Quote of the day: 21 January



The grace of the Holy Spirit be with your honor, mi padre, and may he give you health this Lent for the work I see that you have ahead of you. I am wondering if you will have to be moving from place to place. For the love of God watch out lest you have a fall along the way. For since my arm has been in the state it is, I am very careful in this regard. It is still swollen, as is also my hand, and covered with plaster, which looks like armor, and so I get little use out of it…

I don’t know when to stop when I write you. My brother always tells me to give you his best wishes. Accept these now all together and along with them those of all the sisters. May our Lord watch over you and bring you here soon, for your presence is very necessary, both for my sake and for other reasons…

May God also give you, padre mio, all the blessings I desire for you, amen.

It is the First Sunday of Lent…

Your paternity’s unworthy servant and daughter,

Teresa of Jesus


Letter 230 to Father Jerome Gracián
Avila, 16 February 1578


Featured Image -- 7177
The relic of the incorrupt left hand of St. Teresa is venerated in the Church of La Merced under the custody of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Ronda, Spain | Credit: Teresa de la rueca a la pluma


With great solemnity, in the presence of the government authorities and the people, the relic of the incorrupt hand of Saint Teresa of Jesus, which had been stolen by the Marxists in Ronda was returned to the Discalced Carmelite nuns of Ronda on 14 December 1975. Generalissimo Francisco Franco kept it with great devotion during all of his rule as Head of State in Spain. According to accounts from the Discalced Carmelites, he even wore it during his travels. Doña Carmen Polo de Franco handed over the precious relic to the Primate of Spain, Cardinal Marcelo González Martín, and the latter in turn transferred custody of the relic to the Bishop of Málaga, Ramón Buxarrais Ventura. Mother María de Cristo, who was prioress in 1937 when she was forced to hand the relic over to the Communists, was 85 years old when the incorrupt hand was returned to the nuns in Ronda.



Teresa of Avila, St. 1985, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 9 January

9 January 1889

Jesus +

My dear little daughter, I don’t want the eve of such a beautiful day to pass by without speaking a little word to her from her Jesus. Her Jesus! He has made her a bed of lilies! “My beloved browses among the lilies!” says the spouse in the Canticle. I want to give my little daughter the only picture that is dear to me among all others… Aunt at Le Mans gave it to me, and I am attached to it, for it says much to my heart. But all for the little fiancée of Jesus! What is too beautiful for her? Oh! yes, “…happy the lily that remained without spot until the hour of reaping.”

One day, we shall reap, rejoicing! And this hour will come! And it will be a day without clouds, and the more we shall have suffered the more radiant that day will be. Then! then! Ah! I keep silent… This day will be so beautiful, it will be so sweet, this day which will have no end!! My whole heart to my dear angel, whom I adorned for Jesus on the day of her First Communion and whom I will adorn on the day of her espousals.

Marie of the Sacred Heart


José-María Moreno García captures this image of a Discalced Carmelite habit awaiting the blessing of the priest at the clothing of a new novice. See the complete photo here



This tender letter from Sr. Marie of the Sacred Heart (Marie Martin) to her younger sister and goddaughter, Thérèse of the Child Jesus, includes an interesting detail. Marie pours out her love: “my whole heart to my dear angel, whom I adorned for Jesus on the day of her First Communion and whom I will adorn on the day of her espousals.

St. Thérèse will receive the holy habit of Carmel on 10 January 1889 and her sister Marie will play an important role on this special day. Martin family historian Maureen O’Riordan offers the following insights:

Marie was still living in the novitiate at the time and perhaps that increased her proximity to Thérèse while Thérèse was being dressed in the bridal gown. Someone wrote that Marie fussed so much over Thérèse’s long curls that Thérèse begged “Enough!  enough! One would be pretty safe in assuming that Marie and Pauline helped to dress Thérèse, although perhaps Marie of the Angels, as novice mistress, might also have been present, as well as the prioress.  This would have been a role in the preparation, not in the actual ceremony.


9 January: St. Andrew Corsini

January 9

Optional Memorial
In the provinces in Italy: Memorial

Andrew was born at the beginning of the fourteenth century in Florence and entered the Carmelite Order there. He was elected provincial of Tuscany at the general chapter of Metz in 1348. He was made bishop of Fiesole on October 13th, 1349, and gave the Church a wonderful example of love, apostolic zeal, prudence, and love of the poor. He died on January 6th, 1374.

From the Common of Pastors

Office of Readings

The First Reading

A reading from the Letter of St. James

James 2:1-9, 14-24

Faith without works is dead

My brothers, do not try to combine faith in Jesus Christ, our glorified Lord, with the making of distinctions between classes of people. Now suppose a man comes into your synagogue, beautifully dressed and with a gold ring on, and at the same time a poor man comes in, in shabby clothes, and you take notice of the well-dressed man, and say, ‘Come this way to the best seats;’ then you tell the poor man, ‘Stand over there’ or ‘You can sit on the floor by my footrest.’ Can’t you see that you have used two different standards in your mind, and turned yourselves into judges, and corrupt judges at that?

Listen, my dear brothers: it was those who are poor according to the world that God chose, to be rich in faith and to be the heirs to the kingdom which he promised to those who love him. In spite of this, you have no respect for anybody who is poor. Isn’t it always the rich who are against you? Isn’t it always their doing when you are dragged before the court? Aren’t they the ones who insult the honorable name to which you have been dedicated? Well, the right thing to do is to keep the supreme law of scripture: “you must love your neighbor as yourself;” but as soon as you make distinctions between classes of people, you are committing sin, and under condemnation for breaking the Law.

Take the case, my brothers, of someone who has never done a single good act but claims that he has faith. Will that faith save him? If one of the brothers or one of the sisters is in need of clothes and has not enough food to live on, and one of you says to them, ‘I wish you well; keep yourself warm and eat plenty,’ without giving them these bare necessities of life, then what good is that? Faith is like that: if good works do not go with it, it is quite dead.

This is the way to talk to people of that kind: ‘You say you have faith and I have good deeds’; I will prove to you that I have faith by showing you my good deeds — now you prove to me that you have faith without any good deeds to show. You believe in the one God — that is creditable enough, but the demons have the same belief, and they tremble with fear. Do realize, you senseless man, that faith without good deeds is useless. You surely know that Abraham our father was justified by his deed, because he ‘offered his son Isaac on the altar’? There you see it: faith and deeds were working together; his faith became perfect by what he did. This is what scripture really means when it says: ‘Abraham put his faith in God, and this was counted as making him justified’; and that is why he was called ‘the friend of God.’

You see now that it is by doing something good, and not only by believing, that a man is justified.


R/. Pure, unspoiled religion in the eyes of God our Father is this: *
you must come to the help of orphans and widows in their need and keep yourself uncontaminated by the world

V/. Quick to be generous, he gave to the poor; his righteousness remains forever. *
you must come to the help of orphans and widows in their need and keep yourself uncontaminated by the world

The Second Reading

A reading from The Pastoral Rule of Pope St. Gregory the Great

Bk 1,10

Portrait of a good pastor

It is important that a man who is set up as a model of how to live should be one who is dead to all the passions of the flesh and lives by the spirit, turns his back on what the world has to offer, is unafraid of hardship, and is attracted only by the interior life. He does not let his body shirk its duty out of frailty; he does not become depressed when abused, for he realizes that things of this kind further his true ends. He does not readily covet what is not his, but with what he does possess he is generous. His loving nature is quick to forgive, though he never allows himself to be misled into condoning more than he should. While he does no wrong himself, he grieves over the misdeeds of others as if they were his own. His compassion for others when they are sick is heartfelt, and he is just as glad when good befalls his neighbor as when his own interests are advanced. His behavior is so exemplary in all respects that he need never fear being made to blush, even for past faults. He so conducts his life that those whose hearts are in need of refreshment can always find it in the guidance he gives. He is so well versed in the art of prayer that he can obtain anything he asks for from the Lord; it is as though he were singled out by a prophetic voice saying to him: “While you are still speaking I will say, ‘See, I am here.’”

If someone happened to come and ask one of us to intercede for him with an influential man we did not know and who was annoyed with him, we should at once say: ‘I cannot come and intercede — I do not know what he is like.’ So if a person is afraid to intercede with a mere man about whom he knows nothing, how can one, who is not sure whether or not his conduct makes him worthy to be counted God’s friend, take it upon himself to be the people’s advocate before God? How can he ask pardon for others if he is not sure that his own sins have been forgiven?


R/. Be friends with one another, and kind, forgiving each other as readily as God forgave you in Christ.*
Try then to imitate God, as children of his that he loves.

V/. Tend the flock that is placed under your care, willingly as God would have you do, being examples to your flock.*
Try then to imitate God, as children of his that he loves.


God our Father,
You reveal that those who work for peace
will be called Your children.
Through the prayers of St. Andrew Corsini,
who excelled as a peacemaker,
help us to work without ceasing
for that justice which brings true and lasting peace.

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.

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. Blessed are the peacemakers: they shall be called children of God, says the Lord.

Canticle of Mary

Ant. The kingdom of God consists of justice and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit; whoever serves Christ in this way pleases God and wins the esteem of all.


andrew corsini_guido_reni,_s._andrea_corsini,_1639_pinacoteca_bologna
Il Beato Andrea Corsini
Guido Reni (Italian, 1575-1642)
Oil on canvas, 1635-1640
Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna


8 January: St. Peter Thomas

January 8

Optional Memorial


Born about 1305 in southern Perigord in France, Peter Thomas entered the Carmelites when he was twenty-one.  He was chosen by the Order as its procurator general to the Papal Court at Avignon in 1345. After being made bishop of Patti and Lipari in 1354, he was entrusted with many papal missions to promote peace and unity with the Eastern Churches.  He was translated to the see of Corone in the Peloponnesus in 1359 and made Papal Legate for the East. In 1363, he was appointed Archbishop of Crete and in 1364 Latin Patriarch of Constantinople. He won a reputation as an apostle of church unity before he died at Famagosta on Cyprus in 1366.

From the Common of Pastors 

Office of Readings

The First Reading

A reading from the First Letter of St. Paul to Timothy

1 Timothy 1:1-7, 15-19, 2:1-8

The calling of a pastor

From Paul, apostle of Christ Jesus appointed by the command of God our savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, to Timothy, true child of mine in the faith; wishing you grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our Lord.

As I asked you when I was leaving for Macedonia, please stay at Ephesus, to insist that certain people stop teaching strange doctrines and taking notice of myths and endless genealogies; these things are only likely to raise irrelevant doubts instead of furthering the design of God which are revealed in faith. The only purpose of this instruction is that there should be love, coming out of a pure heart, a clear conscience and a sincere faith. There are some people who have gone off the straight course and taken a road that leads to empty speculation; they claim to be doctors of the Law, but they understand neither the arguments they are using nor the opinions they are upholding.

Here is a saying that you can rely on and nobody should doubt: that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I myself am the greatest of them; and if mercy has been shown to me, it is because Jesus Christ meant to make me the greatest evidence of his inexhaustible patience for all the other people who would later have to trust in him to come to eternal life. To the eternal King, the undying, invisible and only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Timothy, my son, these are the instructions that I am giving you: I ask you to remember the words once spoken over you by the prophets, and taking them to heart to fight like a good soldier with faith and a good conscience for your weapons. Some people have put conscience aside and wrecked their faith in consequence.

My advice is that, first of all, there should be prayers offered for everyone — petitions, intercessions and thanksgiving — and especially for kings and others in authority, so that we may be able to live religious and reverent lives in peace and quiet. To do this is right, and will please God our Savior: he wants everyone to be saved and reach full knowledge of the truth. For there is only one God, and there is only one mediator between God and mankind, himself a man, Christ Jesus, who sacrificed himself as a ransom for them all. He is the evidence of this, sent at the appointed time, and I have been named a herald and apostle of it and — I am telling the truth and no lie — a teacher of the faith and the truth to the pagans.

In every place, then, I want the men to lift their hands up reverently in prayer, with no anger or argument.


R/. Bear with one another in love; do all that you can to preserve the unity of the Spirit by the peace that binds you together; there is one body and one Spirit, *
just as you were all called into one and the same hope when you were called.
V/.  A servant of the Lord is to aim for holiness and faith, love, and peace, in union with all those who call on the Lord with pure minds; *
just as you were all called into one and the same hope when you were called.

The Second Reading

A reading from The Book of the Institution of the First Monks

Bk I, Ch 6 

Love your neighbor as yourself

The Lord says, “The man who hears My commandments and keeps them, he it is who loves Me.”  And the first of all commandments is: “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. This is the greatest and first commandment.”  This cannot be observed without love of neighbor, because “he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen;” “and the second commandment is like it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” namely, in the things and for the reason that you love yourself.  “His soul hates him who loves violence,” says the Psalmist. Therefore, love your neighbor as yourself in good and not in evil, and “whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them” and “what you hate, do not do to anyone.” Thus, you must love your neighbor, and so act that he becomes just if he is wicked, or remains just if he is good.

Again you must love yourself, not because of yourself, but because of God. Whatever is loved because of itself is thus made a source of joy and a happy life, the hope of attaining which is comforting even on earth.  But you must not place the hope of a blessed life in yourself or another man. “Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his arm, whose heart turns away from the Lord.” Therefore, you must make the Lord the source of your joy and the happy life, as the apostle says: “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the return you get is sanctification and its end, eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

If you understand this clearly, you must love God because of Himself, and yourself, not because of yourself, but because of God; and, since you must love your neighbor as yourself, you must love him, not because of himself, nor because of yourself, but because of God, and what else is this but to love God in your neighbor?  “By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey His commandment.” In the preparation of your soul you do all of this if you love God because of Himself and your neighbor as yourself because of God. “On these two commandments depend all the law and the prophets.”


R/. With all our hearts we desired nothing better than to share with you our own lives, as well as God’s gospel, *
so greatly had we learned to love you.
V/.  My little children, I am in travail over you afresh, until I can see Christ’s image formed in you, *
so greatly had we learned to love you.


You inspired in Your bishop St. Peter Thomas
an intense desire to promote peace and Christian unity.
Following His example
may we live steadfast in the faith
and work perseveringly for peace.

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. 

Canticle of Zechariah

I am the good shepherd; I lay down my life for my sheep; and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.

Canticle of Mary

May the peace of Christ fill your hearts with joy, that peace to which all of you are called as one body.


Peter Thomas Museum of Fine Arts Boston SC188989
Saint Peter Thomas
Francisco de Zurbarán (Spanish, 1598–1664)
Oil on canvas, after 1634
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


Quote of the day: 7 January

The Doctorate of St. Teresa:

The historical development of an idea


Fr. Valentino Macca, O.C.D.

Ephemerides Carmeliticae
Vol. 21 (1970/1-2) pp. 35-113


The Positio, concluded by this favorable judgment of the Promoter General of Faith, was distributed to all the Cardinals and Prelates of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, to whom the matter was submitted:

An, attentis insigni vitae sanctitate et eminenti doctrina eiusque benefico in vita Ecclesiae pondere, procedi posse arbitrarentur ad Sanctam Teresiam a Iesu Ecclesiae Doctorem declarandam.

The matter was then dealt with directly in the meeting that the Sacred Congregation held at the Vatican on 15 July 1969, the eve of the solemn Commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. After the learned and widespread report of Card. Arcadio M. Larraona, Promoter of the Cause, Cardinals and Official Prelates of the Sacred Congregation unanimously decided that St. Teresa of Avila was worthy of being inscribed by the Supreme Pontiff in the catalog of the Doctors of the Church.

The following 21 July, Paul VI, informed of the favorable judgment of the Sacred Congregation, approved the decision and ordered that St. Teresa of Jesus be numbered among the Doctors of the Church, reserving for himself the determination of the day of proclamation, and giving the order that the corresponding Apostolic Brief should be prepared. 

All of this is reflected in the Decree Urbis et Orbis of 21 July of the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.

According to this decree, therefore, St. Teresa of Avila has already been declared a Doctor of the Church. However, the solemn proclamation that the Holy Father, as was later announced, will make during a solemn ceremony in St. Peter’s on 27 September 1970, has not yet taken place.

We have presented the historical development of the idea of the Doctorate of St. Teresa of Avila from its humble and at the same time already powerful origins immediately after the Saint’s death until the happy official goal that now is approaching. It is an idea that immediately emerged with extraordinary clarity, even if not in strictly canonical terms, given the extraordinary value of Our Holy Mother Teresa’s doctrine and the widespread diffusion and influence that her books and her Magisterium soon had, praised by Popes and Bishops, exalted by the liturgy, used by Doctors and mystical writers, which became more and more an unquestionable authority in the field of mystical theology. While many believed that with Teresa of Jesus we were faced with a typical case of the Church declaring a Doctor equipollenter, from 1882 onwards, however, with ever greater insistence the voices were heard of those who implored a formal declaration. In 1923, an appeal was made to the Holy See to achieve this intention; it failed. The time was not ripe.

Providence arranged that in the climate of grace created by Vatican II, Paul VI, so supernaturally open to the signs of the times, should have the inspiration to give for the first time to a female Saint, distinguished for a marvelous doctrine that made her the teacher and mother of spiritual life in the Church, the title of Doctor.

The Pope, chosen by God for this act, had already in 1965 practically called her Doctor; in 1967 he greeted her as “great teacher of Catholic mysticism” and “extraordinary interpreter of the things of God”; while on 10 September 1965, he declared her principal patroness of all Catholic writers in Spain, affirming that she was the “luminary of Spain and of the whole Church” through her books, filled with heavenly wisdom, and even today she remains “praestantissima magistra” [exceptional teacher].

The solemn act of 27 September 1970—crowning all of this—will give the title, full rights, and honors of “Doctor of the Church” to the one who loved to call herself “daughter of the Church”.

Fr. Valentino di Santa Maria, o.c.d.

17 February 1924 – 7 January 1988


Teresa Doctor Valladolid portrait red background
Convento de la Concepción del Carmen de Valladolid | Ángel Cantero, Iglesia en Valladolid / Flickr



Father Valentino Macca, O.C.D. was a native of Brescia, Italy whose decades of service to the Discalced Carmelite Order left an indelible impression. He entered the Order at age 16 in the convent at Brescia, professing his solemn vows in 1945. When he completed his theological studies at the Teresianum in Rome, Cardinal Adeodato Piazza ordained him to the priesthood in 1950. Not long after, Father Valentino began to serve the Order at the General Curia in Rome. First, he served as a member of the communications team, the Centro Informativo; next, he labored as General Archivist, eventually assuming the direction of the Analecta O.D.C. as well.

Father Valentino distinguished himself for many years as the professor of Marian Spirituality and Mariology at the Marianum in Rome; to this day, Mariologists cite his published works. He served as a consultor to various dicasteries of the Holy See; his final curial assignment before his death was as a Relator for the Congregation of the Causes of the Saints. The library of the Teresianum in Rome lists 40 titles in its catalog where Father Macca is either the author, editor, or even the subject. We are pleased to bring an excerpt from his writings on Carmelite history to our readers. For a more complete biography of Father Valentino in Italian, we direct our readers to the Enciclopedia Bresciana article here.


Translations from the Italian are the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.

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.

Quote of the day: 2 January

My little girl was born last night, Thursday [January 2], at eleven-thirty. She’s very strong and in very good health. They tell me she weighs eight pounds. Let’s say six, which is still not bad. She seems very sweet… I barely suffered a half hour. What I felt before was practically nothing. She’ll be baptized tomorrow, Saturday.

Saint Zélie Guérin Martin

Letter CF 84 to her sister-in-law Céline Fournet Guérin
3 January 1873

Quote of the day: 29 December

Archbishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, O.C.D., D.D.

Pastoral Letter for Holy Week 2014 (excerpts)


The Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ obtained for us the beautiful gift of New Life, personally and as a community. New Life means a new way of looking at the totality of life, a new manner of relationship with those around us, a new pattern of actions and a new impetus and direction for our day to day living. New Life proclaims the Sacredness of Life from its conception. The newness of this life is the person of Jesus Christ Himself who through His death and Resurrection made all things new and restored them to the Father. We are made new by the self-offering and sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary and by His glorious Resurrection (cf. Col. 3:1-4).

As believers of Jesus Christ, we joyfully welcome this gift of New Life through the sacrament of Baptism. We are vivified in this New Life through the Sacrament of Confirmation, and this New Life is nourished through the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. We are forgiven and healed through the Sacraments of Penance and of the Sick. This New Life drives our prophetic vocation to fight what is evil and unjust and to promote what is noble, true and just in our society. Whatever our status, profession and situations in this present life, we are all marked with the sign of Jesus Christ who has given up His life for our salvation.

My brother and sisters in Christ, it is up to us to benefit from the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. It is up to us to allow the Risen Christ to influence our person. It is up to us to follow the way to the New Life. Jesus proclaims:  I am the way, the truth and the life (Jn 14:6).

May our INA, the Mother who endured most of the sufferings of her Son, strengthen us always and lead us to the experience of the joy of her Son’s glorious Resurrection.

Rolando J. Tria Tirona, O.C.D., D.D.

Archbishop of Caceres, Philippines





The coat of arms of Archbishop Rolando Octavus Joven Tria Tirana consists of his personal arms joined to that of the Diocese of Malolos, the Prelature of Infanta, and the Archdiocese of Caceres.

The upper portion of the coat of arms is the rising sun against a white background. The sun represents Jesus, the Sun of justice, who dispels the darkness of sin and bondage by His Resurrection. The sun’s yellow color, together with its rays, symbolizes the vigor and enthusiasm with which a servant-leader is called to serve his flock. Taken together, the white and yellow colors represent the Papal flag which suggests the bishop’s sharing in the office of the Apostles as well as the universal scope to which he gives himself without reserve.

The lower portion of the coat of arms has two sections.

The right section bears three cotton flowers, Bulak in Filipino, which stand for the province of Bulacan where the Archbishop has served as the third residential Bishop of the Diocese of Malolos, and the image of the Infant Jesus of Prague, a devotion spread by the Carmelites and to which the Archbishop has a special devotion, and representing the Prelature of Infanta where the Archbishop served as the third residential Bishop as well.

The left section bears the shield of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites, of which the new Archbishop is a member.

It features a mountain crowned with the Cross and flanked with three stars of David. The mountain represents the privileged place of encounter between God and His people. The mountain is Carmel home to the prophets and mystics and all who strive the interior life. Mary stands out as Queen and Beauty of this mystical mountain.

The Cross symbolizes the centrality of Jesus for Carmel and for the new Archbishop’s ministry. The three stars symbolize the priorities the Archbishop has outlined: the star at the base represents intimacy and union with God; the star on the left represents collaborative ministry for the Church of the Poor, and finally for the right represents a concern for the gift of creation.

The mountain is colored brown, symbolizing deep solidarity for all that is human. The stars are colored gold indicating the nobility and dignity of Christian vocation. All these are set against a cream background to symbolize simplicity and single-heartedness.

At the base of the mountain is the word INA (Mother) the endearing term used to express singular devotion and love for Our Lady of Penafrancia, the Patroness and Mother of the Archdiocese of Caceres. The word INA calls to mind the Carmelite Doctor of the Church, St. Therese of the Child Jesus who exclaimed: For me, Mary is more Mother than Queen! The letters that make up the word INA are Pili nuts typical and well known in the Bicol Region.

The motto is Christi Sumus which means We belong to the Lord or in Filipino Tayo’y kay Kristo and in Bicolano:  ‘Kita ki Kristo. This is the constant reminder of St. Paul: Whether we live or we die, we belong to the Lord (Rom 14:8) expressing our belongingness to Jesus Christ and the communitarian thrust which must imbue every pastor’s mission in proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ.


Archbishop Rolando J. Tria Tirona, O.C.D., D.D. celebrates the 25th anniversary of his episcopal ordination on 29 December 2019 in Saint John the Evangelist Metropolitan Cathedral, Naga City, Philippines, the second Discalced Carmelite from the Philippines to serve in the episcopal ministry. We wish to congratulate him on his anniversary and thank him for his many years of service to God’s people.

You may view the significant dates in his episcopal ministry and the principal consecrators at his episcopal ordination here. You can view a full-sized image of his episcopal coat of arms here. His biography on the website of the Archdiocese of Caceres is found here. More information about his anniversary is found on the Facebook page of the Archdiocese of Caceres here.

Quote of the day: 28 December


28 December ’88

Jesus +

My dear little Aunt,

I am very sorry, for, yesterday evening, not knowing my sisters were going to write you, I slept like a lazy thing! . . . This morn­ing, I have only a bit of time, and I even have to take it from the Office.

Dear Aunt, I would like to be the first to wish you a Happy New Year for 1889!. . .

When I think, dear Aunt, that it will soon be nine months since your little daughter is in Carmel, I can’t get over it. It seems to me it was only yesterday that I was still with you!. . . How quickly life passes; it is already sixteen years since I have been on earth. Oh! soon we shall all be reunited in heaven. I love these words of the psalms very much: “A thousand years in the eyes of the Lord are like yesterday that has passed already.” What rapidity! Oh! I want to work during the day while it is still light, for afterwards will come the night when I shall be able to do nothing. Pray for your little daughter, dear Aunt, so that she does not abuse the grace which God is showering on her in the fertile valley of Carmel.

I cannot refrain from laughing when seeing my letter; it is not really a New Year’s letter, but, dear little Aunt, with you I am like a child who lets its heart go without searching in any way for what it is going to say!. . .

If you only knew, dear Aunt, all I will ask for you and dear Un­cle on New Year’s day!. . . No, you don’t know, and I am not go­ing to undertake telling you, for it would bore you because it would take too long.

And my little cousins (my dear little sisters), how I will pray for them!. ..

Au revoir, dear Aunt. I beg you to tell Uncle how much I love him. I should have written him at the same time as I wrote you, dear Aunt, but I am too stupid to talk to two persons to­gether …. I beg him to pardon me, and I send to both of you the best kiss from your littlest Benjamin.

Thérèse of the Child Jesus

I just remembered that I haven’t thanked dear Aunt for the crown that she wants to give me for my reception of the Habit. Oh! if she only knew how grateful I am and also how dear this souvenir will be to her little daughter’s heart!. . .


LT 71  From Thérèse to Mme. Guérin
28 December 1888


Signature JESUS 300x300

Jesus: God’s love story — Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.


The Nativity of the Lord
Mass During the Day
Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Managua

Saint Agatha Catholic Church
Archdiocese of Miami
25 December 2019

John 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.
John testified to him and cried out, saying,
“This was he of whom I said,
‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’”
From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side,
has revealed him.



Dear brothers and sisters:

On this Christmas Day, the gospel that we heard is the prologue of the Gospel of John, which is a solemn poem, an authentic canticle dedicated to the Word of God, a hymn that from the earliest centuries helped Christians to delve into the mystery enclosed in Jesus of Nazareth.  If on this Christmas day we all listen to this gospel with simple faith and openness to God, it also can help us to believe in Jesus in a deeper way. Given the great richness of the Gospel text, we will try to dwell only on some of its central affirmations.

In the beginning was the Word

“In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was with God” (Jn 1:1). The prologue of John’s gospel starts with these words. It speaks of the beginning. Not the beginning of human history, but rather of the absolute principle from which everything has sprung. It affirms that from eternity “the Word” already existed. At the beginning of it all, there is no chaos, no absolute disorder; at the beginning of it all, there is no absurdity, darkness or nothingness. No. A word and a reason exist.  There is a divine “why” that brings everything into being and justifies everything that exists, a desire and a plan of God’s love that creates and guides everything. It’s a kind of divine wisdom (cf. Prov 8) that has created the universe and wisely maintains and cares for everything with tenderness and love.

Only if we trust that there has always been an eternal word from God that lovingly guides and directs everything for our good, can we ever overcome despair, moments of anguish, the unmanageability of our very lives, social and personal uncertainties, and the darkness in which everything seems to lose meaning.  Beyond all this, there is a logic, an eternal word, a divine reason, which is love. We can live with serenity and trust because God’s love, which is his eternal Word, which has always existed, enfolds, guides and protects us.

The Word of God became flesh

Today’s gospel has reminded us that God is not mute. From all eternity God has a word that he has wanted to speak, to communicate. He hasn’t remained silent, enclosed within himself. Throughout the course of history, that eternal word has been communicated to us: through creation, through revelation to the people of Israel, and through the cultures of all the peoples. God has always wanted to speak to us: to tell us how much he loves us, to reveal and explain his Word to us and his loving plan for us.

Today, we heard in the Gospel that this Word “became flesh” (Jn 1:14). The eternal Word became human, took on substance and entered history as a human being. Jesus of Nazareth is that Word that God has always wanted to speak to us. Jesus, the Word made flesh, incarnates God’s eternal plan; he embodies God’s infinite and gracious love for humanity and for each one of us.

God has not conveyed Himself to us through sublime concepts and doctrines. His Word has been incarnated in the intimate and simple life of Jesus so that even the most ordinary people can understand it. The eternal Word has been incarnated silently in the manger, like a child in need, so that we can welcome it and embrace it with love. In those days, the Word shone in Jesus’ humanity and was revealed in his works and words: when he healed the sick; when he offered God’s mercy and forgiveness to sinners; when he dedicated himself to acts of kindness by embracing the children on the streets, because he didn’t want anyone to feel like an orphan; when he blessed the sick, because he didn’t want them to feel forgotten by God; when he caressed the skin of lepers, because he didn’t want them to be excluded; and, when he died on the cross to teach us that no one has greater love than the one who gives his life for those whom he loves. The entire life of Jesus is the greatest book alive in which we can read the Word of God.

He made his dwelling among us

This Word of God “made his dwelling among us” (Jn 1:14). The distances have vanished. God became “flesh”; he became human like us out of love. Since his birth in Bethlehem, he has lived among us. He has fallen so intensely in love with humanity that he hasn’t departed from our midst. That is why to meet God we don’t have to go outside the world, but rather we need to approach Jesus and let ourselves be touched and invaded by the love of God that has been revealed in him. It’s up to us to allow ourselves to be surprised and embraced by this love on a daily basis.

It’s a pity that God has come down to the depths of our existence, yet life still seems empty to us; it’s a shame that God has come to dwell in the human heart, yet at times we feel an unbearable inner emptiness; and, it is a tragedy that God has come to reign among us, but seems to be totally absent from our interpersonal and social relationships.

When we don’t understand the sacred value of that which is material and human since God became man, we become indifferent to the hunger of the poor, or indifferent to the disrespect for human rights, the violence of war, or the destruction of the planet. When we don’t understand that God has taken on that which is material, we make the beauty of sex into an experience of slavery and deceptive pleasure. Because we don’t take seriously the fact that God took on all that is human, we don’t know how to accept our human limitations with humility, nor do we live with joy and patience the necessary journey of maturity and aging. Only when we lovingly take on our human condition do we fully accept God and allow Him to transform us with His infinite love.

No one has ever seen God

The text of today’s gospel ends with this statement: “No one has ever seen God: it is the only Son, who is nearest to the Father’s heart, who has made him known”. Jesus has been like the great narrative of God’s love. He did not make Him known through theory but through a story of goodness and forgiveness, which culminates in the cross and resurrection. The story of Jesus is the story of God among us. Only Jesus has “told” us what God is like.

Everything changes when we grasp that Jesus is the human face of God. Everything becomes clearer, simpler, and more attractive. By contemplating Jesus we know how God looks upon us when we suffer, how he looks for us when we are lost, and that he understands us and forgives us when we deny him. In Jesus, the “grace of the truth” of God has been revealed to us. We still won’t see God. You can’t see him. But Jesus helps us to overcome this impossibility of seeing God. The only way to see God is to listen to Jesus, to follow Jesus, and to live in communion with Jesus. He himself will say later: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father”. May we welcome Jesus, may we be transformed by his love, and may we become not only holier but more human.


In the beginning Shkolnik ICON FrTed Flickr S5504096566_f9119d89ea_o (straighten-fx)
Creation of the Cosmos (detail)
Written by Dmitry Shkolnik
St. Paul Orthodox Church
Dayton, Ohio


Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. has served as the Auxiliary Bishop of Managua since May 2009, when he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI. A scripture scholar, a former professor at the Pontifical Theological Faculty Teresianum in Rome and editor of the facultys eponymous academic journal, he currently serves at the good pleasure of the Holy Father Pope Francis in Rome.  Read our profile of Bishop Báez here and search our blog posts concerning the bishop here.


This English translation of Bishop Báez's Spanish homily is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission and attribution.

Quote of the day: 23 December

This year we also celebrated the fourth centenary of the death of another European saint, Saint John of the Cross. I wanted the event to be commemorated by sending a delegate of mine both at the beginning and at the end of the Jubilee celebrations in Spain, and with the apostolic letter Maestro en la fe.

The humble and austere figure of this Carmelite emanates with his writings, which are still very relevant today, a great light to penetrate the mystery of God and the mystery of man. He, who had a particular sense of divine transcendence, directs our gaze in the hour of the new evangelization.

Master in faith and theological life, John of the Cross inculcated in us the need to be purified by the Spirit of the Lord in order to carry out an incisive and effective apostolic activity. There is, in fact, a close connection between contemplation and commitment to the transformation of the world.

Aware of this, the Church has always attached special importance to the function of contemplative souls who, in recollection, prayer and hidden sacrifice, offer their lives to God for the salvation of their brothers and sisters. I hope that even today, there will be many people generously disposed to accept God’s call and to face – in the solitude of the Carmels and the various monasteries of contemplative life – the demanding and fascinating adventure of the exclusive search for dialogue with the one who is the source of all human existence.

Saint John Paul II

Christmas Greetings to the Roman Curia (excerpt)
23 December 1991


Juan de la Cruz (10) writing
Credit: Discalced Carmelites



This English translation is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission and attribution.


St. Joseph: Silence, Humanity and Love — Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.


Fourth Sunday of Advent
Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Managua

Saint Agatha Catholic Church
Archdiocese of Miami
22 December 2019

Matthew 1:18-24

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.



Dear brothers and sisters:

On this Fourth Sunday of Advent, on the eve of the Christmas celebration, the liturgy of the word is centered on the person and experience of Saint Joseph, a young worker from Nazareth engaged to Mary, whom he loved and who he was going to marry. Before living together, Joseph discovers that she is expecting a child whose paternal origin is not entirely clear to him. The Gospel says that Joseph was “just”, that is, he faithfully fulfilled the law of the Lord; and not wishing to disown her in public, he decided to do so in private, sending her away quietly (cf. Mt 1:19). Was he surprised to see that Mary was pregnant since they had not had relations? Is it possible that his fiancée didn’t involve him in the event by sharing with him what she had understood from God about this birth?

Something unexpected and unpleasant is interjected in the marriage plans of the two young people. That pregnancy could only be the fruit of betrayal and, from the point of view of the cultural and religious customs of the time, Mary was considered an adulteress and according to the Law of Moses, she was to be stoned to death for her infidelity. Adultery was a break with the patriarchal order that dominated society; since the woman was deemed as belonging to the husband, so the aggrieved husband could denounce her and have her killed for her sin.

Joseph was just, that is, a faithful observer of the Lord’s law, but not in the style of the Pharisees, attached to the letter of the law. Joseph fulfills the law of the Lord by acting with profound humanity. With Joseph, justice means humanity, as the Book of Wisdom says: “the righteous must be kind” (Wis 12:19). He breaks with the logic of domination and possession. The other person is not first and foremost a sinner, a personified error, or a traitor, but a human being who has received life as a gift and commitment; a person who has the right to make changes and to live. Joseph proves to be truly just.

Joseph is not ashamed, he doesn’t belittle Mary and he doesn’t act in such a way as to expose her to shame and death. He doesn’t react in an impulsive and disciplinary fashion, but he looks for a solution that respects the dignity and integrity of his beloved Mary. Joseph’s justice is manifested in the fact that he was “unwilling to expose her to shame”, in not acting as if he owned her by deciding that she had to suffer and die. Nor does he care about his image as a man whose honor has been tarnished and whose rights have been violated by his future wife. Joseph acts with humanity and love.

Joseph’s actions were a huge, painful inner struggle for him. How many questions, how many doubts, how much uncertainty assail Joseph! It’s at this moment that God intervenes by revealing to Joseph in a dream the mystery of the conception of Mary’s son: it is the work of the creative power of God’s Spirit (v. 20-21). That dream obviously not only tried to resolve the conflict that had arisen between two spouses, but its ultimate aim was above all to reveal the identity of the child that was growing in Mary’s womb. Her child is the result of the power of the Holy Spirit; he is a creature that only God could give us. Joseph, accepting divine revelation about the divine origin of Jesus and accepting his role as the legal father of the child, presents himself as a “just” man, again not on the ethical-legal level of the old covenant like the Pharisees, but in the evangelical sense of the new covenant, as one who thoroughly fulfills the divine will—even without thoroughly understanding it—with absolute trust in God. He is the just and obedient man, open to God’s ways and docile to his will.

Joseph—who never speaks, of whom the Gospel doesn’t recall even one word, a silent and strong man, simple and energetic, practical and free—is also a dreamer.  The fate of the world was entrusted to his dreams because the just man has the same dreams as God. Today we need dreamers who are committed to making their dreams come true. It takes courage to dream, not mere imagination. Dreaming means not being content with the world as it is, but rather having the courage to see and imagine the most humane and the happiest future for everyone. Shakespeare said that “we are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep” (The Tempest, Act 4, Scene 1, lines 1887-1889).

“When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him” (Mt 1:24). He doesn’t hesitate. Now he knows that God is asking him to do the hardest, not the easiest thing, and he decides not to leave Mary—not to run away; he abandons his doubts and decides to do God’s will (Mt 1:24). Maybe he knew the saying of his wife, Mary: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord” (Lk 1:38) because in silence he repeats the same thing with his attitude when he gets up: “Here is your servant. Use me”. His willingness to choose God’s will, even if it is the most difficult and incomprehensible, his courage of faith not to run away but to stay and collaborate with God, changes Saint Joseph’s life forever. It will be his rule of life. Saint Joseph is like Abraham. He always walked without knowing where God was taking him, but he journeyed in serenity, knowing that he was in God’s hands.

Joseph accepts the legal paternity of the child; he will give him his last name. In this way, Jesus, the son of the Virgin Mary, is directly linked to the dynasty of King David. The Son of God is now also the son of David. He receives his name from his legal father. Joseph names him as the angel has indicated: Jesus, in Hebrew yehoshua, means “The Lord saves”. The divine origin of Jesus and his saving mission are wonderfully condensed in his name. That is why he was born, that is why he came into the world, as the angel explained to Joseph: “He will save his people from their sins” (v. 21). From now on Joseph will be the father of Jesus. He will walk in faith before the mystery of that son who is growing up before his eyes, who was his own but at the same time was not, welcoming the mystery of God in him through loving care and the silence of faith.

Saint Joseph’s life isn’t the life of a man who seeks his own fulfillment no matter how much it costs, who wants to do what’s convenient for him, whatever he pleases, and whatever sets him apart; but rather, his is the exemplary life of a man who denies himself, who doesn’t run away in the face of difficulties, and who humbles himself to let God lead the way. He hasn’t allowed himself to be paralyzed by doubt and fear in the face of the incomprehensible, nor has he allowed himself to be guided by a reasonable plan that he himself organized in human terms; rather, responding to God’s wishes, he has renounced his will in order to give himself over to the will of the Other, to the magnificent will of the Most High. In this way, he shows us that a person is completely fulfilled through this complete renunciation of self in order to do God’s will.

This Christmas we contemplate Saint Joseph, with the Virgin and the Child in the manger; Joseph—who had an unwavering trust in God, which allowed him to accept a situation that was difficult in human terms and, in a certain sense, incomprehensible. May he teach us that to be righteous is to be human; that to be a believer is to trust and obey God; and, that to be a believer it isn’t necessary to speak much. Joseph never spoke in the Gospel, because, as Saint John of the Cross says, “what is wanting, if anything is wanting, is not writing or speaking—rather these usually superabound—but silence and work.”


Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. has served as the Auxiliary Bishop of Managua since May 2009, when he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI. A scripture scholar, a former professor at the Pontifical Theological Faculty Teresianum in Rome, and editor of the facultys eponymous academic journal, he currently serves at the good pleasure of the Holy Father Pope Francis in Rome.  Read our profile of Bishop Báez here and search our blog posts concerning the bishop here.



RIZI-Francisco_Dream of St Joseph_IMA
The Dream of St. Joseph
Francisco Rizi (Spanish, 1608-1685)
Oil on canvas, about 1665
Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields

Gallery label

In a subject that became popular in Spain during the 17th century, an angel appears to St. Joseph in a dream and explains that Mary has miraculously conceived a child. The luminous angel points to a vision of Mary with the infant Christ in her womb and the dove of the Holy Spirit above her. The veneration of the expectant Virgin as protectress of women in childbirth was prevalent at the Spanish court.

The artist’s forceful draftsmanship, fluid brushwork, and radiant color exemplify the most important tendencies of late Baroque painting in Madrid.

Rizi was born in Spain, the son of a Bolognese painter who worked for Philip II at the royal complex of El Escorial. In 1656 Rizi became royal painter to Philip IV. He was also a stage designer.

Learn more about this painting here. Learn more about Francisco Rizi here.


This English translation of Bishop Báez's Spanish homily is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission and attribution.

Advent IV — Listen


Once again Yahweh spoke to Ahaz and said, “Ask Yahweh your God for a sign for yourself coming either from the depths of Sheol or from the heights above.” “No,” Ahaz answered, “I will not put Yahweh to the test.” Then he said:

Listen now, House of David:
are you not satisfied with trying the patience of men
without trying the patience of my God, too?
The Lord himself, therefore,
will give you a sign.
It is this: the maiden is with child
and will soon give birth to a son
whom she will call Emmanuel.

Isaiah 7:10-14


The holy time of Advent is here; it seems to me that it is very especially the season of interior souls, those who live unceasingly and through everything wholly “hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3) at the center of themselves.

In expectation of the great mystery, I love to go deeply into that beautiful psalm XVIII, which we often say at Matins, and particularly these verses:

There he has placed his tent in the sun, and this star comes forth like a bridegroom coming from his bed, rejoices like a champion to run its course. At the end of the sky is the rising of the sun; to the furthest end of the sky is its course; nothing is concealed from its burning heat (Ps. 19:4-7).

Let us empty our soul so He can come forth in it and communicate the eternal life (cf. Jn. 17:2) that is its own; the Father has given Him “power over all flesh” (Jn. 17:2) for that purpose, as we are told in the Gospel.

And then, in the silence of prayer, let us listen to Him, for He is the “Source” (Jn. 8:25) who speaks within us and who has said: “He who sent me is true, and I tell all I have heard from Him” (Jn. 8:26).

Let us ask Him to make us true in our love, to make us sacrificial beings, for it seems to me that sacrifice is only love put into action: “He loved me, He gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

I love this thought, that the life of the priest (and of the Carmelite) is an Advent that prepares for the Incarnation in souls.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity

Letter 250 to Abbé Chevignard
Around 29 November 1905


Scripture reference provided by St. John’s Catholic Church, Mullumbimby, NSW, Australia


Elizabeth of the Trinity, S 2003, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel, translated from the French by Nash, A, ICS Publications, Washington DC

Quote of the day: 20 December

And so I brought with me Father Nicolás de Jesús María, a man of great perfection and discretion, a native of Genoa.


Nicolas de Jésus-Marie Doria
Nicolás de Jesús María, named the first Discalced Carmelite Superior General 20 December 1593 | Samuel Austin / Wikimedia Commons


Saint Teresa describes the discalced friar she brought with her when she made the foundation at Soria:

He was over forty when he received the habit, I thinkat least he’s forty now, and it’s only a short while since he took the habitbut he has advanced so far in a short time that it seems clear our Lord chose him so he might help the order during these very troublesome times of persecution.

He has done a good deal. With respect to the others who could have helped, some were exiled, others imprisoned. Since he had no office, little attention was paid to him. For as I mentioned, it was only a short time that he was in the order. Or, God allowed this that there might be some help left for me.

He is so discreet that while he was staying in the monastery of the calced Carmelites in Madrid, as though for other business reasons, he dealt with the affairs of the discalced friars in such a disguised manner that the calced friars never knew about it, and so they didn’t bother him.

