St. Therese especially loved the mystery of the Annunciation and celebrated it every year. At the first inquiry into Therese’s sanctity in 1910, her sister Celine testified:
She had a particular devotion for the mystery of the Incarnation, which she would observe devotedly every 25th March. She loved to contemplate…
“The Christian mysteries are an indivisible whole. If we become immersed in one, we are led to all the Others. Thus the way from Bethlehem leads inevitably to Golgotha, from the crib to the Cross. When the blessed Virgin brought the Child to the temple, Simeon prophesied that her soul would be pierced by a sword, that this Child was set for the fall and the resurrection of many, for a sign that would be contradicted. His prophecy announced the Passion, the light between light and darkness that already showed itself before the crib.
“In some years Candlemas and Septuagesima are celebrated almost together, the feast of the Incarnation and the preparation of the Passion. The star of Bethlehem shines in the night of sin. The shadow of the Cross falls on the light that shines from the crib. The light is extinguished in the darkness of Good Friday, but it rises all the more brilliantly as the sun of grace on the morning of the Resurrection. The way of the incarnate Son of God leads through the Cross and Passion to the glory of the Resurrection. In his company the way of every one of us, indeed of all mankind, leads through suffering and death to this same glorious goal.”
Saint Edith Stein
The Mystery of Christmas
Edith Stein was confirmed on 2 February 1922: “On Candlemas Day 1922 she had received the Sacrament of Confirmation in the house chapel of His Excellency Dr. Ludwig Sebastian.” (Mother Teresia Renata Posselt, OCD)
In the solitude of our little cell, which I call my “little paradise” because it is entirely filled with Him for whom all live in Heaven, I will look very often at this precious picture and will unite myself to the soul of the Virgin at the time when the Father was overshadowing her, while the Word was becoming incarnate within her, and the Holy Spirit was coming upon her to bring about the great mystery. It is the whole Trinity in action, surrendering themselves, giving themselves; and the life of the Carmelite must be lived within this divine embrace.
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
It is the whole Trinity in action, surrendering themselves, giving themselves
Letter 232 to Abbé Chevignard (excerpt), around 25 June 1905 The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel (p. 226) ICS Publications, Washington DC © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.
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 of Jesus, OCD
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.
Listen to the Silence - A Retreat with Père Jacques (p. 33) Translated and edited by Francis J. Murphy ICS Publications © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.
The Incarnation is likewise a work of love. The Holy Spirit knew the Virgin Mary in advance, for he taught her the rich lessons of prayer. Consider Mary’s long hours immersed in prayer concerning her community and the drama of divine love for all humanity; concerning the fall of the human race and the mighty power of God. In those silent hours of prayer, the Holy Spirit inflamed Mary’s heart and swept her up into the bosom of the triune God. There, Mary was immersed in the ocean of God’s being. Mary’s hours of prayer! Therein, God’s presence attains a new and unprecedented level. God is going to ask Mary to allow her body to bring about his Incarnation. He is going to embody himself in a mysterious way in the offspring to be born of her pure blood, divinely preserved from every stain of sin. The Holy Spirit is the author of this wondrous work of love. “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God” [Luke 1:35].
Père Jacques of Jesus, OCD
Mary was immersed in the ocean of God’s being
Listen to the Silence - A Retreat with Père Jacques (p. 89) Translated and edited by Francis J. Murphy ICS Publications © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.