Quote of the day: 21 January

JESUS

 

The grace of the Holy Spirit be with your honor, mi padre, and may he give you health this Lent for the work I see that you have ahead of you. I am wondering if you will have to be moving from place to place. For the love of God watch out lest you have a fall along the way. For since my arm has been in the state it is, I am very careful in this regard. It is still swollen, as is also my hand, and covered with plaster, which looks like armor, and so I get little use out of it…

I don’t know when to stop when I write you. My brother always tells me to give you his best wishes. Accept these now all together and along with them those of all the sisters. May our Lord watch over you and bring you here soon, for your presence is very necessary, both for my sake and for other reasons…

May God also give you, padre mio, all the blessings I desire for you, amen.

It is the First Sunday of Lent…

Your paternity’s unworthy servant and daughter,

Teresa of Jesus

 

Letter 230 to Father Jerome Gracián
Avila, 16 February 1578

 

Featured Image -- 7177
The relic of the incorrupt left hand of St. Teresa is venerated in the Church of La Merced under the custody of the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Ronda, Spain | Credit: Teresa de la rueca a la pluma

 

With great solemnity, in the presence of the government authorities and the people, the relic of the incorrupt hand of Saint Teresa of Jesus, which had been stolen by the Marxists in Ronda was returned to the Discalced Carmelite nuns of Ronda on 14 December 1975. Generalissimo Francisco Franco kept it with great devotion during all of his rule as Head of State in Spain. According to accounts from the Discalced Carmelites, he even wore it during his travels. Doña Carmen Polo de Franco handed over the precious relic to the Primate of Spain, Cardinal Marcelo González Martín, and the latter in turn transferred custody of the relic to the Bishop of Málaga, Ramón Buxarrais Ventura. Mother María de Cristo, who was prioress in 1937 when she was forced to hand the relic over to the Communists, was 85 years old when the incorrupt hand was returned to the nuns in Ronda.

 

 

Teresa of Avila, St. 1985, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 15 January

Now let us speak about the type of soul that enters the second dwelling places and what such a soul does in them. I’d like to say only a little, for I have spoken at length on this subject elsewhere. And it would be impossible to avoid repeating much of it, for I don’t remember a thing of what I said. If I could present the matter for you in a variety of ways I know well that you wouldn’t be annoyed since we never tire of booksas many as there arethat deal with it.

This stage pertains to those who have already begun to practice prayer and have understood how important it is not to stay in the first dwelling places. But they still don’t have the determination to remain in this second stage without turning back, for they don’t avoid the occasion of sin. This failure to avoid these occasions is quite dangerous…

These rooms, in part, involve much more effort then do the first, even though there is not as much danger, for it now seems that souls in them recognize the dangers, and there is great hope they will enter further into the castle. I say that these rooms involve more effort because those who are in the first dwelling places are like deaf-mutes and thus the difficulty of not speaking is more easily endured by them than it is by those who hear but cannot speak. Yet, not for this reason does one have greater desire to be deaf, for after all it is a wonderful thing to hear what is being said to us. So these persons are able to hear the Lord when He calls. Since they are getting closer to where His Majesty dwells, He is a very good neighbor. His mercy and goodness are so bountiful; whereas we are occupied in our pastimes, business affairs, pleasures, and worldly buying and selling, and still falling into sin and rising again. These beasts are so poisonous and their presence so dangerous and noisy that it would be a wonder if we kept from stumbling and falling over them. Yet this Lord desires intensely that we love Him and seek His company, so much so that from time to time He calls us to draw near Him. And His voice is so sweet the poor soul dissolves at not doing immediately what He commands. Thus, as I say, hearing His voice is a greater trial than not hearing it.

Saint Teresa of Jesus

The Interior Castle
The Second Dwelling Place

 

Listening astrid Flickr 11200954926
Astrid Westvang / Flickr

 

 

Teresa of Avila, St. 1985, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Triduo Teresiano: Oremos juntos por Mons. Báez — Día 3

PRIMERA LECTURA

Lectura del Evangelio según San Marcos, 7, 31-37
Qué bien lo hace todo

En aquel tiempo, salió Jesús de la región de Tiro y vino de nuevo, por Sidón, al mar de Galilea, atravesando la región de Decápolis. Le llevaron entonces a un hombre sordo y tartamudo, y le suplicaban que le impusiera las manos. Él lo apartó a un lado de la gente, le metió los dedos en los oídos y le tocó la lengua con saliva. Después, mirando al cielo, suspiró y le dijo: “¡Effetá!” (que quiere decir “¡Abrete!”). Al momento se le abrieron los oídos, se le soltó la traba de la lengua y empezó a hablar sin dificultad.

Él les mandó que no lo dijeran a nadie; pero cuanto más se lo mandaba, ellos con más insistencia lo proclamaban; y todos estaban asombrados y decían: “¡Qué bien lo hace todo! Hace oír a los sordos y hablar a los mudos”.

 

SEGUNDA LECTURA

Del Castillo Interior de santa Teresa de Jesús, virgen y doctora de la Iglesia
(Moradas Segundas – Capítulo Único)
Su Majestad es muy buen vecino

Ahora vengamos a hablar cuáles serán las almas que entran a las segundas moradas y qué hacen en ellas. Querría deciros poco, porque lo he dicho en otras partes bien largo, y será imposible dejar de tornar a decir otra vez mucho de ello, porque cosa no se me acuerda de lo dicho; que si lo supiera guisar de diferentes maneras, bien sé que no os enfadaríais, como nunca nos cansamos de los libros que tratan de esto, con ser muchos.

Es de los que han ya comenzado a tener oración y entendido lo que les importa no se quedar en las primeras moradas, mas no tienen aún determinación para dejar muchas veces de estar en ella, porque no dejan las ocasiones, que es harto peligro…

Estos, en parte, tienen harto más trabajo que los primeros, aunque no tanto peligro, porque ya parece los entienden, y hay gran esperanza de que entrarán más adentro. Digo que tienen más trabajo, porque los primeros son como mudos que no oyen, y así pasan mejor su trabajo de no hablar, lo que no pasarían, sino muy mayor, los que oyesen y no pudiesen hablar. Mas no por eso se desea más lo de los que no oyen, que en fin es gran cosa entender lo que nos dicen. Así éstos entienden los llamamientos que les hace el Señor; porque, como van entrando más cerca de donde está Su Majestad, es muy buen vecino, y tanta su misericordia y bondad, que aun estándonos en nuestros pasatiempos y negocios y contentos y baraterías del mundo, y aun cayendo y levantando en pecados (porque estas bestias son tan ponzoñosas y peligrosa su compañía y bulliciosas que por maravilla dejarán de tropezar en ellas para caer), con todo esto, tiene en tanto este Señor nuestro que le queramos y procuremos su compañía, que una vez u otra no nos deja de llamar para que nos acerquemos a El; y es esta voz tan dulce que se deshace la pobre alma en no hacer luego lo que le manda; y así -como digo- es más trabajo que no lo oír.

 

ORACIÓN

Señor Dios nuestro,
que por tu Espíritu has suscitado a santa Teresa de Jesús,
para mostrar a tu Iglesia el camino de la perfección,
concédenos vivir de su doctrina y enciende en nosotros
el deseo de la verdadera santidad.
Por nuestro Señor Jesucristo.

 

Les invitamos a dejar un comentario y a ofrecer su promesa de rezar el rosario, de ayunar o de hacer una obra de misericordia por las intenciones de Monseñor Silvio José Báez.

 

MEDITACIÓN

Homilía del XXIII Domingo del Tiempo Ordinario—Parroquia San Miguel Arcángel de Managua
9 de septiembre de 2018

Lecturas:
Is 35, 4-7a; Salmo 145, 7. 8-9a. 9bc-10; Sant 2, 1-5; Mc 7, 31-37

Quote of the day: 14 January

There was a person to whom I spoke a few days ago who for about fifteen years was kept so busy through obedience with work in occupations and government that in all those years he didn’t remember having had one day for himself, although he tried the best he could to keep a pure conscience and have some periods each day for prayer. His soul in its inclination is one of the most obedient I have seen, and so he communicates this spirit of obedience to all those with whom he deals. The Lord has repaid him well; for he has found that he has, without knowing how, that same precious and desirable liberty of spirit that the perfect have. In it, they find all the happiness that could be wanted in this life, for in desiring nothing they possess all. Nothing on earth do they fear or desire, neither do trials disturb them, nor do consolations move them. In sum, nothing can take away their peace because these souls depend only on God. And since no one can take Him away from them, only the fear of losing Him can cause them pain. Everything else in this world, in their opinion, is as though it were not; it neither contributes anything nor removes anything from their happiness. Oh, happy obedience and happy the resulting distraction that could obtain so much!

