There Is a Homelessness

 

Jesus My Beloved art by ricardo colon
Art by Ricardo Colon

 

There is a homelessness, never to be clearly defined.
It is more than having no place of one’s own, no bed or
chair.

It is more than walking in a waste of wind,
or gleaning the crumbs where someone else has dined,
or taking a coin for food or clothes to wear.
The loan of things and the denial of things are possible
to bear.

It is more, even, than homelessness of heart,
of being always a stranger at love’s side,
of creeping up to a door only to start
at a shrill voice and to plunge back to the wide
dark of one’s own obscurity and hide.

It is the homelessness of the soul in the body sown;
it is the loneliness of mystery:
of seeing oneself a leaf, inexplicable and unknown,
cast from an unimaginable tree;
of knowing one’s life to be brief wind blown
down a fissure of time in the rock of eternity.
The artist weeps to wrench this grief from stone;
he pushes his hands through the tangled vines of music,
but he cannot set it free.

It is the pain of the mystic suddenly thrown
back from the noon of God to the night of his own
humanity.

It is his grief; it is the grief of all those praying
in finite words to an Infinity
Whom, if they saw, they could not comprehend;
Whom they cannot see.

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

 

God Is a Strange Lover

 

Jesus and Mary Magdalene2
Art by Anton Raphael Mengs (1769) at Palacio Real de Madrid, Spain

 

God is the strangest of all lovers; His ways are past explaining.
He sets His heart on a soul; He says to Himself, “Here will I rest My love.”

But He does not woo her with flowers or jewels or words that are set to music,
no names endearing, no kindled praise His heart’s direction prove.

His jealousy is an infinite thing. He stalks the soul with sorrows;
He tramples the bloom; He blots the sun that could make her vision dim.

He robs and breaks and destroys—there is nothing at last but her own shame, her own affliction, and then He comes and there is nothing in the vast world but Him and her love of Him.

Not till the great rebellions die and her will is safe in His hands forever does He open the door of light and His tenderness fall, and then for what is seen in the soul’s virgin places,
for what is heard in the heart, there is no speech at all.

God is a strange lover; the story of His love is most surprising.
There is no proud queen in her cloth of gold; over and over again there is only, deep in the soul, a poor disheveled woman weeping . . .

for us who have need of a picture and words: the Magdalen.

 

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

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Garden Any More

 

Jesus art by daniel bonnell
Art by Daniel Bonnell

 

God is not garden any more, to satiate the sense
with the luxuriance of full exotic wilderness.
Now multiple is magnified to less.
God has become as desert now, a vast unknown Sahara
voicing its desert cry.
My soul has been arrested by the sound
of a divine tremendous loneliness.

I write anathema on pool, on streams of racing water.
I bid the shoot, the leaf, the bloom no longer to intrude.
Beyond green growth I find this great good,
a motionless immensity of oneness.
And Him I praise Who lured me to this edge
of uncreation where His secrets brood,
Who seared the earth that I might hear in silence
this infinite outcry of His solitude.

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

 

 

“Listen to God’s speech in his wondrous, terrible, gentle, loving, all-embracing silence.”
Catherine Doherty
 
 

Born for Love

 

born for love
Beginning, art by Akiane Kramarik

Was I conceived in love,
and for love?
We are all born
with your precious DNA in our hearts and souls,
my Beloved.
We come to experience life
in order to discover You.
You have chosen to abide
in the deepest chambers of our hearts.
Never once,
You have left my side.

Human love is so conditional
and limited, but when we are inspired
and touch by Your divine love,
our love can be transform
and become real. Alive!

Your love is everlasting,
my Beloved.
You have placed your heart
so full of tender mercy and love
in mine.

O, how blessed I am,
my Beloved!

Your love gives me life,
gives me hope,
gives me joy.
Your love is my stronghold
and my peace.
All my life you have been
by my side,
and that suffices.

I was born for love.
We are born for love.
Because You are love.
King of my heart and soul.
Love in One.
One Love,
Pure and Perfect!

I can say like the Sufi mystic and poet Rumi:
“Love came and it made me empty.
Love came and it filled me with the Beloved.
It became the blood in my body.
It became my arms and my legs.
It became everything!
Now all I have is a name,
the rest belongs to the Beloved.”

~ My personal reflection  

 

 

 

The Madness of Love

 
loved forever

 

The madness of love
Is a blessed fate;
And if we understood this
We would seek no other:
It brings into unity
What was divided,

And this is the truth:
Bitterness it makes sweet,
It makes the stranger a neighbor,
And what was lowly it raises on high.

~ A poem by Hadewijch of Brabant, 13th century

 

Always Celebrate Love!

I Went In Pursuit By Love’s Way

 

saint john of the cross toledo
Painting of Saint John of the Cross, photo taken by me from the chapel of the Discalced Carmelite Monastery in Toledo, Spain in July 2017

 

I went in pursuit by love’s way,
my hope did not fail in the try,
I flew very high, oh so high,
at last overtaking the prey.

In order to gain me the right
to divine opportunity,
I flew high toward unity
and soon became lost out of sight,
with all, in this dangerous way
I faltered in my strength to fly,
yet love bore me more high,
at last overtaking the prey.

While rising so near to the light,
my vision was dazed by the glare,
and my greatest conquest was there
in darkest obscureness of night;
but since I was seeking love’s way,
I blindly leapt in the dark sky,
and I flew so high, oh so high,
at last overtaking the prey.

The higher became my ascent
within this search so excellent,
the lower became my descent
fatigued and o’erwhelmed, I was spent;
None can overtake! I would say,
it humbled and made me so dry,
that I flew so high, oh so high,
at last overtaking the prey.

By this rare endeavor to cope
one flight did a thousand excel,
for hope within heaven to dwell
gains fully the height of its hope;
I hoped just to search in this way,
my hope did not fail in the try,
since I flew so high, oh so high,
at last overtaking the prey.

~ A poem by Saint John of the Cross, O.C.D.

 

 

Wishing you all a very blessed Feast of Saint John of the Cross!

 

 

 

Reflections on the Dark Night ~ Part Two

 

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El Greco painting of the Carmelite Monastery in Toledo, where St. John of the Cross was kept prisoner (It has been proposed that the Dark Night of the Soul was composed while John was imprisoned in Toledo, between 1577 and 1579).

 

A Pure Heart Create in Me, O God (Ps. 51:12)

The purified heart has been finally and fully claimed by God can, paradoxically, become progressively purer and more fulfilled in him right till the moment of death. This is because God himself expands its capacity with his inpouring love, fills the enlarged space with more love, which expands it further—and so the process goes on. But never without our full consent. A helpful prayer is “My God, penetrate and possess me to the uttermost—and don’t take notice when I squeal in pain.”

It is fear of suffering that holds back so many from the unqualified gift of themselves to God, so that he can do whatever he likes with them. But has he not promised he will match every trial with enough grace to bear it? Of course this may well mean that part of the trial will be the experience of desperately needing more, and more, and more grace.

However, this in itself provokes a constant plea for what we know we cannot endure without. It engenders intimate knowledge of our own helplessness—“Without Christ I can do nothing” (cf. John 15:5)—coupled with a reckless confidence—“With God all things are possible” (Mark 10:27). “I can do all things in Christ who strengthens me.”

The truth is that grace can be flooding into us while we remain unaware of it and experience no comfort. This happens because we are only too prone to think, as soon as we realize we are over-coming, “Aha! I’m getting somewhere! I’ve conquered! How brave and strong I am! How far I’ve advanced in virtue! I hope everyone else is noticing this!”

Such self-congratulations and the tendency to various forms of self-exaltation arise from those buried roots that only the passive purgations can eradicate. So God’s work progresses in direct relation to our humble receptivity to grace, and humility, as is well known by the humble, comes above all through dire humilations. What appears to be the curse of being refused the grace we need is really the blessing of being given it in abundance, but minus the extra grace of the awareness to enjoy it. Being what we are, this last grace would engender pride. Only those with great humility dare say, “He who is mighty has done great things to me” (Luke 1:49).

 

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Art by Vesna Delevska

 


Candle and Pinecone Sequence

This flame’s shape is like a spear—
or else a dagger—leaving wounds concealed
behind the bulwark of the living flames of love,
which do not burn.

Lights illuminate our darknesses
and flames give warmth—though the uncircumspect
receive what could be stigmata, exposed
or else concealed in heart, or brain, or bloodless hands.

This flame’s symmetry is like a spear’s keen blade
or else a dagger, small but dangerous,
shaped to deal out penetrating wounds
mysteriously secret, all of them
deep buried in the heart’s blind fastnesses
spousal gifts from those living flames of love.

 

~ A reflection and poem by  Barbara Dent, O.C.D.S.

 

 

 

Saint Teresa of Ávila: A Mystical Poem

Saint Teresa vision
The Vision of Saint Teresa, art by Bartolomeo Guidobono (late 17th century)

 

Loving Colloquy

If all the love you have for me,
my God, is like my love for you,
say, what detains me, that I do?
Or what is it delaying thee?

— Soul, what of me are your desires?
— My God, no more than you to see.
— And what most in you fear inspires?
— What I fear most is losing thee,

A soul within its God now hidden,
whatever else should it desire,
but to e’er greater love aspire,
and in that love remain all hidden,
returned anew into love’s fire?

One love that owns me I request,
my God, my soul within you centered,
for making me the sweetest nest
where union can the best be entered.

~ By Saint Teresa of Ávila, O.C.D.

Saint teresa of Avila art by Corrado Yaquinto
Santa Teresa de Ávila , arte de Corrado Yaquinto

 

Coloquio Amoroso

Si el amor que me tenéis,
Dios mío, es como el que os tengo,
Decidme: ¿en qué me detengo?
O Vos, ¿en qué os detenéis?
— Alma, ¿qué quieres de mí?
— Dios mío, no más que verte.
— Y ¿qué temes más de ti?
— Lo que más temo es perderte.
Un alma en Dios escondida
¿qué tiene que desear,
sino amar y más amar,
y en amor toda escondida
tornarte de nuevo a amar?
Un amor que ocupe os pido,
Dios mío, mi alma os tenga,
para hacer un dulce nido
adonde más la convenga.

~ Poema místico de Santa Teresa de Ávila, Carmelita Descalza

 

Wishing you all a happy and blessed Feast day of Saint Teresa of Ávila!

Deseandoles a todos un feliz y bendecido dia de Santa Teresa de Ávila!

 

 

Mysticism: Intoxication with God

The Gift, art by Ruth Tietjen Councell
The Gift, art by Ruth Tietjen Councell

Whenever a human being belongs to God so completely that God can do what he wants in and through him or her, such a person is called a mystic. A mystic is someone who no longer lives his or her own life. God has “taken over” and lives his/her life. Saint Paul has given us an unsurpassed definition of mysticism: “…it is no longer I who live…it is Christ who lives in me” (Gal 2:20).

The mystics teach us that Christian life is much richer than we imagine. “Don’t be content with so little,” they tell us, “don’t live a maimed life; you are greater than you suppose.”

We need these close friends of God to shake us up…we who so often reduce the Christian life to some commandments and obligations. They have a message for us.

“Poor you,” they say, “why do you stand there freezing? Place yourself under the sun, enjoy the warmth. Why are you so thirsty? Place yourself under the waterfall and drink. There is plentiful water. Your life doesn’t have to be so impoverished.
You think God is far away, yet you don’t even have to search for him. He is inside of you. You carry a treasure. Is it not time for you to wake up?”

Without the mystics we risk seeing Christianity as a cold and dead skeleton of dogmatic statements and moral admonitions. The mystics show us that the skeleton in reality is a living organism, a living body. Christianity is full of life, a life that makes us happy. The mystics teach us through  their own example that God can make a person “drunk” with love and joy.     

~ A meditation by Wilfrid Stinissen, Carmelite friar