Gaze at Him tirelessly, gaze at Him in your little heaven and ask Him, when you are gazing there, to give you the virtues that will make you beautiful in His divine eyes.
St Teresa of the Andes
The Writings of St Teresa of Jesus of the Andes
SAINT ALBERT OF TRAPANI
Albert degli Abbati was born at Trápani, Sicily, in the thirteenth century, and entered the Carmelite Order as a youth. He became renowned as a fervent preacher of the Gospel and a worker of miracles. He was Provincial of Sicily in 1296, and died at Messina, probably in 1307, with a reputation for purity and prayer.
From the common of holy men
Office of Readings
The Feasts of August sound their glad refrain,
To Albert riseth soft, melodious strain;
Carmel echo with the songs of love
Raised to our Blessed Father throned above.
At seven years the parent roof he flies,
And, like the Baptist, all the world denies,
To seek the holy Virgin’s sacred shrine,
And live a life of holiness divine.
Clad in the flowing mantle white as snow,
He welcomes choicest gifts the Heavens bestow,
With power granted him to govern here
The lesser kingdoms of this earthly sphere.
The altar flame is by a crystal glassed,
A spectre breaketh it with pebble cast;
But Albert poureth tears before the Lord,
And lo! the sacred lamp is quick restored.
His youth, so prompt to vengeance, he subdues,
No fantasies of Hell his mind confuse
Supporting calmly fortune good or ill,
He scorneth honors with a steadfast will.
Unto one God most high be endless praise,
And to the blessed Son for equal days.
The Holy Spirit let us now adore,
And praise the Three in One forevermore.
Mensis augusti redeuent honores
THE SECOND READING
(L. 1, c. 2: ed. AnOC 3 [1914-1916], pp. 348-49)
From the Book of the Institution of the First Monks
Hide yourself by the brook Cherith
The word of the Lord came to Elijah saying: Depart from here and go eastward, and hide yourself by the brook Cherith near the Jordan, and there you will drink from the brook. Now these salutary commands which the Holy Spirit prompted Elijah to obey, and this promise of good things which he was moved to desire, ought to be weighed word by word with the greatest care by us, monks and solitaries, and this in a mystical sense, for they contain the full meaning of our vocation. Indeed they point the way to prophetic perfection, which is the goal of our religious, eremitical life.
It will be seen that this type of life has two aims. One of them we can, with the help of God’s grace, achieve by our own efforts and the practice of virtue. This aim is to offer God a heart holy and pure from all actual stain of sin, and we achieve it when we become perfect and hidden in Cherith—that is, in charity, of which the Wise Man says: Charity covers all offenses. It was to bring Elijah to this state that God said to him: Hide yourself by the brook Cherith.
The other aim of this kind of life is something that can be bestowed on us only by God’s generosity: namely, to taste in our hearts and experience in our minds, not only after death but even during this mortal life, something of the power of the divine presence and the bliss of heavenly glory. And this is to drink from the brook of the enjoyment of God—the reward God promised Elijah when he said: There you will drink from the brook.
The prophetic, eremitical life must be undertaken by the monk with both these aims in view, as the Psalmist makes clear when he says to God: In a desert land where there is no road and no water I have come before you in the sanctuary to see your power and your glory. By choosing to live in a desert land where there is no road and no water as the means of coming before God in the sanctuary—with a heart, that is, free from sin—he demonstrates the first aim of the solitary life he has chosen, which is to offer God a heart that is holy, or pure from all actual sin. By adding the words to see your power and your glory he declares the second aim, which is in some measure to experience or see the power of the divine presence mystically in one’s heart and to taste the bliss of heavenly glory here already in this life.
The first aim, purity of heart, can be achieved with the help of God’s grace by effort and the practice of virtue. The second aim, experimental knowledge of divine power and heavenly glory, can be realized through purity of heart and perfect love; for our Lord said: Whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.
I have called you friends, for I have made known to you
all I have heard from my Father.
—Remain in my love.
I have chosen you to go out and bear fruit,
fruit that shall last.
—Remain in my love.
The feast-day of Saint Albert dawns
A day of pure resplendent light;
Our brethren high in heav’n rejoice
As we our praise with theirs unite.
He realized that earthly joys
Were all too small to fill his heart;
All, all he had he gave to God,
In Carmel chose the better part.
Determined conqueror of self
He mortified each wrong desire
Until God saw reflected there
His image purified by fire.
For one so set on heavenly things
The lying foe laid many a snare,
But he resisted manfully,
And persevered in constant prayer.
Remember Carmel’s Order now,
Made glorious by your sojourn here;
O strengthen us in love of Christ
That we may likewise persevere.
All praise be to the Trinity,
The Father with his only Son
And ever-blessed Paraclete,
While never-ending ages run.
Adest natalis gloriae
CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH
Ant. The just will speak wisdom, and truth will come from their lips, because God’s law is in their hearts.
you made Saint Albert of Trapani
a model of purity and prayer,
and a devoted servant of Our Lady.
May we practice these same virtues
and so be worthy always
to share the banquet of your grace.
Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.
The river floweth swiftly on its course,
Dry shod the Blessed Albert speeds across.
His chastened piety sustains no loss
He kisseth tenderly the leprous face,
Nor shrinks in horror from the hideous trace;
Behold, it shineth now with former grace,
Disease hath fled.
When his glad spirit sought its heavenward flight,
The bells were pealing from the belfry height,
Nor did they sound by any human might
In mournful toll.
Two Messengers from Heaven high in air
Chant funeral praises of this man of prayer,
Before a mighty concourse gathered there
To bless his soul.
The odor sweet arising from his bier
Cured pain and suffering when the sick drew near,
And all diseases fled his tomb in fear
Of heavenly power.
O God most high, forever praise to Thee,
To Son and Spirit equal honor be;
Let us adore the Blessed One in Three
At every hour.
Passibus siccis rapidum
CANTICLE OF MARY
Ant. Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God.