Our lady of Mount Carmel

O Mary, Beauty of Carmel, make me worthy of your protection, clothe me with your scapular, and be the teacher of my interior life.


Sacred Art Unknown Source

Devotion to our Lady of Mount Carmel indicates a strong call to the interior life, which, in a very special way, is Mary’s life.

The Blessed Virgin wants us to resemble her in heart and mind much more than in externals. If we penetrate into Mary’s soul, we see that grace produced in her a very rich interior life: a life of recollection, prayer, uninterrupted giving of herself to God, and of constant contact and intimate union with Him. Mary’s soul is a sanctuary reserved for God alone where no creature has ever left an imprint; here reign love and zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of men.

Those who wish to live truly devoted to our lady of Mount Carmel, must follow Mary into the depths of the interior life. Carmel is the symbol of the contemplative life, of life wholly consecrated to seeking God and tending wholly toward divine intimacy; and she who best realizes this very high ideal is Mary, Queen, Beauty of Carmel. “Judgement shall dwell in the wilderness and justice shall sit in Carmel. And the work of justice shall be peace, and the service of justice quietness and security forever. And people shall sit in the beauty of peace, and in the tabernacles of confidence.” These verses, taken from Isaias (32, 16-18) and repeated in the Office proper to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, delineate very well the contemplative spirit and, at the same time, they are a beautiful picture of Mary’s soul which is a real “garden” (Carmel in Hebrew signifies garden) of virtues, an oasis of silence and peace, where justice and equity reign; an oasis of security completely enveloped in the shadow of God, and filled with God. Every interior soul, even if living amid the tumult of the world, must strive to reach this peace, this interior silence, which alone makes continual contact with God possible. It is our passions and attachments that make noise within us, that disturb our peace of mind and interrupt our intimate converse with God. Only the soul that is wholly detached and in complete control of its passions can, like Mary, be a solitary, silent “garden” where God will find His delights. This is the grace we ask of Our Lady today when we choose her to be the Queen and mistress of our interior life.


~ Father Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. – Divine Intimacy

Happy & Blessed Feast Day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel!

Day of Gladness and Joy

Resurrection, art by Albert Pinkham


How beautiful is this feast of Easter! And how beautiful our assembly! This day contains so many mysteries, both old and new! During this week of feasting or, rather, of happiness, people are rejoicing all over the world and even the powers of heaven unite themselves with us in joyful celebration of the Lord’s resurrection. Angels and Archangels are exultant as they wait for the heavenly King, Christ our God, to return victorious over the earth; the choirs of saints exult as they sing of “he who rose before the dawn”, the Christ (cf. Ps 110[109]:3). Earth exults, for the blood of a God has washed it. The sea exults, for the footsteps of our Lord have honored it. May every person born again of water and the Holy Spirit, exult. May Adam, the first of men, now freed from the ancient curse, exult (…) Christ’s resurrection has not only inaugurated this holy feast but, still more, has won for us salvation instead of suffering, immortality in place of death, healing instead of wounds, resurrection instead of decline. In former times the Passover mystery was carried out in Egypt according to the ritual prescribed by the Law: the sacrifice of the lamb was no more than a sign. But today we celebrate a spiritual Passover according to the Gospel: the day of resurrection. Then it was a lamb taken from the flock that was sacrificed (…); now Christ in person offers himself as lamb of God. Then it was an animal from the sheepfold; now, not just a lamb but the shepherd himself lays down his life for his sheep (Jn 10:11) (…) Then the Hebrews crossed the Red Sea and sang a hymn of victory in honor of their deliverer: “Let us sing to the Lord; he has covered himself in glory” (Ex 15:10). Now, all those accounted worthy of baptism sing this victory song in their hearts: “You alone are holy, you alone are God, Jesus Christ, in the glory of God the Father. Amen”.

~ Saint Proclus of Constantinople (c.390-446)

Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alelluia!

Wishing you all a very Happy and Blessed Easter!

Maundy Thursday

Gethsemane, art by Julia Stankova

Here is the source of every sacrament,

The all-transforming presence of the Lord,

Replenishing our every element

Remaking us in his creative Word.

For here the earth herself gives bread and wine,

The air delights to bear his Spirit’s speech,

The fire dances where the candles shine,

The waters cleanse us with His gentle touch.

