Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Novena for the Immaculate Conception 29th November to 7th of December


O IMMACULATE Virgin! Mary, conceived without sin!
Remember, thou wert miraculously preserved from
even the shadow of sin, because thou wert destined
to become not only the Mother of God, but also
the mother, the refuge, and the advocate of man;
penetrated, therefore, with the most lively confidence
in thy never-failing intercession, we most humbly implore
thee to look with favor upon the intentions of this novena,
and to obtain for us the graces and favors we request.
(Here form your petitions.)
Thou knowest, O Mary, how often our hearts are the
sanctuaries of God, Who abhors iniquity. Obtain for us,
then, that Angelic purity which was thy favorite virtue,
that purity of heart which will attach us to God alone, and
that purity of intention which will consecrate every thought,
word, and action to His greater glory. Obtain also for us a
constant spirit of prayer and self-denial, that we may recover
by penance that innocence which we have lost by sin,
and at length attain safely to that blessed abode of the
Saints, where nothing defiled can enter.

O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

EWTN version of the Novena HERE


The picture represents masterpiece by Francisco de Zurbaran

Read whole post......

Thursday, November 09, 2017

All Carmelite Saints


I will make my home with them and walk among them; I will be their God and they shall be my people (2Cor 6:16) 
I will set up my dwelling among them (Lev 26:11)

'O Saints of Carmel, throned above
In Mary's court, obtain this grace 
That where you are in glory now
We, too, may find a resting-place'

All of us who wear this holy Carmelite habit are called to prayer and contemplation. This is what we were founded for. We are descendant from those holy fathers of ours on Mount Carmel, those who went in search of that treasure – the priceless pearl we are talking about – in such solitude and with such contempt for the world. We must remember those holy fathers of ours who have gone before us, the hermits whose lives we are trying to imitate. We must remember our real founders. These holy fathers whose descendants we are. It was by way of poverty and humility, we know, that they came to enjoyment of God. On the subject if the beginning of Orders, I sometimes hear it said that the Lord gave greater graces to those saints who went before us because they were the foundations. Quite so, but we too must always bear in mind what it means to be foundations for those who will come later. For if those of us who are alive now have not fallen away from what they did in the past, and those who come after us do the same, the building will always stand firm. What use is it to me for the saints of the past to have been what they were, if I come along after them and behave so badly that I leave the building in ruins because of my bad habits? For obviously whose who come later don’t remember those who have died years before as clearly as they do the people they see around them. A fine state of affairs it is if I insist that I am not one of the first, and do not realize what a difference there is between my life and virtues, and the life of those God has endowed with such grace! And you who sees your Order falling away in any respect, must try to be kind of stone the building can be rebuilt with – the Lord will help to rebuilt it. For love of our Lord I beg them to remember how quickly everything comes to an end, and what a favour our Lord has done us in bringing us to this Order, and what a punishment anyone who starts any kind of relaxation will deserve. They must always look at the race we are descended from – that race of holy prophets. What numbers of saints we have in heaven who have worn this habit of ours! We must have the holy audacity to aspire, with God’s help, to be like them. The struggle will not last long, but the outcome will be eternal. (St Teresa of Avila, readings from Discalced Carmelite proper Offices for the Feast of All Carmelite Saints)


Read whole post......

Wednesday, November 08, 2017



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).




Read whole post......

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

All Saints and All Souls Solemnities


                                                          Van Eyck, Ghent Altarpiece

 "I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God."(Eph 3:13, 17-19) 

St Paul admonished the Ephesians not to grow weak in their tribulations and to be strong and rooted in charity in order to comprehend with all the Saints what is the breath and height and depth and to know also the supereminent charity of the knowledge of Christ, in order to be filled with all the fullness of God. (St John of the Cross, 'The Collected Works')

'Behold, the Lord invites all since He is truth itself, there is no reason to doubt' (St Teresa of Avila, 'The Way of Perfection' ch 19). 

Today is a vigil of All Saints, and All Souls Day is the (40th) Anniversary of my receiving the habit. Ask God to make me a geniune Carmelite nun, for better late than never, (fragment of her letter to Fr Gratian)
Read whole post......