Flos Carmeli: Novena 9

I remember that when my mother died I was twelve years old or a little less. When I began to understand what I had lost, I went, afflicted, before an image of our Lady and besought her with many tears to be my mother. It seems to me that although I did this in simplicity it helped me. For I have found favor with this sovereign Virgin in everything I have asked of her, and in the end she has drawn me to herself. It wearies me now to see and think that I was not constant in the good desires I had in my childhood.

Saint Teresa of Avila
The Book of Her Life: Chapter 1


Acuérdome que cuando murió mi madre quedé yo de edad de doce años, poco menos. Como yo comencé a entender lo que había perdido, afligida fuime a una imagen de nuestra Señora y supliquéla fuese mi madre, con muchas lágrimas. Paréceme que, aunque se hizo con simpleza, que me ha valido; porque conocidamente he hallado a esta Virgen soberana en cuanto me he encomendado a ella y, en fin, me ha tornado a sí. Fatígame ahora ver y pensar en qué estuvo el no haber yo estado entera en los buenos deseos que comencé.

Santa Teresa de Jesús
El Libro de la Vida: Capítulo 1

 

1991.48
The Virgin Placing St. Teresa of Avila Under the Protection of St. Joseph
François Guillaume Ménageot (French, 1744–1816)
Oil paint over pen and brown ink, on paper, mounted on canvas, ca. 1787
The Metropolitan Museum of Art

 

SEQUENCE HYMN
Flos Carmeli

Flos Carmeli,
vitis florigera,
splendor caeli,
virgo puerpera
singularis.

Mater mitis
sed viri nescia
Carmelitis
esto propitia
stella maris.

Inter spinas
quae crescis lilium
serva puras
mentes fragilium
tutelaris.

Armatura
fortis pugnantium
furunt bella
tende praesidium
scapularis.

Per incerta
prudens consilium
per adversa
iuge solatium
largiaris.

Mater dulcis
Carmeli domina,
plebem tuam
reple laetitia
qua bearis.

Paradisi
clavis et ianua,
fac nos duci
quo, Mater, gloria
coronaris. Amen.

SCRIPTURE
John 19:25-27

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala. Seeing his mother and the disciple he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, “Woman, this is your son.” Then to the disciple he said, “This is your mother.”

NOVENA PRAYER

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

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

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

 

 

Many of the images of St. Teresa are found in the Iconografía Teresiana online collection of the Discalced Carmelite nuns of Alba de Tormes; other works are found in the PESSCA online collection of Spanish Colonial Art
Novena citations taken from The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. 
ICS Publications Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars

Per Adversa: Novena 8

The way of suffering and love

1. On another day the Lord told me this: “Do you think, daughter, that merit lies in enjoyment? No, rather it lies in working and suffering and loving. Haven’t you heard that St. Paul rejoiced in heavenly joys only once and that he suffered often. Look at my whole life filled with suffering, and only in the incident on Mount Tabor do you hear about my joy. When you see My Mother holding Me in her arms, don’t think she enjoyed those consolations without heavy torment. From the time Simeon spoke those words to her, My Father gave her clear light to see what I was to suffer. The great saints who lived in deserts, since they were guided by God, performed severe penances; and besides this, they waged great battle with the devil and with themselves. They spent long periods without any spiritual consolation. Believe, daughter, that My Father gives greater trials to anyone whom He loves more; and love responds to these. How can I show you greater love than by desiring for you what I have desired for Myself? Behold these wounds, for your sufferings have never reached this point. Suffering is the way of truth. By this means you will help me weep over the loss of those who follow the way of the world, and you will understand that all your desires, cares, and thoughts must be employed in how to do the opposite.”

2. When I had begun prayer I had such a bad headache I thought it would be almost impossible to pray. The Lord said to me: “In this way, you will see the reward that comes from suffering, for since you did not have the health to speak with Me, I have spoken with you and favored you.” And so it is certain that I must have been recollected about an hour and a half. During that time He spoke the above words to me and all the rest. I was not distracted, but neither did I know where I was; and I was so happy I don’t know how to describe it. My headache went away — which surprised me — and I was left with a great desire for suffering.

It is true, at least I haven’t heard otherwise, that our Lord didn’t have any joy in life other than this once, nor did St. Paul. The Lord also told me I should keep very much in mind the words He spoke to His apostles, that the servant must not be greater than the Lord.

Saint Teresa of Avila
Spiritual Testimonies: 32


1. Esto me dijo el Señor otro día: “¿Piensas, hija, que está el merecer en gozar? No está sino en obrar y en padecer y en amar. No habrás oído que San Pablo estuviese gozando de los gozos celestiales más de una vez, y muchas que padeció, y ves mi vida toda llena de padecer y sólo en el monte Tabor habrás oído mi gozo. No pienses, cuando ves a mi Madre que me tiene en los brazos, que gozaba de aquellos contentos sin grave tormento. Desde que le dijo Simeón aquellas palabras, la dio mi Padre clara luz para que viese lo que Yo había de padecer. Los grandes santos que vivieron en los desiertos, como eran guiados por Dios, así hacían graves penitencias, y sin esto tenían grandes batallas con el demonio y consigo mismos; mucho tiempo se pasaban sin ninguna consolación espiritual. Cree, hija, que a quien mi Padre más ama, da mayores trabajos, y a éstos responde el amor. ¿En qué te le puedo más mostrar que querer para ti lo que quise para Mí? Mira estas llagas, que nunca llegaron aquí tus dolores. Este es el camino de la verdad. Así me ayudarás a llorar la perdición que traen los del mundo, entendiendo tú esto, que todos sus deseos y cuidados y pensamientos se emplean en cómo tener lo contrario”.

2. Cuando empecé a tener oración, estaba con tan gran mal de cabeza, que me parecía casi imposible poderla tener. Díjome el Señor: “Por aquí verás el premio del padecer, que como no estabas tú con salud para hablar conmigo, he Yo hablado contigo y regaládote”. Y es así cierto, que sería como hora y media, poco menos, el tiempo que estuve recogida. En él me dijo las palabras dichas y todo lo demás. Ni yo me divertía, ni sé adónde estaba, y con tan gran contento que no sé decirlo, y quedóme buena la cabeza -que me ha espantado- y harto deseo de padecer.

Es verdad que al menos yo no he oído que el Señor tuviese otro gozo en la vida sino esa vez, ni San Pablo. También me dijo que trajese mucho en la memoria las palabras que el Señor dijo a sus Apóstoles, “que no había de ser más el siervo que el Señor”.

Santa Teresa de Jesús
Las Relaciones: Capítulo 36

 

The crucified Christ appears to Saint Teresa of Avila_Alonso Cano_Museo del Prado
The crucified Christ appears to Saint Teresa of Avila, Alonso Cano, Oil on canvas, 1629, Museo del Prado, Madrid

 

SCRIPTURE
Colossians 1:24-2:5

It makes me happy to suffer for you, as I am suffering now, and in my own body to do what I can to make up all that has still to be undergone by Christ for the sake of his body, the Church. I became the servant of the Church when God made me responsible for delivering God’s message to you, the message which was a mystery hidden for generations and centuries and has now been revealed to his saints. It was God’s purpose to reveal it to them and to show all the rich glory of this mystery to pagans. The mystery is Christ among you, your hope of glory: this is the Christ we proclaim, this is the wisdom in which we thoroughly train everyone and instruct everyone, to make them all perfect in Christ. It is for this I struggle wearily on, helped only by his power driving me irresistibly.

Yes, I want you to know that I do have to struggle hard for you, and for those in Laodicea, and for so many others who have never seen me face to face. It is all to bind you together in love and to stir your minds, so that your understanding may come to full development until you really know God’s secret in which all the jewels of wisdom and knowledge are hidden. I say this to make sure that no one deceives you with specious arguments. I may be absent in body, but in spirit I am there among you, delighted to find you all in harmony and to see how firm your faith in Christ is.

NOVENA PRAYER

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

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

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

 

Novena citations taken from The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. 
ICS Publications Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars

12 July: Saint Louis Martin and Zelie Guerin

July 12
SAINT LOUIS MARTIN AND ZELIE GUERIN

Optional Memorial

Louis Martin was born in Bordeaux, on August 22, 1823. While he was master-watchmaker in Alençon, he met Marie Azelie (Zelie) Guerin, a lace maker, born in Gandelain (St-Denis-sur-Sarthon), on December 23, 1831. They were married on July 13, 1858,and had nine children, including the future Saint Therese of the Infant Jesus. Model spouses, devoted parents, workers, attentive to the poor, always nourishing a missionary spirit, they found their strength and hope in regular attendance at Holy Mass and in a deep devotion to the Blessed Virgin. After a long illness Zelie died in Alençon on August 28, 1877. Louis, in retirement, went to Lisieux near his in-laws to ensure a better future for his five children (the other four having died in infancy). This patriarch of the family, after offering all his children to God, knew suffering and illness. He died near Evreux on July 29, 1894.

From the Common of Holy Men, with the psalms of the day.

Office of Readings

The Second Reading
(Zelie et Louis Martin, Correspondance Familiale [1863 – 1885].  Paris, 2004, L1, 72, 130, 81, 110, 147, 179, 204)

From the Letters of St. Zelie Martin

We must be willing to accept generously the will of the good God

My dear friend, I am really worried about you.  Every day my husband makes sad prophecies. He knows Paris and told me that you will be exposed to temptations that, because you are not pious enough, you will not be able to overcome.  He told me that he experienced them himself, and that he needed a lot of courage to come out victoriously from all the battles. If you only knew what trials he had to go through … I beg you, my dear Isidore (Zelie’s brother), to do as I did; pray, and you will not be carried away by the current.  If you succumb once you will be lost. On the road to perdition as on the road to salvation the first step is all important; afterwards you will be carried away by the current.

When I closed the eyes of my dear little children and buried them, I really felt the pain.  It is a pain to which I have always been resigned. I do not regret the pains and the anxieties I have had to endure on their account.  Many people have said to me: “It would have been better if you had never had them.” I cannot tolerate these words.  The pains and anxieties of this life cannot be compared to the eternal happiness of my children.  After all, they have not been lost forever, life is short and full of suffering, we shall find them in heaven.

Little Therese is always well and looks very healthy.  She is very intelligent and we have very amusing conversations.  She already knows how to pray to God. Every Sunday, she goes for some part of Vespers and if, by mistake, the family forgets to bring her there she cries uncontrollably.

My sister has spoken to me a great deal about your business… I told her not to break her neck because of this, that there is only one thing to do, pray to God, because neither she, nor I, can help you in any other way.  However, He, who is never embarrassed, will rescue us from all this when He sees that we have suffered enough, and then, you will recognize that your success is not due either to your ability or to your intelligence, but to God alone, as it happens with my lace making; this conviction is very beneficial, I have experienced it myself.  You know that we are all inclined to be proud and I notice often that those who have made their fortune are, for the most part, unbearably self-important. I am not saying that I would have been like this, nor you either, but we would have been somewhat tainted by pride; it is a fact that constant prosperity leads one away from God. He never led his chosen ones along this path, they had to pass first through the crucible of suffering in order to be purified.  You are going to say that I am preaching, but no matter I don’t wish to. I think of these things very often and I share them with you; now, call that a sermon if you like!

My dear children, I must go to Vespers to pray for the intention of our dear deceased relatives.  The day will come when you will do this for me, but I must make sure that I do not have so great a need of your prayers.  I would like to become a saint but this will not be easy; there is a lot of wood to burn but it is as hard as stone. It would have been better if I had begun earlier, when it was less difficult, but anyhow “it is better late than never.”

Today is then Wednesday, the feast of the Immaculate Conception which is a great feast for me!  On this day, the Blessed Virgin truly gave me many very special graces… This year, I will go again to find the Blessed Virgin early in the morning… my only prayer will be that those that she has given me will all be saints and that I shall not be too far behind, but they must be much better than me.

Doctor Notta is very sorry that they did not operate at the beginning, as by now it is too late.  However, he seems to be saying that I can go on for a very long time like this. But more than that we put ourselves in God’s hands, who knows better than us what we need, “it is He who wounds but also heals.”  I will go to Lourdes on the first pilgrimage, and I hope that the Blessed Virgin will heal me, if that is what is needed. Let’s remain calm while we wait.

Before leaving, I will assist at the first Mass here, arriving in Le Mans at nine o’clock, still in time to attend the High Mass, after that I will come for you… At the beginning, your father was not happy that I took all three of you, but he wishes it now, and says that we cannot make enough sacrifices to obtain so great a miracle.  Even if I do not obtain it, I will never regret taking you there. We must be willing to accept generously the will of God, whatever it is, because it will always be what is best for us.

Responsory

R/.  Be transformed by the renewal of your mind,
* So that you may be able to discover what is God’s will,
what is good, pleasing and perfect.
V/.  You must be renewed in mind and spirit, and put on the new man.
* So that you may be able to discover what is God’s will,
what is good, pleasing and perfect.

Prayer

O God,
who gave to Saint Louis and Marie Zelie
the grace to lead a life of holiness
as Christian spouses and parents,
grant that, through their intercession and example,
we may be able to love and serve you faithfully,
living worthily our own vocation.

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.

 


Discover more from the letters of Saints Louis Martin and Zélie Guérin on the website of the archives of the Carmel of Lisieux

 

Official-Vatican-Portrait
Saint Louis Martin and Zelie Guerin, banner for their canonization (courtesy Discalced Carmelites)

26 June: Blessed Mary Josephine of Jesus Crucified

June 26
BLESSED MARY JOSEPHINE OF JESUS CRUCIFIED
Virgin

Optional Memorial

Josephine Catanea was born in Naples on February 18, 1894. She entered the Carmelite community of Santa Maria Ponti Rossi and made her solemn profession August 6, 1933. In 1945 was elected prioress, an office she held until her death. She endured the painful trials of illness and persecution by abandoning herself to the will of God. All who sought her help were inspired by her deep spirituality, humility and simplicity, as she inspired hope and faith in God and in the Blessed Virgin Mary. She died in Naples on March 14, 1948.

From the Common of virgins, with the psalms of the day

Office of the Readings

Second Reading

From the writings of Blessed Mary Josephine of Jesus Crucified
(Autobiography, pp.159, 296, 202; Diary, pp. 2-3, 109, 121, 126)

I offered myself to Jesus Crucified to be crucified with Him

It has always been my heart’s burning desire to fulfill the will of God; I have never wanted anything else. I have lived and am living the divine will. It is something I need more than the food I eat and the air I breathe. I would not know how not to do His will even for a moment! I have always wanted to live and to die conforming to the will of God. I wanted God’s will to always be in my thoughts, in my words, in everything I do and in every step I make. It was only through following God’s will that I was able to transform my pains into joy, transforming my life from Mount Calvary to Mount Tabor.

God’s will is a kiss of His love, it is an embrace of His goodness which lifts the soul out of its own misery in order to be comforted in His arms. The will of God is an act of tenderness which should make the soul want to abandon itself in love.

Oh will of God, infinite love, take away my will in the flame of your love! I want to unite myself to you, my God who are my all. I want only to do whatever pleases you. I want my life to be a continuous adoration, a continuous hymn of love for you, O God who are One and Three. Even if I were a seraphim of love, would I be worthy of the Lord? If I had consumed myself with sacrifices and penances for God and my life had been a holocaust, what would I have done for you, my God and my all?

I desire to love God with the same ardour as His divine Spirit, with fervent unction of his love, to the point of living only for Him and becoming one with Him; one will, one desire and one spirit.

There is only one thing necessary in life: to know God, our supreme Good, in order to be able to love Him with all one’s heart. This knowledge of God makes our spirit disappear like a drop of water in the ocean or like a spark in a fire. 

Contemplate this infinite God, one in essence but three in Persons. Try to see in the Trinity the unique principle, the wisdom existing in infinite love, and in the Trinity see the activity of tiny creatures that live in God and love Him.

I think that one day my small voice will become like a giant’s, because it is a voice that glorifies God thanks to the means He has given me on earth: the pains, suffering, prayer and the sacrifices we encounter in life. Let us submerge ourselves in God, let us found ourselves in Him, let us lose ourselves in Him alone and try to live joyfully for He is calling us: ‘Come Bride of Christ.’

Suffering is a sweet and precious kiss from our crucified Lord. I desire only the cross, which is light and love.

Lord, you told me that I would have to suffer more each day, that you would place me on the cross and there you would give me a kiss of eternal union. I pine for this moment and pine for this happy meeting even if it means I have to live a life of agony.

Our holy mother, Teresa of Jesus, wants us to be crucified with Christ, this is the task of our lives. When I think that Jesus has placed me on the cross with Himself I feel in myself a spiritual motherhood, a tenderness for souls, a great and profound joy that I cannot explain.

How many tribulations on earth there are, how many lamentations, how many sighs and tears! I am far from all, but here I share the pain of every heart. I present to God all the sighs, the tears which water this place of exile. I am living with suffering humanity.

What consolation I felt today in my poor heart.

These words at Holy Communion gave me comfort: “Daughter, you are mine but you will be mine even more.” This is exactly what my soul ardently desires. Oh how great is the love of my Lord! Oh indescribable goodness! Oh loving Jesus I thank you and I love you! 

I want to write with my blood a countless number of times: ‘I love you, Jesus, save souls!’

Responsory
Song 2: 3, 14

R. With great delight I sat in his shadow,* and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
V. Your voice is sweet, and your face is lovely.
R. and his fruit was sweet to my taste.

Prayer

Almighty and eternal God,
who willed to conform to Christ crucified
the virgin Blessed Mary Josephine,
as a victim for sinners,
grant that we, through her intercession and example,
may always embrace our own cross
and humbly fulfil your will.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

 

Maria-Giuseppina-Catanea_cloister
Blessed Mary Josephine of Jesus Crucified with one of her nuns kneeling before her
Photo: Discalced Carmelites

Quote of the day: 29 May

My life is love

This sweet nectar surrounds me, this merciful love penetrates me, purifies me, renews me, and I feel it consuming me. The cry of my heart is: “Love of my God, my soul searches for You alone. My soul, suffer and be quiet; love and hope; offer yourself but hide your suffering behind a smile, and always move on. I want to spend my life in deep silence, in the depths of my heart, in order to listen to the gentle voice of my sweet Jesus.

Blessed Elia of St. Clement
Office of Readings, Optional Memorial of Blessed Elia (excerpt)

 

brown hummingbird selective focus photography
Photo by Philippe Donn on Pexels.com

29 May: Blessed Elia of St. Clement

May 29
BLESSED ELIA OF SAINT CLEMENT
Virgin

Optional Memorial

Blessed Elia of St. Clement was born in Bari, 17th January 1901, to deeply Christian parents. At her baptism, she was given the name Theodora, gift of God. In the brief course of her life on earth, she lived up to her name. On 8th April 1920 (then Feast of St. Albert, author of the Carmelite Rule), she entered the Carmel of St. Joseph in Bari. She received the habit on 24th November of the same year, the feast of St John of the Cross. On 8th December 1924, she wrote in her own blood her act of total and definitive offering to the Lord with the vow to embrace the “most perfect”. She died on Christmas day 1927. On 19th December 2005, Pope Benedict XVI signed the Decree of Beatification. She was proclaimed Blessed in Bari Cathedral on 18th March 2006.

From the Common of Virgins

Office of Readings

Second Reading

From the Writings of Blessed Elia of Saint Clement
(Ed. O.C.D. 2001: pp. 282, 295, 322)

The desire to lose herself in God and her apostolic zeal

O sweet hiddenness, I love to pass my days in your shadow and to consume thus my existence, for love of my sweet Lord. At times, thinking of those eternal rewards, so great compared to the slight sacrifices of this life, my soul remains in wonder, and seized by an ardent longing, it throws itself on God, exclaiming: “Oh my good Jesus, I want to reach my goal, the gates of salvation, no matter what the cost. Do not deny me anything; give me suffering. May this be the most intimate martyrdom of my poor heart, hidden from every human glance: a rugged cross is what I ask of you. I want to pass my days here below hanging from this cross.”

When we suffer with Jesus, the suffering is delightful; I long to suffer with all my heart, beyond this I no longer want anything.

My Delight, who could ever separate me from You? Who could be capable of breaking these strong chains that keep my heart attached to yours? Perhaps the abandonment of creatures? It is precisely this that unites the soul to its Creator. Perhaps tribulations, suffering, crosses? It is in these thorns that the canticle of the soul that loves you is freest and lightest. Perhaps death? But this will be nothing other than the beginning of true happiness for the soul. Nothing, nothing can separate this soul from You, not even for a brief moment. It was created for You and is lost if it does not abandon itself to You.

My life is love: this sweet nectar surrounds me, this merciful love penetrates me, purifies me, renews me, and I feel it consuming me. The cry of my heart is: “Love of my God, my soul searches for You alone. My soul, suffer and be quiet; love and hope; offer yourself but hide your suffering behind a smile, and always move on. I want to spend my life in deep silence, in the depths of my heart, in order to listen to the gentle voice of my sweet Jesus.

“Souls, I will search for a way to cast you into the sea of Merciful Love: souls of sinners, but above all souls of priests and religious. To this end, my existence is slowly disappearing, consumed like the oil of a lamp that watches near the Tabernacle.”

I sense the vastness of my soul, its infinite greatness that the immensity of this world cannot contain: it was created to lose itself in You, my God, because you alone are great, infinite and thus You alone can make it completely happy.

RESPONSORY

R/. An unmarried woman, like a young girl, can devote herself to the Lord’s affairs.
* Her aim is to be dedicated to him in body as in spirit (alleluia).
V/. God is the strength of her heart, he is hers forever:
* Her aim is to be dedicated to him in body as in spirit (alleluia).

Morning Prayer

Canticle of Zechariah

Ant. O Lord, how gentle is your love! Lost in your embrace I shall be blessed forever (alleluia).

Prayer

O Lord,
who were pleased to accept the self-offering
of Blessed Elia of Saint Clement, virgin;
grant through her intercession,
that, sustained by the Eucharist
we may be able faithfully to do your will.

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. Your love, O Lord, is like a fire consuming me in the ardent furnace of your Heart (alleluia).

 

Elia-di-San-Clemente
Blessed Elia of San Clemente (Teodora Fracasso, 1901-1927)

Quote of the day: 26 May

The foundation of St. Joseph of Carmel in the city of Seville

Preparations were immediately begun for the journey because it was beginning to get very hot… We journeyed in wagons well covered, which was our mode of traveling… Although we hurried along on our journey, we did not reach Seville until the Thursday before Trinity Sunday, [26 May 1575] after having endured scorching heat.

Even though we did not travel during siesta time, I tell you, Sisters, that since the sun was beating on the wagons, getting into them was like stepping into purgatory.

Sometimes by thinking of hell, at other times by thinking that something was being done and suffered for God, those Sisters journeyed with much happiness and joy.

The six souls who were with me were of the kind that made me think I was daring enough to go off with them to the land of the Turks and that they had the fortitude, or better, our Lord gave them the fortitude, to suffer for Him; for this was the subject of their desires and conversations. They were very experienced in prayer and mortification.

Saint Teresa of Avila
The Book of Her Foundations, Chap. 24

 

En route to Beas 1575
Scene from the 1984 TV series drama, Teresa de Jesús, produced by RTVE (Spain) starring Concha Velasco as St. Teresa

 

The Book of Her Foundations: Chapter 24; 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.

Quote of the day: 17 April

I sought relief in the scriptures

You will find that the reading of sacred scripture is a great and powerful remedy against bodily suffering and depression of mind. In my opinion, there is no other writing, no matter how eloquent and stylish it may be, that can bring such peace to our minds and so thoroughly dissolve our cares as sacred scripture can.

I speak from personal experience: for there have been times when I was beset with anxieties, the worst of which came from the experience of my own weakness, and if on such occasions I sought relief in the scriptures, the hopes and desires that led me there were never disappointed. The word of scripture proved to be a solid bulwark against my anxieties and a relief to my troubled spirit.

Blessed Baptist Spagnoli of Mantua
From the treatise of Blessed Baptist Spagnoli “On Patience”

lake
Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

Born in Mantua on April 17th, 1447, as a youth Blessed Baptist Spagnoli joined the Carmelites of the Congregation of Mantua at Ferrara. He made his religious profession in 1464 and served in many positions of responsibility in the community; he was vicar general of his congregation six times, and in 1513 was elected prior general of the whole Order. In his own time, he was a renowned humanist ‘who brought his richly varied poetry into the service of Christ’. He used his friendships with scholars as an opportunity of encouraging them to live a Christian life. He died in Mantua on March 20th, 1516.

On Palm Sunday

On Palm Sunday after Communion, my faculties remained in such deep suspension that I couldn’t even swallow the host; and, holding it in my mouth, after I returned a little to myself, it truly seemed to me that my entire mouth was filled with blood. I felt that my face and all the rest of me was also covered with this blood, as though the Lord had just then finished shedding it. It seemed to me warm, and the sweetness I then experienced was extraordinary. The Lord said to me: “Daughter, I want my blood to be beneficial to you, and don’t be afraid that My mercy will fail you. I shed it with many sufferings, and you enjoy it with the great delight you are aware of; I repay you well for the banquet you prepare me this day.”

Saint Teresa of Avila
Spiritual Testimonies: 22 Eucharistic experience
(Probably Avila, March 30, 1572)

Entry into Jerusalem_NESTEROV_1900
Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem
Mikhail Vasilevich Nesterov, (Russian, 1862 – 1942)
Painting – gouache, 1900
The State Russian Museum – Saint Petersburg

 

Spiritual Testimonies: Number 22
The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D.
ICS Publications Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

 

 

Quote of the day: 14 April

If we see faults in monasteries of poor women, it is because they are poor against their will, and for no longer being able to, and no longer following the counsels of Christ; I simply do not praise poverty, but suffering with patience for the love of Christ Our Lord…

Saint Peter of Alcántara

Letter to Saint Teresa of Avila
14 April 1562

Peter of Alcantara shows Teresa d'Avila the way to paradise - Francesco Fontebasso - Cappella Giustinian dei Vescovi - San Francesco della Vigna, Venice
Peter of Alcantara shows Teresa of Avila the way to paradise
Francesco Fontebasso
Cappella Giustinian dei Vescovi of San Francesco della Vigna (Venice)

Quote of the day: 31 March

Well, my soul now was tired; and, in spite of its desire, my wretched habits would not allow it rest. It happened to me that one day entering the oratory I saw a statue they had borrowed for a certain feast to be celebrated in the house. It represented the much wounded Christ and was very devotional so that beholding it I was utterly distressed in seeing Him that way, for it well represented what He suffered for us. I felt so keenly aware of how poorly I thanked Him for those wounds that, it seems to me, my heart broke. Beseeching Him to strengthen me once and for all that I might not offend Him, I threw myself down before Him with the greatest outpouring of tears.

Saint Teresa of Avila

The Book of Her Life, Chap. 9, No. 1
The account of her conversion, Lent 1554

The Second Conversion of Saint Teresa Cuzco School 1694
The Second Conversion of Saint Teresa
Unknown artist, Cuzco School
Oil on canvas, ca. 1694
Convento del Carmen San José, Santiago, Chile

View more images from the life of Saint Teresa here

 

The Book of Her Life: Chapter 9; 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.

 

 

 

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

TERESA AVILA - By proceeding with humility IGsize
Saint Teresa of Avila writes, “in the final analysis, by proceeding with humility, through the mercy of God, we will reach that city of Jerusalem, where all that has been suffered will be little, or nothing, in comparison with what is enjoyed.” (The Book of Her Foundations, Chap. 4)

Seen zoning God — Into the Spring of Carmel

Valladolid hallway.jpg
A Discalced Carmelite nun walks down the hallway in the Carmel of Valladolid | Ángel Cantero/Iglesia de Valladolid

Each one of you is to stay in his own cell or nearby, pondering the Lord’s law day and night and keeping watch at his prayers unless attending to some other duty. – Rule of St. Albert No. 10 Have you ever felt that you’ve been seen zoned by God? Like you are in the […]

via Seen zoning God — Into the Spring of Carmel

Quote of the day: 2 February

“The Christian mysteries are an indivisible whole. If we become immersed in one, we are led to all the Others. Thus the way from Bethlehem leads inevitably to Golgotha, from the crib to the Cross. When the blessed Virgin brought the Child to the temple, Simeon prophesied that her soul would be pierced by a sword, that this Child was set for the fall and the resurrection of many, for a sign that would be contradicted. His prophecy announced the Passion, the light between light and darkness that already showed itself before the crib.

“In some years Candlemas and Septuagesima are celebrated almost together, the feast of the Incarnation and the preparation of the Passion. The star of Bethlehem shines in the night of sin. The shadow of the Cross falls on the light that shines from the crib. The light is extinguished in the darkness of Good Friday, but it rises all the more brilliantly as the sun of grace on the morning of the Resurrection. The way of the incarnate Son of God leads through the Cross and Passion to the glory of the Resurrection. In his company the way of every one of us, indeed of all mankind, leads through suffering and death to this same glorious goal.”

Saint Edith Stein
The Mystery of Christmas

 

Edith Stein was confirmed on 2 February 1922: On Candlemas Day 1922 she had received the Sacrament of Confirmation in the house chapel of His Excellency Dr. Ludwig Sebastian.” (Mother Teresia Renata Posselt, OCD)

 

Quote of the day: 14 January

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

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

Advent 22: King

Oh, my soul! Let the will of God be done; this suits you. Serve and hope in His mercy, for He will cure your grief when penance for your faults will have gained some pardon for them. Don’t desire joy but suffering. O, true Lord and my King! I’m still not ready for suffering if Your sovereign hand and greatness do not favor me, but with these, I shall be able to do all things.

Soliloquies 6: Painful Longing For God

 

Christ revealing Himself to Saint Teresa_Quito School_Carmen Alto
Christ revealing Himself to Saint Teresa
Quito School (Ecuador, 17th c.)
Mural painting, c. 1653
Upper cloister, Convento del Carmen Alto, Quito, Ecuador

 

¡Oh ánima mía! Deja hacerse la voluntad de tu Dios; eso te conviene. Sirve y espera en su misericordia, que remediará tu pena, cuando la penitencia de tus culpas haya ganado algún perdón de ellas; no quieras gozar sin padecer. ¡Oh verdadero Señor y Rey mío!, que aun para esto no soy, si no me favorece vuestra soberana mano y grandeza, que con esto todo lo podré.

Exclamaciones del Alma a Dios: Capítulo 6

Soliloquies: 6, Painful Longing For God; 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.

Novena to St. John of the Cross – Day 4

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:5-11)

Now, until God gives us this good in heaven, pass the time in the virtues of mortification and patience, desiring to resemble somewhat in suffering this great God of ours, humbled and crucified. This life is not good if it is not an imitation of his life.

Letter 25

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

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

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

Mass of St John of the Cross - Puebla
Mass of St. John of the Cross
José Joaquín Magón
Oil on canvas, 1750-1763
Templo de Nuestra Señora del Carmen, Puebla, Mexico
More details here 

Advent 5: Banquet

On Palm Sunday after Communion, my faculties remained in such deep suspension that I couldn’t even swallow the host; and, holding it in my mouth, after I returned a little to myself, it truly seemed to me that my entire mouth was filled with blood. I felt that my face and all the rest of me was also covered with this blood, as though the Lord had just then finished shedding it. It seemed to me warm, and the sweetness I then experienced was extraordinary. The Lord said to me: “Daughter, I want my blood to be beneficial to you, and don’t be afraid that My mercy will fail you. I shed it with many sufferings, and you enjoy it with the great delight you are aware of; I repay you well for the banquet you prepare me this day.”

He said this because for more than thirty years I have received Communion on this day when possible and have striven to prepare my soul to give hospitality to the Lord.

Saint Teresa of Avila

 

10677084456_988cef543b_o.jpg
Detail of the Last Supper from the Passion Window, Strasbourg Cathedral | damian entwistle

 

El día de Ramos, acabando de comulgar, quedé con gran suspensión, de manera que aun no podía pasar la Forma, y teniéndomela en la boca verdaderamente me pareció, cuando torné un poco en mí, que toda la boca se me había henchido de sangre; y parecíame estar también el rostro y toda yo cubierta de ella, como que entonces acabara de derramarla el Señor. Me parece estaba caliente, y era excesiva la suavidad que entonces sentía, y díjome el Señor: “Hija, yo quiero que mi sangre te aproveche, y no hayas miedo que te falte mi misericordia; Yo la derramé con muchos dolores, y gózasla tú con tan gran deleite como ves; bien te pago el convite que me hacías este día”.

Esto dijo porque ha más de treinta años que yo comulgaba este día, si podía, y procuraba aparejar mi alma para hospedar al Señor.

Santa Teresa de Jesús

Excerpt from Spiritual Testimonies: 22 Eucharistic experience; 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.

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