This is not the only person, for I have known others of the same sort, whom I had not seen for some, or many, years. In asking them about how they had spent these years, I learned that the years were all spent in the fulfillment of the duties of obedience and charity. On the other hand, I saw such improvement in spiritual things that I was amazed. Well, come now, my daughters, don’t be sad when obedience draws you to involvement in exterior matters. Know that if it is in the kitchen, the Lord walks among the pots and pans helping you both interiorly and exteriorly.

Saint Teresa of Jesus

The Book of the Foundations
Chapter 5

 

pans and pots notarim flickr 7830408838
mark notari / Flickr

 

 

Teresa of Avila, St. 1985, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Triduo Teresiano: Oremos juntos por Mons. Báez — Día 2

PRIMERA LECTURA

Lectura del primer libro de Samuel 15,22
Desobediencia de Saúl

¿Se complace el Señor tanto
en holocaustos y sacrificios
como en la obediencia a la voz del Señor?
He aquí, el obedecer es mejor que un sacrificio,
y el prestar atención, que la grosura de los carneros.

 

SEGUNDA LECTURA

De Las Fundaciones de santa Teresa de Jesús, virgen y doctora de la Iglesia
(Capítulo 5)
Entre los pucheros anda el Señor

Así lo estaba una persona que ha pocos días que hablé, que la obediencia le había traído cerca de quince años tan trabajado en oficios y gobiernos, que en todos éstos no se acordaba de haber tenido un día para sí, aunque él procuraba lo mejor que podía algunos ratos al día de oración y de traer limpia conciencia. Es un alma de las más inclinadas a obediencia que yo he visto, y así la pega a cuantas trata. Hale pagado bien el Señor, que, sin saber cómo, se halló con aquella libertad de espíritu tan preciada y deseada que tienen los perfectos, adonde se halla toda la felicidad que en esta vida se puede desear; porque, no queriendo nada, lo poseen todo. Ninguna cosa temen ni desean de la tierra, ni los trabajos las turban, ni los contentos las hacen movimiento. En fin, nadie la puede quitar la paz, porque ésta de sólo Dios depende. Y como a El nadie le puede quitar, sólo temor de perderle puede dar pena, que todo lo demás de este mundo es, en su opinión, como si no fuese, porque ni le hace ni le deshace para su contento. ¡Oh dichosa obediencia y distracción por ella, que tanto pudo alcanzar!

No es sola esta persona, que otras he conocido de la misma suerte, que no las había visto algunos años había y hartos; y preguntándoles en qué se habían pasado, era todo en ocupaciones de obediencia y caridad. Por otra parte, veíalos tan medrados en cosas espirituales, que me espantaban. Pues ¡ea, hijas mías!, no haya desconsuelo cuando la obediencia os trajere empleadas en cosas exteriores; entended que si es en la cocina, entre los pucheros anda el Señor ayudándoos en lo interior y exterior.

 

ORACIÓN

Señor Dios nuestro,
que por tu Espíritu has suscitado a santa Teresa de Jesús,
para mostrar a tu Iglesia el camino de la perfección,
concédenos vivir de su doctrina y enciende en nosotros
el deseo de la verdadera santidad.
Por nuestro Señor Jesucristo.

 

Les invitamos a dejar un comentario y a ofrecer su promesa de rezar el rosario, de ayunar o de hacer una obra de misericordia por las intenciones de Monseñor Silvio José Báez.

 

MEDITACIÓN

Homilía del Segundo Domingo de Cuaresma—Parroquia Nuestra Señora de La Asuncion de Managua
17 de marzo de 2019

Lecturas:
Gen 15, 5-12. 17-18; Salmo 26, 1. 7-8a. 8b-9abc. 13-14; Fil 3, 17–4, 1; Lc 9, 28b-36

Quote of the day: 13 January

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 (Mt 17:1-9). 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 (Lk 2:34-35). 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.”

Saint Teresa of Jesus

Spiritual Testimonies, 32
Avila, probably 1572

 

Behold these wounds Geertgen_Man_van_smarten
Man of Sorrows
Geertgen tot Sint Jans (Dutch, c. 1485–1495)
Oil on panel, 1486
Museum Catharijneconvent, Utrecht

 

 

Teresa of Avila, St. 1985, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Triduo Teresiano: Oremos juntos por Mons. Báez — Día 1

PRIMERA LECTURA

De la carta del apóstol san Pablo a los Filipenses 2,5-11
La actitud de los seguidores de Cristo

Tengan los mismos sentimientos de Cristo Jesús.

El, que era de condición divina,
no consideró esta igualdad con Dios
como algo que debía guardar celosamente:
al contrario, se anonadó a sí mismo,
tomando la condición de servidor
y haciéndose semejante a los hombres.
Y presentándose con aspecto humano,
se humilló hasta aceptar por obediencia la muerte
y muerte de cruz.

Por eso, Dios lo exaltó
y le dio el Nombre que está sobre todo nombre,
para que al nombre de Jesús,
se doble toda rodilla
en el cielo, en la tierra y en los abismos,
y toda lengua proclame para gloria de Dios Padre:
«Jesucristo es el Señor».

 

SEGUNDA LECTURA

De Las Relaciones de santa Teresa de Jesús, virgen y doctora de la Iglesia
(Capítulo 36)
El camino del sufrimiento y del amor

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».

 

ORACIÓN

Señor Dios nuestro,
que por tu Espíritu has suscitado a santa Teresa de Jesús,
para mostrar a tu Iglesia el camino de la perfección,
concédenos vivir de su doctrina y enciende en nosotros
el deseo de la verdadera santidad.
Por nuestro Señor Jesucristo.

 

Les invitamos a dejar un comentario y a ofrecer su promesa de rezar el rosario, de ayunar o de hacer una obra de misericordia por las intenciones de Monseñor Silvio José Báez.

 

MEDITACIÓN

Homilía del Domingo de RamosParroquia de Esquipulas, Managua
14 de abril de 2019

Lecturas:
Is 50, 4-7; Salmo 21, 8-9. 17-18a. 19-20. 23-24; Flp 2, 6-11; Lc 22, 14–23, 56

 

Quote of the day: 7 January

The Doctorate of St. Teresa:

The historical development of an idea

(excerpts)

Fr. Valentino Macca, O.C.D.

Ephemerides Carmeliticae
Vol. 21 (1970/1-2) pp. 35-113


 

The Positio, concluded by this favorable judgment of the Promoter General of Faith, was distributed to all the Cardinals and Prelates of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, to whom the matter was submitted:

An, attentis insigni vitae sanctitate et eminenti doctrina eiusque benefico in vita Ecclesiae pondere, procedi posse arbitrarentur ad Sanctam Teresiam a Iesu Ecclesiae Doctorem declarandam.

The matter was then dealt with directly in the meeting that the Sacred Congregation held at the Vatican on 15 July 1969, the eve of the solemn Commemoration of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. After the learned and widespread report of Card. Arcadio M. Larraona, Promoter of the Cause, Cardinals and Official Prelates of the Sacred Congregation unanimously decided that St. Teresa of Avila was worthy of being inscribed by the Supreme Pontiff in the catalog of the Doctors of the Church.

The following 21 July, Paul VI, informed of the favorable judgment of the Sacred Congregation, approved the decision and ordered that St. Teresa of Jesus be numbered among the Doctors of the Church, reserving for himself the determination of the day of proclamation, and giving the order that the corresponding Apostolic Brief should be prepared. 

All of this is reflected in the Decree Urbis et Orbis of 21 July of the Sacred Congregation for the Causes of the Saints.

According to this decree, therefore, St. Teresa of Avila has already been declared a Doctor of the Church. However, the solemn proclamation that the Holy Father, as was later announced, will make during a solemn ceremony in St. Peter’s on 27 September 1970, has not yet taken place.

We have presented the historical development of the idea of the Doctorate of St. Teresa of Avila from its humble and at the same time already powerful origins immediately after the Saint’s death until the happy official goal that now is approaching. It is an idea that immediately emerged with extraordinary clarity, even if not in strictly canonical terms, given the extraordinary value of Our Holy Mother Teresa’s doctrine and the widespread diffusion and influence that her books and her Magisterium soon had, praised by Popes and Bishops, exalted by the liturgy, used by Doctors and mystical writers, which became more and more an unquestionable authority in the field of mystical theology. While many believed that with Teresa of Jesus we were faced with a typical case of the Church declaring a Doctor equipollenter, from 1882 onwards, however, with ever greater insistence the voices were heard of those who implored a formal declaration. In 1923, an appeal was made to the Holy See to achieve this intention; it failed. The time was not ripe.

Providence arranged that in the climate of grace created by Vatican II, Paul VI, so supernaturally open to the signs of the times, should have the inspiration to give for the first time to a female Saint, distinguished for a marvelous doctrine that made her the teacher and mother of spiritual life in the Church, the title of Doctor.

The Pope, chosen by God for this act, had already in 1965 practically called her Doctor; in 1967 he greeted her as “great teacher of Catholic mysticism” and “extraordinary interpreter of the things of God”; while on 10 September 1965, he declared her principal patroness of all Catholic writers in Spain, affirming that she was the “luminary of Spain and of the whole Church” through her books, filled with heavenly wisdom, and even today she remains “praestantissima magistra” [exceptional teacher].

The solemn act of 27 September 1970—crowning all of this—will give the title, full rights, and honors of “Doctor of the Church” to the one who loved to call herself “daughter of the Church”.

Fr. Valentino di Santa Maria, o.c.d.

17 February 1924 – 7 January 1988

 

Teresa Doctor Valladolid portrait red background
Convento de la Concepción del Carmen de Valladolid | Ángel Cantero, Iglesia en Valladolid / Flickr

 

 


Father Valentino Macca, O.C.D. was a native of Brescia, Italy whose decades of service to the Discalced Carmelite Order left an indelible impression. He entered the Order at age 16 in the convent at Brescia, professing his solemn vows in 1945. When he completed his theological studies at the Teresianum in Rome, Cardinal Adeodato Piazza ordained him to the priesthood in 1950. Not long after, Father Valentino began to serve the Order at the General Curia in Rome. First, he served as a member of the communications team, the Centro Informativo; next, he labored as General Archivist, eventually assuming the direction of the Analecta O.D.C. as well.

Father Valentino distinguished himself for many years as the professor of Marian Spirituality and Mariology at the Marianum in Rome; to this day, Mariologists cite his published works. He served as a consultor to various dicasteries of the Holy See; his final curial assignment before his death was as a Relator for the Congregation of the Causes of the Saints. The library of the Teresianum in Rome lists 40 titles in its catalog where Father Macca is either the author, editor, or even the subject. We are pleased to bring an excerpt from his writings on Carmelite history to our readers. For a more complete biography of Father Valentino in Italian, we direct our readers to the Enciclopedia Bresciana article here.

 

Translations from the Italian are the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.

Quote of the day: 20 December

And so I brought with me Father Nicolás de Jesús María, a man of great perfection and discretion, a native of Genoa.

 

Nicolas de Jésus-Marie Doria
Nicolás de Jesús María, named the first Discalced Carmelite Superior General 20 December 1593 | Samuel Austin / Wikimedia Commons

 

Saint Teresa describes the discalced friar she brought with her when she made the foundation at Soria:

He was over forty when he received the habit, I thinkat least he’s forty now, and it’s only a short while since he took the habitbut he has advanced so far in a short time that it seems clear our Lord chose him so he might help the order during these very troublesome times of persecution.

He has done a good deal. With respect to the others who could have helped, some were exiled, others imprisoned. Since he had no office, little attention was paid to him. For as I mentioned, it was only a short time that he was in the order. Or, God allowed this that there might be some help left for me.

He is so discreet that while he was staying in the monastery of the calced Carmelites in Madrid, as though for other business reasons, he dealt with the affairs of the discalced friars in such a disguised manner that the calced friars never knew about it, and so they didn’t bother him.

We corresponded frequently, for I was in the monastery of St. Joseph’s in Avila, and we dealt with a suitable course of action, for this consultation gave him satisfaction. Hence it can be seen what need the order was in since so much attention was paid to me for want, as they say, of good men. [Spanish proverb: For lack of good men, they made my father mayor.]

It was during this time that I had experience of his perfection and discretion. Thus he is among those in this order whom I love much in the Lord and esteem highly.

Saint Teresa of Avila

The Foundations: Chapter 30

 

In June 1593 the Carmelite Order held its general chapter at Cremona (Italy), to elect a successor to the Fr. Caffardo who had died in office on 3 April 1592. Fr. Nicholas Doria, in his capacity as vicar general, was present at that chapter and brought with him three provincials and ten socii to represent the Discalced Congregation. The Discalced took advantage of so solemn an occasion to reveal, in the form of a petition to the definitor general and general chapter, their intention of requesting the Pope to grant them complete separation from the Order, so that henceforth the Discalced would not attend the general chapter nor would the Order have any jurisdiction over them. The chapter reacted favorably to the idea, and Pope Clement VIII, in the Brief Pastoralis Officii dated 20 December, separated “The Discalced Brethren of the Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel” definitively from the prior general’s jurisdiction. So, Fr. Nicholas Doria had the honor of being the Order’s first general.

Father Ildefonso Moriones
El Carmelo Teresiano: páginas de su historia


Discalced Carmelite historian Father Ildefonso Moriones has written much on the history of the Teresian Carmel. His 1978 volume, El Carmelo Teresiano: páginas de su historia, has been translated into English and uploaded to the Order’s online archives. Chapter X, “Change of Superior, Change of Direction: Father Nicholas of Jesus and Mary, Doria” is devoted completely to this larger-than-life figure in the history of the Discalced Carmelite Order.

You can read Chapter X on Father Doria here and read Fr. Ildefonso’s introduction, Chapter I, and see the complete outline of the titles and links to the book’s twenty chapters here.

 

Ildefonso Moriones 2015
Father Ildefonso Moriones, O.C.D. | YouTube screenshot

 

Teresa of Avila, St. 1985, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

 

O Radix Jesse

¡Bienaventurada alma que la trae el Señor a entender verdades! ¡Oh, qué estado éste para los reyes! ¡Cómo les valdría mucho más procurarle, que no gran señorío! ¡Qué rectitud habría en el reino! ¡Qué de males se excusarían y habrían excusado! Aquí no se teme perder vida ni honra por amor de Dios. ¡Qué gran bien éste para quien está más obligado a mirar la honra del Señor, que todos los que son menos, pues han de ser los reyes a quien sigan!

Por un punto de aumento en la fe y de haber dado luz en algo a los herejes, perdería mil reinos, y con razón. Otro ganar es. Un reino que no se acaba. Que con sola una gota que gusta un alma de esta agua de él, parece asco todo lo de acá. Pues cuando fuere estar engolfada en todo ¿qué será?

Santa Teresa de Jesús
Libro de la Vida: Capítulo 21

 

31944258_2021907738049770_2462622178944745472_o
Santa Teresa de Jesús por Gerardo Lopez Bonilla / Fuente: Carmelitas Descalzos

 

Blessed is the soul the Lord brings to the understanding of truth! Oh, how fit a state this is for kings! How much more worthwhile it would be for them to strive for this stage of prayer rather than for great dominion! What righteousness there would be in the kingdom! What evils they would avoid and have avoided! In this stage one does not fear to lose one’s life or honor for the love of God! What a great blessing this is for anyone who has a greater obligation to look after the honor of God than do all those who are subordinate, since these latter must follow their kings!

For one fraction of an increase in faith and for having given some light to the heretics such a king would be willing to lose a thousand kingdoms — and rightly so; for the gain would be far greater: a kingdom without an end, which when the soul tastes only one drop of its water, makes everything here below seem repulsive. How much more if the soul be immersed in this water?

Saint Teresa of Avila
The Book of Her Life: Chapter 21

 

 

Kieran Kavanaugh, K, Rodriguez, O, and Teresa 1976, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Vol. 1 ICS Publications, Washington DC.

St. John of the Cross Novena — Day 7

To be taken with love for a soul, God does not look on its greatness, but on the greatness of its humility.

Sayings of Light and Love, 103

 

SCRIPTURE

Have mercy on me, God, in your kindness.
In your compassion blot out my offense.
O wash me more and more from my guilt
and cleanse me from my sin.

My offenses truly I know them;
my sin is always before me
Against you, you alone, have I sinned;
what is evil in your sight I have done.

That you may be justified when you give sentence
and be without reproach when you judge,
O see, in guilt I was born,
a sinner was I conceived.

Indeed you love truth in the heart;
then in the secret of my heart teach me wisdom.
O purify me, then I shall be clean;
O wash me, I shall be whiter than snow.

Make me hear rejoicing and gladness,
that the bones you have crushed may revive.
From my sins turn away your face
and blot out all my guilt.

A pure heart create for me, O God,
put a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from your presence,
nor deprive me of your holy spirit.

Give me again the joy of your help;
with a spirit of fervor sustain me,
that I may teach transgressors your ways
and sinners may return to you.

O rescue me, God, my helper,
and my tongue shall ring out your goodness.
O Lord, open my lips
and my mouth shall declare your praise.

For in sacrifice you take no delight,
burnt offering from me you would refuse,
my sacrifice, a contrite spirit,
a humbled, contrite heart you will not spurn.

In your goodness, show favor to Zion:
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.
Then you will be pleased with lawful sacrifice,
holocausts offered on your altar.

Psalm 51

 

MEDITATION

“O sweetest love of God, so little known, whoever has found this rich mine is at rest!” (Sayings, 16) This is the song of St. John of the Cross, his canticle of love distilled down to its very essence. 

God truly loves us, St. John reminds us through his letters. He tells us that God cannot fit in hearts that are occupied with distractions, that are attached to people, places, or things that mean more to us than God himself. God only fits in hearts that have been emptied to make room for him.

It seems that nada—nothingness within us—isn’t so farfetched after all. Cleansing our souls is like the necessary spiritual housekeeping that must be done prior to any Nativity moment in our spiritual lives; without that soul-cleansing, that housecleaning in our hearts, there will always be a NO VACANCY light shining outside the inn within. How can God find space to squeeze in here?

St. Edith Stein says that the moment we reach the realization that we need to clean house is the moment when we are on the threshold of making the greatest spiritual progress. Recalling the spiritual sense of dryness, darkness, and emptiness that we mentioned in the meditation for our sixth day of this novena, Edith offers this reflection on the state of the soul in her final masterpiece, The Science of the Cross (SC):

She [the soul] is put into total darkness and emptiness. Absolutely nothing that might give her a hold is left to her anymore except faith. Faith sets Christ before her eyes: the poor, humiliated, crucified one, who is abandoned on the cross even by his heavenly Father. In his poverty and abandonment, she rediscovers herself. Dryness, distaste, and affliction are the “purely spiritual cross” that is handed to her. If she accepts it she experiences that it is an easy yoke and a light burden. It becomes a staff for her that will quickly lead her up the mountain. (SC 10)

Accepting the dryness we experience in prayer, the distaste, the affliction, these are all signs that we actually are clearing out space for God within. 

When she realizes that Christ, in his extreme humiliation and annihilation on the cross, achieved the greatest result, the reconciliation and union of mankind with God, there awakens in her the understanding that for her, also, annihilation, the “living death by crucifixion of all that is sensory as well as spiritual” leads to union with God. (SC 10)

And by the way, there is a little voice in Dijon, France who takes up the refrain: it is St Elizabeth of the Trinity, singing so sweetly in the pages of her Last Retreat (LR):

If my interior city (cf. Rev. 21) is to have some similarity and likeness to that “of the King of eternal ages” (I Tim 1:17) and to receive this great illumination from God, I must extinguish every other light and, as in the holy city, the Lamb must be “its only light.”

Here faith, the beautiful light of faith appears. It alone should light my way as I go to meet the Bridegroom. The psalmist sings the He “hides Himself in darkness” (Ps 17:12), then in another place he seems to contradict himself by saying that “light surrounds Him like a cloak” (Ps 103:2). What stands out for me in this apparent contradiction is that I must immerse myself in “the sacred darkness” by putting all my powers in darkness and emptiness; then I will meet my Master, and “the light that surrounds Him like a cloak” will envelop me also, for He wants His bride to be luminous with His light, His light alone, “which is the glory of God.” (LR 4)

So there it is: the challenge, the call is to accept, welcome, embrace and—so to speak—hide in the dark and empty spaces within us, not running to another distraction, another attachment, another new idol in our lives to fill up that interior void. It is at the point when we feel (and know) the emptiness within, the void that we are creating and/or that God is helping us to create so that we can spend time and focus on him—whether that is accepting a loss of some sort of attachment, or purposefully choosing to give up a distracting activity in order to spend more time going to daily Mass, making time for daily Scripture reading, or praying the Liturgy of the Hours, or the rosary, or going to Eucharistic adoration, or practicing silent mental prayer instead of (name your distraction here).

At this point when we have a hunger and a thirst for God that is so strong and powerful that we are willing to sacrifice and say, “all for you and nothing for me” (Sayings 111), we also find ourselves crying out to God, “but I can’t do this alone, by myself!” When we are ready to give up and have reached the point of abandon, we’ve reached the most crucial moment of all because…

That is the truth.

“I never sought anything but the truth,” St. Thérèse said in the hours before her death (Yellow Notebook, 30 September).

St. Teresa set the benchmark in the Interior Castle: “To be humble is to walk in truth” (IC VI, 10:7)

And how will we know when we’re meeting the benchmark for St. John of the Cross?

The humble are those who hide in their own nothingness and know how to abandon themselves to God. (Sayings 163)

 

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.

 

Bust of John of the Cross 17th c. Carmel of Pontoise Palissy POP 95W00986
Bust of St. John of the Cross
17th c. French
Oil on canvas, no date
Carmel of Pontoise
© Ministère de la Culture (France), Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine, Diffusion RMN-GP. Used by permission.
Latin inscription upper left: QVID TIBI PRO LABOR
Latin inscription at base: PATI. ET. CONTEMNI. PROTE

 

 

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 BibleSelections from the psalter appear in the Liturgy of the Hours.

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

All of the citations from the Sayings of Light and Love are drawn from The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, Revised Edition (1991), translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K and Rodriguez, O with revisions and introductions by Kavanaugh, K, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

 

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

 

Stein, E 2002, The Science of the Cross, translated from the German by Koeppel, J, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

 

Teresa of Avila, St. 1985, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

 

St. John of the Cross Novena — Day 6

Whoever flees prayer flees all that is good.

Sayings of Light and Love, 169

 

SCRIPTURE

When evil men advance against me
to devour my flesh,
they, my opponents, my enemies,
are the ones who stumble and fall.

When evil men advance against me
to devour my flesh,
they, my opponents, my enemies,
are the ones who stumble and fall.

Though an army pitched camp against me,
my heart would not fear;
though war were waged against me,
my trust would still be firm.

One thing I ask of Yahweh,
one thing I seek:
to live in the house of Yahweh
all the days of my life,
to enjoy the sweetness of Yahweh
and to consult him in his Temple.

For he shelters me under his awning
in times of trouble;
he hides me deep in his tent,
sets me high on a rock.

And now my head is held high
over the enemies who surround me,
in his tent I will offer
exultant sacrifice.

I will sing, I will play for Yahweh!

Yahweh, hear my voice as I cry!
Pity me! Answer me!
My heart has said of you,
“Seek his face.”
Yahweh, I do seek your face;
do not hide your face from me.

Do not repulse your servant in anger;
you are my help.
Never leave me, never desert me,
God, my savior!
If my father and mother desert me,
Yahweh will care for me still.

Yahweh, teach me your way,
lead me in the path of integrity
because of my enemies;
do not abandon me to the will of my foes
false witnesses have risen against me,
and breathe out violence.

This I believe: I shall see the goodness of Yahweh,
in the land of the living.
Put your hope in Yahweh, be strong, let your heart be bold,
put your hope in Yahweh.

Psalm 27

 

MEDITATION

Let’s have a virtual show of hands: who among us has had an experience where God seemed to be hiding or even absent when we pray? Who among us has ever prayed, “God, where are you?” Has anyone ever said, “prayer isn’t working for me, God doesn’t care about me, I give up”? Has anyone ever experienced dryness in prayer, where you can’t feel anything anymore? Or, has someone ever discovered one day that they drifted away from the fervor of the practice of prayer they once had?

If you answered, “yes” to any one or more of these questions, you are in good company. All of us experience difficulties in prayer. In yesterday’s fifth novena meditation, we read one of St. Teresa’s accounts where she experienced difficulties in prayer; she was going through a moment of tribulation and the practice of prayer that usually brought her encouragement and comfort simply didn’t work.

Growing in friendship with God is a lifelong journey along the way of perfection. There will be many moments when we will stumble and fall. Ask any old friend of God and they will testify to this age-old fact of the spiritual life. The most important lesson that those who travel the way of perfection (or the Little Way of St. Thérèse) must learn is that it’s not a matter of how frequently or infrequently we fall, it’s how quickly we get up again and keep moving along the way. Saint Teresa herself says in the Interior Castle’s Second Mansion (IC II), “if you should at times fall don’t become discouraged and stop striving to advance. For even from this fall God will draw out good.” (IC II:9)

“Don’t become discouraged” is advice we read and hear often in Carmelite spirituality. Here’s what St. Elizabeth of the Trinity said to her younger sister a few months before Elizabeth died:

Darling little sister, you must cross out the word “discouragement” from your dictionary of love; the more you feel your weakness, your difficulty in recollecting yourself, and the more hidden the Master seems, the more you must rejoice, for then you are giving to Him, and, when one loves, isn’t it better to give than to receive? God said to Saint Paul: “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:9), and the great saint understood this so well that he cried out: “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:10). What does it matter what we feel; He, He is the Unchanging One, He who never changes: He loves you today as He loved you yesterday and will love you tomorrow. (Letter 298)

St. Teresa was more blunt when writing about those facing discouragement in prayer, especially beginners in prayer:

Ah, my Lord! Your help is necessary here; without it one can do nothing (cf. Jn 15:5). In Your mercy do not consent to allow this soul to suffer deception and give up what was begun. (IC II:6)

It will seem to you that you are truly determined to undergo exterior trials, provided that God favors you interiorly. His Majesty knows best what is suitable for us. There’s no need for us to be advising Him about what He should give us, for He can rightly tell us that we don’t know what we’re asking for (cf. Mt 20:22). The whole aim of any person who is beginning prayer—and don’t forget this, because it’s very, very important—should be that he work and prepare himself with determination and every possible effort to bring his will into conformity with God’s will. (IC II:8)

We can have all the determination in the world to be devout, faithful, and persistent in our prayer, but our own devotion, fidelity, and persistence alone are not sufficient. We need the Lord’s guidance. Here, St. Teresa refers to acquiring spiritual directors, but her point is more valid than ever: 

Provided that we don’t give up, the Lord will guide everything for our benefit, even though we may not find someone to teach us. There is no other remedy for this evil of giving up prayer than to begin again; otherwise the soul will gradually lose more each day—and please God that it will understand this fact. (IC II:10)

“Provided that we don’t give up,” Teresa writes. “Whoever flees prayer,” St. John of the Cross echoes, “flees all that is good.”

What is this “all that is good” to which John refers?

This time, we will let him answer the question, by sharing an excerpt from his 8 July 1589 letter to Madre Leonor de San Gabriel in Córdoba. A companion of St. Teresa in founding the monasteries of Beas and Sevilla, Mother Leonor was feeling alone in Córdoba without the companionship of Teresa and the sisters she knew and loved the best. St. John of the Cross wrote a letter to encourage her in her new mission as prioress:

Jesus be in your soul, my daughter in Christ.

Thank you for your letter. And I thank God for having desired to use you in this foundation, since His Majesty has done this in order to bring you greater profit. The more he wants to give, the more he makes us desire—even to the point of leaving us empty in order to fill us with goods. You will be repaid for the goods (the love of your sisters) that you leave behind in Sevilla. Since the immense blessings of God can only enter and fit into an empty and solitary heart, the Lord wants you to be alone. For he truly loves you with the desire of being himself all your company. And Your Reverence will have to strive carefully to be content only with his companionship, so you might discover in it every happiness. Even though the soul may be in heaven, it will not be happy if it does not conform its will to this. And we will be unhappy with God, even though he is always present with us, if our heart is not alone, but attached to something else. (Letter 15)

“He loves you today as He loved you yesterday and will love you tomorrow,” St. Elizabeth wrote, echoing the sentiments of St. John of the Cross. But if God is “always present with us”, how can we become present to God, so that our hearts are alone and not “attached to something else”? 

Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection tells us what he did:

Thus, after offering myself entirely to God in atonement for my sins, I renounced for the sake of his love everything other than God, and I began to live as if only he and I existed in the world. Sometimes I considered myself before him as a miserable criminal at his judge’s feet, and at other times I regarded him in my heart as my Father, as my God. I adored him there as often as I could, keeping my mind in his holy presence and recalling him as many times as I was distracted. I had some trouble doing this exercise, but continued in spite of all the difficulties I encountered, without getting disturbed or anxious when I was involuntarily distracted. I was as faithful to this practice during my activities as I was during my periods of mental prayer, for at every moment, all the time, in the most intense periods of my work I banished and rid from my mind everything that was capable of taking the thought of God away from me. (Letter 12)

 

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.

 

Arrest of John of the Cross Carmel de Pontoise Palissy POP 95W00981
The Arrest of St John of the Cross
18th c. French
Oil on canvas, 1772 or 1777
Carmel of Pontoise
© Ministère de la Culture (France), Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine, Diffusion RMN-GP. Used by permission.

 

 

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 BibleSelections from the psalter appear in the Liturgy of the Hours.

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

All of the citations from the Sayings of Light and Love are drawn from The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, Revised Edition (1991), translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K and Rodriguez, O with revisions and introductions by Kavanaugh, K, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

 

Elizabeth of the Trinity, S 2003, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel, translated from the French by Nash, A, ICS Publications, Washington DC

 

Lawrence of the Resurrection, B 2015, Writings and Conversations on the Practice of the Presence of God, translated from the French by Sciurba, S, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

 

Teresa of Avila, St. 1985, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

 

St. John of the Cross Novena — Day 5

In tribulation, immediately draw near to God with trust, and you will receive strength, enlightenment, and instruction.

Sayings of Light and Love, 66

 

SCRIPTURE

Have mercy on me, God, men crush me;
they fight me all day long and oppress me.
My foes crush me all day long,
for many fight proudly against me.

When I fear, I will trust in you,
in God whose word I praise.
In God I trust, I shall not fear:
what can mortal man do to me?

All day long they distort my words,
all their thought is to harm me.
They band together in ambush,
track me down and seek my life.

You have kept an account of my wanderings;
you have kept a record of my tears;
are they not written in your book?
Then my foes will be put to flight
on the day that I call to you.

This I know, that God is on my side.
In God, whose word I praise,
in the Lord, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not fear:
what can mortal man do to me?

I am bound by the vows I have made you.
O God, I will offer you praise
for you rescued my soul from death,
you kept my feet from stumbling
that I may walk in the presence of God
and enjoy the light of the living.

Psalm 56

 

MEDITATION

Oh, blessed tribulation, that sure sign that God is madly in love with you.

Tribulation is a word that is no longer part of our daily vocabulary. It appears in word puzzles and still makes its way into Hollywood film scripts, although it sounds more appropriate coming from the lips of the revered British actor Charles Laughton, whose King Herod once posed the legendary rhetorical question: “Why does the prophet visit me with worse than the tribulations of Job?”

Saint Teresa of Jesus understood what Saint John of the Cross meant when he was writing about tribulation because she had seen her fair share of it in her lifetime. Here’s just one example from Testimony 53 written in Seville, 8 November 1575:

On the octave day of All Saints I spent two or three very troublesome days over the remembrance of my great sins and because of some fears of my being persecuted that had no foundation, except that false testimony was going to be raised [She had been falsely accused before the Inquisition of Seville]. And all the courage I usually have for suffering left me. Although I wanted to encourage myself, and I made acts and reflected that this suffering would be very beneficial to my soul, all these actions helped me little. For the fear didn’t go away, and what I felt was a vexing war. I chanced upon a letter in which my good Father [Jerome Gracián, Discalced Carmelite and Apostolic Visitor] refers to what St. Paul says, that God does not permit us to be tempted beyond what we can suffer (1 Cor 10:13). That comforted me a lot, but it wasn’t enough. Rather, the next day I became sorely afflicted in seeing I was without him, since I had no one to whom I could have recourse in this tribulation. It seemed to me I was living in great loneliness, and this loneliness increased when I saw that there was no one now but him who might give me comfort and that he had to be absent most of the time, which was a great torment to me.

On the next night, while reading in a book a saying of St. Paul which began to console me, I was thinking of how present our Lord had previously been to me, for He had so truly seemed to be the living God. While I was thinking about this, He appeared in an intellectual vision, very deep within me, as though on the side where the heart is, and said: “Here I am, but I want you to see what little you can do without Me.”

I felt reassured right away, and all my fears were gone. While I was at Matins that same night, the Lord, through an intellectual vision so intense it almost seemed to be an imaginative one, placed Himself in my arms as in the painting of the fifth agony. This vision caused me great fear. For it was so clear, and He was so close to me that I wondered if it was an illusion. He told me: “Don’t be surprised by this, for My Father is with your soul in an incomparably greater union.”

This vision has so remained up till now. What I said of our Lord lasted more than a month. Now it is gone.

Now, we may not be falsely accused before the Inquisition, but in our daily lives, we see plenty of tribulation. And Saint Teresa makes it clear that if we are seeking to make love our ambition, to grow in that untiring love of which St. John of the Cross speaks, then we will be blessed with tribulation.

Blessed with tribulation?

“It is clear that since God wants to lead those whom He greatly loves by the path of tribulation—and the more He loves them the greater the tribulation—there is no reason to think that He despises contemplatives, for with His own mouth He praises them and considers them His friends.”  (Way 18:1)

But what if I don’t want to be a contemplative? 

For the faithful, this truly is not an option if we desire to be united with Christ in heaven, where we will be contemplatives for all eternity! St. Paul writes, “and we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Cor 3:18).

The Catechism reminds us: 

Because of his transcendence, God cannot be seen as he is, unless he himself opens up his mystery to man’s immediate contemplation and gives him the capacity for it. The Church calls this contemplation of God in his heavenly glory “the beatific vision.”

Citing St. Cyprian, the Catechism continues:

How great will your glory and happiness be, to be allowed to see God, to be honored with sharing the joy of salvation and eternal light with Christ your Lord and God, . . . to delight in the joy of immortality in the Kingdom of heaven with the righteous and God’s friends. (CCC 1028)

To be able to contemplate Christ for all eternity, the tribulation is worth it.

We notice that a great Saint and Doctor of the Church like Our Holy Mother Teresa was not immune from tribulation and anxiety. She was suffering terribly: there were “very troublesome days” and fears of being persecuted. She had lost her courage, and every remedy, every action that normally helped in past situations didn’t help at all. She was stuck in her fears and left with what she calls a guerra desabrida… a rather unsavory war—fruitless, vexing, and pointless. Even reading a letter from the priest who meant more to her than any other friar in the world couldn’t console her; his advice was to read St. Paul, but she admitted that it  “comforted me a lot, but it wasn’t enough.”

Poor St. Teresa, she was really in emotional distress and in a spiritual bind. The next day she became even more upset because Father Gracián wasn’t there to encourage and console her in her anxiety. “I had no one to whom I could have recourse in this tribulation” and for her, the loneliness seemed to be the worst part.

St. John of the Cross says that it’s in times like these that we must “immediately draw near to God with trust” and that is exactly what St. Teresa did. She didn’t give up praying, seeking, and hoping, and she didn’t abandon God. Quite the opposite: she continued to draw near to God, even though He seemed distant or hiding. It seems that she may have had difficulty praying with peace, so she turned to spiritual reading instead.

Now, the Lord made himself known to St. Teresa at that moment through a mystical experience. However, that may not necessarily be the path the Lord chooses for each one of us. What St. John of the Cross explains is that if we draw near to God with trust, then we will receive “strength, enlightenment, and instruction.”

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity gives the following advice to ordinary folks like you and I for how best to draw near to God when troubled or anxious  in those moments that St. John and St. Teresa called “tribulation”:

You must build a little cell within your soul as I do. Remember that God is there and enter it from time to time; when you feel nervous or you’re unhappy, quickly seek refuge there and tell the Master all about it.

Ah, if you got to know Him a little, prayer wouldn’t bore you anymore; to me it seems to be rest, relaxation. We come quite simply to the One we love, stay close to Him like a little child in the arms of its mother, and we let our heart go.  (Letter 123)

 

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.

 

Evasion de saint jean de la croix Carmel de Pontoise 95W00982
The Escape of St John of the Cross
18th c. French
Oil on canvas, 1768
Carmel of Pontoise
© Ministère de la Culture (France), Médiathèque de l’architecture et du patrimoine, Diffusion RMN-GP. Used by permission.

 

 

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 BibleSelections from the psalter appear in the Liturgy of the Hours.

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

All of the citations from the Sayings of Light and Love are drawn from The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, Revised Edition, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K and Rodriguez, O with revisions and introductions by Kavanaugh, K, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Elizabeth of the Trinity, S 2003, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel, translated from the French by Nash, A, ICS Publications, Washington DC
Teresa of Avila, St. 1985, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

 

Quote of the day: 4 December

The whole city is truly scandalized.

In our quote of the day for 2 December we remembered the anniversary of the abduction of Saint John of the Cross from his chaplain’s quarters at the monastery of the Incarnation in Avila. We read Saint Teresa’s anguished letter to King Philip II wherein she provided the backstory and described the abduction of Saint John and his companion and fellow confessor, Fray Germán. More important, Teresa begged the king to intervene in the affair.

Saint Teresa’s letter was dated 4 December 1577. We recall that she wrote how the Carmelite vicar provincial “is holding these confessors captive in his monastery after having forced his way into their cells and confiscating their papers” (Letter 218).

 

 

2017-08-17 (1)
Saint Edith Stein wrote the Science of the Cross in the final months before her arrest in August 1942. Did a correlation between Saint John of the Cross’ abduction and the arrests of the Jews come to mind? | Photo Credit: Bundesarchiv (Creative Commons)

 

 

Today we turn to Saint Edith Stein’s Science of the Cross to provide us with more details of his abduction; we refer to her introduction, “The Message of the Cross”. Let us recall that scholars differ on the date of the abduction; by Edith’s calculation, the event occurred on the night of December 3 and Teresa wrote to the king on the very next day. Based on this knowledge, Edith recounts the story:

On the night of December 3, 1577, several of the Calced with their accomplices broke into the living quarters of the nuns’ two confessors and took them away as captives. From then on, John was missing. True, Holy Mother learned that the prior, Maldonado, had taken him away. But where he had been taken was not revealed until nine months later when he was freed.

Nine months. During nine months Saint John of the Cross would be exposed to cruel captivity in Toledo, penned up like a political prisoner. For all intents and purposes, John actually was a political prisoner, a prisoner because of the jealous machinations of the prior in the Carmelite friars’ convent in Toledo, Fray Hernando Maldonado. Maldonado: he of whom Saint Teresa wrote to King Philip, “he is more capable than the others of making martyrs.”

 

French Underground inspects blindfold in Paris Yad Vashem photo record 1460_179
After the liberation, a member of the French underground in Paris inspects a blindfold used on prisoners during interrogations | Photo credit: Yad Vashem (Creative Commons)

 

We will let Saint Edith continue the story of Saint John’s abduction:

Blindfolded, he had been brought through a lonely suburb to the monastery of Our Lady in Toledo, the most important Carmelite monastery of the mitigated Rule in Castile. He was interrogated, and because he refused to abandon the Reform he was treated as a rebel. His prison was a narrow room, about 10 feet long and 6 feet wide. Teresa later wrote: “small though he was in stature, he could hardly stand erect in it.”

At this point, the conditions of Saint John of the Cross’ confinement remind us of Saint Teresa’s vision of hell, where she wrote in her autobiography:

The entrance it seems to me was similar to a very long and narrow alleyway, like an oven, low and dark and confined; the floor seemed to me to consist of dirty, muddy water emitting a foul stench and swarming with putrid vermin. At the end of the alleyway, a hole that looked like a small cupboard was hollowed out in the wall; there I found I was placed in a cramped condition. All of this was delightful to see in comparison with what I felt there. What I have described can hardly be exaggerated (Life 32:1).

Here is what Edith has to say about Saint John’s “cramped condition”:

This cell had neither window nor air vent other than a slit high up on the wall. The prisoner had to “stand on the poor-sinner-stool and wait until the sun’s rays were reflected on the wall in order to be able to pray the breviary.” The door was secured by a bolt.

Small wonder that when Saint Teresa wrote on 4 December to King Philip, she remarked, “I would consider the confessors better off if they were held by the Moors, who perhaps would show more compassion.”

 

Dachau Frans de Wit Flickr 14997966451_3b62cd0105_o
Dachau concentration camp | Frans de Wit / Flickr

 

There was a daily routine of psychological and physical torture, as Saint Edith explains:

At first every evening, later three times a week, and finally, only sometimes on Fridays, the prisoner was brought to the refectory where, seated on the floor, he ate his meal—bread and water. He was also given the discipline in the refectory. He knelt, naked to the waist, with bowed head; all the friars passed by him and struck him with the switch. And since he bore everything “with patience and love” he was dubbed “the coward.” Throughout, he was “immovable as a rock” when they commanded him to abandon the Reform, attempting to bribe him by offering to make him a prior. Then he would open his silent lips and assure them that he refused to turn back “no matter if it cost him his life.”

He bore everything with patience and love. How rich were his counsels to Saint Teresa’s nuns in later years! When he exhorted them to practice patience, they understood that he had the bitter life experience to qualify his counsel:

Serve God, my beloved daughters in Christ, following in his footsteps of mortification, in utter patience, in total silence, and with every desire to suffer, becoming executioners of your own satisfactions, mortifying yourselves, if perhaps something remains that must die and something still impedes the inner resurrection of the Spirit who dwells within your souls (Letter 7 to the nuns at Beas, 18 November 1586).

Saint Edith tells us that “the youthful novices who were witness to the humiliations and mistreatment wept out of compassion and said “This is a saint” when they saw his silent patience.”

 

Juan de la Cruz (silence profile pic 22)
Credit: Portal Carmelitano

 

 

John of the Cross, St. 1991, The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, Revised Edition, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K and Rodriguez, O with revisions and introductions by Kavanaugh, K, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

 

Kieran Kavanaugh, K, Rodriguez, O, and Teresa, 1976, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

 

Stein, E 2002, The Science of the Cross, translated from the German by Koeppel, J, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 2 December

To the King Don Philip II

Avila, 4 December 1577

The grace of the Holy Spirit be with your majesty, amen. I strongly believe that our Lady has chosen you to protect and help her order. So, I cannot fail to have recourse to you regarding her affairs. For the love of our Lord, I beg you to pardon me for so much boldness.

I am sure your majesty has received news of how the nuns at the Incarnation tried to have me go there, thinking they would have some means to free themselves from the friars, who are certainly a great hindrance to the recollection and religious observance of the nuns. And the friars are entirely at fault for the lack of observance previously present in that house. The nuns are very much mistaken in their desire that I go there, for as long as they are subject to the friars as confessors and visitators, I would be of no helpat least not of any lasting help. I always said this to the Dominican visitator, and he understood it well.

Since God allowed that situation to exist, I tried to provide a remedy and placed a discalced friar in a house next to them, along with a companion friar. He is so great a servant of our Lord that the nuns are truly edified, and this city is amazed by the remarkable amount of good he has done there, and so they consider him a saint, and in my opinion, he is one and has been one all his life.

When the previous nuncio through a long report sent him by the inhabitants of the city was informed of the things that were happening and of the harm that the friars of the cloth were doing, he gave orders under pain of ex-communication that the confessors be restored to their house (for the calced friars had driven them from the city heaping abuse on them and giving much scandal to everyone). And he also ordered that no friar of the cloth under pain of ex-communication go to the Incarnation for business purposes, to say Mass, or hear confessions, but only the discalced friars and secular clergy. As a result, the house was in a good state until the nuncio died. Then the calced friars returnedand so too the disturbancewithout demonstrating the grounds on which they could do so.

And now a friar who came to absolve the nuns caused such a disturbance without any concern for what is reasonable and just that the nuns are deeply afflicted and still bound by the same penalties as before, according to what I have been told. And worst of all he has taken from them their confessors. They say that he has been made vicar provincial, and this must be true because he is more capable than the others of making martyrs. And he is holding these confessors captive in his monastery after having forced his way into their cells and confiscating their papers.

The whole city is truly scandalized. He is not a prelate nor did he show any evidence of the authority on which these things were done, for these confessors are subject to the apostolic commissary. Those friars dared so much, even though this city is so close to where your majesty resides, that it doesn’t seem they fear either justice or God. I feel very sad to see these confessors in the hands of those friars who for some days have been desiring to seize hold of them. I would consider the confessors better off if they were held by the Moors, who perhaps would show more compassion. And this one friar who is so great a servant of God is so weak from all that he has suffered that I fear for his life.

I beg your majesty for the love of our Lord to issue orders for them to set him free at once and that these poor discalced friars not be subjected to so much suffering by the friars of the cloth. The former do no more than suffer and keep silent and gain a great deal. But the people are scandalized by what is being done to them. This past summer in Toledo, without any reason, the same superior took as prisoner Fray Antonio de Jesúsa holy and blessed man, who was the first discalced friar. They go about saying that with orders from Tostado they will destroy them all. May God be blessed! Those who were to be the means of removing offenses against God have become the cause of so many sins. And each day matters will get worse if your majesty does not provide us with some help. Otherwise, I don’t know where things will end up, because we have no other help on earth.

May it please our Lord that for our sakes you live many years. I hope in him that he will grant us this favor. He is so alone, for there are few who look after his honor. All these servants of your majesty’s, and I ask this of him continually.

Dated in St. Joseph’s in Avila, 4 December 1577.

Your majesty’s unworthy servant and subject,

Teresa of Jesus, Carmelite

 


In early December 1577, St. John of the Cross was abducted from his chaplaincy at the monastery of the Incarnation in Avila. Sanjuanist scholars disagree on the exact date.

Translator and editor Father Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD indicates that “on the night of December 2, 1577, a group of Carmelites, laypeople, and men-at-arms broke into the chaplain’s quarters, seized Fray John, and took him away” (Kavanagh 1991, Introduction).

Saint Edith Stein, for example, writes, “on the night of December 3, 1577, several of the Calced with their accomplices broke into the living quarters of the nuns’ two confessors and took them away as captives” (Stein 2002, Introduction).

Teresianum professor and Sanjuanist authority Father Iain Matthew simply states this about John’s arrest: “On a cold night in early December, his chaplaincy in Avila was raided. The young man was taken away for interrogation and chastisement. Then he disappeared” (Matthew 1995, p. 9)

Whatever the date may have been, nine long months of physical and psychological torture followed with hardships that most would have found unbearable. Yet out of this darkness emerged the most profound and exquisite poetry that John of the Cross ever wrote.

 

Where have you hidden,
Beloved, and left me moaning?
You fled like the stag
after wounding me;
I went out calling you, but you were gone.

 

 

Silhouelk Mark Gunn Flickr 27703036162_53bc7c3800_o
Mark Gunn / Flickr

 

 

John of the Cross, St. 1991, The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, Revised Edition, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K and Rodriguez, O with revisions and introductions by Kavanaugh, K, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

 

Matthew, I 1995,  The Impact of God: Soundings from St. John of the Cross,  Hodder & Stoughton, London.

 

Kieran Kavanaugh, K, Rodriguez, O, and Teresa 1976, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Vol. 1 ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Quote of the day: 23 November

Didn’t the Virgin Mary always live in continuous prayer, in silence, and in forgetfulness of earthly things? How can souls be saved?

They can be saved through petition, prayer, and sacrifice.

Jesus Christ made Magdalene understand that the contemplative life is the best part she could have chosen. Yes, in Carmel we begin to do what we will be doing for all eternity: loving and singing the Lord’s praises.

If this is what we will be doing in heaven, isn’t this the most perfect thing we could be doing now?

Saint Teresa of Jesus of the Andes

Letter 40 (excerpts)

 

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The statue of the Virgin of Carmel is the central focus of the Votive Church of Maipú Chilethe Basilica of Our Lady of Mount Carmelwhich was consecrated 23 November 1974 | Carlos Carvacho / Flickr

 

In his message for the consecration of the Votive Church of Maipú, St. Paul VI wrote:

An authentic devotion to Mary will, therefore, bring as a natural fruit for you, the people of Chile, and for all who on this memorable date participate in your Marian fervor, a growing commitment to serve the Gospel with a true desire to bring the message of salvation to all men and to build together the kingdom of God among those who have been liberated in Christ. In this way, “while the Mother is honored, the Son. . . will be rightly known, loved and glorified.”

Read the full text of St. Paul VI’s message in the original Spanish here.

 

Templo Maipú from Erwin Olmos on Vimeo.

 

 

of the Andes, T 2003, The Writings of Saint Teresa of Jesus of the Andes: An Abridgement, translated from the Spanish by Father Michael D. Griffin, OCD, New Life Publishing Company,

Quote of the day: 2 November

To King Don Philip II, Madrid
Seville, 19 July 1575
Jesus.

The grace of the Holy Spirit be always with your majesty. While much afflicted and praying to our Lord about the affairs of this holy order of our Lady and considering the great need there is that these initiatives God has taken in its regard not crumble, it occurred to me that the best safeguard for us would be that you realize what giving a solid foundation to this edifice entails; even the calced friars would benefit from the increase in numbers.

I have lived among them for 40 years

and, considering everything, I know clearly that if a separate province is not made for the discalced friarsand soongreat harm will be done, and I think it will be impossible for them to move ahead. Since this lies in your hands and I see that the Blessed Virgin, our Lady, has chosen you to support and protect her order, I have dared to write and beg you that for the love of our Lord and his glorious Mother you give orders that this separate province be formed…

Your majesty’s unworthy servant and subject,

Teresa of Jesus, Carmelite

 


 

Teresa Enters the Convent MetMuseum DP310147
Vita B. Virginis Teresiae 
Plate 4: Teresa Enters the Convent 
Adriaen Collaert (Netherlandish, 1560-1618) Engraving, 1613 
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

 

On the 2nd of November 1535, Saint Teresa entered the Carmelite monastery of the Incarnation at Avila when she was twenty years old. The Lord had been preparing her for that moment by a long and circuitous route; even after she said “yes” to Him, there was no straight path to her goal:

My fondness for good books was my salvation. Reading the Letters of St. Jerome so encouraged me that I decided to tell my father about my decision to take the habit, for I was so persistent in points of honor that I don’t think I would have turned back for anything once I told him. So great was his love for me that in no way was I able to obtain his permission or achieve anything through persons I asked to intercede for me. The most we could get from him was that after his death I could do whatever I wanted. I was afraid of myself and my frailty and of backing down; and since I could not wait so long, I tried to do it by another way… (Book of Her Life, 3)

Her “other way” was so secretive, one would think that St. John of the Cross had her story in mind when he wrote the first stanza of his poem, ‘The Dark Night’:

One dark night,
fired with love’s urgent longings
– ah, the sheer grace! –
I went out unseen,
my house being now all stilled.

Indeed, Teresa went out unseen from her house, or rather, from her father’s house:

I remember, clearly and truly, that when I left my father’s house I felt that separation so keenly that the feeling will not be greater, I think, when I die. For it seemed that every bone in my body was being sundered. Since there was no love of God to take away my love for my father and relatives, everything so constrained me that if the Lord hadn’t helped me, my reflections would not have been enough for me to continue on. In this situation, He gave me such courage against myself that I carried out the task. (Book of Her Life, 4)

Teresian scholar Fr. Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. notes that her father did, in fact, come to “accept it all with resignation, gave her a dowry that was more than substantial, and acquired for his daughter a private room of her own in the monastery.” (Book of Her Life, Introduction)

Exactly one year later, on the 2nd of November 1536, Saint Teresa received the habit of our Lady of Mount Carmel. Father Kavanaugh notes that the prioress was Doña Mencía Cimbrón, “a distant relative of Teresa’s”.

The lessons that Saint Teresa learned on November 2 can serve us well:

As soon as I took the habit, the Lord gave me an understanding of how He favors those who use force with themselves to serve Him (…) When I recall this, there is no task that could be presented to me, no matter how hard, that I would hesitate to undertake. For I have already experienced in many ways that if I strive at the outset with determination to do it, even in this life His Majesty pays the soul in such ways that only one who has this joy understands it. (Book of Her Life, 4)

Saint Teresa of Jesus, pray for us.

