Quote of the day: 21 October

My dear Anne-Marie,

I am so weak I can hardly hold a pencil and yet I need to thank you from my heart, which was so deeply touched by your thoughtfulness. I award you a diploma in candy making: your Kalougas are so good! How pretty they are in their little box! I have quite a supply of chocolates of every kind; everything makes me suffer, but yours, on the contrary, soothe me; it is surely your heart that has placed a special essence in these pretty candies. A thousand thanks. I am not forgetting you on my cross, where I taste unknown joys, and when I am in Heaven, your names and your memories, which are so well engraved in the depths of my heart, will be constantly present there before God. I am very happy, little Anne-Marie!… If you saw how my dear Mother takes care of me…. For a Carmelite used to mortification, I am ashamed of my comfort, but where I am concerned, the only consideration is one of charity, of goodness that is so maternal! A Dieu, little one, I love you and your family a lot, and I kiss you all. Thanks again.

S. E. of the Trinity r.c.i.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity

Letter 328a to Anne-Marie d’Avout
around October 21, 1906 

 

kalougas letter 328a ricardo flickr 4046238181_f2b67ae0a9_o
Kalougas from Bernachon Chocolates in Lyon, France | ricardo / Flickr

 

 

Elizabeth of the Trinity, St 2014, I have found God, Complete Works II - Letters from Carmel, translated from the French by Nash, A, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

Choosing the difficult and distasteful

You should take care always to be inclined to the difficult more than to the easy, to the rugged more than to the soft, to the hard and distasteful in a work more than to its delightful and pleasant aspects; and do not go about choosing what is less of a cross, for the cross is a light burden (Matt. 11:30). The heavier a burden is, the lighter it becomes when borne for Christ.

St John of the Cross
Counsels to a Religious, 6

 

adventure backlit dark dawn
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

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

Quote of the day: 14 September

September 14, 1939

Ave Crux, Spes Unica

“Hail, Cross, our only hope!”—this is what the holy church summoned us to exclaim during the time for contemplating the bitter suffering of our Lord Jesus Christ. The jubilant exclamation of the Easter Alleluia silenced the serious song of the cross. But the sign of our salvation greeted us amid the time of Easter joy, since we were recalling the discovery of the One who had passed from sight. At the end of the cycle of ecclesiastical feasts, the cross greets us through the heart of the Savior. And now, as the church year draws toward an end, it is raised high before us and is to hold us spellbound until the Easter Alleluia summons us anew to forget the earth for a while and rejoice in the marriage of the Lamb.

Our holy Order has us begin our fast with the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. And it leads us to the foot of the cross to renew our holy vows. The Crucified One looks down on us and asks us whether we are still willing to honor what we promised in an hour of grace. And he certainly has reason to ask.

More than ever the cross is a sign of contradiction. The followers of the Antichrist show it far more dishonor than did the Persians who stole it. They desecrate the images of the cross, and they make every effort to tear the cross out of the hearts of Christians. All too often they have succeeded even with those who, like us, once vowed to bear Christ’s cross after him.

Therefore, the Savior today looks at us, solemnly probing us, and asks each one of us: Will you remain faithful to the Crucified? Consider carefully! The world is in flames, the battle between Christ and the Antichrist has broken into the open.

If you decide for Christ,
it could cost you your life.
Carefully consider
what you promise.

Taking and renewing vows is a dreadfully serious business. You make a promise to the Lord of heaven and earth. If you are not deadly serious about your will to fulfill it, you fall into the hands of the living God…

Ave Crux, Spes unica!

The world is in flames. The conflagration can also reach our house. But high above all flames towers the cross. They cannot consume it. It is the path from earth to heaven. It will lift one who embraces it in faith, love, and hope into the bosom of the Trinity.

The world is in flames. Are you impelled to put them out? Look at the cross. From the open heart gushes the blood of the Savior. This extinguishes the flames of hell.

Make your heart free by the faithful fulfillment of your vows; then the flood of divine love will be poured into your heart until it overflows and becomes fruitful to all the ends of the earth. Do you hear the groans of the wounded on the battlefields in the west and the east? You are not a physician and not a nurse and cannot bind up the wounds. You are enclosed in a cell and cannot get to them. Do you hear the anguish of the dying? You would like to be a priest and comfort them. Does the lament of the widows and orphans distress you? You would like to be an angel of mercy and help them.

Look at the Crucified. If you are nuptially bound to him by the faithful observance of your holy vows, your being is precious blood. Bound to him, you are omnipresent as he is. You cannot help here or there like the physician, the nurse, the priest. You can be at all fronts, wherever there is grief, in the power of the cross. Your compassionate love takes you everywhere, this love from the divine heart. Its precious blood is poured everywhere—soothing, healing, saving.

The eyes of the Crucified look down on you—asking, probing. Will you make your covenant with the Crucified anew in all seriousness? What will you answer him? “Lord, where shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”

Ave Crux, Spes unica!

 

Jesus on the Cross
Jesus on the Cross, Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Denver Colorado | Thomas Hawk / Flickr

 


We present excerpts from the meditation for the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, a fervorino that Saint Teresa Benedicta wrote for the prioress to deliver to the nuns of the Carmel of Echt, Holland on 14 September 1939, her first opportunity to renew her vows as a Discalced Carmelite in her new community.

Edith mentions that “our holy Order has us begin our fast with the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.” Here she makes a direct reference to the Carmelite Rule of St. Albert of Jerusalem, No. 16:

You are to fast every day, except Sundays, from the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross until Easter Day, unless bodily sickness or feebleness, or some other good reason, demand a dispensation from the fast; for necessity overrides every law.

