Quote of the day: 1 January

The Virgin Mary did not give Christ his divine nature. Nevertheless, she is the mother of the whole person. So it is with us. We do not say of our mothers that they are mothers of our bodies, but not of our souls. We say that they are the mothers of their children and mothers of “us.” Hence, the Virgin Mary is truly the mother of Christ and, since his human nature subsists in the divine person, Mary is likewise truly the mother of God.

It is so awesome that it makes us weep with admiration and thanksgiving to think that a poor little human creature, our sister human being, had the tremendous honor of forming a body and bringing God into the world. She received him, she guarded him, she enclosed him in the humble, narrow limits of her own body. What a privilege! The creator of the world called her “Mama.” She held him in her arms and cradled him at her breast. You know very well that creation was not a passing gesture, as if God had withdrawn, leaving his work to continue according to determined laws. Creation is actually continuing while I speak to you. If God discontinued his creating action, all beings would instantly return to nothingness. Creation is a work that continues unceasingly. This is a consoling thought, which puts us in the presence of God and into contact with the being of God. Thus the little one who was there under Mary’s eyes was continuing the act of creating the world; he was creating and maintaining his mother in existence.

Père Jacques de Jésus, O.C.D.

Listen to the Silence: A Retreat with Père Jacques
The Divine Preparation in Mary and in Us
Conference 5, 8 September 1943

 

Madonna and Child FORSYTH William J IMAmuseum
Madonna and Child
William J. Forsyth (American, 1854-1935)
Pencil on off-white paper, 1888-1891
Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields

 

 

Jacques, P 2005, Listen to the silence: a retreat with Père Jacques, translated from the French and edited by Murphy F, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Online Retreat 2019 — Advent

Online Retreat 2019

Advent

With François de Sainte-Marie

Communing in the life of grace with Mary


Dear friends, here we are once again to invite you to live this Advent in a spirit of communion through an online retreat prepared especially for you by the Discalced Carmelite friars. 

If you are already registered and have received the meditations from one of the previous retreats, you do not need to register again and it is not too late to register even though Advent has begun.

However, don’t hesitate to extend an invitation to your friends and acquaintances so that they can register using the form on the website www.retreat-online.karmel.at

We suggest that you download the A4 poster and distribute it to your Christian community, parish, ecclesial movement, association, or prayer group. You also can promote this initiative through social media.

Inviting others to pray through the retreat is an excellent way to evangelize and witness to your faith.

This Advent we will be guided by the writings of Father François de Sainte-Marie, a Discalced Carmelite friar from the Paris province who consecrated his brief life (1910-1961) to pass on the treasures of the Carmelite heritage. His best-known project was the publication of the autograph manuscripts of Thérèse of Lisieux, under the title Autobiographical Manuscripts, which today is published under the title Story of a Soul. It brings to light his knowledge of the doctrine of little Thérèse, his scientific mind, and at the same time a great human sensitivity.

At the end of November, you will receive the first introductory text of this Advent retreat. Then you will receive the meditations for each of the 4 weeks of Advent, with the following themes:

– 1st Sunday: Return to the Gospel

– 2nd Sunday: Outstanding educator

– 3rd Sunday: Delight of the little ones

– 4th Sunday: Abyss of grace

Christmas: “True Marian devotion”

The content will be available so that you may organize your moments of meditation during the week. The texts were prepared by Discalced Carmelite friars from Avon, France, and the translation into English was prepared by Secular Carmelites from North America.

The online retreat is free of charge. You can register or unsubscribe at any time.  

If you have any difficulty in receiving the meditations, please send an email to: webretiro@karmel.at

With this invitation to the online retreat, we extend our sincere wishes for a blessed Advent!

Carmelite Quotes on behalf of

fr. Roberto Maria OCD
and the Discalced Carmelites in Austria

Quote of the day: 14 November

Let us remember this one thing. Throughout his life, Christ was unsparing of himself in his zeal to save souls. Our saints have likewise been zealous to save souls. Consider Saint Thérèse, as she offered her walk in the garden for a missionary. All our saints have been passionate apostles. So, too, must we be. This morning, we are going to make an examination of conscience in this regard. Are we other Christs and other Apostles? Are we true Carmelites? Or, are we not merely living smugly? Are we completely committed to the apostolate and eager to give our all to the souls who await our help?

Do we live in such a way that Christ is not deeply disappointed in us? We want to take care not to shy away from suffering, not to speak impulsively, and not to seek a life of comfort. We want to take care to follow our Rule in its demanding details and not just in its broad outline. In a word, we want to avoid pretending to be Carmelites, and instead to be genuine Carmelites. A pseudo-Carmelite is a pseudo-apostle. In ten, fifteen or thirty more years, you will come before God to render an account of your life. Then, Christ will show you all the souls you should have saved. You will have no valid excuse and will have to reply: “I could not spare my sleep or I was tired…”

True Carmelites are committed to saving the world. Day by day they grow in prayerfulness and year-by-year they become living embodiments of our Rule and Constitutions. Admittedly, we may be far from perfect at the beginning of our religious life. However, once we have completed our apprenticeship, we must be the living embodiment of our Rule and Constitutions for no other reason than to work with Christ for the salvation of the world. Pray to our saints and to the Virgin Mary to help you to attain that goal. Amen.

Père Jacques of Jesus

Excerpt from a retreat conference
Saturday evening 11 September 1943

 

Père-Jacques-de-Jèsus_portrait-headshot
Servant of God Père Jacques of Jesus, OCD (Lucien Bunel) | Photo credit: Discalced Carmelites
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Jacques, P 2005, Listen to the silence: a retreat with Père Jacques, translated from the French  and edited by Murphy F, 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.

 

Marie du jour: 24 May

True Carmelites are committed to saving the world

 

Day by day they grow in prayerfulness and year-by-year they become living embodiments of our Rule and Constitutions. Admittedly, we may be far from perfect at the beginning of our religious life. However, once we have completed our apprenticeship, we must be the living embodiment of our Rule and Constitutions for no other reason than to work with Christ for the salvation of the world. Pray to our saints and to the Virgin Mary to help you to attain that goal. Amen.

Père Jacques of Jesus, O.C.D.
The Apostolate
Retreat for the Carmel of Pontoise, Conference Thirteen 
Saturday evening, 11 September 1943

Holy Hill main church Erik Aldrich Flickr
A moment of personal reflection and prayer is captured by photographer Erik Aldrich inside the National Shrine of Mary, Help of Christians in Holy Hill, the Discalced Carmelite church and retreat center in Hubertus, Wisconsin | pureimaginations / Flickr

 

Listen to the Silence - A Retreat with Père Jacques (pp. 104) Translated and edited by Francis J. Murphy ICS Publications © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

Marie du jour: 23 May

He was creating and maintaining his mother in existence

 

It is so awesome that it makes us weep with admiration and thanksgiving to think that a poor little human creature, our sister human being, had the tremendous honor of forming a body and bringing god into the world. She received him, she guarded him, she enclosed him in the humble, narrow limits of her own body. What a privilege! The creator of the world called her “Mama.” She held him in her arms and cradled him at her breast.

You know very well that creation was not a passing gesture, as if God had withdrawn, leaving his work to continue according to determined laws. Creation is actually continuing while I speak to you. If God discontinued his creating action, all beings would instantly return to nothingness. Creation is a work that continues unceasingly. This is a consoling thought, which puts us in the presence of God and into contact with the being of God. Thus the little one who was there under Mary’s eye was continuing the act of creating the world; he was creating and maintaining his mother in existence.

Père Jacques of Jesus, O.C.D.
The Divine Preparation in Mary and in Us
Retreat for the Carmel of Pontoise, Conference Five 
Wednesday morning, 8 September 1943

 

Nativity Arundel MS 157 folio 3verso British Library (2)
The Nativity, Arundel MS 157, folio 3v
The Book of Psalms, Psalter of the Virgin Mary, and Little Office of the Virgin Mary
English, 1st quarter of the 13th century
Latin and Anglo-Norman proto-gothic script on parchment
The British Library, Digitised Manuscripts Collection

 

About the illustration

This English manuscript is an early example of a Psalter with the Hours of the Virgin Mary attached. The manuscript’s origin is unknown, but probably has a connection with Oxford since its Calendar contains three feasts of St Frideswide (d. 727): the latter was abbess at Oxford and venerated there as local saint by the 10th century; her relics were discovered and elevated in 1180 and preserved at the Augustinian Priory of St Frideswide at Oxford. The manuscript also contains the ‘Psalter of the Virgin Mary’ that has been attributed to St Anselm (b. c. 1033, d. 1109), abbot of Bec and archbishop of Canterbury. This relatively rare attribution can also be found in the 13th century Oscott Psalter which has also been associated with Oxford because of its inclusion of St Frideswide in its Litany of Saints.

Learn more about this manuscript here

 

Listen to the Silence - A Retreat with Père Jacques (p. 34)
Translated and edited by Francis J. Murphy
ICS Publications © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

 

 

Marie du jour: 19 May

The Virgin Mary shares this condition of creaturehood with us.

God is pure act, as the philosophers say; that is, he is the total realization of all possibility. We are not pure act; we have not realized all possibilities of being that are in us. Our being evolves as our heart intensifies its affections and perfects them. Our body grows and then declines. God himself is pure actuality, pure act. Nothing in him is in the state of possibility, passing from nonexistence to existence. All is infinite existence in him.

The human person, on the contrary, far from being this totality of realization, is a creature of infirmity and dependence. Remember what I was saying to you regarding creation? Nothing exists that cannot be annihilated instantly, if the creative action ceases to operate. It is this way, because we are not self-existent beings, as the words of Our Lord to Saint Catherine of Siena indicated: “You are she who is not.” This is the foundation of our being. We are not; we have only a borrowed being, unceasingly renewed by God. The Virgin Mary shares this condition of creaturehood with us. By herself she was not; she was totally dependent, as we are totally dependent.

Père Jacques of Jesus, O.C.D.
Virginity in God and in Mary
Retreat for the Carmel of Pontoise, Conference Six 
Wednesday evening, 8 September 1943

Annonciation_MetMuseum_FrenchSculpture
Virgin of the Annunciation
French, ca. 1300–1310
Limestone, traces of paint
Gallery Label: Interrupted in her spiritual meditations, the Virgin Mary modestly recoils from the archangel Gabriel (now lost), whose message foretells the birth of the Christ Child. The statuette’s sensitively carved features and slight smile, elongated proportions, and graceful draperies show stylistic analogies to courtly art in Paris.
Metropolitan Museum of Art / Open Access

 

Listen to the Silence - A Retreat with Père Jacques (pp. 41-42)
Translated and edited by Francis J. Murphy
ICS Publications © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

Marie du jour: 11 May

After Jesus Christ, doubtless at the distance that there is between the Infinite and the finite, there is one who was also the great praise of glory of the Holy Trinity. She responded fully to the divine election of which the Apostle speaks: she was always “pure, immaculate, and without reproach” in the eyes of the thrice-holy God.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Last Retreat, Fifteenth Day

Annunciation_WATERHOUSE John William_Tate Britain
The Annunciation (Ecce Ancilla Domini)
John William Waterhouse (English, 1849 – 1917)
Oil on canvas, 1914 
Private collection
Andreagrossman / Wikimedia Commons

 

The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 1: 
I Have Found God, General Introduction and Major Spiritual Writings (p.160)
ICS Publications, Washington DC
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

 

 

Marie du jour: 10 May

Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum Madonna_DavidOhmer
Cincinnati – Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum | David Ohmer / Flickr

“No one has seen the Father,” St. John tells us, “except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him.” It seems to me that we can also say, “No one has penetrated the depths of the mystery of Christ except the Blessed Virgin.” John and Mary Magdalene penetrated deeply this mystery; St. Paul often speaks of “the understanding of it which was given to him”; and yet, how all the saints remain in the shadows when we look at the Blessed Virgin’s light!

This is the unspeakable “secret” that she kept in mind and pondered in her heart which no tongue can tell or pen describe! This Mother of grace will form my soul so that her little child will be a living, “striking” image of her first-born,  the Son of the Eternal, He who was the perfect praise of His Father’s glory.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
The Last Retreat, First Day

The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 1: I Have Found God, General Introduction and Major Spiritual Writings (p.111)
ICS Publications, Washington DC
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

Quote of the day: 2 May

God is eternal silence; God dwells in silence. He is eternal silence because he is the One who has totally realized his own being because he says all and possesses all.

Père Jacques of Jesus, O.C.D.
September 1943 Retreat for the Carmel of Pontoise: Conference 8 on Silence

leafless trees under starry night sky
Photo by James Wheeler on Pexels.com

Lenten Online Retreat 2019

Carmelite Online Retreat
Lent 2019
with 
St. Edith Stein

Teresia Benedicta a Cruce OCD

Prepare yourself for the coming Easter together with the Discalced Carmelites

Saint Teresia Benedicta of the Cross is co-patroness of Europe. Before entering Carmel and taking this name, Edith Stein already had a long life as a philosopher and lecturer. Born in Prussia in 1891, a Jew who became agnostic, she undertook a quest for truth through philosophy and the events of her life, until her discovery of Christ.

Baptized at the age of 31, she became a remarkable Catholic intellectual. Forbidden to teach by the Nazis, she entered the Carmel of Cologne in 1933 and had to flee to the Carmel of Echt in Holland in 1939. Arrested with her sister Rosa Stein, she died at the Auschwitz camp on August 9, 1942, leaving us her work and a powerful message. During this Lent, her writings and her life will nourish our meditation on this paschal journey in the footsteps of Christ.

How do I make the retreat?

Click here to access the registration page; follow the instructions and complete the registration form on the page. Click Submit, you will be registered for the retreat. You will receive a confirmation message by email. Weekly, every Friday of Lent, you will receive another email message with a new point of inspiration for the following week, along with short texts for daily prayer.

Participation in this retreat is completely free!

If you have any difficulty in registering or if there are any problems, please email the retreat coordinators at retreat-online@karmel.at

With best wishes for a Lent filled with blessings from Heaven,

The Discalced Carmelite Friars of Paris and Austria

The retreat texts were written by Fr. Philippe Huguele ocd, from the Carmelites of Paris. The English translation is by Joanne Brydson ocds (Canada). 
CameliteRetreatOnline2019
Saint Edith Stein will be our guide for the Carmelite Online Retreat for Lent 2019 | To register, visit www.retreat-online.karmel.at

The Discalced Carmelite friars of the Paris province offer an online retreat each year for Advent and Lent that is translated into English by Secular Carmelites in North America.

The 2018 theme for the Advent retreat is the Flos Carmeli sequence hymn. You can sign up for the weekly meditation emails here.

Advent retreat poster 2018 (2)

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