The Carmelite often sees herself surrounded by darkness that hides her Beloved. She sees herself rejected and unprotected. Is it possible that there is any greater suffering for a soul who has abandoned all to follow the God she loves than to see herself alone without Him?
St Teresa of the Andes The Writings of Saint Teresa of Jesus of the Andes
I ask God from the wealth of his glory to give you power through his Spirit to be strong in your inner selves, and I pray that Christ will make his home in your hearts through faith. I pray that you may have your roots and foundation in love, so that you, together with all God’s people, may have the power to understand how broad and long, how high and deep, is Christ’s love. Yes, may you come to know his love—although it can never be fully known—and so be completely filled with the very nature of God.
This spiritual marriage is incomparably greater than the spiritual betrothal, for it is a total transformation in the Beloved, in which each surrenders the entire possession of self to the other with a certain consummation of the union of love. The soul thereby becomes divine, God through participation, insofar as is possible in this life. And thus I think that this state never occurs without the soul’s being confirmed in grace, for the faith of both is confirmed when God’s faith in the soul is here confirmed. It is accordingly the highest state attainable in this life.
The Spiritual Canticle: Stanza 22
O St. John of the Cross
You were endowed by our Lord with the spirit of self-denial
and a love of the cross.
Obtain for us the grace to follow your example
that we may come to the eternal vision of the glory of God.
O Saint of Christ’s redeeming cross
the road of life is dark and long.
Teach us always to be resigned to God’s holy will
in all the circumstances of our lives
and grant us the special favor
which we now ask of thee (mention your request).
Above all, obtain for us the grace of final perseverance,
a holy and happy death and everlasting life with you
and all the saints in heaven.
In 1904, in the days leading up to the Feast of the Presentation of Mary, Father Fages preached a retreat to Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity and the Carmelites of Dijon. In that retreat, the Dominican drew on St. Augustine to describe Mary as a model of contemplative souls. She magnified the Lord because of the love that lived in her heart, “Love, unmindful of its own dignity, thirsts to exalt and to increase the beloved: its only measure is to be without measure.”