Sunday, April 15, 2018

Photo: R. Massaro Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church Buckeye Lake, Ohio

Christ is Risen!

Are you still sharing your Easter joy with family and friends?  I hope so.  This is also the time in the church year when we console the heart of Our Lady during Compline, or Night Prayer. Instead of singing the Salve Regina, we traditionally chant the Regina Coeli (From Easter until Pentecost).  It is short, but beautiful:

In English: Queen of Heaven

. Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia:
℟. The Son whom you merited to bear, alleluia.
℣. Has risen, as He said, alleluia.
℟. Pray for us to God, alleluia.
℣. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.
℟. For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.
℣. Let us pray:

O God, who through the resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ gave rejoicing to the world grant, we pray, that through his Mother, the Virgin Mary, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord.
℟. Amen.

Traditionally chanted in Latin by the Carmelites and all religious orders:

Regina caeli
V. Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia.
R. Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia.
V. Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia.
R. Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.
V. Gaude et laetare, Virgo Maria, alleluia.
R. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.
Oremus. Deus, qui per resurrectionem Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi, mundum laetificare dignatus es: praesta, quaesumus; ut per eius Genetricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuae capiamus gaudia vitae. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

From YouTube, the beautiful Gregorian chant of the Antiphon:

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Friday, April 6, 2018


St. Teresa of Jesus On the Mercy and Compassion of His Majesty

O God of my soul, how we hasten to offend You and how You hasten even more to pardon us! What reason is there, Lord, for such deranged boldness? Could it be that we have already understood your great mercy and have forgotten that Your justice is just?

The sorrows of death surround me. Oh, oh, oh, what a serious thing sin is, for it was enough to kill God with so many sorrows! And how surrounded you are by them, my God! Where can You go that they do not torment You? Everywhere mortals wound You.

O Christians, it's time to defend your King and to accompany Him in such great solitude. Few are the vassals remaining with Him, and great the multitude accompanying Lucifer. And what's worse is that these latter appear as His friends in public and sell Him in secret. He finds almost no one in whom to trust. O true Friend, how badly they pay You back who betray You! O true Christians, help your God weep, for those compassionate tears are not only for Lazarus but for those who were not going to want to rise, even though His Majesty calls them. O my God, how You bear in mind the faults I have committed against You! May they now come to an end, Lord, may they come to an end, and those of everyone. Raise up these dead; may Your cries be so powerful that even though they do not beg life of You, You give it to them so that afterward, my God, they might come forth from the depth of their own delights.

Lazarus did not ask You to raise him up. You did it for a woman sinner; behold one here, my God, and a much greater one; let Your mercy shine. I, although miserable, ask life for those who do not want to ask it of You. You already know, my King, what torment it is for me to see them so forgetful of the great endless torments they will suffer, if they don't return to You.

O you who are accustomed to delights, satisfactions, and consolations, and to always doing your own will, take pity on yourselves! Recall that you will have to be subject forever and ever, without end, to the infernal furies. Behold, behold that the Judge who will condemn you now ask you; and that your lives are not safe for one moment. Why don't you want to live forever? Oh, hardness of human hearts! May Your boundless compassion, my God, soften these hearts.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Sunday, April 1, 2018



Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Monday, March 26, 2018

A Meditation on the Cross

Jesus said to all: “Whoever wishes to be my follower must deny himself his very self, take up his cross each day, and follow in my steps.  Luke 9:23

As we begin Holy Week, let us reflect on how closely we follow Jesus each day.

During the Advent season, the readings and hymns tell us to make straight the path of the Lord for he is coming. During the Lenten season, the road is not so straight, it has become very rocky and difficult to travel, for we know it leads to Calvary. Just as in Advent, we proclaim, “He is coming," now in Lent, we know He is going… goingto Calvary for us. Do we have the courage to die to self and follow him to the Cross? 

As Carmelites, we are called to follow the Crucified and Risen Lord, we can ask ourselves:

Do I follow Jesus for a little while in prayer and then go in another direction when
the road of daily challenges and frustrations becomes too difficult?

Do I follow Jesus when I am receiving spiritual consolations and great lights
and inspiration in prayer, then, at the first experience of spiritual dryness give up prayer?

Do I stray from the road to Calvary by being unforgiving to that person who has hurtme very deeply?

Here is the image of the cross that St. John of the Cross drew himself. The original is very small. The impact of this tiny image is very spiritually moving, because St. John draws the image with a view of the Cross from above, as if the Father is looking down on His Son and his sacrifice. Perhaps we can meditate on St. John’s Cross this week. 

Here is a link to an article about St. John’s Cross:

From the writings of St. John of the Cross:

…He was thereby compelled to cry out: My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?[Mt. 8:20]. This was the most extreme abandonment, sensitively, that he had suffered in His life. And by it he accomplished the most marvelous work of his whole life, surpassing all the works and deeds and miracles that he had ever performed on earth or in heaven.That is, he brought about the reconciliation and union of the human race with God through grace.                                             The Ascent of Mount Carmel, Book Two, Chapter 7, No. 11

We adore you, O Christ, and we praise you.
Because, by your holy Cross, You have redeemed the world.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Spiritual Direction with St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila)

Here is an excerpt from the book Conversation with Christ by Peter Thomas Rohrbach in which St. Teresa of Jesus gives us practical advice about prayer:

St. Teresa advises us to choose a comfortable position at prayer; but, she wisely adds, a position that is not too comfortable--else drowsiness might set in. Meditation is a period in which we unite ourselves with God; it should not be devoted to the practice of physical mortifications entailed in rigid posture, or the like. It might be better to begin our meditation on our knees. This will aid us in drawing our attention to Christ; but when bodily weariness begins to assert itself, it is entirely proper to change one's position. Hence, prayer may be made while sitting, or standing, or even while walking. Here again the individual must select for himself the posture most conducive to his own meditation...

As regards the position of the eyes, common sense would furnish the answer. We definitely will not be able to sustain a conversation with Christ while we are gazing at passersby, or studying the interior of some church. If we make our meditation in a place free from noise or commotion, it might be possible to keep our eyes open and continue our conversation with Christ. But if one is in the midst of  a variety of distractions, the eyes must, of necessity, remain closed...

At the beginning of prayer, St. Teresa advises the soul to humble itself before God. This can be done by a brief consideration of one's own faults.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Friday, March 2, 2018

 A Meditation on the First Station of the Cross: 
Jesus is Condemned to Death

Photo: R. Massaro (C) 2018 Spirit Singing Cathedral of the Incarnation Nashville, TN

In the cross is the height of virtue and the perfection of all sanctity. Without the cross there is no salvation for our souls, nor hope of life eternal. Take your cross, then, and follow Jesus, and you will go into everlasting life.

Remember that Jesus has gone before you bearing His cross and has given His life for you upon that cross, so that you may bear your own cross and long to die on it for love of Him. For if you die with Him, you will also live with Him; and if you have shared His suffering, you will also share His glory
The Imitation of Christ, Book 2, Chap. 12, No. 2

Have you ever been falsely accused of something? Perhaps it was something very minor, but the accusation still hurt you. Maybe you still recall this event, saying to someone, "Do you remember the time so-and-so said I never returned his book?"  Perhaps, it was an accusation for something more serious that got your family members involved, your employer involved, or members of an organization involved. If we have been falsely accused we can identify with Jesus who was falsely accused and sentenced to death.

As we meditate on this First Station, we can recall the events of the false accusations against us and see that they are minor compared to what Our Lord suffered for us, however, our Merciful Savior invites us to offer to him the troubles of our heart. He is ever-ready to heal the hurtful memories we hold closely to our heart. He is ready to help us to forgive all those who have hurt us. 

As Carmelites, let us remember the teaching of our Sister and Saint, Therese, the Little Flower. She teaches us in her Little Way, to offer up these things and keep them hidden, so that only the Father sees what we are suffering and offering up for Him.  We must get over our ego that instructs us to tell anyone who will listen how we have been wronged and falsely accused. 

Scripture tells us that God is slow to anger and quick to forgive. Let us strive to grow in virtue, virtue that helps us to become Christlike, so that,we become quick to forgive all those who hurt us in life.

We adore You, O Christ, and we praise You.
Because, by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


Reflections on the Rule of the Secular Order of
 Discalced Carmelites

Photo: R Massaro Copyright (2018)Spirit Singing

Lent has begun and people have thought about what they will give up as a Lenten sacrifice. I encourage all of us as Secular Carmelites to enter into this holy season by resolving to live our Carmelite promises more faithfully, because the vocation to Carmel can be summed up in the three pillars of the Lenten season: Prayer, Fasting, almsgiving.  As Carmelites, we are called to live out the spirit of the Lenten season throughout the year.

I know, I know, this challenge may sound shocking and frightening, because we live in the world. Right? We have families, and jobs, and other responsibilities. But  I remind myself and all of us who are professed that we stood before the Altar and made a promise to God in the company of our brothers and sisters in community and before the Communion of Saints that we would strive to “Follow the Crucified and Risen Lord.” Do we take this promise seriously each day?

How do we live out the pillars of the Lenten season?


We are called to pray daily, not only the Liturgy of the Hours, but we are to spend ½ hour in quiet prayer. This is the minimum requirement.  Let us truly make an effort to offer more of our time to the Lord.  We can pray at home or go to Mass daily and pray before and after Mass. We can make a Eucharistic Holy hour.  One only has to read the news to see that our world is in desperate need of prayer, of conversion. It is the spiritual call of the Carmelites to pray on behalf of the Church. 


We don’t have to give up great things.  We can incorporate St. Therese’s Little Way into our penitential life by giving up something small each day.  Perhaps it’s about not having a favorite food, or having water instead of another favorite beverage. But let’s go deeper. Can we give up our need to talk or respond instead of truly listening to someone? Do we always need to be heard? Do we always need to give our opinion?  Let us give up being critical of others, of gossiping. We can help someone at home by saving them from some housework or chore. Can we give up an hour’s sleep to get up earlier and start the day with prayer? There are so many ways we can live more deeply our calling to accept the cross and to be intimate friends with Jesus Christ. 

The Order of Carmel is one of the most penitential orders in the Church.  The traditional Discalced Carmelite nuns observe strict papal enclosure. They only go out in public for medical reasons. The nuns sleep on hard beds and adhere to a vegetarian diet. They fast from the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross until Easter and they live this life of penance in a spirit of great joy! We share the same Carmelite Rule of St. Albert with the nuns. However, we are not asked to give up as much and yet we make excuses. Let us pray for the nuns who are praying and offering sacrifice for us every day.


As Carmelites we are to participate in an active apostolate. Are you involved at your parish? Many times we can perform works of charity right at home. The Carmelite is called to share the fruit of his prayer, this is our Lenten Almsgiving that we are called to live out in our daily lives. The fruit of our prayer is nothing less than offering to others mercy, justice, and peace, the spirit of the Beatitudes.  So, along with living the three pillars of Lent, I encourage us to meditate on the Beatitudes. This holy state of being, of being Christlike is the great witness we give as Carmelites. 

From our Carmelite Promise:

I ____________________, inspired by the Holy Spirit, in response to God’s call, sincerely promise to the Superiors of the Order of the Teresian Carmel, and to you my brothers and sisters, to tend toward evangelical perfection in the spirit of the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty, obedience, and of the Beatitudes, according to the Rule of St. Albert and the Constitutions of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites, for the rest of my life. I confidently entrust this, my Promise, to the Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Carmel. 

Let us pray for each other that we have the courage to follow the Crucified and Risen Lord not only during Lent but each and every day of our Carmelite life.

Peace be with you!

Rosemarie. OCDS