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: 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

Choosing the difficult and distasteful

You should take care always to be inclined to the difficult more than to the easy, to the rugged more than to the soft, to the hard and distasteful in a work more than to its delightful and pleasant aspects; and do not go about choosing what is less of a cross, for the cross is a light burden (Matt. 11:30). The heavier a burden is, the lighter it becomes when borne for Christ.

St John of the Cross
Counsels to a Religious, 6

 

adventure backlit dark dawn
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

John of the Cross, St 1991, The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K and Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 14 September

September 14, 1939

Ave Crux, Spes Unica

“Hail, Cross, our only hope!”—this is what the holy church summoned us to exclaim during the time for contemplating the bitter suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ. The jubilant exclamation of the Easter Alleluia silenced the serious song of the cross. But the sign of our salvation greeted us amid the time of Easter joy, since we were recalling the discovery of the One who had passed from sight. At the end of the cycle of ecclesiastical feasts, the cross greets us through the heart of the Savior. And now, as the church year draws toward an end, it is raised high before us and is to hold us spellbound until the Easter Alleluia summons us anew to forget the earth for a while and rejoice in the marriage of the Lamb.

Our holy Order has us begin our fast with the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. And it leads us to the foot of the cross to renew our holy vows. The Crucified One looks down on us and asks us whether we are still willing to honor what we promised in an hour of grace. And he certainly has reason to ask.

More than ever the cross is a sign of contradiction. The followers of the Antichrist show it far more dishonor than did the Persians who stole it. They desecrate the images of the cross, and they make every effort to tear the cross out of the hearts of Christians. All too often they have succeeded even with those who, like us, once vowed to bear Christ’s cross after him.

Therefore, the Savior today looks at us, solemnly probing us, and asks each one of us: Will you remain faithful to the Crucified? Consider carefully! The world is in flames, the battle between Christ and the Antichrist has broken into the open.

If you decide for Christ,
it could cost you your life.
Carefully consider
what you promise.

Taking and renewing vows is a dreadfully serious business. You make a promise to the Lord of heaven and earth. If you are not deadly serious about your will to fulfill it, you fall into the hands of the living God…

Ave Crux, Spes unica!

The world is in flames. The conflagration can also reach our house. But high above all flames towers the cross. They cannot consume it. It is the path from earth to heaven. It will lift one who embraces it in faith, love, and hope into the bosom of the Trinity.

The world is in flames. Are you impelled to put them out? Look at the cross. From the open heart gushes the blood of the Savior. This extinguishes the flames of hell.

Make your heart free by the faithful fulfillment of your vows; then the flood of divine love will be poured into your heart until it overflows and becomes fruitful to all the ends of the earth. Do you hear the groans of the wounded on the battlefields in the west and the east? You are not a physician and not a nurse and cannot bind up the wounds. You are enclosed in a cell and cannot get to them. Do you hear the anguish of the dying? You would like to be a priest and comfort them. Does the lament of the widows and orphans distress you? You would like to be an angel of mercy and help them.

Look at the Crucified. If you are nuptially bound to him by the faithful observance of your holy vows, your being is precious blood. Bound to him, you are omnipresent as he is. You cannot help here or there like the physician, the nurse, the priest. You can be at all fronts, wherever there is grief, in the power of the cross. Your compassionate love takes you everywhere, this love from the divine heart. Its precious blood is poured everywhere—soothing, healing, saving.

The eyes of the Crucified look down on you—asking, probing. Will you make your covenant with the Crucified anew in all seriousness? What will you answer him? “Lord, where shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Ave Crux, Spes unica!

 

Jesus on the Cross
Jesus on the Cross, Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Denver Colorado | Thomas Hawk / Flickr

 


We present excerpts from the meditation for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, a fervorino that Saint Teresa Benedicta wrote for the prioress to deliver to the nuns of the Carmel of Echt, Holland on 14 September 1939, her first opportunity to renew her vows as a Discalced Carmelite in her new community.

Edith mentions that “our holy Order has us begin our fast with the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.” Here she makes a direct reference to the Carmelite Rule of St. Albert of Jerusalem, No. 16:

You are to fast every day, except Sundays, from the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross until Easter Day, unless bodily sickness or feebleness, or some other good reason, demand a dispensation from the fast; for necessity overrides every law.

For centuries, Discalced Carmelite nuns have renewed their vows of obedience, poverty, and chastity—the order in which Edith presented the vows in her meditation—on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

Although the Discalced Carmelite friars renew their vows and the Discalced Carmelite Secular Order members renew their Promise at Easter or during the Octave of Easter, the 1991 Constitutions of the Discalced Carmelite nuns indicate that they shall renew their profession twice each year:

“In order to give common witness to religious consecration in following Christ, every year the sisters will renew their religious profession during the Easter Vigil or the octave of Easter, and on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, using the formula given in the Ritual. The communities may repeat this renewal on other occasions in order to strengthen their commitment to this way of life.”

No matter what legislation Discalced Carmelites may observe, the essential purpose is clear: “to strengthen their commitment to this way of life.”

 

Thicket Priory 10th anniv GBCarmelites Flickr 48393091826_a41a057804_o
The Discalced Carmelite nuns of Thicket Priory | © Johan Bergström-Allen, British Province of Carmelites / 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: 13 September

Cologne-Lindenthal
13 September 1936

Pax Christi!
Dear Reverend Mother Petra,

Your kind words did me a lot of good, I know what faithful sisterly love lies behind them. Every bulletin from Breslau reports a worsening. I must be prepared to hear the worst any day. The “Scimus, quoniam diligentibus Deum…” [cf. Rom 8:28] will surely apply to my dear mother too since she truly loved “her” God (as she often said with emphasis). And, with confidence in him, she bore much that was painful and did much that was good. I also think these last months when her life was constantly in peril were particularly grace-filled days—above all, the days since she no longer troubles herself about anything in her external life. And no one but the Lord himself knows what is happening in her soul.

That phrase I quoted from the Letter to the Romans afforded me the greatest comfort and joy during the summer of 1933, in Münster, when my future was still shrouded in total darkness. Never have I prayed the Divine Office of the Martyrs, which recurs so frequently during the Easter cycle, with greater fervor than I did at that time. Now it must be my support again. My mother was the strong bond that cemented the family togetherfour generations by now—for the common concern about her keeps us all bound to her, even the grandsons who are in far-off corners of the world. What will follow will be all the more difficult for those she will leave behind. For my whole life long I shall have to substitute for her [before God], together with my sister Rosa, who is one with me in faith…

In the love of Christ, your grateful

Sister Teresa Benedicta a Cruce, OCD

Letter 225 to Mother Petra Bruning, OSU
Ursuline Sisters, Dorsten (excerpt)


Sr. Teresa Renata Posselt, OCD—Edith Stein’s novice mistress, later prioress, and first biographer—tells us how Frau Stein’s final illness and death affected the saint. 

On 1 September 1936, Sr. Benedicta was able to put the finishing touch to the huge philosophical work that she had begun at her Provincial’s request immediately after her Clothing Ceremony. He gave the work his approval and Sr. Benedicta sought to arrange for its publication.

Meanwhile, her ailing mother’s condition became more and more serious. The year drew on to the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, 14 September, a very important day in Carmel, since it marks the beginning of the fast that lasts until the day of Our Lord’s Resurrection. Also, in accordance with the seraphic Teresa’s instructions, all the members of the Order renew their vows. This was the third time that Sr. Benedicta took part in the ceremony, held at a silent early morning hour. Afterward, she said to one of her sisters who was especially intimate with her, “When it was my turn to renew my vows my mother was beside me. I felt her presence quite distinctly.” On that same day, a telegram came from Breslau with the news that Frau Stein had died—at the very time when her daughter was renewing her vows. This circumstance greatly consoled Sr. Benedicta, who bore up nobly even when the first waves of sorrow were sweeping over her.

Edith Stein: The Life of a Philosopher and Carmelite
Chapter 16, Joys and Sorrow of the Bride of Christ (excerpt)

 

Frau Stein cameo
Auguste Courant Stein
Born 4 Oct 1849 in Lublinitz, Silesia, Prussia, Germany
Died 14 Sept 1936 in Breslau, Germany

 

Auguste Stein, known as Gustel, was born at Lublinitz, Silesia, Prussia, Germany on 4 October 1849. She was the fourth of the twelve children born to Solomon Courant and Adelheid Burchard. Her favorite brother was Eugen. Auguste married Siegfried Stein on 2 August 1871 and they had eleven children, four of whom died in infancy. For the first ten years of their marriage they lived in Gleiwitz, Prussia and Sigfried worked in the lumber business with his mother. In 1881 they moved to Lublinitz, Prussia where Sigfried established his own business in lumber and coal. In 1890 they moved to Breslau, Germany. Gustel was widowed in 1893 when Sigfried died very suddenly, her youngest child was not quite two. Gustel took on the lumber business and made a great success of it. She became much respected in the Breslau area. She was distressed in old age when her youngest daughter became a Carmelite nun and other children and grandchildren made plans to emigrate to escape the Nazi persecution. She died on 14 September 1936, two years before the import of the terror became clear to all on Kristallnacht (18 October 1938).  [Source: Wikitree]

Visit Auguste Stein’s Wikitree page to see more genealogy details, family photos, and a photo of her gravestone.

 

Posselt, T 2005, Edith Stein: The Life of a Philosopher and Carmelite, translated from the German by Batzdorff S, Koeppel J, and Sullivan J, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

 

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

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.

 

Teresa-vagabonda-statue_full-length
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.

 

 

Quote of the day: 11 September

It is impossible to describe what took place between my soul and Jesus. I asked Jesus a thousand times that He would take me, and I experienced His dear voice for the first time. “Oh Jesus I love You, I adore You!” I prayed to Him for everybody. I felt the Virgin near me. Oh, how my heart expanded! For the first time, I experienced a delicious peace.

From that time, the dear Jesus spoke to me, and I spent entire hours conversing with Him.

That is the reason I enjoyed being alone. He went on teaching me how I should suffer and not complain and about intimate union with Him. Then He told me that He wanted me for Himself, that He would like me to become a Carmelite. Ah! Mother, you cannot imagine what Jesus was doing in my soul. At that time, I did not live in myself. It was Jesus who was living in me.

Saint Teresa of the Andes
From her autobiographical writings at age 15

 

Teresa-de-los-Andes-First-Communion
Saint Teresa’s First Communion Portrait, 11 September 1910

 

Explore our blog posts concerning Saint Teresa of the Andes here.

 

of the Andes, T 2003, The Writings of Saint Teresa of Jesus of the Andes: An Abridgement, translated from the Spanish by Father Michael D. Griffin, OCD, New Life Publishing Company,

 

Quote of the day: 10 September

The Resolutions

Excerpts from the resolutions in captivity
drawn up by Blessed Hubert of Saint Claude
and his companions

 

They will never give themselves up to useless worries about being set free. Instead, they will make the effort to profit from the time of their detention by meditating on their past years, by making holy resolutions for the future, so that they can find in the captivity of their bodies, freedom for their soul.

If God permits them to recover totally or in part, this liberty nature longs for, they will avoid giving themselves up to an immoderate joy when they receive the news. By keeping their souls tranquil, they will show they support without murmur the cross placed on them, and that they are disposed to bear it even longer with courage and as true Christians who never let themselves be beaten by adversity.

From now on they will form but one heart and one soul, without showing distinction of persons, and without leaving any of their brothers out, under any pretext. They will never get mixed up in the new politics, being content to pray for the welfare of their country and prepare themselves for a new life, if God permits them to return to their homes, and there become subjects of edification and models of virtue for the people, by their detachment from the world, their assiduousness in prayer and their love for recollection and piety.

Blessed Hubert of Saint Claude
The Resolutions


Blessed Hubert of Saint Claude (Jacques Gagnot) was one of three Discalced Carmelite martyrs imprisoned on the slave ship Les Deux Associés in the bay of Rochefort, France in 1794. His companions died on board in July, but Blessed Hubert survived the summer. When the plague broke out on the ship, those remaining disembarked on Île Madame, where Blessed Hubert died and was buried on 10 September 1794. Learn more here from Catholic News Service about the conditions on the slave ship and at Île Madame. “Compared to the hell of the ships, the island seemed a veritable paradise.”

 

Rochefort_martyrs grave marker fosse commune Île Madame Jacques Gagnot
This simple marker is the only engraved monument on the island to the 254 priests buried on Île Madame in 1794. | View more photos of the island of Île Madame here | thierry llansades / Flickr 

 

pelerinage ile madame emmanuel bethoux flickr
Every August, the Diocese of La Rochelle et Saintes in the Department of Charente-Maritime, France organizes a pilgrimage to the tiny island of Île Madame. View photos of the 2015 pilgrimage here. | Emmanuel Bethoux / Flickr

 

Quote of the day: 9 September

The Greatness of Our Vocation (excerpt)
St. Elizabeth of the Trinity

 

It seems to me that the soul that is aware of its greatness enters into the “holy freedom of the children of God” of which the Apostle speaks (Rom 8:21), that is, it transcends all things, including self.

The freest soul, I think, is the one most forgetful of self.

If anyone were to ask me the secret of happiness, I would say it is to no longer think of ourselves; well, love of God must be so strong that it extinguishes all our self-love.

 

Augustine writing De Civitate Dei British Museum AN00045163_001_l (2)
St Augustine writing; the city of God and the city of Satan; Abel and Cain; cutting from “Augustinus de Ciutate dei cum commento”, printed by Johannes von Amorbach, Basle. 1489-90 Woodcut
© The Trustees of the British Museum / Creative Commons License

 

St. Augustine says we have two cities within us, the city of God and the city of SELF (cf. De Civitate 14:28). To the extent that the first increases, the second will be destroyed.

A soul that lives by faith in God’s presence that has this “single eye” that Christ speaks of in the Gospel (Matt 6:22), that is, a purity of “intention” that seeks only God (Rusbrock l’Admirable 34); this soul, it seems to me, would also live in humility: it would recognize his gifts to it—for “humility is truth” (Interior Castle VI:10)—but it would attribute nothing to itself, referring all to God as the Blessed Virgin did.

 

white doves waikato new zealand peter_from_wellington flickr 16289388796_b778a4e0eb_o
Two white doves pause for a moment in the serene stillness of the Japanese Garden of Contemplation in Hamilton Gardens, New Zealand | Peter Kurdulija / Flickr

 

Catez, E 2014, I Have Found God: General Introduction, Major Spiritual Writings, translated from the French by Kane, A, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

 

 

Interior_Castle_1205 LIBRIVOX cover art

Listen to the LibriVox recording of The Interior Castle read by Ann Boulais below

Quote of the day: 8 September

From the Yellow Notebook of Mother Agnès of Jesus
September 8

A little robin came and landed on her bed.

Léonie sent her the little music box we have preserved, and the tunes were so sweet, even though they were popular music, that she listened to them with pleasure.

Finally, someone brought her a bouquet of wildflowers for the an­niversary of her Profession. Seeing herself so loaded with gifts, she wept with gratitude and said:

“It’s all God’s tenderness towards me: exteriorly, I’m loaded with gifts; interiorly, I’m always in my trial (of faith) . . . but also in peace.”

 

European Robin 8291616@N08 Flickr 6406283467_c6bfe20050_o
Robin Redbreast lives in Lancaster, England | carol / Flickr

Quote of the day: 7 September

Here, at last, comes Sabeth to sit down by her dearest Framboise and visitwith her pencil! I say pencil, for the heart-to-heart communion was established long ago, and we are now as one.

How I love our evening rendezvous; it is like the prelude of that communion from Heaven to earth that will be established between our souls. It seems to me that I am like a mother bending attentively over her favorite child: I raise my eyes and look at God, and then I lower them on you, exposing you to the rays of His Love.

Framboise, I do not use words when I speak to Him of you but He understands me even better for He prefers my silence. My dearest child, I wish I were a saint so I could help you here below while waiting to do it from Heaven. What I would not endure to obtain for you the graces of strength that you need!

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 310 to Françoise de Sourdon 

 

golden gate bridge sunset thomas hawk flickr 102270031_eb1423eba4_o
My Love She Speaks Like Silence | Thomas Hawk / Flickr

 

Catez, E 2014, Letters From Carmel, translated from the French by Nash, A, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 6 September

The works of God are marked with silence. It is in the silence of prayer and retreat, in the silence of the desert and the forest, that great souls receive their message from God. Recall how Saint Bernard enriched the whole of Europe with silent monasteries. These were stricter still than [the Discalced Carmelites]. Their religious did not have the right to speak or to recreate; they kept total silence. In order to describe the beauty of silence, he used to say: “The oak trees of the forest have been my masters of prayer.” Silence is the great master. It speaks to the human heart. Silence is not an empty void; God dwells therein.

Père Jacques of Jesus, O.C.D.
Conference 8: Silence
Listen to the Silence – A Retreat with Pere Jacques

 

evening fog autanex flickr 2085542465_a7df17acaa_o
Evening fog | autanex / Flickr

 

Bunel, J 2004, Listen to the Silence - A Retreat with Pere Jacques, translated and edited by Murphy F, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

 

Quote of the day: 5 September

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.

Père Jacques of Jesus, O.C.D.
Conference 11: Hope and Abandonment
Listen to the Silence – A Retreat with Pere Jacques

 

Day 45 and I'm going to run away Cosmic_Bandita Flickr 1377064986_225536cb6d_o
Day 45…and I’m going to run away | cosmic_bandita / Flickr

 

Bunel, J 2004, Listen to the Silence - A Retreat with Pere Jacques, translated and edited by Murphy F, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 4 September

To Padres Luis de Guzmán, S.J. and Pablo Hernández, S.J.
Toledo

I, Teresa of Jesus, prioress of St. Joseph’s in Avila, have received from the Most Reverend General, Master Fray Juan Bautista Rubeo, sufficient patent letters for founding and accepting monasteries of the primitive rule of the holy Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. I have been informed that in the city of Toledo, moved by the grace of our Lord and aided by the Blessed Virgin, patroness of our order, some persons want to give this order an alms consisting of a house together with a church and four chaplains and everything else necessary for the divine service in the church. I am of the opinion that our Lord will be served and praised by this, and I therefore accept the offer as a work of charity and alms and sign my name below.

And if it should be necessary to negotiate certain matters regarding this agreement, as usually happens, I declare that if Father Superior [Luis de Guzmán] and Padre Pablo Hernández are willing to do me this charity of working toward an understanding in these matters, I will accept the obligation to fulfill all that they arrange. And if they themselves should not want to enter into these negotiations, I will accept whomever they appoint; we must not fail in reaching an agreement since my going to that city would please the Lord.

And because these things are my desire, I declare that I will carry them out and attest to this with my signature.

Valladolid, 7 December 1568.

Teresa of Jesus, prioress
St. Joseph’s in Avila,
Carmelite


Carmelite Prior General Giovanni Battista Rossi—who St. Teresa referred to as ‘Juan Bautista Rubeo’died on this date, 4 September 1578 as a consequence of an accident in which he fell from his mule and broke his leg. Teresa was deeply saddened when she received the news:

I greatly grieved over the news written to me about our Father General. I feel deep sorrow, and the first day cried and cried without being able to do otherwise. (Letter 272, 15 October 1578)

Read a brief biography of Father Giovanni Battista Rossi here.

 

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

Quote of the day: 3 September

Confession of St John of the Cross - Puebla
Confession of Saint John of the Cross
José Joaquín Magón (Mexican, 18th c.)
Oil on canvas, 1750-1763
Templo de Nuestra Señora del Carmen, Puebla, Mexico
Learn more about the Carmelite paintings of José Joaquín Magón here

 

The discalced friar who is confessor here is doing great good; he is Fray John of the Cross.

Saint Teresa of Avila
Letter 45 to Doña Juana de Ahumada, Alba de Tormes

 

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: 1 September

“I propose to have no other purpose in all my activities, either interior or ex­terior, than the motive of love alone, by constantly asking myself: ‘Now what am I doing in this action? Do I love God?’ If I should notice any obstacle to pure love, I shall take myself in hand and recall that I must seek to return my love for His love.”

Saint Teresa Margaret Redi of the Sacred Heart
Discover more quotes at stteresamargaret.org

 

Teresa Margaret Redi (3)
Saint Teresa Margaret Redi of the Sacred Heart | Photo credit: Discalced Carmelites

 

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: 29 August

Without doubt, I am not distracted, but I cannot finish my brief prayer. I start to say the Our Father and I stop at these two words without being able to continue. I think: “Oh my God, You who are so great and so powerful, You are our Father. You in heaven and we are such small worms, ash, dust on earth! Today we are in this world and maybe tomorrow we are dead. And during this quick time of our existence, we dare to offend you. Oh my God, have mercy on us!” And then I lose myself, and I fall asleep.

Even if I want to say the Hail Mary, I stop at the first words: “I salute you Mary”. And I say to the Blessed Virgin: “You are so good, so good, oh my Mother! You, Mother of God, Mother of all men! And we are but poor sinners!” And I lose myself and I fall asleep. It is impossible to continue.

I really need to confess the fault that I cannot pray!

Saint Mary of Jesus Crucified
Life and Thoughts of Mariam Baouardy (excerpt)

 

silhouette of person holding glass mason jar
Photo by Rakicevic Nenad on Pexels.com

 

 

Nota Bene: Carmelite Quotes and the Elijah’s Breeze blog have been given exclusive rights to reprint and distribute the English translation of Francesco Zampini’s self-published biography, Life and Thoughts of Mariam Baouardy (2018). We are grateful to the Discalced Carmelite nuns of the Holy Land for extending to us the privilege of publishing and disseminating this excellent study of the life spiritual doctrine of St. Mary of Jesus Crucified, as well as the fine translation from the original Italian text by Cristina Leontini.

Quote of the day: 28 August

The Two Conversions:

Teresa and Augustine

 

 

Albert Bouts, Ecce Homo, ca.1510, óleo sobre tabla, Convento de Carmelitas Descalzas, Toledo
Ecce Homo
Albert Bouts
Oil on panel, ca.1510
Carmel of Toledo
As Discalced Carmelite scholars indicate, it was this image of the Ecce Homonot a statue as translators often render the term imagen—but this image of “the much wounded Christ” that moved St. Teresa to throw herself “down before Him with the greatest outpouring of tears” in her famous conversion experience during Lent of 1554. Teresa herself gave this image to her daughters in Toledo. | Photo credit: Teresa, de la rueca a la pluma

 

From The Book of Her Life, Chapter 9

Well, my soul now was tired; and, in spite of its desire, my wretched habits would not allow it rest.

It happened to me that one day entering the oratory I saw an image they had borrowed for a certain feast to be celebrated in the house. It represented the much wounded Christ and was very devotional so that beholding it I was utterly distressed in seeing Him that way, for it well represented what He suffered for us.

I felt so keenly aware of how poorly I thanked Him for those wounds that, it seems to me, my heart broke. Beseeching Him to strengthen me once and for all that I might not offend Him, I threw myself down before Him with the greatest outpouring of tears…

 

Augustine confessions 1475 20190308_connorsbooks_7054
Bob Connors recently donated his collection of nearly 600 rare books to the University of Chicago Library. His favorite book is the oldest in the collection, a 1475 copy of Augustine’s Confessions. Learn more here. | Photo credit: Jean Lachat / University of Chicago Office of Communications

 

At this time they gave me The Confessions of St. Augustine. It seems the Lord ordained this, because I had not tried to procure a copy, nor had I ever seen one.

I am very fond of St. Augustine, because the convent where I stayed as a lay person belonged to his order; and also because he had been a sinner, for I found great consolation in sinners whom, after having been sinners, the Lord brought back to Himself. It seemed to me I could find help in them and that since the Lord had pardoned them He could also pardon me. But there was one thing that left me inconsolable, as I have mentioned, and that was that the Lord called them only once, and they did not turn back and fall again; whereas in my case I had turned back so often that I was worn out from it. But by considering the love He bore me, I regained my courage, for I never lost confidence in His mercy; in myself, I lost it many times.

 

Avila_Augustinian-School_Convento_de_Nuestra_Señora_de_Gracia_Wikimedia Commons
Convent of Nuestra Señora de Gracia, Ávila, where Saint Teresa was educated by the Augustinian nuns | Zarateman / Wikimedia Commons

 

Oh, God help me, how it frightens me, my soul’s blindness despite so much assistance from God! It made me fearful to see how little I could do by myself and how bound I became so that I was unable to resolve to give myself entirely to God.

As I began to read the Confessions, it seemed to me I saw myself in them. I began to commend myself very much to this glorious saint. When I came to the passage where he speaks about his conversion and read how he heard that voice in the garden, it only seemed to me, according to what I felt in my heart, that it was I the Lord called.


From the Confessions VIII, 12:28-29

I flung myself down somehow under a fig-tree and gave free rein to the tears that burst from my eyes like rivers, as an acceptable sacrifice to you. Many things I had to say to you, and the gist of them, though not the precise words, was: “O Lord, how long? How long? Will you be angry for ever? Do not remember our age-old sins.” For by these I was conscious of being held prisoner. I uttered cries of misery: “Why must I go on saying, ‘Tomorrow… tomorrow’? Why not now? Why not put an end to my depravity this very hour?”

I went on talking like this and weeping in the intense bitterness of my broken heart. Suddenly I heard a voice from a house nearby—perhaps a voice of some boy or girl, I do not know—singing over and over again, “Pick it up and read, pick it up and read.” My expression immediately altered and I began to think hard whether children ordinarily repeated a ditty like this in any sort of game, but I could not recall ever having heard it anywhere else. I stemmed the flood of tears and rose to my feet, believing that this could be nothing other than a divine command to open the Book and read the first passage I chanced upon; for I had heard the story of how Antony had been instructed by a gospel text. He happened to arrive while the gospel was being read, and took the words to be addressed to himself when he heard, Go and sell all you possess and give the money to the poor: you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me. So he was promptly converted to you by this plainly divine message. Stung into action, I returned to the place where Alypius was sitting, for on leaving it I had put down there the book of the apostle’s letters. I snatched it up, opened it and read in silence the passage on which my eyes first lighted: Not in dissipation and drunkenness, nor in debauchery and lewdness, nor in arguing and jealousy; but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh or the gratification of your desires. I had no wish to read further, nor was there need. No sooner had I reached the end of the verse than the light of certainty flooded my heart and all dark shades of doubt fled away.


 

The Second Conversion of Saint Teresa Cuzco School 1694
The Second Conversion of Saint Teresa
Cuzco School, 17th c.
Oil on canvas, ca. 1694
Convento del Carmen San José, Santiago, Chile
Photo credit: PESSCA

 

I remained for a long time totally dissolved in tears and feeling within myself utter distress and weariness. Oh, how a soul suffers, God help me, by losing the freedom it should have in being itself; and what torments it undergoes! I marvel now at how I could have lived in such great affliction. May God be praised who gave me the life to rise up from a death so deadly.

 

 

Augustine, A 1997, The Confessions of Saint Augustine, Villanova University, translated from the Latin by Maria Boulding, OBS, viewed 28 August 2019, <https://www1.villanova.edu/content/villanova/mission/office/programs/pellegrinaggio/_jcr_content/pagecontent/download_4/file.res/confessions_viii.pdf>.

 

Kieran Kavanaugh, K, Rodriguez, O, and Teresa 1976, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