Friday, September 26, 2008

Novena to St. Therese of the Child Jesus

Novena to St. Therese
Fourth Day-Faith

For one whose faith is like a mustard seed, He grants miracles, and moves mountains to strengthen this faith. For His intimate friends, He works miracles before having tried their faith. But after the trial what a reward!
St. Therese

St. Therese accepted the supernatural gift of faith with a total trust and confidence in God befitting a true child of God with a pure heart. She wanted the whole world to love God as she loved him. She wanted to share this gift of faith and proclaim it to all continents of the earth, exclaiming, "I would spread the gospel to all parts of the earth even to the farthest isles. I would be a missionary but not for a few years only; were it possible I would wish to have been one from the world's creation and to remain one until the end of time."
We know from her writings that she suffered through the dark night of faith. She stated that for long years the Lord gave her no consolations, it was she says, "as if, our Lord were asleep in the boat." But she rejoices at this saying, " I love all He does."
Let us pray to our little doctor of great Love to help us to love Him as she loves Him. May we see in her shower of roses a symbol of "everything is a grace" and let us love everything He does in our lives as a shower of roses from heaven.

Novena Prayer
Loving God, open our eyes to the light of faith and truth. May your light and love sustain us at all times. May Saint Therese guide us on her Little Way and teach us to receive everything as a grace. We want to say with her: Each moment brings an opportunity to choose your will in love. In joy, in sorrow, in every circumstance of life, may our hearts rest in Yours. Amen.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Novena to St. Therese of the Child Jesus

St. Therese embracing the cross in the cloister garden.

Novena to St. Therese
Third Day-Abandonment

The heart of St. Therese's "spiritual childhood" is total abandonment to the will of God. Sometimes as Carmelites we forget the other part of Therese's message: suffering. Yes, she abandoned herself to God through holy suffering.

People who read about St. Therese for the first time, perhaps reading Story of a Soul, find her simple and sweet. This is certainly not the case when one studies her writings. I would highly recommend the book St. Therese of Lisieux her last conversations, translated by John Clarke, OCD. This book lays out page by page St. Therese's total abandonment to the will of God through heroic suffering.

This abandonment is not an attitude of o.k. whatever happens, happens, I will deal with it. No, this holy abandonment in the life of a Carmelite is found in the waiting upon the Lord in prayer from moment to moment, ready to accept the joys and sufferings that He wills. And to accept all from his loving hand with a spirit of joy and peace.

Near the end of her life when speaking of her great suffering St. Therese stated, "If i did not simply live from one moment to another it would be impossible for me to be patient, but I look only at the present. I forget the past and I take good care not to forestall the future. When we yield to discouragement or despair, it is usually because we think too much about the past or the future."

She also said, "I thank Thee, O my God, for all the graces Thou hast bestowed on me, and particularly for having made me pass through the crucible of suffering."

Let us as Carmelites pray to have the grace to imitate her total willingness to embrace the cross and rejoice in following Jesus on the narrow road of salvation.

Novena Prayer

O Little Therese of the Child Jesus, please pick for me a rose from the heavenly gardens and send it to me as a message of love.

O Little Flower of Jesus, ask God today to grant the favors I now place with confidence in your hands...(Mention your request)

St. Therese, help me to always believe as you did, in God's great love for me, so that I might imitate your "Little Way" each day. Amen

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Novena to St. Therese of the Child Jesus

Novena to St. Therese
Second Day-Confidence

We can never have too much confidence in the Good God. He is so mighty and merciful. As we hope in Him so shall we receive...I believe, I hope, I love.
St. Therese

Novena Prayer

St. Therese, Flower of fervor and love, please intercede for me. Fill my heart with your pure love of God. Make me more aware of the goodness of God and how well he tends His garden. Instill in me your "Little Way" of doing ordinary things with extra-ordinary love. Give me the heart of a child who wonders at life and embraces everything with loving enthusiasm. Teach me your delight in God's ways so that divine charity may blossom in my heart.

Little Flower of Jesus, bring my petitions (mention here) before God our Father. With your confidence, I come before Jesus as God's child, because you are my heavenly friend. Amen.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Novena to St. Therese of the Child Jesus

Novena to St. Therese 
First Day-Spiritual Childhood

You can see that I am a very little soul and that I can offer God only very little things. I am too little to perform great actions. Jesus does not demand great actions from us but only surrender and gratitude. St. Therese

Novena Prayer

Loving God, open our eyes to the light of faith and truth. May your light and love sustain us at all times. May Saint Therese guide us on her Little Way and teach us to receive everything as a grace. We want to say with her: Each moment brings an opportunity to choose your will in love. In joy, in sorrow, in every circumstance of life, may our hearts rest in Yours.

St. Therese, pray for us!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Catechism Quote


"he was praying in a certain place and when he had ceased, one of his disciples said to him, 'Lord, teach us to pray." In seeing the Master at prayer the disciples of Christ also wants to pray. By contemplating and hearing the Son, the master of prayer, the children learn to pray to the Father.

This excerpt from the Catechism highlights the Gospel of Luke in which Our Lord responds to the apostles' request by teaching them the Our Father. This profound prayer is often taken for granted because we say it so often.

St. Teresa of Jesus, when forming her nuns, also stressed the greatness of this prayer. She mentions that often she could not get past the "Our Father, " that she could contemplate on this mystery for ever. In the Way of Perfection (Chapter 27) she engages in a holy colloquy when speaking of "Our Father."

"Our Father, which art in the Heavens." O my Lord, how Thou dost reveal Thyself as the Father of such a Son, while Thy Son reveals Himself as the Son of such a Father! Blessed be Thou for ever and ever...O Son of God and my Lord! How is it that thou canst give us so much with Thy first word?"

St. Teresa tells her nuns that this vocal prayer and meditating on just the "Our Father" can lead to sublime contemplation if the soul would enter into itself by realizing who it is addressing and the great wonder that we can call the Lord of heaven and earth Our Father.

This is very helpful teaching for those struggling with mental prayer. One can use a word or two such as "Our Father" to constantly bring us back to our focus of prayer. Even if one does not have the gift of contemplation, the Our Father can be said with love from the heart and become a perfect prayer of praise.

It is said that when one saw Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity in prayer it inspired them to pray as well. Did you ever see anyone praying that you wanted to imitate? That you were attracted to in a holy way? The apostles did. They saw Our Lord at prayer. They saw his deep union with the Father and wanted this gift for themselves. Our Lord recognized those who loved the Father. He said of Mary, (Martha & Mary)"She has chosen the better part and it shall not be denied her."

Who better contemplated the Father than the Virgin Mary. Our Lady of Mt. Carmel is our model of prayer that we are striving to imitate. She who pondered the Word in her heart, who treasured the Word in her heart...may she intercede for us.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, obtain for us the gift of prayer!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Carmel of St. Joseph at Port Tobacco, Maryland mourns the loss of Mother Mary Joseph

Mother Mary Joseph of Divine Providence, formerly the longtime prioress of the Carmel of Port Tobacco in Charles County, died Aug. 25 at the age of 81. A gifted artist, her icon of Mary and the baby Jesus, shown at right, is displayed near the altar of the monastery’s chapel. CS PHOTO BY MICHAEL HOYT

In a photo from 1990, Mother Mary Joseph creates an icon at the Carmel of Port Tobacco in Charles County, an historic monastery that she helped revive. The carmel’s former prioress, an accomplished artist, died Aug. 25. CS FILE PHOTO BY MICHAEL HOYT

The Carmelite Chapel-Port Tobacco, Maryland

May her soul, and all the souls of the faithful departed, rest in peace. Amen.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Carmelite Quote

St. Raphael Kalinowski

From a letter to his parents describing his call to Carmel:

A year ago there came to me, like an echo, a voice from the grilles of Carmel. This voice was clearly addressed to me and I have accepted it; it was a salvific voice from the infinite mercy of God commanding me. I can only exclaim, 'I will sing the mercies of the Lord forever.'

St. Raphael founded a Carmelite monastery in Wadowice, Poland the city where our late Holy Father John Paul II was born. To Learn more about this little-known Carmelite saint, read Saint Raphael Kalinowski: An Introduction to His Life and Spirituality available from ICS Publications. Please see my links list.

Thought for today: Could you describe your conversion/call to Carmel in just a few short sentences as St. Raphael has done? What would you say if someone asked you?

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Friday, September 19, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI

We arrived home safely from our pilgrimage, thanks be to God. It was a wonderful experience to be among thousands of people who love the Church and our Holy Father. It was amazing to hear his voice in person!

Please enjoy the slide show on the sidebar of the crowds that turned out for the Holy Father's visit.

We remembered in prayer our readers and visitors of this site in our intentions at the mass on September 15-Our Lady of Sorrows.

Peace be with you!

Monday, September 8, 2008


We are off on pilgrimage to Our Lady's shrine in Lourdes. Be assured of our prayers for all regular readers of this blog and for all visitors to this site. We will remember you especially on Sept. 15-Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows when the Holy Father says mass at the shrine.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Birthday of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Our Lady, Queen and Beauty of Mount Carmel

From the Secular Carmelite Rule:

The Blessed Virgin Mary holds a particular place in the life of a Carmelite. She is, first of all, his model of fidelity to grace and constancy in God's service. She is also Mother of the Whole Order, which enjoys her special patronage.

The Secular Carmelite's interior life must be permeated by an intense devotion to Our Lady. Exteriorly, too, he will honor her daily by some particular act, and by wearing the brown Scapular of Carmel.

From the Divine Office on this holy Feast Day-

The Canticle of Zechariah:

Your birth, O Virgin Mother of God, proclaims joy to the whole world, for from you arose the glorious Sun of Justice, Christ our God; he freed us from the age-old curse and filled us with holiness; he destroyed death and gave us eternal life.

St. Therese in awe of God for the Blessed Virgin:

"Oh, who could have thought of the Blessed Virgin Mary!"

Religious and Lay people throughout the world sing a hymn to Mary after evening prayer:

Salve Regina

(Hail, Holy Queen)

Salve, Regina,mater misericordiae;

Vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.

Ad te clammamus, exsules, filii Hevae.

Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes inhac lacrimarum valle.

Eia ergo, Advocata nostra, illos tuos misericordes oculos

ad nos converte.

Et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui, nobis post hoc

exsilium ostende:

O clemens:

O pia:

O dulcis Virgo Maria.

Peace be with you!


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Confession: The Sacrament of Reconciliation

The Sacrament of Reconciliation: An Ocean of Mercy

"When you go to confession, to this fountain of mercy, the Blood and Water which came forth from My Heart always flows down upon your soul" (Jesus to St. Faustina-Diary #1602)
From the Secular Carmelite Rule:

The Secular Carmelite will, in addition, have a great esteem for the Sacrament of Penance, or Reconciliation and practice, as far as possible, acts of traditional Christian piety laid down by special statute for local observance.

Our society, in general, suffers from a lack of the sense of sin. As Catholics we can witness this each weekend when we see multitudes approaching the Eucharist and only a few souls in line for confession on a Saturday afternoon.

The Carmelite is called to be a witness, that small voice crying out in the wilderness, to the great graces of healing in this powerful sacrament. We are called to have a "great esteem" for this sacrament. That should mean that we do not approach it with a matter-of-fact attitude, but also at the same time approach it simply and straightforward.

It's a good idea to examine our conscience in light of the fact of our vocation as a Carmelite. We can ask ourselves:

*Have I been faithful to praying the liturgy of the Hours?

*Have I been faithful to mental prayer?

*Have I been faithful to spiritual reading?

*Have I lived according to the Beatitudes?

*Have I shown love, mercy, and forgiveness as God has shown it to me?

As I said, we should approach this sacrament simply. It is not necessary to elaborate and give detail upon detail. The learned Fr. Thomas Dubay, in his book Deep Conversion Deep Prayer states that the penitent should be brief, clear and accurate.

In Fr. Dubay's own words:

The first is that the penitent confess guilt, not mere feelings or mistakes--as we have already explained. The second is that one avoids mentioning the failings and faults of others, for example, the other person's part in an argument, what they did or said that triggered the penitent's outburst of anger. ..Thirdly, one should confess only the essentials of the sin, not a history of what took place, not unnecessary details. Lastly, do not repeat two or three times what has already been said once. If something is not clear the confessor can ask about it. (Deep Conversion Deep Prayer, Pg. 115)

Fr. Dubay also talks about the problem of Prolixity (verbose, long-winded). This is an excellent paragraph in the chapter, and I would highly recommend it. To give you some idea of his thought, he is talking about the people who have a real need to talk about themselves. They see other people waiting in line, perhaps even a long line for confession and they proceed to take undue amounts of time in the confessional.

Here is a teaching on the subject from St. Claude de la Colombiere, the spiritual director of St. Margaret Mary of the Sacred Heart devotion:
Half an hour a month in which to give an account of your prayer and disposition should suffice and would be real direction: for it is mere waste of time and real illusion to expect endless visits which recommence daily; self is satisfied, and self is distracted by so much talk, but God is left alone and it is with him alone that we ought to try and be united.

We must take care not to be so occupied with our self that we try to interest everyone in our soul, while at the same time we do not think of God who alone ought to occupy our love, so that we go to him with simplicity, without so much thought of self and without bothering others by so much talk about our self.

Let's pray for ourselves-to humbly confess our sins and with God's grace begin anew the quest for holiness. Let us pray for others who are away from the Church and the sacraments.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Carmelite Quote

Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and inspired by the words of St. Paul wished to become a "Praise of Glory" to the most Holy Trinity. This is an excerpt of her description of a soul who is a Praise of Glory:

A praise of glory is a soul that lives in God, that loves him with a pure and disinterested love, without seeking itself in the sweetness of this love; that loves him beyond all His gifts and even though it would not have received anything from Him, it desires the good of the Object thus loved...Thus the soul must surrender itself to this will completely, passionately, so as to will nothing else but what God wills.

A praise of glory is a soul of silence that remains like a lyre under the mysterious touch of the Holy Spirit so that He may draw from it divine harmonies: it knows that suffering is a string that produces still more beautiful sounds, so it loves to see this string on its instrument that it may more delightfully move the Heart of its God.

We too, as lay Carmelites are striving to be a Praise of Glory in our own unique way by using the gifts God has given us. We are not holy of ourselves and our own efforts. We only reflect the light, and beauty, and holiness of the Trinity living within us. When we become Christlike and become the image of his Son in charity and all virtue we become a true Praise of His Glory.

Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity, pray for us.

Peace be with you!

Rosemarie, OCDS

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Distractions in Prayer

Did you ever have a bee or fly buzz around your head driving you nuts? That is what distractions during prayer remind me of--spiritual pests! Our Holy Mother St. Teresa gives great advice concerning these harmless distractions: laugh at them!

This response comes from her many years of toil and labor at prayer. She said for years she was anxious when the hour of prayer arrived: "Very often, for some years, I was more anxious that the hour I had determined to spend in prayer be over than I was to remain there, and more anxious to listen for the striking of the clock than to attend to other good things. And I don't know what heavy penance could have come to mind that frequently I would not have gladly undertaken rather than recollect myself in the practice of prayer."

She tells us not to pay attention to distractions, to, in effect, ignore them and go about our business praying. I believe this is good advice, because many, many people get anxious about this and spend more time worrying about their weakness during prayer than just letting go of the distraction and continuing in prayer. Some people give up praying entirely because of distractions, saying "what's the use?" In this response the devil has been victorious in preventing the soul from praying.
In St. Teresa's words:
When one of you finds herself in this sublime state of prayer, which, as I have already said is most markedly supernatural and the understanding (or, to put it more clearly, the thought) wanders off after the more ridiculous things in the world, she should laugh at it and treat it as the silly thing it is, and remain in her state of quiet.

Many people also make the mistake of trying to "empty" their mind during prayer. This is an impossible task as St. Teresa tells us, too. We live in the body and will always have these struggles. Her example of faithfulness in prayer-in being present to the Lord, available to him, even when she didn't feel like it, is the model of a true Carmelite. The Lord rewarded her faithfulness with many mystical favors. Let us thank him for any grace-filled moments he sends us: prayer free from distractions!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds