Struggle for holiness

What merit is there in being a prefabricated saint?
It’s good to have to struggle for holiness.

Sr. Jeanne-Marie-Ange of the Child Jesus, OCD
Carmel of Haifa (1895-1921)

 

person rock climbing
Photo by Анна Рыжкова on Pexels.com

Quote of the day: 23 October

I am asking Him that you may be not on­ly a good missionary but a saint all on fire with the love of God and souls; I beg you to obtain also for me this love so that I may help you in your apostolic work.

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

Letter 198 to Abbé Maurice Bellière
21 October 1896

 

Belliere-3
Abbé Maurice Bellière in the African missions with the Pères Blancs | Photo credit: Discalced Carmelites

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: 21 June

You can’t be sort of a saint,
you have to be a total saint
or not at all.

 

LT-247_2 (3)

 

This quote comes from St. Thérèse’s letter to seminarian Maurice Bellière, written 21 June 1897. Thérèse had been corresponding with the seminarian since October 1896.

Thérèse’s remark falls within the context of Bellière’s comments to Mother Agnès in his initial letter of 15 October 1895 that he had aspirations of sanctity as a seminarian, but in the awareness of his weakness, he requested that one of the nuns should pray for him.

Thérèse describes Bellière’s letter in Manuscript C and makes mention of that letter when she writes to him on 21 June:

Sometimes Jesus likes “to reveal his secrets to infants“; the proof is that after having read your first letter from 15 Oct 95, I thought the same thing as your Director: you can’t be sort of a saint, you have to be a total saint or not at all.

Mother Agnès responded to Bellière’s initial letter of 15 October with words of encouragement for his spiritual life and tells him that she has assigned Thérèse to accompany him in prayer and sacrifice.

On 23 October 1895, the young seminarian — bursting with hope and renewed spiritual energy —  replied to Mother Agnès:

Now, I’m not afraid anymore, and I feel in my heart a new passion that will prevail. I will be a saint, I want to be a saint — besides that, a priest, a missionary, especially a Saint — and if I say saint, why not say martyr. What an ideal, Mother — priest, apostle, and martyr!  

To cast the words of Thérèse in the 21st-century context, the translator researches the use of the modifier à demi in the previous centuries. How did André Gide and Georges Bernanos use the expression? In the examples given in the University of Lorraine’s online masterpiece, the 16-volume dictionary Trésor de la Langue Française, Gide and Bernanos evoke concepts such as somewhat, partial, tentative, and incomplete. The TLF couldn’t be any clearer when it states that the antonym is tout à fait (which was the choice of Thérèse), i.e., completely or totally.

Our desire as a translator is always to preserve fidelity to the original text by thoroughly researching the context, the setting, and the historical record of the language. Today’s tools, such as ATILF and the invaluable online Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux, offer many expanded options to achieve these goals. We are grateful to our Discalced Carmelite predecessors who labored long and hard over the past century to bring the words of Thérèse to English-speaking readers. From time to time, we will continue to add our small contributions to their monumental work.

As St. Thérèse herself noted in her letter, “I sensed that you might have an energetic soul and it’s for that reason that I was happy to become your sister.” Translators need energetic souls to undertake and persevere in their work, too. Thanks for being our sister, Thérèse!


Here is the original paragraph from LT 247, the letter from St. Thérèse to Abbé Bellière dated 21 June 1897, which also was the feast day of Mother Marie de Gonzague.

LT-247
LT 247 – A l’abbé Bellière – 21 Juin 1897

Quelquefois Jésus se plaît «à révéler ses secrets aux plus petits», la preuve, c’est qu’après avoir lu votre première lettre du 15 oct. 95, j’ai pensé la même chose que votre Directeur: Vous ne pourrez être un saint à demi, il vous faudra l’être tout à fait ou pas du tout. J’ai senti que vous deviez avoir une âme énergique et c’est pour cela que je fus heureuse de devenir votre soeur.

You can read the complete text of Letter 247 here in French and the English translation by Fr. John Clarke, OCD here. The complete text of Abbé Bellière’s 23 October 1895 letter to Mother Agnès is found here in French. Studies on the 15 October correspondence and the subsequent reply were published in the scholarly journal Vie Thérèsienne, nos. 12, 13, 14, October 1963 — April 1964; and nos. 66-69, October 1963 — April 1964.

 

Translation from the French is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission. This blog post is dedicated in honor of Père François-Marie Léthel, O.C.D.  sine qua non

 

25 May: St. Mary Magdalen de’ Pazzi

May 25
SAINT MARY MAGDALEN DE’ PAZZI
Virgin

Memorial

In 1566 Saint Mary Magdalen de’ Pazzi was born in Florence where she received a good religious upbringing, and eventually became a Carmelite nun. In Carmel she led a hidden life of prayer and self-denial, praying fervently for the reform of the Church and helping her sisters in their quest for perfection. After receiving many graces from God, she died in 1607.

From the common of virgins

Office of Readings

Hymn

Fair Star, your rays fall from above
To fill all Carmel with delight;
With humble pride, we sing of you
And praise in you the Lord of might.

All things that are light in the hand
Christ placed in yours, bride of his heart
The God by highest heav’n adored
Espoused you in a place apart.

This Spouse taught you the mystery
of life no death has power to hold;
To seal your life of sacrifice
Placed on your hand a ring of gold.

True bride, apparelled in his blood
Upon the cross with Christ you died,
His passion sharing, shared his life
And rose with Jesus glorified.

L.M.
Margarita of Jesus, O.C.D.

Psalmody

Ant. 1 She rejoices like a champion about to run her course (alleluia).

Psalms from the Common of Virgins

Ant. 2 My tongue is as ready as the pen of a scribe (alleluia).

Ant. 3 Forget your father’s house, for the king desires your beauty (alleluia).

V/. You have shown me the path of life (alleluia).
R/. You will fill me with joy in your presence (alleluia).

The second reading and its responsory are from The Liturgy of the Hours

Prayer

Father,
you love those who give themselves completely to your service,
and you filled Saint Mary Magdalen de’ Pazzi
with heavenly gifts and the fire of your love.
As we honor her today,
may we follow her example of purity and charity.

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

Morning Prayer

Hymn

We sing a hymn of holy love
God’s marriage with an earthly bride;
You lead, Mary, in our song:
In Carmel God is glorified.

God’s loving touch upon your soul,
And all earth’s pleasures round you died
No flowers for you but those that spring
Where Love has passed, the Crucified.

He stole your heart, you gave consent,
And now his own throbs in its place
His voice is speaking through your voice,
His features graven in your face.

Love-wounded, by the Spirit drawn,
With Christ you reach the Father’s side
No secret but he shares with you,
No longer servant — perfect bride!

Like precious nard, your life poured out
Is holy, pure, example still;
Throughout the Church, throughout the world
This holy fragrance you distill.

L.M.
Margarita of Jesus, O.C.D.
(origin of first verse unknown)

Psalmody

Ant. 1 In a dry and desert land I prepared my heart for you, that I might see your strength and your glory (alleluia).

Psalms of Sunday, Week I

Ant. 2 Christ I freely confess, Christ I ardently long for, with Christ alone I desire to be (alleluia).

Ant. 3 With timbrel and dance, with strings and pipes, let everything that breathes praise the Lord (alleluia).

Scripture Reading

Phil 3:8, 10-11

I reckon everything as complete loss for the sake of what is so much more valuable, the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. All I want is to know Christ and experience the power of his resurrection; to share in his sufferings and become like him in his death, in the hope that I myself will be raised from death to life.

Responsory

Easter season
R/. Of you my heart has spoken; I seek your face *
Alleluia, alleluia. Repeat R/.
V/. Lord, I long to see your face. R/. Alleluia, alleluia
Glory . . . R/.

Ordinary time
R/.
Of you my heart has spoken; * I seek your face. Repeat R/.
V/.
Lord, I long to see your face. * I seek your face.
Glory . . . R/.

Canticle of Zechariah
Ant. The love of God has been poured into our hearts, through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us (alleluia).

Intercessions

The Father and the Son are eternally celebrating the joy of their love in the Holy Spirit, and we, by their grace, are called to share their life. Let us pray:

R/. We thank you, Father, for choosing us in Christ to praise your glory.

Christ, eternal Word, in your coming to earth you have spread joy like the morning dew; gladden our hearts by the grace of your continued presence R/.

Christ, in the blood you poured out on the cross you intercede for us with the Father; bring us, pure and without sin, into the presence of the undivided Trinity. R/.

Christ, with the Father you have given us the Holy Spirit, the source of all mercy, to guide our thoughts aright, may his abiding presence turn us from anything that would hinder his reign within us R/.

Christ, you gave birth to the Church as you hung on the cross and you nourish it with your precious blood; may your Church, free from every blemish, be joined at last with the Holy Trinity in eternal joy. R/.

Christ, you restored our mortal flesh by living in our midst; give us a full share in the joy of eternal life. R/.

Our Father . . .

Prayer

Father,
you love those who give themselves completely to your service,
and you filled Saint Mary Magdalen de’ Pazzi
with heavenly gifts and the fire of your love.
As we honor her today,
may we follow her example of purity and charity.

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

Prayer During the Day

Weekday prayer from the psalter

Evening Prayer

Hymn

Virgin illustrious through the Spirit’s bounty,
Sharing Christ’s passion, close with him united
God’s Mother also gave you her maternal
Pledge of affection.

Teach all earth’s people how the Cross brings wisdom,
Gives Christ new members, on his Body nourished,
Like fruitful gardens, quick with rain from heaven,
His blood renews us.

Bid Christ’s own flock be undefiled and spotless;
Magdalen, tell them how immense his longing
Since here in exile this is all you worked for,
Prayed for with weeping.

Sister and teacher, may the field of Carmel
Through your example and your brethren’s labor
Shine with rich harvest, fruit of constant giving,
As you have taught us.

Praise to the blessed Trinity eternal
Whom you have worshipped with such yearning ardor;
May we be granted through your intercession
Joys everlasting.

11.11.11.5.
Margarita of Jesus, O.C.D.
(origin of verses 3-4 unknown)

Psalmody

Ant. 1 My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God (alleluia)

Psalm 112

Praise, O servants of the Lord, *
praise the name of the Lord!
May the name of the Lord be blessed *
both now and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to its setting *
praised be the name of the Lord!

High above all nations is the Lord, *
above the heavens his glory.
Who is like the Lord, our God, *
who has risen on high to his throne
yet stoops from the heights to look down, *
to look down upon heaven and earth?

From the dust he lifts up the lowly, *
from his misery he raises the poor
to set him in the company of princes, *
yes, with the princes of his people.
To the childless wife he gives a home *
and gladdens her heart with children.

Ant. My heart and my flesh have rejoiced in the living God (alleluia).

Ant. 2 In the house of the Mother of my Lord I would speak of purity and peace (alleluia).

I rejoiced when I heard them say: *
“Let us go to God’s house.”
And now our feet are standing *
within your gates, O Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is built as a city *
strongly compact.
It is there that the tribes go up, *
the tribes of the Lord.

For Israel’s law it is, *
there to praise the Lord’s name.
There were set the thrones of judgment *
of the house of David.

For the peace of Jerusalem pray: *
“Peace be to your homes!
May peace reign in your walls, *
in your palaces, peace!”

For love of my brethren and friends *
I say: “Peace upon you.”
For love of the house of the Lord *
I will ask for your good.

Ant. In the house of the Mother of my Lord I would speak of purity and peace (alleluia).

Ant. 3 Redeemed by the blood of Christ and sealed with the Holy Spirit, we live to praise the Father’s glory (alleluia).

Canticle: Eph 1:3-10

Blessed be the God and Father *
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us in Christ *
with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places.

He chose us in him *
before the foundation of the world,
that we should be holy *
and blameless before him.

He destined us in love *
to be his sons through Jesus Christ,
according to the purpose of his will, †
to the praise of his glorious grace *
which he freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.

In him we have redemption through his Blood, *
the forgiveness of our trespasses,
according to the riches of his grace *
which he lavished upon us.

He has made known to us †
in all wisdom and insight *
the mystery of his will,
according to his purpose *
which he set forth in Christ.

His purpose he set forth in Christ, *
as a plan for the fullness of time,
to unite all things in him, *
things in heaven and things on earth.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, *
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, *
and will be for ever. Amen.

Ant. Redeemed by the blood of Christ and sealed with the Holy Spirit, we live to praise the Father’s glory (alleluia).

Scripture Reading

Eph 3:8-11

To me, though I am the very least of all the saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all men see what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God, that through the Church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known. This was according to the eternal purpose which he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Responsory

Easter season
R/.
May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ fill us with the knowledge of the love of Christ. Alleluia, alleluia. Repeat R/.
V/.
So that we may be filled with the fullness of God. R/. Alleluia, alleluia. Glory . . . R/.

Ordinary time
R/. May the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ fill us with the knowledge of the love of Christ. Repeat R/.
V/.
So that we may be filled with the fullness of God, fill us with the knowledge of the love of Christ. Glory   . . . R/.

Canticle of Mary 
Ant. The Word of God became man and lived among us, that he might draw all of us to himself (alleluia).

Intercessions

With the intercession of St Mary Magdalen, let this be our prayer to the Lord: that he will deepen the spirit of love in us and help us to serve him with all our hearts:

R/. Lord, fill us with your spirit of holiness and unite us in your love.

Christ our Savior, be with your Spouse, the Church, to the end of time, as your Holy Spirit leads us to unity, love and truth; may all men come to know the Father, the source of all life. R/.

Christ our Savior, may priests, the ministers of your Blood, be true witnesses of the gospel; may all our brethren be joined with us in one sheepfold, may your blood purify sinners; may your love and light shine on all mankind. R/.

Christ our Savior, lead our Carmelite family, enriched by God’s gifts, to a truly fraternal way of life; may we live the values of the gospel in the Church for the life of the world. R/.

Christ our Savior, may we who share at the table of your love, grow in love for all people, for whom you shed your precious blood; join us to yourself forever by the bond of the Spirit. R/.

Christ our Savior, you descended into hell and opened its gates; bring our deceased brothers and sisters to your kingdom in heaven and give them joy with you forever. R/.

Our Father . . .

Prayer

Father,
you love those who give themselves completely to your service,
and you filled Saint Mary Magdalen de’ Pazzi
with heavenly gifts and the fire of your love.
As we honor her today,
may we follow her example of purity and charity.

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

 

Mary Magdalene-de-Pazzi_Pedro_de_Moya_-_Vision_of_St_Maria_Magdalena_di_Pazzi_-_WGA16308
Visión de Santa María Magdalena de Pazzi
Pedro de Moya (Spanish, 1610-1674)
Oil on canvas, c. 1640-1674
Museo de Bellas Artes de Granada

22 May: St. Joachina de Vedruna de Mas

May 22
SAINT JOACHINA DE VEDRUNA DE MAS
Religious

Optional Memorial

Joachina was born in Barcelona in 1783. She married Theodore de Mas in 1799 and bore him nine children before being widowed in 1816. Then in 1826, she was prompted by God’s Spirit to found the Congregation of Carmelite Sisters of Charity, which spread throughout Catalonia, establishing houses for the care of the sick and the education of children, especially the poor. She was greatly drawn to contemplating the mystery of the Holy Trinity. Her spiritual life was marked by prayer, mortification, detachment, humility, and love. She died at Vich in 1854.

From the Common of Holy Women (Religious)

Office of Readings

Second Reading

From the Letters of St. Joachina
Epist. pp. 275, 246, 260, 297, 254, 297, 31

Charity above all things

If only we were all on fire with love for God! If we were, we should preach love, proclaim love, and yet more love, until we had set the whole world on fire. We must have great desires: then God will give us whatever is best for us.

We must be careful to free our hearts from everything that might get in the way of the pure love of our beloved Jesus. He is love itself, and wants to give himself to us through love. Jesus is calling us all the time — how long are we going to remain deaf to His voice? No, let us keep our hearts ready, our wills completely for Jesus, our faculties and our senses for our Lord.

There must be no undue attachment in our hearts for created things: they must burn with love alone, love ever more fervent; for love never says ‘enough,’ never rests until it is completely on fire. When our hearts are completely on fire with pure love for Jesus, everything that might hinder love from taking complete possession will be cast out.

We must not give in to weariness: we must spend every minute in loving God.

God alone, the maker of heaven and earth, must be our rest and our consolation. The love of God is the only thing we can possess for ever: everything else will pass away.

Love, love, and yet more love — love that is never satisfied! The more we love God, the more we shall long to love him. And when we have Jesus in our hearts, we shall have everything else in him and with him.

Responsory

R/. Remain in my love.
* Whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in him (alleluia).

V/. Follow the way of love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.
* Whoever lives in love, lives in God, and God in him (alleluia).

Morning Prayer

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. By this all will know that you are my disciples: that you have love for one another (alleluia).

Prayer

Lord God,
you gave St. Joachina de Vedruna to your Church
for the Christian education of youth
and the care of the sick.
May we follow her example,
and lovingly devote our lives
to serving you in our brother and sisters.

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

Evening Prayer

Canticle of Mary

Ant. Whatsoever you do for one of the least of my brethren, you do for me, says the Lord (alleluia).

 

Joaquima_de_V,_Morell,_1903
Saint Joachina de Vedruna de Mas

Quote of the day: 17 May

You know, Mother, I have always wanted to be a saint.

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
Manuscript C, Folio 02, verso


The desires of Sister Thérèse of the Child Jesus were realized on 17 May 1925 when Pope Pius XI decreed that she “was a Saint and was to be inscribed in the calendar of the Saints.”

Canonization news article St Louis Post Dispatch 18 May 1925
St. Louis Post-Dispatch. St. Louis, Missouri. 18 May 1925, Monday • Page 3 Accessed 17 May 2018, newspapers.com
Mariam-photo-b&w
Learn more about Mariam, “the little nothing”, the foundress of the Carmel of Bethlehem here
EDITH - One must after tell those poor people
“Arbeit macht Frei”, or “work sets you free” could not have been farther from the truth 

 

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