Day by day they grow in prayerfulness and year-by-year they become living embodiments of our Rule and Constitutions. Admittedly, we may be far from perfect at the beginning of our religious life. However, once we have completed our apprenticeship, we must be the living embodiment of our Rule and Constitutions for no other reason than to work with Christ for the salvation of the world. Pray to our saints and to the Virgin Mary to help you to attain that goal. Amen.
Père Jacques of Jesus, O.C.D. The Apostolate Retreat for the Carmel of Pontoise, Conference Thirteen Saturday evening, 11 September 1943
Whoever knows God (in the measure in which knowledge of God is possible through natural and supernatural light) cannot do other than love Him; whoever loves Him cannot do other than serve Him.
Thus, matters of mind and heart, achievement and act of will are living faith. He who knows how to awaken faith trains all faculties. But one can only awaken it when one also summons up all the faculties. This cannot be done through tedious intellectual instruction, but it also cannot be done through fanatic instruction which “appeals to the emotions”; on the contrary, this can be done only through a religious instruction which leads from the fullness of one’s own religious life to the depths of the Godhead, an instruction which is able to present God in His kindness; such instruction enkindles love and exacts proof through deed, and it may so challenge because one achieves this by oneself. Wherever the soul is enkindled, that soul itself longs for action; and it eagerly grasps the forms of practical life for which God and Holy Church have provided: participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, a participation which consummates the holy sacrifice as an offering in union with the Eucharistic Lord, festive praise of God, and all works of love in which Christ is served in the members of His Mystical Body. The entire abundance of the supernatural world of the spirit is opened to the soul thereby, and an inexhaustible abundance of formative material which enters into it is thus able to build up and transform it.
Saint Edith Stein
Excerpt from Fundamental Principles of Women’s Education Published in Stimmen der Zeit, monthly review of contemporary intellectual life, March 1931, No. 6
Many believe that action and contemplation are mutually exclusive efforts. Some argue that a prayerful life is an escape from the difficult effort of loving service. Others argue that the apostolic life lacks a certain depth and devotion to the Lord. Yet the greatest mystics never saw a tension between apostolic service and contemplative prayer — for them, it would be impossible to have one without the other. The deeper into prayer they went, the greater their apostolic zeal. The more dedicated their love of neighbor, the more they relied on prayer for strength. How is it that these prayerful people did more than those who feel they are too busy for prayer?
In her retreat, Heaven in Faith #40, Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity looked to the Virgin Mary to resolve this paradox…
Everything you do or say, then, should be done in the name of the Lord Jesus, as you give thanks through him to God the Father. (Colossians 3:17)
Resolution: To forgive whoever has offended me this day.
Maria Felicia, inspire thoughts of forgiveness in us for those who have offended us that we may be able to forgive as the Lord has forgiven us.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be
Most Holy Trinity:
Father Son and Holy Spirit,
you who are pleased to place your abode
in the heart of men:
we thank you for having lit the fire of your love
in Blessed Maria Felicia of the Blessed Sacrament,
urging her to spend her youth
in the lay apostolate
and to sacrifice herself for all
in the contemplative life.
We praise and bless you
because through an exemplary life
you show us your kindness as Father and Friend
and the total exigencies of true love.
We ask you to grant us, through her intercession,
the graces that we now ask of you,
if it is for your greater glory and good for souls.
Through Christ our Lord, Amen.
John’s unique apostolate was to remain close to the Virgin Mary
Consider those closest to Christ. Saint John the Apostle grasped what was indispensable for a clear understanding of his master. John never tired of probing and querying Christ. We can see how John thus gained richer insights and fuller explanations, precisely because he went to the bother of approaching and asking Christ to clarify each day’s lesson. I picture John, walking close behind Christ, as he made his way about the Holy Land. Thus, John came to gain a wealth of intimate knowledge, which the other apostles did not acquire. Herein lies the explanation for the special character of the fourth Gospel. While the other apostles traveled across the then known world on their missionary journeys, John’s unique apostolate was to remain close to the Virgin Mary, whom Christ had entrusted to him. Thus were these two great souls conjoined in love and prayer.
Père Jacques of Jesus, OCD
Thus were these two great souls conjoined in love and prayer.