Quote of the day: 18 August

They will never give themselves up to useless worries about being set free. Instead, they will make the effort to profit from the time of their detention by meditating on their past years, by making holy resolutions for the future, so that they can find in the captivity of their bodies, freedom for their soul.

The Blessed Martyrs of Rochefort
Resolutions of the martyrs, (excerpt)

 

sea nature sunset water
Photo by Joey Kyber on Pexels.com

18 August: Blessed Martyrs of Rochefort

August 18
BLESSED JOHN-BAPTIST DUVERNEUIL,
MICHAEL-ALOYSIUS BRULARD AND JAMES GAGNOT
Priests and Martyrs

Optional Memorial

Fr. Jean-Baptiste Duverneuil (b. 1737 at Limoges), in religion Fr. Leonard, Fr. Michel-Louis Brulard (b. 1758 at Chartres), and Fr. Jacques Gagnot (b. 1753 at Frolois), in religion Fr. Hubert of Saint Claude, were among a group of 64 Martyrs beatified 1st October 1995, victims of the French Revolution who came from 14 French dioceses and from various religious Orders. In their loyalty to God, the Church and the Pope, they refused to take the oath of the Civil Constitution for the Clergy imposed by the Constituent Assembly of the Revolution. As a result, they were imprisoned, massed like animals, on a slave-trader in Rochefort Bay, waiting in vain to be deported into slavery. During 1794, the first two Carmelites died on board ship: Fr. John-Baptist on 1st July, and Fr. Michael-Aloysius on 25th July, both being buried on the island of Aix. After the plague broke out on the ship, those remaining disembarked on the island of Madame, where Fr. James died and was buried on 10th September. Noted for their loving ministry to their fellow prisoners and their patience in accepting every type of outrage, privation, and cruelty, not to mention the vicissitudes of weather, hunger and sickness, our three Discalced Carmelite priest martyrs and their companions in martyrdom gave unsurpassed Christian witness to their faith and love.

From the common of martyrs

The Second Reading

Resolutions drawn up by the Priests imprisoned on the ship Les Deux Associés

They bore in silence the cross that was placed on them

They will never give themselves up to useless worries about being set free. Instead they will make the effort to profit from the time of their detention by meditating on their past years, by making holy resolutions for the future, so that they can find in the captivity of their bodies, freedom for their soul.

If God permits them to recover totally or in part this liberty nature longs for, they will avoid giving themselves up to an immoderate joy when they receive the news. By keeping their souls tranquil, they will show they support without murmur the cross placed on them, and that they are disposed to bear it even longer with courage and as true Christians who never let themselves be beaten by adversity.

If there is question of receiving back their personal effects they will show no eagerness in asking for them; rather they will make the declaration that may be required of them with modesty and strict truth; they will receive without lament what is given to them, accustoming themselves, as is their duty, to despise the things of the earth and to be content with little, after the example of the apostles.

They are not to satisfy curious people they might come across; they will not reply to superficial questions about what happened to them; they will let people glimpse that they have patiently supported their sufferings, without descending into detail, and without showing any resentment against those who have authored and been instrumental in their suffering.

They will sentence themselves to the severest and most absolute silence about the faults of their brothers and the weaknesses into which they happened to fall due to their unfortunate situation, their bad health and the length of their punishment. They will preserve the same charity towards those whose religious opinion is different from their own. They will avoid all bitter feeling or animosity, being content to feel sorry about them interiorly and making the effort to stay on the way of truth by their gentleness and moderation.

They will not show grief over the loss of their goods, no haste to recover them, no resentment against those who possess them…

From now on they will form but one heart and one soul, without showing distinction of persons, and without leaving any of their brothers out, under any pretext. They will never get mixed up in the new politics, being content to pray for the welfare of their country and prepare themselves for a new life, if God permits them to return to their homes, and there become subjects of edification and models of virtue for the people, by their detachment from the world, their assiduousness in prayer and their love for recollection and piety.

Responsory

God and his angels look down upon us;
Christ, too, looks on as we do battle in the contest of faith.
What great dignity and glory are ours,
what happiness to struggle in the presence of God,
and to be crowned by Christ our judge.

Let us be armed with a great determination and,
pure in heart, sound in faith, and full of courage,
be prepared to face the combat.
What great dignity and glory are ours,
what happiness to struggle in the presence of God,
and to be crowned by Christ our judge.

Prayer

Lord God,
to the martyrs Blessed John-Baptist, Michael Aloysius,
James, and their companions,
you gave the grace to remain faithful and to pardon
while suffering dismaying hardship.
Through their intercession grant also to us,
to be always willing to remain faithful to your Church
and to be reconciled
with one another.

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.

 

Martyrs-Rochefort-oil-on-canvas
Blessed John-Baptist Duverneuil, Michael-Aloysius Brulard, and James Gagnot | Image credit: Discalced Carmelites

 

 

Quote of the day: 16 August

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

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

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

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

Saint Teresa of Avila
The Way of Perfection, Chapter 12

 

 

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

 

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

Quote of the day: 12 August

You were a man of heroic faith, Isidore Bakanja, a young layman from the Congo. As a baptized person called to spread the Good News, you knew how to share your faith and bore witness to Christ with so much conviction that, to your companions, you appeared to be one of those valiant lay faithful who are catechists. Yes, Blessed Isidore, completely faithful to the promises of your baptism, you really were a catechist, you worked generously for “the Church in Africa and its evangelizing mission”.

Isidore, your participation in the paschal mystery of Christ, in the supreme work of his love, was total. Because you wanted to remain faithful at all costs to the faith of your baptism, you suffered scourging like your Master. You forgave your persecutors like your Master on the Cross and you showed yourself to be a peacemaker and reconciler.

In an Africa painfully tested by struggles between ethnic groups, your luminous example is an invitation to harmony and to the rapprochement between the children of the same heavenly Father. You practiced fraternal charity towards all, without distinction of race or social condition; you earned the esteem and respect of your companions, many of whom were not Christians. In this way, you show us the path of dialogue necessary among men.

In this Advent of preparation for the third millennium, you invite us to accept, following your example, the gift that Jesus made of his own Mother on the Cross (cf. Jn 19:27). Dressed in the “habit of Mary”, like her and with her, you continued your pilgrimage of faith; like Jesus the Good Shepherd, you came to give your life for your sheep. Help us who have to walk the same path to turn our eyes toward Mary and take her as a guide.

Saint John Paul II
Homily, 24 April 1994
Eucharistic Concelebration for the Beatification of Isidore Bakanja


Isidore Bakanja worked as an assistant mason for white colonists in what was then the Belgian Congo and now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He was a convert, baptized 6 May 1906 at age 18 after receiving instruction from Trappist missionaries. Rosary in hand, he used any chance to share his faith; though untrained, many thought of him as a catechist. He left his native village because there were no fellow Christians.

He found work as a domestic on a Belgian rubber plantation. Many of the Belgian agents were atheists who hated missionaries due to their fight for native rights and justice; the agents used the term “mon père”the formal term used to address a priestfor anyone associated with religion.

Isidore encountered their hatred when he asked for leave to go home. The agents refused, and he was ordered to stop teaching fellow workers how to pray: “You’ll have the whole village praying and no one will work!”

He was told to discard his Carmelite scapular, and when he didn’t, he was flogged twice. The second time the agent tore the scapular from Isidore’s neck, had him pinned to the ground, and then beaten with over 100 blows with a whip of elephant hide with nails on the end. He was then chained to a single spot 24 hours a day.

When an inspector came to the plantation, Isidore was sent to another village. He managed to hide in the forest, then dragged himself to the inspector. This was the inspector’s report:

“I saw a man come from the forest with his back torn apart by deep, festering, malodorous wounds, covered with filth, assaulted by flies. He leaned on two sticks in order to get near me – he wasn’t walking; he was dragging himself”.

The agent tried to kill “that animal of mon père”, but the inspector prevented him. He took Isidore home to heal, but Isidore knew better.

“If you see my mother, or if you go to the judge, or if you meet a priest, tell them that I am dying because I am a Christian.”

Two missionaries who spent several days with him reported that he devoutly received the last sacraments. The missionaries urged Isidore to forgive the agent; he assured them that he already had.

“I shall pray for him.
When I am in heaven,
I shall pray for him very much.”

After six months of prayer and suffering, he died, rosary in hand and scapular around his neck. [Source: ocarm.org]

 

Hans Beeckman, Royal Museum for Central Africa wood biology expert, in Yangambi - DRC.
Hans Beeckman, Royal Museum for Central Africa wood biology expert, in Yangambi – Democratic Republic of the Congo | Photo by Axel Fassio/CIFOR | cifor / Flickr | Learn more about forest conservation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the work of CIFOR, the Center for International Forestry Research at cifor.org

 

9 August: St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

August 9
SAINT TERESA BENEDICTA OF THE CROSS
Virgin and Martyr

Memorial

Edith Stein was born to a Jewish family at Breslau on October 12, 1891. Through her passionate study of philosophy, she searched after truth and found it in reading the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Jesus. In 1922 she was baptized a Catholic and in 1933 she entered the Carmel of Cologne, where she took the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. She was gassed and cremated at Auschwitz on August 9, 1942, during the Nazi persecution, and died a martyr for the Christian faith after having offered her holocaust for the people of Israel. A woman of singular intelligence and learning, she left behind a body of writing notable for its doctrinal richness and profound spirituality. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II at Cologne on May 1, 1987.

From the common of martyrs or of virgins

THE SECOND READING

(Edith Stein Werke (Freiburg, 1987), 11:124-126)

From the spiritual writings of Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Ave Crux, spes unica!

We greet you, Holy Cross, our only hope! The church puts these words on our lips during the time of the passion, which is dedicated to the contemplation of the bitter sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ. The world is in flames. The struggle between Christ and antichrist rages openly, and so if you decide for Christ you can even be asked to sacrifice your life.

Contemplate the Lord who hangs before you on the wood, because he was obedient even to the death of the cross. He came into the world not to do his own will but that of the Father. And if you wish to be the spouse of the Crucified, you must renounce completely your own will and have no other aspiration than to do the will of God.

Before you, the Redeemer hangs on the cross stripped and naked, because he chose poverty. Those who would follow him must renounce every earthly possession.

Stand before the Lord who hangs from the cross with his heart torn open. He poured out the blood of his heart in order to win your heart. In order to follow him in holy chastity, your heart must be free from every earthly aspiration. Jesus Crucified must be the object of your every longing, of your every desire, of your every thought.

The world is in flames: the fire can spread even to our house, but above all the flames the cross stands on high, and it cannot be burnt. The cross is the way which leads from earth to heaven. Those who embrace it with faith, love, and hope are taken up, right into the heart of the Trinity.

The world is in flames: do you wish to put them out? Contemplate the cross: from his open heart, the blood of the Redeemer pours, blood which can put out even the flames of hell. Through the faithful observance of the vows, you make your heart open; and then the floods of that divine love will be able to flow into it, making it overflow and bear fruit to the furthest reaches of the earth.

Through the power of the cross, you can be present wherever there is pain, carried there by your compassionate charity, by that very charity which you draw from the divine heart. That charity enables you to spread everywhere the most precious blood in order to ease pain, save and redeem.

The eyes of the Crucified gaze upon you. They question you and appeal to you. Do you wish seriously to renew your alliance with him? What will your response be? Lord, where shall I go? You alone have the words of life. Ave Crux, spes unica!

RESPONSORY

We preach Christ Crucified, a scandal to the Jews
and foolishness to the pagans,
but for those who are called, whether they be Jews or Greeks,
we preach Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God.

The desire of my heart and my prayer
rises to God for their salvation;
but for those who are called, whether they be Jews or Greeks,
we preach Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God.

PRAYER

Lord, God of our fathers,
you brought Saint Teresa Benedicta
to the fullness of the science of the cross
at the hour of her martyrdom.
Fill us with that same knowledge;
and, through her intercession,
allow us always to seek after you, the supreme truth,
and to remain faithful until death
to the covenant of love ratified in the blood of your Son
for the salvation of all men and women.

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

 

Auschwitz_main-gate
On the main gate for visitors to Auschwitz, the Nazis affixed this motto: WORK SETS YOU FREE. But for the millions who passed through the railway entrance, there was no freedom to be found and no truth in the motto.
As St. Teresa Benedicta wrote of the Nazis in a letter dated July 10, 1940:
“one must, after all, tell those poor people the real truth for once.”

24 July: Blessed Martyrs of Guadalajara

July 24
BLESSEDS MARIA PILAR, TERESA, AND MARIA ANGELES
Virgins and Martyrs

Optional Memorial

Maria Pilar of St. Francis Borgia (born at Tarazona on Dec. 30, 1877), Teresa of the Child Jesus and of St. John of the Cross (born at Mochales on March 5,1990), and Maria Angeles of St. Joseph (born at Getafe on March 6, 1905), Discalced Carmelite nuns of the Monastery of Guadalajara, Spain, were martyred on July 24, 1936, after having given witness to their faith in Christ the King and having offered their lives for the Church. The first fruits of the countless martyrs of the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39, they were beatified by Saint John Paul II on March 29, 1987.

