About My Carmel

I'm a lover of Christ, wife and mother of two beautiful daughters + one cute tabby cat named Ruby. I love books, art, nature and animals. I am also a member of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (O.C.D.S) Here in this space, I would like to share in the Carmelite charisma, blogging about prayer and Carmelite spirituality.

Does God Really Speak?

mountain bounty by jeremy cram

Photo credit to Jeremy Cram

 


It is only meaningful to listen to the Holy Spirit and obey him if he speaks.


Does God really speak to us? Are there not many people who, instead of hearing God speak, feel they are encountering absolute silence? And among those who do hear him speak, are there not a good many who are merely hearing themselves, their own thoughts and fantasies?

There are people who, no matter what they do, feel affirmed by God. If they have success, it is clear that God is with them and blessing their plans. If they have opposition, it is even more clear that they are doing right. Everything that comes from God should be marked by the Cross, they say. Did not Jesus himself fail . . . ?

Are you hearing your own voice or the voice of God? Is it you who are speaking to yourself, or are you listening to God speaking to you? Perhaps the question is not nuanced enough. It need not be a question of either/or. God can speak through your own self. And that is usually what he does, provided that you stand before him in all honesty and live from the basic attitude of wanting to do his will. As soon as you want to listen to the Holy Spirit, he becomes active in you, for no one can begin to listen to God on his own initiative. The will to listen is already a work of the Holy Spirit. “It is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God” (Rom 8:16), so the Spirit speaks together with our spirit about what God’s will is. The Spirit uses our deep, true self to make understand what God wills.

I am often asked the question: “Does God want me to enter a monastery?” My immediate reply is: Do you want it? Do you have the desire to enter a monastery, not only with a theoretical, abstract desire, but are you drawn there, do you believe you will be happy and find your home there? If you truly want it, it is likely that God wants it also, that he wills it through you. Then it remains to be seen if you have the necessary qualities of physical and psychological health, common sense, and a certain spiritual maturity, and if the religious community to which you are drawn wishes to accept you. A vocation consists mainly of these three elements:
(1) a personal desire; (2) the capacity to live the life; (3) a religious community that opens its doors to you.

God seldom speaks directly with audible, perceptible words. He speaks, for the most part, indirectly, via your own deep, truth-seeking will. I say “deep” will. For alongside the deep will there are many superficial “wills” , namely, all the small opposing desires that often drown out the deep will.

God also speaks through events, circumstances, encounters with other people, and through books. Much of what is happening around you contains a secret message from God. It is a question of deciphering and interpreting it. In everything that happens, you can gradually learn to recognize a You. The impersonal becomes personal. Apparently random events become personal messages from God.

God speaks uninterruptedly. He instructs, encourages, challenges, and comforts. He truly walks in our garden of Eden (cf. Gen 3:8). Yes, our life becomes again something of a paradise when we continually meet God.

If we read the Bible, it is, among other things, to learn this fact: that God is constantly speaking to us. “And God spoke to Moses and said. . . ” How often we read that phrase! It does not mean, of course, that Moses constantly heard God’s voice. But he was so in harmony with God, so completely on the same wave-length, that he thought the same thoughts as God. For the most part, we deserve this mild reproach from God: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts” (Is 55:8). But that can change! We can come to the point where we think God’s thoughts, where God thinks with our understanding and loves with our heart.

We can eventually receive “the mind of Christ” (see Phil 2:5) and, like him, encounter the Father in all things. When he admired the lilies of the field and saw how the birds were fed without sowing or reaping, he saw in this the Father’s love and care (Mt 6:26-29).
When he heard talk of the collapse of the Tower of Siloam (Lk 13:4-5), he saw it as a call to conversion. In everything he met a You.

It would be wise to take few minutes each day to examine one’s conscience and ask oneself: What has God wanted to teach me today? Where have I encountered him, or where should I have encountered him?

