Wednesday, August 29, 2012

CARMELITE QUOTE



ST. THERESE OF THE CHILD JESUS:

I give thanks to Jesus for making me walk in darkness, and in the darkness I enjoy profound peace. Indeed, I consent to remain through all my religious life in the gloomy passage into which he has led me. I desire only that my darkness may obtain light for sinners. I am content, nay, full of joy, to be without all consolation. I should be ashamed if my lover were like that of earthly brides who are ever looking for gifts from their bridegrooms, or seeking to catch the smile which fills them with delight.
Therese, the little Spouse of Jesus, loves him for himself...





Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Friday, August 24, 2012

THIS DAY IN CARMELITE HISTORY



AUGUST 24, 1562-AUGUST 24, 2012

 450TH ANNIVERSARY OF ST. TERESA OF JESUS' (AVILA) FOUNDING OF ST. JOSEPH'S MONASTERY IN AVILA.






Here is the message from our Father General in Rome:
Communicationes - ROMA-ITALIA (19-08-2012) This year we celebrate an anniversary of particular significance: the 24th of August will see the completion of 450 years since the foundation of St. Joseph’s in Avila, and therefore too, since the beginning of Teresa’s reform. The Holy Father himself has expressed his joy and the joy of the whole Church concerning this anniversary by sending, on the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a message that is rich in Teresian spirituality and doctrine.

At the thought of our religious family completing 450 years of life, the first sentiment that fills our hearts is gratitude to the Lord for his fidelity and his love, together with wonder at the great things that he has done in us. Truly, if Teresa has given herself to Jesus, Jesus has given much more to Teresa and continues to give himself to her whole family. Let us mutually remind ourselves not to forget (“Remember, O Israel!”) how great a grace he has given in calling us to be part of this history, to make ourselves capable of being able to witness to it in the present and making it grow into the future, on a journey of unending foundation, which, -as Teresa herself has taught us – should never be considered to have reached an end. None of us could have reached this point, or taken on this responsibility, were it not gifted to us by God, and if in this, his merciful love and his gratuitous initiative were not manifested.

Another point for reflection comes from the consideration of the more recent stage of our history. In 1962 the Order celebrated the fourth centenary of its reform, right at the beginning of the Second Vatican Council, which in turn would have signaled in many ways the beginning of a new epoch in the history of the Church. These last 50 years are a stage of our journey which offers itself for our peaceful evaluation and spiritual discernment. We have changed a lot during these years, but the same call continues to vibrate in us and the same passion as sons and daughters of Teresa of Jesus. We are aware that not every change has expressed the creativity of the charism, nor every desire to preserve has been a manifestation of authentic fidelity. But we note especially that our reality, complex and at times contradictory, is today inhabited by new faces, by new generations born during these last fifty years, with new sensibilities and diverse experiences, coming from different parts of the world, wishing to express what they are and what they have, fragility and strength, poverty and richness, clarity and obscurity of vision, the enthusiasm of youth and the wisdom of mature age.

Teresa was 47 years of age when the first tolls of the bell of St. Joseph’s were sounding. At an age, which at that time much more so than ours, could be considered rather advanced, she set out on a completely new adventure, which foreboded risks and the unknown. We know that two things helped her overcome every human and reasonable resistance: the power coming from her experience of God and from the strength of her passion for a Church and a world in the throes of an upheaval of epochal proportions. Today too, these are the powers that can animate and recommit us on our journey, or, open for us a way into a landscape which at times seems like an empty and trackless desert in which we feel dispersed, or alternatively, like a dense forest, in which it is impossible to find any way forward.

