St. John of the Cross Novena — Day 3

If you desire that devotion be born in your spirit and that the love of God and the desire for divine things increase, cleanse your soul of every desire, attachment, and ambition in such a way that you have no concern about anything. Just as a sick person is immediately aware of good health once the bad humor has been thrown off and a desire to eat is felt, so will you recover your health, in God, if you cure yourself as was said. Without doing this, you will not advance no matter how much you do.

Sayings of Light and Love, 78

 

SCRIPTURE

This is what we have heard from him, and the message that we are announcing to you: God is light; there is no darkness in him at all. If we say that we are in union with God while we are living in darkness, we are lying because we are not living the truth. But if we live our lives in the light, as he is in the light, we are in union with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we say we have no sin in us, we are deceiving ourselves and refusing to admit the truth; but if we acknowledge our sins, then God who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and purify us from everything that is wrong. To say that we have never sinned is to call God a liar and to show that his word is not in us.

I am writing this, my children, to stop you sinning; but if anyone should sin, we have our advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, who is just; he is the sacrifice that takes our sins away, and not only ours, but the whole world’s. We can be sure that we know God only by keeping his commandments. Anyone who says, “I know him,” and does not keep his commandments, is a liar, refusing to admit the truth. But when anyone does obey what he has said, God’s love comes to perfection in him. We can be sure that we are in God only when the one who claims to be living in him is living the same kind of life as Christ lived.

1 John 1:5-2:6

 

MEDITATION

“Cleanse your soul,” writes Our Holy Father Saint John of the Cross. This is the medicine, the remedy he prescribes to those who are sin-sick and desire health and wholeness in Christ. Cleansing the soul of all that is not God enables us to grow in devotion, the desire for the things of God, and to grow in the love of God.

What are we cleansing? Desire. Attachment. Ambition. St. John of the Cross leads us on an examination of conscience with these three points.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) provides a veritable smorgasbord of theological and catechetical delights upon which we may feast in its article on the Tenth Commandment. (CCC 2534-2557) “The tenth commandment concerns the intentions of the heart,” and that goes precisely to the heart of the teaching of St. John of the Cross. Although the teaching of the Catechism rightly focuses on “coveting the goods of another” (CCC 2534), St. John would caution us to examine our disordered desires for another’s spiritual goods, not simply temporal goods. Who among us has not desired or envied someone else’s contemplative spirit, prayerful attitude, or Christlike zeal?

The Catechism says that “the sensitive appetite leads us to desire pleasant things we do not have” (CCC 2535). But Our Holy Father John of the Cross explains how his teaching encompasses more than just the senses: “God gathers together all the strength, faculties, and appetites of the soul, spiritual and sensory alike, so the energy and power of this whole harmonious composite may be employed in this love” (Dark Night II, 11:4).

Love: that must be our true ambition. First, to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; then, to love our neighbor as ourselves (Lk 10:27). St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus went one step further, praying: “You know, Lord, that my only ambition is to make you known and loved” (Pri 8). If we are willing to do some regular housekeeping, we will progress—step by step— toward the desired state of having “no concern about anything”, just like an infant in its mother’s arms (cf. Ps 131:2).

Saint Raphael Kalinowski, a Discalced Carmelite friar from Poland who learned about the Carmelite order by reading the lives of the saints during years of forced labor in the salt mines of Usole, Siberia, has some housekeeping suggestions for us. May the beauty and depth of his words bring us a message of hope and encouragement as we read and understand the teaching of Our Holy Father St. John of the Cross.

As the raging sea seems to feel displeasure at all that pollutes it, and desires to expel from itself anything foreign, so that the beauty of the mysteries it holds might appear to view in all clarity, so the soul does not tolerate anything within itself unless it is of God or leads to God; approaching confession from the abyss of her misery, she casts off everything, desiring to preserve in herself only the image of God according to which she was created, to look only at him and to rejoice only in him. In her love-filled tears she receives a shower of graces that descend from the wounds of her Savior. The misery of sin makes way for grace, the thorns become roses, and even the very poison of sin changes into an antidote for the soul. Here are the fruits of a good confession: it purifies, heals, fortifies, and beautifies the soul.

All that we have treated so far leads us back to what we discussed at the beginning: imitating our Holy Father by using the means the Savior left us to purify our soul, to preserve the heart ever pure in order to be able to transform it into an altar of the living God, and to become enamored of him in suffering and being despised: Altare Dei, cor nostrum! Humilis corde, cor Christi est [The altar of God is our heart; the humble heart is like the heart of Christ].

In the sketch of the Ascent of Mount Carmel drawn by Our Holy Father John of the Cross, we read: “Here there is no longer any way because for the just . . . there is no law.” This means that if all the prescriptions of the law have as their object the love of God, when this is fully attained, the prescriptions cease of themselves. True repentance, in crushing the heart of man, crushes everything opposed to the love of God and destroys all that does not lead to him…

And all this through Mary.

(Excerpts from On a Good Confession, 24 November 1902)

 

NOVENA PRAYER

O St. John of the Cross
You were endowed by our Lord with the spirit of self-denial
and a love of the cross.
Obtain for us the grace to follow your example
that we may come to the eternal vision of the glory of God.

O Saint of Christ’s redeeming cross
the road of life is dark and long.
Teach us always to be resigned to God’s holy will
in all the circumstances of our lives
and grant us the special favor
which we now ask of you:

mention your request.

Above all, obtain for us the grace of final perseverance,
a holy and happy death and everlasting life with you
and all the saints in heaven.
Amen.

 

jan_od_krzyza_Carmel of Usole PL
Icon of St. John of the Cross venerated by the Discalced Carmelite friars of the Krakow Province at Holy Trinity House of Prayer in Piotrkowice | Credit: Discalced Carmelites

 

All Scripture references in this novena are found on the Bible Gateway website, with the exception of texts drawn from the 1968 Reader’s Edition of the Jerusalem Bible.

The novena prayer was composed from approved sources by Professor Michael Ogunu, a member of the Discalced Carmelite Secular Order in Nigeria.

Praskiewicz OCD, S 1998, Saint Raphael Kalinowski: An Introduction to his Life and Spirituality, Translated from the Italian by Coonan, T, Griffin OCD, M and Sullivan OCD, L, ICS Publications, Washington, D.C.

St. John of the Cross Novena — Day 2

All for me and nothing for you.

All for you and nothing for me.

Sayings of Light and Love, 100-111

 

SCRIPTURE

I believe nothing can happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For him, I have accepted the loss of everything, and I look on everything as so much rubbish if only I can have Christ and be given a place in him. I am no longer trying for perfection by my own efforts, the perfection that comes from the Law, but I want only the perfection that comes through faith in Christ, and is from God and based on faith. All I want is to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and to share his sufferings by reproducing the pattern of his death. That is the way I can hope to take my place in the resurrection of the dead. Not that I have become perfect yet: I have not yet won, but I am still running, trying to capture the prize for which Christ Jesus captured me. I can assure you my brothers, I am far from thinking that I have already won. All I can say is that I forget the past and I strain ahead for what is still to come; I am racing for the finish, for the prize to which God calls us upward to receive in Christ Jesus. We who are called “perfect” must all think in this way. If there is some point on which you see things differently, God will make it clear to you; meanwhile, let us go forward on the road that has brought us to where we are.

Philippians 3:8-16

 

MEDITATION

“Nothing for me.” The nada—that absolute, naked, utter nothing—of Saint John of the Cross can seem so stark, even off-putting to a novice reader of the Church’s Mystical Doctor. Nothing for me? How can this be?

In order to unpack these absolutes, it helps to have a reference point. Saint Paul can help us to understand the purpose of striving for such nakedness, such emptiness, the possession of nothing to the point of being nothing.

In the verses preceding our Scripture reading, St. Paul lists all the reasons that he had to boast of his “Hebrew-ness”. He even calls himself a “Hebrew of Hebrews.” That’s a rather bold statement. Yet despite all of his reasons to boast of his Hebrew and Pharisee pedigree, he says that nothing can happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus.” (Ph 3:8) There’s that absolute qualifier again: nothing.

But Paul doesn’t stop there, he goes further: “For Him, I have accepted the loss of everything, and I look on everything as so much rubbish.” St. Paul is getting out his virtual work gloves, his virtual broom, dustpan, trash bags, and taking inventory of his life as one would assess their home and property with an insurance adjuster after a fire or natural disaster, understanding that all one possessed is a total loss, ready to be hauled away with the garbage.

Ah, but there’s a reason for rejoicingclearing away the rubbish creates total and absolute room for Christ: “if only I can have Christ and be given a place in Him.”

This contrast of self-emptying to be filled with something greater in St. John of the Cross and St. Paul the Apostle reminds us of the self-emptying in the life of Christ:

Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name. (Ph 2:6-9)

And as we look at St. Paul’s words, it is interesting to look further at his all-or-nothing contrasts. We know what he considers to be nothing, a pile of rubbish. With what does he seek to replace it? Let’s search his text for the simple word, all. “All I want is to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and to share his sufferings by reproducing the pattern of his death… All I can say is that I forget the past and I strain ahead for what is still to come” (Ph 3:10,13). Yes, nothing for me leaves all for you. That is, essentially, what St. John of the Cross said, in the stark all-and-nothing contrast of his saying, todo para ti y nada para mí.

If the nada of St. John of the Cross and the rubbish-heap imagery of St. Paul still leave us wondering how to attain such noble, holy aspirations, it is St. Paul’s great disciple, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity who can show us the way. In her retreat Heaven in Faith (First Day, second prayer) she writes:

We must not, so to speak, stop at the surface, but enter ever deeper into the divine Being through recollection. “I am still running,” exclaimed St. Paul (Ph 3:12); so must we descend daily this pathway of the Abyss which is God; let us slide down this slope in wholly loving trust. “Deep calls to deep” (Ps 42:8). It is there in the very depths that the divine impact takes place, where the abyss of our nothingness encounters the Abyss of mercy, the immensity of the all of God. There we will find the strength to die to ourselves and, losing all vestige of self, we will be changed into love…. “Blessed are those who die in the Lord” (Rev 14:13)!

 

NOVENA PRAYER

O St. John of the Cross
You were endowed by our Lord with the spirit of self-denial
and a love of the cross.
Obtain for us the grace to follow your example
that we may come to the eternal vision of the glory of God.

O Saint of Christ’s redeeming cross
the road of life is dark and long.
Teach us always to be resigned to God’s holy will
in all the circumstances of our lives
and grant us the special favor
which we now ask of you:

mention your request.

Above all, obtain for us the grace of final perseverance,
a holy and happy death and everlasting life with you
and all the saints in heaven.
Amen.

 

StJohn_Orleans-France
Orléans, France

 

 

All Scripture references in this novena are found on the Bible Gateway website, with the exception of texts drawn from the 1968 Reader’s Edition of the Jerusalem Bible.

The novena prayer was composed from approved sources by Professor Michael Ogunu, a member of the Discalced Carmelite Secular Order in Nigeria.

of the Trinity, E 2014, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 1: General Introduction Major Spiritual Writings, translated from the French by Kane, A, ICS Publications, Washington DC

Quote of the day: 1 December

Have a great love for those who contradict and fail to love you, for in this way love is begotten in a heart that has no love. God so acts with us, for he loves us that we might love by means of the very love he bears toward us.

Saint John of the Cross

Letter 33 to a Discalced Carmelite nun in Segovia
Ubeda, October-November 1591

 

B14504.jpg
Saint John of the Cross, Francisco Antonio Gijón (Spanish, 1653 – after 1705), 1675, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC. | Credit: National Gallery of Art

 

 

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: 21 November

The vow of chastity intends to release human beings from all the bonds of natural common life, to fasten them to the cross high above all the bustle, and to free their hearts for union with the Crucified. This sacrifice, too, is not accomplished once and for all.

Of course, one is cut off, externally, from occasions that can become temptations outside but often much that distracts the spirit and the heart, robbing them of their freedom, cleaves to the memory and fantasy. Besides, there is also a danger that new ties establish themselves within the protective cloister walls and hinder full union with the Divine Heart.

