Thursday, December 24, 2015

THREE WORDS OF WISDOM

 O HOLY NIGHT

During this Christmas season I was thinking of the hymn, "O Holy Night" and it reminded me of St. John of the Cross and the lines in his writing we as Carmelites are so familiar with: O guiding night! O night more lovely than the dawn!Yes, the night of our dear Savior's birth is a night filled with light, joy, and hope. A night in our salvation history that is filled with loveliness!

This theme of finding joy amid the darkness of our spiritual quest, in faith, for union with Christ, is a theme that is found throughout the writings of our Carmelite doctors of the church and our Carmelite saints.  It is a theme that we can find throughout the writings of any saint.  Sometimes we want to avoid the darkness in our life, we want 
to avoid the cross, but if we truly long to be one with Jesus, we must embrace the cross, and even die to ourselves each day in a spirit of joy and rejoicing amid this journey of faith that is walked in darkness.

Our Savior came into this world in darkness, in poverty, in humility, in love. Let us follow him from birth to death in order to experience the resurrection and life with Him for all eternity, for this is our calling as Carmelites. 

As Carmelites, we experience the "radiant darkness" in our lives of quiet prayer in faith on behalf of the church. This radiant darkness of Christ in our life is a stumbling block to the world who find a false light and joy in the attachment of created things. 

Let us give thanks to God that he has called us to Carmel. Let us pray for each other that we always follow Christ, even in our darkest moments of trial and temptation. We will never be led astray if we follow the Crucified and Risen Savior who is the light of the world.

View previous posts of "Three Words of Wisdom"


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
_____________________

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

CARMELITE QUOTE

Photo: R. Massaro Regina Health Center, Richfield, Ohio


From the Life of St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila):

(Speaking of her great illness)

...only the Lord can know the unbearable torments I suffered within myself: my tongue, bitten to pieces, my throat unable to let even water pass down--from not having swallowed anything and from the great weakness that oppressed me; everything seeming to be disjointed; the greatest confusion in my head; all shrivelled and drawn together in a ball. The result of the torments of those four days was that I was unable to stir, not an arm or a foot, neither hand nor head, unable to move as though I were dead; only one finger on my right hand it seemed I was able to move. Since there was no way of touching me, because I was so bruised that I couldn't endure it, they moved me about in a sheet...This lasted until Easter...the pains often stopped, and I considered myself already well...although the quartan fevers that remained with their accompanying severe chills were so harsh that I found them unbearable; the lack of appetite was very great.

Right away I was in a hurry to return to the convent...the state of my weakness was indescribable, for I was then only bones. I may add that the above condition lasted more than eight months. The paralysis, although it gradually got better, lasted almost three years. When I began to go about on hands and knees, I praised God...It seems to me that all my longing to be cured was that I might remain alone in prayer as was my custom, for in the infirmary the suitable means for this was lacking. I went to confession very often. I spoke much about God in such a way that I was edifying to everyone, and they were amazed at the patience the Lord gave me. For if this patience had not come from the hand of His Majesty, it seemed it would have been impossible to suffer so much with so great contentment.

The Book of her Life, Chap. 6, No. 1-2.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Sunday, December 13, 2015

CARMELITE FEAST DAYS

Photo: R. Massaro-Carmelite Monastery-Cleveland, Ohio
Carmelite Feast Day: St. John of the Cross-Dec. 14
Happy Feast Day to all Carmelites!

Song of the soul that rejoices 
in knowing God through faith.
A poem by St. John of the Cross


That eternal spring is hidden,
for I know well where it has its rise,
although it is night.

I do not know its origin, nor has it one,
but I know that every origin has come from it,
although it is night.

I know that nothing else is so beautiful,
and that the heavens and the earth drink there,
although it is night.

I know well that it is bottomless
and no one is able to cross it,
although it is night.

Its clarity is never darkened,
and I know that every light has come from it,
although it is night.

I know that its streams are so brimming
they water the lands of hell, the heavens, and earth,
although it is night.

I know well the stream that flows from this spring
is mighty in compass and power,
although it is night.

I know the stream proceeding from these two,
that neither of them in fact precedes it,
although it is  night.

This eternal spring is hidden 
in the living bread for our life's sake,
although it is night.

It is here calling out to creatures;
and they satisfy their thirst,
although in darkness,
although it is night.

This living spring that I long for,
I see in this bread of life,
although it is night.


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Spiritual Direction With St. John of the Cross


Photo: R. Massaro Lourdes, France

Today's teaching comes from St. John's classic, The Ascent of Mt. Carmel. In this excerpt, St. John makes a seven-fold list of souls who take pleasure in their good works. 

First: Vanity and Pride.
_________________________________________
These people brag about themselves and their accomplishments. Perhaps you have heard this type of soul in your parish community. They may go on and on about how they formed a prayer group, initiated an adoration program, started a soup kitchen, organized the choir, and on and on.  There is no humility in their good works. They boast for all the world to see. They love praise!

Second: Comparing people and their actions
______________________________
These people love to judge and speculate on the motives of others who perform good works.  They infer that the work of another is not as perfect as their own. They do not esteem others or respect them, for they themselves are on the pedestal to which only they can ascend. They become angry when others are noticed and praised. This type of thinking can lead to the sin of detraction.

Third: Only perform good works if praise will be given
_______________________________
St. John teaches that these people resemble the Pharisees that Jesus spoke about. They only perform good works in order to be noticed. Their motive is not the love of God but the praise of men.

Fourth: They do not find their joy in God
_______________________________
These souls are an unhappy and confused people.  Since they perform works for human praise, they are confused, upset and angry when they do not receive it.  Since their motives are not pure, they find no pleasure in pleasing God alone and finding in Him the only reward necessary. These people are hard to work with, they complain constantly about the amount of work, their schedule, the management, etc.

Listen to this powerful statement of St. John regarding these souls: "There is so much misery among human beings as regards this kind of harm that I believe most of the works publicly achieved are either faulty, worthless, or imperfect in God's sight." He goes on to say, "It can be said that in these works some adore themselves more than God."




St. Therese desired to keep
her acts of charity hidden.

St. John teaches that a lack of detachment is at the heart of this illness. That is why he recommends that in order to avoid this spiritual illness we must strive to hide our good works, even from ourselves! We know from the life of St. Therese and her way of hidden love that she was a master at hiding her good works. Let us learn from her example. 

Fifth: Failure to advance in the way of perfection
_______________________________
Since these souls are attached to the consolations received by performing good deeds, they lack perseverance in actually carrying out these good works. When God tries them by removing the sweetness attached to the good works.  These souls are spiritually immature, and, in a way, they refuse to "grow up." They prefer  "infants milk" instead of the "bread of the perfect" as St. John puts it.

Sixth: They are under the illusion that works that bring satisfaction are better than those that do not
____________________________________
These souls cannot see that God esteems more the deed that requires self-denial than a deed that is easily done because of the consolation one receives. St. John states: "This evil arises when they seek to please themselves in their works and not God alone."

Seventh: Incapable of taking counsel and unable to be formed in the way of perfection
___________________________________
Because of this weakness and imperfection in the soul and of the pride involved, they refuse to believe that anyone can counsel them. St. John says these souls become slack in charity toward God and neighbor. Self-love makes the soul grow cold in charity.

Let us pray for each other, that we always strive to please God and not men when we are performing acts of charity. If we struggle with this, turn to God, who is able to give us the grace needed to purify our motives.

Excerpt from The Ascent of Mt. Carmel, Book III, Chap. 28 No. 1-9, The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds
____________________

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Divine Mercy Litany

Photo: R. Massaro-St. Stephen Church Cleveland, Ohio


Divine Mercy, gushing forth from the bosom of the Father, 

I trust in You
Divine Mercy, greatest attribute of God,

 I trust in You
Divine Mercy, incomprehensible mystery, 

I trust in You
Divine Mercy, fountain gushing forth from the mystery of the Most Blessed Trinity, 

I trust in You
Divine Mercy, unfathomed by any intellect, human or angelic,

 I trust in You
Divine Mercy, from which wells forth all life and happiness,

 I trust in You
Divine Mercy, better than the heavens,

 I trust in You
Divine Mercy, source of miracles and wonders, 

I trust in You
Divine Mercy, encompassing the whole universe, 

I trust in You
Divine Mercy, descending to earth in the Person of the Incarnate Word, 

I trust in You
Divine Mercy, which flowed out from the open wound of the Heart of Jesus,

I trust in You
Read more...


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie,ocds

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Advent Meditation

ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS
By St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)


When the days grow shorter and shorter, when --in a normal winter--the first snowflakes fall, then quietly and softly thoughts of Christmas begin to surface, and from the mere word a certain magic exudes that affects every heart. Even those of other faiths, or of no faith at all, to whom the story of the Child of Bethlehem has no meaning, prepare for the feast and even make plans to convey its joy here or there. Months and weeks in advance, there flows a warmth like a stream of love over the whole world. A festival of love and joy--that is the star which beckons all mankind in the first winter months.
Photo: R. Massaro

For the Christian, and especially for the Catholic Christian, it is yet something else. Him the star leads to the manger with the little Child who brings peace to earth. In countless endearing pictures, artists have created the scene for our eyes; ancient legends, replete with all the magic of childhood, sing to us about it. Whoever lives along with the Church hears the ancient chants and feels the longing of the spirit in the Advent hymns; and whoever is familiar with the inexhaustible fount of sacred liturgy is daily confronted by the great prophet of the Incarnation with his powerful words of warning and promise.

             Drop down dew from above and let the clouds rain
             the Just One! The Lord is near! Let us adore Him!
             Come, Lord, and do not delay! Jerusalem, rejoice
             with great joy, for your Savior comes to you!

From 17 to 24 December, the great O Antiphons to the Magnificat call out with ever greater longing and fervor their 'Come, to set us free.' And with still more promise (on the last Advent Sunday), 'Behold, all is fulfilled:' then, finally, 'Today you shall know that the Lord is coming and tomorrow you shall see His splendor.'


Photo: R. Massaro-St. Augustine Church Barberton, Ohio

Yes, on that evening when the lights on the tree are lit and the gifts are being exchanged, that unfulfilled longing is still there groping for another ray of Light until the bells for Midnight Mass ring out, and the miracle of that Holy Night is renewed upon altars bedecked with lights and flowers: 'And the Word was made flesh.' Now the moment of the blessed fulfillment has arrived.



Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Sunday, November 22, 2015

CARMELITE QUOTE

Photo: R. Massaro St. Michael Byzantine Catholic Church Akron, Ohio

HIS MAJESTY: CHRIST THE KING


From the Life of St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila):

As often as the Lord commanded something of me in prayer and my confessor told me to do otherwise, the Lord returned and told me to obey my confessor; afterward His Majesty would change the confessor's mind, and he would agree with the Lord's command. When they forbade the reading of many books in the vernacular, I felt that prohibition very much because reading some of them was an enjoyment for me, and I could no longer do so since only the Latin editions were allowed. the Lord said to me: "Don't be sad, for I shall give you a living book." I was unable to understand why this was said to me, since I had not yet experienced any visions. Afterward, within only a few days, I understood very clearly, because I received so much to think about and such recollection in the presence of what I saw, and the Lord showed so much love for me by teaching me in many ways, that I had very little or almost no need for books.His Majesty had become the true book in which I saw the truth.
The Book of Her Life, Chap. 26, No. 5



Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS


Friday, November 20, 2015

SATURDAY OF OUR LADY


Photo: R. Massaro-Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted Shrine Youngstown, Ohio



At the dawn of creation the eyes of God rested with satisfaction on the universe He created. At a second moment He looked with pleasure on the soul of Mary, as He was about to recreate a fallen world. So fresh, unsullied, so unsurpassingly beautiful she was. He smiled on the loveliest creature that his creative love had fashioned; He saw that she was good.

Her soul was a meeting-place. Here was goodness, for she was full of grace; here was beauty, for she was all-beautiful; here was truth, for here was the Word in her womb, the source of all truth. No wonder He found delight in her.
Pilgrims with Mary, John Moloney, P.P.




Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

CARMELITE SAINTS

ST. ANDREW CORSINI
Feast Day: January 9

Andrecorsini.JPG
Photo:  www.O.Carm.org

Andrew was born at the beginning of the fourteenth century in Florence and entered the Carmelite Order there. He was elected provincial of Tuscany at the general chapter of Metz in 1348. He was made bishop of Fiesole on October 13, 1349, and gave the Church a wonderful example of love, apostolic zeal, prudence and love of the poor. He died on January 6, 1374.

God our Father,
you reveal that those who work for peace will be called your children.
Through the prayers of St. Andrew Corsini,
who excelled as a peacemaker,
help us to work without ceasing 
for that justice which brings true and lasting peace.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.








Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS


Sunday, November 1, 2015

CARMELITE SAINTS

The Order of Carmel will celebrate the feast of All Carmelite Saints on November 14. I'll be highlighting a few of the lesser-known saints of Carmel in preparation for the feast.


Saint Kuriakos Elias Chavara, Priest
Feast Day: January 3

Photo:  http://www.kuriakoseeliaschavara.com/

Bl. Kuriakos Chavara was raised to the altar and enrolled in the calendar of Saints on November 23, 2014 by Pope Francis.

The miracle that was considered for the canonization of Blessed Chavara Kuriakose Elias was the instantaneous, total and stable cure of the squint eye of Maria Jose Kottarathil. She is the youngest child of Mr. Jose Thomas and Mrs. Marykutty Jose Kottarathil. She has two brothers, George, the eldest who is a Seminarian in the Pala Diocese and Febin who pursues university studies. Maria was born on 5 April 2005 at Pala, Kottayam District, Kerala, and was baptized in the St. Thomas Cathedral Church, Pala. She had the defect of congenital squint (alternating esotropia) in both her eyes, noticed clearly by her parents as well as those who knew her from about four or five months after her birth. Read more...







Biography:

In the Arabian coast at Kainakary in Kuttanadu, in the diocese of Changanasesry, Kerala, India Kuriakose Elias Chavara was born on February 10, 1805 as the sixth child of parents Kuriakos and Mariam. The Chavara family is believed to be the descendant of the Pakalomattam family, one of the four that claim descent from the time of St.Thomas at Palayur, central Kerala. On 8th September 1805 the child Kuriakose was dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary at the Marian shrine in Vechoor.  Read more...


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Spiritual Life Dictionary


SPIRITUAL LIFE DICTIONARY
TODAY'S TERM: DETRACTION




I recently heard and excellent homily concerning the sin of detraction.  This homily is a good reminder for us to be on guard against the sins we commit against our neighbor and the harm that our words can cause another.  For clarification, keep in mind that the sin of calumny involves telling lies about another person. The sin of detraction involves revealing the hidden faults of another that seriously damage that person's reputation. Detraction is a sin against the virtues of Justice and Charity.

It's sad that in our weak and sinful human nature, we resort to revealing the faults and failings of family members, friends, and coworkers in order to make ourselves look good in the eyes of others. Sometimes, when there is not much to talk about, instead of talking about what the Lord has done for us, we end up talking about others behind their back.  How many times have we spiritually "thrown someone under the bus" when they were not present? How many people involved in that conversation defended the party who was not present? Perhaps someone in the conversation uttered those not-so-wise words, "But, it's true, so it's not gossip,!" to justify their sin. Reading the definition of this sin and listening to the homily will be a wake-up call for many of us.

Here is the definition of detraction from a Catholic dictionary:

Detraction:
Covers those sins commonly referred to as uncharitable talk; it is unjustly depriving another of his good name behind his back, either by calumny or by saying that which is true; in the latter case there is no right to publish what is true against him without just cause if it is not publicly known, for every man has a right to his good reputation so long as he can retain it. But for a just cause (e.g., the public good, or to protect the innocent) the secret sin of another may be made known. The degree of seriousness of detraction is in accordance with the harm done to the person detracted and the malice of the speaker; being a sin against justice as well as charity it leaves an obligation of making restitution as far as possible. He who by listening to detraction encourages it actively or passively sins equally with the detractor.
A Catholic Dictionary by Donal Attwater


Although we have focused on the person who is guilty of detraction, let's not forget that perhaps we, ourselves, have been the victim of someone speaking about our faults. Let us remember that to grow in virtue, we can accept this humiliation and unite ourselves with  Our Lord who was often humiliated in this way. We can read the lives of the saints to learn how they handled similar situations.  Most saints were ready and willing to reveal their faults and failings to the entire world, such was their humility. If we want to be saints we must be willing at all times to put others in a good light and to "Never let evil talk pass your lips; say only the good things men need to hear, things that will really help them. "
(Ephesians 4:29) As Secular Carmelites, we can look to our Holy Mother, St. Teresa. She writes over and over again about the spiritual harm that comes to souls that seek "honor" and a good name. 

If we are devastated by the things others say about us and lose peace over what people think about us, I'm afraid we still have a long way to go in the spiritual life. Let us persevere in prayer which brings self-knowledge. Self-knowledge is the truth that is revealed to us, about us, from the Holy Spirit. Although this may be painful at times, He gives us the grace to persevere and not to despair.  He strengthens us so that in time, the hurtful and sinful things people say about us will never disturb our interior peace, for our aim is to please God and not man.


Homily: The Sin of Detraction

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eJGeh_Q1sS0


Let us pray for each other!

Rosemarie, O.C.D.S.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

News of great joy:
 The parents of St. Therese of the Child Jesus are canonized Sunday, October 18, 2015.  Saints Louis and Zelie Martin, pray for us!


The miracle behind the canonization of the parents of St Therese of Lisieux





.- Seven-year-old Carmen has an extraordinary story. Because of her Blessed Louis Martin and Zelie Guerin, the parents of Saint Therese of Lisieux, will be canonized this Sunday in Saint Peter's Square.
The little girl was born prematurely in Spain in 2008 at just six months into pregnancy. She was fighting for her life for several weeks because of a cerebral hemorrhage and other severe ailments.  
But her loved ones and many Carmelite sisters sought the miraculous intervention of the Martins. The Vatican recognized the baby’s healing as miraculous. Read more...


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Carmelite Feast Days



St. Teresa of Jesus
Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Feast Day: October 15

For complete Novena to St. Teresa
Click on image on right sidebar



Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Carmelite Feast Days



St. Teresa of Jesus
Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Feast Day: October 15


For the complete Novena to St. Teresa 
click on her image on the right sidebar






Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Novena to St. Teresa of Avila


St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila)
Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Feast Day: October 15
(For complete Novena, click on image on right sidebar)


Novena Day 1


 This Novena was written by St. Alphonsus Liguori.

First Day: 

O most amiable Lord Jesus Christ! We thank You for the great gift of faith and of devotion to the Holy Sacrament, which You didst grant to your beloved Teresa; we pray, by Your merits and by those of your faithful spouse, to grant us the gift of a lively faith, and of a fervent devotion toward the most Holy Sacrament of the altar; where You, O infinite Majesty! abide with us even to the end of the world. 

Say one Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be. 

V. St. Teresa, pray for us: 

R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ. 

Let us pray: Graciously hear us, O God of our salvation! that as we rejoice in the commemoration of the blessed virgin Teresa, so we may be nourished by her heavenly doctrine, and draw from them the fervor of a tender devotion; through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.


Carmelite Quote from St. Teresa of Jesus:

God deliver you from the peace of many kinds that worldly people have. May He never allow us to try it, for it brings perpetual war. When such persons of the world remain quiet, while going about in serious sin, and so tranquil about their vices, for their consciences don't feel remorseful about anything, their peace, you have read, is a sign that they and the devil are friends.
Meditation on the Song of Songs, Chap. 4, No. 1


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS



Thursday, October 1, 2015

Carmelite Feast Days

ST. THERESE OF THE CHILD JESUS AND 
OF THE HOLY FACE
VIRGIN AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH
FEAST DAY: OCTOBER 1




To be Your Spouse, to be a Carmelite, and by my union with You to be the Mother of souls, should not this suffice me? And yet it is not so. No doubt, these three privileges sum up my true vocation: Carmelite, Spouse, Mother, and yet I feel within me other vocations. I feel the vocation of the WARRIOR, THE PRIEST, THE APOSTLE, THE DOCTOR, THE MARTYR. Finally, I feel the need and the desire of carrying out the most heroic deeds for You, O Jesus. I feel within my soul the courage of the Crusader, the Papal Guard, and I would want to die on the field of battle in defense of the Church.
St. Therese of Lisieux Her Last Conversations, John Clark, o.c.d.,Washington, D.C. ICS, 1997.






Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Heartbreakers:The Seven Sorrows of the Saints



Photo: R. Massaro St. Luke Chuch, Danville, Ohio

Recently, on September 15, we celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows. There is a beautiful devotion to Our Lady under this title that one can pray on rosary beads, it's the Chaplet of the Seven Sorrows. Although I'm sure our Blessed Mother had many more sorrows than the traditional seven that are listed below, the Church asks us to meditate upon these while saying this Chaplet.

1.  The Prophecy of Simeon
2.  The Flight into Egypt
3.  The Loss of Jesus in the Temple
4.  Mary meets Jesus on the Way to Calvary
5.  The Crucifixion and Death of Jesus
6.  The taking down of the body of Jesus from the Cross (Pieta)
7.  The Burial of Jesus

Here is a website that will help you to learn to say the Chaplet that is also known as the Servite Rosary:

http://www.rosaryandchaplets.com/chaplets/seven_sorrows_prayer.html


When we read the lives of the saints, we learn that many things in life made them sorrowful. Similarly, in today's society, there are many issues that cause Catholics, Christians, and good people to be sorrowful.  The saints are people who strive to console the heart of God by living a holy life and in some way try to make up for those who offend Him. Let us consider how the saints would be spiritually wounded in light of today's society (these are in no particular order):

1. God is Not Loved in the World; He is Rejected By Man.

The Prophecy of Simeon is the First Sorrow of Our Lady. While holding the Christ Child, the holy man raises his eyes to heaven and states, Now, Master, you can dismiss your servant in peace; you have fulfilled your word, for my eyes have witness your saving deed displayed for all the people to see... (Luke 2:29-31).