Teresa was not able to rely on the support of many powerful friends or great economic resources. Her very condition as a woman was a cause of innumerable difficulties and limitations. There were times when the project of a new foundation seemed simply unrealizable, and she complained to the Lord that he was asking impossible things of her (cf. Life 33, 11). The story of the first foundation is a tangle of labors, of doubts, of persecutions and of every kind of obstacle, but at the same time of consolations, of providential meetings, of unexpected help and especially of continually renewed interior certitude. Because of this, the account of it is transformed from an autobiographical narrative into a confession of lived faith, into an account of the history of salvation, the memory of which ought be handed on from generation to generation because we can continue to draw power and inspiration from it. Teresa gave Fr. GarcĂ­a de Toledo, who was destined to receive the book of her Life, permission to change everything, except the account of the first foundation:

I beg your Reverence, for the love of God, if you think it well to tear up everythingelse that is written here, to preserve what concerns this monastery. Then, after my death, it should be given to the sisters here, for it will be a great encouragement in the service of God to those who come after us and will prevent this work that has been begun from falling to the ground and help it to prosper continually when it is seen what importance His Majesty must have attached to this house since He foundedit through a creature as wicked and as base as I (Life, 36, 29).

It is with this spirit that we also, after 450 years, return to that founding experience, from which we are born. If the Lord has done so much for this work to be accomplished, he will continue to do so in order that it may not go to ruin, but rather progress ever more. Teresa would like to underline for us that if all of this has been possible, it is not because of the instrument that was used, an imperfect and poor woman such as herself, but by him who wished to use it. Far from being false humility, Teresa, as usual, speaks about “things which are very true” (Life 40, 3), especially in relation to something as important as the reform of Carmel. It is the work of the Lord, to whose service she is given, but not without doubts, anguish and opposition. But in the end, his grace is the stronger.

This work willed by God, this precious jewel with which he wished to adorn Teresa, and in her the whole Church (I refer to the famous vision narrated in her Life 33, 14), is now placed in our hands. What will we do with it? What will be our response to the appeal that reaches us from the autobiographical pages of our Holy Mother? We speak so much today about the crisis of religious life, about its difficulties – especially in the West – from the lack of vocations to the ageing of communities, but also and even more about a general loss of motivation and a crisis of identity. I do not wish to minimize these problems which we experience daily, and which those called to the service of authority experience all the more. Without doubt, the crisis that we are living through is epochal and we will not be able to come out of it without new insights and profound changes.

But the question that to me seems essential is this: where can these new insights come from? Where can we get the strength to make the changes that the times require? I have observed during this period of economic crisis that a thought of Albert Einstein written in the aftermath of the great crisis of 1929 is winning a lot of followers. It is quoted in an innumerable number of web sites and blogs; it was also quoted in a letter sent to me by one of our sisters. Einstein wrote in 1935:

A crisis can be a real blessing to any person, to any nation, for all crises bring progress.Creativity is born from anguish, just like the day is born from the dark night. It’s in crisisthat invention is born, as well as discoveries, and big strategies. Who overcomes crisis, overcomes himself, without getting overcome. Who blames his failure to a crisis neglectshis own talent, and is more respectful to problems than to solutions. Incompetence is the true crisis.

The greatest inconvenience of people and nations is the laziness with which they attempt to find the solutions to their problems. There’s no challenge without a crisis. Without challenges, life becomes a routine, a slow agony. There’s no merit without crisis. It’s in the crisis where we can show the very best in us. Without crisis, any wind becomes a tender touch. To speak about a crisis is to promote it. Not to speak about it is to exalt conformism. Let us work hard instead. Let us stop, once and for all, the menacing crisis that represents the tragedy of not being willing to overcome it.

These are certainly stimulating and hopeful words that invite us to grow and give of our best, without allowing ourselves to be overcome by fear or discouragement. It is possible that for the economy and for politics these words find their mark and indicate the way out of the crisis. Notwithstanding all of this, it seems to me that we cannot say the same in regard to the crisis in religious life and in the spiritual life. It is good to make an appeal to the human will and intelligence, to request and elaborate efficacious projects and to develop a creativity that makes us capable of confronting the present challenges, all of which makes sense and is indisputably reasonable. However, we need to realize that our own projects are not going to save us. We need to drink from a fount of living water that wells up from a more profound vein, where the human person does not make anything happen but allows it to happen, does not choose but accepts being chosen, where one’s own wisdom and power are not experienced but rather one’s foolishness and weakness. The way out is not found in seeking to turn back to the situation that preceded the crisis, nor in propelling oneself forward, but by entering deeply into the present crisis, descending to its very roots, to that level where things can be seen differently, where agitation and fear are put to rest and the prayer of the poor begins to rise up, more pure, more humble and more true. From here we can take on again the journey.

This downward way that Teresa has traveled and continued to travel to the very last day of her life, the way of the Paschal Mystery, where one can enter only after experiencing that all the other ways are blind alleys or tracks that get lost in nothingness. It is a journey that has prayer as a staff and forgetfulness of self as a knapsack, and thus resembles the journey of the disciples of Jesus, called to leave everything and follow him in whom they believe and from whom they hope for everything. It is a journey in which – as Bl. John Henry Newman wrote in his wonderful poem The Pillar of the Cloud – “one does not wish to see the distant scene, but only that small step which we are called to take every day.”

It is perhaps “the little that depends on us”, that Teresa chose to fulfill at the time she became aware of the gravity of the situation that the Church and the world were in and of the mission that the Lord was entrusting to her. I know that it may truly seem very little, but it is precisely from the small and the little, not to mention the nothing, that God creates everything. We have a duty to be witnesses to this, with Teresa and like Teresa to set out from that far distant, yet very near 24th August 1562.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Sunday, August 19, 2012

TABERNACLES

St. John the Baptist
Minor Basilica
Canton, Ohio
Parish Website





Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Thursday, August 16, 2012

CARMELITE QUOTE





Some souls--or their confessors--may think that God is leading them along this road of the dark night of spiritual purgation, but perhaps this will not be so. What they suffer will be due to one of these deficiencies. Likewise, many individuals think they are not praying when, indeed, their prayer is deep. Others place high value on their prayer while it amounts to little more than nothing.

Some people--and it is sad to see them--work and tire themselves greatly, and yet go backward; they look for progress in what brings no progress but instead hinders them. Others, in peace and tranquility, continue to advance well. Some others let themselves be encumbered by the very consolations and favors God bestows on them for the sake of their advancing, and they advance not at all.

The Ascent of Mount Carmel, Prologue, No. 6 & 7

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

CARMELITE MONASTERIES

CARMELITE NUNS
YORK, ENGLAND










Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

CARMELITE SAINT OF THE DAY

ST. ALBERT OF TRAPANI

Born in Trapani, Sicily, during the 13th century, Albert was distinguished for his dedication to preaching and by his reputation for working miracles.In 1280 and 1289, he was in Trapani and afterwards in Messina. In 1296 he was appointed Provincial of the Carmelite Province of Sicily. He was known especially for his great desire to lead a holy life and for prayer. He died in Messina, probably in 1307. He was the first saint whose cult spread throughout the Order and, as a result, he is considered its patron and protector or "father", a title he shared with the other saint of his time, Angelus of Sicily. In the 16th century it was decided that every Carmelite church should have an altar dedicated to him. Among the many with a devotion to this saint were Saint Teresa of Jesus and Saint Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi. 




Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Friday, August 3, 2012

CARMELITE QUOTE



BLESSED ELIZABETH OF THE TRINITY:

To walk in Jesus Christ seems to me to mean to leave self, lose sight of self, give up self, in order to enter more deeply into Him with every passing moment, so deeply that one is rooted there; and to every event, to every circumstance we can fling this beautiful challenge: "Who will separate me from the love of Jesus Christ (Romans 8:35)? When the soul is established in Him at such depths that its roots are also deeply thrust in, then the divine sap streams into it and all this imperfect, commonplace, natural life is destroyed. Then, in the language of the Apostle, "that which is mortal is swallowed up by life (2Co 5:4)." The soul thus "stripped" of self and "clothed" in Jesus Christ has nothing more to fear of self and clothed in Jesus Christ has nothing more to fear from exterior encounters or from interior difficulties, for these things, far from being an obstacle, serve only "to root it more deeply in the love" of its Master.





Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Stained Glass Scapulars-Reflections on the Secular Carmelite Rule




From Poustinia by Servant of God, Catherine de Hueck Doherty:

If we are to witness to Christ in today's marketplaces, where there are constant demands on our whole person, we need silence. If we are to be always available, not only physically, but by empathy, sympathy, friendship, understanding and boundless caritas, we need silence. To be able to give joyous, unflagging hospitality, not only of house and food, but of mind, heart, body and soul, we need silence.

True silence is the search of man for God.

True silence is a suspension bridge that a soul in love with God builds to cross the dark, frightening gullies of its own mind, the strange chasms of temptation, the depthless precipices of its own fears that impede its way to God.

True silence is the speech of lovers...

What wonderful words of wisdom from Servant of God, Catherine.  As Secular Carmelites,  we should exclaim, "spoken like a true Carmelite, Catherine."  Although her book was published in 1975, her writings are certainly prophetic in nature. She understands clearly the spiritual problems that can arise in a technological society. She understands the current age; the attachment to materialism, individualism, relativism and a deep lack of desire for solitude and prayer.  The first line of the excerpt above speaks right from the heart of St. Teresa of Jesus who teaches us that prayer and contemplation are gifts given to strengthen us for service.

She is also very Carmelite in nature when she writes of the desert and the poustinia as a state of being. She writes that poustinia is a condition of the heart and soul of a man or woman. How do we find this place of the heart where God dwells? Her teaching is that we need to stand still. "Stand still, and allow the strange, deadly restlessness of our tragic age to fall away like the worn-out, dusty cloak that it is...the restlessness was considered the magic carpet to tomorrow, but now in reality we see it for what it is: a running away from oneself..."

We can now turn to our Carmelite saints and their teaching for more on this "standing still" spirituality. Who, but Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, the holy Carmelite of the "indwelling of the Trinity," speaks of this "chapel of the heart" where we can enter anytime and find intimate friendship with God. It is the the chapel that is always available to us through prayer and contemplation.  It is the place where we enter to adore the living God present in our soul. 

She writes: I think that in Heaven my mission will be to draw souls by helping them to go out of themselves in order to cling to God by a wholly simple and loving movement, and to keep them in this great silence within which will allow God to communicate Himself to them and to transform them into Himself.

"To keep them in this great silence..." this is the teaching of Catherine also, at first such silences will be few and far between. But if nourished with a life of liturgical prayer, mental prayer, with the sacramental life of the Church, slowly, slowly, like a seedling of a mighty tree, silence will grow and come to dwell in a soul more and more often. Then suddenly, it will come to stay one day.

Yes, this is what we are seeking: union with God. The union of Martha and Mary. The union of the active and contemplative life. We are called to be missionaries in the marketplace while possessing the silent heart of a contemplative. These two are joined by the Holy Spirit to go about their daily activities united with the Beloved, so that all things are done through Him, with Him, and in Him.

Secular Carmelites are called to a little "poustinia" each day. We are called to 1/2 hour of mental prayer. Many followers of Carmelite spirituality will confess that they have a difficult time being faithful to the time of prayer that is required of us.  We need to stop looking at this requirement as an obligation (although it is) and look at it as a joyful entrance into silence where God meets us face-to-face, where we can, in Catherine's words, "shed the cloak of restlessness" and experience the peace of heart that God offers to us in prayer.

Let us pray for each other, that we be faithful to our commitment to prayer. Remember, this gift is not for ourselves alone, but for the entire Body of Christ.  It is our gift to our brothers and sisters in Christ. Please, let us be generous givers of God's gifts.

Catherine Doherty is the founder of Madonna House.  Here is a movie about this foundation entitled "The People of the Towel and Water:






Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds