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   

 

 

 

The Way of Gratitude

 

Holy Spirit by carolle powell
The Holy Spirit, art by Carole J. Powell

 

How can we cooperate with the Holy Spirit and let joy, and thus him, for he is joy, fill us?

There is a king’s highway that leads directly to the goal, and that is gratitude. It is unthinkable that one could be grateful and unhappy at the same time. The remarkable thing about gratitude is that it naturally and almost automatically grows and tends toward an ever greater unselfishness. It begins rather egocentrically: I have received a gift that makes me happy. My gratitude is kindled by the fact that one of my needs has been satisfied, that one of my wishes has been fulfilled.

But as soon as I begin to give thanks, my attention, which was at first fixed on myself, turns toward my benefactor, God. The emphasis, which before was on me, is transplanted little by little into God. I thank you because you have given me. I thank you because you are so good to me. I thank you because you are so good that it could occur to you to think of me. I thank you because you are so wonderful.

I become more and more freed from myself and ever more fascinated by God’s love and beauty.
It begins with me and ends with you. “Behold, you are beautiful, my love, behold, you are beautiful!” (Song 4:1).

Again, it is the Eucharist that gives us a splendid example of this progressive shift from man to God, from the gift to the Giver. We begin the Eucharistic Prayer thanking God for creating us, for in his mercy coming to help of all people, for sending his Son To save us.

But it always ends with the great doxology (praise), in which man, in total forgetfulness of himself, is completely absorbed in God’s glory: “Through him, and with him, and in him, O God, almighty Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, all glory and honor is yours, for ever and ever.”

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

 

 

“Come Holy Spirit, come,
and enkindle in us the fire of your love.”

 

 

A blessed Pentecost Sunday to you all!

 

 

As It Could Have Been

 

walk-with-me-by-yongsung-kim-
Walk with Me, art by Yongsung Kim

 

In the Bible, it is primarily the books of Job, Lamentations, and Psalms that express the darker side of our journey to God. The bright side is perhaps best described in the Song of Songs.

The Song of Songs sings of the only essential thing in life for which we were created: Love. And it does so with spark, enthusiasm, and an irresistible faith in love. “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can floods drown it” (Song 8:7).
This unparalleled poetry shows us how the world could have been had we not lost paradise. Love is enough in itself. For those who live in absolute love, few words are needed to talk about God. Innocence or sin are not treated. Love encompasses all, and neither questions nor answers are needed any longer.

This devoted and burning love points to the new fire which the new Adam has come to light on the earth (Lk 12:49). It is a prophecy of the jubilant love dance of the blessed at the wedding feast of the Lamb. It sings of the love between Christ and the Church, between Christ and every Christian. Such is the Christian life, such as it ought to be. The two who enjoy each other “among the lilies” (Song 2:16, 6:2) are the great Lover, God, and his beloved bride, humankind.

The Christian life has nothing to do with objectivity and cold duty. To the ones who enter into relationship with God, life becomes and adventure of love.

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

 

 

“O night, that guided me! O night, sweeter than sunrise!
O night, that joined lover with Beloved! Lover transformed in Beloved!”
Saint John of the Cross, O.C.D.

 

 

 

Vineyard of Carmel

 

CarmeliteMonastery
Carmelite Monastery in Santa Clara, California ~ Art by Sylvia Waddell


Come, Love, to the vineyard

In the morning dew,
There we’ll watch in silence,
If vineyards bloom anew,
If the grapes are growing,
Life with vigor glowing,
Fresh the vine and true.

From the heights of Heaven
Holy Mother descend,
Lead unto your vineyard
Our beloved friend.
Dew and rain let gently
Drop from His kind hand
And the balm of sunshine
Fall on Carmel’s land.

Young vines, newly planted,
Tiny though they be,
Grant them life eternal
A gift of peace from Thee.
Trusted vintners strengthen
Their frail and feeble powers,
Shield them from the enemy
Who in darkness cowers.

Holy Mother grant reward
For your vintners’ care
Give them, I beseech you,
Crown of Heaven fair.
Don’t let raging fire
Kill these vines, we pray,
And grant your life eternal
To each young shoot some day.

 

~ A poem by St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), O.C.D.

Gaze Into My Eyes

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Véante mis ojos, dulce Jesús bueno

[Poema – Texto completo.]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Saint Teresa of Ávila, pray for us!

 

Elpina, The Shepherdess

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

The Cloud of Carmel

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

For a Lover of Nature

I recently got back from a wonderful trip to Scotland. My daughter and I visited the beautiful and magical city of Edinburgh and later on we took a full day tour to visit the Scottish Highlands—It was such a wonderful experience to be surrounded by majestic mountains and valleys, visiting small Victorian little towns, cruising the dark and deep waters of Loch Ness with breathtaking views followed by a visit to Urquhart Castle. And feeding the Highlands Cows—Unforgettable! What an amazing day we had!

I’m feeling very humble and blessed by the extraordinary experiences we had with my daughter during our visit to Scotland. So thankful to our Beloved Lord for blessing us with this amazing opportunity to travel together and treasure those moments for a lifetime.

Here I share a few of the photos I took during our visit to this beautiful land of many treasures. . .

 

EDI122
Relaxing at sunset with a view of Edinburgh Castle in the background (My photo – July 2019)

 

EDI80
Our climb to Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh…Philippians 4:13  (My photo – July 2019)

 

EDI saint patrick church
Attended Mass at St. Patrick’s Church in Edinburgh on July 16th Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel ❤ A very blessed day! (My photo – July 2019)

 

EDI Little Flower
Saint Thérèse ❤ you are always near! Thank you Little Flower! At St. Patrick’s Church, July 16th 2019 (My photo)

 

Edi Lochness 2
Cruising on Loch Ness…Enjoying all the beauty and wonder! God’s creation is awesome and a precious gift to us all! (My photo – July 2019)

 

Urquhart castle
Visiting the ruins of Urquhart Castle. . . (My photo – July 2019)

 

Highland coo
Visiting the Highland Coo! They are so docile and cute! (My photo – July 2019)

 

roses in EDI
Beautiful roses everywhere in Edinburgh and The Highlands…The climate favors them for their growth and beauty! Here I took this photo in the Victorian town of Pitlochry (July 2019).

 

EDI me and my baby girl
The Highlands! So grateful to God for this unforgettable trip! (My photo – July 2019)

 

For a Lover of Nature

Your valley trails its beauty through your poems,
the kindly woods, the wide majestic river.
Earth is your god—or goddess, you declare,
mindful of what good time must one day give her
of all you have. Water and rocks and trees
hold primal words born out of Genesis.

But Love is older than these.

You lay your hand upon the permanence
of green-embroidered land and miss the truth
that you are trusting your immortal spirit
to earth’s sad inexperience and youth.
Centuries made this soil; this rock was lifted 
out of aeons; time could never trace 
a path to water’s birth or air’s inception,
and so, you say, these be your godly grace.
Earth was swept into being with the light—
dear earth, you argue, who will soon be winning
your flesh and bones by a most ancient right.

But Love had no beginning.

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

 

 

 

 

 

An Inner Fire

Dove with rose
Art source unknown

 

Every human being has an innate longing for an inner fire. The fire we long for is the Holy Spirit. Once the Spirit begins to burn in us, all the old, bad habits will successively be driven out. For this reason, the fire will create conflict. It isn’t our purpose to create conflict, but we must not be afraid of it when it comes. Conflicts, be they exterior and interior, are signs of health if they are a consequence of the Spirit burning within us.

Do not be afraid of the anxiety that the arrival of the Spirit may bring. Don’t go back to the lifeless peace which may have characterized your life up till now. Let yourself be shook up by the Spirit. The peace Jesus promised presupposes a complete reorganization of your life. Don’t be afraid to leave old habits behind; it’s natural at first to feel insecure and unsure. Don’t be afraid of the truth, even if it is uncomfortable.

Do not be afraid of becoming a sign of contradiction either. If the Spirit burns in you, you necessarily become a different person. You become a stranger in the world, a pilgrim on the earth. You will disappoint some people; others will consider you naïve. But you are not seeking the world’s peace. Jesus says: “…my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives.” (Jn 14:27).

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

 

Come, Holy Spirit, come! 

 

 

Happy & Blessed Pentecost Sunday!

 

 

 

Contemplation

 

lavender
Photo source unknown

 

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

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

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

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

Thanks be to God.

~ A poem by Luci Shaw