Loveliest Blossom

 

woman and the flowers art by Christen Schloe

Loveliest Blossom, by unknown artist

 


You are my private garden, my treasure, my bride, a secluded spring, a hidden fountain.
~ Song of Solomon 4:12



When you are eager in the tiny portion

that is your garden, when you are tying strings
to give the stalks of the sweet peas their balance
so flowers may alight on them like wings
of pastel butterflies; when you appraise
with glowing face the lilies and carnations
(scent is to charm and color to amaze),
I think: she has not found the loveliest blossom.

There is a flower full of mystery
between this wall and that, amid this green.
I found it but to bear it back to secret.
It is a flower God and I have seen,
and I not till I looked at it with Him.

Hidden and unpredictable and shy,
it was not given to be shared, not even with you,
little lover of fragrance.
(Oh, with you least of all!)
Plucked from the soft soil of your unawareness,
uprooted from my silence, it would die.
I keep it then, God’s individual favor,
the private bloom I scent my storerooms by.

 

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

 

The Eucharist: Mystery of Love

Emmaus art by Ladislav Záborský

The Supper at Emmaus, art by Ladislav Záborský

The Road to Emmaus: A Meditation on the Eucharistic Life
(Luke 24:13-35)

The word “Eucharist” means literally “thanksgiving.” A Eucharistic life is one lived in gratitude. The story, which is also our story, of the two friends walking to Emmaus has shown that gratitude is not an obvious attitude toward life. Gratitude needs to be discovered and to be lived with great inner attentiveness. Our losses, our experiences of rejection and abandonment, and our many moments of disillusionment keep pulling us into anger, bitterness, and resentment. When we simply let the “facts” speak, there will always be enough facts to convince us that life, in the end, leads to nothing and that every attempt to beat fate is only a sign of profound naiveté.

Jesus gave us the Eucharist to enable us to choose gratitude. It is a choice we, ourselves, have to make. Nobody can make it for us. But the Eucharist prompts us to cry out to God for mercy, to listen to the words of Jesus, to invite him into our home, to enter into communion with him and proclaim good news to the world; it opens the possibility of gradually letting go of our many resentments and choosing to be grateful. The Eucharist celebration keeps inviting us to that attitude.
In our daily lives we have countless opportunities to be grateful instead of resentful. At first, we might not recognize these opportunities. Before we fully realized, we have already said: “This is too much for me. I have no choice but to be angry and to let my anger show. Life isn’t fair, and I can’t act as if it is.” However, there is always the voice that, ever again, suggests that we are blinded by our own understanding and pull ourselves and each other into a hole. It is the voice that calls us “foolish,” the voice that asks us to have a completely new look at our lives, a look not from below, where we count our losses, but from above, where God offers us his glory.

Eucharist—thanksgiving—in the end, comes from above. It is the gift that we cannot fabricate for ourselves. It is to be received. That is where the choice is! We can choose to let the stranger continue his journey and so remain a stranger. But we can also invite him into our inner lives, let him touch every part of our being and then transform our resentments into gratitude. We don’t have to do this. In fact, most people don’t. But as often as we make that choice, everything, even the most trivial things, become new. Our little lives become great—part of the mysterious work of God’s salvation.
Once that happens, nothing is accidental, casual, or futile any more. Even the most insignificant event speaks the language of faith, hope, and, above all, love.

That’s the Eucharistic life, the life in which everything becomes a way of saying, “Thank you” to him who joined us on the road.

~ By Henri J. M. Nouwen


 

Carmel: A Eucharistic Community

Disciples of Jesus had been celebrating the Eucharist in a variety of ways for centuries by the time the Carmelite hermits gathered on Mount Carmel at the Wadi- ‘ain-es-Siah about 1200 A.D. Since then, like other Christians, Carmelites, religious and lay, have celebrated the Eucharist in diverse ways. What is unvaried is this: Eucharist has been at the heart of Christian and Carmelite life from the origins of Christianity and from the inception of the Carmelite Order…

The Eucharist is the meal celebrated by the disciples of Jesus, a sacrificial meal that is the “Church’s entire spiritual wealth,” a meal that manifests the presence of the Church. Religious orders have long experimented with ways to follow Jesus, and the tension between community and solitude. The Eucharistic meal is at the center of this Carmelite tension, a place where the human and the divine encounter each other at the table of the Lord.

~ By Dr. Keith Egan, T.O.C.

Emmaus art by bradi barth2

Emmaus, art by Bradi Barth


Discalced Carmelite Hermit


THIS LITTLE HERMIT wishes to remain anonymous, but generously contributes these words about the Eucharist.


 

Eucharist art by baron arild rosenkrantz

Holy Eucharist, art by Baron Arild Rosenkrantz

 

Oh, beloved
I love to sit before you here
Present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

You pierce through the veil that separates
Us.
You penetrate my very being.

My soul is aflame with your love,
Your healing touch,
You fill me with your love, your joy, and
Your peace.

I thirst for you, I long for you, more, my
Beloved one.

So still, in this stillness
ALL stops, nothing exists but you.

No time, no space.
The stillness is you, the stillness is love.

In this profound silence and solitude
I have been loved by LOVE itself.

I have found my beloved one 
Keep me in the stillness of your love.

~+~

 

 

 

 

Grace Given

awakenedheart

Awakened Heart, art by Janice Van Cronkhite

You drench me in your blessedness—
pressed down, compacted, flowing over,
till here I am, a child caught in a storm of love,
saturated with these discarnate ecstasies.

Your ways are masterful. Your generosity,
now captive in my starveling heart, loads me
with luxurious garments, crown and jewels—
treasures gained by you in times long past,
and yet enduring into our eternal now.

You are willing captive to my abject,
but trustingly prosaic, homeliness.

Where do we go from here?
Into some fastness of delight and fortitude,
a refuge for those wanderers, besotted by your love?

I cannot conceive (nor do I try)
what you have in store for me, but rest
in faith’s patient hope, and love’s fierce faith.

It is you who taught me how to love—
assiduous, recklessly adventurous
and all the while imprisoned deep
within your mighty stronghold of a heart.

 

~ A poem by Barbara Dent, O.C.D.S.  

Easter Love

 

Mary Magadalene after Christ Resurrection

Mary Magdalene meets the Risen Christ, art by Bradi Barth

He is Risen, Truly He is Risen! Alleluia!

On Easter we celebrate love,
love coming down from heaven,
love blanketing the earth
in a transforming embrace;
unique and infinite love,
giving more than we can imagine
for us, to cleanse our sin,
a perfect sacrifice, Lamb of God,
the walking, talking Word.
He is teacher, role model, friend,
this God in human form,
dying, then rising from the dead,
proving all who believe
will also rise
to have eternal life, with Him,
Lord of all.
Oh, Happy, Happy Easter!

A poem by Joanna Fuchs

Wishing all of you a very happy and blessed Easter Sunday!

 

Good Friday: The Glory of the Cross

The Cross of Christ, art by Bradi Barth

The Cross of Christ, art by Bradi Barth

God’s glory is not a radiant majesty elevated on a throne. God’s glory is a glory of love. And love has never radiated so gloriously as on the cross. “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). When God gives his life for us, he reveals his love in all its glory.

When we see the pierced hands and open side of Jesus, we can say: “We thank you for your glory.” The resurrected Lord obtains his glory from his wounds. In all eternity, we will praise his wounds as signs of his love for us.

At the cross of Jesus, you can learn where to seek your glory. “The glory that you have given me I have given them,” says Jesus (John 17:22). You can find your true identity—and reach the fullness of your life—only if you, like Jesus, spend yourself in love.

The glory that Jesus reveals in his wounds teaches you that suffering is not without meaning. By itself, suffering is something that passes. But the love you’ve suffered remains forever.

No human life is without suffering. The one who suffers in love shares in God’s glory.


“All my salvation and joy are in You, O Crucified Christ, and in whatever state I happen to be, I shall never take my eyes away from Your Cross.” ~ St. Angela of Foligno


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

My Winter Garden

My Winter Garden ~ Photo source unknown

My Winter Garden ~ Photo source unknown

Winter has finally arrived, all is white in my garden.
The beauty and stillness of this season is so good for times of prayerful anticipation of Your holy birth,
I love my garden at this holy time. I wait for Your blessed arrival one more time into my heart.

Oh precious Baby, lover of my soul and a constant companion in my life.

Beloved friend and savior, the whole earth and universe is full of Your glory. Everything is impregnated with Your precious aroma.
There is a deep quietude around my garden and around my heart. I sense Your holy presence soon to come.

There are no birds or colorful flowers in my garden at this time. The blanket of the white snow covers it all.
All nature is in reverence. It is also waiting like me for Your coming.

Oh blessed Baby, let me prepare an inn in my heart for you. A place of welcome, of warmth, of love.
A place where You can grow and unite entirely to me. Let me be still my Beloved. Let me joyfully sing praises to You here and for eternity.

Oh happy heart that rejoices in You! 

~ My Personal Reflection

The Living Flame Of Love

Painting by Celine Martin : St John of the Cross

Saint John of the Cross ~ Art by Celine Martin

“This was requested of me by the Carmel, as he was known. I focused on creating a strong contrast with the cross.” Céline’s note. (taken from the Archives du Carmel de Lisieux)

Songs of the soul in the intimate communication of loving union with God. 

1. O living flame of love
that tenderly wounds my soul
in its deepest center! Since
now you are not oppressive,
now consummate! if it be your will:
tear through the veil of this sweet encounter!

2. O sweet cautery,
O delightful wound!
O gentle hand! O delicate touch
that tastes of eternal life
and pays every debt!
In killing you changed death to life.

3. O lamps of fire!
in whose splendors
the deep caverns of feeling,
once obscure and blind,
now give forth, so rarely, so exquisitely,
both warmth and light to their Beloved.

 

4. How gently and lovingly
you wake in my heart,
where in secret you dwell alone;
and in your sweet breathing,
filled with good and glory,
how tenderly you swell my heart with love.
~ Saint John of the Cross, O.C.D.

Conversations with my Beloved

Art by Ilse Kleyn

Art by Ilse Kleyn

“Where are you, my God?”
I seek you all about me and you are not there and yet you seem to tell me: Here I am. Everywhere. Nowhere.

I never leave you, but you have to realize I use disguises. If you persist in seeking me under that disguise I used a month, a year, ago, you will be hurt and disappointed.
I change, and you must change with me, or be left alone, bereft, bewildered, lost.

“But why do you do it?” That you may know me better. You are my Chosen one who must discover me beneath a multitude of impermanent changes of attire and behavior.
I remain myself, absolute, infinity…and close as a lover’s kiss.

You have to learn to recognize me. It’s hard, I know.
You come running to me…arms outstretched to be enfolded by what I was to you when the season was different, and you were ardent and your heart bursting with untried love, your every gesture and word a lyric, your very speech a poem!
It was beautiful, but it was only the prelude. Now the flowers have seeded, the petals are all gone, the scent is blown away on the wind. And yet…

and yet, how beautiful this autumn is!
The prelude to our consummation by my death in you, and your resplendent life in me.

~ Selected Writings of Barbara Dent, O.C.D.S .

 

 

 

Thankful & Grateful

“Now I occupy my soul and all my energy in His service; I no longer tend the herd, nor have I any other work now that my every act is love.” ~ Saint John of the Cross

He Shall Hear My Voice, art by Michael Dudash

A prayer of gratitude will always influence our perceptions outside prayer. Once we are in the habit of thanking God for all that is happening in our life, including the harder challenges, a new realization awakens. The providential nature of events begins to show itself more. We “see” the hand of God more at work or at least trust implicitly that his reasons will show themselves in time. The actual presence of a divine request in a day’s circumstances becomes more available to our attention. The sense of spiritual opportunity increases, the sense that God is giving us a chance to prove our love in still another way. All these effects are due to a conscious effort to express gratitude to God for all he is doing.

~ A Reflection by Father Donald Hagerty

The Wings of God

The Flight of the Soul, art by Orit Martin

The Flight of the Soul, art by Orit Martin

The wings that stretched the heavens like clouds
I climbed upon. And long and ardently they bore me in their easeful flight.
They were strong.
Fireless they were…I was a puny burden, no more than dust.
The long, smooth surge I rested on became my final trust.

The heavens’ span and all the wide, thronged space of universes
is to these wings an habitable room, a stretching place for leisurely tours
and comfortable journeyings.
What, now that I have cast myself upon their strength, have I to fear?
And yet my heart is humbled into awe to be so near. 

~ By Barbara Dent, O.C.D.S.