Quote of the day: 31 August

Pranzini_photo_anthropométrique

 

One Sunday, closing my book at the end of Mass, a picture of Our Lord on the Cross half slipped out, showing only one of His Divine Hands, pierced and bleeding. I felt an indescribable thrill such as I had never felt before. My heart was torn with grief to see that Precious Blood falling to the ground, and no one caring to treasure It as It fell, and I resolved to remain continually in spirit at the foot of the Cross, that I might receive the Divine Dew of Salvation and pour it forth upon souls. From that day the cry of my dying Saviour—“I thirst!”—sounded incessantly in my heart, and kindled therein a burning zeal hitherto unknown to me. My one desire was to give my Beloved to drink; I felt myself consumed with thirst for souls, and I longed at any cost to snatch sinners from the everlasting flames of hell.

In order still further to enkindle my ardour, Our Divine Master soon proved to me how pleasing to him was my desire. Just then I heard much talk of a notorious criminal, Pranzini, who was sentenced to death for several shocking murders, and, as he was quite impenitent, everyone feared he would be eternally lost. How I longed to avert this irreparable calamity! In order to do so I employed all the spiritual means I could think of, and, knowing that my own efforts were unavailing, I offered for his pardon the infinite merits of Our Saviour and the treasures of Holy Church.

Need I say that in the depths of my heart I felt certain my request would be granted? But, that I might gain courage to persevere in the quest for souls, I said in all simplicity: “My God, I am quite sure that Thou wilt pardon this unhappy Pranzini. I should still think so if he did not confess his sins or give any sign of sorrow, because I have such confidence in Thy unbounded Mercy; but this is my first sinner, and therefore I beg for just one sign of repentance to reassure me.” My prayer was granted to the letter. My Father never allowed us to read the papers, but I did not think there was any disobedience in looking at the part about Pranzini. The day after his execution I hastily opened the paper, La Croix, and what did I see? Tears betrayed my emotion; I was obliged to run out of the room. Pranzini had mounted the scaffold without confessing or receiving absolution, and the executioners were already dragging him towards the fatal block, when all at once, apparently in answer to a sudden inspiration, he turned round, seized the crucifix which the Priest was offering to him, and kissed Our Lord’s Sacred Wounds three times. . . . I had obtained the sign I asked for, and to me it was especially sweet. Was it not when I saw the Precious Blood flowing from the Wounds of Jesus that the thirst for souls first took possession of me? I wished to give them to drink of the Blood of the Immaculate Lamb that It might wash away their stains, and the lips of “my first born” had been pressed to these Divine Wounds. What a wonderful answer!

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
Story of a Soul

 

Henri Pranzini was executed on this date, 31 August 1877 in Paris

 

Quote of the day: 30 August

Sermon on the Mount_BLOCH Carl Heinrich 1877
The Sermon on the Mount, Carl Bloch, Oil on copper 1877, Frederiksborg Castle, Denmark

 

When Christ, in his sermons and his parables, described the Christian’s manner of behavior, he sketched for us a portrait of the face of She who was the daughter of light par excellence. Further, his deeds and his acts complete the refinement of Mary’s appearance.

To look at Jesus is, in a way, to look at his Mother. Didn’t she give him his human face at the same time that he fashioned her in the image of God? In this admirable exchange, the resemblance of these two beings was consummated.

 

Raphael, 1483-1520; The Virgin and Child
The Virgin and Child
Raphael (1483–1520) (after)
Oil on canvas
Royal Cornwall Museum

 

Transformed in her Son, Mary has nothing of her own beyond this transparency, this limpidity that permits the soul of Jesus to be reflected in her with all his perfections, to imprint himself on her in a lively manner. To look at Christ living and praying, we learn to know his Mother better.

Father François de Sainte-Marie, O.C.D.
Visage de la Vierge (Face of the Virgin)

 


Father François de Sainte-Marie was a prolific French Discalced Carmelite author and editor of the mid-20th century. He is best known for his tireless efforts to publish the critical edition of the autobiographical manuscripts of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux in 1957, which we commonly refer to as Story of a Soul.

A review of Father François’ publications in the library of the Teresianum in Rome is impressive, to say the least. Translations from the Latin, original works in French, German, and English all testify to the creative genius of this friar.

The blogger will contribute to the translation of his meditations for the annual Advent online retreat sponsored by the Discalced Carmelite friars of the Paris province.

Father François de Sainte-Marie’s fruitful ministry was tragically cut short by accidental death when he drowned in the Loire river 30 August 1961.

 

de Sainte-Marie, F 1948, Visage de la Vierge, translated from the French by Carmelite Quotes, Librairie du Carmel, Paris.

 

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

 

Quote of the day: 5 June

They could not sufficiently admire the genius of Madame Acarie

 

The people came in crowds to Notre Dame des Champs to see the Carmelites take possession of their monastery; distinguished persons also assisted in great numbers at this touching ceremony. All praised God for the new Order of religious that had been established, returned thanks to Spain for the present she had made to France in giving Saints for foundresses. After the Spanish religious had taken possession of the [priory], they examined the interior arrangements. They could not sufficiently admire the genius of Mme. Acarie, who had known how, in so small a space, to make all the proper arrangements, together with all that was necessary for a community. They then visited the new buildings which were on the other side of the church, and the way in which this intelligent woman had grouped them seemed to them equally admirable.

Marcel Bouix, S.J., editor (1806-1889)
Autobiography of the Blessed Mother Anne of Saint Bartholomew

 

Eglise_NDDC_XVIIè_siècle
Priory of Notre-Dame-des-Champs in Paris, c. 1650
Jean Marot (1619-1679)
Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art

Quote of the day: 16 April

Love is the queen and soul of all the virtues, giving them of necessity their value and worth. We must not be surprised that the virtues possessed by Brother Lawrence were perfect, because the love of God reigned so perfectly in his heart, which, as St. Bernard said, he had turned toward this divine object in all his affections. If faith enabled him to see God as sovereign truth, and if hope enabled him to contemplate God as his last end and ultimate happiness, love enabled him to recognize God as the most perfect of all beings or, more accurately, as perfection itself. Far from loving God for his own profit, his love was so disinterested that he loved God even when there was no suffering to avoid or any reward to gain, wanting only the good and glory of God and making the accomplishment of God’s holy will his paradise. We will see this again during the last moments of his illness when his spirit was so free, even until the last sigh, that he expressed the dispositions of his heart as if he were in perfect health.

Monsignor Joseph de Beaufort
Eulogy for Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection
Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God

Brother-Lawrence1
Contemporary sketch of Brother Lawrence | Photo: Carmes de Paris

Monsignor Joseph de Beaufort was a priest of the Archdiocese of Paris who knew Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection. He was the confessor and counselor of Louis-Antoine de Noailles, the Archbishop of Paris; de Beaufort had served as the Vicar General with de Noailles in Châlons-sur-Marne before de Noailles was nominated to the archdiocesan see.

Excerpt from Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God 
Edited by Conrad De Meester, OCD, Translated by Salvatore Sciurba, OCD 
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC
Copyright © 1994, 2015 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

Quote of the day: 20 February

I have taken advantage of this opportunity to share with you the experience of one of our friars concerning the admirable effects and continual help he receives from the practice of the presence of God; we can both benefit from it.

He often complains of our blindness and cries out ceaselessly that we deserve sympathy for settling for so little. “God,” he says, “has infinite treasures to give us, yet we are satisfied with a bit of perceptible devotion that passes in an instant.” He complains that “we are blind since we bind God’s hands in this way and halt the abundant flow of his graces; yet when God finds a soul penetrated by an intense faith he pours out his graces in abundance. This torrent of his grace, impeded from running its ordinary course, expands impetuously and abundantly once it has found an outlet.”

Yes, sometimes we stop this torrent by our lack of appreciation for it. We must not stop it any longer, dear Mother; we must turn inward, break through the dam, let grace come forth, and make up for lost time. We have so little time left to live. Death is at our heels, so be on guard: death comes only once!

Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, O.C.D.
The Practice of the Presence of God, Letter 1


Father Conrad De Meester, O.C.D. who was the editor of the French critical edition of Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God notes these biographic details concerning the uncle whose own Discalced Carmelite vocation inspired Brother Lawrence to enter religious life after military service:

His uncle Jean, his mother’s brother, a native of Hériménil, Jean Majeur entered the Discalced Carmelites as a lay brother at the beginning of October 1633. He took the name “Brother Nicolas of the Conception.” He was professed in Paris on December 9, 1635, and died on February 20, 1652, in his nephew’s monastery in Paris.

 

Resurrection of the Dead BODLEIAN
Detail from Book of Hours, Use of Rome 
Folio 98/254
Meister des Gijsbrecht van Brederode [illustrator]
Netherlands, 1440 – 1460
Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford
See the entire folio and the complete Book of Hours here
Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection
Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God
(Biographic note, p. 27; Letter 1, p. 53)
Copyright © 1994, 2015 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

 

 

Quote of the day: 12 February

If he so loved God during his life, he did not love him any less at his death. He made continuous acts of love, and when a friar asked him if he loved God with all his heart, he answered, “Ah! If I thought that my heart did not love God, I would tear it out right now.”

The next day, Monday, February 12, 1691, at nine o’clock in the morning, fully conscious, without agony or convulsions, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection died in the embrace of the Lord and offered his soul to God with the peace and tranquility of one asleep.

Joseph de Beaufort’s Eulogy for Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection
The Practice of the Presence of God

Brother-Lawrence1

St. Edith Stein Novena – Day 4

SCRIPTURE READING
John 2:1-11

There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. The mother of Jesus was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited. When they ran out of wine, since the wine provided for the wedding was all finished, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ Jesus said, ‘Woman why turn to me? My hour has not come yet.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ There were six stone water jars standing there, meant for the ablutions that are customary among the Jews: each could hold twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water,’ and they filled them to the brim. ‘Draw some out now,’ he told them, ‘and take it to the steward.’ They did this; the steward tasted the water, and it had turned into wine. Having no idea where it came from – only the servants who had drawn the water knew – the steward called the bridegroom and said, ‘People generally serve the best wine first, and keep the cheaper sort till the guests have had plenty to drink, but you have kept the best wine till now.’

This was the first of the signs given by Jesus: it was given at Cana in Galilee. He let his glory be seen, and his disciples believed in him.

MEDITATION
A Chosen Vessel of Divine Wisdom:

Sr. Marie-Aimée de Jésus of the Carmel of the Avenue de Saxe in Paris 1839–1874

Nazareth

“A page from the great book of God’s mercy” is what Sister Marie-Aimée called her life. This life is very simple in its external course, but has an inner richness that can only be hinted at in a short biography. Those who would like to know more about it must refer to her own writings.

A delicate face of angelic purity and spirituality, big, soft, and deeply penetrating eyes that have knowledge of the supernatural world as well as of their natural home—this is Dorothea Quoniam, who in Carmel received the name of Marie-Aimée de Jésus. This name tells the secret of her life: “loved by Jesus” with an overwhelming, jealous love that laid total claim to her from her very first day.

Occasionally, [Jesus] revealed himself to her in human form and each time corresponding to her age, so that he seemed to grow up with her. When she was nineteen, her relatives wanted to arrange her future. One day they introduced a young man to her, and, after an opening conversation, let her know that he came as a suitor. Dorothea said not a word. She only smiled, but this smile was of a kind that made the poor fellow lower his eyes, blush, and wish that he had never come. The Lord had revealed himself beside this young man “in the full radiance of his virginal beauty” and said, “Compare!” At the same time, a smile of divine irony played about his lips and evoked its reflection in the face of his bride. The first attempt of this kind was rejected, and she knew how to refuse all thereafter with calm firmness.

She had already known when she moved to her “Nazareth” that her aim was the “desert” of Carmel. But she had to await the Lord’s hour.

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.

Sports for peace
Community members from El Sereif, North Darfur, perform traditional wedding songs in a cultural and sports event organized by UNAMID as part of the campaign “We need peace now”.
Learn more about this photo by Alberto Gonzalez Farran, UNAMID
The Hidden Life: hagiographic essays, meditations, spiritual texts
Edited by L. Gelber and Michael Linssen; translated by Waltraut Stein
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Vol. 4 
ICS Publications, Washington DC 
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

Novena to Saints Louis and Zélie Martin – Day 4

my heart is right beside you

READING

Paris, 2nd August 1885.

Dearest daughters,

You are very kind to have let me take this little break and I shall be very grateful to you for it all my life. Besides, even if distance separates us a little, my heart is right beside you. Therefore don’t worry or be upset, my children.

If, however, your sorrow is too great, tell me so honestly, Marie, and send your letter poste restante to Munich (in Bavaria) and I’ll leave dear Father Marie (travelling companion – curate of the church of St. Jacques) high and dry.

I am sending you a dozen gold shells; you will give two to Céline and two to my little Queen; kiss them firmly on their two cheeks. As for you, poppet, take comfort and once again, I can assure you that you won’t regret letting me leave; I also send you and Léonie lots and lots of love.

Don’t forget to give the eight gold shells to my “fine Pearl” in the Carmel.

Wholly yours in the Lord.

P.-S. Many best wishes to your uncle, and your aunt and your cousins. I must hurry, for I have to be at the station at nine o’clock, and I haven’t much time.

A thousand kisses to all my family.

(Your father who loves you.)

From Louis Martin to his daughters – August 2, 1885

 

RESPONSORY
R/.  You must be renewed in mind and spirit, and put on the new man.
V/.  So that you may be able to discover what is God’s will,
      what is good, pleasing and perfect.

PRAYER
O God,
who gave to Saint Louis and Marie Zelie
the grace to lead a life of holiness
as Christian spouses and parents,
grant that, through their intercession and example,
we may be able to love and serve you faithfully,
living worthily our own vocation.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Discover more from the letters of Saints Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin on the website of the archives of the Carmel of Lisieux

Novena to Saints Louis and Zélie Martin – Day 2

What a holy man my husband is.
I wish the same for all women…

READING
Alençon
,  January 1, 1863

My dear brother,

I wish you a happy New Year and desire with all my heart that you do well in your studies. I’m sure you’ll succeed if you want to, this depends only on you. God protects all who trust in Him. Not a single person has ever been abandoned by Him.

When I think of what God, in whom I’ve put all my trust and in whose hands I’ve put the care of my whole life, has done for me and my husband, I don’t doubt that His Divine Providence watches over His children with special care.

My dear friend, I’m very concerned about you [since December 10 or 15, 1862, Isidore was enrolled in the School of Pharmacy in Paris]. Every day my husband makes sad predictions. He knows Paris, and he tells me that you’ll be up against temptations that you’ll find hard to resist because you’re not religious enough. He told me what temptations he had and the courage he needed to overcome his struggles. If you only knew what ordeals he went through…. I beg you, my dear Isidore, do as he did; pray, and you will not let yourself be carried away by the torrent. If you give in once, you’re lost. On the path of evil as well as that of goodness, the first step is the hardest, and, after that first step, you’ll be swept away by the current.

If you want to give me a New Year’s gift and would agree to this one request I’m asking of you, I’d be happier than if you sent me all of Paris. Here it is: you live very close to Notre-Dame des Victoires. Well! Go there just once a day and say a Hail Mary to the Blessed Mother. You’ll see that she’ll protect you in a very special way, and that she’ll help you succeed in this world and give you eternal happiness. What I’m saying to you is not exaggerated piety and unfounded on my part. I have reason to have trust in the Blessed Mother, I’ve received favors from her that only I know.

You well know that life is not long. You and I will soon be at the end, and we’ll be very grateful that we lived in a manner that doesn’t make our last hour too bitter.

Now, if you have an unkind heart, you’ll laugh at me, but if you’re kindhearted, you’ll say I’m right.

When you write to me, don’t mention what I said regarding Louis’ thoughts about your situation because he wouldn’t like it. I’m always so happy with him, he makes my life very pleasant. What a holy man my husband is. I wish the same for all women; that’s my wish for them for the New Year…

From Madame Martin to her brother Isidore Guérin

RESPONSORY
R/.  You must be renewed in mind and spirit, and put on the new man.
V/.  So that you may be able to discover what is God’s will,
      what is good, pleasing and perfect.

PRAYER
O God,
who gave to Saint Louis and Marie Zelie
the grace to lead a life of holiness
as Christian spouses and parents,
grant that, through their intercession and example,
we may be able to love and serve you faithfully,
living worthily our own vocation.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Discover more from the letters of Saints Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin on the website of the archives of the Carmel of Lisieux

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