And here He shows the full extent of love

To us whose love is always incomplete,

In vain we search the heavens high above,

The God of love is kneeling at our feet.

Though we betray Him, though it is the night.

He meets us here and loves us into light.

~ A poem by Malcolm Guite

Saint Joseph

Art Source Unknown

When the tools are put in their places and the day’s work is done,
When between Carmel and the Jordan, Israel falls asleep in the wheatfields and the night,
As when he was once a young boy ant it began to get too dark for reading,
Joseph enters with a deep sight into conversation with God.
He preferred Widson and she had been brought to him for marriage.
He is as silent as the earth when the dew rises,
He feels the fullness of night, and he is at ease with joy and with truth.
Mary is in his possession and he surrounds her on all sides.
It is not in a single day he learned how not to be alone any more.
A woman won over each part of his heart which is now prudent and fatherly.
Again he is in Paradise with Eve !
The face which all men need turns with love and submission toward Joseph.
It is no longer the same prayer and no longer the ancient waiting since he has felt
Like an arm suddenly without hate the pressure of his profound and innocent being.
It is no longer bare Faith in the night, it is love explaining and working.
Joseph is with Mary and Mary is with the Father.


~ A poem by Paul Claudel

Happy and Blessed Solemnity of Saint Joseph!

“Why I Love You, O Mary”!

The Immaculate Conception, art by Vicente Carducho

“Why I Love You, O Mary”!

Oh ! I would like to sing, Mary, why I love you,
Why your sweet name thrills my heart,
And why the thought of your supreme greatness
Could not bring fear to my soul.
If I gazed on you in your sublime glory,
Surpassing the splendor of all the blessed,
I could not believe that I am your child.
O Mary, before you I would lower my eyes !…

If a child is to cherish his mother,
She has to cry with him and share his sorrows.
O my dearest Mother, on this foreign shore
How many tears you shed to draw me to you !…
In pondering your life in the holy Gospels,
I dare look at you and come near you.
It’s not difficult for me to believe I’m your child,
For I see you human and suffering like me…

When an angel from Heaven bids you be the Mother
O the God who is to reign for all eternity,
I see you prefer, O Mary, what a mystery !
The ineffable treasure of virginity.
O Immaculate Virgin, I understand how your soul
Is dearer to the Lord than his heavenly dwelling.
I understand how your soul, Humble and Sweet Valley,
Can contain Jesus, the Ocean of Love !…

Oh ! I love you, Mary, saying you are the servant
Of the God whom you charm by your humility.
This hidden virtue makes you all-powerful.
It attracts the Holy Trinity into your heart.
Then the Spirit of Love covering you with his shadow,
The Son equal to the Father became incarnate in you,
There will be a great many of his sinner brothers,
Since he will be called : Jesus, your first-born !…

O beloved Mother, despite my littleness,
Like you I possess The All-Powerful within me.
But I don’t tremble in seeing my weakness ;
The treasures of a mother belong to her child,
And I am your child, O my dearest Mother.
Aren’t your virtues and your love mine too ?
So when the white Host comes into my heart,
Jesus, your Sweet Lamb, thinks he is resting in you !…

You make me feel that it’s not impossible
To follow in your footsteps, O Queen of the elect.
You made visible the narrow road to Heaven
While always practicing the humblest virtues.
Near you, Mary, I like to stay little.
I see the vanity of greatness here below.
At the home of Saint Elizabeth, receiving your visit,
I learn how to practice ardent charity.

There, Sweet Queen of angels, I listen, delighted,
To the sacred canticle springing forth from your heart.
You teach me to sing divine praises,
To glory in Jesus my Savior.
Your words of love are mystical roses
Destined to perfume the centuries to come.
In you the Almighty has done great things.
I want to ponder them to bless him for them.

When good Saint Joseph did not know of the miracle
That you wanted to hide in your humility,
You let him cry close by the Tabernacle
Veiling the Savior’s divine beauty !…
Oh Mary ! how I love your eloquent silence !
For me it is a sweet, melodious concert
That speaks to me of the greatness and power
Of a soul which looks only to Heaven for help…

Later in Bethlehem, O Joseph and Mary !
I see you rejected by all the villagers.
No one wants to take in poor foreigners.
There’s room for the great ones…
There’s room for the great ones, and it’s in a stable
That the Queen of Heaven must give birth to a God.
O my dearest Mother, how lovable I find you,
How great I find you in such a poor place !…

When I see the Eternal God wrapped in swaddling clothes,
When I hear the poor cry of the Divine Word,
O my dearest Mother, I no longer envy the angels,
For their Powerful Lord is my dearest Brother !…
How I love you, Mary, you who made
This Divine Flower blossom on our shores !…
How I love you listening to the shepherds and wisemen
And keeping it all in your heart with care !…

I love you mingling with the other women
Walking toward the holy temple.
I love you presenting the Savior of our souls
To the blessed Old Man who pressed Him to his heart.
At first I smile as I listen to his canticle,
But soon his tone makes me shed tears.
Plunging a prophetic glance into the future,
Simeon presents you with a sword of sorrows.

O Queen of martyrs, till the evening of your life
That sorrowful sword will pierce your heart.
Already you must leave your native land
To flee a king’s jealous fury.
Jesus sleeps in peace under the folds of your veil.
Joseph comes begging you to leave at once,
And at once your obedience is revealed.
You leave without delay or reasoning.

O Mary, it seems to me that in the land of Egypt
Your heart remains joyful in poverty,
For is not Jesus the fairest Homeland,
What does exile matter to you ? You hold Heaven…
But in Jerusalem a bitter sadness
Comes to flood your heart like a vast ocean.
For three days, Jesus hides from your tenderness.
That is indeed exile in all its harshness !…

At last you find him and you are overcome with joy,
You say to the fair Child captivating the doctors :
“O my Son, why have you done this ?
Your father and I have been searching for you in tears.”
And the Child God replies (O what a deep mystery !)
To his dearest Mother holding out her arms to him :
“Why were you searching for me ?
I must be about My Father’s business. Didn’t you know ?”

The Gospel tells me that, growing in wisdom,
Jesus remains subject to Joseph and Mary,
And my heart reveals to me with what tenderness
He always obeys his dear parents.
Now I understand the mystery of the temple,
The hidden words of my Lovable King.
Mother, your sweet Child wants you to be the example
Of the soul searching for Him in the night of faith.

Since the King of Heaven wanted his Mother
To be plunged into the night, in anguish of heart,
Mary, is it thus a blessing to suffer on earth ?
Yes, to suffer while loving is the purest happiness !…
All that He has given me, Jesus can take back.
Tell him not to bother with me…
He can indeed hide from me, I’m willing to wait for him
Till the day without sunset when my faith will fade away…

Mother full of grace, I know that in Nazareth
You live in poverty, wanting nothing more.
No rapture, miracle, or ecstasy
Embellish your life, O Queen of the Elect !…
The number of little ones on earth is truly great.
They can raise their eyes to you without trembling.
It’s by the ordinary way, incomparable Mother,
That you like to walk to guide them to Heaven.

While waiting for Heaven, O my dear Mother,
I want to live with you, to follow you each day.
Mother, contemplating you, I joyfully immerse myself,
Discovering in your heart abysses of love.
Your motherly gaze banishes all my fears.
It teaches me to cry, it teaches me to rejoice.
Instead of scorning pure and simple joys,
You want to share in them, you deign to bless them.

At Cana, seeing the married couple’s anxiety
Which they cannot hide, for they have run out of wine,
In your concern you tell the Savior,
Hoping for the help of his divine power.
Jesus seems at first to reject your prayer :
« Woman, what does this matter, » he answers, « to you and to me ? »
But in the depths of his heart, He calls you his Mother,
And he works his first miracle for you…

One day when sinners are listening to the doctrine
Of Him who would like to welcome them in Heaven,
Mary, I find you with them on the hill.
Someone says to Jesus that you wish to see him.
Then, before the whole multitude, your Divine Son
Shows us the immensity of his love for us.
He says : “Who is my brother and my sister and my Mother,
If not the one who does my will ?”

O Immaculate Virgin, most tender of Mothers,
In listening to Jesus, you are not saddened.
But you rejoice that He makes us understand
How our souls become his family here below.
Yes, you rejoice that He gives us his life,
The infinite treasures of his divinity !…
How can we not love you, O my dear Mother,
On seeing so much love and so much humility ?

You love us, Mary, as Jesus loves us,
And for us you accept being separated from Him.
To love is to give everything. It’s to give oneself.
You wanted to prove this by remaining our support.
The Savior knew your immense tenderness.
He knew the secrets of your maternal heart.
Refuge of sinners, He leaves us to you
When He leaves the Cross to wait for us in Heaven.

Mary, at the top of Calvary standing beside the Cross
To me you seem like a priest at the altar,
Offering your beloved Jesus, the sweet Emmanuel,
To appease the Father’s justice…
A prophet said, O afflicted Mother,
“There is no sorrow like your sorrow !
” O Queen of Martyrs, while remaining in exile
You lavish on us all the blood of your heart !

Saint John’s home becomes your only refuge.
Zebedee’s son is to replace Jesus…
That is the last detail the Gospel gives.
It tells me nothing more of the Queen of Heaven.
But, O my dear Mother, doesn’t its profound silence
Reveal that The Eternal Word Himself
Wants to sing the secrets of your life
To charm your children, all the Elect of Heaven ?

Soon I’ll hear that sweet harmony.
Soon I’ll go to beautiful Heaven to see you.
You who came to smile at me in the morning of my life,
Come smile at me again … Mother… It’s evening now !…
I no longer fear the splendor of your supreme glory.
With you I’ve suffered and now I want
To sing on your lap, Mary, why I love you,
And to go on saying that I am your child !…


A poem by Saint Therese to Our Lady

Happy and Blessed Feast Day of The Immaculate Conception of The Blessed Virgin Mary!

To Love

Art Source Unknown

Today, November 14th the Church celebrates All Carmelite Saints. As a Lay Carmelite I considered all those saintly men and women in Carmel my family and my friends. They are mentors in my journey, intercessors, soul friends. I feel their presence in my daily life. I pray to them. I read their writings and learn so much about this great gift of spirituality which is Carmel and contains treasures of everlasting rivers of fresh and living water that satisfy our souls. I’m eternally grateful for their love, for their exemplary lives and for their intercessions not only to our Carmelite family but to the whole world.

Beloved Saints of Carmel, pray for us!


To Love

My Sisters, I’m from Bethany
Where I met the Lord.
Sister Agnes, who had followed me,

Felt the melting of the heart.
Yes, it was truly ineffable

To prepare a feast for Him,
While that adorable Master

We offered a divine meal.
“It was the banquet of love”

Where Jesus gives himself,
Because his good always prevails

The soul who seeks it and who loves it:
In the measure of his faith

She reaches the Sovereign King.

To love, for a Carmelite,
Is to surrender like Jesus

A true love never hesitates,
It wishes to give always more and more.
Let us be a faithful image

Of our Bridegroom sacrifices,
Retrace in us the model

Of this divine Crucified One.
Looking at him night and day

Let’s climb the austere mountain,
It is the home of Love,
His palace and his sanctuary.
In this mysterious temple

Sacrifice ourselves with a happy heart.

To love is to forget oneself
Like the Angel of Lisieux
To become lost in the one we love
And be consumed in his fires.
Sister Thérèse knew how to understand
In its great simplicity
This call so strong and so tender “Stay in my charity”
“I love both the night and the day”
Such was the divine song

From the victim of love To Jesus,
his mystic Bridegroom.
“My vocation is love…”
“I love both night and day.”

To love is,
like Magdalene
Never to leave the Lord
But to stand in full peace
At the feet of this divine Saviour.
She listened in silence “The word He told him.”
Better to savour his presence
Oh, everything in her was silent.
His soul finally took hold

Jesus the One Necessary.
Before this divine Being
All the earth vanished.
Buried in his love

She surrendered without return.

To love is to be apostolic

Zealous for the honour of the living God
It is truly the ancient heritage
That the great seer left us.
Collected by St. Thérèse
Who gave it to us in turn.
Carmel became the furnace,
The home of divine Love.
Our saints had understood it so well…
As they were enflaming souls!
All in them gave Jesus Christ
By radiating his bright flames.
My Sisters, let’s be real Apostles of Charity.

To love is to imitate Mary
Exalting in God’s greatness
While her soul delighted
Sang her song to the Lord.
Your centre, o faithful Virgin,
Was the annihilation,

For Jesus, everlasting splendour,
Hides in abasement.
It’s always through humility

May your soul magnify him.
The Apostle in his infirmity Cried out,
“I boast In the strength of the Redeemer

Living and triumphant in my heart.”  

To love is to testify

To our Christ, to our King;
And give our life as a pledge
To better affirm our faith.
Like our sixteen blessed,
May we shed our blood
Singing in our happy souls
A hymn all grateful.
Truth, speaking one day

Says this supreme word:
“The greatest proof of love

Is to die for the One we love.”
O my Sisters,

“let us die every day”
To make Him love for love.

“To the praise of his glory”
Let us sacrifice ourselves always
Because to win the victory

God claims our help.
Let us imitate our revered mothers
In their zeal and fervor.
We will come out of our miseries
And our King will be victorious.
We will redouble fidelity
For this plan to be realized.
By our generosity
We will help the Holy Church

And we will see love reigning,
A foretaste of the divine abode.

~Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity Poetry

“What numbers of saints we have in heaven who have worn this habit of ours!
We must have the holy audacity to aspire, with God’s help, to be like them.
The struggle will not last long, but the outcome will be eternal.”
~ St. Teresa of Avila

A Blessed Feast Day of All Carmelite Saints!
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The Cloister of the Heart

Jesus, Art by Amy Mc Cutcheon

Everything leads us to the love of Our Lord.
All things nourish and feed this love;
All things cherish and make it our joy;
It lives on our desires and satisfies them;
It lives on our sorrows and consoles them;
It lives on our sufferings and rewards them;
It lives on our sacrifices and makes them infinitely precious;
It lives on our pleasures and adds to them;
It lives on our hopes and fulfils them:
And in a word it will create our happiness
Now and for ever.

To LOVE, nothing will seem impossible, nay more, nothing will be impossible. You cannot restrain love; it is irresistible, mounts every barrier, triumphs over ever difficulty, laughs at every obstacle. This supernatural love-life is the only real life. Yes, this Interior Life lived with Jesus, our attachment to and union with Him, and through Him with the Father and the Holy Ghost, this IS life, OUR life, the only things to live for, without which all else is dead, and worthless and meaningless.

The one sure cloister is the cloister of the heart, where Jesus and the soul live their love-life together, untroubled and undisturbed by all the riot and tumult of the world without; with every movement of memory, mind, and imagination stilled, every desire quelled, there in that silent cloister of the heart the soul is flooded with the calm tranquil peace of perfect love and lies in glad content in the embrace of her Divine Lover. The outward cloister matters little; the inward cloister matters much.

It is to little purpose to shut out the vision of the exterior world, if imagination and memory rove over it as they will, for then the soul is more without than she was before; once enter the cloister of the heart and then, even if she live in the midst of the restless tossing of this world’s troubled throng, there will be perfect peace within. It is for lovers that the Divine Lover is calling. He comes, this Lover, Jesus, with the Great Red Wounds so cruelly gashed in Hands and Feet and Side. He comes, this Lover, Jesus, with His Body all rent, all torn, all bleeding. He comes, this Lover, Jesus, with His Head crowned with cruel thorns, with His Sacred Face disfigured with wounds and blows, with His Eyes filled with Blood. He comes to seek for lovers. His Arms are stretched out wide ready to embrace the soul that will make her response to His appeal, and say to Him: “Oh, my darling Jesus, I take You for my Lover and my All. My Love, I want to be everything to You, and You shall be everything to me!” He will embrace her with those blood-stained Arms of His and the thrill of love will surge through her at His touch.

Victims of Love, those who would love to love’s extreme limit, love without reserve; love with such love that they sacrifice themselves as living Victims to His All-Merciful Love; it is for such our Jesus is calling. It is for souls like these that He asks.


I hold Him, and nor time nor place
My soul from Him shall part—
The Heart of my most loving God,
The God of my poor heart.


~ Listening to the Indwelling Presence, compiled by a Religious

To my Mother, Our Lady of Mount Carmel

 

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Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Photo taken by me in Alba de Tormes, Spain)

 

Oh Heavenly Queen of Carmel,
pure and sublime beauty!

Mother of Carmel,
I carry you deeply in my heart.
Cover my soul with your mantel, sweet Mother of mine
and fill it with your care and warmth.
My soul is secure in you,
joined together with your love.
Your hands guide my steps,
Lighting them night and day.
You are my lighthouse that leads me
to safe harbor.
Oh Star of the Sea!

Carmel is your garden and your perfume
permeates all the flowers. What a joy to feel you near!
What a blessing to have you as a Mother!
Your scent envelopes my soul when I tend to the roses and the jasmine.
Roses salute you, their beauty adorn your steps.
Your Carmel is a garden with green prairies and abundant flowers,
with many springs of living, fresh and healing water.

I thank you Blessed Mother for inviting me to your abode
and for teaching me to live day by day, step by step with you.
Let me rest in your sweet heart, Virgen del Carmen
for there is where I find the One I seek…
The Beloved!

 

~ My personal reflection/poem

 

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Roses for Mary (Photo taken by me)

 

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Carmel is the mountain of flowers and with full hands the children of Carmel have strewn these flowers over the earth. ~ Bl Titus Brandsma  (My photo)

 

 

Wishing you all a very happy and blessed Feast Day of Our lady of Mount Carmel!
Ora Pro Nobis!

 

St. John the Baptist: Baptism

 

Icon4
Icon of St. John the Forerunner, art source unknown

 

A Sonnet for St. John the Baptist:

 

Love’s hidden thread has drawn us to the font,

A wide womb floating on the breath of God,

Feathered with seraph wings, lit with the swift

Lightening of praise, with thunder over-spread,

And under-girded with an unheard song,

Calling through water, fire, darkness, pain,

Calling us to the life for which we long,

Yearning to bring us to our birth again.

Again the breath of God is on the waters

In whose reflecting face our candles shine,

Again he draws from death the sons and daughters

For whom he bid the elements combine.

As living stones around a font today,

Rejoice with those who roll the stone away.

 

~ By Malcolm Guite – this sonnet was published in the book ‘Sounding of the Seasons,’ a cycle of seventy sonnets for the Church Year.

The Life of Prayer – Meditation #2

 

Jesus Let us adore Him art by annie henrie
Art by Annie Henrie

 

Since prayer does not consist in thinking much but in loving much, a life of continual prayer will consist much more in love than in thought. Nevertheless, a certain amount of mental activity is necessary, either to direct the heart toward God, or to maintain it in this direction.

The soul who applies itself well to mental prayer will easily be able to collect in itself some good thoughts which it can use during the day to keep its heart turned toward God. Therefore, it will be useful for the soul to try to recall these thoughts often in the midst of its occupations, and to apply them practically to its life.

Thus, for example, if during prayer, we have been considering God’s infinite mercy toward us, we shall strive to preserve this thought even during our occupations, recognizing many signs of this mercy in the various circumstances in which we find ourselves. in fact, many happenings which, from a purely human point of view, are unpleasant and painful, hide, in reality, great mercies of the Lord who, by means of the sorrows, fatigues, and the trials of life, wants to detach us from creatures, make us practice virtue, and advance in goodness. Likewise, in our dealings with our neighbor, we shall try to imitate God’s mercy. “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful” (Lk 6,36). Although our prayer was spent in aridity, without leaving us any definite thought, but only a deeper realization of our nothingness and the infinite greatness of God, we shall make a treasure of it by attempting during the day to fulfill our duties in a spirit of humility and homage to God. We shall rejoice if some opportunity occurs for humbling ourselves, acknowledging our littleness—even before creatures—and exalting the grandeurs of the Lord.

In this way prayer will not be an isolated item in our day, but will permeate it, by conferring on each action and circumstance the tone of continual prayer.

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

 

 

“Give me, O Lord, such great fervor and immense love that I shall see no difference between this or that life, this or that state, person, time, or place, but shall do what is most pleasing to You, whatever or wherever it may be, tending always to You by the affection of my soul. Grant that I may see all things in You, and nothing but You in them, ever eager and anxious to serve You in all things; and that, all on fire and burning with love, I may not take into consideration what is easiest and most agreeable for me, but only what is most pleasing to You.”
~ St. Bonaventure