St. John of the Cross Novena — Day 3

If you desire that devotion be born in your spirit and that the love of God and the desire for divine things increase, cleanse your soul of every desire, attachment, and ambition in such a way that you have no concern about anything. Just as a sick person is immediately aware of good health once the bad humor has been thrown off and a desire to eat is felt, so will you recover your health, in God, if you cure yourself as was said. Without doing this, you will not advance no matter how much you do.

Sayings of Light and Love, 78

 

SCRIPTURE

This is what we have heard from him, and the message that we are announcing to you: God is light; there is no darkness in him at all. If we say that we are in union with God while we are living in darkness, we are lying because we are not living the truth. But if we live our lives in the light, as he is in the light, we are in union with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin. If we say we have no sin in us, we are deceiving ourselves and refusing to admit the truth; but if we acknowledge our sins, then God who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and purify us from everything that is wrong. To say that we have never sinned is to call God a liar and to show that his word is not in us.

I am writing this, my children, to stop you sinning; but if anyone should sin, we have our advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, who is just; he is the sacrifice that takes our sins away, and not only ours, but the whole world’s. We can be sure that we know God only by keeping his commandments. Anyone who says, “I know him,” and does not keep his commandments, is a liar, refusing to admit the truth. But when anyone does obey what he has said, God’s love comes to perfection in him. We can be sure that we are in God only when the one who claims to be living in him is living the same kind of life as Christ lived.

1 John 1:5-2:6

 

MEDITATION

“Cleanse your soul,” writes Our Holy Father Saint John of the Cross. This is the medicine, the remedy he prescribes to those who are sin-sick and desire health and wholeness in Christ. Cleansing the soul of all that is not God enables us to grow in devotion, the desire for the things of God, and to grow in the love of God.

What are we cleansing? Desire. Attachment. Ambition. St. John of the Cross leads us on an examination of conscience with these three points.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) provides a veritable smorgasbord of theological and catechetical delights upon which we may feast in its article on the Tenth Commandment. (CCC 2534-2557) “The tenth commandment concerns the intentions of the heart,” and that goes precisely to the heart of the teaching of St. John of the Cross. Although the teaching of the Catechism rightly focuses on “coveting the goods of another” (CCC 2534), St. John would caution us to examine our disordered desires for another’s spiritual goods, not simply temporal goods. Who among us has not desired or envied someone else’s contemplative spirit, prayerful attitude, or Christlike zeal?

The Catechism says that “the sensitive appetite leads us to desire pleasant things we do not have” (CCC 2535). But Our Holy Father John of the Cross explains how his teaching encompasses more than just the senses: “God gathers together all the strength, faculties, and appetites of the soul, spiritual and sensory alike, so the energy and power of this whole harmonious composite may be employed in this love” (Dark Night II, 11:4).

Love: that must be our true ambition. First, to love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength; then, to love our neighbor as ourselves (Lk 10:27). St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus went one step further, praying: “You know, Lord, that my only ambition is to make you known and loved” (Pri 8). If we are willing to do some regular housekeeping, we will progress—step by step— toward the desired state of having “no concern about anything”, just like an infant in its mother’s arms (cf. Ps 131:2).

Saint Raphael Kalinowski, a Discalced Carmelite friar from Poland who learned about the Carmelite order by reading the lives of the saints during years of forced labor in the salt mines of Usole, Siberia, has some housekeeping suggestions for us. May the beauty and depth of his words bring us a message of hope and encouragement as we read and understand the teaching of Our Holy Father St. John of the Cross.

As the raging sea seems to feel displeasure at all that pollutes it, and desires to expel from itself anything foreign, so that the beauty of the mysteries it holds might appear to view in all clarity, so the soul does not tolerate anything within itself unless it is of God or leads to God; approaching confession from the abyss of her misery, she casts off everything, desiring to preserve in herself only the image of God according to which she was created, to look only at him and to rejoice only in him. In her love-filled tears she receives a shower of graces that descend from the wounds of her Savior. The misery of sin makes way for grace, the thorns become roses, and even the very poison of sin changes into an antidote for the soul. Here are the fruits of a good confession: it purifies, heals, fortifies, and beautifies the soul.

All that we have treated so far leads us back to what we discussed at the beginning: imitating our Holy Father by using the means the Savior left us to purify our soul, to preserve the heart ever pure in order to be able to transform it into an altar of the living God, and to become enamored of him in suffering and being despised: Altare Dei, cor nostrum! Humilis corde, cor Christi est [The altar of God is our heart; the humble heart is like the heart of Christ].

In the sketch of the Ascent of Mount Carmel drawn by Our Holy Father John of the Cross, we read: “Here there is no longer any way because for the just . . . there is no law.” This means that if all the prescriptions of the law have as their object the love of God, when this is fully attained, the prescriptions cease of themselves. True repentance, in crushing the heart of man, crushes everything opposed to the love of God and destroys all that does not lead to him…

And all this through Mary.

(Excerpts from On a Good Confession, 24 November 1902)

 

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.

 

jan_od_krzyza_Carmel of Usole PL
Icon of St. John of the Cross venerated by the Discalced Carmelite friars of the Krakow Province at Holy Trinity House of Prayer in Piotrkowice | 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 Bible.

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

Praskiewicz OCD, S 1998, Saint Raphael Kalinowski: An Introduction to his Life and Spirituality, Translated from the Italian by Coonan, T, Griffin OCD, M and Sullivan OCD, L, ICS Publications, Washington, D.C.

St. John of the Cross Novena — Day 2

All for me and nothing for you.

All for you and nothing for me.

Sayings of Light and Love, 100-111

 

SCRIPTURE

I believe nothing can happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For him, I have accepted the loss of everything, and I look on everything as so much rubbish if only I can have Christ and be given a place in him. I am no longer trying for perfection by my own efforts, the perfection that comes from the Law, but I want only the perfection that comes through faith in Christ, and is from God and based on faith. All I want is to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and to share his sufferings by reproducing the pattern of his death. That is the way I can hope to take my place in the resurrection of the dead. Not that I have become perfect yet: I have not yet won, but I am still running, trying to capture the prize for which Christ Jesus captured me. I can assure you my brothers, I am far from thinking that I have already won. All I can say is that I forget the past and I strain ahead for what is still to come; I am racing for the finish, for the prize to which God calls us upward to receive in Christ Jesus. We who are called “perfect” must all think in this way. If there is some point on which you see things differently, God will make it clear to you; meanwhile, let us go forward on the road that has brought us to where we are.

Philippians 3:8-16

 

MEDITATION

“Nothing for me.” The nada—that absolute, naked, utter nothing—of Saint John of the Cross can seem so stark, even off-putting to a novice reader of the Church’s Mystical Doctor. Nothing for me? How can this be?

In order to unpack these absolutes, it helps to have a reference point. Saint Paul can help us to understand the purpose of striving for such nakedness, such emptiness, the possession of nothing to the point of being nothing.

In the verses preceding our Scripture reading, St. Paul lists all the reasons that he had to boast of his “Hebrew-ness”. He even calls himself a “Hebrew of Hebrews.” That’s a rather bold statement. Yet despite all of his reasons to boast of his Hebrew and Pharisee pedigree, he says that nothing can happen that will outweigh the supreme advantage of knowing Christ Jesus.” (Ph 3:8) There’s that absolute qualifier again: nothing.

But Paul doesn’t stop there, he goes further: “For Him, I have accepted the loss of everything, and I look on everything as so much rubbish.” St. Paul is getting out his virtual work gloves, his virtual broom, dustpan, trash bags, and taking inventory of his life as one would assess their home and property with an insurance adjuster after a fire or natural disaster, understanding that all one possessed is a total loss, ready to be hauled away with the garbage.

Ah, but there’s a reason for rejoicingclearing away the rubbish creates total and absolute room for Christ: “if only I can have Christ and be given a place in Him.”

This contrast of self-emptying to be filled with something greater in St. John of the Cross and St. Paul the Apostle reminds us of the self-emptying in the life of Christ:

Who, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name. (Ph 2:6-9)

And as we look at St. Paul’s words, it is interesting to look further at his all-or-nothing contrasts. We know what he considers to be nothing, a pile of rubbish. With what does he seek to replace it? Let’s search his text for the simple word, all. “All I want is to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and to share his sufferings by reproducing the pattern of his death… All I can say is that I forget the past and I strain ahead for what is still to come” (Ph 3:10,13). Yes, nothing for me leaves all for you. That is, essentially, what St. John of the Cross said, in the stark all-and-nothing contrast of his saying, todo para ti y nada para mí.

If the nada of St. John of the Cross and the rubbish-heap imagery of St. Paul still leave us wondering how to attain such noble, holy aspirations, it is St. Paul’s great disciple, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity who can show us the way. In her retreat Heaven in Faith (First Day, second prayer) she writes:

We must not, so to speak, stop at the surface, but enter ever deeper into the divine Being through recollection. “I am still running,” exclaimed St. Paul (Ph 3:12); so must we descend daily this pathway of the Abyss which is God; let us slide down this slope in wholly loving trust. “Deep calls to deep” (Ps 42:8). It is there in the very depths that the divine impact takes place, where the abyss of our nothingness encounters the Abyss of mercy, the immensity of the all of God. There we will find the strength to die to ourselves and, losing all vestige of self, we will be changed into love…. “Blessed are those who die in the Lord” (Rev 14:13)!

 

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.

 

StJohn_Orleans-France
Orléans, France

 

 

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 Bible.

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

of the Trinity, E 2014, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 1: General Introduction Major Spiritual Writings, translated from the French by Kane, A, ICS Publications, Washington DC

St. John of the Cross Novena — Day 1

Those who trust in themselves are worse than the devil.

Sayings of Light and Love, 166

 

SCRIPTURE

He also told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, ‘God, I thank thee that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, I give tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other; for every one who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Luke 18:9-14

 

MEDITATION

“Jesus told this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous,” the Gospel tells us. And let’s notice that the conclusion of the parable is a mirror image of the song that Jesus’ own Mother sang in the home of her cousin Elizabeth: Deposuit potentes de sede, et exaltavit humiles (“He has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate,” Lk 1:52).

Another interesting item to note in the parable is the conscience of the tax collector, who was painfully aware of his sinfulness. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) states that a “well-formed conscience is upright and truthful”, thus the “education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.” (CCC 1783) This education is “a lifelong task.” (CCC 1784)

So how is the conscience formed?

In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path, we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord’s Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church. (CCC 1785)

If self-trust is worse than the devil, i.e. “Satan, the Evil One, the angel who opposes God…. the one who ‘throws himself across’ God’s plan and his work of salvation accomplished in Christ” (CCC 2851) then the virtue to conquer that vice would be to trust in God.

When we say ‘God’ we confess a constant, unchangeable being, always the same, faithful and just, without any evil. It follows that we must necessarily accept his words and have complete faith in him and acknowledge his authority. He is almighty, merciful, and infinitely beneficent. Who could not place all hope in him? Who could not love him when contemplating the treasures of goodness and love he has poured out on us? (CCC 2086)

St. Thérèse of Lisieux, one of St. John of the Cross’ foremost disciples responds to these rhetorical questions in these, her last written words:

It is not in the first place, but in the last place that I start out; instead of getting ahead with the Pharisee, I repeat, full of trust, the humble prayer of the tax collector; but especially I imitate Magdalene’s attitude, her amazing or rather her daring love that charms the Heart of Jesus, captivates my very own heart. Yes, I feel it, even if I had on my conscience all the sins that can be committed, I would go, heartbroken with repentance, and throw myself into Jesus’ arms, because I know just how much He cherishes the prodigal child who has returned to Him. It is not because God, in His gracious, prevenient mercy, has preserved my soul from mortal sin that I stand up and go to Him in trust and love… (Ms C 36v-37r)

 

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.

 

Jean-de-la-croix_peinture-de-celine-martin
Image of St. John of the Cross painted by Sr. Genevieve of the Holy Face, OCD (Céline Martin) | 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 Bible.

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

Venerable Anne of Jesus: It’s official!

The Bulletin from the Holy See Press Office shared the happy news on 29 November:

“On 28 November 2019, the Holy Father Francis received in audience His Eminence Cardinal Angelo Becciu, prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. During the audience, the Supreme Pontiff authorized the Congregation to promulgate the Decrees regarding…”

Anne of Jesus

For many years Carmelites have lovingly ascribed the title of venerable to Mother Anne of Jesus, as you see in the featured image above and the detail below. Saint Thérèse of Lisieux—who was not much of a devotée of the foundress of Carmel in France—nevertheless referred to Mother Anne as “the venerable Mother Anne of Jesus” in her second manuscript (Ms B 2r) of Story of a Soul.

Without the least hesitation, I recognized the venerable Mother Anne of Jesus, Foundress of Carmel in France.

 

Venerable Mere Anne de Jesus Ms B 2r

 

Now, let there be no doubt that the heroicity of her virtues has been recognized and that she rightly merits the title of Venerable.

Blessed be God in His angels and in His saints!

 

Ana-de-Jesus
Venerable Anne of Jesus pictured in Stella Maris Church, Haifa

 

Quote of the day: 20 November

November 23, 1887
Wednesday

My dear little sisters,

Rejoice! it is when all seemed lost that all is gained… We went to Naples and Pompeii yesterday and the day before with Mme. Bénard. During this time, Papa went to see the superior of the Brothers, to shake his hand and to thank him for the recep­tion he had given him two years ago with M. l’abbé Marie. The Brother was charmed. Papa spoke to him frankly; he recounted the audience we had on Sunday, Thérèse’s desires, her request, all the ups and downs, the sadness she experienced. The superior knew that Marie, Papa’s oldest daughter, had entered Carmel. He had never seen such a thing and he was very much enthused about our family. He understood this very well, and he him­self—if he had not entered the Brothers when young—believes that he would not have gone, and he thanked God every day for having called him when young (he is fifty years a Brother). He was noting down what Papa was saying about Thérèse, and he offered to speak about her to M. Révérony. But listen to the very end:

Papa stood up to leave and whom did he see enter but M. Révé­rony!… You may judge his surprise and that of the brother. M. Révérony was very much charmed by Papa; he seemed to be re­pentant. He reminded Papa that the Sovereign Pontiff had spo­ken to him particularly, because [M. Révérony] had introduced him by telling the pope that two of his daughters were Carmelites. Papa asked him if he had heard anything regarding the bishop’s decision, and he added: “You know very well that you had prom­ised to help me.” What a good Father! Then he recounted Thé­rèse’s grief at the audience and especially when he had replied that the matter was being examined by the superiors, etc. M. Révérony was touched, I believe, and he is beginning to believe that Thérèse’s vocation is extraordinary. He even said: “Well! I will assist at the ceremony; I’m inviting myself.” Papa told him he would be happy to have him and all sorts of amiable things were exchanged between them. That is what Papa told us this morning—I could not keep this in and I am writing to you immediately. To show you the promptitude with which I am writing this, I hardly waited for Papa to finish and in the office of the hotel I seized a piece of paper and a pen and here I am!….

Are you happy, dear little sisters? Perhaps even before this let­ter, you have some rays of hope, perhaps you even know more good news than we do. I believe we have won M. Révérony’s sym­pathy. Thérèse was so pretty at the feet of the Holy Father. She was kneeling at his feet, her hands joined on the pope’s knees, and her eyes were so pleading! It was beautiful to see her this way, and then I followed, in tears, asking for a blessing for the Carmel. This scene was touching, I assure you.

It could have influenced M. Révérony. So all goes well, what joy! I believe the trials are quite close to being over. . . .

Au revoir my darlings. We must go to dinner.

Your little Céline

Pisa, Hôtel de la Minerve Nice, Beau Rivage Marseille, Grand Hôtel de Marseille, you know the dates.

Letter from Céline to Agnes of Jesus and Marie of the Sacred Heart

 

Céline1903-TH-et-LeonXIII_fusain
Thérèse kneels at the feet of Pope Leo XIII, charcoal drawing by Céline Martin | Image credit: Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux

Quote of the day: 16 November

Dear little Aunt, since she has been on the mountain of Carmel, your little Thérèse feels still more deeply, if that be possible, the af­fection she has for you; the more she learns to love Jesus, the greater, too, becomes her tenderness for her dear relatives.

The little gift which our good Mother was happy to have made for your feast will tell you better than I, dear Aunt, what I am powerless to tell you. My heart is filled with emotion when seeing this poor hair which undoubtedly has no other value but the delicate workmanship and the gracefulness of its arrangement, but which nevertheless was loved by him whom God took away from us.

Dear little Aunt, do you understand? I am happy when seeing it is to her—who is dearest to me in this life, after my Father—this hair is offered, which he would have received with so much pleasure.

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

Letter 133 to Mme. Guérin (excerpt)
16 November 1891

 

hair Buissonets
The beautiful, long hair of Saint Thérèse hangs over her bed in the family home, Les Buissonets, in Lisieux | Marc_Dan / Flickr, as published in “Les cheveux de sainte Thérèse, ou le sacré comme dispositif” by Marie Caillat, Les Cahiers de l’École du Louvre, 2/2013

 

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Online Retreat 2019 — Advent

Online Retreat 2019

Advent

With François de Sainte-Marie

Communing in the life of grace with Mary


Dear friends, here we are once again to invite you to live this Advent in a spirit of communion through an online retreat prepared especially for you by the Discalced Carmelite friars. 

If you are already registered and have received the meditations from one of the previous retreats, you do not need to register again and it is not too late to register even though Advent has begun.

However, don’t hesitate to extend an invitation to your friends and acquaintances so that they can register using the form on the website www.retreat-online.karmel.at

We suggest that you download the A4 poster and distribute it to your Christian community, parish, ecclesial movement, association, or prayer group. You also can promote this initiative through social media.

Inviting others to pray through the retreat is an excellent way to evangelize and witness to your faith.

This Advent we will be guided by the writings of Father François de Sainte-Marie, a Discalced Carmelite friar from the Paris province who consecrated his brief life (1910-1961) to pass on the treasures of the Carmelite heritage. His best-known project was the publication of the autograph manuscripts of Thérèse of Lisieux, under the title Autobiographical Manuscripts, which today is published under the title Story of a Soul. It brings to light his knowledge of the doctrine of little Thérèse, his scientific mind, and at the same time a great human sensitivity.

At the end of November, you will receive the first introductory text of this Advent retreat. Then you will receive the meditations for each of the 4 weeks of Advent, with the following themes:

– 1st Sunday: Return to the Gospel

– 2nd Sunday: Outstanding educator

– 3rd Sunday: Delight of the little ones

– 4th Sunday: Abyss of grace

Christmas: “True Marian devotion”

The content will be available so that you may organize your moments of meditation during the week. The texts were prepared by Discalced Carmelite friars from Avon, France, and the translation into English was prepared by Secular Carmelites from North America.

The online retreat is free of charge. You can register or unsubscribe at any time.  

If you have any difficulty in receiving the meditations, please send an email to: webretiro@karmel.at

With this invitation to the online retreat, we extend our sincere wishes for a blessed Advent!

Carmelite Quotes on behalf of

fr. Roberto Maria OCD
and the Discalced Carmelites in Austria

Quote of the day: 29 October

Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation
of the Holy Father John Paul II

VITA CONSECRATA

On the consecrated life and its mission in the Church and in the world


The prophetic character of the consecrated life

 

84. The prophetic character of the consecrated life was strongly emphasized by the Synod Fathers. It takes the shape of a special form of sharing in Christ’s prophetic office, which the Holy Spirit communicates to the whole People of God. There is a prophetic dimension which belongs to the consecrated life as such, resulting from the radical nature of the following of Christ and of the subsequent dedication to the mission characteristic of the consecrated life.

The sign value, which the Second Vatican Council acknowledges in the consecrated life, is expressed in prophetic witness to the primacy which God and the truths of the Gospel have in the Christian life. Because of this pre-eminence, nothing can come before personal love of Christ and of the poor in whom he lives.

The Patristic tradition has seen a model of monastic religious life in Elijah, courageous prophet and friend of God. He lived in God’s presence and contemplated his passing by in silence; he interceded for the people and boldly announced God’s will; he defended God’s sovereignty and came to the defense of the poor against the powerful of the world (cf. 1 Kg 18-19).

In the history of the Church, alongside other Christians, there have been men and women consecrated to God who, through a special gift of the Holy Spirit, have carried out a genuinely prophetic ministry, speaking in the name of God to all, even to the Pastors of the Church.

True prophecy is born of God, from friendship with him, from attentive listening to his word in the different circumstances of history. Prophets feel in their hearts a burning desire for the holiness of God and, having heard his word in the dialogue of prayer, they proclaim that word with their lives, with their lips and with their actions, becoming people who speak for God against evil and sin.

Prophetic witness requires the constant and passionate search for God’s will, for self-giving, for unfailing communion in the Church, for the practice of spiritual discernment and love of the truth. It is also expressed through the denunciation of all that is contrary to the divine will and through the exploration of new ways to apply the Gospel in history, in expectation of the coming of God’s Kingdom.

 

Extraordinary Definitory India February 2015
Discalced Carmelite Friars from Spain, Lebanon, and India gather at the Extraordinary Definitory Meeting in India, February 2019 | Photo credit: Discalced Carmelite General Curia (Used by permission)

 


Father Jesús Castellano Cervera, O.C.D. was one of the group of religious who served as experts and auditors at the 1994 Ninth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops that convened in Rome from 2 – 29 October 1994. The topic of discussion among the synod members was “The Consecrated Life and Its Role in the Church and in the World”.

In 1995 at the international Encuentro for the Familia Teresiana of Saint Enrique de Ossó, Father Jesús Castellano shared a few of his impressions of the 1994 Synod from the Carmelite perspective. We are grateful to Father Iván de Jesús Mora Pernía, O.C.D. for transcribing Father Castellano’s remarks so that we might share them with our readers. The Spanish translation is our own.

We were able to note from within the Synod the presence of Carmel in the Church through the resonance of our figures who frequently were called exemplary witnesses and models of consecrated life in history. Thérèse of Lisieux was in first place among our most remembered saints. There were those who officially requested in the synod hall that she should be declared a Doctor of the Church. Teresa of Jesus and John of the Cross and other saints of ours were named very frequently. From the patriarchs of the Eastern Churches came a word of thanks for the history of Carmel in their Churches and for the patient presence that is still alive in the regions of the Middle East such as Iraq, Lebanon,  and Egypt. The Secretary-General of the Synod at the end had a very special memory for St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, “that woman who has been an excellent witness of consecrated life in the mission of the Church” and made her famous texts resonate in the Synod hall: “In the heart of the Church I will be love”. John Paul II in the final homily of the Synod wanted to remember how our three best-known saints are present in the history of the holiness of the Church written by the religious: Teresa of Jesus and John of the Cross at the time of the Protestant Reformation, and Thérèse of Lisieux, closest to us.

Ste. Thérèse Novena IX

O Queen of martyrs, till the evening of your life
That sorrowful sword will pierce your heart,
Already you must leave your native land
To flee a king’s jealous fury.
Jesus sleeps in peace under the folds of your veil.
Joseph comes begging you to leave at once,
And at once your obedience is revealed.
You leave without delay or reasoning.

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, remember your promise to do good on earth; send your shower of roses in abundance on those who call upon you, and obtain for us from God the graces we are waiting to receive from His infinite goodness.

 

saint-therese-of-lisieux46_1oct97infirmary TWsize
1 Oct 1897 | Photo credit: © Office Central de Lisieux / archives-carmel-lisieux.fr

 

¡Oh, Reina de los mártires, hasta el fin de tu vida
la espada dolorosa traspasará tu pecho !
Habrás de abandonar el suelo de tu patria,
para evitar de un rey el furor traicionero.
En paz duerme Jesús, a quien tu mano abriga,
cuando José te avisa que habéis de partir luego.
Tu obediencia es puntual y enseguida se apresta
y partís sin demora y sin razonamientos.

Santa “Teresita”, recuerda tu promesa de “hacer bien en la tierra” y que enviarías “lluvia de rosas” sobre quienes te invoquen. Obtenme de Dios las gracias que quiero de su infinita bondad. 

 


This text is an excerpt from the poem, Why I Love You, O Mary Read more

Este texto es un extracto del poema Por qué te amo, María Leer más 

1 October: Saint Therese of the Child Jesus

October 1
SAINT THERESE OF THE CHILD JESUS
Virgin and Doctor of the Church

Feast

Thérèse Martin was born at Alencon in 1873. At the age of fifteen she entered the Carmel at Lisieux. She practiced heroic humility, evangelical simplicity and trust in God, and taught the novices these virtues by word and example. She offered her life for the salvation of souls and the growth of the Church. She died September 30, 1897.

Invitatory

Ant. The Lord reveals himself to little ones; come, let us worship him.

Invitatory psalm, as in the Ordinary.

Office of Readings

Hymn

Let all who lovingly avow
Those gifts the Christ Child came to share
Acclaim Thérèse’s virtues now
And praise her name in song and prayer.

Her patroness and mother chose
The lofty peaks of Carmel’s height
And there Thérèse in fervor goes
To follow Christ, her one delight.

Inspired by Jesus to convey
Amazing secrets of his grace,
She taught the world the simple way
Of childhood that the Gospels trace.

More like an angel than a child
She gathered virtue’s flowers at will
By whose sweet scent was God beguiled,
Whose tender fragrance charms us still.

Yet joy itself could not portray
The surge of her immense desire
Nor cloister walls have strength to stay
A love that swept the world like fire.

All glory, Jesus, be to you
This day revealed to little ones,
To Father and blest Spirit, too,
While age on age forever runs.

L.M.
Nomen decusque concinant

Ant. 1 Your mercy will follow me all the days of my life.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd, *
there is nothing I shall want.

Fresh and green are the pastures *
where he gives me repose.

Near restful waters he leads me, *
To revive my drooping spirit.

He guides me along the right path; *
he is true to his name.

If I should walk in the valley of darkness *
no evil would I fear.

You are there with your crook and your staff; *
with these you give me comfort.

You have prepared a banquet for me *
in the sight of my foes.

My head you have anointed with oil; *
my cup is overflowing.

Surely goodness and kindness shall follow me *
all the days of my life.

In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell *
forever and ever.

Ant. Your mercy will follow me all the days of my life.

Ant. 2 See what love the Father has shown us, to let us be called children of God; yet that is what we are.

Psalm 103

My soul, give thanks to the Lord, *
all my being, bless his holy name.

My soul, give thanks to the Lord *
and never forget all his blessings.

It is he who forgives all your guilt *
who heals every one of your ills,

who redeems your life from the grave, *
who crowns you with love and compassion,

who fills your life with good things, *
renewing your youth like an eagle’s.

The Lord does deeds of justice, *
gives judgment for all who are oppressed.

He made known his ways to Moses *
and his deeds to Israel’s sons.

The Lord is compassion and love, *
slow to anger and rich in mercy.

His wrath will come to an end; *
he will not be angry forever.

He does not treat us according to our sins *
nor repay us according to our faults.

For as the heavens are high above the earth *
so strong is his love for those who fear him.

Ant. See what love the Father has shown us, to let us be called children of God; yet that is what we are.

Ant. 3 The Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and believed in me.

As far as the east is from the west *
so far does he remove our sins.

As a father has compassion on his sons, *
the Lord has pity on those who fear him;

for he knows of what we are made, *
he remembers that we are dust.

As for man, his days are like grass; *
he flowers like the flower of the field;

the wind blows and he is gone *
and his place never sees him again.

But the love of the Lord is everlasting *
upon those who hold him in fear;

his justice reaches out to children’s children +
when they keep his covenant in truth, *
when they keep his will in their mind.

The Lord has set his sway in heaven *
and his kingdom is ruling over all.

Give thanks to the Lord, all his angels, +
mighty in power, fulfilling his word, *
who heed the voice of his word.

Give thanks to the Lord, all his hosts, *
his servants who do his will.

Give thanks to the Lord, all his works, *
in every place where he rules.

My soul, *
give thanks to the Lord!

Ant. The Father himself loves you, because you have loved me and believed in me.

Your word is a lamp for my feet
And a light on my path.

First Reading
From the first letter of the apostle Paul to the Corinthians

I Cor. 12:12, 27-31; 13:1-13

You together are Christ’s body, but each of you is a different part of it

The body is one and has many members, but all the members, many though they are, are one body; and so it is with Christ. You, then, are the body of Christ. Every one of you is a member of it. Furthermore, God has set up in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracle workers, healers, assistants, administrators, and those who speak in tongues. Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles or have the gift of healing? Do all speak in tongues, all have the gift of interpretation of tongues? Set your hearts on the greater gifts.

Now I will show you the way which surpasses all the others. If I speak with human tongues and angelic as well, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong, a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and, with full knowledge, comprehend all mysteries, if I have faith great enough to move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give everything I have to feed the poor and hand over my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient; love is kind. Love is not jealous; it does not put on airs; it is not snobbish. Love is never rude; it is not self-seeking; it is not prone to anger; neither does it brood over injuries. Love does not rejoice in what is wrong, but rejoices with the truth. There is no limit to love’s forbearance, to its trust, its hope, its power to endure.

Love never fails. Prophecies will cease, tongues will be silent, knowledge will pass away. Our knowledge is imperfect and our prophesying is imperfect. When the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. When I was a child I used to talk like a child, think like a child, reason like a child. When I became a man I put childish ways aside. Now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. My knowledge is imperfect now; then I shall know even as I am known. There are in the end three things that last: faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love.

Responsory

When I am lifted up from the earth,
I will draw all people to myself.

Fragrant is the scent of your perfume; let us follow in your footsteps.
I will draw all people to myself.

Second Reading
From the autobiography of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus

(MS B, f. 3r-3v: ed. J. Clarke 1975, pp. 193-94)

In the heart of the Church I shall be love

My desires caused me a veritable martyrdom, and I opened the Epistles of Saint Paul to find some kind of answer. Chapters Twelve and Thirteen of the First Epistle to the Corinthians fell under my eyes. I read there, in the first of these chapters, that all cannot be apostles, prophets, doctors, etc., that the Church is composed of different members, and that the eye cannot be the hand at one and the same time. The answer was clear, but it did not fulfill my desires and gave me no peace. Without becoming discouraged, I continued my reading, and this sentence consoled me: Yet strive after the better gifts, and I point out to you a yet more excellent way. And the Apostle explains how all the most perfect gifts are nothing without Love. That Charity is the excellent way that leads most surely to God.

I finally had rest. Considering the mystical body of the Church, I had not recognized myself in any of the members described by Saint Paul, or rather I desired to see myself in them all. Charity gave me the key to my vocation. I understood that if the Church had a body composed of different members, the most necessary and most noble of all could not be lacking to it, and so I understood that the Church had a heart and that this heart was burning with love. I understood it was love alone that made the Church’s members act; that if love ever became extinct, apostles would not preach the Gospel and martyrs would not shed their blood. I understood that love comprised all vocations, that love was everything, that it embraced all times and places… in a word, that it was eternal!

Then, in the excess of my delirious joy, I cried out, “O Jesus, my Love… my vocation, at last I have found it… My vocation is Love!”

Yes, I have found my place in the Church and it is you, O my God, who have given me this place; in the heart of the Church, my Mother, I shall be love. Thus I shall be everything, and thus my dream will be realized.

Responsory

Joy and gladness fill my heart;
the Lord has been merciful to me.

He has looked with favor on his lowly servant and taken account of my soul’s needs.
the Lord has been merciful to me.

Where the Vigil Office is celebrated:

Canticles (Alternative 1)

Ant. The Lord spread his wings like an eagle; he lifted her up and bore her on his shoulders. The Lord alone was her leader.

Canticle I

Dt 32:3-7, 10-12

The deeds of kindness which God wrought for his people

How often have I longed to gather your children as a hen gathers her young under her wings (Mt 23:37)

I shall praise the name of the Lord. *
O give glory to this God of ours!
The Rock – his deeds are perfect, *
and all his ways are just,
a faithful God, without deceit, *
a God who is right and just.

Those whom he begot unblemished *
have become crooked, false, perverse.
Is it thus you repay the Lord, *
O senseless and foolish people?
Is he not your father who created you, *
he who made you, on whom you depend?

Remember the days of old, *
consider the years that are past;
ask your father and he will show you, *
ask your elders and they will tell you.

Israel God found him in a wilderness, *
in fearful, desolate wastes;
he surrounded him, he lifted him up, *
he kept him as the apple of his eye.

Like an eagle that watches its nest, *
that hovers over its young,
so he spread his wings; he took him, *
placed him on his outstretched wings.
The Lord alone was his guide *
and no other god was with him.

Canticle II

Song 1:3-4a; 2:8-10; 3:1b-2, 4bc

The faithful soul finds the beloved

Where have you hidden yourself, my Beloved? (St. John of the Cross)

Your name is oil poured out; *
therefore the maidens love you.
Draw me after you, let us make haste; *
your anointing oils are fragrant.
The king has brought me into his chambers; *
we will exult and rejoice in you.

The voice of my beloved:
Behold, he comes, *
leaping upon the mountains, bounding over the hills.
My beloved is like a gazelle, *
or a young stag.
Behold, there he stands behind our wall, *
gazing in at the windows, looking through the lattice.

My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my fair one, *
and come away.”

I sought him whom my soul loves; *
I sought him, but found him not.
“I will rise now and go about the city; *
in the streets and in the squares
I will seek him whom my soul loves;” *
I sought him, but found him not.

I found him whom my soul loves. *
I held him, and would not let him go.

Canticle III

Song 4:8ab, 9bc, 12, 15; 5:2; 6:3; 8:6-7a

The strength of love

Love turns labor into rest (St. Teresa of Jesus)

Come with me from Lebanon, my bride; *
come with me from Lebanon.
You have ravished my heart with a glance of your eyes, *
with one jewel of your necklace.

A garden locked is my sister, my bride, *
a garden locked, a fountain sealed.
A garden fountain, a well of living water, *
and flowing streams from Lebanon.

I slept, but my heart was awake. *
Hark! my beloved is knocking.
“Open to me, my sister, my love, *
my dove, my perfect one,
for my head is wet with dew, *
my locks with the drops of the night.”

I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine; *
he pastures his flock among the lilies.
Set me as a seal upon your heart, *
as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death, *
jealousy is cruel as the grave.

Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a most vehement flame. *
Many waters cannot quench love.

Ant. The Lord spread his wings like an eagle; he lifted her up and bore her on his shoulders. The Lord alone was her leader.

Gospel (Alternative 1)

Jn 17:17-26

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

I have sent them into the world

Jesus raised his eyes to heaven and said:

Holy Father,
consecrate them in the truth;
your word is truth.
As you sent me into the world,
I have sent them into the world,
and for their sake I consecrate myself
so that they too may be consecrated in truth.
I pray not only for these,
but for those also
who through their words will believe in me.
May they all be one.
Father, may they be one in us,
as you are in me and I am in you,
so that the world may believe it was you who sent me.
I have given them the glory you gave to me,
that they may be one as we are one.
With me in them and you in me,
may they be so completely one
that the world will realize that it was you who sent me
and that I have loved them as much as you loved me.

Father,
I want those you have given me
to be with me where I am,
so that they may always see the glory
you have given me
because you loved me
before the foundation of the world.
Father, Righteous One,
the world has not known you,
but I have known you,
and these have known
that you have sent me.
I have made your name known to them
and will continue to make it known
so that the love with which you loved me may be in them,
and so that I may be in them.

Gospel (Alternative 2)

Jn 15:1-13

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty

Jesus said to his disciples:

“I am the true vine,
and my Father is the vinedresser.
Every branch in me that bears no fruit
he cuts away,
and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes
to make it bear even more.
You are pruned already,
by means of the word that I have spoken to you.
Make your home in me, as I make mine in you.
As a branch cannot bear fruit all by itself,
but must remain part of the vine,
neither can you unless you remain in me.
I am the vine,
you are the branches.
Whoever remains in me, with me in him,
bears fruit in plenty;
for cut off from me you can do nothing.
Anyone who does not remain in me
is like a branch that has been thrown away
-he withers;
these branches are collected and thrown on the fire,
and they are burned.
If you remain in me
and my words remain in you,
you may ask what you will
and you shall get it.
It is to the glory of my Father that you should bear much fruit,
and then you will be my disciples.
As the Father has loved me,
so I have loved you.
Remain in my love.
If you keep my commandments
you will remain in my love,
just as I have kept my Father’s commandments
and remain in his love.
I have told you this
so that my own joy may be in you
and your joy be complete.
This is my commandment:
love one another,
as I have loved you.
A man can have no greater love
than to lay down his life for his friends.

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

God our Father,
you have promised your kingdom
to those who are willing to become like little children.
Help us to follow the way of Saint Thérèse with confidence
so that by her prayers
we may come to know your eternal glory.

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

 

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Morning Prayer

Hymn

Her boundless love for Christ her Lord
Impels Thérèse to greater things.
The martyr’s and apostle’s crown
To crown of virgins now she brings.

To be a victim of God’s love
Her heart aglow with mystic fire,
She begs her Spouse by love consume
Her life, a holocaust entire.

When death, the herald of true life,
Brings to its close, her life’s brief race,
She calls, “I love you” as she dies
And hastens to meet Christ’s embrace.

Now savoring all heaven’s joys,
The glories by her virtues won,
May she that shower of roses send
Which once she promised to her own.

O King of meek and gentle heart
Who for the little ones prepare
Your feast, grant us who follow her
In childlike trust, to enter there.

All praise be to the Father now,
Praise also to his only Son,
The Spirit in all virgin souls,
As ages endless through time run.

88.88.
Immensa Christi caritas

Psalmody

Ant. 1 My soul clings to you; with your right hand you have raised me up.

Psalms and canticle from Sunday, Week I

Ant. 2 You holy and humble of heart, bless the Lord.

Ant. 3 The Lord takes delight in his people, and crowns the humble with salvation.

Reading

Romans 8:14-17

All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. You did not receive a spirit of slavery leading you back into fear, but a spirit of adoption through which we cry out, “Abba!” (that is, “Father”). The Spirit himself gives witness with our spirit that we are children of God. But if we are children, we are heirs as well; heirs of God, heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so as to be glorified with him.

Responsory

See, I will pour out upon her a river of peace.
See, I will pour out upon her a river of peace.

The glory of the nations like an overflowing stream,
a river of peace.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
See, I will pour out upon her a river of peace.

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. Pray to the Lord of the harvest that he send laborers into his harvest.

Intercessions

Our Lord Jesus Christ has given Saint Thérèse to us as a model of the evangelical life. Let us pray to him and say:

R/. Hear us, O Lord.

Lord, you said, “Whoever is thirsty, let him come to me and drink;”
give us an intense thirst for your love.

Lord, you said, “If you do not become as little children, you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven,”
help us to love you in simplicity of heart.

Lord, you told us, “There is joy in heaven over one sinner who repents;”
help us to have a childlike trust in your mercy.

Lord, you said, “Whoever does the will of my Father will enter the kingdom of heaven,”
give us a spirit of faithful obedience to all your commands.

Lord, you said, “Whatsoever you do to one of the least of my brethren you do to me;”
may we see you today in our brothers and sisters, and love you in them.

Lord, you said, “The harvest is great, but the laborers are few; pray therefore to the Lord of the harvest, that he send laborers into the harvest;”
give to all of us the missionary spirit of Saint Thérèse, who longed for the salvation of souls.

Our Father…

Prayer

God our Father,
you have promised your kingdom
to those who are willing to become like little children.
Help us to follow the way of Saint Thérèse with confidence
so that by her prayers
we may come to know your eternal glory.

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

 

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Daytime Prayer

Psalms from the current weekday.

Midmorning

Ant. The Lord chose you for his own, to praise him and give glory to his name.

Reading

2 Corinthians 12:9b-10

I willingly boast of my weakness instead, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I am content with weakness, with mistreatment, with distress, with persecutions and difficulties for the sake of Christ; for when I am powerless, it is then that I am strong.

The Lord is my strength and my song.
In you I trust; I shall not be put to shame.

Midday 

Ant. The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to little ones.

Reading

1 John 4:17-19

Our love is brought to perfection in this,
that we should have confidence on the day of judgment:
for our relation to this world is just like his.
Love has no room for fear;
rather, perfect love casts out all fear.
And since fear has to do with punishment,
love is not yet perfect in one who is afraid.
We, for our part, love
because he first loved us.

You, Lord, are our Father, our Redeemer.
From eternity this is your name.

Midafternoon

Ant. The Lord looks kindly on the prayer of the needy, and his word is addressed to the lowly.

Reading

1 John 3:1-2

See what love the Father has bestowed on us
in letting us be called children of God!
Yet that is what we are.
The reason the world does not recognize us
is that it never recognized the Son.
Dearly beloved,
we are God’s children now;
what we shall later be has not yet come to light.
We know that when it comes to light
we shall be like him,
for we shall see him as he is.

I will run in the way of your commandments.
For you have given greatness to my heart.

Prayer

God our Father,
you have promised your kingdom
to those who are willing to become like little children.
Help us to follow the way of Saint Thérèse with confidence
so that by her prayers
we may come to know your eternal glory.

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

 

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Evening Prayer

Hymn

From clear high mansions of that shining palace
Where you enjoy the light of God’s dear presence,
And plead our causes, mindful of your promise
Show’r down your roses.

Roses of faith to shed its light supernal,
Roses of hope when obstacles surround us,
And for our strengthening in daily living
Roses of pure love.

Through your own childlike confidence and candor
Send us the rose of quietly discerning
Love of a Father, shining in each happening
Both sweet and bitter.

This be our portion, God forever blessed,
Father eternal, Son and Holy Spirit,
Whose is the glory which through all creation
Resounds forever.

11.11.11.5.
Luce divina rutilantis aulae

Psalmody

Ant. 1 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Psalm 113

Praise, O servants of the Lord, *
praise the name of the Lord!
May the name of the Lord be blessed *
both now and forevermore!
From the rising of the sun to its setting *
praised be the name of the Lord!

High above all nations is the Lord, *
above the heavens his glory.
Who is like the Lord, our God, *
who has risen on high to his throne
yet stoops from the heights to look down, *
to look down upon heaven and earth?

From the dust he lifts up the lowly, *
from his misery he raises the poor
to set him in the company of princes, *
yes, with the princes of his people.
To the childless wife he gives a home *
and gladdens her heart with children.

Ant. There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

Ant. 2 For their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth.

Psalm 131

O Lord, my heart is not proud *
nor haughty my eyes.
I have not gone after things too great *
nor marvels beyond me.

Truly I have set my soul *
in silence and peace.
As a child has rest in its mother’s arms, *
even so my soul.

O Israel, hope in the Lord *
both now and forever.

Ant. For their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be consecrated in truth.

Ant. 3 God chooses those the world considers weak to confound the strong.

Phil. 2:6-11

Though he was in the form of God, +
Jesus did not deem equality with God *
something to be grasped at.

Rather, he emptied himself, +
and took the form of a slave, *
being born in the likeness of men.

He was known to be of human estate *
and it was thus that he humbled himself,
obediently accepting even death, *
death on a cross!

Because of this, *
God highly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name *
above every name,

So that at Jesus’ name +
every knee must bend, *
in the heavens, on the earth,
and under the earth, *
and every tongue proclaim
to the glory of God the Father: *
JESUS CHRIST IS LORD!

Ant. God chooses those the world considers weak to confound the strong.

Reading

1 Timothy 2:1, 3-6a

First of all, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgiving be offered for all men. Prayer of this kind is good, and God our Savior is pleased with it, for he wants all men to be saved and come to know the truth. And the truth is this:
“God is one
One also is the mediator between God and men,
the man Christ Jesus,
who gave himself as a ransom for all.”

Responsory

I will tell of your name to my friends: in the midst of the assembly I will praise you.
I will tell of your name to my friends: in the midst of the assembly I will praise you.

For you have not despised the poor in their distress;
in the midst of the assembly I will praise you.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
I will tell of your name to my friends: in the midst of the assembly I will praise you.

Canticle of Mary

Ant. Father, I have made your name known to those you have given me: make them holy in the truth.

Intercessions

Let us pray to God, our almighty Father, for his Church throughout the world:

Lord, remember your covenant with us.

May we be inspired by the example of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus;
may your Church give itself to you in love.

May all contemplatives be faithful witnesses of your goodness;
so that the world may believe in you.

May we bear one another’s burdens in a spirit of love;
so that your faithful people may see your face in us and imitate your Son.

Fill us with a faithful missionary spirit;
for you desire all the world to know the truth of Christ.

Grant to all the faithful departed the joy of seeing your face;
for Christ wants those you gave him to be with him where he reigns in glory.

Our Father…

Prayer

God our Father,
you have promised your kingdom
to those who are willing to become like little children.
Help us to follow the way of Saint Thérèse with confidence
so that by her prayers
we may come to know your eternal glory.

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

 

11283492486_94269686cd_o
Find this image and more in the Flickr photostream of The British Library

Ste. Thérèse Novena VIII

There is on this earth
A marvelous Tree.
Its root, O mystery!
Is in Heaven….

In its shade
Never could anything cause pain.
One can rest there
Without fearing the storm.

Love is the name
Of this ineffable Tree,
And its delectable fruit
Is called Abandonment.

It gives me in this world
An ocean of peace.
In this deep peace
I rest forever…

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, remember your promise to do good on earth; send your shower of roses in abundance on those who call upon you, and obtain for us from God the graces we are waiting to receive from His infinite goodness.

 

saint-therese-of-lisieux43_7jun97 TWsize
1897 | Photo credit: © Office Central de Lisieux / archives-carmel-lisieux.fr

 

Hay en la tierra un árbol,
árbol maravilloso,
cuya raíz se encuentra,
¡oh misterio!, en el cielo.

Acogido a su sombra,
nada ni nadie te podrá alcanzar;
sin miedo a la tormenta,
bajo él puedes descansar.

El árbol inefable
lleva por nombre «amor».
Su fruto deleitable
se llama «el abandono».

Un mar de paz me da ya en este mundo,
un océano de paz,
y en esta paz profunda
descanso para siempre.

Santa “Teresita”, recuerda tu promesa de “hacer bien en la tierra” y que enviarías “lluvia de rosas” sobre quienes te invoquen. Obtenme de Dios las gracias que quiero de su infinita bondad. 

 


This text is an excerpt from the poem, Abandonment is the Sweet Fruit of Love Read more

Este texto es un extracto del poema El abandono es el fruto delicioso del amor Leer más 

Ste. Thérèse Novena VII

For you the Kingdom and the Glory,
The Riches of the King of kings.
For me the ciborium’s humble Host.
For me the Cross’s treasure.
With the Cross, with the Host,
With your celestial aid,
In peace I await the other life,
The joys that will last forever.

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, remember your promise to do good on earth; send your shower of roses in abundance on those who call upon you, and obtain for us from God the graces we are waiting to receive from His infinite goodness.

 

saint-therese-of-lisieux38_July 1896 Blogfeatimage
1896 | Photo credit: © Office Central de Lisieux / archives-carmel-lisieux.fr

 

Para ti la gloria, el reino,
las riquezas del que es Rey,
Rey de los reyes del mundo.
Para mí el Pan del sagrario
y el tesoro de la cruz.
Con la cruz y con la hostia,
y con tu celeste ayuda,
espero en paz la otra vida,
la felicidad del cielo,
que nunca terminará.

Santa “Teresita”, recuerda tu promesa de “hacer bien en la tierra” y que enviarías “lluvia de rosas” sobre quienes te invoquen. Obtenme de Dios las gracias que quiero de su infinita bondad. 

 


This text is an excerpt from the poem, To My Guardian Angel Read more

Este texto es un extracto del poema A mi ángel de la guarda Leer más 

Ste. Thérèse Novena VI

My burning heart wants to give itself unceasingly.
It needs to prove its tenderness.
Ah! who will be able to understand my love?
What heart will want to pay me in return?
But I crave this return in vain.
Jesus, you alone can satisfy my soul.
Nothing can charm me here below.
True happiness cannot be found here
My only peace, my only happiness,
My only love is you, Lord!…

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, remember your promise to do good on earth; send your shower of roses in abundance on those who call upon you, and obtain for us from God the graces we are waiting to receive from His infinite goodness.

 

saint-therese-of-lisieux29_3July1896 (2)
1896 | Photo credit: © Office Central de Lisieux / archives-carmel-lisieux.fr

 

Mi corazón ardiente quiere darse sin tregua,
siente necesidad de mostrar su ternura.
Mas ¿quién comprenderá mi amor,
qué corazón 
querrá corresponderme?
En vano espero y pido que nadie pague con amor mi amor.
Sólo tú, mi Jesús, eres capaz de contentar mi alma.
Nada puede encantarme aquí en la tierra,
no se halla aquí la verdadera dicha.
¡Mi única paz, mi amor, mi sola dicha
eres tú, mi Señor!

Santa “Teresita”, recuerda tu promesa de “hacer bien en la tierra” y que enviarías “lluvia de rosas” sobre quienes te invoquen. Obtenme de Dios las gracias que quiero de su infinita bondad. 

 


This text is an excerpt from the poem, Jesus Alone Read more

Este texto es un extracto del poema Sólo Jesús Leer más 

Quote of the day: 28 September

Dear Little Therese,

I was seventeen when I read your autobiography.

It struck me forcibly. You called it ‘The story of a little flower’. To me the will-power, courage, and decisiveness it showed made it seem more like the story of a piece of steel. Once you had chosen the path of complete dedication to God, nothing could stop you: not illness, nor opposition from outside, nor inner confusion and darkness.

I remember the time I was ill and sent to a sanatorium, in the days before penicillin and antibiotics, when death awaited pretty well anyone who was sent to the hospital. I was ashamed of myself for feeling a little afraid.

‘At the age of twenty-three,’ I said to myself, ‘Therese, who until then had been healthy and full of vitality, was filled with joy and hope when she first spat blood. Not only thatbut when her health improved she got permission to end her fast with a diet of dry bread and water. And you’re almost trembling! You’re a priest! Don’t be silly!’

 

John Paul 1 receives cardinals cap
Archbishop Albino Luciani of Venice receives the Cardinal’s cap from St. Paul VI in the Consistory for the Nomination of New Cardinals on Monday, 5 March 1973 | Photo credit: albino-luciani.com

 

Reading it again, on the centenary of your birth (1873 to 1973), what now strikes me most is the way in which you loved God and your neighbor.

St. Augustine wrote: ‘We reach God, not by walking, but through love.’ You also called your road ‘the way of love’. Christ said: ‘No one comes to me unless my Father calls him’.

You were perfectly in tune with these words, feeling ‘like a bird without strength and without wings’, and seeing in God an eagle who came down to carry you off on high, on its wings. You called divine grace ‘the lifter’, which carried you to God swiftly and easily, since you were ‘too small to climb the harsh ladder of perfection’.

I said ’easily’, but let me make it clear: I meant it only in one way.

In anotherwell in the final months of your life your soul felt as if it was going down a kind of dark passage, seeing nothing of what it had once seen clearly. ‘Faith’, you wrote, ‘is no longer a veil but a wall’. Your physical sufferings were so great that you said, ‘If I had not had faith, I would have chosen death’.

In spite of that you kept saying to the Lord you loved, saying with your will alone, ‘I sing of the happiness of Paradise, but without any feeling of joy; I sing simply because I want to believe’. Your last words were: ‘My God, I love You’.

To the merciful love of God you offered yourself as a victim. All this did not prevent you from enjoying what was good and beautiful. Before your final illness you loved painting, and wrote poetry and short plays on religious subjects, taking some of the parts yourself and showing quite a talent for acting.

In the last stage of your illness, when you felt briefly better, you asked for some chocolates. You had no fear of your own imperfections, not even of having sometimes slept during meditation, out of weariness (‘mothers love their children, even when they are asleep’).

Loving your neighbor, you tried to serve others in small, useful ways, but to do so unobserved; and you preferred, if anything, to do this for people who irritated you, those you understood least. Behind their unlikeable faces you sought the beloved face of Christ.

And no one noticed these efforts of yours. ‘How mystical she was in chapel, and at her work’, the prioress wrote of you, ‘At other times she was very amusing, full of fun and making us laugh uproariously at recreation’.

Joy mixed with Christian love appears in the song of the angels at Bethlehem. It is part of the essence of the Gospel which means ‘good news’. It is characteristic of the saints. Joy may become perfect charity if it is shared, as in fact, dear St. Therese, you shared yours at recreation in the convent.

Therese, the love you gave God (and your neighbor for love of God) was really worthy of Him. This is how our love should be: a flame fed by all that’s great and fine in ourselves; a rejection of all that is refractory in us; and a victory that carries us on its wings and takes us as a gift to the feet of God.

These few lines certainly don’t contain the whole of your message to Christians, but they are enough to point out a few things to us.

Archbishop Albino Luciani
Patriarch of Venice

 

John Paul 1 general audience Summer Vining collection
Pope John Paul I (17 October 1912 — 28 September 1978) | SRE Collection (used with permission)

 

This letter to St. Therese of Lisieux is one of the series of Illustrissimi letters that Archbishop Luciani wrote regularly in a column for the Messaggero di San Antonio magazine. They were published in 1976 and are still available from booksellers in Italian and several translations, including English. We thank the whitesmokeahoy blog for publishing this excerpt from the publication.

Ste. Thérèse Novena V

Later I loved the creature
Who seemed pure to me.
Seeking the God of nature everywhere,
In Him I found peace
Forever!…

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, remember your promise to do good on earth; send your shower of roses in abundance on those who call upon you, and obtain for us from God the graces we are waiting to receive from His infinite goodness.

 

sainte-Therese-de-Lisieux_20 (3)
1895 | Photo credit: © Office Central de Lisieux / archives-carmel-lisieux.fr

 

Y más tarde amé a la criatura
que yo veía más pura,
a Dios buscando en su creación.
Y en El, sólo en él hallé
la paz…

Santa “Teresita”, recuerda tu promesa de “hacer bien en la tierra” y que enviarías “lluvia de rosas” sobre quienes te invoquen. Obtenme de Dios las gracias que quiero de su infinita bondad. 

 


This text is an excerpt from the poem, The Canticle of Céline Read more

Este texto es un extracto del poema El Cántico de Celina Leer más 

Ste. Thérèse Novena IV

On the evening of Love, speaking without parable,
Jesus said: “If anyone wishes to love me
All his life, let him keep my Word.
My Father and I will come to visit him.
And we will make his heart our dwelling.
Coming to him, we shall love him always.
We want him to remain, filled with peace,
In our Love!…”

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, remember your promise to do good on earth; send your shower of roses in abundance on those who call upon you, and obtain for us from God the graces we are waiting to receive from His infinite goodness.

 

sainte-Therese-de-Lisieux_13 (2)
1895

 

«La noche del Amor, ya sin parábolas,
Jesús decía :»si alguien quiere amarme,
toda su vida guarde mi palabra ;
y le visitaremos yo ¡y mi Padre !
Viniendo a él, por siempre lo amaremos,
¡su corazón será nuestra mansión… !
¡Queremos que él esté, lleno de paz,
en nuestro Amor…» !

Santa “Teresita”, recuerda tu promesa de “hacer bien en la tierra” y que enviarías “lluvia de rosas” sobre quienes te invoquen. Obtenme de Dios las gracias que quiero de su infinita bondad. 

 


This text is an excerpt from the poem, Living on LoveRead more

Este texto es un extracto del poema Vivir de Amor Leer más 

Ste. Thérèse Novena III

Joseph, your admirable life
Took place in poverty,
But you contemplated the beauty
Of Jesus and Mary.

 Joseph, O tender Father,
Protect Carmel.
May your children on earth
Always savor the peace of Heaven!

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, remember your promise to do good on earth; send your shower of roses in abundance on those who call upon you, and obtain for us from God the graces we are waiting to receive from His infinite goodness.

 

sainte-Therese-de-Lisieux_06_janvier1889 (2)
1889

 

Vuestra admirable vida
en la sombra, José, se deslizó
humilde y escondida,
¡pero fue augusto privilegio vuestro
contemplar muy de cerca la belleza
de Jesús y María!

José, tierno Padre,
protege al Carmelo.
¡Que en la tierra tus hijos
gocen ya la paz del cielo!

Santa “Teresita”, recuerda tu promesa de “hacer bien en la tierra” y que enviarías “lluvia de rosas” sobre quienes te invoquen. Obtenme de Dios las gracias que quiero de su infinita bondad. 

 


This text is an excerpt from the poem, To Our Father Saint JosephRead more

Este texto es un extracto del poema A San JoséLeer más 

Ste. Thérèse Novena II

Remember the ardent prayer
You made for your third child.
God granted it, for on earth she is
Like her sisters, a very brilliant beautiful Lily.
The Visitation hides her from the eyes of the world,
But she loves Jesus, she is flooded with his peace.
Her ardent desires
And all her sighs
Remember!…

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, remember your promise to do good on earth; send your shower of roses in abundance on those who call upon you, and obtain for us from God the graces we are waiting to receive from His infinite goodness.

 

sainte-Therese-de-Lisieux_03 (2)
Alençon, 1886

 

Acuérdate de la oración ferviente
que un día formulaste por tu tercera hija.
¡Dios la escuchó! Ella es, igual que sus hermanas,
un lirio que brilla sin igual.
Ya la Visitación la esconde y cela a los ojos del mundo y su malicia.
Ama al Señor, y ya su paz la inunda, su dulce paz y su quietud divina.
De sus ardientes
suspiros y deseos
¡acuérdate!

Santa “Teresita”, recuerda tu promesa de “hacer bien en la tierra” y que enviarías “lluvia de rosas” sobre quienes te invoquen. Obtenme de Dios las gracias que quiero de su infinita bondad. 

 


This text is an excerpt from the poem, Prayer of a Child of a SaintRead more

Este texto es un extracto del poema Plegaria de la Hija de un SantoLeer más 

Ste. Thérèse Novena I

If I think about tomorrow, I fear my fickleness,
I feel sadness and worry rising up in my heart,
but I’m willing, my God, to accept trial and suffering
Just for today.

Divine Pilot! whose hand guides me,
I’m soon to see you on the eternal shore.
Guide my little boat over the stormy waves in peace
Just for today.

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, remember your promise to do good on earth; send your shower of roses in abundance on those who call upon you, and obtain for us from God the graces we are waiting to receive from His infinite goodness.

 

sainte-Therese-de-Lisieux_01 crop
Alençon, juillet 1876

 

Si pienso en el mañana, me asusta mi inconstancia,
siento nacer tristeza, tedio en mi corazón.
Pero acepto la prueba, acepto el sufrimiento
¡nada más que por hoy!

¡Oh Piloto divino, cuya mano me guía!,
en la ribera eterna pronto te veré yo.
Por el mar borrascoso gobierna en paz mi barca
¡nada más que por hoy!

Santa “Teresita”, recuerda tu promesa de “hacer bien en la tierra” y que enviarías “lluvia de rosas” sobre quienes te invoquen. Obtenme de Dios las gracias que quiero de su infinita bondad. 

 


This text is an excerpt from the poem, My Song For Today. Read more

Este texto es un extracto del poema Mi Canto de Hoy. Leer más 

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