We corresponded frequently, for I was in the monastery of St. Joseph’s in Avila, and we dealt with a suitable course of action, for this consultation gave him satisfaction. Hence it can be seen what need the order was in since so much attention was paid to me for want, as they say, of good men. [Spanish proverb: For lack of good men, they made my father mayor.]

It was during this time that I had experience of his perfection and discretion. Thus he is among those in this order whom I love much in the Lord and esteem highly.

Saint Teresa of Avila

The Foundations: Chapter 30


In June 1593 the Carmelite Order held its general chapter at Cremona (Italy), to elect a successor to the Fr. Caffardo who had died in office on 3 April 1592. Fr. Nicholas Doria, in his capacity as vicar general, was present at that chapter and brought with him three provincials and ten socii to represent the Discalced Congregation. The Discalced took advantage of so solemn an occasion to reveal, in the form of a petition to the definitor general and general chapter, their intention of requesting the Pope to grant them complete separation from the Order, so that henceforth the Discalced would not attend the general chapter nor would the Order have any jurisdiction over them. The chapter reacted favorably to the idea, and Pope Clement VIII, in the Brief Pastoralis Officii dated 20 December, separated “The Discalced Brethren of the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel” definitively from the prior general’s jurisdiction. So, Fr. Nicholas Doria had the honor of being the Order’s first general.

Father Ildefonso Moriones
El Carmelo Teresiano: páginas de su historia

Discalced Carmelite historian Father Ildefonso Moriones has written much on the history of the Teresian Carmel. His 1978 volume, El Carmelo Teresiano: páginas de su historia, has been translated into English and uploaded to the Order’s online archives. Chapter X, “Change of Superior, Change of Direction: Father Nicholas of Jesus and Mary, Doria” is devoted completely to this larger-than-life figure in the history of the Discalced Carmelite Order.

You can read Chapter X on Father Doria here and read Fr. Ildefonso’s introduction, Chapter I, and see the complete outline of the titles and links to the book’s twenty chapters here.


Ildefonso Moriones 2015
Father Ildefonso Moriones, O.C.D. | YouTube screenshot


Teresa of Avila, St. 1985, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.


14 December: St. John of the Cross

December 14
Our Father, Priest, and Doctor of the Church


When December 14 falls on a Sunday, the solemnity is transferred to the following day.

John was born at Fontiveros in Spain about 1542. He entered the Carmelites and with the permission of his superiors began to live a stricter life. Afterward, he was persuaded by Saint Teresa to begin, together with some others, the Discalced reform within the Order; this cost him much hard work and many trials. He died in Ubeda in 1591, outstanding in holiness and wisdom, to which his many spiritual writings give eloquent witness.

Evening Prayer I


Soldier of the King eternal,
Valiant warrior, hail to thee!
Column raised to heights supernal
In unshaken majesty.
We revere thy glorious merits
And the tide of homage wells
From the fountain of our spirits,
Heav’nward rising as it swells.

Thou hast felt the strong protection
Of the Virgin Mother’s power,
Saving thee with sweet election
In the dread and dangerous hour.
Since thy youth she never swerveth
In her watchful care of thee,
And forever she preserveth
Him who vowed her slave to be.

Chosen offspring of our Mother,
In her labors thou didst share,
Aiding her, as son and brother,
Carmel’s beauty to repair;
Ruined shrine and temple raising
From the dust of slow decay,
Mary’s honor meetly praising,
In the dawn of fairer day.

Lo, the Cross thy weapon glorious,
As on Calvary’s height of yore,
When our Jesus reigned victorious,
Fallen nature to restore;
So thy burning love retrieveth
Glory of an ancient race,
And by suffering achieveth
Marvels of renewing grace.

Praise unto thy God be given
For the grace, O John, conferred,
When with chalice raised to Heaven,
Thine entreating prayer was heard:
In that first rapt celebration
Of the sacrifice divine,
Pledge of thine assured salvation
He hath deigned in love to sign.

Regis aeterni generose miles


Ant. 1 He opened his mouth in prayer, and the Lord filled him with the spirit of understanding.

Psalm 113

Praise, O servants of the Lord, *
praise the name of the Lord!
May the name of the Lord be blessed *
both now and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to its setting *
praised be the name of the Lord!

High above all nations is the Lord, *
above the heavens his glory.
Who is like the Lord, our God, *
who has risen on high to his throne
yet stoops from the heights to look down, *
to look down upon heaven and earth?

From the dust he lifts up the lowly, *
from his misery he raises the poor
to set him in the company of princes, *
yes, with the princes of his people.
To the childless wife he gives a home *
and gladdens her heart with children.

Ant. He opened his mouth in prayer, and the Lord filled him with the spirit of understanding.

Ant. 2 The Lord gave him treasures out of the darkness, and riches that had been hidden away.

Psalm 146

My soul, give praise to the Lord; +
I will praise the Lord all my days, *
make music to my God while I live.

Put no trust in princes *
in mortal men in whom there is no help.
Take their breath, they return to clay *
and their plans that day come to nothing.

He is happy who is helped by Jacob’s God, *
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
who alone made heaven and earth, *
the seas and all they contain.

It is he who keeps faith forever, *
who is just to those who are oppressed.
It is he who gives bread to the hungry, *
the Lord, who sets prisoners free,

the Lord who gives sight to the blind, *
who raises up those who are bowed down,
the Lord, who protects the stranger *
and upholds the widow and orphan.

It is the Lord who loves the just *
but thwarts the path of the wicked.
The Lord will reign forever, *
Zion’s God, from age to age.

Ant. The Lord gave him treasures out of the darkness, and riches that had been hidden away.

Ant. 3 No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human heart has conceived all that God has prepared for those who love him.

Canticle: Rev 4:11; 5:9, 10, 12

O Lord our God, you are worthy *
to receive glory and honor and power.

For you have created all things; *
by your will they came to be and were made.

Worthy are you, O Lord, *
to receive the scroll and break open its seals.

For you were slain; *
with your blood you purchased for God
men of every race and tongue, *
of every people and nation.

You made of them a kingdom +
and priests to serve our God, *
and they shall reign on the earth.

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, *
to receive power and riches,
wisdom and strength, *
honor and glory and praise.

Ant. No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human heart has conceived all that God has prepared for those who love him.


Ephesians 3:14-19

I, Paul, kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name; and I pray that he will bestow on you gifts in keeping with the riches of his glory. May he strengthen you inwardly through the working of his Spirit. May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith, and may charity be the root and foundation of your life. Thus you will be able to grasp fully, with all the holy ones, the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love, and experience this love which surpasses all knowledge, so that you may attain to the fullness of God himself.


The God who brought light out of darkness has shone in our hearts.
The God who brought light out of darkness has shone in our hearts.

To give the light of knowledge of God’s glory that appears in the face of Christ.
He has shone in our hearts.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit
The God who brought light out of darkness has shone in our hearts.

Canticle of Mary

Ant. I sought wisdom in my prayer; I found it abundantly within myself, and advanced greatly in it.


Christ our Redeemer inspired our Father Saint John of the Cross to follow him, and raised him to the heights of contemplation. Let us praise our Lord, and say:

R/.  Glory to you forever!

Christ our God, you taught your servant John the science of the Cross;
kindle the fire of your love in those to whom you have entrusted the teaching and government of your Church.

Christ, unfailing light, you reveal yourself in the night of faith to the poor in spirit;
let your face shine on all those who seek you in poverty amid the darkness of this world.

Christ, our only teacher, you disclose your highest secrets to those who love and seek you;
grant the consummation of your love to those you have called to serve you in Carmel.

Christ, triumphant in heaven in the midst of all your saints,
grant everlasting rest and peace in your glory to all our departed brothers and sisters.

Our Father…


you endowed our Father Saint John of the Cross
with a spirit of self-denial and a love of the cross.
By following his example
may we come to the eternal vision of your glory.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.





Ant. Come, let us worship Christ Jesus, sole Word of the Father.

Invitatory psalm, as in the Ordinary

Office of Readings


O John, rejoice this hallowed day
The triumph of the Cross to hail,
Whereon with Christ ‘twas thine to stay,
Transfixed with pang of spear and nail!

Nor insults, scorn, nor cruel scourge,
Bondage, nor hunger can restrain
The love thy panting soul doth urge
To taste the bitter draught of pain.

Thine only joy, thy sole reward,
The boon for which thy spirit sighed,
To mirror here thy suffering Lord,
Like Him in anguish crucified.

While thou dost search the mystic night,
Through darkness gleams a radiant star,
And Carmel’s camp is all alight,
With flame that leads to heights afar.

Let them that dwell in bliss above
Praise Thee, O Christ, with joyful lay,
Let them that run to Thee in love
Pursue, like John, the thorn-strewn way.

Diem Ioammes advehit


Ant. 1 God chose us to be conformed to the image of his Son.

Psalm 16

Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you. +
I say to the Lord: “You are my God. *
My happiness lies in you alone.”

He has put into my heart a marvelous love +
for the faithful ones who dwell in his land. *
Those who choose other gods increase their sorrows.
Never will I offer their offerings of blood. *
Never will I take their name upon my lips.

O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup; *
it is you yourself who are my prize.
The lot marked out for me is my delight: *
welcome indeed the heritage that falls to me!

I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel, *
who even at night directs my heart.
I keep the Lord ever in my sight: *
since he is at my right hand, I shall stand firm.

And so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad; *
even my body shall rest in safety.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead, *
nor let your beloved know decay.

You will show me the path of life, +
the fullness of joy in your presence, *
at your right hand happiness forever.

Ant. God chose us to be conformed to the image of his Son.

Ant. 2 Among you I claimed to know nothing save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

Psalm 34: I

I will bless the Lord at all times,
his praise always on my lips;
in the Lord my soul shall make its boast. *
The humble shall hear and be glad.

Glorify the Lord with me. *
Together let us praise his name.
I sought the Lord and he answered me; *
from all my terrors he set me free.

Look towards him and be radiant; *
let your faces not be abashed.
This poor man called; the Lord heard him *
and rescued him from all his distress.

The angel of the Lord is encamped *
around those who revere him, to rescue them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good. *
He is happy who seeks refuge in him.

Revere the Lord, you his saints. *
They lack nothing, those who revere him.
Strong lions suffer want and go hungry *
but those who seek the Lord lack no blessing.

Ant. Among you I claimed to know nothing save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

Ant. 3 For me, to live is Christ, to die is gain.

Psalm 34: II

Come, children, and hear me *
that I may teach you the fear of the Lord.
Who is he who longs for life  *
and many days to enjoy his prosperity?

Then keep your tongue from evil *
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Turn aside from evil and do good, *
seek and strive after peace.

The Lord turns his face against the wicked *
to destroy their remembrance from the earth.
The Lord turns his eyes to the just *
and his ears to their appeal.

They call and the Lord hears *
and rescues them in all their distress.
The Lord is close to the broken-hearted; *
those whose spirit is crushed he will save.

Many are the trials of the just man *
but from them all the Lord will rescue him.
He will keep guard over all his bones, *
not one of his bones shall be broken.

Evil brings death to the wicked, *
those who hate the good are doomed.
The Lord ransoms the souls of his servants. *
Those who hide in him shall not be condemned.

Ant. For me, to live is Christ, to die is gain. In you is the source of life.
In your light we see light itself.

First Reading
From the letter of the apostle Paul to the Colossians
Colossians 1:11-29

God has transferred us to the Kingdom of his beloved Son

By the might of his glory you will be endowed with the strength needed to stand fast, even to endure joyfully whatever may come, giving thanks to the Father for having made you worthy to share the lot of the saints in light. He rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of his beloved Son. Through him we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins.

He is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creatures. In him, everything in heaven and on earth was created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominations, principalities or powers; all were created through him and for him. He is before all else that is. In him everything continues in being. It is he who is head of the body, the church; he who is the beginning, the first-born of the dead, so that the primacy may be his in everything. It pleased God to make absolute fullness reside in him and, by means of him, to reconcile everything in his person, both on earth and in the heavens, making peace through the blood of his cross.

You yourselves were once alienated from him; you nourished hostility in your hearts because of your evil deeds. But now, Christ has achieved reconciliation for you in his mortal body by dying, so as to present you to God holy, free of reproach and blameless. But you must hold fast to faith, be firmly grounded and steadfast in it, unshaken in the hope promised you by the gospel you have heard. It is the gospel which has been announced to every creature under heaven, and I, Paul, am its servant.

Even now I find my joy in the suffering I endure for you. In my own flesh I fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of his body, the church. I became a minister of this church through the commission God gave me to preach among you his word in its fullness, that mystery hidden from ages and generations past but now revealed to his holy ones. God has willed to make known to them the glory beyond price which this mystery brings to the Gentiles—the mystery of Christ in you, your hope of glory. This is the Christ we proclaim while we admonish all men and teach them in the full measure of wisdom, hoping to make every man complete in Christ. For this I work and struggle, impelled by that energy of his which is so powerful a force within me.


This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;
—listen to him.

In many and varied ways God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us in his Son.
Listen to him.

The second reading and responsory may be taken from The Liturgy of the Hours or the following may be used:

Alternative Second Reading
From The Spiritual Canticle by Saint John of the Cross
(Red. B, st. 1,4 — ed. Kavanaugh-Rodriguez 1979, pp. 434-45)

Traces of the divine beauty in creation

Created things in themselves, as Saint Augustine declares, give testimony to God’s grandeur and excellence. For God created all things with remarkable ease and brevity, and in them he left some trace of who he is, not only in giving all things being from nothing, but even by endowing them with innumerable graces and qualities, making them beautiful in a wonderful order and unfailing dependence on one another. All of this he did through his own wisdom, the Word, his only begotten Son by whom he created them.

Saint Paul says: The Son of God is the splendor of his glory and the image of his substance. It should be known that only with this figure, his Son, did God look at all things, that is he communicated to them their natural being and many natural graces and gifts, and made them complete and perfect, as is said in Genesis: God looked at all things that he made, and they were very good. To look and behold that they were very good was to make them very good in the Word, his Son.

Not only by looking at them did he communicate natural being and graces, as we said, but also with this image of his Son alone, he clothed them in beauty by imparting to them supernatural being. This he did when he became man and elevated human nature in the beauty of God and consequently all creatures, since in human nature he was united with them all.

Accordingly, the Son of God proclaimed: If I be lifted up from the earth, I will elevate all things to me. And in this elevation of all things through the incarnation of his Son and through the glory of his resurrection according to the flesh, the Father did not merely beautify creatures partially, but rather we can say, clothed them wholly in beauty and dignity.


Prayer of a Soul Taken with Love

O God, you will not deprive me of what you have given me in Christ.
In him you have given me all things.

Mine are the heavens, mine is the earth,
mine are the peoples, the just and the sinners,
mine are the angels, and mine is the Mother of God
In him you have given me all things.

Where the Vigil Office is celebrated:


Ant. Come, let us climb the mountain of the Lord, where God is pleased to dwell; there dwell his honor and glory alone.

Canticle I

Tobit 13:8-11,13-15

The future glory of Jerusalem

You have come to Mount Sion and the city of the living God (Heb 12:22)

Let all men speak of his majesty, *
and sing his praises in Jerusalem.

O Jerusalem, holy city, †
he scourged you for the works of your hands, *
but will again pity the children of the righteous.

Praise the Lord for his goodness, †
and bless the King of the ages, *
so that his tent may be rebuilt in you with joy.

May he gladden within you all who were captives; †
all who were ravaged may he cherish within you
for all generations to come.

A bright light will shine to all parts of the earth; *
many nations shall come to you from afar,
And the inhabitants of all the limits of the earth, †
drawn to you by the name of the Lord God, *
Bearing in their hands their gifts for the King of heaven.

Every generation shall give joyful praise in you, †
and shall call you the chosen one, *
through all ages forever.

Go, then, rejoice over the children of the righteous, †
who shall all be gathered together *
and shall bless the Lord of the ages.

Happy are those who love you, *
and happy those who rejoice in your prosperity.

Happy are all who shall grieve over you, *
over all your chastisements,

For they shall rejoice in you *
as they behold all your joy forever.

My spirit blesses the Lord, the great King.

Canticle II

Is 2:2-3

All the peoples will come to the house of the Lord

The kings of the earth will bring glory and honor to the holy city of Jerusalem (Rev 21:24)

It shall come to pass in the latter days *
that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established as the highest of the mountains †
and shall be raised above the hills, *
and all the nations shall flow to it.

And many people shall come, and say: †
‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, *
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways *
and that we may walk in his paths.’

For out of Sion shall go forth the law, *
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

Canticle III

Jer 7:2b-7

Amend your ways and I will dwell among you

Go and be reconciled with your brother first, and then come and present your offering (Mt 5:24)

Hear the word of the Lord, †
all you men of Judah *
who enter these gates to worship the Lord.

Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel,
Amend your ways and your deeds, *
and I will let you dwell in this place.

Do not trust these deceptive words: †
‘This is the temple of the Lord, *

The temple of the Lord, the temple of the Lord,’

For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, *
If you truly execute justice one with another,
If you do not oppress the alien, the fatherless or the widow. †
Or shed innocent blood in this place, †
In the land that I gave of old *
To your fathers for ever.

Ant. Come, let us climb the mountain of the Lord, where God is pleased to dwell; there dwell his honor and glory alone.

Jn 12:35-36a, 44b-50

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

Believe in the light and you will become sons of light

Jesus declared publicly:

“The light will be with you only a little longer now.
Walk while you have the light,
or the dark will overtake you;
he who walks in the dark does not know where he is going.
While you still have the light,
believe in the light
and you will become sons of light.”

“Whoever believes in me
believes not in me
but in the one who sent me,
and whoever sees me,
sees the one who sent me.
and whoever sees me,
sees the one who sent me.
I, the light, have come into the world,
so that whoever believes in me
need not stay in the dark anymore.
If anyone hears my words and does not keep them faithfully,
it is not I who shall condemn him,
since I have come not to condemn the world,
but to save the world:
he who rejects me and refuses my words
has his judge already:
the word itself that I have spoken
will be his judge on the last day.
For what I have spoken does not come from myself;
no, what I was to say, what I had to speak,
was commanded by the Father who sent me,
and I know that his commands mean eternal life.
And therefore what thee Father has told me
is what I speak.

Te Deum

You are God: we praise you; *
You are the Lord: we acclaim you;
You are the eternal Father: *
All creation worships you.

To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, *
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of power and might, *
heaven and earth are full of your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you. †
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. *
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.

Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you: *
Father, of majesty unbounded,
your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, *
and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the King of glory, *
the eternal Son of the Father.

When you became man to set us free *
you did not spurn the Virgin’s womb.

You overcame the sting of death, *
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. *
We believe that you will come, and be our judge.

Come then, Lord, and help your people, *
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints*
to glory everlasting.

Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance.
— Govern and uphold them now and always.

Day by day we bless you.
— We praise your name for ever.

Keep us today, Lord, from all sin.
— Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.

Lord, show us your love and mercy,
— for we have put our trust in you.

In you, Lord, is our hope:
— And we shall never hope in vain.


you endowed our Father Saint John of the Cross
with a spirit of self-denial and a love of the cross.
By following his example
may we come to the eternal vision of your glory.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.




Morning Prayer


Bearing His Cross, the gentle Lord drew nigh,
Offering the crown by merit richly won.
O Love! to quaff Thy cup and with Thee die,
Low answers John.

To live despised, in suffering and alone,
The one insatiate yearning of his breast;
To die devoid of honor, and unknown,
His heart’s request.

Death yielded triumph of the Cross at last,
While dazzling globes of fire from Heav’n descend,
And o’er his deeds the light of glory cast
To cheer his end.

His dying couch, with light irradiate,
Dims with celestial beam earth’s fitful flame,
Perfumes exhale, breathing of heavenly state
And saintly fame.

Honor supreme be to the Father given,
To Word and Paraclete in praise unite,
Upon whose Triune flame the hosts of Heaven
Feed with delight.
Dum crucem gestat Dominus, Ioanni


Let us together
Up the high mountain
Go where the weather
Keeps a June glow.
You in your beauty,
I in your beauty,
Earth in your beauty,
All give delight.

Up past the steepest
Cliffs of our striving,
Up from the deepest
Thickets of pain
Where darkness bound you,
Ravaged and slew you,
Till daybreak found you,
Risen again.

Haste then our going
Up the high mountain,
Pure water flowing
Down from the height,
Wind in the spruces,
Light on the aspens,
Fruit of sweet juices
All give delight.

Deep caverns holding
Secrets of heaven,
Summits unfolding
Myst’ries divine,
Nightingale singing,
Grove lit with beauty
Each new day bringing
Taste of new wine.

Sweet the ascending
Up the high mountain,
Sweeter the ending
Love spread abroad.
Everyone sharing
Grace of your image.
Everyone bearing
The beauty of God.

Sr. Miriam of the Holy Spirit, O.C.D.


Ant. 1 Truly you are a hidden God, O God of Israel, our Savior.

Psalms and canticle from Sunday, Week I

Ant. 2 All things are yours, for you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

Ant. 3 Give thanks to the Lord in your hearts, sing him spiritual canticles.


2 Corinthians 3:17-18

The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. All of us, gazing on the Lord’s glory with unveiled faces, are being transformed from glory to glory into his very image by the Lord who is the Spirit.


Your light will shine in the darkness and the darkness will be as noon.
Your light will shine in the darkness and the darkness will be as noon.

The Lord will fill your soul with his splendor,
and the darkness will be as noon.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
Your light will shine in the darkness and the darkness will be as noon.

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become children of light.

Or: The Lord has come to give light to those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet in the way of peace.


Jesus Christ, the head and bridegroom of his Church makes us joyful today on this feast of John of the Cross, his servant. Let us say to him:

R/.  You, Christ, are the King of Glory.

Only Word of the Father, uttered eternally in the eternal silence, and in the fullness of time received in the Virgin’s womb;
—may we hear your words today in the depths of our hearts, and put them into practice.

Wisdom of the Father, you showed your great love for us by emptying yourself in the Incarnation and on the Cross;
may we, who have been redeemed by your blood, always live in close communion with you.

Perfect Image of the Godhead, in whom all the mysteries of eternal love are revealed and poured out,
may we go forward in the strength of your Spirit, toward your inaccessible light.

Supreme Delight of the Father, in whom God looks mercifully on all men;
may we become perfect in compassion as our heavenly Father is perfect.

First-born of all creation, through you the Father in his goodness created and re-created all things,
may our thoughts be turned today from the visible world to your invisible beauty.

Our Father…


you endowed our Father Saint John of the Cross
with a spirit of self-denial and a love of the cross.
By following his example
may we come to the eternal vision of your glory.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.




Daytime Prayer

Complementary psalmody


Ant. Those who wish to come after me must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow me.


Ephesians 4:22-24

Acquire a fresh, spiritual way of thinking. You must put on that new man created in God’s image, whose justice and holiness are born of truth.

A pure heart create for me, O God.
Put a steadfast spirit within me.


Ant. Whoever would draw near to God must believe; the righteous live by faith.


Romans 5:1-2

Now that we have been justified by faith, we are at peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have gained access by faith to the grace in which we now stand, and we boast of our hope for the glory of God.

I live by faith in the Son of God.
Who loved me and gave himself for me.


Ant. Your strength will lie in silence and hope.


Romans 8:24-25

In hope we were saved. But hope is not hope if its object is seen; how is it possible for one to hope for what he sees? And hoping for what we cannot see means awaiting it with patient endurance.

The Lord is good to those who trust in him.
To the soul who seeks him.


you endowed our Father Saint John of the Cross
with a spirit of self-denial and a love of the cross.
By following his example
may we come to the eternal vision of your glory.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.




Evening Prayer II


Saint of the eagle eye,
Gazing enrapt on high
Mid dread abysses of Divinity;
Martyr by heart’s intent,
Virgin yet penitent,
Prophet and guide in realms of mystery.

Oft in thy life, ’tis told
Sweet converse thou didst hold
With the pure Virgin and her Son divine;
Thence came the wondrous light
Flooding with glory bright
Thy mystic page, for wisdom there did shine.

Clearly thou dost reveal
Secrets the clouds conceal
For thou hast seeped thy soul in rays above,
Pondering the mountain height,
Darkness of faith’s long night
And the reviving flame of mystic love.

When by God’s holy will
Thou dost His word instill,
Wondrous the marvels by the soul divined,
Like Him evoking light
From chaos deep as night,
Cheering with healthful beams the darkened mind.

O John, thy praise intone
Prostrate before the throne!
Thee hath the Father signed with light most true,
Gifts of the Spirit shine
And the meek Lamb divine
Openeth the book of life to thy pure view.

O satis felix! Speculator alti

Ant. 1 God loved us so much that he brought us to life with Christ.

Psalm 15

Lord, who shall be admitted to your tent *
and dwell on your holy mountain?

He who walks without fault; *
he who acts with justice
and speaks the truth from his heart; *
he who does not slander with his tongue;

he who does no wrong to his brother, *
who casts no slur on his neighbor,
who holds the godless in disdain, *
but honors those who fear the Lord;

he who keeps his pledge, come what may; *
who takes no interest on a loan
and accepts no bribes against the innocent. *
Such a man will stand firm forever.

Ant. God loved us so much that he brought us to life with Christ.

Ant. 2 We know and believe in the love God has for us.

Psalm 112

Happy the man who fears the Lord, *
who takes delight in all his commands.
His sons will be powerful on earth; *
the children of the upright are blessed.

Riches and wealth are in his house; *
his justice stands firm forever.
He is a light in the darkness for the upright: *
he is generous, merciful and just.

The good man takes pity and lends, *
he conducts his affairs with honor.
The just man will never waver: *
he will be remembered forever.

He has no fear of evil news; *
with a firm heart he trusts in the Lord.
With a steadfast heart he will not fear, *
he will see the downfall of his foes.

Open-handed, he gives to the poor; +
his justice stands firm forever. *
His head will be raised in glory.

The wicked man sees and is angry, +
grinds his teeth and fades away; *
the desire of the wicked leads to doom.

Ant. We know and believe in the love God has for us.

Ant. 3 The love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given us.

Canticle: Ephesians 1:3-10

Praised be the God and Father *
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who has bestowed on us in Christ *
every spiritual blessing in the heavens.

God chose us in him *
before the world began,
to be holy *
and blameless in his sight.

He predestined us +
to be his adopted sons through Jesus Christ, *
such was his will and pleasure,
that all might praise the glorious favor *
he has bestowed on us in his beloved.

In him and through his blood we have been redeemed, *
and our sins forgiven,
so immeasurably generous *
is God’s favor to us.

God has given us the wisdom *
to understand fully the mystery,
the plan he was pleased *
to decree in Christ.

A plan to be carried out *
in Christ, in the fullness of time,
to bring all things into one in him, *
in the heavens and on the earth.

Ant. The love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given us.


1 Corinthians 13:8-10, 12-13, 14:1a

Love never fails. Prophecies will cease, tongues will be silent, knowledge will pass away. Our knowledge is imperfect and our prophesying is imperfect. When the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. Now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. My knowledge is imperfect now; then I shall know even as I am known. There are in the end three things that last: faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love. Seek eagerly after love.


Love is as strong as death: It flashes forth like flames of fire.
Love is as strong as death: It flashes forth like flames of fire.

Who can separate us from the love of Christ?
It flashes forth like flames of fire.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
Love is as strong as death: It flashes forth like flames of fire.

Canticle of Mary

Ant. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and that I may be in them.


God the Father has given us his Spirit through Jesus Christ his beloved Son, so that we may be partakers in the divine nature and witnesses to his love in the Church. Let us praise him and say:

R/.  Through the intercession of Saint John, hear us, O Lord.

Give your Church the living faith that will lead all men and women to seek you;
and bring them to the closest union with you.

Give the hope of heaven to all who are faithful in seeking you;
may they obtain all that they hope for.

Pour out your love upon us;
that where there is no love we may put love and so draw love out.

May all Carmelites be imitators of the Virgin Mary, Mother of our Order;
may we follow every inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Grant final purification to our departed brothers and sisters,
so that they may come without delay to sing canticles of love with all your saints.

Our Father…


you endowed our Father Saint John of the Cross
with a spirit of self-denial and a love of the cross.
By following his example
may we come to the eternal vision of your glory.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.


Saint John of the Cross and three miraculous apparitions in his relics
Saint John of the Cross and three miraculous apparitions in his relics
Anonymous (Spanish, 17th c.)
Engraving, used as a cover for the ms. Informaciones sobre la vida y milagros de San Juan de la Cruz 
Manuscrito 12738, Biblioteca Nacional de España

11 December: St. Maria Maravillas of Jesus

December 11

Optional Memorial

Maria Maravillas was born at Madrid in 1891. She entered the El Escorial Carmel, Madrid on 12th October 1919. In 1924 she was inspired to found a Carmel at Cerro de los Angeles, alongside the monument to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. From this foundation followed nine others in Spain and one in India. She always gave first place to prayer and self-sacrifice. She had a true, passionate zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Even while living a life of poverty in the cloister she helped those who were in need, initiating apostolic, social and charitable works. In a particular way, she helped those of her own order, priests, and other religious congregations. She died in the monastery of La Aldehuela, Madrid, on 11th December 1974. She was canonized on 4th May 2003 in Madrid.

From the common of virgins or of holy women (religious)

Office of Readings

Second Reading
From the letters of Saint Maravillas of Jesus, Virgin

(Letters to her spiritual directors: 305, 254, 101, 458b)

My delight is to be with the children of men

Yesterday, Sunday, on climbing the stairs to go to the upper choir for the sung Mass, I was quite recollected, yet without any particular thought, when I heard clearly within me, My delight is to be with the children of men. These words which made a strong impression on me, I understood were not for me this time, but rather in the nature of a request the Lord was making me to offer the whole of myself to give him these souls he so much desires. It is hard to explain, but I saw clearly, that a soul which sanctifies itself becomes fruitful in attracting souls to God. This so deeply moved me that I offered with my whole heart to the Lord all my sufferings of body and soul for this purpose, despite my poverty. It then seemed to me that this offering was right, but what was strictly important was to surrender myself, wholly and completely to the divine will, so that he could do what he desired in me, and likewise I would accept the pain along with the pleasure. I seemed to understand that what pleased him was not the greatest sacrifice but rather the exact and loving fulfillment in the least detail of that will. In this I understood many things I find hard to explain, and how he wished me to be very sensitive in this fulfillment, which would carry me a long way in self-sacrifice and love.

I offered myself in such a way that nothing would excuse me, not even hell (if there you can love the Lord), but then I am so cowardly. The Lord will remedy that, since I can do no more than commit myself to Him in all my misery. I began experiencing this as a desire to commit myself for souls and to be faithful for this purpose: thinking about what he had done for them, it seemed he was saying to me I could not do much, but he could, with my help. On feeling this immense desire of the Lord for the salvation of souls, it seemed so amazing that nothing remained but to be committed to God so that He could carry out all his work in the soul and thus make it, despite its poverty, capable of giving him what he desires. Each time it became clearer to my soul so that nothing of my own remained important, except that the Lord alone be glorified.

What a treasure the Lord has given me in allowing me to live in Carmel! Here, everything is arranged with such simplicity, yet in such a way that, living it to the full, you can do everything. How can we live in the House of the Virgin, pleasing the Lord with her, yet not imitating her, as the Holy Mother desired? I felt that this is the Carmelite’s way, imitating Mary, how we must grow less, to be truly poor, self-sacrificing, humble, nothing. I felt quite deeply how Jesus gives us in his own life continual examples of sacrifice, of humiliation, of making ourselves small, yet we do not understand. I felt his mercy and zeal for souls in this way, that here is the strength that can take hold of our life through his mercy. By his grace, may I, who am so absolutely poor in everything, be well able to imitate him in this with more ease than other creatures. I seemed also to understand that these lights were not given only for myself, but also for guiding my sisters. The sole thing I do, many times in the day, is to say to the Lord that I wish to live only to love him and to please him, that I desire all that he wishes in the way that he wills.

Cf Mt 25:1, 2, 10; Ps 119:16; 40:10

R/. Prudent virgin whom the Bridegroom found watching with her lamp alight,
enter into the eternal nuptial banquet.
V/. I find my delight in your will,
your saving justice in the depths of my heart.
Enter into the eternal nuptial banquet.


Lord God,
who drew Saint Maria Maravillas of Jesus
into the secrets of the heart of your Son,
grant through her intercession and example,
that we may work together for the salvation of souls,
experiencing the delights of your love.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.


Maravillas de Jesus portrait with rule
Saint Maria Maravillas of Jesus | Credit: Discalced Carmelites

Quote of the day: 5 December

750th Anniversary

Scapular Catechesis


The following catechesis was prepared in the year 2000 under the direction of the North American prior provincials of the Carmelite Order and the Order of Discalced Carmelites as the Carmelite Family prepared to celebrate the 750th anniversary of the Brown Scapular. The draft was prepared by Father Sam Anthony Morello, O.C.D. and Father Patrick McMahon, O.Carm. and was then submitted to the Archdiocesan authorities in Washington, D.C. for the imprimatur of the then archbishop, Cardinal James Hickey. After several minor modifications, the Imprimatur was granted. The following is the revised and approved text. It was published as part of The Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Catechesis and Ritual. We share the preamble; the full text may be found here and here. The publication of the text for the 750th anniversary follows the 5 December 1994 decision in a joint meeting of the Discalced Carmelite General Definitory and the General Council of the Ancient Observance to prepare a new scapular catechesis that would become a common text for both orders. Today marks the 25th anniversary of that decision, which was significant in the life of the Carmelite family.



The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is best understood in the context of our Catholic faith. It offers us a rich spiritual tradition that honors Mary as the first and foremost of her Son’s disciples. This scapular is an outward sign of the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our sister, mother, and queen. It offers an effective symbol of Mary’s protection to the Order of Carmel its members, associates, and affiliates as they strive to fulfill their vocation as defined by the Carmelite Rule of Saint Albert: “to live in allegiance to Jesus Christ.”

While Christ alone has redeemed us, the Blessed Virgin Mary has always been seen by Catholics as a loving mother and protector. The Blessed Virgin has shown her patronage over the Order of Carmel from its earliest days. This patronage and protection came to be symbolized in the scapular, the essential part of the Carmelite habit.

Stories and legends abound in Carmelite tradition about the many ways in which the Mother of God has interceded for the Order, especially in critical moments of its history. Most enduring and popular of these traditions, blessed by the Church, concerns Mary’s promise to an early Carmelite, Saint Simon Stock, that anyone who remains faithful to the Carmelite vocation until death will be granted the grace of final perseverance. The Carmelite Order has been anxious to share this patronage and protection with those who are devoted to the Mother of God and so has extended both its habit (the scapular) and affiliation to the larger Church.

Private revelation can neither add to nor detract from the Church’s deposit of faith. Therefore, the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel echoes the promise of Divine Revelation: The one who holds out to the end is the one who will see salvation (Matthew 24:13), and Remain faithful unto death and I will give you the crown of life (Revelation 2:10). The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a reminder to its wearers of the saving grace which Christ gained upon the cross for all: All you who have been baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves in him (Galatians 3:27). There is no salvation for anyone other than that won by Christ. The Sacraments mediate this saving grace to the faithful. The sacramentals, including the scapular, do not mediate this saving grace but prepare us to receive grace and dispose us to cooperate with it. As the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches:

Sacramentals do not confer the grace of the Holy Spirit in the way that the sacraments do, but by the Church’s prayer they prepare us to receive grace and dispose us to cooperate with it. For well-disposed members of the faithful, the liturgy of the sacraments and sacramentals sanctifies almost every event of their lives with the divine grace which flows form the Paschal mystery of the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of Christ. From this source all sacraments and sacramentals draw their power. (CCC 1670)

We see, therefore, that the Church clearly teaches that all grace, including that of final perseverance, is won for us by the Passion, Death, and Resurrection of the Lord. Simply wearing the Brown Scapular does not confer that same result.


Scapular Vision Shrine Aylesford gbcarmelite Flickr 7141273775_ba0de9914c_o
Scapular vision shrine (detail) Aylesford Priory, England | gbcarmelite / Flickr


Quote of the day: 4 December

The whole city is truly scandalized.

In our quote of the day for 2 December we remembered the anniversary of the abduction of Saint John of the Cross from his chaplain’s quarters at the monastery of the Incarnation in Avila. We read Saint Teresa’s anguished letter to King Philip II wherein she provided the backstory and described the abduction of Saint John and his companion and fellow confessor, Fray Germán. More important, Teresa begged the king to intervene in the affair.

Saint Teresa’s letter was dated 4 December 1577. We recall that she wrote how the Carmelite vicar provincial “is holding these confessors captive in his monastery after having forced his way into their cells and confiscating their papers” (Letter 218).



2017-08-17 (1)
Saint Edith Stein wrote the Science of the Cross in the final months before her arrest in August 1942. Did a correlation between Saint John of the Cross’ abduction and the arrests of the Jews come to mind? | Photo Credit: Bundesarchiv (Creative Commons)



Today we turn to Saint Edith Stein’s Science of the Cross to provide us with more details of his abduction; we refer to her introduction, “The Message of the Cross”. Let us recall that scholars differ on the date of the abduction; by Edith’s calculation, the event occurred on the night of December 3 and Teresa wrote to the king on the very next day. Based on this knowledge, Edith recounts the story:

On the night of December 3, 1577, several of the Calced with their accomplices broke into the living quarters of the nuns’ two confessors and took them away as captives. From then on, John was missing. True, Holy Mother learned that the prior, Maldonado, had taken him away. But where he had been taken was not revealed until nine months later when he was freed.

Nine months. During nine months Saint John of the Cross would be exposed to cruel captivity in Toledo, penned up like a political prisoner. For all intents and purposes, John actually was a political prisoner, a prisoner because of the jealous machinations of the prior in the Carmelite friars’ convent in Toledo, Fray Hernando Maldonado. Maldonado: he of whom Saint Teresa wrote to King Philip, “he is more capable than the others of making martyrs.”


French Underground inspects blindfold in Paris Yad Vashem photo record 1460_179
After the liberation, a member of the French underground in Paris inspects a blindfold used on prisoners during interrogations | Photo credit: Yad Vashem (Creative Commons)


We will let Saint Edith continue the story of Saint John’s abduction:

Blindfolded, he had been brought through a lonely suburb to the monastery of Our Lady in Toledo, the most important Carmelite monastery of the mitigated Rule in Castile. He was interrogated, and because he refused to abandon the Reform he was treated as a rebel. His prison was a narrow room, about 10 feet long and 6 feet wide. Teresa later wrote: “small though he was in stature, he could hardly stand erect in it.”

At this point, the conditions of Saint John of the Cross’ confinement remind us of Saint Teresa’s vision of hell, where she wrote in her autobiography:

The entrance it seems to me was similar to a very long and narrow alleyway, like an oven, low and dark and confined; the floor seemed to me to consist of dirty, muddy water emitting a foul stench and swarming with putrid vermin. At the end of the alleyway, a hole that looked like a small cupboard was hollowed out in the wall; there I found I was placed in a cramped condition. All of this was delightful to see in comparison with what I felt there. What I have described can hardly be exaggerated (Life 32:1).

Here is what Edith has to say about Saint John’s “cramped condition”:

This cell had neither window nor air vent other than a slit high up on the wall. The prisoner had to “stand on the poor-sinner-stool and wait until the sun’s rays were reflected on the wall in order to be able to pray the breviary.” The door was secured by a bolt.

Small wonder that when Saint Teresa wrote on 4 December to King Philip, she remarked, “I would consider the confessors better off if they were held by the Moors, who perhaps would show more compassion.”


Dachau Frans de Wit Flickr 14997966451_3b62cd0105_o
Dachau concentration camp | Frans de Wit / Flickr


There was a daily routine of psychological and physical torture, as Saint Edith explains:

At first every evening, later three times a week, and finally, only sometimes on Fridays, the prisoner was brought to the refectory where, seated on the floor, he ate his meal—bread and water. He was also given the discipline in the refectory. He knelt, naked to the waist, with bowed head; all the friars passed by him and struck him with the switch. And since he bore everything “with patience and love” he was dubbed “the coward.” Throughout, he was “immovable as a rock” when they commanded him to abandon the Reform, attempting to bribe him by offering to make him a prior. Then he would open his silent lips and assure them that he refused to turn back “no matter if it cost him his life.”

He bore everything with patience and love. How rich were his counsels to Saint Teresa’s nuns in later years! When he exhorted them to practice patience, they understood that he had the bitter life experience to qualify his counsel:

Serve God, my beloved daughters in Christ, following in his footsteps of mortification, in utter patience, in total silence, and with every desire to suffer, becoming executioners of your own satisfactions, mortifying yourselves, if perhaps something remains that must die and something still impedes the inner resurrection of the Spirit who dwells within your souls (Letter 7 to the nuns at Beas, 18 November 1586).

Saint Edith tells us that “the youthful novices who were witness to the humiliations and mistreatment wept out of compassion and said “This is a saint” when they saw his silent patience.”


Juan de la Cruz (silence profile pic 22)
Credit: Portal Carmelitano



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.


Kieran Kavanaugh, K, Rodriguez, O, and Teresa, 1976, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, ICS Publications, Washington DC.


Stein, E 2002, The Science of the Cross, translated from the German by Koeppel, J, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 1 December

Have a great love for those who contradict and fail to love you, for in this way love is begotten in a heart that has no love. God so acts with us, for he loves us that we might love by means of the very love he bears toward us.

Saint John of the Cross

Letter 33 to a Discalced Carmelite nun in Segovia
Ubeda, October-November 1591


Saint John of the Cross, Francisco Antonio Gijón (Spanish, 1653 – after 1705), 1675, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. | Credit: National Gallery of Art



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: 30 November

You have entered an Order so holy and perfect, that by keeping its rules and constitutions faithfully, one will go directly from her deathbed to her home in heaven.  


Foundation of the Carmel of Pontoise

From the Autobiography of Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew


Sister Anne of St. Bartholomew, to whom they had just given the black veil, was named Prioress of the new monastery; Mother Isabel of the Angels, Sub-Prioress; and Sister Beatrice of the Conception, Mistress of Novices. Mother Anne of Jesus, who governed the first convent, wished to accompany to Pontoise the three Spanish Carmelites sent there, and she took with her two of the first novices of the Order, Sister Louise of Jesus and Sister Aimee of Jesus.

On Monday Mother Anne of Jesus gave the religious habit to four young ladies of M. Gallemant’s community; the first received was called Agnes of Jesus; later she became Sub-Prioress, and took great care of Blessed Mary of the Incarnation (Madame Acarie) in her last illness. After the ceremony, Mother Anne of Jesus, in order to excite the fervor of the novices just received, spoke these remarkable words: “You have entered an Order so holy and perfect, that by keeping its rules and constitutions faithfully, one will go directly from her deathbed to her home in heaven.”

The first night these novices passed in the house they noticed a miraculous odor, which the Spanish Carmelites told them to call the perfume of St. Teresa.

On Tuesday they started on their return trip to Paris. They left Sister Louise of Jesus, who had to remain in the new monastery, at Pontoise… On returning to Paris, Mother Anne of Jesus was in admiration of the way in which Madame Acarie had established the Order in France; and Madame Acarie admired the way in which Mother Anne of Jesus governed.

The Carmelite said: “How could one woman have sufficient influence in France, Rome, and Spain to make so difficult a foundation? How has she been able to find all the money used in it?”

The Blessed one said in her turn: “How has a Spanish religious, who does not understand French, been able to acquire so much authority over persons of so different a language and customs? How has she been able to make them all one heart and one soul?”


Ana_de_Jesús Carmel de Pontoise
Detail of a portrait of Venerable Anne of Jesus in the Carmel of Pontoise, view the complete image here | Credit: Ministère de la Culture (France), Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine, Diffusion RMN-GP


Learn more about the foundation of the Discalced Carmelites in France here


Anne of St. Bartholomew, M; Bouix, M 1917,  Autobiography of the Blessed Mother Anne of Saint Bartholomew, inseparable companion of Saint Teresa, and foundress of the Carmels of Pontoise, Tours and Antwerp, translated from the French by anonymous, H. S. Collins Printing Co., Saint Louis.

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