Monday, May 29, 2017


The Gift of Fear

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit- Sixth Hymn of Virtue: Gentleness

Photo: R. Massaro (c) 2017 Spirit Singing- Poor Clare Monastery North Canton, Ohio

Because you are God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with heartfelt compassion, with kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. (Colossians 3:12)

(Please enjoy this post from the archives)

People are given to complimenting each other's clothing, hair and external accessories. That is the way of the world. As Christians, we are striving to weave beautiful and holy garments with the fabric of virtue provided by the Holy Spirit.

St. Paul tells us to clothe ourselves in virtue. This holy attire should be evident for all to see, but as St. Teresa of Avila tells us, people who possess true humility and virtue usually are unaware that they possess these spiritual gifts. The saints spend their entire lives constantly striving to achieve virtue, totally unaware that the virtues they possess is what attracts others to them.

Photo: R. Massaro (c)2017 Spirit Singing  Walsh University Chapel Canton, Ohio

I recently saw a statue of Our Lady and the Infant Jesus. The statue is a representation of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. I have only seen icons of Our Lady under this title, never a statue. And it is truly a beautiful statue that is displayed in the chapel of Walsh University in Canton, Ohio. I bring up this point because of Our Lady's garment on this statue. Icons are typically full of symbolism. The gold in the background of icons represents the glorious light of heaven. If you look closely, you will see the gold shining through Our Lady's garment in the photo of this statue. This light symbolizes what Christ said to the apostles and to us, “Let your light shine before men.” Not that they will say how wonderful we are but for others to give glory and praise to God.

The Gospel reading this past Saturday was about Our Lord's Transfiguration. We heard in that Gospel that his clothes became radiant as light. This manifestation was a glimpse of his glory that the apostles were blessed to witness. Jesus, a living icon, displayed his glory amidst the brilliant light of heaven! And then the voice of the Father: "This is my beloved Son, listen to him."

Reflecting on this statement, I can't help to see the similarity between the Father's command and what Our Lady said at the wedding feast at Cana. She stated to the servant, "Do whatever he tells you." In other words, listen to Him. I'm confident she said this with great gentleness and charity.

As Christians, we can ask ourselves, have I displayed the holy attire of gentleness in my dealings with family, friends and co-workers? Or, am I harsh and demanding? St. Therese tells us she (through the Holy Spirit) perfected her physical manner to become gentle in her voice and in the way she looked at others. She desired that her whole being reflect the love that was in her heart.

As Carmelites, we know that we must strive for this holy gem of virtue. Why is gentleness so important? Because the holy garment of gentleness has the light of mercy shining through it! If we, as sinners, want to be treated gently and mercifully by Our Lord, we must treat others in this same manner.

I believe these virtues are angelic qualities we must long for and possess before we are fit for the kingdom of heaven. We know that St. Paul even names one rank of angels as Virtues.

I meditate on the gentleness exhibited by the Archangel Gabriel when he addressed the Virgin Mary at the Annunciation: “Do not be afraid Mary, you have found favor with God.” Wouldn't those be lovely words to hear at our judgment? Let us pray that when the Lord summons us home, Our Lady will be by our side defending us poor sinners before the throne of God. And may we hear those gentle words that were spoken to Our Lady, “Do not fear, little one, you have found favor with God.”

Hail Mary, Gentle Woman, pray for us!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit-Fifth Hymn of Virtue: Kindness

Photo: R. Massaro (c)2017SpiritSinging

 The Lord's kindness is everlasting
 to those that fear him.” (Psalm 103)

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

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

Recently, I watched a repeat of EWTN Live with Mother Angelica. Toward the end of the program, there was a caller who seemed to make an impression on Mother Angelica. Although the caller was troubled by something, her voice was gentle and peaceful. Mother Angelica remarked on this, saying something to the effect, “Be very grateful for your gift of gentleness, my dear. Many people work very hard for what seems to come very naturally for you.” We could take her statement and insert any one of the gifts or fruits of the Spirit-we could say, "be very grateful for the gift of patience, be very grateful for the gift of kindness, because many spiritual people desire these gifts." And it is sad to say, but many people never receive these gifts in this life. Why? Attraction to worldly desires and pleasures are stronger than a desire for prayer and self-denial that bring about virtue in the soul.

In St. Teresa of Avila's Interior Castle, she teaches us that the soul in the second mansion is not content with staying there and not because they want to advance. They do not want to advance because they are still attracted to the world and to sin.

This stage pertains to those who have already begun to practice prayer and have understood how important it is not to stay in the first dwelling places. But they still don't have the determination to remain in this second stage without turning back, for they don't avoid the occasions of sin
Interior Castle, II:1

If a person dies in this state, he must be purified in the holy fire of Purgatory. Once God purifies his heart, he receives all the gifts of the Holy Spirit in their full glory, and the soul is prepared for the beatific vision. 

When speaking of spiritual gifts that we do possess, we must be very careful that we do not take credit for any virtue or gift that God has bestowed upon us. We could boast and say we obtained such and such a gift by our own efforts at prayer. We must be careful not to steal the Lord's glory. If we must boast, we must boast in the Lord (I Cor 1:31). Remember, God chooses the weak to shame the strong. We must remain humble in the sight of the Lord.

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

Photo: R. Massaro (C)2017 SpiritSinging Upper Basilica Lourdes, France

The meeting between Our Lady of Lourdes and Bernadette has always impressed me. Bernadette was lowly in the eyes of the world. She was poor and uneducated. Yet, Our Lady appeared to her and showed her great kindness, saying to her:  “Would you do me the favor of coming here for fifteen days?” Bernadette said that no one in her life had ever spoken to her with such great kindness. 

May we imitate the beautiful kindness of Our Lady when we deal with others. May we be especially kind to those who are looked at unfavorably by our society. May we offer them the sweet fruit of the Spirit and share with them what the Lord has given to us: His love, mercy, and kindness!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Friday, May 12, 2017


May 13, 1917-May 13, 2017

Photo: R. Massaro (C)2017 Spirit Singing Comforter of the Afflicted Shrine Youngstown, Ohio


O Most Holy Virgin Mary, 
Queen of the most holy Rosary, 
you were pleased to appear to the children of Fatima 

and reveal a glorious message. 

We implore you, 

inspire in our hearts a fervent love 

for the recitation of the Rosary. 

By meditating on the mysteries of the redemption 

that are recalled therein 
may we obtain the graces and virtues that we ask, 
through the merits of Jesus Christ, 
our Lord and Redeemer. 

Two Seers of the Fatima Apparitions
Jacinta Marto and Francisco Marto Canonized
by Pope Francis

Official Canonization Photo from the Vatican

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Prayer to Our Lady of Fatima

Photo: R. Massaro (C)2017SpiritSinging Our Lady of Sorrows Shrine Bellevue, Ohio

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

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

Photo: R. Massaro (c)2017Spirit Singing-St. Genevieve Church Calmoutier, Ohio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fr. Sullivan also writes that Mary belongs to each member of Carmel.

As Carmelites, we have placed the desire to fulfill our promises in her hands. We have asked her to lead us up the summit of Mt. Carmel to Christian perfection and holiness.

Our promise/vow formula:I,___________of the ____________,desiring to follow the Crucified and Risen Christ in the Secular Order of Carmel, renew my profession/vow, and I promise to tend toward evangelical counsels of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience, and of the Beatitudes, according to the Rule of life of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites.

I confidently entrust my promise/vow to the Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Carmel.

We may not be able to understand in this life how it is possible for her to care deeply about each of us individually, but we can get some idea of this mystery by knowing that God has enlarged her heart, because she is "full of grace." She is Mother of the Church. She is Mother of each individual member of the Body of Christ!
There is room in her heart for you!

Photo: R. Massaro (C)2017 Spirit Singing Regina Health Center Richfield, Ohio

In our family of Carmel, our priests, brothers, and religious sisters place themselves under the authority of the Abbot, or the Mother Superior. How much more should we place ourselves under the authority of our Blessed Lady? How do we do this? I think it takes childlike simplicity.

Scripture tells us to call on God as "Abba" or "Daddy." Then, why should we not cry out "Mama" to Our Blessed Mother? She will fly to us as a concerned, loving mother if we desire to increase in holiness.

Our Lord tells us, "By their fruits, you shall know them." Let us ask ourselves: 

Am I bearing fruit as a Carmelite? 

Am I a generous Carmelite?

A sign of an authentic prayer life is total generosity with God. Let us ask ourselves:

*Am I generous with the time I give to God in mental prayer?

*Do I offer my time and talents to my Carmelite community?

*Am I generous in praying for others, or are my needs the focus of my prayer?

*Am I content with doing the minimum that the Order requires?

*Do I give Jesus, through Mary, all that I am, and all that I possess, or do I hold back a selfish, particular attachment to the world?

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

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Fruits of the Holy Spirit-Third Hymn of Virtue: Goodness

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

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

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

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity could see the hidden mystery of the Trinity.

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

Bernadette's eyes saw the beauty of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

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

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

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

So, what is a good person like?
A good person is a pure person with no hidden agenda. A good person is a trusting and childlike person but wise in discernment of spirits. A good person is just and merciful. A good person desires good for all, even for their enemies.

Your love must be sincere. Detest what is evil. Cling to what is good. Love one another with the affection of brothers. Anticipate each other in showing respect. Do not grow slack but be fervent in spirit...Have the same attitude towards all. (Romans 12:16).

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

Our Rule states:
The Secular Order sets before its members ideals, based upon the charisms and teachings of the Order's saintly Founders, which constitute their particular way in Christian holiness. These are; a deep sense of God's love; fidelity for contemplative prayer with the spirit of detachment it entails; and generosity in the practice of fraternal charity and the apostolate. They will place themselves under Our Lady's protection, and endeavor to live out these ideals in her presence.

A good person is a living example of the Good News of the Gospel. A good person manifests his goodness in works of charity. He lives the Beatitudes-the perfection of the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit.

Let us not grow weary of doing good; if we do not relax our efforts, in due time we shall reap our harvest. While we have the opportunity, let us do good to all men, but especially those of the household of the faith. (Galations 6:9-10)

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

An examination of conscience in light of fraternal charity:

*Do I pray for the priests and religious of the Order?

*Do I respect the leadership of my local community?

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

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

*Do I pray for the members of my community?

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

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

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

Let us cling to Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, who will transform our hearts to be like his own Good and Merciful Heart.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Words of Wisdom from the Imitation of Christ

Photo: R. Massaro (C)2017 Spirit Singing-St. Mary Church Wooster, Ohio

God wants you to learn to suffer tribulation without comfort and, submitting yourself entirely to Him, to grow in humility through tribulation. No one so deeply feels what Christ endured as one who has had to suffer as He did. The cross is always ready and waits everywhere for you; you cannot escape it no matter where you turn.

Wherever you go, you take yourself with you and you will always meet yourself face to face. Look upward or downward, within yourself or without; everywhere you will find the cross. And everywhere you must be patient if you desire interior peace and to merit a crown in heaven.

If you carry the cross willingly, it will carry you and bring you to your longed-for end, where there will be no more suffering--though this will not happen on earth. If you carry it grudgingly, it will become a burden and a heaver weight for you to carry, and yet you must bear it.

If you reject one cross, be sure that you will find another, perhaps heavier one.
The Imitation of Christ, Book 2, Chap. 12 No. 4-5.

St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila) teaches us that we should not go looking for additional crosses in life in order to become saints. She tells us to accept the crosses the Lord sends us each day. She also tells us that we cause our own sufferings in life because we do not know ourselves. We think we are stronger than we are and are capable of carrying a heavy cross for the Lord. How many times we fail because of our pride! 

St. Therese, the Little Flower, shows us the Little Way that leads to perfection. It's the many little crosses in life that perfect us. Look for the little crosses that come your way today. Perhaps it's encountering a disagreeable person, or a situation that will test your patience, or perhaps it's dryness or lack of consolation in prayer. Accept all of these sufferings and pray for others in the world who carry a heavier cross than yourself. 

Do we truly seek the cross? Then we must mortify ourselves. That is the true cross The Imitation of Christ speaks of, Wherever you go, you take yourself with you and you will always meet yourself face to face. Look upward or downward, within yourself or without; everywhere you will find the cross. We have many opportunities each day to die to ourselves with acts of mortification.

St. John of the Cross teaches us that to love Christ is not always to seek the most convenient or easier way of doing things. Our world preaches to us daily of looking for the most convenient method of getting things done, the least painful, the least stressful, the least effort...and so on. 

Here is the admonition from St. John:

Strive always to choose, not that which is easiest, but that which is most difficult; Not that which is most delectable, but that which is most unpleasant; Not that which gives most pleasure, but that which gives least; Not that which is restful, but that which is wearisome.  St. John of the Cross

Let us pray for each other!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

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

Photo: R. Massaro (c)2017SpiritSinging St. Rita Church Solon, Ohio

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matthew 5:9.

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

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

Come to the Feast!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie,  OCDS

Friday, April 14, 2017


Photo: R. Massaro (C)2017 Spirit Singing Epiphany Cathedral Nashville, TN

(Concerning two visions of St. John of the Cross)

...The second apparition, toward the end of his life, took place in Segovia. He had called his beloved brother Francisco to come there..."When I had been there two or three days, I begged him to let me depart. He told me to stay a few days longer for he did not know when we would see each other again. And this was the last time I saw him. One evening after supper he took me by the hand and led me into the garden and when we were alone, he said to me: " I want to confide in you what happened to me with Our Lord. We had in the monastery a crucifix, and one day, as I stood before it, it occurred to me that it would be more suitable to have it in the church. It was my wish that not only the friars but those outside could also venerate it. And I did what I had thought of doing.

"After I had put it up in the church as fittingly as I was able to do, I was standing before it one day in prayer--and then he spoke to me: Brother, John, ask of me whatever I should grant you for the favor you have done me here! And on my part I said to him: Lord, what I wish from you is suffering which I may bear for you, and that I may be despised and disdained.

From The Science of the Cross by Edith Stein (Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Thursday, April 6, 2017

The Power of the Holy Spirit-in the hand of the Bishop

Photo: R. Massaro (c)2017 Spirit Singing-St. Joseph Church Dover, Ohio

Many parishes during this time of year are celebrating the sacrament of Confirmation.  A lot of preparation takes place before the event. The children and adults, the confirmandi, as they are referred to, must be given instruction before they stand before the bishop ready to be empowered by the Holy Spirit.

I was confirmed in 1969. The way the sacrament is conferred has changed since I was a young girl. I was confirmed at the age of 12, now teens are a little older when they are confirmed. Today, the candidates stand before the bishop as he or she is confirmed. On October 16, 1969, I knelt before Bishop Clarence Elwell to be confirmed. I also remember being told that as the bishop confirmed me he would slap me on the cheek!  As children, we were petrified about this part of the ceremony. We wondered, will the bishop actually hit us? Will it hurt? We didn't know what to expect, only to brace ourselves for the blow!

I remember walking up the aisle of the church, in a long procession of candidates to be confirmed. At the time, it seemed like two miles until I would reach the altar. I was in procession, behind my uncle, an adult convert, who was beaming with joy, ready to be confirmed.

My mother had helped me with trying to choose a saint for my confirmation name. She told me stories about the saints, which I found fascinating. I remember the agony I went through in trying to decide between St. Bernadette and St. Margaret Mary. I finally decided on St. Bernadette, but as Divine Providence would have it, I was confirmed on the feast of St. Margaret Mary. 

Continuing with my memory of approaching the bishop...I remember kneeling before the bishop and announcing my confirmation name of Bernadette, he anointed me and gently patted my cheek. All that worry over nothing! The power of the the Holy Spirit, through the hand of the bishop, was imparted gently and tenderly with a soft pat on the cheek. 

Let us pray that the Holy Spirit continue to work in our lives. Let us pray that He imparts all of his gifts on us. Gifts that are needed to live with Him in the company of all the angels and saints forever. 

I'll be re-posting a series on the Holy Spirit I wrote a few years ago. These meditations about the gifts of the Holy Spirit are in light of Carmelite spirituality. I hope you are blessed by these posts.

Seven Songs of the Spirit-First Song: Wisdom

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Friday, March 31, 2017


Photo: R. Massaro (C)2017 Spirit Singing St. Judy Church Elyria, Ohio

I grieve for thee, O Mary most sorrowful, in the wounding of thy compassionate heart, when the side of Jesus was struck by the lance and His Heart was pierced before His body was removed from the Cross. Dear Mother, by thy heart thus transfixed, obtain for me the virtue of fraternal charity and the gift of understanding. 

The Seven promises to those who honor the seven sorrows of Mary:

The Blessed Virgin Mary grants seven graces to the souls who honor her daily by saying seven Hail Mary's and meditating on her tears and dolors (sorrows). The devotion was passed on by St. Bridget.

  1. I will grant peace to their families.
  2. They will be enlightened about the divine mysteries.
  3. I will console them in their pains and I will accompany them in their work.
  4. I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my divine Son or the sanctification of their souls.
  5. I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives.
  6. I will visibly help them at the moment of their death, they will see the face of their Mother.
  7. I have obtained from my divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors, will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son and I will be their eternal consolation and joy.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Wednesday, March 29, 2017



Photo: R. Massaro (c)2017 St. Charles Borromeo Church Parm, Ohio

Let him who has ears heed the Spirit's word to the churches! To the victor I will give the hidden manna; I will also give him a white stone upon which is inscribed a new name, to be known only by him who receives it. (Revelation 2:17)

Do you find this scripture passage intriguing?  I've often wondered if we will be called by a new name in heaven?  There are a few passages from the Bible that one can turn to for meditation on this subject.

At the Annunciation, it seems that Our Lady, Mary, is given a new name, for the angel Gabriel refers to her as "full of grace."
(Luke 1:28) He doesn't call her by her earthly name. Then, when Mary visits Elizabeth she exclaims in her joyful "Magnifcat" that God has another name destined for her: Blessed! She tells us directly, through the Holy Spirit, that all generations will call her blessed. (Luke 1:48) And, in fact, the entire Church refers to her as the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

At the Annunciation, the angel Gabriel also announces the name of her Son: Jesus!

Before the Visitation, the angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah and proclaimed a name for his son...John. Zechariah finally consents to God's will, and breaking family tradition, names the child, John.

It seems that names are very important to God.

Another person, who was given a new name is Peter.  Jesus changed his name from Simon to Peter, which means rock.

I for my part declare to you, you are Rock, and on this rock I will build my church... (Matthew 16:18).

An in-turn, Peter calls the Lord by another name: Messiah!

You are the Messiah...the Son of the living God! (Matthew 16:15)

In religious life, monks and nuns are given a new name and a religious title when they are clothed in the habit. We, as Secular Carmelites take a religious title when we make our promises. My religious title is Rosemarie of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, I also have a second title that one can request during great celebrations of the Order. During the 500th anniversary of the birth of St. Teresa of Avila, which the order celebrated last year, I requested an additional title: Rosemarie of Jesus the Living Water. These titles are only used for devotional purposes, in community on occasions, and when communicating officially with the Carmelite Order.

As Catholics, we receive a new name when we are confirmed. We choose a saint that we can identify with or a saint that we would like to emulate. 

At the time of their ordination, priests can choose a devotional name as well. This is an option for them, it is not required.

Names, names, and more names.  The Church has many names and titles for Jesus and Mary. Perhaps you are familiar with the Litany of Loreto. This litany is full of beautiful names and titles for Our Lady:

V. Lord, have mercy.
R. Christ have mercy.
V. Lord have mercy. Christ hear us.
R. Christ graciously hear us.
God the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us. 
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, pray for us. 
Holy Mother of God, pray for us. 
Holy Virgin of Virgins, [etc.]
Mother of Christ,
Mother of divine grace,
Mother most pure,
Mother most chaste,
Mother inviolate,
Mother undefiled,
Mother most amiable,
Mother most admirable,
Mother of good Counsel,
Mother of our Creator,
Mother of our Savior,
Virgin most prudent,
Virgin most venerable,
Virgin most renowned,
Virgin most powerful,
Virgin most merciful,
Virgin most faithful,
Mirror of justice,
Seat of wisdom,
Cause of our joy,
Spiritual vessel,
Vessel of honor,
Singular vessel of devotion,
Mystical rose,
Tower of David,
Tower of ivory,
House of gold,
Ark of the covenant,
Gate of heaven,
Morning star,
Health of the sick,
Refuge of sinners,
Comforter of the afflicted,
Help of Christians,
Queen of Angels,
Queen of Patriarchs,
Queen of Prophets,
Queen of Apostles,
Queen of Martyrs,
Queen of Confessors,
Queen of Virgins,
Queen of all Saints,
Queen conceived without original sin,
Queen assumed into heaven,
Queen of the most holy Rosary,
Queen of families,
Queen of peace,

V. Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
R. Spare us, O Lord. 
V. Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
R. Graciously hear us, O Lord. 
V. Lamb of God, Who takest away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray. Grant, we beseech Thee, O Lord God, that we thy servants may enjoy perpetual health of mind and body, and by the glorious intercession of blessed Mary, ever Virgin, may we be freed from present sorrow, and rejoice in eternal happiness. Through Christ our Lord. R. Amen.

Spouses sometimes refer to each other with "pet names." Perhaps you call each other 'Honey' or 'Sweetheart.'  Terms of endearment that mean something special to the couple. It is an intimate sharing between those who love each other. In the intimate encounters of prayer, St. Teresa of Avila would tell Our Lord, " I am Teresa of Jesus." And he would lovingly respond, " I am Jesus of Teresa."

Until the mystery of a new name in heaven is revealed to us, let us fulfill our baptismal promises under the name in which we were baptized. Let us ask our confirmation patron saint to help us lead a life of virtue and holiness. And let us seek the help of the Saints to assist us in life and at the hour of our death.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Saturday, March 25, 2017


From the Imitation of Mary

Madonna of Humility
Source: Wikipedia

...If you become the least, you will become the greatest. The conviction that you are and can do nothing will humble you and in that very act raise you up to the God whom you acknowledge as sovereign source of all good.

Humility will free you from all the vileness into which ambition and pride lead men. What soul can be more base than that of the man who is ruled by pride and wants to be applauded at any cost?

Humility will free you from false respect for men and from the worthless ideas men have. You will be able to say with the apostle: "It matters little to me that you pass judgment on me...I acknowledge but one judge, and that is God" (I Cor 4, 3-5).

Humility will make you look with detachment at the world's honors, for behind the splendid facade lurk illusion and emptiness.

Humility will  teach you not to vie with your neighbor but to honor him, and to have no envy when you see him raise about you, whether in rank or in esteem.

The natural man regards humility as base, because he judges entirely according to the senses and perceives only sensible things. Yet humility is one of the virtues best fitted to form great and noble hearts.

Of all the virtues, humility is the one that most steadies the spirit and most strengthens the soul. 

Above all, it is the most beautiful element of likeness to Jesus, the God-man and source of true greatness and glory...Jesus was humble and loved humiliation because He knew how much He thereby honored the Father.

Here is an excellent homily on Humility:

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Tuesday, March 14, 2017



Photo: R. Massaro (c) 2017 Spirit Singing Our Lady of Lebanon Shrine North Jackson, Ohio

Many parishes throughout the world publish our Holy Father, Pope Francis' prayer intentions for the month in their bulletin or announce them during the Prayers of the Faithful at Mass on Sunday.  We should take seriously our obligation to pray for our Holy Father. 

There are many opportunities to gain a partial or plenary indulgence when we include prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father. For instance, each time you make a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, one can gain a partial or plenary indulgence. If you spend at least one half hour in adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, you can gain the indulgence. There are a few other conditions to gain the indulgence besides praying for the Holy Father. One must go to the sacrament of Confession and be detached from sin. Please visit Fr. John Zuhlsdorf's (Fr. Z) blog to find out more about this holy practice:

Why should we care about gaining indulgences? Because it is an act of mercy on behalf of Christ, through the Church, to help the souls of the living and the dead. Remember, the souls in Purgatory cannot pray for themselves, we must pray for them. Obtaining indulgences for them is an act of mercy.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

An indulgence is a remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, which the faithful Christian who is duly disposed gains under certain prescribed conditions through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption, dispenses and applies with authority the treasury of the satisfactions of Christ and the saints.

Click here to read more about indulgences from the Catechism

Did the line from above strike you as it did me?  "...through the action of the Church which, as the minister of redemption..." 

I must say, I think this is one of the most beautiful statements in Catholic teaching I have ever read! By the authority of Jesus Christ, the Catholic Church is the minister of redemption!

Our Lady, Mother of the Church, desires all to be saved. She is united to Christ, her Son, in this desire. This is why she has been sent from God on mission in many approved apparitions.

At Lourdes, she said to St. Bernadette: "Penance, penance, penance. Pray for the conversion of sinners."  

At Fatima, she told the children, "Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and pray for them."

In the year 1214, Our Lady appeared to St. Dominic and presented to him the Rosary. She told him, "Therefore if you want to reach these hardened souls and win them over to God, preach my Psalter.”

One can gain a plenary indulgence by reciting the Rosary in church, with your family, or in a spiritual group setting.

Our Lady came from heaven to present to us her prayer petitions. In her apparitions, she has the same message: "Repent! Pray for the conversion of sinners."  Let us console the Immaculate and Sorrowful Heart of Our Lady by responding to her requests. 

Each month, when you hear the new prayer intentions of the Holy Father, remember the intentions of Our Lady.  Her intention never changes: "Pray for the conversion of sinners."

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS