Saturday, January 31, 2009

Saturday-Our Lady's Little Feast Day

The Litany of Loreto
Today's Title:

Her eyes were the first to gaze on God, her hands the first to touch his sacred body. Only purity itself could win this privilege.

Icon of Our Lady-St. Michael's Byzantine Church, Akron, Ohio
Source: Symbolic Meditations on the Litany of Our Lady by Most Rev. Richard Ackerman
Mother, most pure, pray for us.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Sunday, January 25, 2009

First Flower of Consecrated Life: Chastity

                            The Three-Fold Flower of Consecrated Life:Chastity, Poverty and Obedience

The novices in our lay Carmelite community will be making their promises in June at our annual retreat. The other members will renew their promises of Chastity, Poverty and Obedience. Today, I would like to concentrate on the promise of chastity.

We will profess/renew the promises in the above stated order. Fr. Michael Griffin, OCD explains:

Now you will see that the first place is given to Chastity, then to Poverty and finally to obedience. This order is really quite ancient in the Church, and it stresses that it is through chastity that the friar or nun gives his whole and undivided love to the Lord, then wants to live like the poor Christ, and finally is willing to carry out the wishes of those the Lord has appointed to lead him. And this, allowing for the differences, is what prevails in the making of promises by the secular Carmelite. I think the order is very suggestive for meditation and reflection on this step in the life of the Lay Carmelite.

From our Rule:

Article 12

The Promise of chastity binds the Secular Carmelites to the observance of this virtue in accordance with their state in life, and does not in any way impede a change of state. The promise expresses a conscious intention to respect the law of God in a way proper to the unmarried, married or widowed state, as the case may be, and to bear a special witness, as befits those called to intimacy with God, to the Beatitude: "Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God" (Mt. 5,8)

When we hear the word, "Chastity" this usually brings to mind thoughts of the body. But we must look deeper into this virtue. Chastity does not mean only to keep the body pure, but as our rule states, we must try to attain purity of heart, in-fact, to return to our baptismal innocence in which we are pure, innocent children of God ready to be welcomed into the Kingdom.

As Carmelites, of course, we look to Our Lady, she who is the chaste-Virgin, the Ever-Virgin, Mother of God. We look to her to help us keep pure in body and spirit and to imitate her humility and modesty.

Humility is the key to chastity. Why? Because we must "get over" trying to please others and live to please God alone. It takes great humility to not care about what pleases others. I'm not speaking of acts of charity or sharing our joy with others, but of the great lengths we go to and the great effort we make sometimes in our dress and speech to impress and please other people.

From Fr. Tanquerey:

If we love God with our whole soul, if we love Jesus Christ above all things, we shall be less inclined to give our affections to creatures.

This generous love for Jesus we draw from prayer, from the reception of Holy Communion, from silent adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and we render it habitual and permanent through that intimate union with Our Lord.

To this we add a great devotion to Mary, the Virgin Undefiled. Her name breathes forth purity. The Spiritual Life, pg. 529

Let us look at this virtue within the symbolism of marriage, since it is the spiritual marriage we are all trying to attain. We turn to Jesus Christ and his bride the Church for the perfect model of marriage between God and mankind. Jesus Christ is the model of faithfulness to his bride. Even though we sinners are unfaithful, he remains faithful.

Being chaste means being faithful to the Commandments of God. Let's look at the first commandment as an example: "I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no strange gods before me." God is commanding us to take no other lover but himself. Carmelite spirituality, through the teachings of St. John of the Cross, especially help us to detach ourselves from the love of creatures and created things and to embrace the cross-that holy instrument that binds us to our Beloved.

What are some of the qualities of a chaste person?

First the practical side of a chaste person:

*Respect for self and others
*Carry themselves with a holy dignity that is free of arrogance
*A humble person
*No suggestive talk or clothing
*Does not flirt with opposite sex
*Does not use obscene language
*Does not watch obscene movies
*Does not read obscene books

Spiritual aspects of a chaste person:

*Is single-hearted for God
*Is simple and childlike in their love and trust in God
*Is faithful to their promises
*Flees from suggestive thoughts and temptations
*Does not form inappropriate attachment to spiritual director

Practicing the virtue of chastity, with the help of the Holy Spirit helps us to conquer our flesh and live the life of the Spirit in purity.

Let us pray for our members who will profess chastity, poverty and obedience and for our members who will renew their promises. We only need to turn to our Holy Mother of Mt. Carmel, Virgin most Pure to help us attain the crown of holy Chastity.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Carmelite Quote


"I would spread the Gospel in 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 should wish to have been one from the world's creation and to remain one till the end of time."
St. Therese of Lisieux

Just like the Apostles who left their fishing boats to follow Jesus, St. Therese left the security of her family life and the comfort of her home to enter the penitential life of Carmel. The joy of her conversion never wavered. She testifies to that in the above quote. St. Therese is like the dove of peace who brings the Good News with great Love and simplicity to all who will listen today.

St. Therese's desire to spread the gospel to all parts of the world has certainly come true. The Church has lifted up her life and writings for all the faithful, as a means for us to grow in holiness.

Tomorrow, the Church celebrates another great missionary and his conversion, St. Paul. Let us give thanks to God for the spread of the gospel through these two saints. Let us thank Him that the Word of Life has reached our ears and penetrated our hearts through their heroic efforts.

St. Therese, Patroness of World Missions, pray for us!

St. Paul, pray for us!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Prayer to Our Lady of Holy Protection and Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

January 22, 2009
National Day of Prayer and Penance in reparation for the sin of abortion

Dearest Lady of Holy Protection, please protect innocent unborn children, our brothers and sisters in Christ, with your motherly mantle of love and compassion. Please intercede on behalf of all unborn children who are at risk of death through abortion.

Please pray for those who promote and defend the evil practice of abortion. May they have a permanent change of heart through the light of the Holy Spirit and your prayers, that they may soon defend the rights of all unborn children.

Please pray that we become a nation that turns away from the sin of abortion and become people faithful to the Gospel of Life.

Our dear Lady of Holy Protection and our Mother of Mt. Carmel, we place our hope in you!

(Image by Terry Nelson of the Blue Army)

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Catechism Quote


The Church encourages us to prepare ourselves for the hour of our death. In the litany of the saints, for instance, she has us pray: "From a sudden an unforeseen death, deliver us, O Lord", to ask the Mother of God to intercede for us "at the hour of our death" in the Hail Mary; and to entrust ourselves to St. Joseph the patron of a happy death.

From the Rule of Life for the
Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites:

1. At the time of death:

a. The Community will have a Mass offered.
b. The Community will pray together:

1. Evening Prayer of the dead, with a particular reference to the deceased member as well as to all the deceased of the Order; or
2. The Rosary; or
3. Other suitable prayers.
c. Each member will, if possible, have Mass offered or participate in a Mass and receive Holy
Communion for the deceased.

2. For the deceased members of the entire Order:
Carmelites should remember the deceased members of the Order in their daily prayers.
(Sec. 12, Article 9)

I found this prayer to Our Lady in an old Byzantine prayer book that belonged to my grandmother.

Consecrating the Last Three Hours of our Life to Mary

To Thee, O Mother of my soul, I consecrate the last Three Hours of my life. When death cuts the thread of my life, give my soul to Jesus and say: "I love it." This alone will be enough to obtain for me the benediction of my God and the happiness of seeing Thee for all eternity. Amen.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Christmas Photos

Christmas Photos
of churches in my area

St. Bernard's Church-Akron, Ohio

Sancta Clara Monastery (Poor Clares)
Canton, Ohio

Immaculate Conception Church-Akron, Ohio

St. Edward Church-Ashland, Ohio

Immaculate Heart of Mary-Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio

St. Vincent Church-Akron, Ohio

St. Sebastian Church-Akron, Ohio

Our monthly Carmelite Meetings are held at St. Sebastian on the First Sunday of each month from 1-4pm. If you are in the area, please join us!

St Agnes Church-Orrville, Ohio

Peace be with you!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Carmelite Quote

I feel such love within me that it is like an ocean into which I plunge and lose myself. It is my vision here on earth while I wait for that full meeting with him in the light. He is in me and I am in him, and I only have to love him and let myself be loved at every moment, whatever happens: to wake up in Love, to work in Love, to sleep in Love, my soul in his Soul, my heart in his Heart, seeing with his eyes, so that his presence can purify me and set me free from my failings.

Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity
Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS