Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

When the time had come
for him to be born,
he went forth like the
from his bridal chamber,
embracing his bride,
holding her in his arms,
whom the gracious Mother
laid in a manger
among some animals
that were there at the time.
Men sang songs
and angels melodies
celebrating the marriage
of Two such as these.

St. John of the Cross
Excerpt from the Romances, No. 9.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Carmelite Quote

St. Teresa Margaret Redi of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

If we long to find Jesus, the sure way is that of humility of heart and simplicity of soul, remembering, however, that we shall not obtain them without a struggle. Still, we must have courage, for there shall be wanting to us neither grace nor help of the Heart of Jesus which would have us all saints; let us lose no time...every second has its value!

We know what importance St. Teresa of Jesus placed on the virtue of humility. In fact, she tells her nuns in the Way of Perfection that she wishes to stress three things that they must practice if they are to advance in prayer. The three things they must practice are:

#1 Love for one another- St. Teresa says a great many annoyances that we find in our neighbor can be suffered if we practice fraternal charity.

#2 Detachment-She teaches us to have detachment from all created things. Detachment is at the heart of the teaching of St. John of the Cross in which he tells us not to be attached to even the consolations and sweetness from God.

#3 Humility-St. Teresa tells her nuns that although she places humility third, it is the most important of these three counsels and embraces the other two.

St. Teresa Margaret Redi lived these three counsels which helped her to reach the summit of Christian perfection: perfect love of God and neighbor.

In her quote she tells us, "lose no time..." yes, life is short! Let us strive to be saints now!

St. Teresa Margaret had a great devotion to the Heart of Jesus. The focus of her spirituality was "God is Love." In fraternal charity, let us pray for each other this intention:
Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto Thine!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Monday, December 15, 2008

St. John of the Cross-Carmelite Solemnity

Solemnity of our Holy Father,
St. John of the Cross
Happy Feast Day to all Carmelites!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

St. John of the Cross-Sayings of Light and Love # 24

We will be celebrating the Feast of St. John of the Cross on Monday, Dec. 15 this year, because his Feast Day falls on Sunday, the 14th. In light of his upcoming feast let us continue our focus on his "Sayings of Light and Love."

The fly that clings to honey hinders its flight, and the soul that allows itself attachment to spiritual sweetness hinders its own liberty and contemplation.

After reading this, we could ask ourselves the question: "Do I have a spiritual sweet-tooth?"

In the writings of St. John of the Cross, he brings up this subject often, and one could say it is one of the main themes of his "Nada" spirituality. The subject he brings up often is, of course, detachment.

St. John of the Cross teaches us that the soul must detach itself from worldly pleasures through mortification, trials, and penance. But we must ask ourselves, do we take up these things on our own, or do we wait for them to come about?

The life of a Carmelite has a penitential aspect to it, and while our Holy Mother St. Teresa tells us that we should not go looking for crosses, that we should accept the cross of the trials of every day life, I believe we can mortify ourselves in little ways throughout the day.

Here are some ideas:

Conversation-Listen, instead of thinking of what you will say next. Do not seek to have the last word or to be right in a discussion.

Personal Time-Offer up some personal time to make a phone call or visit a loved one or friend in need.

Meals-Go without our favorite food, even if it is calling our name!

Sleep-Get up an hour early and pray the Rosary or chaplet of Divine Mercy for the poor souls, or the souls who will die that day.

Prayer-God may be calling us to contemplation-St. John of the Cross says we should not be attached even to our prayer life. We must be willing to let the Holy Spirit guide us into a deeper union with Christ, even if we are fearful of letting go of our regular way of praying.

Let's mortify ourselves by not complaining about people, situations, food, etc.

St. Teresa says that self-indulgence and poverty do not go together. As lay Carmelites, we have professed poverty. This holy poverty should include detachment from spiritual consolations and sweetness. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to help us not to give in to every whim of the senses.
May St. John of the Cross intercede for us for the gift of detachment and true poverty of spirit.

St. John of the Cross, pray for us!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

St. John of the Cross Sayings of Light & Love #20

God is more pleased by one work, however small, done secretly, without desire that it be known, than a thousand done with the desire that people know of them. Those who work for God with purest love not only care nothing about whether others see their works, but do not even seek that God himself know of them. Such persons would not cease to render to God the same services, with the same joy and purity of love, even if God were never to know of these.

St. Therese, a true daughter of St. John of the Cross, gives us spiritual insight into the above quote of St. John:

If God Himself could not see my good actions I would not be troubled. I love Him so much I would like to give Him joy without His knowing who gave it. When He sees the gifts being made, He is obliged, as it were, to make a return. I should wish to spare Him the trouble.

In the scripture reading from Matthew Our Lord clearly states how we should conduct ourselves when fasting, for example. He also teaches us to go to our room and "shut the door" and pray to Our Father in secret.

When you fast, you are not to look glum as the hypocrites do. They change the appearance of their faces so that others may see they are fasting. I assure you, they are already repaid. When you fast, see to it that you groom your hair and wash your face. In that way no one can see you are fasting but your Father who is hidden: and your Father who sees what is hidden will repay you. Matthew 6:16-18

St. Therese, a master of "hidden spirituality" taught the novices her "little way" of keeping suffering and acts of charity hidden from others.

For those who think St. Therese too simple and sweet, listen to the depth of her longing to be hidden with Christ and to be unknown to creatures:

It was through you, dear Mother, that I learned to know these treasures. Just as formerly you had preceded us to Carmel, so also you were the first to enter deeply into the mysteries of love hidden in the Face of our Spouse. You called me and I understood, I understood what real glory was. He whose Kingdom is not of this world showed me that true wisdom consists in "desiring to be unknown and counted as nothing (Imitation of Christ, 1,2:3). Ah! I desired that, like the Face of Jesus, "my face to be truly hidden, that no one on earth would know me." (Isaiah 53:3) I thirsted after suffering and I longed to be forgotten.
St. Therese of Lisieux, Her Last Conversations, pg. 12.

To obtain true holiness and purity of heart that St. John of the Cross, St. Therese , and all the saints experienced, we must have a burning desire for it. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit inspire us to keep our acts of kindness hidden from our neighbor and ourselves. May our holy deeds be lost in the mysterious ocean of God's Love and remain a secret shared only by Jesus and the Father.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception

150th Anniversary of Our Lady of Lourdes


"I am the Immaculate Conception"

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Spiritual Life Dictionary

Today's Term:

A mystical touch is a deep , intimate contact-union- experience of God in one of His attributes such as power, light, goodness, beauty, or joy. It is not only a contact but also a union, and not only a union but also an experience.
Fire Within, Pg. 45 by Fr. Thomas Dubay,S.M.

St. John of the Cross describes the Divine Touch:
Some of these divine touches produced in the substance of the soul are so enriching that one of them would be sufficient not only to remove definitively all the imperfections that the soul would have been unable to eradicate throughout its entire life but also to fill it with virtues and blessings from God.

This description sounds like purgatory, only extremely delightful and perhaps of shorter duration. I have touched on this subject before-that we can experience our purgatory now-be purified now. According to St. Therese, if we love, love with a capital "L", the heroic type of love, we do not have to go to purgatory. And remember, Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity reminds us that Heaven begins now-not when we die. We are in our "state of being" now. We can ask ourselves, In what state am I? Am I in the state of grace? Am I in a state of great imperfection that needs purifying? Let's keep our goal of holiness in mind and ask for God's mercy, because we are weak and sinful creatures.

St. John of the Cross continues on Divine Touches:

These touches engender such sweetness and intimate delight in the soul that one of them would more than compensate for all the trials suffered in life, even though innumerable.

This can give us great consolation to keep in mind that all our suffering will be worth an eternity with our Savior, Jesus.

St. John says God grants these divine touches when the soul leasts expects it. Sometimes God uses the memory to inflict the divine touch. Have you experienced this? Have you heard a word of scripture that produced a Divine Touch within your soul? What about a beautiful hymn or someone's kind word or gentle touch? Some of these touches can be so deeply felt to cause the body to tremble.
Kinds of Divine Touches:

*Of Knowledge

* Of Love

*Of Understanding

*Of Union

The Effects of Divine Touches:

*Purify the soul
*Strengthen the soul
*Produce tranquility in the soul
*Cannot be forgotten
*Produce heroic virtue in the soul

When God touches us we should respond in kind and reach out to our neighbor. A good example of one who brought the healing touch to the "poorest of the poor" was Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. I'm sure the souls who lay dying in her arms experienced the Divine touch of God through her tender love and compassion .
May God give us the grace and desire to reach out to the untouchables in our society and be living instruments of Christ's compassionate touch to all those we meet.

God is the friend of silence. Trees, flowers, grass grows in silence. See the stars, moon and sun, how they move in silence.- Mother Teresa

As Fr. Dubay explained at the beginning of this meditation; A Divine touch is an experience of God in one of His glorious attributes. May you experience the love, joy, beauty, and goodness of God deep within your soul.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Be On Guard!

Death comes like a thief in the night, Our Lord tells us. Be on the watch for when your life may be required of you. In the spiritual life we could say: be on the watch for any opportunity to die to self!

There is cause for rejoicing here. You may for a time have to suffer the distress of many trials,:but this is so that your faith, which is more precious than the passing splendor of fire tried gold, may by its genuineness lead to the praise, glory, and honor when Jesus Christ appears. 1 Peter 1:6-7

Anyone who is striving for spiritual perfection knows how painful it is to die to self.

