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

 

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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.

Love’s Choice

 

“O God, O Creator, O Spirit of life overwhelming Your creatures with ever new graces!
You grant to Your chosen ones the gift which is ever renewed:
The Body and Blood of Jesus Christ!”
~ St. Angela of Foligno

 

The Body and Blood of Christ by Theophilia
The Eucharistic Heart of Jesus
Art by Cecilia Lawrence ~ 2018

 

This sonnet is about the experience of receiving Holy Communion:

This bread is light, dissolving, almost air,

A little visitation on my tongue,

A wafer-thin sensation, hardly there.

This taste of wine is brief in flavour, flung

A moment to the palate’s roof and fled,

Even its aftertaste a memory.

Yet this is how He comes. Through wine and bread

Love chooses to be emptied into me.

He does not come in unimagined light

Too bright to be denied, too absolute

For consciousness, too strong for sight,

Leaving the seer blind, the poet mute;

Chooses instead to seep into each sense,

To dye himself into experience.

 

~ A Sonnet for Corpus Christi, by Malcolm Guite. It was published in ‘Sounding the Seasons’ a cycle of seventy sonnets for the Church Year.

 

 

“The eternal tide flows hid in Living Bread. That with its heavenly life too be fed…”
~ St. John of the Cross, O.C.D
 

 

 

Wishing you all a very Blessed Feast of Corpus Christi!

 

Our Secret Garden

 

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My Photo, taken in Bayfield, Ontario ~ June 2020

 

Beloved,

Here we are,
in our meeting place.
Our secret garden,
in a beautiful day of June
late afternoon.

I find You in the flowers.
I find You in the birds,
the trees, the ducks, the butterflies.
All rejoice and praise You.
Your presence is here with me among the lilies.
Your fragrance is everywhere.
Your love and tenderness follows me
wherever I go.

Beloved,

Nature is Your playground.
The sky is Your canvas.
I stop and let all these precious moments
stay with me forever.

They console my heart.
You know my heart is aching
from the losses of three dear friends.
Three beautiful souls that recently departed
To Your loving arms.
May You welcome them in your Kingdom,
where there are no more tears and pain.
Blessed them with Your everlasting love and peace.

Beloved,

Your Heart I seek.
I want my heart to become a shrine for
Your Sacred Heart.
A place where You can rest and I can rest
in You.
My Jesus,
my All
and my God. 

~ My short poem to Jesus

 

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Photo taken by me at Gairloch Gardens ~ June 2020


Nothing can separate us from the love of God.
Romans 8:39

 

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Photo taken by me at Gairloch Gardens ~ June 2020


If God gave the soul his whole creation she would not be filled thereby but only with himself.
Meister Eckhart

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Photo taken by me at Gairloch Gardens ~ June 2020


From the creation, learn to admire the Lord! Indeed the magnitude and beauty of creation display a God who is the artificer of the universe. He has made the mode of creation to be our best teacher.

~ St. John Chrysostom

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Photo taken by me at Gairloch Gardens ~ June 2020

The whole earth is a living icon of the face of God.
~ St. John Damascus

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Photo taken by me at Gairloch Gardens ~ June 2020


God passes through the thicket of the world, and wherever His glance falls He turns all things to beauty.

~ St. John of the Cross

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Photo taken by me at Gairloch Gardens ~ June 2020


I asked the whole frame of the world about my God; and he answered, I am not He, but He made me.
St. Augustine of Hippo

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Photo taken by me at Gairloch Gardens ~ June 2020


Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!
~ Pope Francis

 

The Spirit, the Hidden Treasure in Your Field

 

Holy Spirit within ones soul by rebecca brogan
The Holy Spirit within ones soul, art by Rebecca Brogan

 

The goal of the Incarnation, the Cross, and the Resurrection is Pentecost. If God has become man, if he has suffered and died for us and risen from the dead, it is in order finally to fill us with the Holy Spirit. Jesus says it with crystal clear words: “I came to cast fire upon the earth; and would that it were already kindled!” (Lk 12:49).

In one of the manuscripts of Luke’s Gospel, it says “May your Holy Spirit come”, instead of may “Your kingdom come” (Lk 11:2). God’s kingdom is identified with the Holy Spirit. When we are filled with him, God is truly Lord in us.

The theology of the West is sometimes criticized for its “mono-Christ-ism”. It seems that theologians have devoted themselves in a biased, almost exclusive way toward Christ. But we cannot understand Christ, the truth, if we are not led by the Spirit of truth, who leads us into all truth (Jn 16:13). Perhaps this is also the reason why the theology of the West is so cold, dry, and abstract. The flame is missing. We have needed the Charismatic Renewal to become aware that the Church is not only the Church of Christ but also the Church of the Holy Spirit.

There are three Persons in God. We may not omit or pass over any one of them. Each one of the three Persons has his own function and his own role. We miss out on something essential if we limit ourselves to one or two Persons.

In the beginning, God’s Spirit hovered over the waters (Gen 1:2). We could speak of a cosmic Pentecost, which prepared, and in some way even anticipated, the actual and definitive Pentecost. The Spirit is present from the beginning, and he sighs in creation and makes it sigh with him. “We know”, writes Saint Paul, “that the whole creation has been groaning with labor pains” (Rom 8:22). It begins already on the first day of creation, and this groaning is the work of the Spirit.

It is man’s calling to be a conscious pneumatoforos (Spirit bearer). What is unconscious in creation becomes conscious in man. It is his function to interpret the language of creation, to be in harmony with it and articulate it, so that it becomes a song of praise that not only God but even his fellowmen can understand.

 
~ A Mediation by Father Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

 

Holy Virgin, I Beg You

 

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Mary, Mother of God: The Teotokos, art by Bradi Barth

 

St. Ildephonsus of Toledo, Spain, was proclaiming the joy of being “a servant of Mary” already in the 7th century. In one of his prayers he brings to full light the idea of Mary’s virginal Motherhood as a model of spiritual life for the Christian.

Mary must obtain for us from the Holy Spirit the grace for Christ to be formed spiritually in us just as she, through the power of the same Spirit, fashioned Christ according to the flesh.

 

Holy Virgin, I beg you:
enable me to receive Jesus from the Spirit,
according to the same process by which you bore Jesus.

May my soul possess Jesus
thanks to the Spirit
through Whom you conceived Jesus.

May the grace to know Jesus
be granted to me through the Spirit
Who enabled you to know how to possess Jesus
and bring Him forth.

May my littleness show forth the greatness of Jesus
in virtue of the Spirit in Whom
you recognized yourself as the handmaid of the Lord,
desiring that it be done to you
according to the word of the Angel.

May I love Jesus in the Spirit
in Whom you adored Him as your Lord
and looked after Him as your Son.

~ St. Ildephonsus of Toledo

 

~ From the book “Prayers to Mary” by Most Rev. Virgilio Noe

 

 

May, a blessed month with Our Lady!

 

The Old Has Died

 

trusting in the Lord art by Elizabeth Wang
Trusting in the Lord, art by Elizabeth Wang

 

By the cross of Jesus Christ “the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (Gal 6:14). Not the world as God created it, but the spirit of the world: the conceit, the greed, and the egoism that are within us.

All this has died to me, Paul testifies. Therefore, it can’t control me, it has no claim on me, it can’t be the starting point of my actions.

Nevertheless, the spirit of the world has made its mark on you. But this cannot hurt you if you merely see it as a trace of something that has died. Nobody can be afraid of what has already died. The new life in Christ is your genuine reality.

Many people who begin to spend time in interior prayer complain that they become so very absent-minded. Thoughts rush in like horses in a gallop. What am I to do about that? they wonder uneasily. What definitely not to do is fight these thoughts aggressively or be afraid of them. If you fight or become afraid, you show that you take these thoughts seriously.

The only thing to take seriously is the new creation within you, the new life which is the life of Christ in you. Everything else is completely uninteresting: it has died, and you don’t have to lose time and energy on it.

The Christian life is so much simpler than you think. You don’t have to walk around fighting all kinds of things, or desperately try to conquer God. A Christian begins in the victory. The old has irrevocably died and come to an end. You must rest in the new that you already been given.

 
~ A Meditation by Father Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.

 

 

When we contemplate the sufferings of Jesus, He grants us, according to the measure of our faith, the grace to practice the virtues He revealed during those sacred hours.
~ Saint Angela Merici

 

 

God Alone Suffices

 

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Icon of the Holy Trinity, by Paternitas 1855 (State Museum of Palekh Art)

 

Ultimately, there really is only one thing you unequivocally can ask God: that he be your all. There is no need to coach God as to how best he ought to fulfill your needs. God is all, and, when he gives himself, he gives you everything you need. If you possess God, there is nothing more for which you can ask.

The first part of the Lord’s Prayer is completely focused on God himself: hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done. Following that, you are free to ask for what you think you need, but these special petitions must always be rooted in surrender to—and longing for—God’s very self.

The closer you are to God, the more emphasis is on the first part of the Lord’s Prayer. The more you trust God, the less you are inclined to specify your prayers for the various needs you may have for yourself and others.

There is a restless concern that is not of God, a restlessness that comes from trying to carry the suffering of the world on your own shaky shoulders, rather than laying it in God’s hands.

The one who in surrender commends the world to God will continue to feel compassion for all who suffer. But it is a compassion that is held up by a deep peace rooted in the knowledge that God, who is almighty, loves everyone and can assimilate everything in his plan to save the world.

~ A Meditation by Father Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.