Friday, April 30, 2010

The Seven Mansions-A Meditation Series on the Interior Castle

Our secular Carmelite community recently finished our study of St. Teresa' s Interior Castle.  For those of you that have been following the series, here is the final installment.  I hope you were blessed by the posts.

Sixth and Seventh Mansions

Near the end of the 7th Mansion, St. Teresa makes a statement that sums up what she has been telling us all along: This is the reason for prayer, my daughters, the purpose of this spiritual marriage; the birth always of good works, good works.

In previous chapters, St. Teresa emphasized that love is not idle, and that consolation in prayer is given to the soul to strengthen it for service to God and neighbor.

According to mystical theologians, spiritual marriage or transforming union is the final goal of mystical union, which prepares the soul for the Beatific Vision.

The chief characteristics of spiritual marriage according to Fr. Tanquerey in the Spirtual Life (Pg. 691):

1. Intimacy-Persons who are united in marriage no longer have any secrets; there is a blending of two lives.

2. Serenity-Few ecstasies or raptures. The soul experiences deep interior peace. The peace experienced by married persons who are certain of each other’s love.

3. Indissolubility-The union is permanent, just like the bond of Christian marriage.

The saints were not idle in this transforming union. St. Therese is a good example of this. Even though she lived in a monastery and never left the cloister, she wanted to be a missionary to spread the Gospel to all parts of the world. This is not the desire of an idle heart! The saints experience deep, passionate love of God and neighbor and they needed to find an outlet for this deep love.

We are in the “Year for Priests.” And this brings to mind the great contemplative: St. John Vianney. Many people may not think of him as a contemplative, but he had a great desire for constant prayer that was always hindered by pilgrims flocking to him. He spent 17 hours a day in the confessional. He had to say Mass and teach catechism, little time was left for sleeping or eating. If he wanted to spend time in prayer, he rose very early in the morning to be alone with Jesus before the tabernacle.

As Carmelites who are called to quiet prayer, we must challenge ourselves to ask how much time we are
wasting on other activities instead of choosing God in prayer. The minimum required of us is ½ hour.
How do we spend the rest of our waking hours? Remember, the symbolism of the nightingale-a bird that sings at night? Are we ready to give up a little sleep to spend time with God like St. John Vianney, like St. John of the Cross or St. Teresa? Are we ready to give up any other distraction or pleasure to spend extra time in quiet prayer? Let us pray for each other that we become detached from earthly pleasures and and have a great desire for prayer.

Our desire or lack of desire for holiness is the key. If we desire holiness, but are weak in our efforts to pray,we must sincerely ask God to increase in us a great desire to pray. We can turn to Our Lady to obtain this favor for us.

Extraordinary Phenomena:

Locutions: (see previous post) Scroll down to labels, click on "locutions"

Flight of the Spirit

*Cannot be resisted
*Body may accompany soul and be carried away
*It’s a powerful impulse from God
*May frighten the soul

Corporeal Visions:

*Seen with the eyes-through the senses
*Least reliable of all visions
*St. Teresa never experienced this type of vision

Imaginative Visions

*Superior to corporeal visions
*Not produced by human effort
*Not “imagined” by the person-perceived by the inner senses
*Gives Particular knowledge of God
*Image is “alive”
*Image appears like lightning
-when you try to gaze on image longer, the vision disappears
no control over the vision
*When vision ceases, soul feels alone
*Vision may be of Jesus, BVM, or some saint
*Prepares the soul to become better servant

Intellectual Visions

*Superior to other visions
*Vision does not come through senses which are easily deceived.
*Seen by intellect alone
*May come unannounced
*Soul does not desire them
*Soul may “feel” Our Lord near them
*No doubt about this vision
*Does not pass quickly-may last days or years
*Ecstasy may accompany vision
*Helps soul to constantly remember God

Admonition from St. Teresa: If you have reached the higher mansions-Do not grow careless or become too confident

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tabernacle of the Week

The Hospice at Lourdes, France
Site of St. Bernadette's
First Holy Communion

O God protector and friend of the humble, who has raised up your servant Bernadette by the apparitions and conversations with the Immaculate Virgin Mary, so order our lives we implore, that by the simple path of faith we may merit at arriving at the enjoyment of your heavenly vision. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Mary, my good Mother, make me prove my love for Jesus, like you, by accepting everything that it pleases Him to send me. 
 St. Bernadette

Peace be with you!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sunday in the Year for Priests

Another witness relates that at eight o'clock in the evening he went to Benediction and found the church filled with people, including many strangers. "The walls were covered with banners, the tabernacle resplendent with gold leaf, the monstrance ablaze with jewels,and hundreds of candles reflected their light on the gold and diamonds." Then came "A priest exhausted by fasting and vigils, who offered up in an almot inaudible voice a prayer that breathed forth his love."
From the Remarkable Cure of Ars by Michele de Saint Pierre

Peace be with you!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Saturday of Our Lady

Today is the feast of
Our Lady of Bonaria

The Holy Father presented a
to the shrine in 2008

photo: Statue of Our Lady
Sacred Heart Church
Shelby, Ohio

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Psalms, Parables, and Poems


For you I live and come to be --
What would you like done with me?
Sovereign, awful majesty,
Knowing till eternity --
Goodness, gracious to my soul,
Highness, godhead, one and whole,
Look at this nonentity
Singing of her love for thee --
What would you like done with me?

I am yours, because you made me,
Yours, because you then redeemed me,
Yours, because you suffered for me,
Yours, because you clamored for me,
Yours, because you did not lose me,
What would you like done with me?

What commands then, good my lord,
By such a creature should be done?
Or what office have I won,
Being but a slave abhorred?
Can't you see me, my sweet one?
Me, my sweet one, can't you see
What would you like done with me?

Right here is my heart, you see,
Lo, I put it in your hand,
My body, soul, all I command,
My entrails and my loving thee.
Redeemer sweet who married me,
Since I gave my all for thee,
What would you like done with me?

Give me life or give me death.
Give me honor, give me shame,
War or peace, it's all the same.
Give me sickness, give me health.
Weakness, strength, I won't complain.
Come what may, I'll let it be.
What would you like done with me?

Give me wealth or poverty,
Give me rest, or anguish fell,
Give me sadness, give me glee,
Give me heaven, give me hell.
Light of life, pray hear me tell
How I surrendered all for thee.
What would you like done with me?

If you will, teach me to pray.
If not, give me aridity.
From all good things your praise I'll say --
Or else, give me sterility.
O thou sovereign majesty,
Peace I find alone in thee.
What would you like done with me?

Wisdom give me, if you will,
Or, if you choose, give ignorance.
Give me wealthy circumstance,
Or give me thirst and hunger still.
Give me shade or light until
I'm tossed about unceasingly.
What would you like done with me?

If you command, at rest I lie,
For your love's sake I'll idle be.
Or if my labor's your decree,
Working hard, I want to die.
Tell me, "Where and how and why?"
Sweetest love, I ask of thee.
What would you like done with me?

Give me Tabor or Calvary,
Desert or the fruitful earth.
Be I Job in his sad dearth
Or John at bosom sucking free.
Perhaps I'll flourish gracefully,
Or sterile stay, if such must be --
What would you like done with me?

Be I Joseph, cast in jail,
Or Joseph, lord of Egypt's shore,
Be I David, punished sore,
Or David, king whom all men hail.
Be I Jonah in the whale,
Or Jonah safe, miraculously
What would you like done with me?

Be I silent, be I speaking,
Bearing fruit or bearing naught,
Let the Law show forth my fault,
Or Gospel soothe, if such you're seeking.
Be I gay, or by pain caught,
I only live when I'm with thee!
What would you like done with me?

For you I live and came to be --
What would you like done with me?

tanslated from the Spanish by Alan D. Corré

Peace be with you!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Tabernacle of the Week

Parish Website

Resurrection Grotto

Relic of St. Therese

Peace be with you!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

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


The soul that has reached the union of love does not even experience the first motions of sin.

Just as one who is espoused does not love, care, or work for any other than her bridegroom, so the soul in this state has no affection of the will or knowledge in the intellect or care or work or appetite that is not entireley inclined toward God. She is as it were divine and deified, in such a way that in regard to all she can understand she does not even suffer the first movements contrary to God's will.

As an imperfect soul is ordinarily inclined toward evil, at least in the first movements of its will, intellect, memory, and appetites, and as it has imperfections, so conversely the soul in this state ordinarily inclines and moves toward God in the first movements of its intellect,memory, will, and appetities, because of the great help and stability it has in God and its perfect conversion toward him.
Spiritual Canticle, Stanza 27, No. 7

Peace be with you!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sunday in the Year for Priests

A man like the Cure of Ars could not help attracting crowds. Here was a man who worked "miracles," who had "the gift of tears," who was said to inflict terrible penances upon himself who labored every day far beyond human endurance, who fought with demons, who obtained by his prayers the multiplication of bread, flour, and wine, who could keep an audience enthralled for over an hour at a time without obeying the first rule of grammar and syntax, a man whose bizarre attire was unforgettable as were his power of persuasion and his bright blue eyes shining out of the face of a crucified man.
From the Remarkable Cure of Ars, by Michele de Saint Pierre

Peace be with you!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday of Our Lady

Our Lady of Levocha

Bedford, Ohio


Carmelite Saint of the Day
Bl . Baptist of Spagnoli

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Stained Glass Flowers-Little Accounts of the Miraculous

From the life of St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes
Feast Day: July 13

In November 1919, at the estate of Huape at Cunaco, the Redemptorist Fathers held a mission for the people who lived there. One afternoon a Redemptorist by the name of Father Felix Henle entered the chapel during siesta. He found young Juanita, she was 18 years old at the time, in an ecstasy. She was elevated about 30 centimeters from the ground, without any support. Her gaze was fixed on the tabernacle. Confronted with this scene,Father Henle retired in silence. He was deeply moved but was unable to determine how long this phenomenon of ecstasy or levitation had been going on.

Peace be with you!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tabernacle of the Week

St. Anthony of Padua
Parma, Ohio

Blessed Sacrament Chapel

Peace be with you!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sunday in the Year for Priests


Knights of Columbus
Announce Novena for our Holy Father, Benedict XVI
Beginning today-Divine Mercy Sunday
and concluding on Monday, April 19

Prayer for the Holy Father
Lord, source of eternal life and truth, give to your shepherd, Benedict, a spirit of courage and right judgment, a spirit of knowledge and love. By governing with fidelity those entrusted to his care, may he, as successor to the Apostle Peter and Vicar of Christ, build your Church into a sacrament of unity, love and peace for all the world. Amen.

Let us pray for Benedict, the pope.
May the Lord preserve him, give him a long life,make him blessed upon the earth, and not hand him over to the power of his enemies.
May your hand be upon your holy servant.
And upon your son,
whom you have anointed.

Our Father...Hail Mary...Glory Be...


Peace be with you!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Stained Glass Scapulars-Reflections on the Secular Carmelite Rule

The Promise of obedience binds the Secular Carmelites to the observance of whatever the legitimate authority--the General or Provincial of the Order, or the council of their Community--may lay down in accordance with, and within the limits of, the present Rule.

This Promise will provide the Secular Carmelites with the grace to become interiorly more responsive to the will of God. By manifesting His will through human spokesmen, He purifies our faith, and smoothes the way to union with Him Who, for the love of us, "became obedient unto death" (Phil. 2,8).
Article 14

The Promise of obedience...yes, how some of us struggle with this virtue! I suggest we read over this article from our Rule a few times in order to grasp the deeper meaning of obedience in the life of Carmel. 

Look at the second paragraph again.  Bear with me, as I would like to add to the first sentence an important word: observance. Yes, let us say, the observance of this Promise will provide the Secular Carmelite with the grace to become more interiorly responsive to God's will.  Did you note the word interiorly?  We can ask ourselves how many times we grumble interiorly before we bend to the will of God.  Do you know the saints respond with charity in the first movement of their interior life.  I believe St. Thomas Aquinas teaches on this subject-the movements of the soul.  Let us ask ourself, how many interior movements does it take for me to be obedient to the task at hand and responding with charity in a challenging situation?

Secular Carmelites are called to obey the points of the Rule.  We can do an examination of conscience by asking some particular questions concerning obedience:

*Have I been faithful to mental prayer for at least one half hour each day?
*Have I fasted on the appointed days?
*Have I been faithful to praying the Liturgy of the Hours?
*Have I attended Mass each day if possible?
*Have I received the Sacrament of Penance on a regular basis?
*Have I prayed for the living and deceased members of the Order?

How have I been obedient to my local community-the Council?

*Do I read and study the required texts given in formation?
*Do I pray for those who request prayer?
*Do I follow through on tasks I have volunteered for?
*Do I respond to emails or other communication from the President or the Council?

When it comes to obedience we cannot be "Cafeteria Carmelites." We cannot pick and choose what we will follow and what we will not according to our whims.  The Secular Carmelite must set an example of faithful obedience to the Magisterium, our local Bishop, our local Community: the council.

As our Rule states above, the promise of obedience smoothes our way to union with God. Let us make straight His path, because we must follow Our Lord, who was totally obedient to the Father.

Let us pray for each other!

Peace be with you!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tabernacle of the Week

Holy Family Parish
Parma, Ohio
New Church Established: 1964

Catholic Family Prayer

Jesus, our most loving redeemer,
You came to enlighten the world
with your teaching and example.
You willed to spend the greater part of Your life
in humble obedience to Mary and Joseph
in the poor home of Nazareth.
In this way, You sanctified that family,
which was to be an example for all Christian families.

Graciously accept our family,
hich we dedicate and consecrate to You this day.
Be pleased to protect, guard, and keep it
in holy fear, in peace,
and in the harmony of Christian charity.
By conforming ourselves to the Divine model
of Your family,
may we attain to eternal happiness. Amen.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ

Happy and Blessed Easter
to all visitors of Spirit Singing!

(Message & Blessing to theWorld)
Pope Benedict XVI