Quote of the day: 2 February

[Father Hermann Cohen’s] friend Natalie Narischkin, writing to her sister from Paris on February 14, 1871, refers to the news of Cohen’s death in Spandau. 

Oh! happy, blessed Father Hermann! We have heard of his death promptly and directly from Abbé Le Rebours. It was on January 20 that this beautiful soul took flight to heaven. May he obtain for us the grace of a fervent love for Jesus! That is everything. Oh! What an insignificant thing life is without that sacred love. 

Then on March 4, 1871, Natalie wrote again: 

I wished to write with all the news at this time, but letters came in from all sides and I had to show some sign of life! [by replying] I had a great desire to give you some details of the final moments of our seraphic Father Hermann. One of our sisters was privileged to look after his final needs and receive his last sigh. Sensing that the end was near, the saintly Father asked if she knew how to sing the Te Deum. “No,” she said. “And the Salve Regina?” “Oh, yes,” said the sister. “Very good, let us sing it together,” said Father, and he intoned the ancient antiphon with the sister; and as they sang it, the voice of the dying saint became more feeble before it ceased altogether in order to give rise to new life. Oh, if I ever committed the sin of envy in my life, it was not to have been that privileged sister!

Timothy Tierney, O.C.D.

A Life of Hermann Cohen: From Franz Liszt to John of the Cross
Chapter 13: Final Mission, 1870-1871 (excerpts)

 

 

Read more here about the final days in the life of the Servant of God Augustine-Mary of the Blessed Sacrament (Hermann Cohen), a remarkable Discalced Carmelite friar from the Province of Avignon-Aquitaine.

 

 

Tierney, T  2017,  A Life of Hermann Cohen: From Franz Liszt to John of the CrossBalboa Press,  Bloomington, IN

Quote of the day: 19 November

Jesus, hope of suffering humanity, our refuge and our strength, whose light pierces the black clouds that hang over our stormy sea, enlighten our eyes so that we can direct ourselves toward you who are our harbor. Guide our bark with the rudder of the nails of your cross, lest we drown in the storm. With the arms of this cross rescue us from the turbulent waters and draw us to yourself, our only repose, Morning Star, Sun of Justice, for with our eyes obscured by tears, we can catch a glimpse of you there, on the shores of our heavenly homeland. Redeemed by you, we pray: Salvos nos fac propter nomen tuum—“save us for the sake of your holy name” (St. Augustine).

And all this through Mary.

Saint Raphael Kalinowski

Conference, “On a Good Confession”
Carmel of Leopoli, 24 November 1902

 

Cruising Glacier Bay Kevin Harber Flickr 3606935413_83cb59dc7f_o
Glacier Bay, Alaska | Kevin Harber / Flickr

 

 

Praskiewicz OCD, S 2016, Saint Raphael Kalinowski: An Introduction to his Life and Spirituality, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

19 November: St. Raphael Kalinowski

November 19
SAINT RAPHAEL KALINOWSKI
Priest

Memorial

Raphael Kalinowski was born to Polish parents in the city of Vilnius in 1835. Following military service, he was condemned in 1864 to ten years of forced labor in Siberia. In 1877 he became a Carmelite and was ordained a priest in 1882. He contributed greatly to the restoration of the Discalced Carmelites in Poland. His life was distinguished by zeal for Church unity and by his unflagging devotion to his ministry as confessor and spiritual director. He died in Wadowice in 1907.

From the common of pastors or of holy men (religious)

Office of Readings

Second Reading

From the exhortations of Saint Raphael, Religious

(C. Gil, O. Rafal Kalinowski, pp. 109-110)

You must be holy

The Holy Scriptures praise nothing more than a perfect and holy life lived in the exact and perfect fulfillment of each one’s duties. In the Old Testament our Lord and God taught his people and told them: You must be holy because I am holy.

The Eternal Father gave us our Lord Jesus Christ as our teacher, master, and guide. He confirmed and ratified the Old Testament injunction where he taught us that we must emulate the holiness of the Father: You must be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect. How does one become perfect and holy? The Doctors of the Church, the leaders of souls, and the masters of the spiritual life answer: If you would be perfect and become holy, fulfill your duties faithfully.

Once a desert father was asked by a certain young hermit what books he ought to study in order to advance in holiness. The old man replied: My practice is to read two books only. In the morning hours I read the Gospel, and in the evening I read the Rule. The first teaches me the way I should walk as a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. The other teaches me what I should do to be a good religious. That is enough for me.

