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! ❤
I saw a Child stand, Royally bedecked In crown, scepter, And finely wrought white garments, And a crimson cloak. I saw a Child. And suddenly I knew The secret of all mystery, And of all immensity!
Eternity opened Its sublimity to me. I looked into The Face of Ecstasy. For hidden there Before my eyes Was Love Become a Child For love of me!
I knelt Before His smallness, And knew I grew. There before me Stood the Infant, Aged a year or two. And kneeling made me As small as He.
Child, Man, and Host! The secret of all mystery Began with the Infant, Grew with the Man, And reached the infinity Of sublimity In the smallest of All things sublime — A Host!
I saw a Child And He gave me the key That opens the Heart Of Him- Who – Is; Whom I can please If I repeat the Child’s way: Grow small, Quite small.
Then I will be so very big That I will reach My Father’s hand And understand What it means to be Absorbed And hidden In the Lord of Hosts, A host myself Annihilated Unto death to self; A piece of bread To be eaten up With zeal and love For Him The Child.
~ A poem by Catherine De Hueck Doherty
Throughout this beautiful season, I am praying for you. I pray that the Infant may touch your heart and mind and soul with His tiny hands. I pray that He may open you to His own beauty, and to realize that He needs you in His Mystical Body!
I pray that you might begin to be Christ-centered, not self-centered. Yes, this is my prayer for you—that you become Christ-centered, Love-centered! It is tragic to behold a world that ‘makes Christ wait’ to receive our love. It is even more tragic to behold dedicated Christians—those especially chosen by His love—making Him wait.
But when all is said and done, I must come back to this one sentence of John the Beloved: “Little children, let us love one another.” I have nothing else to say, really; Love is the very essence of our religion, our faith.
~ A meditation by Catherine De Hueck Doherty
Wishing you all a very blessed Christmastide and a New Year 2021 filled with Christ love, good health in body and spirit, peace and unity! ❤
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!
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
“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 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! ❤
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.”