Saturday, January 13, 2018


Photo: R. Massaro (c)2018 Spirit Singing

Blessed are you, O Mary, for in you have been accomplished the mysteries and enigmas of the prophets. You were prefigured for Moses in the burning bush and in the cloud; for Jacob in the heavenly ladder; for David in the ark of the covenant; for Ezekial in the gate closed and sealed. And now, their mysterious words are realized. Glory be to the Father, who sent His only Son to manifest Himself through Mary, to deliver us from error and to glorify His memory in heaven and on earth.

                                                  Attibuted to Balai Episcopus of Aleppo, 5th Century Syrian writer

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Saturday of Our Lady

Photo: R. Massaro Lourdes, France (C) 2018 Spirit Singing

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Spiritual Life Dictionary

Editor's Note: I wrote this article a few years ago.  I believe it's important to post it again. One has only to read or watch the news to see how this sin is pervading our culture, and, in particular, the news media, especially with all the reporting of "Fake News."

In this New Year, let us be resolved to say only the good things people need to hear, things that will really build them up instead of tearing them down. Life is too short. Do you want to spend your time trashing others or would you rather be an apostle of peace and mercy to all those you meet?  


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:

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

Let us pray for each other!

Rosemarie, OCDS

Monday, January 1, 2018


As Secular Carmelites we are called to imitate the Blessed Virgin Mary who pondered the Word in her heart.  As we celebrate the Word made flesh in this Christmas season, let us renew our devotion to our Mother, Mary, who is Queen and beauty of Carmel.  

If you have made the total consecration to Mary according to the teaching of St. Louis de Montfort, I would encourage you to renew your total consecration to her on this feast day. It is said that Pope St. John Paul II recited the entire total consecration prayer to Our Lady every day!  Perhaps, we could say a shorter version of the consecration prayer each day:

Oh Mary, my queen and my mother, I give myself entirely to you. And to show my devotion to you, I consecrate to you this day, my eyes, my ears, my mouth, my heart, my whole being, without reserve. Wherefore, good Mother, as I am yours, keep me and guard me, as your own property and possession. Amen.

Photo: R. Massaro Sacred Heart Bethlehem, Ohio (C)2018 Spirit Singing

Please enjoy this beautiful excerpt from one of my favorite books: 
Pilgrims with Mary.

Let us go on pilgrimage to the heart of Mary. Out of the darkness of this world we pass through the gateway of the enclosed garden to find ourselves in a garden of delights. Here is an unending variety of rarest flowers always in bloom--the virtues that flourish in her Immaculate Heart.

The Heart of Mary beats with the most pure love. Men would love God with their lips but their hearts are often far from him. Mary's heart never went astray...Right through life every joy and sorrow experienced by the Heart of Jesus found its echo in the heart of his Mother.

Pilgrims with Mary by Fr. John Moloney, P.P.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Friday, December 22, 2017


I promise: Poverty, Chastity, Obedience
Community of the Holy Family Akron, Ohio Photo: R Massaro (C)2017 Spirit Singing

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

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

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

As we near Christ's Christmas coming, the Lord is calling us to obey Him as never before, to break new ground in obedience, and to be pioneers in obedience. The Lord wants us to be the first in our city, parish, family, business, or neighborhood to obey in all areas of His plan for us. Obey now; obey for the first time; obey first, obey all His commands. Live a life of obedience.
From the publication "One Bread, One Body," 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let us pray for each other!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds