Whispers from Carmel to encourage and inspire | Susurros del Carmelo Teresiano
Quotes from all branches of the vine of Carmel: religious and laity, saints and those still aspiring to sanctity
Very best greetings from cell 577 Scheveningen.
I am alone here. Two by four (meters) and the height is also four. A cell dwelt in becomes sweet, says Thomas à Kempis. I already feel at home here. I pray, read and write, the days are too short. From eight till seven it is night.
I am quite all right in my solitude, although I miss the church, Mass, communion, and although no priest comes here. Yet God is near to me, now that I cannot go to people any more, nor people to me. I am very calm, happy and content, and I adapt myself. I will hold out very well.
I believe a mistake that far too many people make is misunderstanding the Pharisees. When the Pharisees are brought up they are depicted as men who live the law strictly and cruelly that results in the heaping of burdens laced upon their own people…. (35 more words)
Being in prayer on the feastday of the glorious St. Peter, I saw or, to put it better, I felt Christ beside me; I saw nothing with my bodily eyes or with my soul, but it seemed to me that Christ was at my side — I saw that it was He, in my opinion, who was speaking to me.
Since I was completely unaware that there could be a vision like this one, it greatly frightened me in the beginning; I did nothing but weep. However, by speaking one word alone to assure me, the Lord left me feeling as I usually did: quiet, favored, and without any fear. It seemed to me that Jesus Christ was always present at my side; but since this wasn’t an imaginative vision, I didn’t see any form.
Yet I felt very clearly that He was always present at my right side and that He was the witness of everything I did. At no time in which I was a little recollected, or not greatly distracted, was I able to ignore that He was present at my side.
Yet I felt very clearly that He was always present at my right side and that He was the witness of everything I did.
I immediately went very anxiously to my confessor to tell him. He asked me in what form I saw Him. I answered that I didn’t see Him. He asked how I knew that it was Christ.
I answered that I didn’t know how, but that I couldn’t help knowing that He was beside me, that I saw and felt Him clearly, that my recollection of soul was greater, and that I was very continuously in the prayer of quiet, that the effects were much different from those I usually experienced, and that it was very clear.
It seemed to me that Jesus Christ was always present at my side
I could do nothing but draw comparisons in order to explain myself. And, indeed, there is no comparison that fits this kind of vision very well. Since this vision is among the most sublime (as I was afterward told by a very holy and spiritual man, whose name is Friar Peter of Alcántara and of whom I shall speak later, and by other men of great learning) and the kind in which the devil can interfere the least of all, there are no means by which those of us who know little here below can explain it. Learned men will explain it better.
I couldn’t help knowing that He was beside me
I saw and felt Him clearly
my recollection of soul was greater
I was very continuously in the prayer of quiet
the effects were much different
it was very clear
We arrived in Villanueva de la Jara on the first Sunday of Lent, the feast of St. Barbaciani, [21 February] the vigil of the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, in the year 1580. On this same day at the time of the high Mass, the Blessed Sacrament was reserved in the church of the glorious St. Anne.
The city council and some others along with Doctor Ervías came out to receive us, and we got down from our wagons at the church in the town, which was quite far from St. Anne’s. The joy of the whole town was so great.
It gave me much consolation to see the happiness with which they received the order of the Blessed Virgin, our Lady.
We had heard from afar the peal of the church bells. Once we were inside the church, they began the Te Deum, one verse sung by the choir and the other played by the organ.
When it was finished, they carried the Blessed Sacrament on one portable platform and a statue of our Lady on another, and crosses and banners. The procession proceeded with much pomp.
We were in the middle near the Blessed Sacrament with our white mantles and our veils covering our faces, and next to us were many of our discalced friars from their monastery and Franciscans from the monastery of St. Francis that was located there, and one Dominican who happened to be present (even though he was alone it made me happy to see that habit there).
Since the distance was great, there were many altars set up along the way. From time to time the procession stopped and some verses were recited in honor of our order which moved us to great devotion. So did the sight of all of them praising the great God present in our midst and the fact that because of Him they paid so much honor to us seven poor, little discalced nuns who were there.
While I was engaged in all these reflections, I became very ashamed in recalling that I was among them and that if they were to do what I deserved they would all turn against me.
Saint Teresa of Avila The Book of Her Foundations, Chapter 28
We are grateful to photographer José-María Moreno García for making his photo-documentary of the Fifth Centenary visit to Saint Teresa’s foundation of Villanueva de la Jara available for download under a Creative Commons license. To see the complete photo album from this foundation, click here.
I have taken advantage of this opportunity to share with you the experience of one of our friars concerning the admirable effects and continual help he receives from the practice of the presence of God; we can both benefit from it.
He often complains of our blindness and cries out ceaselessly that we deserve sympathy for settling for so little. “God,” he says, “has infinite treasures to give us, yet we are satisfied with a bit of perceptible devotion that passes in an instant.” He complains that “we are blind since we bind God’s hands in this way and halt the abundant flow of his graces; yet when God finds a soul penetrated by an intense faith he pours out his graces in abundance. This torrent of his grace, impeded from running its ordinary course, expands impetuously and abundantly once it has found an outlet.”
Yes, sometimes we stop this torrent by our lack of appreciation for it. We must not stop it any longer, dear Mother; we must turn inward, break through the dam, let grace come forth, and make up for lost time. We have so little time left to live. Death is at our heels, so be on guard: death comes only once!
Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, O.C.D. The Practice of the Presence of God, Letter 1
Father Conrad De Meester, O.C.D. who was the editor of the French critical edition of Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God notes these biographic details concerning the uncle whose own Discalced Carmelite vocation inspired Brother Lawrence to enter religious life after military service:
His uncle Jean, his mother’s brother, a native of Hériménil, Jean Majeur entered the Discalced Carmelites as a lay brother at the beginning of October 1633. He took the name “Brother Nicolas of the Conception.” He was professed in Paris on December 9, 1635, and died on February 20, 1652, in his nephew’s monastery in Paris.
These last two days our dear invalid has grown considerably weaker, and this morning she wasn’t able to get up to take Holy Communion. Our beloved Sister is in a state of weakness, oppression, and anxiety which leads us to think that the end cannot be far off.
She was most touched by your parcel, but she eats so little now that she only tasted it. She has asked us to convey her gratitude for this kind gesture which moved her deeply.
Letter from Sister Marie-Louise de Gonzague Vétillart, V.H.M. to Saint Zélie Martin (excerpt) 19 February 1877
I’m enclosing a letter I just received a moment ago which doesn’t leave us any more hope, as you can see. Last week I sent some roasted goose to my sister since she’d wanted to eat some cooked in our house. I also sent her a pound of gumdrops and a dozen cakes, but Pauline wrote Marie that she gave almost all of them to her.
Finally, I think her death is imminent, and it makes me very sad. But on the other hand, I want my poor sister to be freed as soon as possible.
Letter from Saint Zélie Martin to her sister-in-law Céline Fournet Guérin (excerpt) 20 February 1877
Dr. Minúscula covers the unfolding drama in Nicaragua from the perspective of an academic and as a native of Nicaragua. We share the professor’s insights to help our readers understand the current events in this nation where Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. serves as Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Managua.
On the evening of February 16, Daniel Ortega’s administration released a press statement announcing a meeting with “representative members of the private sector”. Also in attendance were Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, archbishop of Managua, and Mons. Waldemar Sommertag, Vatican Ambassador to Nicaragua, who came as “guests”. It might be a new attempt at a National Dialogue,…
Many and varied are the ways in which our saintly forefathers laid down how everyone, whatever his station or the kind of religious observance he has chosen, should live a life of allegiance to Jesus Christ — how, pure in heart and stout in conscience, he must be unswerving in the service of his Master.
It is to me, however, that you have come for a rule of life in keeping with your avowed purpose, a rule you may hold fast to henceforward; and therefore:
The first thing I require is for you to have a prior, one of yourselves, who is to be chosen for the office by common consent, or that of the greater and maturer part of you; each of the others must promise him obedience — of which, once promised, he must try to make his deeds the true reflection — and also chastity and the renunciation of ownership.
Panajachel 16 de febrero de 2019 Guatemala”…pascua de quiebracajetes” (M.A.Asturias). Estamos viviendo un período en el que la amistad compite con la tecnología. Todos tenemos la necesidad de sentirnos apreciados y admirados, una palmada en la espalda, un abrazo, una sonrisa, un apretón de manos, un saludo, nos hace sentirnos bien….
Love is something that touches all of our lives. Everyone has a pretty good idea what it’s like to be in love. If you haven’t ever experienced it yourself, you’ve at least observed it in the world around you: you know couples who are in love, you’ve seen love stories in movies, you’ve read them in books, and you’ve heard them in songs. When you think about it, love stories surround us everywhere in life! It seems that every popular movie or song has to do with love. It’s almost as if human beings are obsessed with being in love. It’s almost as if there is a great desire in us that yearns to be in love. It’s almost as if we were made to fall in love.
But why? Why is there this great fire in our hearts that desires to be in love?
Read more on the blog of the Discalced Carmelite Friars Washington Province
“I propose to have no other purpose in all my activities, either interior or exterior, than the motive of love alone, by constantly asking myself: ‘Now what am I doing in this action? Do I love God?’ If I should notice any obstacle to pure love, I shall take myself in hand and recall that I must seek to return my love for His love.”
Edith’s six months of probation passed quickly. On 15 February 1934, following the custom of the Order, she knelt before the assembled community and asked to receive the habit of Our Blessed Lady of Mount Carmel. She was granted her request on 15 April. During the two months that she was preparing for her clothing, she grew in love and gratitude toward her superiors and her sisters. It was not easy for her to grasp that, as the “bride-to-be,” she should be the object of so much attention and solicitude on the part of her Sisters. Everyone was busy helping her to prepare for her clothing as it drew nearer. Besides the bridal dress, all the clothes she would need in the convent had to be made – a long white tunic of wool, a pair of rope sandals, a rosary with big beads and a coarse brown handkerchief. She had to go from one workroom to another to try on first one thing and then another; and though nothing more was done for her than for anyone else, she accepted each service as though it were a special token of love for herself.