Saturday, May 28, 2011

Saturday of Our Lady

Church of the Gesu, Cleveland, Ohio

Because of the mission she received from God, her life is most closely linked with the mysteries of Jesus Christ, and there is no one who has followed in the footsteps of the Incarnate Word more closely and with more merit than she; and no one has more grace and power from the Most Sacred Heart of the Son of God and through Him from the Heavenly Father.
Pope Pius XII

Regina Health Center, Richfield, Ohio

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Three Words of Wisdom


(photo: R.Massaro)
I'm sure most of us have heard this familiar and comforting saying, usually said with great confidence from a friend to comfort us in time of need and doubt. Usually this statement is said to one who has lost a job and is in financial distress.  These words are usually spoken in context with finances.

Let's take a deeper look at this short phrase and ask ourselves some questions. Have we asked for our self, or more importantly, for another, for God to provide the spiritual gifts we will need on any given day, especially the gift of charity, that helps us to respond to others the way God wants us to--in love?
Have we prayed for our self or for another to be given the gift of physical energy so that we may be of service to one another without growing tired and lukewarm?

The one who speaks is to deliver God's message. The one who serves is to do it with the strength provided by  God. (1 Peter: 11)

As the members of the Body of Christ, let us remember to give thanks for the spiritual gifts he has provided for us:

*He provided the Virgin Mary to be the mother of our Savior, to be our Mother

*He provided the Savior, to redeem us, to be our intimate friend and Lord.

*He provides priests to offer sacrifice in which he himself is the holy Lamb of God.

* He provides the Sacraments for our spiritual well-being and life.

*He provides his very self-the Bread of Life-The Holy Eucharist to feed and sustain us.

GOD PROVIDES in so many ways for us each day. Let us be very grateful and thankful to him for providing for our temporal needs: food, shelter, clothing.  As Secular Carmelites, let us remember that we must be detached from even these basic needs in order to seek union with God. Let us desire what he is preparing for us: a dwelling place with him forever. As Secular Carmelites, we know that this eternal life with him begins now, not when we die. Our interior life, the indwelling of the Most Holy Trinity, is a reality within us each day and each moment of our existence. Let us pray to Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity to obtain for us the grace to be fully aware of this gift and to go about our daily activities as living tabernacles, giving the bread of life to others in our humble service to them. 

Yes, God will provide...and we are his hands and feet to continue his work of mercy in the world. Let us pray for each other.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Stained Glass Flowers-Little Accounts of the Miraculous

From the life of St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila):

On Palm Sunday after Communion, my faculties remained in such deep suspension that I couldn’t even swallow the host;and, holding it in my mouth, after I returned a little to myself, it truly seemed to me that my entire mouth was filled with blood. I felt that my face and all the rest of me was also covered with this blood,as though the Lord had just then finished shedding it. It seemed to me warm, and the sweetness I then experienced was extraordinary. The Lord said to me:Daughter, I want my blood to be beneficial to you, and don’t be afraid that My mercy will fail you. I shed it with many sufferings, and you enjoy it with the great delight you are aware of; I repay you well for the banquet you prepare me this day.”

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Spiritual Direction with St. John of the Cross

All goods giving distinct joy to the will can be reduced to four kinds: motivating, provocative, directive and perfective. We will discuss them in due order, beginning with motivating goods: statues, paintings of saints, oratories, and ceremonies.

The Church established the use of images for two principal reasons: the reverence given to the saints through them; and both the motivation of the will and the awakening of devotion to the saints by their means. Insofar as they serve this purpose their use is profitable and necessary. We should consequently choose those images that are more lifelike and move the will more to devotion. Our concentration should be centered on this devotion more than on the elaborateness of the workmanship and ornamentation.

There are, as I say, some people who pay more attention to the workmanship and value of the statue than to the object represented. And the interior devotion, which they should direct spirtually toward the invisible saint in immediate forgetfulness of the statue--since the purpose of the statue is to give motivation--is so taken up with the exterior artistry and ornamentation that the senses receive satisfaction and delight; then both the love and joy of the will dwell on that satisfaction. This is a total obstacle to authentic spirituality, which demands annihilation of the affections in all particular things.
Ascent of Mt. Carmel, Chap. 35, No. 1,2,3

St. John of the Cross goes on to admonish those who adorn statues with jewelry and garments, in effect, disrespecting the saint the image represents.  In the above teaching from the Ascent of Mt. Carmel, he is reminding us of the proper use of statues and paintings:to motivate us to prayer.  If we stand in awe of a beautiful work of art and not lift our minds and hearts to the all good and beautiful Creator, our God, then we are merely idol worshippers. The danger comes in centering our joy on the object and not on the saint it represents.

We can take this teaching and examine ourselves to see if we have fallen prey to this temptation. Perhaps we have beautiful images and statues in our homes.  We pass by them numerous times each day. Do we make a sincere effort to stand before the image and pray?, or do we pass by and comment, "Oh, Our Lady's statue looks so beautiful." Or, "That picture of St. Therese looks so nice there on the wall."

In the Eastern Church, the icon is considered a "window to heaven." Many monks and nuns bow to the icon, others never turn their back on them when leaving a room.  We are not talking about idol worhip. When one sincerely takes a moment to gaze upon the image, then lifts the heart and mind to God or the saint represented seeking their help and prayers, then, yes, this is the proper use of images the Church teaches.

Let us pray for each other, that we place the religious images we possess in our homes in the proper perspective, not vain works of art, but true vehicles for prayer that help us in this physical world to raise our minds and hearts to the spiritual things of God.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Tabernacle of the Week

St. Joseph Church
Monroeville, Ohio
Diocese of Toledo
Parish Website
(double-click screen to enlarge)

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection:

Remember, I beg you, what I have recommended to you, which is to think often of God, by day, by night, in all your pursuits  and

duties; even during your recreations. He is always near you and with you; do not leave Him alone. You would think it rude to leave a friend alone who came to visit you. Why abandon God and leave Him alone? Then do not forget Him! Think of Him often, adore Him continually, live and die with Him; that is the glorious business of a Christian, in a word, it is our calling, if we do  not know that calling we must learn it.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Sunday, May 8, 2011


St. Francis-detached from all created things-
 loved Lady Poverty


Today's words come from the teaching of St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila). These three words are a constant theme of hers.  So important are these words that she weaves them like a golden thread throughout her writing to her nuns, and to those who, today follow her spiritual teaching and direction.

I was meditating on detachment and wondering why it is so important that two great Carmelite Doctors of the Church stress this spiritual teaching over and over.  I received a greater understanding of this gift while helping a friend who has a deep-seated fear of death. I came to realize that this fear of death stems from the soul's great attachment to the things of this world.  If we look at the lives of the saints and those who chose poverty

St. Therese possessed perfect love
of God and neighbor-The Church calls her
"Doctor of Love"
over the material goods of this world, they experienced a deep peace and longing for heaven.  As Scripture tells us perfect love casts out fear.

Here is what St. John of the Cross says in the Spiritual Canticle: Since sinners love the life of this world intensely and have little love for that of the other, they have an intense fear of death. But the soul that loves God lives more in the next life than in this, for a soul lives where it loves more than where it gives life, and thus takes little account of this temporal life.
Spiritual Canticle, Stanza 12, No. 10

He also describes the physical death of the soul who is inflamed with love of God and not worldly things:
The death of such persons is very gentle and very sweet, sweeter and more gentle than was their whole spiritual life on earth.
Living Flame of Love, Stanza 1, No. 30

We must be on guard against false humility which leads the soul astray on the spiritual path, thinking that its sins are too great for God's mercy.  Let's read what St. Teresa says about this false humility:

St. Teresa possessed perfect
detachment and counseled her
nuns to pray for this virtue
Now be also on your guard, daughters, against some types of humility given by the devil in which great disquiet is felt about the gravity of our sins.  This disturbance can afflict in many ways even to the point of making  one give up receiving Communion and practicing private prayer...humility does not disturb or disquiet or agitate, however great it may be; it comes with peace, delight, and calm...The pain of genuine humility  doesn't agitate or afflict the soul;rather this humility expands it and enables it to serve God more.
Way of Perfection, Chap. 39, No. 1 & 2

Let us pray for each other, that we have a great longing for the virtues of love of neighbor, humility, and detachment. Let us pray that we have a great longing for heaven that casts out all fear of death. May we sing with the Psalmist, "When will I come to the end of my pilgrimage and see the face of God."

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

When will I come to the end of my pilgrimage

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Saturday of Our Lady


O Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of heaven and earth, and tender Mother of men, in accordance with your ardent wish revealed at Fatima, I consecrate to you myself, my country, and all my fellowmen.

Reign over our hearts, dearest Mother, so that we may be truly followers of Christ and His teachings, in prosperity and adversity, in joy and sorrow, in health and sickness, in life and death.

I want to atone for all my sins and those of all men. I desire God's blessing on my country and the whole world, peace between all nations, with love and justice practiced by all men.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Stained Glass Scapulars-Reflections on the Secular Carmelite Rule

From the Constitutions-#19

Occupying a privileged place in nourishing the prayer life of Carmelite Seculars will be the study and spiritual reading of Scripture and the writings of our Saints, particularly those who are Doctors of the Church: St. Teresa, St. John of the Cross and St. Therese of the Child Jesus. The Church's documents are also food and inspiration for a commitment to follow Jesus.

This point of our Constitution may be one that is a little neglected. We may follow the other points of the Rule by attending Mass and and praying the Liturgy of the Hours, but how are we doing when it comes to spiritual reading, and not only reading, but studying Scripture and the writings of our Carmelite Doctors? Yes, we know it does take reading and re-reading and study to understand the works of St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross, that is why our formation in Carmel never ends.  The study of Scripture and Carmelite writings is a life-long journey.  We stress this to new members who may be discouraged at first by those who have been in Carmel a long time and have a deep knowledge of Carmelite writings.  Everyone has to begin at the beginning!

You may ask why do we need to study? Why can't we just read and pray?  Well, let's go back to the Constitutions to point no. 18:

Prayer, a dialogue of friendship with God, ought to be nourished by His Word so that this dialogue becomes that, "we speak to Him when we pray; we hear Him when we read the divine word". God's Word will nourish the contemplative experience of Carmelite Seculars and their mission in the world...

So here we are to the heart of the matter and the reason for study: to deepen our friendship with God. We are called to imitate the Virgin Mary who pondered the Word in her heart. The Word, must take root in our heart, so that we can give this fruit of our prayer to others-our mission in the world. Are we overflowing with the fruit of the Word? Does Scripture flow easily from our mind, to our heart, to our lips?

St. Therese is only one of the many Carmelite saints we can look to for an example of the living Word of God that takes root in the heart.  Her writings and her life are an open book of the Gospel.  We know that God sealed upon her heart the Word of love, and we are still reaping the fruit of her intimate prayer life with God by reading her works and following her example.

Let us be faithful to our commitment of mental prayer and spiritual reading and study.  If we want to get to know someone we must spend time with them. Let us spend time with the One whom we know loves us. Let us spend time nourishing our spiritual lives with the Word of God.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds