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’
  

 

The Flower Of Love

A Starlit Garden ~ Art by Charlotte Bird

A Starlit Garden ~ Art by Charlotte Bird

“Where there is no love, put love and you will find love.” ~ Saint John of the Cross

Whoever first plants the seed in any soil hitherto fallow, and cultivates the shoot with humble toil near steep or shallow…

They will be first to come upon the flower whose instant glory can recreate, in even this trivial hour, the Eden story.

Blessed are they who stand upon their vow and are insistent that love in this bleak here, this barren now become existent.

Blessed are they who battle jest and scorn to keep love growing from embryo immaculately born to blossom showing.

Primarily for them will petals part to draw and win them.
It, when the pollen finds their opened hearts, will bloom within them.

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

 

The Living Flame Of Love

Painting by Celine Martin : St John of the Cross

Saint John of the Cross ~ Art by Celine Martin

“This was requested of me by the Carmel, as he was known. I focused on creating a strong contrast with the cross.” Céline’s note. (taken from the Archives du Carmel de Lisieux)

Songs of the soul in the intimate communication of loving union with God. 

1. O living flame of love
that tenderly wounds my soul
in its deepest center! Since
now you are not oppressive,
now consummate! if it be your will:
tear through the veil of this sweet encounter!

2. O sweet cautery,
O delightful wound!
O gentle hand! O delicate touch
that tastes of eternal life
and pays every debt!
In killing you changed death to life.

3. O lamps of fire!
in whose splendors
the deep caverns of feeling,
once obscure and blind,
now give forth, so rarely, so exquisitely,
both warmth and light to their Beloved.

 

4. How gently and lovingly
you wake in my heart,
where in secret you dwell alone;
and in your sweet breathing,
filled with good and glory,
how tenderly you swell my heart with love.
~ Saint John of the Cross, O.C.D.

Heaven

Art by Vladimir Kush

Art by Vladimir Kush

The gates of heaven are an allegory and only symbol shapes its guarded door,
nor does the soul plunge headlong into glory without a rumor of a light before.
Though God, indeed, has reservoirs of morning whose unguessed joy we distantly extol,
yet word and choice are altering and adorning:
heaven is something happening in the soul.  

~ By Jessica Powers, O.C.D. ~ Selected Poetry

 

In a Cloud of Angels

Angel art by Nadia Strelkina

Angel, art by Nadia Strelkina

I walk in a cloud of angels.
God has a throne in the secret of my soul.
I move, encircled by light,
blinded by glowing faces,
lost and bewildered in the motion of wings,
stricken by music too sublime to bear.
Splendor is everywhere.
God is always enthroned on the cherubim,
circled by seraphim.
Holy, holy, holy,
wave upon wave  of endless adoration.
I walk in a cloud of angels that worship Him.
I walk in a cloud of angels…

~ By Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers) O.C.D. (1905-1988)

 

 

The Wings of God

The Flight of the Soul, art by Orit Martin

The Flight of the Soul, art by Orit Martin

The wings that stretched the heavens like clouds
I climbed upon. And long and ardently they bore me in their easeful flight.
They were strong.
Fireless they were…I was a puny burden, no more than dust.
The long, smooth surge I rested on became my final trust.

The heavens’ span and all the wide, thronged space of universes
is to these wings an habitable room, a stretching place for leisurely tours
and comfortable journeyings.
What, now that I have cast myself upon their strength, have I to fear?
And yet my heart is humbled into awe to be so near. 

~ By Barbara Dent, O.C.D.S. 

 

In The Arms of My Beloved

'Jesus comforting a girl in loving embrace', Art by Unknown Author

‘Jesus comforting a girl in loving embrace’, Art by Unknown Author

Easing myself into the peace
I slip over the brink of sleep,
into your arms. I lie there
my head against your breast
one hand at your heart’s steady beat
the other crooked behind me
and all is quietude and still repose.
Your arms enfold me. They make a rampart
holding all my fears at bay.

Your breathing is the universe
you recreate each second through your love.
You are that mighty Word resounding
to make creation dance and sing in procreation.

Wedded for the first time in my life,
blessed, consecrated, vowed and ringed,
I now belong with you, love’s circlet
mutual and pledged with sacramental grace.
Cherished and safe, cradled and defended
by the stronghold of your promise
I hold out in my trusting hand to you
all my love throughout eternity.

Lovers always say “for ever”…
and then betray each other.
But we have made our deathless troth
that enemies cannot destroy nor many waters quench
nor catastrophic earthquake turn to rubble.

Our “for ever” opens up eternity in us
where I lie cradled in your quiet arms
your steadfast heartbeat here beneath my hand
so that I believe, and trust, and render up my all
into your care whose dower is to me the universe.

~ By Barbara Dent, O.C.D.S. ‘The Marriage of All and Nothing’  

 

 

Prayer of a Soul Taken with Love

Tomb of Saint John of the Cross ~ Photo taken by me in Segovia, July 2017

 

I recently came back from a trip to Spain and visited the Monastery of San Juan De La Cruz, Discalced Carmelite Fathers in Segovia.  The Monastery stands next to the Shrine of La Fuencisla. St. John of the Cross is buried here.
The church has a single nave with side chapels. The marble and bronze mausoleum of St. John of the Cross is in the side chapel of the Evangelio.

There I read the most beautiful prayer by St. John of the Cross “Oracion del alma enamorada” Prayer of a soul taken with love….

You will not take from me, my God, what You once gave me in Your only Son, Jesus Christ in Whom You gave me all I desire.  Hence I rejoice that if I wait for You, You will not delay. With what procrastinations do You wait, since from this very moment you can love God in your heart? Mine are the heavens and mine is the earth.  Mine are the nations, the just are mine, and mine the sinners.  The angels are mine, and the Mother of God, and all things are mine; and God Himself is mine and for me, because Christ is mine and all for me. What do you ask, then, and seek, my soul?  Yours is all of this, and all is for you.  Do not engage yourself in something less, nor pay heed to the crumbs which fall from your Father’s table.  Go forth and exult in your Glory!  Hide yourself in It and rejoice, and you will obtain the supplications of your heart.