Quote of the day: 1 May

Tell Señor Diego Ortiz that I beg him not to fail to place my lord St. Joseph at the door of the church.

Saint Teresa of Avila
Letter 31 to Alonso Alvarez Ramírez
5 February 1571

Convento_de_las_Carmelitas_Descalzas_de_San_José_-_01
St. Teresa’s foundation of the Discalced Carmelite nuns in Toledo
St. Joseph stands above the door of the church | Carlos Delgado / Wikimedia Commons

Joseph

Joseph

Joseph has strong arms, a strong grasp
When strength is in demand.
Not only is a child’s soft hand protected
In his brown massive hand,

But he can hold up cities, hold up nations.
Now in the season of weakness, season of search,
He can poise on his shoulder like a child
The ponderous age-old structure of the Church.

There on his shoulder, there in the crotch of his arm,
A church, a people held, a kingdom piled.
And Joseph knows this strength grew great in him
From lifting up a Child.

Sr. Miriam of the Holy Spirit, O.C.D.

Untitled Design (2)
Saint Joseph | Carmel of Terre Haute

Joseph was written by Sr. Miriam of the Holy Spirit, a published poet and Discalced Carmelite nun from the Carmel of Pewaukee, Wisconsin upon a special commission by the Discalced Carmelite nuns of Terre Haute, Indiana to accompany this image of Saint Joseph, which the nuns then used to print holy cards for distribution to their benefactors and to the faithful. We are grateful to them for sending us an image of the prayer card and the text of Sr. Miriam’s poem. Learn more about the Terre Haute Carmel and Sr. Miriam of the Holy Spirit, as well as her published poetry.

Quote of the day: 19 March

On March 19th, Saint Thérèse confides to her older sister, Sister Marie of the Sacred Heart:

“I just asked St. Joseph to obtain for me from God the grace of spending my Heaven doing good on earth.”

Her sister replied to her, “You don’t need to ask that of St. Joseph”

But she insisted, “Oh, but yes! I need him to support my request!”

Just days before, St. Thérèse made the novena of grace, an infallible novena to St. Francis Xavier. Thérèse made the novena, as she said to Marie of the Sacred Heart, to obtain the grace of “spending her heaven doing good on earth!”

As Sr. Marie of the Sacred Heart recalled, “she had just asked this of St. Francis Xavier, too, through the novena of grace.”

And, the young Carmelite doesn’t imagine that one day, along with St. Francis Xavier, she will be the co-patroness of the missions…

Learn more about March 1897 and the last year in the life of Saint Thérèse here.

 

 

THERESE - Marie Therese sacristines
In this detail of Photo 39 taken by Céline with her sisters and cousin in the sacristy courtyard at the Carmel of Lisieux, we see Marie and Thérèse showing the making of altar bread and the work of the sacristan. See the complete photo here. Photo dated November 1896, before the 14th. [Source: Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux]

St. Joseph Novena 2019 – Day 9

On the last day of the novena let us praise God for the gift of St. Joseph to Jesus as his foster father, to Mary a loving husband, to the church a faithful guardian and to us a powerful intercessor.

Reading
Psalm 150

1 Praise God in his holy place,
praise him in his mighty heavens.
2 Praise him for his powerful deeds,
praise his surpassing greatness.

3 O praise him with sound of trumpet,
praise him with lute and harp.
4 Praise him with timbrel and dance,
praise him with strings and pipes.

5 O praise him with resounding cymbals,
praise him with clashing of cymbals.
6 Let everything that lives and that breathes
give praise to the Lord.

Reflection

The Carmelites look to Saint Joseph as a guide and father, just like Mary and Jesus did. Devotion to St. Joseph isn’t just something to save for once a year, they turn to him for every need.

How can you make St. Joseph your constant guide and companion in prayer?

Prayer

Grant,
we pray, almighty God,
that by Saint Joseph’s intercession
your Church may constantly watch over
the unfolding of the mysteries of human salvation,
whose beginnings you entrusted to his faithful care.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
— Amen.

Hymn to St. Joseph 

All praise to God the Father,
Whose hidden, loving plan
Has come to sweet fruition
In Jesus, God made Man!
To them and to the Spirit
We raise our song of joy!
With Joseph and with Mary
Our hymns we now employ

J. Michael Thompson
Copyright © 2010, World Library Publications
76 76 D
AURELIATHAXTED

Source: Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa 
Hymn used with the kind permission of the composer

St. Joseph Novena 2019 – Day 8

Today we continue the novena to St. Joseph. Joseph is so silent in the Gospels, so ordinary, that it took many years for the Church to give him due importance. St. Joseph is special because he reflects in a unique way the love of the Eternal Father for his only begotten Son.

Reading
1 Peter 3:8-12

8 Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called — that you might inherit a blessing. 10 For

“Those who desire life
and desire to see good days,
let them keep their tongues from evil
and their lips from speaking deceit;
11 let them turn away from evil and do good;
let them seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

Reflection

The Gospels summarize the life of St. Joseph in a single statement — Joseph was a just man. Being just meant living an upright, integrated, and authentic life.

Am I transparent in my dealings, accounts, rules, etc.?

Prayer

Holy Joseph, Man according to the Heart of God you whose heart was afire with ardent charity and whose life was a constant prayer and continual contemplation, direct us in the way of perfection. Obtain for us the grace of which we stand in need, in order to arrive at the sanctity to which we are called particularly, a spirit of prayer, humility, and surrender to God’s will, of which you were the model.

Hymn to St. Joseph 

So let your Church, thus mentored
By faithful, humble life,
See Joseph as a model
For all in daily strife:
To trust your Word whenever
We seem to be distressed,
To do our work with gladness,
To know our love is blessed.

J. Michael Thompson
Copyright © 2010, World Library Publications
76 76 D
AURELIATHAXTED

Source: Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa 
Hymn used with the kind permission of the composer

St. Joseph Novena 2019 – Day 7

Today we continue the novena to St. Joseph. Joseph is so silent in the Gospels, so ordinary, that it took many years for the Church to give him due importance. St. Joseph is special because he reflects in a unique way the love of the Eternal Father for his only begotten Son.

Reading
Matthew 2:13-15

13 Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet, “Out of Egypt I have called my son.”

Reflection

Jesus must live in exile and anguish. Persecution begins with his birth and will follow him until his death. Mary and Joseph are partners with Jesus’ sufferings and saving mission.

What is my contribution to make Jesus known?

Prayer

Lord God, in your loving providence you chose St. Joseph to be the spouse of your holy Mother, grant that we may be worthy to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our holy patron, Amen.

Hymn to St. Joseph 

In Joseph’s care were Jesus
And Mary guarded well,
Provided for and cherished,
As all the stories tell;
And when he died, his spirit
Went forth from them in peace;
Within their arms so loving,
He found his soul’s release.

J. Michael Thompson
Copyright © 2010, World Library Publications
76 76 D
AURELIATHAXTED

Source: Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa 
Hymn used with the kind permission of the composer

St. Joseph Novena 2019 – Day 6

Today we continue the novena to St. Joseph. Joseph is so silent in the Gospels, so ordinary, that it took many years for the Church to give him due importance. St. Joseph is special because he reflects in a unique way the love of the Eternal Father for his only begotten Son.

Reading
Luke 2:1-7

1 In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 All went to their own towns to be registered. 4 Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5 He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn.

Reflection

On account of the census, Joseph and Mary had to leave their Nazareth home at a time the child was to be born. A long tedious journey would have certainly caused much trouble and pain to Joseph and Mary.

How should we express our commitment to obedience and compassion in the socio-cultural context in which we live?

Prayer

Holy Joseph, Man according to the Heart of God you whose heart was afire with ardent charity and whose life was a constant prayer and continual contemplation, direct us in the way of perfection. Obtain for us the grace of which we stand in need, in order to arrive at the sanctity to which we are called particularly, a spirit of prayer, humility, and surrender to God’s will, of which you were the model.

Hymn to St. Joseph 

From David’s line came Joseph,
A just and upright man,
Engaged to Virgin Mary,
And startled by God’s plan.
An angel came and told him
What God’s love had in mind;
Obedient, he trusted,
Left all mistrust behind.

J. Michael Thompson
Copyright © 2010, World Library Publications
76 76 D
AURELIATHAXTED

Source: Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa 
Hymn used with the kind permission of the composer

St. Joseph Novena 2019 – Day 5

Today we continue the novena to St. Joseph. Joseph is so silent in the Gospels, so ordinary, that it took many years for the Church to give him due importance. St. Joseph is special because he reflects in a unique way the love of the Eternal Father for his only begotten Son.

Reading
Matthew 1:18-25

18 This is how Jesus Christ was born. A young woman named Mary was engaged to Joseph from King David’s family. But before they were married, she learned that she was going to have a baby by God’s Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph was a good man and did not want to embarrass Mary in front of everyone. So he decided to quietly call off the wedding.

20 While Joseph was thinking about this, an angel from the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, the baby that Mary will have is from the Holy Spirit. Go ahead and marry her. 21 Then after her baby is born, name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 So the Lord’s promise came true, just as the prophet had said, 23 “A virgin will have a baby boy, and he will be called Immanuel,” which means “God is with us.”

24 After Joseph woke up, he and Mary were soon married, just as the Lord’s angel had told him to do. 25 But they did not sleep together before her baby was born. Then Joseph named him Jesus.

Reflection

The intervention of the angel in the Gospel is not only to reassure Joseph but to inform him of his role in the plan of God. You shall call him Jesus and you will receive him as your Son. How deep is my faith to see the hand of God in the daily events of my life?

Prayer

Lord God, in your loving providence you chose St. Joseph to be the spouse of your holy Mother, grant that we may be worthy to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our holy patron, Amen.

Hymn to St. Joseph 

In Joseph’s care were Jesus
And Mary guarded well,
Provided for and cherished,
As all the stories tell;
And when he died, his spirit
Went forth from them in peace;
Within their arms so loving,
He found his soul’s release

J. Michael Thompson
Copyright © 2010, World Library Publications
76 76 D
AURELIATHAXTED

Source: Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa 
Hymn used with the kind permission of the composer

St. Joseph Novena 2019 – Day 4

Today we continue the novena to St. Joseph. Joseph is so silent in the Gospels, so ordinary, that it took many years for the Church to give him due importance. St. Joseph is special because he reflects in a unique way the love of the Eternal Father for his only begotten Son.

Reading
Jude 20-23

20 But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; 21 keep yourselves in the love of God; look forward to the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. 22 And have mercy on some who are wavering; 23 save others by snatching them out of the fire; and have mercy on still others with fear, hating even the tunic defiled by their bodies.

Reflection

Jude exhorts us to build our lives on the foundation of our faith by praying in the Holy Spirit and to remain firm in the love of God. St. Joseph was a person of unshakeable faith and ardent love.

As love is from above, let us pray:
Lord, furnace of love, set our hearts on fire with divine love. (Thrice)

Prayer

Holy Joseph, Man according to the Heart of God you whose heart was afire with ardent charity and whose life was a constant prayer and continual contemplation, direct us in the way of perfection. Obtain for us the grace of which we stand in need, in order to arrive at the sanctity to which we are called particularly, a spirit of prayer, humility, and surrender to God’s will, of which you were the model.

Hymn to St. Joseph 

From David’s line came Joseph,
A just and upright man,
Engaged to Virgin Mary,
And startled by God’s plan.
An angel came and told him
What God’s love had in mind;
Obedient, he trusted,
Left all mistrust behind.

J. Michael Thompson
Copyright © 2010, World Library Publications
76 76 D
AURELIATHAXTED

Source: Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa 
Hymn used with the kind permission of the composer

St. Joseph Novena 2019 – Day 3

Today we continue the novena to St. Joseph. Joseph is so silent in the Gospels, so ordinary, that it took many years for the Church to give him due importance. St. Joseph is special because he reflects in a unique way the love of the Eternal Father for his only begotten Son.

Reading
Psalm 15

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

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

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

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

Reflection

In imitation of the silence of Saint Joseph, spend three to five minutes (or more!) in silent prayer before the Lord. If you don’t think you can calm yourself for that long, set a timer and let the timer tell you when the time is up. If you need an image to meditate on, imitate St. Teresa of Avila’s method of prayer and picture St. Joseph with the Child Jesus.

Prayer

Lord God, in your loving providence you chose St. Joseph to be the spouse of your holy Mother, grant that we may be worthy to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our holy patron, Amen.

Hymn to St. Joseph 

Your love I’ll sing for ever
Through ev’ry age, O Lord!
Your love endures for ever,
Your covenant and word.
For you have sworn to David:
“His throne shall e’er endure!
My covenant is endless,
My promises are sure!”

J. Michael Thompson
Copyright © 2010, World Library Publications
76 76 D
AURELIATHAXTED

Source: Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa 
Hymn used with the kind permission of the composer

St. Joseph Novena 2019 – Day 2

Today we continue the novena to St. Joseph. Joseph is so silent in the Gospels, so ordinary, that it took many years for the Church to give him due importance. St. Joseph is special because he reflects in a unique way the love of the Eternal Father for his only begotten Son.

Reading
Sirach 1:1-2

1 All wisdom is from the Lord,
and with him it remains forever.
2 The sand of the sea, the drops of rain,
and the days of eternity—who can count them?

Reflection

God is more present to us than we are to ourselves. How can we express the nearness of the Holy God?

Prayer

Lord God, in your loving providence you chose St. Joseph to be the spouse of your holy Mother, grant that we may be worthy to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our holy patron, Amen.

Hymn to St. Joseph 

From David’s line came Joseph,
A just and upright man,
Engaged to Virgin Mary,
And startled by God’s plan.
An angel came and told him
What God’s love had in mind;
Obedient, he trusted,
Left all mistrust behind.

J. Michael Thompson
Copyright © 2010, World Library Publications
76 76 D
AURELIATHAXTED

Source: Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa 
Hymn used with the kind permission of the composer

St. Joseph Novena 2019 – Day 1

Today begins the novena to St. Joseph. Joseph is so silent in the Gospels, so ordinary, that it took many years for the Church to give him due importance. St. Joseph is special because he reflects in a unique way the love of the Eternal Father for his only begotten Son.

Reading
Proverbs 3:3-8

3 Do not let loyalty and faithfulness forsake you;
bind them around your neck,
write them on the tablet of your heart.
4 So you will find favor and good repute
in the sight of God and of people.

5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not rely on your own insight.
6 In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
7 Do not be wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
8 It will be a healing for your flesh
and a refreshment for your body.

 

Reflection

This reading deals with the attitudes leading to wisdom. We see in the life of St. Joseph readiness to sacrifice his own will in order to fulfill God’s plan. Do I seek God’s will in all things?

Prayer

Holy Joseph, Man according to the Heart of God you whose heart was afire with ardent charity and whose life was a constant prayer and continual contemplation, direct us in the way of perfection. Obtain for us the grace of which we stand in need, in order to arrive at the sanctity to which we are called particularly, a spirit of prayer, humility, and surrender to God’s will, of which you were the model.

Hymn to St. Joseph 

Your love I’ll sing for ever
Through ev’ry age, O Lord!
Your love endures for ever,
Your covenant and word.
For you have sworn to David:
“His throne shall e’er endure!
My covenant is endless,
My promises are sure!”

J. Michael Thompson
Copyright © 2010, World Library Publications
76 76 D
AURELIA, THAXTED

Source: Carmelite Sisters of St. Teresa 
Hymn used with the kind permission of the composer

16 December: Blessed Mary of the Angels

December 16
BLESSED MARY OF THE ANGELS
Virgin

Optional Memorial

Born in Turin, Italy, in 1661, she died, after spending her whole life there, in 1717. In 1675 she entered the Discalced Carmelite Convent of St. Christina, and several times filled the offices of Prioress and Novice Mistress. She underwent continual spiritual trials but was constant in her ardent love of God. She was outstandingly faithful to prayer and particularly devoted to St. Joseph, in whose honor a convent was founded through her good offices at Moncalieri.

From the common of virgins

Office of Readings

SECOND READING
From The Way of Perfection by Saint Teresa of Avila
(C 40, nos 3,8 ed. Kavanaugh-Rodriguez 1980, pp. 193-95).

