (1 Kings 19:8).

Before eating, the prophet’s flight was headed toward death; after being fed in the desert, that miraculous meal takes him to Mount Horeb or Sinai, where Moses met the Lord, where Israel first made a covenant with its God. God began everything on that mountain. Elijah goes to that mountainwhere the whole history of the covenant startedto begin again, renewed by God’s strength, and to be able to continue as a man, as a believer, and as a prophet.

 

 

SONY DSC
God began everything on that mountain. | Phillip Marsh / Flickr

 

We who are living in the current drama of our society know about the injustice and arrogance of the powerful, the manipulation of religion, violent repression, and the use of fear as a form of domination. All of these shady schemes are opposed to God’s plan.

Elijah fought against all of this. He gave everything. In the end, in self-imposed exile, escaping to protect himself from the death threats of Queen Jezebel, he falls down, tired and hopeless, in the desert. He was tempted not to keep fighting, dreaming, and hoping. It can happen to anyone.

 

BAEZ - Elijah was tempted not to keep fighting TWsize

 

The biblical text, however, gives us the certainty that God’s nourishment allows us to come out of our unconscious state and overcome fearnot letting anyone deprive us of hopeto keep moving forward to build a freer and more democratic country. The bread that God gives us in the desert is more powerful than the wiles and threats of the shadowy structures of oppression and death.

We have the right to dream of a Nicaragua without rulers who oppress the people, where the dignity and rights of every person are respected, where we put off particular interests to share our goods and concerns in peace and justice, and where dissent from power is not a crime.

 

BAEZ - I dream of a Nicararagua

 

Today, too, we need a bread that is mysterious and effective, that allows us to walk with strength and hope.

That bread is Jesus, who today has told us: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever” (Jn 6:51). Jesus offers to nourish us so as to give us strength, light, hope, and the breath of life that come from the same God, the creator of life.

If Jesus nourishes us with his love and kindness, with his light and with his strength, nothing can take away our joy and hope. In our interior, in the depths of our heart, God feeds us with his Son, the Bread come down from heaven.

 

Divine Liturgy Eucharistic Prayer St Petersburg Theological Academy Flickr
In our interior,
in the depths of our heart,
God feeds us with his Son,
the Bread come down from heaven
Saint-Petersburg Theological Academy / Flickr

 

We have heard Jesus today who told us: “No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me.” The Father mysteriously draws us to Jesus; he makes Jesus attractive to us. And if Jesus presents himself again to us—attractive, fascinating, familiar in the depths of our being—we are attracted to the good, the beautiful, the noble; we will prefer honesty instead of corruption, truth instead of lies, peace rather than violence.

If Jesus makes us attractive, we will be fascinating and attractive, which does good for the human person—which builds a better world.

 


Ocupa INSS protest 20jun13
† Silvio José Baez, O.C.D. is the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Managua; when he speaks of the “current drama of our society” he refers to the regime of Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo. The Organization of American States commissioned a Group of Independent Experts to study the violence that occurred during the first six weeks of protests in 2018 after the government announced cutbacks to Social Security pensions. The official report was clear-cut: the Ortega-Murillo police and paramilitary forces committed crimes against humanity. However, the grievances of the people are not recent; in this photo, the youth turned out to support older adults when Social Security pension cutbacks were first announced in June 2013. The sign says, “in Ortega and Murillo’s government, senior citizens have no rights.” Learn more about the 2013 protests here. Learn more about the 2018 unrest and the challenges for the Catholic Church in Nicaragua here. Listen to Bishop Báez deliver this homily in Spanish at San Antonio en Monte Tabor parish here.| Jorge Mejía Peralta / Flickr

 

This English translation is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.
Featured post

24 July: Blessed Martyrs of Guadalajara

July 24
BLESSEDS MARIA PILAR, TERESA, AND MARIA ANGELES
Virgins and Martyrs

Optional Memorial

Maria Pilar of St. Francis Borgia (born at Tarazona on Dec. 30, 1877), Teresa of the Child Jesus and of St. John of the Cross (born at Mochales on March 5,1990), and Maria Angeles of St. Joseph (born at Getafe on March 6, 1905), Discalced Carmelite nuns of the Monastery of Guadalajara, Spain, were martyred on July 24, 1936, after having given witness to their faith in Christ the King and having offered their lives for the Church. The first fruits of the countless martyrs of the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39, they were beatified by Saint John Paul II on March 29, 1987.

From the Common of Martyrs or the Common of Virgins, except for the following:

Office of Readings

The Second Reading

Strophe 30,7-8

From the Spiritual Canticle of St. John of the Cross

The flowers of virginity and martyrdom

“We shall weave these garlands flowering in your love and bound with one hair of mine.”

This verse most appropriately refers to Christ and the Church, for in it, the Church, the Bride of Christ, addresses Him saying: let us weave garlands (understanding by garlands, all the holy souls engendered by Christ in the Church). Each holy soul is like a garland adorned with the flowers of virtues and gifts, and all of them together form a garland for the head of Christ, the Bridegroom.

The loving garlands can refer to what we call aureoles; these are also woven by Christ and the Church and are of three kinds:

The first kind is made from the beautiful flowers of all the virgins. Each virgin possesses her own aureole of virginity, and all these aureoles together will be joined into one and placed on the head of Christ, the Bridegroom.

The second aureole contains the resplendent flowers of the holy doctors. All these aureoles will be entwined into one and set upon the head of Christ over that of the virgins.

The third is fashioned from the crimson carnations of the martyrs. Every martyr has an aureole of martyrdom, and these red aureoles woven together will add the final touch to the aureole of Christ the Bridegroom.

So beautiful and fair will Christ the Bridegroom be with these three garlands when He is seen in heaven.

Therefore, we shall weave these garlands, the soul says, flowering in your love.

The flower of these works and virtues is the grace and power they possess from the love of God. Without love these works will not only fail to flower, but they will all wither and become valueless in God’s sight, even though they may be perfect from a human standpoint. Yet, because God bestows His grace and love, they are works that have blossomed in His love.

“And bound with one hair of mine.” This hair is her will and the love she has for the Beloved. This love assumes the task of the thread in a garland. As the thread binds the flowers together, so love fastens and sustains the virtues in the soul. As St. Paul remarks: “Charity is the bond of perfection” (Col 3:14).

Responsory

R/. Even if you should have to suffer for justice’s sake, happy will you be.
Do not be afraid and do not stand in awe of them, but adore the Lord Christ in your hearts * always ready to give a reason for the hope that is in you.
V/. It is better, if God so wills it, to suffer and do good deeds than to do evil, * always ready to give a reason for the hope that is in you.

Prayer

Father, strength of the humble,
you sustained in martyrdom the virgins
Blessed Maria Pilar, Teresa and Maria Angeles.
As they willingly shed their blood for Christ the King,
may we, through their intercession,
be faithful to You and to your Church until death.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.

 

Spanish Civil War - Arrests at Guadarrama
A sad reminder of the horrors of the Spanish Civil War
Francoist troops taking away Republican militiamen from a mountain, probably to take them to a firing block, in Somosierra, during the Battle of Guadarrama, July-August 1936. These men most likely were farmers or workers.
Source: Cassowary Colorizations

 

Featured post

Faith that cuts deep: An interview with Bishop Silvio Báez

Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D., the Auxiliary Bishop of Managua, Nicaragua, has made himself one of the voices who have been most critical of President Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista regime. During a recent stay in Mallorca, he issued a call to build a Church at the service of human fulfillment, a Church that is more prophetic and less diplomatic. We present a translation of his interview with Mater Purissima review, a publication of the Pureza de María Sisters.


BAEZ Mallorca June 2019
Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. | Photo: Sr. Xiskya Valladares, R.P.

 

MP: What should distinguish a Christian today? Going to Mass? Their social or political commitment? Evangelizing in social media?

+SJB: In the first place, a Christian must distinguish himself by a very clear stance in favor of human dignity. Let’s not forget: God became man and died to save us. That’s why for Christians this commitment in favor of humanity is decisive, their ability to create relationships based on a sense of community, working to build more peaceful societies, more just, more human… taking care of the planet, because the faith has an ecological dimension. In a nutshell: the Christian fights so that human beings may live with greater dignity, and it is in this relationship with others that we express our faith in a concrete way. We also must work in social media so that this option for the human being may be rediscovered, which is summarized in this simple message of Jesus: “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matt. 25:40).

 

BAEZ - I dream of a Nicaragua tweet 10aug18
“The Christian fights so that human beings may live with greater dignity

 

MP: There are those who criticize the Pope and think he’s a Communist, considering the social dimension of the messages that he issues.

+SJB: They’re unfounded criticisms, too ideological. Humanity has been God’s path. The human being isn’t at God’s level, but rather is the way to reach Him. What then does faith bring us? Is it another form of philanthropy? No, it’s more than that: it’s the light that helps you discover God’s image in others. With this bond of union, faith gives you great inner strength and unwavering hope. It also provides comfort when we face failure, weariness, or lack of gratitude. Without faith, this commitment to others is either diminished or ideologized. The faith in a God who loves humanity is celebrated in the Eucharist and nourished in prayer. In this profound experience of God’s love, in this encounter, faith opens up your ideological narrowness.

What then does faith bring us?
it’s a light that helps you discover in others the image of God.

MP: Then does religion have to focus on the person and stay in the private sphere?

+SJB: A faith that makes no incision into the social and political spheres is incomplete. Believers must always question themselves, from their faith in Jesus Christ, what’s their perception of reality? What they can contribute to improving it is not a matter of politicizing the faith, nor of making it an ideology. Sometimes faith has been reduced to extremely individualistic religious experiences, centered only around parish and family life, which indeed fosters encounters among others, however, they are restricted to small groups. Those encounters also must be built further, because that’s not all there is. Faith also is manifested in the struggle for a better world, in building relationships that are more just, that’s why there’s also a social, political, and ecological dimension. The risk in taking this step is to make such a departure that ends up emptying the faith, that is why it is so important to continuously feed the inner experience of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, as well as life in the community of believers. Therefore, an education in the faith is also necessary, which takes into account all these dimensions. When I was speaking to the priests in Nicaragua, I told them that either they would be mystical prophets, or they would be nothing. A life of faith that becomes prophetic has a share of consolation and another of denunciation. A faith that is reason alone is cold: you have to integrate feelings, which also include negative or frustrating experiences.

MP:  Does that mean that we have to form Catholic parties?

+SJB: It’s not about forming confessional groups. We already have overcome this phase. It’s about living within a society what faith inspires within me, in communion with others: with other Christians, yes, but also with people who are non-believers, in search of common objectives. We all can share a desire for a more just and peaceful society, a better society. Therefore, I dream of a Church that is not the sole proprietor, but the servant of the truth, of a truth that we seek in all areas of life:

  • a Church much more prophetic than diplomatic, one that doesn’t make peoples’ lives more difficult, but seeks to heal their lives, down to the root of their problems;
  • a Church conscious of being at the service of something much greater than she, at the service of the Kingdom of God; and,
  • a Church that doesn’t exist just to satisfy the people’s religious sentiment, but rather a Church at the service of a meaningful, fulfilling human life, with just and peaceful relationships, a Church that cares for nature.

 

Masaya-Baez-Brenes-Sommertag_21jun18_1024x683 FX
Faith that cuts deep: Auxiliary Bishop Silvio José Báez (center), between Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes (holding the monstrance, right), and the Apostolic Nuncio Waldemar Stanisław Sommertag (left), process with the Blessed Sacrament through the streets of Masaya 21 June 2018 in an attempt to prevent a massacre by Ortega’s police and paramilitary forces. At the end of the procession, Cardinal Brenes and Bishop Báez addressed the faithful from the front of the parish of Saint Sebastian. 
Photo: Carlos Herrera (Used by permission)
Here is an English translation of Bishop Báez’s speech: From here, from this heroic church of Saint Sebastian, I want to recall one of the commandments of God’s law: You shall not kill! From here, with all my heart, suffering for my city, as a believer who believes in life and in peace and never has promoted violence—to the contrary—I want to issue a call to those who have come to kill in this city, I want to issue a call to those who are even snipers, to those in the Las Flores roundabout who still want to kill—I want to issue a call to Daniel Ortega and Rosario Murillo: Not one more death in Masaya! Not one more death!

 

 

 

MP: You wrote your doctoral thesis on silence in the Bible.  Is it possible to achieve silence before so many stimuli in a world saturated with information?

+SJB: Silence is not automatically positive or negative: it depends on context and intentionality. Why is a person silent? Some may be silent so as not to hurt unnecessarily. Others do it out of fear… or out of hatred. Silence may reflect very different intentions. It can’t be canonized. On occasion, we have made silence synonymous with a spiritual person, that we are in communion with God, but we must know how to discern because not everyone is good. It happens as with speaking, which can serve to unite or to divide. It’s positive when it serves to build bridges, when it creates communion, when it fosters solidarity…

MP: When can we interpret that silence is good for us?

+SJB: I can be silent to listen, to think, to step back. Does that silence help me to relate better? Does communion with others increase? Does my relationship with God improve? That silence, then, is humanizing. A precious Psalm (Ps 141:3) says: ‘Lord, set up a guard for my mouth; keep watch at the door of my lips.’ It doesn’t say: don’t speak, or ‘close my mouth’. The Psalmist gives a different message: not everything must be said. Therefore, wisdom lies in knowing how to speak and how to keep quiet. I would say that the Bible leans more toward speaking the word than it does toward silence: only when silence is relational is it positive: when it is isolated, when it sets barriers, silence dehumanizes.

 

BAEZ - 8 month anniv Solidarity tweet 18dec18
An example of a tweet that fosters solidarity

 

MP: You already have more than 143,000 followers on Twitter. By your own experience, is there room for listening and candid dialogue on social media, or has it reached the level of a global tavern? How do you manage your presence in social media?

+SJB: First of all, this virtual presence is as real as physical existence. One is as present in the digital world as one is in the physical world. It isn’t an isolated world: there are also people there, there are feelings, there are sorrows …  In social media, I introduce myself just as I do in person. My presence in social media reflects my convictions, just as I am in life. In social media, in addition, communication is given equal to equal, never from top to bottom. I speak as a friend. There are so many interactions, that materially I don’t have time to read everything. When I see that there is a genuine interest in engaging in a dialogue, that’s where I respond.

 

JMJ Univ Panama Catechesis
I speak as a friend: Bishop Báez shares a joyful moment with pilgrims from the Dominican Republic at World Youth Day 2019 in Panama | Bishop Báez / Facebook (Used by permission)

 


Author: Pere Marí @peremari

Translated with kind permission of Sr. Xiskya Valladares, R.P.  @xiskya on behalf of Mater Purissima review. Read the original article in Spanish here.

Read our profile of Bishop Báez here and search our blog posts concerning the bishop here.

 

Pere Mari. “Silvio José Báez: Una fe individualista, sin incidencia en lo social y lo político, es una fe incompleta.” Mater Purissima, No. 164, June 2019, pp. 20-21. 
This English translation is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.

Acknowledgements: CRA and M (editing); LRN, NL, and PALH (video)

 

Featured post

Quote of the day: 24 July

Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I fear no evil; for you are with me.
(Psalm 23:4)


With these words, these three daughters of Carmel could address the Good Shepherd when it was time for them to give their lives for the faith in the divine Spouse of their souls. Yes, “I fear no evil.” Not even death. Love is greater than death and “You are with me.” You, the crucified Spouse! You, Christ, my strength!

Saint John Paul II
Homily, Rite of Beatification
Sr. María Pilar de San Francisco de Borja
Sr. María Ángeles de San José
Sr. Teresa del Niño Jesús 

29 March 1987

 

Guadalajara_portrait
The Discalced Carmelite martyrs from the Carmel of Guadalajara, Spain: Teresa, María Pilar, and María Ángeles

 

Quote of the day: 23 June

With the Virgin, you can sing your “Magnificat” and leap with joy in God your Savior, for the Almighty is doing great things in you, and His mercy is eternal. . . . Then, like Mary, “keep all that in your heart,” draw your heart very close to hers, for this priestly Virgin is also the “Mother of Divine Grace,” and in her love she wants to prepare you to become “that faithful priest who is entirely according to God’s heart” of whom He speaks in Holy Scripture.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 232 to Abbé Chevignard (excerpt)
Around 25 June 1905

 

ND de Palestine Holy Land Franciscans Wash DC monastery
Notre-Dame de Palestine | paullew / Flickr

 

Excerpt from Letter 232, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel 
Copyright © 2003 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

The perfume vase

J.M.J.T.

July 22, 1897 – Feast of St. Magdalene

Jesus +

“Let the just man break me out of compassion for sinners, let the oil with which one perfumes his head not weaken mine.”

I cannot be broken, tried, except by the just, since all my Sisters are pleasing to God. It is less bitter to be broken by a sinner than by a just man; but out of compassion for sinners in order to obtain their conversion, I ask You, oh, my God! that I may be broken for them by the just souls who surround me.

I ask You, too, that the oil of praise so sweet to nature may not weaken my head, that is, my mind, by making me believe I possess virtues that I have hardly practiced several times. Oh, Jesus, Your name is like oil poured out; it is in this divine perfume that I want to bathe myself entirely, far from the eyes of creatures….

Thérèse of the Child Jesus
Letter 259 to Sr. Geneviève

Mary Magdalene LA TOUR Georges LACMA
The Magdalen with the Smoking Flame
Georges de La Tour (French, 1593-1652)
Oil on canvas, 1635-37
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)

 

View the original manuscript of St. Thérèse’s letter to Sr. Geneviève—her sister Paulineat the website of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux.

Quote of the day: 22 July

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

The last words of Manuscript C

Manuscript C, folios 36 verso and 37 recto


My dear Mother, now I would like to tell you what I understand by the fragrance of the perfumes of the Beloved.

Since Jesus has re-ascended to Heaven, I can only follow him through the footprints that he left, but how illuminated are these footprints, how aromatic they are! I only have to cast my eyes on the holy gospel; all of a sudden I’m breathing in the perfumes of the life of Jesus and I know on which side to run…

It’s not the first place, but the last place that I aim for; rather than moving forward with the pharisee, I repeat, full of trust, the humble prayer of the tax-collector;

but above all I imitate the conduct of Magdalene: her astonishing—or rather her loving audacity—that charms the Heart of Jesus, seduces mine.

Yes, I feel it, even if I had on my conscience all the sins that can be committed, I would go—my heart, broken in repentance—throw myself in the arms of Jesus because I know how much he cherishes the prodigal child who comes back to Him.

It’s not because the good God, in his prevenient mercy, has preserved my soul from mortal sin that I raise myself to Him through trust and love…

 

MsC36v j'imite la Madeleine (crop)
But above all I imitate the conduct of Magdalene: her astonishing—or rather her loving audacity—that charms the Heart of Jesus, seduces mine. | Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux (used by permission)

 


Renowned Discalced Carmelite scholar Father François-Marie Léthel concluded Meditation 8 of the 2011 Lenten Exercises for the Roman Curia by citing this final paragraph from Manuscript C. He also notes that, at the same moment, Thérèse writes to her spiritual brother Bellière:

You love St. Augustine, St. Magdalene; these souls to whom “many sins were forgiven because they loved much”. Me too, I love them; I love their repentance, and especially… their loving audacity! When I see Magdalene come forward in the midst of the numerous guests, showering the feet of her adorable Master with her tears, that she’s touching for the first time, I sense that her heart has understood the abysses of love and mercy of the Heart of Jesus and that, total sinner that she is, this Heart of love is not only disposed to pardon her but still more to lavish upon her the benefits of his divine intimacy, to lift her up to the highest summits of contemplation. Ah! my dear little Brother, since it was given to me also to understand the love of the Heart of Jesus, I admit to you that has chased away all fear from my heart. The memory of my faults humiliates me, it brings me to never learn on my strength, which is only a weakness, but even more this memory speaks to me of mercy and love. How—when you throw your faults with total, filial trust in the burning all-consuming brazier of love—how wouldn’t they be consumed without coming back?”

Read Father John Clarke’s translation of Letter 247 from Saint Thérèse to Abbé Maurice Bellière (21 June 1897) here.

 


Nota Bene: We have elected to be as faithful to the original text as possible in our translation, avoiding a re-cast into contemporary idioms. There is the age-old question among translators of French: does avoir confiance mean to be confident, to have confidence, or does it mean to trust? As an example, again and again today, theological translators agree: the best and truest translation of Jésus, j’ai confiance en toi is, Jesus, I trust in you.

 

Lethel, François-Marie. (2011) La Lumière du Christ dans le Coeur de l'Église: Jean-Paul II et la théologie des saints. 
© 2011, Librairie Éditrice Vaticane. Pour la langue française: © Éditions Parole et Silence, 2011.
Translations from the French are the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.

 

 

Quote of the day: 21 July

Over time, few devotions have been so extensively promoted as the devotion to the Holy Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

It is so intimately connected with the life of the Catholic, that it provokes more attention when particular Catholics do not practice it, than when it is visibly part of their life.

In 1595, however, Mag. Joseph Falcone published a work on the history of the Order, in which as a contemporary he declared that this devotion blossomed, especially in Spain, and that there was no house where people did not wear the garment of Carmel, indeed, through the common wearing of that garment, the whole of Spain and Portugal could be said to be one great cloister of Carmelites.

For a long time, people believed that when it came to the Netherlands, any indication that the Scapular was also worn here was missed.

Admittedly, not many traces of this devotion have remained but, all the same, they do tell us that the Netherlands did not trail behind other countries.

We possess a poem by a layperson, from the end of the fifteenth-century, which sings the praises of the Scapular.

The translation of this text reads as follows:

We see the Carmelites clothed with Scapulars who—from the hands of the Holy Simon Stock when he, as a foretaste of the reward for his devotion to the Holy Virgin Mary, having been graced to contemplate her, Mary, with this garment in her virginal hands—have accepted the cited Scapular with incredible zeal as their garment.

We can say frankly that in our country all priests could be said to be promoters of this beautiful devotion and, thanks to the piety of their priests, nearly all Catholics in the Netherlands have received the garment of the Lady of Mount Carmel. What Falcone said of Spain at the end of the 16th century may surely be said of the Netherlands today: There is no house where, to be blessed with the countless indulgences and privileges of the Carmelite Order, one does not wear the garment of Carmel.

Blessed Titus Brandsma
Promoting the Holy Scapular in the Netherlands (excerpts)

 

NDMC Simon Stock Baitenhausen_Kirche_Prozessionsfahne
The Blessed Virgin Mary appears to St. Simon Stock
Processional banner, early 18th c. attributed to A. Bastian
Pilgrimage Church Maria zum Berge Carmel
Baitenhausen, Meersburg, Bodenseekreis, Germany
Andreas Praefcke/Wikimedia Commons

 

English translation of fragments of ‘De verspreiding van het H. Scapulier in Nederland’
by Susan Verkerk-Wheatley / Anne-Marie Bos
Translation: Susan Verkerk-Wheatley / Anne-Marie Bos  © Titus Brandsma Instituut 2019

 

 

Quote of the day: 20 July

“But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors’” (1 Kg 19:4).

The previous verse tells us why Elijah decides to go to the desert and wants to die: “He was afraid; he got up and fled for his life” (1 Kg 19:3).

Elijah was a great prophet, a man of God, and a giant of the faith. Even the great men of God can suffer moments of crisis and fear, as in this case with the prophet Elijah, who flees in fear before the threats and persecution of the powerful Phoenician queen Jezebel.

The prophet’s crisis, however, becomes a moment of grace because God approaches him in the desert and feeds him, giving him new strength to live.

Elijah goes to the desert, lies down and goes to sleep. He’s just waiting to die. “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors” (1 Kings 19:4). Like so many other believers in the Bible, Elijah complains before God. All that remains is to throw in the towel; everything has been useless.

And further, now Elijah is afraid. Fear leads Elijah not only to run away but also to fall asleep. Falling asleep is to remain unconscious, in a certain way: it’s an escape from reality.

However, when things turn dark; when what’s transpired becomes indecipherable and the future, uncertain: that’s when we have to be wide awake.

 

BAEZ - We must not turn off the light IGsize

 

We must not turn off the light of conscience and discernment, for that is when we must be more clear-headed than ever.

The biblical story tells us that Elijah was awakened and fed by God, because God doesn’t want anyone to be asleep and fearful.

The prophet turns to hear the word of the Lord through an angel, saying two times: “Get up and eat” (1 Kings 19:5).  After eating the first time, Elijah goes back to sleep.

Sometimes the crisis is so great
and the discouragement is so strong
that it is difficult to get up and walk.

But God is not overcome by our weakness; God insists for the second time in feeding Elijah: “Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you” (1 Kings 19:7). God doesn’t want us to feel fearful, neither does he want us to sleep.

God offered Elijah—through his messenger—frugal and simple food: a pilgrim’s meal (“a cake baked on hot stones” and “a jar of water”, 1 Kings 19:6). At that moment you don’t need a succulent feast, but effective nutrition. That kind of effective nutrition to recover strength and hope, only God can provide. Elijah ate and “he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God” (1 Kings 19:8).

Before eating, the prophet’s flight was headed toward death; after being fed in the desert, that miraculous meal takes him to Mount Horeb or Sinai, where Moses met the Lord, where Israel first made a covenant with its God. God began everything on that mountain.

 

Sinai Sunrise Richard White Blogfeatimage
Elijah goes to that mountain—where the whole history of the covenant started—to begin again, renewed by God’s strength, and to be able to continue as a man, as a believer, and as a prophet.

 

Elijah fought against the injustice and arrogance of the powerful, the manipulation of religion, the violent repression, and the use of fear as a form of domination. All of these shady schemes are opposed to God’s plan.

Elijah gave everything. In the end, in self-imposed exile, escaping to protect himself from the death threats of Queen Jezebel, he falls down, tired and hopeless, in the desert. He was tempted not to keep fighting, dreaming, and hoping. It can happen to anyone.

The biblical text, however, gives us the certainty that God’s nourishment allows us to come out of our unconscious state and overcome fear—not letting anyone deprive us of hope. The bread that God gives us in the desert is more powerful than the wiles and threats of the shadowy structures of oppression and death.

Today, too, we need a bread that is mysterious and effective, that allows us to walk with strength and hope.

That bread is Jesus, who today has told us: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats of this bread will live forever” (Jn 6:51). Jesus offers to nourish us so as to give us strength, light, hope, and the breath of life that come from the same God, the creator of life.

If Jesus nourishes us with his love and kindness, with his light and with his strength, nothing can take away our joy and hope. In our interior, in the depths of our heart, God feeds us with his Son, the Bread come down from heaven.

 

Divine Liturgy Eucharistic Prayer St Petersburg Theological Academy Flickr
In our interior,
in the depths of our heart,
God feeds us with his Son,
the Bread come down from heaven
Saint-Petersburg Theological Academy / Flickr

 

We have heard Jesus say: “No one can come to me unless drawn by the Father who sent me.” The Father mysteriously draws us to Jesus; he makes Jesus attractive to us. And if Jesus presents himself again to us—attractive, fascinating, familiar in the depths of our being—we are attracted to the good, the beautiful, the noble.

If Jesus makes us attractive, we will be fascinating and attractive, which does good for the human person—which builds a better world.

 

Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.

Auxiliary Bishop of Managua
Homily, 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (excerpts)
12 August 2018 

 

You can read the full text of the homily on our blog here.

27 July: Blessed Titus Brandsma

July 27
BLESSED TITUS BRANDSMA
Priest and Martyr

Optional Memorial

Born in Bolsward (The Netherlands) in 1881, Blessed Titus Brandsma joined the Carmelite Order as a young man. Ordained a priest in 1905, he earned a doctorate in philosophy in Rome. He then taught in various schools in Holland and was named professor of philosophy as Rector Magnificus. He was noted for his constant availability to everyone. He was a professional journalist, and in 1935 he was appointed the ecclesiastical advisor to Catholic journalists. Both before and during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands he fought, faithful to the Gospel, against the spread of Nazi ideology and for the freedom of Catholic education and of the Catholic press. For this, he was arrested and sent to a succession of prisons and concentration camps where he brought comfort and peace to his fellow prisoners and did good even to his tormentors. In 1942, after much suffering and humiliation, he was killed at Dachau. He was beatified by Saint John Paul II on Nov. 3, 1985.

From the Common of One Martyr, except the following:

Office of Readings

The Second Reading (Alternative 1)

Introduction to Het lijden vergoddelijkt

From the writings of Blessed Titus Brandsma

The mysticism of the Passion

Jesus called Himself the head of the Mystical Body, of which we are the members. He is the vine, we are the branches. He laid Himself in the winepress and Himself trod it. He handed us the wine so that, drinking it, we might lead His life, might share His suffering. Whoever wishes to do My Will, let him daily take up his cross. Whoever follows me has the light of life. I am the way, He said. I have given you an example, so that as I have done so you may do also. And when His disciples did not understand that His way would be a way of suffering, He explained this to them and said, “Should not the Christ so suffer, in order to enter into His glory?”

Then the hearts of the disciples burned within them. God’s word had set them on fire. And when the Holy Spirit had descended on them to fan that divine fire into flame, then they were glad to suffer scorn and persecution, whereby they resembled Him Who had preceded them on the way of suffering.

The prophets had already marked His way of suffering; the disciples now understood that He had not avoided that way. From the crib to the cross, suffering, poverty and lack of appreciation were His lot. He had directed His whole life to teaching people how different is God’s view of suffering, poverty and lack of human appreciation from the foolish wisdom of the world. After sin, suffering had to follow so that, through the cross, man’s lost glory and life with God might be regained. Suffering is the way to heaven. In the cross is salvation, in the cross is victory. God willed it so. He Himself assumed the obligation of suffering in view of the glory of redemption. St. Paul makes it clear to us how all the disasters of this earthly life are insignificant, how they must be considered as nothing and passing, in comparison with the glory that will be revealed to us when the time of suffering is past, and we come to share in God’s glory.

Mary, who kept all God’s words in her heart, in the fullness of grace granted her, understood the great value of suffering. While the apostles fled, she went out to meet the Savior on the way to Calvary and stood beneath the cross, in order to share His grief and shame to the end. And she carried Him to the grave, firmly trusting that He would rise.

We object when He hands us the chalice of His suffering. It is so difficult for us to resign ourselves to suffering. To rejoice in it strikes us as heroic. What is the value of our offering of self if we unite ourselves each morning only in word and gesture, rather than in thought and will, to that offering which we, together with the Church, make of Him with whom we are in the one body?

Jesus once wept over Jerusalem.

Oh, that this day you had known the gift of God!

Oh, that this day we might realize the value God has placed on the suffering He sends: He, the All-Good.

Responsory

R/. God forbid that I glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, * by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
V/. We preach Christ crucified, to others a stumbling block and a folly, but to us the power and the wisdom of God, * by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Prayer

Lord our God, source and giver of life,
you gave to Blessed Titus the Spirit of courage
to proclaim human dignity and the freedom of the Church,
even in the throes of degrading persecution and death.
Grant us that same Spirit
so that in the coming of your kingdom of justice and peace
we might never be ashamed of the Gospel
but be enabled to recognize your loving-kindness
in all the events of our lives.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God for ever and ever.

 

Titus-Brandsma_Rector-Magnificus
Blessed Titus Brandsma, Rector Magnificus of the Catholic University of Nijmegen

 

Titus Brandsma_Word has been received_Wichita Cath Advance 11sept42
Wichita Catholic Advance, 11 September 1942

20 July: Saint Elijah

July 20
SAINT ELIJAH
Prophet and Our Father

Solemnity (O.Carm.)
Feast (O.C.D.)

The prophet Elijah appears in Scripture as a man of God who lived always in His presence and fought zealously for the worship of the one God. He defended God’s law in a solemn contact on Mt. Carmel, and afterwards was given on Mt. Horeb an intimate experience of the living God. The hermits who instituted a form of monastic life in honor of Our Lady on Mt. Carmel in the twelfth century, followed monastic tradition in turning to Elijah as their Father and model.

Evening Prayer I

Hymn

Let the sun, rising, hear your prise, Elijah,
Earth, sky, and water, hear our jubilation
To the sun’s setting, glory of your people,
Strength of our Order.

O light of heaven’s radiant beauty glowing,
Mighty in wonder, blessed in your merits,
Many times witness of his greatest marvels
By the Lord chosen.

Fiery the chariot, drawn by fiery horses,
Upwards in triumph, swiftly angels bear you
Blazing in glory beyond earthly beauty
Shining from heaven.

You were the witness, Moses your companion,
To the bright glory of the sole-Begotten,
As the Apostles gazed and fell in wonder
High on Mount Tabor.

Stay with us now and shield us with your favor.
We are your children; trustingly we ask you
Stretch out your hand and grant us your protection
Guarding us always.

Praise to the Father, to the sole-Begotten,
Praise to their Holy Coeternal Spirit,
Kingdom and power, glory and dominion,
Now and forever.

11.11.11.5.
Audiat miras oriens cadensque
Tr. by Mary Paula, O.C.D.

Psalmody

Ant. 1 Elijah arose like a fire, and his word burned like a torch.

Psalm 111

I will thank the Lord with all my heart *
In the meeting of the just and their assembly.
Great are the works of the Lord, *
to be pondered by all who love them.

Majestic and glorious his work, *
his justice stands firm for ever.
He makes us remember his wonders. *
The Lord is compassion and love.

He gives food to those who fear him; *
keeps his covenant ever in mind.
He has shown his might to his people *
by giving them the lands of the nations.

His works are justice and truth: *
his precepts are all of them sure,
standing firm for ever and ever: *
they are made in uprightness and truth.

He has sent deliverance to his people †
and established his covenant for ever. *
Holy his name, to be feared.

To fear the Lord is the first stage of wisdom; †
all who do so prove themselves wise. *
His praise shall last for ever!

Ant. Elijah arose like a fire, and his word burned like a torch.

Ant. 2 How long will you limp between two sides? If the Lord is God, follow him.

Psalm 115

Not to us, Lord, not to us, *
but to your name give the glory
for the sake of your love and your truth, *
lest the heathen say: ‘Where is their God?’

But our God is in the heavens; *
he does whatever he wills.
Their idols are silver and gold, *
the work of human hands.

They have mouths but they cannot speak; *
they have eyes but they cannot see;
they have ears but they cannot hear; *
they have nostrils but they cannot smell.

With their hands they cannot feel; †
with their feet they cannot walk. *
No sound comes from their throats.
Their makers will come to be like them *
and so will all who trust in them.

Sons of Israel, trust in the Lord; *
he is their help and their shield.
Sons of Aaron, trust in the Lord; *
he is their help and their shield.

You who fear him, trust in the Lord; *
he is their help and their shield.

He remembers us, and he will bless us; †
he will bless the sons of Israel. *
He will bless the sons of Aaron.

The Lord will bless those who fear him, *
the little no less than the great:
to you may the Lord grant increase, *
to you and all your children.

May you be blessed by the Lord, *
the maker of heaven and earth.
The heavens belong to the Lord, *
but the earth he has given to men.

The dead shall not praise the Lord, *
nor those who go down into the silence.
But we who live bless the Lord *
now and for ever. Amen.

Ant. How long will you limp between two sides? If the Lord is God, follow him.

Ant. 3 The Lord will reward his servants the prophets.

Canticle: Rev 11:17-18; 12:10-12

We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, *
who are and who were,
that you have taken your great power *
and begun to reign.

The nations raged, *
but your wrath came,
and the time for the dead to be judged, *
for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints,
and those who fear your name, *
both small and great.

Now the salvation and the power †
and the kingdom of our God *
and the authority of his Christ have come,
for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, *
who accuses them day and night before our God.

And they have conquered him *
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony, *
for they loved not their lives even unto death.
Rejoice, then, O heaven, *
and you that dwell therein.

Ant. The Lord will reward his servants the prophets.

Scripture Reading

James 5:16-18

The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. Elijah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit.

Responsory

R/. Blessed are they * who see you. Repeat R/.
V/. And are honored with your friendship * who see you. Glory … R/.

Canticle of Mary

Ant. In former days God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets, but in these last days, he has spoken to us through his Son, whom he has appointed the heir of all things.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, *
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant, *
and from this day all generations will call me blessed.

The Almighty has done great things for me: *
holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,*
and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and has sent the rich away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel*
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, *
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, *
and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. In former days God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets, but in these last days, he has spoken to us through his Son, whom he has appointed the heir of all things.

Intercessions

Let us give joyful praise to the living and true God, who chose the prophet Elijah to proclaim his power and mercy; let us say to him:

R/. Lord, make us witnesses of your love.

Lord, you accepted the sacrifice of Elijah and consumed it with fire from heaven; accept our evening sacrifice which we offer for the good of the Church. R/.

When Elijah prayed on the mountain you sent saving rain from heaven; fill us who have been called to Carmel with a spirit of prayer, so that we may draw a shower of grace to the world. R/.

You gave to the prophet Elijah the ministry of reconciling parents and children; make us workers for peace, so that the peace of Christ may reign in the world. R/.

You made Elijah the defender of your honor and of true worship; increase our concern for justice, so that by giving you all that is your due, we may serve our brothers and sisters in the spirit of the Gospel. R/.

You took the prophet Elijah to yourself in a whirlwind of fire; graciously admit our departed brothers and sisters into the embrace of your glory. R/.

Our Father …

Prayer

Almighty, ever living God,
your prophet Elijah, our Father,
lived always in your presence
and was zealous for the honor due to your name.
May we, your servants,
always seek your face
and bear witness to your love.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Ivy border media

Invitatory

Ant. Come let us adore the living God, who speaks to us through the prophets.

Office of Readings

HYMN

Great Author of all things that are
To you we sing in joyful praise
Of him, the Thesbite, whom you love,
Elijah, seer of ancient days.

With burning zeal for your blest name
He challenged wicked priests of Baal
And conquering, killed them in his might
To make your sacred law prevail.

The victims offered by his prayer
Drew heaven’s blest consuming flame
In vain Baal’s servants scream and rave,
Their frenzy brings them only shame.

Then Jezebel, unholy queen,
In fury raves, the prophet flees,
Beneath the sheltering juniper
He sleeps and then an angel sees.

The angel offers strengthening bread
With water pure his thirst to end
And marks a journey he must make
Mount Horeb’s summit to ascend.

No food but this for forty days
He journeys through the desert land
Prefiguring the royal feast
Prepared us by the Father’s hand.

To Father, Word and Paraclete
All glory, honor ever be
O undivided Trinity
Through whom creation came to be. Amen.

88.88.
Te magne rerum Conditor

Psalmody

Ant. 1 Lord, I have had enough: take my life, I am no better than my ancestors.

Psalm 11

In the Lord I have taken my refuge. †
How can you say to my soul: *
‘Fly like a bird to its mountain.

‘See the wicked bracing their bow; †
they are fixing their arrows on the string *
to shoot upright men in the dark.
Foundations once destroyed, *
what can the just do?’

The Lord is in his holy temple, *
the Lord, whose throne is in heaven.
His eyes look down on the world; *
his gaze tests mortal men.

The Lord tests the just and the wicked: *
the lover of violence he hates.
He sends fire and brimstone on the wicked; *
he sends a scorching wind as their lot.

The Lord is just and loves justice: *
the upright shall see his face.

Ant. Lord, I have had enough: take my life, I am no better than my ancestors.

Ant. 2 An angel of the Lord said to him: Get up and eat, for there is a great journey before you.

Psalm 28

To you, O Lord, I call, *
my rock, hear me.
If you do not heed I shall become *
like those in the grave.

Hear the voice of my pleading *
as I call for help,
as I lift up my hands in prayer *
to your holy place.

Do not drag me away with the wicked, *
with the evil-doers,
who speak words of peace to their neighbors *
but with evil in their hearts.

Blessed be the Lord for he has heard *
my cry, my appeal.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; *
in him my heart trusts.
I was helped, my heart rejoices *
and I praise him with my song.

The Lord is the strength of his people, *
a fortress where his anointed find help.
Save your people; bless Israel your heritage. *
Be their shepherd and carry them for ever.

Ant. An angel of the Lord said to him: Get up and eat, for there is a great journey before you.

Ant. 3 Elijah ate and drank, and in the strength of that food he walked to the mountain of God.

Psalm 30

I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me *
and have not let my enemies rejoice over me.

O Lord, I cried to you for help *
and you, my God, have healed me.
O Lord, you have raised my soul from the dead, *
restored me to life from those who sink into the grave.

Sing psalms to the Lord, you who love him, *
give thanks to his holy name.
His anger lasts a moment; his favor all through life. *
At night there are tears, but joy comes with dawn.

I said to myself in my good fortune: *
‘Nothing will ever disturb me.’
Your favor had set me on a mountain fastness, *
then you hid your face and I was put to confusion.

To you, Lord, I cried, *
to my God I made appeal:
‘What profit would my death be, my going to the grave? *
Can dust give you praise or proclaim your truth?’

The Lord listened and had pity. *
The Lord came to my help.
For me you have changed my mourning into dancing, *
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.
So my soul sings psalms to you unceasingly. *
O Lord my God, I will thank you forever.

Ant. Elijah ate and drank, and in the strength of that food he walked to the mountain of God.

V/. You are a man of God.
R/. And the word of God in your mouth is true.

The First Reading (Alternative)

1 Kings 19: 4-9a, 11-14a

A reading from the first book of Kings

Elijah walked all the way to the mountain of God

Elijah went a day’s journey into the desert, until he came to a broom tree and sat beneath it. He prayed for death, “This is enough, O Lord! Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” He lay down and fell asleep under the broom tree, but then an angel touched him and ordered him to get up and eat. He looked and there at his head was a hearth cake and a jug of water. After he ate and drank, he lay down again, but the angel of the Lord came back a second time, touched him, and ordered, “Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!” He got up, ate and drank; then strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb. There he came to a cave, where he took shelter.

Then the Lord said, “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the Lord, the Lord will be passing by.” A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the Lord—but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake—but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire—but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him, “Elijah, why are you here?” He replied, “I have been most zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts.”

Responsory

R/. Leave this place and go eastward, said the Lord to Elijah. * And he went and did as the Lord had said.
V/. Hide yourself by the brook Cherith, and there drink from the stream; and I have commanded ravens to feed you there. * And he went and did as the Lord had said.

The Second Reading

Bk 2, Hom. 1, 17

From a Homily of Pope St. Gregory on the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel

The mystical contemplation of God

In divine contemplation the spirit is often abstracted to such a degree that it is already granted the joy of partaking a little, in image as it were, of that eternal freedom which ‘eye has not seen nor ear heard;’ but then, hampered by the weight of its own mortality, it falls back into the depths and is held captive in penalty for its sins. It has glimpsed the delights of true freedom and longs to escape from its captivity but, since it cannot, it keeps its gaze fixed upon the imprisoning doors. This is why, when the Jews had been freed from slavery to Egypt, each of them stood adoring in the doorway of his tent when God spoke and the pillar of cloud was visible.

Wherever we direct our mental gaze, there we may be said to stand. That is why Elijah said: ‘The Lord lives, in whose sight I stand.’ He did indeed stand before God, for his heart was intent on God. That the Jews gazed at the pillar of cloud and stood at the doors of their tents in adoration, has this meaning: when the human mind perceives these high and heavenly things—albeit in image—the elevation of its thought has already lifted it free from the limits of its bodily habitation; and although it is denied sight of the divine substance, it humbly adores Him whose power it can already see by spiritual illumination.

This is why Elijah is described as standing at the mouth of his cave and veiling his face when he heard the voice of the Lord speaking to him; for as soon as the voice of heavenly understanding enters the mind through the grace of contemplation, the whole man is no longer within the cave, for his soul is no longer taken up with matters of the flesh: intent on leaving the bounds of mortality, he stands at the cave’s mouth.

But if a man stands at the mouth of the cave and hears the word of God with the heart’s ear, he must veil his face. For when heavenly grace leads us to the understanding of higher things, the rarer the heights to which we are raised, the more we should abase ourselves in our own estimation by humility: we must not try to know ‘more than is fitting; we must know as it befits us to know.’ Otherwise, through over-familiarity with the invisible, we risk going astray; and we might perhaps look for material light in what is immaterial. For to cover the face while listening with the ear means hearing with our mind the voice of Him who is within us, yet averting the eyes of the heart from every bodily appearance. If we do this, there will be no risk of our spirit interpreting as something corporeal that which is everywhere in its entirety and everywhere uncircumscribed.

Beloved brothers, we have already learned through our Redeemer’s death, resurrection and ascension into heaven, what the joys of eternity mean, and we know that our fellow-citizens we have known. While our feet stand within the walls of His holy Church, let us keep our hearts facing towards the freedom of our heavenly fatherland. We are still encumbered, it is true, by the many cares of this corruptible life. If then we cannot leave the cave completely, let us at least stand at its mouth, and go out whenever we are granted the favor of doing so by the grace of our Redeemer Who lives and reigns with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Responsory

R/. The word of the Lord came to Elijah. * Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.
V/. He went out and stood at the entrance to the cave, and the Lord passed by in the whisper of a gentle breeze. * Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.

Where the Vigil Office is celebrated:

Canticles

Ant. Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is passing by.

Canticle I  

Jer 17:7-8

Happy are those who put their trust in the Lord 

Happy are those who hear the word of God and keep it (Lk 11:28)

Blessed is the man who trust in the Lord, *
whose trust is the Lord.

He is like a tree planted by water, *
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes, *
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought, *
for it does not cease to bear fruit.

Canticle II

Sir 14:20, 15:3-5a, 6b

The happiness of the wise

Wisdom has been proved right by all her children (Lk 7:35)

Happy the man who meditates on wisdom, *
and reasons with good sense.
She will give him the bread of understanding to eat, *
and the water of wisdom to drink.

He will lean on her and will not fall, *
he will rely on her and not be put to shame.
She will raise him high above his neighbors, *
and he will inherit an everlasting name.

Canticle III

Sir 51:1-3b, 4a, 7c, 11, 14ab, 15

Thanksgiving for delivery from affliction

God has saved us from the hands of our foes, that we might serve him (Lk 1:74)

I will give thanks to you, Lord and King, *
and praise you, God my Savior,
I give thanks to your name; *
for you have been protector and support to me,
and redeemed my body from destruction.
from the snare of the lying tongue, *
from lips that fabricate falsehood.
You have redeemed me, 
true to the greatness of your mercy, *
from the perjured tongue slandering me to the king.

Then I remembered your mercy, Lord, *
and your deeds from earliest times.
I called on the Lord, the father of my Lord: *
“Do not desert me in the days of  ordeal,
I will praise your name unceasingly,
and gratefully sing its praises;” *
and my plea was heard.

Ant. Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is passing by.

Gospel

Mt 17:1-8

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew

Moses and Elijah appeared to them

Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone. There in their presence he was transfigured: his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared to them; they were talking with him. Then Peter spoke to Jesus. “Lord,” he said, “it is wonderful for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when suddenly a bright cloud covered them with shadow, and from the cloud there came a voice which said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favor. Listen to him.” When they heard this, the disciples fell on their faces, overcome with fear. But Jesus came up and touched them. “Stand up,” he said, “do not be afraid.” And when they raised their eyes they saw no one but only Jesus.

Te Deum

You are God: we praise you; *
You are the Lord: we acclaim you;
You are the eternal Father: *
All creation worships you.

To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, *
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of power and might, *
heaven and earth are full of your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you. 
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. *
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.

Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you: *
Father, of majesty unbounded,
your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, *
and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the King of glory, *
the eternal Son of the Father.

When you became man to set us free *
you did not spurn the Virgin’s womb.

You overcame the sting of death, *
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. *
We believe that you will come, and be our judge.

Come then, Lord, and help your people, *
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints*
to glory everlasting.

Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance.
 Govern and uphold them now and always.

Day by day we bless you.
 We praise your name for ever.

Keep us today, Lord, from all sin.
 Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.

Lord, show us your love and mercy,
 for we have put our trust in you.

In you, Lord, is our hope:
 And we shall never hope in vain.

Prayer

Almighty, ever living God,
your prophet Elijah, our Father,
lived always in your presence
and was zealous for the honor due to your name.
May we, your servants,
always seek your face
and bear witness to your love.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

watering can border medium

Morning Prayer

Hymn

Come, blest companions, let our joy resounding
Extol to Heaven the Leader of our line.
‘Tis meet the memory of his deeds abounding
Should waken ceaseless canticles divine.

He knows the gentle breathing of the Spirit
Clothed in the whistling murmur of the air,
By God’s command the chastisements they merit
Proud Jezebel and Ahab justly share.

The caverns green of Carmel form his dwelling,
With leathern tunic is he rudely clad,
To impious Ahaziah his foretelling
Gives portent of a dissolution sad.

Twice at his prayer the fire from Heaven descending
Consumeth trembling soldiers in its flame,
The flowing waters mit with his mantle rending,
Dry shod he passeth safely through the same.

O Father, let thy help and thy protection
Be o’er thy children as they humbly plead,
Entreat the Spirit, by His sweet election,
To multiply His graces in their need.

O unbegotten Father, we adore Thee,
O Son begotten, reverence be to Thee,
O glorious Spirit, bow we low before Thee,
Thou simple undivided Trinity.

11.11.11.10.
Pergamus, socii, tollere canticus

Psalmody

Ant. 1 God lives; I am standing in his presence.

Psalm 63

O God, you are my God, for you I long; *
for you my soul is thirsting.
My body pines for you*
like a dry, weary land without water.
So I gaze on you in the sanctuary *
to see your strength and your glory.

For your love is better than life, *
my lips will speak your praise.
So I will bless you all my life, *
in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul shall be filled as with a banquet, *
my mouth shall praise you with joy.

On my bed I remember you. *
On you I muse through the night
for you have been my help; *
in the shadow of your wings I rejoice.
My soul clings to you; *
your right hand holds me fast.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, *
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, *
and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. God lives; I am standing in his presence.

Ant. 2 Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord; for the Lord is passing by.

Canticle – Daniel 3:57-88, 56

Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord. *
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord. *
You heavens, bless the Lord,
All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord. *
All you hosts of the Lord, bless the Lord.
Sun and moon, bless the Lord. *
Stars of heaven, bless the Lord.

Every shower and dew, bless the Lord. *
All you winds, bless the Lord.
Fire and heat, bless the Lord. *
Cold and chill, bless the Lord.
Dew and rain, bless the Lord. *
Frost and chill, bless the Lord.
Ice and snow, bless the Lord. *
Nights and days, bless the Lord.
Light and darkness, bless the Lord. *
Lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord.

Let the earth bless the Lord. *
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Mountains and hills, bless the Lord. *
Everything growing from the earth, bless the Lord.
You springs, bless the Lord. *
Seas and rivers, bless the Lord.
You dolphins and all water creatures, bless the Lord. *
All you birds of the air, bless the Lord.
All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord. *
You sons of men, bless the Lord.

O Israel, bless the Lord. *
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Priests of the Lord, bless the Lord. *
Servants of the Lord, bless the Lord.
Spirits and souls of the just, bless the Lord. *
Holy men of humble heart, bless the Lord.
Hananiah, Azariah, Mishael, bless the Lord. *
Praise and exalt him above all forever.

Let us bless the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. *
Let us praise and exalt him above all for ever.
Blessed are you, Lord, in the firmament of heaven. *
Praiseworthy and glorious and exalted above all for ever.

Ant. Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord; for the Lord is passing by.

Ant. 3 With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord God of hosts.

Psalm 149

Sing a new song to the Lord, *
his praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel rejoice in its maker, *
let Zion’s sons exult in their king.
Let them praise his name with dancing *
and make music with timbrel and harp.

For the Lord takes delight in his people. *
He crowns the poor with salvation.
Let the faithful rejoice in their glory, *
shout for joy and take their rest.
Let the praise of God be on their lips *
and a two-edged sword in their hand,

to deal out vengeance to the nations *
and punishment on all the peoples;
to bind their kings in chains *
and their nobles in fetters of iron;
to carry out the sentence pre-ordained; *
this honor is for all his faithful.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, *
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, *
and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord God of hosts.

Scripture Reading

2 Pt 1:19-21

We have confirmation of what was said in prophecies; and you will be right to depend on prophecy and take it as a lamp for lighting a way through the dark until the dawn comes and the morning star rises in your minds. At the same time, we must be careful to remember that the interpretation of scriptural prophecy is never a matter for the individual. Why? Because no prophecy ever came from man’s initiative. When men spoke for God it was the Holy Spirit that moved them.

Short Responsory

R/. I will be satisfied, Lord, * when your glory appears. Repeat R/.
V/. And in righteousness I will see your face, * when your glory appears.
Glory . . . R/.

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. Lord God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, give proof this day that you are the God of Israel, and that I am your servant, and that all I have said is at your command.

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; *
he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior, *
born of the house of his servant David.

Through his holy prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies, *
from the hands of all who hate us.

He promised to show mercy to our fathers*
and to remember his holy covenant.

This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham: *
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear, *
holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.

You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High; *
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
to give his people knowledge of salvation *
by the forgiveness of their sins.

In the tender compassion of our God *
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, *
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, *
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, *
and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. Lord God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, give proof this day that you are the God of Israel, and that I am your servant, and that all I have said is at your command.

Intercessions

God our Father spoke in former days through the prophets, but today he speaks to us in his Son, through whom he wishes the whole world to be joined to him. Let us humbly pray:

R/. Lord, draw us to yourself.

Lord, you revealed yourself to the prophet Elijah in silence and solitude; help us to put aside all that prevents us from hearing your voice, so that we may seek and find you. R/.

When he was thirsty, you gave Elijah refreshing water at the torrent of Karith; may we drink at the living springs of love and contemplation. R/.

As he walked to Mount Horeb, you filled Elijah with strength; may we who are strengthened by the Body and Blood of Christ press on unwearied in our journey to you. R/.

Lord, you revealed yourself to Elijah in the whisper of a gentle breeze; in attentive silence and with an obedient spirit may we receive every inspiration of the Holy Spirit. R/.

Lord, you raised up Elijah like a fire and made him zealous for your glory; may we too burn with the fire of your love, to serve the Church and our brethren in all our work. R/.

Our Father …

Prayer

Almighty, ever living God,
your prophet Elijah, our Father,
lived always in your presence
and was zealous for the honor due to your name.
May we, your servants,
always seek your face
and bear witness to your love.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Blazon - first emblem authorized by Gracian

Prayer during the Day

Antiphons and psalms of the weekday.

Before Noon

Ant. Elijah called out to the Lord, and the Lord heard his voice.

Scripture Reading

Heb 12:1-2

Since we for our part are surrounded by this cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every encumbrance of sin which clings to us and persevere in running the race which lies ahead; let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who inspires and perfects our faith. For the sake of the joy which lay before him he endured the cross, heedless of its shame. He has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.

V/. Lord, I have sought your face.
R/. Your face I will seek always.

Midday

Ant. The words of the Lord were fulfilled; he did what he had promised his prophet Elijah.

Scripture Reading

Heb 4:12

God’s word is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword. It penetrates and divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the reflections and thoughts of the heart.

V/. I have hidden your sayings in my heart, Lord.
R/. So as never to sin against you.

Afternoon

Ant. The fire of the Lord fell and consumed Elijah’s offering.

Scripture Reading

Heb 12:28-29

We who are receiving the unshakable kingdom should hold fast to God’s grace, through which we may offer worship acceptable to him in reverence and awe. For our God is a consuming fire.

V/. Lord, your word is a consuming flame.
R/. Your servant loves it.

Prayer

Almighty, ever living God,
your prophet Elijah, our Father,
lived always in your presence
and was zealous for the honor due to your name.
May we, your servants,
always seek your face
and bear witness to your love.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Blazon Ocarm antique

Evening Prayer

Hymn

Praises to the great Elijah!
Let our songs 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.

Yet he went forth at God’s bidding,
Flashed God’s word and law abroad
Till the idols fell around him
And his people turned to God.

May we, too, make war on falsehood,
Burn with zeal for God’s command
Till we follow our true Master
In whose sight we always stand.

Now we pray our Prophet-father
That our lives obtain this grace:
An outpouring God’s Spirit
Over every time and place.

Praise and honor to the Father,
To the Son and Spirit praise.
Theirs be all our love and worship
Now and through eternal days.

87.87.
Text: Unknown

Psalmody

Ant. 1 Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of God in your mouth is true.

Psalm 15

Lord, who shall be admitted to your tent *
and dwell on your holy mountain?

He who walks without fault; *
he who acts with justice
and speaks the truth from his heart; *
he who does not slander with his tongue;

he who does no wrong to his brother, *
who casts no slur on his neighbor,
who holds the godless in disdain, *
but honors those who fear the Lord;

he who keeps his pledge, come what may; *
who takes no interest on a loan
and accepts no bribes against the innocent. *
Such a man will stand firm for ever.

Ant. Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of God in your mouth is true.

Ant. 2 The Lord said to Elijah: Go and present yourself to Ahab; I will send rain upon the earth.

Psalm 112

Happy the man who fears the Lord, *
who takes delight in all his commands.
His sons will be powerful on earth; *
the children of the upright are blessed.

Riches and wealth are in his house; *
his justice stands firm for ever.
He is a light in the darkness for the upright: *
he is generous, merciful and just.

The good man takes pity and lends, *
he conducts his affairs with honor.
The just man will never waver: *
he will be remembered for ever.

He has no fear of evil news; *
with a firm heart he trusts in the Lord.
With a steadfast heart he will not fear; *
he will see the downfall of his foes.

Open-handed, he gives to the poor; †
his justice stands firm for ever. *
His head will be raised in glory.

The wicked man sees and is angry, †
grinds his teeth and fades away;
the desire of the wicked leads to doom.

Ant. The Lord said to Elijah: Go and present yourself to Ahab; I will send rain upon the earth.

Ant. 3 Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind, and Elisha saw him no more.

Canticle: Rev 15:3-4

Great and wonderful are your deeds, *
O Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways, *
O King of the ages!

Who shall not fear and glorify your name, O Lord? *
For you alone are holy.
All nations shall come and worship you, *
for your judgments have been revealed.

Ant. Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind, and Elisha saw him no more.

Scripture Reading

2 Kgs 2:11-12

As they still went on and talked, behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, ‘My father, my father! the chariot of Israel and its horseman!’ And he saw him no more.

Short Responsory

R/. Elisha lifted the cloak of Elijah: * he struck the waters and they divided. Repeat R/.
V/. Because the spirit of Elijah rested on Elisha: * he struck the waters and they divided.
Glory . . . R/.

Canticle of Mary

Ant. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the day of the Lord comes, that great and terrible day. He will turn the hearts of fathers to their sons and the hearts of sons to their fathers.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, *
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant, *
and from this day all generations will call me blessed.

The Almighty has done great things for me: *
holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,*
and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and has sent the rich away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel*
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, *
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, *
and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the day of the Lord comes, that great and terrible day. He will turn the hearts of fathers to their sons and the hearts of sons to their fathers.

Intercessions

Let us give joyful praise to the living and true God, who chose the prophet Elijah to proclaim his power and mercy; let us say to him:

R/. Lord, make us witnesses of your love.

Lord, you accepted the sacrifice of Elijah and consumed it with fire from heaven; accept our evening sacrifice which we offer for the good of the Church. R/.

When Elijah prayed on the mountain you sent saving rain from heaven; fill us who have been called to Carmel with a spirit of prayer, so that we may draw a shower of grace to the world. R/.

You gave to the prophet Elijah the ministry of reconciling parents and children; make us workers for peace, so that the peace of Christ may reign in the world. R/.

You made Elijah the defender of your honor and of true worship; increase our concern for justice, so that by giving you all that is your due, we may serve our brothers and sisters in the spirit of the Gospel. R/.

You took the prophet Elijah to yourself in a whirlwind of fire; graciously admit our departed brothers and sisters into the embrace of your glory. R/.

Our Father …

Prayer

Almighty, ever living God,
your prophet Elijah, our Father,
lived always in your presence
and was zealous for the honor due to your name.
May we, your servants,
always seek your face
and bear witness to your love.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

 

Translation of Elijah_Epic Poem_BritLibrary
Image taken from page 8 of ‘[Elijah the Prophet. An epic poem.]’; courtesy British Library
To discover more illustrations from the public domain digital image collection of the British Library, visit their Flickr account, which contains more than one million photos available for download.
Featured image: Elijah Taken Up in a Chariot of Fire, Giuseppe Angeli  (c. 1740/1755)

 

Quote of the day: 19 July

We must continually apply ourselves so that all our actions, without exception, become a kind of brief conversation with God, not in a contrived manner but coming from the simplicity and purity of our hearts.

Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, O.C.D.
Spiritual Maxims

 

Caille, Leon Emile, 1836-1907; Prayer
Prayer
Léon Émile Caille (French, 1836–1907)
Oil on panel, 1872
Manchester Art Gallery, England
This is a traditional domestic scene of a mother and daughter sitting together in a kitchen. The mother is seated at a stove with a bowl placed in her lap; she has a red-patterned shawl and plain apron around her; the child is dressed in a pinafore and kneels beside her mother, leaning on her lap in a position of prayer. The mother looks down towards her child. There is a bronze kettle at their feet and cooking equipment everywhere in the surrounding stone kitchen.

 

Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection. Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God.
(Spiritual Maxims, p. 38; Chapter 2)
Copyright © 1994, 2015 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

23 July: Our Lady of Divine Grace

July 23
(In Europe: July 19)
OUR LADY, MOTHER OF DIVINE GRACE

Memorial

‘The Blessed Virgin Mary was eternally predestined, in the context of the Incarnation of the divine Word, to be the Mother of God. As decreed by divine Providence, she served on earth as the loving Mother of the divine Redeemer, His associate, uniquely generous, and the Lord’s humble servant. She conceived, bore, and nourished Christ; presented Him to the Father in the Temple; and was united with Him in His suffering as He died on the cross. In a completely unparalleled way she cooperated, by her obedience, faith, hope and burning charity, with our Savior’s work of restoring supernatural life to souls. For this reason, she is Mother to us all in the order of grace’ (Lumen Gentium, the Constitution on the Church, 61).

From the Common of the Blessed Virgin Mary, except the following:

Office of Readings

The Second Reading

Hom. 4

From the homily of St. Cyril of Alexandria preached at the Council of Ephesus

Our access to the fountainhead of grace is through Mary

Hail Mary, Mother of God, august treasury of the whole world, unquenchable torch, crown of virginity, scepter of orthodoxy, temple indestructible, and place of the uncontainable, mother and virgin. Through you is named blessed in the holy gospel He who comes in the name of the Lord. Hail Mary! You contained the uncontainable in your holy virginal womb. Through you the Trinity is glorified; through you is the cross named precious, and adored throughout the whole world; through you heaven exults; through you angels and archangels rejoice; through you demons are put to flight; through you the devil, the tempter, fell from heaven; through you the fallen creature is taken up to heaven; through you the whole created world, gripped in the madness of idolatry, come to a recognition of the truth; through you comes about holy baptism for believers; through you the oil of gladness; through you churches have been founded through the whole world; through you nations are led to repentance.

What need is there to speak at length? Through you the only Son of God shone His light for those who sat in darkness and in the shadow of death; through you prophets foretold what was to come; through you apostles preach salvation to the nations; through you the dead are raised to life; through you kings reign, through the Holy Trinity.

What man can sing adequately the praise of Mary? She is both virgin and mother! The wonder astounds me. Shall the Builder be forbidden to inhabit the temple He has built? Shall He be despised who chose His handmaid for His mother?

See then, all things rejoice. May it be ours to fear and bow before the unity of the Trinity, to worship and tremble in awe before the indivisible Trinity, as we sing praises of the ever-virgin Mary, that is the holy Church, and of her Son and immaculate spouse; for to Him is glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Responsory

R/. With confidence let us draw near to the throne of grace, * so that we may receive mercy, and find grace when we are in need of help.
V/. To you do we cry, blessed Virgin, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears, * so that we may receive mercy, and find grace when we are in need of help.

Morning Prayer

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. It is I who give birth to all noble loving and the holy gift of hope. From me comes every grace of faithful observance; from me all promise of life and vigor.

Prayer

God of eternal wisdom,
in your providence, you willed that the Blessed Virgin Mary
should bring forth the Author of Grace,
and take part with him
in the mystery of man’s redemption.
May she obtain for us grace in abundance
and bring us to the haven of everlasting salvation.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Evening Prayer

Canticle of Mary

Ant. Our salvation is in your hands, O Mother; smile upon us, and we shall be happy in our service of the Lord our King.

 

Mater-Divinae-Gratiae_sepia
“She is Mother to us all in the order of grace” (LG 61)

Quote of the day: 18 July

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 300 to her mother

[ July 18, 1906]

J. M. + J. T.

Darling little Mama,

I’m expecting you on Saturday at the time we arranged; I will go to receive you on foot, without a cane. I’m delighted about it! I was expecting you today, and here I see my Master wants to unite mother and child in suffering, since your dear health is the reason for the delay of your visit; I love you too much to be sad about it, for I understand better than ever how much God loves us when He tries us. What a relief for me to think of you looked after by our dear Guite; let yourself be cared for by her, obey her completely, won’t you, little Mama.

The Blessed Virgin has not performed the miracle you desired. When, as you tell me in your dear, kind letter, you’re afraid that I might be a victim marked out for suffering, I beg you not to be sad about it, that would be so beautiful; I don’t feel worthy of it; think now, to have a share in the sufferings of my crucified Bridegroom, and to go with Him to my passion to be a redemptrix with Him. . . . Saint Paul says that those whom God foreknew, He predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.  Rejoice in your mother’s heart when you think that God has predestined me and has marked me with the seal of the Cross of His Christ.

My legs, however, are getting better; I can walk without a cane. I’ve been given a very light robe, and this is what I wear when I make my little comings and goings, which consist in going out on the terrace and to the little tribune [small second-story prayer chapel overlooking the tabernacle]; can you imagine what a joy this is for my soul? Several times a day I make long visits to my Master, and I thank Him for having given me the use of my legs to go to Him. I am reading your dear book,  which is magnificent; you’ve made me a very precious gift, my dear Mama; I have it beside me on the little table that is so useful to me.  If you knew how well set up I am. . . . I think up something new every day, and my dear Mother smiles at my “comforts.” How she cares for me and anticipates my every need; I had told her I had a bad taste in my mouth and she got some new candy for me to bring me more relief, and it’s like that with everything; she has the intuitions of a mother. If you knew how she loves you; it was she who told me to write you right away, and I didn’t have to be begged, as you can imagine. We’ve had a very beautiful feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel,  I’ll tell you all about it on Saturday. I’m giving you all my best wishes for my Guite; tell little Sabeth to give her this holy card and to kiss her for Tata. A Dieu, darling Mama, I gather all of you together to kiss you as I love you. Be very reasonable, listen well to your Guite to please me. Your daughter who loves you more than she can say.

M.E. of the Trinity r.c.i.
26 years old today.


This would be the last birthday letter that Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity would write to her dear mother, Madame Catez. Less than four months later, she would die of acute adrenal failure, directly attributable to her years-long battle with Addison’s Disease.

 

bl-e-of-t-very-ill-near-death
One of the last photos taken of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity | Photo: Discalced Carmelites

 

Letter 300 to her mother, on 18 July 1906 The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel (p. 309-310)
ICS Publications, Washington DC © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

 

26 luglio – Sant’Anna

On 26 July the Church celebrates the Memorial of Saints Joachim and Anne, the parents of the Virgin Mary and grandparents of Jesus. In many places and in some of our Carmelite convents and monasteries the feast or solemnity of St. Anne is celebrated, in particular where she is venerated as the patron saint. The novena for the feast of St. Anne begins on 17 July. We share this bulletin from the Italian liturgy commission of the Discalced Carmelite order, which functions as a semi-official benchmark for Discalced Carmelites worldwide.

Liturgia Carmelitana

anna

Il 26 luglio la Chiesa celebra la memoria dei santi Gioacchino ed Anna, genitori della Vergine Maria e nonni di Gesù. In molti luoghi e anche in alcuni conventi carmelitani si celebra la festa o solennità di S. Anna, dove viene venerata come patrona titolare. Il 17 luglio ha inizio la novena in preparazione alla festa.

Proponiamo per la celebrazione i seguenti sussidi:

*****
NUOVO TESTO DELLA LITURGIA DELLE ORE DEI CARMELITANI SCALZI
E’ ormai terminata la raccolta delle correzioni e suggerimenti, ed è pronto il nuovo testo corretto. Nei prossimi mesi verrà stampato il libretto del “Proprio carmelitano” a tiratura limitata, ad uso interno…

View original post 101 more words

Quote of the day: 17 July

Sister Constance

 

Sister Constance—baptized Marie-Jeanne Meunier—was born in St-Denis, near Paris, on May 28, 1766. She entered our community on May 29, 1788, and took the habit on the following 13th of December.

But the unhappy decree of the Constituent Assembly, which proscribed the profession of vows—of which the Reverend Mother Prioress had been notified—deprived our dear Sister Constance of the happiness of professing her own.

To this trial was added still another that was even more cruel to her heart. Her parents from whom she had (so to speak) extracted their consent to enter the monastery, having learned of the fatal decree [that proscribed the profession of vows], resolved to make her come home. Armed with their authorization, one of her brothers presented himself with the intention to use force if she refused to leave of her own goodwill. But because his attempts were unsuccessful, a police raid took place.

The young novice, without being disturbed by this sudden and threatening appearance, replied to the summons which was issued for her to leave in the name of the law:

Gentlemen, I have entered here only with the consent of my parents. If they only want to get me to leave here because their tenderness is alarmed at the dangers that I can run into while staying there, I thank them for it; but nothing but death will be able to separate me from the company of my Sisters. And you, my brotherwhom I am most likely to see for the last timetestify to our dear parents that indifference does not enter into my refusal to yield to their desires, that it hurts my heart to give them cause for chagrin; but I also think that they cannot find fault in the fact that I am following the movement of my conscience. That is all I demand of this liberty whose benefits everyone proclaims to high heaven.

The commissioner, the King’s attorney, and the others did not go farther; they left, admiring the courage of the novice who fulfilled so well, in her sentiments and her language, the meaning of the religious name that had been given to her when she was admitted to the number of the daughters of St. Teresa. She had the glory of dying as a Christian heroine, like her companions, at only 28 years old.

Sister Marie of the Incarnation, O.C.D.

(Françoise-Geneviève Philippe)


What was this fatal decree?

Sr. Marie of the Incarnation tells us that Blessed Constance entered the Carmel of Compiègne on the 29th of May 1788 and was clothed in the habit of Carmel on December 13th.

Canonically, she should have professed her perpetual vows in the following December, 1789. Historian William Bush in his well-known book, To Quell the Terror, tells us that the prioress intended to permit Sr. Constance to profess her vows on the anniversary date in the following year.

 

Prise_de_la_Bastille Jean-Pierre Houël — Bibliothèque nationale de France
“La prise de la Bastille”, Jean-Pierre Houël (1789)—At the center, you can see the arrest of the commander of the Bastille, Bernard René Jourdan, marquis de Launay (1740-1789) | Bibliothèque nationale de France/Wikimedia Commons

 

The tumultuous events of 1789 changed everything. On Tuesday 14 July, revolutionary insurgents stormed the royal fortress in Paris called the Bastille. Their siege was successful; they captured the fortress, arrested the commander and turned the tide of revolutionary fervor in Paris toward the revolutionary insurgents and away from the crumbling royal administration. From Paris, soon the entire nation was ablaze with revolutionary fervor.

Meanwhile, in the Constituent Assembly—a governing body created in June 1789—deputies were emboldened by the actions of the insurgents. Thanks to the joint efforts of the French national library and Stanford University we can read the daily acts of the Constituent Assembly and learn exactly who and what created the fatal decree of 28 October 1789.

Mr. Rousselet gives an account, in the name of the committee on reports, of letters written by two male religious and one religious sister asking that the Assembly explain what it means concerning the profession of vows; he proposes to forbid the perpetual monastic vows.

Michel Louis Rousselet was a deputy from the bailiwick of Provins (Seine-et-Marne) southeast of Paris. He served only two years in the Assembly (30 Mar 1789 – 30 Sep 1791), but for the Catholics of France they were crucial. His report received the backing of Guy Jean-Baptiste Target from the bailiwick of Paris-Outside-the-Walls.

Mr. Target requests a postponement on the substance and presents the following decree:

Yes, the report …. the Assembly postpones the question concerning the profession of vows and however, as a provision, decrees that the profession of vows will be suspended in monasteries of either sex.

Several clergymen who were Deputies explained that the temporary suspension cast judgment on the matter; they demanded the implementation of the rule that required three days of discussion for important matters. Tragically, their pleas were ignored. The record of the Assembly states:

The decree proposed by Mr. Target is adopted.

 

Assemblée Nationale 28 Octobre 1789 decree NO VOWS
French Revolution Digital Archive
A collaboration of the Stanford University Libraries and the Bibliothèque nationale de France
Tome 9 : Du 16 septembre au 11 novembre 1789 » Séance du mercredi 28 octobre 1789 » Séance du jeudi 29 octobre 1789 » page 597

Michel, Louis Rousselet
1746 – 1834
Guy, Jean-Baptiste Target
1733 – 1806

Sanctions against the Catholic Church in France swiftly followed as the nascent revolutionary government, strapped for cash, expropriated all of the assets of the Catholic Church and her patrimony. To this very day, the Church in France is poor, reliant upon the government to care for her buildings like the great Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris.

 

NotreDameCathedral_afterthefire_26jun19
Notre-Dame de Paris, 26 Jun 2019 | Eve Martin/Flickr

 


Sr. Constance, the native of Saint-Denis, did not return home with her brother after the commissioner, the King’s attorney, and the others left the monastery. She remained in ‘the company of her Sisters’ all the way to scaffold. She fulfilled the life of a Discalced Carmelite nun, but always remained a novice and canonically never was permitted to participate in any important decisions of the monastic chapter that required a voice vote.

It was only at the foot of the scaffold, six years after entering the Carmel of Compiègne that she finally professed her perpetual vows as a Discalced Carmelite nun. Her heart filled with overwhelming joy, she climbed the steps of the scaffold as she emphatically exercised her voice, becoming a foundress—the protomartyr—of the Carmel of Compiègne transferred to the heavenly courts.

What words were on the lips and in the heart of Blessed Constance in those ultimate moments on earth? She intoned Psalm 117, the psalm that Saint Teresa of Avila and Venerable Anne of Jesus chanted as they inaugurated each and every new foundation:

 

O praise the Lord, all you nations,
acclaim him all you peoples!

Strong is his love for us;
he is faithful for ever.

 

 

Concerning the Blessed Constance’s chant, Professor Bush explains:
As their final song at the scaffold— for there were several— it was Psalm 117, Laudate Dominum omnes gentes, which proclaims the mystic truth couched at the heart of the Christian experience of salvation: God’s mercy is at the center of all things, even of being guillotined.

Bush, William. To Quell the Terror: The Mystery of the Vocation of the Sixteen Carmelites of Compiègne Guillotined July 17, 1774 (pp. 14-15). ICS Publications. Kindle Edition.
sœur Marie de l'Incarnation. Histoire des religieuses carmelites de Compiègne conduites a l'échafaud le 17 juillet 1794: Ouvrage posthume de la soeur Marie de l'Incarnation. January 1, 1836. (pp. 108-110) T. Malvin. Google Play Books edition. This English translation is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.

 

Haifa and the beauty of Carmel

We thank the Christian Media Center, the communications ministry of the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, for this fine video on the City of Haifa and the citizens that live and work to make Mount Carmel of today a place of beauty and peace.

A touristic, seaside city, which stands out as a technological and academic center, Haifa is a model of peaceful coexistence between religions. Religious, historical and cultural factors explain this good union.

 

17 July: Blessed Teresa of Saint Augustine and Companions

July 17
BLESSED TERESA OF SAINT AUGUSTINE AND COMPANIONS

Virgins and Martyrs

Memorial

As the French Revolution entered its worst days, sixteen Discalced Carmelites from the Monastery of the Incarnation in Compiègne offered their lives as a sacrifice to God, making reparation to him and imploring peace for the Church. On June 24th, 1794, they were arrested and thrown into prison. Their happiness and resignation were so evident that those around them were also encouraged to draw strength from God’s love. They were condemned to death for their fidelity to the Church and their religious life and for their devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Singing hymns, and having renewed their vows before the superior, Teresa of St. Augustine, they were put to death in Paris on July 17th, 1794. They were beatified by Pope St. Pius X on May 13, 1906.

From the Common of Martyrs or the Common of Virgins, except the following:

Office of Readings

HYMN

Let Carmel echo joyfully
The dying hymns that soared above
When Compiègne so gladly gave
Its greatest witness to God’s love.

These virgin-martyrs gave their lives.
For sin’s atonement, like their Lord;
They died to bring a troubled Church
The peace of Christ as love’s reward.

May we like them serve Holy Church
And build it up in unity,
Until at last in heav’n’s pure light
We gaze on God the Trinity.

Our Queen and Mother, Carmel’s joy,
Look down with love on us who sing
The praise of those who died for love
Of Jesus Christ, your Son, our King.

Bless God the Father, source of love,
Bless God the Word, his only Son,
Bless God the Spirit, Dove of peace,
One God, while endless ages run.

L.M.
Fr. James Quinn, S.J.

The Second Reading

Ch. 12, 1-3

From the Way of Perfection of St. Teresa of Jesus

The life of a good religious and a close friend of God is a long martyrdom

It all seems very hard work, this business of perfection — and so it is: we are waging war on ourselves! But as soon as we get down to it God becomes so active in our souls and showers so many mercies on them that whatever has got to be done in this life seems insignificant. And as we nuns do so much already, giving up our freedom for love of God and subjecting it to someone else, what excuse have we got for holding back when it comes to interior mortification?

That is where the secret lies of making all the rest so much more meritorious and perfect, not to mention doing it more easily and peacefully. The way to acquire it, as I have said, is to persevere bit by bit in not doing our own will or fancy, even in tiny things, till the body has been mastered by the spirit.

Let me repeat that it is all — or nearly all — a matter of getting rid of self-interest and our preoccupation with our own comfort. If you have started serving God seriously, the least you can offer Him is your life! If you have given Him your will, what are you afraid of? If you are a real religious, a real ‘pray-er,’ and want to enjoy God’s favors, you obviously can’t afford to shy away from wanting to die for Him, and undergo martyrdom. Don’t you realize, sisters that the life of a good religious — a person who wants to be one of God’s really close friends — is one long martyrdom? I say ‘long’ because in comparison with those whose heads have been chopped off in a trice we can call it long, but all our lives are short, very short in some cases. And we don’t even know whether our own won’t be so short that it will come to an end an hour, or even a second, after we have made up our mind to serve God fully. That could happen.

We have just got to take no account of anything that will come to an end, least of all life, for we can’t count on a single day. If we remember that every hour might be our last, is there a single one of us who will feel inclined to shirk?

Well, there is nothing you can be more certain of, believe me! So we must train ourselves to thwart our own wills in every way; then, if you try hard, as I have said, though you won’t get there all of a sudden, you will gradually arrive, without realizing it, at the peak of perfection.

Responsory

R/. Rejoice that you share the sufferings of Christ, * for when His glory is revealed you will be filled with joy.
V/. Blessed are you when you are persecuted for Christ’s sake, * for when His glory is revealed you will be filled with joy.

Morning Prayer

Hymn

Voice of the Bridegroom: now is winter passing,
Rain falls no longer, gardens yield their fragrance,
Spring blooms appearing, trees resound with birdsong —
Rise, my beloved.

Go out to meet him, virgins all exulting,
See he approaches, crowns you for your nuptials —
Rapture and gladness, when he leads you homeward
Sharing his kingdom.

Love for the Bridegroom filled your whole horizon,
Making you fearless in the face of danger;
Like him, your Master, life itself you offered,
Sacrificed for him.

Joyfully faithful to your holy calling,
Nothing could daunt you, or your lamps extinguish;
Shining and glowing you would bear them to him
Through cloud and tempest.

11.11.11.5
Sr. Margarita of Jesus, O.C.D.

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. Prepare your lamps, you wise virgins, for behold, the Bridegroom is coming: go out and meet Him.

Prayer

Lord God,
you called Blessed Teresa of St. Augustine and her companions
to go on in the strength of the Holy Spirit
from the heights of Carmel to receive a martyr’s crown.
May our love too be so steadfast
that it will bring us
to the everlasting vision of your glory.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Evening Prayer

Canticle of Mary

Ant. You virgins of the Lord, who have endured the great ordeal, come and rejoice with God forever.

 

Compiegne_Plaque_à_l'entrée_du_cimetière_de_Picpus
Plaque in Picpus Cemetery marking the two common graves where the martyrs are buried | Wikimedia Commons

Virgen del Carmen

Desierto de San José de las Batuecas

Fácil es comprender que en el Carmelo la
contemplación de la hermosura en el más bello de los hombres, que pudo cantar
el salmista, se asocie inmediatamente a la princesa bellísima que entra en el
palacio real.

La Madre del Carmelo, María, es invocada como Reina y Hermosura del Carmelo. Los orígenes de nuestra Orden, en el Monte Carmelo, se asocian a nuestro título de “hermanos de la Buenaventura virgen María del Monte Carmelo” y nos llevan a descubrir en nuestra vida de carmelitas el puesto singular de quien se adentra en la vida del Carmelo con el título de Reina Hermosura del Carmelo. Su vida expresa  toda la sencillez y luminosidad de aquella hermosura  que Dios ha querido expresar al crear al hombre. Desde este horizonte pude saborear en mi oración la expresión del salmista, ya entra la princesa bellísima, vestida de perlas y brocado, símbolo de su hermosura…

View original post 77 more words

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