Wednesday, March 12, 2014


St. Elijah-Our Lady of Cedars-Akron, Ohio

Although Elijah and Elisha, and the others of the same Order, religious men, sons of the prophets, stayed mostly in the deserts following God's command, for the sake of the people they sometimes went into the cities and villages, working miracles among the people and foretelling the future, and condemning the vices of men, calling them back to God, and drawing many to their prophetic Order. Therefore, in the vicinity of certain towns and villages in the Promised Land, and especially in Galgala, Bethel, Jericho, and Samaria, they had communities of religious men, sons of the prophets, as can be read in the book of Kings, where monks stayed when they came to the towns and villages.

Those of the people whom they were able to attract to their prophetic Order, they first instructed in these communities on the prophetic discipline and the rudiments of the monastic religious life, in order that they might gently free them from city life and afterwards send them to the solitary places. For these monks, sons of the prophets, who were city-dwellers, once they had learnt the rudiments of the prophetic discipline and monastic life, the cities seemed like prisons, and solitude appeared to them like paradise. So, wishing to gain their salvation in a more perfect fashion, they preferred to lead the monastic and prophetic life far from the cities in solitude...

They were now so numerous that all could not be easily accommodated in the solitude of Mount Carmel, So, at the command of the prophets who governed them, they chose not only the Mount of Carmel but also other solitary places away from this mountain which were suited to their way of life and worship.
The Ten Books on the Way of LIfe and Great Deeds of the Carmelites by Felip Riobt, O. Carm.


Almighty, ever-living God,
Your prophet Elijah
Lived always in your presence
And was zealous for the honor due to your Name.
May we, your servants,
Always seek your Face
And bear witness to your Love.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.  A

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Saturday, March 8, 2014


Our Lady's words to St. Bernadette: "I am the Immaculate Conception."
Photo: Church of the Sacred Heart Lourdes, France

When Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta received permission to start her Order, the Missionaries of Charity, she began to experience a great spiritual darkness.

Here is an excerpt from 33 Day to Morning Glory ( A Do-It-Yourself Retreat In Preparation for Marian Consecration)
by Michael E. Gaitley, MIC:

From the beginning of this new congregation, Mother Teresa began to experience "such terrible darkness" in her soul "as if everything was dead." At times, it seemed unbearable, and she frequently found herself on the brink of despair. In 1961, she received a light in this darkness. After a conversation with a holy priest, she realized that her painful longing was actually a share in the thirst of Jesus: "For the first time in this 11 years--I have come to love the darkness.--For I believe now that it is a part, a very, very small part of Jesus' darkness and pain on earth. Teresa's experience of darkness and painful longing continued to the end of her life. She found the strength to persevere because, as her spiritual director put it, she realized that the darkness was actually a "mysterious link" that united her to the Heart of Jesus.

If you would like to prepare to make the total consecration to Mary Immaculate, here is a link to order the book on Amazon:

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Spiritual Life Dictionary


John the Baptist-A true ascetic

Asceticism is self-discipline in all its forms, particularly those voluntarily undertaken out of love of God and desire for spiritual improvement.
A Catholic Dictionary by Donald Attwater

This is a word that has been on my heart and mind of late.  Not just because we are now in the holy season of Lent, but I have been thinking about this for a number of months. 

One of the means God used for my conversion was reading an old worn copy of  Little Pictorial Lives of the Saints, published by Benziger Brothers. As a teenager, I was mesmerized by reading the lives of these people who could choose and endure such radical physical and mental self-denial because they loved God! 

I think too, that I am wondering if there are saints like that today. I guess in a way, I'm wondering if the saints of the "old school" still exist.

It makes me sad when I think of the "short-cuts" the church has put in place over the years to accommodate the increasing distaste for mortification among people.  For instance, when I was growing up, we had to fast from midnight Saturday until after we received Holy Communion on Sunday.  Today, people gripe and complain because they have to deny themselves for one hour before receiving the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord.  Some can't even tolerate that short time frame and consume, candy, gum and mints during Holy Mass!  

The Catholic Dictionary goes on to explain that asceticism is not an end in itself...but a means towards personal sanctification.

So, we don't mortify ourselves just to prove we can do it, to tell others about it, to impress our confessor, to impress God. We mortify ourselves because as St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila) teaches us,  prayer and self-indulgence do not go together. How right she is. 

In today's drive-through, immediate self-gratification society, how many give any thought to denying the body some pleasure? The Rev. Adolph Tanquerey, the author of The Spiritual Life, a great classic on prayer and the mystical life states that "Mortification is the enemy of pleasure."We must keep in mind that it is not wrong to take pleasure in eating or drinking, but we are discussing today, asceticism, a willing self-denial to deny the body so that we are not a slave to it. Self-indulgence leads to slothfulness in prayer and in performing good works.

For secular Carmelites, the teaching of St. John of the Cross on prayer and self-denial that is summed up in the term "detachment" is at the heart of our spiritual life. If we are truly seeking union with God, the "spiritual marriage" we have to travel through the bitter valley of detachment of the senses.  But once the soul has a taste of the living God, it quickly learns that no earthly pleasure can match it.

In today's world of social media, I see many religious communities blog and post pictures of events at their monasteries. The Holy Father Benedict the XVI encouraged people to use the Internet for evangelization. However, it takes wisdom and prudence to decide what to post. 

I know there are true ascetics in the world. I know there are monks and nuns and lay people we never hear about on face book or twitter who are denying their bodies food, water and sleep for the sake of the Kingdom and for the conversion of sinners. So don't be fooled if you visit face book and twitter and find someone who is going to sleep on a rock for a week or wear a hair-shirt for a month , or construct a pillar and pray there for 2 weeks and blog about it and post pictures of the events and circumstances of their sacrifice. This is blatant false asceticism.  

I'm praying for the true ascetic, the one who denies himself all sorts of things, in secret, before the Father alone. I'm praying for the true ascetic who is praying for me and my soul.  For I am the poor sinner who hopes to benefit from their self-denial.

To learn more about asceticism according to the Eastern Rite saints visit this website:

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Sunday, March 2, 2014


St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila):

On the mystical experience, The Flight of the Spirit

The flight of the spirit is something I don't know what to call that rises up from the most intimate part of the soul. I only remember the following comparison, which I put down in that place your Reverence knows of where these kinds of prayer and others are explained at length; and my memory is such that I quickly forget. I think the soul and the spirit must be one, but that like a fire that is great and has been getting ready to start blazing, so the soul, through the readiness it has from God does suddenly begin to blaze and shoot forth a flame reaching high in the air, even though the flame is just as much fire as that which remains beneath. This flame doesn't cease to be fire just because it rises up. So here in the soul it seems something is produced so suddenly and delicately that it rises up to the superior part and goes wherever the Lord wills. This cannot be explained any further. It seems to be a flight, for I don't know what else to compare it to. I know it is recognized very clearly and that it cannot be stopped.

It seems that the little bird, the spirit, escapes from the misery of the flesh and the prison of this body, and thus it can be more occupied in what the Lord gives it. What He gives is something so delicate and so precious, from what the soul understands, that there doesn't seem to be any illusion in it or in any of these things when they take place. Afterward together were fears, since the one who received this favor was so wretched that everything seemed to give reason for fearing; although in the interior of the soul there remains a certitude and security that enables one to live, but not to set aside any efforts against being deceived.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds