Jesus be in your soul.

Although I have sent a letter by way of Baeza concerning the outcome of my journey, I am happy that these two servants of Señor Don Francisco are passing because of the opportunity it affords of sending these lines, which I am more certain will reach you.

I mentioned in the other letter how I desire to remain in this desert of La Peñuela, where I arrived about nine days ago and which is about six leagues north of Baeza. I like it very much, glory to God, and I am well. The vastness of the desert is a great help to the soul and body, although the soul fares very poorly. The Lord must be desiring that it have its spiritual desert. Well and good if it be for his service; His Majesty already knows what we are of ourselves. I don’t know how long this will last, for Father Fray Antonio de Jesús threatens from Baeza that he will not leave me here for long. Be that as it may, for in the meanwhile I am well off without knowing anything, and the life of the desert is admirable.

This morning we have already returned from gathering our chickpeas, and so the mornings go by. On another day we shall thresh them. It is nice to handle these mute creatures, better than being badly handled by living ones. God grant that I may stay here. Pray for this, my daughter. But even though I am so happy here, I would not fail to come should you desire.

Take care of your soul and do not confess scruples or first movements or imaginings in which the soul does not desire to be detained. Look after your health, and do not fail to pray when you can.

I already mentioned in the other letter, though this one will reach you first, that you can write to me by way of Baeza since they have mail service there. You can address the letters to the Discalced Fathers in Baeza; I have notified them to send the letters on to me.
Regards to Señor Don Luis and to my daughter, Doña Inés.

May God give you his Spirit as I desire. Amen.

From La Peñuela, August 19, 1591
Fray John of the Cross

[Letter 28 to Doña Ana del Mercado y Peñalosa]


Saint John of the Cross wrote Letter 28 to Doña Ana “about nine days” after he arrived from Segovia. Translator and editor Father Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. notes that it was for Doña Ana that John of the Cross wrote The Living Flame of Love. Read more about Saint John’s stay in La Peñuela here.

 

pasture near La Peñuela dehesa jiennense rufo_83 flickr
Pasture near La Carolina at the El Centenillo junction, near the location of the desert of La Peñuela | Dehesa Jiennense | rufo_83 / Flickr

 

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: 16 August

It is clear that if someone is a true religious or a true person of prayer and aims to enjoy the delights of God, he must not turn his back upon the desire to die for God and suffer martyrdom.

For don’t you know yet, Sisters, that the life of a good religious who desires to be one of God’s close friends is a long martyrdom?

A long martyrdom because in comparison with the martyrdom of those who are quickly beheaded, it can be called long; but all life is short, and the life of some extremely short. And how do we know if ours won’t be so short that at the very hour or moment we determine to serve God completely it will come to an end? This is possible.

In sum, there is no reason to give importance to anything that will come to an end. And who will not work hard if he thinks that each hour is the last? Well, believe me, thinking this is the safest course.

Saint Teresa of Avila
The Way of Perfection, Chapter 12

 

 

Maria-Sagrario_palma y frascos
Blessed Maria Sagrario of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, whose feast day we celebrate on 16 August, was martyred 15 August 1936 in Madrid. She was beatified 10 May 1998 by St. John Paul II in Rome.

 

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

St. Teresa’s near-death experience

Then the feast of our Lady in August came.

The torment had been going on since April, but it was worse during the latter three months. I hastened to go to confession, for I always liked to confess frequently. They thought I was afraid of dying, and so that I would not become troubled my father would not allow me to confess. Oh, love, too excessive, springing from flesh and blood; even though from so Catholic and prudent a father (for he was every bit of this, and his action did not arise from ignorance), it could have done me great harm!

That night I suffered a paroxysm in which I remained for four days, [15-19 August 1539] or a little less, without any feeling.

 

Concha Velasco anointing
The great Spanish actress Concha Velasco appears in the starring role in Spain’s 1984 RTE television miniseries drama, Teresa de Jesús.

 

At this time they gave me the sacrament of the anointing of the sick, and from hour to hour or moment to moment they thought I was going to die; they did nothing but recite the Creed to me, as if I were able to understand them. At times they were so certain I was dead that afterward I even found the wax on my eyes.

The sorrow my father felt for not having let me confess was great — many outcries and prayers to God. Blessed be He who desired to hear them! For after the grave in my convent was open for a day and a half awaiting arrival of the body, and the funeral rites were already celebrated at a monastery of our friars outside the city, the Lord allowed me to return to consciousness.

 

Concha Velasco comes back to life
Concha Velasco is surrounded by her co-stars as she portrays Saint Teresa ‘returning to life’ after four days in a near-death experience.

 

Immediately I desired to confess. I received Communion with many tears, though it seems to me these tears were not caused by sorrow for having offended God, which would have been sufficient for salvation, but for the mistake I made on account of those who told me certain things were not mortal sins, which I afterward clearly saw were.

The pains that remained were unsupportable — the contrition imperfect, although the confession was integral, including, in my opinion, everything I understood to have been an offense against God. For among other favors His Majesty has given me since my first Communion, there is this one: that I never fail to confess what I think is a sin even though venial.

But without a doubt it seems to me that my salvation would have been in jeopardy if I should have then died since on the one hand my confessors were so poorly educated and on the other hand I was wretched, and for many other reasons.

Truly and certainly it seems to me that I am so startled in arriving at this part of my life and in seeing how apparently the Lord raised me from the dead that I am almost trembling within myself.

I think it was good, O my soul, that you beheld the danger from which the Lord delivered you. And if out of love you do not give up offending Him, may you do so out of fear lest on any other of a thousand occasions He might let you die in a more dangerous state.

I don’t believe I’m adding much by saying “any other of a thousand,” although I may be scolded by the one who commanded me to be moderate in telling about my sins; and they are being really beautified.

For the love of God I beg him not to cut out anything having to do with my faults, for this is where the magnificence of God and what He endures from a soul is seen more clearly.

May He be blessed forever. May it please His Majesty that I die rather than ever cease to love Him.

 

Teresa-de-Jesus_statue museo Santa Clara Borja
Santa Teresa de Jesús, José Ramírez de Arellano and studio, Polychrome wood, ca. 1850-1900, Museo Santa Clara, Borja Spain | E. Lacleta / museodesantaclaraborja.blogspot.com

 

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

Quote of the day: 14 August

When the time came for the cure to begin, for I had been waiting at my sister’s house, I was brought there with much solicitude for my comfort by my father and sister, and my friend, the nun, who had come with me, for she loved me very dearly.

At this point, the devil began to upset my soul, although God drew out very much good from this. There was a cleric of excellent intelligence and social status who lived in that place where I went to be cured…

 

Concha Velasco dying in fathers house
The great Spanish actress Concha Velasco appears in the starring role in Spain’s 1984 RTE television miniseries drama, Teresa de Jesús.

 

In our Quote of the Day blog post for August 13, Saint Teresa begins to tell the story of her great illness, which lasted for three years. She was sent to Becedas to see a woman who was not a physician by current standards of practice but rather was more of a folk healer, a curandera.

It was in Becedas that Saint Teresa became involved with a priest who was having an affair with a woman. As she went to confess to the priest, he became enamored of her. She writes:


When I began then to confess with this cleric I mentioned, it happened that he became extremely fond of me… His affection for me was not bad; but since it was too great, it came to no good… 

…for about seven years he had been living in a dangerous state on account of his affection and dealings with a woman in that same place; and, despite this, he was saying Mass. The association was so public that he had lost his honor and reputation, and no one dared to admonish him about this. To me it was a great pity for I loved him deeply. I was so frivolous and blind that it seemed to me a virtue to be grateful and loyal to anyone who loved me.

Damned be such loyalty that goes against the law of God!

Saint Teresa’s experiences in Becedas impart gems of wisdom for our crises of sexual sin in our Church today. We invite you to explore more of Teresa’s story and more wisdom from our Carmelite saints in our exclusive blog post

A Carmelite response to the sexual abuse crisis

 

Concha Velasco vision in Becedas church
María Massip and Concha Velasco appear in the classic television mini-series drama Teresa de Jesús. In this scene, Juana Suarez and Teresa are in the parish church of Becedas when Teresa has a mystical experience.

 

Read about Saint Teresa’s near-death experience here

 

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

Better and more than anyone else, we who are doubly the children of Mary should imitate her, to be enriched as faithful children with the fruits of her maternity; seeking the unum necessarium, the one thing necessary for salvation.

Saint Raphael Kalinowski
Mother of God, Hope of the World

 

Annunciation_CARRACCI Agostino_Louvre
The Annunciation
Agostino Carracci (Italian, 1557-1602)
Oil on canvas, late 16th c.
Louvre Museum

 

Praskiewicz OCD, S 1998, Saint Raphael Kalinowski: An Introduction to his Life and Spirituality, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 11 August

The God of mercy does not cease coming to the aid of his weak creature. The life of human beings and their most ambitious desires have limits, while God’s love has none. This love accompanies us along our way, surprises us in our erring wayward paths, and reminds us of what we have forgotten; it repeats in our hearts the promises made on a day, long ago, and speaks to us at length of our first faith, of that first charity, of that incomparable innocence regained with holy baptism. A stream of tears floods one’s conscience at the sight of the loss of those treasures, and to this the Spirit of God bears witness. Christ’s mercy endures everything, and does not think evil but rejoices in the good; it intercedes for us, and knocks on the door of our heart, it lowers itself until it conquers the soul with its love full of humility.

What Christ accomplished in Judea during the thirty-three years of his earthly life is reproduced in every human heart.

Even still today, right up until death, his love continues to struggle with our egoism. And we see today what results: conquered by eternal love and awakened from a deep sleep, we remember the promises made at holy baptism, raise our eyes to heaven, and present ourselves again before the Lord’s face, now no longer as infants who speak through the mouth of others spiritually substituting for them, but as persons mature in their own reason and will. And along with the prodigal son, we say: “How many of my father’s hired hands have bread in abundance, while here I die of hunger! I shall arise and go to my father” (Lk 15:17-18).

Saint Raphael Kalinowski
Baptism and Religious Vows

 

Parable of Prodigal Son Master of St Christopher 1530 Netherlands Getty Museum
Scenes from the Life of the Prodigal Son (detail) 
Master of Saint Christopher (Flemish, active first half of 16th century)
Pen and brown ink and gray wash, over traces of black chalk, 1530
J. Paul Getty Museum

 

Praskiewicz OCD, S 1998, Saint Raphael Kalinowski: An Introduction to his Life and Spirituality, ICS Publications, Washington DC.
Crossroads between Centenillo and La Carolina, Jaen, Andalucia 14513925649_9c136c4e49_o rufo_83 Flickr
This dehesa, a type of pastureland or meadow typical of the Iberian peninsula, is located near the road that leads from La Carolina to Centenillo in the province of Jaén. It was in this region where the convent of la Peñuela was located at the time of St. John of the Cross. | rufo_83 / Flickr

 

God desires the least degree of obedience and submissiveness more than all those services you think of rendering him.

Saint John of the Cross
Sayings of Light and Love, No. 13

 

On 10 August 1591 Saint John of the Cross transferred from the friars’ convent in Segovia to the solitude of La Peñuela, where at last he was relieved of all offices in the order; once again he was a humble friar, forgotten, despised, and neglected… as he had always desired.

His superior was the Provincial, Father Antonio de Jesús, with whom he had begun the reform under the guidance of Saint Teresa many years earlier in their humble abode in Duruelo.

Although John was able to pray gloriously in the solitude of rocks and forest, difficulties lay ahead; within weeks he would develop erysipelas, a skin infection on his foot that would lead to septicemia. By December, consumed by penances, trials, and his disease, Saint John of the Cross would be dead.

[Source: El médico interactivoEfemérides Carmelitanas]

 

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: 6 August

You reign at the Father’s right hand
In the kingdom of his eternal glory
As God’s Word from the beginning.

You reign on the Almighty’s throne
Also in transfigured human form,
Ever since the completion of your work on earth.

I believe this because your word teaches me so,
And because I believe, I know it gives me joy,
And blessed hope blooms forth from it.

For where you are, there also are your own,
Heaven is my glorious homeland,
I share with you the Father’s throne.

Saint Edith Stein
I Will Remain With You . . . (excerpt)

 

Transfiguration icon by Theofan the Greek Tretyakov gallery
Transfiguration icon by Theofan the Greek from Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral in Pereslavl-Zalessky 15th c. Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow | Jim Forest / Flickr

 

The Hidden Life: Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Texts
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Vol. 4
ICS Publications, Washington DC
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

Quote of the day: 5 August

August 5

My dear ones,

A [Red Cross] nurse from [Amsterdam] intends to speak today with the Consul. Here, every petition [on behalf] of fully Jewish Catholics has been forbidden since yesterday. Outside [the camp] an attempt can still be made, but with extremely little prospect. According to plans, a transport will leave on Friday. Could you possibly write to Mère Claire in Venlo, Kaldenkerkeweg 185 [the Ursuline Convent] to ask for [my] manuscript [of the Science of the Cross] if they have not already sent it. We count on your prayers. There are so many persons here who need some consolation and they expect it from the Sisters.

In Corde Jesu, your grateful

B.

 

Saint Edith Stein
Letter 341 to Mother Ambrosia Antonia Engelmann, OCD, Echt
Drente-Westerbork Transit Camp, Barracks 36

5 August 1942


Who were “the Sisters” to whom Edith refers in her closing comment?

In Letter 340 to her prioress, Mother Ambrosia Antonia dated August 4, St. Teresa Benedicta states:

All the Catholics are together and in our dormitory, we have all the nuns (two Trappistines, one Dominican)… 

In our Quote of the Day for 3 August 2019, the eyewitness Dr. Lenig identified that there was a Trappist priest who offered Mass in the Camp; his six brothers and sisters who had all joined the same Order were with him.

Dr. Lenig, being Jewish, can be forgiven for not being aware of the difference between religious orders. The Trappistine abbey at Berkel-Enschot themselves confirmed that only two nuns were arrested on 2 August 1942: Mother Hedwigis (Lina Löb) and Mother Marie-Thérèse, also known as Theresia (Door Löb). The third sister was not a Trappist, but may have been Sister Judith Mendes Da Costa, who was from the Dominican community that managed the sanitarium Berg en Bosch in Bilthoven, Holland; she worked in administration there.

To learn more about the third Trappistine in the Löb family, Mother Veronika, O.C.S.O. (Wies Löb, Doors twin sister), who escaped deportation in August 1942 because she was ill with tuberculosis, consult the excellent research by Peter Steffen in Can a seamless garment be truly torn?: questions surrounding the Jewish-Catholic Löb family, 1881-1945.

Based upon Sr. Judiths journal from her years in Nazi internment, Steffen indicates that there were other religious in the camp, as well: this group of religious also included a postulant from the Good Shepherd Sisters, a Sacred Heart Sister, Sr. Miriam of the Franciscans of Saint Joseph (who was dressed as a nurse), and the Polish-German doctor,  Lisamaria Meirowsky,” who was a portress and doctor at the Trappistine Abbey (Steffen 2014, p. 423).

 

Westerbork barracks
Interior of prisoner barracks at the Westerbork transit camp in the Netherlands | The Holocaust Explained

 

Further, Sr. Judiths journal indicates that the two Carmelites and the two Trappistines kept to themselves in Barracks 36, creating a kind of cloistered environment of silence and seclusion, replicating their former way of life to every possible extent.

The Trappistines (Hedwigis and Theresia Löb) and the two Carmelites (Rosa and Edith Stein) stayed in their barrack, though, just as they had previously stayed within the enclosure of their monasteries. They got up quite early the next morning, as they were accustomed to in their monasteries, but they were not allowed to leave the barracks. Later they did some cleaning in the barracks and then in the afternoon they had to line up again for roll call (Steffen 2014, p. 424).

It was on the morning of August 5 that Edith, Rosa, and the Löb family learned their fate: they would all be sent to Auschwitz without reprieve.

The next morning, all the new arrivals had to report to the commandant. It was a really big group, and they all had to wait in a tiny little room until they were called, one by one, to go into the next room where they would find out whether or not they would be granted a reprieve or be put on transport. Many came out of that room disappointed, and there was already talk of all reprieves being rescinded. The Löb brothers and sisters were not granted a reprieve.

Edith Stein and her sister Rosa underwent the same fate as the Löbs. Sr. Judith saw Edith leaving the commandant’s small office: she looked “really pale but resigned, and she was still comforting her fellow sufferers.” Lucie Bromberg had contact with Edith Stein several times while they were in Westerbork and she regarded her as being really silent, calling her a “Pietà without a Christ” (Steffen 2014, pp. 424-425).

 

Pieta_Helen V. Mackay 1932
Pieta: Jesus Christ with outstretched legs supported by the Virgin Mary, Helen V. Mackay, 1932 | Wellcome Collection

 

STEFFEN, P. (2014). Can a seamless garment be truly torn?: questions surrounding the Jewish-Catholic Löb family, 1881-1945. http://public.eblib.com/choice/publicfullrecord.aspx?p=4546377_0.
Excerpt from Edith Stein's Self-Portrait in Letters, 1916-1942, Sister Teresa
Benedicta of the Cross, Discalced Carmelite, translated by Josephine Koeppel
(The Collected Works of Edith Stein, vol. 5)
Copyright © 1993 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. 
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

Quote of the day: 4 August

We have the very wisdom and the very beauty and the very fortitude of God in shadow, because the soul here cannot comprehend God perfectly. Since the shadow is so formed by God’s size and properties that it is God himself in shadow, the soul knows well the excellence of God.

What, then, will be the shadows of the grandeurs of his virtues and attributes that the Holy Spirit casts on the soul? For he is so close to it that his shadows not only touch but unite it with these grandeurs in their shadows and splendors, so that it understands and enjoys God according to his property and measure in each of the shadows. For it understands and enjoys the divine power in the shadow of omnipotence; and it understands and enjoys the divine wisdom in the shadow of divine wisdom; and it understands and enjoys the infinite goodness in the shadow of infinite goodness that surrounds it, and so on. Finally, it enjoys God’s glory in the shadow of his glory.

Who can express how elevated this happy soul feels here, how exalted, how much admired in holy beauty?

 

Red Rock Canyon NCA Bob Wick BLM
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Clark County, Nevada | Bob Wick, US Bureau of Land Management | mypubliclands / Flickr

 

The Living Flame Of Love: Stanza 3. 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: 3 August

The testimony of Dr. Lenig

 

I met Sister Teresia Benedicta a Cruce, known in the camp as Edith Stein, on the 2nd of August 1942, in the transit camp at Amersfoort, in barracks No. 9, if I am not mistaken.

[Nota Bene: Other sources clarified that Edith and Rosa arrived at Camp Amersfoort on August 3 after processing in Roermond]

On that Sunday all Catholics of Jewish, or partly Jewish, ancestry were arrested by the German hangmen’s helpers as a reprisal for a pastoral letter that had been read from the pulpits of all Dutch churches the previous Sunday. They were taken away and at first assembled at Amersfoort before being deported from there to the gas chambers and crematoria…

 

Amersfoort-Camp-entry
Entrance, Camp Amersfoort | faceme / Flickr

 

When your Sister, together with about three hundred men, women and children had been driven behind the barbed wire fence of the camp, they had to stand for hours on the barrack-square, where they could watch, just as a pleasant welcome, a roll call that had been in progress for two or three days. It was to punish the entire camp, so far as I rememberone of the starving internees who had “stolen” some dry bread that had been thrown away. That is to say, some of them were still standing, the rest had collapsed and were being variously mishandled to get them on their feet again.

Among those still standing I noticed an inflexible opponent of the Third Reich, Ministerial Director Dr. Lazarus, who, like the new arrivals, was a courageous and avowed Catholic. Nor can I forget how the day was one long series of kickings and beatings, although these were tolerable.

More upsetting was the condition of most of the women… It was at this moment that Edith Stein courageously showed her commitment.

It must be mentioned that, to begin with, all were released who had been brought in by mistake, Protestants, Greek (Bulgarian) Orthodox, etc., and then the monotony of camp life set in. Roll calls and nightly deportations.

With diligence, they read the Imitation of Christ that someone had smuggled in; a Trappist faithfully said Holy Mass for themhis six brothers and sisters who had all joined the same Order were with him [the Loeb family], all prepared for transport. Holy Communion was distributed diligently, and despite the harassment by the SS, every one of this flock destined for death steadfastly sang the Confiteor daily, until the last of them had gone their way…

 

Loeb Family Trappists Koningshoeven Abbey website
The martyrs of the Loeb family, Dutch Trappists who were deported from the Netherlands on the same date and in the same transport as Edith and Rosa Stein. Read the Trappist generalate’s tribute to the Loeb family martyrs here. | Photo credit: Koningshoeven Abbey

 

It was also very moving to see the response of this brave flock of believers when they heard that there were priests somewhere in the camp; immediately they gave up some of their meager rations, their tobacco, their money, etc., that were now useless to them but might help the priests to placate their torturers and so hope to experience the day of liberation.


 

Doctor Fritz Lenig  (Friedrich Moritz Levinsohn) was a native of Gelsenkirchen, Germany;  he was a physician, entrepreneur, and a refugee in the Netherlands like Edith, Rosa, and so many others. He had been arrested and was interned at Camp Amersfoort at the same time that the transport arrived carrying the Carmelite Stein sisters and the Trappist Loeb family, as well as the Dominican Sister Judith Mendes Da Costa and other Catholics of Jewish ancestry.

Saint Edith Stein’s first biographerher Cologne novice mistress and prioress Mother Teresia Renata Posselt, O.C.D.indicates that after the war the Sisters in Cologne, Echt, the friars at the Discalced Carmelite General Curia, as well as family and friends of Edith worldwide were anxiously searching for news of the whereabouts of Edith and Rosa. As far as the Order, family, and friends were concerned, the Stein sisters were still considered to be missing persons and everyone held out hope for their return:

“Neither the office of the Father General of the Carmelite Order in Rome, nor the relatives in America, nor the Carmelite convents in either Germany, Holland or Switzerland were able to discover any trace of them.”

An unexpected article published in l’Osservatore Romano at the Vatican in 1947 prompted a new flurry of activity and inquiries. Written in a very authoritative tone, the biographical article entitled “From Judaism to the University and Thence to Carmel” indicated that Edith and her sister were beaten, imprisoned, and then killed “either in a gas chamber or as some think, by being thrown down into a salt-mine.”

Mother Teresia Renata states that the source of the announcement was untraceable. Nevertheless, coming from a publication as authoritative as l’Osservatore Romano, the news item was reprinted in diocesan newspapers around the world despite errors in Sister Teresa Benedicta’s biography.

 

Mother Teresia Renata Posselt - Edith Stein Archiv
Mother Teresia Renata Posselt, O.C.D. | Edith Stein-Archiv

 

The Cologne Carmelites decided to send a circular letter, as is the custom of Discalced Carmelite nuns; except they decided to distribute thousands of copies across the globe to enlighten, edify, and correct any previous misstatements concerning Edith and Rosa.

As a direct result of the dissemination of that circular letter, the noted German physician, Professor Max Budde from Gelsenkirchen, contacted the nuns in Cologne to tell them that one of his friends from Gelsenkirchen days, Dr. Fritz Lenig was at Camp Amersfoort when Sr. Benedicta and Rosa arrived, but he had been able to escape death.

The nuns in Cologne wasted no time in contacting Dr. Lenig.

The excerpt published here presents the salient points of Dr. Lenig’s response to the inquiry from the Carmel of Cologne concerning the whereabouts of Edith and Rosa, in particular as it pertains to their arrival at Camp Amersfoort on the 3rd of August 1942.

 

Posselt, Teresia Renata. Edith Stein: The Life of a Philosopher and Carmelite (p. 212). ICS Publications. Kindle Edition.

Quote of the day: 1 August

We must carefully examine which virtues are the most essential, which are the most difficult to acquire, which sins we commit most often, and which are the most frequent and inevitable of our falls.

We must have recourse to God with complete confidence at the moment of combat, remain firm in the presence of his divine majesty, adore him humbly, bring him our miseries and weaknesses, and lovingly ask for the help of his grace.

In this way, we will find every virtue in him without our having any of our own.

Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection
Practices Necessary to Attain the Spiritual Life, No. 11
The Practice of the Presence of God

 

End of the day Now I lay me - stereograph - Boston Public Library - Flickr
‘Now I lay me’ – At the End of Day
Color photomechanical print on stereo card, ca. 1850-1920
Boston Public Library / Flickr

 

Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection. Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God.
(Practices Necessary to Attain the Spiritual Life, p. 39; Chapter 2)
Copyright © 1994, 2015 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

Quote of the day: 31 July

To Don Cristóbal Rodríguez de Moya, Segura de la Sierra

Avila, 28 June 1568

 

Our Lord has brought together in these houses persons who amaze me and leave me completely confounded, for those chosen must be persons of prayer, suited for our way of life. If they are not, we do not take them. God gives them ordinarily a joy and happiness so great that they seem to be in a paradise on earth.

This is a fact, as your honor can learn from many people, especially if any members of the Society of Jesus who have been here pass through. For they know me and have seen this.

They are my Fathers to whom, after our Lord, my soul owes every good it possesses, if it does possess any.

And one of the things that attracts me to those ladies and to serving you in every way I can, is that they have conversed with these Fathers. Not every spiritual person satisfies me as being suited for our monasteries, but those who have had these Fathers as confessors do.

Almost all those who are in our houses are their daughters—I don’t remember any that I have accepted who were not. They are the ones who suit us. For since these Fathers nurtured my soul, the Lord has granted me the favor of having their spirit planted in these monasteries.

 

Jesuits_first Jesuit saints_Lima
First Jesuit Saints. Lima school 17th c., oil painting. Comunidad Jesuita de Nuestra Señora de Fátima, Lima. | Juan Manuel Chocano Chávez SJ / Pinterest

 

And so, if you are familiar with their rules, you will see that in many things in our constitutions we are like them. For I received a brief from the pope to draw up constitutions, and when Our Most Reverend General came here, he approved them and gave orders that they be observed in all the monasteries founded by me.

And he ordered that the Fathers of the Society be preachers for the nuns and that no major superior could hinder them from doing so; and that if they wanted, they could be the nuns’ confessors. But the fact is that they have a rule forbidding this, and so, except on rare occasions, we cannot confess to them. Nonetheless, they frequently speak to us and give us counsel and do us much good.

I had the same desire that those ladies have, to submit the house to the direction of these Fathers, and I tried to do it.

I know for certain they will not accept a monastery, even were it the wish of the princess, for they would have to care for too many in the kingdom; so, it’s something impossible.

I praise God that like no other order we have a freedom to speak with them, a freedom that we are sure will never be taken from us….

Written in Avila in the monastery of St. Joseph, 28 June 1568.

Your honor’s unworthy servant,
Teresa of Jesus


Translator Father Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. notes: Don Cristóbal, a wealthy widower, was trying to decide whether to found a Teresian Carmel or a Jesuit school. His two daughters and he wanted spiritual direction from the Jesuits. A Franciscan friend of Teresa’s interceded in favor of the Carmel. At this point, Teresa wrote the following letter, but in the end, Don Cristóbal decided in favor of the Jesuits. The authentic text of the letter is incomplete.

The text that we present includes the first nine numbers of Letter 11, which “have undergone some decided tampering. Because some of the thought is still Teresa’s”, Fr. Rodriguez added these all-important paragraphslong cherished by Jesuits and Teresian Carmelites alikein an annotation to Letter 11.

 

Ignatius Loyola_Círculo de Diego Valentín Díaz_1620
Saint Ignatius Loyola
Circle of Diego Valentín Díaz (Spanish, 17th c.)
Oil on canvas, ca. 1620
Iglesia de Santiago el Real, Medina del Campo

 

The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D.
ICS Publications Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

Quote of the day: 29 July

The Lord walks among
the pots and pans
+
Saint Teresa of Avila

 

First, I want to treat, according to my poor understanding, of the substance of perfect prayer. For I have run into some for whom it seems the whole business lies in thinking. If they can keep their minds much occupied in God, even though great effort is exerted, they at once think they are spiritual. If, on the contrary, without being able to avoid it, they become distracted, even if for the sake of good things, they then become disconsolate and think they are lost….

And so I am not treating of this now. But I should like to explain that the soul is not the mind, nor is the will directed by thinking, for this would be very unfortunate.

Hence, the soul’s progress does not lie in thinking much but in loving much.

How does one acquire this love? By being determined to work and to suffer, and to do so when the occasion arises.

It is indeed true that by thinking of what we owe the Lord, of who He is, and what we are, a soul’s determination grows, and that this thinking is very meritorious and appropriate for beginners. But it must be understood that this is true provided that nothing interferes with obedience or benefit to one’s neighbor.

 

boy wearing black hat sitting on case near flowers
Thinking | Photo by Victoria Borodinova on Pexels.com

 

When either of these two things presents itself, time is demanded, and also the abandonment of what we so much desire to give God, which, in our opinion, is to be alone thinking of Him and delighting in the delights that He gives us.

To leave aside these delights for either of these other two things is to give delight to Him and do the work for Him, as He Himself said: What you did for one of these little ones you did for Me (Matt 25:45). And in matters touching on obedience, He doesn’t want the soul who truly loves Him to take any other path than the one He did: obediens usque ad mortem (Phil 2:8).

 

The crucified Christ appears to Saint Teresa of Avila_Alonso Cano_Museo del Prado
And in matters touching on obedience, He doesn’t want the soul who truly loves Him to take any other path than the one He did: obediens usque ad mortem (Phil 2:8).

 

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.

 

child washing dishes ukraine Alexey Novitsky Flickr
Alina plays at washing the dishes; just give her a basin, a sponge, and some soap and water. | Alexey Novitsky / Flickr

 

The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D.
ICS Publications Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

Quote of the day: 26 July

While reading a book on the life of St. Anne, the child, when a little more than twelve years old, became very devoted to the saints of Carmel. For the author of the book says that St. Anne’s mother — I believe her name is Merenciana — often went to speak to those saints. The effect this reading had on the girl was one of great devotion to the order of our Lady, for she then promised to become a nun in that order and also made a promise of chastity.

Saint Teresa of Avila
The Book of Her Foundations, Chap. 26
Commenting on the vocation of Beatriz de la Madre de Dios

 

Joachim and Anne, Cuzco artist, Convento de Sta Teresa, Arequipa Peru
The young Virgin with Saints Joachim and Anne
Unidentified Cuzco Artist (Peru, 18th c.), 
Oil on canvas, 18th c.
Convento de Santa Teresa, Arequipa, Peru

 

Jacob did not become less a saint for tending his flock, nor Abraham, nor St. Joachim. When we try to avoid work, everything tires us. That’s the way it goes for me, and for this reason God wills that I be always loaded down with many things to do.