When we enter the Order, we again become members of a family. We are to see and respect, as head and members of the Mystical Body of Christ, our superiors and the other sisters. But we are human, and something all too human can easily become mingled with holy, childlike, and sisterly love. We believe we see Christ in the people we look up to and fail to notice that we attach ourselves to them humanly and are in danger of losing sight of Christ.

But human attraction is not the only cloud on purity of heart. Too little love is a worse offense against the Divine Heart than too much. Every aversion, any anger and resentment we tolerate in our hearts closes the door to the Savior. Involuntary stirrings naturally arise through no fault of our own, but as soon as we become aware of them, we must relentlessly oppose them. Otherwise, we resist God who is love and do the devil’s work.

The song sung by the virgins attending the Lamb is surely one of purest love.

Saint Edith Stein

The Marriage of the Lamb
For September 14, 1940

 

JOSE-MARIA MORENO GARCIA
Clothing day at the Carmel of Consuegra (Toledo), founded in 1597 | José-María Moreno García / Flickr

 

 

Stein, E 2014, The Hidden Life: Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Texts, translated from the German by Stein W, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

19 November: St. Raphael Kalinowski

November 19
SAINT RAPHAEL KALINOWSKI
Priest

Memorial

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

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

Office of Readings

Second Reading

From the exhortations of Saint Raphael, Religious

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

You must be holy

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

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

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

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

Responsory

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

Prayer

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

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

 

 

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

Quote of the day: 12 November

A direct and intimate experience of God is the basis of Carmelite spirituality. Therefore, before any Rule, and in order that the Rule may be lived when it is formulated, a contemplative spirit and a deep sense of God are required of those who wish to lead the life of Carmel.

If they aspire to love with the love of God himself, it is because they are strong in their hope, resolute in their faith, docile in all things to the invitations of the Spirit; it is because they depend on God alone.

Father Paul-Marie of the Cross, OCD

Carmelite Spirituality in the Teresian Tradition
II. Characteristics of Carmel: Primacy of the Contemplative Spirit

 

sunset love lake resort
Photo by Download a pic Donate a buck! ^ on Pexels.com

 

 

of the Cross P-M 1997, Carmelite Spirituality in the Teresian Tradition, translated from the French by Sullivan K, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Novena – Day 5

Although I possess nothing, I nevertheless appoint as my sole heir…

Intention

For an increase in the fruit of kindness

St. Paul speaks

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity speaks

I the undersigned declare that although I possess nothing, since I have previously disposed of everything that belonged to me, I nevertheless appoint as my sole heir Madame la comtesse Georges de Sourdon, resident of Dijon.
Elizabeth Catez
30 October 1906
(Letter 338 to Madame de Sourdon, 30 October 1906)

Meditation 

St. Elizabeth’s biographer, the Discalced Carmelite scholar Fr. Conrad De Meester, O.C.D., notes that “what at first glance looks like an official will, in reality, constitutes a true message of friendship… an astounding gesture of kindness and even of gaiety in this totally exhausted young woman, who is going to collapse that every evening and die ten days later.” Elizabeth doesn’t write about kindness; she simply was kindness personified. If God, who is Love, dwells within us, then kindness dwells within us and overflows to those around us. Shouldn’t that be the model for our lives?

NOVENA PRAYER 

O Saint Elisabeth!
In your great love of God,
You were always so close
to your friends’ needs.
Now, in Heaven,
Face to face with the Lord,
Do intervene near Him
for the needs we recommend to you.

(Make your request)

Teach us how to abide,
in Love and Faith,
with the Holy Trinity
in the utmost of our heart.
Teach us how to radiate God’s Love
amongst men, in our everyday life
just as you did yourself,
so that we may be a praise of God’s glory.

Our Father… (pray slowly, contemplating the meaning of the prayer)

Glory be… (three times, in praise of the indwelling Trinity)

 

Spiti 2010 359 kanglapass Flickr 4908057875_b66a2c458c_o
kanglapass / Flickr

 

 

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: 3 November

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

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

Places of great human trial.

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

The test of moral forces

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

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

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

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

Saint John Paul II

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

 

Dachau gate P Fahr Flickr
payam_fahr / Flickr

 

 

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

 

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Novena – Day 4

So, when you feel as if you are about to lose your patience… let go

Intention

For an increase in the fruit of patience

St. Paul speaks

God is wonderful and glorious. I pray that his Spirit will make you become strong followers and that Christ will live in your hearts because of your faith. Stand firm and be deeply rooted in his love. (Ephesians 3:16-17)

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity speaks

If you knew how I prayed for you on your fifteenth birthday! I offered Holy Communion for that intention, then I gave you to the Holy Trinity, and it seemed to me that this gift was even more true, more complete than it was last year. Yes, my little sister, you belong entirely to “Them,” you are God’s thing. Oh! Really surrender yourself to Him, to His Love!… Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus says that “one is consumed by Love to the extent that one is surrendered to Love.” Since we aspire to be victims of His Charity like our holy Mother Teresa, we must let ourselves be rooted in the Charity of Christ, as Saint Paul says in today’s beautiful epistle. And how? By always living, through all things, with Him who dwells within us and who is Charity. He so thirsts to associate us with all that He is, to transform us into Himself. My little sister, let us awaken our faith, let us recall that He is there, within, and that he wants us to be very faithful, So, when you feel as if you are about to lose your patience or say something against charity, bring yourself back to Him, let go of this natural inclination in order to please Him. (Letter 179 to Germaine de Gemeaux, 20 September 1903)

Meditation 

Faced with the difficult challenge of overcoming a grave character defect, a wise man once realized that surrendering his problems and his entire self to God who is Love might enable him to find the strength in his weakness to “let go and let God.” Years before this concept and phrase became popular, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity—and St. Thérèse of Lisieux before her—counsels a teenager to adopt the “let go and let God” way of life. Surrender. Love. Faith. It seems that the trick to growing more patient is: (1) pray for the willingness to become more patient; (2) ask the Holy Spirit to show us when we are losing patience; (3) when the Holy Spirit reminds us, to consciously “let go” at that moment by immediately turning to God. A simple prayer should suffice, such as, “I can’t do it, but you can, so please help me.” St. Elizabeth says this should work for the inclination to speak unkind and hurtful words, too—in person, face-to-face, of course—but should we work on our speech in social media, too? Can and should we turn to God dwelling within to help us to overcome the natural inclination to “say something against charity” whenever we’re online?

NOVENA PRAYER 

O Saint Elisabeth!
In your great love of God,
You were always so close
to your friends’ needs.
Now, in Heaven,
Face to face with the Lord,
Do intervene near Him
for the needs we recommend to you.

(Make your request)

Teach us how to abide,
in Love and Faith,
with the Holy Trinity
in the utmost of our heart.
Teach us how to radiate God’s Love
amongst men, in our everyday life
just as you did yourself,
so that we may be a praise of God’s glory.

Our Father… (pray slowly, contemplating the meaning of the prayer)

Glory be… (three times, in praise of the indwelling Trinity)

 

Let There Be Light tabor-roeder Flickr 5919402636_a7b2da96ed_o
Phil Roeder / Flickr

 

 

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

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Novena – Day 1

I beg you, oh, mark everything with the seal of love! It alone endures.

Intention

For an increase in the gift of Love

St. Paul speaks

If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 1:1-2)

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity speaks

“Oh! how empty is all that has not been done for God and with God! I beg you, oh, mark everything with the seal of love! It alone endures.” (Letter 333 to Madame de Bobet, end of October 1906)

Meditation 

At the end of October 1906, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity already was seeing things with an eternal viewpoint. In her letter to her friend Antoinette de Bobet she remarked, “in the light of eternity, the soul sees things as they really are.” How can we benefit from St. Elizabeth’s heavenly view and apply her advice to our lives? How can I place a seal or a stamp of love on everything I do or say?

NOVENA PRAYER 

O Saint Elisabeth!
In your great love of God,
You were always so close
to your friends’ needs.
Now, in Heaven,
Face to face with the Lord,
Do intervene near Him
for the needs we recommend to you.

(Make your request)

Teach us how to abide,
in Love and Faith,
with the Holy Trinity
in the utmost of our heart.
Teach us how to radiate God’s Love
amongst men, in our everyday life
just as you did yourself,
so that we may be a praise of God’s glory.

Our Father… (pray slowly, contemplating the meaning of the prayer)

Glory be… (three times, in praise of the indwelling Trinity)

 

Love stamp USPS Robert Indiana 1973
United States Postal Service 8c LOVE Stamp issued in 1973, designed by Robert Indiana | pfunk42 / Wikimedia Commons

 

 

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: 28 October

Our God is a consuming Fire.

J.M. + J.T.

 

Before flying away to Heaven, dear little Sister Marie-Odile, I want to send you a little note from my soul, for I am anxious for you to know that in the Father’s House I will pray especially for you.

I am keeping a rendez-vous with you in the Furnace of love; my eternity will be spent there, and you can begin it already here on earth.

Dear Sister, I will be jealous for the beauty of your soul, for, as you know, my little heart loves you very much, and when one loves, one desires the best for the beloved.

I think that in Heaven my mission will be to draw souls by helping them go out of themselves to cling to God by a wholly simple and loving movement, and to keep them in this great silence within that will allow God to communicate Himself to them and transform them into Himself.

Dear little sister of my soul, it seems to me I now see everything in God’s light, and if I started my life over again, oh, I would wish not to waste one instant! He does not allow us, His brides in Carmel, to devote ourselves to anything but love, but the divine, and if by chance, in the radiance of His Light, I see you leave that sole occupation, I will come very quickly to call you to order; you would want that, wouldn’t you?

Pray for me, help me prepare for the wedding feast of the Lamb. Death entails a great deal of suffering, and I am counting on you to help me. In return, I will come to help you at your death.

My Master urges me on, He speaks to me of nothing but the eternity of love. It is so grave, so serious; I wish to live each moment fully.

A Dieu, I don’t have the strength or the permission to write at length, but you know Saint Paul’s words: “Our conversation is in Heaven” [Phil. 3:20].

Beloved little sister, let us live by love so we may die of love and glorify the God Who is all Love.

“Laudem gloriae,”
28 October 1906

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity

Letter 335 to Sister Marie-Odile
Carmel of Paray-le-Monial

 

person holding out hand to the sky
I think that in Heaven my mission will be to draw souls by helping them go out of themselves to cling to God by a wholly simple and loving movement |Photo by Raphael Brasileiro on Pexels.com

 

 

Elizabeth of the Trinity, St 2014, I have found God, Complete Works II - Letters from Carmel, translated from the French by Nash, A, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 23 October

I am asking Him that you may be not on­ly a good missionary but a saint all on fire with the love of God and souls; I beg you to obtain also for me this love so that I may help you in your apostolic work.

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

Letter 198 to Abbé Maurice Bellière
21 October 1896

 

Belliere-3
Abbé Maurice Bellière in the African missions with the Pères Blancs | Photo credit: Discalced Carmelites

St. Teresa Novena 2019 — Day 9

From her writings

The blessings gained through true poverty I think are many, and I wouldn’t want to lose them. I am often aware of a faith within me so great that I think God cannot fail anyone who serves Him. I know that there never is or will be any time in which His words will fail; for I cannot persuade myself otherwise, nor can I fear…

It seems to me I have much more compassion for the poor than I used to. I feel such great pity and desire to find relief for them that if it were up to me I would give them the clothes off my back. I feel no repugnance whatsoever toward them, toward speaking to or touching them. This I now see is a gift given by God. For even though I used to give alms for love of Him, I didn’t have the natural compassion. I feel a very noticeable improvement in this matter.

Spiritual Testimonies: 2, Nos. 3-4

 

Reflection by Fr. Emiel Albalahin, O.Carm.

According to Teresa, while interior development necessarily involves continued progress in self-knowledge and self-awareness, it is not egotistical, because it also encourages us to look beyond ourselves to God and to others.  Thus progress in the spiritual life really authenticates itself in charity.  God’s love, as the evangelist John tells us, is for all and is so profound that He sent His Son for our redemption.  For those engaged in a life of prayer, we must also love with this Divine love.  It is a transformative love that changes the way we see and approach our fellow men and women, as Teresa illustrates in the passage above.

May we, therefore, learn to love others with the love that God loves us, that our prayer may be truly perfected.

 

We pray together

Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be.

V. Holy Mother St. Teresa, pray for us:

R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray:

Father,
by your Spirit, you raised up
our Mother Saint Teresa of Jesus
to show your Church the way to perfection.
May her inspired teaching
awaken in us a longing for true holiness.

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

 


Fr. Emiel Albalahin, O.Carm. is a friar of the Saint Elias Province and the pastor of Transfiguration Parish in Tarrytown, New York, U.S.A.

View the entire novena on the website of the General Curia of the Carmelite Order.

Quote of the day: 14 October

I repeat, it is necessary that your foundation consist of more than prayer and contemplation. If you do not strive for the virtues and practice them, you will always be dwarfs. And, please God, it will be only a matter of not growing, for you already know that whoever does not increase decreases. I hold that love, where present, cannot possibly be content with remaining always the same.

Saint Teresa of Avila

The Interior Castle: VII:4

 

Stunted Growth Scott Jungling Flickr 35436886661_8b265fe5ac_o
Stunted Growth | Scott Jungling / 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.

St. Teresa Novena 2019 — Day 8

From her writings

I repeat, it is necessary that your foundation consist of more than prayer and contemplation. If you do not strive for the virtues and practice them, you will always be dwarfs. And, please God, it will be only a matter of not growing, for you already know that whoever does not increase decreases. I hold that love, where present, cannot possibly be content with remaining always the same.

The Interior Castle: VII:4, No. 9

 

Reflection by Fr. Emiel Albalahin, O.Carm.

Teresa writes these words toward the end of her description of the interior journey, when the soul arrives at union. Fundamental to spiritual progress is the development of a life of virtue, as virtues and prayer shape one another. In the context of Teresa’s definition of prayer as the intimate sharing between friends, virtues are all that we do and suffer for the love of God our great friend. Therefore, engagement in recollection helps us to cultivate practices to enhance our relationship with God, while the continued exercise of these virtues helps us to be gradually more receptive to interacting with Him.

In our prayer today, let us ask for the grace to develop and grow in lives of virtue, that God’s love for us may be expressed and nurtured in our love for Him.

 

We pray together

Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be.

V. Holy Mother St. Teresa, pray for us:

R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray:

Father,
by your Spirit, you raised up
our Mother Saint Teresa of Jesus
to show your Church the way to perfection.
May her inspired teaching
awaken in us a longing for true holiness.

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

 


Fr. Emiel Albalahin, O.Carm. is a friar of the Saint Elias Province and the pastor of Transfiguration Parish in Tarrytown, New York, U.S.A.

View the entire novena on the website of the General Curia of the Carmelite Order.

St. Teresa Novena 2019 — Day 7

From her writings

I gave myself to Love Divine,
And lo! my lot so changèd is
That my Beloved One is mine
And I at last am surely His.

When that sweet Huntsman from above
First wounded me and left me prone,
Into the very arms of Love
My stricken soul forthwith was thrown.
Since then my life’s no more my own
And all my lot so changèd is
That my Beloved One is mine
And I at last am surely His.

The dart wherewith He wounded me
Was all embarbèd round with love,
And thus my spirit came to be
One with its Maker, God above.
No love but this I need to prove:
My life to God surrender’d is
And my Beloved One is mine
And I at last am surely His.

Poems III. I gave myself to Love Divine … (“Yo toda me entregué y dí. …”)
(translation by 
E. Allison Peers)

 

Reflection by Fr. Emiel Albalahin, O.Carm.

This beautiful poem is the result of Teresa’s reflection on Songs 2:16: “My Beloved belongs to me and I to him.” In her verse, she expresses a fundamental truth of the interior journey: God himself initiates and sustains the relationship, and invites us to surrender to Him in faith. Our efforts of self-renunciation, sacrifice, and humility about which Teresa constantly discusses in her writings are our personal response to this love. In renouncing ourselves, we allow the Lord to unite us to Himself.

Let us not tire of making our sacrifices of love, but instead take courage, sure in the knowledge that we are already loved.

 

We pray together

Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be.

V. Holy Mother St. Teresa, pray for us:

R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray:

Father,
by your Spirit, you raised up
our Mother Saint Teresa of Jesus
to show your Church the way to perfection.
May her inspired teaching
awaken in us a longing for true holiness.

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

 


Fr. Emiel Albalahin, O.Carm. is a friar of the Saint Elias Province and the pastor of Transfiguration Parish in Tarrytown, New York, U.S.A.

View the entire novena on the website of the General Curia of the Carmelite Order.

Quote of the day: 6 October

I do not know what is happening. My Master caught hold of me and made me understand that today the Mother and child are beginning a new life, “wholly present to Love, wholly within pure Love.”

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity

Letter 321 to Mother Germaine of Jesus
October (4th or 9th), 1906

 

animals birds dawn giraffe
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Elizabeth of the Trinity, St 1995, I Have Found God : Complete Works. II, Letters from Carmel, translated from the French by Nash, E, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 19 September

In the Lisieux infirmary

 

Sr. Thérèse of Saint-Augustine: “Tell me, have you had any struggles?”

St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus: “Oh! yes, I have had some. I’ve had a nature that wasn’t easy­ going; this wasn’t apparent exteriorly, but I know it well, and I can assure you that I wasn’t a day without suffering, not a single day.”

Sr. Thérèse of Saint-Augustine: “But some think you had none. “

St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus: “Ah! the judgments of creatures! Because they don’t see, they don’t believe!”

Sr. Thérèse of Saint-Augustine: “There are some Sisters who believe you will experience the fears of the dying. “

St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus: “These haven’t come to me as yet. If they should come, I’ll bear them; but if I should have them, they would not be sufficient to purify me, they would be no more than bleach. What I need is the fire of love.”

 

saint-therese-of-lisieux19_15apr1895 (2)
Sister Thérèse of Saint-Augustine
(Julia Leroyer)
5 September 1856 – 22 July 1929
See the complete photo here

 


Sister Thérèse of Saint-Augustine was the one nun of whom St. Thérèse wrote, “There is in the Community a Sister who has the faculty of displeasing me in everything, in her ways, her words, her character, everything seems very disagreeable to me. And still, she is a holy religious who must be very pleasing to God.” (Ms C 13v)

She played an instrumental role in assisting St. Thérèse through her dark night of faith. In January 1897 Sister Thérèse of Saint-Augustine had a prophetic dream of a dark apartment with a heavy black door “under which a very bright ray of light came through.” On the other side of the door, she could hear a voice calling from the light asking for St. Thérèse. When Sister Thérèse of Saint-Augustine awoke from her dream, she was convinced that the saint soon would die.

A few days later, Sister Thérèse of Saint-Augustine shared her dream with St. Thérèse. The saint’s response gives us a striking indication of the depths of her crisis of faith.

“How beautiful! It’s not a dream, it’s a fantasy and it’s for me that you had it. (…) If you knew what good you do for me; haven’t I spoken to you about the state of my soul? (…) I don’t believe in eternal life, it seems to me after this earthly life, there is nothing more. I can’t describe to you the shadows into which I’ve sunk. What you just told me is exactly the state of my soul. The preparation they are doing with me and especially the black door is really the picture of what is happening in me. You saw nothing but red in that door that is so dark, that is to say, that all has vanished for me and there is nothing left but love. Your dream is my only ray of light, I have no other. I know it by heart down to the smallest details.”

Months later in the infirmary, when Sister Thérèse asks if her dying companion has had any struggles, January’s dream certainly must have been on her mind.

Learn more about Sister Thérèse of Saint-Augustine here.

Read more of her last conversations with St. Thérèse here.

 

Quote of the day: 18 September

Never have I understood so well that suffering is the greatest pledge of love that God can give His creatures, and I did not suspect that just such sweetness was hidden at the bottom of the chalice for the one who drank it to the dregs… it is a fatherly hand, a hand of infinite tenderness that metes out suffering to us. Oh, may we know how to go beyond the bitterness of that suffering to find our rest in it.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 313 to Madame de Sourdon (excerpt)
18 September 1906

 

Pain Cuppini Flickr 2659817133_a321b7ca52_o
Pain | Riccardo Cuppini / Flickr

 

 

Elizabeth of the Trinity, S 2014, I Have Found God: Letters From Carmel, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

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