True love for God cannot be hidden

Those who truly love God love every good, desire every good, favor every good, praise every good. They always join, favor, and defend good people. They have no love for anything but truth, and whatever is worthy of love. Do you think it is possible for a person who really loves God to love vanities? No, indeed, he cannot, nor can he love riches, or worldly things, or delights, or honors, or strife, or envy. All of this is so because he seeks only to please the Beloved. These persons go about dying so that their Beloved might love them, and thus they dedicate their lives to learning how they might please him more. Hide itself? Oh, with regard to the love of God—if it is genuine love— this is impossible. If you don’t think so, look at Saint Paul or the Magdalene. Within three days the one began to realize that he was sick with love; that was Saint Paul. The Magdalene knew from the first day; and how well she knew! Love has this characteristic: it can be greater or lesser in degree. Thus, the love makes itself known according to its intensity. When slight, it shows itself but slightly; when strong, it shows itself strongly. But where there is love of God, whether little or great, it is always recognized.

And could one conceal a love that is so strong and just that it always increases and sees no reason to stop since its foundation is made from the cement of being repaid by another love? This other love can no longer be doubted, since it was shown so openly and with so many sufferings and trials, and with the shedding of blood, even to the point of death, in order that we might have no doubt about it.

May it please His Majesty to give us his love before he takes us out of this life, for it will be a great thing at the hour of death to see that we are going to be judged by the One whom we have loved above all things. We shall be able to proceed securely with the judgment concerning our debts. It will not be like going to a foreign country, but like going to our own, because it is the country of one whom we love so much and who loves us.

RESPONSORY

The Lord fulfills the desires of those who fear him, he hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love him.

We know that God makes all things work together for the good of those who love him.
The Lord watches over all who love him.

Morning Prayer

CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH

Ant. To love God is to be truly wise, and wisdom begins with the fear of the Lord.

PRAYER

Lord,
you have told us that you live forever
in the hearts of the chaste.
By the prayers of the virgin Blessed Mary of the Angels
help us to live by your grace
and to become temples of your Spirit.

Grant 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. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.

Maria-degli-Angeli_antique-holy-card

St. Joseph and poverty

From The Book of Her Life: Chapter 35

Continues on the same subject: the foundation of this house of our glorious father St. Joseph. Tells of the means the Lord provided by which holy poverty would be observed in it, the reason why she left the lady she was staying with and returned, and of some other things that happened to her.

His Majesty had already given me great desires for poverty. Thus I didn’t doubt that poverty was the best thing for me, because for a long time I had been desiring that it would be possible for me to go begging for love of God and not have a house or anything. But I feared that if the Lord didn’t give the others these desires, their lives would be unhappy. I also feared that poverty would be the cause of some distraction since I observed certain poor monasteries in which there wasn’t much recollection. I failed to reflect that this lack of recollection was the cause of their being poor and that it was not the practice of poverty that caused their distraction. For distraction won’t make monasteries richer; nor does God ever fail anyone who serves Him. In sum, I had weak faith, which was not true of this servant of God.

I had weak faith

Since I consulted in all things with so many, I nonetheless found almost no one with this opinion, neither my confessor nor the learned men with whom I dealt. They brought out so many reasons against poverty that I didn’t know what to do. Since I knew it was in the rule and saw that observing poverty would be more perfect, I couldn’t persuade myself that the monastery should have an income. And if sometimes they had me convinced, when I returned to prayer and contemplating Christ on the cross, so poor and so naked, I couldn’t patiently accept the idea of being rich. I tearfully begged Him to ordain things so that I would see myself poor, as He was.

I couldn’t persuade myself that the monastery should have an income

At this time, since this lady hadn’t seen the holy Friar Peter of Alcántara, the Lord was pleased through my entreaties that he come to her house. Because he was a true lover of poverty and had practiced it for so many years, he knew well the riches that lay within it; so he helped me a great deal and ordered that I should by no means fail to go through with my plan. With this favorable opinion from one who could give the best opinion since he had known about poverty through wide experience, I made up my mind not to go looking for other opinions.

Excerpt from The Book of Her Life, Chapter 35; The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila 
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. (unless otherwise noted)
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC 
Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

On 24th August 1562, Saint Teresa of Avila founded the first monastery of her Discalced Carmelite reform in Avila, Spain under the patronage of Saint Joseph.

Do you know why?

Because there was a crisis in the Church!

“I cried to the Lord and begged Him that I might remedy so much evil.”

adolfo-lozano-sidro-99
Santa Teresa de Jesús, Adolfo Lozano Sidro, oil on canvas, ca. 1897

 

 

TERESA AVILA - I had hardly slept
Remembering the foundation of the first Discalced Carmelite monastery in Avila on 24 August 1562; Saint Teresa recalled, “I wanted to rest a little since I had hardly slept the whole night, nor had I been without work or worry some of the other nights; and all the days had been truly tiring.” (Life 36:11)

The Marie du jour – May 4

The Virgin, weighed
with the Word of God,
comes down the road:
if only you’ll shelter her.

Saint John of the Cross

Hugo_van_der_Goes_-_Triptyque_Portinari,_détail_4
Detail of Mary and Joseph going to Bethlehem for the census, Portarini Altarpiece Triptych (Left Panel) Hugo van der Goes (Flemish, c. 1440 – 1482) Oil on panel, 1475; Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
Poetry: Christmas Refrain
Copyright © 1991 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

 

The Marie du jour – May 1

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.

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

 

StMartin-in-the-Bullring_Nativity_complete
South transept, south window, by Morris and Co, designed by Burne Jones, 1876-7: detail – Nativity (first use 1872, Castle Howard) – St Martin-in-the-Bullring Church, Birmingham England; photo by Rex Harris

 

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

 

 

 

The poor carpenter Joseph

Excerpted from Scene 2 of The Flight Into Egypt, Pious Recreation 6 by Saint Thérèse of Lisieux (21 January 1896)

Saint Joseph enters, carrying his tools.
THE BLESSED VIRGIN, with a tone of gentle reproach.

Joseph, you’ve been away a long time, why do you work such long days?

SAINT JOSEPH
O, Mary! Let me spend my energy in the service of Jesus. It is for Him and for you that I work; this thought gives me cour­age and helps me to bear fatigue. And then, when I return in the evening, one caress from Jesus, a single glance from you, make me forget the day’s labors.
He wipes the sweat from his brow, then sits down by Alary and looks at the Child Jesus. The Blessed Virgin puts Him on Saint Joseph’s knees; then his face takes on an expression of Celestial joy; he presses the Divine Child to his heart, kisses Him lovingly and. says to Him:
Little Child! How sweet Your smile is!… Is it really true that I, the poor carpenter Joseph, have the happiness of hold­ing in my arms the King of Heaven, the Savior of humanity?… Is it true that I have the sublime mission of being the foster father to Him whose presence satisfies the ardent seraphim and who nourishes even- creature? Is it true that I am the spouse of the Mother of God, the guardian of her virginity?…

O Mary! Tell me, what is this profound mystery?… The Desired of the eternal hills, the Emmanuel for whom all the patriarchs have sighed, sits on my knees and He looks at me, His poor, unworthy servant.

THE BLESSED VIRGIN

Like you, Joseph, I am astonished to be able to press to my heart the Divine Child whose mother I am; I am astonished that a little milk is needful to Him who gives life to the world. (After a long, contemplative silence, Mary continues:) Soon Jesus will grow up and you will have to teach the Creator of the uni­verse how to work…. With you, He will earn His bread by the sweat of His adorable brow….

SAINT JOSEPH

What are you saving, Mary? Must Jesus become a poor workman like me? I’ll never have the courage to see Him hear the reproaches I receive!…

Even today, the rich lord for whom I was working was not happy with my work and sent me away, telling me to seek my fortune elsewhere. After much searching and main rebuffs, I finally found enough work to last a whole month: I’ll be able to do it here at home, a happiness for which I didn’t dare to hope. Not to go away from Jesus and from you, what a consolation!… (Realizing that little Jesus is asleep, he lowers his voice) The Di­me Child is sleeping; take up your Treasure, His bedtime has come. (He kisses Jesus on the forehead, then gives Him to Mary who takes Him respectfully.)

THE BLESSED VIRGIN, softly.

Joseph, may God bless your sleep, rest in peace beneath the gaze of Him whose heart is always watching.

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Holy Family_REMBRANDT_with a curtain

The Holy Family With a Curtain, Rembrandt van Rijn, 1646

 

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