Advent I — Let us go up

In "The Spiritual Canticle," St John of the Cross writes, “let us go forth to behold ourselves in your beauty to the mountain and to the hill,” which is to “knowledge in the divine Word, who in his height is signified here by the mountain.” Here we share excerpts from the Saint's powerful commentary.

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Quote of the day, 2 October: St. Raphael Kalinowski

St Raphael Kalinowski was aware of the news, even as he aged. We note that he greatly distrusted the Russian Church: "From Moscow with caution! You cannot trust her sincerity." And when delinquents attacked a Carmelite procession in Rome, he wrote, "how long, O Lord?!"

Quote of the day, 25 September: St. John of the Cross

St John of the Cross has a quick and easy reference when he discusses “joy in the delights of food” in the Ascent of Mount Carmel. Simply take a look at the rich man and his sumptuous banquet while poor Lazarus lies at his gate like a piece of garbage, attracting the attention of the rich man’s hounds.

Quote of the day, 18 September: St. Titus Brandsma

St. Titus Brandsma’s commitment to the vow of poverty in solidarity with the poor was unshakeable. He wrote, “Without poverty, a religious is a Pharisee, a gentleman of ease pretending to be a poor man.” And in his conferences he taught, “Giving alms is our way of life.”

Quote of the day, 17 September: St. Albert of Jerusalem

On this feast day of St. Albert of Jerusalem, we recall that he gave the Rule of Life to Carmelite hermits who lived "near the spring on Mount Carmel." He urged them to clothe themselves with God's armor and to prepare for "the enemy's ambush". The enemy came in human form when the Mamluks who conquered the Crusader stronghold at Acre moved south unchallenged and massacred the hermits on Carmel.

Quote of the day, 11 September: St. Teresa of Avila

Here St. Teresa explains her image of the well-watered garden, irrigated by "the water flowing from a river or spring." She compares the soul's joy to the woman who called her neighbors when she found her lost coin, one of the parables in our Gospel for Sunday, 11 September.

Quote of the day, 10 September: Père Jacques de Jésus

Quote of the day, 10 September: Père Jacques devoted his Friday evening retreat conference at the Carmel of Pontoise to the Cross and suffering. Paraphrasing St Teresa, he said, “Life without suffering is a waste of time. Every hour not united to God's will is an hour squandered.”

Quote of the day, 29 August: St. Elizabeth of the Trinity

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, always a spiritual director to her own mother, offers this word of wisdom in a letter written on this date in 1906: “The Master called the hour of his Passion ‘His hour’... When faced with great suffering or a tiny sacrifice, oh, let’s think right away that ‘this is our hour’...” Elizabeth faced great suffering in that moment of her life; was she encouraging herself, too?

Quote of the day, 21 August: St. John of the Cross

In one memorable passage from the Ascent of Mount Carmel, St. John of the Cross explains how the Gospel passage concerning the narrow gate or narrow door is an excellent illustration of the Ascent of Mount Carmel: "Indeed the gate is very narrow, more so than you think."

Quote of the day, 27 July: St. Titus Brandsma

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".

Quote of the day, 24 July: St. Teresa of Avila

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!"

Quote of the day, 17 July: St. Teresa of Avila

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."

Quote of the day, 9 July: St. Teresa of the Andes

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."

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