Quote of the day: 27 February

How do we become holy?

It is here that John of the Cross makes a painful observation:

I am confident that the Lord will help me explain this matter because it is extremely necessary to so many souls. Even though these souls have begun to walk along the road of virtue, and our Lord desires to place them in the dark night that they may move on to the divine union, they do not advance. The reason for this may be that sometimes they do not want to enter the dark night or allow themselves to be placed in it, or that sometimes they misunderstand themselves and are without suitable and alert directors who will show them the way to the summit.

The Ascent of Mount Carmel
Prologue 3

We make little progress in our journey toward holiness because we really don’t let the Lord act in our lives. What’s more, we lack those “alert directors who will show [us] the way to the summit.” That’s why John of the Cross wrote The Ascent of Mount Carmel, the work that we will study primarily during this online Lenten retreat. [Free registration here] It will help us to better understand how to let God work in our lives. We who spend so much time experiencing life on the exterior level need to close our eyes to experience our “Father who sees in secret” and works secretly in the depths of our hearts: only faith discerns this secret inner presence. Therefore, in this Lenten season, let’s pay attention before all else to our interior life for prayer, fasting, and service. May everything be centered starting from our heart, from our deepest intentions. 

Only then will we be able to live a true reconciliation with God and with ourselves. Let’s be careful when it comes to those famous “what-are-you-giving-up-for-Lent” resolutions that sometimes focus more on the image of ourselves (proving to myself that I can do it) than on the search for God. Let’s perhaps choose to do less, but let’s do it with profound, determined commitment. John of the Cross invites us to a ‘blessed adventure’. We’re setting off on a mountain hike. It’s time to leave behind our comfortable, ‘sweetness-and-ease’ spirituality and put on the spirituality of the crampons (cf. Pope Francis, Final Homily of WYD 2016 in Krakow)! 

What should we put in our backpacks for this journey into the unknown? The important thing, John tells us, is to have “urgent longings” and to be inflamed and wounded with love for the Lord. It’s only from this powerful love that we will draw the “courage and constancy to readily deny all other appetites” (Ascent 1.14.2) and not get lost along the way. The whole issue is, therefore, in the movement, in this dynamic of love that takes us out of ourselves, in the middle of the night, for a fabulous adventure with Christ. So let’s ask for the grace that the Holy Spirit may come to renew our hearts and awaken the love of God in us. Only this powerful love can give us the impetus to set out on our journey.

fr. Jean-Alexandre of the Lamb, OCD

You may wonder, “what are crampons?” We wondered about that, too. Crampons are a piece of gear used to climb or walk on ice. 

Wikipedia describes crampons this way: “A crampon is a traction device that is attached to footwear to improve mobility on snow and ice during ice climbing. Besides ice climbing, crampons are also used for secure travel on snow and ice, such as crossing glaciers, snowfields and icefields, ascending snow slopes, and scaling ice-covered rock.”

We weren’t the only ones who were curious about the “spirituality of the crampons”; another retreat subscriber wrote to Father Roberto, OCD at the retreat office in Vienna. Father kindly shared this explanation from one of the North American translators. We’d like to share it with you, too.

Crampons are overkill for Abraham Lake, but they do offer the best traction transitioning from lake shore to the ice over sloped ice. | Jeff Wallace / Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0)

Your translator used crampons as a child in the snow and ice of the Great Lakes region of North America. They are extremely useful to ensure that you don’t slip and fall when walking. I used them to walk to and from the bus stop, for example. My father was a bridge construction manager, so he wore crampons in the winter on job sites. Without crampons, when a winter storm brings icy conditions, you’re paralyzed… Either you hibernate and stay home until conditions improve, or you venture outside and take the risk of falling on the ice. But, to have crampons gives you the freedom to keep moving, walking, working, and exploring in icy conditions. For some people, icy conditions are an adventure; for others, ice is adversity. There is always risk involved.

Now, let’s look at the homily of Pope Francis

Holy Mass for World Youth Day
Campus Misericordiae – Kraków
Sunday, 31 July 2016

The Holy Father talks about paralysis and risk in his homily. Zacchaeus faced a second obstacle in meeting Jesus: the paralysis of shame. The pope even talks about the action of climbing in the story of Zacchaeus, although he climbed a tree, not a mountain. But about Zacchaeus, Pope Francis says this:

The paralysis of shame did not have the upper hand.  The Gospel tells us that Zacchaeus “ran ahead”, “climbed” the tree, and then, when Jesus called him, he “hurried down” (cf. Lk 19:4,6).  He took a risk, he put his life on the line. For us too, this is the secret of joy: not to stifle a healthy curiosity, but to take a risk, because life is not meant to be tucked away.  When it comes to Jesus, we cannot sit around waiting with arms folded; he offers us life – we can’t respond by thinking about it or “texting” a few words!

Holy Mass for World Youth Day
Campus Misericordiae – Kraków
Sunday, 31 July 2016

Now, this is surely the heart of the “spirituality of the crampons” to which fr. Jean-Alexandre refers. It means not giving in to a feeling of paralysis—whether it be caused by shame, fear, guilt, sadness, or any other emotion. Rather, Jesus calls us to pick up our spiritual crampons, those simple means that aid us to take risks, to move forward in love and trust with Him.

Pòrt de Vielha in the Catalan Pyrénées | Yannick Ott / Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

To register for the Lent 2020 Online Retreat with Saint John of the Cross directed by fr. Jean-Alexandre of the Lamb, OCD from the Paris Province of the Discalced Carmelite friars, click here. There is no charge, it is not too late to register, and you will receive weekly meditations with helpful tips to put the teachings of St. John of the Cross into practice in your life during Lent.

wishing you a blessed lent

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.

Carmelite Online Retreat — Lent 2020

Online Carmelite Retreat 2020

Lent

With St. John of the Cross


 

Dear friends, here we are once again to invite you to experience this Lent in a spirit of communion through an online retreat prepared especially for you by the Discalced Carmelite friars. 

If you have registered already and received the meditations from one of the previous retreats, you do not need to register again. 

However, don’t hesitate to extend an invitation to your friends and acquaintances so that they can register using the form on the website: 

www.retreat-online.karmel.at 

We suggest that you share this link with your Christian community, parish, ecclesial movement, association, or prayer group. You also can promote this initiative through social media. 

Inviting others to pray through the retreat is an excellent way to evangelize and witness to your faith. 

This Lent we will be guided by the beautiful writings of St. John of the Cross, a Doctor of the Church who pioneered the Discalced Carmelite reform with St. Teresa in the sixteenth century. 

At the end of February, you will receive the introductory text of this retreat. Then you will receive the meditations for each of the 7 weeks of Lent and Easter, with the following themes:

  • 1st week: The obstacle within us
  • 2nd week: Only Jesus
  • 3rd week: Straight to the heart
  • 4th week: Journey in the night
  • 5th week: New life
  • Holy Week: “The true spiritual person”
  • Easter: “On that glad night”

The content will be available so that you may organize your moments of meditation during the week. The texts were prepared by Discalced Carmelite friars from Avon, France, and the translation into English was prepared by Secular Carmelites from North America. 

The online retreat is free of charge. You can register or unsubscribe at any time.

If you have any difficulty in receiving the meditations, please send an email to:

retreat-online@karmel.at

With this invitation to the online retreat, we extend our sincere wishes for a blessed Lent!

Elijah’s Breeze on behalf of
fr. Roberto Maria OCD and
The Discalced Carmelites in Austria

Online Retreat 2019 — Advent

Online Retreat 2019

Advent

With François de Sainte-Marie

Communing in the life of grace with Mary


Dear friends, here we are once again to invite you to live this Advent in a spirit of communion through an online retreat prepared especially for you by the Discalced Carmelite friars. 

If you are already registered and have received the meditations from one of the previous retreats, you do not need to register again and it is not too late to register even though Advent has begun.

However, don’t hesitate to extend an invitation to your friends and acquaintances so that they can register using the form on the website www.retreat-online.karmel.at

We suggest that you download the A4 poster and distribute it to your Christian community, parish, ecclesial movement, association, or prayer group. You also can promote this initiative through social media.

Inviting others to pray through the retreat is an excellent way to evangelize and witness to your faith.

This Advent we will be guided by the writings of Father François de Sainte-Marie, a Discalced Carmelite friar from the Paris province who consecrated his brief life (1910-1961) to pass on the treasures of the Carmelite heritage. His best-known project was the publication of the autograph manuscripts of Thérèse of Lisieux, under the title Autobiographical Manuscripts, which today is published under the title Story of a Soul. It brings to light his knowledge of the doctrine of little Thérèse, his scientific mind, and at the same time a great human sensitivity.

At the end of November, you will receive the first introductory text of this Advent retreat. Then you will receive the meditations for each of the 4 weeks of Advent, with the following themes:

– 1st Sunday: Return to the Gospel

– 2nd Sunday: Outstanding educator

– 3rd Sunday: Delight of the little ones

– 4th Sunday: Abyss of grace

Christmas: “True Marian devotion”

The content will be available so that you may organize your moments of meditation during the week. The texts were prepared by Discalced Carmelite friars from Avon, France, and the translation into English was prepared by Secular Carmelites from North America.

The online retreat is free of charge. You can register or unsubscribe at any time.  

If you have any difficulty in receiving the meditations, please send an email to: webretiro@karmel.at

With this invitation to the online retreat, we extend our sincere wishes for a blessed Advent!

Carmelite Quotes on behalf of

fr. Roberto Maria OCD
and the Discalced Carmelites in Austria

Lenten Online Retreat 2019

Carmelite Online Retreat
Lent 2019
with 
St. Edith Stein

Teresia Benedicta a Cruce OCD

Prepare yourself for the coming Easter together with the Discalced Carmelites

Saint Teresia Benedicta of the Cross is co-patroness of Europe. Before entering Carmel and taking this name, Edith Stein already had a long life as a philosopher and lecturer. Born in Prussia in 1891, a Jew who became agnostic, she undertook a quest for truth through philosophy and the events of her life, until her discovery of Christ.

Baptized at the age of 31, she became a remarkable Catholic intellectual. Forbidden to teach by the Nazis, she entered the Carmel of Cologne in 1933 and had to flee to the Carmel of Echt in Holland in 1939. Arrested with her sister Rosa Stein, she died at the Auschwitz camp on August 9, 1942, leaving us her work and a powerful message. During this Lent, her writings and her life will nourish our meditation on this paschal journey in the footsteps of Christ.

How do I make the retreat?

Click here to access the registration page; follow the instructions and complete the registration form on the page. Click Submit, you will be registered for the retreat. You will receive a confirmation message by email. Weekly, every Friday of Lent, you will receive another email message with a new point of inspiration for the following week, along with short texts for daily prayer.

Participation in this retreat is completely free!

If you have any difficulty in registering or if there are any problems, please email the retreat coordinators at retreat-online@karmel.at

With best wishes for a Lent filled with blessings from Heaven,

The Discalced Carmelite Friars of Paris and Austria

The retreat texts were written by Fr. Philippe Huguele ocd, from the Carmelites of Paris. The English translation is by Joanne Brydson ocds (Canada). 

CameliteRetreatOnline2019
Saint Edith Stein will be our guide for the Carmelite Online Retreat for Lent 2019 | To register, visit www.retreat-online.karmel.at

How do translators translate?

As we prepare for the 2018 Online Advent Retreat presented by the Discalced Carmelite Friars, perhaps you might like to see the work in progress. It is not too late to register to receive the weekly meditation emails!

Sign up here

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