Sunday, December 29, 2013

THE FEAST OF THE HOLY FAMILY

An excerpt from John Paul II's Apostolic Letter to Families-1994


By describing himself as a "Bridegroom", Jesus reveals the essence of God and confirms his immense love for mankind. But the choice of this image also throws light indirectly on the profound truth of spousal love. Indeed by using this image in order to speak about God, Jesus shows to what extent the fatherhood and the love of God are reflected in the love of a man and a woman united in marriage. Hence, at the beginning of his mission, we find Jesus at Cana in Galilee, taking part in a wedding banquet, together with Mary and with the first disciples (cf. Jn 2:1-11). He thus wishes to make clear to what extent the truth about the family is part of God's Revelation and the history of salvation. In the Old Testament, and particularly in the Prophets, we find many beautiful expressions about the love of God. It is a gentle love like that of a mother for her child, a tender love like that of the bridegroom for his bride, but at the same time an equally and intensely jealous love. It is not in the first place a love which chastises but one which forgives; a love which deigns to meet man just as the father does in the case of the prodigal son; a love which raises him up and gives him a share in divine life. It is an amazing love: something entirely new and previously unknown to the whole pagan world.

St. Peter Church Mansfield, Ohio
At Cana in Galilee Jesus is, as it were, the herald of the divine truth about marriage, that truth on which the human family can rely, gaining reassurance amid all the trials of life. Jesus proclaims this truth by his presence at the wedding in Cana and by working his first "sign": water changed into wine.


PRAYER TO THE HOLY FAMILY:

God our Father, in the Holy Family of Nazareth you embraced our world with great tenderness and love, and renewed family life in the pure and noble dignityyou intended from the beginning.

To Mary and Joseph who walked the path of faith with courage and fidelity, you entrusted Jesus, your Son, to grow in stature and wisdom and in favor with all. Enfolded in the love and warmth of that family the beginnings of our redemption took hold.

Lead us to grow in the warmth and gentleness of the Holy Family, that ‘gentle image of the Trinity’, poor in the eyes of the world, rich in the treasures of heaven, hidden and unknown on the earth, contemplated by the Angels.

Like Jesus, Mary and Joseph who contemplated your will, Father, as it unfolded, may we, too, hold your Word, ponder it in our hearts, and respond with courage and generosity as Jesus makes his home in us.

Deepen our love for one another and enable us to live in peace, united with you and with each other. Inspired by the way of life of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, lead us to union with your Divine Son. We ask this through Chris our Lord. Amen.





Peace be with you!

Rosemarie, ocds

Saturday, December 21, 2013

SATURDAY OF OUR LADY-ADVENT MEDITATION


Sorrowful Mother Shrine-Bellevue, Ohio

An Excerpt from Catherine de Hueck Doherty's Poustinia


Mary was the still one, the quiet one, the recollected one. She didn't speak much for she was also the listening one, and that is why she could keep so many of his words in her heart.

The still ones, the listening ones, are the children of the Father, and do his will. Mary was the mother of the Son, the daughter of the Father, and the spouse of the Holy Spirit. Yes, she was the listening, the praying, the still one and therefore she saw God. Yes, Mary quite definitely must have seen God in many ways. Often darkly, as in the glass; perhaps occasionally in a blinding revelation or love. But this is speculation. What isn't speculation is that she followed Christ in his passion...

Mary enters into this marriage of love and passion which the Lord accepted and through which he redeemed us. Pure of heart, she saw God. She followed him, her Son, right to the foot of the cross, and beyond to his grave. Hers was a com-passion. She shared his passion not only in a physical way but also in a spiritual, emotional, and deeply tragic way.

As I sat at Mary's feet and watched her with the eyes of my heart, I realized that a fantastic question had been presented to her. It took faith to accept that first announcement of the angel which told her that she was full of grace and that God would be born of her. Mary had that faith. Of her own free will she accepted to be the mother of the Messiah...

I remembered that many had asked me what compassion was. Now I felt that I was ready to tell them. It was Mary. Mary who experienced the passion of her Son as no one else experienced it. 



Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

ADVENT MEDITATION

From the publication, "One Bread, One Body"

I promise: Poverty, Chastity, Obedience
Community of the Holy Family

At Vespers on the last eight days of Advent, the Church traditionally prays the "O Antiphons." We cry out to Jesus: "O Wisdom, " " Rod of Jesse," "O Emmanuel," etc. I suggest another "O Antiphon, " that is,"O-bedience."

The Christian life is a life of obedience. If we don't obey God, we don't have life in the Spirit (Acts 5:32). If we don't obey Him, we don't love Him (Jn 15:10)...

If Mary had not obeyed, she would not have been the mother of God. If Jesus had not obeyed, He would have have become a human being and died on the cross to save us. Jesus' obedience destroyed the reign of sin and brought justification to all people.

As we near Christ's Christmas coming, the Lord is calling us to obey Him as never before, to break new ground in obedience, and to be pioneers in obedience. The Lord wants us to be the first in our city, parish, family, business, or neighborhood to obey in all areas of His plan for us. Obey now; obey for the first time; obey first, obey all His commands. Live a life of obedience.

I came across this article just moments after I had a conversation with a fellow Carmelite about the virtue of obedience.  The little blue book laying on my kitchen counter seemed to speak to me, "Take up and read."  "Take up and read."  After reading the above selection for the day, I was consoled that the Holy Spirit spoke to me through this article, for I think it is very appropriate for secular Carmelites who wish to take their promise of obedience seriously.

The virtue of obedience has come up many times in my life lately. I've had more than a few community members approach me and ask me to speak about obedience.  I am glad that they, like the author above, want to be pioneers in obedience. This article will be very useful in discussing this elusive virtue. I say elusive, because the ugly head of individualism shows its face everywhere. And if one is caught off guard, one can easily fall prey to the perversion of the virtue of obedience. The perversion takes place, when the soul confuses obedience with control.  Some people find superiors controlling. Some people find a spouse controlling. Some people find a boss controlling. Why do I need to be obedient to Father so and so? Why do I need to be obedient to my husband or wife? Why do I need to obey my boss? This is the way of the world. No one is supposed to tell us what to do!  Yes, this happens, even in Carmel.

However, there are those truly rare souls who want to be formed and fashioned into the image of Christ, who was obedient unto death. These souls look for opportunities to be obedient. Why? Because they are passive individuals who do not like to think for themselves?  No! An emphatic, "No." These are holy souls who are like the saints. They viewed superiors and others in authority as the voice of God!  These people possess a submissive and docile heart, ready to obey at a moment's notice. I love these types of souls. They are very giving and help immensely in community.These are the souls who are ever-ready to "break new ground in obedience."  

Do you lack obedience? Are you anxious or afraid of obedience? Then, keep this in mind:  Obedience frees us from the anxiety of discernment.  

This is very important to remember if one has a spiritual director. Following the advice of one's confessor of spiritual director is all that is required when receiving direction in the spiritual life. Remembering of course that he or she does not ask you to do anything sinful or uncharitable. We are speaking of directors who wish to keep you on the true path of obedience to Christ and his Church.

The secular Carmelite is asked to obey the Rule. Here is a small excerpt about this virtue:

The Rule (#15)
The promise of obedience is an exercise of faith leading to the search for God's will in the events and challenges in society and our own personal life. For this reason the Secular Carmelite freely cooperates with those who have responsibility for guiding the community and the Order in discerning and accepting God's ways: the Community's Council, the Provincial and the General.

As secular Carmelites we can examine our conscience and ask ourselves a few questions of discernment:

*Am I faithful to the Order by praying each day?

* Do I support, encourage, and cooperate with my local council?

*Do I obey the Rule and the Constitutions of the secular 
  Carmelites?

*Am I faithful to my local council by studying the assigned 
  formation materials?

*Do I make an effort to lighten the burden of the president and the 
  council, or do I just show up for meetings, never really 
  participating in the life of the community?

Only you know if you are being obedient to your Carmelite promises.  Only you can decide "to break new ground in obedience" and live like the saints. We can all do this one moment at a time in life. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to prepare our hearts to stand at attention, ready to respond when the Lord calls: "Here I am Lord, I come to do your will."

Let us pray for each other!


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds


Saturday, December 14, 2013

SOLEMNITY OF ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS

Happy Feast Day to all ~especially to all Carmelites!
St. John of the Cross, pray for us!











Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Friday, December 6, 2013

ADVENT MEDITATION

THREE DEGREES OF CONVERSION
From Deep Conversion Deep Prayer 
by the late Fr. Thomas Dubay, S.M.

Photo: R. Massaro-Sorrowful Mother Shrine, Bellevue, Ohio

THE FIRST DEGREE: 
MORAL CONVERSION

We need to ask first of all: what is a mortal sin? It is the knowing, free and willing rejection of God in favor of choosing something incompatible with him. This alienation from him is not a mere mistake but rather a knowing choice that includes preferring some created idol that excludes loving him and our neighbor. A mortal, deadly sin is a freely chosen rejection of supreme Beauty and Goodness, the blessed Trinity...the first degree of conversion, therefore, is a 180-degree reversal: " I renounce my idol, Lord; I want you instead. I am sorry, very sorry. With your grace I am going to change my life. I freely choose to repent. I shall receive your sacrament of reconciliation."

THE SECOND DEGREE: 
MAKING AN EFFORT TO AVOID SMALL WRONGS, VENIAL SINS

Here the person makes efforts to avoid small wrongs, venial sins. These do not destroy one's essential love for God and neighbor, but they do wound it. Even though they aren't colossal, they remain disorders. The reader should notice that when we speak about "willed venial sins" the first adjective is important indeed.Without intellectual awareness and, therefore, freedom there is no willing, no sin. We are talking about things we can control, not mere mistakes, not mere feelings. For example, it is not a sin to feel impatient when children or adults annoy us by obnoxious behavior...Sin here means guilt. There is no guilt, thus no sin unless we freely choose some wrong action or omission. To snap back at a person usually is a free action and thus with guilt.



St. Teresa of Avila describing the soul in the Third Mansion

THE THIRD DEGREE:
LOVING GOD AND NEIGHBOR WITHOUT LIMIT

As we have noted above, there are several ways of describing this third step of conversion: loving God and neighbor without limit, giving oneself beyond the call of duty, going all the way with God, living like the saints lived. Chesterton called this lofty holiness a revolution. At this stage of growth these individuals are not simply rather better than ordinarily good folk--they are vastly superior in sheer goodness.




Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Monday, December 2, 2013

ADVENT MEDITATION



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.  For only love knows its beauty, completeness, and utter joy. True silence is a garden enclosed, where alone the soul can meet its God. It is a sealed fountain that he alone can unseal to slacken the soul's infinite thirst for him.

True silence is a key to the immense and flaming heart of God. It is the beginning of a divine courtship that will end only in the immense, creative, fruitful, loving silence of final union with the Beloved.

Yes, such silence is holy, a prayer beyond all prayers, leading to the final prayer of constant presence of God, to the heights of contemplation, when the soul, finally at peace, lives by the will of him whom she loves totally, utterly, and completely.

This silence, then, will break forth in a charity that overflows in the service of the neighbor without counting the cost. It will witness to Christ anywhere, always. Availability will become delightsome and easy, for in each person the soul will see the face of her Love. Hospitality will be deep and real, for a silent heart is a loving heart, and a loving heart is a hospice to the world.

From Poustinia by Catherine de Hueck Doherty


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Letters of St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila)

Note:  In 2013/2014 the entire Carmelite Order is studying the letters of St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila) in preparation for her centenary in 2015.  Here is a letter to one of the nuns at the Carmel of St. Joseph at Avila. Teresa always begins her letters by addressing Jesus. The letter was written in 1582.


St. Joseph Monastery at Avila




JESUS. The Grace of the Holy Spirit be ever with you, my daughter.

Your letter gave me great pleasure, and I am glad to hear that mine produced the same effect: this ought to comfort us both exceedingly, since we cannot live together.


With regard to the aridities you speak of, it seems to me that our Lord deals with you as if he considered you one of the strong, since he wishes to try you, in order to see how much you love him, and whether your love is the same in aridities, as when you abound in consolations. Consider, then, those aridities as very great favors from our Lord. Do not allow them to trouble you, for perfection does not consist in having delights, but in possessing virtue. And besides, your devotion will return when you least expect it.

