August 16: Blessed Maria Sagrario

August 16
BLESSED MARIA SAGRARIO
OF SAINT ALOYSIUS GONZAGA
Virgin and Martyr

Optional Memorial

Maria Sagrario was born at Lillo (Toledo) on 8th January 1881. A pharmacist by trade, she was one of the first women in Spain to be admitted to this qualification. In 1915 she entered the Carmel of St. Anne and St. Joseph in Madrid. Through her spirit of prayer and her love for the Eucharist, she was a perfect embodiment of the contemplative and ecclesial ideal of the Teresian Carmel. She was Prioress of her community when she was martyred on 15th August 1936. It was a grace she longed for and accepted in perfection of faith and ardent love for Christ.

From the common of martyrs or of virgins

THE SECOND READING

From the letters and writings of Blessed Maria Sagrario

Following Christ by way of humility and the cross

May Jesus reign always in my heart! The Lord asks me to be humble, to weep over my sins, to love him much, to love my sisters much, to mortify them in nothing, not to mortify myself uselessly, to live recollected in him wanting nothing for myself, completely surrendered to his divine will.

In this vale of tears, suffering will not be lacking, and we should be content to have something to offer to our most beloved Jesus who wanted so much to suffer for love of us. The most direct way to unite ourselves to God is that of the cross, so we should always desire it. May the Lord not permit that I be separated from his divine will.

Blessed be God who gives us these ways of offering ourselves up to his love! The day will arrive when we will rejoice for having suffered in this way. Meanwhile, let us be generous, suffering everything, if not with happiness, at least in close conformity to the divine will of him who suffered so much out of love for us. However great are our sufferings, they come nowhere near his. If you wish to be perfect, seek first of all to be quite humble in thought, word, deed and desire; learn well what this means and work tenaciously to carry it out. Keep your gaze always on our most beloved Jesus, asking him in the depths of his heart what he desires for you, and never deny him anything, even if it means going strongly against the grain for you.

Blessed be he who arranges everything for our good! In possessing him, we possess everything.

RESPONSORY

I have fought the good fight to the end;
I have run the race to the finish. I have kept the faith;
all there is to come for me now is the crown of righteousness.

Because of the supreme advantage
of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord,
I count everything else as loss,
that I may partake of his sufferings
by being molded to the pattern of his death.
All there is to come for me now is the crown of righteousness.

PRAYER

O God,
who by a spirit of prayer and devotion to the Eucharist
prepared Blessed Maria Sagrario to suffer martyrdom,
grant that we, through her example,
may freely spend our lives for you
by faithfully and constantly fulfilling your will.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

Maria-Sagrario_cadaver
“The most direct way to unite ourselves to God is that of the cross, so we should always desire it.”

Quote of the day: 28 July

Not to be led astray by allurements, that’s what it means to love with all one’s heart; not to be deceived by false arguments, that’s the meaning of loving with all one’s soul; not to let your spirit be broken by difficulties, that is to love with all one’s strength.

Blessed John Soreth
Exhortation on the Carmelite Rule

 

white and brown ceramic vase
Photo by Sohel Patel on Pexels.com

Quote of the day: 6 July

… Do not let what is happening to me, daughter, cause you any grief, for it does not cause me any. What greatly grieves me is that the one who is not at fault is blamed. Men do not do these things, but God, who knows what is suitable for us and arranges things for our good. Think nothing else but that God ordains all, and where there is no love, put love, and you will draw out love …

Saint John of the Cross
Letter 26 to Madre María de la Encarnación
6 July 1591

 

B1978.43.20
Rebecca Receiving the Bracelet at the Well
Benjamin West (American, 1738–1820)
Oil on canvas, 1775
Yale Center for British Art

 

Letters: Letter 26, 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: 11 June

Let us go to the Father

Yes, dear Sister, like that great passionate, illuminated Magdalene, let us pass through everything, lost in His Infinity! “Many sins will be forgiven her because she has loved much!” (Lk 7:47) That is what He asks of us: Love that no longer looks at self, but leaves itself and ascends higher than its own feelings, its own impressions; Love that gives itself, surrenders itself, Love “that establishes Unity.” Let us live like Mary Magdalene through everything, day [and] night, in light or darkness, always beneath the eyes of Unchanging Beauty that wishes to fascinate us, to captivate us, more than that, to deify us!

Oh, my Sister, “to be Him,” that is my whole dream; then, do you believe that the Father, who contemplates His adored Word in us, can resist the powerful prayer that one glance, one desire can become? Oh yes, let us be Him, and “let us go to the Father” in the movement of His divine soul.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 121 to Sister Agnès of Jésus-Marie
11 June 1902

 

Mary-Magdalene-reading_Corot_Louvre
Mary Magdalene Reading
Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot (French, 1796 – 1875)
Oil on canvas, 1854
Musée du Louvre

 

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: 29 May

My life is love

This sweet nectar surrounds me, this merciful love penetrates me, purifies me, renews me, and I feel it consuming me. The cry of my heart is: “Love of my God, my soul searches for You alone. My soul, suffer and be quiet; love and hope; offer yourself but hide your suffering behind a smile, and always move on. I want to spend my life in deep silence, in the depths of my heart, in order to listen to the gentle voice of my sweet Jesus.

Blessed Elia of St. Clement
Office of Readings, Optional Memorial of Blessed Elia (excerpt)

 

brown hummingbird selective focus photography
Photo by Philippe Donn on Pexels.com

29 May: Blessed Elia of St. Clement

May 29
BLESSED ELIA OF SAINT CLEMENT
Virgin

Optional Memorial

Blessed Elia of St. Clement was born in Bari, 17th January 1901, to deeply Christian parents. At her baptism, she was given the name Theodora, gift of God. In the brief course of her life on earth, she lived up to her name. On 8th April 1920 (then Feast of St. Albert, author of the Carmelite Rule), she entered the Carmel of St. Joseph in Bari. She received the habit on 24th November of the same year, the feast of St John of the Cross. On 8th December 1924, she wrote in her own blood her act of total and definitive offering to the Lord with the vow to embrace the “most perfect”. She died on Christmas day 1927. On 19th December 2005, Pope Benedict XVI signed the Decree of Beatification. She was proclaimed Blessed in Bari Cathedral on 18th March 2006.

From the Common of Virgins

Office of Readings

Second Reading

From the Writings of Blessed Elia of Saint Clement
(Ed. O.C.D. 2001: pp. 282, 295, 322)

The desire to lose herself in God and her apostolic zeal

O sweet hiddenness, I love to pass my days in your shadow and to consume thus my existence, for love of my sweet Lord. At times, thinking of those eternal rewards, so great compared to the slight sacrifices of this life, my soul remains in wonder, and seized by an ardent longing, it throws itself on God, exclaiming: “Oh my good Jesus, I want to reach my goal, the gates of salvation, no matter what the cost. Do not deny me anything; give me suffering. May this be the most intimate martyrdom of my poor heart, hidden from every human glance: a rugged cross is what I ask of you. I want to pass my days here below hanging from this cross.”

When we suffer with Jesus, the suffering is delightful; I long to suffer with all my heart, beyond this I no longer want anything.

My Delight, who could ever separate me from You? Who could be capable of breaking these strong chains that keep my heart attached to yours? Perhaps the abandonment of creatures? It is precisely this that unites the soul to its Creator. Perhaps tribulations, suffering, crosses? It is in these thorns that the canticle of the soul that loves you is freest and lightest. Perhaps death? But this will be nothing other than the beginning of true happiness for the soul. Nothing, nothing can separate this soul from You, not even for a brief moment. It was created for You and is lost if it does not abandon itself to You.

My life is love: this sweet nectar surrounds me, this merciful love penetrates me, purifies me, renews me, and I feel it consuming me. The cry of my heart is: “Love of my God, my soul searches for You alone. My soul, suffer and be quiet; love and hope; offer yourself but hide your suffering behind a smile, and always move on. I want to spend my life in deep silence, in the depths of my heart, in order to listen to the gentle voice of my sweet Jesus.

“Souls, I will search for a way to cast you into the sea of Merciful Love: souls of sinners, but above all souls of priests and religious. To this end, my existence is slowly disappearing, consumed like the oil of a lamp that watches near the Tabernacle.”

I sense the vastness of my soul, its infinite greatness that the immensity of this world cannot contain: it was created to lose itself in You, my God, because you alone are great, infinite and thus You alone can make it completely happy.

RESPONSORY

R/. An unmarried woman, like a young girl, can devote herself to the Lord’s affairs.
* Her aim is to be dedicated to him in body as in spirit (alleluia).
V/. God is the strength of her heart, he is hers forever:
* Her aim is to be dedicated to him in body as in spirit (alleluia).

Morning Prayer

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. O Lord, how gentle is your love! Lost in your embrace I shall be blessed forever (alleluia).

Prayer

O Lord,
who were pleased to accept the self-offering
of Blessed Elia of Saint Clement, virgin;
grant through her intercession,
that, sustained by the Eucharist
we may be able faithfully to do your will.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you,
and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

Evening Prayer

Canticle of Mary

Ant. Your love, O Lord, is like a fire consuming me in the ardent furnace of your Heart (alleluia).

 

Elia-di-San-Clemente
Blessed Elia of San Clemente (Teodora Fracasso, 1901-1927)

Quote of the day: 22 May

If only we were all on fire with love for God! If we were, we should preach love, proclaim love, and yet more love, until we had set the whole world on fire. We must have great desires: then God will give us whatever is best for us.

Saint Joachina de Vedruna de Mas
From the Letters of St. Joachina

 

white all we have is now neon signage on black surface
Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Pexels.com

22 May: St. Joachina de Vedruna de Mas

May 22
SAINT JOACHINA DE VEDRUNA DE MAS
Religious

Optional Memorial

Joachina was born in Barcelona in 1783. She married Theodore de Mas in 1799 and bore him nine children before being widowed in 1816. Then in 1826, she was prompted by God’s Spirit to found the Congregation of Carmelite Sisters of Charity, which spread throughout Catalonia, establishing houses for the care of the sick and the education of children, especially the poor. She was greatly drawn to contemplating the mystery of the Holy Trinity. Her spiritual life was marked by prayer, mortification, detachment, humility, and love. She died at Vich in 1854.

From the Common of Holy Women (Religious)

Office of Readings

Second Reading

From the Letters of St. Joachina
Epist. pp. 275, 246, 260, 297, 254, 297, 31

Charity above all things

If only we were all on fire with love for God! If we were, we should preach love, proclaim love, and yet more love, until we had set the whole world on fire. We must have great desires: then God will give us whatever is best for us.

We must be careful to free our hearts from everything that might get in the way of the pure love of our beloved Jesus. He is love itself, and wants to give himself to us through love. Jesus is calling us all the time — how long are we going to remain deaf to His voice? No, let us keep our hearts ready, our wills completely for Jesus, our faculties and our senses for our Lord.

There must be no undue attachment in our hearts for created things: they must burn with love alone, love ever more fervent; for love never says ‘enough,’ never rests until it is completely on fire. When our hearts are completely on fire with pure love for Jesus, everything that might hinder love from taking complete possession will be cast out.

We must not give in to weariness: we must spend every minute in loving God.

God alone, the maker of heaven and earth, must be our rest and our consolation. The love of God is the only thing we can possess for ever: everything else will pass away.

Love, love, and yet more love — love that is never satisfied! The more we love God, the more we shall long to love him. And when we have Jesus in our hearts, we shall have everything else in him and with him.

Responsory

R/. Remain in my love.
* Whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in him (alleluia).

V/. Follow the way of love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.
* Whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in him (alleluia).

Morning Prayer

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. By this all will know that you are my disciples: that you have love for one another (alleluia).

Prayer

Lord God,
you gave St. Joachina de Vedruna to your Church
for the Christian education of youth
and the care of the sick.
May we follow her example,
and lovingly devote our lives
to serving you in our brother and sisters.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
Who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Evening Prayer

Canticle of Mary

Ant. Whatsoever you do for one of the least of my brethren, you do for me, says the Lord (alleluia).

 

Joaquima_de_V,_Morell,_1903
Saint Joachina de Vedruna de Mas

Quote of the day: 26 April

Dear Céline, you who used to ask me so many questions when we were little, I wonder how it happened that you had never asked me this question: “Why did God not create me an angel?” Ah, Céline, I shall tell you what I think. If Jesus did not create you an angel in heaven, it is because He wants you to be an angel on earth; yes, Jesus wants to have His heavenly court here below just as up above! He wants angel-martyrs, He wants angel-apostles, and He has created an unknown little flower, who is named Céline, with this intention in mind. He wills that His little flower save souls for Him; for this, He wills only one thing: that His flower look at Him while suffering her martyrdom. …

Oh! Céline, let us love Jesus to infinity, and from our two hearts let us make only one so that it may be greater in love!…

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
Letter 127 (excerpt) to her sister, Céline Martin
26 April 1891


NDLR: The original French text,  il a créé une petite fleur ignorée qui se nomme Céline, is clearly a reference to the close relationship between Thérèse who referred to herself as une petite fleure blanche (literally, little flower white), and to her sister, to whom she ascribes here the title, une petite fleure ignorée (literally, little flower unknown). With all due respect to the Rev. Father John Clarke, O.C.D. for his monumental work as the U.S. translator of the letters of St. Thérèse, we think there was a missed opportunity to show this intimate relationship in the rendering of the title in this translation. As you will see in the full text of the letter, Fr. Clarke elected to translate Céline’s title as a little unknown flower. We believe that the order of the adjectives could easily be interchanged and the fullness of the relationship between the two little flowers would be more apparent and better appreciated by the reader. We have indicated this above by editing his translation: “unknown little flower”. As we are the first to admit, traduire c’est trahir (the translator is a traitor).

nature field flowers grass
Photo by Stokpic on Pexels.com

Quote of the day: 14 April

If we see faults in monasteries of poor women, it is because they are poor against their will, and for no longer being able to, and no longer following the counsels of Christ; I simply do not praise poverty, but suffering with patience for the love of Christ Our Lord…

Saint Peter of Alcántara

Letter to Saint Teresa of Avila
14 April 1562

Peter of Alcantara shows Teresa d'Avila the way to paradise - Francesco Fontebasso - Cappella Giustinian dei Vescovi - San Francesco della Vigna, Venice
Peter of Alcantara shows Teresa of Avila the way to paradise
Francesco Fontebasso
Cappella Giustinian dei Vescovi of San Francesco della Vigna (Venice)

You inspire me

Since, O my God, You inspire me to make myself like you in everything, as much as I can, I want particularly to imitate You in those virtues that are so pleasing to Your most loving Heart, namely: humility, meekness, and obedience.

St. Teresa Margaret Redi

Quote of the day: 18 March

The good Lord is a tender Mother for me.

Blessed Elisha of St. Clement
Teodora Fracasso,  1901-1927

Elia-di-San-Clemente_closeup
LETTERA APOSTOLICA
CON LA QUALE IL SANTO PADRE
BENEDETTO XVI
ISCRIVE NELL’ALBO DEI BEATI 
LA SERVA DI DIO SUOR ELIA DI SAN CLEMENTE
Noi, accogliendo il desiderio del Nostro Fratello Francesco Cacucci, Arcivescovo di Bari-Bitonto, e di molti altri Fratelli nell’Episcopato e di molti fedeli, dopo aver avuto il parere della Congregazione delle Cause dei Santi, con la Nostra Autorità Apostolica concediamo che la Venerabile Serva di Dio Suor Elia di san Clemente, vergine dell’Ordine delle Carmelitane Scalze della Beata Maria Vergine del Monte Carmelo, che ha consacrato la sua vita contemplativa per amore di Cristo al servizio della Chiesa, d’ora in poi sia chiamata Beata e che si possa celebrare la sua festa nei luoghi e secondo le regole stabilite dal diritto, ogni anno, il 29 maggio.
Nel nome del Padre e del Figlio e dello Spirito Santo. 
Amen.
Dato a Roma, presso San Pietro, il 14 marzo dell’anno del Signore 2006, primo del Nostro Pontificato.
BENEDICTVS PP. XVI
The beatification ceremony took place in Bari 18 March 2006.

 

Quote of the day: 16 February

“I propose to have no other purpose in all my activities, either interior or ex­terior, than the motive of love alone, by constantly asking myself: ‘Now what am I doing in this action? Do I love God?’ If I should notice any obstacle to pure love, I shall take myself in hand and recall that I must seek to return my love for His love.”

Saint Teresa Margaret Redi
God Is Love

Teresa Margaret-Redi

Quote of the day: 12 February

If he so loved God during his life, he did not love him any less at his death. He made continuous acts of love, and when a friar asked him if he loved God with all his heart, he answered, “Ah! If I thought that my heart did not love God, I would tear it out right now.”

The next day, Monday, February 12, 1691, at nine o’clock in the morning, fully conscious, without agony or convulsions, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection died in the embrace of the Lord and offered his soul to God with the peace and tranquility of one asleep.

Joseph de Beaufort’s Eulogy for Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection
The Practice of the Presence of God

Brother-Lawrence1

Quote of the day: 6 February

From this spiritual source the faith and ardent love of John of the Cross and of Teresa of Jesus were nourished, two saints to whom, let me say it, I have entrusted myself since the years of my youth.

Saint John Paul II
Address to the Bishops of Oviedo and Valladolid on their Ad Limina Visit
6 February 1982

Quote of the day: 3 February

Jesus gave us the Cross so the Cross might give us Love

L 106 To Madame de Bobet

[February 10, 1902]
Dijon Carmel, February 10

J. M. + J. T.

Very dear Madame,

I don’t know how to thank you, you have spoiled me so much; if you knew how much pleasure you have given me! I so desired this beautiful Canticle of Saint John of the Cross, and, given by you with this pretty thought on its first page,* it is doubly precious to me. It is right here beside me on my little board in our dear little cell; but will I tell you that I need to look at it in order to think of you, dear Madame?

Oh no, of course not, for my thoughts and my heart, or rather my soul, find you in the One near whom there is neither separation nor distance and in whom it is so good to meet. Would you like Him to be our “Rendez-vous,” our Meeting Place, dear Madame? Our souls have certainly made an impact on each other: we know each other very little and we love each other so much. Oh! it is Jesus who has done that; may He thus bind us together and may He consume us in the flames of His love.

A Dieu, dear Madame, know that behind the grilles of Carmel you have a little heart that keeps a very faithful memory of you, a soul wholly united to yours and deeply fond of you. Thank you again. I don’t know how to say it, it is He who will bring it to you on behalf of His little fiancée.

Elizabeth of the Trinity

A kiss to dear little Simone. 

*The book Vie et oeuvres de saint Jean de la Croix, vol. 4, Le Cantique spirituel et La vive Flamme d’amour [Life and Works of Saint John of the Cross, vol. 4, The Spiritual Canticle and The Living Flame of Love], 1892, 3d ed., autographed on February 3, 1902, by Mme. de Bobet, carries this thought: “Jesus gave us the Cross so the Cross might give us Love.”  Simone was Mme. de Bobet’s daughter.

The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel

Mary, Mother and Teacher

She is the model of all
who live by the Spirit of the gospel;
As we look up to her in prayer we learn
from her mind to love you above all things,
from her spirit to be rapt in contemplation of your Word, and
from her heart to serve the needs of others.

ndmc_protection
Early image of the Blessed Virgin clothed in the Carmelite habit surrounded by Carmelite saints
Excerpt from the preface to the Eucharistic Prayer, Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother and Teacher in the Spirit; taken from The Collection of Masses of the Blessed Virgin Mary, published by the Congregation of Divine Worship in 1986.

Discovering your vocation: Laudem Gloriae

Let us unite to make Him forget everything by the strength of our love, and let us be, as Saint Paul says, “the praise of His glory”.
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
(Letter 191, January 25, 1904)
beatification-banner
Elizabeth of the Trinity
Her beatification banner

 

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