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.

Gaze Into My Eyes

Yesterday, we celebrated the Feast Day of our Holy Mother Saint Teresa of Ávila, Discalced Carmelite, first female Doctor of the Church, Spanish mystic and reformer. It was a very joyful, holy and blessed day for all the family of Carmel. Here I share a very special poem written by St. Teresa. May she inspire our hearts to be always on fire for The Beloved, our Lord Jesus!

 

Carmelite-Saints-stTeresa_of_Jesus
Saint Teresa of Ávila, art source unknown

 

Gaze into my eyes, sweet, good Jesus,
Gaze into my eyes, and slay me thus.

Look, if it pleases anyone, at roses and jasmines.
If I but see You, I see a thousand gardens!
Flower of Seraphim, Jesus of Nazareth,
Gaze into my eyes, and slay me thus.

I see myself captive without Your company,
Death is what I live without You, life of mine.

I do not want comfort, my absent Jesus,
That all is torture to whom feels this;
Gaze into my eyes, sweet, good Jesus,
Gaze into my eyes, and slay me thus.

~ A poem by Saint Teresa of Ávila, O.C.D.

 

 

Véante mis ojos, dulce Jesús bueno

[Poema – Texto completo.]

Véante mis ojos, dulce Jesús bueno;
véante mis ojos, muérame yo luego.

Vea quién quisiere rosas y jazmines,
que si yo te viere, veré mil jardines,
flor de serafines; Jesús Nazareno,
véante mis ojos, muérame yo luego.

No quiero contento, mi Jesús ausente,
que todo es tormento a quien esto siente;
sólo me sustente su amor y deseo;
Véante mis ojos, dulce Jesús bueno;
véante mis ojos, muérame yo luego.

Siéntome cautiva sin tal compañía,
muerte es la que vivo sin Vos, Vida mía,
cuándo será el día que alcéis mi destierro,
veante mis ojos, muérame yo luego.

Dulce Jesús mío, aquí estáis presente,
las tinieblas huyen, Luz resplandeciente,
oh, Sol refulgente, Jesús Nazareno,
veante mis ojos, muérame yo luego.

¿Quién te habrá ocultado bajo pan y vino?
¿Quién te ha disfrazado, oh, Dueño divino ?
¡Ay que amor tan fino se encierra en mi pecho!
veante mis ojos, muérame yo luego.

Gloria, gloria al Padre, gloria, gloria al Hijo,
gloria para siempre igual al Espíritu.
Gloria de la tierra suba hasta los cielos.
Véante mis ojos, muérame yo luego.
Amén.

~ Poema escrito por Santa Teresa de Ávila, O.C.D.

 

 

Saint Teresa of Ávila, pray for us!

 

Elpina, The Shepherdess

 

shepherdess with her flock
Shepherdess with her Flock, art by Jean-François Millet

 

Elpina the shepherdess
Burning with a great desire
To know how God
Could be loved upon earth,
Wept alone one day
And in the woods
Uttered these words:
“Eh! Who can teach me
to love God Who loves me
and Who, before the existence
of the world He created
with this same love
of His Heart Divine,
loved me…”
While thus grieved
she wept to herself
not being able to console
the pain of her heart;
the virgin, now a hermit,
swooned and fell–
a prey to languor…
Behold, there before her,
ornate with gilded wings,
brimming with celestial delight,
stood suddenly a gracious spirit,
and his loving lips
like lilies and roses
opened into these beautiful accents:
“Elpina, how can you say
You do not love God,
When your very desire
Of loving is love itself?
It is the sweet flame
Which escapes from
The secret furnace of your Heart.”

 

~ A poem by St. Teresa Margaret Redi of the Sacred Heart, O.C.D.

 

 

“I propose to have no other purpose in all my activities, either interior or exterior, than the motive of Love alone. “
~ St. Teresa Margaret Redi of the Sacred Heart, O.C.D.

 

 

 Happy & Blessed Feast Day of St. Teresa Margaret Redi!  

The Cloud of Carmel

 

Virgo Maria
Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Art source unknown)

 

“The Lord promised that He would dwell in a cloud.”
~ 2 Chronicles 6:1 

 

Symbol of star or lily of the snows,
rainbow or root or vine or fruit-filled tree:
these image the immaculate to me
less than a little cloud, a little light cloud rising
from Orient waters cleft by prophecy.
And as the Virgin in a most surprising
maternity bore God in the mysteries of grace
beseech her: Cloud, encompass God and me.

Nothing defiled can touch the cloud of Mary.
God as a child willed to be safe in her,
and the Divine Indweller sets His throne
deep in a cloud in me, His sanctuary.
I pray, O wrap me, Cloud, . . . light Cloud of Carmel
within whose purity my vows were sown
to lift their secrecies to God alone.
Say to my soul, the timorous and small
house of a Presence that it cannot see
and frightened acre of a Deity,
say in the fullness of your clemency:
I have enclosed you all.
You are in whiteness of a lighted lamb wool;
you are in softness of a summer wind lull.
O hut of God, deepen your faith anew.
Enfolded in this motherhood of mine,
all that is beautiful and all divine
is safe in you.

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

Contemplation

 

lavender
Photo source unknown

 

The path to the prayer room
runs beside a bed of herbs —
rosemary, sage, holy basil,
chervil, chives.

Lavender. Walking,
I pluck a stalk and crush
the woolly flowers lightly in
my hand, pausing
to inhale the fragrance.

I carry the sprig down
the steps, into the place of 
contemplation. My body stills,
but thumb and finger lift
the purple flame, an oblation.

The aroma is itself a prayer,
a reaching, a receiving. I sit
in silence, breathing what God is
telling me: he is in me
as he is in the flower.

Thanks be to God.

~ A poem by Luci Shaw 

 

Journey Inward

 

journey inward by elizabeth wang
Art by Elizabeth Wang

 

Somewhere along the road of life, by the grace of God, my soul awoke. And it was hungry, hungry for God.

Its hunger became a fire, a fire that consumed me and ate me up with its intense, devouring heat. I could not rest anywhere except in motion, that long, endless journey that every soul must undertake if she is to meet her God.

It is a strange journey, across arid plains and verdant valleys, across dried parchment-like deserts. A journey of many crossroads and endless sharp turns that confuse and make one clamour for a rest.

But the hunger for God knows no rest. So I go on and on and on.

Yes, it is a strange journey, that slowly makes me shed all the baggage I took for it, baggage I took before I knew that it would be too heavy a load for this kind of journey.
I don’t know where I felt it—somewhere back there by some crossroad.

Now I am baggageless, but still too heavily burdened. My hunger drives me on. For speedy traveling. I must start to shed my clothing.

There on this stone I lay the cloak of selfishness that kept me warm. It is cold without it, but I can walk faster, as my hunger urges me to.

Here on this branch, I hang my dress of selflove and compromise with the world. I shiver now in earnest, but my feet have wings. Yet this sheltered rock begs for my underwear.

Slowly, reluctantly, I shed my undergarments, one by one. Here goes self-indulgence. Tidily, next to it, I lay greed for possessions and love of ease and comfort. Next, not so tidily, go helter-skelter all the things in me that are not God’s.

Lord, behold I stand naked before thee, with wings on my feet. Wings on my feet! Now my journey inward will be swift.

But it is not. For I still stumble and fall and walk haltingly, inches instead of miles, while the hunger for God flays me and urges me to make haste.

Oh, I had forgotten my shoes, the heavy, comfortable shoes that have shielded my feet. Shielded my feet from the cutting stones, from the sharp pebbles. I must unlace my shoes, my comfortable stout shoes, the last covering of my naked soul. The last stronghold of my non-surrender to God.

I hesitate. The narrow path upward is so hard. It has so many sharp stones. So many knife-edged pebbles. But the hunger for God flames in me, a furnace of fire unquenchable, the fire of love, of passionate, utter love of God. I must go on, on that journey inward that alone will bring me face to face with him for whom I hunger constantly, without ceasing.

Quickly, I bend and with hasty, clumsy fingers unlace one shoe, then the other. My eagerness expresses my hunger. Recklessly I throw one shoe this way, the other that, not caring where they fall.

Now I am free, I am free and naked, and my feet have wings, huge wings that carry me across sharp stones and knife-edged pebbles without harm. Now the brambles and thorns that edge the path turn and point the other way.

I am a naked soul, free and untrammelled, driven by the hunger of my love for God, driven by my love for God, on and on, on this journey inward.

I did not know it would be so easy, once I shed all my garments. But now I know, for my hunger is being assuaged, satiated, filled, even as I fly on winged feet along the steep path upward. It is being filled, that hunger of mine, so much, so well, that I can feed others with the surplus of the food given to me so abundantly.

God meets half way the soul that starts on its journey inward, provided that the soul, driven by hunger of love for him, strips itself naked.

That is the secret of his love and of his kingdom, which begins even on this earth. But the price, I repeat, is nakedness complete, even unto discarding shoes.

 

~ A Meditation by Catherine De Hueck Doherty

Listen to yourself so as to find the path to God within the frail walls of your humanness.
Listen to yourself, for it is you alone who will lead yourself to him, or away from him.
Listen to yourself, listen to God, when you have led yourself to him.
Listen well, for if you hear his voice you will be wise with the wisdom of the Lord, and then you will be able to hear the voice of men, not as a surging sea, or as a mob.
But each man’s speech is his own, a treasure given to you beyond all expectations, because you led yourself to him and listen to his voice.

~ A poem by Catherine De Hueck Doherty 

Thoughts on Contemplative Life

 


“All things hide a mystery; all things are veils hiding God.”
~ Blaise Pascal


 

bird art by susan hall
Contemplation, art by Susan Hall

 

The vast separation between the good life and the holy life is always far more than we realize. The difference is not evident simply in the exterior activity of life. The generous accomplishments of a good person may outshine the limited works of the holy person. What distinguishes the holy person is the interior quality of a soul seeking God, and this is often not seen so visibly. The good life will always be observable to some degree, but whether or not a life is truly holy can easily be concealed in its essential truth. The most important acts of a holy life take place in secret, within quiet depths of the soul. And these most important acts are the offerings it makes for others. There is no great love of God unless a soul is great in offering itself for others. And this begins in the intensity of its prayer, where God alone sees.

The word holiness ought not to be tossed about too lightly, as though the reality were easily reached. There is a danger that an overworked and casual evocation of holiness as the goal of life reduces the immense challenge of giving all to God to a manageable habit of steady, low-cost generosities. Dorothy Day kept on her bedside table a striking phrase of Dostoevsky that conveys, by contrast, the starker reality of a true offering: “Love in action is a harsh and dreadful thing compared to love in dreams.”  It is precisely the harsh and dreadful nature of sacrificial love that makes such love and the offering that accompanies it most fruitful for the salvation of souls.

A task in prayer that must be repeated with regularity: to search for the deeper solitary region of the heart where a single word spoken in silence has more impact on our soul than hours of replete eloquence taking place at the shallows of life.

 

~ A Reflection by Father Donald Haggerty, ‘The Contemplative Hunger’

 

Jesus and Saint Teresa of Jesus art by Maccha chmkoff
Apparition du Christ à Thérèse d’Avila, art by Macha Chmakoff

The Mystic Face

I never try to probe the sky’s blue span:
I never look to deep into the sea
But the dim face of a tragedian
looks out at me.

Neither the night nor day can find a place
where I have not been shaken with surprise
at the white beauty of a holy face 
and two great lonely eyes.

 

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