Sunday, August 31, 2008

Catechism Quote-#2559

Catechism of the Catholic Church -#2559

Prayer is the raising of one's mind and heart to God or the requesting of good things from God. But when we pray, do we speak from the height of our pride and will, or "out of the depths" of a humble and contrite heart? He who humbles himself will be exalted, humility is the foundation of prayer. Only when we humbly acknowledge that "we do not know how to pray as we ought," are we ready to receive freely the gift of prayer. "Man is a beggar before God."

For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy.

St. Therese

Contemplative prayer in my opinion is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us.
St. Teresa of Jesus

O living flame of love
that tenderly wounds my soul
in its deepest center! Since
now you are not oppressive,
now consummate! if it be your will:
tear through the veil of this sweet encounter!
St. John of the Cross-Living Flame of Love-Stanza 1

O my God, Trinity whom I adore, help me to forget myself entirely that I may be established in You as still and as peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity. May nothing trouble my peace or make me leave You, O my Unchanging One, but may each minute carry me further into the depths of Your Mystery. Give peace to my soul; make it your heaven, Your beloved dwelling and Your resting place. May I never leave You there alone but be wholly present, my faith wholly vigilant, wholly adoring, and wholly surrendered to your creative Action.
Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity-Prayer to the Holy Trinity (short version)

Let us pray for each other.

Peace be with you!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Carmelite Quote-St. John of the Cross

St. John of the Cross
Sayings of Light and Love #122

Habitual voluntary imperfections that are never completely overcome not only hinder the divine union, but also the attainment of perfection. Such imperfections are: the habit of being very talkative; a small unconquered attachment, such as to a person, to clothing, to a cell, a book, or to the way food is prepared, and to other conversations and little satisfactions in tasting things, in knowing, and hearing, and the like.

Peace be with you!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection- Carmelite Lay Brother

The call to Carmel is certainly a "way of life," because of our promise of particular obligations of the spiritual life, but it is also something much, much more. It should become for us a "state of being." Brother Lawrence definitely experienced deep union with God and so can teach us about living continually in the presence of God in his book, The Practice of the Presence of God.
I first read this book about 25 years ago, and it made a deep impression on me. His book was the primary influence in helping me to begin the road of prayer and meditation.

Brother Lawrence is a great example of spiritual tenacity and the power of the Holy Spirit's gift of Perseverance working in a soul, because he struggled for the first 10 years of his spiritual life. He states that after practicing the presence of God he suddenly (in one day) experienced profound peace. A peace that did not leave him for the rest of his life. In his own words: "As often as I could, I placed myself as a worshipper before him, fixing my mind upon his holy presence, recalling it when I found it wandering from him. This proved to be an exercise frequently painful, but I persisted through all the difficulties."

In the Eastern Church, the early Church fathers, referred to this practice of the presence of God, as either holy remembering or refraining from forgetfulness of God. From the Philokalia,Vol. III: "From dawn we should stand bravely and unflinchingly at the gate of our heart, with true remembrance of God and unceasing prayer of Jesus Christ in the soul; and keeping watch with the intellect...."

Brother Lawrence was a humble monk who worked in the monastery kitchen among the pots and pans. He was often overlooked even among his own brothers as someone who could possess great holiness. As Carmelites, let's not overlook this holy brother of ours who has much to teach us in finding God in the chores of every day Life. In his humble way and teaching he paved the way for another great Carmelite and her charism: St. Therese and her "Little Way."

For Carmelites the "Little Way" is not just a way of life of sentimental devotion. If we are living in union with God, our heaven begins now, as Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity teaches us. Brother Lawrence shows us the door to heaven by practicing continually the presence of God. Heaven- a state of being- that is union with God.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Louis and Zelie Martin
parents of St. Therese of the Child Jesus
to be Beatified on October 19, 2008
World Mission Sunday

The Good God gave me a father and a mother more worthy of Heaven than earth.
St. Therese

The Holy Father recognized a miracle of healing attributed to the intercession of the Martins for Pietro Schiliro of Italy. Pietro was born with a lung malformation. On the advice of a Carmelite priest, they prayed to the parents of St. Therese.

The announcement of the beatification came on July 12, 2008, the 150 anniversary of the couples' marriage. They had been married on July 12, 1858 in Alencon.

The beatification will take place at the basilica of St. Therese in Lisieux, France. Please see my links for access to the basilica of St. Therese web page.


In our Carmelite Community, we recently studied St. Therese's Story of A Soul. We noted how St. Therese and her sisters observed their father and the holy example he set for them. They noted how he prayed and explained the spiritual life to them. The Martin household was truly a vibrant "domestic church" as John Paul II described the Catholic home.

We see how St. Therese loved her earthly father so dearly--he who was a symbol for her Heavenly Father. She was an obedient child and an obedient religious, always wanting to carry out the will of the Father. St. Therese was faithful to the commandment, "Honor your father and your mother." When she became a religious she put her will completely under the superior. St. Teresa of Jesus states this about holy obedience, "There is no path which leads more quickly to the highest perfection than that of obedience...Obedience brings us the sooner to that happy state and is the best means of attaining it." (From the book of Foundations)

As lay Carmelites we have "holy parents" in St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila). We can ask ourselves, are we obedient children, faithful to their teachings and direction? Are we obedient to the Order, our Superiors? Do we take seriously our promises to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, or is it mainly hit or miss? Do I feel a real hunger for the Eucharist? Do I try to attend mass daily if possible? Do I pray for the priests, brothers, and sisters of our Carmelite family? Do I pray for our community and the sick members who cannot attend? These are just some ways we can examine our conscience in light of our Carmelite promise.

Let us look to our Heavenly Father, and our holy Mother, Our Lady of Mt. Carmel for help. May she assist us to be her faithful children and bring us to her Son, where in the company of our holy parents, St. John and St. Teresa, we may live forever in the one family of love: the communion of saints.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lourdes Jubilee Walk-Fourth Landmark: The Hospice

Bernadette stayed at the hospice with the Sisters of Charity of Nevers from 1860 until 1866.

The Hospice was for Bernadette a shelter from the crowds who continually sought her out to perform healing and blessings. Having Bernadette live at the Hospice gave her family much needed peace from the crowds who were constantly knocking at their door.

Bernadette received first holy communion in the chapel of the hospice on June 3, 1858. This took place between the 17th apparition on April 7 and the last apparition on July 16, the feast of our Lady of Mount Carmel. What an overwhelming grace for her to be prepared to receive this great sacrament by Our Lady!
The Eucharist becomes the center of Bernadette's life, she states:" To make the Way of the Cross, to attend Holy Mass, to receive Holy Communion, these are my great devotions."

At the Grotto in Lourdes, there is a beautiful altar chiseled from rock that looks as if it were hewn from the Grotto itself. It is here that pilgrims gather to attend mass and receive Holy Communion. The Eucharist is central to Lourdes. Many healings take place during the blessing of the sick at benediction after the Eucharistic procession. Masses are said in various chapels in various languages throughout the sanctuary. The adoration tent and adoration chapel are constantly filled with pilgrims praying before our Eucharistic Lord.

The adoration chapel in Lourdes is pictured at left. The tabernacle resembles the column of fire that led the chosen people in the wilderness to the promise land.
"Neither the column of cloud by day nor the column of fire by night ever left its place in front of the people."(Exodus 13:22)

The Eucharist plays a central role in the life of a Carmelite. We are called each day(if possible) to attend mass and receive the Eucharist. We are called to pray for 1/2 hour each day in an atmosphere of silence. We are called to pray the Liturgy of the Hours. We are called to spiritual reading each day. We are called to honor Our Lady by some particular devotion. However, it is the Eucharist that is the source and summit of our life as the Church so aptly describes this most Blessed Sacrament.

In his encyclical on the Eucharist, John Paul II states:

If the Eucharist is a mystery of faith which so greatly transcends our understanding as to call for sheer abandonment to the word of God, then there can be no one like Mary to act as our support and guide in acquiring this disposition. In repeating what Christ did at the last Supper in obedience to his command: "Do this in Memory of me!" (Luke 22:19) we also accept Mary's invitation to obey him without hesitation: "Do whatever he tells you" (Jn 2:5)

From the OCDS 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.

As Mary is central to Lourdes and to bringing us to her son in the Eucharist, even more so, is she central to the life of a Christian and in particular to us Carmelites. Let us stay close to our mother Mary so that we may hear his voice and do whatever He tells us.

Peace be with you!

Peace be with you!Rosemarie, ocds

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lourdes Jubilee Walk-Third Landmark: The Grotto

Arise, my love, my fair one,and come; my dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hollow of the wall, show me your face...(Sg.2;10-14)
The Grotto is a place of pilgrimage to about 5 million people each year. People of all faiths visit this holy shrine nestled in the Pyrenees mountains. There are numerous beautiful signs, sights, and sounds at Lourdes, however, it is the Grotto that mainly attracts the pilgrim. It is holy ground.

We know that rock is a symbol for Christ and his Church. It was to a little one, Bernadette , that Our Lady revealed herself in the heart of the rock to the Church. Mary asks us to listen to her humble messenger and follow her example of prayer, penance, and prayer for the conversion of sinners. Bernadette is like a type of Moses who goes up to the mountain and contemplates the face of God. Now, like Moses, she is sent to relay the message to the people.
"Penance, Penance, Penance."
"This Grotto has become the seat of an astonishing school of prayer, where Mary teaches everyone how to contemplate the face of Christ with intense love..." John Paul II, Aug. 14, 2004, Lourdes

Carmel is our spiritual school, where, with the help of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and the Carmelite Saints we seek the face of God in prayer on behalf of the Church. In this school of Carmel we are called to imitate the Virgin Mary. We are called to imitate her holy recollection, her silence, her pondering the Word in her heart. We are called mainly to be faithful to the charism of the Order: Contemplative prayer.

"The Carmelite School of spirituality begins with the conviction that all are called to the perfect union of love with God; that imitation of Mary, the great woman of faith and spiritual union with Christ, is our model in following Christ, and the belief that by making mental prayer and practicing self-denial the central focus of our lives, we are on the surest way to God." Michael Griffin, OCD, Commentary on the Rule of Life

While we may not travel to Lourdes on pilgrimage, we are on a spiritual pilgrimage having responded to the call of Our Lady to ascend Mt. Carmel. Let us fortify ourselves with heavenly food for the journey: The Eucharist. May the Word of God reside in our heart and shed light on our path, as we cling to the rock: Christ Our Lord.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lourdes Jubilee Walk-Second Landmark: The Cachot

"The Lord hears the cry of the poor, blessed be the Lord!"

This refrain from the familiar Catholic Hymn reminds one immediately of St. Bernadette's family situation at the time of the apparitions. One cannot but be moved when reading about or actually visiting this site where Bernadette and her family were forced to live: an abandoned jail, the Cachot.

We see in life people who are poverty-stricken from birth, those who end up poor by an number of circumstances and those who choose poverty for the sake of the Gospel.

Jesus himself said, "The Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head." Those of us who choose to follow Jesus in living the Evangelical Counsels of chastity, poverty, and obedience come across a real challenge in today's materialistic society. We must keep our eyes on heaven and not on the passing things of this world. Our prayer life will keep our hearts focused on the Lord. He is our true treasure. "Remember, where your treasure is, there your heart is also." (Mt 6:21)

From OCDS rule:

Since poverty of spirit is the first Beatitude or blessing of the Sermon on the Mount, it is not surprising that the Lay Carmelite is at once reminded that he or she "should have a particular esteem for the Beatitude of poverty. ..Poverty always brings with it simplicity of life,and this will enable us to go directly to God in love and to bring His love to others.

A quote from Fr. Maurice Zundel:

"To be perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect, means to have the soul of the poor and to make real the first Beatitude where the perfect joy is the joy of the gift of self...God , who is only Love, cannot possess anything, God who is the opposite to narcissism, ownership, only reaches us, and can only reach us through Love."

Bernadette displayed this "soul of the poor" when she stated, "I love the poor. I want to remain poor." And about money, "It burns me!"

St. Teresa of Jesus exhorted her nuns to have full trust that the Lord would provide for their needs. If we truly follow the Gospel command of "seek first the kingdom of God", we will surely rise to the heights of Mt. Carmel-Christ Our Lord.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Lourdes Jubilee Walk-Four Landmarks in Bernadette's Footsteps. First Landmark: The Baptismal Font

The pilgrims of Lourdes are gaining a plenary indulgence this year by participating in the Jubilee Walk." The Jubilee Walk consists of Four landmarks associated with St. Bernadette.

Today I will focus on the first landmark: The Baptismal Font.

Bernadette was born on Jan. 7, 1844 and was baptized two days later on Jan. 9 in the parish church of Lourdes.

The pilgrims making the Jubilee Walk do not just visit each site and recall the life of Bernadette. This walk is an exercise of faith. On this first stop at the baptismal font we recall our own baptism and renew our promises. We ask the Holy Spirit to descend upon us once again and help us to lead a virtuous life.

"People in the world do not possess the Holy Spirit, or if they do, they only possess him temporarily. He does not dwell in them: the noise of the world drives him away." These words of wisdom from the Cure of Ars certainly describe our society today, where there are so many distractions and no sense of sin, and no goal of heaven.

Our Lady of Lourdes came as a witness to the "other world" as she called it. This is the world where Mary promised Bernadette she would be happy.

This hidden, "other world" sheds light on the interior life of the Carmelite. We make promises to live the Beatitudes, a life that sheds light on that hidden "other world" of the kingdom. If we are truly living the Carmelite life, people will see our light shine and hopefully be inspired to give Glory to the Father.
Our Lady's habit, the scapular that we wear, is a reminder of our baptismal garment, in which we "put on Christ." As Carmelites we need Our Lady's help and protection to keep our baptismal garment unstained and so enter the kingdom with a holy wedding garment fit to appear before the bridegroom.

"Why did Our Lady choose the feast of Mt. Carmel to end her apparitions? Because it is in Carmel that we best learn how to leave behind our poor heads plunged in the contradictions and the illusions of the "world," to enter into the silence and the night of the heart,where the devil cannot see us, as St. John of the Cross explains so well."
(Lourdes Magazine,October 2007)

The pilgrims of Lourdes line up at "the baths" in imitation of Bernadette who obeyed Our Lady's call to"go and wash." The pilgrims plunge themselves into the cold water after having recited a Hail Mary. This washing is a sign and symbol of our baptism as well. We are made clean to begin to live the spiritual life in Christ.

Mary is a sort of John the Baptist here at Lourdes. She cries out, "Repent." "Go and wash."

Let us heed Our Lady's Call; The silent and heartfelt call of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel to make ready the way of the Lord.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Thursday, August 14, 2008

St. Bernadette and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Dec. 8, 2007 through Dec. 8,2008
150 Anniversary of the Apparitions at Lourdes
It has been written that St. Bernadette desired to be a Carmelite nun, but because of her poor health was not able to enter the Order. She eventually entered the Sisters of Charity at Nevers, France.
The 18th and final apparition of Our Lady to Bernadette took place on July 16, the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. Our Lady remained silent during the final meeting with Bernadette. They looked at each other with love. This holy exchange is a perfect example of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel as our role model of perfect contemplation.
As Carmelites, the main point of our rule is allegiance to Jesus Christ, and an offshoot of that main point is to imitate the Virgin Mary who pondered the Word in her heart. We can see in the life of St. Bernadette how Mary led her to contemplation.
Let start at the beginning: In the first apparition Mary shows herself to Bernadette, smiles at her, but remains silent.
Do you remember your first encounter with Christ? The moment he first called you to intimate friendship with him? How difficult was it to pray from the heart for the first time?
Second Apparition: Bernadette throws holy water at the apparition. People tell her it could be the devil.
After the invitation from Christ, we begin to doubt that we are worthy to be loved by Him. We ask ourselves, "Is this from God?" Family members and friends wonder what is going on with us!
Third Apparition: Our Lady asks Bernadette, "Would you do me the favour of coming here for fifteen day?" "I do not promise to make you happy in this life but in the other."

Our Lady asks us to remain faithful in prayer, faithful to our commitment as Carmelites to seek the face of God in prayer on behalf of the Church. We must die to ourselves and the world. We begin to mortify ourselves and experience joy in God alone. Worldly things no longer attract us.
Fourth, Fifth, Sixth & Seventh Apparitions: Bernadette and Our Lady deepen their friendship They pray together and even laugh together.
In the life of Carmel, our prayer life becomes deeper when we trust in the Lord as little children. We run to him and tell him everything; the joys and sorrows of our life. He is there to cry and laugh with us.
Eighth apparition through the Twelfth: Our Lady with an air of sadness repeats: "Penance, penance, penance." "Pray to God for sinners." She asks Bernadette to kiss the ground for eat the grass for sinners.
Now that our relationship with our Beloved has grown stronger, he asks us to suffer with him, to take up our cross after him. The life of a Carmelite is a penitential one. Sometimes as lay Carmelites, we forget this aspect of our rule. We may adhere to the required prayer and spiritual reading, but do we really desire to mortify ourselves for the love of Christ?
Our rule states:
The Secular Carmelite highly esteems the invitation of the Lord to deny himself and willingly to take up his cross daily and follow Him; he will therefore gladly mortify himself in union with the sacrifice of Christ, remembering too Our Holy Mother Teresa's remark that "prayer cannot be accompanied by self-indulgence"
The Secular Carmelite will be especially faithful to the Church's penitential discipline. He will also, in accordance with the promptings of grace, and as far as circumstances will allow,make use of other means of mortification, particularly on those days and at those seasons that have a distinctive penitential character.
The thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Apparitions: Our Lady asks Bernadette to "go tell the priests that people should come here in procession and that a chapel should be built here."
Bernadette is sent on mission. Our Carmelite vocation calls us, too, to evangelize by our way of life and our witness of prayer on behalf of the Church. We are also called to have a particular apostolate in which to share in the missionary life of the Church. Whatever that may be, making rosaries, helping the poor and the sick, teaching our Catholic faith-we must step outside of ourselves, for our vocation is not just between me and God.
Sixteenth Apparition: Feast of the Annunciation. Our Lady reveals her name: "I am the Immaculate Conception."
Bernadette has been faithful to Our Lady's request, to her commitment to meet our Lady for fifteen days. She is rewarded.
Bernadette reminds me of the apostle John at the foot of the Cross in which Our Lord entrusts her to his home. Now Bernadette stands before Our Lady on behalf of the Church ready and eager to hear her beautiful name: Immaculate Conception!
Seventeenth Apparition: Miracle of the candle. Bernadette in ecstasy.
Our Lady has led Bernadette on the road of deep prayer. Now she experiences God with her whole being. She has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.
St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa explain in detail about deep mystical experience in prayer. We know that this type of gift is just that-pure gift, infused by God. As St. Teresa says, it cannot be produced by one's own effort.
St. Bernadette experienced Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Our Lady of Silent Prayer at the Grotto in Lourdes. Let us pray for each other that we imitate the humble virgin Bernadette and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel , to be open and available to listen to the Word of God, proclaim it to the world, and meditate on it in our hearts day and night.
Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Seventh Song: Fortitude

The gift of Fortitude removes timidity and fear of human of respect. It strengthens the soul to hate sin and to practice virtue. This gift gives us courage to undertake great sacrifices for our salvation and to defend Jesus Christ in word and deed, even unto death.

Fortitude gives us the grace to remain steadfast in prayer, especially when sensible consolations cease.


St. John of the Cross states in the Living Flame of Love Stanza 2 #27:And here it ought to be pointed out why so few reach this high state of perfect union with God. It should be known that the reason is not that God wishes only a few of these spirits to be so elevated, he would rather want all to be perfect, but he finds few vessels that will endure so lofty and sublime a work. Since he tries them in little things and finds them so weak that they immediately flee from work, unwilling to be subject to the least discomfort and mortification...they are in need of greater constancy and fortitude than they showed. 

Souls who possess the gift of Fortitude pick up their cross and follow Jesus on the narrow road. They imitate the Savior whom they follow. He becomes their strength and their courage. They imitate him who was obedient, even unto death.

The Carmelite, or anyone who is traveling the road of contemplative prayer must struggle courageously against Satan who wishes to deter us from our goal of union with the Holy Trinity. And while we may not be tempted to grave sin, it is the small imperfections and daily dying to our egos that require heroic Fortitude to continue each day to remain faithful to a life of virtue and prayer.

Before canonization the saints are scrutinized to see if they possess ALL the virtues and gifts of the Spirit, for you can not have one without the other. The soul in the Unitive Way (spiritual marriage) possess the Gift and Virtue of Fortitude.

Becoming holy is not for the faint-of-heart. It's back-breaking spiritual work!

A short examen in the light of Fortitude:

*Do I fear criticism or ridicule because of my Catholic faith?

*Have I ceased to pray due to a lack of real effort on my part or because of dryness or lack of sensible consolation?

*Have I failed to respond to the Lord's invitation to a deeper, intimate friendship with him?

*Do I desire to detach myself from sin?

*Am I afraid of self-denial, penance, and mortification?

*Do I pray only when I feel like it?

In order to possess heroic virtue and the gifts of the Spirit we must die to ourselves. Let us pray for each other that we bury our ego six feet under and not grieve the loss. For to die to ourselves is to gain Christ!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds 


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sixth Song: Counsel

Counsel is a Gift of the Holy Spirit which helps us to choose good over evil. This gift helps us to please God by following the inspirations of the Holy Spirit. This gift is especially helpful to spiritual directors.

One of the main dilemma's a person seeking union with God may find is the lack of a good spiritual director. In our lay Carmelite community, this subject comes up often. While it may be difficult to find a spiritual director in the physical sense, we know that we have only to turn to St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila for direction. However, it is truly comforting to find a willing listener and encouraging voice!

Why is it so hard to find someone who understands the deep prayer life of a secular Carmelite or anyone on the road of contemplative prayer? Some priests and most lay people are not familiar with all of the writings of our holy father and mother. Simply mention St. John of the Cross and one gets the response of "Oh, the Dark Night!" And even that teaching is misunderstood by the general Catholic population. Most people have a notion that contemplative prayer is only for religious or especially pious people.

The universal call to holiness is for all the baptized to respond to. We are all called to a deep, intimate friendship with Jesus Christ.

Fr. Thomas Dubay, a Marist priest, is a scholar of Carmelite spirituality. He is regularly seen on EWTN and has written numerous books on contemplative prayer. His book Spiritual Direction is a much needed book written in light of the fact that it is difficult for serious people of prayer to find good spiritual direction. His book is a direct response from numerous inquiries to him about where to find a good spiritual director.

Many saints, our own St. Therese included, confessed that they too, at times had no one to lead them but the Lord, that he alone directed their souls. I believe this is true today, but only in rare cases. Most people, erroneously, try to direct themselves. That is why we need the Holy Spirit. We need to pray that we do not lead ourselves astray. We need to pray for a good confessor/spiritual director.

St. Teresa and St. John give plenty of advice on what to look for in a spiritual director.

St. John says that a director must be:

*Knowledge of the ways of the Spirit

He says beginners should take great care into whose hands they entrust their souls.

St. Teresa's list of a good confessor:

*Must be intelligent
*Must be spiritual (practicing advanced prayer)
*Obedient to their superiors
*Must know that souls seek perfection-even from venial sins
*Should not discuss matters in which he is ignorant
*Should not readily agree/disagree with everything penitent says
*Must be open to the guidance of the Holy Spirit
*Must have sympathetic understanding

Oh, God, who did instruct the hearts of the faithful by the brilliant light of the Holy Spirit, grant that through this same spirit, we may be truly wise, and ever rejoice in his consolation, through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds 

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Carmelite Saint of the Day-Feast of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

August 9, 2008

Feast Day of St.Teresa Benedicta of the Cross , OCD

known in the world as Edith Stein

A prayer to St. Teresa

Dear St. Teresia Benedicta of the Cross,

Child of the Day of Atonement-Yom Kippur,

Daughter of Abraham,

Bride of Christ,

Seeker of truth,

Scholar of the Church,

Handmaid of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel,

Servant of the Suffering Servant,

Presence of mercy,

Victim of victimizers,

Embracer of the cross of Christ-like love,

Martyr of Auschwitz,

Imitator of Jesus,

Conqueror of evil,

Friend of God,


Please pray for me. Please intercede for this petition of mine,

(mention your petition) Amen.

"Love will be our eternal life."

Edith Stein

Read about St. Teresa

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Fifth Song: Understanding

Understanding is that Gift of the Holy Spirit which enables us to comprehend the mysteries and doctrines of our faith.

"I offer you praise, O Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, because what you have hidden from the learned and the clever you have revealed to the merest children." (Luke 10:21)

Take your pick of any Carmelite Saint, or any saint for that matter, and these words of Our Lord ring true again and again throughout history.

St. Therese was one of the little ones to whom our Lord revealed hidden mysteries of his Love. We fittingly call St. Therese the "Little Flower." Her great humility caused the Holy Trinity to reveal to her that kingdom where Jesus says you must become like little children in order to enter. We know that her way is one of simplicity, trust, and spiritual childhood, where the little one relies on the Father to teach him everything.

The Gift of Understanding overshadows the simple person; He is given light so as to understand great mysteries of our faith, such as the Incarnation or the Most Holy Trinity.

St. Teresa of Avila speaks of this in her writings when she says she was given light and understood in an instant a particular mystery of our faith. These touches of the Holy Spirit and the understanding given would be hard to put into words. They are given to the soul who is intensely in love with God. Great secrets are shared between these lovers.

St. Teresa describes a soul in the sixth mansion of her Interior Castle:
"When the Lord so wills, it may happen that the soul will be at prayer, and in possession of all its senses, and then there will suddenly come to it a suspension in which the Lord communicates most secret things to it. Such a vision is highly profitable because, although it passes in a moment, it remains engraved upon the soul."

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity wrote about the humble, simple soul receiving wisdom and knowledge of God. She writes, "The humble can never rank God high enough nor themselves low enough. But here is the wonder: their weakness turns into wisdom...Whoever possess humility has no need of many words to be instructed; God tells him more things than he can learn; such was the case with the Lord's disciples." (Heaven in Faith)
As lay Carmelites, we know that St. John of the Cross teaches us that we should not seek out these divine touches or consolations. Our Lord gives them to the humble and childlike soul who seeks to love him for himself alone and not for his favors.
St. John of the Cross writes in his Spiritual Canticle, "Who can describe in writing the understanding he gives to loving souls in whom he dwells? And who can express with words the experience he imparts to them? Certainly, no one can! Not even they who receive these communications."

Let us pray to Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, that she obtain for us from the Holy Spirit true understanding of our souls. May the Spirit show us our weaknesses and ugly faults so that with His grace we may overcome them. May he help us root out all pride and arrogance, which is far removed from the pure heart of a child of God.
Let us cry out with Our Lady, "He who is mighty has done great things for me, and Holy is His Name!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds