Sunday, June 5, 2016

Spiritual Direction with St. John of the Cross

In the inner wine cellar
I drank of my Beloved, and, when I went abroad
through all this valley
I no longer knew anything,
and lost the herd which I was following.

In this poem of St. John of the Cross, The Spiritual Canticle, he begins to explain what takes place in the depth of this union with the soul and the Bridegroom. He tells us:

This 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 soul's capacity for receiving them.
The Spiritual Canticle, Stanza 26, No. 3

In our Carmelite tradition, we have many saints who teach us that heaven begins now. Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity is a holy Carmelite who speaks about this in her writing.  As Secular Carmelites, we must make the effort now to be holy, so that when the Lord comes unexpectedly he will find us ready for the Kingdom. 

In your circle of friends, family, and co-workers, do you know anyone who possesses a gift of the Spirit in its fullness, in its perfection? Do you know someone who is perfectly patient? Do you know someone who has perfect peace, gentleness, and kindness? Do you know someone who is perfectly loving and charitable, despite being persecuted? If you do, then you know a saint!  These are how the blessed in heaven live and move and have their being in union with God. 

When people come to our community who are interested in Carmelite spirituality, I tell them, yes, it is a way of life, but more importantly, we are striving for a state of being, a state of holiness. We want to begin the process of spiritual purification now, because we want to see God immediately when we die. As St. Therese teaches, if we love perfectly in this life, we do not have to go to purgatory.  This desire does not stem from a fear of purgatory, but flows from a heart that is completely in love with God and is waiting and longing to see him face-to-face.

Let us pray for the souls in purgatory, who long to see God face-to-face. They need our prayers so that they can be filled with all the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. Once they enter the final depth of the "wine cellar" they will be in a glorious state of being, one of holiness, ready to experience the beatific vision and experience the union with God they so long for.

Let us pray for our world and for the conversion of sinners. One only has to read the news to see that God is not loved in the world, that many do not revere him or fear him. Our world needs the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Let us pray that he renews the face of the Earth!

Prayer to the Holy Spirit

O Holy Spirit, Spirit of the Father and the Son, let the might of your love be more and more felt in the hearts of men. Let your light shine more and more on souls that are wandering in the darkness far away from God. Turn them to the light-giving Heart of Jesus and to the healing stream of His Precious Blood. Strengthen souls that love you. Perfect in them your Seven Gifts and your Twelve Fruits, and so make them your temples here that you may be adored in them forever. Amen.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, OCDS

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