St. John of the Cross is fond of quoting from St. Matthew's gospel, with over 50 citations in John's collected works. Today we see him quote “my yoke is sweet and my burden light” in the all-important Chapter 7, Book II of the Ascent of Mount Carmel: "Indeed the gate is very narrow, more so than you think."
On this feast day of St. Albert of Jerusalem, we recall that he gave the Rule of Life to Carmelite hermits who lived "near the spring on Mount Carmel." He urged them to clothe themselves with God's armor and to prepare for "the enemy's ambush". The enemy came in human form when the Mamluks who conquered the Crusader stronghold at Acre moved south unchallenged and massacred the hermits on Carmel.
Writing to a nun, as he could to each one of us, Brother Lawrence prays for patience and strength that she may be able to suffer as long as God desires. "Find consolation in him... happy are they who suffer with him."
Practical and prudent St. Teresa reminds us of the example of the sons of Zebedee, James and John, whose mother asked Jesus to declare that her sons should sit at his side in the kingdom. The Gospel tells us, "But Jesus answered, 'You do not know what you are asking'." St. Teresa reminds her Sisters of this many times in her writings, as she reminds us all in today's quote from the Interior Castle: we may think we are prepared to face trials in our spiritual life, but God knows what is best 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."
We recall 17 January 1985, the date when the Servant of God Père Jacques de Jésus was named "Righteous Among the Nations" by the World Holocaust Remembrance Center Yad Vashem.
You must use every care to clothe yourselves in God's armour so that you may be ready to withstand the enemy's ambush.
Since man's life on earth is a time of trial, and all who would live devotedly in Christ must undergo persecution...
Oh, who can make this counsel of our Savior on self-denial understandable, practicable, and attractive! ... dryness, distaste, and trial. ... the pure spiritual cross and the nakedness of Christ’s poverty of spirit.
A novena based on Poem 45, "My Joy!" written by St. Thérèse for her sister Pauline's feast day, 21 January 1897
It always consoles us more to complain to those who we know feel our trials
A little robin came and landed on her bed