 

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Signature of St. Teresa conserved in the general archives of the City of Burgos

 

 

Teresa of Avila, St. 1985, The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, translated from the Spanish by Kavanaugh, K; Rodriguez, O, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Vives con Cristo en la gloria: San Juan Pablo II en Alba de Tormes

Mis queridos hermanos y hermanas, hijos e hijas de Santa Teresa:

1. Nos hallamos congregados junto al sepulcro que guarda, como precioso tesoro, las insignes reliquias del cuerpo de Santa Teresa de Jesús.

Al clausurar solemnemente este IV centenario, abierto hace un año por el cardenal Enviado especial mío, quiero que mis palabras sean una evocación y una plegaria dirigida a Teresa de Jesús, presente entre nosotros en la comunión de los santos.

2. Ante todo, la evocación de aquella muerte gloriosa.

¡Teresa de Jesús! Quiero recordar las palabras de los últimos instantes de tu vida:

La humilde confesión de tus faltas: “Cor contritum et humiliatum, Deus, non despicies” (Ps. 50, 19).

La exhortación a tus hijas a mantener intacta tu herencia espiritual, la fidelidad al carisma.

El deseo de ver a Dios: “Señor mío, tiempo es ya que nos juntemos; ya es tiempo de caminar”.

La gozosa profesión de fe: “En fin, Señor, soy hija de la Iglesia”.

Entregaste tu vida al Señor, envuelta en el cariño maternal de esa Iglesia de la que te sentías hija: con la gracia del sacramento de la penitencia, el viático de la Eucaristía, la santa unción de los enfermos.

Fue la tuya una muerte de amor, como bien expresó San Juan de la Cruz: “Consumida por la llama de amor viva, se rompió la tela del dulce encuentro con Dios” (San Juan de la Cruz, Llama de amor viva, 1, 29-30).

“Ahora, pues, decimos que esta mariposica ya murió . . . y que vive en ella Cristo” (Santa Teresa, Castillo interior, VII, 1, 3).

3. Vives con Cristo en la gloria y estás presente en la Iglesia, caminando con ella por los senderos de los hombres.

En tus escritos plasmaste tu voz y tu alma. En tu familia religiosa perpetúas tu espíritu. Nos has dejado como lección la amistad con Cristo. Nos has legado como testamento el amor y servicio a la Iglesia. “¡Dichosas vidas – como la tuya – que en esto se acabaren!” (EIUSDEM, Vida, 40, 15.

Tu patria es España, pero todo el mundo es hoy tu hogar, donde habitan tus hijas y tus hijos, donde hablas desde las páginas de tus libros.

Eres mensajera de Cristo. Eres palabra universal de experiencia de Dios. Tu vivo lenguaje castellano ha sido traducido en muchos idiomas. Tus autógrafos se han multiplicado en ediciones sin fin. Has entrado en la cultura religiosa de la humanidad. Estás presente, honrando a la Iglesia, en la literatura universal.

¡Se han cumplido, Teresa, tus deseos de servir al Señor sin límites de tiempo ni de espacio, hasta el día de la venida gloriosa de Jesús!

4. Suba ahora hasta el Padre, por intercesión tuya, Teresa de Jesús, la ardiente plegaria del Papa peregrino.

Te pido por la Iglesia nuestra Madre: “No ande siempre en tanta tempestad esta nave de la Iglesia” (EIUSDEM, Camino de perfección, 35, 5).

Intercede por su extensión evangelizadora y por su santidad, por sus pastores, sus teólogos y ministros, por los hombres y mujeres que han consagrado a Cristo, por los fieles de la familia de Dios.

Te ruego por un mundo en paz, sin guerras fratricidas como las que herían tu corazón.

Descubre a todos los cristianos el mundo interior del alma, tesoro escondido dentro de nosotros, castillo luminoso de Dios. Haz que el mundo exterior conserve la huella del Creador y sea libro abierto que nos habla de Dios (Cfr. Santa Teresa, Vida, 9, 5).

Acoge mi súplica por las almas que alaban a Dios con sosiego, por los que han recibido la gran dignidad de ser amigos de Dios, por los que buscan a Dios en tinieblas, para que se les revele la Luz que es Cristo. (…)

5. ¡Teresa de Jesús, que sigues viviendo en esta tierra de España! Te pido por todos sus pueblos. Haz que vivan la riqueza de sus valores culturales en espíritu de fraterna y solidaria comunicación.

A ti que eres amiga de Dios y de los hombres, y con tus escritos abres caminos de unidad, te encomiendo la unidad de la Iglesia y de la familia humana: Entre los cristianos de diversas confesiones, entre miembros de diversas religiones, entre hombres de diferentes culturas. Que todos se sientan como tú los sentías: “hijos de Dios y hermanos” (Santa Teresa, Castillo interior, V, 2, 11).

Haz que se cumpla tu oración y tu palabra de esperanza, escrita en el Castillo interior (Ibid. VII, 2, 7-8).

“Orando una vez Jesucristo nuestro Señor por sus Apóstoles, dijo que fuesen una cosa con el Padre y con El, como Jesucristo nuestro Señor está en el Padre y el Padre en El (Cfr. Io. 17, 21).  ¡No sé qué mayor amor puede ser que éste! Y no dejaremos de entrar aquí todos, porque así dijo su Majestad: No sólo ruego por ellos, sino por todos aquellos que han de creer en mí también”. Haz que todos lleguemos donde tú llegaste: hasta la comunión con la Trinidad, “donde nuestra imagen está esculpida” (Santa Teresa, Castillo interior, VII, 2, 7-8).

¡Teresa de Jesús, escucha mi oración! Suba hasta el trono de la sabiduría de Dios la acción de gracias de la Iglesia, por lo que has sido y has hecho, por lo que todavía harás en el Pueblo de Dios que te honra como Doctora y Maestra espiritual. Quiero hacerlo con tus mismas palabras de alabanza y bendición:

“¡Sea Dios nuestro Señor por siempre alabado y bendito! Amén. Amén” (Ibid. 4).

San Juan Pablo II

Discurso del Papa San Juan Pablo II
en el acto de clausura del IV Centenario
de la muerte de Santa Teresa de Jesús
Alba de Tormes, lunes 1 de noviembre de 1982

 

1nov1982 AlbadeTormes
El papa San Juan Pablo II clausuraba en Alba de Tormes (Salamanca) los actos del cuarto centenario de la muerte de Santa Teresa de Jesús | Ricardo Martín / El País (Ver más)

Quote of the day: 1 November

Pilgrim in the footsteps of Saint Teresa of Jesus, with great satisfaction and joy I come to Avila. In this city there are so many Teresian places, such as the monastery of Saint Joseph, the first of the “dovecotes” founded by her; this monastery of the Incarnation, where Saint Teresa received the Carmelite habit, made her religious profession, had her decisive “conversion” and lived her experience of total consecration to Christ. It can well be said that this is the shrine of the contemplative life, place of great mystical experiences, and the focal point of monastic foundations.

To contemplate so many cloistered religious today, I cannot help but think about the great Spanish monastic tradition, its influence on Spanish culture, customs and life. Isn’t it here where the moral strength dwells, where there is a continuous reference to the spirit of the Spaniards?

The Pope calls you today to continue cultivating your consecrated life through a liturgical, biblical and spiritual renewal, following the guidelines of the Council. All this requires a permanent formation that enriches your spiritual life, giving it a solid doctrinal, theological and cultural foundation. In this way, you will be able to give the evangelical response that so many young people of our time expect, who today also approach your monasteries, attracted by a life of generous surrender to the Lord.

In this regard I want to issue a call to Christian communities and their Pastors, reminding them of the irreplaceable position occupied by the contemplative life in the Church. We all must deeply value and esteem the dedication of contemplative souls to prayer, praise, and sacrifice.

They are very necessary in the Church. They are living prophets and teachers for all; they are the vanguard of the Church on the way to the kingdom. Their attitude toward the realities of this world, which they contemplate according to the wisdom of the Spirit, enlightens us about the last things and makes us feel the gratuitousness of God’s saving love. I, therefore, urge everyone to try to foster vocations to monastic life among young women, in the assurance that these vocations will enrich the whole life of the Church.

Daughters of Carmel: May you be living images of your Mother Teresa, of her spirituality and her humanism. May you truly be as she was and wanted to be calledand as I wish her to be calledTeresa of Jesus.

Saint John Paul II

Meeting with Cloistered Nuns (excerpts)
Carmel of the Incarnation, Ávila
1 November 1982

 

 

1982 Nuns at the Encarncion Avila to see JP2 1nov82 ElPais
Roughly 3000 cloistered nuns representing approximately 15,000 contemplative religious gathered at the Carmel of the Incarnation in Ávila on All Saints Day, where they awaited the Holy Father Pope St. John Paul II. Having spent the entire night outside the monastery in a prayer vigil, they were overjoyed at the sight of his helicopter when it arrived. For some, this was the first time they had left their cloisters in decades. | Ricardo Martín / El País (See more)

 

 

This English translation is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.

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