Bird Psalm

 

Song of Spring art by Robert Blair
Song of Spring by Robert Blair

 

Early light, before
sun, and I hear an unknown bird
singing his morning syllables—
pitiful, pitiful, pitiful—in a voice
too plaintive to be believed.

Birds speak their native language—
music with feathers. We pick up clues,
but translation depends on our
willingness to hear, and listen.

Maybe
I’ve let last night’s bad dream
misinterpret his message.
Maybe he’s telling me this new day is
beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

 

~ A poem by Luci Shaw

 

 

“The birds are the saints, who fly to heaven on the wings of contemplation, who are so removed from the world that they have no business on earth. They do not labour, but by contemplation alone they already live in heaven.”
~ Saint Anthony of Padua

 

“My sweet little sisters, birds of the sky, you are bound to heaven, to God, your Creator. In every beat of your wings and every note of your songs, praise Him.”
~ Saint Francis of Assisi

 

Wishing you all a very beautiful day!

 

Why Can’t I Pray?

 

couple in love art by robert berran
Art by Robert Berran

 

You have got to approach prayer as a love affair. And the accent is not on praying; it is on the one to whom you pray. You are drawn to God as a young girl is drawn to a young man. Slowly, as in a human love affair, Christ absorbs you more and more and becomes the center of your life. You savor and find new depths to every word he says.

Then you turn to the Scriptures. We call this meditation, but how can such a little word describe your plunging into the depths of each word of Christ?

As you plunge into Christ’s words, your deep relationship to him, the one you call prayer, will change. You will enter into a new dimension, which some call contemplation.

What is contemplation? One Sunday I was walking in a city park, and I came across a couple sitting on a bench. Before them was their picnic basket, and a dog was happily eating their sandwiches, paper and all; I stood less than ten feet away. The two paid no attention to me, and were utterly oblivious to the dog. They were holding hands and looking at each other.

There comes a moment when words become useless—men and women just sit and look at each other. This is the moment of deepest love, when the wings of the intellect are folded and the heart is totally opened to the other. This is contemplation.

So, before you can pray, you must meet God. The best way to meet him is to stand very still, without frustration or anxiety, and wait for him. He will come if you are waiting for him.

That is really all I can tell you about prayer.

And when you hold hands with Christ, whisper my name.

 

~ A Meditation by Catherine de Hueck Doherty

 

 

My lover speaks; he says to me, “Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one, and come!
~ Sg 2: 10

 

 

In The Hands Of God

 

olio su tela, cm 289x179
Santa Teresa crowned by Christ, art by Gerrit Van Honthorst (1614-1615)

 

 

Yours I am, born yours to be,
what’s your will to make of me?

Sovereign Majesty, decreeing
wisdom timeless, ever whole;
kindness pleasing to my soul;
God, most high, all good, one being,
this vile creature you are seeing,
who sings to you lovingly:
what’s your will to make of me?

Yours, for me you did create,
Yours, since me you did succor,
Yours, since me you did endure,
Yours, you called me to my fate,
Yours, for me you did long wait,
Yours, I chose not lost to be.
What’s your will to make of me?

What, then, is your will, good Lord,
that this servant vile should do?
What work can you give unto
this poor slave in sin abhorred?
Look at me, sweet Love adored,
sweet Love, here for you to see,
What’s your will to make of me?

See my heart here for inspection,
I place it within your hand,
with my body, life, soul and
my deep feelings and affection,
sweetest Bridegroom and redemption,
myself offering yours to be,
What’s your will to make of me?

Give me death, or let me live,
give health or infirmity,
shame or honor give to me,
war or peace to me now give,
weakness, strength superlative,
to all these I will agree,
What’s your will to make of me?

Give me wealth or poverty,
give relief or troubled spell,
give me sorrow or give glee,
give me heaven or give me hell,
sweet life or sun without veil,
I surrender totally.
What’s your will to make of me?

If you wish to, give me prayer,
if not, give me dryness too,
if abundant worship fair,
if not barrenness will do,
Sovereign Majesty, in you
I find all my peace to be.
What’s your will to make of me?

Give me wisdom’s deep insight,
or for love, just ignorance,
give me years of abundance,
or of hunger, famine’s blight,
give me dark or clear daylight,
move me here or there freely.
What’s your will to make of me?

If you wish that I should rest,
I, for love, want to rest to savor;
if your will is that I labor,
death from work is my request.
Say where, how, when, manifest;
say, sweet Love, now say clearly.
What’s your will to make of me?

Give me Tabor or Calvary,
desert or land fruitfully fine,
be as Job in misery,
of John, on your breast recline;
let me be a fruitful vine
or bare, as your will may be.
What’s your will to make of me?

Be I Joseph placed in chains,
Egypt’s governor of renown,
or as David suffering pains,
or now David bearing crown,
be I Jonah nearly drowned,
or from waters now set free,
what’s your will to make of me?

Being silent, moved to speak,
bearing fruit or barren woe,
my wound to me law does show,
Gospel mild does joy bespeak;
mournful or enjoyment’s peak,
in me now lives You only,
what’s your will to make of me?

Yours I am, born yours to be,
what’s your will to make of me?

 

~ A poem by Saint Teresa of Ávila

 

 

Today is Saint Teresa’s Birthday! I’m sharing a few photos I took of my visit to Ávila, Spain in July 2017 

 

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Church and Convent of St. Teresa of Jesus in Avila, Spain is the place where St. Teresa was born.  
July 2017 (My photo)

 

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Main Altar of the Church and Convent of St. Teresa of Jesus in Avila, Spain (photo taken by me before Mass on July 16th, 2017 Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel)
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Chapel of Saint Teresa ~ Casa Natal de Santa Teresa (photo taken by me)

 

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Room in which St. Teresa of Jesus was born (photo taken by me)

 

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Small garden where St. Teresa prayed (photo taken by me)

 

 

Happy Birthday Holy Mother St. Teresa! ❤ Pray for all your Carmelite family and the whole world!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Prayers Break On God

 

women lenten retreat
Photo taken by me at the Women’s Lenten Retreat Weekend (March 22nd to 24th) 

 

 

Our prayers break on God like waves,
and he an endless shore,
and when the seas evaporate 
and oceans are no more
and cries are carried in the wind
God hears and answers every sound
as he has done before.

Our troubles eat at God like nails.
He feels the gnawing pain
on souls and bodies. He never fails
but reassures he’ll heal again,
again, again, again and yet again.

~ A poem by Luci Shaw

 

Thank you, my Beloved!
❤ 

 

 

women lenten retreat 5
Photo taken by me at the Chapel (March 2019)

 

women lenten retreat 3
“Just take everything exactly as it is, put it in God’s hands, and leave it with him. Then you will be able to rest in him—really rest.”  ~ St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, O.C.D.

Into the Desert

 

 

Christ man of sorrows
Art by William Dyce (1860)

 

 

Is Lent
and I feel the interior call to walk
by your side during these 40 days
united to you, 
my Beloved.

These 40 days in the wilderness
where the earth is barren and quiet,
I can feel your loneliness, 
my Beloved.
Silence engulfs this desert
and I can only hear  
your footsteps as we walk 
side by side.

I can’t wait for the night to arrive.
So I can view the magnificent sky
filled with all the beauty
of your Father’s creation.
The moon and the stars —
the sky looks like a blanket
of shooting stars covering us from above
giving us light and protection
marked by the beauty
of His love.

All those bright stars are speaking to you
they bring you messages from above,
from your Beloved Abba!
They prompt you to persevere,
and remain in His presence
all along this journey.
Giving you strength for your mission ahead,
consoling your weary heart,
my Beloved.

They urge you to keep going,
to keep focused,
to keep praying.
To stay and remain
in His perfect love.

Following you along this desert,
my Beloved,
is not an easy task.
At times 
I have so many questions,
so many concerns,
so much restlessness in my own heart.
But you only ask me
to trust in you,
to hold your hand and continue
to walk together,
side by side
these 40 days.

My heart is united to yours
and is finding true calm now,
being in your presence
is all I need
during these long 40 days.

In quietude and awe,
my heart is waiting,
and preparing.

Your beloved child, sister and friend,
Redeemed by your love!