Let us, therefore, be students of the laws of God so that we may conduct ourselves according to them. When you walk, these will guide you; when you lie down, watch over you; when you wake, talk with you. Wherever we may be or go, may they go with us to direct our footsteps. May they be so near us when we sleep that they may fill our thoughts as soon as we awaken. His voice will speak to us in them. He will refresh us for the day ahead. Through his laws, we will gain the victory over our doubts. We will cast away every obstacle. We will free ourselves of that sluggishness of nature which is the enemy of strength, the foe of devotion, and the lover of ease. The law of life will help us to overcome our fears in the time of temptation and to follow eagerly in the way of obedience. May it always be at hand to counsel us, so that by it we may find the strength to follow God’s call with generous hearts and willing souls.

Responsory

Free your minds, then, of encumbrances, since it is the Holy One who has called you
be holy in all you do.
For it is I, the Lord, who am your God;
you have been sanctified and have become holy because I am holy.
be holy in all you do.

Prayer

Lord God, you made your priest Saint Raphael
strong in adversity and filled him with
a great love in promoting Church unity.
Through his prayers, make us strong in faith
and in love for one another,
that we too may generously work together
for the unity of all believers in Christ.

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.

 

 

Rafael-Kalinowski_1897 (2)
Saint Raphael of St. Joseph Kalinowski, photo taken 30 March 1897 | Photo credit: Discalced Carmelites

6 November: St. Nuno Alvares Pereira

November 6
SAINT NUNO ALVARES PEREIRA
Religious

Optional Memorial
In the province of Portugal, Memorial

Nuno was born in 1360 and fought for many years as a soldier for the independence of Portugal. After his wife’s death, he entered the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel as a brother in the house he had founded in Lisbon and took the name of Nuno of Saint Mary (1423). He died there in 1431, after distinguishing himself by his prayer, penance, and filial devotion to the Mother of God.

From the common of holy men (religious)

Office of Readings

SECOND READING

From the Exhortation on the Carmelite Rule by Blessed John Soreth

(Tex. 15, c. 6: ed. Paris 1625, pp. 195-97)

The helmet of hope and the sword of salvation

On your head set the helmet of salvation, and so be sure of deliverance by our only Savior, who sets his own free from their sins. The helmet of salvation is hope, which looks forward to eternal salvation; and it is called the helmet of salvation because, just as the helmet is the uppermost piece of a soldier’s armor, worn on the head, so hope is the uppermost of the virtues, always facing upwards and sighing for the joys of heaven. Of salvation means that hope obtains what it longs for: salvation; or rather, just as the shield of faith is faith itself, the helmet of salvation is salvation—Jesus Christ himself—for salvation is from the Lord, and we are to hope for salvation from our only Savior. The remembrance of, or longing for, his lasting salvation is the headpiece of our minds, which makes us safe against any blows the evil one can deal us.

But it is better to be armed for attack than for mere defense. This is why the Rule adds: The sword of the spirit, the word of God, must abound in your mouths and hearts; let whatever you do have the Lord’s word for accompaniment. The pieces of armor we have been considering, the breastplate of holiness, the shield of faith and the helmet of salvation, will keep you safe enough from ever giving into the devil or any of his minions; but there is another weapon which will enable you to subdue him completely with his whole horde and his works. This is the sword of the spirit, that spiritual blade, the word of God. There are four reasons why the word of God is called the sword of the spirit: first, it is made by the Holy Spirit, for it is not you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you. Second, it slays our spiritual foes as Isaiah says: With the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Third, it divides spirit from flesh as we find in the Letter to the Hebrews: The word of God is living and active, piercing to the division of soul and spirit. Fourth, it wounds and penetrates our innermost spiritual parts, which is why it is compared to sharp arrows in the Psalms: A warrior’s sharp arrows.

The temptations our enemy subjects us to may be cruel, but far more cruel to him is a text from the word of God. And if armor and weapons are not defense enough for us and we feel the need of rations, we need not think we have been left without supplies; God’s word is our provision. Though an army encamp against me and temptation lays siege, I will trust in the word of my God, the sword of the spirit, and it will bring me easy victory. Then I can wash my hands, knowing that he has prepared a table before me that I may not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God, and in the strength of that food I shall run with our father Elijah to the mountain of God by way of his commandments. That is why the Rule adds: The word of God must abound in your mouths in preaching, and in your hearts in meditation. Just as our Order’s patroness the Blessed Virgin Mary kept all these words in her heart, so must they abound in your hearts by meditation, and in your mouths by instruction. It is by your Rule then brothers, and from the Order’s first institution that you are bidden to preach the word of God like our father Elijah whose word burned like a torch; after his example let the word of God abound in your mouths and hearts, and let all you do, whatever it may be, have the Lord’s word for accompaniment.

RESPONSORY

Romans 13:13, 14; Psalm 119:105

Cast aside the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light,
the Lord Jesus Christ

Your word is a lamp for our feet, and a light on our path,
the Lord Jesus Christ

Morning Prayer

CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH

Ant. The Lord is my inheritance; he is good to those who seek him

PRAYER

Lord God,
you called Saint Nuno Alvares Pereira
to put aside his sword and follow Christ
under the patronage of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
Through his prayers may we too deny ourselves,
and devote ourselves to you with all our hearts.

Grant 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

CANTICLE OF MARY

Ant. Our faith is the victorious power that overcomes the world

 

Nuno-Alvares_soldier-icon

 

Quote of the day: 3 November

“But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of God, and no torment will ever touch them.” (Wisdom 3:1)

Yet, Titus Brandsma went through torment: he was punished in the eyes of men. Yes, God tried him. The former prisoners from concentration camps know very well what kind of human Calvary those places of punishment were.

Places of great human trial.

The test of physical strength, ruthlessly driven to complete annihilation.

The test of moral forces

Perhaps today’s Gospel speaks to us even better, recalling the commandment to love our enemies. The concentration camps were organized according to the program of contempt for man, according to the program of hatred. Through what a test of conscience, of character, of the heart a follower of Christ had to pass, who remembered Christ’s words about loving your enemies! Not responding to hatred with hatred but with love. This is perhaps one of the greatest tests of a man’s moral energies.

Titus Brandsma emerged victorious from this test. In the midst of the raging hatred, he knew how to love; everyone, even his torturers: “They, too, are children of the good God,” he said, “and perhaps something still remains within them…”

Certainly, such heroism cannot be improvised. Father Titus went on to develop it over the course of a lifetime, starting from the first experiences of childhood, lived in a deeply Christian family, in the beloved land of Frisia. From the words and examples of parents, from the teachings heard in the village church, from the charitable initiatives experienced within the parish community, he learned to know and to practice the fundamental commandment of Christ concerning love for everyone, not excluding even our own enemies. It was an experience that marked him in-depth, to the point of orienting his whole life.

The activities that Father Brandsma carried out during his existence were of a surprising multiplicity; but, if one wanted to look for the inspiring motive and the driving force, you would find it right here: in the commandment of the love taken to extremes.

Saint John Paul II

Homily, Mass for the Beatification of Titus Brandsma (excerpt)
3 November 1985, Vatican Basilica

 

Dachau gate P Fahr Flickr
payam_fahr / Flickr

 

 

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

 

Quote of the day: 21 September

Tarde de tormenta en Úbeda
Tarde de tormenta en Úbeda | Juan de la Obra / Flickr

 

To Doña Ana del Mercado y Peñalosa

Jesus be in your soul, my daughter in Christ

I received here in La Peñuela the packet of letters the servant brought me. I greatly appreciate your concern.

Tomorrow I am going to Ubeda for the cure of a slight bout of fever [probably erysipelas]. Since it has been returning each day now for more than a week and does not leave me, it seems I shall need the help of medicine. Yet I plan to return here immediately, for I am indeed very happy in this holy solitude. And thus in regard to what you said about being careful not to accompany Padre Fray Antonio, be sure that in this matter and in all else that may require it, I shall be as cautious as possible.

I am very happy to know that Señor Don Luis [Doña Ana’s brother] is now a priest of the Lord. May he be so for many years and may His Majesty fulfill the desires of his soul. Oh, how blessed a state this is for leaving aside cares and speedily enriching the soul! Congratulate him for me. I dare not ask him that he might some day remember me at the sacrifice of the Mass, and I as a debtor will ever remember him. Even though I am forgetful, I will not be able to forget him, since he is so close to his sister whom I always remember.

Greetings in the Lord to my daughter Doña Inés [Doña Ana’s niece]. And may both of you pray God to prepare me that he may bring me to himself. I cannot think of any more to write now and I am also closing on account of the fever, for I would like to write at greater length.

From La Peñuela, September 21, 1591
Fray John of the Cross

You say nothing about the lawsuit, whether it is being tried or still to come up.


Letter 31 to Doña Ana del Mercado y Peñalosa, the “sister whom I always remember”, is the laywoman and directee for whom St. John of the Cross wrote the Living Flame of Love. This would be his last letter to her.

 

Kavanaugh, K, Rodriguez, O & John of the Cross 1991, The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 3 September

Confession of St John of the Cross - Puebla
Confession of Saint John of the Cross
José Joaquín Magón (Mexican, 18th c.)
Oil on canvas, 1750-1763
Templo de Nuestra Señora del Carmen, Puebla, Mexico
Learn more about the Carmelite paintings of José Joaquín Magón here

 

The discalced friar who is confessor here is doing great good; he is Fray John of the Cross.

Saint Teresa of Avila
Letter 45 to Doña Juana de Ahumada, Alba de Tormes

 

Quote of the day: 27 July

For that religious confession of faith in the social life, the Dutch people, in many large parts, have made great sacrifices out of respect for God, out of love for God and in faithful trust in God. That respect for God makes them view this as a duty, that love for God confers on them zeal and a spirit of sacrifice for that purpose, that faithful trust in God makes them strong, able to go on doing this despite everything. Both the Christians as well as the Catholics venerate numerous martyrs from their history, who they themselves hold up as an example, even when it means giving their life for the sake of confessing their faith, where people seek to oppress that confession of faith. In this respect the Catholics in particular have traditions which are their glory and honour. Through centuries of oppression, countless have zealously given up their position, their property and even their life. In this time, when the religious life of the majority of the Dutch people is surely no less conscious, it will be no different.

Blessed Titus Brandsma
Why do the Dutch people, especially the Catholic people, resist the N.S.B.? (excerpt)

 

Brandsma_Nazis Imprison Priest 26Feb42 NYDailyNews

 

 

Blessed Titus Brandsma wrote the essay Why do the Dutch people, especially the Catholic people, resist the N.S.B.? in the prison of Scheveningen by order of the Gestapo, January 1942, not long after his arrest. Read the complete translation of his brief essay here.

 

English translation of the written defence ‘Waarom verzet zich het Nederlandsche volk, met name het Katholieke volksdeel, tegen de N.S.B.?’ by Susan Verkerk-Wheatley / Anne-Marie Bos

Quote of the day: 21 July

Over time, few devotions have been so extensively promoted as the devotion to the Holy Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

It is so intimately connected with the life of the Catholic, that it provokes more attention when particular Catholics do not practice it, than when it is visibly part of their life.

In 1595, however, Mag. Joseph Falcone published a work on the history of the Order, in which as a contemporary he declared that this devotion blossomed, especially in Spain, and that there was no house where people did not wear the garment of Carmel, indeed, through the common wearing of that garment, the whole of Spain and Portugal could be said to be one great cloister of Carmelites.

For a long time, people believed that when it came to the Netherlands, any indication that the Scapular was also worn here was missed.

Admittedly, not many traces of this devotion have remained but, all the same, they do tell us that the Netherlands did not trail behind other countries.

We possess a poem by a layperson, from the end of the fifteenth-century, which sings the praises of the Scapular.

The translation of this text reads as follows:

We see the Carmelites clothed with Scapulars who—from the hands of the Holy Simon Stock when he, as a foretaste of the reward for his devotion to the Holy Virgin Mary, having been graced to contemplate her, Mary, with this garment in her virginal hands—have accepted the cited Scapular with incredible zeal as their garment.

We can say frankly that in our country all priests could be said to be promoters of this beautiful devotion and, thanks to the piety of their priests, nearly all Catholics in the Netherlands have received the garment of the Lady of Mount Carmel. What Falcone said of Spain at the end of the 16th century may surely be said of the Netherlands today: There is no house where, to be blessed with the countless indulgences and privileges of the Carmelite Order, one does not wear the garment of Carmel.

Blessed Titus Brandsma
Promoting the Holy Scapular in the Netherlands (excerpts)

 

NDMC Simon Stock Baitenhausen_Kirche_Prozessionsfahne
The Blessed Virgin Mary appears to St. Simon Stock
Processional banner, early 18th c. attributed to A. Bastian
Pilgrimage Church Maria zum Berge Carmel
Baitenhausen, Meersburg, Bodenseekreis, Germany
Andreas Praefcke/Wikimedia Commons

 

English translation of fragments of ‘De verspreiding van het H. Scapulier in Nederland’
by Susan Verkerk-Wheatley / Anne-Marie Bos
Translation: Susan Verkerk-Wheatley / Anne-Marie Bos  © Titus Brandsma Instituut 2019

 

 

JUANdelaCRUZ - It is our anxiety IGsize
I would desire that you not be so solicitous for the temporal things of the house because God will gradually forget you and you will come to a state of great spiritual and temporal need; for it is our anxiety that creates our needs. Cast your care on the Lord, daughter, and he will sustain you [Ps. 55:22], for he who gives, and wants to give, the highest cannot fail to give the least. Be careful that you do not lack the desire to be poor and in want; for if you do, at that very hour devotion will fail you and you will gradually weaken in the practice of virtue. If previously you desired poverty, now that you are superior you ought to desire and love it much more. You ought to govern and provide the house with virtues and ardent desires for heaven rather than with worries and plans about temporal and earthly things. The Lord tells us not to be thinking about food or clothing or tomorrow [Mt. 6:31-34].

 

Letters: Letter 21 to Madre María de Jesús
The Collected Works of Saint John of the Cross, Revised Edition
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D.
With Revisions and Introductions by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D.
ICS Publications
Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

Quote of the day: 10 May

John of the Cross helps me to believe that God exists. He helps me to believe that death is not the end, that there is more to life than biology. He helps me to trust that God loves us and means to bring us to eternal life in heaven. In short, he helps me to believe that Christ is risen.

Father Iain Matthew, O.C.D.
Memory and hope in eternal life
Congresso Internazionale Memoria e speranza in san Giovanni della Croce
Teresianum, Rome — 9 May 2019

Angel of the Resurrection Tiffany IMAmuseumNewfields
Angel of the Resurrection
Frederick Wilson, Designer (American, 1858-1932)
Tiffany Studios, Manufacturer (American)
Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields

 

The dominant figure in American decorative arts for more than half a century, Louis Comfort Tiffany founded several firms to satisfy the strong demand for his art glass, metalwork, pottery and furniture. Tiffany’s enthusiasm for sensuous materials and striking colors found full expression in his stained-glass windows. From 1877 through the 1920s, he and his craftsmen produced thousands of windows for churches, institutions and homes across the United States.

Upon the death of her husband in 1901, the widow of United States president Benjamin Harrison commissioned Tiffany to create a window in his memory. The window, the lower half of which appears here, was installed in 1905 at the First Presbyterian Church, 16th and Delaware Streets, Indianapolis, where the president had served as an elder for more than 40 years. Absorbed in scores of projects, Tiffany probably left the window’s conception to his team of talented designers, contributing his own thought before giving final approval. The design shows Michael, the Angel of the Resurrection, signaling the dead to rise at Christ’s second coming. In keeping with the romanticism of the time, Tiffany’s heroic angel is dressed in the chain mail suit of a crusading knight and seems like a figure from Sir Walter Scott’s novels…

Learn more about this artwork here

Watch Father Iain Matthew’s conference in English here

 

Quote of the day: 29 April

Let us now fix our gaze on the bosom of God and the mystery of the Trinity, to the degree that revelation permits. I maintain that the Word of God is total, absolute virginity. Here is the reason why. As you are well aware, there is in the inner life of the Trinity a stupendous cycle, which overwhelms our poor, little minds. The pure intelligence of God conceives the being itself of God. The divine intelligence grasps and sees itself; it speaks and expresses itself. It grasps and expresses itself in a word, which equals the intelligence that sets it forth. With infinite simplicity, the divine nature eternally expresses the Word of God. In this one word is the infinite activity of the divine intelligence. The Word of God, begotten by the Father, is the infinite, equal, and divine expression of the very Being of God. The Word possesses the fullness of the divine nature, just as does the Father, and thus is truly God. In the infinite simplicity of God’s being, this unfathomable, living expression shines forth so brilliantly that a third person, an outpouring of love, unites in a single nature this Word and the One who begets him from all eternity.

