Our Secret Garden

 

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My Photo, taken in Bayfield, Ontario ~ June 2020

 

Beloved,

Here we are,
in our meeting place.
Our secret garden,
in a beautiful day of June
late afternoon.

I find You in the flowers.
I find You in the birds,
the trees, the ducks, the butterflies.
All rejoice and praise You.
Your presence is here with me among the lilies.
Your fragrance is everywhere.
Your love and tenderness follows me
wherever I go.

Beloved,

Nature is Your playground.
The sky is Your canvas.
I stop and let all these precious moments
stay with me forever.

They console my heart.
You know my heart is aching
from the losses of three dear friends.
Three beautiful souls that recently departed
To Your loving arms.
May You welcome them in your Kingdom,
where there are no more tears and pain.
Blessed them with Your everlasting love and peace.

Beloved,

Your Heart I seek.
I want my heart to become a shrine for
Your Sacred Heart.
A place where You can rest and I can rest
in You.
My Jesus,
my All
and my God. 

~ My short poem to Jesus

 

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Photo taken by me at Gairloch Gardens ~ June 2020


Nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Romans 8:39

 

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Photo taken by me at Gairloch Gardens ~ June 2020


If God gave the soul his whole creation she would not be filled thereby but only with himself.
Meister Eckhart

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Photo taken by me at Gairloch Gardens ~ June 2020


From the creation, learn to admire the Lord! Indeed the magnitude and beauty of creation display a God who is the artificer of the universe. He has made the mode of creation to be our best teacher.

~ St. John Chrysostom

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Photo taken by me at Gairloch Gardens ~ June 2020

The whole earth is a living icon of the face of God.
~ St. John Damascus

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Photo taken by me at Gairloch Gardens ~ June 2020


God passes through the thicket of the world, and wherever His glance falls He turns all things to beauty.

~ St. John of the Cross

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Photo taken by me at Gairloch Gardens ~ June 2020


I asked the whole frame of the world about my God; and he answered, I am not He, but He made me.
St. Augustine of Hippo

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Photo taken by me at Gairloch Gardens ~ June 2020


Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!
~ Pope Francis

 

It’s May and It’s My Three Year Blog Anniversary!

 

Happy Three Year Blog Anniversary My Carmel!

thank you so much 2

 

I would like to thank all of you, my followers and readers, for your interest and support to My Carmel Blog!

I’m looking forward to another year of blogging about Carmelite Spirituality, contemplative poetry and reflections about our faith and the life of the Saints.

Stay safe and God’s blessings to all!

a rose for you

Patty

Holy Virgin, I Beg You

 

Mary Mother of God The teotokos
Mary, Mother of God: The Teotokos, art by Bradi Barth

 

St. Ildephonsus of Toledo, Spain, was proclaiming the joy of being “a servant of Mary” already in the 7th century. In one of his prayers he brings to full light the idea of Mary’s virginal Motherhood as a model of spiritual life for the Christian.

Mary must obtain for us from the Holy Spirit the grace for Christ to be formed spiritually in us just as she, through the power of the same Spirit, fashioned Christ according to the flesh.

 

Holy Virgin, I beg you:
enable me to receive Jesus from the Spirit,
according to the same process by which you bore Jesus.

May my soul possess Jesus
thanks to the Spirit
through Whom you conceived Jesus.

May the grace to know Jesus
be granted to me through the Spirit
Who enabled you to know how to possess Jesus
and bring Him forth.

May my littleness show forth the greatness of Jesus
in virtue of the Spirit in Whom
you recognized yourself as the handmaid of the Lord,
desiring that it be done to you
according to the word of the Angel.

May I love Jesus in the Spirit
in Whom you adored Him as your Lord
and looked after Him as your Son.

~ St. Ildephonsus of Toledo

 

~ From the book “Prayers to Mary” by Most Rev. Virgilio Noe

 

 

May, a blessed month with Our Lady!

 

2019: Saying Goodbye to a Very Special Year!

 

snow angel pic by phil koch
Snow Angel, Photo by Phil Koch

 

In December I always feel the need to give thanks to God for everything in my life, especially for everything He gave me during the year. And this year has been a very special year for me for many reasons. My heart is overflowing with gratefulness!

I feel very grateful for the paths traveled, for the different countries I visited, for every person I met, and for everyone that was part of my life during 2019.

God is good, always good. He’s so good, He only knows how to give good things.

I give you thanks Lord for all my family and my new family I recently met from my dad Angelo’s side. This has always been a long dream of mine and little did I know that God was going to grant me this special gift in my life this year. I learned I have four siblings and I recently met my two sisters, Angelique and Daphne. I celebrated American Thanksgiving and my birthday with my sister Angelique and her family in California.

We visited our dad’s grave at the cemetery, brought him flowers and prayed together (I never met him and I learned that unfortunately he passed away several years ago). It’s so sad that I couldn’t find him before he passed but God knows why and his will is always perfect. May he rest in His love and peace forever. I had the opportunity to talk to dad’s family in Argentina and talked to my brothers Michael and Jean Pierre.

Our God is a God of surprises. I feel so blessed! Thank you Jesus!

I also give you thanks Lord for all my good friends and all my friends in the faith, especially my Carmelite (O.C.D.S) community and for all the opportunities that this year gave me to see You face to face.

As we approach the end of this decade I also reflect about my journey throughout the past ten years of my life; there is so much to ponder on. Each year’s difficult times and joyful ones, you were always there with me, dear Lord. I give You thanks for the gift of my life, for all your love, your presence, guidance and blessings every day and always.

And for me, certainly this will be an unforgettable year to cherish!

Muchas gracias mi Jesus,

Forever yours!

 

Wishing everyone a very joyful and blessed New Year 2020!

Pax et bonum!

 

The Isle of Love

 

saint john the evangelist
San Giovani Evangelista, art by Lorenzo Costa (1480 – 1485 circa) Accademia Carrara Bergamo.

 

Here is an excerpt from the book ‘The Way of the Dreamcatcher’
Spirit Lessons with Robert Lax: Poet, Peacemaker, Sage.
By S.T. Georgiou.

 

Robert, it’s been said that you eventually left Marseille and later went on to Greece and Patmos because of a “sign” you saw in your room. Over your bed there was an icon of St. John the Divine writing his Revelation. This image prompted you to start thinking of Patmos and the famous cave wherein John experienced his vision.

That’s a true story. And up there on my wall, among all the other pictures and postcards, is a copy of that very icon. The original is from an illustrated manuscript of the fifteenth century.

Oh yes, there’s St. John writing his Apocalypse.

And the fact that he’s writing also led me to believe that Patmos would be a good place to write and meditate.

So Patmos was love at first sight?

Definitely. Things were clearer here, much more real, rooted, you might say. No distractions. Excellent climate, at least for most months. A fertile, unfolding quiet. Beautiful, inspiring light. Something about the light – so many tones, hues beaming into the soul. And there was also a classical influence as well. It was a ruggedly Homeric place ringed by a “wine dark sea.”

What was it that you found holy here? The site must have certainly impressed you since you had previously gone to such inspiring locales as the Virgin Isles, the Canary Isles, and a number of the islands of Italy and Greece. 

Many people who visit say that there is an ominous feel to the place as your boat approaches, but not in a bad way. There’s just a certain feeling that something spiritually significant is here, waiting to reveal itself in its own good time. When I first came I strongly felt the power of St. John’s cave as well as the great monastery and that whole area up there, but it was really the Cave of the Apocalypse that moved me.

You sound like the islanders — they’re very ” cave conscious. ”  

Yes, the cave has been a magnet for all the Patmians since the days of St. John. In fact, St. John’s association with the cave has permeated the whole psychology of the people here. It has made them loving, gentle, wise. I’ve found that they never say a word in any situation that doesn’t emanate from a pure trust, a deep spiritual centre of which the cave is a part. So many times I’ve heard, “Epomoni” (Patience), “Oti theli o Theos” (Whatever God wants) and “Doxa si o Theos” (Glory be to God). Everything seems to be right here for a good rapport with the Creator. The men, women and children have a solid spiritual foundation nurtured by the sanctity of the isle and by their forefathers.
On top of that, they are always reminded of the high ideals of their classical and Byzantine ancestors. I mean, Socrates “Know thyself,” which many of the locals echo, is a good start for anyone.

So you feel Patmos is truly a sacred site, a blessed zone? Is there a unique energy here? A cosmic pulsing?

I certainly would not be inclined to doubt it. The sun, moon and stars seem to shine right into you. Yes, I very much believe the people are blessed simply by being here. Grace seems to flow here. You can’t help but sense the love of God. The gates of Patmos are as wide as the heart, open to all.

What did you feel when you first came to this holy isle? 

A timeless serenity. Generative silence. Awe. The quiet imposed by the volcanic mountains and stones, a real love moving over the face of the waters. In a more familial sense, I did feel like someone might if they had run into their long-lost parents or grandparents — as if everything you’ve heard in your life, up till then, had just been an echo of something that all along had been planted right here. And the echoes of that something could still be heard. . .

It’s interesting how when St. John came here, he emphasized the need to love. “Just love one another, ” he would say. So we are meant to form relationships, to network. One star can’t illuminate the whole night sky. Constellations have to form.

Patmos then seems to be a model for harmonious living, a kind of cosmic school of higher learning. 

I do believe that very much — it’s a wholesome place that naturally fosters self-discovery and genuine agape. There’s a living tradition here. I felt a great wave of peace when I came to Patmos, and I still sense these peaceful rhythms. Things are free-flowing here. The sunlight writes on the water, and the waters wave in the light. Even the birds seem to fly in a more peaceful way, as if they know that they are loved. Animals are like children because they know when they are loved, and when they are not.

 

Look far back,
look infinitely on.
Penetrate, do not appraise.
Behold all things
with the innocence of light.
Laugh when you meet a stranger;
let your glances flash together
like water in sunlight.
~ Robert Lax

 

Happy Feast of Saint John The Evangelist!
The Disciple whom Jesus Loved, St. John The Divine, St. John The Theologian,
pray for us!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Mystical Sparrow of St. John of the Cross

 

san juan de la cruz
Art source unknown

 

“Lost in the fathomless abyss of God.”
~ The Spiritual Canticle

Distantly pure and high, a mountain sparrow
is solitary in transfigured sky.
A ball of bird melodious with God
is lightsome in its love.
Not to dear mate or comrade do I cry
but to my own remote identity
who knows my spirit as divinely summoned
to gain that perch where no horizons lie.

Here is the king’s secret scattered when I focus
unworthy song on one small eremite
lost in infinities of airy desert
where love is breathed out of the breast of light.

For call, for meeting-place, good end and rest
each has a symbol; each invokes a sign.
I take a bird in vastness and on height
to mark my love. It sings its jubilation
alone upon the housetop of creation
where earth’s last finger touches the divine.

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

 

 

Happy & Blessed Feast of Saint John of the Cross!

Discalced Carmelite, Reformer, Doctor of the Church, Mystic and Poet

 

Advent Prayer

 

joy- mary fuhrmann
Advent Joy, art by Mary Furhmann

 

Advent is a season  of waiting, of longing, of active
attentiveness to what is being birthed.
Advent is a time of pregnancy, of expectation,
of yearning  for the reality of Love’s presence
within us and in the whole world.

Advent is a time of being present to the darkness
of the womb during pregnancy; of being present to the unknown,
to mystery, to what is yet unseen and still being formed.

Advent is a time of trusting in the midst
of whatever darkness we are in, trusting as Mary did that
light would emerge for the path ahead.

Advent invites us to open our hearts,
to trust amidst darkness,
and make room for Love;
Love with Us
and
Love Birthing within Us.

This longing is made up of simplicity,
of expectancy, of hope and the
spirit of childhood and Joy.

 

~ By Cathy AJ Hardy

 

A Child’s Glorious Freedom

 

yo
Me ~  (My photo)

 

A child—if it lives in an environment where it is allowed to be itself—has no problems. Children aren’t worried about money, food, or clothing. They are like the birds and the lilies Jesus speaks about. They figure they will always get what they need. Nothing needs to be stored. There will always be enough.

Children live in a glorious freedom. Even the smallest, insignificant gift can mean pure bliss for them, because it is received in the present moment. The joy of the present moment is not darkened by worries of a difficult past or a threatening future. Children’s ability to be present in the moment means that every moment has a gift to give and that every little occasion of joy is appreciated.

This presence in the moment also means that children make no separation between play and seriousness. Play itself is taken very seriously. They don’t perceive mistakes as calamities; they count on forgiveness as self-evidently as they count on daily food.

This lack of worry is slowly lost as we grow up and become “adult.” Life becomes full of “problems”—modern variation of the worries Jesus tells us we don’t need. Our time is a time of problems, and can only be such, because everything becomes problematic when we no longer know whether there is a Father who takes care of us. But if we return to the Father, we return to the glorious freedom of a child.

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

 

 

“May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

Vineyard of Carmel

 

CarmeliteMonastery
Carmelite Monastery in Santa Clara, California ~ Art by Sylvia Waddell


Come, Love, to the vineyard

In the morning dew,
There we’ll watch in silence,
If vineyards bloom anew,
If the grapes are growing,
Life with vigor glowing,
Fresh the vine and true.

From the heights of Heaven
Holy Mother descend,
Lead unto your vineyard
Our beloved friend.
Dew and rain let gently
Drop from His kind hand
And the balm of sunshine
Fall on Carmel’s land.

Young vines, newly planted,
Tiny though they be,
Grant them life eternal
A gift of peace from Thee.
Trusted vintners strengthen
Their frail and feeble powers,
Shield them from the enemy
Who in darkness cowers.

Holy Mother grant reward
For your vintners’ care
Give them, I beseech you,
Crown of Heaven fair.
Don’t let raging fire
Kill these vines, we pray,
And grant your life eternal
To each young shoot some day.

 

~ A poem by St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), O.C.D.

The Blessed Virgin Compared To The Air We Breathe

 

Mother Mary
Statue of Blessed Virgin Mary with St. Anne  ~ (Photo taken by me at The Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré in Quebec, Canada)

 

Wild air, world-mothering air,
Nestling me everywhere,
That each eyelash or hair
Girdles; goes home betwixt
The fleeciest, frailest-flixed
Snowflake; that’s fairly mixed
With, riddles, and is rife
In every least thing’s life;
This needful, never spent,
And nursing element;
My more than meat and drink,
My meal at every wink;
This air, which, by life’s law,
My lung must draw and draw
Now but to breathe its praise,
Minds me in many ways
Of her who not only
Gave God’s infinity
Dwindled to infancy
Welcome in womb and breast,
Birth, milk, and all the rest
But mothers each new grace
That does now reach our race —
Mary Immaculate,
Merely a woman, yet
Whose presence, power is
Great as no goddess’s
Was deemed, dreamed; who
This one work has to do —
Let all God’s glory through,
God’s glory which would go
Through her and from her flow
Off, and no way but so.

I say that we are wound
With mercy round and round
As if with air: the same
Is Mary, more by name.
She, wild web, wondrous robe,
Mantles the guilty globe,
Since God has let dispense
Her prayers his providence:
Nay, more than almoner,
The sweet alms’ self is her
And men are meant to share
Her life as life does air.

If I have understood,
She holds high motherhood
Towards all our ghostly good
And plays in grace her part
About man’s beating heart,
Laying, like air’s fine flood,
The deathdance in his blood;
Yet no part but what will
Be Christ our Saviour still.
Of her flesh he took flesh:
He does take fresh and fresh,
Though much the mystery how,
Not flesh but spirit now
And makes, O marvellous!
New Nazareths in us,
Where she shall yet conceive
Him, morning, noon, and eve;
New Bethlems, and he born
There, evening, noon, and morn —
Bethlem or Nazareth,
Men here may draw like breath
More Christ and baffle death;
Who, born so, comes to be
New self and nobler me
In each one and each one
More makes, when all is done,
Both God’s and Mary’s Son.

Again, look overhead
How air is azured;
O how! Nay do but stand
Where you can lift your hand
Skywards: rich, rich it laps
Round the four fingergaps.
Yet such a sapphire-shot,
Charged, steeped sky will not
Stain light. Yea, mark you this:
It does no prejudice.
The glass-blue days are those
When every colour glows,
Each shape and shadow shows.
Blue be it: this blue heaven
The seven or seven times seven
Hued sunbeam will transmit
Perfect, not alter it.
Or if there does some soft,
On things aloof, aloft,
Bloom breathe, that one breath more
Earth is the fairer for.
Whereas did air not make
This bath of blue and slake
His fire, the sun would shake,
A blear and blinding ball
With blackness bound, and all
The thick stars round him roll
Flashing like flecks of coal,
Quartz-fret, or sparks of salt,
In grimy vasty vault.

So God was god of old:
A mother came to mould
Those limbs like ours which are
What must make our daystar
Much dearer to mankind;
Whose glory bare would blind
Or less would win man’s mind.
Through her we may see him
Made sweeter, not made dim,
An her hand leaves his light
Sifted to suit our sight.

Be thou then, O thou dear
Mother, my atmosphere;
My happier world, wherein
To wend and meet no sin;
Above me, round me lie
Fronting my froward eye
With sweet and scarless sky;
Stir in my ears, speak there
Of God’s love, O live air,
Of patience, penance, prayer:
World-mothering air, air wild,
Wound with thee, in thee isled,
Fold home, fast fold thy child.

~ A poem by Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. (1844-89)

 

Happy Birthday Blessed Virgin Mary! ❤ Ora Pro Nobis!