Quote of the day: 3 March

It behooveth thee to grant a favor and confirmation to my holy and devout Order of Carmel

For centuries the faithful who held a pious devotion to the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel believed in an apparition of the Blessed Virgin to Pope John XXII in Avignon. Based on that supposed apparition, the sovereign pontiff issued a Papal Bull, Sacratissimo uti culmine, dated 3 March 1322 from Avignon; it is in the text of the Bull that the pope mentions the apparition. The historical difficulty with this document lies in the fact that the Bull is mentioned nowhere prior to 1752, according to Joseph Hilgers.

A modern-day spiritual descendant of St. Simon Stock, former Carmelite prior general Father Joseph Chalmers, O.Carm. writes, “In any case, the symbolism of the scapular as a sign of consecration to Mary, the Mother of Carmel, was and remains very important.” Citing the Carmelite friar, Mathias of St. John, Father Chalmers adds one important qualifier: “It would be far better to have holiness under a worldly habit than a worldly heart under a holy habit.” He concludes, “wearing the scapular is intended to be an outward reminder of what should be going on within.”

The recently deceased Discalced Carmelite scholar Father Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. discusses the historical problems head-on in his article, Brown Scapular: a Silent Devotion. He reviews the scapular as the habit of the Carmelites from their humble beginnings in the Holy Land to their spread through western Europe. In particular, Father Kieran describes the painstaking research undertaken by the Discalced Carmelites in defense of Carmelite Marian devotion following the Second Vatican Council, and how their careful documentation led to the restoration of the feast day of Saint Simon Stock to the Church’s liturgical calendar in 1979 (God reward you, Father Nilo).

But more important, Father Kieran explains with great precision where the Church stands today in regard to the Brown Scapular devotion: “No mention is made of the vision of St. Simon Stock or of that of Pope John XXII in relation to the Sabbatine privilege, which promises that one will be released from Purgatory on the first Saturday after death.”

Fr. Kavanaugh continues: “Nonetheless, the Carmelites have also been authorized to freely preach to the faithful that they can piously believe in the powerful intercession, merits, and suffrages of the Blessed Virgin, that she will help them even after their death, especially on Saturday, which is the day of the week particularly dedicated to Mary, if they have died in the grace of God and devoutly worn the scapular. But no mention is made of the “first” Saturday after their death.”

One particular reflection that this great Discalced Carmelite scholar offers is rather consoling: “If some day an historian were to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that there are no grounds to the Marian apparition to St. Simon Stock or the scapular promise, the scapular devotion would still maintain its value. The Church’s esteem of it as a sacramental, her appreciation of its meaning and of the good that has come about through its pious use on the part of the faithful is all that is needed.” Thank you, Father Kieran.

Perhaps Saint John Paul II summarized the Church’s teaching and the Carmelite scapular catechesis best in his 2001 Message to the Carmelite Family. The saint wrote, “the scapular is essentially a habit.”

For our readers who are history buffs, we have researched the Bull Sacratissimo uti culmine and found the text in Satolli’s Dictionnaire de Droit Canonique, which we present to you sans scrupule. An English translation is found here.

JohnPaul2 Scapular Relic
Brown Scapular worn by Saint John Paul II, a gift to the Discalced Carmelite parish in Wadowice, Poland | Photo credit: Discalced Carmelite Order

SACRATISSIMO UTI CULMINE

JOANNES EPISCOPUS SERVUS SERVORUM DEI,
Universis et singulis Christifidelibus, tam praesentibus quam futuris, praesentes literas inspecturis, salutem et apostolicam benedictionem.

Sacratissimo uti culmine Paradisi angelorum tam suavis et dulcis reperitur melodia, modulamine visionis, dum paterno Jesus Numini circumspicitur adumatus, dicendo: Domine, Ego et Pater unum sumus, et qui videt me, videt et Patrem meum, et angelorum chorus non desinit dicere: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus; ita Synodus non cessat laudes effundere celsæ Virgini, dicendo Virgo, Virgo, Virgo, sis speculum nostrum pariter et exemplum. Quoniam munere munitur gratiarum, sicut sancta cantat Ecclesia: Gratia plena et Mater misericordiae. Sic ille mons reputatur de Carmelo Ordine cantibus extollendo, et hanc gratiarum Genitricem commendando et dicendo: Salve Regina, Mater misericordiæ et spes nostra.

Sic mihi flexis genibus supplicanti Virgo visa fuit Carmelita, sequentem effata sermonem: 0 Joannes, o Joannes, vicarie mei dilecti Filii, veluti a tuo te eripiam adversario, te Papam facio solemni dono Vicarium, meis coadjuvantibus supplicationibus, a dulcissimo meo Filio petens, quod gratiose obtinui, ita gratiam et amplam meo sancto ac devoto Carmelitarum Ordini confirmationem debeas praeconcedere, per Eliam et Eliseum in Monte Carmeli inchoato. Quod unusquisque professionem faciens, Regulam a meo servo Alberto, patriarcha, ordinatam observabit et inviolatam obtinebit, et per meum dilectum filium Innocentium approbatam, ut veri mei Filii Vicarius debeas in terris assentire, quod in cœlis meus statuit et ordinavit Filius; quod qui in sancta perseverabit obedientia, paupertate et castitate, vel qui sanctum intrabit Ordinem, salvabitur; et si alii, devotionis causa, in sanctam ingrediantur Religionem, sancti Habitus signum ferentes, appellantes se Confratres et Consorores mei Ordinis prænominati, liberentur et absolvantur a tertia eorum peccatorum portione, a die quo præfatum Ordinem intrabunt, castitatem, si vidua est, promittendo; virginitatis, si est virgo, fidem præstando; si est conjugata, inviolati conservationem matrimonii adhibendo, ut sancta mater imperat Ecclesia. Fratres proféssi dicti Ordinis supplicio solvantur et culpa, et die quo ab isto se culo recedunt, properato gradu accelerant purgatorium, ego Mater gratiose descendam sabbato post eorum obitum, et quot inveniam in purgatorio liberabo, et eos in Montem sanctum vitæ æternæ reducam. Verum quod ipsi Confratres et Consorores te neantur Horas dicere Canonicales, ut opus fuerit, secundum Regulam datam ab Alberto; illi, qui ignari sunt, debeant vitam jejunam ducere diebus quos sacra jubet Ecclesia, nisi, necessitatis causa, alicui essent traditi impedimento ; mercurio ac sabbato debeant se a carnibus abstinere, præterquam in mei Filii Nativitate. Et hoc dicto, evanuit ista sancta visio.

Istam ergo sanctam Indulgentiam accepto, roboro et in terris confirmo, sicut, propter merita Virginis Matris, gratiose Jesus-Christus concessit in coelis. Nulli ergo omnino hominum liceat hanc paginam nostræ Indulgentiæ, seu statuti, et ordinationis irritare, vel ei ausu temerario contraire. Si quis autem hoc attentare præsumpserit, indignationem Omnipotentis Dei, et Beatorum apostolorum Petri et Pauli se noverit incursurum.

Datum Avenione, tertia die Martii, Pontificatus nostri anno sexto

Templo San Marcos,Aguascalientes,Estado de Aguascalientes,México
Plaque in St. Mark Church, Aguascalientes bearing the essence of the Virgin’s message to Pope John XXII concerning the Sabbatine Privilege | Catedrales e Iglesias/Flickr (Creative Commons)

 

PERE JACQUES - Virginity is one of the crown jewels IGsize
Père Jacques was the headmaster of the Carmelite boarding school in Avon, France who sheltered Jewish boys as students. When he was arrested, a crowd of shocked students gathered to watch as he was led away; his parting words were, “Au revoir, les enfants.”

Quote of the day: 11 February

She is there at the foot of the Cross, standing, full of strength and courage, and here my Master says to me: “Ecce Mater tua.” He gives her to me for my Mother. . . . And now that He has returned to the Father and has substituted me for Himself on the Cross so that “I may suffer in my body what is lacking in His passion for the sake of His body, which is the Church,” the Blessed Virgin is again there to teach me to suffer as He did, to tell me, to make me hear those last songs of His soul which no one else but she, His Mother, could overhear.

When I shall have said my “consummatum est,” it is again she, “Janua coeli,” who will lead me into the heavenly courts, whispering to me these mysterious words: “Laetatus sum in his quae dicta sunt mihi; in domum Domini ibimus!”

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Last Retreat, Fifteenth Day

bl-e-of-t-ill-near-death-full-pic
This last photo was taken of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity in mid-October, 1906, shortly before her death in the Carmel of Dijon, France. She is seated on the terrace of the monastery, holding two gifts from her dear friend, Madame de Bobet. First, Volume 4 of the Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, opened to the Living Flame of Love; this was a gift received shortly after Elizabeth received the habit and began her novitiate. Elizabeth wrote her thank-you note on or about 10 February 1902. The rosary came from the shrine in Lourdes; Elizabeth’s closest friend Antoinette de Bobet brought the gift to the monastery in January 1906. The statue of Our Lady of Lourdes is the one that Elizabeth gave to her mother when she entered the monastery; in her final illness, the statue returned to Carmel and Elizabeth called her, “Janua Coeli”, meaning “Gate of Heaven”.  [Source: De Meester]

Mary, Mother and Teacher

She is the model of all
who live by the Spirit of the gospel;
As we look up to her in prayer we learn
from her mind to love you above all things,
from her spirit to be rapt in contemplation of your Word, and
from her heart to serve the needs of others.

ndmc_protection
Early image of the Blessed Virgin clothed in the Carmelite habit surrounded by Carmelite saints
Excerpt from the preface to the Eucharistic Prayer, Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Teacher in the Spirit; taken from The Collection of Masses of the Blessed Virgin Mary, published by the Congregation of Divine Worship in 1986.

The eyes of our Lady

It is said that the eyes are the mirror of the soul; the eyes of Mary, full of grace, reflect the beauty of God, they show us a reflection of heaven. Jesus himself said that the eye is “the lamp of the body” (Mt 6:22): the eyes of Our Lady are able to bring light to every dark corner; everywhere they rekindle hope. As she gazes upon us, she says: “Take heart, dear children; here I am, your Mother!”

 

POPE FRANCIS - The eyes of our lady

BAEZ - Mary says yes to God (2)
Excerpt from a homily for the patronal feast of La Purísima, 28 November 2018, at the Archdiocesan Seminary “La Purísima” of Managua, Nicaragua | Translation by C. R. Altieri

 

To the Incorruptible Maiden

A Prayer By St. Nektarios of Aegina

O Theotokos, Virgin Mary, it is indeed a dread and ineffable mystery,
what has been done in you.

For you, indeed, gave birth to the Word who is the cause of all things,
and who was incarnated by the Holy Spirit, beyond any cause or reason.

For from you, who remained unchangeable,
he received flesh of his own divine,
immutable and unaltered nature.

Since in him coexisted the two natures,
the divine and human,
in one hypostasis,
he was dual in nature,
a whole man and a God as well,
showing the perfect wholeness
and having all the energies of the characteristics of both.

As a moral he was crucified in flesh voluntarily
but as God during his passion, he overcame his passion.

As a mortal he died,
but as God he was risen.

As a mortal he was laid in a tomb,
but as God he was in hades,
defeating the power of death
and saving men.

Him, O Virgin Mary, most-pure Theotokos,
the saviour and redeemer of the human race,
entreat unceasingly for us, your servants,
that he may send down from heaven to us joy and peace.

From you, O holy Virgin,
Christ was born,

Who was God eternally,
but appeared as man recently.

He kept for himself,
in a divine and unconfusable union,
the properties of both natures;

He showed the divine and unconfusable union,
the properties of both natures;

He showed the divine with glorious wonders,
while he proved the human nature with his sufferings.

Therefore, although he was one
in one godly-human hypostasis,
he dies in the flesh as man,
yet he rises from the dead as God.

Him, O Virgin Mary, most-pure Theotokos,
as one who has boldness

Entreat that he may be compassionate
and save from the condemnation
those who praise you unceasingly.

20181018_163854
Mother of Carmel by the hand of Sr. Mary Grace, O.C.D.

Prayer translated by Nikolaos S. Hatzinikolaou; read more prayers by St. Nektarios here

L'Assomption de la Vierge
Mary stands at the crucial point of human history and especially at the crucial point of the history of woman; in her, motherhood was transfigured and physical maternity surmounted. ~Saint Edith Stein (Essays on Woman)

Our Lady, Mother 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)

Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Day 8

Scripture – Galatians 5:19, 22-25

What human nature does is quite plain. But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. There is no law against such things as these. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have put to death their human nature with all its passions and desires. The Spirit has given us life; he must also control our lives.