From the Common of Martyrs or the Common of Virgins, except for the following:

Office of Readings

The Second Reading

Strophe 30,7-8

From the Spiritual Canticle of St. John of the Cross

The flowers of virginity and martyrdom

“We shall weave these garlands flowering in your love and bound with one hair of mine.”

This verse most appropriately refers to Christ and the Church, for in it, the Church, the Bride of Christ, addresses Him saying: let us weave garlands (understanding by garlands, all the holy souls engendered by Christ in the Church). Each holy soul is like a garland adorned with the flowers of virtues and gifts, and all of them together form a garland for the head of Christ, the Bridegroom.

The loving garlands can refer to what we call aureoles; these are also woven by Christ and the Church and are of three kinds:

The first kind is made from the beautiful flowers of all the virgins. Each virgin possesses her own aureole of virginity, and all these aureoles together will be joined into one and placed on the head of Christ, the Bridegroom.

The second aureole contains the resplendent flowers of the holy doctors. All these aureoles will be entwined into one and set upon the head of Christ over that of the virgins.

The third is fashioned from the crimson carnations of the martyrs. Every martyr has an aureole of martyrdom, and these red aureoles woven together will add the final touch to the aureole of Christ the Bridegroom.

So beautiful and fair will Christ the Bridegroom be with these three garlands when He is seen in heaven.

Therefore, we shall weave these garlands, the soul says, flowering in your love.

The flower of these works and virtues is the grace and power they possess from the love of God. Without love these works will not only fail to flower, but they will all wither and become valueless in God’s sight, even though they may be perfect from a human standpoint. Yet, because God bestows His grace and love, they are works that have blossomed in His love.

“And bound with one hair of mine.” This hair is her will and the love she has for the Beloved. This love assumes the task of the thread in a garland. As the thread binds the flowers together, so love fastens and sustains the virtues in the soul. As St. Paul remarks: “Charity is the bond of perfection” (Col 3:14).

Responsory

R/. Even if you should have to suffer for justice’s sake, happy will you be.
Do not be afraid and do not stand in awe of them, but adore the Lord Christ in your hearts * always ready to give a reason for the hope that is in you.
V/. It is better, if God so wills it, to suffer and do good deeds than to do evil, * always ready to give a reason for the hope that is in you.

Prayer

Father, strength of the humble,
you sustained in martyrdom the virgins
Blessed Maria Pilar, Teresa and Maria Angeles.
As they willingly shed their blood for Christ the King,
may we, through their intercession,
be faithful to You and to your Church until death.

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.

 

Spanish Civil War - Arrests at Guadarrama
A sad reminder of the horrors of the Spanish Civil War
Francoist troops taking away Republican militiamen from a mountain, probably to take them to a firing block, in Somosierra, during the Battle of Guadarrama, July-August 1936. These men most likely were farmers or workers.
Source: Cassowary Colorizations

 

17 July: Blessed Teresa of Saint Augustine and Companions

July 17
BLESSED TERESA OF SAINT AUGUSTINE AND COMPANIONS

Virgins and Martyrs

Memorial

As the French Revolution entered its worst days, sixteen Discalced Carmelites from the Monastery of the Incarnation in Compiègne offered their lives as a sacrifice to God, making reparation to him and imploring peace for the Church. On June 24th, 1794, they were arrested and thrown into prison. Their happiness and resignation were so evident that those around them were also encouraged to draw strength from God’s love. They were condemned to death for their fidelity to the Church and their religious life and for their devotion to the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. Singing hymns, and having renewed their vows before the superior, Teresa of St. Augustine, they were put to death in Paris on July 17th, 1794. They were beatified by Pope St. Pius X on May 13, 1906.

From the Common of Martyrs or the Common of Virgins, except the following:

Office of Readings

HYMN

Let Carmel echo joyfully
The dying hymns that soared above
When Compiègne so gladly gave
Its greatest witness to God’s love.

These virgin-martyrs gave their lives.
For sin’s atonement, like their Lord;
They died to bring a troubled Church
The peace of Christ as love’s reward.

May we like them serve Holy Church
And build it up in unity,
Until at last in heav’n’s pure light
We gaze on God the Trinity.

Our Queen and Mother, Carmel’s joy,
Look down with love on us who sing
The praise of those who died for love
Of Jesus Christ, your Son, our King.

Bless God the Father, source of love,
Bless God the Word, his only Son,
Bless God the Spirit, Dove of peace,
One God, while endless ages run.

L.M.
Fr. James Quinn, S.J.

The Second Reading

Ch. 12, 1-3

From the Way of Perfection of St. Teresa of Jesus

The life of a good religious and a close friend of God is a long martyrdom

It all seems very hard work, this business of perfection — and so it is: we are waging war on ourselves! But as soon as we get down to it God becomes so active in our souls and showers so many mercies on them that whatever has got to be done in this life seems insignificant. And as we nuns do so much already, giving up our freedom for love of God and subjecting it to someone else, what excuse have we got for holding back when it comes to interior mortification?

That is where the secret lies of making all the rest so much more meritorious and perfect, not to mention doing it more easily and peacefully. The way to acquire it, as I have said, is to persevere bit by bit in not doing our own will or fancy, even in tiny things, till the body has been mastered by the spirit.

Let me repeat that it is all — or nearly all — a matter of getting rid of self-interest and our preoccupation with our own comfort. If you have started serving God seriously, the least you can offer Him is your life! If you have given Him your will, what are you afraid of? If you are a real religious, a real ‘pray-er,’ and want to enjoy God’s favors, you obviously can’t afford to shy away from wanting to die for Him, and undergo martyrdom. Don’t you realize, sisters that the life of a good religious — a person who wants to be one of God’s really close friends — is one long martyrdom? I say ‘long’ because in comparison with those whose heads have been chopped off in a trice we can call it long, but all our lives are short, very short in some cases. And we don’t even know whether our own won’t be so short that it will come to an end an hour, or even a second, after we have made up our mind to serve God fully. That could happen.

We have just got to take no account of anything that will come to an end, least of all life, for we can’t count on a single day. If we remember that every hour might be our last, is there a single one of us who will feel inclined to shirk?

Well, there is nothing you can be more certain of, believe me! So we must train ourselves to thwart our own wills in every way; then, if you try hard, as I have said, though you won’t get there all of a sudden, you will gradually arrive, without realizing it, at the peak of perfection.

Responsory

R/. Rejoice that you share the sufferings of Christ, * for when His glory is revealed you will be filled with joy.
V/. Blessed are you when you are persecuted for Christ’s sake, * for when His glory is revealed you will be filled with joy.

Morning Prayer

Hymn

Voice of the Bridegroom: now is winter passing,
Rain falls no longer, gardens yield their fragrance,
Spring blooms appearing, trees resound with birdsong —
Rise, my beloved.

Go out to meet him, virgins all exulting,
See he approaches, crowns you for your nuptials —
Rapture and gladness, when he leads you homeward
Sharing his kingdom.

Love for the Bridegroom filled your whole horizon,
Making you fearless in the face of danger;
Like him, your Master, life itself you offered,
Sacrificed for him.

Joyfully faithful to your holy calling,
Nothing could daunt you, or your lamps extinguish;
Shining and glowing you would bear them to him
Through cloud and tempest.

11.11.11.5
Sr. Margarita of Jesus, O.C.D.

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. Prepare your lamps, you wise virgins, for behold, the Bridegroom is coming: go out and meet Him.

Prayer

Lord God,
you called Blessed Teresa of St. Augustine and her companions
to go on in the strength of the Holy Spirit
from the heights of Carmel to receive a martyr’s crown.
May our love too be so steadfast
that it will bring us
to the everlasting vision of your glory.

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

Evening Prayer

Canticle of Mary

Ant. You virgins of the Lord, who have endured the great ordeal, come and rejoice with God forever.

 

Compiegne_Plaque_à_l'entrée_du_cimetière_de_Picpus
Plaque in Picpus Cemetery marking the two common graves where the martyrs are buried | Wikimedia Commons

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)
La_Véritable_guillotine_ordinaere_BNFimage
La Véritable guillotine ordinaere, ha, le bon soutien pour la liberté !
Engraving, Paris c. 1791-1795
Vinck Collection, Bibliothèque nationale de France

 

Let thy blade cut, completing all my offering!

For nothing but thy will for me is sweet!

My one desire is that thy hand be hov’ring

O’er me, thy bride, the sacrifice complete!

~  ~  ~

Blessed Teresa of St. Augustine
Christmas Carol, c. 1792


The beatification ceremony of Mother Teresa of St. Augustine and the Martyrs of Compiègne took place in Rome on Sunday, 27 May 1906.

 

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

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
TERESA AVILA - Once while I was praying near the Bl Sacr
Once while I was praying near the Blessed Sacrament, a saint appeared to me whose order was somewhat fallen. He held in his hands a great book. He opened it and told me to read some large and very legible letters. This is what they said. “In the time to come this order will flourish; it will have many martyrs.” (The Book of Her Life, Chap. 40)

Quote of the day: 29 March

So far we still live in deep peace, entirely unmolested within our cloister walls. But the fate of our Spanish sisters tells us, all the same, what we must be prepared for. And when such profound upheaval takes place in such close proximity, it is a salutary warning.

Saint Edith Stein

Letter 283 to Sister Callista Kopf, O.P. (excerpt)
Cologne-Lindenthal, 7 May 1937

Guadalajara_portrait
The Discalced Carmelite Martyrs of Guadalajara

“The fate of our Spanish sisters” refers to the assassination on 24 July 1936 at Guadalajara, Spain, of three Discalced Carmelite nuns who were killed for their fidelity to the faith. Sisters María Pilar de San Francisco de Borja, María Ángeles de San José, and Teresa del Niño Jesús y de San Juan de la Cruz were beatified by Saint John Paul II on 29 March 1987, 33 days before he beatified Edith Stein.

Excerpt from Edith Stein's Self-Portrait in Letters, 1916-1942, Sister Teresa
Benedicta of the Cross, Discalced Carmelite, translated by Josephine Koeppel
(The Collected Works of Edith Stein, vol. 5)
Copyright © 1993 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. 
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

 

 

Quote of the day: 14 March

They have declared to us to be determined and very resolute to undergo and suffer whatever bitterness, rather than withdrawing from their vocation

Meanwhile, the nuns, who in France are now in the greatest desolation, arouse in our hearts affections of the most tender piety, to the maximum that a great part among them from all these provinces have indicated their anxiety in letters, because they are prevented from persevering in their own institutes and observing solemn vows; together they have declared to us to be determined and very resolute to undergo and suffer whatever bitterness, rather than withdrawing from their vocationTherefore, O our Beloved Sons and Venerable Brothers, we cannot help but testify in the greatest possible manner to their constancy and their strength, and to pray with the most fervent petitions to want to encourage them with your exhortations and to offer them also, insofar as possible, every help.

Pope Pius VI
Quod aliquantum (excerpt)
Papal brief condemning the Civil Constitution of the Clergy
10 March 1791

12-13-07-MC-D-1634
On March 10, 1791, Rome, in Pius VI’s brief, Quod aliquantum, finally condemned the civil constitution of the clergy. The pope issued two further briefs on March 19, both aimed at sustaining the non-juring church in France. The first lauded priests who did not take the oath of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy, while the second conferred upon former bishops, or the vicars left administering their dioceses, the power to absolve cases normally reserved for Rome. Should contact with the Holy See be broken, they might now proceed with dates for ordinations without reference to Rome. [Source: Bush, Willilam. To Quell the Terror: The Mystery of the Vocation of the Sixteen Carmelites of Compiègne Guillotined July 17, 1774 (p. 86)] | Photo: Trial scene from the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Dialogues des Carmélites, 2013 | Michael Cooper, Canadian Opera Company / Flickr

Quote of the day: 26 February

Her sacrifice is a cry for, and a service to peace.

Among the women who have served the cause of peace, I wish today to remember a “martyr” of our century, that I myself, in 1987, had the joy of raising to the honors of the altars: the Carmelite Edith Stein.

Mary, Daughter of Sion and Mother of the Church, pray for us!

Saint John Paul II
Angelus Address, 26 February 1995

edith-stein-631x331

Quote of the day: 7 January

The one thing that I have is desire; but, I have a great desire to be a saint, to be totally Jesus’… to pay him love for love.

Blessed Teresa of the Child Jesus and St. John of the Cross (Martyr of Guadalajara)
From the Carmelitas Descalzas de San José

29 November: Blessed Denis and Redemptus

November 29
BLESSED DENIS AND REDEMPTUS
Martyrs

Memorial

Denis of the Nativity, a priest, called in the world Pierre Berthelot, was born in Honfleur in France in 1600. He was a cartographer and naval commander for the kings of Portugal and France before he joined the Discalced Carmelites in Goa in 1635. It was also at Goa that the Portuguese lay brother, Thomas Rodriguez da Cunha, born in 1598, had made his profession in 1615, taking the name Redemptus of the Cross. They were sent to the island of Sumatra (Indonesia), where, in the town of Achen (Aceh), they received the martyr’s crown on November 29, 1638.

From the common of several martyrs

Office of Readings

SECOND READING
From The Ascent of Mount Carmel by Saint John of the Cross

(Bk 2, Ch 7:5—ed. Kavanaugh-Rodriguez 1979, pp. 122-24)

True self-denial means carrying Christ’s Cross

If anyone wishes to follow my way, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. For he who would save his soul shall lose it, but he who loses it for me shall gain it. Oh, who can make this counsel of Our Savior understandable and practicable and attractive, that spiritual persons might become aware of the difference between the method many of them think is good and that which ought to be used in traveling this road! They are of the opinion that any kind of withdrawal from the world or reformation of life suffices. Some are content with a certain degree of virtue, perseverance in prayer, and mortification, but never achieve the nakedness, poverty, selflessness, or spiritual purity (which are all the same) that the Lord counsels us here. For they still feed and clothe their natural selves with spiritual feelings and consolations rather than divesting and denying themselves of these for God’s sake.

Through this kind of conduct, they became, spiritually speaking, enemies of the cross of Christ. A genuine spirit seeks the distasteful in God rather than the delectable, leans more toward suffering than toward consolation, more toward going without everything for God rather than toward possession. It prefers dryness and affliction to sweet consolation. It knows that this is the significance of following Christ and denying self, that the other method is perhaps a seeking of self in God—something entirely contrary to love.

If a man resolutely submits to the carrying of this cross, if he decidedly wants to find and endure trial in all things for God, he will discover in all of them great relief and sweetness. A man makes progress only through imitation of Christ, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one goes to the Father but through him. This way is nothing other than a death to our natural selves.

RESPONSORY

If anyone wishes to follow my way,
let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.
Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
They have persecuted me, and they will persecute you.
Whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.

Morning Prayer

CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH

Ant. Blessed are you when you are persecuted on my account: rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.

PRAYER

Father,
we celebrate the memory of Blesseds Denis and Redemptus
who died for their faithful witnessing to Christ.
Give us the strength to follow their example,
loyal and faithful to the end.

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.

Evening Prayer

CANTICLE OF MARY

Ant. They loved Christ in their lives and imitated Him in their death: and so they reign with Him forever.

Denis-Redemptus

The execution of the nuns of Compiègne: Prof. Colin Jones

Colin Jones, Professor of History at Queen Mary, University of London wrote an excellent and informative article on the true story behind Francis Poulenc’s dramatic opera, Dialogue des Carmélites,  for publication in the program booklet of the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden’s 2014 production of the famous work.

Although written for opera-lovers, it is an excellent, brief, “deep-dive” article for friends of Carmel and Carmelites that is noteworthy for its historical rigor.

‘Today, 40 individuals had their heads cut off, including 16 Carmelite nuns from Compiègne.’
Célestin Guittard de Floriban
17 July 1794

Of this quote, Professor Jones writes, “This fragment, dated 17 July 1794, from the diary of 69-year-old Célestin Guittard de Floriban (who took a particular interest in the public guillotinings) serves to remind us that Dialogues des Carmélites had at its centre a real event.”

The article that appears on the Royal Opera House website is but an extract of his full article that appeared in the printed program. Nevertheless, it merits attention. You can read the online version here.

Learn more about the Royal Opera House’s 2014 production of Dialogue des Carmélites by Francis Poulenc, produced by Robert Carsen, here.

Dialogues des Carmélites Royal Opera House 2014
Photo from the Flickr photo album Dialogues des Carmélites 2013/14 from the Royal Opera House Covent Garden; view the complete photo album from the award-winning production here

#OigamosARomero, the digital initiative of Bishop Báez in homage to Saint Óscar Romero of America

 

#OigamosARomero, the digital initiative of Bishop Báez in homage to Saint Óscar Romero of America originally appeared 11 October 2018 on the digital media outlet Articulo 66 under the title, #OigamosARomero, la iniciativa digital de Monseñor Báez en homenaje a San Romero de América.

Nicaraguan religion and culture reporter Israel González Espinoza interviewed Managua’s Auxiliary Bishop, Silvio José Báez, O.C.D., concerning the social media campaign he launched to make Romero’s work and thought better known in Nicaragua and beyond, through use of the hashtag #OigamosARomero on multiple social media platforms. The hashtag is used to share everything alluding to the martyred Salvadorean archbishop.

We are grateful to Israel González Espinoza for his kind permission to translate and publish his marvelous article highlighting the media blitz campaign that is the brainchild of Bishop Báez, our Discalced Carmelite confrère.

The pope is rehabilitating many men of God misunderstood for being prophets, says the Auxiliary Bishop of Managua

October 11, 2018 | Israel González Espinoza

Bishop Silvio José Báez, Auxiliary Bishop of Managua, launched the hashtag #OigamosARomero on social media platforms as part of a tribute to the martyred Salvadorean Archbishop Óscar Arnulfo Romero y Galdamez [still lovingly referred to as “Monseñor Romero”], who was killed by a paramilitary commando from El Salvador´s political far-right in March 1980; he will be canonized this coming Sunday, October 14 by Pope Francis in Rome.

Bishop Báez explained that the purpose of the initiative is for Nicaraguans to get to know Monseñor Romero’s thoughts, and from that point on they can reflect on his pastoral and prophetic life and work.

“I created the hashtag #OigamosARomero to be able to talk about this extraordinary man of God who gave his life for his people,” Bishop Báez stated.

BAEZ - Articulo 66 Oigamos article poster
The hashtag is used to share all the references to the martyred Salvadorean archbishop
Photo: I. González

 

Until now, the hashtag has been used to share famous quotes, photographs, audiovisual material, and even cartoons of the so-called “bishop of the poor” of Latin America.

The goal, according to Bishop Báez, is to establish a solid number of impressions and engagements for the hashtag during the rest of the week until Sunday, which is the day that Monseñor Romero will be raised to the full honors of the altar. Along with this, the objective is that Romero’s work may spread and that his words may have an effect upon the current sociopolitical situation in the country.

“Without a doubt, Monseñor Romero is a contemporary saint for our times; his life and his witness enlighten us,” the religious leader pointed out.

2018-10-12
A sample tweet from Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.

I believe that it is a mission of the successor of Peter to revendicate and rehabilitate all these incarnations of the Gospel who, with human eyes and pettiness of heart, were not understood.

Báez revealed that since his years in the novitiate with the Carmelite friars in San José, Costa Rica, he has been a professed admirer of the prophetic work of Archbishop Óscar Romero, whose total dedication to the poor and his ardent defense of human rights in the face of the Salvadorean military regime led to his martyrdom while celebrating the Eucharist.

“The Pope [Francis] has given indications of rehabilitating personalities who are deeply rooted in the Gospel, and who, forgetful of self, gave their lives for the poor, for social change, and for the fight for justice in history. In their day they were misunderstood, as were so many prophets or like Jesus himself.

“I believe that it is a mission of the successor of Peter to revendicate and rehabilitate all these incarnations of the Gospel who, with human eyes and pettiness of heart, were not understood. But today, the Pope invites us to see them as models of the Gospel and as paradigms to follow if we truly want to change the world,” Bishop Báez concluded.

Oigamos a Romero footer image

 

 

Managua (Agenzia Fides) – The Church in Nicaragua is preparing to celebrate the canonization of Mgr. Romero, on October 14th, also through digital tools, launching the #OigamosARomero hashtag in all social networks.

The main promoter of this initiative is the Auxiliary Bishop of Managua, Bishop Silvio José Baez, O.C.D., who stated through Twitter and the web that “it is part of the homage to the Archbishop, Salvadoran martyr Oscar Arnulfo Romero Galdamez, murdered by an extreme right-wing military commando in March 1980 and who will be canonized on Sunday, October 14th in Rome by Pope Francis”….

Bishop Silvio José Baez, O.C.D. launches #OigamosARomero initiative in social media

Carmel and Oscar Romero

Did you know that Archbishop Oscar Romero died while celebrating the Eucharist in a Carmelite chapel? As the Church prepares to celebrate the canonization of this martyr from El Salvador, it is enlightening to review his many connections to the Carmelites. Thanks to the Order of Carmelites – British Province​ for this helpful and informative link!

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