Conversation in Avila — Phyllis McGinley

Teresa was God’s familiar. She often spoke
To Him informally,
As if together they shared some heavenly joke.
Once, watching stormily
Her heart’s ambitions wither to odds and ends,
With all to start anew,
She cried, “If this is the way you treat your friends,
No wonder you have so few!”

There is, however, no record standing by
Of God’s reply.

Phyllis McGinley

Conversation in Avila

 

HAWTHORNE_Avila
Avila
Charles Webster Hawthorne (American, 1872-1930)
Watercolor on paper, 1929
Private collection

 

 

McGinley, P 1954, The Love Letters of Phyllis McGinley, Viking Press, New York.

 

 

 

Quote of the day: 13 October

I gave myself to Love Divine,
And lo! my lot so changèd is
That my Beloved One is mine
And I at last am surely His.

When that sweet Huntsman from above
First wounded me and left me prone,
Into the very arms of Love
My stricken soul forthwith was thrown.
Since then my life’s no more my own
And all my lot so changèd is
That my Beloved One is mine
And I at last am surely His.

The dart wherewith He wounded me
Was all embarbèd round with love,
And thus my spirit came to be
One with its Maker, God above.
No love but this I need to prove:
My life to God surrender’d is
And my Beloved One is mine
And I at last am surely His.

Saint Teresa of Avila

Poems III. I gave myself to Love Divine

 

 

'Santa Teresa'_David Manzur (lápiz y pastel) Bogota
Santa Teresa
David Manzur Londoño (Colombian, 1929- )
Graphite and pastel
Museum of Visual Arts, Universidad Jorge Tadeo Lozano
Bogotá, Colombia

 

 

de Jesús, T 1963, The complete works, vol. III, The Book of Foundations, minor prose works, poems, documents and indices, translated and edited by Peers, E, Sheed and Ward, London.

St. Teresa Novena 2019 — Day 7

From her writings

I gave myself to Love Divine,
And lo! my lot so changèd is
That my Beloved One is mine
And I at last am surely His.

When that sweet Huntsman from above
First wounded me and left me prone,
Into the very arms of Love
My stricken soul forthwith was thrown.
Since then my life’s no more my own
And all my lot so changèd is
That my Beloved One is mine
And I at last am surely His.

The dart wherewith He wounded me
Was all embarbèd round with love,
And thus my spirit came to be
One with its Maker, God above.
No love but this I need to prove:
My life to God surrender’d is
And my Beloved One is mine
And I at last am surely His.

Poems III. I gave myself to Love Divine … (“Yo toda me entregué y dí. …”)
(translation by 
E. Allison Peers)

 

Reflection by Fr. Emiel Albalahin, O.Carm.

This beautiful poem is the result of Teresa’s reflection on Songs 2:16: “My Beloved belongs to me and I to him.” In her verse, she expresses a fundamental truth of the interior journey: God himself initiates and sustains the relationship, and invites us to surrender to Him in faith. Our efforts of self-renunciation, sacrifice, and humility about which Teresa constantly discusses in her writings are our personal response to this love. In renouncing ourselves, we allow the Lord to unite us to Himself.

Let us not tire of making our sacrifices of love, but instead take courage, sure in the knowledge that we are already loved.

 

We pray together

Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be.

V. Holy Mother St. Teresa, pray for us:

R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray:

Father,
by your Spirit, you raised up
our Mother Saint Teresa of Jesus
to show your Church the way to perfection.
May her inspired teaching
awaken in us a longing for true holiness.

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

 


Fr. Emiel Albalahin, O.Carm. is a friar of the Saint Elias Province and the pastor of Transfiguration Parish in Tarrytown, New York, U.S.A.

View the entire novena on the website of the General Curia of the Carmelite Order.

Quote of the day: 2 October

Capt Catez 04_deuils_portrait
Capt. Joseph Catez (1832-1887)

 

Oh father, ten years ago
You were stricken by cruel death!
You left your grief-stricken widow,
Your children, still quite young;
And your soul left the earth,
The place of exile and of misery,
To return to the bosom of God
In the beautiful city of Heaven.

It was in my weak arms as a child,
These arms that caressed you so much,
That your brief agony lasted,
The last battle of your life!
And I tried to hold on
To that last, long breath!