If you object that one should consider one’s sins during the examination of conscience, I can answer that this is one of our greatest sins: that we do not recognize God, who walks in our garden.

~ A Reflection by Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

 

 

Your Spiritual Director

 


Many complain and lament that they have not succeeded in finding a spiritual director. But it is the Holy Spirit who is our spiritual director, and apart from him no one else is.


 

Holy Spirit art by Ladislav Zaborsky

The Paraclete, art by Ladislav Záborský

 

Director and “Companion”

These directors {says Saint John of the Cross} should reflect that they themselves are not the chief agent, guide, and mover of souls in this matter, but that the principal guide is the Holy Spirit, Who is never neglectful of souls, and that they are instruments for directing them to perfection through faith and the law of God, according to the spirit God gives each one.

Thus the director’s whole concern should not be to accommodate souls to his own method and condition, but he should observe the road along which God is leading them, and if he does not recognize it, he should leave them alone and not bother them.
It would be more correct to speak of a spiritual “companion”. His task is not to lead—that is the work of the Holy Spirit—but rather to accompany the person who has confided in him and help him listen to the Spirit and recognize his impulses. It is truly a difficult task, and it demands much self-denial on the part of the spiritual “companion”. It is tempting to think that one’s won path will be suitable for others and that the methods that have been helpful on one’s own life will also be helpful to others. But this is not so. What is helpful for one may be harmful to another.

For this reason, the “companion” finds himself in a very delicate position and can feel extremely poor. There are no ready-made ideas or recipes on which to fall back. When  he goes to the confessional or the visiting room, he ought to be completely empty. He knows nothing except this: that now it is a question of listening attentively to what the Spirit wants with just this person.

True Freedom: To Be Bound by the Spirit

“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God”, writes Saint Paul (Rom 8:14). One is not living as a child of God if he does not allow himself to be led by the Spirit.

Perhaps this is difficult  to understand in our day when freedom and liberty are spoken of so ardently. And rightly so! Even the Second Vatican Council speaks enthusiastically about man’s freedom:

For its part, authentic freedom is an exceptional sign of the divine image within man. For God has willed that man remain “under the control of his own decisions,” so that he can seek his Creator spontaneously, and come freely to utter and blissful perfection through loyalty to Him. Hence man’s dignity demands that he act according to a knowing and free choice that is personally motivated and prompted from within, not under blind internal impulse nor by mere external pressure.

True freedom does not exclude the fact that one is led by another. The decisive question is: By whom or by what are we led? Are we led by blind impulses, or are we led from within, from a level that lies even deeper than what we usually call the unconscious? “The soul’s center is God”, writes Saint John of the Cross. No one is so truly himself, no one lives so authentically, genuinely, and freely as the one who lets himself be led by God, who lives in the center of the soul. To live from one’s center is the greatest freedom.

A Wholehearted Yes

If the Holy Spirit is your director, then it is up to you to let yourself be led, to say Yes to his inspirations.
In connection with this Yes, I would like to point out three things.

1. It is important that your Yes be wholehearted. If every time you say Yes, you add many “Buts’ , and if you have many reservations, you cannot expect the Spirit to lead you where he wills. Saint Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) speaks of a “great and very resolute determination” not to stop before one has reached the goal. In the Bible this is called a “pure” heart. Pure honey is honey that is not mixed with anything else. In the same way, the heart is pure when it does only what it was made to do, namely, love.
Experience teaches us that life becomes easier and simpler when we say a wholehearted Yes to God. We have a need for what is clear and unambiguous and are content with this. To know what one wants and to want what one knows gives rise to a special joy. The opposite gives a particular weariness and repugnance. We all know how it feels when we cannot make a decision, when we continually waver back and forth, and when, after finally deciding, we immediately question what we have decided. Indecision consumes an unbelievable amount of energy.

2. It is good to remember that your actions have a tendency to release a chain reaction, for good or for ill. If you say a wholehearted Yes to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, it will be easier to say Yes to him the next moment. If you say No to him now, it will be more difficult to say Yes tomorrow. That is why it is so urgent to come over the threshold and break through the barrier that has been built up by a bad habit. When the first step is taken, everything goes more smoothly.

3. We live more or less in cycles. We are all a bit “cyclothymic”. We often have mild mood swings, also in the spiritual realm. When we discover a new way, such as the way of confidence and trust shown by Saint Thérèse, for example, we become very enthusiastic. We may sail forward for a few days or weeks, but later on the feelings cool down, and we become weary and tired and drag ourselves along. A machine works always in the same way. One can estimate exactly how much it will produce. But a living being has its seasons, its summer and its winter. God does not expect the same from us in the winter as in the summer.
It is extremely liberating to know that God never demands more of us than we can give him. He is always content when we do what we can. The only important thing is that we never give up, that with a holy stubbornness we do what we can.
In practice, our spiritual journey will probably be like the famous procession in Echternach (Luxembourg), where after every third step, one takes a step backward. It goes more slowly, but, nevertheless, one arrives.

~ A Reflection by Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

 

 

 

 

Ministering Spirits

 

angel show me the way

Show Me The way, art by J. Kirk Richards


Never go anywhere without the angels

who watch God’s face and listen to be sought.
Greater than you, yet they have joy to serve you.
Never go blundering through the jungle, thought,
without a clear-eyed one to part the branches,
shout snake or swamp-hole, cry a rock beware.
The angels of the Lord encamp around you
in any place you pitch your tents for prayer.

Know that your soul takes radiance from the angels.
She glories in these creatures of her kind
and sees herself thus lightsome, free as wind.
She stands abashed when the flesh rudely brings
its homage to these pure intelligences
and tries to crowd their beauty into bodies
and weight their grace with gravity of wings.

 

~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.  

 


“If we detect an angel by the effect he is producing, let us hasten to pray since our heavenly guardian has come to join us.”
~ St. John Climacus


 

Almsgiving

words the power of words art by dolores DeVelde

The Power of Words, Art by Dolores DeVelde

 

Not everyone can give alms in money, but we all can give alms in words.

Alms of warm, kind words are like a mother’s lullaby to the elderly, who have a kind of hungry loneliness. These words bring peace and joy to those who are sad and anxious, and make the unwanted feel loved and needed once more.

Do you see that child? Have you an extra moment to speak to him? Befriending a lonely or unloved child, be he rich or poor, is to bring Christ to that little one. Take the child into your heart. You will be taking Christ into your heart, and surely, in eternity, He will reverse the process!

~ By Catherine de Hueck Doherty

 


“For I was hungry and you gave me food; I was thirsty and you gave me drink; I was a stranger and you made me welcome; naked and you clothed me, sick and you visited me, in prison and you came to see me.” ~ Matthew 25:35-36


 

The Uninvited

There is a city that through time shall lie
in a fixed darkness of the earth and sky,
and many dwell therein this very hour.
It is a city without seed or flower,
estranged from every bird and butterfly.

Who walked these streets of night? I know them well.
Those who come out of life’s sequestered places:
the lonely, the unloved, the weak and shy,
the broken-winged who piteously would fly,
the poor who still have starlight in their faces.

They are the outcast ones, the last, the least,
whom earth has not invited to her feast,
and who, were they invited in the end,
finding their wedding clothes too frayed to mend,
would not attend.

~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.

 

woman art by gustav klimt

Golden Tears, art by Gustav Klimt

 

The Immaculate Heart of Mary

Awake, O my harp, your chords, in praise of the Virgin Mary! Lift up your voice and sing the wonderful history of this Virgin, the daughter of David, who gave birth to the Life of the world!

~ Saint Ephraim the Syrian

Inmaculado Corazon de Maria

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and optional memorial of Saint Ephrem the Syrian (306-373), he is one of Mary’s greatest cantors. He has exalted her in her privileges and in her unique perfection: “You, O Christ, and Your Mother are the only ones who are beautiful under every aspect, because there is no uncleanness in You, O Lord, and no stain in Your Mother.”

St. Ephrem also speaks in a notable fashion about the action that Mary exercises over the lives of Christians. He guides the faithful to invoke Mary as Mother and Mediatrix and to take refuge in her Immaculate Heart with humble and filial trust: “Mary is the hope of those exiled who can attain reconciliation and reenter paradise.”

Owing to the elegance of his writing style, St. Ephrem has been called the “lyre of the Holy Spirit.” In addition, his Mariological teaching has earned him the title of “Marian Doctor.”

~ By Rev. Virgilio Noe

 

Jesus and Mary with a rose

Madonna and Child, by artist unknown

 


“The greatest Syriac Father and most renowned Patristic poet, Ephrem the deacon is an example of liturgical fidelity and charitable service to all.”
~ Pope Benedict XVI


 

 Prayer of praise to the Blessed Virgin Mary by St. Ephrem The Syrian:

O Virgin, most pure, wholly unspotted, O Mary, Mother of God, Queen of the universe, you are above all the saints, the hope of the elect and the joy of all the blessed. It is you who have reconciled us with God. You are the only refuge of sinners and the safe harbor of those who are shipwrecked. You are the consolation of the world, the ransom of captives, the health of the weak, the joy of the afflicted, and the salvation of all. We have recourse to you, and we beseech you to have pity on us. Amen!

 

 

Wishing all of you a very blessed Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

 

 

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus


O Jesus, grant that I may penetrate the secrets hidden in Your divine Heart.


 

Sacred Heart of Jesus2

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, art by Jose Luis Castrillo

 

After we have contemplated the Eucharist, a gift crowning all the gifts of the love of Jesus for men, the Church invites us to give direct consideration to the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the source and cause of all His gifts. We may call the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus the feast of His love for us. “Behold this Heart which has so loved men,” Jesus said to St. Margaret Mary; “Behold this Heart which has so loved men,” the Church repeats to us today, showing us that it is truly “in the Heart of Christ, wounded by our sins, that God has deigned to give us the infinite treasures of His love” (cf. Collect). Today’s liturgy inspired with this thought, reviews the immense benefits we owe to the love of Christ and sings a hymn in praise of His love. “Cogitationes cordis ejus,” chants the Introit of the Mass” “The thoughts of His Heart”—the Heart of Jesus—“are to all generations” to deliver them from death, to feed them in time of famine.” The Heart of Jesus is always in search of souls to save, to free from the snares of sin, to wash in His Blood, to feed with His Body. The Heart of Jesus is always living in the Eucharist to satisfy the hunger of all who long for Him, to welcome and console all those who, disillusioned by the vicissitudes of life, take refuge in Him, seeking peace and refreshment. Jesus Himself is our support on the hard road of life. “Take up My yoke upon you and learn of Me, because I am meek and humble of heart, and you shall find rest for your souls, Alleluia” It is impossible to eliminate sorrow from our life; yet if we live for Jesus we can suffer in peace and find in the Heart of Jesus repose for our weary soul.

~ A Meditation by Father Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.

 


“O Jesus, now that I have been brought into Your most sweet Heart, and it is a great good to be here, I do not want to let myself be easily torn away from it. Oh! how good and pleasant it is to dwell in Your Heart! Your Heart, O good Jesus, is a rich treasure, it is the precious pearl which I have found in the secret of Your pierced Body, as in a furrowed field. Who could cast aside this pearl? Rather I will give all the pearls in the world, I will exchange for it all my thoughts and affections and I will purchase it for myself. I shall entrust all my cares to Your Heart, O good Jesus, and without fail it will support me. I have found Your Heart, O Lord, O most benign Jesus: the Heart of my King, my Brother, my Friend! Hidden in Your Heart, what is there that I shall not ask of You? I shall ask that Your Heart be mine also. If You, O Jesus, are my Head, can I not say that it is mine as well as Yours? Are not the eyes of my head also mine? Then the Heart of my spiritual Head is my Heart.  What joy for me! You and I have but one heart. Having found this divine Heart which is Yours and mine, O most sweet Jesus, I beseech You, O my God: receive my prayers in that sanctuary where You are attentive to them and, even more, draw me entirely into Your Heart”
~ Saint Bonaventure


 

 

My painting of Jesus Sacred Heart

This is a little prayer area I have in my house and I placed there a painting I did of the Sacred Heart of Jesus ❤  “Choose the divine Heart for your sacred oratory, wherein to offer to God your petitions and prayers that may be pleasing to Him.” ~ St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

 

Wishing all of you a very blessed Feast of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus ❤

A Reflection: “What Makes You Happy?”

summer at the cottage

Summer days in Canada (photo source unknown)

It’s June and the summer heat is starting to make its presence felt here on this side of the world where I live—my beautiful Canada! All is green and flowers are blooming with beautiful hues and aromas that are so soothing to the senses.

The ducks are back and it’s so sweet to see them out and about walking around with their babies in tow. The warm breeze feels so good and the sunrays are beaming.
Oh, summer how much I like you! You make me happy!

I live close to the lake and I love going for walks by the shore. There is a lot of activity over there—seagulls playfully flying over the calm waters, searching for food. Nature is so alive at this time of the year. Locals peacefully walking their dogs enjoying the nice warm weather. As I sat in one of the benches overlooking the lake, I was overcome with a deep emotion of thanksgiving, my heart full of gratitude. I’m so much in awe admiring all the magnificent art of God’s creation. Indeed, God is an artist!

Every second of summer is precious. It is a season of plenty, especially for the birds. They enjoy it so much singing joyfully and loudly to the Creator. It’s a heavenly melody thanking Him for everything. Am I that grateful? Am I that loving to you, Oh Lord? I pray that I am. Many times I want to shout in joy for the precious gift of being alive and get to appreciate all these marvelous things that God has done for me and for each one of us. I thank you Lord, for this awesome gift. I thank you for this awareness that flows from my heart and allows me to contemplate your grace. Beloved, I thank you for your daily blessings in my life.

Neighbours burning wood in their backyard fire pits brings me great memories of past summers. With the smoke that rises, let it come up to you as incense and let me offer a prayer of thanksgiving and abundant joy for the gift of your presence in my life, beloved Lord. I offer a prayer for peace in the world, for love in man’s heart, for the gift of faith, for healing of body and soul, for strength and patience in tribulation, for perseverance in the way, for the blessing of nurturing a joyful heart and for endless hope for all of your human family.

Fr. Eddie Doherty asks, “What do we need to make us happy?” For me, I wonder: is it a new and bigger house? A new SUV? No debts? A good stable job or a promotion with better salary? A new wardrobe? A savory filet mignon with the most expensive vintage wine? A fancy holiday or the latest model of a mobile phone?

Once I dreamt these things would bring me happiness. What brings me happiness now, though, is experienced through a new set of eyes and a heart that is newly transformed: admiring a beautiful sunrise, a lavender field in full bloom, listening to the birds singing joyfully in the early morning for a new day has come, looking at the different cloud formations in the sky. My tabby cat Ruby lying peacefully next to me.

A shared family meal, filled with laughter and wholesome dishes with local wine and with my favorite home made lemon meringue pie for dessert.

Flowers makes me happy. A bunch of summer bloom flowers my husband brings me without any particular occasion, because really every day is a special occasion.

I love sunsets and the sky full of evening stars. I love my family, my husband and our two lovely daughters. I cherish the time we spent together, enjoying each other’s company. The faces of cheerful friends. And the smile of a stranger, which is really a new friend not yet known—that will make me happy.

I also share the same sentiment as Fr. Eddie. I quote him here:

“I walked leisurely, thinking of your words, thinking of your Son who also loved to walk upon your hills and of his mother Mary. She passed through hilly country as she hurried to Elizabeth, her cousin. Did she too stoop, now and then, because she saw your glory in a stone? I think she did.

I think she also knelt here and there along some road to smell the aroma of your presence in a flower; or to meditate on your concern for even the least of your creatures as she watched the orderly chaos in an ant’s nest; or to thank you for the gracious cool shade of a tree; or to praise you for the color of your sky and the contour and the texture and the splendor of your clouds.”

Dear God, I give you thanks and praise you for the beauty of this season and every season. For all your creation has a mark of your love for us ❤

Pax et Bonum!

 

~ My Reflection is inspired by Fr. Eddie Doherty’s piece “What Makes You Happy?” in his book I Cover God (1962) currently out of print.


Here I share some photos I took during the month of May and early June this year:

 

sun at the lake

“I can’t find words to express my happiness. Here there is no longer anything but God. He is All; He suffices and we live by Him alone.”
~ St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, O.C.D. 

 

lake6

“Just as the sun shines on all the trees and flowers as if each were the only one on earth, so does God care for all souls in a special manner.”
~ St. Thérèse de Lisieux, O.C.D.

 

sun at the lake16
“God’s Providence is in all things, it’s always present.” ~ Saint Gianna Beretta Molla

 

sun at the lake6

“If a little flower could speak, it seems to me that it would tell us quite simply all that God has done for it, without hiding any of its gifts. It would not, under the pretext of humility, say that it was not pretty, or that it had not a sweet scent, that the sun had withered its petals, or the storm bruised its stem, if it knew that such were not the case.”
~ St. Thérèse de Lisieux, O.C.D.

 

sun at the lake7

“If every tiny flower wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.” ~ St. Thérèse de Lisieux, O.C.D.

 

lake3

“How I’d love to show you the lovely infinite horizon beyond creation that I experience and contemplate. I love God now a thousand times more than I did before…He reveals and makes Himself known to souls that really seek to know and love Him. Everything on earth…seems to shrink, to lose value before the Divinity which, like an infinite Sun, continues to shine upon my miserable soul with its rays.”
~ St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes, O.C.D.

 

sun at the lake13

“Enjoy Nature: take a walk, study a leaf, smell a flower, enjoy a sunset, ravish God’s natural beauty.”  (Quote from Carmelite Conversations-OCDS)

 

ruby and roses

And this is Rubyshe likes to smell the roses too!

 

Love For Love

 

Corpus Christi

“Corpus Christi is one of God’s most beautiful and precious gifts. It is beautiful because it encompasses the reality of the Trinity being present , and precious because it is a gift which we do not deserve and yet was given to us freely and unconditionally. Many Saints and spiritual writers spent many long hours of contemplation before our Eucharistic Lord, and put down in writing what they have experienced during those hours of prayer and contemplation. And yet, all of them would tell us that there is no word to describe the gift of this Presence of Jesus in this simple piece of bread. The Holy Eucharist is both a unifying doctrine for those who accept in faith the words of Jesus, “This IS My Body!” in the passage of the Last Supper, and a stumbling block for those who do not yet believe. For us, Catholics, the Holy Eucharist is not just a representation of Jesus, it IS Jesus Himself, the Real Presence. It is not just the product of a collective imagination of pious people but a mystery presented to us which can only be apprehended by faith alone. The Holy Eucharist is one of those mysteries of “believe to understand,” as opposed to “understand to believe.” (paraphrasing St. Augustine).” *
*https://srhelena.blogspot.com/2010/06/our-eucharistic-lord.html

~ A Reflection by Sister Helena of Mary, Carmelite nun

 

The Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist by Saint Teresa of Avila:


“Once after receiving Communion,” St. Teresa wrote, “I was given understanding of how the Father receives within our soul the most holy Body of Christ, and of how I know and have seen that these Divine Persons are present, and how pleasing to the Father this offering of His Son is, because He delights and rejoices with Him here—let us say—on earth. For His humanity is not present with us in the soul, but His divinity is. Thus the humanity is so welcome and pleasing to the Father and bestows on us so many favors.”


“What a powerful insight! In our reception of the Lord’s Body and Blood in the Eucharist, we become connected to Christ’s humanity. We are united with God-made-man and experience the most intimate communion possible between two human persons. He becomes one with us, and we are united with Him. We are right to wonder at this great mystery of our faith! We can say nothing more profound than Thank You (which is what the word “Eucharist” means in Greek) when we experience the indescribable blessings that result from our communion with God’s only Son.”*  * http://stlouisreview.com/article/2012-07-25/eucharist-sacrament

 

Holy Eucharist4

Holy Eucharist, by unknown artist

 

The Real Presence

Jesus is present in the Eucharist with all His divinity and all His humanity. Although His humanity is present “per modum substantiae,” that is, in substance and not in corporeal extension, it is whole and entire in the consecrated Host—body and soul, and this latter with its faculties of intellect and will. Therefore our Eucharistic Lord knows and loves us as God and as Man. He is not a passive object for our adoration but He is living; He sees us, listens to us, answers our prayers with His graces. Thus we may have, with the gentle Master of the Gospel, living, concrete relations which, although imperceptible to our senses, it substitutes for what we do not see or touch; “sola fides sufficit,” says St. Thomas, faith alone is sufficient (Pange Lingua). As Jesus, disguised as a traveler, once taught the disciples of Emmaus, and inflamed their hearts, so too, Jesus hidden under the Eucharistic veil illumines our souls, inflames them with His love and inclines them over more effectively toward sanctity.

Jesus is there, in the consecrated Host, true God and true Man; as He became incarnate for us, so for us too, has He hidden Himself under the Sacred Species. There He waits for us, longs for us, is always ready to welcome and listen to us. And we need Him so much! God, pure Spirit, is present everywhere, it is true; and in His Unity and Trinity, He even deigns to dwell within our souls, vivified by grace. Nevertheless, we always have need of contact with Jesus, the Word made Flesh, God made Man, our Mediator, our Savior, our Brother, and we find Him present in the Eucharist. Here on earth we are never closer to Him than when we are in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament of the altar.

~ A Meditation by Father Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.

 

Jesus and the Holy Eucharist


LOVE FOR LOVE

White Host set in tabernacle gold,
Real Presence no eye can behold,
Called down from heaven by priestly words,
His name is Jesus, Savior long foretold.

What love our Savior has for us,
To make himself a prisoner of love.
Asking for nothing but giving everything
Dwelling in silence, patiently waiting.

My soul, awaken!
Do you hear him sighing?
The God of heaven,
For your love is thirsting.

O Jesus,
how often we have neglected you.
Distracted by the works we have to do.
Missing those moments,
We could have spent with you.

Lord my God, in the tabernacle
You are always there.
If only we find few moments to spare.
Returning the love that keeps you there
A Prisoner for us whom you hold so dear.

~ A poem by Sister Helena of Mary, O.Carm

 

Let us celebrate this day of devotion with much love. Let us return Love for love ❤

Wishing all of you a very blessed Feast of Corpus Christi! 

The Visitation


O my Mother, most holy Virgin Mary, be always my model, my support, and my guide.


 

The Visitation by Bradi Barth

The Visitation, art by Bradi Barth

 

“And Mary, rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda.” These words are from today’s Gospel (Lk 1, 39-47). Mary, in the exquisite delicacy of her charity, has such a profound sense of the needs of others, that as soon as she hears of them, she acts spontaneously and decisively to bring help. Having learned from the Angel Gabriel that her cousin was about to become a mother, she goes immediately to offer her humble services.

If we consider the difficulty of traveling in those days, when the poor, such as Mary, had to go on foot over difficult roads, or at best, by means of some rude conveyance, and also the fact that Mary remained three months with Elizabeth, we can readily understand that she had to face many hardships in performing this act of charity. However, she was in no way disturbed: charity urged her, making her wholly forgetful of herself, for as St. Paul says: “Charity seeketh not her own” (1 Cor 13,5). How many times, perhaps, have you omitted and act of kindness, not to spare yourself a hard journey, but only to avoid a little trouble. Think how uncharitable you are and how slow to help others. look at Mary, and see how much you can learn from her!

Charity makes Mary forget not only her hardships but also her own dignity, which was greater than that given to any other creature. Elizabeth is advanced in years, but Mary is the Mother of God; Elizabeth is about to give birth to a man, but Mary will give birth to the Son of God. Nevertheless, before her cousin as before the Angel, Mary continues to look upon herself as the humble handmaid of the Lord, and nothing more. Precisely because she considers herself a handmaid, she comports herself as such, even in respect to her neighbor. In your case, perhaps, although you know how to humble yourself before God and recognize your lack of perfection in the secrecy of your heart, it displeases you to appear imperfect before your neighbor, and you quickly resent being treated as such. Are you not anxious to have your dignity, education, and ability recognized, as well as the more or less honorable offices or charges which have been entrusted to you? Your dignity is a mere nothing, and yet you are so jealous of it. Mary’s dignity approaches the infinite, yet she considers herself and behaves as if she were the least of all creatures.

~ A Meditation by Father Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.

The Visitation2

Art by Bradi Barth


O Mary, how great is your humility when you hasten to serve others! If it is true that he who humbles himself will be exalted, who will be more exalted than you who have humbled yourself so much?

“When Elizabeth caught sight of you she was astonished and exclaimed: ‘Whence is this to me that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? But I am still more astonished to see that you, as well as your Son, came not to be served, but to serve… It was for this purpose that you went to Elizabeth, you the Queen, to the servant, the Mother of God to the mother of the Precursor, you who would give birth to the Son of God, to her who would bring forth a mere man.

“But your profound humility in no way lessened your magnanimity; the greatness of your soul was not opposed to your humility. You, so small in your own eyes, were so magnanimous in your faith, in your hope in the Most High, that you never doubted His promises, and firmly believed that you would become the Mother of the Son of God.

“Humility did not make you fainthearted; magnanimity did not make you proud, but these two virtues were perfectly combined in you!

“O Mary, you cannot give me a share in your great privileges as Mother of God; these belong to you alone! But you want me to share in your virtues, giving me examples of them in yourself. If, then, sincere humility, magnanimous faith, and delicate, sympathetic charity are lacking in me, how can I excuse myself? O Mary,  O Mother of mercy, you who are full of grace, nourish us, your poor little ones, with your virtues!”
(cf. St. Bernard).

 

 

God In Your Neighbor

 

love of neighbor hear my plea art by rochelle blumenfeld

Art by Rochelle Blumenfeld

 
Since God has become human, he himself has become your closest neighbor. He so identifies with us that we can meet and love him in each and every human being. “If you have met your brother, you have met God,” the desert fathers said.

We can only truly love our neighbor if we see him or her as God does. God sees right through our exterior into our depths where the Spirit witnesses that we are children of God (Rom 8:16). God says of every human being: This is my child, my beloved (Mt 3:17).

Jesus Christ is the light of each of us, a light that shines in the darkness (Jn 1:4-5). Love sees this light. To encounter this light is to meet the most personal in your neighbor, the center where he or she is most authentic.

Humanity is most human in the divine. John of the Cross writes: “The center of humanity is God.” Love doesn’t attach itself to nonessentials: talents, character, intellect. Love jumps over all obstacles that the other might have erected, and meets him or her in the center. When you behold the core of your neighbor, you love and revere God in that one and that one in God.

~ A Meditation by Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.