Respecting what you say of the sister, endeavor to drive away such a thought from her mind, that so she may think no more about it. Do not suppose that when such a thought comes into the mind, it is always sinful; even should it be more evil than what you mention, still it would be nothing (unless wilfully indulged in.) I wish she had the same aridities that you have, because I doubt if she knows what she does, and we may desire such trials for her greater good. When any bad thought presents itself, make the sign of the cross, recite the "Our Father," or strike your breast, and try to turn your thoughts to something else: the more you resist, the more merit you will have.

I should have sent an answer to Isabel de San Pablo had I time to write. Giver her my kind regards, for she knows well you ought to be the most beloved. Don Francisco is well, and leads the life of an angel; he and all his household communicated yesterday. To-morrow we leave for Valladolid, and from there he will write to you: I have not as yet given him any information about the bearer of this letter. May God preserve you, my daughter, and make you a great saint: this is what I pray for. Amen. Remember me to all the sisters.


This is the Feast of St. Albert.

TERESA DE JESUS



Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds


Sunday, November 24, 2013

CARMELITE QUOTE

Photo: R. Massaro St. Vincent Church  Akron, Ohio


Since we have an all-powerful King and so great a Lord that he can do all and that He brings all under his subjection, there is nothing to fear, if one walks, as I have said, in truth in the presence of His Majesty and with a pure conscience.   
St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila)



Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Saturday, November 23, 2013

SATURDAY OF OUR LADY

Photo: R. Massaro-St. Michael Byzantine Church Akron, Ohio
How it was revealed to Elijah and his disciples that the Virgin Mary would be born pure and without stain of sin.

After the members of this Order were baptised by the apostles and taught the words of the holy gospels, they fully understood that the mystery which had been revealed to the prophet Elijah by God on Mount Carmel had been fulfilled. ...Now, from the place on Mount Carmel where the servant climbed up to the top of the mountain from where he could see the sea, there were ten terraces. The servant having climbed up once and looked toward the sea, Elijah commanded him, as was said, to return seven times up those same terraces and look towards the sea. And, on the seventh time,which, however, was the eighth time of looking, the servant saw " a little cloud like a man's foot, rising from the sea" to Carmel. And Elijah said to him: "Go and tell Ahab, harness your chariot and go down, lest the rain prevent you.' And while they turned themselves this way and that, behold the sky grew dark with clouds and wind, and heavy rain began to fall.

What pledge of future events, apart from its historic occurrence, that vision intrinsically contained; and what great mystery God intended to convey through it to the prostrate Elijah, Elijah himself deigned to reveal, not openly to everyone, but secretly to his companions. From them, we hold that God revealed to Elijah through the details of this vision, at that time, four great mysteries, which I shall explain in order. First, that a certain baby girl would be born, who from her mother's womb would be free from all stain of sin. Second, the time when this would be fulfilled. Third, that this child would dedicate herself to perpetual virginity after the example of Elijah. Fourth, that God, joining his nature with human kind, would be born of that virgin.

The Ten Books on the Way of Life and Great Deeds of the Carmelites by Felip Ribot, O. Carm.






Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

CARMELITE SAINT OF THE DAY

ST. RAPHAEL KALINOWSKI, OCD





File:Czerna Monastery of Discalced Carmelites, Poland.jpg

GRAVE OF ST. RAPHAEL AT THE CARMELITE MONASTERY
CZERNA, POLAND



Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Sunday, November 17, 2013

INTIMACY WITH GOD


Fr. Deacon Michael Lee


I attended a wonderful retreat yesterday by one of the members of our Secular Carmelite community. The retreat was given by Fr. Deacon Michael Lee, OCDS, STL, a deacon of the Eparchy of Parma.  Deacon Michael makes some powerful statements concerning the noise in our daily lives that drown out the voice of God.  I hope the readers of Spirit Singing benefit from this retreat as much as I did.


PART I



PART 2



PART 3



Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Saturday, November 16, 2013

SATURDAY OF OUR LADY

OUR LADY
MOTHER OF DIVINE PROVIDENCE
FEAST DAY: THIRD SATURDAY OF NOVEMBER


Photo: From the website of the Barnabite Fathers
Read more about this devotion at their website:

http://www.barnabites.com/marymotherofdivineprovidence#Prayers

Prayer:

Virgin Mary, Immaculate Mother of Divine Providence, protect our life and sanctify us with the gift of grace. Obtain for us from the Father of mercy and the God of consolation pardon for our sins, reconciliation with our brothers and sisters, and comfort in the midst of afflictions.

Renew our hearts that they may be come worthy dwelling places of your Divine Son, Jesus. Help us in our struggles against mediocrity, self-seeking, and pride so we can generously serve our neighbor. We entrust ourselves to you, o Mary, in our pilgrimage in this world.

We invoke you as our guide and our defense against dangers. In the present tribulations, give us secure refuge. O sweet Mother of Divine Providence, turn your eyes to ward us, you who are our hope on earth. Grant that we may have you as our Mother in the glory of heaven. Amen.



Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Friday, November 15, 2013

CARMELITE SAINT OF THE DAY






The De Profundis takes its name from the first two words of the psalm in Latin. It is a penitential psalm that is sung as part of vespers (evening prayer) and in commemorations of the dead. It is also a good psalm to express our sorrow as we prepare for the Sacrament of Confession.

Every time you recite the De Profundis, you can receive a partial indulgence (the remission of a portion of punishment for sin). In the modern numbering of the Psalms, the De Profundis is listed as Psalm 130, though you will often see it listed as Psalm 129, according to the traditional numbering.

De Profundis

Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice.
Let Your ears be attentive to my voice in supplication.
If You, O Lord, mark iniquities, Lord, who can stand?
But with You is forgiveness, that You may be revered.
I trust in the Lord; my soul trusts in His word.
My soul waits for the Lord more than sentinels wait for the dawn.
More than sentinels wait for the dawn, let Israel wait for the Lord,
For with the Lord is kindness and with Him is plenteous 
redemption; And He will redeem Israel from all their iniquities.


Carmelite Prayer: 

Lord, you are the glory of those who serve you. Look lovingly on our departed brothers and sisters, united in following Christ and his Mother by the waters of baptism and the bonds of Carmel. In your mercy grant them everlasting sight of you, their Creator and Redeemer. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.



Peace be with you!
Rosmarie, ocds



Thursday, November 14, 2013

CARMELITE SAINT OF THE DAY

ALL SAINTS OF CARMEL


(Click on photo to enlarge)

The whole family of Carmel in the homeland, with Mary its Mother at its head, is the reason for our joy and praise to the Father on this day. We recall our brothers and sisters who once dedicated their lives to continual prayer on earth and now share in the worship of heaven. We unite ourselves spiritually to their glory, all the while journeying along the paths they traveled with courage, as they lived in obedience to Christ and followed in the footsteps of Our Lady.
(From the Carmelite Proper)


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Stained-Glass Scapulars-Reflections on the Rule of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites




The Rule: #16
The beatitudes are a plan of action for life and a way to enter into relationship with the world, neighbors and co-workers, families and friends. By promising to live the beatitudes in daily life, Secular Carmelites seek to give evangelical witness as members of the Church and the Order, and by this witness invite the world to follow Christ: 'The Way, the Truth and the Life" (Jn 14:6).

In the above excerpt from the Rule our Superiors instruct us to have a "plan of action" for life: the beatitudes. A plan of action takes study, preparation, discipline and commitment. How many people plan and prepare for their day spiritually before they leave the door and enter the world: the spiritual battlefield?  Our one opponent, Satan, seeks to destroy the progress we are trying to make as we grow in charity.  This plan of action is the "marching orders" from the King: Jesus Christ!  He has given a Rule for every human being to follow:

*How blest are the poor in spirit: the rein of God is theirs.
  The Carmelite is called to live a life of detachment-seeking to abide in that blessed state of soul where Christ is all we have and all that we need.

*Blest too are the sorrowing; they shall be consoled.
  A life of prayer and contemplation bring self-knowledge, the painful truth of how we have sinned against God and neighbor. This knowledge should bring us to repentance of heart so that we have true sorrow for sin. Each day we must make the choice of turning away from sin and being faithful to the Gospel.

*Blest are the lowly; they shall inherit the land.
  The Carmelite is called to walk this earth in humility. St. Teresa is very stern when it comes to people (Carmelites) seeking to steal the honor and glory that belongs to God alone-seeking honor among people, by looking for affirmation and compliments and seeking credit for one's virtues.

*Blest are they who hunger and thirst for holiness; they shall have their fill. 
  In today's society, it seems difficult to find a soul that is truly desperate for God. Of course, we cannot discern someone's interior life, but how many people speak as if they were hungry and thirsty for God?  The person who is seeking the "bread of life and the "Living Water" is a rare creature, indeed. This person is the "voice crying out in the desert" of our wicked and depraved society.  His voice is drowned out by the world telling us to eat and drink and be merry!  Being faithful to prayer makes us desire the bread of holiness. Prayer with the Beloved, the Living Water, quenches our spiritual thirst.

*Blest are they who show mercy; mercy shall be theirs.
  When we began this discussion on the Rule, we mentioned that these beatitudes are "plan of action." The Carmelite, by being faithful to prayer, creates an interior dwelling place for the Living God. When we go out into the world we take this most Merciful Savior with us. He is the bread of mercy that we offer to others. Mercy is not conditional, we do not dole it out when we feel like it.  A merciful person, is a blessed person. He is a person in a holy state of being-"not far from the reign of God."  This is the heart of all the beatitudes.  If you possess mercy, you will not find it hard to live a life of beatitude.

*Blest are the single-hearted for they shall see God.
   Carmelites are called to quiet prayer on behalf of the Church.  Many things distract us and keep us from our purpose and mission.  St. Teresa teaches us that self-indulgence and prayer do not go together. When we get "comfortable," when we start giving in to every whim of the body, little room is left for the difficult discipline of prayer. Our mind rebels, our body rebels, and our spirit rebels. We lose our focus of "God alone."  The heart that is divided is not in a blessed state of union that we are seeking as Carmelites.  This 
spiritual affliction reflects in our daily lives. We say one thing and do another. We profess to be merciful, but are far from it. We profess to be peacemakers, but within, we are far from it.  When Jesus saw Nathaniel, he said, "...There is no guile in him."  God is calling us to purity of heart, a state of being in which our thought, words, and actions are in a spiritual marriage pleasing to God.

*Blest too the peacemakers; they shall be called sons of God.
  Being a peacemaker requires great effort and the daily dying to our ego. Whether at work, home, or in the marketplace we have many opportunities to foster peace.  We can be peaceful people by the words we choose. We can be peacemakers by the tone of voice we choose. We can be peacemakers by having a peaceful countenance. True peace emanates from the heart. True peacemakers are known by their very presence.  Peace is not a matter of  an absence of conflict. It's the way we approach difficult situations; keeping charity in mind, keeping mercy in mind, keeping humility in mind. 

*Blest are the persecuted for holiness' sake; the reign of God is theirs.
How many of us are really persecuted for our faith?  Perhaps people don't agree with our chosen lifestyle: praying, attending Mass daily, performing works of charity. But these are things we can suffer and offer up.  Many people in our day are truly persecuted for their faith. Their churches are burned, the Gospel is burned, priests are silenced and imprisoned and martyred. Let us pray for all those who are persecuted and killed for the sake of the Gospel. 

*Blest are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of slander against you because of me... 
If you've ever been given a tongue-lashing because you were a Christian, well, you've suffered a little. Perhaps it was from a member of your own family!  Some Christians, some Carmelites, are insulted by the ones who claim to love them, simply because they want to live a Godly life. Think of the person who goes to work faithfully each day and suffers the ridicule and comments from others because they know they are Catholic. Day after day they have to endure the comments. Think of the religious, the priest or nun who is falsely accused of some awful crime by someone who hates the Church. They are removed from ministry, they are falsely imprisoned...these are the martyrs of today.


Let us pray for each other, that we take our plan of action, the Beatitudes, seriously each day.  If we are faithful to prayer, they will become a part of us and flow from the heart-the heart of God dwelling within us.



Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

THE YEAR OF FAITH

Official Closing of the "Year of Faith"
November 24, 2013


It's not too late to read the Holy Father's document, "Lumen Fidei" (The Light of Faith)

The light of Faith: this is how the Church’s tradition speaks of the great gift brought by Jesus. In John’s Gospel, Christ says of himself: "I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness" (Jn 12:46). Read more...











Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds


Sunday, November 3, 2013


CARMELITE NUNS
DYSART, SCOTLAND





The Power of the Religious Habit: A True Story


Sister Mary Brendon Zajac, S.N.D., hails from a clan based in Ohio. I suppose that every Sister of Notre Dame deserves her personal Quasimodo, and for this one, I fit the bill.
Too many people are hesitant to relate to those enrolled in religious orders. True, nuns should be treated with reverence due to their special commitment and vows, and yet, like you and me, they are working out their salvation with fear and trembling. Unlike you and I, though, most of them are making great strides in sanctity because they usually keep Jesus Christ foremost in their minds—and rightly so, considering that eternity is forever, and this present life is short. Most of us are caught up in the distractions of the day.
We seem to be frightened of the idea of holiness. We get itchy and fidgety whenever we get close to it, as if suffering from an allergic reaction. We find it more comfortable to wallow in the muck of our fallen nature. This fright is silly when we stop to think about it, because we are invited by God, and to be as holy as he is. That’s why we call ourselves “Christians.” Read more...


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

SPIRITUAL LIFE DICTIONARY



HUMILITY

Definition: A moral virtue prompting in its possessor  an appreciation and external expression of his true position with respect to God and his neighbor ; opposed, therefore, both to pride and to immoderate self-abjection.
The Catholic Dictionary by Donald Attwater

"Humility is Truth"
St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila)

As Secular Carmelites, we are seeking union with God through contemplative prayer.  St. Teresa teaches us that prayer brings self-knowledge. It can be very spiritually and physically painful when the Lord reveals to us the truth about ourselves: our sins, faults, and imperfections.  Let us not lose heart. It is false humility to think we cannot overcome our faults and failings. St. Teresa gives us a very simple description of humility: "Humility is truth."  May the Holy Spirit give us the courage to see ourselves as we really are and the humility to submit to his saving action in our lives. 


THE TWELVE DEGREES OF HUMILITY 
ACCORDING TO ST. BENEDICT
The motto of the Benedictines:
Ora et Labora (Pray and Work)

Note:  Although these teachings were directed to monks, we can benefit from St. Benedict's wisdom on this holy virtue.

1.  The fear of God ever present to the mind and causing us to keep
     the commandments.

2.  Obedience, or the submission of our will to God's.

3.  Obedience to Superiors out of love for God.

4.  Patient obedience even in the most difficult things, bearing 
     injuries without murmur, even and above all, when humiliation  
     comes from Superiors.

5.  The avowal of secret faults, thoughts included, to the Superior, 
     apart from sacramental confession.

6.  The willing acceptance of all privations, of menial offices, 
     considering oneself unworthy of even such tasks.

7.  To consider oneself in all sincerity as the lowest of men. This 
      is a degree of humility rarely found.

8.  Avoidance of singularity: to do nothing out of the ordinary, but 
     to be satisfied with what is sanctioned by the common rule...

9.  Silence: to know how to remain silent as long as conversation is 
     not addressed to us, or as long as there is no good reason 
     to speak.

10.  Moderation of laughter: St. Benedict does not condemn 
       laughter in so far as it is an expression of spiritual joy...

11.  Reserve in speech: when one speaks, it must be done quietly 
       and humbly...

12.  Modesty of behavior: to walk, sit, and hold oneself erect; to 
       practice modesty of the eyes without affectation, to keep one's 
       thoughts fixed on God...
The Spiritual Life by The Very Reverend Adolphe Tanquerey, No.1130



More on the virtue of humility by a modern-day Saint, 
St. Jose Maria Escriva:


St. Jose Maria Escriva's Seventeen signs of a lack of humility:


1.  Thinking that what you do or say is better than what others do
      or say.

2.  Always wanting to get your own way.

3.  Arguing when you are not right or when you are insisting     
     stubbornly or with bad manners.

4.  Giving your opinion without being asked for it, when charity 
     does not demand you to do so.

5.  Despising the point of view of others.

6.  Not being aware that all the gifts and qualities you have are on 
     loan.

7.  Not acknowledging that you are unworthy of all honor or 
     esteem, even the ground you are treading on or the things you 
     own.

8.  Mentioning yourself as an example in conversation.

9.  Speaking badly about yourself, so that they may form a good 
     opinion of you, or contradict you.

10. Making excuses when rebuked.

11.  Hiding some humiliating faults from your director, so that he 
       may not lose the good opinion he has of you.

12.  Hearing praise with satisfaction, or being glad that others have 
       spoken well of you.

13.  Being hurt that others are held in greater esteem than you.

14.  Refusing to carry out menial tasks.

15.  Seeking or wanting to be singled out.

16.  Letting drop words of self-praise in conversation, or words   
       that might show your honesty, your wit or skill, your 
       professional prestige…

17.  Being ashamed of not having certain possessions…




Sunday, October 27, 2013

CARMELITE QUOTE

PRIESTHOOD SUNDAY



From the writings of St. John of the Cross:

...One should be distrustful of ceremonies unapproved by the Catholic Church; and the manner of saying Mass should be left to the priest who represents the Church at the altar, for he has received directions from her as to how Mass should be said. And persons should not desire new methods as if they knew more than the Holy Spirit and his Church. If in such simplicity God does not hear them, let them be convinced that he will not answer them no matter how many ceremonies they invent. For God is such that if people live in harmony with him and do his will he will give them whatever they want, but if they seek their own interests it will be useless for them to speak to God.

And regarding other ceremonies in vocal prayers and other devotions, one should not become attached to any ceremonies or modes of prayer other than those Christ taught us. When his disciples asked him to teach them to pray, Christ obviously, as one who knew so well his Father's will, would have told them all that was necessary in order to obtain an answer from the Eternal Father. And, in fact, he taught them only those seven petitions of the Pater Noster, which include all our spiritual and temporal needs, and he did not teach numerous other kinds of prayers and ceremonies...

The Ascent of Mount Carmel Chapter 44, No. 3-4

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

PRAYER TO ST. TERESA OF JESUS



Saint Teresa of Jesus, holy mother,
wholehearted servant of love,
teach us to walk with determined fidelity
along the path of interior prayer,
attentive to the presence of the Blessed Trinity,
the Lord, dwelling deep in us.

At the school of Mary our Mother,
strengthen within us these foundations;
a genuine humility,
a heart free from attachment,
and an unconditional love for others.

Share with us your intense apostolic love
for the Church.
May Jesus be our joy,
our hope and energy,
an unquenchable fountain
and our most intimate Friend.

Bless our Carmelite family.
Teach us, make your prayer our own;
" I am your; I was born for you.
What is your will for me?"
Amen

"La Madre"
by Michelle Haklin








Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Saturday, October 19, 2013

SATURDAY OF OUR LADY

FEAST OF OUR LADY
MATER ADMIRABILIS
(Wonderful Mother)
OCTOBER 20

File:Mater Admirabilis.JPG
Photo Source: Wikipedia

 In 1844, a young French novice, Pauline Perdrau, received permission from the Mother Superior to paint Our Lady in a niche located in a corridor that opened on the cloister. Now, Pauline was a very determined, but a “not so good” painter, the sister explained to us, and she had never done a fresco before. So even after spending hours every day for months on the image, the completed work was also “not so good.” In fact, it was so ugly that the Mother Superior hid it from sight by covering it with a curtain. Read more...


PRAYER TO MATER ADMIRABILIS

O Mother of Jesus, we come to you as to a living spring to quench our thirst, or as to a fire to warm our hearts.

You are the light of dawn that dispels our darkness, the Mother always attentive to the distress of her children.
O Mother most Admirable, life is often hard,nor is it easy to tread the path of duty with unwavering step.
It is not easy to love our neighbor, our brother, as Jesus would have us love him, to keep our souls unchanged amid the changing chances of life, to love creatures and yet keep our hearts for God alone,to be little and humble when pride rises up within us.
It is difficult to walk steadily toward the God of light, through dark and misty ways.
There are days when everything is a burden;but you, O Wonderful Mother, can make everything easy.

You make our way easy by making our love stronger.


It was love that impelled you, on the threshold of your high destiny, to utter your “Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum.


That word, once given, you never took back. You never resisted suffering but opened yourself to its action, humbly and sweetly offering it to God.
O Mother, may your example be my strength.

O most sweet Mother, give me a valiant heart,and when my love grows weak, give me, your child, something of your own love, that I may learn again from you what true love means.
(From the Society of the Sacred Heart)




Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds