Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit



The Seventh Hymn of Virtue:

FAITHFULNESS

Faithfulness or fidelity is the perfect virtue of Justice. This fruit gives us the grace to give to everyone what is due him. For instance, the unborn have the right to life. It is our duty to protect that life. If we are married, our spouse is due fidelity and mutual respect on our part.

As secular Carmelites we are expected to be faithful to our promises. Students are expected to give their teachers the proper attention and respect. These are just a few examples of faithfulness.

To be faithful requires humility and docility of spirit. At times we may not "feel" like giving someone their due, but we must die to ourselves and our ego and let go of always having to have our own way.

Let us think for a moment of how God is faithful to us (keep in mind He owes us nothing). For he is faithful in so many ways!

We could talk forever about God's great mercy. I think another definition of faithfulness would be steadfast love and to me steadfast love is nothing short of mercy.

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his mercy endures forever!

(Psalm 118)

What a glorious statement: God's mercy endures forever! This gives the sinner great hope and consolation that even though our sins be scarlet, they can be white as snow through the mercy and forgiveness of our Father.

Think of the faithfulness of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Scripture tells us that Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. Sometimes we get confused thinking that God is like us--thankfully he is not. We know from scripture and from our personal experience with God through the Sacraments that he is slow to anger, abounding in kindness, full of gentleness and compassion. These are attributes of the Father that we see in the portrait of Our Lord as painted in the Sermon on the Mount.

I will not leave you orphans, I will come to you.

 
Think of Jesus' faithfulness in his remaining with us in the Holy Eucharist and in all the Sacraments of the Church.

The Holy Spirit gives us the grace of faithfulness to help each other. It is an act of charity to give others their due. If someone has a legitimate right to something, we have a serious obligation to try and fulfill it. Let's also keep in mind that the fruits of the Spirit are acts of virtue. For it to be a holy act, it must be selfless and pure. Let us pray for each other, that the Holy Spirit create in us clean and pure hearts for service to God and our neighbor.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit


Fifth Hymn of Virtue: Kindness

(Note: this is an old post-being republished today.)

If you attended mass today you heard and repeated the Psalm Response: “The Lord's kindness is everlasting to those that fear him.” (Psalm 103) Kindness is a holy attribute of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Continuing this series on the Fruits of the Holy Spirit, let's take a closer look at the fruit or virtue of kindness.

We might first ask the question, “What is kindness?” When reflecting on this virtue it seems to get lost somewhere between gentleness and patience, two distinct fruits of the Spirit. According to the definition in the dictionary, it describes a person who exhibits love, affection, and a gentle nature. In our spiritual life dictionary we agree with this definition but also want to take it to a higher level, a level of the Spirit.

Recently, I watched a repeat of EWTN Live with Mother Angelica. Towards the end of the program there was a caller who seemed to make an impression on Mother Angelica. Although the caller was troubled by something, her voice was gentle and peaceful. Mother Angelica remarked on this, saying something to the effect, “Be very grateful for your gift of gentleness. Many people work very hard for what seems to come very naturally for you.” We could take her statement and insert any one of the gifts or fruits of the Spirit-Be very grateful for the gift of patience, be very grateful for the gift of kindness, because many spiritual people desire these gifts.

On the other hand, we have to be careful that we do not take credit for any virtue we possess by saying we obtained it through our own effort, or that we paid our "spiritual dues" and that's why we possess this gift. We must be careful not to steal the Lord's glory. We cannot even say “Jesus is Lord” except by the Holy Spirit, St. Paul tells us.

If we know a person who is kind, they will most likely be gentle and patient and loving as well.
The fruits of the Holy Spirit could be likened to inseparable friends. When you see one, you see the other!

On Feb. 11 we will be celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. Our Lady treated the lowly Bernadette with great respect and gentleness. Our Lady said to Bernadette, “Would you do me the kindness of coming here for fifteen days?” May we imitate the beautiful kindness of Our Lady when we deal with others. Especially to those who are looked at unfavorably by our society. May we offer them the sweet fruit of the Spirit and share with them what the Lord has given to us: His love, mercy and kindness!












Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit: Fourth Hymn of Virtue

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit
Fourth Hymn
of Virtue: Generosity



Continuing this series on the fruits of the Holy Spirit I would like to talk about Generosity in light of Fr. Emmanuel Sullivan's work entitled Mary and the Holy Spirit in the Writings of John of the Cross.

Fr. Sullivan writes that the early Carmelites gathered together for a life of allegiance to Jesus Christ. Allegiance to Jesus Christ was, and is the main point of the Rule written by St. Albert of Jerusalem. This is the Rule that is still followed today by the religious family of our Order. We know from our Carmelite history that the early hermits of Mt. Carmel were dedicated to Our Lady.

Each of us has a story to tell of how we came to enter the family of Carmel. But we must remember that it was the Lord who inspired in us the grace to answer this call. From the Vatican Document, Lumen Gentium 44,2.

Thus the religious vocation is given only to those whom God has especially marked out, but the gift, which they have received, becomes the common heritage of the People of God.

We must be generous in answering this special call to Carmel, not only for our own personal holiness but for the entire Body of Christ and the world. We must never lose sight of the fact that our humble prayer, no matter how weak or imperfect has merit in the sight of Our Lord.

Many people, even Secular Carmelites, believe it or not, are under the impression that Secular members are simply "wannabees" of the Order. This is simply a perverted notion of our vocation. Our Rule states:

The Secular Order forms an integral part of the Carmelite family; its members are therefore sons and daughters of the Order, and share in fraternal communion, though in a state of life essentially different from that of the religious, its same vocation of holiness and its mission in the Church.
Article 1

St. Therese certainly appreciated her vocation of prayer within the Order. Although she was cloistered, this did not deter her from her desire to spread the Gospel to all parts of the world. She knew that her Carmelite vocation of prayer was the life-blood of the Church and that her prayer helped priests and missionaries and the entire body of Christ. She is the poster child for the hymn of the Carmelites: "I have been zealous for the Lord, God of Hosts!" Most of us would agree, that she is one of the most generous souls we have come to know and love.

Since we are discussing the fruit of "generosity," let's look to Our Lady, our spiritual model, that we as Carmelites are called to imitate. We know that she gave her whole being to God with her Fiat. She held nothing back from the will of God for her life. We see her union with God in her glorious generosity of body and spirit. She imitated God the Father who gave his only Son for us-his most generous gift of salvation and redemption for all mankind. Jesus opens the gates of paradise for us. Who can fathom his gift of generosity, with his gift of eternal life for us in his kingdom, with Mary, and all the saints? Who can fathom Our Lady's gift of generosity in giving Jesus, our Savior, to all mankind?


Our Carmelite vocation is the gateway to spiritual marriage with the Holy Trinity. Prayer and the reception of the sacraments are the key to the mystical life. The Carmelite life is not a boring life. It is a great adventure of discovering "Deep Caverns" of the mystery of God, as St. John of the Cross describes.

"Open to me the gates of holiness, I will enter and give thanks."

Psalm 118:19

Many of you in our community may remember the visit we had from Fr. Alexander. In his teaching, he told us that the Annunciation was the first Pentecost or birthday of the Church. I remember that statement very well. We can surely see that Our Lady, who is in total union with God, she, who is the Spouse of the Holy Spirit, possesses all the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. As baptized members of the Body of Christ, the Holy Spirit, with his gifts and fruits living and working in us, gives life to virtue in our soul. Whenever we give way to the Holy Spirit, to let him work through us, to let the life of the Beatitudes shine through us, that is another spiritual birthday celebration for us. We become holier and more mature in the Spirit.

Also, in this work by Fr. Sullivan he writes that Mary belongs to each member of Carmel.


Mary belongs to
each member of Carmel
.

We have placed the desire to fulfill our promises in her hands. We have asked her to lead us up the summit of Mt. Carmel to Christian perfection and holiness.
Our promise/vow formula:I,___________of the ____________,desiring to follow the Crucified and Risen Christ in the Secular Order of Carmel, renew my profession/vow, and I promise to tend toward evangelical counsels of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience, and of the Beatitudes, according to the Rule of life of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites.
I confidently entrust my promise/vow to the Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Carmel.
We may not be able to understand in this life how it is possible for her to care deeply about each of us individually, but we can get some idea of this mystery by knowing that God has enlarged her heart, because she is "full of grace." She is Mother of the Church and Mediatrix of all graces.
There is room in her heart for you!


In our family of Carmel, our priests, brothers, and religious sisters place themselves under the authority of the Abbot, or the Mother Superior. How much more should we place ourselves under the authority of our Blessed Lady? How do we do this? I think it takes childlike simplicity.
Scripture tells us to call on God as "Abba" or "Daddy." Then, why should we not cry out "Mama" to Our Blessed Mother? She will run to us as a concerned, loving mother if we desire to increase in holiness.

If we are to offer God a heart that is holy and pure we must not be attached to the smallest of sins. St. Teresa tells us that those who wish to please His Majesty are not attached to even venial sins. Think about the conditions the Church gives when granting indulgences; it's always with the stipulation that we be free from the attachment to sin. Think also of how we begin the penitential season of Lent. The priest places ashes on our head and says: "Turn away from sin, and be faithful to the Gospel." We can't be like the pharisees whom Jesus condemned. Our heart and actions must be in union with each other.

Our Lord tells us, "By their fruits, you shall know them." Let us ask ourselves: Am I bearing fruit as a Carmelite? Am I a generous Carmelite?
A sign of an authentic prayer life is total generosity with God. Let us ask ourselves:
*Am I generous with the time I give to God in mental prayer?
*Do I offer my time and talents to my Carmelite community?
*Am I generous in praying for others, or are my needs the focus of my prayer?
*Am I content with doing the minimum that the Order requires?
*Do I give Jesus, through Mary, all that I am, and all that I possess, or do I hold back a selfish, particular attachment to the world?

Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful with the spiritually sweet fruit of generosity. May we make a generous return to the Lord for all he has done for us!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Monday, May 21, 2012

Fruits of the Holy Spirit-Third Hymn of Virtue


Third Hymn of Virtue: GOODNESS

There is an old saying: "The eyes are the windows of the soul."

Isn't it true, that we are able to sometimes look at a person's eyes and see if they are happy, sad, or troubled or get a sense if they are of a good or bad spirit? This of course, is not to judge a person's heart, for only God can do that, but the eyes definitely give us a glimpse into the spirit of a person.

Bl. Teresa of Calcutta saw Christ in the Poor. St. Charles de Foucauld saw Christ in those who persecuted him. St. Teresa of the Andes saw God as her "Joy."



Blessed Elizabeth could see the hidden mystery of the Trinity.


St. Therese saw God everywhere-in everything-in everyone.


Bernadette's eyes saw the beauty of the holy Virgin.

One has only to look into the eyes of a saint to see the goodness within.


Today's subject of Goodness, a fruit of the Holy Spirit, is His spirit that we possess in which goodness becomes a part of us, it permeates us and becomes part of our personality, to the extent that others may observe the light of the Holy Spirit in us and remark, "He is so good!" Or, "She is so good!"

Church philosophers have much to say on this deep subject of Goodness. They reflect on the nature of creation and all things as coming from the one Good-God. I will leave you to the doctors of the Church if you wish to study the subject of Goodness in depth. I would highly recommend reading St. Augustine. For my part, I wish to give a simple reflection on the fruit of goodness in our lives.


So, what is a good person like?
A good person is a pure person with no hidden agenda. A good person is a trusting and childlike person but wise in discernment of spirits. A good person is just and merciful. A good person desires the good of all, even enemies.
Your love must be sincere. Detest what is evil. Cling to what is good. Love one another with the affection of brothers. Anticipate each other in showing respect. Do not grow slack but be fervent in spirit...Have the same attitude towards all.Romans 12:16

The above scripture passage from St. Paul is a lesson in fraternal charity. As Carmelites, we must remember that fraternal charity is an important part of living out our vocation. I would say it is the heart of our vocation, not just as secular Carmelites, but as baptized Christians. Love-Charity is the highest gift that we are to share with each other and the world. Fraternal charity flows from goodness.

Our Rule states:

The Secular Order sets before its members ideals, based upon the charisms and teachings of the Order's saintly Founders, which constitute their particular way in Christian holiness. These are; a deep sense of God's love; fidelity for contemplative prayer with the spirit of detachment it entails; and generosity in the practice of fraternal charity and the apostolate. They will place themselves under Our Lady's protection, and endeavor to live out these ideals in her presence.
A good person is a living example of the good news of the Gospel. A good person manifests his goodness in works of charity. He lives the Beatitudes-the perfection of the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit.
Let us not grow weary of doing good; if we do not relax our efforts, in due time we shall reap our harvest. While we have the opportunity, let us do good to all men, but especially those of the household of the faith.
Galations 6:9-10

I guess St. Paul is telling us that (spiritual) charity begins at home! As Lay Carmelites, let us love those of our household, of our own particular community. Let us discern if we are practicing fraternal charity.

An examination of conscience in light of fraternal charity:
*Do I pray for the priests and religious of the Order?

*Do I respect the leadership of my local community?

*Do I pray for the deceased members of the Order?

*Do I pray and reach out to the sick members of my community?

*Do I pray for the members of my community?

* Do I love the members of my community equally, or do I play favorites?

*Do I keep in touch with the isolated members of my community?

So far, in discussing the fruits of the Spirit we have talked about Joy and Peace. We know that a good person is full of joy and peace. These good people are so filled with the Spirit, so much, that others want to imitate them and possess these treasured gifts as well.

Let us cling to Jesus Christ who will bestow on us all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge that are found in his Good, and Merciful Sacred Heart.


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Saturday of Our Lady


Mother Mary,
as you carried your Divine Child
in your womb you rejoiced'and glorified the Lord.

Touch with pity
the hearts of those women
pregnant in our world today
who think of murder,
not motherhood.

Help them to see
that the child they carry
is made in God's image--
as well as theirs--
made for eternal life.

Dispel their fear
and selfishness and
give them true womanly hearts
to love their babies
and give them birth
and all the needed care
that a mother alone can give.

Mary, Mother of Christ
and of us, show us all one day
the blessed fruit of your womb,
JESUS.
(From "Queen of Heaven" prayer book)

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Sunday with the Saints



St. Joachina de Vedruna de Mas

Joachina was born in Barcelona in 1783. She married Theodore de Mas in 1799 and bore him nine children before being widowed in 1816. Then in 1826 she was prompted by God’s Spirit to found the Congregation of Carmelite Sisters of Charity, which spread throughout Catalonia, establishing houses for the care of the sick and the education of children, especially the poor. She was greatly drawn to contemplating the mystery of the Holy Trinity. Her spiritual life was marked by prayer, mortification, detachment, humility and love. She died at Vich in 1854.







Prayer:

Lord God,
you gave St Joachina de Vedruna to your Church
for the Christian education of youth
and the care of the sick.
May we follow her example,
and lovingly devote our lives
to serving you in our brothers and sisters.

Grant this through Christ, our Lord.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds



Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saturday of Our Lady




Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Thursday, May 17, 2012

TABERNACLES

St. James Church
Waynesburg, Ohio
Diocese of Youngstown










Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Monday, May 14, 2012

Carmelite Quote





ST. TERESA OF JESUS OF THE ANDES:

...The other day He talked to me about poverty, telling me that I should try to possess neither my own will or judgment, because for the time being I really can't be poor. Then He told me that I should be attached to nothing. But all this was done wordlessly, because He made me understand all these things interiorly, and also made me realize that I was attached to sensible feelings of fervor. He made me understand that I'd been making divine union consist of a sensitive love, but that I was to imitate His divine perfections, becoming more and more like Him, and suffering greatly for love of Him, being crucified like Him.

I'm telling you everything happening in my soul, Rev. Father, so that you can give me your advice.
(From a letter written to Fr. Julian Cea Riquelme Feb. 27, 1919)






Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Sunday, May 13, 2012

ON THIS DAY O BEAUTIFUL MOTHER
ON THIS DAY WE GIVE THEE OUR LOVE






Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Carmelite Saint of the Day

Aloysius Rabata



Born in Erice near Trapani in Sicily about the middle of the fifteenth century. Aloysius joined the Carmelites and became prior of the reformed convent in Randazzo. There he died in 1490 from a head wound, forgiving his attacker and refusing to reveal his identity.

Office of Readings


Second Reading
from the Canonical Process

I knew Brother Aloysius well and often conversed intimately with him when he

was a member of the Carmelite community of St. Michael in the town of

Randazzo, where he was prior. He was a model of all virtues. He lived

frugally on bread and water, and led the life of a real saint and exemplary

religious. He shunned superfluous contacts and gave himself to honest work.

Because of his virtuous life he came to be hated, and was persecuted by his

fellow religious. These vexations and trials he bore with singular patience

and he devoted himself unceasingly to his spiritual patience and he devoted

himself unceasingly to his spiritual growth and to the good of the

community. The austerity of his life showed in his emaciated appearance,

his sunken eyes and his pallid features, through which, nonetheless, his

goodness shone out. To visitors he appeared as a model of all that was

good. One in particular who often came to see him has testified that he

was so profoundly moved by his example and holy conversation as to dissolve

in tears.

Though he was prior, Brother Aloysius shared in every task, even the

humblest, being willing to go from door to door in Randazzo begging bread,

grain or other such gifts to support the community and to help others in

need. While he was on his begging rounds, other poor people would in turn

ask alms from him, knowing they would never by refused.

Once, on Easter Sunday the community had meat for dinner, but he declined

it, preferring his usual bread and water--I was told this by Brother Peter

Cupani, a companion of Aloysius. He also recounted that once when Aloysius

was collecting twigs and branches for firewood in the nearby fields and

roadways, he was wounded in the forehead and suffered for a long time in

consequence. Many people tried to find out from him who had dealt the blow,

but he would never reveal it and always repeated with great patience, 'I

pray that God awill pardon him, and will be glorified by what has happened.'

The street that led to the monastery of St. Michael was dangerous and had a

bad reputation. To put an end to those scandals and shameful deeds, Brother

Aloysius managed to secure a nearby piece of land, thereby opening up a good

wide street. Though others aided in the project, he with his own hands

worked as hard as any. Whenever he needed anything for his monastery, all

were willing to aid him, for they recalled his kindness and hospitality

towards everyone.

After his death his body was enclosed in a casket and placed behind a grille

under the altar of the church. Here many came with great piety and devotion

to pray to him, especially those who were suffering from quartan fever, many

of whom were cured. Quite a number of such cures were reported at the time,

and the reports continue till the present day.


Responsory

R/. Whenever you come to prayer * if you have anything

against anyone you must forgive him, and your Father

in heaven will forgive your failing too (alleluia).

V/. If you do not forgive others, your Father in heaven will

not forgive your failings either. * If you have anything

against anyone you must forgive him, and your Father

in heaven will forgive your failings oo (alleluia).


Prayer

Father,
You distinguished Bl. Aloysius Rabata

with extraordinary charity and patience in bearing injuries.

May we honor his memory by showing love,

as he did, even for our enemies,

and thus merit an eternal reward.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,

Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit,

one God, for ever and ever.








Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit-Second Hymn of Virtue: Peace

The Second Hymn of Virtue: PEACE

On the evening of that first day of the week, even though the disciples had locked the doors of the place where they were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood before them. "Peace be with you," he said. When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. At the sight of the Lord the disciples rejoiced. "Peace be with you," he said again.
John 20:19-21

St. John goes on to say that Jesus imparted the Holy Spirit to the disciples and gave them the power to forgive sins. They were given the gift of the Holy Spirit to impart forgiveness, mercy, and peace to the soul in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

We could say that true peace of soul is the capstone of the spiritual life. It is only found at the summit of Mt. Carmel after much labor and co-operation on our part with the Holy Spirit. It is the true gift of peace that the world cannot give, and no man can take from us. It is the crowning virtue of the spiritual marriage.

In this state there are no more ecstasies or raptures, or at least very few; these have now disappeared almost completely in order to make room for such peace and quiet rest as are enjoyed by married persons who are sure of each other's love.
Fr. Tanquerey, The Spiritual Life #1470

In this high state of mystical contemplation in which the soul is completely at peace with the beloved-this state that is possessed by the blessed and the saints, inspire us to reach the heights of prayer, too. Listen to how Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P. the noted mystical theologian explains this fruit of peace:

A contemplative soul not only possesses peace;it can communicate it to others. A contemplative soul does not allow itself to be troubled in its higher part by painful, unexpected events; it receives all from the hand of God...Wisdom bestows a radiant peace, leading us to love our enemies.

This certainly brings to mind St. John of the Cross who saw the hand of God in his brother Carmelites who were persecuting him during the reform. He described the persecution as coming from God, "who ordains all."

We can ask ourselves to what degree do we possess this treasured gift of peace? Is my peace disturbed at any mere annoyance or trial? Do world events and every day problems try to steal my peace of soul? Or, does nothing disturb my interior peace and communion with the Lord?


When the raging winds and the storms of our life do their best to frighten us and deter us from our path of total trust in God-we only need to turn to Jesus, who, with one word, can rebuke the anxiety in our minds and calm the troubled waters of our soul.


Peace is the fruit of authentic contemplative prayer. Let's keep in mind that any virtuous act is a fruit of the Spirit. If our acts are pure they will produce good fruit in which we find spiritual sweetness. This sweetness is the consolation of the Holy Spirit from whom these fruits emanate. St. John of the Cross explains the effects of true acts of virtue:

Any act of virtue produces and fosters in the soul mildness, peace, comfort, light, purity, and strength, just as an inordinate appetite brings about torment, fatigue, weariness, blindness, and weakness. Through the practice of one virtue all the virtues grow, and similarly, through an increase of one vice, all the vices and their effects grow.
St. John of the Cross, Ascent of Mt. Carmel, Chap. 12, #5.


The Fruits of the Spirit blossom forth from the branches of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit. Peace is the glorious fruit displayed on the sturdy branch of Wisdom.


Blest too are the peacemakers; they shall be called sons of God.

Matthew 5:9.

The Beatitudes are the perfection of the Gifts and Fruits of the Holy Spirit. These blessed and delectable Fruits of the Spirit are of such lofty sweetness and purity that they give us a foretaste of heaven.

As Carmelites, we promise to live according to the Beatitudes. When we love and show mercy as Christ does, the Holy Spirit invites us to partake of this delectable fruit that is enjoyed by the Communion of Saints.

Come to the Feast!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds