Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Novena to St. Therese of the Child Jesus



Novena to St. Therese
Eighth Day-Prayer

When St. Therese was a little girl she used to go fishing with her father. She states in her writings that she would go off on her own during these trips to sit alone amid the flowers in the field, and that she became absorbed in deep prayer. We can see that at this early age she is exhibiting the heart of a contemplative.


When forming those in Carmelite spirituality, I stress the point that our goal in prayer is to become simple. Many times people get caught up in studying St. Teresa's mansions, or St. John of the Cross's transforming union (spiritual marriage), wondering what level they are at and so forth. This can be a great obstacle to simple prayer. We must keep in mind, too, that simple (contemplative) prayer is a total gift from God.

In the writings of St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross they teach us that in deep prayer there is usually no mystical phenomena that is sometimes associated in the prayer life of beginners. God uses these experiences sometimes to attract the soul.

The Great Command of Our Lord was for us to love God and our neighbor. St. Teresa of Jesus also teaches this. She said, "You know you are loving God if you are loving your neighbor."

St. Therese is a good example of a Saint who has reached the heights in prayer. It is not a life of obvious mystical phenomena but a condition of the heart: a pure heart that can see and adore God as his child.

Novena 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 your request)

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

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Novena to St. Therese of the Child Jesus


Novena to St. Therese
Seventh Day-Love of the Gospels


The Kingdom of God is within you. It is especially the Gospels which sustain me during my hours of prayer, for in them I find what is necessary for me. I am constantly discovering in them, new lights, hidden and mysterious meanings. St. Therese

It is well-known that St. Therese loved holy scripture and also the Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis. The saints heard the Word of God and like Mary treasured it in their hearts. The lives of the saints become an open book of the gospels in which we can read chapter after chapter their call to love God and neighbor and their heroic response.

Let us pray that as Lay Carmelites we strive to imitate the saints and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel who pondered the Word in her heart. May our light shine, the word of God, residing in our hearts, so that others may see it and give glory to God the Father.


Novena Prayer


Loving God, open our eyes to the light of faith and truth. May your light and love sustain us at all times. May St. Therese guide us on her Little Way and teach us to receive everything as a grace. We want to say with her: Each moment brings an opportunity to choose your will in love. In joy, in sorrow, in every circumstance oflife, may our hearts rest in Yours.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS
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Monday, September 28, 2009

Novena to St. Therese of the Child Jesus


Novena to St. Therese
Sixth Day-Suffering

"For Love's sake I wish to suffer and to rejoice: so shall I strew my flowers. Not one that I see but, singing all the while, I will scatter its petals before thee. 

Should my roses be gathered from amid thorns, I will sing notwithstanding, and the longer and sharper the thorns, the sweeter will grow my song."


A common expression is used today when describing a person one looks up to with admiration, people say, "He's my hero." "She's my hero." The Catholic Church is full of saintly "heroes." The Church does not canonize people because of extra-ordinary mystical graces, or because they suffered, or because they had the gift of healing or prophecy. No, the Church canonizes members of the faithful who have lived a life of heroic virtue. Saint Therese is a perfect example of doing what St. Paul exhorts us to do: "do everything with love."
We know that St. Therese wanted to be love in the heart of the Church. And God gave her the grace to live, suffer and die with great love. The Church has proclaimed her, "Doctor of Love." A fitting title indeed for one who abandoned herself completely to the merciful love of God.
As lay Carmelites, let us pray to our sister and Saint, Therese, to obtain for us the grace to live, to suffer, and to die with God's holy love firmly rooted in our heart.

Novena Prayer
St Therese Flower of fervor and love, please intercede for me. Fill my heart with your pure love of God. Make me more aware of the goodness of God and how well He tends His garden. instill in me your "little way" or doing ordinary things with extra-ordinary love. Give me the heart of a child who wonders at life and embraces everything with loving enthusiasm. Teach me your delight in God's ways so that divine charity may blossom in my heart.
Little Flower of Jesus, bring my petitions (mention here) before God our Father. With your confidence, I come before Jesus as God's child, because you are my heavenly friend.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS
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Stained Glass Flowers-Little Accounts of the Miraculous

From the life of Brother Lawrence:
Today I saw Brother Lawrence for the first time. He told me: That God had granted him an exceptional grace in his conversion which took place, while he was still in the world, when he was eighteen. He told me that one day while looking at a tree stripped of its leaves, and reflecting that before long its leaves would appear anew, then its flowers and fruits would bloom, he received an insight into the providence and power of God which was never erased from his soul; that this insight had completely detached him from the world, and gave him a love for God so great that it had not increased at all in the forty-odd years that had passed since he had received this grace.
(From the Practice of the Presence of God, translated by John J. Delaney)

If you have read the life of Brother Lawrence you know that he found holiness in the ordinary tasks of everyday life. In the monastery he was assigned to the kitchen, cleaning pots and pans. Although he never left the monastery, his holiness became known throughout the region, and now today, throughout the world. We can see similarities in his life and that of St. Therese who taught us the "little way" of spiritual childhood. Although she never left the monastery she became the Patron saint of foreign missions.

Let us remember when we are doing the dishes or sweeping the floor, or doing any simple task around the house, to offer our humble work to the Father out of pure love for him. As St. Paul tells us, whatever you do, whether eating or drinking...do all for the glory of God.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS
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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Sunday in the Year for Priests

As a child, he always kept with him the statuette of the Blessed Virgin given him by his mother. Having discovered an ancient willow tree with a hollow trunk, he placed the wooden figurine inside and knelt before it to pray. The willow now took the place of the barricaded church. But in order to decorate the improvised chapel, he had to leave his flock for a moment to the care of Margaret, and set down the woolen sock that little shepherds knitted as they watched their flock.


In the vicinity there were several other shepherd boys. John Mary gathered these boys around him, called them "my children, " gave them sermons, and taught them their catechism. He also organized processions. The children would march behind a homely cross made of two sticks, reciting the rosary and singing hymns.

(The Remarkable Cure of Ars by Michel de Saint Pierre)


"How beautiful it is, how great it is to know, love and serve God! That is all we really have to do in this world. Beyond that, everyhing we do is just a waste of time."
St. John Vianney


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS
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Novena to St. Therese of the Child Jesus


Novena to St. Therese

Fifth Day-Humility

Answering one day the question of Mother Agnes of Jesus-her sister Pauline-: "What do you mean by remaining little before God? What is your Little Way?" She replied: It is to recognize our nothingness, to expect everything from God as a little child expects everything from its father; it is to be disquieted about nothing, and not to be set on gaining our living...To be little is not attributing to oneself the virtues that one practises, believing oneself capable of anything, but to recognise that God places this treasure in the hands of His little child to be used where necessary; but it remains always God's treasure. Finally, it means not to become discouraged over one's faults, for children fall often, but they are too little to hurt themselves very much."

(From the Little Way Association)

Did you read between the lines of St. Therese's response? She is describing humility in her unique way, in light of a child of God. St. Teresa of Jesus teaches us that humility is truth, and St. Therese has spelled out for us this truth. We are God's children, and all the graces and virtue we receive are His through the Holy Spirit who gifts us with grace.
Pride is one of the greatest death sentences to the spiritual life. When we try to do our own will with our "own power" we run into obstacles and lose the precious gift of humility in which we see ourselves as mere creatures before the All Mighty God who created us.

St. Therese's Little Way is a fast-track if you will to holiness. It is simple and uncomplicated. You don't need to have the stigmata, perform healing, or read hearts, you simply choose to love in every circumstance of life.

Here are some qualities of spiritual childhood exhibited by St. Therese
(Again, courtesy of the Little Way Association):

*Total Confidence in the heavenly Father

*Abandonment and self-surrender to the Father

*Simplicity

*Love

*Joy

*Humility

*Value of little things

*Docility

*Weakness

*Simple prayer

*Openness

*Living in the moment

Novena 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 your request)

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.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday of Our Lady

"Mary kept in mind all these things pondering them in her heart"(Luke 2:19). Like the Virgin Mary's, Therese's very life was a profound prayer, a continual dialogue of love with her Lord and God. She prayed without ceasing and saw God's providential hand in every aspect of her life. For her "prayer is an aspiration of the heart, it is a simple glance directed to Heaven, it is a cry of gratitude and love in the midst of trials as well as joy; finally it is something great, supernatural, which expands my soul and unites me to Jesus." Mary, the Mystical Rose, and Therese, the Little Flower, each strove for an ever deeper union with Jesus corresponding to the grace bestowed on each of them.
(Excerpt from Mirror of the Blessed Virgin, by Fr. Maximilian Mary, F.I.)




Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS
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Friday, September 25, 2009

Novena to St. Therese




Novena-Day 3
(click on photo)


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie
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Spiritual Direction with St. John of the Cross


From the Spiritual Canticle
Stanza 26
In the inner wine cellar
I drank of my Beloved, and, when I went abroad through all this valley
I no longer knew anything,
and lost the herd which I was following

This wine cellar is the last and most intimate degree of love in which the soul can be placed in this life. Accordingly she calls this degree of love "the inner wine cellar," that is, the most interior...

And we can assert that there are seven of these degrees or wine cellars of love. They are all possessed when the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are possessed perfectly according to the soul's capacity for receiving them.

It should be known that many people reach and enter the first wine cellars according to the perfection of their love, but few in this life reach this last and most interior; for in it is wrought the perfect union with God, called spiritual marriage, of which the soul is now speaking. (St. John of the Cross)

When observing the lives of the saints we can recall the great love and union they had with Christ. A love so interior and vehement that is caused them to do great things for the salvation of souls. The Apostles come to mind here because we know of what they suffered in spreading the Gospel of Christ. We know that when they were filled with the Holy Spirit observers mistakenly thought they were drunk with wine. The holy inebriation they experienced was an overflow into their senses of the love of God pouring his gifts of the Spirit into their souls.

St. John of the Cross teaches us that holy consolations from God can overflow into our senses. For example, the gift of tears is a sensible manifestation of the love of God which he places in our heart. We must be careful, as he teaches us not to be attached to the consolation of the senses. We may grow to expect them, or feel that God has abandoned us when they disappear. We must walk in the night of pure faith.

The Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit:









Let us pray to Our Lady, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, that through her intercession she will bring us to that holy union with the Most Holy Trinity, to spiritual marriage with our Beloved, Christ our Lord.

Let us pray for each other.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS
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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Novena prayer to St. Therese
Click on her photo on the right sidebar.

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Today's Saint


ST. PIO of PIETRELCINA




Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Tabernacle of the Week




Mother of Sorrows Church
Peninsula, Ohio





"when we are unable to come to church, let us turn in the direction of the tabernacle. There is no wall which is an obstacle between the good Lord and us."
St. John Marie Vianney

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS
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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Sunday in the Year for Priests


...His mind, oriented toward God and his calling, was in no sense adapted to purely intellectual speculations. And besides, he knew only the barest rudiments of French grammar. How would he ever be initiated into the mysteries of Latin grammar?

Father Balley's other students, who were much younger than Vianney, made fun of him. One day one of them, Matthias Loras, who was helping his good friend to translate a text, finally lost patience at his stupidity and slapped him. Vianney was the older and by far the stronger of the two. And yet, controlling his strong natural reaction, he knelt down before the offender, before this twelve-year old boy, and humbly asked his forgiveness.
(From The Remarkable Cure of Ars by Michele de Saint Pierre)

"When one has just received communion, of what use are the words of men when it is God who is speaking? We must listen to what the good Lord says to our hearts."

St. John Vianney, pray for us!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS
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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Saturday of Our Lady


There are several interior practices of true devotion to the Blessed Virgin. Here briefly are the main ones:

1). Honoring her as the worthy Mother of God, by the cult of hyperdulia, that is, esteeming and honoring her more than all the other saints as the masterpiece of grace and the foremost in holiness after Jesus Christ, true God and true man.

2). Meditating on her virtues, her privileges and her actions.

3). Contemplating her sublime dignity.

4). Offering to her acts of love, praise and gratitude.

5). Invoking her with a joyful heart.

6). Offering ourselves to her and uniting ourselves to her.

7). Doing everything to please her.

8). Beginning, carrying out and completing our actions through her, in her, with her and for her in order to do them through Jesus, in Jesus, with Jesus and for Jesus, our last end. We shall explain this practice later.

(True Devotion to Mary by St. Louis de Montfort, #115)

As Secular Carmelites we are called to have a special devotion to Our Lady who leads us to the summit of Mt. Carmel, Christ our Lord. True Devotion to Mary is an excellent devotion that helps to unite us with Christ through Mary. The late Pope John Paul II was a Secular Carmelite. He also promoted the Total Consecration to Mary as outlined by St. Louis de Montfort. It is said that he renewed his consecration each day by praying the long form of the total consecration. Although we do not promote Montfortian spirituality in our Carmelite meetings, this is an excellent devotion one can embrace in their spiritual life.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS
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Friday, September 18, 2009

Stained Glass Scapulars-Reflections on the Secular Carmelite Rule




Faithful to Our Lord's invitation and to his example of praying without ceasing, and also to the Carmelite Rule's central command to "meditate on God's law day and night and to watch in prayer," the Secular Carmelite will prefer before all else to remain in the presence of God, continually fulfilling His holy will.

They will therefore make it their constant care to foster a spirit of prayer, and to practice prayer itself for at least a half hour each day, in an atmosphere of interior silence and solitude.(Article #4)

Many people are drawn to Carmelite spirituality because of the charism of the Order: the gift of quiet prayer.

As Secular Carmelites we are called to pray on behalf of the church. We are asked to remain with Our Lord for a minimum of 1/2 hour each day in mental prayer. The Order even allows members to break up this period into two periods of fifteen minutes of prayer each day.

As Secular Carmelites we can examine our conscience and ask ourselves, "Am I faithful to the Rule of Life in regards to prayer? Do I spend 1/2 hour of day in silent prayer? Do I try to foster a spirit of continual prayer throughout the day so that at the time of prayer my heart is ready to receive the Lord and hear his word?

Is my prayer time filled with spiritual reading and vocal prayer? While these prayers are excellent, Carmelites are asked to "step out into the deep" when it comes to prayer. St. Teresa of Jesus tells us that many well-intentioned people never make it into the front door of the (Interior) Castle. If our lives are filled with material desires and attractions and distractions we will never be able to enter into that interior mansion and have an intimate relationship with the Holy Trinity. As our Holy Mother says, prayer and self-indulgence do not go together.

Let us ask ourselves if we truly desire to spend time in quiet prayer. The Order asks a minimum of 1/2 hour each day. Do we desire to do just the minimum? We cannot be saints by halves as St. Therese states it. She wanted to give all.
Let us challenge ourselves to turn off the television, the computer, or any other distraction and spend time with the one whom we know loves us-Jesus, our Beloved.

Let us pray for each other.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie,OCDS
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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Carmelite Saint of the Day


Saint Albert of Jerusalem
Bishop and Lawgiver of Carmel

Albert Avogadro was born about the middle of the twelfth century in Castel Gualteri in Italy. He became a Canon Regular of the Holy Cross at Mortara and was elected their prior in 1180. Named Bishop of Bobbio in 1184, and of Vercelli in 1185, he was made Patriarch of Jerusalem in 1205. There, in word and example, he was the model of a good pastor and peace-maker. While he was patriarch (1206-1214) he united the hermits of Mount Carmel into one community and wrote a Rule for them. He was murdered at Acre on Sept. 14, 1214.
(from the Carmelite Proper)

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS
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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Carmelite Quote



(click to enlarge)
Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS
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Monday, September 7, 2009

Spiritual Life Dictionary

Today's Term: Rapture

Sometimes used as a synonym for ecstasy. But St. Teresa distinguishes it as a special kind of ecstasy, sudden in its onset, whereas ordinary ecstasy is quiet. She compares it to a "strong giant," or "a whirlwind carrying everything away." A more developed form of it, of special intensity, is called "flight of the spirit." In this the soul seems to leave the body and fly toward heaven. The body is sometimes carried from the earth by the soul's vehemence, which is the phenomenon of levitation.
(From a Catholic Dictionary by Donald Atwater )


I know a man in Christ who, fourteen years ago, whether he was in or outside his body I cannot say, only God can say--a man who was snatched up to the third heaven.
(II Corinthians 12:2)


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS
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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Sunday in the Year for Priests


From the life of St. John Marie Vianney

by Michele de Saint Pierre

Young Vianney, as we have said, was intelligent, shrewd, extraordinarily gifted with intuition, inclined to the loftiest spiritual meditation, and endowed with a generous and fiery imagination. He kept his impetuous temperament under control, thanks to his exceptional will power. He had good mental balance. Above all, he possessed vitality beyond compare, which was already at the service of his limitless zeal. He was a veritable volcano of interior energy, which love of God would later cause to erupt, sending its lava of charity far beyond the village of Ars, far beyond the boundaries of France.

John Paul II on the Cure of Ars

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS
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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Saturday of Our Lady

O Jesus, born of The Father from all eternity; filled with an incomprehensible love for men, you became man in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary through the operation of the Holy Ghost, humbling yourself to such a degree as to take the form of a servant. The same charity has prompted You to perpetuate, in the Eucharist, this mystery of annihilation and love, even to improve on it by becoming the food of our souls.

Divine Jesus, we adore You in these unfathomable debasements, and we beg you, through the intercession of your holy Mother, a deep an heartfelt humility.
(from the Eucharistic Rosary)
Devotion to the Immaculate Heart of Mary
Poor Clare Nuns-Our Lady of the Angels Monastery
The beautiful website of the Carmelite Nuns of Terra Haute, Indiana

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS
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Friday, September 4, 2009

Tabernacle of the Week-St. Mary-Mansfield, Ohio


In the same way that a friend visits his friend, so should you also visit Jesus in the holy Sacrament of the Altar;and, as often as you do visit him, offer again and again His most precious blood to the eternal Father. If you will do this you will find that the love of God will wonderfully increase in your heart, and that you will become truly devout and spiritual.
St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi









Peace be with you!

Rosemarie
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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Carmelite Quote

(click to enlarge)

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS
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