Monday, January 01, 2018

New Blog

EFFICATIOUS PRAYER  AND NOVENA TO OUR LADY OF MOUNT CARMEL

available on my new blog
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Friday, December 16, 2016

Jubilee Year of Mercy, December 8th, 2015 - November 20th, 2016

Announcement of the Jubilee Year of Mercy HERE More on the Jubilee Year HERE

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Novena Rose Prayer to St Therese starts Thursday, 22nd September


Novena Rose Prayer

O Little Therese of the Child Jesus, please pick for me a rose from the heavenly gardens and send it to me as a message of love.

O Little Flower of Jesus, ask God today to grant the favors I now place with confidence in your hands...(mention petitions)

St. Therese, help me to always believe as you did, in God's great love for me, so that I might imitate your "Little Way" each day. Amen.

credit to Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus, Manchester, St Louis


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Thursday, September 08, 2016

Feast of the Nativity of Our Lady - click to read


Our Lady's birthday! What a beautiful feast on which to become the bride of Christ, baby Mary a day old presenting His little flower to little Jesus! On that day everything was little except the graces i received, and the peace and joy I felt when evening came and I gazed up at the starry heavens, where I would soon be united to my divine Bridegroom in everlasting happiness.
From the time I awake in the morning I was filled with peace, and it was in the peace of God which surpasses all understanding (Phil 4:7) that I pronounced my holy vows. At the close of this beautiful day I laid my wreath, as is the custom, at Our Lady's feet without any feeling of sadness, for I felt that time would not lessen my happiness.
O Jesus, I only ask Thee to give me peace!...Peace, and above all a love that knows no bounds. (St Therese, Story of the Soul) 

 On the feast of the nativity of our Lady, I feel special joy. When this day comes I think it's good to renew my vows. And once while I was about to do so, the Blessed Virgin, Our Lady, appeared to me through an illuminative vision; and it seems to me I renewed them in her hands and that they were pleasing to her. This vision remained with me for some days, as though she were next to me at my left. (St Teresa of Avila, Spiritual Testimonies)


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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary


Peter Paul Rubens Assumption of the Virgin Mary

Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world - Matthew 25:34

He showed me [His Mother's] ascend to heaven, the happiness and solemnity with which she was received, and the place where she is...The glory my spirit experienced in seeing so much glory was magnificent. The effects of this favour were great. (St Teresa of Avila, 'Collected Works' 1:353)


Among his favourite feasts, besides those of the Blessed Trinity and Corpus Christ, were the feasts of the Blessed Virgin. In his prison cell, on the Vigil of the Assumption, after nine months of severe privation, he was asked what he was thinking of. He replied, “I was thinking that tomorrow is the feast of our Lady and that it would give me great joy to say Mass”. The sight of an image of the Mother of God brought love and brightness to his soul. (St John of the Cross, The Collected Works, A Portrait of the Saint) 

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Saturday, August 06, 2016

Transfiguration


Raphael, Transfiguration

    One cannot advance in faith without closing one’s eyes to everything pertaining to the senses and to clear, particular knowledge. Though St Peter was truly certain of his vision of Christ glory in the transfiguration, yet after relating the fact in his second canonical epistle (2 Pt 1:16-18) he did not want anyone to take this as the chief testimony for certitude. But leading them on to faith he declared: We have a more certain testimony than this vision of Tabor: the saying and words of the prophets bearing testimony to Christ which you must make good use of, as a candle shining in a dark place (2 Pt 1:19)

    Reflecting on this comparison, we discover the doctrine we are teaching here. Telling us to behold the faith spoken of by prophets as we would a candle shining in a dark place, he asserts that we should live in darkness, with our eyes closed to all other lights, and that in this darkness faith alone – which is dark also -  should be the light we use. If we want to employ these other bright lights of distinct knowledge, we cease to make use of faith, the dark light, and we cease to be enlightened in the dark place mentioned by St Peter. This place (the intellect – the holder on which the candle of faith is placed) must remain in darkness until the day, in the next life, when the clear vision of God dawns upon the soul; and in this life, until the daybreak of transformation in and union with God, the goal of a person’s journey.  (St John of the Cross, Ascend of Mt Carmel Book 2 ch 16)
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Thursday, July 07, 2016

Novena to Our Lady of Mt Carmel starts today


Let us put our petitions in the hands of Our Lady of Mt Carmel with confidence and devotion of Bl Mary of Jesus Crucified:

...I dwell in the heart of my Mother
There I find my Beloved
Am I then an orphan? In the bosom of Mary
I have found life
Do not say I am an orphan:
I have Mary for Mother and God for Father
The serpent, the dragon wished to catch me
And take my life;
But at the feet of Mary, I recovered my life.
Mary called me, and, in this monastery,
Will I remain forever.
At the feet of Mary
I came to life again. 
(Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified)
To pray Novena click here



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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity will be canonized on October 16th this year, therefore, let us share and enjoy from time to time little fragments of her writings in anticipation of this joyful and holy day.



Remain in me (Jn 15:4). It is the Word of God who gives this order, expresses this wish. Remain in Me, not for a few moments, a few hours which must pass away, habitually, Remain in Me, pray in Me, adore in Me, love in Me, suffer in Me, work and act in Me. Remain in Me, so that you may be able to encounter anyone or anything; penetrate further still into these depths. This is truly the 'solitude into which God wants to allure the soul that He may speak to it.' as the prophet sang (Hos 2:14).
In order to understand this very mysterious saying, we must not, so to speak, stop at the surface, but enter ever deeper into the divine Being through recollection. 'I pursue my course.' (Ph 3:12) exclaimed St Paul; so must we descend daily this pathway of the Abyss (Ruysbroeck 52-53), which is God; let us slide down this slope (Ru, 52) in wholly loving confidence, "Abyss calls to abyss". It is there in the very depths that the divine impact takes place (Ru 40), where the abyss of our nothingness encounters the Abyss of mercy (Ru 2), the immensity of the all of God (todo of God of John of the Cross face to face with the 'nada' - our nothingness - of man). There we will find the strength to die to ourselves and, losing all vestige of self, we will be changed into love...."Blessed are those who die in the Lord"(Ap 14:13)
(Bl Elizabeth of the Trinity 'Haeven in Faith, First Day, Prayer 2). 

"Father, I will that where I am they also whom You have given Me may be with Me, in order that they may behold My glory which You have Me, because You have loved Me before the creation of the world" (John 17:24). Such is Christ's last wish, His supreme prayer before returning to His Father, He wills that where He is we should be also, not only for eternity, but already in time, which is eternity begun and still in progress. It is important then to know where we must live with Him in order to realize His divine dream. "The place where the Son of God is hidden is the bosom of the Father, or the divine Essence, invisible to every mortal eye, unattainable by every human intellect,"(St John of the Cross, St 1:3) as Isaiah said: "Truly You are a hidden God" (Is 45:15). And yet His will is that we should be established in Him, that we should be, so to speak, His own shadow (Ru 81).

By baptism , says St Paul, we have been united to Jesus Christ (Rom 6:4-5). And again: "God seated us together in Heaven in Christ Jesus, that He might show in the ages to come the riches of His grace" (Eph 2:6-7). And further on: "You are no longer guests or strangers, but you belong to the City of saints and the House of God." (Eph 2:19). The Trinity - this is our dwelling, our "home", the Father's house that we must never leave. The Master said one day: "The slave does not remain with the household forever, but the son remains there forever (John 8:35).

"As long as our will has fancies that are foreign to divine union, whims that are now yes, now no, we are like children; we do not advance with giant steps in love for fire has not yet burnt up all the alloy; the gold is not pure; we are still seeking ourselves; God has not consumed "all our hostility to Him. But when the boiling cauldron has consumed every imperfect love, every imperfect sorrow, every imperfect fear," "then love is perfect and the golden ring of our alliance is larger than Heaven and earth. This is the secret cellar in which love places his elect," this "love leads us by ways and paths known to him alone; and he leads us with no turning back, for we will not retrace our steps." (Spiritual Canticle 439). (Bl Elizabeth Second Day, Prayer 2).

The same saint (St John of the Cross) also says that "God is the center of the soul". So when the soul with all "its" strength will know God perfectly, love and enjoy Him fully, then it will have reached the deepest center that can be attained in Him". Before attaining this, the soul is already "in God who is the center," "but it is not yet in its deepest center, for it can still go further. Since love is what unites us to God, the more intense this love is, the more deeply the soul enters into God and the more it is centered in Him. When it "possesses even one degree of love it is already in its center"; but when this love has attained its perfection, the soul will have penetrated into the deepest center. There willl be transformed to the point of becoming very like God." (St John of the Cross, The living Flame of Love). To this soul living within can be addressed the words of Pere Lacordaire to St Mary Magdalene: No longer ask for the Master among those on earth or in Heaven, for He is your soul and your soul is He." (Second Day, Prayer 1).


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Saturday, June 04, 2016

Immaculate Heart of Mary



In the Traditional liturgical calendar, the Feast of Immaculate Heart is celebrated on 22nd of August. In new Liturgy on this day is celebrated Mary's Queenship. Devotion to Immaculate Heart of Our Lady is connected on many points with that to the Heart of Jesus. The attention of Christians was early attracted by the love and virtues of the Heart of Mary. The Gospels recount the prophesy delivered to her at Jesus' presentation at the temple: that her heart would be pierced with a sword. This image of the pierced heart is the most popular representation of the Immaculate Heart. The Gospels further invited attention to Mary's heart with its depictions of Mary at the foot of the cross at Jesus' crucifixion. St. Augustine said of this that Mary was not merely passive at the foot of the cross; "she cooperated through charity in the work of our redemption"

O most pure Mary, I offer and give myself to you, not only with that purity and innocence that I received when I consecrated myself to you, but adorned beyond that, and then repurified, and then adorned again. Receive me, therefore, O Mary, and keep me within yourself. St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi.



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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary - click to read more

Jacques Daret - Visitation of the Blessed Virgin

It seems to me that the attitude of the Virgin during the months that elapsed between the Annunciation and the Nativity is the model for interior souls, those whom God has chosen to live within, in the depths of the bottomless abyss. In what peace, in what recollection Mary lent herself to everything she did! How  even the most trivial things were divinized by her! For through it all the Virgin remained the adorer of the gift of God! This did not prevent her from spending herself outwardly when it was a matter of charity.