Reading – Père Jacques of Jesus, O.C.D., from his retreat to the Carmel of Pontoise, 1943

There are two ways of communing with God. The first is the sacramental way, by reception of the Sacred Host, which allows us to bear Christ’s presence within ourselves. The second and unceasing way consists of God giving himself to us every moment of every day of our lives. In this way, God comes to us in the form of a duty, a joy or a sorrow. God comes to us in other persons, such as an unappealing [person] with whom we have to work or a congenial [friend] with whom we sit at [a meal]. In all these situations, it is God who comes to us, but we do not realize his presence. Yet, whatever the form behind which he hides and whatever the garb in which he presents himself, he is the God of Wisdom, Omnipotence, and Love without limits.

We will be saints, with holiness like that of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila and the Little Flower, when God comes to us no longer in divine radiance, but in the form of a crushing threat to our life. Such was the experience of Christ in his Passion. Even if our human nature recoils in fear and trembling, we will be able to commune with God within the recesses of our soul through abandonment. There lies the key to God’s love and peace.

Novena Prayer

O Most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel,
Fruitful Vine, Splendor of heaven,
Blessed Mother of the Son of God,
Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity.
O Star of the Sea, help me
and show me herein that you are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Queen of heaven and earth,
I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart
to succor me in this necessity.
There are none that can withstand your power!
O help me and show me herein that you are my Mother.

Our Lady, Queen and Beauty of Carmel,
pray for me and obtain my requests!
Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands!

Excerpt from Listen to the Silence: A Retreat With Père Jacques
Translated and Edited by Francis J. Murphy 
Copyright © 2005 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

Virgin of the Incarnation, in the mysteries of grace,
God has made His habitation in our soul’s most secret place.
Toward that bright and inner kingdom, all our words and ways compel.
For the Father, Son and Spirit in its sacred silence dwell.

NDMC_45_Stella-Maris

 

Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Day 7

Scripture – Romans 8:5-7

Those who live as their human nature tells them to, have their minds controlled by what human nature wants. Those who live as the Spirit tells them to, have their minds controlled by what the Spirit wants. To be controlled by human nature results in death; to be controlled by the Spirit results in life and peace. And so people become enemies of God when they are controlled by their human nature; for they do not obey God’s law, and in fact they cannot obey it.

Reading – Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, from her Letters

Yes, my darling, I am praying for you and I keep you in my soul quite close to God, in that little inner sanctuary where I find Him at every hour of the day and night. I’m never alone: my Christ is always there praying in me, and I pray with Him. You grieve me, My Framboise; I can well see that you’re unhappy and I assure you it’s your own fault. Be at peace. I don’t believe you’re crazy yet, just nervous and overexcited, and when you’re like that, you make others suffer too. Ah, if I could teach you the secret of happiness as God has taught it to me. You say I don’t have any worries or sufferings; it’s true that I’m very happy, but if you only knew that a person can be just as happy even when she is crossed. We must always keep our eyes on God. In the beginning, it’s necessary to make an effort when we’re just boiling inside, but quite gently, with patience and God’s help, we get there in the end.

Novena Prayer

O Most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel,
Fruitful Vine, Splendor of heaven,
Blessed Mother of the Son of God,
Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity.
O Star of the Sea, help me
and show me herein that you are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Queen of heaven and earth,
I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart
to succor me in this necessity.
There are none that can withstand your power!
O help me and show me herein that you are my Mother.

Our Lady, Queen and Beauty of Carmel,
pray for me and obtain my requests!
Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands!

Excerpt from Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, 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

Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Day 6

Scripture – Romans 15:4, 13

Everything written in the Scriptures was written to teach us, in order that we might have hope through the patience and encouragement which the Scriptures give us. May God, the source of hope, fill you with all joy and peace by means of your faith in him, so that your hope will continue to grow by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Reading – Saint Teresa of Jesus of the Andes, from her Writings

Do everything for love of Him. Do not seek to please others. They are so mistaken in their judgments! God sees deeply within you at every moment, as though you were the only person alive. Be aware that as you sleep, as you work and live, there is an infinite Being concerned with giving you life, with loving you eternally and infinitely!

