The following story is a Christmas fable, written by Jude Fischer, a staff worker of Madonna House Apostolate in Combermere, Ontario – Canada. It is one of a collection of stories excerpted from her book, Be Always Little.
Once there was a reed, tall and proud, growing near a stream. He was a fine reed indeed. And how he loved life! He lived every moment to the full! From his height, he had a splendid view of the whole area. He watched the small animals scampering to and fro, the birds darting here and there, the multi-hued insects, the fish gliding in the stream. Best of all, he liked the flowers. They came in a never-ending parade of exquisite form and color. Old friends would go; but new ones promptly followed and delighted him so, that he never stopped to wonder what happened to the old. And all the while he stood tall and green. Yes, life was good indeed. One morning he awoke, and as he looked into the stream he discovered that his tip was turning brown. His dismay grew as, day after day, the malady spread until his fine green coat was completely gone. Not only that, he began to feel dry, then drier and drier. The rains came and beat at him; the wind battered him; and finally a mighty gust snapped him loose from the earth. He lay desolate on the ground—broken, bruised, and heavy-hearted. Some days later, a young man came by and picked him up. He put him in his bag, It was black inside, so black that the poor reed could see nothing at all. He longed for the end, for anything but this unending darkness. Finally the day came when the young man took him out of the bag. How good it was to see light again! And he saw fields and rolling hills and sheep grazing peacefully around. The young man took a sharp knife and cut part of the Reed away, hurting him so acutely he couldn’t help but cry out. Then the man ruthlessly pierced him through, from end to end, clearing out his hollow. Every inch of his being quivered with pain. Then he was thrust back into the darkness again. Sometime later he was taken out. He welcomed the light, yet dreaded the pain he anticipated would come along with it. And sure enough, there was the knife. This time the young man mercilessly cut several holes in him. He wept silently. Then he was plunged once more into blackness. The day came when Reed, from his dark home in the bag, sensed something different, some excitement in the air. The young man joined some other shepherds and they hurried toward the edge of town. There they went into a cave, and the young man pulled Reed out of the bag, Reed braced himself for the inevitable knife. Instead, to his surprise, he felt only the gentle caress of the young man’s hands as he lifted him tenderly to his lips. Then the young man poured his life’s breath into him; and there came forth Reed a beautiful song, simple and pure. And as Reed sang, he looked out and saw a young mother and her little Baby. And they smiled at him.
“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light.” (Isa. 9:1).
I haven’t been active much this year but I’m looking forward to share with you all new posts in the new year. I hope everyone had a beautiful Christmas! Wishing you and your loved ones a very blessed, healthy and peaceful New Year 2022! ❤
O Mary, Beauty of Carmel, make me worthy ofyour protection, clothe me with your scapular, and be the teacher of my interior life.
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! ❤
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 110:3). 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! ❤
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.
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!
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!
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
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
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
Roses for Mary (Photo taken by me)
Carmel is the mountain of flowers and with full hands the children of Carmel have strewn these flowers over the earth. ~ BlTitus Brandsma (My photo)
Wishing you all a very happy and blessed Feast Day of Our lady of Mount Carmel! Ora Pro Nobis!