The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

 


O most Blessed Virgin Mary, assumed into heaven, I beg you to purify my senses so that I may begin to enjoy God even while I am on earth.


 

Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary2

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, art by Bradi Barth

 

The Blessed Virgin Mary’s Assumption shows us the route we must follow in our spiritual ascent: detachment from the earth, flight toward God, and union with God.

Our Lady was assumed body and soul into heaven because she was Immaculate; she was- all pure—free not only from every shadow of sin, but even from the slightest attachment to the things of earth, so that she “never had the form of any creature imprinted in her soul, nor was moved by such, but was invariably guided by the Holy Spirit” (J.C. AS III, 2,10). 

The first requirement for attaining God is this total purity, the fruit of total detachment. The Blessed Virgin, who lived her earthly life in absolute detachment from every created thing, teaches us not to allow ourselves to be captivated by the fascination of creatures, but to live among them, occupying ourselves with them with much charity, but without ever letting our heart become attached to them, without ever seeking our satisfaction in them.

In her Assumption Mary speaks to us of flight toward heaven, toward God. It is not enough to purify our heart from sin and all attachment to creatures, we must at the same time direct it toward God, tending toward Him with all our strength. The Church has us pray in today’s Mass for the Feast of the Assumption, “O Lord, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary who was assumed into heaven, may our hearts, enkindled by the fire of Thy love, continually aspire toward Thee” (Secret). Our earthly life has value for eternal life insofar as it is a flight toward God, a continual seeking after Him, a continual adherence to His grace. When this flight fails, the supernatural value of our existence lessens.

Mary has been taken up to heaven because she is the Mother of God. This is the greatest of her privileges, the root of all the others and the reason for them; it speaks to us, in a very special way, of intimate union with God, as the fact of her Assumption speaks to us of the beatific union of heaven. Mary’s Assumption thus confirms us in this great and beautiful truth: we are created and called to union with God. Mary herself stretches out her maternal hand to guide us to the attainment of this high ideal. If we keep our eyes fixed on her, we shall advance more easily; she will be our guide, our strength, and our consolation in every trial and difficulty.

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

“O Immaculate Virgin, Mother of God and Mother of men, we believe with all the fervor of our faith in your triumphal Assumption, both body and soul, into heaven, where you are acclaimed as Queen by all the choirs of angels and all the legions of the saints. And we unite with them to praise and bless the Lord who has exalted you above all other pure creatures, and to offer you the tribute of our devotion and our love.” (Pius XII)

 

Wishing you all a very blessed Feast day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

The Splendor of the Day

Georgian bay8

“The whole earth is a living icon of the face of God. ” Saint John of Damascus – (my own photo)

 

Your grace is my constant companion.

I find You everywhere in the splendor of the day.
I find You in the trees and in the gentle movement of the leaves.
I find You in the breeze of the summer afternoon by the bay.
I find You in the beauty of the sunset. 
I find You in the love and care of good friends.

I find You in the beauty of the monarch butterfly flying carefree
searching for the sweet nectar of each flower.
I find You in the sunlight that passes through the green leaves.
I find You in the beauty of the scenery of this country road.
I find You in the joyful songs of your happy birds…
I find You in the hummingbirds, blue jays, and woodpeckers.

My heart is overflowing with love for Your creation.
Oh Beloved, your grace is sufficient for me.
I find Your beauty everywhere in the splendor of the day.

These days at the cottage with dear friends
and the blessings of each hour enjoying each other’s company.
Sharing meals together.

Our early evening swim at the bay,
admiring Your beautiful sky and all the cloud formations.

Bike riding after so long…Thank you Lord Jesus
for making my body strong again.

There is so much to give You thanks my Beloved!
Your Bread of Life I received on Sunday Mass at the Martyr’s Shrine.
My heart is so full of gratitude.

And how can I forget about the starry nights,
the sky is Your canvas.
I find You in the sounds of nature,
the crickets chirping at night and the birds at dawn.
They wake me up with their sweet melody.

Thank you! Thank you, my Beloved!
for I find Your grace in the splendor of the day.

