Marie du jour: 31 May

Why I Love You, O Mary!

You make me feel that it’s not impossible
To follow in your footsteps, O Queen of the elect.
You made visible the narrow road to Heaven
While always practicing the humblest virtues.
Near you, Mary, I like to stay little.
I see the vanity of greatness here below.
At the home of Saint Elizabeth, receiving your visit,
I learn how to practice ardent charity.

~   ~   ~

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
Why I Love You, O Mary (PN54, Stanza 6)

Saint Thérèse’s first draft of the poem is featured in the image above. Stanza 6 is the second stanza on the right side of the page. Lines 5-6 and 7-8 of the stanza appear in brackets.

 

Bell, Robert Anning, 1863-1933; The Meeting of the Virgin and Saint Elizabeth
The Meeting of the Virgin and Saint Elizabeth
Robert Anning Bell (British, 1863–1933)
Tempera on linen, 1910
Manchester Art Gallery
This is a biblical scene of Saint Elizabeth receiving the visit of the Virgin Mary. Elizabeth is dressed in gray and red robes and is kneeling and clutching at the waist of Mary, who is dressed in blue and white robes. Mary is bending over to take Elizabeth’s face in her hands. It is set in a flat landscape with a low horizon. The two women are framed by the wall of a building immediately behind them to their right, and some shrubbery further away in the center and left.

 


View the complete image of St. Thérèse’s first draft of the poem, an image of her second draft, details of her corrections, and images of the finished poem and its full text in English or French at the website of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux.

Marie du jour: 30 May

Second Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Gospel — John 2:1-5

There was a wedding in Cana of Galilee. Jesus’ mother was there, and Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the celebration. When the wine ran out, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They don’t have any wine.”

Jesus replied, “Woman, what does that have to do with me? My time hasn’t come yet.”

His mother told the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”

 


 

Commentary

The Mother of the Lord shows us the way: whatever he tells you, do it. Do what he says, put his gospel into practice, make it a body in motion, of flesh and blood. The huge, empty water jars in your heart will be filled he will transform your life, from empty to full, from dull to happy.

 

The attitude of Mary
must be our attitude as a Church:
trust-filled but active.

 

This involves not only Jesus’ action but it involves our action, as well. “Truly, a New Covenant is pledged at this wedding. And a new mission is entrusted to the servants of the Lord, namely, the entire Church: ‘Do whatever he tells you’. To serve the Lord means to listen and to put his Word into practice. It is the simple, essential recommendation of Jesus’ Mother. It is the program for a Christian’s life” (Pope Francis).

Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Managua

 

Cana stone water jars Israel museum
Typical stone water jars displayed in the Israel Museum | Seetheholyland.net / Flickr

 

Marie du jour: 29 May

THE WAY OF PERFECTION

The book called The Way of Perfection written by Teresa of Jesus, a nun of the Order of our Lady of Mount Carmel. This book is intended for the discalced nuns who observe the primitive rule of our Lady of Mount Carmel.

JHS

This book deals with the advice and counsel Teresa of Jesus gives to her religious Sisters and daughters who live in the monasteries that, with the help of our Lord and the glorious Virgin Mother of God, our Lady, she founded. These monasteries follow the primitive rule of our Lady of Mount Carmel. She directs her counsel particularly to the Sisters at St. Joseph’s monastery in Avila, which was the first foundation and the place where she was prioress when she wrote this book.

In all that I say in this book I submit to what our Mother the Holy Roman Church holds. If there should be anything contrary to that, it will be due to my not understanding the matter. And so I beg the learned men who will see this work to look it over carefully and to correct any mistake there may be as to what the Church holds, as well as any other mistakes in other matters. If there should be anything good in this work, may it be for the honor and glory of God and the service of His most Blessed Mother, our Lady and Patroness, whose habit I wear despite my being very unworthy to do so.

Saint Teresa of Avila
Foreword to the Way of Perfection

 

TERESA Way of Perfection autograph manuscript Valladolid
Original autograph manuscript of the Way of Perfection preserved in the Discalced Carmelite monastery of Valladolid | Ángel Cantero / Iglesia en Valladolid

 

The Way of Perfection, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila 
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. (unless otherwise noted)
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC 
Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

 

 

 

Marie du jour: 28 May

Hail Mary full of rage Ben Wildflower
Hail Mary Full of Rage
Ben Wildflower (American)
Woodcut print
benwildflower.com

 

Let us not forget the prophetic words of the Virgin Mary that never have been disproved by history: “The Lord pulls the powerful down from their thrones.”
(Luke 1:52)

Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
9 June 2018

Our Lady of the Pillar in Chartres Cathedral
Notre-Dame du Pilier (Our Lady of the Pillar) is a statue of the Virgin, carved from pear wood, that was sculpted ca. 1540 | jorisvo / 123RF

 

Pray a lot, my dear little girl, for the success of the pilgrimage to Chartres in which I will be participating. It will bring together many pilgrims from all over our beautiful France to the feet of the Blessed Mother to receive the graces our country needs so much in order to prove itself worthy of its past.

Saint Louis Martin
Letter to Pauline Martin (excerpt), May 1873

 


The official website of the Cathedral of Chartres provides background on the pilgrimages of which Saint Louis Martin writes. Learn more here (in French).

Oklahoma State professor emeritus of history Joseph F. Byrnes published an article on the pilgrimage to Chartres in the journal, Marian Library Studies: Perspectives of “La Voix de Notre-Dame de Chartres” on the Pilgrimage at Chartres During the XIXth and XXth Centuries: A Profile in Social History

Nativity_MELCHERS Gari
The Nativity
Julius Garibaldi “Gari” Melchers (American, 1860-1932)
Oil on canvas, ca. 1891
Gari Melchers Home and Studio, Fredericksburg

 

Mary was also a model of faith. Oh, how pleasing that faith was to the Heavenly Father! It was her faith that made Jesus grow in Her more each day. If we have such faith, Jesus will also grow in our hearts.

Saint Mary of Jesus Crucified
Thoughts of St. Mary of Jesus Crucified

 

Marie du jour: 24 May

True Carmelites are committed to saving the world

 

Day by day they grow in prayerfulness and year-by-year they become living embodiments of our Rule and Constitutions. Admittedly, we may be far from perfect at the beginning of our religious life. However, once we have completed our apprenticeship, we must be the living embodiment of our Rule and Constitutions for no other reason than to work with Christ for the salvation of the world. Pray to our saints and to the Virgin Mary to help you to attain that goal. Amen.

Père Jacques of Jesus, O.C.D.
The Apostolate
Retreat for the Carmel of Pontoise, Conference Thirteen 
Saturday evening, 11 September 1943

Holy Hill main church Erik Aldrich Flickr
A moment of personal reflection and prayer is captured by photographer Erik Aldrich inside the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians in Holy Hill, the Discalced Carmelite church and retreat center in Hubertus, Wisconsin | pureimaginations / Flickr

 

Listen to the Silence - A Retreat with Père Jacques (pp. 104) Translated and edited by Francis J. Murphy ICS Publications © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

Come, you who, descending into Mary, caused the Word to take flesh: effect in us by grace what you accomplished in her by grace and nature.

Saint Mary Magdalen de’ Pazzi
from the Office of Readings for her feast day

 

Annunciation_Sosenko 1913

Annunciation
Modest Danilovich Sosenko (Ukrainian, 1875-1920)
Oil on canvas, 1913
Andrey Sheptytsky National Museum

Marie du jour: 23 May

He was creating and maintaining his mother in existence

 

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 eye was continuing the act of creating the world; he was creating and maintaining his mother in existence.

Père Jacques of Jesus, O.C.D.
The Divine Preparation in Mary and in Us
Retreat for the Carmel of Pontoise, Conference Five 
Wednesday morning, 8 September 1943

 

Nativity Arundel MS 157 folio 3verso British Library (2)
The Nativity, Arundel MS 157, folio 3v
The Book of Psalms, Psalter of the Virgin Mary, and Little Office of the Virgin Mary
English, 1st quarter of the 13th century
Latin and Anglo-Norman proto-gothic script on parchment
The British Library, Digitised Manuscripts Collection

 

About the illustration

This English manuscript is an early example of a Psalter with the Hours of the Virgin Mary attached. The manuscript’s origin is unknown, but probably has a connection with Oxford since its Calendar contains three feasts of St Frideswide (d. 727): the latter was abbess at Oxford and venerated there as local saint by the 10th century; her relics were discovered and elevated in 1180 and preserved at the Augustinian Priory of St Frideswide at Oxford. The manuscript also contains the ‘Psalter of the Virgin Mary’ that has been attributed to St Anselm (b. c. 1033, d. 1109), abbot of Bec and archbishop of Canterbury. This relatively rare attribution can also be found in the 13th century Oscott Psalter which has also been associated with Oxford because of its inclusion of St Frideswide in its Litany of Saints.

Learn more about this manuscript here

 

Listen to the Silence - A Retreat with Père Jacques (p. 34)
Translated and edited by Francis J. Murphy
ICS Publications © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

 

 

Marie du jour: 22 May

In Mary we do not see the Lord, but we see her always by the Lord’s side

 

Her service is rendered directly to Him: through the prayer of intercession, she intercedes with Him for humankind; she receives from His hands graces to be bestowed and does indeed transmit them. She does not represent the Lord but assists Him. Her position is thus analogous to that of Eve by the side of the first Adam. But Mary is beside Jesus not for His sake but for ours.

Saint Edith Stein
Problems of Women’s Education
Lectures for 1932 Summer Semester, German Institute for Scientific Pedagogy

 

Coronation of the Virgin_LIPPI Fra Filippo_Sant'Ambrogio-Uffizi
Coronation of the Virgin from Sant’Ambrogio
Fra Filippo Lippi, O.Carm.
Tempera on panel, 1439-1446
The Uffizi, Florence

 

Essays On Woman
Edited by Dr. Lucy Gelber and Romaeus Leuven, OCD; Translated by Freda Mary Oben, Ph.D.
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Book 2 (p. 29)
ICS Publications, Washington D.C. © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

Marie du jour: 21 May

As prayer is one of the chief objects of the Order of Carmel, the Sisters are constantly called upon from far and near to give the assistance of their prayers in all kinds of spiritual and temporal necessities. The following incident will serve to show with what faith and confidence the people recur to the Community:

The Baltimore Sun, Monday, September 25, 1882
The Baltimore Sun, Monday, September 25, 1882 (p. 4)

In the latter part of the year 1882, small-pox broke out in the city of Baltimore and it was feared that it would become an epidemic. Many persons requested the prayers of the Sisters to avert the calamity, and they chanted daily, in community, the hymn to Our Lady, for help in time of pestilence: “Stella coeli extirpavity” [sic].

La procession des Carmélites_GUILLOT Laurent_Musee Saint-Denis
La procession des Carmélites, Laurent Guillot (French, 18th c.), Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Saint-Denis

In January of 1883, a secular newspaper published the following item: “The Mayor received yesterday a card, signed,  ‘Our City,’ requesting the prayers of the good Carmelite Nuns for the small-pox sufferers.” On hearing of this petition, the Sisters redoubled their supplications and daily went in procession through the cloisters, carrying a statue of Our Lady and chanting the Litany of the Blessed Virgin, with appropriate versicles and prayers. Thus they continued to implore the mercy of God until the faith of the good citizens of Baltimore was rewarded and all danger was at an end.

Charles Currier
Carmel in America: a centennial history of the Discalced Carmelites in the United States (p. 354)


Latin text

Stélla caéli extirpávit
Quae lactávit Dóminum
Mórtis péstem quam plantávit
Prímus párens hóminum.
Ipsa stélla nunc dignétur
Sídera compéscere,
Quórum bélla plébem caédunt
Dírae mórtis úlcere.

O gloriósa stélla máris
A péste succúre nóbis:
Audi nos, nam te fílius
Níhil négans honórat.
Sálva nos, Jésu!

Pro quíbus vírgo máter te órat.

English translation

The star of heaven, she who
suckled the Lord, has uprooted
the scourge of death which the
first parent of mankind planted.
That very star is now worthy
to encompass the world,
whose wars cut down the people
with the sore of dreaded death.

O glorious star of the sea,
save us from the scourge:
Hear us, for the son,
denying nothing, honors you.
Save us, Jesus!

For us, the virgin mother entreats you.

Marie du jour: 20 May

She raised her head as a servant of the Lord welcoming his word

The gospel says, “raise your heads” (Luke 21:28).  The Lord wants us to look to the future with hope. There are certainly problems, there are situations that create fear; but as Christians, we who believe in Jesus Christ who is to come, we raise our heads.

Raising your head means being able to talk to God. Lifting your head is a gesture of humility in the gospel. It is the one who stands up to meet the Lord and listen to him, to be available to walk wherever he sends us, to be available to listen to his voice, to speak with him like the Virgin Mary did: she raised her head as a servant of the Lord welcoming his word.

Annunciation_Nicolas Poussin_1657 NatlGalleryLondon (2)
The Annunciation
Nicolas Poussin (French, 1594 – 1665)
Oil on canvas, 1657
The National Gallery, London

She raised her head — full of grace — to do the will of God in everything and always to be moved by the Spirit that had descended upon her most holy womb. Mary teaches us to raise our heads; that is not the lifting up of the haughty, the head-raising of the proud, who look at others from above, who are so sure of themselves that they think they don’t need others.

To raise your head in the gospel means raising your head to meet God and abandoning yourself into his hands; it means gazing at him with love and welcoming his love like the Virgin.

Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Managua
Homily, First Sunday of Advent, 2015 (excerpt)


About the painting:

The archangel Gabriel announces to the Virgin that she will bear the Son of God. New Testament (Luke 1:26-38). Above her hovers a dove who represents the Holy Spirit, the medium through whom the Christ Child was conceived. Unusually, the Virgin’s cloak is painted yellow. This color probably had symbolic significance, possibly as a sign of hope and/or purity.

Learn more from The National Gallery

 

Marie du jour: 19 May

The Virgin Mary shares this condition of creaturehood with us.

God is pure act, as the philosophers say; that is, he is the total realization of all possibility. We are not pure act; we have not realized all possibilities of being that are in us. Our being evolves as our heart intensifies its affections and perfects them. Our body grows and then declines. God himself is pure actuality, pure act. Nothing in him is in the state of possibility, passing from nonexistence to existence. All is infinite existence in him.

The human person, on the contrary, far from being this totality of realization, is a creature of infirmity and dependence. Remember what I was saying to you regarding creation? Nothing exists that cannot be annihilated instantly, if the creative action ceases to operate. It is this way, because we are not self-existent beings, as the words of Our Lord to Saint Catherine of Siena indicated: “You are she who is not.” This is the foundation of our being. We are not; we have only a borrowed being, unceasingly renewed by God. The Virgin Mary shares this condition of creaturehood with us. By herself she was not; she was totally dependent, as we are totally dependent.

Père Jacques of Jesus, O.C.D.
Virginity in God and in Mary
Retreat for the Carmel of Pontoise, Conference Six 
Wednesday evening, 8 September 1943

Annonciation_MetMuseum_FrenchSculpture
Virgin of the Annunciation
French, ca. 1300–1310
Limestone, traces of paint
Gallery Label: Interrupted in her spiritual meditations, the Virgin Mary modestly recoils from the archangel Gabriel (now lost), whose message foretells the birth of the Christ Child. The statuette’s sensitively carved features and slight smile, elongated proportions, and graceful draperies show stylistic analogies to courtly art in Paris.
Metropolitan Museum of Art / Open Access

 

Listen to the Silence - A Retreat with Père Jacques (pp. 41-42)
Translated and edited by Francis J. Murphy
ICS Publications © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

Marie du jour: 18 May

 

SALVE, Regina, mater misericordiae, vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve. Ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevae. Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes in hac lacrimarum valle.

Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos ad nos converte. Et Iesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui, nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.

O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria. Amen.

V./ Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genetrix.
R./ Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

Oremus
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui gloriosae Virginis Matris Mariae corpus et animam, ut dignum Filii tui habitaculum effici mereretur, Spiritu Sancto cooperante, praeparasti: da, ut cuius commemoratione laetamur; eius pia intercessione, ab instantibus malis, et a morte perpetua liberemur. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.


Note: This solemn tone of the Salve Regina is sung by Discalced Carmelites in every convent of friars and monastery of nuns on every Saturday throughout the year.

Marie du jour: 17 May

Oh! but, the Blessed Virgin was the strong woman, the Virgin pure; Jesus filled her heart completely, which overflowed with fire and flames, she had Heaven within her… But this is the strong woman par excellence, and she hid all this in her heart, and nothing showed on the outside. Me, I am weak…

Saint Mary of Jesus Crucified (Mariam Baouardy)
Cahiers Réservés, Cahier 5

Holy_Land_2016_P0613_Bethlehem_Carmel_st._Joseph_chapel_side_altar (2)
Reine du Carmel, Side altar in St. Joseph Chapel at Bethlehem Carmel (detail) | fallaner / Wikimedia Commons

Saint Mariam was canonized by Pope  Francis on 17 May 2015 at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. A native Palestinian from Galilee, she was a foundress of the Discalced Carmelite monasteries of Nazareth and Bethlehem in the 19th century. Learn more about the Saint of the Bethlehem Carmel here

Marie du jour: 16 May

FLOS CARMELI

Sequence Hymn for the Solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, 16 July


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

Mater mitis
sed viri nescia
Carmelitis
esto propitia
stella maris.

Radix Iesse
germinans flosculum
nos ad esse
tecum in saeculum
patiaris.

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.

Composition of the Flos Carmeli sequence hymn is attributed to Saint Simon Stock, the Carmelite prior general, whose feast day is observed on 16 May.

Marie du jour: 14 May

O loving Queen, Mother of might most holy,
O deign to place us all within thy breast!
For in thy power, thy children all, though lowly,
Do set their hope, trusting in thy behest.

Blessed Teresa of Saint-Augustine
Excerpt from a Christmas carol


Blessed Teresa of Saint-Augustine, the prioress of the martyred Discalced Carmelite nuns of Compiègne, France, was born Marie-Madeleine-Claudine Lidoine in Paris, 22 September 1752.  When she introduced herself as a candidate for formation in the Carmel of Compiègne, she was unable to raise the funds for the necessary dowry that postulants were expected to bring with them to support the financial needs of the community. The prioress of the Carmel of Saint-Denis, Venerable Mother Teresa of Saint-Augustine — lovingly remembered by her baptismal name, Madame Louise — was the daughter of King Louis XV. When she learned of the difficulty the promising candidate faced in acquiring the francs needed for her dowry, Madame Louise supplied the balance of the funds required for the young Madame Lidoine’s admission to formation. In recognition of her benefactor’s great generosity, the Discalced Carmelite novice took the same religious name as her benefactor: Teresa of Saint-Augustine. Madame Louise’s generosity was well repaid when her protégée, now prioress of the Carmel of Compiègne, led her nuns bravely and joyfully to the scaffold in revolutionary Paris on 17 July 1794.

 

Virgin and Child with a Rose - BOUCHER Francois - Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco Legion of Honor
Virgin and Child with a Rose
François Boucher (French, 1703 – 1770)
Oil on canvas, ca. 1765-1770
Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco – Legion of Honor

François Boucher was the court painter to King Louis XV

Excerpt from William Bush, To Quell the Terror: The Mystery of the Vocation of the Sixteen Carmelites of Compiègne Guillotined July 17, 1774 
Copyright © 1999, 2013 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. 
 Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

Marie du jour: 13 May

All of a sudden the Blessed Virgin appeared beautiful to me, so beautiful that I never had seen anything so beautiful; her face radiated an ineffable tenderness and goodness, but what penetrated to the depths of my soul was the “ravishing smile of the Blessed Virgin.”

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
Manuscript A, Folio 30 recto

Vierge du Sourire Les Buissonnets
Les Buissonnets – Virgin of the Smile, Lisieux, France | Photo: Jim, the Photographer / Flickr

 

Manuscript A translation is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission

Marie du jour: 12 May

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

 

grayscale photo of religious statue
Photo by Alem Sánchez on Pexels.com

 

The Book of Her Life: Chapter 9; The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila 
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. (unless otherwise noted)
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC 
Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

Marie du jour: 11 May

After Jesus Christ, doubtless at the distance that there is between the Infinite and the finite, there is one who was also the great praise of glory of the Holy Trinity. She responded fully to the divine election of which the Apostle speaks: she was always “pure, immaculate, and without reproach” in the eyes of the thrice-holy God.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Last Retreat, Fifteenth Day

Annunciation_WATERHOUSE John William_Tate Britain
The Annunciation (Ecce Ancilla Domini)
John William Waterhouse (English, 1849 – 1917)
Oil on canvas, 1914 
Private collection
Andreagrossman / Wikimedia Commons

 

The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 1: 
I Have Found God, General Introduction and Major Spiritual Writings (p.160)
ICS Publications, Washington DC
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

 

 

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