How I wish I could fill you with these thoughts, which make everything else pale in comparison, so that there is nothing before you but God! Then, what peace, what joy we might experience. We would understand that God is our center. We would be living the life of love, the life of heaven.

Novena Prayer

O Most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel,
Fruitful Vine, Splendor of heaven,
Blessed Mother of the Son of God,
Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity.
O Star of the Sea, help me
and show me herein that you are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Queen of heaven and earth,
I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart
to succor me in this necessity.
There are none that can withstand your power!
O help me and show me herein that you are my Mother.

Our Lady, Queen and Beauty of Carmel,
pray for me and obtain my requests!
Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands!

Excerpt from Barbara Haight Garcia, OCDS, The Writings of Saint Teresa of Jesus of the Andes: An Abridgement
Copyright © 2003 by Library of Congress 
Published by New Life Publishing

Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Day 5

Scripture – Psalm 16:7-11

I praise the Lord, because he guides me,
   and in the night my conscience warns me.
I am always aware of the Lord’s presence;
   he is near, and nothing can shake me.

And so I am thankful and glad,
   and I feel completely secure,
because you protect me from the power of death.
I have served you faithfully,
   and you will not abandon me to the world of the dead.

You will show me the path that leads to life;
   your presence fills me with joy
   and brings me pleasure forever.

Reading – Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, O.C.D., Spiritual Maxims on the Presence of God

The [practice of the] presence of God is an application of our mind to God, or a remembrance of God present, that can be brought about by either the imagination or the understanding.

I know someone who, for forty years, has been practicing an intellectual presence of God to which he gives several other names. Sometimes he calls it a “simple act,” a “clear and distinct knowledge of God,” an “indistinct view,” or a “general and loving awareness of God.” Other times he names it “attention to God” “silent conversation with God,” “trust in God,” or “the soul’s life and peace.” This person told me that all these forms of God’s presence are nothing but synonyms for the same thing, and that it is at present second nature to him. Here is how:

This person says that the habit is formed by the repetition of acts and by frequently bringing the mind back into God’s presence. He says that as soon as he is free from his occupations, and often even when he is most taken up by them, the recesses of his mind [esprit] or the innermost depths of his soul are raised with no effort on his part and remain suspended and fixed in God, above all things, as in its center and resting place. Since he is generally aware that his mind, thus held in suspension, is accompanied by faith, he is satisfied. This is what he calls “actual presence of God,” which includes all the other types of presence and much more besides, so that he now lives as if only he and God were in the world. He converses with God everywhere, asks him for what he needs, and rejoices continuously with him in countless ways.

It is important, however, to realize that this conversation with God takes place in the depths and center of the soul. It is there that the soul speaks to God heart to heart, and always in a deep and profound peace that the soul enjoys in God. Everything that takes place outside the soul means no more to it than a lit straw that goes out as soon as it is ignited, and almost never, or very rarely, disturbs its inner peace.

Novena Prayer

O Most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel,
Fruitful Vine, Splendor of heaven,
Blessed Mother of the Son of God,
Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity.
O Star of the Sea, help me
and show me herein that you are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Queen of heaven and earth,
I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart
to succor me in this necessity.
There are none that can withstand your power!
O help me and show me herein that you are my Mother.

Our Lady, Queen and Beauty of Carmel,
pray for me and obtain my requests!
Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands!

Excerpt from Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God 
Copyright © 1994, 2015 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. 
 Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

Novena to Saints Louis and Zélie Martin – Day 9

July 12
SAINT LOUIS MARTIN AND ZELIE GUERIN

Optional Memorial

Louis Martin was born in Bordeaux, on August 22, 1823. While he was master-watchmaker in Alençon, he met Marie Azelie (Zelie) Guerin, a lace maker, born in Gandelain (St-Denis-sur-Sarthon), on December 23, 1831. They were married on July 13, 1858,and had nine children, including the future Saint Therese of the Infant Jesus. Model spouses, devoted parents, workers, attentive to the poor, always nourishing a missionary spirit, they found their strength and hope in regular attendance at Holy Mass and in a deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin. After a long illness Zelie died in Alençon on August 28, 1877. Louis, in retirement, went to Lisieux near his in-laws to ensure a better future for his five children (the other four having died in infancy). This patriarch of the family, after offering all his children to God, knew suffering and illness. He died near Evreux on July 29, 1894.

From the Common of Holy Men, with the psalms of the day.

Office of Readings

The Second Reading
(Zelie et Louis Martin, Correspondance Familiale [1863 – 1885].  Paris, 2004, L1, 72, 130, 81, 110, 147, 179, 204)

From the Letters of St. Zelie Martin

We must be willing to accept generously the will of the good God

My dear friend, I am really worried about you.  Every day my husband makes sad prophecies. He knows Paris and told me that you will be exposed to temptations that, because you are not pious enough, you will not be able to overcome.  He told me that he experienced them himself, and that he needed a lot of courage to come out victoriously from all the battles. If you only knew what trials he had to go through … I beg you, my dear Isidore (Zelie’s brother), to do as I did; pray, and you will not be carried away by the current.  If you succumb once you will be lost. On the road to perdition as on the road to salvation the first step is all important; afterwards you will be carried away by the current.

When I closed the eyes of my dear little children and buried them, I really felt the pain.  It is a pain to which I have always been resigned. I do not regret the pains and the anxieties I have had to endure on their account.  Many people have said to me: “It would have been better if you had never had them.” I cannot tolerate these words.  The pains and anxieties of this life cannot be compared to the eternal happiness of my children.  After all, they have not been lost forever, life is short and full of suffering, we shall find them in heaven.

Little Therese is always well and looks very healthy.  She is very intelligent and we have very amusing conversations.  She already knows how to pray to God. Every Sunday, she goes for some part of Vespers and if, by mistake, the family forgets to bring her there she cries uncontrollably.

My sister has spoken to me a great deal about your business… I told her not to break her neck because of this, that there is only one thing to do, pray to God, because neither she, nor I, can help you in any other way.  However, He, who is never embarrassed, will rescue us from all this when He sees that we have suffered enough, and then, you will recognize that your success is not due either to your ability or to your intelligence, but to God alone, as it happens with my lace making; this conviction is very beneficial, I have experienced it myself.  You know that we are all inclined to be proud and I notice often that those who have made their fortune are, for the most part, unbearably self-important. I am not saying that I would have been like this, nor you either, but we would have been somewhat tainted by pride; it is a fact that constant prosperity leads one away from God. He never led his chosen ones along this path, they had to pass first through the crucible of suffering in order to be purified.  You are going to say that I am preaching, but no matter I don’t wish to. I think of these things very often and I share them with you; now, call that a sermon if you like!

My dear children, I must go to Vespers to pray for the intention of our dear deceased relatives.  The day will come when you will do this for me, but I must make sure that I do not have so great a need of your prayers.  I would like to become a saint but this will not be easy; there is a lot of wood to burn but it is as hard as stone. It would have been better if I had begun earlier, when it was less difficult, but anyhow “it is better late than never.”

Today is then Wednesday, the feast of the Immaculate Conception which is a great feast for me!  On this day, the Blessed Virgin truly gave me many very special graces… This year, I will go again to find the Blessed Virgin early in the morning… my only prayer will be that those that she has given me will all be saints and that I shall not be too far behind, but they must be much better than me.

Doctor Notta is very sorry that they did not operate at the beginning, as by now it is too late.  However, he seems to be saying that I can go on for a very long time like this. But more than that we put ourselves in God’s hands, who knows better than us what we need, “it is He who wounds but also heals.”  I will go to Lourdes on the first pilgrimage, and I hope that the Blessed Virgin will heal me, if that is what is needed. Let’s remain calm while we wait.

Before leaving, I will assist at the first Mass here, arriving in Le Mans at nine o’clock, still in time to attend the High Mass, after that I will come for you… At the beginning, your father was not happy that I took all three of you, but he wishes it now, and says that we cannot make enough sacrifices to obtain so great a miracle.  Even if I do not obtain it, I will never regret taking you there. We must be willing to accept generously the will of God, whatever it is, because it will always be what is best for us.

Responsory

R/.  Be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
* So that you may be able to discover what is God’s will,
what is good, pleasing and perfect.
V/.  You must be renewed in mind and spirit, and put on the new man.
* So that you may be able to discover what is God’s will,
what is good, pleasing and perfect.

Prayer

O God,
who gave to Saint Louis and Marie Zelie
the grace to lead a life of holiness
as Christian spouses and parents,
grant that, through their intercession and example,
we may be able to love and serve you faithfully,
living worthily our own vocation.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Discover more from the letters of Saints Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin on the website of the archives of the Carmel of Lisieux

Official-Vatican-Portrait

Mother fair above all mothers, by the scapular we wear
be your own sign of salvation, which our willing shoulders bear.
Shield us from the foes of darkness, we are prey they seek to win.
Guard us as thy loving children from the tragedy of sin.

NDMC-Mdina with stained glass

Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Day 4

Scripture – Isaiah 26:3-4

You, Lord, give perfect peace
   to those who keep their purpose firm
   and put their trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever;
   he will always protect us.

Reading – Blessed Constance of Compiègne’s address to her brother, as recorded by Sr. Marie of the Incarnation (Mme. Philippe)

Gentlemen, it was only with the consent of my parents that I entered here. If they now want me to leave because their tenderness causes them to be alarmed by those dangers I may face in wanting to remain, I am grateful to them. But nothing, absolutely nothing but death can ever separate me from the company of my Mothers and Sisters. And you, my brother, whom I am happy to see, though probably for the last time, please reassure our dear parents that indifference plays no part in my refusal to yield to their desires. My heart is even sorely grieved to cause them sorrow. Yet surely they won’t find it a bad thing that I am led by my conscience. Plead with them then on my behalf, beg them not to worry about me since nothing whatsoever can happen except as it pleases God to allow it. And, in regard to that, I am completely at peace.

Novena Prayer

O Most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel,
Fruitful Vine, Splendor of heaven,
Blessed Mother of the Son of God,
Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity.
O Star of the Sea, help me
and show me herein that you are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Queen of heaven and earth,
I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart
to succor me in this necessity.
There are none that can withstand your power!
O help me and show me herein that you are my Mother.

Our Lady, Queen and Beauty of Carmel,
pray for me and obtain my requests!
Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands!

Excerpt from William Bush, To Quell the Terror: The Mystery of the Vocation of the Sixteen Carmelites of Compiègne Guillotined July 17, 1774 
Copyright © 1999, 2013 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. 
 Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

Blessed cloud of God’s protection and His luminous abode,
light the pathways of your pilgrims to the promised land of God.
On the mount of contemplation be our surety and stay.
In the night a pillar glowing and a cloud of love by day.

NDMC_Virgen del Carmen with Teresa & John

Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Day 3

Scripture – Wisdom 6:14-16

Get up early in the morning to find her, and you will have no problem; you will find her sitting at your door. To fasten your attention on Wisdom is to gain perfect understanding. If you look for her, you will soon find peace of mind, because she will be looking for those who are worthy of her, and she will find you wherever you are. She is kind and will be with you in your every thought.

Reading – Saint Edith Stein, Letter 309 to Sr. Maria Electa Sommer, O.C.D.

With all my heart I join in the celebration of Your Charity’s big feast. Two years ago [February 11, 1938] Our Lady of Lourdes brought me acceptance for my perpetual profession. So it is a very special day to remember for me, too. We will unite our petitions and our thanks, won’t we? It is a joy for heaven and earth when another soul gives herself completely to the Lord. May our dear Queen of Peace make Your Charity an angel of peace for the beloved Cologne Carmel and for all of troubled humanity.

Novena Prayer

O Most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel,
Fruitful Vine, Splendor of heaven,
Blessed Mother of the Son of God,
Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity.
O Star of the Sea, help me
and show me herein that you are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Queen of heaven and earth,
I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart
to succor me in this necessity.
There are none that can withstand your power!
O help me and show me herein that you are my Mother.

Our Lady, Queen and Beauty of Carmel,
pray for me and obtain my requests!
Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands!

Excerpt from Edith Stein's Self-Portrait in Letters, 1916-1942, Sister Teresa
Benedicta of the Cross, Discalced Carmelite, translated by Josephine Koeppel
(The Collected Works of Edith Stein, vol. 5)
Copyright © 1993 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. 
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

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