Quote of the day: 15 June

Let us live with God as with a friend, let us make our faith a living faith in order to be in communion with Him through everything, for that is what makes saints.

We possess our Heaven within us

Since He who satisfies the hunger of the glorified in the light of vision gives Himself to us in faith and mystery, it is the Same One! It seems to me that I have found my Heaven on earth since Heaven is God and God is in my soul.

The day I understood that,
everything became clear to me.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 122 to Madame de Sourdon (excerpt)
Shortly after 15 June 1902

 

Sabeth and Guite
Marguerite and Elisabeth Catez (c. 1899) | Photo: Discalced Carmelites

 

The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel 
Copyright © 2003 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

Pentecost Novena: Edith Stein — Day 5

 

Pentecost Novena 5-17 Edith IGsize
Pentecost Novena: Edith Stein — Day 5

 

Are you the spirit’s fullness and the power
By which the Lamb releases the seal
Of God’s eternal decree?
Driven by you
The messengers of judgment ride through the world
And separate with a sharp sword
The kingdom of light from the kingdom of night.
Then heaven becomes new and new the earth,
And all finds its proper place
Through your breath:
Holy Spirit victorious power!


Saint Edith Stein

And I Remain With You:
From a Pentecost Novena

Day 5

 

The Hidden Life: Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Texts
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Vol. 4
ICS Publications, Washington DC
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

Pentecost Novena: Edith Stein — Day 4

Pentecost Novena 4-17 Edith
Pentecost Novena: Edith Stein — Day 4

 

Are you the ray
That flashes down from the eternal Judge’s throne
And breaks into the night of the soul
That had never known itself?
Mercifully relentlessly
It penetrates hidden folds.
Alarmed at seeing itself,
The self makes space for holy fear,
The beginning of that wisdom
That comes from on high
And anchors us firmly in the heights,
Your action,
That creates us anew:
Holy Spirit ray that penetrates everything!


Saint Edith Stein

And I Remain With You:
From a Pentecost Novena

Day 4

 

The Hidden Life: Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Texts
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Vol. 4
ICS Publications, Washington DC
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

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

Marie du jour: 13 May

All of a sudden the Blessed Virgin appeared beautiful to me, so beautiful that I never had seen anything so beautiful; her face radiated an ineffable tenderness and goodness, but what penetrated to the depths of my soul was the “ravishing smile of the Blessed Virgin.”

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux
Manuscript A, Folio 30 recto

Vierge du Sourire Les Buissonnets
Les Buissonnets – Virgin of the Smile, Lisieux, France | Photo: Jim, the Photographer / Flickr

 

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

Quote of the day: March 22

Whoever knows God (in the measure in which knowledge of God is possible through natural and supernatural light) cannot do other than love Him; whoever loves Him cannot do other than serve Him.

Thus, matters of mind and heart, achievement and act of will are living faith. He who knows how to awaken faith trains all faculties. But one can only awaken it when one also summons up all the faculties. This cannot be done through tedious intellectual instruction, but it also cannot be done through fanatic instruction which “appeals to the emotions”; on the contrary, this can be done only through a religious instruction which leads from the fullness of one’s own religious life to the depths of the Godhead, an instruction which is able to present God in His kindness; such instruction enkindles love and exacts proof through deed, and it may so challenge because one achieves this by oneself. Wherever the soul is enkindled, that soul itself longs for action; and it eagerly grasps the forms of practical life for which God and Holy Church have provided: participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, a participation which consummates the holy sacrifice as an offering in union with the Eucharistic Lord, festive praise of God, and all works of love in which Christ is served in the members of His Mystical Body. The entire abundance of the supernatural world of the spirit is opened to the soul thereby, and an inexhaustible abundance of formative material which enters into it is thus able to build up and transform it.

Saint Edith Stein

Excerpt from Fundamental Principles of Women’s Education
Published in Stimmen der Zeit, monthly review of contemporary intellectual life, March 1931, No. 6

Nat Farbman_BessonneauChildcare_LifeMagazine_Feb19449
Child care is provided by nuns from Catholic Sisters of Charity for the women workers of Bessonneau factory. This photo by photographer Nat Farbman appeared in a February, 1949 issue of LIFE magazine. Nat Farbman was born in 1907 in Poland and he arrived in the United States at the age of four. He began working as a freelance photographer while studying electrical engineering at the University of Santa Clara. During his fifteen years as a LIFE Magazine staff photographer, he was considered one of its most versatile practitioners. He died in 1988. | Kristine / Flickr 
Essays On Woman
Edited by Dr. Lucy Gelber and Romaeus Leuven, OCD; Translated by Freda Mary Oben, Ph.D.
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Book 2 (p. 29)
ICS Publications, Washington D.C. © Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

See more photos from LIFE magazine photographer Nat Farbman here

JUANdelaCRUZ - The soul lives where it loves SPANISH
Mas ¿cómo perseveras, ¡oh vida!,
no viviendo donde vives?
Para cuya inteligencia es de saber que el alma más vive donde ama que en el cuerpo donde anima, porque en el cuerpo ella no tiene su vida, antes ella la da al cuerpo, y ella vive por amor en lo que ama.
Cántico Espiritual (CB): Canción 8

Quote of the day: 14 January

The Carmelite often sees herself surrounded by darkness that hides her Beloved. She sees herself rejected and unprotected. Is it possible that there is any greater suffering for a soul who has abandoned all to follow the God she loves than to see herself alone without Him?

St Teresa of the Andes
The Writings of Saint Teresa of Jesus of the Andes

Novena to St. John of the Cross – Day 9

Lord, I have given up my pride
and turned away from my arrogance.
I am not concerned with great matters
or with subjects too difficult for me.
Instead, I am content and at peace.
As a child lies quietly in its mother’s arms,
so my heart is quiet within me.
Israel, trust in the Lord
now and forever!
(Psalm 131)

The soul is incapable of truly acquiring control of the passions and restriction of the inordinate appetites without forgetting and withdrawing from the sources of these emotions. Disturbances never arise in a soul unless through the apprehensions of the memory. When all things are forgotten, nothing disturbs the peace or stirs the appetites. As the saying goes: What the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t want.

The Ascent of Mount Carmel: Book Three, Chapter 5

O St. John of the Cross
You were endowed by our Lord with the spirit of self-denial
and a love of the cross.
Obtain for us the grace to follow your example
that we may come to the eternal vision of the glory of God.

O Saint of Christ’s redeeming cross
the road of life is dark and long.
Teach us always to be resigned to God’s holy will
in all the circumstances of our lives
and grant us the special favor
which we now ask of thee
(mention your request).

Above all, obtain for us the grace of final perseverance,
a holy and happy death and everlasting life with you
and all the saints in heaven.
Amen.

Vision of Segovia - unidentified Quito artist - Carmelo Carmen Alto
Vision of Segovia
Unidentified Quito Artist (Ecuador, 18th c.)
Oil on canvas, 18th c.
Monasterio del Carmen Alto, Quito, Ecuador
More detail here | More images of St. John of the Cross from PESSCA here

Nota bene: We are grateful to Professor Michael Ogunu, O.C.D.S., of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites in Nigeria for sharing this novena.

Novena to St. John of the Cross – Day 8

O True God, You are my God, the One whom I trust.
I seek You with every fiber of my being.
In this dry and weary land with no water in sight,
my soul is dry and longs for You.
My body aches for You, for Your presence.
I have seen You in Your sanctuary
and have been awed by Your power and glory.
Your steadfast love is better than life itself,
so my lips will give You all my praise.
I will bless You with every breath of my life;
I will lift up my hands in praise to Your name.

My soul overflows with satisfaction, as when I feast on foods rich in marrow and fat;
with excitement in my heart and joy on my lips, I offer You praise.
Often at night I lie in bed and remember You,
meditating on Your greatness till morning smiles through my window.
You have been my constant helper;
therefore, I sing for joy under the protection of Your wings.
My soul clings to You;
Your right hand reaches down and holds me up.
(Ps. 63:1-8)

The soul here addresses its Bridegroom with deep love, esteeming him and thanking him for two admirable effects sometimes produced by him through this union… The first effect is an awakening of God in the soul, brought about in gentleness and love. The second is the breathing of God within it… And what overflows in it is its being tenderly and delicately inspired with love.

The Living Flame Of Love: Stanza 4

O St. John of the Cross
You were endowed by our Lord with the spirit of self-denial
and a love of the cross.
Obtain for us the grace to follow your example
that we may come to the eternal vision of the glory of God.

O Saint of Christ’s redeeming cross
the road of life is dark and long.
Teach us always to be resigned to God’s holy will
in all the circumstances of our lives
and grant us the special favor
which we now ask of thee
(mention your request).

Above all, obtain for us the grace of final perseverance,
a holy and happy death and everlasting life with you
and all the saints in heaven.
Amen.

Cure of Saint John of the Cross - Puebla
Cure of Saint John of the Cross
José Joaquín Magón (Mexican, 18th c.)
Oil on canvas, 1750-1763
Templo de Nuestra Señora del Carmen, Puebla, Mexico
More details here

Novena to St. John of the Cross – Day 7

I ask God from the wealth of his glory to give you power through his Spirit to be strong in your inner selves, and I pray that Christ will make his home in your hearts through faith. I pray that you may have your roots and foundation in love, so that you, together with all God’s people, may have the power to understand how broad and long, how high and deep, is Christ’s love. Yes, may you come to know his love—although it can never be fully known—and so be completely filled with the very nature of God.
(Ephesians 3:16-19)

This spiritual marriage is incomparably greater than the spiritual betrothal, for it is a total transformation in the Beloved, in which each surrenders the entire possession of self to the other with a certain consummation of the union of love. The soul thereby becomes divine, God through participation, insofar as is possible in this life. And thus I think that this state never occurs without the soul’s being confirmed in grace, for the faith of both is confirmed when God’s faith in the soul is here confirmed. It is accordingly the highest state attainable in this life.

The Spiritual Canticle: Stanza 22

O St. John of the Cross
You were endowed by our Lord with the spirit of self-denial
and a love of the cross.
Obtain for us the grace to follow your example
that we may come to the eternal vision of the glory of God.

O Saint of Christ’s redeeming cross
the road of life is dark and long.
Teach us always to be resigned to God’s holy will
in all the circumstances of our lives
and grant us the special favor
which we now ask of thee
(mention your request).

Above all, obtain for us the grace of final perseverance,
a holy and happy death and everlasting life with you
and all the saints in heaven.
Amen.

Miracle of the Hat (The Reconciliation of the Litigants) - Puebla
Miracle of the Hat (The Reconciliation of the Litigants)
José Joaquín Magón (18th c. Mexican)
Oil on canvas, 1750-1763
Templo de Nuestra Señora del Carmen, Puebla, Mexico
More details here

Advent 9: Desert

I mentioned in the other letter how I desire to remain in this desert of La Peñuela, where I arrived about nine days ago and which is about six leagues north of Baeza. I like it very much, glory to God, and I am well. The vastness of the desert is a great help to the soul and body, although the soul fares very poorly. The Lord must be desiring that it have its spiritual desert. Well and good if it be for his service; His Majesty already knows what we are of ourselves. I don’t know how long this will last, for Father Fray Antonio de Jesús threatens from Baeza that he will not leave me here for long. Be that as it may, for in the meanwhile I am well off without knowing anything, and the life of the desert is admirable.

Letter 28

 

jeremy-liew-339290-unsplash
Wadi Rum, Jordan | Photo by Jeremy Liew on Unsplash

 

Allí decía cómo me había querido quedar en este desierto de La Peñuela, seis leguas más acá de Baeza, donde habrá nueve días que llegué. Y me hallo muy bien, gloria al Señor, y estoy bueno; que la anchura del desierto ayuda mucho al alma y al cuerpo, aunque el alma muy pobre anda. Debe querer el Señor que el alma también tenga su desierto espiritual. Sea muy enhorabuena como él más fuere servido; que ya sabe Su Majestad lo que somos de nuestro. No sé lo que me durará, porque el P. Fray Antonio de Jesús, desde Baeza, me amenaza diciendo que me dejarán por acá poco. Sea lo que fuere, que, en tanto, bien me hallo sin saber nada, y el ejercicio del desierto es admirable.

Epistolario: 28

 

Letters: Letter 28 to Doña Ana del Mercado y Peñalosa, in Granada; sent from La Peñuela, August 19, 1591
The Collected Works of Saint John of the Cross, Revised Edition
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D.
With Revisions and Introductions by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D.
ICS Publications
Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

St. Edith Stein Novena – Day 5

SCRIPTURE READING
Psalm 68

.2 Let God arise, let his foes be scattered.
Let those who hate him flee before him.
.3 As smoke is blown away so will they be blown away;
like wax that melts before the fire,
so the wicked shall perish at the presence of God.

.4 But the just shall rejoice at the presence of God,
they shall exult and dance for joy.
.5 O sing to the Lord, make music to his name;
make a highway for him who rides on the clouds.
Rejoice in the Lord, exult at his presence.

.6 Father of the orphan, defender of the widow,
such is God in his holy place.
.7 God gives the lonely a home to live in;
he leads the prisoners forth into freedom;
but rebels must dwell in a parched land.

.8 When you went forth, O God, at the head of your people,
.9 when you marched across the desert, the earth trembled:
the heavens melted at the presence of God,
at the presence of God, Israel’s God.

.10 You poured down, O God, a generous rain;
when your people were starved you gave them new life.
.11 It was there that your people found a home,
prepared in your goodness, O God, for the poor.

.12 The Lord gives the word to the bearers of good tidings:
“The Almighty has defeated a numberless army
.13 and kings and armies are in flight, in flight
while you were at rest among the sheepfolds.”

.14 At home the women already share the spoil.
They are covered with silver as the wings of a dove,
its feathers brilliant with shining gold
.15 and jewels flashing like snow on Mount Zalmon.

.16 The mountains of Bashan are mighty mountains;
high-ridged mountains are the mountains of Bashan.
.17 Why look with envy, you high-ridged mountains,
at the mountain where God has chosen to dwell?
It is there that the Lord shall dwell for ever.

.18 The chariots of God are thousands upon thousands.
The Lord has come from Sinai to the holy place.
.19 You have gone up on high; you have taken captives,
receiving men and women in tribute, O God,
even those who rebel, into your dwelling, O Lord.

.20 May the Lord be blessed day after day.
He bears our burdens, God our savior;
.21 this God of ours is a God who saves.
The Lord our God holds the keys of death.
.22 And God will smite the head of his foes,
the crown of those who persist in their sins.

.23 The Lord said: “I will bring them back from Bashan;
I will bring them back from the depth of the sea.
.24 Then your feet will tread in their blood
and the tongues of your dogs take their share of the foe.”

.25 They see your solemn procession, O God,
the procession of my God, of my king, to the sanctuary:
.26 the singers in the forefront, the musicians coming last,
between them, maidens sounding their timbrels.

.27 “In festive gatherings, bless the Lord;
bless God, O you who are Israel’s sons.”
.28 There is Benjamin, least of the tribes, at the head,
Judah’s princes, a mighty throng,
Zebulun’s princes, Naphtali’s princes.

.29 Show forth, O God, show forth your might,
your might, O God, which you have shown for us.
.30 For the sake of your temple high in Jerusalem
may nations come to you bringing their tribute.

.31 Threaten the wild beast that dwells in the reeds,
the bands of the mighty and rulers of the peoples.
Let them bow down offering silver.
Scatter the peoples who delight in war.
.32 Envoys will make their way from Egypt;
Ethiopia will stretch out her hands to God.

.33 Kingdoms of the earth, sing to God, praise the Lord
.34 who rides on the heavens, the ancient heavens.
He thunders his voice, his mighty voice.
.35 Come, acknowledge the power of God.

His glory is on Israel; his might is in the skies.
.36 God is to be feared in his holy place.
He is the Lord, Israel’s God.
He gives strength and power to his people.

Blessed be God!

MEDITATION
Three Dialogues: I Am Always in Your Midst

Mother Ursula’s dialogue with Saint Angela Merici

How foolish now this doubt appears to me!
If God’s call sounds within a soul,
When he leads it to our house’s door
And to knock hard—why should we not open
The door wide, our arms and our heart?
If he shows the way, then he also knows
That it is not a wrong track where people suddenly get lost;
No spurious way that ends in desert sands.
That step by step the road will be revealed, I firmly believe.
And in fact what is certain?
Where is “certain fate”? Yes, we see—
And it’s good that we are so confronted—
How around us structures are becoming ruins
That seemed to us to have been raised for eternity.
One thing alone is certain: that God is
And that his hand holds us in being.
Then even if around us the whole world falls to wrack and ruin,
We are not ruined if we hold ourselves to him.

PRAYER

Lord, God of our fathers,
you brought Saint Teresa Benedicta
to the fullness of the science of the cross
at the hour of her martyrdom.
Fill us with that same knowledge;
and, through her intercession,
allow us always to seek after you, the supreme truth,
and to remain faithful until death
to the covenant of love ratified in the blood of your Son
for the salvation of all men and women.

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

wellington-rodrigues-574975-unsplash
If he shows the way, then he also knows
That it is not a wrong track where people suddenly get lost;
No spurious way that ends in desert sands.
The Hidden Life: hagiographic essays, meditations, spiritual texts
Edited by L. Gelber and Michael Linssen; translated by Waltraut Stein
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Vol. 4 
ICS Publications, Washington DC 
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.
EDITH - In dryness and emptiness the soul becomes humble
The earlier arrogance disappears when one no longer finds in oneself anything that would give reason to look down on others; instead, others now appear to one to be more perfect; love and esteem for them awakens in the heart.

St. Edith Stein Novena – Day 3

SCRIPTURE READING
Psalm 63

.2 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.
.3 So I gaze on you in the sanctuary
to see your strength and your glory.

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

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

MEDITATION
The Science of the Cross, I.6.(3)

Passive Night as Crucifixion

In the beginning, this being inflamed in love is not commonly perceived. The soul feels rather only dryness and emptiness, sorrowful fear and concern. And if she does feel any of the love, it is as a painful yearning for God, a smarting wound of love…

Now she is to travel on the constricted road, which is the night of the spirit. Of course, few will come so far, yet the advantages of the first night are very great: the soul is granted self-knowledge; she gains insight into her own misery, no longer finds anything good in herself and learns therefore to approach God with greater reverence. Yes, only now is she aware of the grandeur and majesty of God. Precisely this being freed from all sensory supports enables her to receive illumination and become receptive for the truth. That is why we find in the psalm: “In a desert land, without water, dry and without a way, I appeared before you to be able to see your power and your glory ” (Ps 63:1-2).

In dryness and emptiness the soul becomes humble. The earlier arrogance disappears when one no longer finds in oneself anything that would give reason to look down on others; instead, others now appear to one to be more perfect; love and esteem for them awakens in the heart. One is too occupied with one’s own misery to be concerned about others. Through her helplessness the soul also becomes subservient and obedient; she longs for instruction in order to reach the right way. Spiritual avarice is thoroughly healed; when one no longer finds any practice to one’s taste, one becomes very moderate and does whatever one does purely for the sake of God without seeking any satisfaction for the self. And so it goes with all imperfections. All the confusion and unrest disappear with them. Instead, a deep peace and a constant remembrance of God are established. The only care that remains is the concern not to displease God.

PRAYER

Lord, God of our fathers,
you brought Saint Teresa Benedicta
to the fullness of the science of the cross
at the hour of her martyrdom.
Fill us with that same knowledge;
and, through her intercession,
allow us always to seek after you, the supreme truth,
and to remain faithful until death
to the covenant of love ratified in the blood of your Son
for the salvation of all men and women.

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

EDITH - In dryness and emptiness the soul becomes humble
Photo by Marko Zupan on Unsplash
The Science of the Cross 
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Vol. 6 
ICS Publications, Washington DC 
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

Novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel: Day 8

Scripture – Galatians 5:19, 22-25

What human nature does is quite plain. But the Spirit produces love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control. There is no law against such things as these. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have put to death their human nature with all its passions and desires. The Spirit has given us life; he must also control our lives.

Reading – Père Jacques of Jesus, O.C.D., from his retreat to the Carmel of Pontoise, 1943

There are two ways of communing with God. The first is the sacramental way, by reception of the Sacred Host, which allows us to bear Christ’s presence within ourselves. The second and unceasing way consists of God giving himself to us every moment of every day of our lives. In this way, God comes to us in the form of a duty, a joy or a sorrow. God comes to us in other persons, such as an unappealing [person] with whom we have to work or a congenial [friend] with whom we sit at [a meal]. In all these situations, it is God who comes to us, but we do not realize his presence. Yet, whatever the form behind which he hides and whatever the garb in which he presents himself, he is the God of Wisdom, Omnipotence, and Love without limits.

We will be saints, with holiness like that of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saint John of the Cross, Saint Teresa of Avila and the Little Flower, when God comes to us no longer in divine radiance, but in the form of a crushing threat to our life. Such was the experience of Christ in his Passion. Even if our human nature recoils in fear and trembling, we will be able to commune with God within the recesses of our soul through abandonment. There lies the key to God’s love and peace.

Novena Prayer

O Most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel,
Fruitful Vine, Splendor of heaven,
Blessed Mother of the Son of God,
Immaculate Virgin, assist me in this my necessity.
O Star of the Sea, help me
and show me herein that you are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Queen of heaven and earth,
I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart
to succor me in this necessity.
There are none that can withstand your power!
O help me and show me herein that you are my Mother.

Our Lady, Queen and Beauty of Carmel,
pray for me and obtain my requests!
Sweet Mother, I place this cause in your hands!

Excerpt from Listen to the Silence: A Retreat With Père Jacques
Translated and Edited by Francis J. Murphy 
Copyright © 2005 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

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