For centuries, Discalced Carmelite nuns have renewed their vows of obedience, poverty, and chastity—the order in which Edith presented the vows in her meditation—on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

Although the Discalced Carmelite friars renew their vows and the Discalced Carmelite Secular Order members renew their Promise at Easter or during the Octave of Easter, the 1991 Constitutions of the Discalced Carmelite nuns indicate that they shall renew their profession twice each year:

“In order to give common witness to religious consecration in following Christ, every year the sisters will renew their religious profession during the Easter Vigil or the octave of Easter, and on the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, using the formula given in the Ritual. The communities may repeat this renewal on other occasions in order to strengthen their commitment to this way of life.”

No matter what legislation Discalced Carmelites may observe, the essential purpose is clear: “to strengthen their commitment to this way of life.”

 

Thicket Priory 10th anniv GBCarmelites Flickr 48393091826_a41a057804_o
The Discalced Carmelite nuns of Thicket Priory | © Johan Bergström-Allen, British Province of Carmelites / Flickr

 

Stein, E 2014, The Hidden Life: Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Texts, translated from the German by Stein W, ICS Publications, Washington DC.

9 August: St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

August 9
SAINT TERESA BENEDICTA OF THE CROSS
Virgin and Martyr

Memorial

Edith Stein was born to a Jewish family at Breslau on October 12, 1891. Through her passionate study of philosophy, she searched after truth and found it in reading the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Jesus. In 1922 she was baptized a Catholic and in 1933 she entered the Carmel of Cologne, where she took the name Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. She was gassed and cremated at Auschwitz on August 9, 1942, during the Nazi persecution, and died a martyr for the Christian faith after having offered her holocaust for the people of Israel. A woman of singular intelligence and learning, she left behind a body of writing notable for its doctrinal richness and profound spirituality. She was beatified by Pope John Paul II at Cologne on May 1, 1987.

From the common of martyrs or of virgins

THE SECOND READING

(Edith Stein Werke (Freiburg, 1987), 11:124-126)

From the spiritual writings of Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Ave Crux, spes unica!

We greet you, Holy Cross, our only hope! The church puts these words on our lips during the time of the passion, which is dedicated to the contemplation of the bitter sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ. The world is in flames. The struggle between Christ and antichrist rages openly, and so if you decide for Christ you can even be asked to sacrifice your life.

Contemplate the Lord who hangs before you on the wood, because he was obedient even to the death of the cross. He came into the world not to do his own will but that of the Father. And if you wish to be the spouse of the Crucified, you must renounce completely your own will and have no other aspiration than to do the will of God.

Before you, the Redeemer hangs on the cross stripped and naked, because he chose poverty. Those who would follow him must renounce every earthly possession.

Stand before the Lord who hangs from the cross with his heart torn open. He poured out the blood of his heart in order to win your heart. In order to follow him in holy chastity, your heart must be free from every earthly aspiration. Jesus Crucified must be the object of your every longing, of your every desire, of your every thought.

The world is in flames: the fire can spread even to our house, but above all the flames the cross stands on high, and it cannot be burnt. The cross is the way which leads from earth to heaven. Those who embrace it with faith, love, and hope are taken up, right into the heart of the Trinity.

The world is in flames: do you wish to put them out? Contemplate the cross: from his open heart, the blood of the Redeemer pours, blood which can put out even the flames of hell. Through the faithful observance of the vows, you make your heart open; and then the floods of that divine love will be able to flow into it, making it overflow and bear fruit to the furthest reaches of the earth.

Through the power of the cross, you can be present wherever there is pain, carried there by your compassionate charity, by that very charity which you draw from the divine heart. That charity enables you to spread everywhere the most precious blood in order to ease pain, save and redeem.

The eyes of the Crucified gaze upon you. They question you and appeal to you. Do you wish seriously to renew your alliance with him? What will your response be? Lord, where shall I go? You alone have the words of life. Ave Crux, spes unica!

RESPONSORY

We preach Christ Crucified, a scandal to the Jews
and foolishness to the pagans,
but for those who are called, whether they be Jews or Greeks,
we preach Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God.

The desire of my heart and my prayer
rises to God for their salvation;
but for those who are called, whether they be Jews or Greeks,
we preach Christ, the power of God and the wisdom of God.

PRAYER

Lord, God of our fathers,
you brought Saint Teresa Benedicta
to the fullness of the science of the cross
at the hour of her martyrdom.
Fill us with that same knowledge;
and, through her intercession,
allow us always to seek after you, the supreme truth,
and to remain faithful until death
to the covenant of love ratified in the blood of your Son
for the salvation of all men and women.

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

 

Auschwitz_main-gate
On the main gate for visitors to Auschwitz, the Nazis affixed this motto: WORK SETS YOU FREE. But for the millions who passed through the railway entrance, there was no freedom to be found and no truth in the motto.
As St. Teresa Benedicta wrote of the Nazis in a letter dated July 10, 1940:
“one must, after all, tell those poor people the real truth for once.”

Quote of the Day: 21 March

God made the light of his Son, Jesus Christ, to shine admirably in her

Light of Christ for the whole Chilean Church, Sister Teresa of the Andes, Teresa of Jesus, is the Discalced Carmelite nun and the firstfruit of holiness of the Teresian Carmel of Latin America, who today is incorporated into the number of the Saints of the universal Church.

As we heard in the first reading from the book of Samuel, the figure of Teresa stands out not because of “his appearance or his great stature”. “The Lord sees not as man sees,” the scripture tells us; “man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart”. For this reason, in her young life of just over 19 years, in her 11 months as a Carmelite, God made the light of his Son, Jesus Christ, to shine admirably in her, so that she serves as a beacon and guide with the radiance of the divine to a world that seems to have become blinded.

The life of Blessed Teresa cries quietly from the cloister:

“Sólo Dios basta — God alone is enough!

To a secularized society that lives with its back turned on God, this Chilean Carmelite, who with lively joy is presented as a model of the perennial youth of the Gospel, offers the limpid testimony of an existence that proclaims to the men and women of today that loving, adoring, and serving God are the greatness and joy, the freedom and the full realization of the human creature. The life of Blessed Teresa cries quietly from the cloister: “Sólo Dios basta — God alone is enough!”

And she especially cries out to young people, hungry for truth and in search of a light that gives meaning to their lives. To young people who are hounded by continuous messages and stimuli of an eroticized culture, and a society that confuses genuine love, which is giving, with the hedonistic use of the other person, this young virgin of the Andes today proclaims the beauty and bliss that emanate from pure hearts.

A Carmelite never forgets

In her tender love for Christ, Teresa finds the essence of the Christian message: to love, to suffer, to pray, and to serve. In her family, she learned to love God above all things. And in feeling herself to be the exclusive possession of her Creator, her love for her neighbor becomes even more intense and definitive. This is stated in one of her letters: “When I love, it is forever. A Carmelite never forgets. From her small cell, she accompanies the souls that she loved in the world.”

Her enkindled love leads Teresa to desire to suffer with Jesus and like Jesus: “To suffer and love, like the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,” she tells us. She wants to be an immaculate host offered in continuous and silent sacrifice for sinners. “We are co-redeemers of the world,” she will say later, “and the redemption of souls is not accomplished without a cross.”

The Carmelite is the priest’s sister

The young Chilean saint was eminently a contemplative soul. For long hours at the tabernacle and before the cross that had a prominent place in her cell, she prays and worships, pleads and atones for the redemption of the world, animating the apostolate of missionaries with the power of the Spirit and, especially, that of priests. “The Carmelite,” she will tell us, “is the priest’s sister.”

However, being contemplative like Mary of Bethany does not exempt Teresa from serving like Martha. In a world where one shamelessly struggles to excel, to possess, and to dominate, she teaches us that happiness is in being the last and the servant of all, following the example of Jesus, who came not to be served but to serve and to give his life for the redemption of many.

We are co-redeemers of the world

Now, from eternity, Saint Teresa of the Andes continues interceding as an advocate for an endless number of brothers and sisters. She who found her heaven on earth espoused to Jesus, now contemplates him without veils or shadows, and from her immediate closeness, she intercedes for those who seek the light of Christ.

Saint John Paul II

Excerpts from his homily for the Mass of Canonization of Teresa of Jesus of the Andes and Claudine Thévenet
21 March 1993

TERESA ANDES - Santuario Auco Church IGsize
Perdóname | Santuario Santa Teresa de los Andes | Claudio Quezada Ibáñez / Flickr

See more photos from Claudio Quezada’s Flickr album from the Santuario here

Quote of the day: 3 February

Jesus gave us the Cross so the Cross might give us Love

L 106 To Madame de Bobet

[February 10, 1902]
Dijon Carmel, February 10

J. M. + J. T.

Very dear Madame,

I don’t know how to thank you, you have spoiled me so much; if you knew how much pleasure you have given me! I so desired this beautiful Canticle of Saint John of the Cross, and, given by you with this pretty thought on its first page,* it is doubly precious to me. It is right here beside me on my little board in our dear little cell; but will I tell you that I need to look at it in order to think of you, dear Madame?

Oh no, of course not, for my thoughts and my heart, or rather my soul, find you in the One near whom there is neither separation nor distance and in whom it is so good to meet. Would you like Him to be our “Rendez-vous,” our Meeting Place, dear Madame? Our souls have certainly made an impact on each other: we know each other very little and we love each other so much. Oh! it is Jesus who has done that; may He thus bind us together and may He consume us in the flames of His love.

A Dieu, dear Madame, know that behind the grilles of Carmel you have a little heart that keeps a very faithful memory of you, a soul wholly united to yours and deeply fond of you. Thank you again. I don’t know how to say it, it is He who will bring it to you on behalf of His little fiancée.

Elizabeth of the Trinity

A kiss to dear little Simone. 

*The book Vie et oeuvres de saint Jean de la Croix, vol. 4, Le Cantique spirituel et La vive Flamme d’amour [Life and Works of Saint John of the Cross, vol. 4, The Spiritual Canticle and The Living Flame of Love], 1892, 3d ed., autographed on February 3, 1902, by Mme. de Bobet, carries this thought: “Jesus gave us the Cross so the Cross might give us Love.”  Simone was Mme. de Bobet’s daughter.

The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from 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)

 

14 December: St. John of the Cross

December 14
SAINT JOHN OF THE CROSS
Priest, Doctor of the Church, and our Father

Solemnity

When December 14 falls on a Sunday, the solemnity is transferred to the following day.

John was born at Fontiveros in Spain about 1542. He entered the Carmelites and with the permission of his superiors began to live a stricter life. Afterwards, he was persuaded by Saint Teresa to begin, together with some others, the Discalced reform within the Order; this cost him much hard work and many trials. He died in Ubeda in 1591, outstanding in holiness and wisdom, to which his many spiritual writings give eloquent witness.

Evening Prayer I

HYMN

Soldier of the King eternal,
Valiant warrior, hail to thee!
Column raised to heights supernal
In unshaken majesty.
We revere thy glorious merits
And the tide of homage wells
From the fountain of our spirits,
Heav’nward rising as it swells.

Thou hast felt the strong protection
Of the Virgin Mother’s power,
Saving thee with sweet election
In the dread and dangerous hour.
Since thy youth she never swerveth
In her watchful care of thee,
And forever she preserveth
Him who vowed her slave to be.

Chosen offspring of our Mother,
In her labors thou didst share,
Aiding her, as son and brother,
Carmel’s beauty to repair;
Ruined shrine and temple raising
From the dust of slow decay,
Mary’s honor meetly praising,
In the dawn of fairer day.

Lo, the Cross thy weapon glorious,
As on Calvary’s height of yore,
When our Jesus reigned victorious,
Fallen nature to restore;
So thy burning love retrieveth
Glory of an ancient race,
And by suffering achieveth
Marvels of renewing grace.

Praise unto thy God be given
For the grace, O John, conferred,
When with chalice raised to Heaven,
Thine entreating prayer was heard:
In that first rapt celebration
Of the sacrifice divine,
Pledge of thine assured salvation
He hath deigned in love to sign.

87.87.D.
Regis aeterni generose miles

PSALMODY

Ant. 1 He opened his mouth in prayer, and the Lord filled him with the spirit of understanding.

Psalm 113

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

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

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

Ant. He opened his mouth in prayer, and the Lord filled him with the spirit of understanding.

Ant. 2 The Lord gave him treasures out of the darkness, and riches that had been hidden away.

Psalm 146

My soul, give praise to the Lord; +
I will praise the Lord all my days, *
make music to my God while I live.

Put no trust in princes *
in mortal men in whom there is no help.
Take their breath, they return to clay *
and their plans that day come to nothing.

He is happy who is helped by Jacob’s God, *
whose hope is in the Lord his God,
who alone made heaven and earth, *
the seas and all they contain.

It is he who keeps faith forever, *
who is just to those who are oppressed.
It is he who gives bread to the hungry, *
the Lord, who sets prisoners free,

the Lord who gives sight to the blind, *
who raises up those who are bowed down,
the Lord, who protects the stranger *
and upholds the widow and orphan.

It is the Lord who loves the just *
but thwarts the path of the wicked.
The Lord will reign forever, *
Zion’s God, from age to age.

Ant. The Lord gave him treasures out of the darkness, and riches that had been hidden away.

Ant. 3 No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human heart has conceived all that God has prepared for those who love him.

Canticle: Rev 4:11; 5:9, 10, 12

O Lord our God, you are worthy *
to receive glory and honor and power.

For you have created all things; *
by your will they came to be and were made.

Worthy are you, O Lord, *
to receive the scroll and break open its seals.

For you were slain; *
with your blood you purchased for God
men of every race and tongue, *
of every people and nation.

You made of them a kingdom +
and priests to serve our God, *
and they shall reign on the earth.

Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, *
to receive power and riches,
wisdom and strength, *
honor and glory and praise.

Ant. No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no human heart has conceived all that God has prepared for those who love him.

READING

Ephesians 3:14-19

I, Paul, kneel before the Father from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name; and I pray that he will bestow on you gifts in keeping with the riches of his glory. May he strengthen you inwardly through the working of his Spirit. May Christ dwell in your hearts through faith, and may charity be the root and foundation of your life. Thus you will be able to grasp fully, with all the holy ones, the breadth and length and height and depth of Christ’s love, and experience this love which surpasses all knowledge, so that you may attain to the fullness of God himself.

RESPONSORY

The God who brought light out of darkness has shone in our hearts.
The God who brought light out of darkness has shone in our hearts.

To give the light of knowledge of God’s glory that appears in the face of Christ.
He has shone in our hearts.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit
The God who brought light out of darkness has shone in our hearts.

CANTICLE OF MARY

Ant. I sought wisdom in my prayer; I found it abundantly within myself, and advanced greatly in it.

INTERCESSIONS

Christ our Redeemer inspired our Father Saint John of the Cross to follow him, and raised him to the heights of contemplation. Let us praise our Lord, and say:

R/.  Glory to you forever!

Christ our God, you taught your servant John the science of the Cross;
kindle the fire of your love in those to whom you have entrusted the teaching and government of your Church.

Christ, unfailing light, you reveal yourself in the night of faith to the poor in spirit;
let your face shine on all those who seek you in poverty amid the darkness of this world.

Christ, our only teacher, you disclose your highest secrets to those who love and seek you;
grant the consummation of your love to those you have called to serve you in Carmel.

Christ, triumphant in heaven in the midst of all your saints,
grant everlasting rest and peace in your glory to all our departed brothers and sisters.

Our Father…

PRAYER

Lord,
you endowed our Father Saint John of the Cross
with a spirit of self-denial and a love of the cross.
By following his example
may we come to the eternal vision of your glory.

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

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Invitatory

Ant. Come, let us worship Christ Jesus, sole Word of the Father.

Invitatory psalm, as in the Ordinary

Office of Readings

HYMN

O John, rejoice this hallowed day
The triumph of the Cross to hail,
Whereon with Christ ‘twas thine to stay,
Transfixed with pang of spear and nail!

Nor insults, scorn, nor cruel scourge,
Bondage, nor hunger can restrain
The love thy panting soul doth urge
To taste the bitter draught of pain.

Thine only joy, thy sole reward,
The boon for which thy spirit sighed,
To mirror here thy suffering Lord,
Like Him in anguish crucified.

While thou dost search the mystic night,
Through darkness gleams a radiant star,
And Carmel’s camp is all alight,
With flame that leads to heights afar.

Let them that dwell in bliss above
Praise Thee, O Christ, with joyful lay,
Let them that run to Thee in love
Pursue, like John, the thorn-strewn way.

L.M.
Diem Ioammes advehit

PSALMODY

Ant. 1 God chose us to be conformed to the image of his Son.

Psalm 16

Preserve me, God, I take refuge in you. +
I say to the Lord: “You are my God. *
My happiness lies in you alone.”

He has put into my heart a marvelous love +
for the faithful ones who dwell in his land. *
Those who choose other gods increase their sorrows.
Never will I offer their offerings of blood. *
Never will I take their name upon my lips.

O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup; *
it is you yourself who are my prize.
The lot marked out for me is my delight: *
welcome indeed the heritage that falls to me!

I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel, *
who even at night directs my heart.
I keep the Lord ever in my sight: *
since he is at my right hand, I shall stand firm.

And so my heart rejoices, my soul is glad; *
even my body shall rest in safety.
For you will not leave my soul among the dead, *
nor let your beloved know decay.

You will show me the path of life, +
the fullness of joy in your presence, *
at your right hand happiness forever.

Ant. God chose us to be conformed to the image of his Son.

Ant. 2 Among you I claimed to know nothing save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

Psalm 34: I

I will bless the Lord at all times,
his praise always on my lips;
in the Lord my soul shall make its boast. *
The humble shall hear and be glad.

Glorify the Lord with me. *
Together let us praise his name.
I sought the Lord and he answered me; *
from all my terrors he set me free.

Look towards him and be radiant; *
let your faces not be abashed.
This poor man called; the Lord heard him *
and rescued him from all his distress.

The angel of the Lord is encamped *
around those who revere him, to rescue them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good. *
He is happy who seeks refuge in him.

Revere the Lord, you his saints. *
They lack nothing, those who revere him.
Strong lions suffer want and go hungry *
but those who seek the Lord lack no blessing.

Ant. Among you I claimed to know nothing save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

Ant. 3 For me, to live is Christ, to die is gain.

Psalm 34: II

Come, children, and hear me *
that I may teach you the fear of the Lord.
Who is he who longs for life  *
and many days to enjoy his prosperity?

Then keep your tongue from evil *
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Turn aside from evil and do good, *
seek and strive after peace.

The Lord turns his face against the wicked *
to destroy their remembrance from the earth.
The Lord turns his eyes to the just *
and his ears to their appeal.

They call and the Lord hears *
and rescues them in all their distress.
The Lord is close to the broken-hearted; *
those whose spirit is crushed he will save.

Many are the trials of the just man *
but from them all the Lord will rescue him.
He will keep guard over all his bones, *
not one of his bones shall be broken.

Evil brings death to the wicked, *
those who hate the good are doomed.
The Lord ransoms the souls of his servants. *
Those who hide in him shall not be condemned.

Ant. For me, to live is Christ, to die is gain. In you is the source of life.
In your light we see light itself.

FIRST READING
From the letter of the apostle Paul to the Colossians
Colossians 1:11-29

God has transferred us to the Kingdom of his beloved Son

By the might of his glory you will be endowed with the strength needed to stand fast, even to endure joyfully whatever may come, giving thanks to the Father for having made you worthy to share the lot of the saints in light. He rescued us from the power of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of his beloved Son. Through him we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins.

He is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creatures. In him, everything in heaven and on earth was created, things visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominations, principalities or powers; all were created through him and for him. He is before all else that is. In him everything continues in being. It is he who is head of the body, the church; he who is the beginning, the first-born of the dead, so that the primacy may be his in everything. It pleased God to make absolute fullness reside in him and, by means of him, to reconcile everything in his person, both on earth and in the heavens, making peace through the blood of his cross.

You yourselves were once alienated from him; you nourished hostility in your hearts because of your evil deeds. But now, Christ has achieved reconciliation for you in his mortal body by dying, so as to present you to God holy, free of reproach and blameless. But you must hold fast to faith, be firmly grounded and steadfast in it, unshaken in the hope promised you by the gospel you have heard. It is the gospel which has been announced to every creature under heaven, and I, Paul, am its servant.

Even now I find my joy in the suffering I endure for you. In my own flesh I fill up what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ for the sake of his body, the church. I became a minister of this church through the commission God gave me to preach among you his word in its fullness, that mystery hidden from ages and generations past but now revealed to his holy ones. God has willed to make known to them the glory beyond price which this mystery brings to the Gentiles—the mystery of Christ in you, your hope of glory. This is the Christ we proclaim while we admonish all men and teach them in the full measure of wisdom, hoping to make every man complete in Christ. For this I work and struggle, impelled by that energy of his which is so powerful a force within me.

RESPONSORY

This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;
—listen to him.

In many and varied ways God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us in his Son.
Listen to him.

The second reading and responsory may be taken from The Liturgy of the Hours or the following may be used:

ALTERNATIVE SECOND READING
From The Spiritual Canticle by Saint John of the Cross
(Red. B, st. 1,4 — ed. Kavanaugh-Rodriguez 1979, pp. 434-45)

Traces of the divine beauty in creation

Created things in themselves, as Saint Augustine declares, give testimony to God’s grandeur and excellence. For God created all things with remarkable ease and brevity, and in them he left some trace of who he is, not only in giving all things being from nothing, but even by endowing them with innumerable graces and qualities, making them beautiful in a wonderful order and unfailing dependence on one another. All of this he did through his own wisdom, the Word, his only begotten Son by whom he created them.

Saint Paul says: The Son of God is the splendor of his glory and the image of his substance. It should be known that only with this figure, his Son, did God look at all things, that is he communicated to them their natural being and many natural graces and gifts, and made them complete and perfect, as is said in Genesis: God looked at all things that he made, and they were very good. To look and behold that they were very good was to make them very good in the Word, his Son.

Not only by looking at them did he communicate natural being and graces, as we said, but also with this image of his Son alone, he clothed them in beauty by imparting to them supernatural being. This he did when he became man and elevated human nature in the beauty of God and consequently all creatures, since in human nature he was united with them all.

Accordingly, the Son of God proclaimed: If I be lifted up from the earth, I will elevate all things to me. And in this elevation of all things through the incarnation of his Son and through the glory of his resurrection according to the flesh, the Father did not merely beautify creatures partially, but rather we can say, clothed them wholly in beauty and dignity.

RESPONSORY

Prayer of a Soul Taken with Love

O God, you will not deprive me of what you have given me in Christ.
In him you have given me all things.

Mine are the heavens, mine is the earth,
mine are the peoples, the just and the sinners,
mine are the angels, and mine is the Mother of God
In him you have given me all things.

Those who desire to extend, in accordance with tradition, the celebration of the Vigil of Solemnities and Feasts should first celebrate the Office of Readings; after the two readings and before the Te Deum they should add the canticles and Gospel as indicated below.

A homily may follow the Gospel. The Te Deum is then sung, followed by the concluding prayer and the conclusion of the Hour as usual.

 VIGIL OFFICE

CANTICLES

Ant. Come, let us climb the mountain of the Lord, where God is pleased to dwell; there dwell his honor and glory alone.

Canticles from the Common of the Dedication of a Church

GOSPEL
Jn 12:35-36a, 44b-50

A reading from the holy Gospel according to John

Believe in the light and you will become sons of light

Jesus declared publicly:

“The light will be with you only a little longer now.
Walk while you have the light,
or the dark will overtake you;
he who walks in the dark does not know where he is going.
While you still have the light,
believe in the light
and you will become sons of light.”

“Whoever believes in me
believes not in me
but in the one who sent me,
and whoever sees me,
sees the one who sent me.
and whoever sees me,
sees the one who sent me.
I, the light, have come into the world,
so that whoever believes in me
need not stay in the dark anymore.
If anyone hears my words and does not keep them faithfully,
it is not I who shall condemn him,
since I have come not to condemn the world,
but to save the world:
he who rejects me and refuses my words
has his judge already:
the word itself that I have spoken
will be his judge on the last day.
For what I have spoken does not come from myself;
no, what I was to say, what I had to speak,
was commanded by the Father who sent me,
and I know that his commands mean eternal life.
And therefore what thee Father has told me
is what I speak.

HYMN, Te Deum.

PRAYER

Lord,
may the patronage
of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our Mother,
and the prayers of all the saints of Carmel
help us to walk steadfastly in their footsteps,
and by our prayers and good works
ever further the cause of your Church.

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

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Morning Prayer

HYMN

Bearing His Cross, the gentle Lord drew nigh,
Offering the crown by merit richly won.
O Love! to quaff Thy cup and with Thee die,
Low answers John.

To live despised, in suffering and alone,
The one insatiate yearning of his breast;
To die devoid of honor, and unknown,
His heart’s request.

Death yielded triumph of the Cross at last,
While dazzling globes of fire from Heav’n descend,
And o’er his deeds the light of glory cast
To cheer his end.

His dying couch, with light irradiate,
Dims with celestial beam earth’s fitful flame,
Perfumes exhale, breathing of heavenly state
And saintly fame.

Honor supreme be to the Father given,
To Word and Paraclete in praise unite,
Upon whose Triune flame the hosts of Heaven
Feed with delight.

10.10.10.4.
Dum crucem gestat Dominus, Ioanni

OR:

Let us together
Up the high mountain
Go where the weather
Keeps a June glow.
You in your beauty,
I in your beauty,
Earth in your beauty,
All give delight.

Up past the steepest
Cliffs of our striving,
Up from the deepest
Thickets of pain
Where darkness bound you,
Ravaged and slew you,
Till daybreak found you,
Risen again.

Haste then our going
Up the high mountain,
Pure water flowing
Down from the height,
Wind in the spruces,
Light on the aspens,
Fruit of sweet juices
All give delight.

Deep caverns holding
Secrets of heaven,
Summits unfolding
Myst’ries divine,
Nightingale singing,
Grove lit with beauty
Each new day bringing
Taste of new wine.

Sweet the ascending
Up the high mountain,
Sweeter the ending
Love spread abroad.
Everyone sharing
Grace of your image.
Everyone bearing
The beauty of God.

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

PSALMODY

Ant. 1 Truly you are a hidden God, O God of Israel, our Savior.

Psalms and canticle from Sunday, Week I

Ant. 2 All things are yours, for you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

Ant. 3 Give thanks to the Lord in your hearts, sing him spiritual canticles.

READING

2 Corinthians 3:17-18

The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. All of us, gazing on the Lord’s glory with unveiled faces, are being transformed from glory to glory into his very image by the Lord who is the Spirit.

RESPONSORY

Your light will shine in the darkness and the darkness will be as noon.
Your light will shine in the darkness and the darkness will be as noon.

The Lord will fill your soul with his splendor,
and the darkness will be as noon.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
Your light will shine in the darkness and the darkness will be as noon.

CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH

Ant. While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become children of light.

Or: The Lord has come to give light to those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet in the way of peace.

INTERCESSIONS

Jesus Christ, the head and bridegroom of his Church makes us joyful today on this feast of John of the Cross, his servant. Let us say to him:

R/.  You, Christ, are the King of Glory.

Only Word of the Father, uttered eternally in the eternal silence, and in the fullness of time received in the Virgin’s womb;
—may we hear your words today in the depths of our hearts, and put them into practice.

Wisdom of the Father, you showed your great love for us by emptying yourself in the Incarnation and on the Cross;
may we, who have been redeemed by your blood, always live in close communion with you.

Perfect Image of the Godhead, in whom all the mysteries of eternal love are revealed and poured out,
may we go forward in the strength of your Spirit, toward your inaccessible light.

Supreme Delight of the Father, in whom God looks mercifully on all men;
may we become perfect in compassion as our heavenly Father is perfect.

First-born of all creation, through you the Father in his goodness created and re-created all things,
may our thoughts be turned today from the visible world to your invisible beauty.

Our Father…

PRAYER

Lord,
you endowed our Father Saint John of the Cross
with a spirit of self-denial and a love of the cross.
By following his example
may we come to the eternal vision of your glory.

