Monday, May 26, 2014


Photo: R. Massaro-St. Teresa of Avila Church Cadiz, Ohio

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

There come days in which I recall an infinite number of times what St. Paul says--although assuredly not present in me to the degree it was in him--for it seems to me I neither live, nor speak, nor have any desire but that He who strengthens and governs me might live in me. I go about as though outside myself, and so life is the severest pain for me. And the greatest thing I offer  God as principal service to Him is that, since it is so painful for me to live separated from Him, I desire to live, but out of love for Him. I should like to live with great trials and persecutions. Since I am no good for being of any help to anyone, I should like to be good for suffering so that all who are in the world might receive a little more merit, I mean by a better fulfillment of His will. 

I haven't experienced any promise in prayer that I haven't seen fulfilled, even though the promise may have come many years previously. There are so many things I see and understand about the grandeur of God, and of His providence, that almost any time I begin to think about it my intellect fails me, as when one sees things that are far beyond one's ability to understand; and I remain in recollection.
St. Teresa of Jesus,Spiritual Testimonies, No 3, 10-11.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, oceds

Thursday, May 22, 2014


St. Joaquina de Verunda de Mas 

From the Letters of Saint Joachina de Vedruna

If only we were all on fire with the love for God! If we were, we should preach love, proclaim love, and yet more love, until we had set the whole world on fire. We must have great desires: then God will give us whatever is best for us.

We must be careful to free our hearts from everything that might get in the way of the pure love of our beloved Jesus. He is love itself, and wants to give himself to us through love. Jesus is calling us all the time--how long are we going to remain deaf to his voice? No, let us keep our hearts ready, our wills completely for Jesus, our faculties and our senses for the Lord.

There must be no undue attachment in our hearts for created things: they must burn with love alone, love ever more fervent; for love never says 'enough,' never rests until it is completely on fire. When our hearts are completely on fire with pure love for Jesus, everything that might hinder love from taking complete possession will be cast out.

We must not give into weariness: we must spend every minute in loving God. God alone, the maker of heaven and earth, must be our rest and our consolation. The love of God is the only thing we can possess for ever: everything else will pass away.

Love, love, and yet more love--love that is never satisfied! The more we love God, the more we shall long to love him. And when we have Jesus in our hearts, we shall have everything else in him and with him.

Peace be with you, 
Rosemarie, ocds

Monday, May 19, 2014

The Letters of St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila)

To the Most Illustrious Lord Don Alonso Valasquez, Bishop of Osma. 

The Saint teaches this great prelate a method of prayer. Palafox says, "that he considers this letter to be the most spiritual of all the Saint's letters, as well as the most important for every one, especially for bishops." Date, 1581. 

JESUS. Most Reverend Father of my Soul.
One of the greatest favours for which I feel myself indebted to our Lord is, that His Majesty has given me a desire to be obedient, for in this virtue I experience great pleasure and consolation, being a duty which our Lord has recommended to us more than any other.

Your Lordship commanded me the other day, to recommend you to God: I am careful in doing so, and your Lordship's command has increased this solicitude. I have done so, not considering my own littleness, but because it is a matter imposed on me by you; and with this belief I trust in the goodness of your Lordship, that you will receive with a willing mind what I may think proper to represent to your Lordship: accept my will, since it proceeds from obedience.

Representing, then, to our Lord the favours which He has shown you (which I know), in having bestowed upon you humility, charity, and a zeal for souls, and for the Divine honour; and being aware also of this your desire, I asked our Lord for an increase of all virtues and perfections, that so you might become as perfect as the dignity requires, in which our Lord has placed you. It was made known to me, that your Lordship failed in what was principally required for these virtues; and being wanting in the most important, which is the foundation, the building soon falls, because it is not firm. You are deficient in prayer, with a burning lamp, which is the light of faith, and in perseverance in prayer with courage: thus you break the bond of union which is the unction of the Holy Spirit, and through want of this arises all that dryness and disunion which the soul experiences.

It is necessary to bear patiently the importunity of a multitude of thoughts and imaginations, and the violence of natural motions, both as well in the soul by the dryness and disunion she feels, as in the body, for want of that subjection which it ought to yield to the spirit. And though we may think these are no imperfections in us, yet when God opens the eyes of the soul, as He is accustomed to do in prayer, these imperfections then clearly appear.

That which was shown me respecting the order your Lordship is to observe in prayer, is this. First, make the sign of the cross; accuse yourself of all the faults committed since your last confession; strip yourself of all things, as if you were to die that hour; have a true sorrow for your sins, and recite the psalm "Miserere," as a penance for them. After this you may say, "I come to Thee, O Lord! to learn in Thy school, and not to teach. I will speak with thy Majesty, though I am dust and ashes, and a miserable worm of the earth." Offer yourself at the same time to God, as a perpetual sacrifice and holocaust, representing before the eyes of your understanding Jesus Christ crucified, on whom with tranquillity and affection of soul, ponder and consider part by part.

Consider, in the first place, the divine nature of the Eternal Word, of the Father united with the human nature, which of itself had no being till God gave it one. Consider also the ineffable love and profound humility with which God annihilated Himself, man becoming God, and God becoming man. Consider that magnificence and bounty with which He exercised His power, by manifesting Himself to men, and making them partakers of His glory, His power, and His greatness.

And if this consideration shall excite in your soul the admiration it is accustomed to produce, dwell upon it, and contemplate a sublimity so low, and a lowliness so sublime.

Behold His head crowned with thorns, and then consider the dullness and blindness of our understanding. Beg of our Lord that He would be pleased to open the eyes of the soul, and enlighten our understanding with the light of faith, that so we may with humility learn who God is, and what we are; and that by this humble knowledge, we may be able to observe His commandments and counsels, and do in all things His will. Behold also His hands nailed, and consider His liberality and our poverty, by comparing His gifts with ours.

View His feet nailed, considering the diligence with which He seeks us, and the sloth with which we endeavour to seek Him. Cast your eyes on that side opened with a lance, which shows us His heart, and the intense love wherewith He hath loved us, when He was pleased to become our harbour and refuge, that so by this gate we might enter the ark, when the deluge of our temptations and tribulations shall come. Beg of Him, that as He was pleased to have His side opened in testimony of the love He bore us, so He would command ours also to be opened, that we might make our necessities known, and obtain a remedy for them.

Your Lordship should approach to prayer with submission and humility, and a readiness to walk along the path by which God may conduct you, relying with security on His Majesty. Listen attentively to the lessons He shall read to you. Sometimes He turns away from you, and at other times He comes before you, either by shutting the gate and leaving you outside, or taking you by the hand, and leading you into His chamber. Everything should be received with an equality of mind: and when He shall reprove you, you must acknowledge His right and just judgment by humbling yourself...

To remain in prayer without obtaining any advantage is not lost time, but a season of great gain, because then we labour without interest, and only for the glory of God. And though at first it may seem as if we laboured in vain, it is not so; but it is like what happens to sons who work on their father's estate, and who, though at night they receive not wages for the day's work, yet at the end of the year they receive everything.

This is very like the prayer in the Garden, in which our Lord Jesus Christ requested–that the bitterness and difficulty He experienced in overcoming His human nature might be removed. He did not ask that His pains might be removed, but only the dislike with which He suffered them; and what He asked for the inferior part of man was, that the strength of the Spirit might be given to the flesh, that so its weakness might be strengthened. He was told that it was not expedient, but that He must drink the chalice–that is, overcome the cowardice and weakness of the flesh. And so we may understand that as He was truly God, so He was truly man, since even He felt those pains which other men did.

He that approaches to prayer, must needs be a man of labour, and must never grow weary during all the summer and fine weather, in providing provisions (like the ant) for the winter and the floods, that so he may not perish with hunger as other animals do, who are unprovided: he must look forward to the dreadful deluge of death and judgment.

In going to prayer, we should put on a wedding garment–that is, of rest, not of labour; and for such festal days, every one endeavours to procure costly garments; and to honour the feast, every one is accustomed to incur great expense; and they think all well bestowed when the feast goes off as well as they wished. One cannot be a learned man nor a courtier, without great expense and labour. Now to become a courtier of heaven, and to possess spiritual knowledge, cannot be effected without spending some time, and enduring some affliction of spirit.

I cannot now say any more to your Lordship; and I beg your pardon for the presumption I have used, in representing these truths to you. But however full this letter may be of defects and indiscretions, I am not wanting in the zeal I owe to you, as a loving servant of your Lordship, to whose holy prayers I commend myself. May our Lord preserve your Lordship, and enrich you with a manifold increase of His Grace. Amen.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Monday, May 12, 2014



Readily trained or taught; teachable.

Docility is a much-needed gift to advance in the spiritual life. A person who is docile is a humble person. A docile person is open to spiritual direction and follows the advice of the spiritual director. A docile person is a holy person who is constantly at attention ready to be taught and led by the Holy Spirit. 

Here is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says about the docile person:

1831 The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord. They belong in their fullness to Christ, Son of David.109They complete and perfect the virtues of those who receive them. They make the faithful docile in readily obeying divine inspirations.

 Three acts which prepare the soul for docility to the Holy Spirit according to Fr. Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.

1.  Obeying faithfully the will of God.

2.  Frequently renewing our resolution to follow the will of God in 

3.  Asking unceasingly the light and strength of the Holy Ghost to 
     accomplish the will of God.

From Catholic Answers Magazine
Article by Leon J. Suprenant

Docility comes from the Latin verb docere, which means "to teach." From docere we get the word "doctrine"—that which is taught...

And so we have the virtue of docility, which refers to our habitual attitude toward "doctors" who teach us "doctrine." In other words, it’s about how teachable or coachable we are. As we will see, this virtue has specific applicability to our relationship to the Church, which is our mother and teacher. But it also applies to our ability to be taught in every sphere of daily living.
Docility is the mean between the extremes of, on the one hand, an excessive, prideful self-reliance, and on the other hand, a passive, cowering submissiveness. It’s about seeking and making use of wisdom wherever it is found. Bl. Mother Teresa famously searched for the "hidden Jesus" in everyone, especially the poorest of the poor. I think it’s fair to say that the docile person searches for the "hidden wisdom" in others.
The Holy Ghost consoles us in our exile on earth, far from God.
Fr. Louis Lallemant, S. J.

For the Secular Carmelite it is important to be docile of spirit. Communities experience problems when they accept candidates who are not teachable or able to be formed in Carmelite spirituality, or, for that matter, in basic Christian charity. These persons present themselves as knowing everything and they are ready and willing to teach others. St. John of the Cross warns us about these persons-beginners on the road of prayer who are detoured by their own pride. They want to teach others, but they themselves will not be taught.

These people are easily recognized early on in their formation. These are some warning signs to look for:

1.  In formation class, they state, "Oh, we've read and studied this 
     before, can't we read something else?"

2.  They tire of the same teacher (usually a very intelligent one).

3.  They want to lead and teach the group (although they are not 
     qualified or knowledgeable in the subject-at-hand).

4.  They have an attitude of arrogance-they present themselves as 
     knowledgeable and spiritually advanced above others in the 

Let us imitate the saints who were humble of heart-always teachable, even though they possessed great holiness. In order to be saints we must possess all the gifts of the Holy Spirit. And, as St. John of the Cross teaches us, let us scale the heights by entering the depths-the wine cellar of the beloved. This inmost cellar is only entered by a rare few. Do you desire this perfect union with God?

Let us pray for each other.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Saturday, May 10, 2014



Shrine of Padre Pio-Barto, PA-Photo: R. Massaro

"Are you willing to offer yourselves to God and bear all the sufferings He wills to send you, as an act of reparation for the conversion of sinners?"
Our Lady to the Children of Fatima

The Children of Fatima

When Jacinta’s coffin was opened on 12th September, 1935, during its removal to a tomb especially built at Fatima, her face was seen to be perfectly incorrupt. Her relics and those of Francisco lie in the Basilica at Fatima, with the simple inscription: “Here lie the mortal remains of Francisco and Jacinta to whom Our Lady appeared.” 


O Most Holy Virgin Mary, Queen of the most holy Rosary, you were pleased to appear to the children of Fatima and reveal a glorious message. We implore you, inspire in our hearts a fervent love for the recitation of the Rosary. By meditating on the mysteries of the redemption that are recalled therein may we obtain the graces and virtues that we ask, through the merits of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Redeemer.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Monday, May 5, 2014



SS. Cosmas & Damian Church-Twinsburg, Ohio
St. Joseph-Patron of a Happy Death

For the person on the road of spiritual perfection, the thought of death should be on one's mind daily. Keeping the goal of heaven in mind helps us to make choices throughout the day that are pleasing to the Lord. We are pleasing to him when we try to respond in charity to the challenges of every day life. We please him by forgiving and showing mercy to our neighbor. We please him by bearing patiently our own sufferings and trials, as well as helping others to bear their sufferings patiently.

There are many spiritual books with the theme of preparing for death. St. Alphonsus Liguori wrote a book with that actual title, Preparation for Death.  It is an excellent book that I would highly recommend. However, recently, I picked up one of my favorite spiritual books, The Imitation of Christ, and opened to the meditation in Chapter 23 entitled, Meditation on Death.  In my opinion, it is one of the best spiritual pieces written on helping the soul to prepare for death.  Here are some excerpts from the chapter:

The Hour of death will soon come for you. See to it that you spend your time here well. There is a common saying that human beings are here today and gone tomorrow. And once they are out of sight, they are soon forgotten.

How dull we are and hard of heart, for we think only of the present and make little provision for the life hereafter! If you were wise, you would so order your life as though you were to die before the day is over.

If it is frightening to die, it may be more dangerous to live long. You are truly blessed if you keep the hour of your death before you and prepare yourself for it. If you ever saw anyone die, remember that you too must travel the same path...

Strive to do good deeds while you are well, for when you are sick you do not know what you will be able to do. Sickness does not often change us for the better. Also, few are sanctified by making many pilgrimages...

How many people will remember you and pray for you once you are dead?

Attend to those things that are to God's honor and glory. Honor the Saints and follow their example and you will have friends waiting to receive you into everlasting dwellings (Lk 16:9) when your life here is ended.

The Imitation of Christ, Thomas A Kempis

In point number 4 of his meditation. He states there are 6 things the wise person seeks to obtain a happy death:

1.  A perfect contempt of the world
2.  An ardent desire to progress in virtue
3.  A love of discipline
4.  A prompt obedience
5.  A denial of self
6.  A patient bearing of all adversities for the love of Christ

Let us pray to Our Lady through the powerful prayer of the Rosary to help us at the hour of our death: ...Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

John Henry Newman

Oh, my Lord and Savior, 
support me in that hour
in the strong arms of your Sacraments,
and by the fresh fragrance of your consolations.
Let the absolving words be said over me,
and the holy oil sign and seal me,
and your own Body be my food,
and your Blood my sprinkling;
and let my sweet Mother, Mary, breathe on me,
and my Angel whisper peace to me,
and my glorious Saints (NN.) smile upon me;
that in them all, and through them all,
I may receive the gift of perseverance,
and die, as I desire to live,
in your faith, in your Church, in your service,
and in your love. Amen.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Thursday, May 1, 2014



SS. Philip & James Church Canal Fulton, Ohio

Yesterday, Discalced Carmelites throughout the world fasted in preparation for today's feast of St. Joseph.  St. Joseph is the Protector of the Order of Carmel. 

Just last year, on May 1, Pope Francis decreed that St. Joseph's name be added to the Eucharistic Prayers at each Mass. This was the culmination of the efforts begun by the newly-canonized St. John XXIII.

From the United States Bishops' Website:

On May 1, 2013, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments promulgated the decree Paternas vices by the authority of the Supreme Pontiff, Pope Francis. The decree instructs that the name of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary, should be inserted into Eucharistic Prayers II, III, and IV. Already on November 13, 1962, Pope John XXIII had inserted the name of St. Joseph into the first Eucharistic Prayer (the Roman Canon), and now that work has been carried forward to the other three Eucharistic Prayers, initially by Pope Benedict XVI and now confirmed by Pope Francis.
Pious and liturgical devotion to St. Joseph is first recorded with certainty in the seventh century, though reference to him is made in Sacred Scripture and multiple patristic texts earlier than that. A full liturgical Office was established for him on March 19 in the 13th Century, and in 1870 he was proclaimed Patron of the Universal Church. Many church writers and several Popes have written of St. Joseph, including the apostolic exhortation by Pope John Paul II entitled Redemptoris custos (August 15, 1989).
The decree Paternas vices draws some of its language from this exhortation, expressing in concise words the role of St. Joseph in the economy of salvation, stating, for example, that St. Joseph, "stands as an exemplary model of the kindness and humility that the Christian faith raises to a great destiny, and demonstrates the ordinary and simple virtues necessary for men to be good and genuine followers of Christ. Through these virtues, this Just man, caring most lovingly for the Mother of God and happily dedicating himself to the upbringing of Jesus Christ, was placed as guardian over God the Father's most precious treasures."
The Congregation has provided the Latin texts, which are now considered the typical edition, as well as official translations in the major western languages, including English and Spanish.

We know the importance St. Joseph played in the life of St. Teresa of Jesus.  In fact, her first Carmelite monastery was named St. Joseph's. She writes:

When everything was ready the Lord was pleased that on St. Bartholomew's day the habit was received by some and the Blessed Sacrament was reserved, and with all due authority and power our monastery of our most glorious father St. Joseph was founded, in 1562.

St. Joseph, pray for us.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds