Sunday, September 30, 2012


Happy Feast Day of St. Therese to all Carmelites!!
From Morning Prayer:
God our Father,
you have promised your kingdom to those who are willing to become like little children. Help us to follow the way of St. Therese with confidence so that by her prayers we may come to know your eternal glory. Grant this through our Lord. Amen.


Last Sunday we heard the words of the Gospel from St. Mark:

...They returned to Capernaum and Jesus, once inside the house, began to ask them, "What were you discussing on the way home?" At this they fell silent, for on the way they had been arguing about who was the most important.  So he sat down and called the Twelve around him and said, "If anyone wishes to rank first, he must remain the last one of all and the servant of all." Then he took a little child, stood him in their midst, and putting his arms around him, said to them, "Whoever welcomes a child such as this for my sake welcomes me...
(Mark 9:33-37-NAB)

This teaching for Carmelites should immediately  bring to mind St. Therese's teaching on spiritual childhood.  Her life in the monastery was not an effort to become the superior of the community. She wanted to remain hidden, even among her sisters.  This charism of doing small sacrifices with great love and hidden from the eyes of others is in stark contrast to those who are always trying to draw attention to themselves, even in community life.  They don't get it.  They don't get that we must be the lowly foot-washers in life, and be joyful about it!

The Gospel passage from last Sunday also brings to mind another teaching of Our Lord:
..."I assure you, unless you change and become like little children, you will not enter the kingdom of God."
(Matthew 18:1-3)

In the life of Carmel, through our gift of contemplative prayer, we are seeking the purity of heart that belongs to the children of God, the children of the Kingdom.  The children of God do not have room in their heart for ambition, envy, jealousy, revenge, etc.  If we want to go straight to heaven when we die, we must be nothing less than saints-children with pure hearts.  Otherwise, we will live with the church suffering in Purgatory until we are purified.  Let us be open to being purified now-as Bl. Elizabeth of the Trinity teaches us, heaven begins now, not when we die.

How can we obtain the purity of heart that St. Therese and all the saints possess? 

St. Therese of the Child Jesus
1.  We must first desire it and have a sincere desire for it. 
When opportunities arise that test our humility and patience, do we immediately fall into the same pattern of responding unkindly.  Or do we make a sincere effort to overcome our faults?

2.  We must protect the door of our heart.
We have a choice with our free will as to what we let enter into our interior castle--the dwelling place of God. We can murmur and criticize people from deep within if we do not guard ourselves well.

3.  We need the help of the Holy Spirit.
We cannot live a life of virtue and holiness without the help and gifts of the Holy Spirit. We need his help to strengthen us with courage and fortitude to do battle against our ego.

4.  We need the help and support of our brothers and sisters in Carmel.  It's not easy to travel the path of spirtuality alone, we need the help of others who are like-minded, people who have the same goal: heaven.

5. We need the help and prayers of Our Blessed Mother. Our Lady, Queen and Beauty of Mt. Carmel knows our needs and our desire for union with her Son. St. Louis de Montfort wrote that the quickest way to Jesus is through Mary. Truer words were never spoken.  If we want to be children in the Kingdom, let us love our Mother, who loves each member of the Body of Christ as her own.

6.  We need the help and prayers of our Carmelite Saints. The lives and teachings of the Carmelite Saints help us to climb the rocky and dangerous road of Mt. Carmel.  They have gone before us, they know the dangers and can help us to prepare for them.

7.  We must remain faithful to a life of prayer.  Prayer is the way that leads to virtue. Without prayer we become like the living dead that the Lord speaks about.  Prayer helps us to see who we really are before God. Prayer helps us to remain humble. Prayer gives us self-knowledge about our faults and failings. Prayer leads to purity of heart.

Let us pray for each other. Yes, sometimes the journey is easy, the Lord sends help and consolation and an occasional downpour of graces, to help us.  But let's face it.  Life on earth is sorrow but mixed with joy. We can be joyful as Catholic Christians because God remains with us! He remains with us in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar!  Let us run to him like children, eager to be with him for all eternity in the Kingdom of God.

St. Therese of the Child Jesus, pray for us!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Today begins the Novena to St. Therese whose feast we celebrate on October 1.  Please go to the right sidebar and click on the novena.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Monday, September 17, 2012

Carmelite Saint of the Day

St. Albert of Jerusalem
Bishop and Lawgiver of Carmel

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Saturday, September 15, 2012

From a sermon by Saint Bernard, abbot

His mother stood by the cross

The martyrdom of the Virgin is set forth both in the prophecy of Simeon and in the actual story of our Lord’s passion. The holy old man said of the infant Jesus: He has been established as a sign which will be contradicted. He went on to say to Mary: And your own heart will be pierced by a sword.

Truly, O blessed Mother, a sword has pierced your heart. For only by passing through your heart could the sword enter the flesh of your Son. Indeed, after your Jesus—who belongs to everyone, but is especially yours—gave up his life, the cruel spear, which was not withheld from his lifeless body, tore open his side. Clearly it did not touch his soul and could not harm him, but it did pierce your heart. For surely his soul was no longer there, but yours could not be torn away. Thus the violence of sorrow has cut through your heart, and we rightly call you more than martyr, since the effect of compassion in you has gone beyond the endurance of physical suffering.

Or were those words, Woman, behold your Son, not more than a word to you, truly piercing your heart, cutting through to the division between soul and spirit? What an exchange! John is given to you in place of Jesus, the servant in place of the Lord, the disciple in place of the master; the son of Zebedee replaces the Son of God, a mere man replaces God himself. How could these words not pierce your most loving heart, when the mere remembrance of them breaks ours, hearts of iron and stone though they are!

Do not be surprised, brothers, that Mary is said to be a martyr in spirit. Let him be surprised who does not remember the words of Paul, that one of the greatest crimes of the Gentiles was that they were without love. That was far from the heart of Mary; let it be far from her servants.

Perhaps someone will say: “Had she not known before that he would not die?” Undoubtedly. “Did she not expect him to rise again at once?” Surely. “And still she grieved over her crucified Son?” Intensely. Who are you and what is the source of your wisdom that you are more surprised at the compassion of Mary than at the passion of Mary’s Son? For if he could die in body, could she not die with him in spirit? He died in body through a love greater than anyone had known. She died in spirit through a love unlike any other since his.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds