Quote of the day: 26 January

Yesterday, when I looked at a picture of the Infant of Prague, it suddenly occurred to me that he is wearing imperial coronation dress and surely it was not accidental that his efficacy should come to the fore precisely in Prague. After all, Prague has been the court of the old German or Roman Emperors, respectively, and the city makes such a majestic impression that no other city known to me can compare with it, not even Paris and Vienna. The Little Jesus came exactly when the political imperial grandeur came to an end in Prague. Is he not the secret Emperor who will someday put an end to all misery? After all, he holds the reins even though people believe they are the rulers.

Saint Edith Stein

Letter 333 to Mother Johanna van Weersth, OCD

 

Jezulatko closeup
The miraculous image of the Infant Jesus venerated in the Discalced Carmelite Church of Our Lady Victorious, Prague | Credit: Discalced Carmelites

 

 

Stein, E. 1993, Self-Portrait in Letters, 1916-1942, Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Discalced Carmelite, translated from the German by Koeppel, J, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 25 January

We have the Savior not only in the form of reports of witnesses to his life. He is present to us in the Most Blessed Sacrament. The hours of adoration before the Highest Good, and listening for the voice of the eucharistic God, are simultaneously “meditation on the Law of the Lord” and “watching in prayer.” But the highest level is reached “when the Law is deep within our hearts” (Ps 40:8), when we are so united with the triune God, whose temple we are, that his Spirit rules all we do or omit. Then it does not mean we are forsaking the Lord when we do the work that obedience requires of us. Work is unavoidable as long as we are subject to nature’s laws and to the necessities of life. And, following the word and example of the apostle Paul, our holy Rule commands us to earn our bread by the work of our hands. But for us this work is always merely a means and must never be an end in itself. To stand before the face of God continues to be the real content of our lives.

Saint Edith Stein

On the History and Spirit of Carmel (excerpt)

 

40 hours oxford lawrenceop flickr 1642599120
Fr Lawrence Lew, O.P. / Flickr

 

 

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: 24 January

As an organized power, the state has the potential possessed by no other social structure to draw all worldly purposes into its realm and either further or to suppress them. The family’s existence and prosperity depend on its protection.

Saint Edith Stein

Problems of Women’s Education
Chapter IV: Educators and Our Cultural Heritage

 

Annual medical event invaluable to Valley residents
Texas Military Department / Flickr

 

 

Stein, E 1996, Essays on Woman, 2nd edition, translated from the German by Oben, F, ICS Publications, Washington D.C.

Quote of the day: 23 January

Surrender to Christ does not make us blind and deaf to the needs of others—on the contrary. We now seek for God’s image in each human being and want, above all, to help each human being win his freedom.

Accordingly, we can now also say: the intrinsic value of woman consists essentially in exceptional receptivity for God’s work in the soul, and this value comes to unalloyed development if we abandon ourselves confidently and unresistingly to this work.

Only now have we come to the second part of our theme—the significance of woman for national life. This significance presents itself as a simple conclusion from what has been said.

What is, then, the great sickness of our time and of our people?

There is an inner disunion, a complete deficiency of set convictions and strong principles, an aimless drifting. Therefore, the great mass of humanity seeks for an anesthetic in ever new, ever more refined delights.

Those who wish to maintain a sober level of life, in order to protect themselves from contemporary turmoil, frequently annihilate this level by one-sided professional work; but even they cannot do anything to escape the turmoil.

Only whole human beings as we have described them are immune to the contemporary sickness: such beings are steadfast on eternal first principles, unperturbed in their views and in their actions by the changing modes of thoughts, follies, and depravities surrounding them. Every such individual is like a pillar to which many can fasten themselves, thereby attaining a firm footing.

Consequently, when women themselves are once again whole persons and when they help others to become so, they create healthy, energetic spores supplying healthy energy to the entire national body.

Saint Edith Stein

The Significance of Woman’s Intrinsic Value in National Life (excerpt)
Lecture given at the 15th convention of the Bavarian Catholic Women Teachers in Ludwigshafen on the Rhine, 12 April 1928

 

mothers reaction davidswiftphotography flickr 2200020855
David Swift / Flickr

 

 

Stein, E 1996, Essays on Woman, 2nd edition, translated from the German by Oben, F, ICS Publications, Washington D.C.

Quote of the day: 21 January

JESUS

 

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: 19 January

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the one of whom I said,
‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’
I did not know him,
but the reason why I came baptizing with water
was that he might be made known to Israel.”
John testified further, saying,
“I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven
and remain upon him.
I did not know him,
but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”

John 1:29-34

 

John-the-Baptist-bearing-witness_MetMuseum Granacci (3)

 


“And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders, I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain” (Rv 5:6). When the seer of Patmos had this vision, the unforgettable day on the Jordan when John the Baptist showed him the “Lamb of God” who “takes away the sins of the world” (Jn 1:29) was still fresh in his memory. At that time, he had understood the word and now he understood the image. The One who had once walked along the Jordan and now appeared to him in white raiment with flaming eyes and a judge’s sword, the “first and the last” (Rv 1:17)—he had in truth accomplished what the rites of the Old Covenant had suggested symbolically. When on the most momentous and holiest day of the year the high priest entered the Holy of Holies, into the supremely holy place of God’s presence, he had previously taken two goats from the people: one on which to lay the people’s sins, which were then carried out into the wilderness; the other to sprinkle its blood on the tent and ark of the covenant (Lv 16). This was the sin offering for the people. In addition, the priest had to provide a young bullock for himself and his house as a sin offering and a ram as a burnt offering. He also had to sprinkle the throne of grace with the blood of the bullock. When he had prayed, unseen by human eyes, for himself and his house and for all the people of Israel, he came out to the waiting people and sprinkled the outer altar to cleanse it from his sins and those of the people. Then he sent the living goat into the wilderness, brought forward his own burnt offering and that of the people, and had the rest of the sin offering burned before the camp (and later before the gates). The Day of Atonement was a monumental and holy day. People remained in the holy place praying and fasting. And in the evening when everything had been accomplished, there was peace and joy in their hearts because God had taken away the burden of sin and given grace…

 

John-the-Baptist-bearing-witness_MetMuseum Granacci (2)

 

But why did he choose the lamb as the preferred symbol? Why did he continue to reveal himself in this form on the eternal throne of glory? Because he was innocent as a lamb and meek as a lamb; and because he came in order to allow himself to be led as a lamb to the slaughter (Is 53:7). This, too, John had witnessed when the Lord permitted himself to be bound at the Mount of Olives and nailed to the cross at Golgotha. There on Golgotha, the true sacrifice of reconciliation was accomplished. Thereby the old sacrifices lost their efficacy; and soon they ceased entirely, as did also the old priesthood when the temple was destroyed. John had witnessed all of this, so he was not surprised at the Lamb on the throne. And because he was a faithful witness to the Lamb, the Bride of the Lamb was also shown to him.

Saint Edith Stein

The Marriage of the Lamb (excerpts)
For the renewal of vows, 14 September 1940

 

John-the-Baptist-bearing-witness_MetMuseum Granacci
Saint John the Baptist Bearing Witness
Workshop of Francesco Granacci (Italian, 1469–1543)
Oil and gold on wood, ca. 1506-1507
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (Public Domain)

 

 

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: 18 January

God wishes to let himself be found by those who seek him. Hence he wishes first to be sought. So we can see why natural revelation is not absolutely clear and unambiguous but is rather an incentive to seek. Supernatural revelation answers the questions raised by natural revelation. Faith is already a finding and corresponds to God letting-himself-be-found, not only in the sense that he has something said about himself through his word but that through his word he himself has himself found.

Faith is a gift that must be accepted. In faith divine and human freedom meet. But it is a gift that bids us ask for more. As dark and lacking the evidence of insight [uneinsichtig], faith awakens a yearning for unveiled clarity; as mediated encounter, it awakens a longing for an immediate encounter with God. Indeed the very content of faith awakens desire by promising the beatific vision.

Saint Edith Stein

Knowledge and Faith
Symbolic Theology as Concealing Veil: Seeking God

 

lost in the night Mathias Erhart Flickr 37137144536
Mathias Erhart / Flickr

 

 

Stein, E 2000, Knowledge and Faith, translated from the German by Redmond, W, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 17 January

You must cross out the word discouragement from your dictionary of love.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity

Letter 298 to her sister Guite
16 July 1906

 

Dictionary-of-love crossed out
Learn more about DISCOURAGEMENT

 

 

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: 16 January

Several days ago during a discussion with a pious person, I was told the spiritual life was a life of grace that begins with servile fear, that intensifies with the hope of eternal life, and that finds its consummation in pure love; and that there are various ways of ultimately arriving at this blessed consummation. I haven’t followed these methods at all…

During the first years, I ordinarily thought about death, judgment, hell, paradise, and my sins when I prayed. I continued in this fashion for a few years, carefully applying myself the rest of the day—even during my work—to the practice of the presence of God who was always near me, often in the very depths of my heart. This gave me a great reverence for God, and in this matter faith alone was my reassurance. I gradually did the same thing during mental prayer, and this gave me great joy and consolation. This is how I began. I will admit that during the first ten years I suffered a great deal. The apprehension that I did not belong to God as I wished, my past sins always before my eyes, and the lavish graces God gave me, were the sum and substance of all my woes. During this period I fell often, but I got back up just as quickly…

When I accepted the fact that I might spend my life suffering from these troubles and anxieties—which in no way diminished the trust I had in God and served only to increase my faith—I found myself changed all at once. And my soul, until that time always in turmoil, experienced a deep inner peace as if it had found its center and place of rest. Since that time I do my work in simple faith before God, humbly and lovingly, and I carefully apply myself to avoid doing, saying, or thinking anything that might displease him. I hope that having done all that I can, he will do with me as he pleases.

Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection

Letter 2: To a spiritual director (excerpts)

 

Carmelite friar praying the breviary at Lourdes LawrenceOP Flickr 3862034328
A Carmelite friar prays on the banks of the gave de Pau in Lourdes, France | paullew / Flickr

 

 

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

 

Quote of the day: 15 January

Now let us speak about the type of soul that enters the second dwelling places and what such a soul does in them. I’d like to say only a little, for I have spoken at length on this subject elsewhere. And it would be impossible to avoid repeating much of it, for I don’t remember a thing of what I said. If I could present the matter for you in a variety of ways I know well that you wouldn’t be annoyed since we never tire of booksas many as there arethat deal with it.

This stage pertains to those who have already begun to practice prayer and have understood how important it is not to stay in the first dwelling places. But they still don’t have the determination to remain in this second stage without turning back, for they don’t avoid the occasion of sin. This failure to avoid these occasions is quite dangerous…

These rooms, in part, involve much more effort then do the first, even though there is not as much danger, for it now seems that souls in them recognize the dangers, and there is great hope they will enter further into the castle. I say that these rooms involve more effort because those who are in the first dwelling places are like deaf-mutes and thus the difficulty of not speaking is more easily endured by them than it is by those who hear but cannot speak. Yet, not for this reason does one have greater desire to be deaf, for after all it is a wonderful thing to hear what is being said to us. So these persons are able to hear the Lord when He calls. Since they are getting closer to where His Majesty dwells, He is a very good neighbor. His mercy and goodness are so bountiful; whereas we are occupied in our pastimes, business affairs, pleasures, and worldly buying and selling, and still falling into sin and rising again. These beasts are so poisonous and their presence so dangerous and noisy that it would be a wonder if we kept from stumbling and falling over them. Yet this Lord desires intensely that we love Him and seek His company, so much so that from time to time He calls us to draw near Him. And His voice is so sweet the poor soul dissolves at not doing immediately what He commands. Thus, as I say, hearing His voice is a greater trial than not hearing it.