Protector of my childhood,
Who knew how to watch over
His dear little children with constancy,
I truly promise you that the years
Will not erase from my memory
The souvenir of a beloved father
Who was called by Jesus,
Still quite young, to eternal glory!

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity

Poem 37, 2 October 1897

 

7 years old 04_deuils_e06
Elizabeth, age 7 (1887)

 

The year 1887 was difficult for St. Elizabeth’s family. When she was two years old, her maternal grandmother died, leaving her grandfather, Raymond Rolland as a widower to fend for himself. Eventually, he moved in with his daughter Marie and son-in-law Capt. Joseph Catez.

But 24 January 1887, Grandfather Rolland died in the Catez home.  It was a rude shock for the family.

Eight months later, Joseph Catez, the proud army captain, was knocked down by serious health problems. It’s his heart, the doctor says. Besides, he can feel it himself, says biographer Conrad de Meester (2017). Several times during the summer of 1887 he has serious heart attacks, “but the courageous captain, a committed Christian, doesn’t complain easily.”

Nobody expected his condition to deteriorate so quickly, however. The veritable unraveling of the strong fabric of his existence was so rapid and so tragic for the Catez family.

Sunday morning 2 October 1887, Captain Catez fought his last battle and died, borne away in one single night by a massive heart attack. He died in the arms of Elizabeth, who literally felt him draw his last breath.

Elizabeth was always a daddy’s girl; the profound event, which engraved an indelible image upon her memory, inspired her to compose a poem on the anniversary of Captain Catez’s death 10 years later.

The French website of the Carmel of Dijon provides more detail here. Images of Capt. Catez and Elizabeth at age seven are courtesy of the Carmel of Dijon.

 

de Meester C 2017, Rien moins que Dieu: Sainte Elisabeth de la Trinité biographie, Presses de la Renaissance, Paris.

Quote of the day: 15 September

Mary, at the top of Calvary standing beside the Cross
To me you seem like a priest at the altar,
Offering your beloved Jesus, the sweet Emmanuel,
To appease the Father’s justice…
A prophet said, O afflicted Mother,
« There is no sorrow like your sorrow ! _ »
O Queen of Martyrs, while remaining in exile
You lavish on us all the blood of your heart !

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus
Why I Love You, O Mary (PN 54, excerpt)

 

Calvaire_Rochefort-en-Terre_Bretagne (2)
This detail from a streetside Calvary shrine in the village of Rochefort-en-Terre is typical of many found scattered throughout Bretagne, France | Source: Flickr creative commons

Quote of the day: 2 September

All true ascesis as a desert lies:
hot wind, hot sand, no water, and no way.
The ego agonizes through each day.
Freedom is when it dies.

Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit, O.C.D.
(Jessica Powers)
Pure Desert (excerpt)

 

dessert mountain during sunset
Photo by Greg Gulik on Pexels.com

 

 

Powers, J 1999, The Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 6 August

You reign at the Father’s right hand
In the kingdom of his eternal glory
As God’s Word from the beginning.

You reign on the Almighty’s throne
Also in transfigured human form,
Ever since the completion of your work on earth.

I believe this because your word teaches me so,
And because I believe, I know it gives me joy,
And blessed hope blooms forth from it.

For where you are, there also are your own,
Heaven is my glorious homeland,
I share with you the Father’s throne.

Saint Edith Stein
I Will Remain With You . . . (excerpt)

 

Transfiguration icon by Theofan the Greek Tretyakov gallery
Transfiguration icon by Theofan the Greek from Spaso-Preobrazhensky Cathedral in Pereslavl-Zalessky 15th c. Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow | Jim Forest / Flickr

 

The Hidden Life: Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Texts
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Vol. 4
ICS Publications, Washington DC
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

Quote of the day: 14 July

Remember that your holy will
Is my rest, my only happiness.
I abandon myself and I fall asleep without fear
In your arms, O my divine Savior.
If you also fall asleep when the storm rages,
I always want to stay in deep peace.
But, Jesus, while you are asleep,
Prepare me
For the awakening!

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux 
Jesus, My Beloved, Remember!…
“Rappelle-toi” (PN 24), Stanza 32

 

Carnet Jaune 14jul97
On 14 July 1897 Mother Agnès of Jesus notes that Thérèse began to repeat “with a heavenly melody and accent” stanza 32 of her poem, “Rappelle-toi” | Screenshot detail

 

Read the full text of the poem in French here and in English here. Read this and more entries from Mother Agnès’ yellow notebook of her last conversations with Saint Thérèse during July 1897 here. You can explore the English website of the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux here.

His heart an open wound with love

Stanzas applied spiritually to Christ and the soul

 

1. A lone young shepherd lived in pain
withdrawn from pleasure and contentment,
his thoughts fixed on a shepherd-girl
his heart an open wound with love.

2. He weeps, but not from the wound of love,
there is no pain in such affliction,
even though the heart is pierced;
he weeps in knowing he’s been forgotten.

3. That one thought: his shining one
has forgotten him, is such great pain
that he bows to brutal handling in a foreign land,
his heart an open wound with love.

4. The shepherd says: I pity the one
who draws herself back from my love,
and does not seek the joy of my presence,
though my heart is an open wound with love for her.

5. After a long time, he climbed a tree,
and spread his shining arms,
and hung by them, and died,
his heart an open wound with love.

 

Sacred Heart adored by angels_Andrés López 1785
The Sacred Heart of Jesus adored by angels
Andrés López
Oil on copper, 1785
Peyton Wright Gallery, Santa Fe, New Mexico
See a larger work here on a similar theme by Andrés López in the sacristy of the Oratorio de San Felipe Neri in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico

 

Poetry: Poem 7, The Collected Works of Saint John of the Cross, Revised Edition
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D., With Revisions and Introductions by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D.
ICS Publications Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

Pentecost Novena: Edith Stein — Day 6

Pentecost Novena 6-17 Edith IGsize
Pentecost Novena: Edith Stein — Day 6

 

Are you the master who builds the eternal cathedral,
Which towers from the earth through the heavens?
Animated by you, the columns are raised high
And stand immovably firm.
Marked with the eternal name of God,
They stretch up to the light,
Bearing the dome,
Which crowns the holy cathedral,
Your work that encircles the world:
Holy Spirit God’s molding hand!


Saint Edith Stein

And I Remain With You:
From a Pentecost Novena

Day 6

 

The Hidden Life: Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Texts
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Vol. 4
ICS Publications, Washington DC
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

Pentecost Novena: Edith Stein — Day 2

Pentecost Novena 2017- 2 IGsize
Pentecost Novena: St. Edith Stein — Day 2

You are the space
That embraces my being and buries it in yourself.
Away from you it sinks into the abyss
Of nothingness, from which you raised it to the light.
You, nearer to me than I to myself
And more interior than my most interior
And still impalpable and intangible
And beyond any name:
Holy Spirit eternal love!


Saint Edith Stein

And I Remain With You:
From a Pentecost Novena

Day 2

 

The Hidden Life: Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Texts
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Vol. 4
ICS Publications, Washington DC
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

Pentecost Novena: St. Edith Stein — Day 1

EDITH - Pentecost Novena 1 IGsize
Pentecost Novena: St. Edith Stein — Day 1

 

Who are you, sweet light, that fills me
And illumines the darkness of my heart?
You lead me like a mother’s hand,
And should you let go of me,
I would not know how to take another step.


Saint Edith Stein

And I Remain With You:
From a Pentecost Novena

Day 1

 

The Hidden Life: Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Texts
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Vol. 4
ICS Publications, Washington DC
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

Marie du jour: 31 May

Why I Love You, O Mary!

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

~   ~   ~

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

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

 

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

 


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

Quote of the day: 23 May

Prayer is the trap-door out of sin.
Prayer is a mystic entering in
to secret places full of light.
It is a passage through the night.

Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit, O.C.D.
(Jessica Powers)

Prayer (excerpt)

 

open brown wooden door
Photo by George Shervashidze on Pexels.com

 

The Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers (p. 144)  / Edited by Regina Siegfried and Robert Morneau (page 131) 
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC 
Copyright © 1999 by Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
EDITH - You reign on the Almighty's throne transfigured
Excerpt from I Will Remain With You . . . an undated poem by St. Edith Stein; the original manuscript is preserved in the archives of the Carmel of Cologne. It is assumed that the origin of the poem was Edith’s departure from the Cologne Carmel for the Carmel of Echt, Holland, 31 December 1938. [Source: Dr. Lucy Gelber, The Hidden Life: Hagiographic Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Texts, p. 146]

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