Quote of the day: 12 February

As St. Paul says: love is patient, it triumphs over all difficulties, and it suffers everything for the sake of the beloved. Therefore we cannot doubt Brother Lawrence’s patience in his infirmities, he who loved God so perfectly. In fact, in keeping with the thought of the same apostle, patience has this fine rapport with love… we will see that he practiced these two virtues during the [three] very painful illnesses with which it pleased God to afflict him.

In the first case, he gave evidence of a desire for death, for when speaking with the physician after his fever went down, he told him, “Ah, Doctor, your remedies have worked too well for me, you only delay my happiness!”

In the second, he seemed to have no preference whatsoever. He remained completely indifferent regarding life and death, perfectly resigned to God’s orders.

I can testify that he gave signs of altogether extraordinary constancy, resignation, and joy during the third illness, the one that separated his soul from his body, uniting it with his Beloved in heaven. He received much consolation from this blessed moment when it finally arrived, because he had longed for it for so long. 

The sight of death that frightens and dismays the most hardy did not intimidate him at all. He regarded it with complete confidence, and you could even say he defied it. When he saw the poor bed prepared for him, having overheard one of his friends say, “It’s for you, Brother Lawrence. It’s time to depart,” he replied, “It is true. There is my deathbed, but someone who does not expect it at all will follow me immediately.”

This is exactly what happened, just as he had predicted. Although this friar [Frère Philibert des Anges, a fellow lay brother] was in perfect health, he became ill the next day and died the same day Brother Lawrence was buried, and the following Wednesday he was buried in the same grave. It seems that love united these two fine brothers in life and did not want them separated at death, for there was no other place [for burial] but the common grave.

Father Joseph de Beaufort

Eulogy

 


Father Beaufort leaves us this simple record of the death of Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection: Monday, February 12, 1691, at nine o’clock in the morning, fully conscious, without agony or convulsions, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection died in the embrace of the Lord and offered his soul to God with the peace and tranquility of one asleep.

 

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Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

 

You can explore our blog posts by and about Brother Lawrence here.

 

 

Lawrence of the Resurrection, B 2015, Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God, translated from the French by Sciurba, S, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 9 February

Since this is the proper moment, we ought to point out another benefit resulting from this night and dryness of the sensory appetite. So that the prophecy—your light will illumine the darkness (Is. 58:10)—may be verified, God will give illumination by bestowing on the soul not only knowledge of its own misery and lowliness but also knowledge of His grandeur and majesty.

When the sensory appetites, gratifications, and supports are quenched, the intellect is left clean and free to understand the truth, for even though these appetites and pleasures concern spiritual things, they blind and impede the spirit. Similarly, the anguish and dryness of the senses illumine and quicken the intellect, as Isaiah affirms: Vexation makes one understand (Is. 28:19). But God also, by means of this dark and dry night of contemplation, supernaturally instructs in His divine wisdom the soul that is empty and unhindered (which is the requirement for his divine inpouring), which He did not do through the former satisfactions and pleasures.

Isaiah explains this clearly: To whom will God teach his knowledge? And to whom will he explain his message? To them that are weaned, he says, from the milk, and to them who are drawn away from the breasts (Is. 28:9). This passage indicates that the preparation for this divine inpouring is not the former milk of spiritual sweetness or aid from the breast of the discursive meditations of the sensory faculties that the soul enjoyed, but the privation of one and a withdrawal from the other.

In order to hear God, people should stand firm and be detached in their sense life and affections, as the prophet himself declares: I will stand on my watch (with detached appetite) and will fix my foot (I will not meditate with the sensory faculties) in order to contemplate (understand) what God says to me (Heb. 2:1).

We conclude that self-knowledge flows first from this dry night and that from this knowledge as from its source proceeds the other knowledge of God. Hence St. Augustine said to God: “Let me know myself, Lord, and I will know you.” For as the philosophers say, one extreme is clearly known by the other.

Saint John of the Cross

The Dark Night: Book One, Chapter 12

 

Zodiacal Light over La Silla European Southern Laboratory Flickr 5161784698
This image beautifully captures the zodiacal light, a triangular glow seen best in night skies free of overpowering moonlight and light pollution. The photograph was taken at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile in September 2009, facing west some minutes after the Sun had set. A sea of clouds has settled in the valley below La Silla, which sits at an altitude of 2400 metres (1.49 miles), with lesser peaks and ridges poking through the mist. | Credit: ESO/Y. Beletsky, European Southern Observatory / Flickr 

 

 

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: 29 January

Saturday, January 31, 1942

I have to add something. I cannot say that I do not get any meat. Last Wednesday and Thursday there was meat in the soup and in the hotchpotch. It was mixed, ground into small pieces, and though not abundant, I did see meat again.

On Thursday morning, January 29, it was the feast day of St. Francis de Sales, gentle patron saint of journalists. I had cleaned my pipe and had lighted it for my morning walk when a German soldier entered with a new order. I had to hand over tobacco and cigars, pipe and matches. I was not allowed to smoke any more. Luckily I happened to think of the mild Francis de Sales, otherwise, I might have said something unkind. I emptied my pipe and gave it up. The soldier said in pity that it was not his fault. I understood. To comfort me, he said that I could keep the other things—books, paper, and so on—which is very fortunate. They will profit me more, though I miss my pipe and cigar. I deleted “smoking” from the daily timetable and the day went on. Now I take these things for granted. I was very fortunate that I was permitted to smoke on the first and most difficult days.

T.B.

Blessed Titus Brandsma

Scheveningen Prison
Read more of his personal letters here

 

 

pijp en tabakszak van Titus Brandsma
“pijp en tabakszak van Titus Brandsma” by 23dingenvoormusea is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

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.

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

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