Quote of the day: 12 October

A long-time after the Lord had already granted me many of the favors I’ve mentioned and other very lofty ones, while I was in prayer one day, I suddenly found that, without knowing how, I had seemingly been put in hell. I understood that the Lord wanted me to see the place the devils had prepared there for me and which I merited because of my sins…

What I felt, it seems to me, cannot even begin to be exaggerated; nor can it be understood. I experienced a fire in the soul that I don’t know how I could describe. The bodily pains were so unbearable that though I had suffered excruciating ones in this life and according to what doctors say, the worst that can be suffered on earth… these were all nothing in comparison with the ones I experienced there. I saw furthermore that they would go on without end and without ever ceasing.

This, however, was nothing next to the soul’s agonizing: a constriction, a suffocation, an affliction so keenly felt and with such a despairing and tormenting unhappiness that I don’t know how to word it strongly enough… I felt myself burning and crumbling, and I repeat the worst was that interior fire and despair.

Saint Teresa of Avila

The Book of Her Life: Chap. 32

 

Fire in a Sky Thomas Hawk Flickr 4564963763_39b579dfba_o
Thomas Hawk / 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.

St. Teresa Novena 2019 — Day 6

From her writings

A long-time after the Lord had already granted me many of the favors I’ve mentioned and other very lofty ones, while I was in prayer one day, I suddenly found that, without knowing how, I had seemingly been put in hell. I understood that the Lord wanted me to see the place the devils had prepared there for me and which I merited because of my sins. This experience took place within the shortest space of time, but even were I to live for many years I think it would be impossible for me to forget it. 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.

What I felt, it seems to me, cannot even begin to be exaggerated; nor can it be understood. I experienced a fire in the soul that I don’t know how I could describe. The bodily pains were so unbearable that though I had suffered excruciating ones in this life and according to what doctors say, the worst that can be suffered on earth (for all my nerves were shrunken when I was paralyzed, plus many other sufferings of many kinds that I endured, and even some, as I said, caused by the devil), these were all nothing in comparison with the ones I experienced there. I saw furthermore that they would go on without end and without ever ceasing. This, however, was nothing next to the soul’s agonizing: a constriction, a suffocation, an affliction so keenly felt and with such a despairing and tormenting unhappiness that I don’t know how to word it strongly enough. To say the experience is as though the soul were continually being wrested from the body would be insufficient, for it would make you think somebody else is taking away the life, whereas here it is the soul itself that tears itself in pieces. The fact is that I don’t know how to give a sufficiently powerful description of that interior fire and that despair, coming in addition to such extreme torments and pains. I didn’t see who inflicted them on me, but, as it seemed to me, I felt myself burning and crumbling; and I repeat the worst was that interior fire and despair.

The Book of Her Life: Chapter 32, Nos. 1-2

 

Reflection by Fr. Emiel Albalahin, O.Carm.

Teresa experiences the vision described above within the context of God’s salvific action, both universal and personal, in order that she might understand the torments from which she was freed because of His mercy, and also motivate her to realize her personal vocation of reform.

The theme of hell appears often in her writings and underlines humanity’s gift of free will and its natural consequences. The redemption wrought by Christ is intended for all, and the Divine plan is that all should be saved, but this does not preclude one’s possibility to choose. Hell is the result of a lifetime of choices made of separating oneself from God through sin, resulting in the suffocating experience of being completely bound in the darkness of God’s absence, without freedom and without hope.

Not wanting to see others end like this, Teresa exercised her own free will, dedicating her life to participating in Christ’s own saving action via her life of prayer. May we, like Teresa, give thanks to God for the truths revealed to us about eternal life, for our redemption through Christ’s blood, and for the gift of free will that allows us to choose and love him freely. Let us also pray for all those who most need our prayers for conversion of heart today.

 

We pray together

Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be.

V. Holy Mother St. Teresa, pray for us:

R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray:

Father,
by your Spirit, you raised up
our Mother Saint Teresa of Jesus
to show your Church the way to perfection.
May her inspired teaching
awaken in us a longing for true holiness.

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

 


Fr. Emiel Albalahin, O.Carm. is a friar of the Saint Elias Province and the pastor of Transfiguration Parish in Tarrytown, New York, U.S.A.

View the entire novena on the website of the General Curia of the Carmelite Order.

26 August: St. Teresa of Jesus’ Transverberation

August 26
SAINT TERESA OF JESUS’ TRANSVERBERATION

Memorial for the Discalced Carmelite Nuns
Optional Memorial for all others

“The chief among Teresa’s virtues was the love of God, which our Lord Jesus Christ increased by means of many visions and revelations. He made her his Spouse on one occasion. At other times she saw an angel with a flaming dart piercing her heart. Through these heavenly gifts the flame of divine love in her heart became so strong that, inspired by God, she made the extremely difficult vow of always doing what seemed to her most perfect and most conducive to God’s glory” (Gregory XV in the Bull of Canonization).

Invitatory

Ant. Come let us worship the Lord, Source of all wisdom.

Invitatory psalm, as in the Ordinary

Office of Readings

HYMN

Noonday blaze of virtues rare;
Highest gifts of grace and prayer;
You have lived, in deep repose,
All that faith on us bestows.

Wedded to the Father’s Word,
Word of light, in silence heard
Leaning on the Savior’s breast,
Guided by the Spirit blest.

