Monday, November 30, 2009

Spiritual Life Dictionary

Today's Term: Pilgrimage

A journey to a sacred place undertaken as an act of religious devotion, either simply in order to venerate it or to ask the fulfillment of some need or as an act of penance or thanksgiving, or a combination of these.
A Catholic Dictionary by Donald Attwater

Speaking of the favors God may bestow on those venerating certain images, St. John of the Cross states:

Our Lord frequently bestows these favors by means of images situated in remote and solitary places. The reason for this is that the effort required in journeying to these places makes the affection increase and the act of prayer more intense. Another motive is that a person may withdraw from people and noise in order to pray, as our Lord did.

Whoever makes a pilgrimage, therefore, does well to make it alone, even is this must be done at an unusual time. I would never advise going along with a large crowd, because one ordinarily returns more distracted than before. Many who go on pilgrimage do so more for the sake of recreation than devotion.
Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, The Ascent of Mt. Carmel, Book Three, Chapter 36, No. 3
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D.

The spiritual journey we make as Secular Carmelites is a solitary one. It is a journey of the heart that requires dying to self on a daily basis.  Although we make this journey alone, in a sense, we have the prayerful support of our brothers and sisters in Carmel, we have the spiritual direction of our holy Father and Mother, St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Jesus, we have the prayerful consolation of the Sacraments of the Church.
Secular Carmelites are on a daily holy pilgrimage up to the summit of Mt. Carmel-mystical symbolism for the spiritual union we seek with God. Let us pray for and encourage one another in our spiritual quest for God. 

Carmelites are called to quiet prayer-to solitude of heart where we gaze on the One whom we know loves us.  Let us allow Our Lady of Mount Carmel to lead us gently by the hand to her Divine Son who longs for union with us.

Peace be with you!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday in the Year for Priests

At Mass on the first Sunday after Father Vianney's arrival, practically the entire parish came to church. A few persons had already caught a glimpse of the new pastor, but that morning everybody examined him with curiosity.

The first thing they noticed about him was that he was not very tall, that he wore peasant shoes, and that his cassock was of coarse cloth. Then they saw him at the altar. There his awkward gestures were transformed into a sort of unexpected majesty, and already a few of the parishioners sensed that here was a man of unprecedented fervor and zeal...People began to say: "Have you noticed our new pastor? How fervently he prays! How devout he is! He is not an ordinary man. There is something extraordinary about him..."
From the Remarkable Cure of Ars by Michele de Saint Pierre

How beautiful it is, how great it is to know, love and serve God! That is all we have to do in this world. Beyond that, eveything we do is just a waste of time.
St. John Vianney

Peace be with you!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Saturday of Our Lady

Chaplet of Our Mother of Sorrows

Our Lady of Fatima asked the children of Fatima to pray, make sacrifices and do penance to console the Hearts of Jesus and Mary who are greatly offended. Praying the Chaplet of Our Lady of Sorrows is one way in which we can console the Heart of Our Lady.

Peace be with you~
Rosemarie, ocds

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Stained Glass Flowers-Little Accounts of the Miraculous

From the life of St. Theresa Margaret Redi of the Sacred Heart
Carmelite Saint-Feast Day: September 1

On Sunday after Pentecost, 1767, when she had heard read Saint John's words, "God is love," in choir as part of the chapter of tierce, she was seized by so violent and vivid an onrush of love for God that, for a short time, she fell into a sort of trance. Thereafter, she enjoyed one of St. Teresa's own privileges, for she kept within her heart a trace of that Divine Flame or, rather, a secret wound from it which, day by day, and little by little, consumed her and drew her slowly to her death. Furthermore, after that event she remained for several days thoughtful and withdrawn in mind from the community, frequently repeating the words "God is love": the nuns concluded, from observation, that every time she said these words she experienced within her soul a flaming-up of overwhelming love for God.

Learn more about the mystical phenomenon of the Transverberation of the Heart

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tabernacle of the Week

St. Martin of Tours Parish
Valley City, Ohio
Established in 1840
Diocese of Cleveland
Fr. Thomas Dunphy, pastor

St. Martin's is absolutely breathtaking in its beauty. The church is actually used as a chapel for daily Mass. A new church addition has been added to the property. Photos of the new church are included below.

A special "Thank you" to Patty, Rose and the members of the Intercessory Prayer Group for their kind hospitality during my visit.
Here is the parish website:

The tabernacle in the adoration room.

Peace be with you!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday in the Year for Priests

His church was neither beautiful nor rich. The frame structure above it could not really be called a steeple. Inside, the main altar was of painted wood, adorned with four wooden candlesticks that did it no honor. A modest statue of the Blessed  Virgin stood to the right of the choir. Now while Father Vianney loved poverty, he did not admit its presence in a church. Nothing was too beautiful or too sumptuous for what he would later call "God's household."
From the Remarkable Cure of Ars by Michele de St. Pierre
(Photo by Rosemarie of Spirit Singing-Taken at St. Martin of Tours-Valley City, Ohio)

Meaning of the Ceremonies at Mass
From an old prayer card that reads: Imprimatur, New York, July 21, 1913, John M. Farley, Archbishop of N.Y.

1.    Priest--Goes to the altar
       Christ--Goes to Mount Olive

2.   Priest-Commences Mass
      Christ-Begins to pray.

3.   Priest--Says the Confiteor.
      Christ--Falls down in agony.

4.   Priest--Kisses the altar.
      Christ--Is betrayed by Judas with a kiss.

5.   Priest--Goes to the Epistle side.
      Christ--Is bound and taken to Annas.

6.  Priest--Goes to the altar and says the Kyrie eleison.
     Christ--Is brought to Caiphas and there denied three times by Peter.

7.  Priest--Says  Dominus vobiscum.
     Christ--Looks at Peter and converts him.

8.  Priest--Reads the Epistle.
     Christ--Is brought to Pilate.

9.  Priest--Prays at the middle of the altar.
     Christ--Is taken to Herod and mocked.

10. Priest--Reads the Gospel.
      Christ--Taken back to Pilate; again mocked.

11.  Priest--Uncovers the chalice.
       Christ--Is stripped of His garments.

12. Priest--Offers bread and wine.
      Christ--is scourged at the pillar.

13. Priest--Covers the chalice.
      Christ--Is crowned with thorns.

14. Priest--Washes his hands.
      Christ--Is declared innocent by Pilate.

15. Priest-Says the Orate Fratres.
      Christ--Is shown by Pilate to the people with the words "Ecce Homo."

16. Priest--Prays in low voice.
      Christ--is mocked and spit upon.

17. Priest--Says the Preface and the Sanctus.
      Christ--Is kept instead of Barnabs and condemned to death.

18. Priest--Makes the Memento for the living.
      Christ--Carries the Cross to Mount Calvary.

19. Priest--Continues to pray in a low voice.
      Christ--Meets his mother and other pious women.

20. Priest--Blesses the bread and wine with the sign of the cross.
      Christ--Is nailed to the cross.

21. Priest--Elevates the Sacred Host.
      Christ--Is raised on the cross.

22. Priest--Elevates the chalice.
      Christ--Sheds His blood from the five wounds.

23. Priest--Prays in a low voice.
      Christ--Sees His afflicted mother at the cross.

24. Priest--Says aloud: Nobis quoque peccatoribus.
      Christ--Prays on the cross for all men.

25. Priest--Says aloud the Our Father.
      Christ--Says the seven words of the cross.

26. Priest--Breaks and separates the Host.
      Christ--Gives up His spirit and dies.

27. Priest--Lets a small part of the Sacred Host fall into
      the chalice.
      Christ--Descends into Limbo.

28. Priest--Says the Agnus Dei
      Christ--Is acknowledged on the cross to be the Son of God by bystanders.

29. Priest--Gives Holy Communion.
      Christ--Is laid in the sepulchre.

30. Priest--Cleanses the chalice.
      Christ--Is anointed by pious women.

31. Priest--Prepares the chalice for use again.
      Christ--Arises from the dead.

32. Priest-Says the Dominus vobiscum.
      Christ--Appears to His mother and disciples.

33. Priest--Says the last prayer.
      Christ--Teaches for forty days.

34. Priest--Says the last Dominus vobiscum.
      Christ--Takes leave of His disciples and ascends into Heaven.

35. Priest--Gives the blessing.
      Christ-Sends down the Holy Ghost.

36. Priest--Says Ite, Missa est, and reads the last Gospel.
      Christ--Sends the Apostles to preach the Gospel.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Saturday of Our Lady

Presentation of Our Lady

This feast commemorates the dedication of the church of St. Mary which was built in Jerusalem near the site of the Temple. With Christians of the East, the Latin Church also recalls on this day the tradition according to which Mary as a small child was presented to the Lord by her parents in the Temple.
(From the Liturgy of the Hours)

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Friday, November 20, 2009

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

Saying # 83

(click to enlarge)

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Carmelite Quote

(click to enlarge)

Tomorrow we will celebrate the feast of St. Raphael Kalinowski, canonized by Pope John Paul II. His quote today is certainly in line with Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity's teaching on the indwelling of the Holy Trinity.
Remember, we can participate in perpetual adoration by remaining in the chapel of our heart throughout the day. Let us strive to be united throughout this day with the one whom we know loves us.
Let us pray for each other.

Peace be with you!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tabernacle of the Week

After Pentecost, the early Church realized that the newly baptized believers should come together regularly for Eucharist. "They devoted themselves to the apostles' instruction and the communal life, to the breaking of the bread and the prayers" (Acts 2:43).
(From The Seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church, by Msg. Vincent Walsh, J.C.D.)

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Monday, November 16, 2009

Commemoration of All Carmelite Souls

May all the souls of the faithfully departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

"Death cannot be bitter to the soul that loves, for in it she finds all the sweetness and delight of love. The thought of death cannot sadden her, for what she finds is that gladness accompanies this thought. Neither can the thought of death be burdensome and painful to her, for death will put an end to all her sorrows and afflictions and be the beginning of all her bliss. She thinks of death as her friend and bridegroom, and at the thought of it she rejoices as she would over the thought of her betrothal and marriage, and she longs for the day and hour of her death more than earthly kings long for kingdoms and principalities."
St. John of the Cross, Spiritual Canticle, Stanza 11, No. 10

A description of the death of St. Therese of the Child Jesus from St. Therese of Lisieux Her Last Conversations:

"Oh, I would not want to suffer for a shorter time!" And looking at her crucifix: "Oh! I love Him!..."My God...I love you!..."

Suddenly, after having pronounced these words, she fell back, her head leaning to the right. Mother Prioress had the infirmary bell rung very quickly to call back the community.
"Open all the doors," she said at the same time. These words had something solemn about them, and made me think that in heaven God was saying them also to His angels.
The Sisters had time to kneel down around her bed, and they were witnesses to the ecstasy of the little, dying saint. her face had regained the lily-white complextion it always had in full health; her eyes were fixed above, brilliant with peace and joy. She made certain beautiful movements with her head as though someone had divinely wounded her with an arrow of love, then had withdrawn the arrow to wound her again...

Sister Marie of the Eucharist approached with a candle to get a closer view of that sublime look. In the light of the candle, there didn't appear any movement in her eyelids. This ecstasy lasted almost the space of a Credo, and then she gave her last breath.

Today we commemorate the Feast of All Souls of Carmel.  Let us remember all those holy souls of our Order who have been called to the Wedding Feast.  Let us remember to pray for the living and deceased members of our local community by reciting Morning and Evening Prayer from the Liturgy of the Hours at least on a monthly basis.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday in the Year for Priests

The first concern of the young priest, as soon as he was alone, was to go and visit his church. There he knelt down and made one of those fervent imperative prayers to which he had the secret, imploring, crying out for God's mercy. His first thought on seeing his village was: "How small it is!" And then, illumined with one of those presentiments that would light his way through life, he added: "This parish will be too small to contain all those who will some day come to it!"
(From the Remarkable Cure of Ars by Michele de Saint Pierre)

It has been written that the Cure of Ars spent up to 17 hours a day hearing confessions. Recently, I read a story of a priest assigned to a new parish. He related that he spent his first Saturday there in the confessional for 45 minutes waiting for penitents to arrive. During that time he heard only two confessions.

I'm sure most of us witness Sunday after Sunday, people flocking to Communion, but hardly any crowds flocking to the Sacrament of Penance.  While we cannot judge people, we can safely say that our society is suffering from a lack of the sense of sin.

The Secular Carmelite has a great opportunity for witnessing to the world our charism of contemplative prayer through our love for the Sacrament of Penance.  In fact, our Secular Rule states:
"The Secular Carmelite will, in addition, have a great esteem for the Sacrament of Penance, or Reconciliation..."
Why do we need to have a great esteem for the Sacrament of Penance?  The Secular Carmelite seeks the face of God in prayer-this is the heart of our calling-to pray without ceasing-to ponder the law of the Lord in our heart. We are striving for purity of heart, therefore, we are working with God's grace to overcome our faults and imperfections.  We need the grace of the Sacrament of Penance to help us gain self-knowledge to see ourselves as we really are, painful though this may be.
We need the Sacrament of Penance to help us live more perfectly our promises of chastity, poverty, and obedience.  We can examine our conscience as to how we are being faithful or unfaithful to our spiritual marriage to the Order of Carmel.
The Cure of Ars, like many other saints, experienced a deep sense of sin that caused him to weep over his sins and failings.  The Cure of Ars lived a life of Beatitude-offering forgiveness and mercy to the sinner.  We can ask ourself this question: When was the last time I wept over my sins?  Have I truly mourned over my sins before the Lord?  
Let us ask the Holy Spirit to give us a deep sense of sin and compunction of heart, that we will truly be among the blessed-"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."

Let us pray for each other.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds


Saturday, November 14, 2009

All Saints of Carmel

Happy  Feast Day to all Carmelites!

Peace be with you!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Stained Glass Scapulars-Reflections on the Secular Carmelite Rule

Life of Contemplative Prayer

The Rule clearly states that the Secular Carmelite must strive for the fullness of the charism of Carmel; namely, for a life of contemplative prayer. But, you may ask, how do we define "contemplative prayer?" What is its distinctive features?

To give a general definition, prayer is the raising of the mind and heart to god. but the term "contemplative prayer" means a manner of prayer that is a simple attention to the loving presence of God in my life. Generally, a contemplative prayer is contrasted or compared with discursive prayer, in which I might be more concerned with and attentive to my own reasoning or feelings about God. Contemplative prayer is a direct form of going to Christ (God) and allowing Him to deal with me. It is directly related to the love of God that has been manifested to us in Christ. In contemplative prayer, words and discursive reasoning give way to a silent and peaceful awareness of God's presence and love.

(From A Commentary on the Rule of Life by Michael D. Griffin, OCD)

In Fr. Griffin's commentary, he states that we must strive for a life of contemplative prayer. This is important, because beginners may think that contemplative prayer is a "given" for those who have embraced Carmel. We must be clear that the gift of contemplation is just this: a gift. A precious gift from God. Those who possess it must truly be grateful to God and thank him profusely for this intimate life of prayer.

Like a rose, the life of prayer unfolds petal by petal, blossoming into contemplation,according to God's gifts for each soul.

We can ask the question, do I truly strive for this gift of contemplation? If I do have the gift of contemplation, am I seeking a still deeper union with the Lord? Am I desperate for an intimate relationship with the most Holy Trinity? Do I pray for the gift of contemplation? Do I pray for our local community, that we may all be given this precious gift and become a holy community of living witnesses of contemplative prayer in the world?

These are all questions we can ask when we choose other distractions and pastimes over more quiet time with the Lord. He is our first love. Do we give him the first and finest offering of our time? Or do we give him the left-overs-a few minutes at the end of the day, just to fulfill our obligation of a half hour of mental prayer.

Let us turn to our Carmelite saints for encouragement and inspiration. In our spiritual reading we can look to their lives for help. Life is so short...if we want to be saints, now is the time! Let us pray for each other.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Carmelite Quote

(Click on photo to enlarge)

Click here to enter the wonderful website of all things St. Margaret Redi. Unbelievable site with loads of information about this beautiful saint devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Her charism and motto: God is love!

Peace be with you!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tabernacle of the Week

Little Sisters of the Poor
Warrensville Heights, Ohio

Read the story of Dr. Gatz's miraculous cure through the intercession of St. Jeanne Jugan. His cure was used in the process for her canonization.

The Little Sisters of the Poor celebrate the great joy of their foundress, Jeanne Jugan, being canonized on October 11, 2009 by His Holiness, Benedict XVI.

More about the life of St. Jeanne Jugan from Wikipedia

Novena Prayer to St. Jeanne Jugan

Jesus, you rejoiced and praised Your Father for having revealed to little ones the mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven. We thank You for the graces granted to Your humble servant, Jeanne Jugan, to whom we confide our petitions and needs.
Father of the Poor, You have never refused the prayer of the lowly. We ask You, therefore, to hear the petitions she presents to You on our behalf.
Jesus, through Mary, Your Mother and ours, we ask this of You, who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit now and forever

Peace be with you!