Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday in the Year for Priests

The Cross is the most scholarly book we can read. Those who do not know this book are ignorant, even if they happen to know all the other books. There are no true scholars except those who love the Cross, consult it, understand it. Bitter as this book may be, we are never happier than when we drown ourselves in this bitterness. The more we follow its teaching, the more we want to go on. Here time passes quickly. We know everything we want to know, and we are never satisfied... We should run after the Cross
the way a miser runs after money. It is consoling to suffer for the love of God. We must ask for a love of crosses. Are we not made in the form of a cross?
St. John Vianney-The Cure of Ars

The Holy Season of Lent begins in 17 Days

Peace be with you!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

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

Saying #82

Keep spiritually tranquil in a loving attentiveness to God, and when it is necessary to speak, let it be with the same calm and peace.

These words of St. John of the Cross are full of obvious wisdom.  How many times have we sinned by speaking in haste before considering the tone of our voice and the choice of our words?  Let us pray for the gift of the Holy Spirit, that he will help us to remain calm even in a challenging situation in which we are tempted to raise our voice and use harsh language.

St. Teresa teaches us that beginners are tempted to act like the spiritual police by correcting others instead of concentrating on their own faults. It takes true humility to bear the weaknesses  and faults of others, especially those we have close contact with.

Each day in the Divine Office we begin with these words: "Lord open my lips, and my mouth shall declare your praise." Let us ask for the gift to respond to others with encouraging words spoken with kindness in a spirit of true Christian charity that reflects our interior peace of heart.

St. John of the Cross, pray for us!

Peace be with you!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Seven Mansions and the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit-A Meditation Series on the Interior Castle

The Fourth Dwelling Place

In this chapter St. Teresa focuses on distractions in prayer and the difference between consolations and spiritual delight. She also begins to speak of the Prayer of Quiet. Please refer to my previous post on consolations. You can access the article on the sidebar under "Spiritual Life Dictionary."

In this fourth mansion the soul begins to travel the road of infused (supernatural) prayer. This infused prayer of recollection (Prayer of Quiet),is a prerequisite-of-sorts that opens the soul to receive divine consolations. The Prayer of Quiet is the doorway to the deeper mystical prayer gifts of simple union and spiritual marriage that take place in the higher mansions. It is the first of the supernatural prayer experiences. St. Teresa explains what the soul may experience in this holy recollection.

In my own words, I would say that she is speaking of the type of prayer that wells up within a person sometimes when one least expects it. It is a peaceful experience of our interior thoughts being absorbed in God, although we are going about our daily activities. 

Perhaps you've experienced this type of prayer on the way to Mass, before praying the Divine Office, before going to Adoration, or before receiving Holy Communion. The soul is anxious to be alone with the Lord and as soon as one is able to sit down and pray the eyes close without effort (at this point it would take great effort to open them) and one is totally absorbed in God. St. Teresa says that the senses lose their hold on us during this prayer of recollection. One may shed tears without effort. These tears do not cause distress but are spiritually refreshing and comforting. There are no major distractions during this prayer. Maybe you've experienced this as well. You are in church praying quietly and the sounds and distractions of people coming and going do not disturb you. The soul in this state does not care about the world and the pressing matters one may have to attend to. The soul's one desire is to remain in the company of the Beloved. And if we cooperate with the Holy Spirit we will not be moved to go about our business until He releases his hold on us.

We must remember that we cannot produce this prayer through our own efforts. The Holy Spirit prepares our heart for the Lord's coming by the gradual, peaceful, recollection that takes place within us before he captivates the soul in prayer.

When a soul is given this gift of absorption in prayer, St. Teresa warns that people become afraid to move and to breathe, fearful that the Spirit and the experience may leave them. She finds this foolish thinking because God is in control, not us. In fact, St. Therese and many other saints recount a similar experience in which they were given the prayer of recollection that lasted for days at a time. We know that St. Therese in the midst of this experience went about her daily activities in the monastery although she was amazed at how she could do this and be so absorbed in God.

The fourth dwelling place is a time of spiritual transition. The soul may experience distractions and wanderings of the mind. St. Teresa tells us to pay no attention to these distractions, because as long as we live in the body we will have them. Satan tries to discourage beginners and people in this transition period to focus on the distractions and lose heart over them, and thus give up prayer. This is the great deception. St. Teresa warns us to NEVER, EVER give up prayer. In this stage she tells us to:

*Keep praying

*Seek greater solitude without neglecting one's duties

*Detach ourselves from worldly pleasures

In this dwelling place we need the Holy Spirit and his gift of:


The gift of knowledge is the Spirit's gift of interior light that illumines our mind and helps us to understand truth. This is the gift that helps us to see ourselves as we truly are.  St. Teresa teaches us that when one begins to pray, the Lord begins to teach us about ourselves and our many attachments, faults, and failings. This self-knowledge can be extremely painful!  This knowledge is the gift that the holy and perfect possess-the gift that surpasses all understanding.

Let us pray that if the Lord has brought us to this dwelling place where mystical prayer begins, that we keep the door of our hearts open to him at all times. This holy dwelling place is none other than our heart-may he purify it and possess it forever!

O Mildest Comforter, Holy Spirit, come to me. My soul sighs for you! My heart thirsts for you! You alone can satisfy my longing; you alone can make me happy. Despise not, O Divine Bridegroom, the dwelling of my poor heart.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Tabernacle of the Week



St. Barnabas Church
Northfield, Ohio
Established: 1956
Pastor: Rev. Ralph Wiatrowski
Diocese of Cleveland

God our Father,You filled Saint Barnabas with faith and the Holy Spirit and sent him to convert the nations. Help us to proclaim the gospel by word and deed. 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.

 The Adoration Chapel



The Divine Praises
Blessed be God
Blessed be his holy name
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man
Blessed be the Name of Jesus
Blessed be his Most Sacred Heart
Blessed be his Most Precious Blood
Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar
Blessed be the Holy Spirit the Consoler
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary Most Holy
Blessed be her Holy and Immaculate Conception
Blessed be her Glorious Assumption
Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother
Blessed be St. Joseph, her most chaste spouse
Blessed be God in his Angels and in his Saints.

Peace be with you!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Sunday in the Year for Priests


 The village folk were justifiably worried about Fr. Vianney's health. He seemed to show signs of exhaustion despite his robust constitution.  An unforgettable fire burned in his sunken blue eyes, and his face became a living image of asceticism. Sometimes he would grow faint,  but would manage to rekindle his strength to go on. Meanwhile he increased his mortifications beyond all reason. Some day he would call these excesses  "the folly of youth."
From the Remarkable Cure of Ars, by Michele de St. Pierre

A Prayer for Priests by St. Therese of the Child Jesus

O Jesus, eternal Priest, keep your priests
within the shelter of your Sacred Heart
where none may touch them.

Keep unstained their anointed hands,
which daily touch your Sacred Body.

Keep unsullied their lips,
daily purpled with your Precious Blood.

Keep pure and unearthly their hearts,sealed
with the sublime mark of the priesthood.

Let your holy love surround them and
shield them from the world's contagion.

Bless their labors with abundant fruit and
may the souls to whom they minister be their
joy and consolation here, and in Heaven their
beautiful  and everlasting crown. Amen.  

Peace be with you!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saturday of Our Lady

  Prayer to the Sacred Heart of Mary

I offer you, my holy Mother Mary,
all my thoughts and all my actions,
all my prayers and all my acts of charity,
all my faith and good works,
and all the sacrifices that I make today.

Give me the grace to do everything in my life
with a pure intention
and a desire to please God.
I consecrate myself to your Holy
and Immaculate Heart,
and I pray, through the merits
of your intercession,
that I may adore the  Divine Heart of Jesus
and through His mercy,
obtain the grace of conversion
and the remission of my sins.

O Mary, my Blessed Mother, watch over me
and protect me from all sin
and evil throughout this day. Amen.

Prayer of Fr. Charles-Eleonore-Duriche-Desgenettes
Pastor, Our Lady of Victory, Parish (1832-1860)

Peace be with you!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Spiritual Life Dictionary

Sensible consolations are spiritually moving experiences that involve one's emotions.
According to St. Teresa, there is a marked difference between sensible consolation (sweetness in prayer) and Divine Consolation (spiritual delight).

Sensible devotion usually stems from our own effort in prayer. For example, we may be especially moved by a sermon or a hymn or by the beauty of the Liturgy. These consolations may cause one to shed tears. Or, as St. Teresa teaches, one may be so moved to weep over their sins that they work themselves up into an emotional distress, even to the point of getting a severe headache! This type of consolation she says begins in us and ends in God.  After this experience we are encouraged to be more faithful in prayer and to the practice of charity.

Spiritual delight on the other hand begins and ends in God.  This type of consolation may come without warning. A person may not even be praying when it occurs.  One may be going about their daily activities and suddenly find themselves inflamed with love of God. If one sheds tears during this experience, they are gentle and without distress and flow without any effort or emotional build-up.  This prayer leaves the effect of great humility on the soul.   It also leaves the soul in great peace and contentment.

Let us pray that the Holy Spirit, the Consoler, be with us and help us to live the life of virtue.  We learn from St. Teresa that these consolations whether they begin with us or with God are a gift to strengthen us for service.  We should not expect or become attached to these consolations. 

Whether we are experiencing the spiritual dryness of the desert or a refreshing spiritual oasis of peace and contentment, may the Lord be praised!  He knows the way to lead us. May we have the courage to follow Him.

Peace be with you!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Carmelite Quote

Charity gave me the key to my vocation. I understood that since the Church is a body composed of different members, she could not lack the most necessary and most nobly endowed of all the bodily organs. I understood, therefore, that the Church has a heart-and a heart on fire with love. I saw, too, that love alone imparts life to all the members, so that should love ever fail, apostles would no longer preach the Gospel and martyrs would refuse to shed their blood. Finally, I realized that love includes every vocation, that love is all things, that love is eternal, reaching down through the ages and stretching to the uttermost limits of earth.

Beside myself with joy, I cried out: "O Jesus, my Love, my vocation is found at last-my vocation is love!,,,in the heart of the Church; my Mother, I will be love!"


O Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, who during your short life on earth became a mirror of angelic purity, of love strong as death, and of whole-hearted abandonment God, now that  you rejoice in the reward of your virtues cast a glance of pit on me as I leave all things in your hands.  Make my troubles your own-speak a word for me to Our Lady Immaculate, whose flower of special love you were--to that Queen of Heaven 'who smiled on you at the dawn of life.'  Beg her as the Queen of the Heart of Jesus to obtain for me by her powerful intercession the grace I yearn for so ardently  at this moment, and that she join with it a blessing that may strengthen me during life, defend me at the hour of death, and lead me straight on to a happy eternity. Amen.

Peace be with you!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Stained Glass Flowers-Little Accounts of the Miraculous

Photo: R. Massaro St. Patrick Church Kent, Ohio

From an account by Mother Mary Carmela, Prioress of the Carmel of Gallipoli:

On the night of the 16th of January, 1910, I was in great suffering, and was also worried about certain grave difficulties. Three o'clock had struck, and, almost worn out, I raised myself somewhat in the bed  in order to breathe more easily, then I fell asleep, and in a dream, it would seem to me, I felt a hand touch me, draw the bedclothes about my face, and cover me up tenderly. I though one of the sisters had come to perform this act of charity.

Mother Mary Carmela, gently protested...but a sweet voice she had never heard before replied,
"No, it is a good act that I am doing. Listen! The Good God makes use of the inhabitants of Heaven, as well as those on earth, in order to assist his servants. Here are 500 francs  with which you will pay the debt of your community. " Taking them from her hand, I answered that the debt only amounted to 300 francs. "Well," she replied, "the rest will be over and above. But as you may not keep the money in your cell, come with me."

Suddenly I found myself outside my cell, in the company of a young Carmelite nun, whose veil and robe shone with a brightness from Paradise...She led me downstairs to the turn room or the palour, and made me open a wooden box wherein was enclosed the bill which had to be paid. There she deposited the 500 francs. I looked at her lovingly,  and threw myself at her feet crying out: "O my holy Mother!"  But she raised me up and caressing me affectionately, replied:"No, I am not our holy Mother St Teresa of Jesus. I am the servant of God, Soeur Therese of Lisieux...Then the angelic sister, putting her hand on my veil as if to adjust it, gave me a sisterly embrace and slowly withdrew. "Wait," I called to her "you might mistake your way." "No, No, she answered with a heavenly smile, "My way is sure, and I am not mistaken in following it."

The next morning the sisters examined the box and found the miraculous sum of 500 francs.
Excerpt from a Carmelite Pamphet

Peace be with you!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tabernacle of the Week

St. Colette Catholic Church
Brunswick, Ohio
Pastor: Father William Krizner

Prayer of St. Colette

O Blessed Jesus, I dedicate myself to You in health, in illness, in my life, in my death,
in all my desires, in all my deeds. So that, I may never work henceforth except for Your glory, for the salvation of souls, and for that which You have chosen me.
From this moment on, dearest Lord, there is nothing which I am not prepared
to undertake for love of You.


Peace be with you!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sunday in the Year for Priests

Father Vianney was not content to speak and to preach, he wanted to give good example. And he wanted to do even more. He wanted to deliver himself up to God's wrath, and to offer to heaven astonishing exchanges, first of all his own mortifications, fasts, penances, and sufferings, in return for the salvation of his parish.

To begin with, he prayed. And he prayed so well that his mental prayer was an act in the fullest sense of the word. There was already a feeling abroad that he was mounting guard for the village entrusted to his care. He got up long before dawn, and crossed the cemetery between the rectory and the church, lantern in hand. He would prostrate himself before the altar and pray aloud: "My God, grant me the conversion of my parish, I am willing to suffer everything You want as long as I live!" Then he would weep.

At daybreak he was still there...
From the Remarkable Cure of Ars by Michel de Saint Pierre

St. John  Vianney's body is incorrupt

Peace be with you!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Saturday of Our Lady

Mary, the all-holy ever-virgin Mother of God, is the masterwork of the mission of the Son and the Spirit in the fullness of time. For the first time in the plan of salvation and because his Spirit had prepared her, the Father found the dwelling place where his Son and his Spirit could dwell among men. In this sense the Church's Tradition has often read the most beautiful texts on wisdom in relation to Mary, Mary is acclaimed and represented in the liturgy as the "Seat of Wisdom."

In her,the "wonders of God" that the Spirit was to fulfill in Christ and the Church began to be manifested.
Catechism #721

The Holy spirit prepared Mary by his grace. It was fitting that the mother of him in whom "the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily" should herself be "full of grace." She was, by her grace, conceived without sin as the most humble of creatures, the most capable of welcoming the inexpressible gift of the Almighty. It was quite correct for the angel Gabriel to greet her a the "Daughter of Zion": "Rejoice," It is the thanksgiving of the whole People of God, and thus of the Church, which Mary in her canticle lifts up to the Father in the Holy Spirit while carrying within her the eternal Son.
Catechism #722

With all my heart I praise you, Most Holy Virgin, above all angels and saints in paradise, Daughter of the Eternal Father, and I consecrate to you my soul with all its faculties.

With all my heart I praise you, Most Holy Virgin, above all angels and saints in paradise, beloved Mother of the Son of God. I consecrate to you my body with all its senses.

With all my heart I praise you, Most Holy Virgin, above all angels and saints in paradise, beloved Spouse of the Holy Spirit. I consecrate to you my heart with all its affections and beseech you to obtain for me from the Most Holy Trinity all the graces necessary for Salvation.

The Act of Consecration to the Blessed Trinity comes from a prayer given an imprimatur by Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York, in February 7, 1963.

Peace be with you!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Carmelite Quote

If we want to reach the vision of faith I believe we have to live in the supernatural, that is, we shouldn't act in a purely "human" way. We must be aware that God lives deep within us and do everything with him; then nothing will be without meaning, not even the most commonplace tasks, because we will pass beyond them without making them our objective. Someone who is supernatural never dwells on secondary causes, but passes straight to God. How this simplifies life-it is almost like living the life of heaven already, set free from self and from things.

Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity

Peace be with you!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

St. Barbara Church

Massillon, Ohio

Fr. Thomas Cebula, pastor



Peace be with you!



Monday, January 11, 2010

The Seven Mansions and the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit-A Meditation Series on the Interior Castle

The Second Dwelling Place

Beginners on the road of prayer still have desires for worldly pleasures that need to be purified. However, in this dwelling place, they experience more intensely the Lord calling them to a deeper prayer life. They feel sorrow that they do not respond immediately to his call.
Characteristics of the soul in this dwelling place:
*Feel sorrow for their lack of perseverance in prayer
*Attracted to worldly pleasures
*Are spiritually moved by sermons
*Are inspired by words of encouragement
*Expect spiritual consolations and judge spiritual progress by them

What a farce it is! Here are we, with a thousand obstacles, drawbacks, and imperfections within ourselves, our virtues so newly born that they have scarcely the strength to act (and God grant that they exist at all!) yet we are not ashamed to expect sweetness in prayer and to complain of feeling dryness.
IC, Chapt. 2, No. 14

St. Teresa teaches that these souls should:

*Associate with spiritual persons
*Remain calm during distractions
*Pray for perseverance in prayer
*Be courageous in the face of temptation
*Embrace the cross
*Do not be discouraged by weakness

One thing I ask of the Lord; this I seek: To dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. (Psalm 27)

The Psalmist reflects the heartfelt desire of the pure of heart, they have only one desire; God alone. We know from the lives of the saints that they had a deep longing for God alone. They worked tirelessly for the Kingdom at the expense of neglecting their physical needs and wants. They kept the goal of heaven ever before them.  We need the light and the grace of the Holy Spirit to help us keep our goal of heaven ever before us. Today we reflect on the gift of:

The Gift of Understanding helps us to grasp the truths of our Catholic Faith so that we may truly live them. When we recite the Creed, we need to pray it with our whole heart, mind, and soul.I BELIEVE IN GOD...I BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT...I BELIEVE IN THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS... When the Creed takes root in our heart it's as if we no longer just believe but come to know the truths in our heart, then our lives reflect this holy knowledge. Only by the grace of the Holy Spirit does this come about. And we should be most humbly grateful for so great a gift, the gift of Faith.

It is written that in her final days, when St. Therese was experiencing doubts about the existence of heaven, she wrote out the Creed with a pen filled with her own blood.

Therese confided her temptations against the faith to Fr. Godefroid Madelaine,who was preaching the community retreat in Carmel, October 8-15, 1896. The preacher advised her to carry the Credo on her heart always. Therese decided to write the text of the Creed in her own blood at the end of the Gospel, to show God that she was ready to shed all her blood for each of the articles of the Apostles' Creed, in particular for the last two: "I believe in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting."
(From Therese and Lisieux by Pierre Descouvemont and Helmuth Nils Loose)

We can see that true faith that has taken root in the soul is a perpetual light that burns in the heart of those in union with God.  Even though we do not experience the sensible presence of God with our emotions. St. Therese teaches us that she walked by the dark night of faith even when she experienced the feeling of abandonment by God.

On that glad night,
in secret, for no one saw me,
nor did I look at anything,
with no other light or guide
than the one that burned in my heart.
St. John of the Cross

If we never look up at Him and reflect on what we owe Him for having died for us, I do not understand how we can know Him, or perform good deeds in His service. What value is there in faith without works? and what are they worth if they are not united to the merits of Jesus Christ, our only good? What would incite us to love our Lord unless we thought of Him?
IC, Chap.2,No. 20

Let us pray that the Holy Spirit enlighten us with the gift of Understanding. That we who believe will be quick to answer the call of the Lord who desires to spend time with us in prayer. St. Teresa teaches us a great truth also: What value is there in faith without works?  Prayer gives us strength to serve our neighbor in charity. Although the Secular Carmelite is called to a life of intimate prayer, we know we cannot neglect our daily duties. Any consolations we receive are not for our own personal enjoyment but are given to help the soul serve his neighbor, especially when it is difficult. 

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Sunday in the Year for Priests

He would never lose his fear of being a bad strong was this obsession, this sentiment of his unworthiness, that one fine day Fr. Mandy found him on his knees in a wood known as "Pope Joan's wood," weeping bitterly and crying out in a loud voice:
"My God, convert my parish!..."

O my dear parishioners, let us strive to go to heaven! There we shall see God. How happy we shall be! And we shall go there all together in a procession if the parish becomes virtuous, your pastor leading the way!"
From the Remarkable Cure of Ars by Michel de Saint Pierre

Peace be with you!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Saturday of Our Lady

The eleven titles or characteristics of Mary that sum up the teaching of the Magisterium on Mary. She is:

*Mother of God
*Ever Vigin
*Full of Grace
*Immaculately Conceived
*Assumed into Heaven
*Coredemptrix ("Associate of the Redeemer,"
Pope Paul VI)
*Mediatrix with Jesus
*Dispensatrix of Grace
*Our Spiritual Mother
*Mother and Type of the church
*Universal Queen
From Living the DeMontfort Consecration, by James M. Hanlon

Happy the soul in which Mary,
the Tree ofLife, is planted; happier

the soul in which she has acquired
growth and bloom; still happier
the soul in which she yields her
fruit; but most happy of all the
soul which relishes and preserves
Mary's fruit until death, and
forever and ever. Amen.
St. Louis de Montfort

Peace be with you!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Carmelite Saint of the Day

Saint Peter Thomas, Bishop

Born about 1305 in southern Periogord in France, Peter Thomas entered the Carmelites when he was twenty-one. He was chosen by the Order as its procurator general to the Papal court at Avignon in 1345. After being made bishop of Patti and Lipari in 1354, he was entrusted with many papal missions to promote peace and unity with the Eastern Churches. He was translated to the see of Corone in the Peloponnesus in 1359 and made Papal Legate for the East. In 1363 he was appointed Archbishop of Crete and in 1364 Latin Patriarch of Constantinople. He won a reputation as an apostle of church unity before he died at Famagosta on Cyprus in 1366.

A reading from the Life of St. Peter Thomas by his secretary, Philip of Mezieres:

As the Feast of Christmas drew near, my father presided in person at the divine services. In the middle of the night which ushered in the feast he made his way from the Carmelite Monastery where he was staying to the cathedral of Famagosta for the solemn celebration of Matins...he was affected by the cold and caught an infection in the throat, for he was weakened by fasting and vigils and wore only light clothing, following the example of the holy fathers of the desert...

Then he asked that the sacred Body of the Lord be brought to him, and he received communion with reverence and unfeigned faith...after this he lay down on some sackloth spread on the ground and waited calmly for the arrival of the bishop...

When the anointing was finished, my father devoutly recited the confiteor and received absolution from the bishop. He humbly asked forgiveness of him, his household and all the assisting clergy if he had in any way offended them in the exercise of his office; and at the same time he requested them to ask on his behalf the same pardon of all the inhabitants of Cyprus and elsewhere. Finally, he gave up his soul to the God who made him. It was the sixth day of january in the year of our salvation thirteen hundred and sixty -six.

Peace be with you!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Carmelite Quote-From a letter written by St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes

Since I was about seven years old, there was a very great devotion born in my soul to my Mother, the Most Holy Virgin. I told her everything that happened to me, and She spoke to me. I heard her voice clearly and distinctly in my soul. She advised me and told me what I must do to please Our Lord. I thought that this was something natural, and it never occurred to me to speak of what the Most Holy Virgin was telling me.

From the time of my First Communion, Our Lord spoke to me after communion and told me things I'd never suspected; and even when I asked Him, He would tell me things that were going to happen, and they really did occur. But I went on thinking that everybody who went to communion was treated this way.
Letter to Fr. Antonio Maria Falgueras, S. J. April 24, 1919

Peace be with you!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Tabernacle of the Week

St. Mary Church
Massillon, Ohio
Pastor: Fr. Ed Gretchko

O most adorable Sacrament of the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, I bless and praise thee in the name of all the angels and saints.

O most glorious Sacrament, thou art worthy indeed of all honor; I love thee; I praise thee, I bless thee, and humbly prostrating myself in thy presence, I adore thee.; and I thank my dearest Jesus a thousand times for having instituted thee to be our consolation and eternal salvation.

O most amiable Sacrament, inflame my heart! O Sacrament most holy, sanctify me!

O sweetest, O most gentle, O most merciful Jesus! I beg thee, through the infinite love of thy Sacred Heart which manifests itself in the most holy Sacrament, to have mercy upon me, a poor sinner, and forsake me not in my last hour. Amen.
(From Adoration Book published in 1918 by the Benedictine Convent in Clyde, Mo.

Peace be with you!

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Seven Mansions and the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit-A Meditation Series on St. Teresa's Interior Castle

The First Dwelling Place

The soul is still occupied with the things of the world and the pleasures that come with it.  The grace of the Holy Spirit has led him to this threshold, to turn his heart from worldly things and to begin the life of prayer.

Putting a hand to the door to enter, the beginner tends to look back on the things he is about to give up.  His heart may be sad or fearful at this prospect.

"...the door of entry to this castle is prayer and reflection."
St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila)

 The characteristics of the person in the First Mansion:

*They are concerned with worldly matters and pleasures
*They are unaware of the beauty and wealth of the interior life
*They are not consistent in prayer
*They rely on vocal prayers or use devotional books
*They are good people who attend church
*They notice the faults of others
*They are focused on self instead of others
*They do not mortify themselves or practice self-renunciation

Even if one has entered deeper into the Interior Castle, we can still see that we travel in and out of these dwelling places.  Perhaps we still possess some of the traits of the beginner noted above. We do not enter the interior mansions in a perfect step-by-step path until we reach the "holy of holies." Because of our human nature we will travel in and out of these spiritual pathways.

Not long ago a very learned man told me that souls who do not practice prayer are like people with paralysed or crippled bodies; even though they have hands and feet they cannot give orders to these hands and feet.

In the above quote St. Teresa is speaking of people who are preoccupied with the things of the world.  She even goes so far to state that there may not be a remedy for these souls who are so unacustomed to prayer.  That is why we should have a great devotion to the Holy Spirit. Scripture tells us that we cannot even utter "Jesus is Lord" without the help of the Holy Spirit. We need the light of the Holy Spirit and his gifts to guide us on our journey. In the first mansion we reflect on the gift of:

It is the gift of the Holy Spirit whereby the Divine Spirit raises up our intellect and our heart to rest in God alone. It detaches our heart from the goods of this world.

You may wonder why we begin with the gift of wisdom, as it is the crowning glory of the other gifts?  Because, unless we have this gift and the grace it provides to detach ourselves from the things of this world, we will never persevere in prayer.  We need this precious gift in the beginning, along the road of perfection and to the summit of Mt. Carmel, Christ our Lord.

Open to me the gates of holiness. I will enter and give thanks.
Psalm 118

Let us pray for each other that the Lord will indeed open the gate of holiness to us: the door to the Interior Castle. May we reach the center where we will abide in union with the Most Holy Trinity. 

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sunday in the Year for Priests

Yes, my dear brethren, in everything that we see, in everything that we hear, in all we say and do, we are conscious of the fact that we are drawn towards evil. If we are at table, there is sensuality, and gluttony, and intemperance. If we take a few moments of recreation, there are dangers of flightiness and idle chatter. If we are at work, most of the time it is self-interest or avarice, or envy which influences us—or even vanity. When we pray, there is negligence, distraction, distaste, and boredom. If we are in pain or any trouble, there are complaints and murmurings. When we are doing well and are prosperous, pride, self-love, and contempt of our neighbor take hold of us. Our hearts well with pride when we are praised. Wrongs inflame us into rages.

There you see my dear brethren, the thing which made the greatest of the saints tremble...But, my dear brethren, we see from their lives that they watched, they prayed, and they were in dread unceasingly, while we, poor, blind sinners, are quite placid in the midst of so many dangers which could lose us our souls!
From a sermon by the Cure of Ars
photo: Fr. Suso, St. Francis de Sales Church, Akron, Ohio

Peace be with you!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Saturday of Our Lady

 Mary, Mother of God
Among the saints in heaven the Virgin Mary, mother of God, is venerated in a special way...She became our mother also when the divine Redeemer offered the sacrifice of Himself; and hence by this title also, we are her children. She teaches us all the virtues; she gives us her Son and with Him all the help we need, for God "wished us to have everything through Mary.           Pope Pius XII

"All generations will call me blessed": The Church's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship. The Church rightly honors "the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of 'Mother of God,' to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs...This very special devotion...differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration. The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an epitome of the whole Gospel, express this devotion to the Virgin Mary.
Catechism #971

Peace be with you!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God

O my God, may the most Blessed Virgin Mary, whom thou didst deign to predestinate from eternity to be thy mother, ever bless thee.

Let thy admirable tabernacle of thy glory, sole abode on earth meet for thy holy habitation, ever praise thee.

Let thy tender love bless thee, by the force of which thou, the peerless Flower of virginity, didst become the Virgin's Son.
(from an old prayer book)

Peace be with you!