The Gospel tells us that Mary went in haste to the mountains of Judea to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Never did the ineffable vision that she contemplated within herself in any way diminish her outward charity. For, a pious author [Ruusbroeck] says, if contemplation "continues towards praise and towards the eter­nity of its Lord, it possesses unity and will not lose it. If an order from Heaven arrives, contemplation turns towards men, sympa­thizes with their needs, is inclined towards all their miseries; it must cry and be fruitful. It illuminates like fire, and like it, it burns, absorbs and devours, lifting up to Heaven what it has de­voured. And when it has finished its work here below, it rises, burning with its fire, and takes up again the road on high." (Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity)



Commentary after DGO

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Meditation, Novena and Offering to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, Novena starts today - click for link


"You know, my God, that my one desire is to be a victim of Your Sacred Heart, wholly consumed as a holocaust in the fire of Your holy love. Your Heart will be the altar on which I shall be consumed by You, my dear Spouse, and You will be the Priest who will consume this victim by the fires of Your most Sacred Heart. But, O my God, how ashamed I am to see how guilty is this victim and how unworthy to have her sacrifice accepted by You! But I am confident that all will be consumed by this divine fire!
By offering my whole self to You, I understand that I am giving You my free will, so that henceforth, You alone will be the Master of my heart, and Your will alone will regulate my actions. Therefore, dispose of me always according to Your good pleasure; I am content with everything, since I wish to love You with a love that is patient, mortified, wholly abandoned to You, an active love, a strong, undivided love and, what is more important, a persevering love." (St Teresa Margaret Redi)


All ye who bear a burden
Come unto Me, Who know
A place of quiet refreshment,
Where living waters flow!...
O Heart, the well-spring of all love,
Within Thy depths I hide,
And drink the living waters
That flow down from Thy side!
(St Therese "Poems")



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Corpus Christi with Carmelite Saints


Carl Emil Doepler, Corpus Christi Procession

Lord, you have given your people the food of angels, from heaven untiringly sending them bread already prepared, containing every delight, satisfying every taste. (Wisdom 16:20)

This is what I received from the Lord, and in turn passed on to you: that on the same night that he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and thanked God for it and broke it, and he said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this as a memorial of me.’ In the same way he took the cup after supper, and said, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me.’ (1 Cor 11:23-25)

Bl Titus Brandsma:
In speaking of Carmelites' tender devotion to the Sacrament of the Altar...They have always seen a symbol of the sacred host in the wonderful food which the angels pointed out to Elijah and which strengthened the prophet in finding the way that he was able to cross the desert. The Eucharist is the power which permits them to arrive at contemplation...St Peter Thomas who died in 1365 was prior general at the time of the Avignon popes....He was not hindered by the many occupations of his busy life from spending several hours each night before the Blessed Sacrament, oftentimes he was found lost in adoration...Blessed John Soreth...a great reformer of the Carmelites in fifteenth century, his life imperiled, grasped the Blessed Sacrament from a burning church...Bl Bartholomew Fanti, who counted Bl Baptist Spignola among his disciples, taught his novices that it was not possible to be a good Carmelite without special devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. What determined St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi to enter the Carmel of Florence was the practice of daily Communion observed in this convent - a thing rare for the times. The Carmelites are rightly numbered among the mendicant orders, for their constitutions demand the greatest simplicity in their monasteries. BUT for their churches and the cult of the Eucharist, grandeur was always permitted. (from the teaching on the Blessed Sacrament given during retreat) 

St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi:
1. When you are to receive Communion, think that you are about to perform the greatest and most worthy action that can be done, which is to receive the Lord God within yourself.
2.Guard against going to Communion through habit or by chance, but go with actual devotion.
3 If you realize that as long as the sacramental species continue, you have within yourself the entire Most Holy Trinity, you would not go to Communion only occasionally; you would also think about it before you left off Communion, in order not to be deprived of so great a good.
4. Take care lest, on account of your little desire and disposition, you may be the cause of closing that little window of heaven.
5. One cannot find a more effective means of perfecting a soul than to approach this divine table; and if you knew how to use this well, in a short time you would become filled with the love of God, for only one Communion is enough to make a soul holy.
6. Never of your own will deprive yourself of Communion, because you do not know if that Communion might be the very time when God has determined to give you some grace and particular gift. (Teaching on the Most Holy Communion in Complete Works of St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi)  

St Teresa of Avila:
Receiving Communion is not like picturing with the imagination. as when we reflect upon the Lord on the cross or in other episodes of the Passion, when we picture within ourselves how things happened to him in the past. In Communion, the event is happening now, and it is entirely true. Since we know that Jesus is with us as long as the natural heat doesn't consume the accidents of bread, we should approach him. Now, then, if when he went about in the world the mere touch of his robes cured the sick, why doubt, if we have faith, that miracles will be worked while He is within us and that he will give what we ask of him since he is in our house? His Majesty is not accustomed to paying poorly for his lodging if the hospitality is good. (The Way of Perfection)

Augustin-Marie of the Blessed Sacrament, OCD (Hermann Cohen):
My well-Beloved when all are asleep
And seem to forget your love
Do permit me to watch
Alone with you in this abode
(Canticle from his music collection 'Love of Jesus Christ')

Blessed Mary of Jesus Cricified:
...To fly to my Beloved
Hail, hail, blessed tree;
Thou bearest the fruit of life
Under Thy shade, I wish to sigh;
At thy feet, I wish to die.
(Mariam, the Little Arab)

St Therese of Child Jesus:
Living Bread, Bread of Heaven, Divine Eucharist,
O touching mystery produced by Love,
Come dwell within my heart, Jesus, my white Host...
Deign to unite me unto Thee, O holy and sacred Vine, 
That my feeble branch may yield its fruit to Thee;
And I will offer Thee a gilded cluster...
This cluster of love of which the grapes are souls.
(Poems)

Bl Elizabeth of the Trinity:
Every Sunday, we have the Blessed Sacrament exposed in the oratory. When I open the door and contemplate the divine prisoner who has made ma a prisoner in this dear Carmel, it seems to me rather like the gate of heaven opening! Then I present to Jesus all those who are in my heart, and there, close to him, I find them again. (Light, Love, Life)

St Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein):
Communion delivers us from evil, because it cleanses us of sin and gives us peace of heart that takes away things of all other 'evils'. It brings us the forgiveness of past sins and strengthens us in the face of temptations. It is itself the bread of life that we need daily to grow into eternal life. It makes our will into an instrument at God's disposal. Thereby, it lays the foundation for the kingdom of God in us and gives us clean lips and a pure heart to glorify God's holy name. participation in the sacrifice  and in the sacrificial meal actually transforms the soul into a living stone in the city of God - in fact, each individual soul - into a temple of God. (Essential Writings)

Servant of God, Pere Jacques de Jesus Bunel:
Our participation at Mass, our grace filled actions, our Communions must be religious acts stamped with prayer and love. Our material work of the day must be a work bathed in prayer. (Resplendent in Victory).

St Teresa of Jesus of the Andes:
Thank God, we have always had Mass and we've had the Blessed Sacrament. Since Eli, Gorda, and I are the sacristans, we've spent moments of heaven by our Lord's side. (Letters).









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Feast of St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, Carmelite Saint


Holy Spirit, I see you coming down into the soul like the sun which, finding no obstacle, no impediment, illumines everything; I see You descending like a fiery thunderbolt which, in failing, goes to the lowest place it finds and there it reposes, never stopping on the way nor resting on the mountainous or high places but rather in the center of the earth. Thus You, O Holy Spirit, when You come down from heaven with the fiery dart of Your divine love, You do not repose in proud hearts or in arrogant spirit, but You make Your abode in souls that are humble and contemptible in their own eyes (St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi).

Picture represents fragment of the main altar depicting St Mary Magdalen de Pazzi and St Agnes in the Carmelite Church in Cordoba


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St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi - click to read more

Alessandro Rosi, 'The Ecstasy of St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi'

O Lord, if I see my neighbour committing sin, I shall make an excuse for him on the grounds of his intention, which being hidden cannot be seen, and even if I see plainly that his intention was distorted and evil, help me to know how to make allowance for the temptation, which is something from which no mortal is excluded.
And if someone should come to speak to me of my neighbour's fault, I do not want to listen, and I shall answer that I will pray for him and ask the Lord to let me first amend myself. Besides, it will be easier for me to speak to my erring neighbour himself about his fault than to talk about it with others, because instead of remedying that fault, many others, much more serious, may be committed than those that are being discussed. (St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi)

..to read more click here

..to read online 'The Life of St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi' by Fr Placido Fabrini click HERE

St Mary Magdalene de Pazzi was the mystical soul who experienced the very intimate union with God, manifesting in ecstasies and raptures. Her soul was filled with the Holy Spirit and through His spiritual gifts to her she experienced these favours in prayer. St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross writings gives us inside into this kind of spiritual favours. 

There is another kind of rapture -- I call it flight of the spirit -- which, though substantially the same as other raptures, is interiorly experienced very differently. For sometimes suddenly a movement of the soul is felt so swift that it seems the spirit is carried off, and at a fearful speed especially in the beginning. This is why I have told you that strong courage is necessary for the one to whom God grants these favours, and even faith and confidence and a full surrender to our Lord so that He may do what He wants with the soul. Do you think it is a small disturbance for a person to be very much in his senses and see his soul carried off (and in the case of some, we have read, even the body with the soul) without knowing where that soul is going, what or who does this, or how?.... is there some means by which one can resist it? None at all; rather, to resist makes matters worse, for I know this was so with a certain person.It is such that the spirit truly seems to go forth from the body. On the other hand, it is clear that this person is not dead; at least, he cannot say whether for some moments he was in the body or not. It seems to him that he was entirely in another region different from this in which we live, where there is shown another light so different from earth's light that if he were to spend his whole life trying to imagine that light, along with the other things, he would be unable to do so. It happens that within an instant so many things together are taught him that if he were to work for many years with his imagination and mind in order to systematize them he wouldn't be able to do so, not with even one thousandth part of one of them. This is not an intellectual but an imaginative vision, for the eyes of the soul see much better than do we with bodily eyes here on earth, and without words understanding of some things is given; I mean that if a person sees some saints, he knows them as well as if he had often spoken with them. 8. At other times, along with the things seen through the eyes of the soul by an intellectual vision, other things are represented, especially a multitude of angels with their Lord. And without seeing anything with the eyes of the body or the soul, through an admirable knowledge I will not be able to explain, there is represented what I'm saying and many other things not meant to be spoken of. Anyone who experiences them, and has more ability then I, will perhaps know how to explain them; although doing so seems to me very difficult indeed. (St Teresa of Avila, Interior Castle, Sixth Dwelling Place, Ch 5) 

