The Life of Prayer

 

O Lord, grant that I may seek You, not only at certain moments during the day, but also at every instant of my life.
~ Divine Intimacy

 

jesus sacred heart20

Art source unknown

 

A soul who longs for a life of intimacy with God is not satisfied to limit its relations with Him to the time of prayer, but tries to extend them throughout the whole day. This is a rightful desire, for one who loves tries to prolong continuously his relations with the beloved. This is true, therefore, of a soul who loves God; and its desire is the more easily realized, since God Himself is always with us; He is always present and working in us. We are treating, it is true, of a presence which is spiritual and invisible; it is, however, real and not merely affective and moral, as is the presence of a loved one in the heart and mind of a lover.

If God is always with us, why can we not be always in continual contact with him? This contact is realized by thought and love, but much more by the latter than by the former. In fact, it is impossible to be always thinking of God, partly because the mind becomes tired and partly because our many occupations demand all the application of our intellect, which cannot pay attention to two different things at the same time. The heart, on the other hand, can always love, even when the mind is busy elsewhere; and it never grows weary of tending toward the object of its love. Since supernatural love does not consist in sentiment, but in an intimate orientation of the will toward God, we know that this turning is possible, even during the performance of duties which absorb all our attention. The will can strengthen this orientation of itself toward God precisely by the desire to fulfill each duty for love of Him, to please Him and give glory to Him. St. Thomas says that the heart can always tend Godward by “the desire of charity,” that is, by the desire to love Him, to serve Him, and to be united to Him in every action. “Prayer is nothing but a desire of the heart; if your desire is continuous, your prayer is continuous. Do you wish never to cease praying? Then never cease desiring” (St. Augustine).

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

Prayer Time

The traffic goes on and on.
Talk about rush hour!

Lord,
I don’t want it to be this way,
I long for stillness for both of us,
for us to meet and embrace in a holy emptiness
filled with your Spirit. I don’t want
these endless, trivial interruptions,
these mundane comments, this sheer nonsense—
like confetti thrown all over us
as we walk away from the consecration
of our nuptials, into the world and our work there.

You are very patient. You take no notice
of my repetitive slogans. My captive mind
that reiterates so boringly these matters of no moment
and dallies down side roads
looking at silly signposts and place names,
seeming to disregard you.

I say “seeming”
for all the time I am so deeply and intricately
intertwined with you, so absolutely yours,
(as you are mine) that there’s no separation now
for all eternity.

Amen, and Alleluia.

~ A poem by Barbara Dent, O.C.D.S 

We Need Silence

 

winter north

(Photo source unknown)

 

Silence will heal the wounds inflicted by the endless words that swarm around us, exhaust us, tire us beyond all tiredness. We need silence in our noisy, work–filled life, as a child needs its mother’s milk. We need to be alone with God.
We need to have a desert, be it only a corner of some apartment, some house, where we can go and rest with God. We need to follow him to some hill, to some garden where he himself was also wont to pray when he was tired and weary and distressed.
We need silence in order to be able to listen to our brothers, to listen with the heart. We need silence to open our souls to our brothers, making an inn for the thousands who may be living in palatial homes but have no place to lay their burdens of loneliness.
We need that silence to be able to speak a few words charged with our love, charged with Christ.

~ A Meditation by Catherine de Hueck Doherty

 

Silent God

This is my prayer —
That, though I may not see,
I be aware
Of the Silent God
Who stands by me.
That, though I may not feel,
I be aware
Of the Mighty Love
Which doggedly follows me.
That, though I may not respond,
I be aware
That God—my Silent, Mighty God,
Waits each day.
Quietly, hopefully, persistently,
Waits each day and through each night
For me,
For me—alone.

~ A poem by Edwina Gateley, ‘Psalms of a Laywoman’

 

 

 

The First Miracle of Jesus


O Jesus, I beg You to transform my soul as You once transformed the water for the bride and bridegroom at Cana.
~ Divine Intimacy

 

wedding at cana

The Wedding at Cana, art by Bradi Barth

 

“And the third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the Mother of Jesus was there. And Jesus also was invited . . . to the marriage.” (John 2,I-II).  For the first time, we see the Blessed Virgin in her maternal function as mediatrix of all graces. The Cana miracle, Jesus’ first, was worked precisely because of her intercession which was so powerful that it made Jesus anticipate His hour. “My hour is not yet come,” the Savior had answered His Mother, and Mary was neither dismayed by this apparent refusal nor did she insist on her request. Secure in the knowledge of her Son and full of loving confidence in Him, she says to the servants, “Whatsoever He shall say to you, do ye.” Her humility, consideration for others, faith, and trustful abandonment win Jesus, and to show us the greatness of her power over His divine heart, He grants her wish; the miracle takes place.

Mary’s faith is admirable; and also worthy of admiration is the faith and prompt obedience of the servants who, following Mary’s advice, immediately carry out the orders of Jesus; they fill the waterpots with water and then pour from them. Not a moment of doubt, not a protest—they simply obey. May we not learn from them how to believe, how to obey? Shall we not have recourse to Mary’s powerful intercession?

 

How encouraging it is, O Lord, for me to find Your sweet Mother beside You today! Everything becomes simple and easy near Mary, beneath her maternal eye, under the protection of her powerful intercession. How good You, were, O Jesus, to give us Your dear Mother to be the Mother of our spiritual life! I will follow Mary’s precious advice and do everything You tell me, everything You wish me to do.

O Lord, with a like confidence and trust, I lay my needs before You today. Do You see them? My soul is like the waterpots at the feast: full of water, the cold, insipid water of my frailty and weakness, which I never seem to overcome completely. I can say with the Psalmist: “The waters have come even unto my soul” (Psalm 60,I), and they submerge me and I am as one drowned in incompetence and weakness. O Lord, I believe that, if You will, You can change all this water into the precious wine of Your love, Your grace, and Your life.

 

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

Journey Inward

 

journey inward by elizabeth wang

Art by Elizabeth Wang

 

Somewhere along the road of life, by the grace of God, my soul awoke. And it was hungry, hungry for God.

Its hunger became a fire, a fire that consumed me and ate me up with its intense, devouring heat. I could not rest anywhere except in motion, that long, endless journey that every soul must undertake if she is to meet her God.

It is a strange journey, across arid plains and verdant valleys, across dried parchment-like deserts. A journey of many crossroads and endless sharp turns that confuse and make one clamour for a rest.

But the hunger for God knows no rest. So I go on and on and on.

Yes, it is a strange journey, that slowly makes me shed all the baggage I took for it, baggage I took before I knew that it would be too heavy a load for this kind of journey.
I don’t know where I felt it—somewhere back there by some crossroad.

Now I am baggageless, but still too heavily burdened. My hunger drives me on. For speedy traveling. I must start to shed my clothing.

There on this stone I lay the cloak of selfishness that kept me warm. It is cold without it, but I can walk faster, as my hunger urges me to.

Here on this branch, I hang my dress of selflove and compromise with the world. I shiver now in earnest, but my feet have wings. Yet this sheltered rock begs for my underwear.

Slowly, reluctantly, I shed my undergarments, one by one. Here goes self-indulgence. Tidily, next to it, I lay greed for possessions and love of ease and comfort. Next, not so tidily, go helter-skelter all the things in me that are not God’s.

Lord, behold I stand naked before thee, with wings on my feet. Wings on my feet! Now my journey inward will be swift.

But it is not. For I still stumble and fall and walk haltingly, inches instead of miles, while the hunger for God flays me and urges me to make haste.

Oh, I had forgotten my shoes, the heavy, comfortable shoes that have shielded my feet. Shielded my feet from the cutting stones, from the sharp pebbles. I must unlace my shoes, my comfortable stout shoes, the last covering of my naked soul. The last stronghold of my non-surrender to God.

I hesitate. The narrow path upward is so hard. It has so many sharp stones. So many knife-edged pebbles. But the hunger for God flames in me, a furnace of fire unquenchable, the fire of love, of passionate, utter love of God. I must go on, on that journey inward that alone will bring me face to face with him for whom I hunger constantly, without ceasing.

Quickly, I bend and with hasty, clumsy fingers unlace one shoe, then the other. My eagerness expresses my hunger. Recklessly I throw one shoe this way, the other that, not caring where they fall.

Now I am free, I am free and naked, and my feet have wings, huge wings that carry me across sharp stones and knife-edged pebbles without harm. Now the brambles and thorns that edge the path turn and point the other way.

I am a naked soul, free and untrammelled, driven by the hunger of my love for God, driven by my love for God, on and on, on this journey inward.

I did not know it would be so easy, once I shed all my garments. But now I know, for my hunger is being assuaged, satiated, filled, even as I fly on winged feet along the steep path upward. It is being filled, that hunger of mine, so much, so well, that I can feed others with the surplus of the food given to me so abundantly.

God meets half way the soul that starts on its journey inward, provided that the soul, driven by hunger of love for him, strips itself naked.

That is the secret of his love and of his kingdom, which begins even on this earth. But the price, I repeat, is nakedness complete, even unto discarding shoes.

 

~ A Meditation by Catherine De Hueck Doherty

Listen to yourself so as to find the path to God within the frail walls of your humanness.
Listen to yourself, for it is you alone who will lead yourself to him, or away from him.
Listen to yourself, listen to God, when you have led yourself to him.
Listen well, for if you hear his voice you will be wise with the wisdom of the Lord, and then you will be able to hear the voice of men, not as a surging sea, or as a mob.
But each man’s speech is his own, a treasure given to you beyond all expectations, because you led yourself to him and listen to his voice.

~ A poem by Catherine De Hueck Doherty 

Saint Anthony of Egypt

 

saint anthony the abbot

Saint Anthony the Abbot and Donors, 15th c (Provenance unknown) Museu Nacional d’ Art de Catalunya, Spain

 

Early on in my conversion the Lord placed in my heart the desire to learn about the Desert Fathers. I read about the life of Saint Anthony the Great, also called St. Anthony of Egypt, whose feast day we celebrate today. He became known as both the father and founder of desert monasticism. Along the way, I also learned about the Desert Mothers and the vast treasure of information they have left to us through their words and written instructions for our spiritual formation. I learned about them through books, films, and talking to spiritual mentors. That period of my life came before I joined my Lay Carmelite community. I had this deep intense desire to learn more about the lives of these champions of the faith—the Desert Fathers and Mothers . Their lives and wisdom were so inspiring to me. At one point I felt a deep calling to go to the desert, to live in solitude for awhile. I didn’t understand why I felt this intense calling in my heart. I did ask the Lord, how can this be possible? I’m married and have children. I live in the world but I felt I was not part of it, everything was a distraction to me. I had this constant desire of being alone with God. Little did I know that the Lord was calling me to be part of the spiritual family of Lay Carmelites. It wasn’t clear to me at that time, God was transforming me and preparing me for that. I began to attend spiritual retreats regularly, and found myself immerse in His presence all the time. My soul was being fed and my relationship with God grew stronger every day. Later on I found this treasure of infinite grace in Carmel. He was leading me by the hand to His own garden, to His solitude, to His heart. So then I can live in the world—in the ‘market place’ and by His grace reflect His light to others.
Praise the Lord forever! To Him be the glory for ever and ever!

Here I share a short documentary of Father Lazarus, a Coptic monk living in solitude inspired by the life of Saint Anthony The Great. The cave he lives is very close in proximity of St. Antony’s cave and Saint Anthony’s monastery in Egypt.
I hope you enjoy it!

 

 

“The truly intelligent man pursues one sole objective: to obey and to conform to the God of all. With this single aim in view, he disciplines his soul, and whatever he may encounter in the course of his life, he gives thanks to God for the compass and depth of His providential ordering of all things. For it is absurd to be grateful to doctors who give us bitter and unpleasant medicines to cure our bodies, and yet to be ungrateful to God for what appears to us to be harsh, not grasping that all we encounter is for our benefit and in accordance with His providence. For knowledge of God and faith in Him is the salvation and perfection of the soul.”
~ Saint Anthony the Great

 

“When you close the doors to your dwelling and are alone you should know that there is present with you the angel whom God has appointed for each man…This angel, who is sleepless and cannot be deceived, is always present with you; he sees all things and is not hindered by darkness. You should know, too, that with him is God, who is in every place; for there is no place and nothing material in which God is not, since He is greater than all things and holds all men in His hand.”
~ Saint Anthony the Great

 

“One who knows oneself, knows God: and one who knows God is worthy to worship Him as is right. Therefore, my beloveds in the Lord, know yourselves.”
~ Saint Anthony the Great

 

Saint Anthony the Great, pray for us and the whole world!

 

 

 

The Infant Jesus of Prague

 

infant of prague

Miraculous Infant Jesus of Prague is at the Shrine of Our Lady of Victories in the Mala Strana district of Prague, where the image of the Holy Infant Jesus has been venerated ever since the 17th century (photo source unknown)

 



W
e, who are small, have been shown the face of the Infant. This Infant, who is our Savior, was hidden in Nazareth for 30 years, then walked the roads to proclaim the Good News, died on the cross, and rose again. What does he tell us? Everything can be destroyed except love. That love is in you and no one can take it from you. Have confidence, have courage, and become true adorers through the power of Jesus Christ.

~ By Catherine De Hueck Doherty


 

jesus with the ancient brown habit of carmel

Statue of the Child Jesus with the ancient Brown Habit of Carmel (source unknown)

 



The Infant Jesus of Prague

It is snowing. The huge world is perhaps death.
This is December.
But how warm it is in the small room!  
The fireplace filled with burning coals
Colors the ceiling with a drowsy reflection,
And all you can hear is some water softly boiling.
Up above, on the shelf, over the two beds,
Under his glass globe, a crown on his head,
One of his hands holding the world, the other ready
To protect those children who trust in it,
Kindly in his long solemn dress
And magnificent under that large yellow hat,
The Infant Jesus of Prague reigns and rules.

He is all alone in front of the hearthside shining on him
Like the host hidden within the sanctuary,
The Child-God watches over his small brothers until
The day comes.

Unheard like breath which is exhaled,
Eternal existence fills the room, equal to all those 
innocent naïve poor tots!
When he is with us, no harm can come.
We can sleep, Jesus our brother, is here.
He is ours, and all these good things as well:
The marvellous doll, and the wooden horse,
And the sheep, are there, all three of them in that corner.

And we sleep, but all those good things are ours!
The curtains are pulled . . .  Outside, somewhere
In the snow and the night a kind of hour ring.
The Child in his warm bed contentedly understands
That he is sleeping and that someone who loves him is there,
Moves a bit, murmurs indistinctly, puts his arm out,
Tries to wake up and cannot.

~ A poem by Paul Claudel, from Corona Benignitatis Anni Dei

 

*For more information about the history and devotion to The Infant Jesus of Prague please check at:
https://carmelitesofboston.org/prayer/carmelite-devotions/miraculous-infant-of-prague/

 

Wishing you all a very blessed Feast of The Infant Jesus of Prague!

 

Little Acts of Love

jesus and the children2

Art source unknown

 

Let’s make a resolution to be gentle with one another, to speak words that build one another’s confidence and trust, to see only what is godly in one another, and to guard our thoughts against accusations that can tear the bleeding body of Jesus Christ. We are restorers of life, first within our own hearts, then this year we each decrease, and that the presence of the humble and majestic Christ grows in each of us through the power of the sanctifying Holy Spirit.

Let us pray for one another and keep the door of our hearts open to receive more and more life. Let no one be afraid, for God is melting, through the power of the Incarnation, the fear that is in all of us.

Nothing can overcome you. Let God dwell in you, move in you. Let him consume you. He alone is trustworthy. He is the only one who will never hurt or disappoint you. Embrace every minute of every day with childlike trust, and pray for faith and more faith.

Life is short. Our most important focus from now until we see God face to face is to be consumed by love in order to love. All things in the world fade, but love is eternal.

~ A Meditation by Catherine De Hueck Doherty

At Sunset

Night after night these sunsets spread their thrill,
confound me in my
dreaming for an hour.
I lift my mind in wonder to the power
of color glorified by light until
I know the miracle each western hill
sees when the scattered clouds come into flower—
petals of shining roses and a shower
of flushed gold falls, and my wild heart is still.

Now for a time the soul is visible,
luminous wings lift out on either side
and I am faint who house this beautiful 
gold bird; my clouds of thought are glorified.
Color and light possess me. I am one
with stars and moonlight and the dying sun.

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

 

sunset today

Today’s Sunset ~ photo taken by me (no filters)

 

photo sunset 2

Another awesome photo I took of the sunset ❤ The wonders of God!

 

photo sunset 3

“Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.”
― C.S. Lewis  (photo taken by me)

 

 

In Too Much Light

 


I recognize in You, O little Jesus, the King of heaven and earth; grant that I may adore You with the faith and love of the Magi.
~ Divine Intimacy


 

three kings with mary and baby jesus

The Magi  (Unknown artist)

 

The Magi had one only star to follow,
a single sanctuary lamp hung low,
gold ornament in the astonished air.
I am confounded in this latter day;
I find stars everywhere.

Rumor locates the presence of a night
out past the loss of perishable sun
where, round midnight, I shall come to see
that all the stars are one.

I long for this night of the onement of the stars
when days of scattered shining are my lot
and my confusion. Yet faith even here
burns her throat dry, cries: on this very spot
of mornings, see, there is not any place
when the sought Word is not.

Under and over, in and out, this morn
flawlessly, purely, wakes the newly born.
Behold, all places which have light in them
truly are Bethlehem.

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

 

Wishing you all a very blessed feast of The Epiphany of Our Lord!

 

 

 

The Place of Splendor

garden and child

Little one, wait.
Let me assure you this is not the way
to gain the terminal of outer day.

Its single gate
lies in your soul, and you must rise and go
by inward passage from what earth you know.

The steps lead down
through valley after valley, far and far
past the five countries where the pleasures are,

and past all known
maps of the mind and every colored chart
and past the final outcry of the heart.

No soul can view
its own geography; love does not live
in places open and informative.

Yet, being true,
it grants to each its Raphael across
the mist and night through unknown lands of loss.

Walk till you hear
light told in music that was never heard,
and softness spoken that was not a word.

The soul grows clear
when senses fuse: sight, touch and sound are one
with savor and scent, and all to splendor run.

The smothered roar
of the eternities, their vast unrest
and infinite peace are deep in your own breast.

That light-swept shore
will shame the data of grief upon your scroll.
Child, have none told you? God is in your soul.

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

Mary’s Divine Motherhood

 

Virgin Mary and Baby Jesus Solemnity of the Mother of God

Art by Bradi Barth

 

Syria has always enjoyed a rich lyrical tradition dedicated to singing the praises of Mary. The Church of Antioch rendered a special cult to the Mother of God even before the Council of Ephesus: the events that have marked the Nestorian crisis bear witness to the great extent to which belief in Mary’s Divine Motherhood was diffused among the faithful and rooted in their hearts.
Prayer texts are rich in a theology centered on the Divine Motherhood. Their poetry is simple and characterized by a penetrating tenderness.

Among the great Marian hymnists besides Ephrem the Syrian is numbered James of Sarug (451-521). The Syrian-Maronite Liturgy borrows heavily from his lyrical treasures.

~ By Rev. Virgilio Noe

BLESSED are you, O Mary,
and blessed is your holy soul,
for your beatitude
surpasses that of all the Blessed.

Blessed are you who have borne, embraced,
and caressed as a baby
the One Who upholds the ages
with His secret word.

Blessed are you, from whom the Savior
appeared on this exile earth,
subjugating the seducer
and bringing peace to the world.

Blessed are you, whose pure mouth touched
the lips of the One Whom the seraphim
do not dare to look upon in His splendor.

Blessed are you, who have nourished
with your pure milk
the source from Whom the living obtain life
and light.

Blessed are you, because the whole universe
resounds with your memory,
and the Angels and human beings celebrate
your feast. . .

Daughter of the poor,
she became the Mother of the King of kings.
She gave to the poor world
the riches that can make it live.

She is the bark laden with the goodness
and the treasures of the Father,
Who sent His riches once again
into our empty home. . .

~ A poem by James of Sarug

 

Wishing you all a very blessed Feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God!