Let's challenge ourselves to not only look at the "big picture" of being prepared for our bodily death, but be prepared each day to bury our ego six feet under.

Our own little Doctor of Love, St. Therese, went through the same excruciating process of dying to self. She knew what situations and people would "press her buttons" so to speak. And she prepared herself with prayer. She knew she would have to experience day after day the nun who rattled her rosary in the choir chapel. She probably wanted to turn around and give her a big stare. But she controlled herself and offered up the suffering of self.

I'm sure most of us are familiar with the story of the nun who splashed her with dirty laundry water when they gathered to do the wash. St. Therese found spiritual perfection in accepting these small sufferings. We know that since she was faithful in small things, Our Lord entrusted her with greater love and grace to suffer with love.

In the above scripture passage, St. Peter tells us there is cause for rejoicing here. Rejoicing? Amid trials? While many in the spiritual life simply resign themselves to accept the cross, listen to how St. Therese embraced the cross with joy:

I will sing. I will always sing, even though I have to pluck my roses from amidst the thorns; and the sharper and the longer the thorns, the sweeter shall be my song."

We know from her life that these were not mere words filled with romantic ideas on her part. She suffered horribly in the final stages of her illness.

Advent is a great time to work on our one particular weakness, and try with God's grace to improve on the corresponding virtue. So, if we are impatient, let us pray for the Holy Spirit to infuse us with patience.

Be on your guard! Whether you are waging battle with yourself or outside influences, know that the Lord is testing us. Like St. Therese, let us arm ourselves with prayer. And let us pray to the great Angelic Guardian, St. Michael. May he defend us in our daily battle of dying to self!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Sunday, November 30, 2008

KEEPING VIGIL-The Spirit of Advent

On our way home after visiting family for Thanksgiving we passed by a strip mall and saw people pitching tents to wait for the the store to open at 4am.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to come across this same scene at our parish church? Wouldn't it be wonderful to see people pitching tents and lining up waiting for the doors to open in great anticipation to spend time with Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament? We can ask ourselves the same question: Would I wait in line for hours to receive the Eucharist? To receive the Sacrament of Penance?

The early Church Fathers, especially those Fathers of the Eastern Rite speak about keeping vigil. They speak of sleeping part of the night and praying part of the night. In this short excerpt they talk about the soul living the life of the Spirit which includes fasts and vigils.

From the Philokalia, Volume IV, pg. 109:

Those who cleave to the Spirit and are totally committed to the spiritual life live in accordance with God's will, dedicated to Him as were the Nazirites. At all times they labour to purify their souls and to keep the Lord's commandments, expending their blood in their love for Him. They purify the flesh through fasts and vigils, they refine the heart's dross with tears; they mortify their materialistic tendencies through ascetic hardship; they fill the intellect with light through prayer and meditation, making it translucid; and by renouncing their own wills they sunder themselves from passionate attachment to the body and adhere solely to the Spirit.

There are many religious who keep constant vigil for our needs and the needs of the world.

In our own family of Carmel, the cloistered sisters keep vigil on our behalf throughout the day. Please remember them in your prayers.
The Carthusians especially keep the night watch on our behalf. Here is a short description of their prayer life:

Our monastic days begins at 1.00 a.m. with a prayer to Our Lady, who never ceases to engender spiritually the life of Christ in us.

At 1.15 a.m., we hasten to church for the night office. A time of singular importance in the Carthusian liturgy, the night vigils are a clear sign of the orientation of our life: for through them is expressed the watchful expectation for the Savior, and the prayer that a dawn of resurrection may rise over the darkness of the world.
During this Advent Season let us keep watch with Our Lady. May She help us to be vigilant in our prayer for the coming of Our Savior, Jesus Christ. May the Holy Spirit give us the grace to be holy sentinels--souls constantly on guard looking for Our Savior wherever he may wish to reveal himself to us.

150th Anniversary Of Our Lady of Lourdes

Novena to Our Lady of Lourdes
1st Day
Our Lady of Lourdes, Immaculate Virgin, pray for us. Our lady of Lourdes, at your feet I ask for the grace of (mention your request) my trust in your power is unshakable, you can obtain all from your divine Son.
You who kindly accepted to come down on earth to bring us the graces of this same Son, obtain for us the grace to merit them.
Hail, Wonder of the Most High, we praise you for your glorious privilege, and joyfully repeat a thousand times: She is Immaculate. Our Lady of Lourdes, who graciously accepted to visit us!
Resolution: Purity of intention in all our actions. Queen of Virgins, pry for us.
2nd Day
Be blessed, O most pure Virgin, for having vouchsafed to manifest yourself shining with light, sweetness and beauty, in the Grotto of Lourdes,saying to the child St. Bernadette: " I am the Immaculate Conception!" O Mary Immaculate, inflame our hearts with one ray of the burning love of your pure heart. Let them be consumed with love for Jesus and for you, in order that we may merit one day to enjoy your glorious eternity. O dispenser of His graces here below, take into your keeping and present to your Divine Son the petition for which we are making this novena. (mention your request)
O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, our Lady of Lourdes, glorious in your assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.

Day 3
"You are all fair, O Mary, and there is in you no stain of original sin." O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee. O brilliant star of sanctity, as on that lovely day, upon a rough rock in Lourdes you spoke to the child Bernadette and a fountain broke from the plain earth and miracles happened and the great shrine of Lourdes began, so now I beseech you to hear our fervent prayer and do, we beseech you, grant us the petition we now so earnestly seek. ( make your request)
O Brilliant star of purity, Mary Immaculate, Our Lady of Lourdes, glorious in your assumption, triumphant in your coronation, show unto us the mercy of the Mother of God, Virgin Mary, Queen and Mother, be our comfort, hope, strength, and consolation. Amen.
Day 4
Our Lady of Lourdes, to whom Jesus can refuse nothing, pray for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, you have power over your divine Son's Heart, prevail upon Him to be favourable to us. Ask, Heavenly Queen, and you will be heard. See our misery and our need, and have pity on us. O Mother of goodness! Bestow generously the treasures of heaven on those who pray before your altar.
Virgin most powerful, pray for us.
Day 5
Our Lady of Lourdes, you who cure the sick,pray for us. Our Lady of Lourdes, health of the sick, you who heal bodies and even more heal souls, be favourable once again to our fervent prayer. Be the hope of our dear sick, may their confidence in you be rewarded. Merciful Virgin, whose very name recalls wonderful cures, show us that you are once again our hope. Intercede for us and for our dear ones, Our Lady of Lourdes, help of the sick, pray for us.
Day 6
Our Lady of Lourdes, Immaculate Mother, it has never been known that anyone called on you in vain, Those in distress, the unhappy, all who suffer: broken-hearted, wounded souls, sick bodies yearn for your loving care, most kind Virgin! If you so wish, no one will be left forsaken, and leave without feeling the effect of your powerful intercession. If we imitate your virtues you will intercede for us.
Our Lady of Lourdes, help of Christians, pray for us.
Day 7
Our Lady of Lourdes, who wept over our sins, grant us true repentance for our faults,. Help us to detest all that can wound the Heart of your divine Son. Make our contrition perfect by a sincere resolution not to offend Him again. Give us that Christian force which does not hesitate before any sacrifice in Order to merit the forgiveness of sins committed and the grace not to fall again.
Our Lady of Lourdes, refuge of sinners, pray for us!
Day 8
Our Lady of Lourdes, protect our Holy Father the Pope...,fill him always with the light of the Holy Spirit, may we always have for him a filial love. may we always be faithful to his voice, may those who have gone astray come back to the Church to console the heart of our beloved Pontiff.
Our Lady of Lourdes, bless all priest, especially all those who make you known and loved.
Our Lady of Lourdes, Queen of Apostles, pray for us!
Day 9
Our Lady of Lourdes, do not forget the children of the Church Militant, nor those of the Church suffering. Give them "rest, light and peace." The church, our Mother, asks this each day in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Hear their cry for help, and answer the prayers of those who pray to you for them. We wish to expiate for the souls of our relatives: father, mother, husband, wife, friends. For these dear departed grant grace an d mercy, Our Lady of Lourdes, so that they may sing your praises in Heaven.
Our Lady of Lourdes, the Immaculate Conception, pray for us!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Spiritual Life Dictionary

Today's Term: Contemplation

The communication of God untied to the senses, of the particular, received passively by the spirit in an attitude of faith an love, of general loving attention. Also called mystical theology. May be referred to as infused because the soul receives it passively, just as one receives sunlight by doing no more than opening the shutters. Takes away the satisfaction associated with discursive prayer.

Matthew 7: 14 - How narrow the gate and constricted the road that leads to life. And those who find it are few.

Many people are intrigued by contemplative prayer. They think it is very complicated. We who study the teachings of St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Jesus have come to learn that deep union with Christ in contemplation is a very simple prayer of the heart. So, as we are progressing in the spiritual life, our prayer should become more simple.

St. John of the Cross tells us that many people begin the road of prayer but few there are who follow through once the hard work of dying to ourselves begins. As the scripture above states, few there are who accept the Lord's invitation to take up our cross and follow him.

St. John of the Cross gives three signs that the Holy Spirit is leading a soul out of meditation and into the gift of contemplation.

Sign #1: An inability to practice discursive meditation or receive satisfaction from it as before. Meditation must be discontinued only when the soul is placed in that peace and quietude to be spoken of in the third sign.

Sign #2: An awareness of a disinclination to fix the imagination on other objects, exterior or interior.

Sign #3: The third and surest sign is that a person likes to remain alone in loving awareness of God, without particular considerations, in interior peace and quiet and repose, and without the acts and exercises of the intellect, memory and will. Such a one prefers to remain only in the general loving awareness and knowledge we mentioned, without any particular knowledge or understanding.

To leave safely the state of meditation and sense and enter that of contemplation and spirit, spiritual persons must observe within themselves at least these three signs together.

Excerpts from The Ascent of Mount Carmel, Book II, Chapter 13
From the Collected Works of St. John of the Cross Translated by Kieran Kavanugh

Let us pray for each other: that we be given the gift of true contemplation.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Catechism Quote

Catechism of the Catholic Church: #2656

One enters into prayer as one enters into liturgy: by the narrow gate of faith. Through the signs of his presence, it is the Face of the Lord that we seek and desire; it is his Word that we want to hear and keep.

The Carmelite seeks the face of God in prayer not only for our personal holiness but on behalf of the whole Church.

The Carmelite desires to imitate Our Lady who pondered the Word in her heart.

"Our devotion to Mary, then, must not be soft and sentimental, but must be based on living as she lived: receiving his divine word in our hearts and putting it into practice each day."
From A Commentary on the Rule of Life, by Michael Griffin, OCD

From our Rule:

The liturgical life, as a perennial participation in the Paschal Mystery, nourishes the Secular Carmelite in his daily pledge to follow Christ crucified and risen, toward an ever more perfect union with God, by making the pains and joys of his life an offering of praise and glory to God.

His liturgical life will express itself chiefly in the Eucharistic Sacrifice and in the recitation of the church's Divine Office. He will, as far as possible, assist at Mass daily ....

St. Teresa of Jesus burned with such fervor in reciting the Divine Office and receiving Eucharistic Communion that more than once she was elevated to the highest contemplation of mysteries during the canonical hours of the celebration of Mass.

St. John of the Cross contemplated the Bread of the Eucharist with the eyes of an ardent faith as the source of life, as the pledge of eternal communion with God toward which he tended in a very special way.
From A Commentary on the Rule of Life by Michael D. Griffin, OCD

From the Decree on the Liturgy, #2:

The Sacred Liturgy is the outstanding means by which the faithful can express in their lives, and manifest to others, the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church... For in the Liturgy, God speaks to His people, and Christ is still proclaiming His gospel. And the people reply to God both by song and prayer.

As Carmelites we are striving to be a Eucharistic people. We try to live and respond in charity from one communion to the next. If we are truly living the Carmelite life we are a joyful people, and we can cry out with the psalmist: God is my strength and my song!

O Bread of Life, O Lord of Love, give us the strength that is your might!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Carmelite Quote

Recently we celebrated the feast of All Carmelite Saints, and I was thinking of the type of death the saints experienced. In the Living Flame of Love, St. John of the Cross speaks of the death experienced by the soul taken with love.

If the death of other people is caused by sickness or old age, the death of these persons is not so induced, in spite of their being sick or old; their soul is not wrested from them unless by some impetus and encounter of love far more sublime than previous ones; of greater power, and more valiant, since it tears through this veil and carried off the jewel, which is the soul.

The death of such persons is very gentle and very sweet, sweeter and more gentle than was their whole spiritual life on earth. For they die with the most sublime impulses and delightful encounters of love, resembling the swan whose song is much sweeter at the moment of death.

St. John of the Cross-Living Flame of Love, Stanza I #30
Is this the kind of death you long for? The soul who experiences this death is the one whose heart has been purified so that it may see God. We could say that we do not "go" to heaven, but that heaven embraces us.
St. John of the Cross' Prayer of a Soul taken with Love


Lord God, my Beloved, if you still remember my sins in such a way that you do not do what I beg of you, do your will concerning them, my God, which is what I most desire, and exercise your goodness and mercy, and you will be known through them. And if you are waiting for my good works so as to hear my prayer through their means, grant them to me, and work them for me, and the sufferings you desire to accept, and let it be done. But if you are not waiting for my works, what is it that makes you wait, my most clement Lord? Why do you delay? For if, after all, I am to receive the grace and mercy that I entreat of you in your Son, take my mite, since you desire it, and grant me this blessing, since you also desire that.Who can free themselves from lowly manners and limitations if you do not lift them to yourself, my God, in purity of love? How will human beings begotten and nurtured in lowliness rise up to you, Lord, if you do not raise them with your hand that made them?You will not take from me, my God, what you once gave me in your only Son, Jesus Christ, in whom you gave me all I desire. Hence I rejoice that if I wait for you, you will not delay.With what procrastinations do you wait, since from this very moment you can love God in your heart?
According to St. John of the Cross there are three paths that lead to union with God:

1. Purgative Way-The purification of the soul that takes place when one begins the life of prayer and desires to become perfect. The soul will normally pass through the "night" of the senses and the "night" of the spirit.

2. Illuminative Way-The soul begins the life of the spirit having mortified its passions and appetites. Nothing in the physical world satisfies the heart longing for God.

3. Unitive Way-After having passed through the purgative and illuminative way the soul reaches the highest union in this life: spiritual marriage.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Carmelite Memorial-St. Raphael Kalinowski, OCD

St. Raphael Kalinowski, OCD

Lord God, You made Your Priest St. Raphael strong in adversity and filled Him with a great love in promoting Church unity. Through his prayers make us strong in faith and in love for one another, that we too may generously work together for the unity of all believers in Christ. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
For more information on his life, please visit:
Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Friday, November 14, 2008

Nov. 14-All Saints of Carmel-Feast Day

Happy Feast Day to all Secular Carmelites!

Let us pray for each other: that one day we may experience forever the vision of the Most Adorable Trinity in the company of our Blessed Lady of Mt. Carmel, and all the Carmelite Saints in light.

From the Carmelite Proper for All Carmelite Saints:

St. Teresa of Jesus:

All of us who wear this holy Carmelite habit are called to prayer and contemplation. This is what we were founded for. We are descended from those holy fathers of ours on Mount Carmel, those who went in search of that treasure--the priceless pearl we are talking about--in such solitude and with such contempt for the world.

We must remember those holy fathers of ours who have gone before us, the hermits whose lives we are trying to imitate. We must remember our real founders, those holy fathers whose descendants we are. It was by way of poverty and humility, we know, that they came to the enjoyment of God.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Perpetual Adoration in the Chapel of the Heart

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity discovered her great vocation within her vocation: I think that in Heaven my mission will be to draw souls by helping them go out of themselves to cling to God by a wholly simple and loving movement, and to keep them in this great silence within that will allow God to communicate Himself to them and transform them into Himself (L 335).

In her writings Bl. Elizabeth declared that she wanted her heart to become a "Bethany" for Our Lord. A haven where he could rest peacefully in her soul. She prayed, "I offer you the cell of my heart...Come rest there. I love you so..."

Bl. Elizabeth is one of my favorite saints because of the above statement. I've thought about it often....we say we are "going" to adoration at a particular church. And that is wonderful; it is a beautiful endeavor to adore Our Lord in the most Blessed Sacrament. In our Carmelite tradition, we who are seeking union with God through contemplative prayer have the goal of spiritual marriage. We realize that Our Lord is always present in our soul and we can adore him 24 hours a day in the


It is my belief as a Carmelite that we can enter this chapel of our heart and enjoy perpetual adoration of the Most Holy Trinity, even amidst our duties of every day life. This great gift of continual awareness of God's presence in our soul is the goal of everyone who longs for holiness and who desires never to be separated from the Beloved.

I believe this teaching on the indwelling of the Holy Trinity is what Bl. Elizabeth was referring to when she stated: "Always love prayer, and when I say prayer, I don't mean so much imposing on oneself a lot of vocal prayers to be recited every day, as that elevation of the soul toward God through all things." We can follow her teaching by lifting our minds and hearts to God throughout the day.

Enter the chapel of your heart by a simple look toward heaven as St. Therese describes her simple way of praying. The Lord is present waiting for our visit. Even though are minds be consumed with many things, he treasures one moment of our heart turned toward Him.

Stay near the tabernacle in the chapel of your heart like the sanctuary lamp that is ever-present and on fire near his presence. At this stage in your spiritual life, is your lamp burning brightly, or just a tiny flame about to die out, or a flame somewhere in between?

Let us pray that the Holy Spirit ignite our love for the Lord ever-present in our soul. May he give us the strength to detach ourselves from earthly things and be content with spending time with the Lord in the silence of our hearts.


Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tabernacle of the Week


Sts. Peter and Paul ChurchDoylestown, OhioEstablished in 1827
Oldest parish in the Diocese of Cleveland, Ohio
The Jubilee Year of St. Paul
June 28-2008 through June 29-2009

In our Diocese of Cleveland, Bishop Lennon has designated certain parishes as official pilgrimage sites to gain a Plenary Indulgence for the Jubilee of St. Paul.

Sts. Peter & Paul Church in rural Wayne County is one of the parishes. Here is their website

Now focusing on Carmelite Spirituality, let's turn to Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity who was fondly called "Sabeth" by her family. She is well-known for her "Pauline" spirituality.

Here is an excerpt from her retreat called Heaven in Faith.

"Remain in Me." It is the word of God who gives this order, expresses this wish. Remain in Me,not for a few moments, a few hours which must pass away, but "remain..." permanently, habitually, Remain in Me, pray in Me, adore in Me, love in Me, suffer in Me, work and act in Me. Remain in Me so that you may be able to encounter anyone or anything; penetrate further still into these depths. This is truly the "solitude into which God wants to allure the soul that He may speak to it," as the prophet sang.

In order to understand this very mysterious saying, we must not, so to speak, stop at the surface, but enter ever deeper into the divine Being through recollection. "I pursue my course," exclaimed St. Paul: so must we descend daily this pathway of loving confidence. Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity, Heaven in Faith

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity's writings are full of the spirituality of St. Paul. In the year of his Jubilee, I would highly recommend her writings as a way of honoring St. Paul. Carmelites throughout the world will honor her on Nov. 8, her feast day. Let us pray for a miracle so that she may be canonized soon.

Bl. Elizabeth found her mission within the Church from St. Paul's writings: "We have been predestined by the decree of Him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we may be the praise of His glory." She desired to be a Praise of His Glory!

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, Pray for us!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Monday, October 20, 2008

Beatification of Louis & Zelie Martin-Parents of St. Therese of the Child Jesus

Louis and Zelie Martin
Parents of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, virgin, doctor
Beatified in France

A day of rejoicing for the Carmelite Order-The parents of St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Louis & Zelie Martin are beatified on October 19,2008 in Lisieux, France.
Here is the link to an article from Zenit news.

The Te Deum:

You are God: we praise you;
You are the Lord: we acclaim you;
You are the eternal Father:
All creation worships you.

To you all angels, all the powers of heaven,
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you.
the noble fellowship of prophets praise you.
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.

Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you:
Father, of Majesty unbounded,
your true and only son, worthy of all worship,
and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the King of glory,
the eternal son of the Father.

When you became man to set us free
you did not spurn the virgin's womb.

You overcame the sting of death,
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.

You are seated at God's right hand in glory.
We believe that you will come, and be our judge.

Come then, Lord, and help your people,
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints
to glory everlasting.

From the Liturgy of the Hours -Office of Readings

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tabernacle of the Week

St. Sebastian Church
Akron, Ohio
May Jesus Christ be praised, loved and adored in all the tabernacles of the world, even unto the end of time!
This beautiful church is the location for our monthly
lay Carmelite meeting. We meet in the lower level
for formation classes and then gather in the beautiful
church for the chanting of Evening Prayer before we

For readers in our area- Catholic men and women, you are most welcome to attend our meetings! We meet from 1-4pm on the first Sunday of the Month.

The Pastor of this church, Fr. John Valencheck has a blog
called Adam's Ale. Please visit my blog roll for the link.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

St. Teresa of Jesus-OCD Carmelite Solemnity

Solemnity of our Holy Mother St. Teresa of Jesus

St. Teresa's Bookmark

Let nothing trouble you.
Let nothing scare you.
All is fleeting.
God alone is unchanging.
Everything obtains.
Who possesses God
Nothing wants.
God alone suffices

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Holy Fasting

Today, Carmelites throughout the world are fasting in preparation for the great feast tomorrow of our holy mother, St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila).

Carmelites take this obligation very seriously. As our rules states:

"In addition to the days of fasting and of abstinence proper to the Church in the United States and in response to the encouragement of our bishops 'to prepare for each Church festival by a day of particular self-denial, penitential prayer and fasting' and to our Carmelite traditions, our members, unless excused by reason of illness, will fast on the vigils of the following feast days:"

1. Our Blessed Lady of Mount Carmel (July 16)

2. Our Holy Mother St. Teresa of Jesus (October 15)

3. Our Holy Father St. John of the Cross (December 14)

4. The Prophet Elijah (July 20)

5. All the Saints of the Order (November 14)

For sufficient reason, the above special fast days may be anticipated.

The Life of FastingSt. John Chrysostom

Do you fast? Give me proof of it by your works.

If you see a poor man, take pity on him.

If you see a friend being honored, do not envy him.

Do not let only your mouth fast, but also the eye and the ear and the feet and the hands and all the members of our bodies.

Let the hands fast, by being free of avarice.

Let the feet fast, by ceasing to run after sin.

Let the eyes fast, by disciplining them not to glare at that which is sinful.

Let the ear fast, by not listening to evil talk and gossip.

Let the mouth fast from foul words and unjust criticism.

For what good is it if we abstain from birds and fishes, but bite and devour our brothers?

May He who came to the world to save sinners strengthen us to complete the fast with humility, have mercy on us and save us.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Keeping Holy The Lord's Day

Could you not watch one hour with me?

This scripture passage is usually used when a parish is trying to promote Eucharistic adoration. But not long ago, I was at a funeral luncheon and I heard a group of people speaking about where one could go for the "shortest Mass." One man in particular was enthused that he recently found a church where he could be out in less than 45 minutes on Sunday.This mentality brought to my mind this scripture passage. Is not Our Lord asking people today if they cannot spend one hour on a Sunday with him? It's sad to see people leaving immediately after communion. Recently, the website Spirit Daily had a very good article on Padre Pio's

lesson on one's comportment at mass. Here is the link for the article

Here is what the Holy Father says about the Lord's Day. Let us pray that the Holy Spirit inspire in our hearts a true devotion and love for the mass.

Pope Benedict XVI, Shepherd of Truth

Notable quotations from Pope Benedict XVI and official teachings of the Roman Catholic Church

Sunday remains the fertile foundation and ... the fundamental nucleus of the liturgical year which originated in Christ's Resurrection, thanks to which the features of eternity were impressed on time. Thus, Sunday is ... a fragment of time imbued with eternity, for its dawn saw the Crucified and Risen Christ enter victorious into eternal life.

For the first Christians, participation in the Sunday celebrations was the natural expression of their belonging to Christ, of communion with His Mystical Body, in the joyful expectation of His glorious return.

This belonging was expressed heroically in what happened to the martyrs of Abitene, who faced death exclaiming,...without gathering together on Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist, we cannot live.

How much more necessary it is today to reaffirm the sacredness of the Lord's Day and the need to take part in Sunday Mass!

The cultural context in which we live, often marked by religious indifference and secularism that blot out the horizon of the transcendent, must not let us forget that the People of God, born from "Christ's Passover, Sunday", should return to it as to an inexhaustible source, in order to understand better and better the features of their own identity and the reasons for their existence.

Sunday is the day on which the Risen Lord makes Himself present among His followers, invites them to His Banquet and shares Himself with them so that they too, united and configured to Him, may worship God properly.

...At every Sunday Eucharistic celebration, the sanctification of the Christian people takes place as it will take place until the Sunday that never sets, the day of the definitive encounter of God with His creatures.

May the "Day of the Lord" ... regain all its importance and be perceived and lived to the full in the celebration of the Eucharist, from which the Christian community grows authentically and on which it depends....

Used with permission from Presentation Ministries

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saturday of Our Lady

Mary's Ten Principle Virtues according to
 St. Louis de Montfort

1. Deep Humility
2. Lively Faith
3. Blind Obedience
4. Unceasing Prayer
5. Self-Denial
6. Purity
7. Ardent Love
8. Heroic patience
9. Angelic kindness
10. Heavenly Wisdom

Mary is our spiritual Mother. She will lead us on the path of spiritual childhood. A holy path of total trust and confidence in God's merciful love. St. Louis de Montfort's teaching of "To Jesus through Mary" will help us to live our Carmelite vocation in a deeper and more profound manner. Mary will help us in our quest for holiness. As our community studies De Montfort's True Devotin to Mary may we all experience a deeper love for Our Lady under the title of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

In the words of our late Holy Father, John Paul II who was a secular Carmelite:

"The reading of this book was a decisive turning-point in my life. I say "turning-point," but in fact it was a long inner journey...This "perfect devotion" is indispensable to anyone who means to give himself without reserve to Christ and to the work of redemption."

"It is from Montfort that I have taken my motto: "Totus tuus" (I am all thine).

May the Holy Spirit descend upon us with his grace and give us a share of the virtues that Our Lady possessed.

As Secular Carmelites, may we belong totally to Christ, by belonging totally to Mary, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Carmelite Quote

St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes
"I feel He is united to me so intimately that I cannot desire more this side of the beatific vision in heaven.
I feel I'm filled with Him. There is nothing that separates us. Everywhere I go, He is with me, within my poor heart. He is the little home where I dwell...He is my heaven on earth. I live with Him, and even going out walking, the two of us converse without anyone surprising us or being able to interrupt us."

This statement by our Carmelite sister and saint was made about a year before she entered Carmel. And already she is describing the spiritual marriage that St. John of the Cross speaks about:

One does not reach this garden of full transformation, which is the joy, delight, and glory of spiritual marriage, without first passing through the spiritual betrothal and the loyal and mutual love of betrothed persons. For after the soul has been for some time the betrothed of the Son of God in gentle and complete love, God calls her and places her in his flowering garden to consummate this most joyful state of marriage with him. (Spiritual Canticle, Stanza 22, #4)

From St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila)
As I have already said, one makes these comparisons because there are no other appropriate ones, yet it must be realized that the betrothal has no more to do with the body than if the soul were not in the body, and were nothing but spirit. Between the Spiritual Marriage and the body there is even less connection, for this secret union takes place in the deepest center of the soul, which must be where God Himself dwells. (Interior Castle, Seventh Mansion, Chapter II)

St. Teresa of the Andes clearly talks about this holy dwelling (of union/spiritual marriage)where she abides completely with the beloved. She was about 18 years old when she wrote of this deep union with God. She entered Carmel at 19 and lived only 11 months in the cloister before contracting and dying of Typhus. Pope John Paul lifted her up as a model of holiness for our youth.
Each Carmelite saint has a unique charism. St. Teresa's charism was joy. Her constant theme: God is my joy!
May God be our love, our light, and our joy!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS