Quote of the day: 15 January

Now let us speak about the type of soul that enters the second dwelling places and what such a soul does in them. I’d like to say only a little, for I have spoken at length on this subject elsewhere. And it would be impossible to avoid repeating much of it, for I don’t remember a thing of what I said. If I could present the matter for you in a variety of ways I know well that you wouldn’t be annoyed since we never tire of booksas many as there arethat deal with it.

This stage pertains to those who have already begun to practice prayer and have understood how important it is not to stay in the first dwelling places. But they still don’t have the determination to remain in this second stage without turning back, for they don’t avoid the occasion of sin. This failure to avoid these occasions is quite dangerous…

These rooms, in part, involve much more effort then do the first, even though there is not as much danger, for it now seems that souls in them recognize the dangers, and there is great hope they will enter further into the castle. I say that these rooms involve more effort because those who are in the first dwelling places are like deaf-mutes and thus the difficulty of not speaking is more easily endured by them than it is by those who hear but cannot speak. Yet, not for this reason does one have greater desire to be deaf, for after all it is a wonderful thing to hear what is being said to us. So these persons are able to hear the Lord when He calls. Since they are getting closer to where His Majesty dwells, He is a very good neighbor. His mercy and goodness are so bountiful; whereas we are occupied in our pastimes, business affairs, pleasures, and worldly buying and selling, and still falling into sin and rising again. These beasts are so poisonous and their presence so dangerous and noisy that it would be a wonder if we kept from stumbling and falling over them. Yet this Lord desires intensely that we love Him and seek His company, so much so that from time to time He calls us to draw near Him. And His voice is so sweet the poor soul dissolves at not doing immediately what He commands. Thus, as I say, hearing His voice is a greater trial than not hearing it.

Saint Teresa of Jesus

The Interior Castle
The Second Dwelling Place

 

Listening astrid Flickr 11200954926
Astrid Westvang / Flickr

 

 

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

Triduo Teresiano: Oremos juntos por Mons. Báez — Día 3

PRIMERA LECTURA

Lectura del Evangelio según San Marcos, 7, 31-37
Qué bien lo hace todo

En aquel tiempo, salió Jesús de la región de Tiro y vino de nuevo, por Sidón, al mar de Galilea, atravesando la región de Decápolis. Le llevaron entonces a un hombre sordo y tartamudo, y le suplicaban que le impusiera las manos. Él lo apartó a un lado de la gente, le metió los dedos en los oídos y le tocó la lengua con saliva. Después, mirando al cielo, suspiró y le dijo: “¡Effetá!” (que quiere decir “¡Abrete!”). Al momento se le abrieron los oídos, se le soltó la traba de la lengua y empezó a hablar sin dificultad.

Él les mandó que no lo dijeran a nadie; pero cuanto más se lo mandaba, ellos con más insistencia lo proclamaban; y todos estaban asombrados y decían: “¡Qué bien lo hace todo! Hace oír a los sordos y hablar a los mudos”.

 

SEGUNDA LECTURA

Del Castillo Interior de santa Teresa de Jesús, virgen y doctora de la Iglesia
(Moradas Segundas – Capítulo Único)
Su Majestad es muy buen vecino

Ahora vengamos a hablar cuáles serán las almas que entran a las segundas moradas y qué hacen en ellas. Querría deciros poco, porque lo he dicho en otras partes bien largo, y será imposible dejar de tornar a decir otra vez mucho de ello, porque cosa no se me acuerda de lo dicho; que si lo supiera guisar de diferentes maneras, bien sé que no os enfadaríais, como nunca nos cansamos de los libros que tratan de esto, con ser muchos.

Es de los que han ya comenzado a tener oración y entendido lo que les importa no se quedar en las primeras moradas, mas no tienen aún determinación para dejar muchas veces de estar en ella, porque no dejan las ocasiones, que es harto peligro…

Estos, en parte, tienen harto más trabajo que los primeros, aunque no tanto peligro, porque ya parece los entienden, y hay gran esperanza de que entrarán más adentro. Digo que tienen más trabajo, porque los primeros son como mudos que no oyen, y así pasan mejor su trabajo de no hablar, lo que no pasarían, sino muy mayor, los que oyesen y no pudiesen hablar. Mas no por eso se desea más lo de los que no oyen, que en fin es gran cosa entender lo que nos dicen. Así éstos entienden los llamamientos que les hace el Señor; porque, como van entrando más cerca de donde está Su Majestad, es muy buen vecino, y tanta su misericordia y bondad, que aun estándonos en nuestros pasatiempos y negocios y contentos y baraterías del mundo, y aun cayendo y levantando en pecados (porque estas bestias son tan ponzoñosas y peligrosa su compañía y bulliciosas que por maravilla dejarán de tropezar en ellas para caer), con todo esto, tiene en tanto este Señor nuestro que le queramos y procuremos su compañía, que una vez u otra no nos deja de llamar para que nos acerquemos a El; y es esta voz tan dulce que se deshace la pobre alma en no hacer luego lo que le manda; y así -como digo- es más trabajo que no lo oír.

 

ORACIÓN

Señor Dios nuestro,
que por tu Espíritu has suscitado a santa Teresa de Jesús,
para mostrar a tu Iglesia el camino de la perfección,
concédenos vivir de su doctrina y enciende en nosotros
el deseo de la verdadera santidad.
Por nuestro Señor Jesucristo.

 

Les invitamos a dejar un comentario y a ofrecer su promesa de rezar el rosario, de ayunar o de hacer una obra de misericordia por las intenciones de Monseñor Silvio José Báez.

 

MEDITACIÓN

Homilía del XXIII Domingo del Tiempo Ordinario—Parroquia San Miguel Arcángel de Managua
9 de septiembre de 2018

Lecturas:
Is 35, 4-7a; Salmo 145, 7. 8-9a. 9bc-10; Sant 2, 1-5; Mc 7, 31-37

Quote of the day: 14 January

There was a person to whom I spoke a few days ago who for about fifteen years was kept so busy through obedience with work in occupations and government that in all those years he didn’t remember having had one day for himself, although he tried the best he could to keep a pure conscience and have some periods each day for prayer. His soul in its inclination is one of the most obedient I have seen, and so he communicates this spirit of obedience to all those with whom he deals. The Lord has repaid him well; for he has found that he has, without knowing how, that same precious and desirable liberty of spirit that the perfect have. In it, they find all the happiness that could be wanted in this life, for in desiring nothing they possess all. Nothing on earth do they fear or desire, neither do trials disturb them, nor do consolations move them. In sum, nothing can take away their peace because these souls depend only on God. And since no one can take Him away from them, only the fear of losing Him can cause them pain. Everything else in this world, in their opinion, is as though it were not; it neither contributes anything nor removes anything from their happiness. Oh, happy obedience and happy the resulting distraction that could obtain so much!

This is not the only person, for I have known others of the same sort, whom I had not seen for some, or many, years. In asking them about how they had spent these years, I learned that the years were all spent in the fulfillment of the duties of obedience and charity. On the other hand, I saw such improvement in spiritual things that I was amazed. Well, come now, my daughters, don’t be sad when obedience draws you to involvement in exterior matters. Know that if it is in the kitchen, the Lord walks among the pots and pans helping you both interiorly and exteriorly.

Saint Teresa of Jesus

The Book of the Foundations
Chapter 5

 

pans and pots notarim flickr 7830408838
mark notari / Flickr

 

 

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

Triduo Teresiano: Oremos juntos por Mons. Báez — Día 2

PRIMERA LECTURA

Lectura del primer libro de Samuel 15,22
Desobediencia de Saúl

¿Se complace el Señor tanto
en holocaustos y sacrificios
como en la obediencia a la voz del Señor?
He aquí, el obedecer es mejor que un sacrificio,
y el prestar atención, que la grosura de los carneros.

 

SEGUNDA LECTURA

De Las Fundaciones de santa Teresa de Jesús, virgen y doctora de la Iglesia
(Capítulo 5)
Entre los pucheros anda el Señor

Así lo estaba una persona que ha pocos días que hablé, que la obediencia le había traído cerca de quince años tan trabajado en oficios y gobiernos, que en todos éstos no se acordaba de haber tenido un día para sí, aunque él procuraba lo mejor que podía algunos ratos al día de oración y de traer limpia conciencia. Es un alma de las más inclinadas a obediencia que yo he visto, y así la pega a cuantas trata. Hale pagado bien el Señor, que, sin saber cómo, se halló con aquella libertad de espíritu tan preciada y deseada que tienen los perfectos, adonde se halla toda la felicidad que en esta vida se puede desear; porque, no queriendo nada, lo poseen todo. Ninguna cosa temen ni desean de la tierra, ni los trabajos las turban, ni los contentos las hacen movimiento. En fin, nadie la puede quitar la paz, porque ésta de sólo Dios depende. Y como a El nadie le puede quitar, sólo temor de perderle puede dar pena, que todo lo demás de este mundo es, en su opinión, como si no fuese, porque ni le hace ni le deshace para su contento. ¡Oh dichosa obediencia y distracción por ella, que tanto pudo alcanzar!

No es sola esta persona, que otras he conocido de la misma suerte, que no las había visto algunos años había y hartos; y preguntándoles en qué se habían pasado, era todo en ocupaciones de obediencia y caridad. Por otra parte, veíalos tan medrados en cosas espirituales, que me espantaban. Pues ¡ea, hijas mías!, no haya desconsuelo cuando la obediencia os trajere empleadas en cosas exteriores; entended que si es en la cocina, entre los pucheros anda el Señor ayudándoos en lo interior y exterior.

 

ORACIÓN

Señor Dios nuestro,
que por tu Espíritu has suscitado a santa Teresa de Jesús,
para mostrar a tu Iglesia el camino de la perfección,
concédenos vivir de su doctrina y enciende en nosotros
el deseo de la verdadera santidad.
Por nuestro Señor Jesucristo.

 

Les invitamos a dejar un comentario y a ofrecer su promesa de rezar el rosario, de ayunar o de hacer una obra de misericordia por las intenciones de Monseñor Silvio José Báez.

 

MEDITACIÓN

Homilía del Segundo Domingo de Cuaresma—Parroquia Nuestra Señora de La Asuncion de Managua
17 de marzo de 2019

Lecturas:
Gen 15, 5-12. 17-18; Salmo 26, 1. 7-8a. 8b-9abc. 13-14; Fil 3, 17–4, 1; Lc 9, 28b-36

Quote of the day: 13 January

On another day the Lord told me this: “Do you think, daughter, that merit lies in enjoyment? No, rather it lies in working and suffering and loving. Haven’t you heard that St. Paul rejoiced in heavenly joys only once and that he suffered often.

“Look at my whole life filled with suffering, and only in the incident on Mount Tabor do you hear about my joy (Mt 17:1-9). When you see My Mother holding Me in her arms, don’t think she enjoyed those consolations without heavy torment. From the time Simeon spoke those words to her (Lk 2:34-35). My Father gave her clear light to see what I was to suffer.

“The great saints who lived in deserts, since they were guided by God, performed severe penances; and besides this, they waged great battle with the devil and with themselves. They spent long periods without any spiritual consolation.

“Believe, daughter, that My Father gives greater trials to anyone whom He loves more; and love responds to these. How can I show you greater love than by desiring for you what I have desired for Myself? Behold these wounds, for your sufferings have never reached this point.

“Suffering is the way of truth. By this means you will help me weep over the loss of those who follow the way of the world, and you will understand that all your desires, cares, and thoughts must be employed in how to do the opposite.”

Saint Teresa of Jesus

Spiritual Testimonies, 32
Avila, probably 1572

 

Behold these wounds Geertgen_Man_van_smarten
Man of Sorrows
Geertgen tot Sint Jans (Dutch, c. 1485–1495)
Oil on panel, 1486
Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht

 

 

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

Triduo Teresiano: Oremos juntos por Mons. Báez — Día 1

PRIMERA LECTURA

De la carta del apóstol san Pablo a los Filipenses 2,5-11
La actitud de los seguidores de Cristo

Tengan los mismos sentimientos de Cristo Jesús.

El, que era de condición divina,
no consideró esta igualdad con Dios
como algo que debía guardar celosamente:
al contrario, se anonadó a sí mismo,
tomando la condición de servidor
y haciéndose semejante a los hombres.
Y presentándose con aspecto humano,
se humilló hasta aceptar por obediencia la muerte
y muerte de cruz.

Por eso, Dios lo exaltó
y le dio el Nombre que está sobre todo nombre,
para que al nombre de Jesús,
se doble toda rodilla
en el cielo, en la tierra y en los abismos,
y toda lengua proclame para gloria de Dios Padre:
«Jesucristo es el Señor».

 

SEGUNDA LECTURA

De Las Relaciones de santa Teresa de Jesús, virgen y doctora de la Iglesia
(Capítulo 36)
El camino del sufrimiento y del amor

Esto me dijo el Señor otro día: «¿Piensas, hija, que está el merecer en gozar? No está sino en obrar y en padecer y en amar. No habrás oído que San Pablo estuviese gozando de los gozos celestiales más de una vez, y muchas que padeció, y ves mi vida toda llena de padecer y sólo en el monte Tabor habrás oído mi gozo. No pienses, cuando ves a mi Madre que me tiene en los brazos, que gozaba de aquellos contentos sin grave tormento. Desde que le dijo Simeón aquellas palabras, la dio mi Padre clara luz para que viese lo que Yo había de padecer. Los grandes santos que vivieron en los desiertos, como eran guiados por Dios, así hacían graves penitencias, y sin esto tenían grandes batallas con el demonio y consigo mismos; mucho tiempo se pasaban sin ninguna consolación espiritual. Cree, hija, que a quien mi Padre más ama, da mayores trabajos, y a éstos responde el amor. ¿En qué te le puedo más mostrar que querer para ti lo que quise para Mí? Mira estas llagas, que nunca llegaron aquí tus dolores. Este es el camino de la verdad. Así me ayudarás a llorar la perdición que traen los del mundo, entendiendo tú esto, que todos sus deseos y cuidados y pensamientos se emplean en cómo tener lo contrario».

 

ORACIÓN

Señor Dios nuestro,
que por tu Espíritu has suscitado a santa Teresa de Jesús,
para mostrar a tu Iglesia el camino de la perfección,
concédenos vivir de su doctrina y enciende en nosotros
el deseo de la verdadera santidad.
Por nuestro Señor Jesucristo.

 

Les invitamos a dejar un comentario y a ofrecer su promesa de rezar el rosario, de ayunar o de hacer una obra de misericordia por las intenciones de Monseñor Silvio José Báez.

 

MEDITACIÓN

Homilía del Domingo de RamosParroquia de Esquipulas, Managua
14 de abril de 2019

Lecturas:
Is 50, 4-7; Salmo 21, 8-9. 17-18a. 19-20. 23-24; Flp 2, 6-11; Lc 22, 14–23, 56

 

Quote of the day: 12 January

Baptism of Christ - Andrei Rublev and workshop c. 1408
Detailed image from The Baptism, Andrei Rublev and Workshop ca. 1408, The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg. View the complete image here.

 

Where have you hidden,
Beloved, and left me moaning?
you fled like the stag
after wounding me;
I went out calling you, but you were gone.

The soul’s chief aim in this verse is not to ask for sensible devotion, in which there is neither certain nor clear possession of the Bridegroom in this life, but for the manifest presence and vision of his divine essence, in which she desires to be secure and satisfied in the next life.

The bride of the divine Song of Songs had this very idea when, longing for union with the divinity of the Word, her Bridegroom, she asked the Father: Show me where you pasture and where you rest at midday [Song 1:7]. In requesting him to disclose his place of pasture, she wanted him to reveal the essence of the divine Word, his Son. For the Father does not pasture anywhere else than in his only Son, for the Son is the glory of the Father. And in begging that he show her his place of rest, she was asking to see that same Son.

The Son is the only delight of the Father, who rests nowhere else nor is present in any other than in his beloved Son. He rests wholly in his Son, communicating to him his essence at midday, which is eternity, where he ever begets him and has begotten him.

When the soul, the bride, cries: “Where have you hidden?” she seeks this pasture, the Word, her Bridegroom, where the Father feeds in infinite glory, and she seeks the flowering bosom where he rests with infinite delight of love, deeply hidden from every mortal eye and every creature.

Saint John of the Cross

The Spiritual Canticle
The Spiritual Canticle: Stanza 1, No. 5

 

 

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

 

Quote of the day: 11 January

My Mother, here is the Bridegroom!

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 153 (excerpt)

 

Profession day snow on ground
On Sunday, 11 January 1903 it was freezing in Dijon. The temperature was -5 (23 F) and a snowstorm would arrive the next day in eastern France. This photo, however, was taken by professional photographer Mazillier on 22 December 1902, the day of Elizabeth’s canonical exam. Her mother hired the photographer to capture portraits for the special occasion when she was permitted to see her daughter outside the cloister one last time. The turn sisters loaned Elizabeth one of their black veils, which they pinned on top of her white veil. | Credit: Discalced Carmelites

 

Sunday, 11 January 1903

Profession of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity

 

After the 8 o’clock Mass, the community, in their white mantles and a large candle in their hands, go up the grand staircase to the chapter room, singing the O gloriosa Virginum (“O glorious Virgin”) to Mary. As a small cell of the Church, the community experiences the profession as a great moment of universal significance, an offering for the universal Church. United in intimacy, it’s also the family that’s going to grow. At the end of the procession, the prioress leads the novice by the hand. 

 

O gloriosa virginum

 

The account of Sister Mary of the Trinity, plainly taken up again in the Memoirs (S 107), introduces us to this supreme act:

“Her profession was still made entirely in faith, but already in peace since her visit with the priest. She tells us that she was taken up by the idea of sacrifice and immolation alone. Especially as she climbed the steps, going up to the chapter room, she was strongly taken, seized by this thought and then told us that she had found her whole state of mind in the day’s reading: ‘Offer your bodies to God as pure, holy and pleasing hosts to God’” (cf. Rom 12:1).

Climbing the stairs reminds Elizabeth of the symbol of the mountain, whether it be Tabor or Calvarylike Abraham going up to the top of the mountain indicated by Yahweh to sacrifice his son Isaac (cf. Gen 22:1-19), like Jesus Christ on his way to the Cross. Each stair-step is a decisive movement towards total self-giving to God, prayer, and sacrifice for the Church.

 

Monumental Staircase BibleWalks dot com siah14s (2)
Detail of the grand, spiral staircase in the ruins of the first Carmelite monastery on Mount Carmel. As a tradition, many monasteries of Carmelite nuns are built to include a monumental, spiral staircase. See the complete photo here.

 

Upon arriving in the chapter room, the Prioress sits on the left side of the altar. Elizabeth kneels before her. Mother Germaine asks her the same questions as on the day she took the habit. The same answers resoundstandard, formulated answersbut with great density, essential expressions of what one is seeking. After Elisabeth has thus sought “the mercy of God, the poverty of the Order and the company of her sisters,” the Prioress reminds her of the demands of the narrow path she is following forever.

Then, with her hands joined in those of the Prioress, Mother Germaine of Jesus, Elizabeth Catez repeated the formula of her profession three times: “I, Sister Mary Elizabeth of the Trinity, make my profession, and I promise chastity, poverty and obedience to God, Our Lord, and to the Blessed Virgin Mary,” in obedience to the superiors “according to the primitive, unmitigated Rule of the Order of Mount Carmel until death.”

 


Translator’s Note—In English-speaking Discalced Carmelite monasteries, the formula was:  I, Sister N. of N., make my solemn profession and I promise obedience, chastity, and poverty to God, to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, and to you, Rev. Mother Prioress, and to your successors, according to the primitive Rule of the Discalced Carmelites and our Constitutions, until death.


 

In this very sparse setting, the words resonate…

After the prayers offered by the Prioress, as on the day she took the habit, the newly professed is clothed in her Marian scapular and white mantle to symbolize the new life received from the Risen One. Now she lies on the floor in the form of a cross on the wool carpet decorated with flowers while the community sings the Te Deum. After she has been sprinkled with holy water, a reminder of the water of Baptism, Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity rises, kneels before the Prioress, kisses her hand, embraces her, and goes to kiss all the sisters as they sing Psalm 133, Ecce quam bonum: See how good it will be to live together as true sisters.

 

profession_crucifix_16 (2)
Detailed view of Elizabeth’s profession crucifix. See the complete image here.

 

She receives her profession crucifix, on the back of which she has had St. Paul’s words engraved in Latin: “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20). She also receives her copy of the Constitutions of the Order and the Prioress places a crown of flowers on her head, which she wears all day long, she who is Christ’s bride.

 

saint-therese-of-lisieux26 Celine prise de voile (2)
Detail of a photo taken on the day when Céline received the black veil; you can see the crown of flowers she wears and the profession crucifix that she is holding in her hand. See the complete photo here.

 

During the day’s prayers, she is the one who presides. At meals and evening recreation she sits between the Prioress and the Sub-Prioress, her place in the refectory being adorned with flowers. The community has “license” today to visit each other, but the newly professed remains in silence, in a prayer of gratitude and love, until the joyful and emotional gathering during the evening recreation.

After Compline, the Prioress removes the crown from Elizabeth who will place it in front of the statue of Our Lady of Grace in the cloister, the Queen of Heaven, of whom she wants to remain more than ever the daughter, the mystical Spouse of Jesus.

Conrad de Meester, O.C.D.

Rien Moins Que Dieu: Sainte Elisabeth de la Trinité
Chap. 22: Chaque jour ma vie dépouse (excerpt)

 

 

 

In this scene from the classic Spanish television mini-series Teresa de JesúsConcha Velasco as St. Teresa arrives at the Carmel of Alba de Tormes where she is greeted by the nuns, singing Psalm 133, Ecce quam bonum.

 

We invite our readers to explore the official website of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity. Not all of the website is in English, but important information has been translated for the English visitor.

 

 

de Meester, C 2017, Rien moins que Dieu : sainte Elisabeth de la Trinité, Presses de la Renaissance, Paris. Translation from the French text is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.

 

Elizabeth of the Trinity, S 2003, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel, translated from the French by Nash, A, ICS Publications, Washington DC

Quote of the day: 10 January

I want to give my little daughter the only picture that is dear to me among all others… Aunt at Le Mans gave it to me, and I am attached to it, for it says much to my heart. But all for the little fiancée of Jesus!

Sr. Marie of the Sacred Heart
(Marie Martin)

 

LT-245 (2)
“Blessed is the lily that remains unblemished until the time of harvest; its whiteness will shine eternally in paradise”

 

In our Quote of the Day for 9 January, we shared Sr. Marie’s letter to St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus on the eve of her clothing in the holy habit of Carmel. In the custom of Discalced Carmelite nuns, as a gift to Thérèse for the occasion, she re-gifted something that was of great value to her: a holy card that she had received from their Aunt Élise, St. Zélie Guérin’s sister Marie-Louise-Pétronille, who took the religious name Marie-Dosithée in the Visitation Monastery at Le Mans, France. 

Martin Family historian Maureen O’Riordan tells us that on the back of the holy card Marie Martin had written, “Souvenir from Aunt at Le Mans; I shall keep it forever.” We can understand how Marie now says that she is “attached to it” and “it says much to my heart.” 

Maureen O’Riordan notes: her generosity in giving it to Thérèse was all the greater because their aunt had died in 1877. The image shows the Child Jesus in a field of lilies, harvesting them. Across the bottom is printed, ‘Blessed is the lily that remains unblemished until the time of harvest; its whiteness will shine eternally in paradise’.

 

LT-245
Aunt Élise’s holy card, which Marie said she would keep forever, later given to Thérèse for her clothing in January 1889, became Thérèse’s farewell gift to her three sisters in June 1897 (LT-245)

 

In June 1897, Thérèse will re-gift the holy card once more as a precious farewell souvenir to her three sisters, framing it and embellishing it with thoughts from St. Théophane Vénard and St. John of the Cross, such as this quote from the Spiritual Canticle, Stanza 29: For a little of this pure love is more precious to God and the soul and more beneficial to the Church, even though it seems one is doing nothing, than all these other works put together.

You can read an English translation of St. Thérèse’s inscription here and explore Maureen O’Riordan’s blogs devoted to St. Thérèse here, to St. Louis and Zélie here, and to Léonie Martin here. As always, you can explore the English website of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux here.

Quote of the day: 9 January

9 January 1889

Jesus +

My dear little daughter, I don’t want the eve of such a beautiful day to pass by without speaking a little word to her from her Jesus. Her Jesus! He has made her a bed of lilies! “My beloved browses among the lilies!” says the spouse in the Canticle. I want to give my little daughter the only picture that is dear to me among all others… Aunt at Le Mans gave it to me, and I am attached to it, for it says much to my heart. But all for the little fiancée of Jesus! What is too beautiful for her? Oh! yes, “…happy the lily that remained without spot until the hour of reaping.”

One day, we shall reap, rejoicing! And this hour will come! And it will be a day without clouds, and the more we shall have suffered the more radiant that day will be. Then! then! Ah! I keep silent… This day will be so beautiful, it will be so sweet, this day which will have no end!! My whole heart to my dear angel, whom I adorned for Jesus on the day of her First Communion and whom I will adorn on the day of her espousals.

Marie of the Sacred Heart

 

JOSE-MARIA MORENO GARCIA
José-María Moreno García captures this image of a Discalced Carmelite habit awaiting the blessing of the priest at the clothing of a new novice. See the complete photo here

 


 

This tender letter from Sr. Marie of the Sacred Heart (Marie Martin) to her younger sister and goddaughter, Thérèse of the Child Jesus, includes an interesting detail. Marie pours out her love: “my whole heart to my dear angel, whom I adorned for Jesus on the day of her First Communion and whom I will adorn on the day of her espousals.

St. Thérèse will receive the holy habit of Carmel on 10 January 1889 and her sister Marie will play an important role on this special day. Martin family historian Maureen O’Riordan offers the following insights:

Marie was still living in the novitiate at the time and perhaps that increased her proximity to Thérèse while Thérèse was being dressed in the bridal gown. Someone wrote that Marie fussed so much over Thérèse’s long curls that Thérèse begged “Enough!  enough! One would be pretty safe in assuming that Marie and Pauline helped to dress Thérèse, although perhaps Marie of the Angels, as novice mistress, might also have been present, as well as the prioress.  This would have been a role in the preparation, not in the actual ceremony.

 

Quote of the day: 8 January

Recall our founding father, Elijah! Did he spiritually stir up Palestine or did he sluggishly seek only his own peace and quiet? When God spoke to him at prayer, telling him of the distress of the people of Israel and the sins of their royal rulers, he listened attentively and went off immediately, despite the personal consequences. He trudged across the country, proclaiming truth to those who needed to hear it. He sometimes sparked bitter opposition. He risked his life but did not waver. He offered his time, his life, his very self, without calculating the cost.

Père Jacques de Jésus, O.C.D.

Listen to the Silence: A retreat with Père Jacques
Conference 13: The Apostolate
Carmel de Pontoise, 11 September 1943

 

Elijah being fed by the raven Mirat al quds Cleveland Museum
A raven brings food to Elijah, from a Mirror of Holiness (Mir’at al-quds) of Father Jerome Xavier
Mughal India, Allahabad, made for Prince Salim
(1569–1627)
Opaque watercolor, ink, color and gold on paper, 1602-1604
The Cleveland Museum of Art, licensed under CC0 1.0

 

 

Jacques, P 2005, Listen to the silence: a retreat with Père Jacques, translated from the French and edited by Murphy F, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

9 January: St. Andrew Corsini

January 9
SAINT ANDREW CORSINI
Bishop

Optional Memorial
In the provinces in Italy: Memorial

Andrew was born at the beginning of the fourteenth century in Florence and entered the Carmelite Order there. He was elected provincial of Tuscany at the general chapter of Metz in 1348. He was made bishop of Fiesole on October 13th, 1349, and gave the Church a wonderful example of love, apostolic zeal, prudence, and love of the poor. He died on January 6th, 1374.

From the Common of Pastors

Office of Readings

The First Reading

A reading from the Letter of St. James

James 2:1-9, 14-24

Faith without works is dead

My brothers, do not try to combine faith in Jesus Christ, our glorified Lord, with the making of distinctions between classes of people. Now suppose a man comes into your synagogue, beautifully dressed and with a gold ring on, and at the same time a poor man comes in, in shabby clothes, and you take notice of the well-dressed man, and say, ‘Come this way to the best seats;’ then you tell the poor man, ‘Stand over there’ or ‘You can sit on the floor by my footrest.’ Can’t you see that you have used two different standards in your mind, and turned yourselves into judges, and corrupt judges at that?

Listen, my dear brothers: it was those who are poor according to the world that God chose, to be rich in faith and to be the heirs to the kingdom which he promised to those who love him. In spite of this, you have no respect for anybody who is poor. Isn’t it always the rich who are against you? Isn’t it always their doing when you are dragged before the court? Aren’t they the ones who insult the honorable name to which you have been dedicated? Well, the right thing to do is to keep the supreme law of scripture: “you must love your neighbor as yourself;” but as soon as you make distinctions between classes of people, you are committing sin, and under condemnation for breaking the Law.

Take the case, my brothers, of someone who has never done a single good act but claims that he has faith. Will that faith save him? If one of the brothers or one of the sisters is in need of clothes and has not enough food to live on, and one of you says to them, ‘I wish you well; keep yourself warm and eat plenty,’ without giving them these bare necessities of life, then what good is that? Faith is like that: if good works do not go with it, it is quite dead.

This is the way to talk to people of that kind: ‘You say you have faith and I have good deeds’; I will prove to you that I have faith by showing you my good deeds — now you prove to me that you have faith without any good deeds to show. You believe in the one God — that is creditable enough, but the demons have the same belief, and they tremble with fear. Do realize, you senseless man, that faith without good deeds is useless. You surely know that Abraham our father was justified by his deed, because he ‘offered his son Isaac on the altar’? There you see it: faith and deeds were working together; his faith became perfect by what he did. This is what scripture really means when it says: ‘Abraham put his faith in God, and this was counted as making him justified’; and that is why he was called ‘the friend of God.’

You see now that it is by doing something good, and not only by believing, that a man is justified.

Responsory

R/. Pure, unspoiled religion in the eyes of God our Father is this: *
you must come to the help of orphans and widows in their need and keep yourself uncontaminated by the world

V/. Quick to be generous, he gave to the poor; his righteousness remains forever. *
you must come to the help of orphans and widows in their need and keep yourself uncontaminated by the world

The Second Reading

A reading from The Pastoral Rule of Pope St. Gregory the Great

Bk 1,10

Portrait of a good pastor

It is important that a man who is set up as a model of how to live should be one who is dead to all the passions of the flesh and lives by the spirit, turns his back on what the world has to offer, is unafraid of hardship, and is attracted only by the interior life. He does not let his body shirk its duty out of frailty; he does not become depressed when abused, for he realizes that things of this kind further his true ends. He does not readily covet what is not his, but with what he does possess he is generous. His loving nature is quick to forgive, though he never allows himself to be misled into condoning more than he should. While he does no wrong himself, he grieves over the misdeeds of others as if they were his own. His compassion for others when they are sick is heartfelt, and he is just as glad when good befalls his neighbor as when his own interests are advanced. His behavior is so exemplary in all respects that he need never fear being made to blush, even for past faults. He so conducts his life that those whose hearts are in need of refreshment can always find it in the guidance he gives. He is so well versed in the art of prayer that he can obtain anything he asks for from the Lord; it is as though he were singled out by a prophetic voice saying to him: “While you are still speaking I will say, ‘See, I am here.’”

If someone happened to come and ask one of us to intercede for him with an influential man we did not know and who was annoyed with him, we should at once say: ‘I cannot come and intercede — I do not know what he is like.’ So if a person is afraid to intercede with a mere man about whom he knows nothing, how can one, who is not sure whether or not his conduct makes him worthy to be counted God’s friend, take it upon himself to be the people’s advocate before God? How can he ask pardon for others if he is not sure that his own sins have been forgiven?

Responsory

R/. Be friends with one another, and kind, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ.*
Try then to imitate God, as children of his that he loves.

V/. Tend the flock that is placed under your care, willingly as God would have you do, being examples to your flock.*
Try then to imitate God, as children of his that he loves.

Prayer

God our Father,
You reveal that those who work for peace
will be called Your children.
Through the prayers of St. Andrew Corsini,
who excelled as a peacemaker,
help us to work without ceasing
for that justice which brings true and lasting peace.

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.

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. Blessed are the peacemakers: they shall be called children of God, says the Lord.

Canticle of Mary

Ant. The kingdom of God consists of justice and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit; whoever serves Christ in this way pleases God and wins the esteem of all.

 

andrew corsini_guido_reni,_s._andrea_corsini,_1639_pinacoteca_bologna
Il Beato Andrea Corsini
Guido Reni (Italian, 1575-1642)
Oil on canvas, 1635-1640
Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna

 

8 January: St. Peter Thomas

January 8
SAINT PETER THOMAS
Bishop

Optional Memorial

 

Born about 1305 in southern Perigord in France, Peter Thomas entered the Carmelites when he was twenty-one.  He was chosen by the Order as its procurator general to the Papal Court at Avignon in 1345. After being made bishop of Patti and Lipari in 1354, he was entrusted with many papal missions to promote peace and unity with the Eastern Churches.  He was translated to the see of Corone in the Peloponnesus in 1359 and made Papal Legate for the East. In 1363, he was appointed Archbishop of Crete and in 1364 Latin Patriarch of Constantinople. He won a reputation as an apostle of church unity before he died at Famagosta on Cyprus in 1366.

From the Common of Pastors 

Office of Readings

The First Reading

A reading from the First Letter of St. Paul to Timothy

1 Timothy 1:1-7, 15-19, 2:1-8

The calling of a pastor

From Paul, apostle of Christ Jesus appointed by the command of God our savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, to Timothy, true child of mine in the faith; wishing you grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our Lord.

As I asked you when I was leaving for Macedonia, please stay at Ephesus, to insist that certain people stop teaching strange doctrines and taking notice of myths and endless genealogies; these things are only likely to raise irrelevant doubts instead of furthering the design of God which are revealed in faith. The only purpose of this instruction is that there should be love, coming out of a pure heart, a clear conscience and a sincere faith. There are some people who have gone off the straight course and taken a road that leads to empty speculation; they claim to be doctors of the Law, but they understand neither the arguments they are using nor the opinions they are upholding.

Here is a saying that you can rely on and nobody should doubt: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I myself am the greatest of them; and if mercy has been shown to me, it is because Jesus Christ meant to make me the greatest evidence of his inexhaustible patience for all the other people who would later have to trust in him to come to eternal life. To the eternal King, the undying, invisible and only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Timothy, my son, these are the instructions that I am giving you: I ask you to remember the words once spoken over you by the prophets, and taking them to heart to fight like a good soldier with faith and a good conscience for your weapons. Some people have put conscience aside and wrecked their faith in consequence.

My advice is that, first of all, there should be prayers offered for everyone — petitions, intercessions and thanksgiving — and especially for kings and others in authority, so that we may be able to live religious and reverent lives in peace and quiet. To do this is right, and will please God our Savior: he wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth. For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and mankind, himself a man, Christ Jesus, who sacrificed himself as a ransom for them all. He is the evidence of this, sent at the appointed time, and I have been named a herald and apostle of it and — I am telling the truth and no lie — a teacher of the faith and the truth to the pagans.

In every place, then, I want the men to lift their hands up reverently in prayer, with no anger or argument.

Responsory

R/. Bear with one another in love; do all that you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together; there is one body and one Spirit, *
just as you were all called into one and the same hope when you were called.
V/.  A servant of the Lord is to aim for holiness and faith, love, and peace, in union with all those who call on the Lord with pure minds; *
just as you were all called into one and the same hope when you were called.

The Second Reading

A reading from The Book of the Institution of the First Monks

Bk I, Ch 6 

Love your neighbor as yourself

The Lord says, “The man who hears My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me.”  And the first of all commandments is: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. This is the greatest and first commandment.”  This cannot be observed without love of neighbor, because “he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen;” “and the second commandment is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” namely, in the things and for the reason that you love yourself.  “His soul hates him who loves violence,” says the Psalmist. Therefore, love your neighbor as yourself in good and not in evil, and “whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them” and “what you hate, do not do to anyone.” Thus, you must love your neighbor, and so act that he becomes just if he is wicked, or remains just if he is good.

Again you must love yourself, not because of yourself, but because of God. Whatever is loved because of itself is thus made a source of joy and a happy life, the hope of attaining which is comforting even on earth.  But you must not place the hope of a blessed life in yourself or another man. “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his arm, whose heart turns away from the Lord.” Therefore, you must make the Lord the source of your joy and the happy life, as the apostle says: “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

If you understand this clearly, you must love God because of Himself, and yourself, not because of yourself, but because of God; and, since you must love your neighbor as yourself, you must love him, not because of himself, nor because of yourself, but because of God, and what else is this but to love God in your neighbor?  “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandment.” In the preparation of your soul you do all of this if you love God because of Himself and your neighbor as yourself because of God. “On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”

Responsory

R/. With all our hearts we desired nothing better than to share with you our own lives, as well as God’s gospel, *
so greatly had we learned to love you.
V/.  My little children, I am in travail over you afresh, until I can see Christ’s image formed in you, *
so greatly had we learned to love you.

Prayer

Lord,
You inspired in Your bishop St. Peter Thomas
an intense desire to promote peace and Christian unity.
Following His example
may we live steadfast in the faith
and work perseveringly for peace.

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. 

Canticle of Zechariah

I am the good shepherd; I lay down my life for my sheep; and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.

Canticle of Mary

May the peace of Christ fill your hearts with joy, that peace to which all of you are called as one body.

 

Peter Thomas Museum of Fine Arts Boston SC188989
Saint Peter Thomas
Francisco de Zurbarán (Spanish, 1598–1664)
Oil on canvas, after 1634
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

 

Quote of the day: 7 January

The Doctorate of St. Teresa:

The historical development of an idea

(excerpts)

Fr. Valentino Macca, O.C.D.

Ephemerides Carmeliticae
Vol. 21 (1970/1-2) pp. 35-113


 

The Positio, concluded by this favorable judgment of the Promoter General of Faith, was distributed to all the Cardinals and Prelates of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, to whom the matter was submitted:

An, attentis insigni vitae sanctitate et eminenti doctrina eiusque benefico in vita Ecclesiae pondere, procedi posse arbitrarentur ad Sanctam Teresiam a Iesu Ecclesiae Doctorem declarandam.

The matter was then dealt with directly in the meeting that the Sacred Congregation held at the Vatican on 15 July 1969, the eve of the solemn Commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. After the learned and widespread report of Card. Arcadio M. Larraona, Promoter of the Cause, Cardinals and Official Prelates of the Sacred Congregation unanimously decided that St. Teresa of Avila was worthy of being inscribed by the Supreme Pontiff in the catalog of the Doctors of the Church.

The following 21 July, Paul VI, informed of the favorable judgment of the Sacred Congregation, approved the decision and ordered that St. Teresa of Jesus be numbered among the Doctors of the Church, reserving for himself the determination of the day of proclamation, and giving the order that the corresponding Apostolic Brief should be prepared. 

All of this is reflected in the Decree Urbis et Orbis of 21 July of the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.

According to this decree, therefore, St. Teresa of Avila has already been declared a Doctor of the Church. However, the solemn proclamation that the Holy Father, as was later announced, will make during a solemn ceremony in St. Peter’s on 27 September 1970, has not yet taken place.

We have presented the historical development of the idea of the Doctorate of St. Teresa of Avila from its humble and at the same time already powerful origins immediately after the Saint’s death until the happy official goal that now is approaching. It is an idea that immediately emerged with extraordinary clarity, even if not in strictly canonical terms, given the extraordinary value of Our Holy Mother Teresa’s doctrine and the widespread diffusion and influence that her books and her Magisterium soon had, praised by Popes and Bishops, exalted by the liturgy, used by Doctors and mystical writers, which became more and more an unquestionable authority in the field of mystical theology. While many believed that with Teresa of Jesus we were faced with a typical case of the Church declaring a Doctor equipollenter, from 1882 onwards, however, with ever greater insistence the voices were heard of those who implored a formal declaration. In 1923, an appeal was made to the Holy See to achieve this intention; it failed. The time was not ripe.

Providence arranged that in the climate of grace created by Vatican II, Paul VI, so supernaturally open to the signs of the times, should have the inspiration to give for the first time to a female Saint, distinguished for a marvelous doctrine that made her the teacher and mother of spiritual life in the Church, the title of Doctor.

The Pope, chosen by God for this act, had already in 1965 practically called her Doctor; in 1967 he greeted her as “great teacher of Catholic mysticism” and “extraordinary interpreter of the things of God”; while on 10 September 1965, he declared her principal patroness of all Catholic writers in Spain, affirming that she was the “luminary of Spain and of the whole Church” through her books, filled with heavenly wisdom, and even today she remains “praestantissima magistra” [exceptional teacher].

The solemn act of 27 September 1970—crowning all of this—will give the title, full rights, and honors of “Doctor of the Church” to the one who loved to call herself “daughter of the Church”.

Fr. Valentino di Santa Maria, o.c.d.

17 February 1924 – 7 January 1988

 

Teresa Doctor Valladolid portrait red background
Convento de la Concepción del Carmen de Valladolid | Ángel Cantero, Iglesia en Valladolid / Flickr

 

 


Father Valentino Macca, O.C.D. was a native of Brescia, Italy whose decades of service to the Discalced Carmelite Order left an indelible impression. He entered the Order at age 16 in the convent at Brescia, professing his solemn vows in 1945. When he completed his theological studies at the Teresianum in Rome, Cardinal Adeodato Piazza ordained him to the priesthood in 1950. Not long after, Father Valentino began to serve the Order at the General Curia in Rome. First, he served as a member of the communications team, the Centro Informativo; next, he labored as General Archivist, eventually assuming the direction of the Analecta O.D.C. as well.

Father Valentino distinguished himself for many years as the professor of Marian Spirituality and Mariology at the Marianum in Rome; to this day, Mariologists cite his published works. He served as a consultor to various dicasteries of the Holy See; his final curial assignment before his death was as a Relator for the Congregation of the Causes of the Saints. The library of the Teresianum in Rome lists 40 titles in its catalog where Father Macca is either the author, editor, or even the subject. We are pleased to bring an excerpt from his writings on Carmelite history to our readers. For a more complete biography of Father Valentino in Italian, we direct our readers to the Enciclopedia Bresciana article here.

 

Translations from the Italian are the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.

Quote of the day: 6 January

Again we kneel with the three kings at the manger. The heartbeat of the Divine Child has guided the star that led us here. Its light, the reflection of the eternal light, is variously distributed in the rays around the heads of the saints whom the Church shows us as the court of the newborn King of Kings. They allow something of the mystery of our vocation to flash before us…

John at the manger of the Lord—this says to us: See what happens to those who give themselves to God with pure hearts. In return, as a royal gift, they may participate in the entire inexhaustible fullness of Jesus’ incarnate life. Come and drink from the springs of living water that the Savior releases to the thirsty and that stream to eternal life. The Word has become flesh and lies before us in the form of a little newborn child…

And the same Savior, whom the written word presents to our eyes on all the paths he trod on earth in human form, lives among us disguised in the form of the eucharistic bread. He comes to us every day as the bread of life. In either of these forms, he is near to us; in either of these forms, he wants to be sought and found by us. The one supports the other.

When we see that Savior before us with the eyes of faith as the Scriptures portray him, then our desire to receive him in the bread of life increases. The eucharistic bread, on the other hand, awakens our desire to get to know the Lord in the written word more and more deeply and strengthens our spirit to get a better understanding.

Saint Edith Stein

For January 6, 1941 (excerpts)

 

Nativity_and_Saint_John_the_Evangelist_Guerau_GENER
Nativity and St. John the Evangelist
Guerau Gener (Spanish, 1306-1408)
Lluís Borrassà (Spanish, 1360-1425)
Tempera, gold, and gold leaf on wood
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona

 

 

Stein, E 2014, The Hidden Life: Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Texts, translated from the German by Stein W, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 5 January

And the kings have a special meaning for us, too. Even though we already belonged to the external Church, an interior impulse nevertheless drove us out of the circle of inherited viewpoints and conventions. We knew God, but we felt that he desired to be sought and found by us in a new way. Therefore we wanted to open ourselves and sought for a star to show us the right way. And it arose for us in the grace of vocation.

We followed it and found the divine infant. He stretched out his hands for our gifts. He wanted the pure gold of a heart detached from all earthly goods; the myrrh of a renunciation of all the happiness of this world in exchange for participation in the life and suffering of Jesus; the frankincense of a will that surrenders itself and strains upward to love itself in the divine will. In return for these gifts, the divine child gave us himself.

Saint Edith Stein

The Hidden Life and Epiphany (excerpt)
6 January 1940

 

Kirk Edge 2008 Therese relic visit Flickr 3984098379_f95ce97c4a_o
Carmelite Monastery Kirk Edge, 2008 | catholicrelics.co.uk / Flickr CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

 

 

Stein, E 2014, The Hidden Life: Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Texts, translated from the German by Stein W, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 4 January

September 8, 1890

O Jesus, my divine spouse! May I never lose the sec­ond robe of my Baptism! Take me before I can commit the slightest voluntary fault. May I never seek nor find anything but yourself alone. May creatures be nothing for me and may I be nothing for them, but may you, Jesus, be every­thing!. .. May the things of earth never be able to trouble my soul, and may nothing disturb my peace. Jesus, I ask you for nothing but peace, and also love, infinite love without any limits other than yourself; love that is no longer I but you, my Jesus. Jesus, may I die a martyr for you. Give me martyrdom of heart or of body, or rather give me both

Give me the grace to fulfill my vows in all their perfection, and make me understand what a real spouse of yours should be. Never let me be a burden to the community, let nobody be occupied with me, let me be looked on as one to be trampled underfoot, forgotten like your little grain of sand, Jesus.

May your will be done in me perfectly, and may I ar­rive at the place that you have gone ahead to prepare for me.

Jesus, allow me to save very many souls; let no soul be lost today; let all the souls in purgatory be saved… Jesus, pardon me if I say anything I should not say. I want only to give you joy and to console you.

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus

Prayer Pri 2


Marie Françoise Thérèse Martin was baptized on 4 January 1873 in Notre‑Dame Church of Alençon, France by Father Dumaine. You can view the birth certificate and baptismal record here. In her manuscripts that together form the autobiography that we know as Story of a Soul,  Thérèse lists the “days of grace” on page 86 that the Lord “granted to his little spouse.” The first day of grace was her birth on 2 January; the second was her baptism on 4 January 1873.

 

MsA86r

4 January: St. Kuriakos Elias Chavara

January 4
SAINT KURIAKOS ELIAS CHAVARA
Priest

Optional Memorial
In the provinces of India, Memorial

 

Saint Kuriakos Elias Chavara, co-founder and first prior general of the congregation of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, was born at Kainakary in Kerala, India, February 10, 1805. He entered the seminary in 1818, and was ordained priest in 1829. He made his religious profession in 1855, in the congregation he founded. In 1861, he was named vicar general for the Syro-Malabar church; in this capacity he defended ecclesial unity threatened by schism when mar Tomas Rochos was sent from Mesopotamia to consecrate Nestorian bishops. Throughout his life he worked for the renovation of the church in Malabar. He was also co-founder in 1866 of the congregation of the Sisters of the Mother of Carmel. Above all, he was a man of prayer, zealous for the Eucharistic Lord, and devoted to the Immaculate Virgin Mary. He died at Koonammavu in 1871. His body was transferred to Mannanam in 1889.

From the Common of Pastors or of Holy Men (Religious)

Office of Readings

The Second Reading

From a note written on the day of his death, by his spiritual director Fr. Leopold Beccaro

Day and night he fought to arrest the spread of schism

Today, Tuesday, January 3, 1871, at 7:15 in the morning, Fr. Cyriac (Kuriakos) Elias of the Holy Family, the first Prior, died after a life of great innocence. He could declare before his death he had never lost his baptismal innocence. He was exercising himself in the practice of virtues, especially in simplicity of heart, living faith, tender obedience, and devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament, to the Blessed Virgin Mary and to St. Joseph. He has undergone immense hardships for the good of the Christians of Malabar, especially during the time of the schism of Rochos, when he, having been appointed vicar general of the Syrians, showed his extraordinary devotion to the Holy See. He fought day and night to arrest the spread of schism from which he would save no less than forty parishes. On this account the Holy Father Pope Pius IX sent him a letter expressing his great satisfaction. He was the founder and the first Prior of the Carmelites of Malabar. He founded also the convent of nuns after undergoing many hardships. On account of his endearing virtues, learning and profound knowledge of the Syriac language he enjoyed great influence on the Syrians of Malabar. He was always greatly loved by the Vicars Apostolic of Malabar, and even more by the people of Malabar, the gentiles and Nestorians not excluded. He endured his last illness for two years in a spirit of great resignation, nay with joy. He was detached from all disorderly affections for earthly things, which was all the more true in the last days of his life. Having received the last sacraments with extraordinary piety and devotion, in a heavenly joy, and amidst the tears of all who knew him, especially my own, who knew him even as myself, he breathed his last at the age of sixty-five and was buried in the church of St. Philomena at Koonammavu. O holy and beautiful soul, pray for me.

Responsory

R/. You adorned my soul with all graces *
so that the angels too may find joy in that.
V/. You took care, besides, that my name might be inscribed in the book of life *
so that the angels too may find joy in that.

Prayer

Lord God,
You raised up Saint Kuriakos Elias your priest
to strengthen the unity of the Church.
Grant that through his intercession
we may be enlightened by the Holy Spirit
to read the signs of the times with wisdom
and spread the news of the Gospel
by both word and example.

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.

 

 

Kuriakose Elias Chavara 011 T
Credit: rejijoseph.com (used by permission)

Mary, Mother of God: Her face speaks peace — Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.

Homily

The Solemnity of the
Blessed Virgin Mary,
Mother of God
Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Managua

Saint Agatha Catholic Church
Archdiocese of Miami
1 January 2020


Gospel
Numbers 6:22-27

The LORD said to Moses:
“Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them:
This is how you shall bless the Israelites.
Say to them:
The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace!
So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites,
and I will bless them.

 


 

Dear brothers and sisters:

On the first day of the new year, we have the joy and grace of celebrating the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and at the same time the World Day of Peace. Gathered as a Church to celebrate the Eucharist around Christ, the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary and our true peace, we welcome with emotion the words of the ancient blessing that the priests imparted on the people of Israel: The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace! (cf. Nm 6:26).

We have heard, both in the first reading—taken from the Book of Numbers—and in the responsorial Psalm, some expressions that contain the metaphor of the face in reference to God: “The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!” (Nm 6:25); “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving power among all nations” (Ps 67:1-2, NRSVCE). The face is the expression par excellence of the person, which makes him recognizable; through it, the feelings, thoughts, and intentions of the heart are shown. God, by his nature, is invisible; however, the Bible also applies this image to him. Showing his face is an expression of his benevolence while hiding it indicates his anger and indignation. The Psalms present believers as those who seek the face of God (cf. Ps 27:9; 102:2, NRSVCE) and who aspire to see it in worship: “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?” (Ps 42:2, NRSVCE).

We begin this year with the deep conviction of our faith that the Lord wants to show us his face and that this is a reason for trust and hope. We trust that this year the Lord will look upon us as we journey and that he’ll gaze upon us with infinite kindness. We know that he’ll never turn his face away from us because he is the faithful one and he loves us dearly. We do not know what will happen in this new year, but we’re sure that the Lord will continue to show us his gentle, loving, welcoming face, assuring us that he is with us. The face of the Lord who is looking upon us will overcome our loneliness.

Biblical history as a whole can be read as a progressive revelation of the face of God, until it reaches its full manifestation in Jesus Christ. “When the fullness of time had come,” the Apostle Paul reminded us today, “God sent his Son” (Gal 4:4). And immediately he adds, “born of a woman, born under the law.” The face of God took on a human face, allowing Himself to be seen and recognized in the son of the Virgin Mary, whom we, therefore, venerate as “Mother of God.” She, who kept in her heart the secret of divine motherhood, was the first to see the face of God made man in the tiny fruit of her womb. The mother has a very special, unique and in some ways exclusive relationship with her newborn child. The first face the child sees is that of the mother, and this look is decisive for his relationship with life, with himself, with others, and with God.

Through her face, Mary “gave Jesus the beautiful experience of knowing what it is to be a Son (…) and sensing “the maternal tenderness of God”. At the same time, in contemplating the face of Mary, “the God-Child learned to listen to the yearnings, the troubles, the joys and the hopes of the people of the promise” (Pope Francis, Homily 1 January 2017). Seeing his mother’s face, Jesus recognized himself to be a son and a brother, as the Son of God and as the brother of all people. The mother’s serene gaze communicates security and peace, giving an awareness of being a person and strengthening the ability to relate to others and to God with maturity and generosity. Today too, the face of the Virgin, Mother of God and our Mother, makes us feel like children of God and brothers and sisters to one another.

The face of Our Lady, whose heart was always full of God’s loving presence, allows us to feel that God is close to us and loves us, it instills in us the certainty that God never leaves our side, and that he cares for us and always forgives us. Our Lady’s face also helps us to look at each other as sisters and brothers. It teaches us to see as she does, and it enables us to have a caring vision that seeks to welcome, to accompany, and to protect. Let’s learn to look at each other under the maternal gaze of Mary. May she help us this year to show a kind and welcoming face to all. Let’s not be afraid to go out and look at our brothers and sisters with Our Lady’s eyes, to let her face be seen in our faces. Her face speaks peace to us and makes us capable of being peacemakers.

Peace has much to do with the face, with our own face and the faces of others. Peace begins with a respectful look that recognizes a real person in the face of the other individual, whatever the color of their skin, their nationality, their language, and their religion may be. In this New Year, may people who see our face have no fear, neither let them feel ignored or rejected, because “mistrust and fear weaken relationships and increase the risk of violence, creating a vicious circle that can never lead to a relationship of peace” (Pope Francis, World Day of Peace 2020).

Peace is destroyed when we live in faceless, anonymous societies where the law that seems to dominate our coexistence is “every man for himself,” all of us being submerged in the sea of selfishness and indifference. We contribute to peace when we fill our lives and our hearts with faces—with faces that have names and stories, with faces that make our hearts beat with charity and solidarity, that move us with tenderness and goodness.

In many of our countries, injustice and violent repression continue to sow terror and death because we have not learned to recognize human beings who deserve dignity and respect in the faces of others, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. Peace will be possible for our people only through “a patient effort to seek truth and justice, to honor the memory of victims and to open the way, step by step, to a shared hope stronger than the desire for vengeance” (World Day of Peace 2020).

The ancient priestly blessing of Israel concludes with these words: “The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace” (Nm 6:26). The human face of God who imparts his peace to us is Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary. Therefore, at the beginning of this New Year, to prepare ourselves to receive God’s blessing in Christ and to be peacemakers, let us run back to the manger like the shepherds (cf. Lk 2:15-26) and confidently turn our faces to the face of the Mother who carries God in her arms. May she, whose face reflects God’s maternal tenderness, preserve our hearts in peace and help the whole of humanity to walk in the pathways of peace.

 

Theotokos BAEZ fave
Credit: Desde dentro…

 

 


Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. has served as the Auxiliary Bishop of Managua since May 2009, when he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI. A scripture scholar, a former professor at the Pontifical Theological Faculty Teresianum in Rome and editor of the facultys eponymous academic journal, the bishop currently serves at the good pleasure of the Holy Father Pope Francis in Rome.  Read our profile of Bishop Báez here and search our blog posts concerning the bishop here.

 

This English translation of Bishop Báez's Spanish homily is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission and attribution.

 

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