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

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Daytime Prayer

Complementary psalmody

Midmorning

Ant. Those who wish to come after me must deny themselves, take up their cross, and follow me.

READING

Ephesians 4:22-24

Acquire a fresh, spiritual way of thinking. You must put on that new man created in God’s image, whose justice and holiness are born of truth.

A pure heart create for me, O God.
Put a steadfast spirit within me.

Midday

Ant. Whoever would draw near to God must believe; the righteous live by faith.

READING

Romans 5:1-2

Now that we have been justified by faith, we are at peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have gained access by faith to the grace in which we now stand, and we boast of our hope for the glory of God.

I live by faith in the Son of God.
Who loved me and gave himself for me.

Midafternoon

Ant. Your strength will lie in silence and hope.

READING

Romans 8:24-25

In hope we were saved. But hope is not hope if its object is seen; how is it possible for one to hope for what he sees? And hoping for what we cannot see means awaiting it with patient endurance.

The Lord is good to those who trust in him.
To the soul who seeks him.

PRAYER

Lord,
you endowed our Father Saint John of the Cross
with a spirit of self-denial and a love of the cross.
By following his example
may we come to the eternal vision of your glory.

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

11074132226_1f280d7425_o

Evening Prayer II

HYMN

Saint of the eagle eye,
Gazing enrapt on high
Mid dread abysses of Divinity;
Martyr by heart’s intent,
Virgin yet penitent,
Prophet and guide in realms of mystery.

Oft in thy life, ’tis told
Sweet converse thou didst hold
With the pure Virgin and her Son divine;
Thence came the wondrous light
Flooding with glory bright
Thy mystic page, for wisdom there did shine.

Clearly thou dost reveal
Secrets the clouds conceal
For thou hast seeped thy soul in rays above,
Pondering the mountain height,
Darkness of faith’s long night
And the reviving flame of mystic love.

When by God’s holy will
Thou dost His word instill,
Wondrous the marvels by the soul divined,
Like Him evoking light
From chaos deep as night,
Cheering with healthful beams the darkened mind.

O John, thy praise intone
Prostrate before the throne!
Thee hath the Father signed with light most true,
Gifts of the Spirit shine
And the meek Lamb divine
Openeth the book of life to thy pure view.

6.6.10.D.
O satis felix! Speculator alti

Ant. 1 God loved us so much that he brought us to life with Christ.

Psalm 15

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

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

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

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

Ant. God loved us so much that he brought us to life with Christ.

Ant. 2 We know and believe in the love God has for us.

Psalm 112

Happy the man who fears the Lord, *
who takes delight in all his commands.
His sons will be powerful on earth; *
the children of the upright are blessed.

Riches and wealth are in his house; *
his justice stands firm forever.
He is a light in the darkness for the upright: *
he is generous, merciful and just.

The good man takes pity and lends, *
he conducts his affairs with honor.
The just man will never waver: *
he will be remembered forever.

He has no fear of evil news; *
with a firm heart he trusts in the Lord.
With a steadfast heart he will not fear, *
he will see the downfall of his foes.

Open-handed, he gives to the poor; +
his justice stands firm forever. *
His head will be raised in glory.

The wicked man sees and is angry, +
grinds his teeth and fades away; *
the desire of the wicked leads to doom.

Ant. We know and believe in the love God has for us.

Ant. 3 The love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given us.

Canticle: Ephesians 1:3-10

Praised be the God and Father *
of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Who has bestowed on us in Christ *
every spiritual blessing in the heavens.

God chose us in him *
before the world began,
to be holy *
and blameless in his sight.

He predestined us +
to be his adopted sons through Jesus Christ, *
such was his will and pleasure,
that all might praise the glorious favor *
he has bestowed on us in his beloved.

In him and through his blood we have been redeemed, *
and our sins forgiven,
so immeasurably generous *
is God’s favor to us.

God has given us the wisdom *
to understand fully the mystery,
the plan he was pleased *
to decree in Christ.

A plan to be carried out *
in Christ, in the fullness of time,
to bring all things into one in him, *
in the heavens and on the earth.

Ant. The love of God has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given us.

READING

1 Corinthians 13:8-10, 12-13, 14:1a

Love never fails. Prophecies will cease, tongues will be silent, knowledge will pass away. Our knowledge is imperfect and our prophesying is imperfect. When the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away. Now we see indistinctly, as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. My knowledge is imperfect now; then I shall know even as I am known. There are in the end three things that last: faith, hope and love, and the greatest of these is love. Seek eagerly after love.

RESPONSORY

Love is as strong as death: It flashes forth like flames of fire.
Love is as strong as death: It flashes forth like flames of fire.

Who can separate us from the love of Christ?
It flashes forth like flames of fire.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit
Love is as strong as death: It flashes forth like flames of fire.

CANTICLE OF MARY

Ant. Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and that I may be in them.
INTERCESSIONS

God the Father has given us his Spirit through Jesus Christ his beloved Son, so that we may be partakers in the divine nature and witnesses to his love in the Church. Let us praise him and say:

R/.  Through the intercession of Saint John, hear us, O Lord.

Give your Church the living faith that will lead all men and women to seek you;
and bring them to the closest union with you.

Give the hope of heaven to all who are faithful in seeking you;
may they obtain all that they hope for.

Pour out your love upon us;
that where there is no love we may put love and so draw love out.

May all Carmelites be imitators of the Virgin Mary, Mother of our Order;
may we follow every inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Grant final purification to our departed brothers and sisters,
so that they may come without delay to sing canticles of love with all your saints.

Our Father…

PRAYER

Lord,
you endowed our Father Saint John of the Cross
with a spirit of self-denial and a love of the cross.
By following his example
may we come to the eternal vision of your glory.

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

Saint John of the Cross and three miraculous apparitions in his relics
Saint John of the Cross and three miraculous apparitions in his relics
Anonymous (Spanish, 17th c.)
Engraving, used as a cover for the ms. Informaciones sobre la vida y milagros de San Juan de la Cruz 
Manuscrito 12738, Biblioteca Nacional de España

Novena to St. John of the Cross – Day 1

Jesus asked her what she wanted, and she said, “When you come into your kingdom, please let one of my sons sit at your right side and the other at your left.”

Jesus answered, “Not one of you knows what you are asking. Are you able to drink from the cup that I must soon drink from?”

James and John said, “Yes, we are!”

Jesus replied, “You certainly will drink from my cup! But it isn’t for me to say who will sit at my right side and at my left. That is for my Father to say.”
(Matthew 20:21-23)

“[I]t should be understood that people ought not rejoice except in walking along the path that leads to life and in doing works with charity. What profit is there in anything that is not the love of God, and what value has it in God’s sight?”

Ascent of Mount Carmel III:30

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.

Juan - pati pro te

St. Edith Stein Novena – Day 6

SCRIPTURE READING
Mark 8:31-38

31 Then Jesus began to teach his disciples: “The Son of Man must suffer much and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the teachers of the Law. He will be put to death, but three days later he will rise to life.” 32 He made this very clear to them. So Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But Jesus turned around, looked at his disciples, and rebuked Peter. “Get away from me, Satan,” he said. “Your thoughts don’t come from God but from human nature!”

34 Then Jesus called the crowd and his disciples to him. “If any of you want to come with me,” he told them, “you must forget yourself, carry your cross, and follow me. 35 For if you want to save your own life, you will lose it; but if you lose your life for me and for the gospel, you will save it. 36 Do you gain anything if you win the whole world but lose your life? Of course not! 37 There is nothing you can give to regain your life. 38 If you are ashamed of me and of my teaching in this godless and wicked day, then the Son of Man will be ashamed of you when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

MEDITATION
The Science of the Cross 1.I.(6)

Content of the Message of the Cross

We have considered by what ways John penetrated the message of the cross. The following sections wish to show how this message was incorporated into the doctrine and life of the saint. To do so, it is necessary to set the content of the message before our eyes—for the time being, in a brief outline. We set it down here exactly as we find it expressed by the master of the science of the cross: “‘How narrow is the gate and constricting the way that leads to life! And few there are who find it’ (Mt 7:14). We should particularly note the exaggeration and hyperbole conveyed by the word how in this passage. This is like saying: Indeed the gate is very narrow, narrower than you think. . . . This path on the high mount of perfection is narrow and steep, it can only be trodden by wanderers who carry no burden that could drag them downwards. . . .  Since in this, God alone is the goal that one should seek and gain, then only God ought to be sought and gained. . . . Our Lord, for our instruction and guidance along this road, imparted to us that wonderful teaching—I think it is possible to affirm that the more necessary the doctrine the less it is practiced by spiritual persons—. . . . ‘If anyone wishes to be my disciple let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life, will lose it but whoever loses it for my sake, will save it’ [Mk 8:34-35]. Oh, who can make this counsel of our Savior on self-denial understandable, practicable, and attractive! . . . Annihilation of all sweetness in God . . . dryness, distaste, and trial. . . . the pure spiritual cross and the nakedness of Christ’s poverty of spirit. . . . A genuine spirit seeks rather the distasteful in God than the delectable, leans more toward suffering than toward consolation, more toward going without everything for God than toward possession, and toward dryness and affliction than toward sweet consolation, for it knows that in this consists the following of Christ and self-denial, while the other is nothing further than seeking oneself in God . . . Seeking God in God [sic] means. . . for love of Christ, to choose all that is distasteful whether in God or in the world.”

PRAYER

Lord, God of our fathers,
you brought Saint Teresa Benedicta
to the fullness of the science of the cross
at the hour of her martyrdom.
Fill us with that same knowledge;
and, through her intercession,
allow us always to seek after you, the supreme truth,
and to remain faithful until death
to the covenant of love ratified in the blood of your Son
for the salvation of all men and women.

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

EDITH - Annihilation of all sweetness in God

 

The Science of the Cross 
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Vol. 6 
ICS Publications, Washington DC 
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

Lady of the mystic mountain,
where the Lord has set His throne,
up its steep way to the Spirit,
none can walk save love alone.
Grant us grace to climb Mount Carmel
and to learn that love is loss.
Guide us still our ways outdistance
all earth’s treasures save the cross.

NDMC_Virgen del Carmen_enthroned with Christ

The Marie du jour – May 6

 

Divine virginity has a characteristic aversion to sin as the contrary of divine holiness. However, this aversion to sin gives rise to an indomitable love for sinners. Christ has come to tear sinners away from sin and to restore the divine image in defiled souls. He comes as the child of sin—his genealogy and the entire history of the Old Covenant show this—and he seeks the company of sinners so as to take all the sins of the world upon himself and carry them away to the infamous wood of the cross, which thereby precisely becomes the sign of his victory. This is precisely why virginal souls do not repulse sinners. The strength of their supernatural purity knows no fear of being sullied. The love of Christ impels them to descend into the darkest night. And no earthly maternal joy resembles the bliss of a soul permitted to enkindle the light of grace in the night of sins. The way to this is the cross. Beneath the cross the Virgin of virgins becomes the Mother of Grace.

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Beneath the cross the Virgin of virgins becomes the Mother of Grace.
2018-05-06 (2)
The Crucifixion with Saints and a Donor (detail)
Joos van Cleve (Netherlandish, ca. 1485–1540/41) and a collaborator
Oil on wood, ca. 1520
Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
The Hidden Life: Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Text
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Book 4, (pp. 113-114)
ICS Publications, Washington DC
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

 

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