Loveliest Blossom

 

woman and the flowers art by Christen Schloe

Loveliest Blossom, by unknown artist

 


You are my private garden, my treasure, my bride, a secluded spring, a hidden fountain.
~ Song of Solomon 4:12



When you are eager in the tiny portion

that is your garden, when you are tying strings
to give the stalks of the sweet peas their balance
so flowers may alight on them like wings
of pastel butterflies; when you appraise
with glowing face the lilies and carnations
(scent is to charm and color to amaze),
I think: she has not found the loveliest blossom.

There is a flower full of mystery
between this wall and that, amid this green.
I found it but to bear it back to secret.
It is a flower God and I have seen,
and I not till I looked at it with Him.

Hidden and unpredictable and shy,
it was not given to be shared, not even with you,
little lover of fragrance.
(Oh, with you least of all!)
Plucked from the soft soil of your unawareness,
uprooted from my silence, it would die.
I keep it then, God’s individual favor,
the private bloom I scent my storerooms by.

 

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

 

The Eucharist: Mystery of Love

Emmaus art by Ladislav Záborský

The Supper at Emmaus, art by Ladislav Záborský

The Road to Emmaus: A Meditation on the Eucharistic Life
(Luke 24:13-35)

The word “Eucharist” means literally “thanksgiving.” A Eucharistic life is one lived in gratitude. The story, which is also our story, of the two friends walking to Emmaus has shown that gratitude is not an obvious attitude toward life. Gratitude needs to be discovered and to be lived with great inner attentiveness. Our losses, our experiences of rejection and abandonment, and our many moments of disillusionment keep pulling us into anger, bitterness, and resentment. When we simply let the “facts” speak, there will always be enough facts to convince us that life, in the end, leads to nothing and that every attempt to beat fate is only a sign of profound naiveté.

Jesus gave us the Eucharist to enable us to choose gratitude. It is a choice we, ourselves, have to make. Nobody can make it for us. But the Eucharist prompts us to cry out to God for mercy, to listen to the words of Jesus, to invite him into our home, to enter into communion with him and proclaim good news to the world; it opens the possibility of gradually letting go of our many resentments and choosing to be grateful. The Eucharist celebration keeps inviting us to that attitude.
In our daily lives we have countless opportunities to be grateful instead of resentful. At first, we might not recognize these opportunities. Before we fully realized, we have already said: “This is too much for me. I have no choice but to be angry and to let my anger show. Life isn’t fair, and I can’t act as if it is.” However, there is always the voice that, ever again, suggests that we are blinded by our own understanding and pull ourselves and each other into a hole. It is the voice that calls us “foolish,” the voice that asks us to have a completely new look at our lives, a look not from below, where we count our losses, but from above, where God offers us his glory.

Eucharist—thanksgiving—in the end, comes from above. It is the gift that we cannot fabricate for ourselves. It is to be received. That is where the choice is! We can choose to let the stranger continue his journey and so remain a stranger. But we can also invite him into our inner lives, let him touch every part of our being and then transform our resentments into gratitude. We don’t have to do this. In fact, most people don’t. But as often as we make that choice, everything, even the most trivial things, become new. Our little lives become great—part of the mysterious work of God’s salvation.
Once that happens, nothing is accidental, casual, or futile any more. Even the most insignificant event speaks the language of faith, hope, and, above all, love.

That’s the Eucharistic life, the life in which everything becomes a way of saying, “Thank you” to him who joined us on the road.

~ By Henri J. M. Nouwen


 

Carmel: A Eucharistic Community

Disciples of Jesus had been celebrating the Eucharist in a variety of ways for centuries by the time the Carmelite hermits gathered on Mount Carmel at the Wadi- ‘ain-es-Siah about 1200 A.D. Since then, like other Christians, Carmelites, religious and lay, have celebrated the Eucharist in diverse ways. What is unvaried is this: Eucharist has been at the heart of Christian and Carmelite life from the origins of Christianity and from the inception of the Carmelite Order…

The Eucharist is the meal celebrated by the disciples of Jesus, a sacrificial meal that is the “Church’s entire spiritual wealth,” a meal that manifests the presence of the Church. Religious orders have long experimented with ways to follow Jesus, and the tension between community and solitude. The Eucharistic meal is at the center of this Carmelite tension, a place where the human and the divine encounter each other at the table of the Lord.

~ By Dr. Keith Egan, T.O.C.

Emmaus art by bradi barth2

Emmaus, art by Bradi Barth


Discalced Carmelite Hermit


THIS LITTLE HERMIT wishes to remain anonymous, but generously contributes these words about the Eucharist.


 

Eucharist art by baron arild rosenkrantz

Holy Eucharist, art by Baron Arild Rosenkrantz

 

Oh, beloved
I love to sit before you here
Present in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

You pierce through the veil that separates
Us.
You penetrate my very being.

My soul is aflame with your love,
Your healing touch,
You fill me with your love, your joy, and
Your peace.

I thirst for you, I long for you, more, my
Beloved one.

So still, in this stillness
ALL stops, nothing exists but you.

No time, no space.
The stillness is you, the stillness is love.

In this profound silence and solitude
I have been loved by LOVE itself.

I have found my beloved one 
Keep me in the stillness of your love.

~+~

 

 

 

 

Grace Given

awakenedheart

Awakened Heart, art by Janice Van Cronkhite

You drench me in your blessedness—
pressed down, compacted, flowing over,
till here I am, a child caught in a storm of love,
saturated with these discarnate ecstasies.

Your ways are masterful. Your generosity,
now captive in my starveling heart, loads me
with luxurious garments, crown and jewels—
treasures gained by you in times long past,
and yet enduring into our eternal now.

You are willing captive to my abject,
but trustingly prosaic, homeliness.

Where do we go from here?
Into some fastness of delight and fortitude,
a refuge for those wanderers, besotted by your love?

I cannot conceive (nor do I try)
what you have in store for me, but rest
in faith’s patient hope, and love’s fierce faith.

It is you who taught me how to love—
assiduous, recklessly adventurous
and all the while imprisoned deep
within your mighty stronghold of a heart.

 

~ A poem by Barbara Dent, O.C.D.S.  

Easter Love

 

Mary Magadalene after Christ Resurrection

Mary Magdalene meets the Risen Christ, art by Bradi Barth

He is Risen, Truly He is Risen! Alleluia!

On Easter we celebrate love,
love coming down from heaven,
love blanketing the earth
in a transforming embrace;
unique and infinite love,
giving more than we can imagine
for us, to cleanse our sin,
a perfect sacrifice, Lamb of God,
the walking, talking Word.
He is teacher, role model, friend,
this God in human form,
dying, then rising from the dead,
proving all who believe
will also rise
to have eternal life, with Him,
Lord of all.
Oh, Happy, Happy Easter!

A poem by Joanna Fuchs

Wishing all of you a very happy and blessed Easter Sunday!

 

Tears in The Garden

Jesus in the Garden artist unknown

Christ in The Garden, by unknown artist

My Beloved,
May I console Your heart?
Sadness and weariness are so palpable in this encounter.
Is it necessary that You go through all those moments of suffering and anguish for me?
The anguish of Your precious heart, O Lord, breaks me.
It’s happening all over again…

You are only loving and giving.
How can this be happening?
I don’t want to fall asleep my Jesus.
I want to stay awake, to console Your precious heart, like the angel from heaven did in those dark days.

Would You allow me to be in Your presence now, Lord?
I know You need to pray to your Father.
For his strength and courage will be upon You.
But Lord, I pray, allow me to remain with You now. In silence and in communion.
Your tears are overflowing and my garden is wet from those precious tears…
Your tears are cleansing and healing everything.

O Beloved Jesus,
Thank You for loving me with such infinite and unconditional love.
I can’t express in words how much gratitude I feel for You saving me.

Beloved, let us pray together.
Let us stay in this silent union of love and trust,
That all is in the Father’s heart.

I stay awake.
Let us be together.
Let us pray together, my Beloved.


~ My Personal Reflection

 

 

 

 

As I Lay Me Down to Sleep

This is a little adaptation of the beautiful song by Sophie B. Hawkins. Every time I listen to it, it makes me think of My Beloved….Jesus I love you!

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do…

 

Jesus you are mine art by Yongsung Kim

You are mine, art by Yong-Sung Kim

 

It felt like spring time on this February morning
In a courtyard birds were singing Your praise
I’m still recalling things You said to make me feel alright
I carried them with me today
Now

As I lay me down to sleep
This I pray
That You will hold me dear
Though I’m far away
I’ll whisper your Name into the sky
And I will wake up happy

I wonder why I feel so high
Though I am not above the sorrow
Heavy hearted
Till You call my name
And it sounds like church bells
Or the whistle of a train
On a summer evening
I’ll run to meet You
Barefoot, barely breathing

As I lay me down to sleep 
This I pray
That You will hold me dear
Though I’m far away
I’ll whisper Your name into the sky 
And I will wake up happy

Oh, Beloved
As I lay me down to sleep
This I pray
That You will hold me dear
Though I’m far away
I’ll whisper Your name into the sky 
And I will wake up happy

It’s not too near for me
Like a flower I need the rain
Though it’s not clear to me
Every season has it’s change
And I will see You
When the sun comes out again

As I lay me down to sleep 
This I pray
That You will hold me dear
Though I’m far away
I’ll whisper Your name into the sky 
And I will wake up happy

I wonder why 

when the sun comes out again 
when the sun comes out again…

I will wake up happy 

This I pray

 

Coming Home


In the parable of the Prodigal Son. we see a faint image of God’s love for us, a love that always beckons us to return home. ~ Luke 15:1-3, 11-32


return of the prodigal son by Eugene Burnand

The Return of the Prodigal Son, art by Eugene Burnand

In George Herbert’s poem “The Pulley,” God pours out every blessing upon humankind—beauty, wisdom, honor and pleasure, holding back one gift—rest. For God thought to himself, “If I should…bestow this jewel also on my creature/He would adore my gifts instead of me/And rest in nature, not in the God of Nature.” God’s choice to withhold rest from humankind created restlessness and dissatisfaction in the human heart. God uses unrest as the pulley that draws human hearts out of the quicksand of worldly self-absorption back to God.

Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness:
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to my breast.
(284)

This stanza contains two truths. The first is that the longing God has planted in our hearts makes us strangers on this earth. Malcolm Muggeridge considered the feeling of being a stranger in this world one of the greatest blessings that God had ever bestowed upon him. He wrote,

This sense of being a stranger, which first came to me at the very beginning of life, I have never quite lost, however engulfed I might be … in earthly pursuits… For me there has always been—and I count it the greatest of all blessings—a window never finally blackened out, a light never finally extinguished. I had a sense, sometimes enormously vivid, that I was a stranger in a strange land; a visitor, not a native, a displaced person. The feeling, I was surprised to find, gave me a great sense of satisfaction, almost of ecstasy. [When the feeling went away, I asked myself], would it ever return—the lostness? I strain my ears to hear it, like distant music; my eyes to see it, a very bright light very far away. Has it gone forever? And then, Ah! the relief. Like slipping away, from a sleeping embrace, silently shutting a door behind one, tiptoeing off in the grey light of dawn—a stranger again. The only ultimate disaster that can befall us, I have come to realize, is to feel ourselves to be at home here on earth. As long as we are aliens, we cannot forget our true homeland. (30-31)

Muggeridge can say, paradoxically, that he felt “connected” to his real self only when he felt a stranger in this world because his longing for a place beyond this world was an experience of his true homeland—heaven.

In the parable of the prodigal son, the Greek phrase translated “coming to his senses at last,” literally means “having come to himself.” What brought the prodigal son home to himself was his hunger. The same is true with us.

“If goodness lead him not, yet weariness may toss him to my breast.” The second truth that Herbert’s poem contains is that God loves us so much that he welcomes his prodigal children back home for any reason whatsoever. God does not demand that our motives be either noble or pure as a prerequisite for being accepted home.
The prodigal son came home because he was hungry and tired. It made no difference to his father why he came home, as long as he had him home safe and sound. But like the prodigal son, our guilt makes us feel that we no longer even deserve to be called God’s children.

Our guilt distorts the merciful countenance of God. Julian of Norwich tells us that when we are submerged in our guilt “We believe that God may be angry with us because of our sins.” In consequence, we project our guilt on God as anger and then fear punishment. But when cleansed of our guilt we see clearly. Julian writes, “And then our courteous Lord shows himself to the soul, happily and with the gladdest countenance, welcoming it as a friend, as if it had been in pain and in prison saying, ‘My dear darling, I am glad you have come to me in all your woe. I have always been with you’ and now you see me loving, and we are made one in bliss” (246).

The restless longing that God has planted in our hearts is more than our desire for heaven. It is God’s loving invitation for us to return home.

~ A Meditation by Fr. Marc Foley, O.C.D.

 

 

 

 

I Come, O Mother, To Gaze On You

Our Lady of Lourdes and Saint Bernadette

At Sacred Spring, art by Domenico Tojetti, 1877

Today is the feast of Notre Dame de Lourdes and we are aware of not only her Immaculate Conception, but also the fact that Our Lady has worked many healings at Lourdes. It was between February 11 and July 16, 1858, that Mary appeared 18 times to Bernadette Soubirous in a cave near her hometown of Lourdes, France. Now this place has become one of pilgrimage and a place to bring the sick, the disabled, and those who have incurable diseases to the grotto’s spring. It has been and is the place for many cures there in the waters.
I had the immense blessing to travel to Lourdes in the summer of 2017. That experience has left in the grotto of my heart a profound joy and love for Our Lady. Here I would like to share this beautiful poem by Paul Claudel that encompasses all what I feel for this beautiful Lady and Mother of all. Totus Tuus, Maria!

“The first spiritual relationship with The Blessed Virgin is simply a glance: I come solely to gaze on you.
What sustains that glance is not an articulated prayer but the song of the heart, which is given voice by love for Mary.
Praise precedes petition—indeed the latter cannot do without the former.
Is this not the case when people truly love one another?”

I Come, O Mother, To Gaze On You

It is noon.
I see the church open, and I must enter.
Mother of Jesus Christ,
I do not come to pray.
I have nothing to offer and nothing to request.
I come solely to gaze on you, O Mother.
To gaze on you, weep for joy, and know this:
That I am your child and you are there.
I come only for a moment while everything is at a standstill,
at noon!
Just to be with you, O Mary, in this place where you are.
Not to say anything but to gaze at your countenance,
and let the heart sing in its own language;
not to say anything but solely to sing
because my heart is overflowing.
For you are beautiful, because you are immaculate,
the woman fully restored in Grace, the creature in its first honor and its final bloom,
as it issued from God on the morn of its original splendor.
You are ineffably intact, because you are the Mother of Jesus Christ,
Who is the Truth in your arms, and the only hope and the sole fruit.
~ By Paul Claudel

 

Seeking God

Uniting with Spirit

Uniting with Spirit, art by Liane Collot D’ Herbois

Soul, you must seek yourself in Me,
and in yourself you must seek Me.

Love was so able to portray,
dear soul, inside Me your likeness,
that no skilled painter could display
in such a lovely, artful way
your image formed with such finesse.

It was for love that you were made
with beauty, oh so perfectly,
within Me deep your form portrayed,
my love, if you are lost, dismayed,
soul, you must seek yourself in Me.

How well I know that you will find
yourself within my heart portrayed
so very lifelike there displayed
that seeing it will please your mind
to see a painting so well made.

And if perchance you do not know
where you must go for finding Me,
do not walk here or there to see,
but, if you wish to find Me, go
deep in yourself to seek for Me.

~ A poem by Saint Teresa of Avila

 

 

 

My Beloved Is For Me

 

The Transverbaration of Saint Teresa

Transverbaration of the heart of Saint Teresa of Avila, by unkown artist

I gave myself so totally,
and the exchange has thus been done
that my Beloved is for me,
and I’m for only my Loved One.

When that sweet Hunter from above had wounded and o’erpowered me,
and left me in the arms of love, my soul abiding languidly;
new life came in recovery, and the exchange has thus been done
that my Beloved is for me,
and I’m for only my Loved One.

The arrow used in wounding me with his love he had deigned to fill,
and so my soul was made to be at one with its Creator’s will.
No other love could e’er fulfill,
since to my God surrender is done,
and my Beloved is for me,
and I’m for only my Loved One.

~ A poem by Saint Teresa of Avila, ‘Flame of Love’