Stanzas concerning an ecstasy experienced in high contemplation. 
I entered into unknowing, and there I remained unknowing transcending all knowledge. 
1. I entered into unknowing, yet when I saw myself there, without knowing where I was, I understood great things; I will not say what I felt for I remained in unknowing transcending all knowledge. 
2. That perfect knowledge was of peace and holiness held at no remove in profound solitude; it was something so secret that I was left stammering, transcending all knowledge. 
3. I was so 'whelmed, so absorbed and withdrawn, that my senses were left deprived of all their sensing, and my spirit was given an understanding while not understanding, transcending all knowledge. 
4. He who truly arrives there cuts free from himself; all that he knew before now seems worthless, and his knowledge so soars that he is left in unknowing transcending all knowledge. 
5. The higher he ascends the less he understands, because the cloud is dark which lit up the night; whoever knows this remains always in unknowing transcending all knowledge. 
6. This knowledge in unknowing is so overwhelming that wise men disputing can never overthrow it, for their knowledge does not reach to the understanding of not understanding, transcending all knowledge. 
7. And this supreme knowledge is so exalted that no power of man or learning can grasp it; he who masters himself will, with knowledge in unknowing, always be transcending. 
8. And if you should want to hear: this highest knowledge lies in the loftiest sense of the essence of God; this is a work of his mercy, to leave one without understanding, transcending all knowledge. (St John of the Cross, The Living Flame of Love, Fourth Stanza)

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

Holy Trinity Sunday

Masaccio, Holy Trinity fresco, Santa Maria Novella, Florence

In the beginning the Word was; he lived in God and possessed in him his infinite happiness. The same Word was God, who is the Beginning… The Word is called Son; he was born of the Beginning who had always conceived him, giving of his substance always, yet always possessing it. And thus the glory of the Son was the Father’s glory, and the Father possessed all his glory in the Son….and the Love that unites them is one with them, their equal, excellent as the One and the Other; Three Persons and one Beloved among all three…. In that immense love proceeding from the two the Father spoke words of great affection to the Son….: “My Son, only your company contents me, and when something pleases me I love that thing in you; whoever resembled you most satisfies me most, and whoever is like you in nothing will find nothing in me. I am pleased with you alone, O life of my life! You are the light of my light, you are my wisdom, the image of my substance in whom I am well pleased. On creation. “My Son, I wish to give you a bride who will love you. Because of you she will deserve to share our company and eat at our table, the same bread I eat, that she may know the good I have in such a Son; and rejoice with me in your grace and fullness.” “I am very grateful, the Son answered; “I will show my brightness to the bride you give me, so that by it she may see how great my Father is, and how I have received my being from your being”….“Let it be done, then” said the Father, for your love has deserved it. And by these words the world was created, a palace for the bride made with great wisdom and divided into rooms, and above, the other below. The lower was furnished with infinite variety, while the higher was made beautiful with marvellous jewels, that the bride might know the Bridegroom she had. The orders of angels were placed in the higher, but humanity was given the lower place, for it was, in its being, a lesser thing. And though beings and places were divided in this way, yet all form one, who is called the bride; for love of the same Bridegroom made one bride of them. Those higher ones possessed the Bridegroom in gladness; the lower in hope, founded on the faith that he infused in them, telling them that one day he would exalt them, and that he would lift them up from their lowness so that no one could mock it anymore; for he would make himself wholly like them, and he would come to them and dwell with them; and God would be man and man would be God, and he would walk with them and eat and drink with them; and he himself would be with them continually until the consummation of this world…..For as the Father and the Son and he who proceeds from them live in one another, so it would be with the bride; for, taken wholly into God, she will live the life of God. By this bright hope which came to them from above, their wearying labours were lightened; but the drawn-out waiting and their growing desire to rejoice with their Bridegroom wore on them continually, So with prayers and sigh and suffering, with tears and moaning they asked night and day that now he would determine to grant them his company….. In these and other prayers a long time had passed; but in the later years their fervour swelled and grew when the aged Simeon burned with longing, and begged God that he might see this day. And so the Holy Spirit answering the good old man gave him his word that he would not see death until he saw Life descending from the heights, until he took God himself into his own hands and holding him in his arms, pressed him to himself. The Incarnation. Now that the time had come when it would be good to ransom the bride serving under the hard yoke of that law which Moses had given her, the Father, with tender love spoke… “Surely your bride’s delight would greatly increase were she to see you like her, in her own flesh.” “My will is yours,” the Son replied …..”This is fitting, Father, what you, the Most High, say, for in this way your goodness will be more evident, your great power will be seen and your justice and wisdom I will go and tell the world….I will go and seek my bride and take upon myself her weariness and labours in which she suffers so; and that she may have life, I will die for her, and lifting her out of that deep I will restore her to you”. Then he called the archangel Gabriel and sent him to the virgin Mary, at whose consent the mystery was wrought....and the Word lived incarnate in the womb of Mary. And he who had only a Father now had a Mother too, but she was not like others who conceived by man. From her own flesh he received his flesh, so he is called Son of God and of man. When the time had come for him to be born, he went forth like the bridegroom from his bridal chamber, embracing his bride, holding her in his arms, whom the gracious Mother laid in a manger among the animals that were there at that time. Men sang songs and angels melodies….but God there in the manger cried and moaned; and these tears were jewels the bride brought to the wedding. The Mother gazed in sheer wonder on such an exchange: in God, man’s weeping, and in man, gladness, to the one and the other things usually so strange. St John of the Cross, Romances on the Blessed Trinity.
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Friday, May 06, 2016

Pentecost Novena starts today! - click to read


And when the days of the Pentecost were accomplished, they were all together in one place: And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a mighty wind coming, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them parted tongues as it were of fire, and it sat upon every one of them: And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they began to speak with divers tongues, according as the Holy Ghost gave them to speak.Acts 2:1-4.

The grace of the Holy Spirit be with your paternity, mi padre. I hope that this Pentecost has brought you so many of his gifts and blessings that through them you may render His Majesty the service you owe him for having willed to come to the aid of his people, at so great a cost to yourself. May he be praised for everything. (On the vigil of the Pentecost Sunday, 7 June 1579, while praying in the hermitage of Nazareth, St Teresa received the four counsels for the discalced friars). From the letter 297 of St Teresa to Fr Jeronimo Gracian, written in Avila, 10th of June 1579.


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Thursday, May 05, 2016

Ascension of Our Lord Jesus


For King of all the earth is God, 
Sing hymns of praise, 
God reigns over the nations, 
God sits upon His Holy Throne (Ps 47: 8-9)

The Lord gives us so much to do these days that we can hardly keep up with it all. The foundation for the friars in Cordoba was completed with greater applause and solemnity throughout the entire city than was ever given there to any other religious order. All the clergy and confraternities of Cordoba gathered, and the Most Blessed Sacrament was brought with great solemnity from the Cathedral. All streets were beautifully decorated, and the people acted as though it were the feast of Corpus Christi. This took place on the Sunday after Ascension Thursday. The Bishop came and preached, praising us highly. The house is situated in the best district of the city in the neighbourhood of the Cathedral. 
(St John of the Cross, Letter To Madre Ana de San Alberto, June 1586)

Picture represents 'Ascension of Jesus' - Rembrandt
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Sunday, April 03, 2016

Divine Mercy Sunday and Feast of St Teresa of the Andes


Let us listen today to St Teresa as she extols the blessings of the friendship that Christ offers to all (excerpts from the letter 150 written to her father):
I feel need to bring Him to you. I want Jesus to be your intimate friend, to whom you may entrust your heart, tired and filled with sorrow. Who…can fathom the intensity, the torrent of worries pouring over you as can Our Lord who delves into our deepest hearts and with delicate touch can touch those painful wounds whose depths even we ourselves don’t understand, Oh…how your life would change if you went to Him often as a Friend. Can you be thinking Jesus won’t to welcome you as a friend? If that’s what you thought, it would be a sign that you don’t know Him. Jesus is all tenderness, all love for his sinful creatures. He lives in the tabernacle with His Heart open to receive us, waiting for our arrival that He may console us. After ‘God the Joy of My Life. Saint Teresa of the Andes’

Divine Mercy photo after catholicinjapan.wordpress.com
St Teresa picture after lacasadelossuegnos.blogspot.com
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Monday, March 21, 2016

PALM SUNDAY and HOLY WEEK - click for link


Holy Week begins with the description of the triumphal entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem on the Sunday before His Passion. Jesus, who had always been opposed to any public manifestation and who had fled when the people wanted to make Him their king (Jn 6:15), allows Himself to be borne in triumph today. Not until now, when He is about to die, does He submit to being publicly acclaimed as the Messiah, because by dying on the Cross, He will be in the most complete manner Messiah, Redeemer, King, and Victor. He allows Himself to be recognized as King, but a King who will reign from the Cross, who will triumph and conquer by dying on the Cross. The same exultant crowd that acclaims Him today will curse Him in a few days and lead Him to Calvary; today's triumph will be a vivid prelude to tomorrow's Passion. As the joyful procession advances, Jesus sees the panorama of Jerusalem spread out at His feet. St Luke says (19:41-44): "When He drew near, seeing the city, he wept over it, saying: "If thou also hadst known, and that in this thy day, the things that are to thy peace!...Thy enemies...shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation."' St Teresa of Jesus says: "O Jesus, what bitter tears You shed over the city which refused to recognize You! And how many souls, like Jerusalem, go to perdition on account of their obstinate resistance to grace! For them I pray with all my strength. "My God, this is where Your power and mercy should be shown. Oh! what a lofty grace I ask for, O true God, when i conjure You to love those who do not love You, to answer those who do not call to You, to give, to give health to those who take pleasure in remaining sick!...You say, O my Lord, that you have come to seek sinners. Here, Lord, are the real real sinners. But, instead of seeing our blindness, O God, consider the precious Blood which Your Son shed for us. Let Your mercy shine out in the midst of such great malice. Do not forget, Lord, that we are Your creatures, and pour out on us Your goodness and mercy" (Exclamations of the Soul to God).

 Pope Francis blesses the Palms - St Peter's Square


Palm Sunday Procession - St Peter's Square

"A second word: why does Jesus enter Jerusalem? Or better: how does Jesus enter Jerusalem? The crowds acclaim him as King. And he does not deny it, he does not tell them to be silent (cf. Lk 19:39-40). But what kind of a King is Jesus? Let us take a look at him: he is riding on a donkey, he is not accompanied by a court, he is not surrounded by an army as a symbol of power. He is received by humble people, simple folk, who sense that there is more to Jesus, who have the sense of faith that says, "This is the Savior."
Jesus does not enter the Holy City to receive the honours reserved to earthly kings, to the powerful, to rulers; he enters to be scourged, insulted and abused, as Isaiah foretold in the First Reading (cf. Is 50:6). He enters to receive a crown of thorns, a staff, a purple robe: his kingship becomes an object of derision. He enters to climb Calvary, carrying his burden of wood. And this brings us to the second word: Cross. Jesus enters Jerusalem in order to die on the Cross. And it is here that his kingship shines forth in godly fashion: his royal throne is the wood of the Cross! I think of what Benedict XVI said to the cardinals: "You are princes but of a Crucified King"that is Christ's throne. Jesus takes it upon himself..why? Why the Cross? Jesus takes upon himself the evil, the filth, the sin of the world, including our own sin, and he cleanses it, he cleanses it with his blood, with the mercy and the love of God. Let us look around: how many wounds are inflicted upon humanity by evil! Wars, violence, economic conflicts that hit the weakest, greed for money, which no-one can bring with him. My grandmother would say to us children, no shroud has pockets! Greed for money, power, corruption, divisions, crimes against human life and against creation! And - each of us knows well - our personal sins: our failures in love and respect towards God, towards our neighbour and towards the whole of creation. Jesus on the Cross feels the whole weight of the evil, and with the force of God’s love he conquers it, he defeats it with his resurrection. This is the good that Christ brings to all of us from the Cross, his throne. Christ’s Cross embraced with love does not lead to sadness, but to joy! The joy of being saved and doing a little bit what he did that day of his death." (Excerpt from Pope Francis Palm Sunday
(homily)
 

Text of meditations below are excerpts from 'Divine Intimacy' chapter on Passion Sunday. The post is illustrated by Tissot picture representing procession leading Jesus into Jerusalem

HOLY WEEK WITH THE SAINTS OF CARMEL - SHORT, SELECTED REFLECTIONS

Tuesday of the Holy Week 
In today's Mass Epistle, Jeremiah (11:18-20) speaks to us as the suffering Saviour: "I was as a meek lamb that is carried to be a victim." This sentence expresses the attitude of Jesus towards the bitterness of His Passion. He knew every one of these sufferings in all their most concrete particulars; His heart had undergone them by anticipation, and the thought of them never left him for an instant during the course of His life on earth. If the Passion, in its historical reality, took place in less than twenty-four hours, in its spiritual reality it spanned his entire life.
Let us reflect on the gravity of sin with St Teresa: "O Lord of my soul, how quick we are to offend You! But how much quicker are You to forgive us! What am I saying, Lord! 'The sorrows of death have encompassed me' Alas! What a great evil is sin, since it could put God Himself to death with such terrible sufferings! And these same sufferings surround You today, O my Lord! Where can You go that You are not tortured? Men cover You with wounds in all Your members." (Exclamations of the Soul to God: 10)


Wednesday in the Holy Week
Today's Mass contains two lessons from Isaias (62:11-63:1-7, 53:1-12) which describe in a very impressive way the figure of Jesus, the Man of Sorrows, covered with the shining purple of His blood, wounded from head to foot, "Why then is Thy apparel red, and Thy garments like theirs that tread in the winepress? I have trodden the winepress alone, and of the Gentiles, there is not a man with Me." All alone Jesus trod the winepress of His Passion. Let us think of His agony in the Garden of Olives, where the vehemence of His grief covered all His members with a bloody sweat. Let us think of the moment when Pilate, after having Him scourged, brought Him before the mob, saying: "Behold the Man!".


'Ecce Homo' by Simon Bening

Jesus stood there, His head crowned with thorns, His flesh lacerated by the wipes; the brilliant red of His Blood mingled with the purple of His cloak, that cloak of derision with which the soldiers had clothed their mock king. Christ was offering Himself as a sacrifice for men, shedding His Blood for their salvation, and men were abandoning Him. "I looked about and there was none to help, I sought, and there was none to give aid" (Roman Missal). Where were the sick whom He had cured, the blind, who at the touch of His Hand recovered their sight, the dead who were raised to life, the thousands whom He had miraculously fed with bread in the wilderness, the wretched without number who in countless ways had experienced His goodness? Before Jesus there was only an infuriated mob clamoring: Crucify Him! Crucify Him! Even the Apostles, His most intimate friends, had fled; indeed one of them had betrayed Him: "If he that hated Me had spoken great things against Me, I would perhaps have hidden Myself from him! But thou, a man of one mind, My guide, and My familiar, who didst take sweetmeats together with Me" (Ps 54:13,14). We read these words today, as on all the Wednesdays of the year, in the psalms of Terce. To this text which so deeply expressive of the bitterness Jesus felt when betrayed and abandoned by His own, there is a corresponding response in Matins: "Instead of loving Me, they decried Me, and returned evil for good, and hate in exchange for My love" (Roman Breviary).
As we contemplate Jesus in His Passion, each one of us can say to himself, dilexit me, et tradidit semetipsum pro me - He loved me, and delivered Himself for me (Gal 2:20); and it would be well to add, "How have I repaid His love?"

Holy Thursday - the Gift of Love
Jesus, I want to tell all little souls of the wonder of your love (St Therese).

Today's Mass is , in a very special way, the commemoration and the renewal of the Last Supper, in which we are all invited to participate. Let us enter the Church and gather close around the altar as if going into the Cenacle to gather around Jesus; Here we find, as did the Apostles at Jerusalem, the Master living in our midst, and He Himself, through the person of His minister, will renew once again the great miracle which changes bread and wine into His Body and Blood; He will say to us, "Take and eat...take and drink." Jesus reveals to us the perfection of fraternal charity on the same evening that He instituted the Eucharist, as if to indicate that such perfection should be both fruit of the Sacrament of the Eucharist and our response to this great gift. Says St Teresa: "O good Jesus, to sustain our weakness and to stir up our love, You have chosen to remain always in our midst, although You well foresaw the way that men would treat You and the shame and outrages from which You would have to suffer. O eternal Father, how could You permit Your Son to live with us, to endure fresh insults every day? O my God! What great love in that Son! and also, what great love in that Father!...O Holy Father who art in Heaven, if Thy divine Son has left nothing undone that He could do for us in granting sinners so great a favour as that of the Blessed Sacrament, do not permit Him to be so ill-treated. Since Thy holy Son has given us this excellent way in which we can offer Him up frequently as a sacrifice, let us make use of this precious gift so that it may stay the advance of such terrible evil and irreverence as in many places is paid to this most holy Sacrament (Way of Perfection). Let us pray with St Augustine: O Lord, Lord, how small and narrow is the house of my soul for You to enter! Enlarge it Yourself. It is in ruins; repair it. I know and admit that there are things in it that are offensive in Your sight. But who will cleanse it? Or to whom but You shall I cry, purify me, Lord, from my hidden sins?"