Saint Teresa of Avila
Letter 172 to her brother, Don Lorenzo de Cepeda
2 January 1577

 

The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D.
ICS Publications Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

Quote of the day: 23 June

With the Virgin, you can sing your “Magnificat” and leap with joy in God your Savior, for the Almighty is doing great things in you, and His mercy is eternal. . . . Then, like Mary, “keep all that in your heart,” draw your heart very close to hers, for this priestly Virgin is also the “Mother of Divine Grace,” and in her love she wants to prepare you to become “that faithful priest who is entirely according to God’s heart” of whom He speaks in Holy Scripture.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 232 to Abbé Chevignard (excerpt)
Around 25 June 1905

 

ND de Palestine Holy Land Franciscans Wash DC monastery
Notre-Dame de Palestine | paullew / Flickr

 

Excerpt from Letter 232, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel 
Copyright © 2003 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

Quote of the day: 18 July

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 300 to her mother

[ July 18, 1906]

J. M. + J. T.

Darling little Mama,

I’m expecting you on Saturday at the time we arranged; I will go to receive you on foot, without a cane. I’m delighted about it! I was expecting you today, and here I see my Master wants to unite mother and child in suffering, since your dear health is the reason for the delay of your visit; I love you too much to be sad about it, for I understand better than ever how much God loves us when He tries us. What a relief for me to think of you looked after by our dear Guite; let yourself be cared for by her, obey her completely, won’t you, little Mama.

The Blessed Virgin has not performed the miracle you desired. When, as you tell me in your dear, kind letter, you’re afraid that I might be a victim marked out for suffering, I beg you not to be sad about it, that would be so beautiful; I don’t feel worthy of it; think now, to have a share in the sufferings of my crucified Bridegroom, and to go with Him to my passion to be a redemptrix with Him. . . . Saint Paul says that those whom God foreknew, He predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.  Rejoice in your mother’s heart when you think that God has predestined me and has marked me with the seal of the Cross of His Christ.

My legs, however, are getting better; I can walk without a cane. I’ve been given a very light robe, and this is what I wear when I make my little comings and goings, which consist in going out on the terrace and to the little tribune [small second-story prayer chapel overlooking the tabernacle]; can you imagine what a joy this is for my soul? Several times a day I make long visits to my Master, and I thank Him for having given me the use of my legs to go to Him. I am reading your dear book,  which is magnificent; you’ve made me a very precious gift, my dear Mama; I have it beside me on the little table that is so useful to me.  If you knew how well set up I am. . . . I think up something new every day, and my dear Mother smiles at my “comforts.” How she cares for me and anticipates my every need; I had told her I had a bad taste in my mouth and she got some new candy for me to bring me more relief, and it’s like that with everything; she has the intuitions of a mother. If you knew how she loves you; it was she who told me to write you right away, and I didn’t have to be begged, as you can imagine. We’ve had a very beautiful feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel,  I’ll tell you all about it on Saturday. I’m giving you all my best wishes for my Guite; tell little Sabeth to give her this holy card and to kiss her for Tata. A Dieu, darling Mama, I gather all of you together to kiss you as I love you. Be very reasonable, listen well to your Guite to please me. Your daughter who loves you more than she can say.

M.E. of the Trinity r.c.i.
26 years old today.


This would be the last birthday letter that Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity would write to her dear mother, Madame Catez. Less than four months later, she would die of acute adrenal failure, directly attributable to her years-long battle with Addison’s Disease.

 

bl-e-of-t-very-ill-near-death
One of the last photos taken of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity | Photo: Discalced Carmelites

 

Letter 300 to her mother, on 18 July 1906 The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel (p. 309-310)
ICS Publications, Washington DC © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

 

Quote of the day: 17 July

Sister Constance

 

Sister Constance—baptized Marie-Jeanne Meunier—was born in St-Denis, near Paris, on May 28, 1766. She entered our community on May 29, 1788, and took the habit on the following 13th of December.

But the unhappy decree of the Constituent Assembly, which proscribed the profession of vows—of which the Reverend Mother Prioress had been notified—deprived our dear Sister Constance of the happiness of professing her own.

To this trial was added still another that was even more cruel to her heart. Her parents from whom she had (so to speak) extracted their consent to enter the monastery, having learned of the fatal decree [that proscribed the profession of vows], resolved to make her come home. Armed with their authorization, one of her brothers presented himself with the intention to use force if she refused to leave of her own goodwill. But because his attempts were unsuccessful, a police raid took place.

The young novice, without being disturbed by this sudden and threatening appearance, replied to the summons which was issued for her to leave in the name of the law:

Gentlemen, I have entered here only with the consent of my parents. If they only want to get me to leave here because their tenderness is alarmed at the dangers that I can run into while staying there, I thank them for it; but nothing but death will be able to separate me from the company of my Sisters. And you, my brotherwhom I am most likely to see for the last timetestify to our dear parents that indifference does not enter into my refusal to yield to their desires, that it hurts my heart to give them cause for chagrin; but I also think that they cannot find fault in the fact that I am following the movement of my conscience. That is all I demand of this liberty whose benefits everyone proclaims to high heaven.

The commissioner, the King’s attorney, and the others did not go farther; they left, admiring the courage of the novice who fulfilled so well, in her sentiments and her language, the meaning of the religious name that had been given to her when she was admitted to the number of the daughters of St. Teresa. She had the glory of dying as a Christian heroine, like her companions, at only 28 years old.

Sister Marie of the Incarnation, O.C.D.

(Françoise-Geneviève Philippe)


What was this fatal decree?

Sr. Marie of the Incarnation tells us that Blessed Constance entered the Carmel of Compiègne on the 29th of May 1788 and was clothed in the habit of Carmel on December 13th.

Canonically, she should have professed her perpetual vows in the following December, 1789. Historian William Bush in his well-known book, To Quell the Terror, tells us that the prioress intended to permit Sr. Constance to profess her vows on the anniversary date in the following year.

 

Prise_de_la_Bastille Jean-Pierre Houël — Bibliothèque nationale de France
“La prise de la Bastille”, Jean-Pierre Houël (1789)—At the center, you can see the arrest of the commander of the Bastille, Bernard René Jourdan, marquis de Launay (1740-1789) | Bibliothèque nationale de France/Wikimedia Commons

 

The tumultuous events of 1789 changed everything. On Tuesday 14 July, revolutionary insurgents stormed the royal fortress in Paris called the Bastille. Their siege was successful; they captured the fortress, arrested the commander and turned the tide of revolutionary fervor in Paris toward the revolutionary insurgents and away from the crumbling royal administration. From Paris, soon the entire nation was ablaze with revolutionary fervor.

Meanwhile, in the Constituent Assembly—a governing body created in June 1789—deputies were emboldened by the actions of the insurgents. Thanks to the joint efforts of the French national library and Stanford University we can read the daily acts of the Constituent Assembly and learn exactly who and what created the fatal decree of 28 October 1789.

Mr. Rousselet gives an account, in the name of the committee on reports, of letters written by two male religious and one religious sister asking that the Assembly explain what it means concerning the profession of vows; he proposes to forbid the perpetual monastic vows.

Michel Louis Rousselet was a deputy from the bailiwick of Provins (Seine-et-Marne) southeast of Paris. He served only two years in the Assembly (30 Mar 1789 – 30 Sep 1791), but for the Catholics of France they were crucial. His report received the backing of Guy Jean-Baptiste Target from the bailiwick of Paris-Outside-the-Walls.

Mr. Target requests a postponement on the substance and presents the following decree:

Yes, the report …. the Assembly postpones the question concerning the profession of vows and however, as a provision, decrees that the profession of vows will be suspended in monasteries of either sex.

Several clergymen who were Deputies explained that the temporary suspension cast judgment on the matter; they demanded the implementation of the rule that required three days of discussion for important matters. Tragically, their pleas were ignored. The record of the Assembly states:

The decree proposed by Mr. Target is adopted.

 

Assemblée Nationale 28 Octobre 1789 decree NO VOWS
French Revolution Digital Archive
A collaboration of the Stanford University Libraries and the Bibliothèque nationale de France
Tome 9 : Du 16 septembre au 11 novembre 1789 » Séance du mercredi 28 octobre 1789 » Séance du jeudi 29 octobre 1789 » page 597

Michel, Louis Rousselet
1746 – 1834
Guy, Jean-Baptiste Target
1733 – 1806

Sanctions against the Catholic Church in France swiftly followed as the nascent revolutionary government, strapped for cash, expropriated all of the assets of the Catholic Church and her patrimony. To this very day, the Church in France is poor, reliant upon the government to care for her buildings like the great Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris.

 

NotreDameCathedral_afterthefire_26jun19
Notre-Dame de Paris, 26 Jun 2019 | Eve Martin/Flickr

 


Sr. Constance, the native of Saint-Denis, did not return home with her brother after the commissioner, the King’s attorney, and the others left the monastery. She remained in ‘the company of her Sisters’ all the way to scaffold. She fulfilled the life of a Discalced Carmelite nun, but always remained a novice and canonically never was permitted to participate in any important decisions of the monastic chapter that required a voice vote.

It was only at the foot of the scaffold, six years after entering the Carmel of Compiègne that she finally professed her perpetual vows as a Discalced Carmelite nun. Her heart filled with overwhelming joy, she climbed the steps of the scaffold as she emphatically exercised her voice, becoming a foundress—the protomartyr—of the Carmel of Compiègne transferred to the heavenly courts.

What words were on the lips and in the heart of Blessed Constance in those ultimate moments on earth? She intoned Psalm 117, the psalm that Saint Teresa of Avila and Venerable Anne of Jesus chanted as they inaugurated each and every new foundation:

 

O praise the Lord, all you nations,
acclaim him all you peoples!

Strong is his love for us;
he is faithful for ever.

 

 

Concerning the Blessed Constance’s chant, Professor Bush explains:
As their final song at the scaffold— for there were several— it was Psalm 117, Laudate Dominum omnes gentes, which proclaims the mystic truth couched at the heart of the Christian experience of salvation: God’s mercy is at the center of all things, even of being guillotined.

Bush, William. To Quell the Terror: The Mystery of the Vocation of the Sixteen Carmelites of Compiègne Guillotined July 17, 1774 (pp. 14-15). ICS Publications. Kindle Edition.
sœur Marie de l'Incarnation. Histoire des religieuses carmelites de Compiègne conduites a l'échafaud le 17 juillet 1794: Ouvrage posthume de la soeur Marie de l'Incarnation. January 1, 1836. (pp. 108-110) T. Malvin. Google Play Books edition. This English translation is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.

 

Flos Carmeli: Novena 9

I remember that when my mother died I was twelve years old or a little less. When I began to understand what I had lost, I went, afflicted, before an image of our Lady and besought her with many tears to be my mother. It seems to me that although I did this in simplicity it helped me. For I have found favor with this sovereign Virgin in everything I have asked of her, and in the end she has drawn me to herself. It wearies me now to see and think that I was not constant in the good desires I had in my childhood.

Saint Teresa of Avila
The Book of Her Life: Chapter 1


Acuérdome que cuando murió mi madre quedé yo de edad de doce años, poco menos. Como yo comencé a entender lo que había perdido, afligida fuime a una imagen de nuestra Señora y supliquéla fuese mi madre, con muchas lágrimas. Paréceme que, aunque se hizo con simpleza, que me ha valido; porque conocidamente he hallado a esta Virgen soberana en cuanto me he encomendado a ella y, en fin, me ha tornado a sí. Fatígame ahora ver y pensar en qué estuvo el no haber yo estado entera en los buenos deseos que comencé.

Santa Teresa de Jesús
El Libro de la Vida: Capítulo 1

 

1991.48
The Virgin Placing St. Teresa of Avila Under the Protection of St. Joseph
François Guillaume Ménageot (French, 1744–1816)
Oil paint over pen and brown ink, on paper, mounted on canvas, ca. 1787
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

SEQUENCE HYMN
Flos Carmeli

Flos Carmeli,
vitis florigera,
splendor caeli,
virgo puerpera
singularis.

Mater mitis
sed viri nescia
Carmelitis
esto propitia
stella maris.

Inter spinas
quae crescis lilium
serva puras
mentes fragilium
tutelaris.

Armatura
fortis pugnantium
furunt bella
tende praesidium
scapularis.

Per incerta
prudens consilium
per adversa
iuge solatium
largiaris.

Mater dulcis
Carmeli domina,
plebem tuam
reple laetitia
qua bearis.

Paradisi
clavis et ianua,
fac nos duci
quo, Mater, gloria
coronaris. Amen.

SCRIPTURE
John 19:25-27

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, “Woman, this is your son.” Then to the disciple he said, “This is your mother.”

NOVENA PRAYER

O most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel,
Fruitful Vine, Splendor of Heaven,
Blessed Mother of the Son of God,
Immaculate Virgin,
assist me in this my necessity.
O Star of the Sea, help me and show me
herein that you are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Queen of heaven and earth,
I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart
to succor me in this necessity.
There are none that can withstand your power!
O help me and show me herein
that you are my Mother.

Our Lady, Queen and Beauty of Carmel,
pray for me and obtain my requests!
Sweet Mother, I place this cause
in your hands!

 

 

Many of the images of St. Teresa are found in the Iconografía Teresiana online collection of the Discalced Carmelite nuns of Alba de Tormes; other works are found in the PESSCA online collection of Spanish Colonial Art
Novena citations taken from The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. 
ICS Publications Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars

Per Adversa: Novena 8

The way of suffering and love

1. 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. 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, 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.”

2. When I had begun prayer I had such a bad headache I thought it would be almost impossible to pray. The Lord said to me: “In this way, you will see the reward that comes from suffering, for since you did not have the health to speak with Me, I have spoken with you and favored you.” And so it is certain that I must have been recollected about an hour and a half. During that time He spoke the above words to me and all the rest. I was not distracted, but neither did I know where I was; and I was so happy I don’t know how to describe it. My headache went away — which surprised me — and I was left with a great desire for suffering.

It is true, at least I haven’t heard otherwise, that our Lord didn’t have any joy in life other than this once, nor did St. Paul. The Lord also told me I should keep very much in mind the words He spoke to His apostles, that the servant must not be greater than the Lord.

Saint Teresa of Avila
Spiritual Testimonies: 32


1. Esto me dijo el Señor otro día: “¿Piensas, hija, que está el merecer en gozar? No está sino en obrar y en padecer y en amar. No habrás oído que San Pablo estuviese gozando de los gozos celestiales más de una vez, y muchas que padeció, y ves mi vida toda llena de padecer y sólo en el monte Tabor habrás oído mi gozo. No pienses, cuando ves a mi Madre que me tiene en los brazos, que gozaba de aquellos contentos sin grave tormento. Desde que le dijo Simeón aquellas palabras, la dio mi Padre clara luz para que viese lo que Yo había de padecer. Los grandes santos que vivieron en los desiertos, como eran guiados por Dios, así hacían graves penitencias, y sin esto tenían grandes batallas con el demonio y consigo mismos; mucho tiempo se pasaban sin ninguna consolación espiritual. Cree, hija, que a quien mi Padre más ama, da mayores trabajos, y a éstos responde el amor. ¿En qué te le puedo más mostrar que querer para ti lo que quise para Mí? Mira estas llagas, que nunca llegaron aquí tus dolores. Este es el camino de la verdad. Así me ayudarás a llorar la perdición que traen los del mundo, entendiendo tú esto, que todos sus deseos y cuidados y pensamientos se emplean en cómo tener lo contrario”.

2. Cuando empecé a tener oración, estaba con tan gran mal de cabeza, que me parecía casi imposible poderla tener. Díjome el Señor: “Por aquí verás el premio del padecer, que como no estabas tú con salud para hablar conmigo, he Yo hablado contigo y regaládote”. Y es así cierto, que sería como hora y media, poco menos, el tiempo que estuve recogida. En él me dijo las palabras dichas y todo lo demás. Ni yo me divertía, ni sé adónde estaba, y con tan gran contento que no sé decirlo, y quedóme buena la cabeza -que me ha espantado- y harto deseo de padecer.

Es verdad que al menos yo no he oído que el Señor tuviese otro gozo en la vida sino esa vez, ni San Pablo. También me dijo que trajese mucho en la memoria las palabras que el Señor dijo a sus Apóstoles, “que no había de ser más el siervo que el Señor”.

Santa Teresa de Jesús
Las Relaciones: Capítulo 36

 

The crucified Christ appears to Saint Teresa of Avila_Alonso Cano_Museo del Prado
The crucified Christ appears to Saint Teresa of Avila, Alonso Cano, Oil on canvas, 1629, Museo del Prado, Madrid

 

SCRIPTURE
Colossians 1:24-2:5

It makes me happy to suffer for you, as I am suffering now, and in my own body to do what I can to make up all that has still to be undergone by Christ for the sake of his body, the Church. I became the servant of the Church when God made me responsible for delivering God’s message to you, the message which was a mystery hidden for generations and centuries and has now been revealed to his saints. It was God’s purpose to reveal it to them and to show all the rich glory of this mystery to pagans. The mystery is Christ among you, your hope of glory: this is the Christ we proclaim, this is the wisdom in which we thoroughly train everyone and instruct everyone, to make them all perfect in Christ. It is for this I struggle wearily on, helped only by his power driving me irresistibly.

Yes, I want you to know that I do have to struggle hard for you, and for those in Laodicea, and for so many others who have never seen me face to face. It is all to bind you together in love and to stir your minds, so that your understanding may come to full development until you really know God’s secret in which all the jewels of wisdom and knowledge are hidden. I say this to make sure that no one deceives you with specious arguments. I may be absent in body, but in spirit I am there among you, delighted to find you all in harmony and to see how firm your faith in Christ is.

NOVENA PRAYER

O most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel,
Fruitful Vine, Splendor of Heaven,
Blessed Mother of the Son of God,
Immaculate Virgin,
assist me in this my necessity.
O Star of the Sea, help me and show me
herein that you are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Queen of heaven and earth,
I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart
to succor me in this necessity.
There are none that can withstand your power!
O help me and show me herein
that you are my Mother.

Our Lady, Queen and Beauty of Carmel,
pray for me and obtain my requests!
Sweet Mother, I place this cause
in your hands!

 

Novena citations taken from The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. 
ICS Publications Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars

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