“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” urged the psalmist. St. Thérèse turns to her Guardian Angel as she responds: “With your celestial aid, in peace I await the other life, the joys that will last forever.”
If the psalmist prayed “for God alone my soul waits,” then St. Thérèse repeated that heartfelt cry with greater fervor: “My only peace, my only happiness, my only love is you, Lord!”
St. Thérèse described her sister Céline as someone who found God in all of nature, everywhere. In the poem, “Canticle of Céline”, which Thérèse wrote for her sister, Céline sings, “in Him I found peace forever!”
On the night before He died, Jesus spoke plainly to the disciples. St Thérèse notes that Jesus was “speaking without parable” to them. To the one who keeps God’s word, Jesus says: “We want him to remain, filled with peace, in our Love!”
“Joseph got up, took the child and his mother, and went,” is one section of St. Joseph’s theme music in the Gospels. St. Thérèse knows how to sing that song, too, in Carmelite style: “Joseph, O tender Father, protect Carmel!”
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord,” says St. Paul. St. Thérèse was a model of obedience to her father, St. Louis Martin. Speaking in the third person as she writes about their relationship, Thérèse reminds her father: “it was always your hand that guided her. O Papa! remember…”
“Do not worry about tomorrow,” Jesus said. Thérèse took his advice and wrote, “if I think about tomorrow, I fear my fickleness. I feel sadness and worry rising up in my heart.” Her solution to this problem? Living “just for today.”
In this, the 125th anniversary year of the death of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, each day we will share excerpts from her poetry that reveal her eminent doctrine and passionate desire "to love Jesus and to make him loved" as a Discalced Carmelite nun.
Edith Stein was born to a Jewish family at Breslau on October 12, 1891. Through her passionate study of philosophy, she searched after truth and found it in reading the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Jesus. In 1922 she was baptized a Catholic and in 1933 she entered the Carmel of Cologne, where she took the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. She was gassed and cremated at Auschwitz on August 9, 1942, during the Nazi persecution, and died a martyr for the Christian faith after having offered her holocaust for the people of Israel. A woman of singular intelligence and learning, she left behind a body of writing notable for its doctrinal richness and profound spirituality. She was beatified by Saint John Paul II at Cologne on May 1, 1987 and canonized in Rome on October 11, 1998; the following year he proclaimed St. Teresa Benedicta a Co-Patroness of Europe.
Albert degli Abbati was born at Trápani, Sicily, in the thirteenth century, and entered the Carmelite Order as a youth. He became renowned as a fervent preacher of the Gospel and a worker of miracles. He was Provincial of Sicily in 1296, and died at Messina, probably in 1307, with a reputation for purity and prayer.
St. Elizabeth of the Trinity can't hide the fact that she has a particular love for the Divine Office. Where St. Therese of the Child Jesus found it helpful to imagine herself throwing flowers during the Church's official prayer, Elizabeth instead deeply appreciates the Latin in the Liturgy of the Hours and frequently uses Latin quotations in her retreats and letters.
John Soreth was born at Caen in Normandy and entered Carmel as a young man. He took a doctorate of theology in Paris and served as regent of studies and provincial of his province. He was prior general from 1451 until his death at Angers in 1471. He restored observance within the Order and promoted its reform, wrote a famous commentary on the Rule, issued new Constitutions in 1462, and promoted the growth of the nuns and the Third Order.
Born in Bolsward (The Netherlands) in 1881, Saint Titus Brandsma joined the Carmelite Order as a young man. Ordained a priest in 1905, he earned a doctorate in philosophy in Rome. He then taught in various schools in Holland and was named professor of philosophy as Rector Magnificus. He was noted for his constant availability to everyone. He was a professional journalist, and in 1935 he was appointed the ecclesiastical advisor to Catholic journalists. Both before and during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands he fought, faithful to the Gospel, against the spread of Nazi ideology and for the freedom of Catholic education and of the Catholic press. For this, he was arrested and sent to a succession of prisons and concentration camps where he brought comfort and peace to his fellow prisoners and did good even to his tormentors. In 1942, after much suffering and humiliation, he was killed at Dachau. He was beatified in 1985 and canonized by Pope Francis on 15 May 2022.
Saint Titus Brandsma describes the most thrilling moment of Saturday evening devotions in the Church of the Carmelites: the solemn chanting of the Salve Regina. "All now stand before the altar of Mary... above which the statue of Mary glimmers in the light."
St. Titus Brandsma applies St. John of the Cross's image of the clear pane of glass and the ray of sunlight to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
St. Titus Brandsma advises us that when we face difficulties, "Pray with Mary the Mother of the Lord. Turn your eye to God and ask Him what you should do."
St. Titus Brandsma explains that when "the Holy Virgin gifted the Holy Scapular to the Order as the pledge of her special protection... the Netherlands already had a cloister" founded by St. Simon Stock himself.
"...it is on this evening that the Carmelite Fathers hold their Benediction in honor of Our Lady of the Holy Scapular, in honor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel."
"O Jesus, what a new and appalling suffering it must have been for You, to be forced to cause your beloved Mother to share in the suffering that You had taken on Yourself for our sake..."