The gift of knowledge points out to us the path to follow and the dangers to avoid in order to reach heaven.
St. Teresa of Avila says that self-knowledge is painful!
When we enter into a deep, intimate relationship with Jesus in the life of prayer, he begins to tell us about ourselves, and sometimes this is not a pleasant revelation. In the life of prayer, when one is seeking to obtain a pure heart, the light of the Holy Spirit begins to reveal to our minds all sorts of deep-seated attachments that we possess.
The gift of knowledge helps us to put into light the worldly things we can easily become attached to. We then make a choice with our will to give up the attachment and pray for God's grace to actually help us to do it. The life of the Carmelite is a call each day to become detached to the world and to die to ourselves. A Carmelite is called to do this with great joy!
Embracing the cross and trying to enter through the narrow door are painful prospects. If we keep in mind our heavenly goal and place our trust in Christ our Hope, we can strive for holiness with a calm and peaceful heart that brings joy to our lives. A joy that is the hallmark of authentic holiness.
I recall the lives of the French Carmelite martyrs of Compiegne who went to their death singing! The popular opera, Dialogues of the Carmelites is based on this true story.
An excerpt from the true story:
The nuns were sentenced to the guillotine. An ironic sidelight: the one nun of royal blood, Marie of the Incarnation, happened to be away at the time of the arrest and thus escaped execution; one of only three survivors of her community, she became the martyrs first historian, collecting eyewitness accounts of the nuns deaths. Reverend Mother Émilienne, Superior General of the Sisters of Charity of Nevers, wrote in a letter:
I learned from a person who was a witness to their martyrdom that the youngest of these good Carmelites was called first and that she went to kneel before her venerable Superior, asked her blessing and permission to die. She then mounted the scaffold singing Laudate Dominum omnes gentes. She then went to place herself beneath the blade allowing the executioner to touch her. All the others did the same. The Venerable Mother was the last sacrificed. During the whole time, there was not a single drum-roll; but there reigned a profound silence.
Sister Charlotte of the Resurrection, seventy-eight and an invalid, having been thrown roughly to the pavement from the tumbrel, was heard to speak words of forgiveness and encouragement to her tormentor. Sister Julie had an extreme horror of the guillotine; yet she refused to leave her sisters even when her family sent for her, saying, We are victims of the age, and we must sacrifice ourselves for its reconciliation with God." Another witness said of the nuns, They looked like they were going to their weddings."
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Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, please pray that the Light of the Holy Spirit may give us knowledge that we may see ourselves as God sees us.
Peace be with you!