Friday, December 30, 2016

SATURDAY OF OUR LADY

MARY, THE HOLY MOTHER OF GOD
Feast Day: January 1



Photo: R. Massaro, Little Flower Parish North Canton, Ohio


"MARY IS MORE MOTHER THAN QUEEN"
                                                                   

Do not be afraid of loving the Blessed Virgin too much. You will never love her enough, and Jesus will be very happy, because the Blessed Virgin is His Mother.          

St. Therese

The solemnity of the Mother of God, which now coincides with the octave-day of Christmas and the beginning of the new year, was probably assigned this day because of the influence of the Byzantine Church, which celebrates the synapsis of the most holy Theotokos on December 26. Read more...



Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS



Saturday, December 24, 2016

MERRY CHRISTMAS!






CHRIST IS BORN!  GLORIFY HIM!






Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Saturday, December 17, 2016

SATURDAY OF OUR LADY

OUR LADY OF AMIENS

Feast Day: December 17



Photo Source: Wikipedia



Our Lady of Amiens, France

The shrine to Our Lady of Amiens is a cathedral. The church was erected in the third century by Saint Firmin, the bishop of Amiens, who received the crown of martyrdom during the persecution of Diocletian. A part of the head of Saint John the Baptist was preserved here; it was brought hither by a traveler named Galo, or Wallon de Sarton, depending upon the legend, on his return to Constantinople in the year 1205. Read more...










Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

CARMELITE FEAST DAYS

SOLEMNITY OF ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS
DECEMBER 14

Happy Feast Day to all Carmelites!


Photo: R. Massaro Carmelite Monastery Cleveland, Ohio


From the life of St. John of the Cross:

Once during Holy Week he suffered so intensely from the Passion of Christ that he found it impossible to leave the monastery to hear the nuns' confessions. Among his favorite feasts, besides those of the Blessed Trinity and Corpus Christi, were the feasts of the Blessed Virgin. In his prison cell, on the Vigil of the Assumption, after nine months of severe privation, he was asked what he was thinking of. He replied, "I was thinking that tomorrow is the feast of our Lady and that it would give me great joy to say Mass. The sight of an image of the Mother of God brought love and brightness to his soul. Once, on seeing an image of our Lady while he was preaching to the nuns in Caravaca, he could not conceal his love for her and exclaimed: "How happy I would be to live alone in a desert with that image."

St. John of the Cross, pray for us!







Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Friday, December 9, 2016

SATURDAY OF OUR LADY



OUR LADY OF GUADALUPE


Photo: R. Massaro Lourdes, France


Yesterday, we celebrated the feast of St. Juan Diego, the visionary of Guadalupe. On Monday, we will celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Did you know that the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is a mandatory feast day for the people of the Americas? Many feast days are optional, meaning the priest has the option of using the prayers proper to the saint of the particular day, or he may use the readings of the day. Below is an excerpt from the homily of St. John Paul II when he declared the feast to be mandatory.

"The Apostle Paul teaches us that we are no longer servants, but children of God. Therefore, the Church must proclaim the Gospel of Life and blame the culture of death. May it be the culture of life. Life for all! For all who have been conceived in the mother’s womb, refugees, the young, the old, for those who suffer, dear brothers and sister. The time has come of every attack against life--no more violence, terrorism, no more torture, or other forms of abuse. There must be an end to the death penalty---no more exploitation ---never again! The conscience is of the children of God. This will inspire them to live a better life. We must build up a New Springtime on the continents so it will go hand and hand."

A climax in the Holy Father’s homily concluded with the following words, "I wish to entrust and offer the future of this continent to Most Holy Mary, Mother of Christ and the Church. That is why, I have the great joy to announce today that I have declared this date December the 12th, as a Liturgical Holy Day for the whole continent."







Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

FEAST DAYS OF OUR LADY

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Photo: R. Massaro Lourdes, France

(Please enjoy this most requested post on the occasion of the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

Our Lady reveals herself to St. Bernadette:  

" I Am the Immaculate Conception"



It has been written that St. Bernadette desired to be a Carmelite nun but because of her poor health was not able to enter the Order. She eventually entered the Sisters of Charity at Nevers, France.

During the apparitions at Lourdes, very few words were spoken between St. Bernadette and Our Lady. Bernadette seemed to be a natural contemplative, she was quiet and reflective, she had an open heart and listened-ready to do the will of God. 

At the first apparition on Feb. 11, 1858, Bernadette heard the call of Our Lady, not only in the physical sign of Our Lady's impending appearance by the wind shaking the the trees, but in her heart. Bernadette described that she felt a "call" to go to the Grotto. It was an interior spiritual prompting of the Holy Spirit that attracted her to the Grotto to meet Our Lady in the later apparitions. Bernadette had to be a person of prayer to be attentive to this "call" and to respond to it.

Bernadette's meeting with Our Lady of Lourdes reflects the experience of the Prophet Elijah on Mount Carmel. The holy Prophet encountered God in a soft whispering sound that spoke directly to his heart. For Bernadette, the Grotto becomes the mountain where she meets God through Our Lady, where she learns to pray, where she is given the gift of contemplation.

The 18th and final apparition of Our Lady to Bernadette took place on July 16, the feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Our Lady remained silent during the final meeting with Bernadette. They looked at each other with love. This holy exchange is a beautiful example of perfect contemplation, where love needs no words.

As Carmelites, the main point of our rule is allegiance to Jesus Christ, and an offshoot of that main point is to imitate the Virgin Mary who pondered the Word in her heart. We can see in the life of St. Bernadette how Mary led her to contemplation.

Let's start at the beginning: In the first apparition, Mary shows herself to Bernadette, smiles at her but remains silent.

Do you remember your first encounter with Christ? The moment he first called you to intimate friendship with him? How difficult was it to pray from the heart for the first time?

Second Apparition: Bernadette throws holy water at the apparition. People tell her it could be the devil.

After the invitation from Christ, we begin to doubt that we are worthy to be loved by Him. We ask ourselves, "Is this from God?" Family members and friends wonder what is going on with us!

Third Apparition: Our Lady asks Bernadette, "Would you do me the kindness of coming here for fifteen days?" "I do not promise you happiness in this life but in the other."

Our Lady asks us to remain faithful in prayer, faithful to our commitment as Carmelites to seek the face of God in prayer on behalf of the Church. We must die to ourselves and experience joy in God alone. Worldly things no longer attract us.

Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Apparitions: Bernadette and Our Lady deepen their friendship. They pray together and even laugh together.

In the life of Carmel, our prayer life becomes deeper when we trust in the Lord as little children. We run to him and tell him everything; the joys and sorrows of our life. He is there to cry and laugh with us.

Eighth Apparition through the Twelfth: Our Lady with an air of sadness repeats: "penance, penance, penance." "Pray to God for sinners. " She asks Bernadette to kiss the ground for sinners...to eat the grass for sinners.

Now that our relationship with our Beloved has grown stronger he asks us to suffer with him, to take up our cross after him. The life of a Carmelite is a penitential one. Sometimes as Secular Carmelites we forget this aspect of our rule. We may adhere to the required prayer and spiritual reading, but do we really desire to mortify ourselves for the love of Christ?

Our Rules states:
The Secular Carmelite highly esteems the invitation of the Lord to deny himself and willingly to take up his cross daily and follow Him; he will, therefore, gladly mortify himself in union with the sacrifice of Christ, remembering, too, our Holy Mother Teresa's remark that "prayer cannot be accompanied by self-indulgence."

The Secular Carmelite will be especially faithful to the Church's penitential discipline. He will also, in accordance with the promptings of grace, and as far as circumstances will allow, make use of other means of mortification, particularly on those days and at those seasons that have a distinctive penitential character.

The Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Apparitions: Our Lady asks Bernadette to "go tell the priests that people should come here in procession and that a chapel should be built here."

Bernadette is sent on mission. We, too, as Carmelites, through our individual and community apostolates, share in the missionary life of the Church. Whatever that may be, making rosaries, helping the poor and the sick, teaching others about our Catholic faith-we must step outside of ourselves, for our vocation is not just for our personal sanctification. Our gifts are given to us to benefit the entire Church.

Sixteenth Apparition: Feast of the Annunciation. Our Lady reveals her name: "I am the Immaculate Conception."

Bernadette has been faithful to Our Lady's request, to her commitment to meet our Lady for fifteen days. She is rewarded.

Bernadette reminds me of the apostle John at the foot of the Cross in which Our Lord entrusts Mary, his mother, to his home. Now, Bernadette, stands before Our Lady at the Grotto on behalf of the Church ready and eager to hear her beautiful name: Immaculate Conception!


Seventeenth Apparition: Miracle of the candle. Bernadette experiences spiritual ecstasy.

Our Lady has led Bernadette on a spiritual pilgrimage, the road of deep prayer. Now the little pilgrim, Bernadette, experiences God with her whole being, she experiences spiritual ecstasy. She has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.

In their writings, St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa explain in great detail about deep mystical experience in prayer. We know that this type of gift is just that-pure gift, infused by God. As St. Teresa says, it cannot be produced by one's own effort. St. Bernadette experienced deep prayer through the help and guidance of Our Lady. Let us imitate the humble virgin, Bernadette, and let Our Lady lead us safely up the mountain, to perfect contemplation, to union with Christ. 

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Friday, December 2, 2016

SATURDAY OF OUR LADY

Photo: R. Massaro Words of Our Lady to St. Bernadette: Penance, Pray for the Conversion of sinners.


Editor's Note: Thank you to all of the readers of Spirit Singing who continue to visit and support my efforts of evangelization by way of Carmelite spirituality. I have not written much since my dear mother passed away almost a year ago.  A friend encouraged me to continue to share my gift of writing.  I was inspired to begin posting again with a meditation written by my late mother. She was a member of the Servants of St. Therese, a lay association of the faithful whose members visited nursing homes and gave spiritual talks to the residents. I found a book of mom's meditations and will share some of them with you. She bound her writings in this book labeled "perfection."  Below is her meditation on the "Our Father."


We say the prayer "Our Father" every day. For a long time, the part where we pray, "forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us," stood out in my mind when I prayed.
Somehow, through God's grace, I have been given an understanding of what this means.

Every person, every soul, is God's property. Like a house standing on some land. After all, we are all temples of the Holy Spirit and a temple is the house of God. So each and every one of us is God's private property, His house, with a big sign on it, No Trespassing! Private Property!

Every time we bring up someone's name before us, in conversation, in our thoughts, in our deeds, we are entering God's private property. If we enter that property without permission, or go there and trample underfoot or damage something there, we have trespassed! The same as if you had deliberately went there, invaded someone's privacy or damaged something. We have no business there, if that is what we do. If we come with Love in our hearts, knocking at the door, we then have permission to enter, and only then!

You know this is true, because, all of us, some time or another, have been on the receiving end of someone trespassing against us. And so, Jesus has asked us to forgive those who have hurt us, and to accept forgiveness for ourselves for hurting others. Love is what matters. He asks us to "Love one another, as I have loved you." He doesn't love just you or me, but everybody, whether we like it or not. Lord, forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.
Written by the late Mary Leary
Servant of St. Therese

I think my mom received a great grace of spiritual insight into how we trespass against others. The sins of gossip and detraction can be seen in light of her teaching on this. How many times do we bring up someone's name in front of others to criticize them, reprimand them, detract them, or "throw them under the bus" when they aren't even present to defend themselves. That is trespassing on God's private property, our neighbor.  Let us remember and take to heart the words of St. Paul to the Ephesians:

Never let evil talk pass your lips, say only the good things men need to hear, things that will really help them...Get rid of all bitterness, all passion and anger, harsh words, slander, and malice of every kind. In place of these, be kind to one another, compassionate, and mutually forgiving, just as God has forgiven you in Christ. (Ephesians 4)




Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS



Thursday, September 22, 2016

Novena to St. Therese



Novena to St. Therese



First Day
Spiritual Childhood
You can see that I am a very little soul and that I can offer God only very little things. I am too little to perform great actions. Jesus does not demand great actions from us but only surrender and gratitude. St. Therese

Novena Prayer
Saint Therese, through your example you taught us how to love God. Help us to grow in faith that our charity may be made perfect. Trusting that he will always hear our prayers, we renew our spiritual commitment and ask to be strengthened by God's love.

St. Therese, you showed us a way pleasing to God the "Little Way" of spiritual childhood. Lead us along this way to the light of God and the beauty of his Kingdom. Help us to see the good in everyone we meet as well as the beauty in ourselves.

Help us to keep our eternal goal in mind, knowing that Our Lord is waiting for us at the end of this life where we hope to meet you along with our dear departed loved ones in heaven. Amen.
(From the Carmel of Port Tobacco, Maryland)

May Saint Therese guide us on her Little Way and teach us to receive everything as a grace. We want to say with her: Each moment brings an opportunity to choose your will in love. In joy, in sorrow, in every circumstance of life, may our hearts rest in Yours.


Second Day

Confidence
We can never have too much confidence in the Good God. He is so mighty and merciful. As we hope in Him so shall we receive...I believe, I hope, I love.                    St. Therese

Novena Prayer
St. Therese, Flower of fervor and love, please intercede for me. Fill my heart with your pure love of God. Make me more aware of the goodness of God and how well he tends His garden. Instill in me your "Little Way" of doing ordinary things with extra-ordinary love. Give me the heart of a child who wonders at life and embraces everything with loving enthusiasm. Teach me your delight in God's ways so that divine charity may blossom in my heart. Little Flower of Jesus, bring my petitions (mention here) before God our Father. With your confidence, I come before Jesus as God's child, because you are my heavenly friend. Amen.

Third Day

Abandonment
The heart of St. Therese's "spiritual childhood" is total abandonment to the will of God. Sometimes as Carmelites we forget the other part of Therese's message: suffering. Yes, she abandoned herself to God
through holy suffering. People who read about St. Therese for the first time, perhaps reading Story of a Soul, find her simple and sweet. This is certainly not the case when one studies her writings. I would highly recommend the book St. Therese of Lisieux her last conversations, translated by John Clarke, OCD.

This book lays out page by page St. Therese's total abandonment to the will of God through heroic suffering.This abandonment is not an attitude of o.k. whatever happens, happens, I will deal with it. No, this holy abandonment in the life of a Carmelite is found in the waiting upon the Lord in prayer from moment to moment, ready to accept the joys and sufferings that He wills. And to accept all from his loving hand with a spirit of joy and peace. Near the end of her life when speaking of her great suffering St. Therese stated, "If i did not simply live from one moment to another it would be impossible for me to be patient, but I look only at the present. I forget the past and I take good care not to forestall the future. When we yield to discouragement or despair, it is usually because we think too much about the past or the future."She also said, "I thank Thee, O my God, for all the graces Thou hast bestowed on me, and particularly for having made me pass through the crucible of suffering."Let us as Carmelites pray to have the grace to imitate her total willingness to embrace the cross and rejoice in following Jesus on the narrow road of salvation.

Novena Prayer
O Little Therese of the Child Jesus, please pick for me a rose from the heavenly gardens and send it to me as a message of love. O Little Flower of Jesus, ask God today to grant the favors I now place with confidence in your hands...(Mention your request)St. Therese, help me to always believe as you did, in God's great love for me, so that I might imitate your "Little Way" each day. Amen

Fourth Day
Faith

For one whose faith is like a mustard seed, He grants miracles, and moves mountains to strengthen this faith. For His intimate friends, He works miracles before having tried their faith. But after the trial
what a reward! St. Therese St. Therese accepted the supernatural gift of faith with a total trust and confidence in God befitting a true
child of God with a pure heart. She wanted the whole world to love God as she loved him. She wanted to share this gift of faith and proclaim it to all continents of the earth, exclaiming, "I would spread the gospel to all parts of the earth even to the farthest isles. I would be a missionary but not for a few years only; were it possible I would wish to have been one from the world's creation and to remain one until the end of time."

We know from her writings that she suffered through the dark night of faith. She stated that for long years the Lord gave her no consolations, it was she says, "as if, our Lord were asleep in the boat." But she rejoices at this saying, " I love all He does."

Let us pray to our little doctor of great Love to help us to love Him as she loves Him. May we see in her shower of roses a symbol of "everything is a grace" and let us love everything He does in our lives as a shower of roses from heaven.

Novena Prayer
Saint Therese, through your example you taught us how to love God. Help us to grow in faith that our charity may be made perfect. Trusting that he will always hear our prayers, we renew our spiritual commitment and ask to be strengthened by God's love.

St. Therese, you showed us a way pleasing to God the "Little Way" of spiritual childhood. Lead us along this way to the light of God and the beauty of his Kingdom. Help us to see the good in everyone we meet as well as the beauty in ourselves.

Help us to keep our eternal goal in mind, knowing that Our Lord is waiting for us at the end of this life where we hope to meet you along with our dear departed loved ones in heaven. Amen.

May Saint Therese guide us on her Little Way and teach us to receive everything as a grace. We want to say with her: Each moment brings an opportunity to choose your will in love. In joy, in sorrow, in every circumstance of life, may our hearts rest in Yours. Amen.

Fifth Day
Humility

Answering one day the question of Mother Agnes of Jesus-her sister Pauline-: "What do you mean by remaining little before God? What is your Little Way?" She replied: It is to recognize our nothingness, to expect everything from God as a little child expects everything from its father; it is to be disquieted about nothing, and not to be set on gaining our living...To be little is not attributing to oneself the virtues that one practises, believing oneself capable of anything, but to recognise that God places this treasure in the hands of His little child to be used where necessary; but it remains always God's treasure. Finally, it means not to become discouraged over one's faults, for children fall often, but they are too little to hurt themselves very much."(From the Little Way Association)

Did you read between the lines of St. Therese's response? She is describing humility in her unique way, in light of a child of God. St. Teresa of Jesus teaches us that humility is truth, and St. Therese has spelled out for us this truth. We are God's children, and all the graces and virtue we receive are His through the Holy Spirit who gifts us with grace.

Pride is one of the greatest death sentences to the spiritual life. When we try to do our own will with our "own power" we run into obstacles and lose the precious gift of humility in which we see ourselves as mere creatures before the All Mighty God who created us. St. Therese's Little Way is a fast-track, if you will, to holiness. It is simple and uncomplicated. You don't need to have the stigmata, perform healing, or read hearts, you simply choose to love in every circumstance of life.

Here are some qualities of spiritual childhood exhibited by St. Therese (Again, courtesy of the Little Way Association):

*Total Confidence in the heavenly Father
*Abandonment and self-surrender to the Father
*Simplicity
*Love
*Joy
*Humility
*Value of little things
*Docility
*Weakness
*Simple prayer
*Openness
*Living in the moment

Novena Prayer
O Little Therese of the Child Jesus, please pick for me a rose from the heavenly gardens and send it to me as a message of love. O Little Flower of Jesus, ask God today to grant the favors I now place with confidence in your hands...(mention your request)St. Therese, help me to always believe as you did, in god's great love for me, so that I might imitate your "Little Way" each day. Amen.

Sixth Day
Suffering
"For Love's sake I wish to suffer and to rejoice: so shall I strew my flowers. Not one that I see but, singing all the while, I will scatter its petals before thee. Should my roses be gathered from amid thorns,
I will sing notwithstanding, and the longer and sharper the thorns, the sweeter will grow my song."

A common expression is used today when describing a person one looks up to with admiration, people say,"He's my hero." "She's my hero." The Catholic Church is full of saintly "heroes." The Church does not canonize people because of extra-ordinary mystical graces, or because they suffered, or because they had the gift of healing or prophecy. No, the Church canonizes members of the faithful who have lived a life of heroic virtue. Saint Therese is a perfect example of doing what St. Paul exhorts us to do: "do everything with love."

We know that St. Therese wanted to be love in the heart of the Church. And God gave her the grace to live, suffer and die with great love. The Church has proclaimed her, "Doctor of Love." A fitting title indeed for one who abandoned herself completely to the merciful love of God.

As lay Carmelites, let us pray to our sister and Saint, Therese, to obtain for us the grace to live, to suffer, and to die with God's holy love firmly rooted in our heart.

Novena Prayer
St Therese Flower of fervor and love, please intercede for me. Fill my heart with your pure love of God. Make me more aware of the goodness of God and how well He tends His garden. Instill in me your "little way" or doing ordinary things with extra-ordinary love. Give me the heart of a child who wonders at life and embraces everything with loving enthusiasm. Teach me your delight in God's ways so that divine charity may blossom in my heart.

Little Flower of Jesus, bring my petitions (mention here) before God our Father. With your confidence, I come before Jesus as God's child, because you are my heavenly friend.

Seventh Day
Love of the Gospels

The Kingdom of God is within you. It is especially the Gospels which sustain me during my hours of prayer, for in them I find what is necessary for me. I am constantly discovering in them, new lights, hidden and mysterious meanings. St. Therese

It is well-known that St. Therese loved holy scripture and also the Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis.

The saints heard the Word of God and like Mary treasured it in their hearts. The lives of the saints become an open book of the gospels in which we can read chapter after chapter their call to love God and neighbor and their heroic response.

Let us pray that as Lay Carmelites we strive to imitate the saints and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel who pondered the Word in her heart. May our light shine, the word of God, residing in our hearts, so that others may see it and give glory to God the Father.

Novena Prayer
Loving God, open our eyes to the light of faith and truth. May your light and love sustain us at all times. May St. Therese guide us on her Little Way and teach us to receive everything as a grace. We want to say with her: Each moment brings an opportunity to choose your will in love. In joy, in sorrow, in every circumstance of life, may our hearts rest in Yours.


Eighth Day
Prayer

When St. Therese was a little girl she used to go fishing with her father. She states in her writings that she would go off on her own during these trips to sit alone amid the flowers in the field, and that she became absorbed in deep prayer. We can see that at this early age she is exhibiting the heart of a contemplative.

Many times people get caught up in studying St. Teresa's mansions, or St. John of the Cross's transforming union (spiritual marriage), wondering what level they are at and so forth. This can be a great obstacle to simple prayer. We must keep in mind, too, that simple (contemplative) prayer is a total gift from God.

In the writings of St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross they teach us that in deep prayer there is usually no mystical phenomena that is sometimes associated in the prayer life of beginners. God uses these experiences sometimes to attract the soul.

The Great Command of Our Lord was for us to love God and our neighbor. St. Teresa of Jesus also teaches this. She said, "You know you are loving God if you are loving your neighbor."

St. Therese is a good example of a Saint who has reached the heights in prayer. It is not a life of obvious mystical phenomena but a condition of the heart: a pure heart that can see and adore God as his child.

Novena Prayer
Saint Therese, through your example you taught us how to love God. Help us to grow in faith that our charity may be made perfect. Trusting that he will always hear our prayers, we renew our spiritual commitment and ask to be strengthened by God's love.

St. Therese, you showed us a way pleasing to God the "Little Way" of spiritual childhood. Lead us along this way to the light of God and the beauty of his Kingdom. Help us to see the good in everyone we meet as well as the beauty in ourselves.

Help us to keep our eternal goal in mind, knowing that Our Lord is waiting for us at the end of this life where we hope to meet you along with our dear departed loved ones in heaven. Amen.

Ninth Day
LOVE OF ALL
I understand now that charity consists in bearing with the faults of others, in not being surprised at their weakness, in being edified by the smallest acts of virtue we see them practice.  My Vocation is Love. St. Paul explains how the most perfect gifts are nothing without love. Charity gave me the key to my vocation.

The Church has a heart and this Heart was burning with love. I understood that LOVE comprised all vocations, that love was everything, that it embraced all times and places...In a word, that it was eternal! My vocation is Love! Yes, I have found my place in the Church, my Mother, I shall be love.       St. Therese

Novena Prayer
God our Father, you have promised your kingdom to those who are willing to become like little children. Help us to follow the way of St. Therese with confidence so that by her prayers we may come to know your eternal glory. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

I hope you have experienced the intercession of the Little Flower.

Thank you for participating in this novena with me.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

CARMELITE SAINT OF THE DAY




St. Teresa Margaret Redi
September 1



St. Teresa Margaret Redi of the Sacred Heart of Jesus was born on July 16, 1747, the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, according to the biography by Msg. James Newcomb.

From the Carmelite Proper of the Liturgy of the Hours:

Teresa Margaret was born in Tuscany of the noble Redi family, and entered the Discalced Carmelites in Florence on September 1, 1764. She was given a special contemplative experience concerning the words of St. John, "God is Love." She felt deeply that her vocation was to live a hidden life of love and self-immolation. That vocation was confirmed by her heroic exercise of fraternal charity, but was soon completed: she died in 1770, aged twenty-three. 


From the Decree of Canonization:

The fires of her love were fed principally by the Eucharist, and she looked forward with longing to her communions. She was also especially devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a devotion which did much to curb the advances of Jansenism at that time in Tuscany. She was utterly devoted to Our Lady, whom she regarded as the model and protectress of her own virginal purity. She was endowed to a high degree with the gift of contemplative prayer, and daily grew closer to God, as though reflecting the glories of the eternity she was fast approaching.


Our Carmelite Saint and Sister is a model for the great pillars of our spiritual life: The Eucharist, the Love and Mercy of God manifested in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and devotion to Our Lady. As Carmelites, we cannot go wrong in clinging with great love to these spiritual pillars of our faith.

St. Teresa wanted to find souls that loved God or wished to love him as he deserved to be love. She made a pact with a fellow sister that they become rivals in the holy love of God. She would never let her sister forget this promise and spurred her on to the heights of virtue.

This example should help us as Carmelites to have a real desire not only for ourselves to reach the heights of union with God, but also for our brothers and sisters in Carmel, and yes, for every soul that God has created. May God give us a thirst for souls that will love him and adore him for all eternity!




Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS
____________________

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Transverberation of St. Teresa's Heart-OCD Memorial



Carmelite Feast Day-August 26: 
Saint Teresa of Jesus-Transverberation

From the Carmelite Proper:
Chief among Teresa's virtues was the love of God, which our Lord Jesus Christ increased by means of many visions and revelations. He made her his spouse on one occasion. At other times she saw an angel with a flaming dart piercing her heart. Through these heavenly gifts the flame of divine love in her heart became so strong that, inspired by God, she made the extremely difficult vow of always doing what seemed to her most perfect and most conducive to God's glory
(Gregory XV in the Bull of Canonization)

Our Holy Mother, St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila) was gifted with many mystical graces, among them was the transverberation of her heart. Other saints have experienced this gift. In fact, St. John of the Cross describes this singular grace (be prepared if it happens to you!):

"It will happen that while the soul is inflamed with the Love of God, it will feel that a seraph is assailing it by means of an arrow or dart which is all afire with love. And the seraph pierces and in an instant cauterizes this soul, which, like a red-hot coal, or better a flame, is already enkindled. The soul is converted into an immense fire of Love. Few persons have reached these heights."

Even St. Therese of the Child Jesus describes a similar experience after she made the Act of Oblation to the Merciful Love of God on June 9, 1895:

"I felt myself suddenly wounded by a dart of fire so ardent that I thought I should die. I know not how to describe that transport: there is no comparison which would make the vehemence of that flame understood. It seemed as though an invisible force plunged me wholly into fire. Oh that fire! What sweetness!One minute, one second more, and my soul must have been set free..."

These mystical experiences for the saint produced by angelic flame and fire seem to be a mixture of sweetness and pain. 

Our Lady's heart was pierced as well. I think of the prophecy of Simeon to Our Lady:

"Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother: "This child is destined to be the downfall and the rise of many in Israel, a sign that will be opposed--and you yourself shall be pierced with a sword--so that the thoughts of many hearts may be laid bare."
(Luke 2:34-35)

Our Lady's heart was pierced by a spiritual sword of sorrow, bitter pain, and anguish. Although at the time of the Annunciation she did not know all the sorrows that would befall her, she said Yes to all that God desired of her.

St. John of the Cross teaches us that to reach the heights we must take up our cross and suffer with Jesus, to be in union with him and his suffering. The saints did not get to be saints by an easy route. They endured untold sufferings and pains, but our Lord helped them to endure the suffering by these graces. As Jesus was consoled in the desert by an angel, it seems he sends his angel to saints such as St. Teresa and St. Therese to strengthen them.


 

We don't know why some souls receive greater graces than others.  St. Therese pondered this same question. She was led to the scripture passage, " I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy." 
(Romans 9:15). After this discovery, she begins her great reflection about souls being compared to flowers, that not all are the magnificent rose; some must be content to be daisies.

 

St. Teresa's heart was aflame for the Living God. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit inflame our heart with this same love for God and neighbor.

Come Holy Spirit
Fill the hearts of your faithful
And kindle in them the fire of your love
Send forth your Spirit
And we shall be created
And you shall renew the face of the earth.


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds 

__________________________
CARMELITE SAINT OF THE DAY


Saint Mary of Jesus Crucified, OCD, Virgin

Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucifed was born of the Baouardy family, Catholics of the Greek Melchite Rite, at Abellin in Galilee in 1846. In 1867 she entered the Discalced Carmelites at Pau in France and was sent with the founding group to the Carmel of Mangalore in India where, in 1870, she made her profession. She returned to France in 1872. In 1875 she went to the Holy Land where she built a monastery in Bethlehem and began planning for another at Nazareth. Noted for her supernatural gifts, especially for humility, for her devotion to the Holy Spirit, and her great love for the Church and the Pope, she died at Bethlehem in 1878.

Read more about this mystic of the church







Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds



Friday, August 19, 2016

SATURDAY OF OURLADY


Photo: R. Massaro. From very old family book. Photo in public domain.



A Pilgrim's Prayer

O Mother Mary, O Virgin sweet,
I come to pray at they feet,
I come to thee from so very far
O Virgin Queen, be my guiding star.

Lead me right along life's darkening way
Guide my steps lest I should stray.
If I should stumble, falter or fall,
O Blessed Mother, hear my call.

O Lovely Lady in cape so blue,
In direst need I come to you.
Despise not that for which I plead,
O Mother Dear, please intercede.

When the road seems long and all up hill,
Hear my prayer if it be God's will.
And what'er befalls, when life's race is run,
Please let me say, "God's will be done."

Cletus J. Walter

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Monday, August 1, 2016

Novena to St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross
(Edith Stein)
Feast Day: August 9


Novena to St. Teresa
This novena is unique in that it gives a glimpse of her life from August 1 through August 9 in 1942.




Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Friday, July 29, 2016

SATURDAY OF OUR LADY


Photo: R. Massaro Lourdes, France

Mary's closing visit to Lourdes was on July 16th the feast which honors her under the title of Carmel. She came at sunset. Her choice of day must not have been an accident. the very name Carmel must have filled her with fond memories.

She would have remembered many a sunset when she and her Son rested their eyes on the beauty of that mountain as the day faded. In its pure and lonely grandeur it stood out of this world. It recalled memories of a great past. She would have known it as a place of prayer and silence and the witness of mighty battles in the plains below.

When she sang her Magnificat she was the meeting-place of two worlds, a world stretching back to Abraham and forward to generations yet unborn. She recalled the past mercies of the Lord; she foresaw the praise future ages would give her for the great things God had done in her.

And in a sense, Carmel linked two worlds, east and west, past and future. A mountain hallowed by prayer before she was born, a place that would do her honor from age to age. There are flowers on Mount Carmel when there are none elsewhere.

The Ascent of Mount Carmel is a well-worn path, traveled down through the centuries by countless members of the Order which glories in the title of Carmel who have been richly rewarded for the ardor of the ascent, for in their souls have blossomed flowers of holiness of rarest quality. In the majestic grandeur of the mountain of God they have lived through dark nights, and have seen glorious dawns.There in the silent companionship of Mary they have pondered the word and remained with her in prayer. They have enriched the Church with a shining example of silent worship, unending contemplation, and pure love. The beauty of Carmel might tempt us to follow them at least from afar. Any day, at any moment, we may go on pilgrimage to Carmel, we may climb the heights to pay her our tribute of praise and love. 


But before we start we have something to do. Before we ascend to honor her who had her roots in Jacob we must take the advice once given to Jacob before he ascended to Bethel. "Put away the foreign gods that are among you,, and purify yourselves and change your clothes. (Gen. 35,2) Three things to do. Put aside the gods made with hands, the worldly attachments which hold us in their spell; cleanse ourselves of the dross of this world; robe ourselves anew in the innocence of our baptismal garment, and then we will be capable of a new love, a new song that will have all the freshness and beauty of spring flowers on Carmel. Let St. John of the Cross lead us in this song for the ascent:

Let us rejoice, Beloved. And let us go forth to behold ourselves in your beauty, to the mountain and to the hill, to where the pure waters flows...There you will show me what my soul has been seeking.
Pilgrims With Mary by John Moloney P.P.



Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

ELIJAH'S CUP

Elijah’s cup [Credit: Picture from the photographic archives of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York; Frank J. Darmstaedter]
Photo Source: Brittanica.com
Photo: R. Massaro

Carmelite Saint of the Day: St. Elijah


Please enjoy this post from the archives in honor of St. Elijah, whose feast we, as Carmelites, celebrate today.

The prophet Elijah is a Saint who is venerated by Carmelites throughout the world.  We celebrate his feast day on July 20th. He's considered the father of Carmelite spirituality. From the Carmelite Proper:

The Prophet Elijah appears in Scripture as a man of God who always lived in his presence and fought zealously for the worship of the one true God. He defended God's law in a solemn contest on Mount Carmel, and afterwards was given on Mount Horeb an intimate experience of the living God. The inspiration that was found in him from the very beginnings of the Order so pervade its whole history that the prophet may deservedly be called the founder of the Carmelite ideal.


While doing research for another article, I discovered that the prophet Elijah plays a role in the Seder meal celebrated by the Jewish people.  During the meal, four cups of wine are at table, and a fifth is poured and set aside as "Elijah's Cup."  

What is so special about Elijah's Cup? And what is the meaning behind the ceremony of his cup and wine?  Jewish people believe that it is a symbol for when Elijah will usher in the age of the Messiah. Thus, at the end of every Seder meal, a child goes to the door to see if the prophet is there. If the prophet does not arrive, the disappointed family pours the wine back into the bottle.  

It's very interesting to note that the Jewish people use wine and the Cup of Elijah as a symbol of their future redemption.  In our Catholic faith, we know the importance of Holy Communion; The Lord's precious Body and Blood that feeds and nourishes us. On the night of the Last Supper Jesus instituted this most Blessed Sacrament: 

...He likewise took a cup, gave thanks and passed it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them: "This is my blood, the blood of the covenant, to be poured out on behalf of many..."
(Mark 14:23-24)


In the Book of Kings, the prophet Elijah is brought food and drink to sustain him for his journey, a prefigurement of the Holy Eucharist:

...he lay down and fell asleep under the broom tree, but then an angel touched him and ordered him to get up and eat. He looked and there at his head was a hearth cake and jug of water... 
(1 Kings 19:5-6)


Photo: R. Massaro Carmelite Monastery Niagara Falls, Canada

Each time we are at Mass, as the cup of the precious Blood of Jesus is raised, perhaps we could pray for the Jewish people. May they be given the gift of faith to believe that Yeshua, Jesus, is the Messiah of whom the prophets spoke.  Let us ask the intercession of the holy prophet Elijah to intercede for the Jewish people.  May they come to believe in Jesus, receive his body and blood, and experience the true and living God, as we do, as Catholics, at each Mass.  





Welcome to The Holy Eucharist.com - Home

Dr. Brant Pitre
Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist
(click on photo)


Peace be with you, 
Rosemarie, OCDS 




















the holy grail, the Lord's cup of his precious blood

Monday, July 18, 2016

Preparing for the Feast of St. Elijah on July 20.





Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Friday, July 15, 2016

NIGHT LITANY FOR OUR CITY

Photo: R. Massaro-(C)2016 Spirit Singing Christ the Servant Parish Canton, Ohio



O God, our Father, hear us.
We plead before You, oh Sacred Heart of Jesus,
for all who tonight in this great city
stand in the most need of Your merciful love
and protection.

On souls beset by temptation, 
   have mercy.

On those who have fallen into sin,
   have mercy.

On those who are given up to
   worldliness and are forgetful of You,
   have mercy.

On those who are, at this moment, in danger
   of losing You forever,
   have mercy.
By Your agony, save them, Jesus.

On those who carry on wicked trades
   and profit by sin,
   have mercy.

On the victims of sin,
   have mercy.

On those indulging in sinful amusements,
   have mercy.

On all who are imperiling their souls by
   self-indulgence and luxury,
   have mercy.

On all frequenting haunts of sin,
   have mercy.
By Your scourging, save them, Jesus.

On all who are out tonight, the homeless, 
   the weary, the starving, those tempted to
   suicide, the intemperate, 
   have mercy.

On those who are out for sin,
   have mercy.

To those who are out to rescue others,
   grant them help and protection.

For those who work at night, the police,
   railwaymen, firemen, those engaged on the stage,
   soldiers and sailors, sentries on duty, editors
   and journalists,
   let Your Presence be with them, Jesus.

For the sick and suffering and all who
   are enduring any agony of mind and body,
   comfort them, Jesus.

For all undergoing surgery,
   strengthen them, Jesus, and help them
   in body and soul.

For the sleepless and lonely,
   be near them.

For those in anxiety, nervous or mental
   distress, calm them.

For the mentally ill, 
   keep them under Your protection.

For those who care for the mentally ill,
   make them tender-hearted and compassionate.

For night nurses,
   give faithfulness and sympathy.

For priests and doctors, called out this night,
   reward them.

By Your crown of thorns, 
   deliver them, Jesus.

For those who this night must suffer bereavement,
   visit and sustain them.

For those for whom this will be their last
   night on earth, deepen their contrition
   and receive their souls.

For those whom sudden death summons
   before Your judgment,
   have mercy.

For those dying alone without a priest or sacrament,
   have mercy.

For the dying who reject the ministry of
   Holy Church,
   have mercy.

On those dying unconscious,
   have mercy.

On the souls of unbelievers who are near death,
   have mercy.

On those who are trying to turn to You even
   in their last hour,
   have mercy.

For those who are afraid to die,
   turn their heaviness into joy.

For dying priests and religious,
   have mercy on them and receive them to Yourself.

For the faithful departed,
   grant them light and peace.

For ourselves in our last hour,
   grant the pardon of our sins, our negligence and
   our ignorance.
By Your holy death, deliver us all,
   O Jesus.

On behalf of those who have said no prayers today, let us say:
   Our Father...Hal Mary...

On behalf of those who neglect to praise God and thank Him, let us say:
   Blessed be God. Blessed be His holy name.

On behalf of those who blaspheme and neglect the Blessed Sacrament,
   let us say: Blessed, praised, worshiped and adored be
   Jesus Christ on His Throne of Glory and in the 
   Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar

From the Carmelite Nuns of Philadelphia
Visit their website:

http://www.discalcedcarmelitesphila.org/


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS