Wednesday, May 29, 2013


Our Lady Lourdes, France
Photo: R. Massaro (C) 2013 Spirit Singing

Procession in Lourdes, France
Photo: R. Massaro (C) 2013 SpiritSinging

These words of Our Lady to St. Bernadette took place during the 13th apparition at Lourdes on March 2, 1858. Our Lady told Bernadette, "Go and tell the priests that people should come here in procession."  It is very interesting and telling that the message should come through a priest.  The priest speaks on behalf of the Church.  The people of Lourdes have indeed taken Our Lady's request to heart.  Processions have taken place each day at Lourdes from the very beginning.

Blessing of the Sick-Lourdes, France
Photo: R. Massaro (C) 2013 Spirit Singing

Aside from the Masses at Lourdes, there are two processions that take place each day at the shrine. The first is the afternoon procession of the Blessed Sacrament. Pilgrims process from the Esplanade to the underground Basilica of St. Pius X where the blessing of the sick and benediction takes place.  It is said that more healings take place at the blessing of the sick than through the waters of Lourdes.

Benediction at Lourdes, France
Photo: R.Massaro (C)2013 SpiritSinging

The second procession each day is the evening candlelight procession. Pilgrims gather at the Grotto or the Crowned Virgin statue in the Esplanade to participate in the procession. The procession winds around the shrine as the Rosary is prayed in 5 languages. The procession ends in front of the Rosary Basilica, where the evening hymn to Mary, the Salve Regina is chanted, then all the priests gathered in front of the basilica offer their blessing to the pilgrims.  Pilgrims offer each other a sign of peace and then depart for the evening.

Evening Procession, Lourdes France
Photo: R.Massaro (C) 2013 SpiritSinging

We may not have an opportunity to participate in a procession at Lourdes. But we do have the opportunity to participate in five processions during each Mass that we attend. Did you say five? Yes.

The Opening Procession-The priest, deacon and servers process from the back of the church to the altar of sacrifice. Together we sing a hymn of praise.

The Gospel Procession-The priest or deacon processes with the Gospel to the ambo and proclaims the Word of God.

The Offertory Procession-The people present to the priest the offerings: bread and wine.

The Communion Procession-The people come forward to receive the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Recessional-We depart in joy and thanksgiving after having shared in the Eucharist.

Let us ask ourselves how we conduct ourselves at Mass, especially during the "processions."  Do we participate in the opening hymn?  Do we have a heart that is ready to be open to the Gospel message, or are we distracted. Perhaps, later, having no idea what Gospel passage was read. Do we offer ourselves and all that we possess during the Offertory? Do we approach the Holy Eucharist in a spirit of humble reverence?  Are we grateful for having received the Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, or is it business as usual, perhaps even leaving right after communion?

Soon we will be celebrating Corpus Christ.  Let us renew our love and devotion for Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.  Let us be grateful that we are able to go in procession to receive him each day if we choose.  Although Our Lady asks us to "Come in Procession" Our Lord, too, desires us to come..."Come to me, all  you who are weary and find life burdensome, and I will refresh you. (Matthew 11:29)"  What better procession? What better pilgrimage-making our way to the Lord!

Let us pray for each other.

Mass at the Grotto-Lourdes, France
Photo: R. Massaro (c) 2013 Spirit Singing

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinty

A Prayer by Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, OCD

O my God, Trinity whom I adore, help me to forget myself entirely that I may be established in You as still and as peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity. May nothing trouble my peace or make me leave You, O my Unchanging One, but may each minute carry me further into the depths of Your Mystery. Give peace to my soul; make it Your heaven, Your beloved dwelling and Your resting place. May I never leave You there alone but be wholly present, my faith wholly vigilant, wholly adoring, and wholly surrendered to Your creative Action.

O my beloved Christ, crucified by love, I wish to be a bride for Your Heart; I wish to cover You with glory; I wish to love You...even unto death! But I feel my weakness, and I ask You to clothe me with Yourself, to identify my soul with all the movements of Your Soul, to overwhelm me, to possess me, to substitute Yourself for me that my life may be but a radiance of Your Life. Come into me as Adorer, as Restorer, as Savior. O Eternal Word, Word of my God, I want to spend my life in listening to You, to become wholly teachable that I may learn all from You. then, through all nights, all voids, all helplessness, I want to gaze on You always and remain in Your great light. O my beloved Star, so fascinate me that I may not withdraw from Your radiance.

O consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, come upon me and create in my soul a kind of incarnation of the Word: that I may be another humanity for Him in which He can renew His whole Mystery. And You, O Father, bend lovingly over Your poor little creature; cover her with Your shadow, seeing in her the Beloved in whom You are well pleased.

O my Three, my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in which I lose myself, I surrender myself to You as Your prey. Bury Yourself in me that I may bury myself in You until I depart to contemplate in Your light the abyss of Your greatness.
(written by Bl. Elizabeth Nov. 21, 1904)

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Carmelite Saint of the Day


Born in Florence in 1566, she had a religious upbringing and entered the monastery of the Carmelite nuns there. She led a hidden life of prayer and self-denial, praying particularly for the renewal of the Church and encouraging the sisters in holiness. Her life was marked by many extraordinary graces. She died in 1607.
St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi, pray for us!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Tuesday, May 21, 2013



Our Lady remembered the good things
 the Lord had done for her

At first glance this word seems very simple and easily explained. Perhaps you're thinking that I've lost my mind to spend time on posting something that is common knowledge for all of us as human beings.

I would like us to think "outside the box" if you will, about what is a common experience for many of us: remembering the events, circumstances and details of every day living, past and present.

It is a common joke among Carmelites that when one gets older and forgetful, that we excuse ourselves by saying, "God is purifying my memory."  Well, as we say, nice try, but that's not the case!

St. John of the Cross teaches us that the soul is comprised of three distinct powers:

1.  Intellect

2.  Memory

3.  Will

The person who is seeking union with God must leave behind the attachment to the senses that we experience through the memory: sight, smell, taste, and touch.

"There is no way to union with God without annihilating the memory as to all forms. This union cannot be wrought without a complete separation of the memory from all forms that are not God...and since God has no form or image comprehensible to the memory, the memory is without form and without figures when united with God.
The Ascent of Mount Carmel, Chap. 2,  No. 4

The person who is given the gift of contemplation is led step by step into prayer of the heart where there are no images or forms because the intellect ceases to function in this infused state of prayer. At first, this new prayer experience is frightful to the person who is being led from meditation, where the mind was in its comfort zone in using the intellect and the memory to pray.

When God is truly purifying a person's memory, he may be fearful as well that he is losing a part of his mind.

...Then, owing to the union, the memory is emptied and purged of all knowledge, as I say, and remains in oblivion, at times in such great oblivion that is must occasionally force itself and struggle in order to remember something.
The Ascent of Mount Carmel, Chap. 2, No. 5

This statement from St. John of the Cross may bring to mind the lives of the saints. I remember reading about certain saints who had to be led by the hand or shown how to do normal tasks of everyday living. They  became completely absent-minded to the things of this world because they enjoyed union with God.

Owing to the absorption of the memory in God, a person will show many deficiencies in exterior behavior and customs, forgetting to eat and drink or failing to remember if some task was done, or a particular object seen, or something said.
The Ascent of Mount Carmel, Chap. 2,No. 8

If we are serious about our prayer life and seeking a greater love of God and union with him. We should be very careful about the images we allow in our mind.  For example, we should be careful about what we watch on television.  Satan likes to use these images and bring them to our memory when we least expect it.  Perhaps, we're quietly praying and minding our own business, and like lighting, he brings to mind something we've seen, something that is not holy. Something that has no business on holy ground-in prayer. He uses worldly images to distract us in prayer. He uses this tactic especially in beginners. However, even the Saints, such as St. (Padre) Pio experienced the assaults of the devil tempting him while he prayed. No one is above this temptation.

The gift of memory has always intrigued me.  It amazes me that we are given the ability to recall events that happened years before. And combined with the imagination, one could live in this fantasy world of remembrance. This is not God's will for us. God gives us this faculty to learn from our past sins and mistakes. We can remember very clearly how we've offended God or hurt someone.  Hopefully, we learn from our past sins that sometimes remain ingrained in our memory for years.  It is God's mercy that allows us to forgive ourselves and let go of the past.

God also uses the memory to unite himself to us in the spiritual betrothal and spiritual marriage. He may speak a word to us that calms our soul, or we may experience his love in such a way that cannot be described but is ingrained in our memory for years and perhaps for the rest of our lives.  St. Teresa of Avila speaks of this grace frequently in her writings. She speaks of the intellectual visions that never faded with the passage of time.

The Eastern Church has a way of speaking about the memory in their mystical teachings. They refer to it has holy remembrance of God.  In our Roman tradition, we have a beloved Carmelite, Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection who was a proficient in explaining how to remember God throughout the day. His book, "Practicing the Presence of God" is a spiritual classic. This little book was a big help to me in the beginning of my spiritual life. I highly recommend it.

Let us pray for each other, that we use the faculty of our soul, the memory, for the honor, praise and glory of God. Let us strive to forget ourselves, the sins of others, the things that don't matter, the very little things we are want to remember as part of our human nature. Let us be brave and courageous souls, leaving the safe territory of the memory and living in the spirit, in the dark night of faith.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Monday, May 20, 2013

2013 Ordination Class (United States)

(United States from USCCB)

Diocese of Cleveland

Fr. Ryan Cubera

Fr. Terrence Grachanin
Deacon-Augustine-Dongseop-Lee 200
Fr. Austine Lee

Fr. Louis Thomas


Fr. Adam Zajac

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Fruits of the Holy Spirit- Eighth Hymn of Virtue: Patience

Eighth Hymn of Virtue: Patience

It is my belief that a lack of patience is one of the most common stumbling blocks to spiritual people who wish to progress in holiness. It is a struggle to endure patiently what God sends us even for those not spiritually inclined. We are a fast-paced, instant gratification oriented society. It takes extra-ordinary grace to remain patient and loving in our family life, place of business, and in the market place.

Patience and peace go together and we know that peace of heart flows from a life of faithful prayer and meditation. If we are at peace we prepare ourselves for the moments God wishes to test us.

St. Therese is an example of someone who prepared herself to practice patience. She says:

At meditation I was for a long time always near a sister who never stopped fidgeting, with either her rosary or something else. Perhaps I was the only one who heard her, as my ears are very sharp, but I could not tell you how it irritated me. What I wanted to do was to turn and stare at her until she stopped her noise, but deep down I knew it was better to endure it patiently-first for the love of God and, secondly, so as not to upset her. So, I made no fuss, though sometimes I was soaked with sweat under the strain and my prayer was nothing but the prayer of suffering.

Story of a soul, Chapter 10

We can see in the life of the saints the same struggles that we have with attaining virtue. If bearing her suffering patiently caused St. Therese to sweat, who knows what I will have to suffer to remain patient and loving in my response to the world and my neighbor.

Fr. Tanquerey in the Spiritual Life teaches that the degrees of patience correspond to the three stages of the spiritual life:

The First Stage:

*At the beginning suffering is accepted as coming from God; without murmur, without resentment, in hope of heavenly rewards.

The Second Stage:

* Patience, in its second degree,makes us eager to embrace suffering, in union with Jesus Christ, and in order to make us more like that Divine Model.

The Third Stage:

*This leads to the third degree of patience, the desire and the love of suffering for the sake of God Whom one wishes to glorify, and for the sake of souls, for whose sanctification one wants to labor.

Spiritual Life-#1089, #1090, #1091

The Church teaches that one of the spiritual works of mercy is to bear sufferings patiently. Let us strive to be merciful to ourselves and to others by bearing the small things of life in patience. Why should we let these things disturb our peace of heart?

St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila) teaches us to not go looking for crosses. She teaches us that we should accept the cross that is presented to us each day. If we want to progress in holiness of life we must be found faithful in small things--be able to endure patiently the small irritations and annoyances of people and situations before the Lord will entrust us with a deeper union with him. Let us pray for each other.

Peace be with you!

Rosemarie, ocds

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Carmelite Saint of the Day

St. Simon Stock

Simon, an Englishman, died at Bordeaux in the mid-thirteenth century. He has been venerated in the Carmelite Order for his personal holiness and his devotion to Our Lady. A liturgical celebration in his honor was observed locally in the fifteenth century, and later extended to the whole Order.

Read more about the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


St. George Romanian Byzantine Cathedral
North Canton, Ohio

SaintGeorgeRomanian - slideshow

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Sunday, May 12, 2013



(click for more information)

At that time, as the number of disciples continued to grow, the Hellenists complained against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution. So the Twelve called together the community of the disciples and said, “It is not right for us to neglect the word of God to serve at table. Brothers, select from among you seven reputable men, filled with the Spirit and wisdom, whom we shall appoint to this task, whereas we shall devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” The proposal was acceptable to the whole community, so they chose Stephen, a man filled with faith and the Holy Spirit, also Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicholas of Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles who prayed and laid hands on them. The word of God continued to spread, and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly; even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith. - Acts 6:1-7

Photo Source: Wikipedia

St. Stephen (Proto-Martyr)
Feast Day: December 26

St. Philip the Evangelist
Feast Day: June 6

Feast Day: July 28 (Eastern Church)

Feast Day: January 10

Feast Day: July 28 (Eastern Church)

Feast Day: January 23

Feast Day: July 28 (Eastern Church)

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

Sunday, May 5, 2013




The early Church understood that post Easter many of the mysteries of faith that had been entrusted to the  newly initiated needed time to "sink-in" and mature. Mystagogia is the seeping in period, in which all believers are able to take time and more deeply contemplate the Church's life and sacraments, which we so joyously celebrated in the past weeks. 
Source: Catholic Online

Today, the Sixth Sunday of Easter, the members of our secular community renewed their Carmelite promises. Secular Carmelites throughout the world do this at some point in the Easter season.  While I always view this annual renewal of promises as a "new year" (so to speak) in the spiritual life. I have been thinking more of late about the gift of "mystagogia," The Holy Spirit's gift that is given to new Catholics. It is a gift that helps them to understand in a deeper way the mysteries of our faith. The beautiful period of mystagogia during this Easter season is for all Catholics. 

As Secular Carmelites, we too, are neophytes beginning once again, in this Easter season, to help each other in our resolve to follow Christ more closely in our Carmelite vocation. Let us ask ourselves if we desire a deeper union with God? Do we desire a deeper love of the mysteries of our faith? The Holy Spirit will fulfill our heart's desire! Let these remaining days of the Easter season be a period of mystagogia for us. Let us be docile students of the Holy Spirit, ready to be formed in the ways of holiness by the Spirit of Love.

In the life and teaching of St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila), she speaks of her own mystical experiences in which she was given understanding of the mysteries of our faith.  These mystical experiences were short, extremely short.  She tells us that during prayer, in an instant of time, she was given light to understand heavenly things. And even though she could not explain this knowledge in human terms, the truth imparted to her remained ingrained in her heart and in her memory for life.

If one cooperates with the gifts given during the period of mystagogia, and one is faithful to a life of prayer, then the Lord draws this soul into union and spiritual marriage with him.  From mystagogia one can enter the delightful and holy wine cellar that St. John of the Cross speaks of in the Spiritual Canticle.

 "The wine cellar is the last and most intimate degree of love in which the soul can be placed in this life...and we can assert that there are seven  of these degrees or wine cellars of love. They are all possessed when the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are possessed perfectly  according to the souls's capacity for receiving them.1"

This is where the saintly dwell. When the Church considers one for sainthood they study the life of virtue of the candidate. They must possess all of the virtues, no exceptions.
1 Kirean Kavanaugh, "The Collected Works of St. John of  the Cross", ICS Publications (1991) SC, Stanza 26, No. 3, Pg. 575.

The Secular Carmelite descends the stairs of the wine cellar on a daily basis. Perhaps we've just placed our trembling foot on the first step, afraid of the dark night that awaits us. Perhaps we are fearful of dying to self and embarking on the unknown.  Do not be afraid! We follow Christ! He is the light that leads the way. He is waiting for us in the wine cellar, in the depths and the mystery of his love for us.

That eternal spring is hidden,
for I know well where it has its rise,
although it is night.
From the Song of the soul that rejoices in knowing God through faith by St. John of the Cross

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS