St. Teresa Novena 2019 — Day 9

From her writings

The blessings gained through true poverty I think are many, and I wouldn’t want to lose them. I am often aware of a faith within me so great that I think God cannot fail anyone who serves Him. I know that there never is or will be any time in which His words will fail; for I cannot persuade myself otherwise, nor can I fear…

It seems to me I have much more compassion for the poor than I used to. I feel such great pity and desire to find relief for them that if it were up to me I would give them the clothes off my back. I feel no repugnance whatsoever toward them, toward speaking to or touching them. This I now see is a gift given by God. For even though I used to give alms for love of Him, I didn’t have the natural compassion. I feel a very noticeable improvement in this matter.

Spiritual Testimonies: 2, Nos. 3-4


Reflection by Fr. Emiel Albalahin, O.Carm.

According to Teresa, while interior development necessarily involves continued progress in self-knowledge and self-awareness, it is not egotistical, because it also encourages us to look beyond ourselves to God and to others.  Thus progress in the spiritual life really authenticates itself in charity.  God’s love, as the evangelist John tells us, is for all and is so profound that He sent His Son for our redemption.  For those engaged in a life of prayer, we must also love with this Divine love.  It is a transformative love that changes the way we see and approach our fellow men and women, as Teresa illustrates in the passage above.

May we, therefore, learn to love others with the love that God loves us, that our prayer may be truly perfected.


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:

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: 12 September

Saint Teresa treats of the foundation of the monastery of the glorious St. Joseph made in the city of Toledo in 1569
The Book of the Foundations, Chapter 15

For some days we had no more than the straw mattresses and the blanket, and even that day we didn’t have so much as a stick of wood to make a fire to cook a sardine. And I don’t know who it was the Lord moved to leave a little bundle of wood in the church to help us.

The nights were quite cold; but with the blanket and the woolen mantles we wore, we kept ourselves warm, for these mantles often help us. It will seem impossible that though we had stayed in the house of that lady who loved me so much, [Doña Luisa de la Cerda] we had to enter the new foundation in so much poverty. I don’t know the reason, except that God wanted us to experience the good that lies in this virtue. I did not ask for help, because I don’t like to be a bother; and she perhaps wasn’t aware. Moreover, I am indebted for what she was able to give us.

The experience was very good for us; the interior consolation and happiness we felt were so great that I often think about what the Lord keeps stored up within the virtues. It seems to me this lack we experienced was the cause of a sweet contemplation.

But this poverty did not last long, for soon [the principal benefactor] Alonso Alvarez himself, as well as others, were providing us with more than we needed. And, true to say, my sadness was such that it resembled that of discovering that many gold jewels in my possession were taken away and I left poor.

Thus I felt sorry that they were bringing our poverty to an end, and my companions felt the same. Since I saw they were sad, I asked them what troubled them, and they answered: “What else could it be, Mother, for it no longer seems we are poor.”

From then on my desire to be very poor increased. And I felt freedom in having so little esteem for temporal goods, for the lack of these goods brings an increase of interior good. Certainly, such a lack carries in its wake another kind of fullness and tranquility.


The famous statue of the ‘vagabond’ Saint Teresa in front of the Monastery of the Incarnation in Avila, Spain | Photo credit: Discalced Carmelites



Teresa of Avila 1976 The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K and Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.



7 June: Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew

June 7


Ana Garcia was born at Almendral, Castille, in 1549. In 1572 she made her profession as a Carmelite in the hands of St Teresa at Saint Joseph’s, Avila. The Saint later chose her as her companion and nurse, and she subsequently brought the Teresian spirit to France and Belgium, where she proved herself, like Teresa, a daughter of the Church in her great zeal for the salvation of souls. She died at Antwerp in 1626.

From the common of virgins

Office of Readings

Second Reading
From the Meditations on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ by Blessed Anne of Saint Bartholomew
(Autog. MS monast. St. Teresa, Madrid)

Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart

According to Saint Bernard, it is the person who keeps silent and says nothing when things go wrong who is really humble. It is very virtuous, he says, to keep silent when people are talking about our true faults, but more perfect when we are slighted or accused without having committed any fault or sin. And though it is virtuous indeed to bear this in silence, it is more perfect still to want to be despised and thought mad and good-for-nothing, and to go on, as our Lord Jesus Christ did, wholeheartedly loving those who despise us.

If Jesus kept silent, it was not because he hated anyone. He was simply saying to his eternal Father what he said on the cross: Lord, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. What infinite love burned in that sacred heart of yours, Lord Jesus! Without uttering a single word you spoke to us; without a word you worked the mysteries you came to accomplish—teaching virtue to the ignorant and blind. What our Lord did was no small thing. Where should we get patience and humility and poverty and the other virtues, and how could we carry each other’s burdens and cross, if Christ had not taught us all this first, and given himself as a living model of all perfection?

Blessed silence! In it, you cry out and preach to the whole world by your example. Volumes could be written about your silence, Lord! There is more wisdom to be learned from it by those who love you than from books or study.

Our Lord became a spring of Living water for us so that we should not die of thirst among all the miseries that surround us. How truly he said in the Gospel that he came to serve and not to be served! What tremendous goodness! Can we fail to be shamed by your words and deeds, and the patience you show with us every day? How truly, again Lord, did you say: Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart. Where can we obtain this patience and humbleness of heart? Is there any way to achieve it except by taking it from Christ as he taught it to us with those other virtues we need—faith, hope, and charity? Without faith, we cannot follow that royal road of the divine mysteries. It is faith that opens our eyes and makes us see the truth; and where faith is wanting there is no light and no way leading to goodness.

Proverbs 3:5, 6
R/. Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and do not rely on your own intelligence;
and he will make straight your paths (alleluia).
R/. Wherever you go be mindful of him,
and he will make straight your paths (alleluia).

Morning Prayer

Canticle of Zechariah
Ant. Where humility is, there is wisdom; the wisdom of the humble will protect them from defeat (alleluia).


rewarder of the humble,
you blessed your servant Anne of Saint Bartholomew
with outstanding charity and patience.
May her prayers help us, and her example inspire us,
to carry our cross
and be faithful in loving you,
and others for your sake.

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

Evening Prayer

Canticle of Mary
Ant. God has chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he promised to those who love him (alleluia).


Portrait of Blessed Anne of Saint Bartholomew by France de Wilde (1917)

St. Joseph and poverty

From The Book of Her Life: Chapter 35

Continues on the same subject: the foundation of this house of our glorious father St. Joseph. Tells of the means the Lord provided by which holy poverty would be observed in it, the reason why she left the lady she was staying with and returned, and of some other things that happened to her.

His Majesty had already given me great desires for poverty. Thus I didn’t doubt that poverty was the best thing for me, because for a long time I had been desiring that it would be possible for me to go begging for love of God and not have a house or anything. But I feared that if the Lord didn’t give the others these desires, their lives would be unhappy. I also feared that poverty would be the cause of some distraction since I observed certain poor monasteries in which there wasn’t much recollection. I failed to reflect that this lack of recollection was the cause of their being poor and that it was not the practice of poverty that caused their distraction. For distraction won’t make monasteries richer; nor does God ever fail anyone who serves Him. In sum, I had weak faith, which was not true of this servant of God.

I had weak faith

Since I consulted in all things with so many, I nonetheless found almost no one with this opinion, neither my confessor nor the learned men with whom I dealt. They brought out so many reasons against poverty that I didn’t know what to do. Since I knew it was in the rule and saw that observing poverty would be more perfect, I couldn’t persuade myself that the monastery should have an income. And if sometimes they had me convinced, when I returned to prayer and contemplating Christ on the cross, so poor and so naked, I couldn’t patiently accept the idea of being rich. I tearfully begged Him to ordain things so that I would see myself poor, as He was.

I couldn’t persuade myself that the monastery should have an income

At this time, since this lady hadn’t seen the holy Friar Peter of Alcántara, the Lord was pleased through my entreaties that he come to her house. Because he was a true lover of poverty and had practiced it for so many years, he knew well the riches that lay within it; so he helped me a great deal and ordered that I should by no means fail to go through with my plan. With this favorable opinion from one who could give the best opinion since he had known about poverty through wide experience, I made up my mind not to go looking for other opinions.

Excerpt from The Book of Her Life, Chapter 35; 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.

The prison of our misery

broken glass window with gray metal frame
Photo by Ignacio Palés on


Who will be able to say of himself that he is virtuous or rich? For at the very moment when there is need of virtue one finds oneself poor. No, Sisters; but let us always think we are poor, and not go into debt when we do not have the means with which to repay. The treasure will have to come from elsewhere, and we do not know when the Lord will want to leave us in the prison of our misery without giving us anything. True, if we serve with humility, the Lord in the end will succor us in our needs; but if this poverty of spirit is not genuinely present at every step, as they say, the Lord will abandon us.

Excerpt from The Way of Perfection, Chapter 38; 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.
JUANdelaCRUZ - Works done in faith SPANISH (2)
My dear brothers and sisters, listen to me. Hasn’t God chosen those who are poor in the world’s eyes to be rich in faith? Hasn’t he chosen them to receive the kingdom? Hasn’t he promised it to those who love him? (James 2:5)

St. Edith Stein Novena – Day 2

Psalm 88

Lord God, you are my Savior.
    I have been praying to you day and night.
Please pay attention to my prayers.
    Listen to my prayers for mercy.
My soul has had enough of this pain!
    I am ready to die.
People already treat me like a dead man,
    like someone too weak to live.
Look for me among the dead,
    like a body in the grave.
I am one of those you have forgotten,
    cut off from you and your care.
You put me in that hole in the ground.
    Yes, you put me in that dark place.
Your anger presses down on me like a heavy weight.
    It’s like one wave after another pounding against me. Selah

You made my friends leave me.
    They all avoid me like someone no one wants to touch.
Like a prisoner in my house, I cannot go out.
    My eyes hurt from crying.
Lord, I pray to you constantly!
    I lift my arms in prayer to you.
10 Do you do miracles for the dead?
    Do ghosts rise up and praise you? No! Selah

11 The dead in their graves cannot talk about your faithful love.
    People in the world of the dead cannot talk about your faithfulness.
12 The dead who lie in darkness cannot see the amazing things you do.
    Those in the world of the forgotten cannot talk about your goodness.
13 Lord, I am asking you to help me!
    Early each morning I pray to you.
14 Lord, why have you abandoned me?
    Why do you refuse to listen to me?
15 I have been sick and weak since I was young.
    I have suffered your anger, and I am helpless.
16 Your anger covers me like a flood.
    Your attacks are killing me.
17 They surround me on every side.
    I feel like a drowning man.
18 You caused my friends and loved ones to leave me.
    Now darkness is my closest friend.


The Science of the Cross, Chapter 22

The Doctrine of the Darkest Path

The darkest path is the most secure. This doctrine from The Dark Night is stressed with great emphasis in spiritual direction: “Since your soul finds herself in this darkness and void of spiritual poverty, you believe you are lacking everything, and that everyone has abandoned you. Of course, that is no wonder since you even think God has forsaken you. However, nothing is missing. . . . Whoever seeks God and nothing else is not wandering in darkness no matter how dark and poor you think you are. Whoever does not walk in presumption and does not follow her own tastes whether in what concerns God or creatures, and does not insist on her own will, whether internally or externally, will not stumble now. . . .  Let us live on earth like pilgrims and the poor, like the banished and orphans, in dryness, without a way, and without anything else, but always in hope.”
(Cf. Letter 19 to Doña Juana de Pedraza)



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.


EDITH - The darkest path is the most secure
All graphics on Elijah’s Breeze are created on Snappa
The Science of the Cross 
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Vol. 6 
ICS Publications, Washington DC 
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.


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