~ My Personal Reflection

 

Georgian bay14

“It helped me to look at fields, or water, or flowers. In this things, I found a remembrance of the Creator. I mean that they awakened and recollected me and served as a book.” Saint Teresa of Avila – (my own photo)

 

Georgian bay15

“God passes through the thicket of the world, and wherever His glance falls He turns all things to beauty.” Saint John of the Cross –  (my own photo)

 

Georgian bay5

“Believe one who knows: You will find something greater in woods than in the books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.” Saint Bernard of Clairvaux – (my own photo)

 

Georgian bay12

“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.” Saint John Chrysostom – (my own photo)

 

Georgian bay16

“‘With my mouth,’ God says, ‘I kiss my own chosen creation. I uniquely, lovingly, embrace every image I have made out of the earth’s clay. With a fiery spirit I transform it into a body to serve all the world.’” Saint Hildegard of Bingen  –  (my own photo)

 

All photos are taken by me from the beautiful area of Georgian Bay, Ontario ❤ in August 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holy Spirit, Holy Dove

Bernini's Holy Spirit

 “Dove of the Holy Spirit” amber stained glass window designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1660) at Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City (photo source unknown)

 

Who are you, sweet light, that fills me
And illumines the darkness of my heart?
You lead me like a mother’s hand,
And should you let go of me,
I would not know how to take another step.
You are the space
That embraces my being and buries it in yourself.
Away from you it sinks into the abyss
Of nothingness, from which you raised it to the light.
You, nearer to me than I to myself
And more interior than my most interior
And still impalpable and intangible
And beyond any name:
Holy Spirit eternal love!

Are you not the sweet manna
That from the Son’s heart
Overflows into my heart,
The food of angels and the blessed?
He who raised himself from death to life,
He has also awakened me to new life
From the sleep of death.
And he gives me new life from day to day,
And at some time his fullness is to stream through me,
Life of your life indeed, you yourself:
Holy Spirit eternal life!

Are you the ray
That flashes down from the eternal Judge’s throne
And breaks into the night of the soul
That had never known itself?
Mercifully relentlessly
It penetrates hidden folds.
Alarmed at seeing itself,
The self makes space for holy fear,
The beginning of that wisdom
That comes from on high
And anchors us firmly in the heights,
Your action,
That creates us anew:
Holy Spirit ray that penetrates everything!

Are you the spirit’s fullness and the power
By which the Lamb releases the seal
Of God’s eternal decree?
Driven by you
The messengers of judgment ride through the world
And separate with a sharp sword
The kingdom of light from the kingdom of night.
Then heaven becomes new and new the earth,
And all finds its proper place
Through your breath:
Holy Spirit victorious power!

Are you the master who builds the eternal cathedral,
Which towers from the earth through the heavens?
Animated by you, the columns are raised high
And stand immovably firm.
Marked with the eternal name of God,
They stretch up to the light,
Bearing the dome,
Which crowns the holy cathedral,
Your work that encircles the world:
Holy Spirit God’s molding hand!

Are you the one who created the unclouded mirror
Next to the Almighty’s throne,
Like a crystal sea,
In which Divinity lovingly looks at itself?
You bend over the fairest work of your creation,
And radiantly your own gaze
Is illumined in return.
And of all creatures the pure beauty
Is joined in one in the dear form
Of the Virgin, your immaculate bride:
Holy Spirit Creator of all!

Are you the sweet song of love
And of holy awe
That eternally resounds around the triune throne,
That weds in itself the clear chimes of each and every being?
The harmony,
That joins together the members to the Head,
In which each one
Finds the mysterious meaning of his being blessed
And joyously surges forth,
Freely dissolved in your surging:
Holy Spirit eternal jubilation!

~ Poem by St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) O.C.D. – Virgin and Martyr, Co-Patron of Europe

*For more information about the life of Edith Stein please check:
http://www.kilmacudcarmel.ie/edith.html#Who

 

Wishing all of you a very blessed Feast day of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)!

 

Nature & Grace

 

Varadero Beach2

Varadero beach, by unknown artist

 

I just got back from Varadero, Cuba. My husband and I went for a week’s vacation to the pristine beaches of the Caribbean sea. The resort we stayed at was very close to an ecological reserve and our room was located close to this beautiful gem of nature. Every morning the beautiful birds would be waking us up chirping in the blue sky and lasting all throughout the day like praising the Creator for all his goodness and love.

We saw many kinds of beautiful butterflies and little colourful iguanas among the tall palm trees. What a delight to the eyes and the senses. After breakfast we would walk to the beach and as we approached it, we saw the beautiful crystal clear turquoise sea’s gentle waves washing away the white sand. The view felt like it was taken from a very fine photograph. We felt so blessed to have experienced those days surrounded by God’s beautiful creation in the place we loved the most…the sea.

Sunsets were so amazing diffusing so many different shade of colours in the sky. It was truly a golden hour. As I always say: God indeed is an artist!

We had the amazing opportunity to go in a catamaran to see the dolphins in the open ocean close to the beautiful island of Cayo Blanco. What a surreal experience. I couldn’t contain my tears from flowing as I interacted and swam with these beautiful angels of the sea. It was a long time dream of mine.

And I can’t forget the flowers! They were all so beautiful and full of rich colours shining towards the bright sun. We met amazing people and made new friends. I love Cuban people, they have a beautiful heart.

And the food…was simply amazing! Especially the fruits. They are blessed with so many different varieties of fruits like mangoes, papaya, pineapple and guava; these were among my favourites. We ate a lot of seafood and it was very tasty and so fresh. We loved it!

We are so grateful and thankful for experiencing moments of grace in those blessed days. Those memories will be with us for the rest of our lives. Thank You Lord for the amazing gift of life and your beautiful creation and for meeting new friends. It’s all a blessing.

Thank you for reading! Always take the time to enjoy nature wherever you are and be aware of those moments of grace ❤

 

ABD4E3B9-57A9-4B37-8E18-A725ED27C222

A dream come true! Interacting and swimming with the dolphins near the island of Cayo Blanco, Cuba. (my own photo)

Birds

That God made birds is surely in His favor.
I write them as His courtesies of love.
Hidden in leaves, they offer me sweet savor
of lightsome music; when they streak above
my garden wall they brush my scene with color.

They are embroideries upon the grass.
I write the gayest stitched-in blossoms duller
than birds which change their patterns as I pass.

I nurse a holy envy of St. Francis
who lured the birds to nestle at his breast.
Yet I am grateful for this one which dances
across my lawn, a reckless anapest.

Subjects for gratitude push up my living
praise to a sum that tempts the infinite;
but birds deserve one whole psalm of thanksgiving
and these words are my antiphon for it.

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

 

Birds of Cuba art

Birds of Cuba, art by Julio Cesar Rodriguez

    

I See His Blood Upon the Rose

 

Rose Flower Dewdrops Drops Rain Red Hd Wallpaper Free Download

Red Rose (Photo source unknown)

 

I see His Blood upon the rose
And in the stars the glory of His eyes
His Body gleams amid eternal snows
His tears fall from the skies.

I see His face in every flower
His voice is thunder and the singing of the birds
And carven by His power
Rocks are but His written words.

All pathways by His feet are worn
His strong Heart stirs the ever-beating sea
His crown of thorns is twined with every thorn
His Cross is every tree.

 

~ A Poem by Joseph Mary Plunkett

 


“and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.”
Colossians 1:20


 

*The month of July is dedicated to the Precious Blood of Jesus. For more information about this special devotion, please kindly check:  Seven Saints Talk About the Most Precious Blood at http://www.catholictv.org/blog/7-saints-talk-about-the-most-precious-blood

God Took the Risk

garden after the storm art by alexi zaitsev

Garden after the Storm, art by Alexi Zaitsev

 

When encountering suffering—whether in ourselves or in someone else—the important question is not “How can God love us when these things are allowed to happen? but rather “We know that God loves us, so what is God’s meaning in allowing such sufferings?”

‘Why doesn’t God, who is almighty, interfere?” many ask. But God’s power is the power of love. And “love” is patient, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things” (1 Cor 13:4, 7).

God refuses to be dragged into the spiral of violence. If God were to use power and authority to end all evil in the world, he would be no better than we are. God does not dictate; he respects us.

God has given us the unfathomable honor of letting us be collaborators in the work of creation. He has shared his intelligence and freedom with us and let us participate in the completion of creation. That God has taken a great risk in doing so is something we experience daily.

But God has esteemed us so highly as co-creators that he doesn’t hesitate to pay the price.

If God wasn’t love, it would be easy for an all-powerful God to take away our freedom and reduce us to marionettes and mechanical puppets. Then everything in the world would be perfect. But we would also be robbed of our dignity.

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

Christ art by arild rosenkrantz

He Suffered, art by Arild Rosenkrantz (England c.1928)

 

O Lonely Christ of Charing Cross

O lonely Christ of Charing Cross, Rue de la Paix,
Boulevard Anspach; O lonely Christ of a thousand
celebrated thoroughfares and foreign-sounding streets.
Why is it that I have to meet you here, so far from home,
When I have seen you lonely, too, in Harlem and Fifth Avenue? In
Edmonton, Yukon, and Portland, Oregon; in Chicago, San Francisco,
Toronto, Kalamazoo, you were lonely too.

O lonely Christ of everywhere, why stand you there and here,
so still, so sad, looking at the hurrying crowds who pass you by—Why?

Why are your eyes so full of hunger, longing, pity and compassion?
Why do you lift your nail-torn hand and then let it fall again
with so much sadness, as though you were a beggar about to beg, alas?

Why is it that I have to meet you across all continents, all celebrated thoroughfares,
small, dingy streets and palatial avenues, as well as wild and distant places?

You answer nothing. You just look.
O Christ of Charing Cross, so lonely, 
you weep because the multitudes are hungry for your love and know it not.
And because you hunger to be loved by those who know you not.

Give me the key, Beloved, so that I may open your loneliness and,
entering, share its weight. Behold my heart that you have wounded with your love.
Make it a door for all to come to you. Give me your voice and words of fire
that I may show them you.

~ A Poem by Catherine De Hueck Doherty

 

 

 

The Blood’s Mystic

Mary Magdalene beautiful art

Mary Magdalene, by unknown artist

 

Grace guards that moment when the spirit halts
to watch the Magdalen
in the mad turbulence that was her love.
Light hallows those who think about her when
she broke through crowds to the Master’s feet
or ran on Easter morning,
her hair wind-tumbled and her cloak awry.
What to her need were the restrictions of
earth’s vain formalities?
She sought, as love so often seeks and finds,
a Radiance that died or seemed to die.

One can surmise she went to Calvary
distraught and weeping, and with loud lament
clung to the cross and beat upon its wood
till Christ’s torn veins spread a soft covering
over her hair and face and colored gown.
She took her First Communion in His Blood.

O the tumultuous Magdalen! But those 
who come upon her in the hush of love
claim the last graces. A wild parakeet
ceded its being to a mourning dove,
as Bethany had prophesied. We give 
to Old Provence that solitude’s location
where her love brooded, too contemplative
to lift the brief distraction of a wing.
There she became a living consecration
to one remembering.

Magdalen, first to drink the fountained Christ
Whose crimson-signing stills our creature stir,
is the Blood’s mystic. Was it not the weight
of the warm Blood that slowed and silenced her?

 

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

 

the tears of amry magdalene

The Tears of Mary Magdalene, art by Philippe De Champaigne (1656)

 


“Most of all I imitate the behavior of Mary Magdalene, for her amazing – or, rather, loving – audacity which delighted the heart of Jesus, has cast its spell upon mine.”
– St. Therese of Lisieux, O.C.D.





Wishing all of you a very blessed feast day of Saint Mary Magdalene!
Saint Mary of Magdala, apostle of the apostles, ora pro nobis!

 

Night Prayer: To The Prophet Elijah

Prophet Elias

Prophet Elijah ~ Encaustic icon from Saint Catherine’s Monastery, Mount Sinai – VII century

 

This is the edge of time; this cliff encounters
the valleys of the measureless unknown
and the great surges of those outer seas
where swim Orion and the Pleiades.
I like to come here in the night alone.

I like to seek this arched and alien window,
lean into night and lift my restless love
to pastures where an ancient prophet tethered
horses of fire. I cry, “My father, my father,
the chariot of Israel and the driver thereof!”

Where dwells this lonely eremite I know not,
hid by what torrent, by what ravens fed;
but when the moon suggests his solitude,
my mind has taste of an unearthly food;
where the night shines, my heart is visited.

He who has swept by fire to time’s suspension,
yet to be slain and in the judgement tried—
is he not closer to our human pity
than those who triumph in a lasting city,
the far impassible beatified?

Here I touch space that borders the eternal;
here, undistracted by the clock’s poor  rhyme,
I stand, an emigrant of earth whose place
is nearer heaven, being near to grace,
and hold my heart out, over the sill of time.

 

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

 

Grotto of St Elijah

Interior of the Stella Maris Monastery in Haifa, Israel. It is the largest Carmelite Monastery and world center of the Order, built on the site of earlier churches and monasteries of the Byzantine and Crusader periods. The Church was built over a cave associated with the prophets Elijah and Elisha. (Photo credit to Rafael Gomez)

 

Stella Maris

The cave of Saint Elijah is a grotto written about in the Hebrew Bible, where the prophet Elijah took shelter during a journey into the wilderness (1 Kings 19:8). Photo taken by me during my pilgrimage to Israel in October 2010.

 

candles at the grotto

Inside St. Elijah’s grotto … Four candles lit by me ❤ prayers offered for my family and for others intentions. Photo taken by me.

 

Wishing all of you a very blessed feast day of Saint Elijah, Leader and Father of Carmelites! 

Holy Prophet Elijah, ora pro nobis!

Like The Bright Seraphim

under is wings2

In The Shadow of Your Wings, art by Daniel F. Gerhartz

 

Like your bright brothers seraphim
who veil their faces with their wings,
you hide your face, and yet I know
that when the pinions stir and blow
you peer at God and me and things.

I love those glances of your soul,
so shyly sent. I stand aside and watch,
with deeper pleasurings,
the hidden face behind the wings,
a Sanctus waiting to be cried.

Ah, guard this native secrecy!
Know, child: those angels chief in grace
who stir when Splendor breathes His name
and wake and slumber in His flame
alone use wings to hide their face.

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

 

Mary, Mother of Carmel, Mother of Mine

Decor Carmeli

Décor Carmeli, Taranto, Italy (Unknown artist)

 

I entered into the dim lit chapel and there you are sitting with your beloved holy child in your arms. I sat nearby and began to pray, then you turned your gaze to me and invited me to enter into your sacred and tender heart.

Oh Mother of Carmel, your brown habit and your blessed baby’s white spotless tunic, so beautiful and pure. Am I dreaming?  Am I awake? This precious moment by your side, in your presence. I can’t help but to reflect on your life with your divine baby, Jesus. In your arms cuddling with you, while you tenderly and carefully took care of him and his needs.

How many times a day would you have contemplated his holy face? I’m sure you were mesmerized by his sweetness and gentleness.  Those tender moments of intimate bonding with you and Joseph—those days living with him, watching him grow and play happily in your sacred space, being safe in your holy home.

And when evening came, I can picture Joseph resting peacefully in his bed watching you both cuddle with each other while getting ready to sleep. How many prayers did you recite him? Did you talk to him about his Abba?

And at dawn, your precious child waking up in your arms and looking at your motherly loving eyes. Your face was his first sight after his peaceful and restful night as he encountered the look of love. Then, after you fed him, you wrapped him in your arms and embraced him so close to you with so much tenderness and profound love that your hearts were beating as one.

All those precious moments, you pondered in your heart. So blessed, such intimate moments with God’s Son. Oh, Mother most holy! How was your heart keeping it all together? Filled with so much love and wonder!

Then, Jesus grew into a beautiful and gentle child. Always by your side and Joseph’s. So eager to learn the things of his Father. Those quiet and silent years of solitude and communion together as a holy family in Nazareth. Living together in pure contemplation. Those moments of intimate conversations and prayer at home, the three of you.

Then, comes that fateful trip to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover—How many times you travelled that route, but this time was different. On your way back, you and Joseph realized that your beloved child wasn’t there in the caravan with the group. The anguish that you both must have felt. I could only imagine. Those terrible days searching for him everywhere and not finding Jesus. Till you went to the Temple, and found him there talking with the elders and scribes. In his Father’s house.

Oh holy Mother! What did your heart understand at that moment? What did God the Father reveal to you and Joseph? And Jesus telling  you— He’s doing the things of his Father—preparing for his mission ahead. Did you understand the enormity of it? Did your heart receive the gift of detachment then? To surrender your Son to his Father totally?

How difficult this must have been for you! You trust in God and you ponder all these things in your heart.  Teach me Mother of love, to ponder the things of God in my heart, to trust Him completely, to seek God’s will alone in my life.

Holy Mother of Carmel, and Mother of mine, this is my prayer: May our hearts always learn to trust in the Lord. May our hearts always learn to love God more and more. May we always live to love Him for ever more.  

As I leave the Chapel, I gaze at your loving eyes Blessed Mother and I thank you for this encounter and for this special moment of grace. To God be all the glory!

Mater Salvatoris, Flos Carmeli, ora pro nobis!

~ My Personal Reflection

 

Virgen del Carmen y yo en Toledo

Last year’s visit to the Discalced Carmelite Monastery in Toledo, Spain. This photo of me is taken a few days prior to the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Unforgettable blessed days in Spain ❤