Blest the mind refined by fire
To receive divine desire,
Wisdom’s secrets in your heart,
Opened by the heavenly dart.

Christ drew you to his embrace
By the fragrance of his grace;
In your teaching we confide,
Trusting you, our heav’n-sent guide.

Truth eternal, One and Three,
May Teresa constantly
Lead us up the mountain’s ways
To the realms of joy and praise.

77.77.
Sr. Margarita of Jesus, O.C.D.

THE SECOND READING

(Red. B, st. 2, no. 2-4, 9,, 12, 8: ed. Kavanaugh-Rodriguez 1979, pp. 596-99)

From the Living Flame of Love by Saint John of the Cross

You have wounded my heart

Moses declares in Deuteronomy, Our Lord God is a consuming fire, that is, a fire of love, which being of infinite power, can inestimably consume and transform into itself the soul it touches. Yet he burns each soul according to its preparation: he will burn one more, another less, and this he does insofar as he desires, and how and when he desires. When he wills to touch somewhat vehemently, the soul’s burning reaches such a high degree of love that it seems to surpass that of all the fires of the world, for he is an infinite fire of love. Because the soul in this case is entirely transformed by the divine flame, it not only feels a cautery, but has become a cautery of blazing fire.

It is a wonderful thing and worth relating that, since this fire of God is so mighty it would consume a thousand worlds more easily than the fire of this earth would burn up a straw, it does not consume and destroy the soul in which it so burns. And it does not afflict it, rather, commensurate with the strength of the love, it divinizes and delights it, burning gently. Since God’s purpose in granting these communications is to exalt the soul, he does not weary and restrict it, but enlarges and delights it, brightens and enriches it. The happy soul that by great fortune reaches this cautery knows all things, tastes all things, does all it wishes, and prospers; no one prevails before it and nothing touches it. This is the soul of which the Apostle speaks: The spiritual one judges all things and he is judged by no one. And again: The spirit searches out all things, unto the deep things of God.

It will happen that while the soul is inflamed with the love of God, it will feel that a seraphim is assailing it by means of an arrow or dart which is all afire with love. And the seraphim pierces and cauterizes this soul which, like a red-hot coal, or better, a flame, is already enkindled. For the soul is converted into the immense fire of love.

Few persons have reached these heights. Some have, however, especially those whose virtue and spirit was to be diffused among their children. For God accords to founders, with respect to the first fruits of the spirit, wealth and value commensurate with the greater or lesser following they will have in their doctrine and spirituality.

O happy wound, wrought by one who knows only how to heal! O fortunate and choicest wound; you were made only for delight, and the quality of your affliction is delight and gratification for the wounded soul! You are great, O delightful wound, because he who caused you is great! And your delight is great, because the fire of love is infinite and makes you delightful according to your capacity and greatness. O, then, delightful wound, so much more sublimely delightful the more the cautery touched the intimate center of the substance of the soul, burning all that was burnable in order to give delight to all that could be delighted!

RESPONSORY

The Lord our God is one Lord.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your strength.

The Lord your God is a consuming fire.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your strength.

 

Flowery border_British Library_medium

 

Morning Prayer

HYMN

The day is dawning with delight,
When, spotless as the dove,
Theresa winged her spirit flight
Afar, to realms of love and light,
In heavenly courts above.

Her ear hath caught the mystic sound,
Oh, come, my sister, spouse!
From Carmel’s summit come, be crowned,
Bride of the Lamb, in bliss profound,
Come plight thy nuptial vows!

O Jesus! Spouse of Virgin choice,
Thy holy name we praise!
While heavenly choirs, too, rejoice,
Their bridal canticle to voice,
And hymn their endless lays.

86.88.6.
Felix dies, qua candidae

Antiphons and psalms of the current weekday.

READING

2 Corinthians 4:5-7

It is not ourselves we preach but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts, that we in turn might make known the glory of God shining on the face of Christ. This treasure we possess in earthen vessels, to make it clear that its surpassing power comes from God and not from us.

RESPONSORY

My heart is ever pleading, show me your face.
My heart is ever pleading, show me your face.

I long to gaze upon you, Lord.
Show me your face.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
My heart is ever pleading, show me your face.
CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH

Ant. In my heart, imprisoned in my bones, was the likeness of a burning fire, and I was scarcely able to bear it.

Intercessions

The Lord of glory, Crown of all the Saints, gives us the joy of honoring our Mother, Saint Teresa. Let us praise him, saying:
Glory to you, Lord!

Source of life and holiness, in your saints you show us the infinite marvels of your grace;
in company with Saint Teresa may we sing of your mercies forever.

You want your love to blaze like fire throughout the world;
with Saint Teresa, make us zealous in spreading your charity.

You make friends of your saints, and reveal to them the mysteries of your heart;
bind us to yourself in friendship so close that we may taste the secrets of your love, proclaim your wonders, and draw others to you.

You pronounced blessed the pure of heart, and promised that they should see you;
purify our sight, so that we may see you in everyone and be faithful to you in all things.

You resist the proud and give wisdom to little ones;
make us humble of heart, so that we may receive your wisdom for the sake of the whole Church.

Our Father …

PRAYER

Almighty God,
you filled the heart of Saint Teresa of Avila, our Mother,
with the fire of your love
and gave her strength to undertake difficult tasks
for the honor of your name.
Through her prayers
may the power of your love fill our hearts also
and stir us to ever more generous efforts in your service.

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.

 

Ivy border media

 

Evening Prayer

HYMN

As messenger of the Most high,
Theresa from her home would fly,
Good tidings of the Heavenly King
To heathen lands afar to bring,
Or yield for Christ her gentle life,
In ruddy streams of martyr strife.

But death with sweeter aspect came,
Awaiting her with rapturous claim.
Ecstatic pangs delight her soul,
And, conquered by their strong control,
She falleth, wounded from above
By piercing lance of heavenly love.

Oh, flaming victim! may thy dart
Enkindle every frozen heart,
That upward mounting, one with thine,
They rise, consumed with fire divine.
And may thy pleading safely keep
Thy nations from the burning deep.

All praise unto the Father be,
And to the Son eternally,
With joyful harmony repeat
All praise unto the Paraclete,
The Blessed Trinity adore
With reverent homage evermore.

88.88.88.
Regis superni nuntia

Antiphons and psalms of the current weekday.

READING

Jude 20-21

Beloved, grow strong in your holy faith through prayer in the Holy Spirit. Persevere in God’s love, and welcome the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ which leads to life eternal.

RESPONSORY

You are the temple of the living God.
You are the temple of the living God.

And the Spirit of God dwells in you,
the temple of the living God.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
You are the temple of the living God.

CANTICLE OF MARY

Ant. My heart will rejoice in your salvation; I will sing to the Lord for his goodness to me.

INTERCESSIONS

Christ loved his Church and gave his life for her that she might be holy: let us pray to Christ that his Church may be holy and spotless in all her members:
Lord Jesus, be with your Church.

You are the Head of the Church and the source of all her grace;
keep us all close to you in faith and love, as living members of your Body.

You founded the Church on Peter and the apostles, and through them you teach us the truth and lead us in green pastures;
enlighten and guide those you have placed over your Church, and confirm our faith so that in them we may hear your voice leading us to life.

You choose some to announce the Good News by teaching, baptizing, calling to repentance, and offering in your memory the Eucharistic Sacrifice;
as the harvest is great, and the laborers few, send laborers into your harvest.

You choose some of your friends to follow you more closely in your poverty, your chastity and your obedience, for the building up of the Church;
with Mary as their Mother and teacher, may all religious cling to you and show forth your life within them as they serve the Church.

You made your people one body and one spirit in the unity of faith and baptism;
may all whom you have redeemed preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bonds of peace.

You died for our redemption and rose so that we could have life;
may all who have died in your love and await the revelation of your glory rejoice at the eternal banquet in the company of your saints.

Our Father …
PRAYER

Almighty God,
you filled the heart of Saint Teresa of Avila, our Mother,
with the fire of your love
and gave her strength to undertake difficult tasks
for the honor of your name.
Through her prayers
may the power of your love fill our hearts also
and stir us to ever more generous efforts in your service.

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.

 

Bernini_ocd-curia-photo
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Ecstasy of Saint Teresa, 1647-52
Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome (Discalced Carmelite Fathers)
Photo: Curia Generalizia Carmelitani Scalzi

 

 

Learn more about Bernini’s masterpiece on the Khan Academy website

 

Photos of artworks from Quito provided by the Project on the Engraved Sources of Spanish Colonial Art (PESSCA)

Per Adversa: Novena 8

The way of suffering and love

1. 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. 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, 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.”

2. When I had begun prayer I had such a bad headache I thought it would be almost impossible to pray. The Lord said to me: “In this way, you will see the reward that comes from suffering, for since you did not have the health to speak with Me, I have spoken with you and favored you.” And so it is certain that I must have been recollected about an hour and a half. During that time He spoke the above words to me and all the rest. I was not distracted, but neither did I know where I was; and I was so happy I don’t know how to describe it. My headache went away — which surprised me — and I was left with a great desire for suffering.

It is true, at least I haven’t heard otherwise, that our Lord didn’t have any joy in life other than this once, nor did St. Paul. The Lord also told me I should keep very much in mind the words He spoke to His apostles, that the servant must not be greater than the Lord.

Saint Teresa of Avila
Spiritual Testimonies: 32


1. 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”.

2. Cuando empecé a tener oración, estaba con tan gran mal de cabeza, que me parecía casi imposible poderla tener. Díjome el Señor: “Por aquí verás el premio del padecer, que como no estabas tú con salud para hablar conmigo, he Yo hablado contigo y regaládote”. Y es así cierto, que sería como hora y media, poco menos, el tiempo que estuve recogida. En él me dijo las palabras dichas y todo lo demás. Ni yo me divertía, ni sé adónde estaba, y con tan gran contento que no sé decirlo, y quedóme buena la cabeza -que me ha espantado- y harto deseo de padecer.

Es verdad que al menos yo no he oído que el Señor tuviese otro gozo en la vida sino esa vez, ni San Pablo. También me dijo que trajese mucho en la memoria las palabras que el Señor dijo a sus Apóstoles, “que no había de ser más el siervo que el Señor”.

Santa Teresa de Jesús
Las Relaciones: Capítulo 36

 

The crucified Christ appears to Saint Teresa of Avila_Alonso Cano_Museo del Prado
The crucified Christ appears to Saint Teresa of Avila, Alonso Cano, Oil on canvas, 1629, Museo del Prado, Madrid

 

SCRIPTURE
Colossians 1:24-2:5

It makes me happy to suffer for you, as I am suffering now, and in my own body to do what I can to make up all that has still to be undergone by Christ for the sake of his body, the Church. I became the servant of the Church when God made me responsible for delivering God’s message to you, the message which was a mystery hidden for generations and centuries and has now been revealed to his saints. It was God’s purpose to reveal it to them and to show all the rich glory of this mystery to pagans. The mystery is Christ among you, your hope of glory: this is the Christ we proclaim, this is the wisdom in which we thoroughly train everyone and instruct everyone, to make them all perfect in Christ. It is for this I struggle wearily on, helped only by his power driving me irresistibly.

Yes, I want you to know that I do have to struggle hard for you, and for those in Laodicea, and for so many others who have never seen me face to face. It is all to bind you together in love and to stir your minds, so that your understanding may come to full development until you really know God’s secret in which all the jewels of wisdom and knowledge are hidden. I say this to make sure that no one deceives you with specious arguments. I may be absent in body, but in spirit I am there among you, delighted to find you all in harmony and to see how firm your faith in Christ is.

NOVENA PRAYER

O most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel,
Fruitful Vine, Splendor of Heaven,
Blessed Mother of the Son of God,
Immaculate Virgin,
assist me in this my necessity.
O Star of the Sea, help me and show me
herein that you are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Queen of heaven and earth,
I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart
to succor me in this necessity.
There are none that can withstand your power!
O help me and show me herein
that you are my Mother.

Our Lady, Queen and Beauty of Carmel,
pray for me and obtain my requests!
Sweet Mother, I place this cause
in your hands!

 

Novena citations taken from The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. 
ICS Publications Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars

Carmelitis Da Privilegia: Novena 7

Her vision of our Lady in the choir of the Incarnation

1. On the eve of the feast of St. Sebastian, the first year in which I was prioress at the Incarnation, at the beginning of the Salve Regina, I saw the Mother of God descend with a great multitude of angels and sit in the prioress’s choir stall where there was a statue of our Lady. In my opinion I didn’t then see the statue but our Lady herself. It seemed to me she looked something like she does in the painting the countess gave me; although the power to discern this was quickly taken away, for my faculties were soon held in great suspension. It seemed to me there were angels above the canopies of the stalls in the back and above the front stalls; although they were not in corporeal form, for this was an intellectual vision.

She remained for the whole of the Salve, and she told me: “You were indeed right in placing me here; I shall be present in the praises they give my Son, and I shall offer these praises to Him.”

2. After this I remained in the kind of prayer I now have, that of keeping my soul present with the Blessed Trinity. And it seemed to me that the Person of the Father drew me to Himself and spoke very pleasant words. Among them, while showing me what He wanted, He told me: “I gave you My Son, and the Holy Spirit, and this Blessed Virgin. What can you give Me?”

Saint Teresa of Avila
Spiritual Testimonies: 21


1. La víspera de San Sebastián, el primer año que vine a ser Priora en la Encarnación, comenzando la Salve, vi en la silla prioral, adonde está puesta nuestra Señora, bajar con gran multitud de ángeles la Madre de Dios y ponerse allí. A mi parecer, no vi la imagen entonces, sino esta Señora que digo. Parecióme se parecía algo a la imagen que me dio la Condesa aunque fue de presto el poderla determinar, por suspenderme luego mucho. Parecíame encima de las comas de las sillas y sobre los antepechos, ángeles, aunque no con forma corporal, que era visión intelectual.

Estuvo así toda la Salve, y díjome: “Bien acertaste en ponerme aquí; yo estaré presente a las alabanzas que hicieren a mi Hijo, y se las presentaré”.

2. Después de esto quedéme yo en la oración que traigo de estar el alma con la Santísima Trinidad, y parecíame que la persona del Padre me llegaba a Sí y decía palabras muy agradables. Entre ellas me dijo, mostrándome lo que quería: “Yo te di a mi Hijo y al Espíritu Santo y a esta Virgen. ¿Qué me puedes tú dar a mí?”.

Santa Teresa de Jesús
Las Relaciones: Capítulo 25

Choir Incarnation Avila British Library Blogfeatimage
Engraving of Carmelite nuns in prayer at the Monastery of the Incarnation; note the canopies above the choir stalls

 

SCRIPTURE
Romans 12:1-2

So then, my friends, because of God’s great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer. Do not conform yourselves to the standards of this world, but let God transform you inwardly by a complete change of your mind. Then you will be able to know the will of God—what is good and is pleasing to him and is perfect.

NOVENA PRAYER

O most beautiful Flower of Mount Carmel,
Fruitful Vine, Splendor of Heaven,
Blessed Mother of the Son of God,
Immaculate Virgin,
assist me in this my necessity.
O Star of the Sea, help me and show me
herein that you are my Mother.

O Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Queen of heaven and earth,
I humbly beseech you from the bottom of my heart
to succor me in this necessity.
There are none that can withstand your power!
O help me and show me herein
that you are my Mother.

Our Lady, Queen and Beauty of Carmel,
pray for me and obtain my requests!
Sweet Mother, I place this cause
in your hands!

 

Novena citations taken from The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. 
ICS Publications Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars,

Quote of the day: 15 June

Let us live with God as with a friend, let us make our faith a living faith in order to be in communion with Him through everything, for that is what makes saints.

We possess our Heaven within us

Since He who satisfies the hunger of the glorified in the light of vision gives Himself to us in faith and mystery, it is the Same One! It seems to me that I have found my Heaven on earth since Heaven is God and God is in my soul.

The day I understood that,
everything became clear to me.

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 122 to Madame de Sourdon (excerpt)
Shortly after 15 June 1902

 

Sabeth and Guite
Marguerite and Elisabeth Catez (c. 1899) | Photo: Discalced Carmelites

 

The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel 
Copyright © 2003 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc. Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

Quote of the day: 4 June

Our question now is:
what makes the prophet certain
that he is standing before God?

Seeing with the eyes or in the imagination does not necessarily have anything to do with this. When both are absent there may still be an inner certainty that it is God who is speaking.

This certainty can rest on the feeling that God is present; one feels touched in his innermost being by him, by the One present. We call this the experience of God in the most proper sense. It is the core of all mystical living experience: the person-to-person encounter with God. A sensible vision, like that of Isaiah, may accompany it as an extraordinary attendant phenomenon.

On the other hand,
is a vision like this conceivable
without a personal, inner experience of God?

Saint Edith Stein
Ways to Know God: Experience
4c1) Revelation, Inspiration, and Supernatural Experience of God

 

BAEZ Chrism mass mystical moment
Do our pastors have mystical living experiences?

 


Nota Bene: Translator Walter Redmond rendered Erfahrung as experience of God and Erlebnis as mystical living experience.

 

Knowledge and Faith: The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Vol. 8
ICS Publications, Washington DC
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc

Quote of the day: 22 February

Being in prayer on the feastday of the glorious St. Peter, I saw or, to put it better, I felt Christ beside me; I saw nothing with my bodily eyes or with my soul, but it seemed to me that Christ was at my side — I saw that it was He, in my opinion, who was speaking to me.

Valladolid-adoration
Ángel Cantero / Iglesia en Valladolid

Since I was completely unaware that there could be a vision like this one, it greatly frightened me in the beginning; I did nothing but weep. However, by speaking one word alone to assure me, the Lord left me feeling as I usually did: quiet, favored, and without any fear. It seemed to me that Jesus Christ was always present at my side; but since this wasn’t an imaginative vision, I didn’t see any form.

Yet I felt very clearly that He was always present at my right side and that He was the witness of everything I did. At no time in which I was a little recollected, or not greatly distracted, was I able to ignore that He was present at my side.

Yet I felt very clearly that He was always present at my right side and that He was the witness of everything I did.

I immediately went very anxiously to my confessor to tell him. He asked me in what form I saw Him. I answered that I didn’t see Him. He asked how I knew that it was Christ.

I answered that I didn’t know how, but that I couldn’t help knowing that He was beside me, that I saw and felt Him clearly, that my recollection of soul was greater, and that I was very continuously in the prayer of quiet, that the effects were much different from those I usually experienced, and that it was very clear.

It seemed to me that Jesus Christ was always present at my side

8477537711_ccf29a7ae7_m
Ángel Cantero / Iglesia en Valladolid

I could do nothing but draw comparisons in order to explain myself. And, indeed, there is no comparison that fits this kind of vision very well. Since this vision is among the most sublime (as I was afterward told by a very holy and spiritual man, whose name is Friar Peter of Alcántara and of whom I shall speak later, and by other men of great learning) and the kind in which the devil can interfere the least of all, there are no means by which those of us who know little here below can explain it. Learned men will explain it better.

I couldn’t help knowing that He was beside me
I saw and felt Him clearly
my recollection of soul was greater
I was very continuously in the prayer of quiet
the effects were much different
it was very clear

The Book of Her Life: Chapter 27; The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila 
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. and Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D. (unless otherwise noted)
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC 
Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

One glance

Lord, I am an ignorant child, I am blind;
I come unto you to see.
Come, your eyes will heal me,
and everything will be yours.
One glance is life!

Saint Mariam of Bethlehem

BOHNSACK - repose-toi RAINBOW GIRL
David Bohnsack, mccj / Facebook

Quote of the day: 25 January

One feast day of St. Paul, while I was at Mass, this most sacred humanity in its risen form was represented to me completely, as it is in paintings, with such wonderful beauty and majesty; I have written about it in particular to your Reverence when you insistently ordered me to do so. And writing about it was very difficult for me to do because one cannot describe this vision without ruining it.

Saint Teresa of Jesus
The Book of Her Life, 28:3

apparition of resurrected christ_aguilar
La aparición del Resucitado
Lorenzo Aguilar (Spanish, 17th c.)
Oil on canvas 
Monastery of the Annunciation, Alba de Tormes

 

Nothing tells us more about the love in God’s Heart than the Eucharist. This union, this consummation of Him in us and we in Him, is this not heaven on earth? This is Heaven in faith while awaiting the vision face-to-face for which we yearn…

We have the Blessed Sacrament exposed in the oratory: what divine hours are spent in this little corner of Heaven. Here, we possess the vision in substance under the humble Host. Yes, one and the same, He who the blessed contemplate in light and He who we adore in faith…

The Eucharistic Heart of God According to Saint Elizabeth

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Novena – Day 1

In the light of eternity the soul sees things as they really are.

Intention

For the gift of God’s sight: we often hear the expression, “you can’t see the forest for the trees.” We can become so engrossed in the concerns and anxieties of life that we lose the “the big picture.” This big picture includes the reality that God is always at work among us. God sees everything. St. Paul often refers to God’s sight; to St. Timothy he writes, “I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone… This is right and is acceptable in the sight of God our Savior.” [I Tim 2:1, 3]

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity speaks

“In the light of eternity the soul sees things as they really are.”

Meditation 

What dark ways of thinking or preoccupations do I need to renounce in order to welcome the light of eternity in my life?  Who in particular should I pray and give thanks for?  How and where can I expand my spiritual vision to see as God sees?

NOVENA PRAYER 

O God of bountiful mercy,
you revealed to Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
the mystery of your secret presence
in the hearts of those who love you,
and you chose her to adore you in spirit and in truth.
Through her intercession
may we also abide in the love of Christ,
that we may see what you see
and love in the way that you love
and thus merit to be transformed
into temples of your life-giving Spirit
to the praise 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, for ever and ever.

lucas-myers-669592-unsplash
Arabian Sea | Photo by Lucas Myers on Unsplash
Excerpt from Letter 333, The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel 
Copyright © 2003 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.
Published by ICS Publications, Washington DC

August 26: St. Teresa of Jesus’ Transverberation

August 26
SAINT TERESA OF JESUS’ TRANSVERBERATION

Memorial for the Discalced Carmelite Nuns
Optional Memorial for all others

“The chief among Teresa’s virtues was the love of God, which our Lord Jesus Christ increased by means of many visions and revelations. He made her his Spouse on one occasion. At other times she saw an angel with a flaming dart piercing her heart. Through these heavenly gifts the flame of divine love in her heart became so strong that, inspired by God, she made the extremely difficult vow of always doing what seemed to her most perfect and most conducive to God’s glory” (Gregory XV in the Bull of Canonization).

Invitatory

Ant. Come let us worship the Lord, Source of all wisdom.

Invitatory psalm, as in the Ordinary

Office of Readings

HYMN

Noonday blaze of virtues rare;
Highest gifts of grace and prayer;
You have lived, in deep repose,
All that faith on us bestows.

Wedded to the Father’s Word,
Word of light, in silence heard
Leaning on the Savior’s breast,
Guided by the Spirit blest.

Blest the mind refined by fire
To receive divine desire,
Wisdom’s secrets in your heart,
Opened by the heavenly dart.

Christ drew you to his embrace
By the fragrance of his grace;
In your teaching we confide,
Trusting you, our heav’n-sent guide.

Truth eternal, One and Three,
May Teresa constantly
Lead us up the mountain’s ways
To the realms of joy and praise.

77.77.
Sr. Margarita of Jesus, O.C.D.

THE SECOND READING

(Red. B, st. 2, no. 2-4, 9,, 12, 8: ed. Kavanaugh-Rodriguez 1979, pp. 596-99)

From the Living Flame of Love by Saint John of the Cross

You have wounded my heart

Moses declares in Deuteronomy, Our Lord God is a consuming fire, that is, a fire of love, which being of infinite power, can inestimably consume and transform into itself the soul it touches. Yet he burns each soul according to its preparation: he will burn one more, another less, and this he does insofar as he desires, and how and when he desires. When he wills to touch somewhat vehemently, the soul’s burning reaches such a high degree of love that it seems to surpass that of all the fires of the world, for he is an infinite fire of love. Because the soul in this case is entirely transformed by the divine flame, it not only feels a cautery, but has become a cautery of blazing fire.

It is a wonderful thing and worth relating that, since this fire of God is so mighty it would consume a thousand worlds more easily than the fire of this earth would burn up a straw, it does not consume and destroy the soul in which it so burns. And it does not afflict it, rather, commensurate with the strength of the love, it divinizes and delights it, burning gently. Since God’s purpose in granting these communications is to exalt the soul, he does not weary and restrict it, but enlarges and delights it, brightens and enriches it. The happy soul that by great fortune reaches this cautery knows all things, tastes all things, does all it wishes, and prospers; no one prevails before it and nothing touches it. This is the soul of which the Apostle speaks: The spiritual one judges all things and he is judged by no one. And again: The spirit searches out all things, unto the deep things of God.

It will happen that while the soul is inflamed with the love of God, it will feel that a seraphim is assailing it by means of an arrow or dart which is all afire with love. And the seraphim pierces and cauterizes this soul which, like a red-hot coal, or better, a flame, is already enkindled. For the soul is converted into the immense fire of love.

Few persons have reached these heights. Some have, however, especially those whose virtue and spirit was to be diffused among their children. For God accords to founders, with respect to the first fruits of the spirit, wealth and value commensurate with the greater or lesser following they will have in their doctrine and spirituality.

O happy wound, wrought by one who knows only how to heal! O fortunate and choicest wound; you were made only for delight, and the quality of your affliction is delight and gratification for the wounded soul! You are great, O delightful wound, because he who caused you is great! And your delight is great, because the fire of love is infinite and makes you delightful according to your capacity and greatness. O, then, delightful wound, so much more sublimely delightful the more the cautery touched the intimate center of the substance of the soul, burning all that was burnable in order to give delight to all that could be delighted!

RESPONSORY

The Lord our God is one Lord.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your strength.

The Lord your God is a consuming fire.
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,
and with all your soul, and with all your strength.

Transverberation_upper cloister 1653_Carmel of Carmen Alto, Quito
The Transverberation
Quito School
Mural painting, ca. 1653
Convento del Carmen Alto, Quito
Morning Prayer

HYMN

The day is dawning with delight,
When, spotless as the dove,
Theresa winged her spirit flight
Afar, to realms of love and light,
In heavenly courts above.

Her ear hath caught the mystic sound,
Oh, come, my sister, spouse!
From Carmel’s summit come, be crowned,
Bride of the Lamb, in bliss profound,
Come plight thy nuptial vows!

O Jesus! Spouse of Virgin choice,
Thy holy name we praise!
While heavenly choirs, too, rejoice,
Their bridal canticle to voice,
And hymn their endless lays.

86.88.6.
Felix dies, qua candidae

Antiphons and psalms of the current weekday.

READING

2 Corinthians 4:5-7

It is not ourselves we preach but Christ Jesus as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts, that we in turn might make known the glory of God shining on the face of Christ. This treasure we possess in earthen vessels, to make it clear that its surpassing power comes from God and not from us.

RESPONSORY

My heart is ever pleading, show me your face.
My heart is ever pleading, show me your face.

I long to gaze upon you, Lord.
Show me your face.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
My heart is ever pleading, show me your face.
CANTICLE OF ZECHARIAH

Ant. In my heart, imprisoned in my bones, was the likeness of a burning fire, and I was scarcely able to bear it.

Intercessions

The Lord of glory, Crown of all the Saints, gives us the joy of honoring our Mother, Saint Teresa. Let us praise him, saying:
Glory to you, Lord!

Source of life and holiness, in your saints you show us the infinite marvels of your grace;
in company with Saint Teresa may we sing of your mercies forever.

You want your love to blaze like fire throughout the world;
with Saint Teresa, make us zealous in spreading your charity.

You make friends of your saints, and reveal to them the mysteries of your heart;
bind us to yourself in friendship so close that we may taste the secrets of your love, proclaim your wonders, and draw others to you.

You pronounced blessed the pure of heart, and promised that they should see you;
purify our sight, so that we may see you in everyone and be faithful to you in all things.

You resist the proud and give wisdom to little ones;
make us humble of heart, so that we may receive your wisdom for the sake of the whole Church.

Our Father …

PRAYER

Almighty God,
you filled the heart of Saint Teresa of Avila, our Mother,
with the fire of your love
and gave her strength to undertake difficult tasks
for the honor of your name.
Through her prayers
may the power of your love fill our hearts also
and stir us to ever more generous efforts in your service.

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.

Transverberation_18thc Quito Artist_Archbishop's Palace Quito
Transverberation of Saint Teresa
Unidentified Quito Artist
Oil on canvas, 18th century
Palacio Arzobispal, Quito, Ecuador
Evening Prayer

HYMN

As messenger of the Most high,
Theresa from her home would fly,
Good tidings of the Heavenly King
To heathen lands afar to bring,
Or yield for Christ her gentle life,
In ruddy streams of martyr strife.

But death with sweeter aspect came,
Awaiting her with rapturous claim.
Ecstatic pangs delight her soul,
And, conquered by their strong control,
She falleth, wounded from above
By piercing lance of heavenly love.

Oh, flaming victim! may thy dart
Enkindle every frozen heart,
That upward mounting, one with thine,
They rise, consumed with fire divine.
And may thy pleading safely keep
Thy nations from the burning deep.

All praise unto the Father be,
And to the Son eternally,
With joyful harmony repeat
All praise unto the Paraclete,
The Blessed Trinity adore
With reverent homage evermore.

88.88.88.
Regis superni nuntia

Antiphons and psalms of the current weekday.

READING

Jude 20-21

Beloved, grow strong in your holy faith through prayer in the Holy Spirit. Persevere in God’s love, and welcome the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ which leads to life eternal.

RESPONSORY

You are the temple of the living God.
You are the temple of the living God.

And the Spirit of God dwells in you,
the temple of the living God.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
You are the temple of the living God.

CANTICLE OF MARY

Ant. My heart will rejoice in your salvation; I will sing to the Lord for his goodness to me.

INTERCESSIONS

Christ loved his Church and gave his life for her that she might be holy: let us pray to Christ that his Church may be holy and spotless in all her members:
Lord Jesus, be with your Church.

You are the Head of the Church and the source of all her grace;
keep us all close to you in faith and love, as living members of your Body.

You founded the Church on Peter and the apostles, and through them you teach us the truth and lead us in green pastures;
enlighten and guide those you have placed over your Church, and confirm our faith so that in them we may hear your voice leading us to life.

You choose some to announce the Good News by teaching, baptizing, calling to repentance, and offering in your memory the Eucharistic Sacrifice;
as the harvest is great, and the laborers few, send laborers into your harvest.

You choose some of your friends to follow you more closely in your poverty, your chastity and your obedience, for the building up of the Church;
with Mary as their Mother and teacher, may all religious cling to you and show forth your life within them as they serve the Church.

You made your people one body and one spirit in the unity of faith and baptism;
may all whom you have redeemed preserve the unity of the Spirit through the bonds of peace.

You died for our redemption and rose so that we could have life;
may all who have died in your love and await the revelation of your glory rejoice at the eternal banquet in the company of your saints.

Our Father …
PRAYER

Almighty God,
you filled the heart of Saint Teresa of Avila, our Mother,
with the fire of your love
and gave her strength to undertake difficult tasks
for the honor of your name.
Through her prayers
may the power of your love fill our hearts also
and stir us to ever more generous efforts in your service.

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.

Bernini_ocd-curia-photo
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Ecstasy of Saint Teresa, 1647-52
Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome (Discalced Carmelite Fathers)
Photo: Curia Generalizia Carmelitani Scalzi

 

Learn more about Bernini’s masterpiece on the Khan Academy website

Photos of artworks from Quito provided by the Project on the Engraved Sources of Spanish Colonial Art (PESSCA)

St. Edith Stein Novena – Day 4

SCRIPTURE READING
John 2:1-11

There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. The mother of Jesus was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited. When they ran out of wine, since the wine provided for the wedding was all finished, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ Jesus said, ‘Woman why turn to me? My hour has not come yet.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ There were six stone water jars standing there, meant for the ablutions that are customary among the Jews: each could hold twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water,’ and they filled them to the brim. ‘Draw some out now,’ he told them, ‘and take it to the steward.’ They did this; the steward tasted the water, and it had turned into wine. Having no idea where it came from – only the servants who had drawn the water knew – the steward called the bridegroom and said, ‘People generally serve the best wine first, and keep the cheaper sort till the guests have had plenty to drink, but you have kept the best wine till now.’

This was the first of the signs given by Jesus: it was given at Cana in Galilee. He let his glory be seen, and his disciples believed in him.

MEDITATION
A Chosen Vessel of Divine Wisdom:

Sr. Marie-Aimée de Jésus of the Carmel of the Avenue de Saxe in Paris 1839–1874

Nazareth

“A page from the great book of God’s mercy” is what Sister Marie-Aimée called her life. This life is very simple in its external course, but has an inner richness that can only be hinted at in a short biography. Those who would like to know more about it must refer to her own writings.

A delicate face of angelic purity and spirituality, big, soft, and deeply penetrating eyes that have knowledge of the supernatural world as well as of their natural home—this is Dorothea Quoniam, who in Carmel received the name of Marie-Aimée de Jésus. This name tells the secret of her life: “loved by Jesus” with an overwhelming, jealous love that laid total claim to her from her very first day.

Occasionally, [Jesus] revealed himself to her in human form and each time corresponding to her age, so that he seemed to grow up with her. When she was nineteen, her relatives wanted to arrange her future. One day they introduced a young man to her, and, after an opening conversation, let her know that he came as a suitor. Dorothea said not a word. She only smiled, but this smile was of a kind that made the poor fellow lower his eyes, blush, and wish that he had never come. The Lord had revealed himself beside this young man “in the full radiance of his virginal beauty” and said, “Compare!” At the same time, a smile of divine irony played about his lips and evoked its reflection in the face of his bride. The first attempt of this kind was rejected, and she knew how to refuse all thereafter with calm firmness.

She had already known when she moved to her “Nazareth” that her aim was the “desert” of Carmel. But she had to await the Lord’s hour.

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.

Sports for peace
Community members from El Sereif, North Darfur, perform traditional wedding songs in a cultural and sports event organized by UNAMID as part of the campaign “We need peace now”.
Learn more about this photo by Alberto Gonzalez Farran, UNAMID
The Hidden Life: hagiographic essays, meditations, spiritual texts
Edited by L. Gelber and Michael Linssen; translated by Waltraut Stein
The Collected Works of Edith Stein, Vol. 4 
ICS Publications, Washington DC 
© Washington Province of Discalced Carmelites, Inc.

The Marie du jour – May 3

Avila, Incarnation, Jan. 19, 1572

St. Teresa’s vision of our Lady in the choir of the Incarnation

1. On the eve of the feast of St. Sebastian, the first year in which I was prioress at the Incarnation, at the beginning of the Salve Regina, I saw the Mother of God descend with a great multitude of angels and sit in the prioress’s choir stall where there was a statue of our Lady. In my opinion, I didn’t then see the statue but our Lady herself. It seemed to me she looked something like she does in the painting the countess gave me; [1] although the power to discern this was quickly taken away, for my faculties were soon held in great suspension. It seemed to me there were angels above the canopies of the stalls in the back and above the front stalls; although they were not in corporeal form, for this was an intellectual vision.

She remained for the whole of the Salve, and she told me: “You were indeed right in placing me here; [2] I shall be present in the praises they give my Son, and I shall offer these praises to Him.”

2. After this, I remained in the kind of prayer I now have, that of keeping my soul present with the Blessed Trinity. And it seemed to me that the Person of the Father drew me to Himself and spoke very pleasant words. Among them, while showing me what He wanted, He told me: “I gave you My Son, and the Holy Spirit, and this Blessed Virgin. What can you give Me?”

 

Avila-Encarnation_Choir_1882-pilgrims-guidebook
Avila, nuns’ choir in the Carmelite monastery of Incarnation

 

[1] She is speaking of a painting given her by the Countess of Osorno, Doña María de Velasco, a friend of hers who lived in Valladolid. The painting is still preserved at St. Joseph's of Avila.

[2] When she took possession of her office as prioress of the Incarnation, October 14, 1571, she placed a statue of Our Lady of Clemency in the prioress's stall with the keys to the monastery in its hands.

Spiritual Testimonies: 21 Her vision of our Lady in the choir of the Incarnation
Copyright © 1976 by Washington Province of Discalced Carmelite Friars, Inc.

 

Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