 

~ My Personal Reflection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A letter to St. Francis from a modern-day pilgrim

 

Saint Francis Stigmatization of St Francis c 1594-5 (II Baroccio)
The Stigmatization of St. Francis, art by Federico Barocci (II Baroccio) c. 1594-5

 

Dear Francis
(On the occasion of your stigmata),

As if
you could
know
why a seraph
should appear,
why its six
dazzling wings
should enfold
the dying Christ.
As if
you could ask
the mountain’s
jutting rocks
what provoked
those lonely hills
to illuminate
your fast.
Because
I cannot say
why love and pain
go hand in hand,
I will not
doubt
the sky
tore up
in flames,
that day of joy
and blood—
nor that
you bore
His wounds.

From one unpierced

 

~ A poem by Abigail Carroll

 

 

How did St. Francis of Assisi receives the Stigmata of Christ?

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia:

It was on or about the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross (14 September 1224) while praying on the mountainside, that he beheld the marvelous vision of the seraph, as a sequel of which there appeared on his body the visible marks of the five wounds of the Crucified which, says and early writer, had long since been impressed upon his heart.

Brother Leo, who was with St. Francis when he received the stigmata, has left us in his note to the saint’s autograph blessing, preserved at Assisi, a clear simple account of the miracle, which for the rest is better attested than any other historical fact.

The saint’s right side is described as bearing an open wound which looked as if made by a lance, while through his hands and feet were black nails of flesh, the points of which were bent backward.

After the reception of the stigmata, Francis suffered increasing pains throughout his frail body, already broken by continual mortification. Worn out, moreover, as Francis now was by eighteen years of unremitting toil, his strength gave way completely, and at times his eyesight so far failed him that he was almost wholly blind.

Francis died in 1226 at the age of forty-five. He was canonized in 1228 by Pope Gregory IX.

 

 

 

 

Prayer and God’s Mysterious Providence

 

 

Praying art by elvira amrhein
Art by Elvira Amrhein

 

Matthew 7:7-12


“Ask and you will receive.” While God always answers our prayers, he does not always grant our requests.


 

In Somerset Maugham’s autobiographical novel Of Human Bondage, young Philip Carey, a boy born with a clubfoot, prays that God will heal him. He wakes up the next morning to find that he has not been cured. His faith is shaken, for he has been told that whatever you ask for in prayer will be given. Throughout his life, Philip’s deformity causes him much shame and humiliation, but it also brings about his transformation. At the very end of the novel, Philip comes to the following realization:

And thinking over the long pilgrimage of his past, he accepted it joyfully. He accepted the deformity which had made his life so hard, but now he saw that by reason of it he had acquired that power of introspection which had given him so much delight. Without it he would never had his keen appreciation of beauty, his passion for art and literature and his interest in the varied spectacle of life. The ridicule and contempt, which had so often been heaped upon him, had turned his mind inward and called forth those flowers which he felt would never lose their fragrance. Then he saw that the normal was the rarest thing in the world. Everyone had some defect of body or of mind. He had thought of all the people he had known. He saw a long procession, deformed in body and warped in mind. At that moment he could feel a holy compassion for them all. He could pardon Griffiths for his treachery and Mildred for the pain she had caused him. The only reasonable thing was to accept the good of men and be patient with their faults. The words of the dying God crossed his memory: Forgive them, for they know not what they do. (680-81)

God always answers our prayers, but does not always grant our requests. We are promised that we will receive if we ask, but we are not told what will be given to us. The door will be opened to us, but we do not know what God has in store for us on the other side. We are told only that God knows how to give.

The ways of providence are mysterious indeed. Like Philip Carey, we should reflect upon the long pilgrimage of our past in order to apprehend the pattern of God’s loving wisdom in our lives. Like Philip, we may realize what we once considered to have been our greatest curse was the occasion of our greatest blessing. We realize that what we once judged a stumbling block actually is a cornerstone. Conversely, think of how disastrously your life may have turned out had God granted your specific request.

 

~ A Meditation by Marc Foley, O.C.D.

 

 

“Cast yourself often into His arms or into His divine Heart, and abandon yourself to all His designs upon you” II, 673.
~ Saint Margaret Mary