Quote of the day: 6 January

Again we kneel with the three kings at the manger. The heartbeat of the Divine Child has guided the star that led us here. Its light, the reflection of the eternal light, is variously distributed in the rays around the heads of the saints whom the Church shows us as the court of the newborn King of Kings. They allow something of the mystery of our vocation to flash before us…

John at the manger of the Lord—this says to us: See what happens to those who give themselves to God with pure hearts. In return, as a royal gift, they may participate in the entire inexhaustible fullness of Jesus’ incarnate life. Come and drink from the springs of living water that the Savior releases to the thirsty and that stream to eternal life. The Word has become flesh and lies before us in the form of a little newborn child…

And the same Savior, whom the written word presents to our eyes on all the paths he trod on earth in human form, lives among us disguised in the form of the eucharistic bread. He comes to us every day as the bread of life. In either of these forms, he is near to us; in either of these forms, he wants to be sought and found by us. The one supports the other.

When we see that Savior before us with the eyes of faith as the Scriptures portray him, then our desire to receive him in the bread of life increases. The eucharistic bread, on the other hand, awakens our desire to get to know the Lord in the written word more and more deeply and strengthens our spirit to get a better understanding.

Saint Edith Stein

For January 6, 1941 (excerpts)

 

Nativity_and_Saint_John_the_Evangelist_Guerau_GENER
Nativity and St. John the Evangelist
Guerau Gener (Spanish, 1306-1408)
Lluís Borrassà (Spanish, 1360-1425)
Tempera, gold, and gold leaf on wood
Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Barcelona

 

 

Stein, E 2014, The Hidden Life: Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Texts, translated from the German by Stein W, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 21 November

The vow of chastity intends to release human beings from all the bonds of natural common life, to fasten them to the cross high above all the bustle, and to free their hearts for union with the Crucified. This sacrifice, too, is not accomplished once and for all.

Of course, one is cut off, externally, from occasions that can become temptations outside but often much that distracts the spirit and the heart, robbing them of their freedom, cleaves to the memory and fantasy. Besides, there is also a danger that new ties establish themselves within the protective cloister walls and hinder full union with the Divine Heart.

When we enter the Order, we again become members of a family. We are to see and respect, as head and members of the Mystical Body of Christ, our superiors and the other sisters. But we are human, and something all too human can easily become mingled with holy, childlike, and sisterly love. We believe we see Christ in the people we look up to and fail to notice that we attach ourselves to them humanly and are in danger of losing sight of Christ.

But human attraction is not the only cloud on purity of heart. Too little love is a worse offense against the Divine Heart than too much. Every aversion, any anger and resentment we tolerate in our hearts closes the door to the Savior. Involuntary stirrings naturally arise through no fault of our own, but as soon as we become aware of them, we must relentlessly oppose them. Otherwise, we resist God who is love and do the devil’s work.

The song sung by the virgins attending the Lamb is surely one of purest love.

Saint Edith Stein

The Marriage of the Lamb
For September 14, 1940

 

JOSE-MARIA MORENO GARCIA
Clothing day at the Carmel of Consuegra (Toledo), founded in 1597 | José-María Moreno García / Flickr

 

 

Stein, E 2014, The Hidden Life: Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Texts, translated from the German by Stein W, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 16 September

We must continually apply ourselves so that all our actions, without exception, become a kind of brief conversation with God, not in a contrived manner but coming from the purity and simplicity of our hearts.

Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection
Spiritual Maxims, 7

 

woman sitting fallen tree trunk in front of a waterfalls
Photo by Stevanus Praska on Pexels.com

 

 

Lawrence of the Resurrection, B 2015, Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God, translated from the French by Sciurba, S, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 27 August

To protect the life of grace means to defend it against any influence that could extinguish it, such as loss of faith or sin. These, of course, endanger the child only when he arrives at the age of reason and freedom. Nevertheless, the child needs protection even before this, for poisonous matter can penetrate into the soul even before the life of reason has begun.

The child’s soul receives impressions from what he sees, hears, and touches; indeed, even experiences before birth can leave impressions upon the soul, and these impressions can have unpredictable consequences in later life. Therefore, the mother must keep pure the atmosphere in which the child is living.

Above all things, she herself must remain pure and faithful; she must try, as much as possible, to keep far from the children those people whom she cannot trust implicitly. Before the age of reason is reached, this nurturing of the flame of grace is ensured through the prayer of the mother, and it is also ensured because the child is thus confided to the protection of the Mother of God.

 

World Meeting of Families Wed am Mass 21644441252_f337712429_o US Papal Visit Flickr
A mother keeps her daughter cheerfully engaged during the Wednesday morning Mass at the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, 23 September 2015 | Photo credit: Antoine Mekary/Aleteia for US Papal Visit / Flickr

 

With the age of reason, direct influence becomes possible. The child must learn to know and to love the Father in heaven, the child Jesus, the Mother of God, and the guardian angel. With increasing understanding, a deeper and more extensive penetration into the world of faith is possible. The pure, uncorrupted child’s heart has no difficulties in this and asks for more and more.

The sources of grace provided by the sacraments must also be made accessible. They are the strongest nourishment of the life of grace and the most efficacious safeguard against the dangers which come about almost unavoidable in this very time when, in many instances, various and uncontrollable influences encroach upon the influence of the mother and of the strictest family circle.

Saint Edith Stein
The Church, Woman, and Youth (25 July 1932)

 

Edith Stein 1931 Wien
Edith Stein, 1931 | Photo: Discalced Carmelites

 

On July 24 and 25 I attended a very enjoyable convention for young girls in Augsburg. At the leadership meeting, I had to give a talk on “The Task of Woman as Leader of Youth to the Church.”

Letter 120 (excerpt) to Sr. Adelgundis Jaegerschmid, OSB, 28 August 1932

 

Gelber L, Leuven R, and Stein E 1996, Essays on Woman, translated from German by FM Oben, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

 

Stein E 1993, Self-Portrait in Letters 1916-1942, translated from German by J Koeppel, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

7 August: 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

Quote of the day: 19 July

We must continually apply ourselves so that all our actions, without exception, become a kind of brief conversation with God, not in a contrived manner but coming from the simplicity and purity of our hearts.

Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection, O.C.D.
Spiritual Maxims

 

Caille, Leon Emile, 1836-1907; Prayer
Prayer
Léon Émile Caille (French, 1836–1907)
Oil on panel, 1872
Manchester Art Gallery, England
This is a traditional domestic scene of a mother and daughter sitting together in a kitchen. The mother is seated at a stove with a bowl placed in her lap; she has a red-patterned shawl and plain apron around her; the child is dressed in a pinafore and kneels beside her mother, leaning on her lap in a position of prayer. The mother looks down towards her child. There is a bronze kettle at their feet and cooking equipment everywhere in the surrounding stone kitchen.

 

Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection. Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God.
(Spiritual Maxims, p. 38; Chapter 2)
Copyright © 1994, 2015 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

Quote of the day: 3 April

Óleo_conmemorativo_de_la_Beatificación_de_Santa_Teresa_de_Los_Andes,_Parque_O'Higgins_de_Santiago
Commemorative oil painting of Teresa of Jesus of the Andes that was used to create the banner for the Mass of Beatification in Santiago, 3 April 1987 during Saint John Paul II’s apostolic journey to Chile | Philippus2011 / WikimediaCommons

This is her message: happiness is in God alone; only God is infinite joy.

The Church today proclaims Sister Teresa de los Andes to be Blessed and, as of this day, she venerates her and invokes her with this title.

Blessed, blissful, happy, is the person who has made the Gospel’s beatitudes the center of her life; that she has lived them with heroic intensity.

In this way, our Blessed, having put into practice the beatitudes, incarnated in her life the most perfect example of holiness that is Christ. Indeed, Teresa of the Andes radiates the happiness of poverty of spirit, the goodness and meekness of her heart, the hidden suffering with which God purifies and sanctifies his chosen ones. She hungers and thirsts for justice, loves God intensely and wants God to be loved and known by all. God made her merciful in her total immolation for priests and for the conversion of sinners; peaceful and conciliatory, she sowed understanding and dialogue all around her. She reflects, above all, the bliss of purity of heart. Indeed, she gave herself totally to Christ and Jesus opened her eyes to the contemplation of his mysteries.

God also permitted her in advance to taste the sublime joy of living beforehand on earth the bliss and joyfulness of communion with God in the service of others.

This is her message: happiness is in God alone; only God is infinite joy. Young people of Chile, youth of Latin America, discover in Sister Teresa the joy of living the Christian faith to its very extreme! Take her as a model!

Saint John Paul II

Homily, Mass of Beatification of Sister Teresa of the Andes (excerpts)
Parque O’Higgins, Santiago de Chile
Friday 3 April 1987

Beatification Teresa de los Andes 1987 Blessing
Saint John Paul II waves farewell to the faithful at the conclusion of the Mass of Beatification of Teresa of Jesus of the Andes in Parque O’Higgins, Santiago, Chile, 3 April 1987 | Photo: Santuario Teresa de los Andes

Explore Saint John Paul II’s 1987 Apostolic Journey to Uruguay, Chile, and Argentina here

English translation of St. John Paul II's homily is the blogger's own work; do not reproduce without permission.

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

The Marie du jour – May 6

 

Divine virginity has a characteristic aversion to sin as the contrary of divine holiness. However, this aversion to sin gives rise to an indomitable love for sinners. Christ has come to tear sinners away from sin and to restore the divine image in defiled souls. He comes as the child of sin—his genealogy and the entire history of the Old Covenant show this—and he seeks the company of sinners so as to take all the sins of the world upon himself and carry them away to the infamous wood of the cross, which thereby precisely becomes the sign of his victory. This is precisely why virginal souls do not repulse sinners. The strength of their supernatural purity knows no fear of being sullied. The love of Christ impels them to descend into the darkest night. And no earthly maternal joy resembles the bliss of a soul permitted to enkindle the light of grace in the night of sins. The way to this is the cross. Beneath the cross the Virgin of virgins becomes the Mother of Grace.

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Beneath the cross the Virgin of virgins becomes the Mother of Grace.
2018-05-06 (2)
The Crucifixion with Saints and a Donor (detail)
Joos van Cleve (Netherlandish, ca. 1485–1540/41) and a collaborator
Oil on wood, ca. 1520
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The Hidden Life: Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Text
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Book 4, (pp. 113-114)
ICS Publications, Washington DC
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

 

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