Being in prayer on the feastday of the glorious St. Peter, I saw or, to put it better, I felt Christ beside me; I saw nothing with my bodily eyes or with my soul, but it seemed to me that Christ was at my side — I saw that it was He, in my opinion, who was speaking to me.
Since I was completely unaware that there could be a vision like this one, it greatly frightened me in the beginning; I did nothing but weep. However, by speaking one word alone to assure me, the Lord left me feeling as I usually did: quiet, favored, and without any fear. It seemed to me that Jesus Christ was always present at my side; but since this wasn’t an imaginative vision, I didn’t see any form.
Yet I felt very clearly that He was always present at my right side and that He was the witness of everything I did. At no time in which I was a little recollected, or not greatly distracted, was I able to ignore that He was present at my side.
Yet I felt very clearly that He was always present at my right side and that He was the witness of everything I did.
I immediately went very anxiously to my confessor to tell him. He asked me in what form I saw Him. I answered that I didn’t see Him. He asked how I knew that it was Christ.
I answered that I didn’t know how, but that I couldn’t help knowing that He was beside me, that I saw and felt Him clearly, that my recollection of soul was greater, and that I was very continuously in the prayer of quiet, that the effects were much different from those I usually experienced, and that it was very clear.
It seemed to me that Jesus Christ was always present at my side
I could do nothing but draw comparisons in order to explain myself. And, indeed, there is no comparison that fits this kind of vision very well. Since this vision is among the most sublime (as I was afterward told by a very holy and spiritual man, whose name is Friar Peter of Alcántara and of whom I shall speak later, and by other men of great learning) and the kind in which the devil can interfere the least of all, there are no means by which those of us who know little here below can explain it. Learned men will explain it better.
I couldn’t help knowing that He was beside me
I saw and felt Him clearly
my recollection of soul was greater
I was very continuously in the prayer of quiet
the effects were much different
it was very clear
The Book of Her Life: Chapter 27; The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. (unless otherwise noted) Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
“Be careful about what you are doing.”
Saint Teresa of Avila to Sr. Ana de San Agustín
Carmel of Villanueva de la Jara Continue reading “Good advice”
We arrived in Villanueva de la Jara on the first Sunday of Lent, the feast of St. Barbaciani, [21 February] the vigil of the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, in the year 1580. On this same day at the time of the high Mass, the Blessed Sacrament was reserved in the church of the glorious St. Anne.
The city council and some others along with Doctor Ervías came out to receive us, and we got down from our wagons at the church in the town, which was quite far from St. Anne’s. The joy of the whole town was so great.
It gave me much consolation to see the happiness with which they received the order of the Blessed Virgin, our Lady.
We had heard from afar the peal of the church bells. Once we were inside the church, they began the Te Deum, one verse sung by the choir and the other played by the organ.
When it was finished, they carried the Blessed Sacrament on one portable platform and a statue of our Lady on another, and crosses and banners. The procession proceeded with much pomp.
We were in the middle near the Blessed Sacrament with our white mantles and our veils covering our faces, and next to us were many of our discalced friars from their monastery and Franciscans from the monastery of St. Francis that was located there, and one Dominican who happened to be present (even though he was alone it made me happy to see that habit there).
Since the distance was great, there were many altars set up along the way. From time to time the procession stopped and some verses were recited in honor of our order which moved us to great devotion. So did the sight of all of them praising the great God present in our midst and the fact that because of Him they paid so much honor to us seven poor, little discalced nuns who were there.
While I was engaged in all these reflections, I became very ashamed in recalling that I was among them and that if they were to do what I deserved they would all turn against me.
Saint Teresa of Avila
The Book of Her Foundations, Chapter 28
We are grateful to photographer José-María Moreno García for making his photo-documentary of the Fifth Centenary visit to Saint Teresa’s foundation of Villanueva de la Jara available for download under a Creative Commons license. To see the complete photo album from this foundation, click here.
Lord, I am an ignorant child, I am blind;
I come unto you to see.
Come, your eyes will heal me,
and everything will be yours.
One glance is life!
Saint Mariam of Bethlehem
I have taken advantage of this opportunity to share with you the experience of one of our friars concerning the admirable effects and continual help he receives from the practice of the presence of God; we can both benefit from it.
He often complains of our blindness and cries out ceaselessly that we deserve sympathy for settling for so little. “God,” he says, “has infinite treasures to give us, yet we are satisfied with a bit of perceptible devotion that passes in an instant.” He complains that “we are blind since we bind God’s hands in this way and halt the abundant flow of his graces; yet when God finds a soul penetrated by an intense faith he pours out his graces in abundance. This torrent of his grace, impeded from running its ordinary course, expands impetuously and abundantly once it has found an outlet.”
Yes, sometimes we stop this torrent by our lack of appreciation for it. We must not stop it any longer, dear Mother; we must turn inward, break through the dam, let grace come forth, and make up for lost time. We have so little time left to live. Death is at our heels, so be on guard: death comes only once!
Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, O.C.D.
The Practice of the Presence of God, Letter 1
Father Conrad De Meester, O.C.D. who was the editor of the French critical edition of Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God notes these biographic details concerning the uncle whose own Discalced Carmelite vocation inspired Brother Lawrence to enter religious life after military service:
His uncle Jean, his mother’s brother, a native of Hériménil, Jean Majeur entered the Discalced Carmelites as a lay brother at the beginning of October 1633. He took the name “Brother Nicolas of the Conception.” He was professed in Paris on December 9, 1635, and died on February 20, 1652, in his nephew’s monastery in Paris.
Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God (Biographic note, p. 27; Letter 1, p. 53) Copyright © 1994, 2015 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC
God does not abandon the children who love him and who are suffering.
Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus
Cahier Scolaire No. 10, p. 34
Love is something that touches all of our lives. Everyone has a pretty good idea what it’s like to be in love. If you haven’t ever experienced it yourself, you’ve at least observed it in the world around you: you know couples who are in love, you’ve seen love stories in movies, you’ve read them in books, and you’ve heard them in songs. When you think about it, love stories surround us everywhere in life! It seems that every popular movie or song has to do with love. It’s almost as if human beings are obsessed with being in love. It’s almost as if there is a great desire in us that yearns to be in love. It’s almost as if we were made to fall in love.
But why? Why is there this great fire in our hearts that desires to be in love?
Read more on the blog of the Discalced Carmelite Friars Washington Province
“I propose to have no other purpose in all my activities, either interior or exterior, than the motive of love alone, by constantly asking myself: ‘Now what am I doing in this action? Do I love God?’ If I should notice any obstacle to pure love, I shall take myself in hand and recall that I must seek to return my love for His love.”
Saint Teresa Margaret Redi
God Is Love
Edith’s six months of probation passed quickly. On 15 February 1934, following the custom of the Order, she knelt before the assembled community and asked to receive the habit of Our Blessed Lady of Mount Carmel. She was granted her request on 15 April. During the two months that she was preparing for her clothing, she grew in love and gratitude toward her superiors and her sisters. It was not easy for her to grasp that, as the “bride-to-be,” she should be the object of so much attention and solicitude on the part of her Sisters. Everyone was busy helping her to prepare for her clothing as it drew nearer. Besides the bridal dress, all the clothes she would need in the convent had to be made – a long white tunic of wool, a pair of rope sandals, a rosary with big beads and a coarse brown handkerchief. She had to go from one workroom to another to try on first one thing and then another; and though nothing more was done for her than for anyone else, she accepted each service as though it were a special token of love for herself.
Mother Teresia Renata of the Holy Spirit, O.C.D.
Edith Stein: The Life of a Philosopher and Carmelite
The patron saint of the missions is from your region. From Lisieux, Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face has radiated her missionary ardor in the world. Her spiritual teaching, of a luminous simplicity, continues to touch the faithful of all conditions and all cultures. It is right that we should ask her to help the Catholics of France to follow her way of holiness and to develop their solidarity with their brothers in Europe, Africa, and other parts of the world to share the gifts received from Christ, our salvation.
Saint John Paul II
Ad Limina address to bishops from western France
14 February 1992
SERVA DI DIO SR. MARIA LUCIA DI GESÙ E DEL CUORE IMMACOLATO
Lucia dos Santos
Aljustrel [Fatima, Portogallo]
22 marzo 1907 – Coimbra, 13 febbraio 2005
Veggente di Fatima, Carmelitana scalza
Nella plurisecolare storia delle Apparizioni della Vergine Maria, suor Lucia (come era comunemente conosciuta) è stata la veggente vissuta più a lungo; nel quasi un secolo di vita (98 anni), ella ha vissuto la sua vicenda umana e personale, come veggente dialogante con la Vergine e come suora consacrata nella clausura del Carmelo, proiettando per tutto il secolo XX, la luce di un messaggio accorato e materno di Maria, preoccupata della salvezza delle anime, specie quelle dei peccatori…
“I want my life to be a trail of light that shines in the way of my siblings showing their faith, hope, and charity.”
Servant of God Sister Maria Lúcia of the Immaculate Heart
If he so loved God during his life, he did not love him any less at his death. He made continuous acts of love, and when a friar asked him if he loved God with all his heart, he answered, “Ah! If I thought that my heart did not love God, I would tear it out right now.”
The next day, Monday, February 12, 1691, at nine o’clock in the morning, fully conscious, without agony or convulsions, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection died in the embrace of the Lord and offered his soul to God with the peace and tranquility of one asleep.
Joseph de Beaufort’s Eulogy for Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection
The Practice of the Presence of God
She is there at the foot of the Cross, standing, full of strength and courage, and here my Master says to me: “Ecce Mater tua.” He gives her to me for my Mother. . . . And now that He has returned to the Father and has substituted me for Himself on the Cross so that “I may suffer in my body what is lacking in His passion for the sake of His body, which is the Church,” the Blessed Virgin is again there to teach me to suffer as He did, to tell me, to make me hear those last songs of His soul which no one else but she, His Mother, could overhear.
When I shall have said my “consummatum est,” it is again she, “Janua coeli,” who will lead me into the heavenly courts, whispering to me these mysterious words: “Laetatus sum in his quae dicta sunt mihi; in domum Domini ibimus!”
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Last Retreat, Fifteenth Day
That superabundant share of divine light and grace enkindled in Thérèse so ardent a flame of love, that she lived by it alone, rising above all created things, till in the end it consumer her; so much so that shortly before her death she could candidly avow she had never given God anything but Love…
Therefore do We desire earnestly that all the Faithful of Christ should render themselves worthy of partaking in the abundant profusion of graces resulting from the intercession of “little Thérèse.” But We desire much more earnestly that all the faithful should study her in order to copy her, becoming children themselves, since otherwise they cannot, according to the oracle of the Master, arrive at the Kingdom of Heaven.
If the way of spiritual childhood became general, who does not see how easily would be realized the reformation of human society which We set ourselves to accomplish at the commencement of our Pontificate…
Pope Pius XI
Homily for the Canonization of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus
17 May 1925