Jesus: God’s love story — Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.

Homily

The Nativity of the Lord
Mass During the Day
Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Managua

Saint Agatha Catholic Church
Archdiocese of Miami
25 December 2019


Gospel
John 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.
John testified to him and cried out, saying,
“This was he of whom I said,
‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’”
From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only Son, God, who is at the Father’s side,
has revealed him.

 


 

Dear brothers and sisters:

On this Christmas Day, the gospel that we heard is the prologue of the Gospel of John, which is a solemn poem, an authentic canticle dedicated to the Word of God, a hymn that from the earliest centuries helped Christians to delve into the mystery enclosed in Jesus of Nazareth.  If on this Christmas day we all listen to this gospel with simple faith and openness to God, it also can help us to believe in Jesus in a deeper way. Given the great richness of the Gospel text, we will try to dwell only on some of its central affirmations.

In the beginning was the Word

“In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was with God” (Jn 1:1). The prologue of John’s gospel starts with these words. It speaks of the beginning. Not the beginning of human history, but rather of the absolute principle from which everything has sprung. It affirms that from eternity “the Word” already existed. At the beginning of it all, there is no chaos, no absolute disorder; at the beginning of it all, there is no absurdity, darkness or nothingness. No. A word and a reason exist.  There is a divine “why” that brings everything into being and justifies everything that exists, a desire and a plan of God’s love that creates and guides everything. It’s a kind of divine wisdom (cf. Prov 8) that has created the universe and wisely maintains and cares for everything with tenderness and love.

Only if we trust that there has always been an eternal word from God that lovingly guides and directs everything for our good, can we ever overcome despair, moments of anguish, the unmanageability of our very lives, social and personal uncertainties, and the darkness in which everything seems to lose meaning.  Beyond all this, there is a logic, an eternal word, a divine reason, which is love. We can live with serenity and trust because God’s love, which is his eternal Word, which has always existed, enfolds, guides and protects us.

The Word of God became flesh

Today’s gospel has reminded us that God is not mute. From all eternity God has a word that he has wanted to speak, to communicate. He hasn’t remained silent, enclosed within himself. Throughout the course of history, that eternal word has been communicated to us: through creation, through revelation to the people of Israel, and through the cultures of all the peoples. God has always wanted to speak to us: to tell us how much he loves us, to reveal and explain his Word to us and his loving plan for us.

Today, we heard in the Gospel that this Word “became flesh” (Jn 1:14). The eternal Word became human, took on substance and entered history as a human being. Jesus of Nazareth is that Word that God has always wanted to speak to us. Jesus, the Word made flesh, incarnates God’s eternal plan; he embodies God’s infinite and gracious love for humanity and for each one of us.

God has not conveyed Himself to us through sublime concepts and doctrines. His Word has been incarnated in the intimate and simple life of Jesus so that even the most ordinary people can understand it. The eternal Word has been incarnated silently in the manger, like a child in need, so that we can welcome it and embrace it with love. In those days, the Word shone in Jesus’ humanity and was revealed in his works and words: when he healed the sick; when he offered God’s mercy and forgiveness to sinners; when he dedicated himself to acts of kindness by embracing the children on the streets, because he didn’t want anyone to feel like an orphan; when he blessed the sick, because he didn’t want them to feel forgotten by God; when he caressed the skin of lepers, because he didn’t want them to be excluded; and, when he died on the cross to teach us that no one has greater love than the one who gives his life for those whom he loves. The entire life of Jesus is the greatest book alive in which we can read the Word of God.

He made his dwelling among us

This Word of God “made his dwelling among us” (Jn 1:14). The distances have vanished. God became “flesh”; he became human like us out of love. Since his birth in Bethlehem, he has lived among us. He has fallen so intensely in love with humanity that he hasn’t departed from our midst. That is why to meet God we don’t have to go outside the world, but rather we need to approach Jesus and let ourselves be touched and invaded by the love of God that has been revealed in him. It’s up to us to allow ourselves to be surprised and embraced by this love on a daily basis.

It’s a pity that God has come down to the depths of our existence, yet life still seems empty to us; it’s a shame that God has come to dwell in the human heart, yet at times we feel an unbearable inner emptiness; and, it is a tragedy that God has come to reign among us, but seems to be totally absent from our interpersonal and social relationships.

When we don’t understand the sacred value of that which is material and human since God became man, we become indifferent to the hunger of the poor, or indifferent to the disrespect for human rights, the violence of war, or the destruction of the planet. When we don’t understand that God has taken on that which is material, we make the beauty of sex into an experience of slavery and deceptive pleasure. Because we don’t take seriously the fact that God took on all that is human, we don’t know how to accept our human limitations with humility, nor do we live with joy and patience the necessary journey of maturity and aging. Only when we lovingly take on our human condition do we fully accept God and allow Him to transform us with His infinite love.

No one has ever seen God

The text of today’s gospel ends with this statement: “No one has ever seen God: it is the only Son, who is nearest to the Father’s heart, who has made him known”. Jesus has been like the great narrative of God’s love. He did not make Him known through theory but through a story of goodness and forgiveness, which culminates in the cross and resurrection. The story of Jesus is the story of God among us. Only Jesus has “told” us what God is like.

Everything changes when we grasp that Jesus is the human face of God. Everything becomes clearer, simpler, and more attractive. By contemplating Jesus we know how God looks upon us when we suffer, how he looks for us when we are lost, and that he understands us and forgives us when we deny him. In Jesus, the “grace of the truth” of God has been revealed to us. We still won’t see God. You can’t see him. But Jesus helps us to overcome this impossibility of seeing God. The only way to see God is to listen to Jesus, to follow Jesus, and to live in communion with Jesus. He himself will say later: “Whoever has seen me has seen the Father”. May we welcome Jesus, may we be transformed by his love, and may we become not only holier but more human.

 

In the beginning Shkolnik ICON FrTed Flickr S5504096566_f9119d89ea_o (straighten-fx)
Creation of the Cosmos (detail)
Written by Dmitry Shkolnik
St. Paul Orthodox Church
Dayton, Ohio

 


Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. has served as the Auxiliary Bishop of Managua since May 2009, when he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI. A scripture scholar, a former professor at the Pontifical Theological Faculty Teresianum in Rome and editor of the facultys eponymous academic journal, he currently serves at the good pleasure of the Holy Father Pope Francis in Rome.  Read our profile of Bishop Báez here and search our blog posts concerning the bishop here.

 

This English translation of Bishop Báez's Spanish homily is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission and attribution.

St. Joseph: Silence, Humanity and Love — Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.

Homily

Fourth Sunday of Advent
Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Managua

Saint Agatha Catholic Church
Archdiocese of Miami
22 December 2019


Gospel
Matthew 1:18-24

This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.
When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph,
but before they lived together,
she was found with child through the Holy Spirit.
Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man,
yet unwilling to expose her to shame,
decided to divorce her quietly.
Such was his intention when, behold,
the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said,
“Joseph, son of David,
do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home.
For it is through the Holy Spirit
that this child has been conceived in her.
She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus,
because he will save his people from their sins.”
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,

which means “God is with us.”
When Joseph awoke,
he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him
and took his wife into his home.

 


 

Dear brothers and sisters:

On this Fourth Sunday of Advent, on the eve of the Christmas celebration, the liturgy of the word is centered on the person and experience of Saint Joseph, a young worker from Nazareth engaged to Mary, whom he loved and who he was going to marry. Before living together, Joseph discovers that she is expecting a child whose paternal origin is not entirely clear to him. The Gospel says that Joseph was “just”, that is, he faithfully fulfilled the law of the Lord; and not wishing to disown her in public, he decided to do so in private, sending her away quietly (cf. Mt 1:19). Was he surprised to see that Mary was pregnant since they had not had relations? Is it possible that his fiancée didn’t involve him in the event by sharing with him what she had understood from God about this birth?

Something unexpected and unpleasant is interjected in the marriage plans of the two young people. That pregnancy could only be the fruit of betrayal and, from the point of view of the cultural and religious customs of the time, Mary was considered an adulteress and according to the Law of Moses, she was to be stoned to death for her infidelity. Adultery was a break with the patriarchal order that dominated society; since the woman was deemed as belonging to the husband, so the aggrieved husband could denounce her and have her killed for her sin.

Joseph was just, that is, a faithful observer of the Lord’s law, but not in the style of the Pharisees, attached to the letter of the law. Joseph fulfills the law of the Lord by acting with profound humanity. With Joseph, justice means humanity, as the Book of Wisdom says: “the righteous must be kind” (Wis 12:19). He breaks with the logic of domination and possession. The other person is not first and foremost a sinner, a personified error, or a traitor, but a human being who has received life as a gift and commitment; a person who has the right to make changes and to live. Joseph proves to be truly just.

Joseph is not ashamed, he doesn’t belittle Mary and he doesn’t act in such a way as to expose her to shame and death. He doesn’t react in an impulsive and disciplinary fashion, but he looks for a solution that respects the dignity and integrity of his beloved Mary. Joseph’s justice is manifested in the fact that he was “unwilling to expose her to shame”, in not acting as if he owned her by deciding that she had to suffer and die. Nor does he care about his image as a man whose honor has been tarnished and whose rights have been violated by his future wife. Joseph acts with humanity and love.

Joseph’s actions were a huge, painful inner struggle for him. How many questions, how many doubts, how much uncertainty assail Joseph! It’s at this moment that God intervenes by revealing to Joseph in a dream the mystery of the conception of Mary’s son: it is the work of the creative power of God’s Spirit (v. 20-21). That dream obviously not only tried to resolve the conflict that had arisen between two spouses, but its ultimate aim was above all to reveal the identity of the child that was growing in Mary’s womb. Her child is the result of the power of the Holy Spirit; he is a creature that only God could give us. Joseph, accepting divine revelation about the divine origin of Jesus and accepting his role as the legal father of the child, presents himself as a “just” man, again not on the ethical-legal level of the old covenant like the Pharisees, but in the evangelical sense of the new covenant, as one who thoroughly fulfills the divine will—even without thoroughly understanding it—with absolute trust in God. He is the just and obedient man, open to God’s ways and docile to his will.

Joseph—who never speaks, of whom the Gospel doesn’t recall even one word, a silent and strong man, simple and energetic, practical and free—is also a dreamer.  The fate of the world was entrusted to his dreams because the just man has the same dreams as God. Today we need dreamers who are committed to making their dreams come true. It takes courage to dream, not mere imagination. Dreaming means not being content with the world as it is, but rather having the courage to see and imagine the most humane and the happiest future for everyone. Shakespeare said that “we are such stuff as dreams are made on, and our little life is rounded with a sleep” (The Tempest, Act 4, Scene 1, lines 1887-1889).

“When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him” (Mt 1:24). He doesn’t hesitate. Now he knows that God is asking him to do the hardest, not the easiest thing, and he decides not to leave Mary—not to run away; he abandons his doubts and decides to do God’s will (Mt 1:24). Maybe he knew the saying of his wife, Mary: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord” (Lk 1:38) because in silence he repeats the same thing with his attitude when he gets up: “Here is your servant. Use me”. His willingness to choose God’s will, even if it is the most difficult and incomprehensible, his courage of faith not to run away but to stay and collaborate with God, changes Saint Joseph’s life forever. It will be his rule of life. Saint Joseph is like Abraham. He always walked without knowing where God was taking him, but he journeyed in serenity, knowing that he was in God’s hands.

Joseph accepts the legal paternity of the child; he will give him his last name. In this way, Jesus, the son of the Virgin Mary, is directly linked to the dynasty of King David. The Son of God is now also the son of David. He receives his name from his legal father. Joseph names him as the angel has indicated: Jesus, in Hebrew yehoshua, means “The Lord saves”. The divine origin of Jesus and his saving mission are wonderfully condensed in his name. That is why he was born, that is why he came into the world, as the angel explained to Joseph: “He will save his people from their sins” (v. 21). From now on Joseph will be the father of Jesus. He will walk in faith before the mystery of that son who is growing up before his eyes, who was his own but at the same time was not, welcoming the mystery of God in him through loving care and the silence of faith.

Saint Joseph’s life isn’t the life of a man who seeks his own fulfillment no matter how much it costs, who wants to do what’s convenient for him, whatever he pleases, and whatever sets him apart; but rather, his is the exemplary life of a man who denies himself, who doesn’t run away in the face of difficulties, and who humbles himself to let God lead the way. He hasn’t allowed himself to be paralyzed by doubt and fear in the face of the incomprehensible, nor has he allowed himself to be guided by a reasonable plan that he himself organized in human terms; rather, responding to God’s wishes, he has renounced his will in order to give himself over to the will of the Other, to the magnificent will of the Most High. In this way, he shows us that a person is completely fulfilled through this complete renunciation of self in order to do God’s will.

This Christmas we contemplate Saint Joseph, with the Virgin and the Child in the manger; Joseph—who had an unwavering trust in God, which allowed him to accept a situation that was difficult in human terms and, in a certain sense, incomprehensible. May he teach us that to be righteous is to be human; that to be a believer is to trust and obey God; and, that to be a believer it isn’t necessary to speak much. Joseph never spoke in the Gospel, because, as Saint John of the Cross says, “what is wanting, if anything is wanting, is not writing or speaking—rather these usually superabound—but silence and work.”

 


Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. has served as the Auxiliary Bishop of Managua since May 2009, when he was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI. A scripture scholar, a former professor at the Pontifical Theological Faculty Teresianum in Rome, and editor of the facultys eponymous academic journal, he currently serves at the good pleasure of the Holy Father Pope Francis in Rome.  Read our profile of Bishop Báez here and search our blog posts concerning the bishop here.

 

 

RIZI-Francisco_Dream of St Joseph_IMA
The Dream of St. Joseph
Francisco Rizi (Spanish, 1608-1685)
Oil on canvas, about 1665
Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields

Gallery label

In a subject that became popular in Spain during the 17th century, an angel appears to St. Joseph in a dream and explains that Mary has miraculously conceived a child. The luminous angel points to a vision of Mary with the infant Christ in her womb and the dove of the Holy Spirit above her. The veneration of the expectant Virgin as protectress of women in childbirth was prevalent at the Spanish court.

The artist’s forceful draftsmanship, fluid brushwork, and radiant color exemplify the most important tendencies of late Baroque painting in Madrid.

Rizi was born in Spain, the son of a Bolognese painter who worked for Philip II at the royal complex of El Escorial. In 1656 Rizi became royal painter to Philip IV. He was also a stage designer.

Learn more about this painting here. Learn more about Francisco Rizi here.

 

This English translation of Bishop Báez's Spanish homily is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission and attribution.

Advent IV — Listen

SCRIPTURE

Once again Yahweh spoke to Ahaz and said, “Ask Yahweh your God for a sign for yourself coming either from the depths of Sheol or from the heights above.” “No,” Ahaz answered, “I will not put Yahweh to the test.” Then he said:

Listen now, House of David:
are you not satisfied with trying the patience of men
without trying the patience of my God, too?
The Lord himself, therefore,
will give you a sign.
It is this: the maiden is with child
and will soon give birth to a son
whom she will call Emmanuel.

Isaiah 7:10-14


READING

The holy time of Advent is here; it seems to me that it is very especially the season of interior souls, those who live unceasingly and through everything wholly “hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3) at the center of themselves.

In expectation of the great mystery, I love to go deeply into that beautiful psalm XVIII, which we often say at Matins, and particularly these verses:

There he has placed his tent in the sun, and this star comes forth like a bridegroom coming from his bed, rejoices like a champion to run its course. At the end of the sky is the rising of the sun; to the furthest end of the sky is its course; nothing is concealed from its burning heat (Ps. 19:4-7).

Let us empty our soul so He can come forth in it and communicate the eternal life (cf. Jn. 17:2) that is its own; the Father has given Him “power over all flesh” (Jn. 17:2) for that purpose, as we are told in the Gospel.

And then, in the silence of prayer, let us listen to Him, for He is the “Source” (Jn. 8:25) who speaks within us and who has said: “He who sent me is true, and I tell all I have heard from Him” (Jn. 8:26).

Let us ask Him to make us true in our love, to make us sacrificial beings, for it seems to me that sacrifice is only love put into action: “He loved me, He gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20).

I love this thought, that the life of the priest (and of the Carmelite) is an Advent that prepares for the Incarnation in souls.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity

Letter 250 to Abbé Chevignard
Around 29 November 1905

 


Scripture reference provided by St. John’s Catholic Church, Mullumbimby, NSW, Australia

 

Elizabeth of the Trinity, S 2003, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel, translated from the French by Nash, A, ICS Publications, Washington DC

O Sapientia

La sabiduría entra por el amor, silencio y mortificación. Grande sabiduría es saber callar y no mirar dichos ni hechos ni vidas ajenas.

San Juan de la Cruz
Puntos de amor, reunidos en Beas, No. 29

 

Juan dela Cruz - Brescia- 17th c Spanish School
17th c. Spanish, Carmel of Brescia | Credit: Discalced Carmelites

 

Wisdom enters through love, silence, and mortification. It is great wisdom to know how to be silent and to look at neither the remarks, nor the deeds, nor the lives of others.

Saint John of the Cross
Sayings of Light and Love, No. 109

Quote of the day: 15 December

Edith Stein was at home in the conventual family from the beginning. She used to laugh and joke like a child with the other Sisters until the tears ran down her cheeks. She used to declare that she had never laughed so much in all her life as during recreation in Carmel.

Everyone was at their ease with her. Soon after she herself had entered the Cologne Carmel she was given the wonderful experience of bringing in one of her young friends through her own example. This is what she wrote about it.

When we now stand facing each other in choir or walk together in procession I am struck more than ever by the wonderful ways of God. Naturally, in our seclusion we have a beautiful and silent Advent. How much one longs to send some of it to very many of those in the world… I believe that it would do them untold good to learn more of the peace of Carmel.

Teresia Renata Posselt, O.C.D.

Edith Stein: The Life of a Philosopher and Carmelite
Chapter 14: In the School of Humility

 

 

Gaudete vestment IGsize
Rose vestments for Gaudete Sunday

 

 

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.

St. John of the Cross Novena — Day 9

What we need most in order to make progress is to be silent before this great God with our appetite and with our tongue, for the language he best hears is silent love.        

Sayings of Light and Love, 132

 

SCRIPTURE

O God, you are my God, I seek you,
    my soul thirsts for you;
my flesh faints for you,
    as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,
    beholding your power and glory.
Because your steadfast love is better than life,
  my lips will praise you.
So I will bless you as long as I live;
    I will lift up my hands and call on your name.

My soul is satisfied as with a rich feast,
    and my mouth praises you with joyful lips
when I think of you on my bed,
    and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
for you have been my help,
    and in the shadow of your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to you;
    your right hand upholds me.

Psalm 63:1-8

 

MEDITATION

“Are you seeking to find God? Then listen to the silence; immerse yourself in silence.”

This simple, yet profound advice comes from Father Jacques de Jésus, O.C.D., the headmaster of the Discalced Carmelite boarding school in Avon, France who was arrested by the Nazis and sent to the harshest forced labor camps at Gusen and Mauthausen during World War II. Like St. Raphael Kalinowski in Poland, who we met on the third day of our novena, and whose experience in a forced labor camp in Siberia prepared him for life in Carmel, so for Père Jacques, life in Carmel prepared him for life as a political prisoner.

And as prisoners, both of them resembled St. John of the Cross: suffering, abandoned, physically tested, yet through it all they were seeking, reaching, listening, grasping for the presence of God. We can imagine them passing through vast interior deserts in silence, en route to their loving encounter with God.

On the eighth day of our novena, we shared an excerpt from John 17, which is often referred to as Jesus’ high priestly prayer. St. Edith Stein offers this brief comment concerning the prayer in her 1936 essay, The Prayer of the Church:

The Savior’s high priestly prayer unveils the mystery of the inner life: the circumincession of the Divine Persons and the indwelling of God in the soul. In these mysterious depths, the work of salvation was prepared and accomplished itself in concealment and silence. And so it will continue until the union of all is actually accomplished at the end of time. The decision for the Redemption was conceived in the eternal silence of the inner divine life.

Small wonder, then, that St. Thérèse understood that hiding in the Face of Christ meant that she would be able to tune out the trivial noise of the world, as we also discovered in the eighth novena meditation.

Father Jacques makes that abundantly clear: “God is eternal silence; God dwells in silence.” We’ll let him continue:

Christ is characteristically serene and silent. (…) That serene silence is the hallmark of Christ. (…)

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. He is infinite happiness and infinite life. All God’s works are marked by this characteristic. Contemplate the Incarnation; it was accomplished in the silence of the Virgin Mary’s chamber at a time when she was in prolonged silence, her door closed. Our Lord’s birth came during the night, while all things were enveloped in silence. That is how the Word of God appeared on earth, and only Mary and Joseph were silently with him. They did not overwhelm him with their questions, for they were accustomed to guarding their innermost thoughts. (…)

Whoever embraces silence, welcomes God and whoever relishes silence, hears God speak. Silence is the echo of God’s eternity and the foundation of the rich teaching of Saint John of the Cross. That teaching in all its richness derives from his prison cell at Toledo. During the months of his solitary confinement there, he accepted his isolation and embraced silence. He became imbued with silence. In turn, that silence revealed to him the true value of suffering, which is at the heart of his teaching concerning the ascent to God. Without this treasured silence, John of the Cross would never have become the great mystical Doctor of the Church that he is. (…)

Silence should penetrate deep within us and occupy every area of our inner home. Thus is our soul transformed into a sanctuary of prayer and recollection. (…) Such silence allows us to listen to the secret voice of God, like the saints, especially St. John of the Cross. (Listen to the Silence, Conference 8)

Have you ever had the opportunity to make a silent retreat? Or to enjoy 30 minutes in a quiet home when the rest of the family is out of the house? Perhaps there is a favorite spot, a “happy place” or some other getaway location, real or imagined, where you virtually or literally can get away from the rush and the noise of your daily commitments. In that space, do you find yourself feeling calmer, more peaceful, better able to think, to relax, to focus, even to pray?

If God dwells in silence, it is in silence that we must seek him. And if God dwells in silence, he is no more attracted to the noise than we are in moments of silence. As we accustom ourselves to silence, we welcome and even crave silence.

It’s in the midst of our welcome, our craving the silence of God that we understand the silence that God desires of us:  “the language he best hears is silent love.”

As we have walked together through these novena days with Saint John of the Cross and the commentary offered by the saints of Carmel, we have gained many insights along the way. As we conclude, let’s read St. John’s own prologue to the Sayings of Light and Love; his proposals at the beginning of the collection of sayings form a wonderful summary of what we have learned as we come to the end. Thanks for joining us.

O my God and my delight, for your love I have also desired to give my soul to composing these sayings of light and love concerning you. Since, although I can express them in words, I do not have the works and virtues they imply (which is what pleases you, O my Lord, more than the words and wisdom they contain), may others, perhaps stirred by them, go forward in your service and love – in which I am wanting. I will thereby find consolation, that these sayings be an occasion for your finding in others the things that I lack.

Lord, you love discretion, you love light, you love love; these three you love above the other operations of the soul. Hence these will be sayings of discretion for the wayfarer, of light for the way, and of love in the wayfaring. May there be nothing of worldly rhetoric in them or the long-winded and dry eloquence of weak and artificial human wisdom, which never pleases you. Let us speak to the heart words bathed in sweetness and love that do indeed please you, removing obstacles and stumbling blocks from the paths of many souls who unknowingly trip and unconsciously walk in the path of error – poor souls who think they are right in what concerns the following of your beloved Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, in becoming like him, imitating his life, actions, and virtues, and the form of his nakedness and purity of spirit. Father of mercies, come to our aid, for without you, Lord, we can do nothing.

 

NOVENA PRAYER

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 you:

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.
Amen.

 

Haifa-icon
Icon of St John of the Cross venerated by the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of the Monastery of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Haifa Israel | Photo credit: Discalced Carmelites

 

 

All Scripture references in this novena are found on the Bible Gateway website, with the exception of texts drawn from the 1968 Reader’s Edition of the Jerusalem BibleSelections from the psalter appear in the Liturgy of the Hours.

The novena prayer was composed from approved sources by Professor Michael Ogunu, a member of the Discalced Carmelite Secular Order in Nigeria.

All of the citations from the Sayings of Light and Love are drawn from The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, Revised Edition (1991), translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K and Rodriguez, O with revisions and introductions by Kavanaugh, K, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

 

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

 

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

 

St. John of the Cross Novena — Day 8

 The Father spoke one Word, which was his Son, and this Word he speaks always in eternal silence, and in silence must it be heard by the soul. 

Sayings of Light and Love, 100

 

SCRIPTURE

I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.

John 17:6-19

 

MEDITATION

“What is truth?” (Jn 18:38)

Pontius Pilate’s rhetorical question echoes through the centuries.

St. Edith Stein reminds us that Pilate could have asked a more essential question: Who is truth?

In her meditation, The Hidden Life and Epiphany, Edith touches on this question as she makes use of the Epiphany manger scene to make an analogy for the Church and its development. 

The kings at the manger represent seekers from all lands and peoples. Grace led them before they ever belonged to the external church. There lived in them a pure longing for truth that did not stop at the boundaries of native doctrines and traditions. Because God is truth and because he wants to be found by those who seek him with their whole hearts, sooner or later that star had to appear to show these wise men the way to truth. And so they now stand before the Incarnate Truth, bow down and worship it, and place their crowns at its feet, because all the treasures of the world are but a little dust compared to it. 

“God is truth… he wants to be found… that star had to appear.” Edith, in her matter-of-fact, German way, minces no words. God isn’t hiding after all, he’s in our midst, standing before our eyes, just as Jesus stood before Pilate. Jesus, Incarnate Truth, was standing before the governor who asked him, “what is truth?”

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity seems to be speaking to us when she writes:

I understand that you need an ideal, something that will draw you out of yourself and raise you to greater heights. But, you see, there is only One; it is He, the Only Truth! Ah, if you only knew Him a little as your Sabeth does! He fascinates, He sweeps you away; under His gaze, the horizon becomes so beautiful, so vast, so luminous…. My dear one, do you want to turn with me toward this sublime Ideal? It is no fiction but a reality. (Letter 128)

Are you serious? Where is this horizon? Because in the darkness where we’re hiding, it’s difficult to see. And once again, it is St. John himself who responds:

Mine are the heavens and mine is the earth. Mine are the nations, the just are mine, and mine the sinners. The angels are mine, and the Mother of God, and all things are mine; and God himself is mine and for me, because Christ is mine and all for me. What do you ask, then, and seek, my soul? Yours is all of this, and all is for you. Do not engage yourself in something less or pay heed to the crumbs that fall from your Father’s table. Go forth and exult in your Glory! Hide yourself in it and rejoice, and you will obtain the supplications of your heart. (Sayings 27)

Hiding in glory… there’s a concept that we don’t see or hear every day. Sometimes, maybe most of the time, it seems that God is the one who is doing all the hiding while we’re waiting around for him to show up. Is there anyone who understands what St. John of the Cross means?

St. Thérèse does! The language of “hiding” was one of her favorite concepts, especially in her poetry, and it’s a transferable concept, meaning that it’s not strictly applicable to the cloistered life. For example:

My Sweet Jesus, on your Mother’s breast
You appear to me, glowing with Love.
Love—this is the indescribable mystery
That exiled you from the Heavenly Abode…
Ah! Let me hide under the veil
That hides you from all mortal eyes
And close to you, O Morning Star!
I’ll find a foretaste of Heaven.

(Pn 1)

Here, Thérèse is talking about hiding under the Blessed Virgin’s veil, not necessarily hiding under the veil of a Carmelite nun. Hiding under the veil of the Virgin Mary is an image that is more approachable for us, perhaps. But the Infant is glowing on Mary’s breast, glowing with Love, and is there a hint of glory in that image, too?

Here’s another example from the poetry of St. Thérèse:

The unspeakable gaze of your Son—
Upon my poor soul he deigned to look down;
I looked for his adorable face
And in Him, I want to be hidden.
I’ll have to stay little forever
To deserve the glances from his eyes;
But by virtue of that, I will soon grow up
Under the heat of this heavenly star.

(Pn 11)

Now, we are getting more of a sense of how Thérèse has captured St. John’s profound concept of hiding in glory, yet she has expressed it in the language of littleness, that loving gaze of Jesus, and yet at the same time—while remaining hidden—there is light and heat generated by the Lord, having a direct effect on her spiritual life.

This is all very heady stuff. But it seems that for Thérèse, the key to hiding in glory is to be found in the face of Jesus. The Gospel of John and St. Paul testify to this:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (…) And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth. (Jn 1:1-5,14)

All of us, gazing with unveiled face on the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, as from the Lord who is the Spirit. (2 Cor 3:18)

Well if that’s the case, gazing on the face of Christ and hiding in the face of Christ, must be a key to “growing up” as Thérèse said; growing in prayer, growing in faith, growing in hope, and our goal… growing in love. After all, that’s our aim.

We’ll let St. Thérèse have the last word, then, about hiding in the face of Jesus:

Ah! Let me, Lord, hide in your Face.
There I will no longer hear the trivial noise from the world.
Give me your love, preserve me in your grace
Just for today.

(Pn 5)

Ah…. silence.

 

NOVENA PRAYER

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 you:

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.
Amen.

 

Praying John of the Cross 16-17th c Carmel de Pontoise Palissy POP 95W00984
St. John of the Cross in prayer
French, late 16th-17th c.
Oil on canvas, no date
Carmel of Pontoise
© Ministère de la Culture (France), Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine, Diffusion RMN-GP. Used by permission.

 

 

All Scripture references in this novena are found on the Bible Gateway website, with the exception of texts drawn from the 1968 Reader’s Edition of the Jerusalem BibleSelections from the psalter appear in the Liturgy of the Hours.

The novena prayer was composed from approved sources by Professor Michael Ogunu, a member of the Discalced Carmelite Secular Order in Nigeria.

All of the citations from the Sayings of Light and Love are drawn from The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, Revised Edition (1991), translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K and Rodriguez, O with revisions and introductions by Kavanaugh, K, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

 

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

 

Elizabeth of the Trinity, S 2003, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel, translated from the French by Nash, A, ICS Publications, Washington DC

 

The English translation of the poetry of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission and proper attribution.

 

Quote of the day: 4 December

The whole city is truly scandalized.

In our quote of the day for 2 December we remembered the anniversary of the abduction of Saint John of the Cross from his chaplain’s quarters at the monastery of the Incarnation in Avila. We read Saint Teresa’s anguished letter to King Philip II wherein she provided the backstory and described the abduction of Saint John and his companion and fellow confessor, Fray Germán. More important, Teresa begged the king to intervene in the affair.

Saint Teresa’s letter was dated 4 December 1577. We recall that she wrote how the Carmelite vicar provincial “is holding these confessors captive in his monastery after having forced his way into their cells and confiscating their papers” (Letter 218).

 

 

2017-08-17 (1)
Saint Edith Stein wrote the Science of the Cross in the final months before her arrest in August 1942. Did a correlation between Saint John of the Cross’ abduction and the arrests of the Jews come to mind? | Photo Credit: Bundesarchiv (Creative Commons)

 

 

Today we turn to Saint Edith Stein’s Science of the Cross to provide us with more details of his abduction; we refer to her introduction, “The Message of the Cross”. Let us recall that scholars differ on the date of the abduction; by Edith’s calculation, the event occurred on the night of December 3 and Teresa wrote to the king on the very next day. Based on this knowledge, Edith recounts the story:

On the night of December 3, 1577, several of the Calced with their accomplices broke into the living quarters of the nuns’ two confessors and took them away as captives. From then on, John was missing. True, Holy Mother learned that the prior, Maldonado, had taken him away. But where he had been taken was not revealed until nine months later when he was freed.

Nine months. During nine months Saint John of the Cross would be exposed to cruel captivity in Toledo, penned up like a political prisoner. For all intents and purposes, John actually was a political prisoner, a prisoner because of the jealous machinations of the prior in the Carmelite friars’ convent in Toledo, Fray Hernando Maldonado. Maldonado: he of whom Saint Teresa wrote to King Philip, “he is more capable than the others of making martyrs.”

 

French Underground inspects blindfold in Paris Yad Vashem photo record 1460_179
After the liberation, a member of the French underground in Paris inspects a blindfold used on prisoners during interrogations | Photo credit: Yad Vashem (Creative Commons)

 

We will let Saint Edith continue the story of Saint John’s abduction:

Blindfolded, he had been brought through a lonely suburb to the monastery of Our Lady in Toledo, the most important Carmelite monastery of the mitigated Rule in Castile. He was interrogated, and because he refused to abandon the Reform he was treated as a rebel. His prison was a narrow room, about 10 feet long and 6 feet wide. Teresa later wrote: “small though he was in stature, he could hardly stand erect in it.”

At this point, the conditions of Saint John of the Cross’ confinement remind us of Saint Teresa’s vision of hell, where she wrote in her autobiography:

The entrance it seems to me was similar to a very long and narrow alleyway, like an oven, low and dark and confined; the floor seemed to me to consist of dirty, muddy water emitting a foul stench and swarming with putrid vermin. At the end of the alleyway, a hole that looked like a small cupboard was hollowed out in the wall; there I found I was placed in a cramped condition. All of this was delightful to see in comparison with what I felt there. What I have described can hardly be exaggerated (Life 32:1).

Here is what Edith has to say about Saint John’s “cramped condition”:

This cell had neither window nor air vent other than a slit high up on the wall. The prisoner had to “stand on the poor-sinner-stool and wait until the sun’s rays were reflected on the wall in order to be able to pray the breviary.” The door was secured by a bolt.

Small wonder that when Saint Teresa wrote on 4 December to King Philip, she remarked, “I would consider the confessors better off if they were held by the Moors, who perhaps would show more compassion.”

 

Dachau Frans de Wit Flickr 14997966451_3b62cd0105_o
Dachau concentration camp | Frans de Wit / Flickr

 

There was a daily routine of psychological and physical torture, as Saint Edith explains:

At first every evening, later three times a week, and finally, only sometimes on Fridays, the prisoner was brought to the refectory where, seated on the floor, he ate his meal—bread and water. He was also given the discipline in the refectory. He knelt, naked to the waist, with bowed head; all the friars passed by him and struck him with the switch. And since he bore everything “with patience and love” he was dubbed “the coward.” Throughout, he was “immovable as a rock” when they commanded him to abandon the Reform, attempting to bribe him by offering to make him a prior. Then he would open his silent lips and assure them that he refused to turn back “no matter if it cost him his life.”

He bore everything with patience and love. How rich were his counsels to Saint Teresa’s nuns in later years! When he exhorted them to practice patience, they understood that he had the bitter life experience to qualify his counsel:

Serve God, my beloved daughters in Christ, following in his footsteps of mortification, in utter patience, in total silence, and with every desire to suffer, becoming executioners of your own satisfactions, mortifying yourselves, if perhaps something remains that must die and something still impedes the inner resurrection of the Spirit who dwells within your souls (Letter 7 to the nuns at Beas, 18 November 1586).

Saint Edith tells us that “the youthful novices who were witness to the humiliations and mistreatment wept out of compassion and said “This is a saint” when they saw his silent patience.”

 

Juan de la Cruz (silence profile pic 22)
Credit: Portal Carmelitano

 

 

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

 

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

 

Stein, E 2002, The Science of the Cross, translated from the German by Koeppel, J, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 22 November

Think what must have been in the soul of the Virgin when, after the Incarnation, she possessed within her the Incarnate Word, the Gift of God… in what silence, what recollection, what adoration she must have been wrapped in the depth of her soul in order to embrace this God whose mother she was.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity

22 November 1903

 

Margetson, William Henry, 1861-1940; Mary at the Loom
Mary at the Loom
William Henry Margetson (British, 1861–1940)
Oil on canvas, 1895
Victoria Art Gallery

Quote of the day: 28 October

Our God is a consuming Fire.

J.M. + J.T.

 

Before flying away to Heaven, dear little Sister Marie-Odile, I want to send you a little note from my soul, for I am anxious for you to know that in the Father’s House I will pray especially for you.

I am keeping a rendez-vous with you in the Furnace of love; my eternity will be spent there, and you can begin it already here on earth.

Dear Sister, I will be jealous for the beauty of your soul, for, as you know, my little heart loves you very much, and when one loves, one desires the best for the beloved.

I think that in Heaven my mission will be to draw souls by helping them go out of themselves to cling to God by a wholly simple and loving movement, and to keep them in this great silence within that will allow God to communicate Himself to them and transform them into Himself.

Dear little sister of my soul, it seems to me I now see everything in God’s light, and if I started my life over again, oh, I would wish not to waste one instant! He does not allow us, His brides in Carmel, to devote ourselves to anything but love, but the divine, and if by chance, in the radiance of His Light, I see you leave that sole occupation, I will come very quickly to call you to order; you would want that, wouldn’t you?

Pray for me, help me prepare for the wedding feast of the Lamb. Death entails a great deal of suffering, and I am counting on you to help me. In return, I will come to help you at your death.

My Master urges me on, He speaks to me of nothing but the eternity of love. It is so grave, so serious; I wish to live each moment fully.

A Dieu, I don’t have the strength or the permission to write at length, but you know Saint Paul’s words: “Our conversation is in Heaven” [Phil. 3:20].

Beloved little sister, let us live by love so we may die of love and glorify the God Who is all Love.

“Laudem gloriae,”
28 October 1906

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity

Letter 335 to Sister Marie-Odile
Carmel of Paray-le-Monial

 

person holding out hand to the sky
I think that in Heaven my mission will be to draw souls by helping them go out of themselves to cling to God by a wholly simple and loving movement |Photo by Raphael Brasileiro on Pexels.com

 

 

Elizabeth of the Trinity, St 2014, I have found God, Complete Works II - Letters from Carmel, translated from the French by Nash, A, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

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.

 

20 July: Saint Elijah

July 20
SAINT ELIJAH
Prophet and Our Father

Solemnity (O.Carm.)
Feast (O.C.D.)

The prophet Elijah appears in Scripture as a man of God who lived always in His presence and fought zealously for the worship of the one God. He defended God’s law in a solemn contact on Mt. Carmel, and afterwards was given on Mt. Horeb an intimate experience of the living God. The hermits who instituted a form of monastic life in honor of Our Lady on Mt. Carmel in the twelfth century, followed monastic tradition in turning to Elijah as their Father and model.

Evening Prayer I

Hymn

Let the sun, rising, hear your prise, Elijah,
Earth, sky, and water, hear our jubilation
To the sun’s setting, glory of your people,
Strength of our Order.

O light of heaven’s radiant beauty glowing,
Mighty in wonder, blessed in your merits,
Many times witness of his greatest marvels
By the Lord chosen.

Fiery the chariot, drawn by fiery horses,
Upwards in triumph, swiftly angels bear you
Blazing in glory beyond earthly beauty
Shining from heaven.

You were the witness, Moses your companion,
To the bright glory of the sole-Begotten,
As the Apostles gazed and fell in wonder
High on Mount Tabor.

Stay with us now and shield us with your favor.
We are your children; trustingly we ask you
Stretch out your hand and grant us your protection
Guarding us always.

Praise to the Father, to the sole-Begotten,
Praise to their Holy Coeternal Spirit,
Kingdom and power, glory and dominion,
Now and forever.

11.11.11.5.
Audiat miras oriens cadensque
Tr. by Mary Paula, O.C.D.

Psalmody

Ant. 1 Elijah arose like a fire, and his word burned like a torch.

Psalm 111

I will thank the Lord with all my heart *
In the meeting of the just and their assembly.
Great are the works of the Lord, *
to be pondered by all who love them.

Majestic and glorious his work, *
his justice stands firm for ever.
He makes us remember his wonders. *
The Lord is compassion and love.

He gives food to those who fear him; *
keeps his covenant ever in mind.
He has shown his might to his people *
by giving them the lands of the nations.

His works are justice and truth: *
his precepts are all of them sure,
standing firm for ever and ever: *
they are made in uprightness and truth.

He has sent deliverance to his people †
and established his covenant for ever. *
Holy his name, to be feared.

To fear the Lord is the first stage of wisdom; †
all who do so prove themselves wise. *
His praise shall last for ever!

Ant. Elijah arose like a fire, and his word burned like a torch.

Ant. 2 How long will you limp between two sides? If the Lord is God, follow him.

Psalm 115

Not to us, Lord, not to us, *
but to your name give the glory
for the sake of your love and your truth, *
lest the heathen say: ‘Where is their God?’

But our God is in the heavens; *
he does whatever he wills.
Their idols are silver and gold, *
the work of human hands.

They have mouths but they cannot speak; *
they have eyes but they cannot see;
they have ears but they cannot hear; *
they have nostrils but they cannot smell.

With their hands they cannot feel; †
with their feet they cannot walk. *
No sound comes from their throats.
Their makers will come to be like them *
and so will all who trust in them.

Sons of Israel, trust in the Lord; *
he is their help and their shield.
Sons of Aaron, trust in the Lord; *
he is their help and their shield.

You who fear him, trust in the Lord; *
he is their help and their shield.

He remembers us, and he will bless us; †
he will bless the sons of Israel. *
He will bless the sons of Aaron.

The Lord will bless those who fear him, *
the little no less than the great:
to you may the Lord grant increase, *
to you and all your children.

May you be blessed by the Lord, *
the maker of heaven and earth.
The heavens belong to the Lord, *
but the earth he has given to men.

The dead shall not praise the Lord, *
nor those who go down into the silence.
But we who live bless the Lord *
now and for ever. Amen.

Ant. How long will you limp between two sides? If the Lord is God, follow him.

Ant. 3 The Lord will reward his servants the prophets.

Canticle: Rev 11:17-18; 12:10-12

We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, *
who are and who were,
that you have taken your great power *
and begun to reign.

The nations raged, *
but your wrath came,
and the time for the dead to be judged, *
for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints,
and those who fear your name, *
both small and great.

Now the salvation and the power †
and the kingdom of our God *
and the authority of his Christ have come,
for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, *
who accuses them day and night before our God.

And they have conquered him *
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony, *
for they loved not their lives even unto death.
Rejoice, then, O heaven, *
and you that dwell therein.

Ant. The Lord will reward his servants the prophets.

Scripture Reading

James 5:16-18

The prayer of a righteous man has great power in its effects. Elijah was a man of like nature with ourselves and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth its fruit.

Responsory

R/. Blessed are they * who see you. Repeat R/.
V/. And are honored with your friendship * who see you. Glory … R/.

Canticle of Mary

Ant. In former days God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets, but in these last days, he has spoken to us through his Son, whom he has appointed the heir of all things.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, *
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant, *
and from this day all generations will call me blessed.

The Almighty has done great things for me: *
holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,*
and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and has sent the rich away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel*
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

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. In former days God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets, but in these last days, he has spoken to us through his Son, whom he has appointed the heir of all things.

Intercessions

Let us give joyful praise to the living and true God, who chose the prophet Elijah to proclaim his power and mercy; let us say to him:

R/. Lord, make us witnesses of your love.

Lord, you accepted the sacrifice of Elijah and consumed it with fire from heaven; accept our evening sacrifice which we offer for the good of the Church. R/.

When Elijah prayed on the mountain you sent saving rain from heaven; fill us who have been called to Carmel with a spirit of prayer, so that we may draw a shower of grace to the world. R/.

You gave to the prophet Elijah the ministry of reconciling parents and children; make us workers for peace, so that the peace of Christ may reign in the world. R/.

You made Elijah the defender of your honor and of true worship; increase our concern for justice, so that by giving you all that is your due, we may serve our brothers and sisters in the spirit of the Gospel. R/.

You took the prophet Elijah to yourself in a whirlwind of fire; graciously admit our departed brothers and sisters into the embrace of your glory. R/.

Our Father …

Prayer

Almighty, ever living God,
your prophet Elijah, our Father,
lived always in your presence
and was zealous for the honor due to your name.
May we, your servants,
always seek your face
and bear witness to your love.

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. Amen.

 

Ivy border media

Invitatory

Ant. Come let us adore the living God, who speaks to us through the prophets.

Office of Readings

HYMN

Great Author of all things that are
To you we sing in joyful praise
Of him, the Thesbite, whom you love,
Elijah, seer of ancient days.

With burning zeal for your blest name
He challenged wicked priests of Baal
And conquering, killed them in his might
To make your sacred law prevail.

The victims offered by his prayer
Drew heaven’s blest consuming flame
In vain Baal’s servants scream and rave,
Their frenzy brings them only shame.

Then Jezebel, unholy queen,
In fury raves, the prophet flees,
Beneath the sheltering juniper
He sleeps and then an angel sees.

The angel offers strengthening bread
With water pure his thirst to end
And marks a journey he must make
Mount Horeb’s summit to ascend.

No food but this for forty days
He journeys through the desert land
Prefiguring the royal feast
Prepared us by the Father’s hand.

To Father, Word and Paraclete
All glory, honor ever be
O undivided Trinity
Through whom creation came to be. Amen.

88.88.
Te magne rerum Conditor

Psalmody

Ant. 1 Lord, I have had enough: take my life, I am no better than my ancestors.

Psalm 11

In the Lord I have taken my refuge. †
How can you say to my soul: *
‘Fly like a bird to its mountain.

‘See the wicked bracing their bow; †
they are fixing their arrows on the string *
to shoot upright men in the dark.
Foundations once destroyed, *
what can the just do?’

The Lord is in his holy temple, *
the Lord, whose throne is in heaven.
His eyes look down on the world; *
his gaze tests mortal men.

The Lord tests the just and the wicked: *
the lover of violence he hates.
He sends fire and brimstone on the wicked; *
he sends a scorching wind as their lot.

The Lord is just and loves justice: *
the upright shall see his face.

Ant. Lord, I have had enough: take my life, I am no better than my ancestors.

Ant. 2 An angel of the Lord said to him: Get up and eat, for there is a great journey before you.

Psalm 28

To you, O Lord, I call, *
my rock, hear me.
If you do not heed I shall become *
like those in the grave.

Hear the voice of my pleading *
as I call for help,
as I lift up my hands in prayer *
to your holy place.

Do not drag me away with the wicked, *
with the evil-doers,
who speak words of peace to their neighbors *
but with evil in their hearts.

Blessed be the Lord for he has heard *
my cry, my appeal.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; *
in him my heart trusts.
I was helped, my heart rejoices *
and I praise him with my song.

The Lord is the strength of his people, *
a fortress where his anointed find help.
Save your people; bless Israel your heritage. *
Be their shepherd and carry them for ever.

Ant. An angel of the Lord said to him: Get up and eat, for there is a great journey before you.

Ant. 3 Elijah ate and drank, and in the strength of that food he walked to the mountain of God.

Psalm 30

I will praise you, Lord, you have rescued me *
and have not let my enemies rejoice over me.

O Lord, I cried to you for help *
and you, my God, have healed me.
O Lord, you have raised my soul from the dead, *
restored me to life from those who sink into the grave.

Sing psalms to the Lord, you who love him, *
give thanks to his holy name.
His anger lasts a moment; his favor all through life. *
At night there are tears, but joy comes with dawn.

I said to myself in my good fortune: *
‘Nothing will ever disturb me.’
Your favor had set me on a mountain fastness, *
then you hid your face and I was put to confusion.

To you, Lord, I cried, *
to my God I made appeal:
‘What profit would my death be, my going to the grave? *
Can dust give you praise or proclaim your truth?’

The Lord listened and had pity. *
The Lord came to my help.
For me you have changed my mourning into dancing, *
you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy.
So my soul sings psalms to you unceasingly. *
O Lord my God, I will thank you forever.

Ant. Elijah ate and drank, and in the strength of that food he walked to the mountain of God.

V/. You are a man of God.
R/. And the word of God in your mouth is true.

The First Reading (Alternative)

1 Kings 19: 4-9a, 11-14a

A reading from the first book of Kings

Elijah walked all the way to the mountain of God

Elijah went a day’s journey into the desert, until he came to a broom tree and sat beneath it. He prayed for death, “This is enough, O Lord! Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” He lay down and fell asleep under the broom tree, but then an angel touched him and ordered him to get up and eat. He looked and there at his head was a hearth cake and a jug of water. After he ate and drank, he lay down again, but the angel of the Lord came back a second time, touched him, and ordered, “Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!” He got up, ate and drank; then strengthened by that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb. There he came to a cave, where he took shelter.

Then the Lord said, “Go outside and stand on the mountain before the Lord, the Lord will be passing by.” A strong and heavy wind was rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the Lord—but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake—but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was fire—but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire there was a tiny whispering sound. When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him, “Elijah, why are you here?” He replied, “I have been most zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts.”

Responsory

R/. Leave this place and go eastward, said the Lord to Elijah. * And he went and did as the Lord had said.
V/. Hide yourself by the brook Cherith, and there drink from the stream; and I have commanded ravens to feed you there. * And he went and did as the Lord had said.

The Second Reading

Bk 2, Hom. 1, 17

From a Homily of Pope St. Gregory on the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel

The mystical contemplation of God

In divine contemplation the spirit is often abstracted to such a degree that it is already granted the joy of partaking a little, in image as it were, of that eternal freedom which ‘eye has not seen nor ear heard;’ but then, hampered by the weight of its own mortality, it falls back into the depths and is held captive in penalty for its sins. It has glimpsed the delights of true freedom and longs to escape from its captivity but, since it cannot, it keeps its gaze fixed upon the imprisoning doors. This is why, when the Jews had been freed from slavery to Egypt, each of them stood adoring in the doorway of his tent when God spoke and the pillar of cloud was visible.

Wherever we direct our mental gaze, there we may be said to stand. That is why Elijah said: ‘The Lord lives, in whose sight I stand.’ He did indeed stand before God, for his heart was intent on God. That the Jews gazed at the pillar of cloud and stood at the doors of their tents in adoration, has this meaning: when the human mind perceives these high and heavenly things—albeit in image—the elevation of its thought has already lifted it free from the limits of its bodily habitation; and although it is denied sight of the divine substance, it humbly adores Him whose power it can already see by spiritual illumination.

This is why Elijah is described as standing at the mouth of his cave and veiling his face when he heard the voice of the Lord speaking to him; for as soon as the voice of heavenly understanding enters the mind through the grace of contemplation, the whole man is no longer within the cave, for his soul is no longer taken up with matters of the flesh: intent on leaving the bounds of mortality, he stands at the cave’s mouth.

But if a man stands at the mouth of the cave and hears the word of God with the heart’s ear, he must veil his face. For when heavenly grace leads us to the understanding of higher things, the rarer the heights to which we are raised, the more we should abase ourselves in our own estimation by humility: we must not try to know ‘more than is fitting; we must know as it befits us to know.’ Otherwise, through over-familiarity with the invisible, we risk going astray; and we might perhaps look for material light in what is immaterial. For to cover the face while listening with the ear means hearing with our mind the voice of Him who is within us, yet averting the eyes of the heart from every bodily appearance. If we do this, there will be no risk of our spirit interpreting as something corporeal that which is everywhere in its entirety and everywhere uncircumscribed.

Beloved brothers, we have already learned through our Redeemer’s death, resurrection and ascension into heaven, what the joys of eternity mean, and we know that our fellow-citizens we have known. While our feet stand within the walls of His holy Church, let us keep our hearts facing towards the freedom of our heavenly fatherland. We are still encumbered, it is true, by the many cares of this corruptible life. If then we cannot leave the cave completely, let us at least stand at its mouth, and go out whenever we are granted the favor of doing so by the grace of our Redeemer Who lives and reigns with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen.

Responsory

R/. The word of the Lord came to Elijah. * Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.
V/. He went out and stood at the entrance to the cave, and the Lord passed by in the whisper of a gentle breeze. * Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.

Where the Vigil Office is celebrated:

Canticles

Ant. Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is passing by.

Canticle I  

Jer 17:7-8

Happy are those who put their trust in the Lord 

Happy are those who hear the word of God and keep it (Lk 11:28)

Blessed is the man who trust in the Lord, *
whose trust is the Lord.

He is like a tree planted by water, *
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes, *
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought, *
for it does not cease to bear fruit.

Canticle II

Sir 14:20, 15:3-5a, 6b

The happiness of the wise

Wisdom has been proved right by all her children (Lk 7:35)

Happy the man who meditates on wisdom, *
and reasons with good sense.
She will give him the bread of understanding to eat, *
and the water of wisdom to drink.

He will lean on her and will not fall, *
he will rely on her and not be put to shame.
She will raise him high above his neighbors, *
and he will inherit an everlasting name.

Canticle III

Sir 51:1-3b, 4a, 7c, 11, 14ab, 15

Thanksgiving for delivery from affliction

God has saved us from the hands of our foes, that we might serve him (Lk 1:74)

I will give thanks to you, Lord and King, *
and praise you, God my Savior,
I give thanks to your name; *
for you have been protector and support to me,
and redeemed my body from destruction.
from the snare of the lying tongue, *
from lips that fabricate falsehood.
You have redeemed me, 
true to the greatness of your mercy, *
from the perjured tongue slandering me to the king.

Then I remembered your mercy, Lord, *
and your deeds from earliest times.
I called on the Lord, the father of my Lord: *
“Do not desert me in the days of  ordeal,
I will praise your name unceasingly,
and gratefully sing its praises;” *
and my plea was heard.

Ant. Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is passing by.

Gospel

Mt 17:1-8

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew

Moses and Elijah appeared to them

Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain where they could be alone. There in their presence he was transfigured: his face shone like the sun and his clothes became as white as the light. Suddenly Moses and Elijah appeared to them; they were talking with him. Then Peter spoke to Jesus. “Lord,” he said, “it is wonderful for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three tents here, one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” He was still speaking when suddenly a bright cloud covered them with shadow, and from the cloud there came a voice which said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; he enjoys my favor. Listen to him.” When they heard this, the disciples fell on their faces, overcome with fear. But Jesus came up and touched them. “Stand up,” he said, “do not be afraid.” And when they raised their eyes they saw no one but only Jesus.

Te Deum

You are God: we praise you; *
You are the Lord: we acclaim you;
You are the eternal Father: *
All creation worships you.

To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, *
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of power and might, *
heaven and earth are full of your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you. 
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. *
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.

Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you: *
Father, of majesty unbounded,
your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, *
and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the King of glory, *
the eternal Son of the Father.

When you became man to set us free *
you did not spurn the Virgin’s womb.

You overcame the sting of death, *
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. *
We believe that you will come, and be our judge.

Come then, Lord, and help your people, *
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints*
to glory everlasting.

Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance.
 Govern and uphold them now and always.

Day by day we bless you.
 We praise your name for ever.

Keep us today, Lord, from all sin.
 Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.

Lord, show us your love and mercy,
 for we have put our trust in you.

In you, Lord, is our hope:
 And we shall never hope in vain.

Prayer

Almighty, ever living God,
your prophet Elijah, our Father,
lived always in your presence
and was zealous for the honor due to your name.
May we, your servants,
always seek your face
and bear witness to your love.

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. Amen.

 

watering can border medium

Morning Prayer

Hymn

Come, blest companions, let our joy resounding
Extol to Heaven the Leader of our line.
‘Tis meet the memory of his deeds abounding
Should waken ceaseless canticles divine.

He knows the gentle breathing of the Spirit
Clothed in the whistling murmur of the air,
By God’s command the chastisements they merit
Proud Jezebel and Ahab justly share.

The caverns green of Carmel form his dwelling,
With leathern tunic is he rudely clad,
To impious Ahaziah his foretelling
Gives portent of a dissolution sad.

Twice at his prayer the fire from Heaven descending
Consumeth trembling soldiers in its flame,
The flowing waters mit with his mantle rending,
Dry shod he passeth safely through the same.

O Father, let thy help and thy protection
Be o’er thy children as they humbly plead,
Entreat the Spirit, by His sweet election,
To multiply His graces in their need.

O unbegotten Father, we adore Thee,
O Son begotten, reverence be to Thee,
O glorious Spirit, bow we low before Thee,
Thou simple undivided Trinity.

11.11.11.10.
Pergamus, socii, tollere canticus

Psalmody

Ant. 1 God lives; I am standing in his presence.

Psalm 63

O God, you are my God, for you I long; *
for you my soul is thirsting.
My body pines for you*
like a dry, weary land without water.
So I gaze on you in the sanctuary *
to see your strength and your glory.

For your love is better than life, *
my lips will speak your praise.
So I will bless you all my life, *
in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul shall be filled as with a banquet, *
my mouth shall praise you with joy.

On my bed I remember you. *
On you I muse through the night
for you have been my help; *
in the shadow of your wings I rejoice.
My soul clings to you; *
your right hand holds me fast.

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. God lives; I am standing in his presence.

Ant. 2 Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord; for the Lord is passing by.

Canticle – Daniel 3:57-88, 56

Bless the Lord, all you works of the Lord. *
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Angels of the Lord, bless the Lord. *
You heavens, bless the Lord,
All you waters above the heavens, bless the Lord. *
All you hosts of the Lord, bless the Lord.
Sun and moon, bless the Lord. *
Stars of heaven, bless the Lord.

Every shower and dew, bless the Lord. *
All you winds, bless the Lord.
Fire and heat, bless the Lord. *
Cold and chill, bless the Lord.
Dew and rain, bless the Lord. *
Frost and chill, bless the Lord.
Ice and snow, bless the Lord. *
Nights and days, bless the Lord.
Light and darkness, bless the Lord. *
Lightnings and clouds, bless the Lord.

Let the earth bless the Lord. *
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Mountains and hills, bless the Lord. *
Everything growing from the earth, bless the Lord.
You springs, bless the Lord. *
Seas and rivers, bless the Lord.
You dolphins and all water creatures, bless the Lord. *
All you birds of the air, bless the Lord.
All you beasts, wild and tame, bless the Lord. *
You sons of men, bless the Lord.

O Israel, bless the Lord. *
Praise and exalt him above all forever.
Priests of the Lord, bless the Lord. *
Servants of the Lord, bless the Lord.
Spirits and souls of the just, bless the Lord. *
Holy men of humble heart, bless the Lord.
Hananiah, Azariah, Mishael, bless the Lord. *
Praise and exalt him above all forever.

Let us bless the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. *
Let us praise and exalt him above all for ever.
Blessed are you, Lord, in the firmament of heaven. *
Praiseworthy and glorious and exalted above all for ever.

Ant. Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord; for the Lord is passing by.

Ant. 3 With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord God of hosts.

Psalm 149

Sing a new song to the Lord, *
his praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel rejoice in its maker, *
let Zion’s sons exult in their king.
Let them praise his name with dancing *
and make music with timbrel and harp.

For the Lord takes delight in his people. *
He crowns the poor with salvation.
Let the faithful rejoice in their glory, *
shout for joy and take their rest.
Let the praise of God be on their lips *
and a two-edged sword in their hand,

to deal out vengeance to the nations *
and punishment on all the peoples;
to bind their kings in chains *
and their nobles in fetters of iron;
to carry out the sentence pre-ordained; *
this honor is for all his faithful.

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. With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord God of hosts.

Scripture Reading

2 Pt 1:19-21

We have confirmation of what was said in prophecies; and you will be right to depend on prophecy and take it as a lamp for lighting a way through the dark until the dawn comes and the morning star rises in your minds. At the same time, we must be careful to remember that the interpretation of scriptural prophecy is never a matter for the individual. Why? Because no prophecy ever came from man’s initiative. When men spoke for God it was the Holy Spirit that moved them.

Short Responsory

R/. I will be satisfied, Lord, * when your glory appears. Repeat R/.
V/. And in righteousness I will see your face, * when your glory appears.
Glory . . . R/.

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. Lord God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, give proof this day that you are the God of Israel, and that I am your servant, and that all I have said is at your command.

Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; *
he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior, *
born of the house of his servant David.

Through his holy prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies, *
from the hands of all who hate us.

He promised to show mercy to our fathers*
and to remember his holy covenant.

This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham: *
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear, *
holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life.

You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High; *
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
to give his people knowledge of salvation *
by the forgiveness of their sins.

In the tender compassion of our God *
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, *
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

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. Lord God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob, give proof this day that you are the God of Israel, and that I am your servant, and that all I have said is at your command.

Intercessions

God our Father spoke in former days through the prophets, but today he speaks to us in his Son, through whom he wishes the whole world to be joined to him. Let us humbly pray:

R/. Lord, draw us to yourself.

Lord, you revealed yourself to the prophet Elijah in silence and solitude; help us to put aside all that prevents us from hearing your voice, so that we may seek and find you. R/.

When he was thirsty, you gave Elijah refreshing water at the torrent of Karith; may we drink at the living springs of love and contemplation. R/.

As he walked to Mount Horeb, you filled Elijah with strength; may we who are strengthened by the Body and Blood of Christ press on unwearied in our journey to you. R/.

Lord, you revealed yourself to Elijah in the whisper of a gentle breeze; in attentive silence and with an obedient spirit may we receive every inspiration of the Holy Spirit. R/.

Lord, you raised up Elijah like a fire and made him zealous for your glory; may we too burn with the fire of your love, to serve the Church and our brethren in all our work. R/.

Our Father …

Prayer

Almighty, ever living God,
your prophet Elijah, our Father,
lived always in your presence
and was zealous for the honor due to your name.
May we, your servants,
always seek your face
and bear witness to your love.

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. Amen.

 

Blazon - first emblem authorized by Gracian

Prayer during the Day

Antiphons and psalms of the weekday.

Before Noon

Ant. Elijah called out to the Lord, and the Lord heard his voice.

Scripture Reading

Heb 12:1-2

Since we for our part are surrounded by this cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every encumbrance of sin which clings to us and persevere in running the race which lies ahead; let us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, who inspires and perfects our faith. For the sake of the joy which lay before him he endured the cross, heedless of its shame. He has taken his seat at the right of the throne of God.

V/. Lord, I have sought your face.
R/. Your face I will seek always.

Midday

Ant. The words of the Lord were fulfilled; he did what he had promised his prophet Elijah.

Scripture Reading

Heb 4:12

God’s word is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword. It penetrates and divides soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the reflections and thoughts of the heart.

V/. I have hidden your sayings in my heart, Lord.
R/. So as never to sin against you.

Afternoon

Ant. The fire of the Lord fell and consumed Elijah’s offering.

Scripture Reading

Heb 12:28-29

We who are receiving the unshakable kingdom should hold fast to God’s grace, through which we may offer worship acceptable to him in reverence and awe. For our God is a consuming fire.

V/. Lord, your word is a consuming flame.
R/. Your servant loves it.

Prayer

Almighty, ever living God,
your prophet Elijah, our Father,
lived always in your presence
and was zealous for the honor due to your name.
May we, your servants,
always seek your face
and bear witness to your love.

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. Amen.

 

Blazon Ocarm antique

Evening Prayer

Hymn

Praises to the great Elijah!
Let our songs to heaven rise.
His the grace to hear God’s whisper
Where all earthly music dies.

Clad in skins he made his dwelling
On Mount Carmel, finding there
That austere and lonely wisdom
Hidden in a life of prayer.

Yet he went forth at God’s bidding,
Flashed God’s word and law abroad
Till the idols fell around him
And his people turned to God.

May we, too, make war on falsehood,
Burn with zeal for God’s command
Till we follow our true Master
In whose sight we always stand.

Now we pray our Prophet-father
That our lives obtain this grace:
An outpouring God’s Spirit
Over every time and place.

Praise and honor to the Father,
To the Son and Spirit praise.
Theirs be all our love and worship
Now and through eternal days.

87.87.
Text: Unknown

Psalmody

Ant. 1 Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of God in your mouth is true.

Psalm 15

Lord, who shall be admitted to your tent *
and dwell on your holy mountain?

He who walks without fault; *
he who acts with justice
and speaks the truth from his heart; *
he who does not slander with his tongue;

he who does no wrong to his brother, *
who casts no slur on his neighbor,
who holds the godless in disdain, *
but honors those who fear the Lord;

he who keeps his pledge, come what may; *
who takes no interest on a loan
and accepts no bribes against the innocent. *
Such a man will stand firm for ever.

Ant. Now I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of God in your mouth is true.

Ant. 2 The Lord said to Elijah: Go and present yourself to Ahab; I will send rain upon the earth.

Psalm 112

Happy the man who fears the Lord, *
who takes delight in all his commands.
His sons will be powerful on earth; *
the children of the upright are blessed.

Riches and wealth are in his house; *
his justice stands firm for ever.
He is a light in the darkness for the upright: *
he is generous, merciful and just.

The good man takes pity and lends, *
he conducts his affairs with honor.
The just man will never waver: *
he will be remembered for ever.

He has no fear of evil news; *
with a firm heart he trusts in the Lord.
With a steadfast heart he will not fear; *
he will see the downfall of his foes.

Open-handed, he gives to the poor; †
his justice stands firm for ever. *
His head will be raised in glory.

The wicked man sees and is angry, †
grinds his teeth and fades away;
the desire of the wicked leads to doom.

Ant. The Lord said to Elijah: Go and present yourself to Ahab; I will send rain upon the earth.

Ant. 3 Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind, and Elisha saw him no more.

Canticle: Rev 15:3-4

Great and wonderful are your deeds, *
O Lord God the Almighty!
Just and true are your ways, *
O King of the ages!

Who shall not fear and glorify your name, O Lord? *
For you alone are holy.
All nations shall come and worship you, *
for your judgments have been revealed.

Ant. Elijah went up to heaven in a whirlwind, and Elisha saw him no more.

Scripture Reading

2 Kgs 2:11-12

As they still went on and talked, behold, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, ‘My father, my father! the chariot of Israel and its horseman!’ And he saw him no more.

Short Responsory

R/. Elisha lifted the cloak of Elijah: * he struck the waters and they divided. Repeat R/.
V/. Because the spirit of Elijah rested on Elisha: * he struck the waters and they divided.
Glory . . . R/.

Canticle of Mary

Ant. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the day of the Lord comes, that great and terrible day. He will turn the hearts of fathers to their sons and the hearts of sons to their fathers.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, *
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant, *
and from this day all generations will call me blessed.

The Almighty has done great things for me: *
holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him *
in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm, *
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,*
and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things, *
and has sent the rich away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel*
for he has remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers, *
to Abraham and his children for ever.

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. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the day of the Lord comes, that great and terrible day. He will turn the hearts of fathers to their sons and the hearts of sons to their fathers.

Intercessions

Let us give joyful praise to the living and true God, who chose the prophet Elijah to proclaim his power and mercy; let us say to him:

R/. Lord, make us witnesses of your love.

Lord, you accepted the sacrifice of Elijah and consumed it with fire from heaven; accept our evening sacrifice which we offer for the good of the Church. R/.

When Elijah prayed on the mountain you sent saving rain from heaven; fill us who have been called to Carmel with a spirit of prayer, so that we may draw a shower of grace to the world. R/.

You gave to the prophet Elijah the ministry of reconciling parents and children; make us workers for peace, so that the peace of Christ may reign in the world. R/.

You made Elijah the defender of your honor and of true worship; increase our concern for justice, so that by giving you all that is your due, we may serve our brothers and sisters in the spirit of the Gospel. R/.

You took the prophet Elijah to yourself in a whirlwind of fire; graciously admit our departed brothers and sisters into the embrace of your glory. R/.

Our Father …

Prayer

Almighty, ever living God,
your prophet Elijah, our Father,
lived always in your presence
and was zealous for the honor due to your name.
May we, your servants,
always seek your face
and bear witness to your love.

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. Amen.

 

Translation of Elijah_Epic Poem_BritLibrary
Image taken from page 8 of ‘[Elijah the Prophet. An epic poem.]’; courtesy British Library
To discover more illustrations from the public domain digital image collection of the British Library, visit their Flickr account, which contains more than one million photos available for download.
Featured image: Elijah Taken Up in a Chariot of Fire, Giuseppe Angeli  (c. 1740/1755)

 

Quote of the day: 16 June

O Jesus, what ingratitude and misjudgment, that the people, among whom you generously journeyed, reward your love with the demand:
“To the Cross with Him”.

#pilatus-snip

 

But you must have felt even more oppressed that Pilate, under the pretense of administering the law as if without guilt and impotent to this demand, despite the statement of finding no guilt in You, condemns You to the most barbaric and scandalous Crucifixion. But You endure it and keep silent.

O Mary, how that savage cry of the people and that unjust judgment of Pilate, like a sword of affliction, must have pierced the heart. But You also endure it and remain silent like Jesus, Your Son.

How difficult it is for us
to tolerate an unjust verdict.

Blessed Titus Brandsma
Meditation on the Stations of the Cross, 1942

 

Christ before Pilate_Regnier VAN GHERWEN
Christ before Pilate
Reynier van Gherwen (Dutch, 1620-1662)
Oil on canvas, mid 17th century
Szépművészeti Múzeum, Budapest

 

After one month in the protective custody camp in the prison at Kleve, Germany near Aachen, Blessed Titus Brandsma was transferred 16 June 1942 to KL Dachau concentration camp, where he died from lethal injection on 26 July  1942.

Read Blessed Titus Brandsma’s Meditations on the Stations of the Cross, written in the Scheveningen prison, 1942, here.

Read more English translations of the works of Blessed Titus Brandsma here.

7 June: Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew

June 7
BLESSED ANNE OF SAINT BARTHOLOMEW
Virgin

Memorial

Ana Garcia was born at Almendral, Castille, in 1549. In 1572 she made her profession as a Carmelite in the hands of St Teresa at Saint Joseph’s, Avila. The Saint later chose her as her companion and nurse, and she subsequently brought the Teresian spirit to France and Belgium, where she proved herself, like Teresa, a daughter of the Church in her great zeal for the salvation of souls. She died at Antwerp in 1626.

From the common of virgins

Office of Readings

Second Reading
From the Meditations on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ by Blessed Anne of Saint Bartholomew
(Autog. MS monast. St. Teresa, Madrid)

Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart

According to Saint Bernard, it is the person who keeps silent and says nothing when things go wrong who is really humble. It is very virtuous, he says, to keep silent when people are talking about our true faults, but more perfect when we are slighted or accused without having committed any fault or sin. And though it is virtuous indeed to bear this in silence, it is more perfect still to want to be despised and thought mad and good-for-nothing, and to go on, as our Lord Jesus Christ did, wholeheartedly loving those who despise us.

If Jesus kept silent, it was not because he hated anyone. He was simply saying to his eternal Father what he said on the cross: Lord, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. What infinite love burned in that sacred heart of yours, Lord Jesus! Without uttering a single word you spoke to us; without a word you worked the mysteries you came to accomplish—teaching virtue to the ignorant and blind. What our Lord did was no small thing. Where should we get patience and humility and poverty and the other virtues, and how could we carry each other’s burdens and cross, if Christ had not taught us all this first, and given himself as a living model of all perfection?

Blessed silence! In it, you cry out and preach to the whole world by your example. Volumes could be written about your silence, Lord! There is more wisdom to be learned from it by those who love you than from books or study.

Our Lord became a spring of Living water for us so that we should not die of thirst among all the miseries that surround us. How truly he said in the Gospel that he came to serve and not to be served! What tremendous goodness! Can we fail to be shamed by your words and deeds, and the patience you show with us every day? How truly, again Lord, did you say: Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart. Where can we obtain this patience and humbleness of heart? Is there any way to achieve it except by taking it from Christ as he taught it to us with those other virtues we need—faith, hope, and charity? Without faith, we cannot follow that royal road of the divine mysteries. It is faith that opens our eyes and makes us see the truth; and where faith is wanting there is no light and no way leading to goodness.

Responsory
Proverbs 3:5, 6
R/. Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and do not rely on your own intelligence;
and he will make straight your paths (alleluia).
R/. Wherever you go be mindful of him,
and he will make straight your paths (alleluia).

Morning Prayer

Canticle of Zechariah
Ant. Where humility is, there is wisdom; the wisdom of the humble will protect them from defeat (alleluia).

Prayer

Father,
rewarder of the humble,
you blessed your servant Anne of Saint Bartholomew
with outstanding charity and patience.
May her prayers help us, and her example inspire us,
to carry our cross
and be faithful in loving you,
and others for your sake.

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

Evening Prayer

Canticle of Mary
Ant. God has chosen those who are poor in the eyes of the world to be rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he promised to those who love him (alleluia).

 

Ana-de-San-Bartolome_praying-before-an-altar_FrancedeWilde
Portrait of Blessed Anne of Saint Bartholomew by France de Wilde (1917)

Quote of the day: 2 June

God is eternal silence

 

nature water flowers lake
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

God dwells in silence

 


Père Jacques of Jesus, O.C.D.
Silence
Retreat for the Carmel of Pontoise, Conference Eight 
Thursday evening, 9 September 1943


The Servant of God Jacques de Jésus, O.C.D., who was a professed friar of the Province of Paris-Avon, an ordained priest, and the headmaster of the Discalced Carmelite friars’ boys’ preparatory school at Avon, the Petit Collège Sainte-Thérèse de l’Enfant-Jésusdied on this date, 2 June 1945 in St. Elizabeth Hospital in Linz, Austria following 70 weeks in Nazi prison camps. Père Jacques was weakened by a year of hard labor and harsh conditions at Mauthausen and Gusen concentration camps in Austria; when the Allied Forces liberated the camps on 5 May 1945, he summoned the strength to help restore order and organize relief efforts. But 15 days later the Allied camp commanders transferred him to St. Elizabeth Hospital so that he could be close to the community of the Discalced Carmelite friars at Linz. It was there that he succumbed to illness and exhaustion at 45 years of age.

The diocesan process of his cause for beatification was opened in 1990. You can find the prayer for his beatification here and the website for his cause here.

The World Holocaust Remembrance Center Yad Vashem has a featured story dedicated to Père Jacques. It includes a description of his heroic acts to shelter Jewish students at the preparatory school, for which he was arrested. It also quotes the testimony of witnesses to his arrest and imprisonment and provides links to read full accounts of witnesses’ testimonies. On 17 January 1985 Yad Vashem recognized Père Jacques as Righteous Among the Nations. You can read the Yad Vashem featured story, find the links, and see the Yad Vashem photos here.

Listen to the Silence – A Retreat with Père Jacques, is available for purchase from the publisher, ICS Publications.

 

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

Quote of the day: 30 May

Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading 1 — 1 Kings 19:4-8

Elijah went a day’s journey into the desert,
until he came to a broom tree and sat beneath it.
He prayed for death saying:
“This is enough, O LORD!
Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.”
He lay down and fell asleep under the broom tree,
but then an angel touched him and ordered him to get up and eat.
Elijah looked and there at his head was a hearth cake
and a jug of water.
After he ate and drank, he lay down again,
but the angel of the LORD came back a second time,
touched him, and ordered,
“Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!”
He got up, ate, and drank;
then strengthened by that food,
he walked forty days and forty nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.


Commentary

The biblical story tells us that Elijah was awakened and fed by God because God does not want anyone to be afraid and remain asleep. Precisely at the time of greater darkness and weariness is when the prophet listens once again to the word of the Lord — two different times — speaking through an angel, saying: “Get up and eat.”

After eating the first time, Elijah goes back to sleep.

 

Sometimes crisis in our lives is so great and there is so much discouragement, that it is difficult to get up and walk; but God is not overcome by our weakness.

 

God insists for the second time in feeding Elijah: “Get up and eat, because the road before you is very long, it is greater than your strength”.

God does not want us to feel fearful; neither does he want us to sleep. That is why he feeds the prophet, just like he feeds all of us when we feel deflated, frustrated, and hopeless.

 

God takes what seems like the end of the road and turns it into a new horizon;  what we experience as death is transformed into the beginning of a new life.

 

Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
Homily, 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year B (excerpt)
Mount Tabor Parish, Managua — 12 August 2018

 

PalmSunday2019_Esquipulas_CARLOSHERRERA-04
Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. | Carlos Herrera / Confidencial (Used by permission)

 

Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. is one of eighteen living bishops who are affiliated with the Discalced Carmelite order; he is the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Managua. He began his Discalced Carmelite formation in the General Delegation of Central America in 1979 and was ordained a priest 15 January 1985. He pursued advanced studies in Sacred Scripture and biblical geography and archeology in Rome and Jerusalem. In 1999 he defended his doctoral thesis in biblical theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome on the subject, Tiempo de callar y tiempo de hablar: el silencio en la Biblia Hebrea (A time to keep silence, and a time to speak: silence in the Hebrew Bible). Serving as a seminary professor, he authored numerous articles and books, speaking at conferences and retreats, and served on the council of the general delegation. In 2006 he was appointed Vice-President of the Pontifical Faculty of Theology Teresianum in Rome, where he was Professor of Sacred Scripture and Biblical Theology and Spirituality; in addition, he was the editor of the theology journal Teresianum. On 9 April 2009 Pope Benedict XVI appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Managua and Titular Bishop of Zica.

On 30 May 2009 Silvio José Báez, O.C.D, was ordained bishop in the Cathedral of Managua. The principal consecrator was Archbishop Leopoldo José Brenes Solórzano, Archbishop of Managua; the principal co-consecrators were Archbishop Henryk Józef Nowacki, Titular Archbishop of Blera and Bishop César Bosco Vivas Robelo, Bishop of León en Nicaragua.

You may view his episcopal lineage / apostolic succession here.

 

#BAEZ BLAZON
The coat of arms of Bishop Silvio José Báez, O.C.D. reflects his background as a native of Nicaragua — seen in the image of the volcano and the lake on the left — and as a Discalced Carmelite friar, exemplified by the emblem of the Order on the right. At the base of the shield is the scripture with the Greek letters Alpha and Omega (Rev. 22:13). The bishop’s motto is, “For Your Word.” | SajoR / Wikimedia Commons

 

Scripture commentary translation is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission

.

Quote of the day: 29 May

My life is love

This sweet nectar surrounds me, this merciful love penetrates me, purifies me, renews me, and I feel it consuming me. The cry of my heart is: “Love of my God, my soul searches for You alone. My soul, suffer and be quiet; love and hope; offer yourself but hide your suffering behind a smile, and always move on. I want to spend my life in deep silence, in the depths of my heart, in order to listen to the gentle voice of my sweet Jesus.

Blessed Elia of St. Clement
Office of Readings, Optional Memorial of Blessed Elia (excerpt)

 

brown hummingbird selective focus photography
Photo by Philippe Donn on Pexels.com

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

Quote of the day: 15 April

J.M.+J.T.

Cologne-Lindenthal, <Easter Week, 1934>

Pax Christi!

Reverend and dear Mother Petra,

Before I go into holy silence, I feel compelled to send you heartfelt thanks for the charming Easter package. Our dear Mother <M. Josefa>, Mother Subprioress <Teresa Renata> and I happily unpacked it together, and on Holy Saturday night, an Easter rabbit and an Easter candle were stationed in every cell of the novices. I received the beautiful wooden candlestick with the large Easter candle, although I surmise this large light was intended for the Novice Mistress <Teresa Renata>. It will burn for me now during my retreat, when I make my meditation in the solitude of my cell, away from the community. Our holy Father John of the Cross will be my guide: the Ascent of Mount Carmel.

Probably I will be allowed to begin early on Friday. I would like most of all to remain in solitude until the morning of the Clothing, but there is a possibility that I will be called out the day before at the request of guests from out of town. I look forward with so much joy to the silence. As much as I love the Divine Office and as loath as I am to be away from the choir even for the shortest of the Hours—the basis of our life, after all, is the two hours of meditation provided by our schedule. Only since I’ve been enjoying this privilege do I know how much I missed by not having it outside. Our Reverend Mother will surely be glad to send along [with this letter] the ritual for the Clothing ceremony. It will be so much better if you can read it before it takes place—even though you cannot be present yourself.

May I beg you, together with your community, to help us with a very important intention? On the 11th, the General Chapter of the Congregation of Beuron will begin in Gerleve. We know there are very important questions to solve. Will you join us in prayers to the Holy Spirit for a successful outcome? I am also a bit interested in it personally. If Father Archabbot <Raphael Walzer> can close the Chapter on the 14th, he will be on time here to conduct the Clothing. But that, of course, is a small matter compared to all that is at stake there. I hardly need to say that I tell you this in confidence. I believe you will be happy to help because of your love for the Benedictine way of life.

Particular thanks for the Easter Prefaces: they are helping me celebrate the beautiful octave. And above all, thank you again for your love that I have in no way earned.

Always faithfully mindful of you, your grateful

Edith Stein

Letter 168 to Mother Petra Brüning, OSU, Dorsten
Original in Convent Archive of Ursuline Sisters, Dorsten

Edith-Stein_clothing-bridal-
Edith Stein on her clothing day, 15 April 1934 | Photo: Discalced Carmelite Order

 

Excerpt from Edith Stein's Self-Portrait in Letters, 1916-1942, Sister Teresa
Benedicta of the Cross, Discalced Carmelite, translated by Josephine Koeppel
(The Collected Works of Edith Stein, vol. 5)
Copyright © 1993 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. 
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

 

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