Good Friday - The Mystery of the Cross 
St John of the Cross says Good Friday is the day which invites us more than any other to 'enter into the thicket of the trials and pains...of the Son of God' (Spiritual Canticle), and not only with the abstract consideration of the mind but with the loving heart and willingness to unite our sufferings with His. Says St John: "the purest suffering brings with it the most intimate and the purest understanding" (Spiritual Canticle). The atrocious martyrdom, which within a few hours will torture His body, has not yet begun, and yet the agony of Jesus in the Garden of Olives marks one of the most sorrowful moments of His Passion, one which best reveals the bitter suffering of His soul. His most sacred soul finds itself immersed in inexpressible anguish; it is extreme abandonment and desolation, without sligthest consolation, either from God or from man. 
The Saviour feels the weight of the enormous burden of all the sins of mankind; He the Innocent One, sees Himself covered with the most execrable crimes, and made, as it were, the enemy of God and the target of the infinite justice which will punish all our wickedness in Him. As God, Jesus never ceased, even in the most painful moment of His Passion to be united to His Father; but as man, He felt Himself rejected by Him, "struck by God and afflicted" (Is 53:4). This explains the utter anguish of His spirit, much more sorrowful than the dreadful physical sufferings which await Him, explains the cruel agony which made Him sweat blood; explains His complain, "My soul is sorrowful even unto death" (Mt 26:38). His humanity finds itself facing the hard reality of the fact, deprived of the sensible help of the divinity, which seems not only to withdraw, but even more, to be angry with Him, and Jesus groans: "My Father, if it be possible, let this chalice pass from Me!" But this anguished cry of human nature is immediately lost in that perfect conformity of His will to the Father's: "Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt" (Mt 26:39)
The Agony in the Garden is soon followed by the treacherous kiss of Judas,



the arrest, the night passed in the interrogation by the high priest and insults from the soldiers who strike Jesus, spit on His face and blindfold Him, while in the outer court, Peter is denying Him.




At dawn they commence anew the questioning and accusations; the going back and forth from one tribunal to another begins - from Caiphas to Pilate, from Pilate to Herod, and back again to Pilate,


- followed by the horrible scourging and the crowning with thorns


Finally, clothed as a mock king, the Son of God is presented to the mob which cries out: "Away with this man, and release Barabbas" 


for Jesus, the Saviour, the crowd can only shout: "Crucify Him, crucify Him!" (Luke 23: 18-21). Loaded down with the wood for His torture, Jesus is led away to Calvary where he is crucified between two thieves.


These terrible physical sufferings reach their climax when the Saviour, in agony on the Cross, utters the cry: "My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken  Me? (Mt 27:46). Although personally united to the Word, His humanity is, by a miracle, deprived of all divine comfort and support, and feels instead the weight of all malediction due to sin: "Christ," says St Paul, "has redeemed us from the curse...being made a curse for us" (Gal 3:13). Here we touch the most profound depths of the Passion of Jesus, the most atrocious bitterness which He embraced for our salvation. Yet, the last words of Jesus are an expression of total abandonment: "Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit" (Lk 23:46). Thus Jesus teaches us to overcome the anxieties and anguish caused in us by sorrow and death, by acts of complete submission to the will of God and trustful abandonment into His hands.


"I weep for You, my King, my Lord, and Master, my Father and Brother, my beloved Jesus" (St Bonaventure

Pictures illustrating the Good Friday post are by Rembrandt, Tissot and Dore


HOLY SATURDAY - THE VICTORY OF THE CROSS
As soon as Jesus expired, "the veil of the Temple was torn in two....the earth quaked, the rocks were rent. And the graves were opened; and many bodies...arose," so that those who were present were seized with a great fear and said: "Indeed this was the Son of God" (Mt 27:51-54). St John of the Cross, describing the agony of Jesus on the Cross, affirms: "He wrought herein the greatest work that He had ever wrought, whether in miracles or in mighty works, during the whole of His life, either upon earth or in Heaven, which was the reconciliation and union of mankind, through grace, with God. And this, as I say, was at the moment and the time when this Lord was most completely annihilated in everything. Annihilated, that is to say, with respect to human reputation; since, when men saw Him die, they mocked Him rather than esteemed Him; and also with respect to nature, since His nature was annihilated when He died; and further with respect to the spiritual consolation and protection of the Father, since at that time He foresook Him...". And he concludes: "Let the truly spiritual man may understand the mystery of the gate and of the way of Christ, and so become united with God, and let him know that, the more completely he is annihilated for God's sake, according to these two parts, the sensual and the spiritual, the more completely he is united to God and the greatest is the work which he accomplishes" (Ascent of Mt Carmel, 2:7,11).

Barocci. The Entombment

If you would understand that the Cross is Our Lord's triumph, hear what He Himself said:' If I am lifted up, I will draw all people to myself'. In sharing His Cross, you are seeking His glory (St John of the Cross).


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