Quote of the day, 10 September: Père Jacques devoted his Friday evening retreat conference at the Carmel of Pontoise to the Cross and suffering. Paraphrasing St Teresa, he said, “Life without suffering is a waste of time. Every hour not united to God's will is an hour squandered.”
On Thursday evening of his retreat for the Carmel of Pontoise, Père Jacques devoted his conference to the theme of silence. "Silence is not an empty void," he told the nuns; "God dwells therein."
For the feast day of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary on 8 September 1943, Père Jacques spoke of the Mary’s virginity that “wins her new graces, which enable her ever more consciously to realize her role as a total virgin.” This quote is Père Jacques at his best.
In lectures delivered during the summer of 1932, St. Edith Stein addressed the problems of women's education. In one lecture, she mentioned the Church's position on women and demonstrated how, despite patriarchal viewpoints that claim a woman's place is in the home, theologians have been able to examine liberal feminist claims to evaluate their "compatibility with the entire Catholic philosophy of life." St. Edith states that the Church's serenity lies in her ability to preserve eternal truth while adjusting with "unmatchable elasticity" to the "circumstances and challenges of changing times."
During his 1935 lecture series in North America, St. Titus Brandsma stayed with the Carmelite friars at their college in Niagara Falls, Ontario. We share excerpts from a meditation that he wrote on the pinnacle of the mystical life compared to "the roaring and the rushing of Niagara Falls".
St. John of the Cross refers to the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit at the Annunciation in Stanza 3 of The Living Flame of Love: "O lamps of fire! in whose splendors..." He continues, "it should be known that an overshadowing is the equivalent of casting a shadow; and casting a shadow is similar to protecting, favoring, and granting graces."
What gives God joy? St. John of the Cross explains that he rejoices to find "the humility and the nakedness of our heart and in our contempt of worldly things for love of him." Not with sour faces, but with the joy that it gives him.
In a passage of sublime theology, St. John of the Cross explains a portion of the Gospel for the Seventh Sunday of Easter: that we may perform the "same work that [Christ does] by nature; that is, breathe the Holy Spirit."
An recurring theme in the writings of St. John of the Cross is his counsel on how to achieve union with God; in other words, how to become a saint. In the Ascent of Mount Carmel, he explains in concrete terms the need to conform our will to God's will and to detach our soul from all things in order to go to God.
St. John of the Cross offers a profound commentary on Christ's resurrection appearance to Mary Magdalene outside the tomb, when she mistook him for the gardener. "This inebriation and urgent longing of love prompted her to ask the man she thought was the gardener if he had stolen him and, if he had, to tell her where he had put him so she could take him away..."
We recall that on 3 February 1944 the three Jewish boys who Father Jacques had hidden in his school were deported to Auschwitz
It is truly a marvelous exchange: the Creator of mankind, taking a body, gives us His Godhead. The Redeemer has come into the world to do this wonderful work. He became one of us—more than this, He became one with us.
Compared to the infinite goodness of God, all the goodness of the creatures of the world can be called wickedness. [...] Those who set their hearts on the good things of the world become extremely wicked in the sight of God.
Any attempt to arrive at a mysticism without dogma is contrary to the doctrine of Saint John of the Cross and to the very nature of contemplation.
John of the Cross is a model of a Christian in dialogue, a man of cultural breadth who expresses well that openness proper to the men and women of his native region of Castilla
God pays little attention to your oratories and places arranged for prayer if through your desire and the delight you take in them you become attached...
Today we dare to introduce to the world this cloistered nun who lived a "life hidden in Christ with God" because she is a shining witness of the joy of being rooted and grounded in love.
In a cosmic embrace that in Christ unites heaven and earth, John of the Cross was able to express the fullness of Christian life
St. John of the Cross reminds us that "God’s purpose is to exalt the soul". That is why he came down, "so profound is the humility and sweetness of God".