Quote of the day: 4 February

Our Lady kept the Word of God and this Word often was mysterious.

She had the faithfulness of a simple child, and here is the tremendous shock of the Annunciation, the required participation; and she adheres to the Word of God proclaimed. The first thing Elizabeth will say is: Blessed are you because you have believed in the Word of God. By believing, you have received it.

Her whole life has been a life of faithfulness. She was faithful to God’s thought and she realized it. God’s will was manifested to her, she followed God in his successive wills.

Flexibility was required to follow the movements of Love, of souls, of his son, the movement of the Holy Trinity, all the way to Calvary…

She was faithful to the Love that had conquered her.

Blessed Marie-Eugène of the Child Jesus

11 August 1945

 

Annunciation_LESUEUR Eustache_Louvre
Annunciation
Eustache Le Sueur (French, 1616-1655)
Oil on canvas, 1652
Louvre Museum, Paris

 

 

Guichard, J 2018, Prier 15 jours avec le père Marie-Eugène de l’Enfant Jésus: Carme, fondateur de Notre-Dame de Vie, Nouvelle Cité, Bruyères-le-Châtel.
Translation from the French text is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced 

Mary, Mother of God: Her face speaks peace — Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.

Homily

The Solemnity of the
Blessed Virgin Mary,
Mother of God
Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Managua

Saint Agatha Catholic Church
Archdiocese of Miami
1 January 2020


Gospel
Numbers 6:22-27

The LORD said to Moses:
“Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them:
This is how you shall bless the Israelites.
Say to them:
The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace!
So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites,
and I will bless them.

 


 

Dear brothers and sisters:

On the first day of the new year, we have the joy and grace of celebrating the Virgin Mary, Mother of God, and at the same time the World Day of Peace. Gathered as a Church to celebrate the Eucharist around Christ, the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary and our true peace, we welcome with emotion the words of the ancient blessing that the priests imparted on the people of Israel: The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace! (cf. Nm 6:26).

We have heard, both in the first reading—taken from the Book of Numbers—and in the responsorial Psalm, some expressions that contain the metaphor of the face in reference to God: “The LORD let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you!” (Nm 6:25); “May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, that thy way may be known upon earth, thy saving power among all nations” (Ps 67:1-2, NRSVCE). The face is the expression par excellence of the person, which makes him recognizable; through it, the feelings, thoughts, and intentions of the heart are shown. God, by his nature, is invisible; however, the Bible also applies this image to him. Showing his face is an expression of his benevolence while hiding it indicates his anger and indignation. The Psalms present believers as those who seek the face of God (cf. Ps 27:9; 102:2, NRSVCE) and who aspire to see it in worship: “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?” (Ps 42:2, NRSVCE).

We begin this year with the deep conviction of our faith that the Lord wants to show us his face and that this is a reason for trust and hope. We trust that this year the Lord will look upon us as we journey and that he’ll gaze upon us with infinite kindness. We know that he’ll never turn his face away from us because he is the faithful one and he loves us dearly. We do not know what will happen in this new year, but we’re sure that the Lord will continue to show us his gentle, loving, welcoming face, assuring us that he is with us. The face of the Lord who is looking upon us will overcome our loneliness.

Biblical history as a whole can be read as a progressive revelation of the face of God, until it reaches its full manifestation in Jesus Christ. “When the fullness of time had come,” the Apostle Paul reminded us today, “God sent his Son” (Gal 4:4). And immediately he adds, “born of a woman, born under the law.” The face of God took on a human face, allowing Himself to be seen and recognized in the son of the Virgin Mary, whom we, therefore, venerate as “Mother of God.” She, who kept in her heart the secret of divine motherhood, was the first to see the face of God made man in the tiny fruit of her womb. The mother has a very special, unique and in some ways exclusive relationship with her newborn child. The first face the child sees is that of the mother, and this look is decisive for his relationship with life, with himself, with others, and with God.

Through her face, Mary “gave Jesus the beautiful experience of knowing what it is to be a Son (…) and sensing “the maternal tenderness of God”. At the same time, in contemplating the face of Mary, “the God-Child learned to listen to the yearnings, the troubles, the joys and the hopes of the people of the promise” (Pope Francis, Homily 1 January 2017). Seeing his mother’s face, Jesus recognized himself to be a son and a brother, as the Son of God and as the brother of all people. The mother’s serene gaze communicates security and peace, giving an awareness of being a person and strengthening the ability to relate to others and to God with maturity and generosity. Today too, the face of the Virgin, Mother of God and our Mother, makes us feel like children of God and brothers and sisters to one another.

The face of Our Lady, whose heart was always full of God’s loving presence, allows us to feel that God is close to us and loves us, it instills in us the certainty that God never leaves our side, and that he cares for us and always forgives us. Our Lady’s face also helps us to look at each other as sisters and brothers. It teaches us to see as she does, and it enables us to have a caring vision that seeks to welcome, to accompany, and to protect. Let’s learn to look at each other under the maternal gaze of Mary. May she help us this year to show a kind and welcoming face to all. Let’s not be afraid to go out and look at our brothers and sisters with Our Lady’s eyes, to let her face be seen in our faces. Her face speaks peace to us and makes us capable of being peacemakers.

Peace has much to do with the face, with our own face and the faces of others. Peace begins with a respectful look that recognizes a real person in the face of the other individual, whatever the color of their skin, their nationality, their language, and their religion may be. In this New Year, may people who see our face have no fear, neither let them feel ignored or rejected, because “mistrust and fear weaken relationships and increase the risk of violence, creating a vicious circle that can never lead to a relationship of peace” (Pope Francis, World Day of Peace 2020).

Peace is destroyed when we live in faceless, anonymous societies where the law that seems to dominate our coexistence is “every man for himself,” all of us being submerged in the sea of selfishness and indifference. We contribute to peace when we fill our lives and our hearts with faces—with faces that have names and stories, with faces that make our hearts beat with charity and solidarity, that move us with tenderness and goodness.

In many of our countries, injustice and violent repression continue to sow terror and death because we have not learned to recognize human beings who deserve dignity and respect in the faces of others, especially the poorest and most vulnerable. Peace will be possible for our people only through “a patient effort to seek truth and justice, to honor the memory of victims and to open the way, step by step, to a shared hope stronger than the desire for vengeance” (World Day of Peace 2020).

The ancient priestly blessing of Israel concludes with these words: “The LORD look upon you kindly and give you peace” (Nm 6:26). The human face of God who imparts his peace to us is Jesus, born of the Virgin Mary. Therefore, at the beginning of this New Year, to prepare ourselves to receive God’s blessing in Christ and to be peacemakers, let us run back to the manger like the shepherds (cf. Lk 2:15-26) and confidently turn our faces to the face of the Mother who carries God in her arms. May she, whose face reflects God’s maternal tenderness, preserve our hearts in peace and help the whole of humanity to walk in the pathways of peace.

 

Theotokos BAEZ fave
Credit: Desde dentro…

 

 


Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. has served as the Auxiliary Bishop of Managua since May 2009, when he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI. A scripture scholar, a former professor at the Pontifical Theological Faculty Teresianum in Rome and editor of the facultys eponymous academic journal, the bishop currently serves at the good pleasure of the Holy Father Pope Francis in Rome.  Read our profile of Bishop Báez here and search our blog posts concerning the bishop here.

 

This English translation of Bishop Báez's Spanish homily is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission and attribution.

 

Quote of the day: 9 October

The thought comes to me now that our good Jesus showed us the weakness of His humanity previous to the trials, and when He was in the abyss of His sufferings showed such great fortitude that He not only did not complain but did nothing that would make it appear He was suffering with weakness. When He went to the garden, He said: My soul is sorrowful even to death. 

Yet, while on the cross, for He was already suffering death, He did not complain. Nor did He do so when in the prayer of the garden He went to awaken His apostles. With greater reason might He have complained to His Mother and our Lady when she was at the foot of the cross, and not asleep but suffering in her most holy soul and dying a harsh death; it always consoles us more to complain to those who we know feel our trials and love us more.

Saint Teresa of Avila

Meditations on the Song of Songs: Chap. 3

 

Crucifixion_View From the Cross_Tissot_Brooklyn Museum
What Our Lord Saw from the Cross (Ce que voyait Notre-Seigneur sur la Croix), James Tissot (French, 1836-1902), 1886-1894. Opaque watercolor over graphite on gray-green wove paper, Brooklyn Museum | Download this image on the museum website and learn more here

 

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.

Quote of the day: 21 July

Over time, few devotions have been so extensively promoted as the devotion to the Holy Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

It is so intimately connected with the life of the Catholic, that it provokes more attention when particular Catholics do not practice it, than when it is visibly part of their life.

In 1595, however, Mag. Joseph Falcone published a work on the history of the Order, in which as a contemporary he declared that this devotion blossomed, especially in Spain, and that there was no house where people did not wear the garment of Carmel, indeed, through the common wearing of that garment, the whole of Spain and Portugal could be said to be one great cloister of Carmelites.

For a long time, people believed that when it came to the Netherlands, any indication that the Scapular was also worn here was missed.

Admittedly, not many traces of this devotion have remained but, all the same, they do tell us that the Netherlands did not trail behind other countries.

We possess a poem by a layperson, from the end of the fifteenth-century, which sings the praises of the Scapular.

The translation of this text reads as follows:

We see the Carmelites clothed with Scapulars who—from the hands of the Holy Simon Stock when he, as a foretaste of the reward for his devotion to the Holy Virgin Mary, having been graced to contemplate her, Mary, with this garment in her virginal hands—have accepted the cited Scapular with incredible zeal as their garment.

We can say frankly that in our country all priests could be said to be promoters of this beautiful devotion and, thanks to the piety of their priests, nearly all Catholics in the Netherlands have received the garment of the Lady of Mount Carmel. What Falcone said of Spain at the end of the 16th century may surely be said of the Netherlands today: There is no house where, to be blessed with the countless indulgences and privileges of the Carmelite Order, one does not wear the garment of Carmel.

Blessed Titus Brandsma
Promoting the Holy Scapular in the Netherlands (excerpts)

 

NDMC Simon Stock Baitenhausen_Kirche_Prozessionsfahne
The Blessed Virgin Mary appears to St. Simon Stock
Processional banner, early 18th c. attributed to A. Bastian
Pilgrimage Church Maria zum Berge Carmel
Baitenhausen, Meersburg, Bodenseekreis, Germany
Andreas Praefcke/Wikimedia Commons

 

English translation of fragments of ‘De verspreiding van het H. Scapulier in Nederland’
by Susan Verkerk-Wheatley / Anne-Marie Bos
Translation: Susan Verkerk-Wheatley / Anne-Marie Bos  © Titus Brandsma Instituut 2019

 

 

Flos Carmeli: Novena 9

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


Acuérdome que cuando murió mi madre quedé yo de edad de doce años, poco menos. Como yo comencé a entender lo que había perdido, afligida fuime a una imagen de nuestra Señora y supliquéla fuese mi madre, con muchas lágrimas. Paréceme que, aunque se hizo con simpleza, que me ha valido; porque conocidamente he hallado a esta Virgen soberana en cuanto me he encomendado a ella y, en fin, me ha tornado a sí. Fatígame ahora ver y pensar en qué estuvo el no haber yo estado entera en los buenos deseos que comencé.

Santa Teresa de Jesús
El Libro de la Vida: Capítulo 1

 

1991.48
The Virgin Placing St. Teresa of Avila Under the Protection of St. Joseph
François Guillaume Ménageot (French, 1744–1816)
Oil paint over pen and brown ink, on paper, mounted on canvas, ca. 1787
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

SEQUENCE HYMN
Flos Carmeli

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

Mater mitis
sed viri nescia
Carmelitis
esto propitia
stella maris.

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.

SCRIPTURE
John 19:25-27

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, “Woman, this is your son.” Then to the disciple he said, “This is your mother.”

NOVENA PRAYER

O most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel,
Fruitful Vine, Splendor of Heaven,
Blessed Mother of the Son of God,
Immaculate Virgin,
assist me in this my necessity.
O Star of the Sea, help me and show me
herein that you are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Queen of heaven and earth,
I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart
to succor me in this necessity.
There are none that can withstand your power!
O help me and show me herein
that you are my Mother.

Our Lady, Queen and Beauty of Carmel,
pray for me and obtain my requests!
Sweet Mother, I place this cause
in your hands!

 

 

Many of the images of St. Teresa are found in the Iconografía Teresiana online collection of the Discalced Carmelite nuns of Alba de Tormes; other works are found in the PESSCA online collection of Spanish Colonial Art
Novena citations taken from The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. 
ICS Publications Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars

Quote of the day: 30 June

Carmelites have chosen Mary as their Patroness and spiritual Mother and always keep before the eyes of their heart the Most Pure Virgin who guides everyone to the perfect knowledge and imitation of Christ.

Saint John Paul II
25 March 2001

 

Stella Maris procession Easter 2019
Statue of Our Lady of Mount Carmel as seen in the annual procession from the Discalced Carmelite parish of St. Joseph in the city of Haifa to Stella Maris Church and Monastery on Mount Carmel, 5 May 2019. Learn more about the procession here. | Photo credit: Discalced Carmelite General Curia

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: 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.

16 May: Saint Simon Stock

May 16
SAINT SIMON STOCK
Religious

Optional Memorial

Simon, an Englishman, died at Bordeaux in the mid-thirteenth century. He has been venerated in the Carmelite Order for his personal holiness and his devotion to Our Lady. A liturgical celebration in his honor was observed locally in the fifteenth century, and later extended to the whole Order.

From the Common of Holy Men (Religious)

OFFICE OF READINGS

The Second Reading

From the Flaming Arrow by Nicholas of France, Prior General
(Chapter 6)

I will lead her into the desert, and there I will speak to her heart

Was it not our Lord and Savior Who led us into the desert, as a mark of His favor, so that there He might speak to our hearts with special intimacy? It is not in public, not in the market place, not amid noise and bustle that He shows Himself to His friends for their consolation and reveals His secret mysteries to them, but behind closed doors.

To the solitude of the mountain did Abraham, unswerving in faith and discerning the issue from afar in hope, ascend at the Lord’s command, ready for obedience’s sake to sacrifice Isaac his son; under which mystery the passion of Christ–the true Isaac–lies hidden. To the solitude of the mountain was it too that Abraham’s nephew, Lot, was told to flee for his life in haste from Sodom.

In the solitude of Mount Sinai was the Law given to Moses, and there was he so clothed with light that when he came down from the mountain no one could look upon the brightness of his face.

In the solitude of Mary’s chamber, as she conversed with Gabriel, was the Word of the Father most high in very truth made flesh.

In the solitude of Mount Tabor it undoubtedly was, when it was His will to be transfigured, that God made man revealed His glory to His chosen intimates of the Old and New Testaments. To a mountain solitude did our Savior ascend alone in order to pray. In the solitude of the desert did He fast forty days and forty nights together, and there did He will to be tempted by the devil, so as to show us the most fitting place for prayer, penance, and victory over temptation.

Top the solitude of mountain or desert it was, then, that our Savior retired when He would pray; though we read that He came down from the mountain when He would preach to the people or manifest His works. He who planted our fathers in the solitude of the mountain thus gave Himself to them and their successors as a model, and desired them to write down His deeds, which are never empty of mystical meaning, as an example.

It was this rule of our Savior, as rule of utmost holiness, that some of our predecessors followed of old. They tarried long in the solitude of the desert conscious of their own imperfection. Sometimes however–though rarely–they came down from their desert, anxious, so as not to fail in what they regarded as their duty, to be of service to their neighbors, and sowed broadcast of the grain, threshed out in preaching, that they had so sweetly reaped in solitude with the sickle of contemplation.

Responsory

R/. O that I had wings like a dove, to fly away and be at rest;
so I would escape far away, and take refuge in the desert (alleluia).

V/. The world and its cravings pass away, but those who do God’s will stand firm for ever. So I would escape far away, and take refuge in the desert (alleluia).

MORNING PRAYER

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. The Lord is all that I have; the Lord is good to the soul that seeks Him (alleluia).

Prayer

Father,
You called St. Simon Stock to serve you
in the brotherhood of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
Through his prayers
help us like him to live in your presence
and to work for man’s salvation.

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.

EVENING PRAYER

Canticle of Mary

Ant. Where brethren are united in praising God, there the Lord will bestow His blessing (alleluia).

Simon-Stock_LOTH Ulrich
Maria überreicht dem Karmelit Simon Stock das Skapulier
Mary presents the scapular to the Carmelite Simon Stock
Ulrich Loth (German, 1559 – 1662)
Oil on canvas, 1630/35
Bavarian State Painting Collections – Alte Pinakothek Munich

 

The eyes of our Lady

It is said that the eyes are the mirror of the soul; the eyes of Mary, full of grace, reflect the beauty of God, they show us a reflection of heaven. Jesus himself said that the eye is “the lamp of the body” (Mt 6:22): the eyes of Our Lady are able to bring light to every dark corner; everywhere they rekindle hope. As she gazes upon us, she says: “Take heart, dear children; here I am, your Mother!”

 

POPE FRANCIS - The eyes of our lady

The Discalced Carmelite friars of the Paris province offer an online retreat each year for Advent and Lent that is translated into English by Secular Carmelites in North America.

The 2018 theme for the Advent retreat is the Flos Carmeli sequence hymn. You can sign up for the weekly meditation emails here.

Advent retreat poster 2018 (2)

To the Incorruptible Maiden

A Prayer By St. Nektarios of Aegina

O Theotokos, Virgin Mary, it is indeed a dread and ineffable mystery,
what has been done in you.

For you, indeed, gave birth to the Word who is the cause of all things,
and who was incarnated by the Holy Spirit, beyond any cause or reason.

For from you, who remained unchangeable,
he received flesh of his own divine,
immutable and unaltered nature.

Since in him coexisted the two natures,
the divine and human,
in one hypostasis,
he was dual in nature,
a whole man and a God as well,
showing the perfect wholeness
and having all the energies of the characteristics of both.

As a moral he was crucified in flesh voluntarily
but as God during his passion, he overcame his passion.

As a mortal he died,
but as God he was risen.

As a mortal he was laid in a tomb,
but as God he was in hades,
defeating the power of death
and saving men.

Him, O Virgin Mary, most-pure Theotokos,
the saviour and redeemer of the human race,
entreat unceasingly for us, your servants,
that he may send down from heaven to us joy and peace.

From you, O holy Virgin,
Christ was born,

Who was God eternally,
but appeared as man recently.

He kept for himself,
in a divine and unconfusable union,
the properties of both natures;

He showed the divine and unconfusable union,
the properties of both natures;

He showed the divine with glorious wonders,
while he proved the human nature with his sufferings.

Therefore, although he was one
in one godly-human hypostasis,
he dies in the flesh as man,
yet he rises from the dead as God.

Him, O Virgin Mary, most-pure Theotokos,
as one who has boldness

Entreat that he may be compassionate
and save from the condemnation
those who praise you unceasingly.

20181018_163854
Mother of Carmel by the hand of Sr. Mary Grace, O.C.D.

Prayer translated by Nikolaos S. Hatzinikolaou; read more prayers by St. Nektarios here

This was the will of Jesus before he died, his last will, and he said to the disciple as he says to us today, to each one of us:  She is your mother; here is your motherWe have a mother and it is Jesus who willed that we should have a mother.”

August 7: Saint Albert of Trápani

August 7
SAINT ALBERT OF TRAPANI
Priest

Memorial

Albert degli Abbati was born at Trápani, Sicily, in the thirteenth century, and entered the Carmelite Order as a youth. He became renowned as a fervent preacher of the Gospel and a worker of miracles. He was Provincial of Sicily in 1296, and died at Messina, probably in 1307, with a reputation for purity and prayer.

From the common of holy men

Office of Readings

HYMN

The Feasts of August sound their glad refrain,
To Albert riseth soft, melodious strain;
Carmel echo with the songs of love
Raised to our Blessed Father throned above.

At seven years the parent roof he flies,
And, like the Baptist, all the world denies,
To seek the holy Virgin’s sacred shrine,
And live a life of holiness divine.

Clad in the flowing mantle white as snow,
He welcomes choicest gifts the Heavens bestow,
With power granted him to govern here
The lesser kingdoms of this earthly sphere.

The altar flame is by a crystal glassed,
A spectre breaketh it with pebble cast;
But Albert poureth tears before the Lord,
And lo! the sacred lamp is quick restored.

His youth, so prompt to vengeance, he subdues,
No fantasies of Hell his mind confuse
Supporting calmly fortune good or ill,
He scorneth honors with a steadfast will.

Unto one God most high be endless praise,
And to the blessed Son for equal days.
The Holy Spirit let us now adore,
And praise the Three in One forevermore.

10.10.10.10.
Mensis augusti redeuent honores

THE SECOND READING
(L. 1, c. 2: ed. AnOC 3 [1914-1916], pp. 348-49)

From the Book of the Institution of the First Monks

Hide yourself by the brook Cherith

The word of the Lord came to Elijah saying: Depart from here and go eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith near the Jordan, and there you will drink from the brook. Now these salutary commands which the Holy Spirit prompted Elijah to obey, and this promise of good things which he was moved to desire, ought to be weighed word by word with the greatest care by us, monks and solitaries, and this in a mystical sense, for they contain the full meaning of our vocation. Indeed they point the way to prophetic perfection, which is the goal of our religious, eremitical life.

It will be seen that this type of life has two aims. One of them we can, with the help of God’s grace, achieve by our own efforts and the practice of virtue. This aim is to offer God a heart holy and pure from all actual stain of sin, and we achieve it when we become perfect and hidden in Cherith—that is, in charity, of which the Wise Man says: Charity covers all offenses. It was to bring Elijah to this state that God said to him: Hide yourself by the brook Cherith.

The other aim of this kind of life is something that can be bestowed on us only by God’s generosity: namely, to taste in our hearts and experience in our minds, not only after death but even during this mortal life, something of the power of the divine presence and the bliss of heavenly glory. And this is to drink from the brook of the enjoyment of God—the reward God promised Elijah when he said: There you will drink from the brook.

The prophetic, eremitical life must be undertaken by the monk with both these aims in view, as the Psalmist makes clear when he says to God: In a desert land where there is no road and no water I have come before you in the sanctuary to see your power and your glory. By choosing to live in a desert land where there is no road and no water as the means of coming before God in the sanctuary—with a heart, that is, free from sin—he demonstrates the first aim of the solitary life he has chosen, which is to offer God a heart that is holy, or pure from all actual sin. By adding the words to see your power and your glory he declares the second aim, which is in some measure to experience or see the power of the divine presence mystically in one’s heart and to taste the bliss of heavenly glory here already in this life.

The first aim, purity of heart, can be achieved with the help of God’s grace by effort and the practice of virtue. The second aim, experimental knowledge of divine power and heavenly glory, can be realized through purity of heart and perfect love; for our Lord said: Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.

RESPONSORY

I have called you friends, for I have made known to you
all I have heard from my Father.
Remain in my love.
I have chosen you to go out and bear fruit,
fruit that shall last.
Remain in my love.

Morning Prayer

HYMN

The feast-day of Saint Albert dawns
A day of pure resplendent light;
Our brethren high in heav’n rejoice
As we our praise with theirs unite.

He realized that earthly joys
Were all too small to fill his heart;
All, all he had he gave to God,
In Carmel chose the better part.

Determined conqueror of self
He mortified each wrong desire
Until God saw reflected there
His image purified by fire.

For one so set on heavenly things
The lying foe laid many a snare,
But he resisted manfully,
And persevered in constant prayer.

Remember Carmel’s Order now,
Made glorious by your sojourn here;
O strengthen us in love of Christ
That we may likewise persevere.

All praise be to the Trinity,
The Father with his only Son
And ever-blessed Paraclete,
While never-ending ages run.

L.M.
Adest natalis gloriae

CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH

Ant. The just will speak wisdom, and truth will come from their lips, because God’s law is in their hearts.

PRAYER

Lord God,
you made Saint Albert of Trapani
a model of purity and prayer,
and a devoted servant of Our Lady.
May we practice these same virtues
and so be worthy always
to share the banquet of your grace.

Grant 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

HYMN

The river floweth swiftly on its course,
Dry shod the Blessed Albert speeds across.
His chastened piety sustains no loss
When combated.

He kisseth tenderly the leprous face,
Nor shrinks in horror from the hideous trace;
Behold, it shineth now with former grace,
Disease hath fled.

When his glad spirit sought its heavenward flight,
The bells were pealing from the belfry height,
Nor did they sound by any human might
In mournful toll.

Two Messengers from Heaven high in air
Chant funeral praises of this man of prayer,
Before a mighty concourse gathered there
To bless his soul.

The odor sweet arising from his bier
Cured pain and suffering when the sick drew near,
And all diseases fled his tomb in fear
Of heavenly power.

O God most high, forever praise to Thee,
To Son and Spirit equal honor be;
Let us adore the Blessed One in Three
At every hour.

10.10.10.4.
Passibus siccis rapidum

CANTICLE OF MARY

Ant. Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.

 

Albert-of-Trapani_icon-paris

Take courage, the order of the Blessed Virgin will flourish

One day the Lord told me: “You always desire trials, and on the other hand you refuse them. I dispose things in conformity with what I know is your will and not in conformity with your sensual nature and weakness. Take courage, since you see how I help you. I have desired that you win this crown. In your days you will see the order of the Blessed Virgin flourish.”

I heard this from the Lord in the middle of February, 1571.

St. Teresa of Avila
Salamanca, February 1571
NDMC_Avila walls

Spiritual Testimonies: Number 11
The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D.
ICS Publications Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

Lady of the mystic mountain,
where the Lord has set His throne,
up its steep way to the Spirit,
none can walk save love alone.
Grant us grace to climb Mount Carmel
and to learn that love is loss.
Guide us still our ways outdistance
all earth’s treasures save the cross.

NDMC_Virgen del Carmen_enthroned with Christ

Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Day 8

Scripture – Galatians 5:19, 22-25

What human nature does is quite plain. But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. There is no law against such things as these. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have put to death their human nature with all its passions and desires. The Spirit has given us life; he must also control our lives.

Reading – Père Jacques of Jesus, O.C.D., from his retreat to the Carmel of Pontoise, 1943

There are two ways of communing with God. The first is the sacramental way, by reception of the Sacred Host, which allows us to bear Christ’s presence within ourselves. The second and unceasing way consists of God giving himself to us every moment of every day of our lives. In this way, God comes to us in the form of a duty, a joy or a sorrow. God comes to us in other persons, such as an unappealing [person] with whom we have to work or a congenial [friend] with whom we sit at [a meal]. In all these situations, it is God who comes to us, but we do not realize his presence. Yet, whatever the form behind which he hides and whatever the garb in which he presents himself, he is the God of Wisdom, Omnipotence, and Love without limits.

We will be saints, with holiness like that of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila and the Little Flower, when God comes to us no longer in divine radiance, but in the form of a crushing threat to our life. Such was the experience of Christ in his Passion. Even if our human nature recoils in fear and trembling, we will be able to commune with God within the recesses of our soul through abandonment. There lies the key to God’s love and peace.

Novena Prayer

O Most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel,
Fruitful Vine, Splendor of heaven,
Blessed Mother of the Son of God,
Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity.
O Star of the Sea, help me
and show me herein that you are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Queen of heaven and earth,
I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart
to succor me in this necessity.
There are none that can withstand your power!
O help me and show me herein that you are my Mother.

Our Lady, Queen and Beauty of Carmel,
pray for me and obtain my requests!
Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands!

Excerpt from Listen to the Silence: A Retreat With Père Jacques
Translated and Edited by Francis J. Murphy 
Copyright © 2005 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Day 7

Scripture – Romans 8:5-7

Those who live as their human nature tells them to, have their minds controlled by what human nature wants. Those who live as the Spirit tells them to, have their minds controlled by what the Spirit wants. To be controlled by human nature results in death; to be controlled by the Spirit results in life and peace. And so people become enemies of God when they are controlled by their human nature; for they do not obey God’s law, and in fact they cannot obey it.

Reading – Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, from her Letters

Yes, my darling, I am praying for you and I keep you in my soul quite close to God, in that little inner sanctuary where I find Him at every hour of the day and night. I’m never alone: my Christ is always there praying in me, and I pray with Him. You grieve me, My Framboise; I can well see that you’re unhappy and I assure you it’s your own fault. Be at peace. I don’t believe you’re crazy yet, just nervous and overexcited, and when you’re like that, you make others suffer too. Ah, if I could teach you the secret of happiness as God has taught it to me. You say I don’t have any worries or sufferings; it’s true that I’m very happy, but if you only knew that a person can be just as happy even when she is crossed. We must always keep our eyes on God. In the beginning, it’s necessary to make an effort when we’re just boiling inside, but quite gently, with patience and God’s help, we get there in the end.

Novena Prayer

O Most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel,
Fruitful Vine, Splendor of heaven,
Blessed Mother of the Son of God,
Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity.
O Star of the Sea, help me
and show me herein that you are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Queen of heaven and earth,
I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart
to succor me in this necessity.
There are none that can withstand your power!
O help me and show me herein that you are my Mother.

Our Lady, Queen and Beauty of Carmel,
pray for me and obtain my requests!
Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands!

Excerpt from Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel 
Copyright © 2003 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Day 5

Scripture – Psalm 16:7-11

I praise the Lord, because he guides me,
   and in the night my conscience warns me.
I am always aware of the Lord’s presence;
   he is near, and nothing can shake me.

And so I am thankful and glad,
   and I feel completely secure,
because you protect me from the power of death.
I have served you faithfully,
   and you will not abandon me to the world of the dead.

You will show me the path that leads to life;
   your presence fills me with joy
   and brings me pleasure forever.

Reading – Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, O.C.D., Spiritual Maxims on the Presence of God

The [practice of the] presence of God is an application of our mind to God, or a remembrance of God present, that can be brought about by either the imagination or the understanding.

I know someone who, for forty years, has been practicing an intellectual presence of God to which he gives several other names. Sometimes he calls it a “simple act,” a “clear and distinct knowledge of God,” an “indistinct view,” or a “general and loving awareness of God.” Other times he names it “attention to God” “silent conversation with God,” “trust in God,” or “the soul’s life and peace.” This person told me that all these forms of God’s presence are nothing but synonyms for the same thing, and that it is at present second nature to him. Here is how:

This person says that the habit is formed by the repetition of acts and by frequently bringing the mind back into God’s presence. He says that as soon as he is free from his occupations, and often even when he is most taken up by them, the recesses of his mind [esprit] or the innermost depths of his soul are raised with no effort on his part and remain suspended and fixed in God, above all things, as in its center and resting place. Since he is generally aware that his mind, thus held in suspension, is accompanied by faith, he is satisfied. This is what he calls “actual presence of God,” which includes all the other types of presence and much more besides, so that he now lives as if only he and God were in the world. He converses with God everywhere, asks him for what he needs, and rejoices continuously with him in countless ways.

It is important, however, to realize that this conversation with God takes place in the depths and center of the soul. It is there that the soul speaks to God heart to heart, and always in a deep and profound peace that the soul enjoys in God. Everything that takes place outside the soul means no more to it than a lit straw that goes out as soon as it is ignited, and almost never, or very rarely, disturbs its inner peace.

Novena Prayer

O Most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel,
Fruitful Vine, Splendor of heaven,
Blessed Mother of the Son of God,
Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity.
O Star of the Sea, help me
and show me herein that you are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Queen of heaven and earth,
I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart
to succor me in this necessity.
There are none that can withstand your power!
O help me and show me herein that you are my Mother.

Our Lady, Queen and Beauty of Carmel,
pray for me and obtain my requests!
Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands!

Excerpt from Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God 
Copyright © 1994, 2015 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. 
 Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Day 4

Scripture – Isaiah 26:3-4

You, Lord, give perfect peace
   to those who keep their purpose firm
   and put their trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever;
   he will always protect us.

Reading – Blessed Constance of Compiègne’s address to her brother, as recorded by Sr. Marie of the Incarnation (Mme. Philippe)

Gentlemen, it was only with the consent of my parents that I entered here. If they now want me to leave because their tenderness causes them to be alarmed by those dangers I may face in wanting to remain, I am grateful to them. But nothing, absolutely nothing but death can ever separate me from the company of my Mothers and Sisters. And you, my brother, whom I am happy to see, though probably for the last time, please reassure our dear parents that indifference plays no part in my refusal to yield to their desires. My heart is even sorely grieved to cause them sorrow. Yet surely they won’t find it a bad thing that I am led by my conscience. Plead with them then on my behalf, beg them not to worry about me since nothing whatsoever can happen except as it pleases God to allow it. And, in regard to that, I am completely at peace.

Novena Prayer

O Most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel,
Fruitful Vine, Splendor of heaven,
Blessed Mother of the Son of God,
Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity.
O Star of the Sea, help me
and show me herein that you are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Queen of heaven and earth,
I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart
to succor me in this necessity.
There are none that can withstand your power!
O help me and show me herein that you are my Mother.

Our Lady, Queen and Beauty of Carmel,
pray for me and obtain my requests!
Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands!

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

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