Saint Teresa of Jesus

The Interior Castle
The Second Dwelling Place

 

Listening astrid Flickr 11200954926
Astrid Westvang / Flickr

 

 

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: 14 January

There was a person to whom I spoke a few days ago who for about fifteen years was kept so busy through obedience with work in occupations and government that in all those years he didn’t remember having had one day for himself, although he tried the best he could to keep a pure conscience and have some periods each day for prayer. His soul in its inclination is one of the most obedient I have seen, and so he communicates this spirit of obedience to all those with whom he deals. The Lord has repaid him well; for he has found that he has, without knowing how, that same precious and desirable liberty of spirit that the perfect have. In it, they find all the happiness that could be wanted in this life, for in desiring nothing they possess all. Nothing on earth do they fear or desire, neither do trials disturb them, nor do consolations move them. In sum, nothing can take away their peace because these souls depend only on God. And since no one can take Him away from them, only the fear of losing Him can cause them pain. Everything else in this world, in their opinion, is as though it were not; it neither contributes anything nor removes anything from their happiness. Oh, happy obedience and happy the resulting distraction that could obtain so much!

This is not the only person, for I have known others of the same sort, whom I had not seen for some, or many, years. In asking them about how they had spent these years, I learned that the years were all spent in the fulfillment of the duties of obedience and charity. On the other hand, I saw such improvement in spiritual things that I was amazed. Well, come now, my daughters, don’t be sad when obedience draws you to involvement in exterior matters. Know that if it is in the kitchen, the Lord walks among the pots and pans helping you both interiorly and exteriorly.

Saint Teresa of Jesus

The Book of the Foundations
Chapter 5

 

pans and pots notarim flickr 7830408838
mark notari / Flickr

 

 

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: 13 January

On another day the Lord told me this: “Do you think, daughter, that merit lies in enjoyment? No, rather it lies in working and suffering and loving. Haven’t you heard that St. Paul rejoiced in heavenly joys only once and that he suffered often.

“Look at my whole life filled with suffering, and only in the incident on Mount Tabor do you hear about my joy (Mt 17:1-9). When you see My Mother holding Me in her arms, don’t think she enjoyed those consolations without heavy torment. From the time Simeon spoke those words to her (Lk 2:34-35). My Father gave her clear light to see what I was to suffer.

“The great saints who lived in deserts, since they were guided by God, performed severe penances; and besides this, they waged great battle with the devil and with themselves. They spent long periods without any spiritual consolation.

“Believe, daughter, that My Father gives greater trials to anyone whom He loves more; and love responds to these. How can I show you greater love than by desiring for you what I have desired for Myself? Behold these wounds, for your sufferings have never reached this point.

“Suffering is the way of truth. By this means you will help me weep over the loss of those who follow the way of the world, and you will understand that all your desires, cares, and thoughts must be employed in how to do the opposite.”

Saint Teresa of Jesus

Spiritual Testimonies, 32
Avila, probably 1572

 

Behold these wounds Geertgen_Man_van_smarten
Man of Sorrows
Geertgen tot Sint Jans (Dutch, c. 1485–1495)
Oil on panel, 1486
Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht

 

 

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: 12 January

Baptism of Christ - Andrei Rublev and workshop c. 1408
Detailed image from The Baptism, Andrei Rublev and Workshop ca. 1408, The State Russian Museum, St. Petersburg. View the complete image here.

 

Where have you hidden,
Beloved, and left me moaning?
you fled like the stag
after wounding me;
I went out calling you, but you were gone.

The soul’s chief aim in this verse is not to ask for sensible devotion, in which there is neither certain nor clear possession of the Bridegroom in this life, but for the manifest presence and vision of his divine essence, in which she desires to be secure and satisfied in the next life.

The bride of the divine Song of Songs had this very idea when, longing for union with the divinity of the Word, her Bridegroom, she asked the Father: Show me where you pasture and where you rest at midday [Song 1:7]. In requesting him to disclose his place of pasture, she wanted him to reveal the essence of the divine Word, his Son. For the Father does not pasture anywhere else than in his only Son, for the Son is the glory of the Father. And in begging that he show her his place of rest, she was asking to see that same Son.

The Son is the only delight of the Father, who rests nowhere else nor is present in any other than in his beloved Son. He rests wholly in his Son, communicating to him his essence at midday, which is eternity, where he ever begets him and has begotten him.

When the soul, the bride, cries: “Where have you hidden?” she seeks this pasture, the Word, her Bridegroom, where the Father feeds in infinite glory, and she seeks the flowering bosom where he rests with infinite delight of love, deeply hidden from every mortal eye and every creature.

Saint John of the Cross

The Spiritual Canticle
The Spiritual Canticle: Stanza 1, No. 5

 

 

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: 11 January

My Mother, here is the Bridegroom!

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 153 (excerpt)

 

Profession day snow on ground
On Sunday, 11 January 1903 it was freezing in Dijon. The temperature was -5 (23 F) and a snowstorm would arrive the next day in eastern France. This photo, however, was taken by professional photographer Mazillier on 22 December 1902, the day of Elizabeth’s canonical exam. Her mother hired the photographer to capture portraits for the special occasion when she was permitted to see her daughter outside the cloister one last time. The turn sisters loaned Elizabeth one of their black veils, which they pinned on top of her white veil. | Credit: Discalced Carmelites

 

Sunday, 11 January 1903

Profession of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity

 

After the 8 o’clock Mass, the community, in their white mantles and a large candle in their hands, go up the grand staircase to the chapter room, singing the O gloriosa Virginum (“O glorious Virgin”) to Mary. As a small cell of the Church, the community experiences the profession as a great moment of universal significance, an offering for the universal Church. United in intimacy, it’s also the family that’s going to grow. At the end of the procession, the prioress leads the novice by the hand. 

 

O gloriosa virginum

 

The account of Sister Mary of the Trinity, plainly taken up again in the Memoirs (S 107), introduces us to this supreme act:

“Her profession was still made entirely in faith, but already in peace since her visit with the priest. She tells us that she was taken up by the idea of sacrifice and immolation alone. Especially as she climbed the steps, going up to the chapter room, she was strongly taken, seized by this thought and then told us that she had found her whole state of mind in the day’s reading: ‘Offer your bodies to God as pure, holy and pleasing hosts to God’” (cf. Rom 12:1).

Climbing the stairs reminds Elizabeth of the symbol of the mountain, whether it be Tabor or Calvarylike Abraham going up to the top of the mountain indicated by Yahweh to sacrifice his son Isaac (cf. Gen 22:1-19), like Jesus Christ on his way to the Cross. Each stair-step is a decisive movement towards total self-giving to God, prayer, and sacrifice for the Church.

 

Monumental Staircase BibleWalks dot com siah14s (2)
Detail of the grand, spiral staircase in the ruins of the first Carmelite monastery on Mount Carmel. As a tradition, many monasteries of Carmelite nuns are built to include a monumental, spiral staircase. See the complete photo here.

 

Upon arriving in the chapter room, the Prioress sits on the left side of the altar. Elizabeth kneels before her. Mother Germaine asks her the same questions as on the day she took the habit. The same answers resoundstandard, formulated answersbut with great density, essential expressions of what one is seeking. After Elisabeth has thus sought “the mercy of God, the poverty of the Order and the company of her sisters,” the Prioress reminds her of the demands of the narrow path she is following forever.

Then, with her hands joined in those of the Prioress, Mother Germaine of Jesus, Elizabeth Catez repeated the formula of her profession three times: “I, Sister Mary Elizabeth of the Trinity, make my profession, and I promise chastity, poverty and obedience to God, Our Lord, and to the Blessed Virgin Mary,” in obedience to the superiors “according to the primitive, unmitigated Rule of the Order of Mount Carmel until death.”

 


Translator’s Note—In English-speaking Discalced Carmelite monasteries, the formula was:  I, Sister N. of N., make my solemn profession and I promise obedience, chastity, and poverty to God, to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel, and to you, Rev. Mother Prioress, and to your successors, according to the primitive Rule of the Discalced Carmelites and our Constitutions, until death.


 

In this very sparse setting, the words resonate…

After the prayers offered by the Prioress, as on the day she took the habit, the newly professed is clothed in her Marian scapular and white mantle to symbolize the new life received from the Risen One. Now she lies on the floor in the form of a cross on the wool carpet decorated with flowers while the community sings the Te Deum. After she has been sprinkled with holy water, a reminder of the water of Baptism, Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity rises, kneels before the Prioress, kisses her hand, embraces her, and goes to kiss all the sisters as they sing Psalm 133, Ecce quam bonum: See how good it will be to live together as true sisters.

 

profession_crucifix_16 (2)
Detailed view of Elizabeth’s profession crucifix. See the complete image here.

 

She receives her profession crucifix, on the back of which she has had St. Paul’s words engraved in Latin: “It is no longer I who live, but it is Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20). She also receives her copy of the Constitutions of the Order and the Prioress places a crown of flowers on her head, which she wears all day long, she who is Christ’s bride.

 

saint-therese-of-lisieux26 Celine prise de voile (2)
Detail of a photo taken on the day when Céline received the black veil; you can see the crown of flowers she wears and the profession crucifix that she is holding in her hand. See the complete photo here.

 

During the day’s prayers, she is the one who presides. At meals and evening recreation she sits between the Prioress and the Sub-Prioress, her place in the refectory being adorned with flowers. The community has “license” today to visit each other, but the newly professed remains in silence, in a prayer of gratitude and love, until the joyful and emotional gathering during the evening recreation.

After Compline, the Prioress removes the crown from Elizabeth who will place it in front of the statue of Our Lady of Grace in the cloister, the Queen of Heaven, of whom she wants to remain more than ever the daughter, the mystical Spouse of Jesus.

Conrad de Meester, O.C.D.

Rien Moins Que Dieu: Sainte Elisabeth de la Trinité
Chap. 22: Chaque jour ma vie dépouse (excerpt)

 

 

 

In this scene from the classic Spanish television mini-series Teresa de JesúsConcha Velasco as St. Teresa arrives at the Carmel of Alba de Tormes where she is greeted by the nuns, singing Psalm 133, Ecce quam bonum.

 

We invite our readers to explore the official website of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity. Not all of the website is in English, but important information has been translated for the English visitor.

 

 

de Meester, C 2017, Rien moins que Dieu : sainte Elisabeth de la Trinité, Presses de la Renaissance, Paris. Translation from the French text is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.

 

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: 8 January

Recall our founding father, Elijah! Did he spiritually stir up Palestine or did he sluggishly seek only his own peace and quiet? When God spoke to him at prayer, telling him of the distress of the people of Israel and the sins of their royal rulers, he listened attentively and went off immediately, despite the personal consequences. He trudged across the country, proclaiming truth to those who needed to hear it. He sometimes sparked bitter opposition. He risked his life but did not waver. He offered his time, his life, his very self, without calculating the cost.

Père Jacques de Jésus, O.C.D.

Listen to the Silence: A retreat with Père Jacques
Conference 13: The Apostolate
Carmel de Pontoise, 11 September 1943

 

Elijah being fed by the raven Mirat al quds Cleveland Museum
A raven brings food to Elijah, from a Mirror of Holiness (Mir’at al-quds) of Father Jerome Xavier
Mughal India, Allahabad, made for Prince Salim
(1569–1627)
Opaque watercolor, ink, color and gold on paper, 1602-1604
The Cleveland Museum of Art, licensed under CC0 1.0

 

 

Jacques, P 2005, Listen to the silence: a retreat with Père Jacques, translated from the French and edited by Murphy F, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 6 January

Again we kneel with the three kings at the manger. The heartbeat of the Divine Child has guided the star that led us here. Its light, the reflection of the eternal light, is variously distributed in the rays around the heads of the saints whom the Church shows us as the court of the newborn King of Kings. They allow something of the mystery of our vocation to flash before us…

John at the manger of the Lord—this says to us: See what happens to those who give themselves to God with pure hearts. In return, as a royal gift, they may participate in the entire inexhaustible fullness of Jesus’ incarnate life. Come and drink from the springs of living water that the Savior releases to the thirsty and that stream to eternal life. The Word has become flesh and lies before us in the form of a little newborn child…

And the same Savior, whom the written word presents to our eyes on all the paths he trod on earth in human form, lives among us disguised in the form of the eucharistic bread. He comes to us every day as the bread of life. In either of these forms, he is near to us; in either of these forms, he wants to be sought and found by us. The one supports the other.

When we see that Savior before us with the eyes of faith as the Scriptures portray him, then our desire to receive him in the bread of life increases. The eucharistic bread, on the other hand, awakens our desire to get to know the Lord in the written word more and more deeply and strengthens our spirit to get a better understanding.

Saint Edith Stein

For January 6, 1941 (excerpts)

 

Nativity_and_Saint_John_the_Evangelist_Guerau_GENER
Nativity and St. John the Evangelist
Guerau Gener (Spanish, 1306-1408)
Lluís Borrassà (Spanish, 1360-1425)
Tempera, gold, and gold leaf on wood
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona

 

 

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: 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: 1 January

The Virgin Mary did not give Christ his divine nature. Nevertheless, she is the mother of the whole person. So it is with us. We do not say of our mothers that they are mothers of our bodies, but not of our souls. We say that they are the mothers of their children and mothers of “us.” Hence, the Virgin Mary is truly the mother of Christ and, since his human nature subsists in the divine person, Mary is likewise truly the mother of God.

It is so awesome that it makes us weep with admiration and thanksgiving to think that a poor little human creature, our sister human being, had the tremendous honor of forming a body and bringing God into the world. She received him, she guarded him, she enclosed him in the humble, narrow limits of her own body. What a privilege! The creator of the world called her “Mama.” She held him in her arms and cradled him at her breast. You know very well that creation was not a passing gesture, as if God had withdrawn, leaving his work to continue according to determined laws. Creation is actually continuing while I speak to you. If God discontinued his creating action, all beings would instantly return to nothingness. Creation is a work that continues unceasingly. This is a consoling thought, which puts us in the presence of God and into contact with the being of God. Thus the little one who was there under Mary’s eyes was continuing the act of creating the world; he was creating and maintaining his mother in existence.

Père Jacques de Jésus, O.C.D.

Listen to the Silence: A Retreat with Père Jacques
The Divine Preparation in Mary and in Us
Conference 5, 8 September 1943

 

Madonna and Child FORSYTH William J IMAmuseum
Madonna and Child
William J. Forsyth (American, 1854-1935)
Pencil on off-white paper, 1888-1891
Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields

 

 

Jacques, P 2005, Listen to the silence: a retreat with Père Jacques, translated from the French and edited by Murphy F, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 24 December

Del Verbo divino
la Virgen preñada
viene de camino:
¡si le dais posada!

San Juan de la Cruz

Navideña: Del Verbo Divino

 


 

The Virgin, weighed
with the Word of God,
comes down the road:
if only you’ll shelter her.

Saint John of the Cross

Christmas Refrain

 

Nativity Census Bruegel Belgium copy bruegel-3637dig-l
The Census at Bethlehem
Pieter Bruegel I (Dutch, 1527/28? – 1569)
Oil on oak panel, 1566
Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

 

 

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.

 

Advent IV — Listen

SCRIPTURE

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


READING

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

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