Lord, I have given up my pride
and turned away from my arrogance.
I am not concerned with great matters
or with subjects too difficult for me.
Instead, I am content and at peace.
As a child lies quietly in its mother’s arms,
so my heart is quiet within me.
Israel, trust in the Lord
now and forever!
The soul is incapable of truly acquiring control of the passions and restriction of the inordinate appetites without forgetting and withdrawing from the sources of these emotions. Disturbances never arise in a soul unless through the apprehensions of the memory. When all things are forgotten, nothing disturbs the peace or stirs the appetites. As the saying goes: What the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t want.
The Ascent of Mount Carmel: Book Three, Chapter 5
O St. John of the Cross
You were endowed by our Lord with the spirit of self-denial
and a love of the cross.
Obtain for us the grace to follow your example
that we may come to the eternal vision of the glory of God.
O Saint of Christ’s redeeming cross
the road of life is dark and long.
Teach us always to be resigned to God’s holy will
in all the circumstances of our lives
and grant us the special favor
which we now ask of thee
(mention your request).
Above all, obtain for us the grace of final perseverance,
a holy and happy death and everlasting life with you
and all the saints in heaven.
Nota bene: We are grateful to Professor Michael Ogunu, O.C.D.S., of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites in Nigeria for sharing this novena.
When I am up above, will you let me help you, scold you even, if I see you are not giving everything to the Master? because I love you!
For the grace to give everything to the Master: It was the end of October when St. Elizabeth wrote the letter that has served as the prayerful foundation for our novena meditations. She was certain that she would die soon, and this letter to a dear friend served as her “spiritual testament.” At the head of the letter, she wrote this inscription: “Deus charitas est (God is love),” [I Jn 4:16] and she continued: “the hour is drawing near when I am going to pass from this world to my Father…” Totally surrendered to God, in an attitude of complete abandonment and self-giving to the Lord, she was prepared to meet her Spouse, the Bridegroom of her soul. Emptied of self, she was overflowing with divine love. She describes this as she writes: “Never was the heart of the Master so overflowing with love as at the supreme moment when he was going to leave his own! It seems to me as if something similar is happening in His little bride at the evening of her life, and I feel as if a wave were rising from my heart to yours! Dear Antoinette, in the light of eternity, the soul sees things as they really are.” And so, our novena comes full circle. Like St. Paul at his farewell to the elders of Ephesus, [cf. Ac 20:17-37] St. Elizabeth knows that what is essential counts. And, the example of self-giving and abandonment to Christ that she offers to us is the same example that we are called to offer to others. This is our vocation: to become great saints like Elizabeth of the Trinity. And to ensure that we are on the path to sainthood, she wants to help us in her own Totus Tuus way. Why not say yes? Say yes to holiness, yes to Elizabeth, say yes to Christ!
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity Speaks
“When I am up above, will you let me help you, scold you even, if I see you are not giving everything to the Master? because I love you! … May He keep you wholly His, wholly faithful; in Him I will always be WHOLLY YOURS.”
In silent prayer, turn to Saint Elizabeth in your need. She is up above, ready to help you because she loves you. Ask her to show you how to give everything to the Master, Jesus Christ, in trust and love. Entrust yourself entirely to him as she did – he will keep you entirely his own!
O my God, Trinity whom I adore, let me entirely forget myself that I may abide in you, still and peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity; let nothing disturb my peace nor separate me from you, O my unchanging God, but that each moment may take me further into the depths of your mystery! Pacify my soul! Make it your heaven, your beloved home, and the place of your repose; let me never leave you there alone, but may I be ever attentive, ever alert in my faith, ever adoring and all given up to your creative action.
O my beloved Christ, crucified for love, would that I might be for you a spouse of your heart! I would anoint you with glory, I would love you — even unto death! Yet I sense my frailty and ask you to adorn me with yourself; identify my soul with all the movements of your soul, submerge me, overwhelm me, substitute yourself in me that my life may become but a reflection of your life. Come into me as Adorer, Redeemer, and Saviour.
O Eternal Word, Word of my God, would that I might spend my life listening to you, would that I might be fully receptive to learn all from you; in all darkness, all loneliness, all weakness, may I ever keep my eyes fixed on you and abide under your great light; O my Beloved Star, fascinate me so that I may never be able to leave your radiance.
O Consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, descend into my soul and make all in me as an incarnation of the Word, that I may be to him a super-added humanity wherein he renews his mystery; and you, O Father, bestow yourself and bend down to your little creature, seeing in her only your beloved Son in whom you are well pleased.
O my ‘Three’, my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in whom I lose myself, I give myself to you as a prey to be consumed; enclose yourself in me that I may be absorbed in you so as to contemplate in your light the abyss of your Splendour!
Excerpt from Letter 333, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel Copyright © 2003 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC Closing Prayer from the official St. Elizabeth of the Trinity website
Here is the secret: forget self, give up self, ignore self, look at the Master
To share in the self-giving love of Christ: “Be of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind,” St. Paul wrote to the Philippians. [Phil 2:2] The union of believers in the Church was Paul’s one, great goal. How to achieve it? “Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself…” [Phil 2:5-7] For the Carmelite, union with God is the one, great goal, and the means to achieve it are similar: the self-emptying, self-giving love of Christ. Saint Elizabeth said that to achieve this self-emptying, we must study Christ and concentrate on His devotion to accomplishing the will of the Father. With Christ, we must learn to say “Here we are, O Father, we come to do your will.”
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity Speaks
“Here is the secret: forget self, give up self, ignore self, look at the Master, look only at Him, accept as coming directly from His love both joy and suffering; this places the soul on such serene heights!”
Use St. Elizabeth’s quote to make a spiritual checklist for yourself. Resolve to practice one point on the checklist for one day, or one week, or one month. Review your progress with your confessor or spiritual director.
O God of bountiful mercy,
you revealed to Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
the mystery of your secret presence
in the hearts of those who love you,
and you chose her to adore you in spirit and in truth.
Through her intercession
may we also abide in the love of Christ,
that we may see what you see
and love in the way that you love
and thus merit to be transformed
into temples of your life-giving Spirit
to the praise of your glory.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Excerpt from Letter 333, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel Copyright © 2003 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC
BLESSED MARIA MERCEDES PRAT
Virgin and Martyr
Mercedes Prat was born on March 6, 1880, in Barcelona, baptized on the following day, and made her First Holy Communion on June 30, 1890. From her childhood, she gave herself completely to God, whom she received every day in Communion. She displayed a great love for her neighbor and tried to foster this kind of love in others. During her years in school, she was known for her goodness and her dedication to school work, excelling especially in painting and needlework, which were areas in which she had a natural talent. Entering the novitiate of the Society of Saint Teresa of Jesus in 1904, in Tortosa, she made her temporary profession in 1907. She was a religious according to the heart of God: prudent and truthful, calm and gentle in her reactions, having a natural goodness in all her dealings with others, but firm in character. God was her one love, and her love for God kept growing to the point where she would give her life for Him. In 1920 she was assigned to the motherhouse in Barcelona. From there the path to martyrdom began on July 19, 1936, when the community was forced to give up the school and flee. On July 23, because she was a religious, Sr. Mercedes was arrested and shot; she died in the early morning of July 24.
From the Common of one Martyr or the Common of Virgins, except for the following:
Office of Readings
From the writings of Saint Henry de Ossó, priest (Prologue, Escritos 3)
Conforming our life to Christ Jesus
If we are looking for an essential occupation, a consuming interest, that can be called Christian before all else, then it is to clothe oneself in Christ: to think as Christ did; to feel as he did; to love as Jesus did; to work as he did; to deal with others as Christ did; to speak as he did—in one word, to make the whole of our life resemble that of Christ Jesus. The word Christian means alter Christus—another Christ—therefore nobody can save us if we have not first of all been conformed to the likeness of Christ. But in order to conform ourselves to the life of Jesus, it is above all necessary to study him, to know him, to meditate upon him. If we are to be totally in perfect union with him, this must not be done superficially. We must enter into the feelings of Jesus, his longings, his desires, his intentions.
We ought to recollect that, to enter into the Holy of Holies of his heart, is a foolhardiness on our part; but the same Lord Jesus in his goodness, and with his own words, has called us to himself. If he didn’t, how are we to learn his meekness and humility? If we do not know the sentiments of his heart in order to practice them, how are we to place our every action before him, in imitation of him? For Christ lived, ate, slept, spoke, kept quiet, got about, got tired, rested, was hungry and thirsty, worked. To be brief: he suffered and died for our sake.
When I say Jesus Christ, I imagine a lovely baby, a fine youth, or a mature man, with all the grace and charm that the divinity was able to shower upon a human soul and body. But I also think of him, subject to all of our miseries, except sin, out of love for me. He is our brother, flesh of our flesh, blood of our blood, and bone of our bones. He is my Jesus, truly God and man, alive, personal, who appeared on this earth, and lived and talked with us for thirty-three years. For our sake, being the Eternal Word of the Father, he descended from heaven, was born, suffered, died, rose, ascended into heaven. He remains amongst us until the end of time, to be our companion, our consolation and nourishment in the most blessed Sacrament of the Altar.
I shall live, eat, sleep, talk, keep silent, work, suffer: I shall do everything, suffer everything in union with Jesus. All that Jesus desires that I suffer or do, this shall I do in union with that divine intention and those sentiments that Jesus had in all that he did or suffered. Whoever does this, will live here on earth a life of heaven, will be transformed into Jesus, and will be able to say with the Apostle: “I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me.”
R/. Because of the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, I count everything else as loss. * For him I have accepted the loss of all other things, and look on them all as filth if only I can gain Christ.
V/. I am alive, yet it is no longer I, but Christ living in me. * For him I have accepted the loss of all other things, and look on them all as filth if only I can gain Christ.
O God of infinite goodness,
you gave Blessed Maria Mercedes, virgin,
the courage to bring to fullness in martyrdom
her offering to you and to the Church.
Grant us, through her intercession,
the grace to be so firmly rooted in the love of Christ
that nothing can ever separate us from this love.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.
Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
Resolution: Pray one mystery of the Rosary for the intentions of the Pope and our Bishops
Lord, I give you my whole being; I want to be entirely yours, no longer belonging to myself; to be wonderfully a slave of your will.
Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be
Photo: Curia Generalizia Carmelitani Scalzi, Rome Triduum prayers: @ChiquitungaOficial Chiquitunga quotes translated by Heidi Cooper, OCDS