These three persons: the Father, the Son begotten by the Father, and the Holy Spirit, whose infinite breath of love unites the three, constitute the perfect purity of God. That divine purity is what I term the fullness of virginity. Such is God himself!

Père Jacques of Jesus, O.C.D.
Conference 6: Virginity in God and in Mary
Listen to the Silence – A Retreat with Pere Jacques

beautiful bloom blooming blossom
Photo by Ben Cheung on Pexels.com
Listen to the Silence - A Retreat with Père Jacques (p. 40)
Translated and edited by Francis J. Murphy
ICS Publications © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

 

 

Quote of the day: 17 April

I sought relief in the scriptures

You will find that the reading of sacred scripture is a great and powerful remedy against bodily suffering and depression of mind. In my opinion, there is no other writing, no matter how eloquent and stylish it may be, that can bring such peace to our minds and so thoroughly dissolve our cares as sacred scripture can.

I speak from personal experience: for there have been times when I was beset with anxieties, the worst of which came from the experience of my own weakness, and if on such occasions I sought relief in the scriptures, the hopes and desires that led me there were never disappointed. The word of scripture proved to be a solid bulwark against my anxieties and a relief to my troubled spirit.

Blessed Baptist Spagnoli of Mantua
From the treatise of Blessed Baptist Spagnoli “On Patience”

lake
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

Born in Mantua on April 17th, 1447, as a youth Blessed Baptist Spagnoli joined the Carmelites of the Congregation of Mantua at Ferrara. He made his religious profession in 1464 and served in many positions of responsibility in the community; he was vicar general of his congregation six times, and in 1513 was elected prior general of the whole Order. In his own time, he was a renowned humanist ‘who brought his richly varied poetry into the service of Christ’. He used his friendships with scholars as an opportunity of encouraging them to live a Christian life. He died in Mantua on March 20th, 1516.

17 April: Blessed Baptist Spagnoli

April 17
BLESSED BAPTIST SPAGNOLI OF MANTUA
Priest

Optional Memorial

Born in Mantua on April 17th, 1447, as a youth Baptist joined the Carmelites of the Congregation of Mantua at Ferrara. He made his religious profession in 1464 and served in many positions of responsibility in the community; he was vicar general of his congregation six times, and in 1513 was elected prior general of the whole Order. In his own time, he was a renowned humanist ‘who brought his richly varied poetry into the service of Christ’. He used his friendships with scholars as an opportunity of encouraging them to live a Christian life. He died in Mantua on March 20th, 1516.

From the Common of Holy Men (Religious)

Office of Readings

The Second Reading

From the treatise of Blessed Baptist Spagnoli “On Patience”

We draw hope from the consolation of scripture

You will find that the reading of sacred scripture is a great and powerful remedy against bodily suffering and depression of mind. In my opinion, there is no other writing, no matter how eloquent and stylish it may be, that can bring such peace to our minds and so thoroughly dissolve our cares as sacred scripture can.

I speak from personal experience: for there have been times when I was beset with anxieties, the worst of which came from the experience of my own weakness, and if on such occasions I sought relief in the scriptures, the hopes, and desires that led me there were never disappointed. The word of scripture proved to be a solid bulwark against my anxieties and a relief to my troubled spirit.

I have often wondered why the scriptures have this persuasive power, why they have such a powerful effect of those who listen to them, and why they lead us to the commitment of faith and not to the mere forming of opinion. This response of faith does not happen because of a reasoning process, because scripture does not offer one; and it is not a matter of literary style or artistic merit, because scripture does not use these devices; nor does it use soft words to persuade us.

The real reason that scripture has this persuasive power is that it comes from First Truth. Surely there can be no other explanation for such conviction. It seems as though scripture has an inherent authority that compels us to believe. But on what base does this authority rest? None of us has seen God preaching, writing, teaching — and yet we believe as though we had seen, and realize that what we read comes from the Holy Spirit. One reason for believing may well be that the truth contained in scripture is very solid truth, even though it is not as clear as we might wish. All truth has an inherent power to win our acceptance: the greater the truth, the greater its power.

So why is it, then, that not all believe the good news? My reply is that not all are drawn by God. However, there is no point in arguing further. We believe in sacred scripture to the degree that we accept in our hearts God’s divine inspiration.

Responsory

R/. Your decrees give me joy, *
a joy beyond all wealth (alleluia).
V/. In Your statutes I find delight; I will not forget Your word, *
a joy beyond all wealth (alleluia).

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. The mouth of a virtuous man is a fountain of life: his lips enlighten many (alleluia).

Prayer

Lord God,
You made Our Lady’s faithful servant,
Blessed Baptist Spagnoli,
a preacher of Your Gospel by word and example.
Through His prayers
may we ponder Your word in Mary’s company
and praise You with her by the way we live.

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 Mary

Ant. Your statutes have been my songs in the place of my exile; they are the delight of my heart (alleluia).

Son of the Church: Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. says, “Yes” when called

Pope Francis told him, “I’m interested in having you here with me, I need you right now.”

Wednesday 10 April at the archdiocesan chancery offices in Managua, Cardinal  Leopoldo Brenes, Archbishop of Managua met with members of the press along with his Auxiliary Bishop, Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.

Cardinal Brenes, speaking off the cuff to open the press conference, explained that Bishop Báez would be leaving Nicaragua after Holy Week and Easter to go to Rome for an undetermined period. Báez, a Discalced Carmelite who was teaching in Rome when Pope Benedict XVI nominated him to return to his native Nicaragua as Auxiliary Bishop 9 April 2009, is no stranger to the Holy City. In October 2018 we published the exclusive translation of Bishop Silvio’s tribute to former Nicaraguan president Violetta Chamorro, Meeting With a Mother in Rome.

Readers of this Carmelite blog will recognize from our many publications that Bishop Silvio José is a passionate, prophetic voice in Nicaragua who embodies the spirit of the Holy Prophet Elijah, the Guide and Father of Carmelites.

Bishop Báez prefaced his remarks by reading at length from the Apostle Paul’s farewell address to the Elders of the Church at Ephesus, where Saint Paul speaks of “serving the Lord with all humility and with tears, enduring the trials that came to me through the plots of the Jews.” [Acts 20:19] A subtle reference is made here by the bishop to a June 2018 plot to assassinate him, along with the United States ambassador Laura Dogù — a foiled plot that recently was revealed by Ambassador Dogù in a university lecture.

Bishop Silvio José continued, explaining the reason for this announcement of his departure, which comes on the heels of a seemingly unforeseen trip to the Vatican April 1 – 8, including a private audience with Pope Francis in the Apostolic Palace April 4.

As Bishop Báez explained, Pope Francis told him, “I’m interested in having you here with me, I need you right now.”

Our thanks to the Nicaraguan daily La Prensa for bringing us these 15 most memorable quotes — truly, Carmelite quotes — from Bishop Báez’s press conference.

 

Baez-Presser-10Apr19
Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. prefaces his remarks to the press conference with scripture

 

  • “I haven’t asked to leave — I’ve been called by the Holy Father”.
  • “I am not going to ignore Nicaragua from this moment on. I’ll continue faithfully living my vocation as bishop enlightened by the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
  • “Wherever I go I’ll also fly the blue and white flag of our country with pride and hope.”

“This decision of the Holy Father, which I have accepted with complete, loving obedience, has made my heart weep.”

  • “How can you forget the farmers, the mothers of the victims of repression, the youth who are persecuted and suffering, and those who are in prisons — I carry all of this in my heart.”

 

BAEZ - Mtg with grieving families 13oct18_01
Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. meets with members of grieving families in Managua, 13 October 2018

 

  • “The joy of having carried out this mission fills my heart with profound peace, although now I’m weeping with great sadness deep inside, to have to leave my native country and my people.”
  • “We’re not an army where we obey out of fear, where there are authorities above us who command in drastic and sometimes irrational ways. We are a fraternity united in faith.”
  • “The pope did not make one single reproof, not a single reproach, not one single correction. For me, it was Peter’s confirmation of his brother.”
  • “I was able to share many things; you all know how I see the reality of Nicaragua. I’ve given my opinion, my constructive criticism, and I made this point to the Holy Father about this year of pain and suffering — this people’s Via Crucis — whose anniversary we are about to mark on April 18.”

 

BAEZ - a pastor has to be next to his people copy (2)
You’ll find this and more quotes and articles by and about Bishop Silvio José Báez here

“In summary, I reminded him that this is a crucified people, that this is a country that has been hijacked, and that here there are de facto powers dominated by lies, injustice, repression, and ambition.”

 

  • “It’s not about saving the economy, it’s not about throwing a life jacket to the financial market, please — today’s golden calf, which is money, cannot take the place of the people.”
  • “I dream of a Church that is less diplomatic and fearful, and more prophetic and courageous in order to be a Church on the side of the discarded, of the last in line, of the voiceless, of the victims.”
  • “I dream of a church that doesn’t have worldly privileges, that is free in the face of power.”

 

Baez_I dream of a Nicaragua
Since July 2018, Carmelite Quotes blog has been pleased and privileged to serve Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. as his English translator in social media

 

  • “In Nicaragua, there aren’t confrontations between two groups: what we have is an idolatrous group that sacrifices human beings and a crucified people.”
  • “Unfortunately, they worship the god of wealth, the god of money, and they sacrifice human beings for it. This is the reality of Nicaragua.”

 

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The Holy Spirit inspired Saint Teresa, who watches over the bishop in his personal study

 

We invite our readers to join us in prayer for the success of Bishop Silvio José’s new mission with our Holy Father Pope Francis in Rome. Bishop Báez, thank you for being a faithful son of Our Holy Mother Saint Teresa whose parting words were, “I am a daughter of the Church.”

 

Quote of the day: 10 April

I convened a chapter in Lisbon; I sent friars to the Congo to convert the Blacks, they made great gains. The first group was drowned; the second group was denuded, robbed by the Lutherans;  until the arrival of the third group and they have borne much fruit.

Servant of God Jerome Gracián
Efemérides Carmelitanas

Carrack_1565_(cropped)
Portuguese carrack, as depicted in a map by cartographer Sebastião Lópes (15??–1596) made in 1565 | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

On 10 April 1582, the third expedition of Discalced Carmelite friars departed from Lisbon bound for the Congo, where they safely landed and converted many people. The missionary friars were Fathers Diego of the Blessed Sacrament, Diego of the Incarnation, and Francisco of Jesus the Unworthy; they baptized thousands of Congolese.

Quote of the day: 7 April

At another time while I was at prayer, my spirit was carried off to where it seemed to be in a large field in which many were in combat, and those belonging to this order were fighting with great fervor. Their faces were beautiful and very much aglow. They conquered many, throwing them to the ground; others, they killed. It seemed to me this battle was against the heretics.

Saint Teresa of Avila
The Book of Her Life: Chapter 40

Cole, George Vicat, 1833-1893; The Summons to Surrender (An Incident in the Spanish Armada)
The Summons to Surrender (An Incident in the Spanish Armada) | George Vicat Cole (1833–1893) | Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery

 

The second expedition of Discalced Carmelite missionary friars, composed of Fathers Pedro de los Angeles, Sebastián de S. Andrés, Bartolomé de S. Miguel, Luis de S. Pablo, and a lay-friar left Lisbon on this date in the fleet that went to the Portuguese colony of Angola. Off the Cape Verde coast, the ship on which the missionaries were sailing was left behind, which was then trapped by four English galleons captained by privateers. Father Pedro de los Apóstoles, the superior of the friars, exhorted the Portuguese to fight and die for the Catholic faith against the anti-papist English; while he was carrying on, an English sailor slashed his neck with a knife to make all the captive Spaniards and Portuguese fear for their lives; thank God, the wound was not deadly. Thus began the dispossession of the missionaries. The English took everything the priests had brought of value — books, chalices, vestments, etc. — and they roundly mocked the friars; the privateers locked the Carmelites in the galleon’s dungeon, which was a veritable portrait of hell. They continued like this for three days in the virtual belly of the whale, eating but a few crusts of hard bread dipped in seawater. The English were going to torment everyone. But seeing the so-called Spanish “heretics” — the Discalced Carmelites — singing for joy at the opportunity to suffer for Christ, the English galleon abandoned them on one of Cape Verde’s secluded islands. Fr. Sebastián de S. Andrés died on the island. The other four friars took advantage of a Spanish ship to return to Seville. So, the second expedition to Africa failed. [Source: Efemérides Carmelitanas]

The Book of Her Life: Chapter 40; 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.

 

Quote of the day: 26 March

Be careful that you do not stop going to confession, and tell the same to your sisters. May you all recommend me to God, for I will never forget to do so for you.

Saint John of the Cross

Letter 2 (excerpt)
[To María de Soto, in Baeza
Granada, March 1582]

Haifa-icon
St. John of the Cross (Carmel of Haifa)

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