During his 1935 lecture series in North America, St. Titus Brandsma stayed with the Carmelite friars at their college in Niagara Falls, Ontario. We share excerpts from a meditation that he wrote on the pinnacle of the mystical life compared to "the roaring and the rushing of Niagara Falls".
St. Teresa of Avila is overflowing with love and praise as she begins her commentary on the Lord's prayer. "O my Lord, how You do show Yourself to be the Father of such a Son; and how Your Son does show Himself to be the Son of such a Father! May You be blessed forever and ever!"
St. Teresa of Avila counsels her daughters not to worry whether they are doing household chores or practicing mental prayer: "True humility consists very much in great readiness to be content with whatever the Lord may want to do with them and in always finding oneself unworthy to be called His servant."
Within the first days of her postulancy, St. Teresa of the Andes made her confession to the spiritual director for the Carmel of Los Andes, Fray Avertano of the Most Blessed Sacrament, OCD. She writes: "I went to Confession to Father Avertano. I give thanks to God for having given me a director so learned and holy."
St. Teresa of the Andes meditates on the Carmelite call to a life of perfection: "Perfection of life consists in drawing close to God... What is the life of a Carmelite if not one of contemplating, adoring, and loving God incessantly?"
What gives God joy? St. John of the Cross explains that he rejoices to find "the humility and the nakedness of our heart and in our contempt of worldly things for love of him." Not with sour faces, but with the joy that it gives him.
Discalced Carmelite historian Peter-Thomas Rohrbach shows us how our First Reading for the 13th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C) fits within the Carmelite legend of Elijah and Elisha and the Carmelite tradition, which indicates that we have inherited their double spirit.
In her autobiography, St. Teresa of Avila writes about "the good that one who practices prayer possesses... I mean mental prayer—glory be to God for this good! If it were not for this good, even though I have little humility, I should not be so proud as to dare speak about mental prayer."
We recall the anniversary of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity's Confirmation on 8 June 1891 in the Church of Notre-Dame of Dijon, with eyewitness testimony provided by her biographer, Father Conrad de Meester, O.C.D.
Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew describes her experiences as Prioress in Paris in the year 1605. She tells us that four professed religious and two novices left Paris to found a new Discalced Carmelite monastery in Amiens on Pentecost. There was a Pontifical Mass and the Bishop had the head of St. John the Baptist carried in procession!
"The soul must practice the following instructions if it wishes to attain in a short time holy recollection and spiritual silence, nakedness, and poverty of spirit, where one enjoys the peaceful comfort of the Holy Spirit," writes St John of the Cross in the introduction to The Precautions.
We began the month of May rejoicing with St John of the Cross in the knowledge that "the Mother of God is mine." Today, Bishop Báez reminds us who she is. "Mary reveals herself to us: empty of self, placing all her trust in the Father's mercy."
Bishop Silvio José Báez mentions one of the greatest temptations of the Church: "to forget about the Holy Spirit, not to listen to the Spirit, and not to let ourselves be guided and strengthened by the Spirit."
In a passage of sublime theology, St. John of the Cross explains a portion of the Gospel for the Seventh Sunday of Easter: that we may perform the "same work that [Christ does] by nature; that is, breathe the Holy Spirit."
St. Edith Stein indicates that there is an inexhaustible source of power for women who are tested beyond their "strength of body and nerves", and "it depends only on knowing one's way and going to this source again and again."
How urgent it is for us to call on the Holy Spirit as we enroll, figuratively speaking, in the University of Divine Love! What do we have to do in order to benefit fully from our master’s lessons? First, we must consciously acknowledge the impossibility of progressing in prayer apart from our master. Recall the... Continue Reading →
St John of the Cross urges us to practice interior solitude so that our hearts may focus on God alone.
Brother Lawrence says that the practice of the presence of God is "the essence of the spiritual life, and it seems to me that by practicing it properly you become spiritual in no time."