God sent his only Son, Jesus Christ, as our Redeemer, and He is rejected over and over again by people who desire to live as they please. There is no sense of sin or thought of offending Almighty God. Even among the faithful, there are those who reject him and the Church's teachings.



2.  The Lord's Day is Not Kept Holy.

On Sunday, it's business as usual in the marketplace and in our homes. Long gone are the "Blue Laws" our country once observed. While most Blue Laws or "Sunday Closing Laws" have been repealed, some laws such as the sale of alcohol remain in effect. The laws that were established in the age of Puritanism were not enacted to give people a day of rest, but were written to respect the Sabbath.

The lack of keeping the Lord's Day holy must have been a sorrow for St. Pope John Paul II, because he wrote an Apostolic Letter on this very subject. Here is a quote from his letter:

Unfortunately, when Sunday loses its fundamental meaning and becomes merely part of a "weekend", it can happen that people stay locked within a horizon so limited that they can no longer see "the heavens". Hence, though ready to celebrate, they are really incapable of doing so

 It is clear then why, even in our own difficult times, the identity of this day must be protected and above all must be lived in all its depth. (Dies Domini, No. 4, 30).


3.  Abuse, torture, and killing of God's children.

The Second Sorrow of Our Lady is the flight into Egypt.  Herod desired to kill the Christ child.  In our society, there are many, many, who desire to kill children while they are still living in their mother's womb. Children are abused, tortured, and starved on a daily basis in some homes. In the Middle East, Christians are being persecuted and beheaded for their faith in Jesus Christ.

4.  The worship of false gods.

The third sorrow of Our Lady is the loss of the child Jesus in the temple.  When Jesus was found, he boldly declared,  Did you not know that I must be about my Father's business?  In our society, it seems that the Father's business is none of our business. We live in an age of materialism, individualism, and relativism, spiritual illnesses in which we worship ourselves and not God.

5.  Presuming on God's mercy.

One has only to speak to a neighbor, relative, or friend, or pick up the local newspaper and read the obituaries to learn that absolutely everyone is going to heaven. And not just going there by way of Purgatory, but going there directly when they die-the condition and state of being of a saint. 

In our society there is a deep lack of a sense of sin, and no desire to be accountable or purified of the sins one has committed during his or her life. Then,when one dies, a funeral becomes a eulogy in which the deceased is lifted on a spiritual pedestal and canonized by the family.

6.  Blasphemies against the Holy Eucharist.

Today, our Lord has many enemies. There are those who wish to desecrate the most Holy Eucharist. Churches are vandalized. Statues and religious articles are destroyed or desecrated by those claiming artistic freedom. Even among the faithful, sacrilegious communions take place.

7.  The Blessed Mother is not duly honored in the world.

St. Louis de Montfort, in his spiritual masterpiece, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, writes:

It was through the blessed Virgin Mary that Jesus Christ came into the world, and it is also through her that he must reign in the world. (True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, Introduction, No. 1).

I admire good Catholics who never seem to tire of defending Our Lady and explaining her role in the Church: to bring each soul to her Son, Jesus Christ. She is our model of prayer, humility, and obedience. 

At the beginning of this article, I listed the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady. Sadly, we could update and lengthen this list in light of how Our Lady is treated in the world today. 

Our Lady of Lourdes spoke these tender words tinged with sorrow to St. Bernadette:  I do not promise to make you happy in this life, but in the next

Yes, Our Lady confirms what we have come to know, that life and striving for holiness is, at times, a "Valley of Tears." But in God's mercy and goodness, he gives us joys to balance our afflictions. He gives us the joy of receiving him in the Holy Eucharist. The joy of having good and holy friends to imitate, the Communion of Saints. The joy of having a Holy Mother who never abandons us, even when we are sorrowful to the point of despair over our sins. As Catholics, we have the "best of both worlds." Why? Because we have Our Lord present with us in the Blessed Sacrament and we can receive him daily if we wish. And, if we are faithful, we will be with him forever.

We have discussed the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady and of the saints. If you have the courage, consider the  "Seven Sorrows" of your own personal life. Whatever our sorrows, or our great sins, if we are truly sorry, the Lord forgives us through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. When we have repented, he then consoles us. The Holy Spirit is the great Consoler. Our Lady of Sorrows, Spouse of the Holy Spirit, the Consoler, pray for us!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS















Saturday, September 26, 2015

Saturday of Our Lady



Photo: R. Massaro-Lourdes, France


An excerpt from Pilgrims With Mary by John Maloney, P.P.


Round the whole life of Mary there is the serene calm of a great silence. The great things of God are done in silence. When the night was on its way and all the world was asleep the Savior was born. Right through the story Mary was ever present, but nearly always silent.

She must have loved the silence of the hills, the lovely calm of those hidden years. Jesus also loved the quiet of the hills. There in the early morning and through the nights He found refreshment, alone in the prayer of God.

Ours is a world of noise; and we tend to need the companionship of noise. And unless we are careful our souls become like a crowded inn, and the gentle knocking of God at the door is drowned in a babel of voices clamoring for attention. 

Prayer:

Immaculate Virgin, grant me something of that silence full of love and peace which always filled your soul. Make my ear always attentive to God's word. 


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Saturday of Our Lady



Photo: R. Massaro Our Lady of Consolation, Carey, Ohio

Mary is the supreme masterpiece of Almighty God and he has reserved the knowledge and possession of her for himself. She is the glorious Mother of God the Son who chose to humble and conceal her during her lifetime in order to foster her humility.
St. Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin









Peace be with you!
Rosemarie


Sunday, September 6, 2015

SPIRITUAL LIFE DICTIONARY

 Today's Term: Punctuality

The Call to Prayer: Be on time
Photo: R. Massaro St. Agnes Church Orrville, Ohio

Punctuality? Really? You may be thinking, what does this have to do with the spiritual life? Well, I think it is a very important part of the spiritual life.  Punctuality may not be one of the most recognized gifts of the Holy Spirit, but it truly is a gift from God.

You may live in a divided household; your spouse may be the punctual one, or perhaps it's the other way around.  Do you know someone who is habitually late for an appointment? Are you the person who tries to keep the other person accountable for being on time?  Yes, it's a challenge for many of us in our busy lives as we try to juggle errands, activities, and appointments.

Think of the many times we rely on the punctuality of another person. We go to our doctor and he's running late. His lack of punctuality causes us stress, unless we have the gift of patience where the lack of punctuality on the part of another does not disturb the calm of our heart.

How many times have we been "run off of the road" by someone who is probably running late for work or an appointment? Their lack of punctuality and their response to it threaten the lives of others on the road. Yes, a lack of punctuality can be dangerous, especially in the spiritual life.

Being punctual for Mass, prayer time, and religious activities says a lot about who we are and the desire we have to be at attention and "ready for service" to the Holy Spirit. In the monastic setting,  the manner of punctuality effects the keeping of the rule. For religious persons, those in monasteries and religious communities must be punctual so that the prayer life of the community is not disrupted. The punctuality of all the members is essential for unity and peace, which reflects the common vision of their charism.

 St. Therese of the Child Jesus is an example of a saint who tried to be punctual. She writes about this in her Story of a Soul. She says that she wanted to be obedient, even in small things. When she was writing her memoirs and heard the bell, the call to prayer, she would stop writing in mid-sentence. That small act of self-denial took great effort on her part until she matured in the virtue of punctuality.

Here is what one of my favorite writers, Fr. Adolphe Tanquerey, in his great work The Spiritual Life says about punctuality:

Punctuality is an integral part of the observance of a rule of life. Not to begin an exercise at the prescribed moment, and that without a reason, already constitutes an act of resistance to grace, which admits of no delays; it is to run the risk of omitting or at least shortening this exercise from lack of time. If it is question of some public exercise of the ministry, a delay often means considerable inconvenience to the faithful; on the part of a teacher lack of punctuality sets before the students a bad example which they are but too prone to follow.

The Spiritual Life. The Very Reverend Adlophe Tanquerey, SS.,D.D.. Society of St. John the Evangelist, Desclee & Co., Imprimatur, Michael J. Curley, Archbishop of Baltimore, May 24, 1930.

When we go to Mass we expect the celebration to begin on time. When the priest is late, we begin to worry that something may be wrong. It gives us spiritual security to know that the Mass is going to take place each day at a specific time. We should make every effort to be on time for Holy Mass.


A lack of punctuality can lead to a greater fault that is hard to cure: procrastination!  Sometimes procrastination is caused by laziness, sometimes it's a state of denial when we find a difficult situation hard to confront, or there is a difficult task we put off over and over again. If we are not careful, this becomes a habit and a way of life in dealing with difficult situations.

Jesus tells us that death comes like a thief in the night. Death will not delay at the prescribed moment. Therefore, we must be vigilant and spread the Gospel without delay. We must be found at all times doing the will of God, so that when death arrives, we are prepared and ready to meet Our Lord face-to-face.

As Secular Carmelites, we are required to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. We should make every effort to keep the designated hours of Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer. We should be on time for these prayers and say them at the proper hours. Many of us delay these prayers, take shortcuts, then try to make it up later in the day. 

In the spiritual life, we fail many times by being late or even absent from prayer. However, we are very demanding that God be punctual. We want him to answer our prayer, now! Or, at prayer, we think, I'm here, God. Where are You?

Let us pray for each other, that we be punctual, diligent, faithful, and respond quickly to the promptings of the Holy Spirit.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS






Sunday, August 30, 2015

Spiritual Direction with St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila)


GOOD ROOTS OR BAD ROOTS-IT'S UP TO US


Photo: R. Massaro


In the Life of St. Teresa, she writes that after her conversion, she was so intent on pleasing the Lord that she did everything possible to avoid venial sin.  For most people in the spiritual life, who are striving to be perfect, we usually find ourselves in the territory of committing venial sins, the same venial sins, over and over again. 

Perhaps we go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation and repeat the same sins month after month, even though we have a firm desire to overcome even these venial sins. St. Teresa exhorts us to overcome these sins, so that we don't repeat the same sins to our confessor, she writes:

There are some persons who have already attained friendship with the Lord because they have confessed their sins well and have repented, but two days don't pass before they return to them. Indeed, that is not the friendship the bride is asking for. Always strive, O daughters, so that you don't go to the confessor each time to confess the same fault.


We must be careful and not be alarmed by the words of St. Teresa. We shouldn't be alarmed if we, at times, confess the same sin over and over again.  Did not Our Lord tell St. Peter that we should forgive seventy times seven times?

Then Peter came up and asked him, "Lord, when by brother wrongs me, how often must I forgive him? Seven times?" "No," Jesus replied,  "not seven times; I say, seventy times seven times."
(Matthew 18:21)

If we, as his lowly creatures are called to such mercy, will not the Lord be very merciful toward us who are struggling with the same sins? And forgive us over and over again, if we are truly sorry? Pope Francis has said in his teaching, that the Lord never tires of forgiving us: 

“God never tires of forgiving us; 

we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy.”

(Pope Francis)

St. Teresa, in her Meditation on the Song of Songs is speaking to the "bride-to-be." She is speaking to the soul who desires spiritual perfection so that she can be joined with the Bridegroom.  She writes:


It's true that we cannot live without faults, but at least there should be some change so that they don't take root. If they take root, they will be harder to eradicate and even many others could arise from them. If we plant an herb or small tree and water it each day, it grows so strong that afterward you need a shovel and a pickax to get it out by the roots. Committing the same fault each day, however small, if we do not make amends for it, is like watering a plant each day. And if one day it is planted and ten more pass by, it can still be easily rooted out. In prayer you must ask help from the Lord, for we of ourselves can do little; rather, we add faults instead of taking them away. Reflect that in that frightful judgment at the hour of death we shall see that this was no small matter especially for those the Judge took for His brides in this life.  (Meditation on the Song of Songs, Chap. 2, No. 18)

Our Statutes state the importance of the member receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation on a frequent basis:

Called to continual conversion, Secular Carmelites will seek to identify and place before God any obstacles and impediments to union with him. Confident in God's loving mercy, they will:

a) Engage in a daily examination of conscience, ideally just before retiring or at the beginning of Night Prayer.

b) Participate frequently in the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Penance).                  
(Daily Life, No. 5)


Let us pray for each other that the Holy Spirit inspire us to desire to please the Lord in all things. Let us guard the door of our heart, to prevent even the smallest sin from entering it. 

Most Pure Heart of Mary, Mother and Queen of Carmel, pray for us!

Rosemarie, OCDS