You Surpass All Praise

This prayer, found in Egypt, was chiseled by an anonymous hand on a terra-cotta. It derives from the 3rd or 4th century. The text is inspired by the angel’s salutation to Mary.

Annunciation by von schlogl

“The Annunciation” art by Von Schlogl, 1918


O
immaculate Virgin,
Mother of God,
full of grace,
the One Whom you brought forth, Emmanuel,
is the fruit of your womb.

In your Motherhood
you have nurtured all human beings.
You surpass all praise and all glory.

I salute you,
Mother of God,
joy of the Angels,
because you surpass in fullness
what the Prophets have said about you.

The Lord is with you:
you gave life to the Savior of the world.

~ 3rd-4th CENTURY 

 

– By Most Rev. Virgilio Noe

 

Wishing you all a very blessed Feast of The Immaculate Conception of Blessed Virgin Mary!

 

Reflections on Peace

Peace winter

 

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons and daughters of God” (Mt 5, 9). These are the words of Jesus from his sermon on the mount. They tell us something about ourselves, and they tell us something about God’s Kingdom. By our baptism, we are called to live in Christ’s peace, and this peace is at the heart of God’s Kingdom.
Before his passion and death, Jesus said to his disciples: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you.” . . . He told them to trust in God and to trust in him as he went away to prepare a place for them (see John 14, 1-3). After his resurrection, he appeared to his disciples saying “peace be with you.” The disciples were fearful and in hiding. They had abandoned Jesus in his moment of greatest need. Still, Jesus returned to them with love, understanding and compassion to give them his peace.
We are followers of Jesus. He calls us to trust him, and to trust that God the Father has a wonderful plan for us. Jesus gives us his peace – a peace that is beyond all understanding, a kind of peace that only he can give – so that we can become all that he has called us to be.
We are all members of his body: the hands, the feet, the voice and face of Jesus. We are called to share his peace – in the classroom, the schoolyard, in our communities, and in the world. Each time we forgive, share with, help, comfort and care for one another, the peace of Jesus and of God’s Kingdom becomes more real for everyone to see.
As we go out into the world, let us remember Jesus’ words “peace be with you” and carry them in our hearts. We ask the Holy Spirit for the courage to share Jesus’ gift of peace through acts of kindness, as a sign of his kingdom’s everlasting peace, where the Father has prepared a place for each of us, beloved sons and daughters of God.

~ A Reflection by Tony Consentino, RCCDSB

 

a winters tale poppy collection

A Winter’s Tale by Jacqueline Hurley from the War Poppy Collection 1914-1918 Remembrance Day

 

God our Father, your Son Jesus gave up His life to free us from the power of sin and death.
He showed us that the greatest love is in giving up one’s life for others.
Today we remember those who fought and died for our freedom. We ask you to bless and console them together with their families.
Help us to understand the sacrifices they made in leaving their loved ones to face the horrors of war. May we never forget their generosity.
May your Holy Spirit give us the courage to resist evil in all its forms and show us how to be peacemakers through prayer and action, lest we forget those who fought, suffered and died that we might have the freedom and peace we enjoy today.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord.
Amen!

~ A prayer for Remembrance Day by Tony Cosentino, RCCDSB 

 


“A single poppy has the soul of a thousand heroes and the tears of a million loved ones ❤ Let us always remember them! Let us always pray for peace!


 

 

 

Holy Trinity, Whom I Adore

 

Holy Trinity art by Herman Han

The Holy Trinity, art by Herman Han (1574 – 1627) Poland

 

O my God, Trinity whom I adore, let me entirely forget myself that I may abide in You, still and peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity; let nothing disturb my peace nor separate me from You, O my unchanging God, but that each moment may take me further into the depths of Your mystery! Pacify my soul! Make it Your heaven, Your beloved home and place of Your repose; let me never leave You there alone, but may I be ever attentive, ever alert in my faith, ever adoring and all given up to Your creative action.

O my beloved Christ, crucified for love, would that I might be for You a spouse of Your heart! I would anoint You with glory, I would love You – even unto death! Yet I sense my frailty and ask You to adorn me with Yourself; identify my soul with all the movements of Your soul, submerge me, overwhelm me, substitute Yourself in me that my life may become but a reflection of Your life. Come into me as Adorer, Redeemer and Saviour.

O Eternal Word, Word of my God, would that I might spend my life listening to You, would that I might be fully receptive to learn all from You; in all darkness, all loneliness, all weakness, may I ever keep my eyes fixed on You and abide under Your great light; O my Beloved Star, fascinate me so that I may never be able to leave Your radiance.

O Consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, descend into my soul and make all in me as an incarnation of the Word, that I may be to Him a super-added humanity wherein He renews His mystery; and You O Father, bestow Yourself and bend down to Your little creature, seeing in her only Your beloved Son in whom You are well pleased.

O my `Three’, my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in whom I lose myself, I give myself to You as a prey to be consumed; enclose Yourself in me that I may be absorbed in You so as to contemplate in Your light the abyss of Your Splendour!

~ A prayer of Saint Elizabeth of The Trinity (1880-1906), O.C.D.

Today, November 8th is the Feast day of Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, O.C.D., her very name means “house of God”. On August 2nd, 1901 St. Elizabeth enters Carmel., here is a  portion of her postulant questionnaire:

What is your Ideal for sanctity?
To live from love.

What is the quickest way to attain it?
To make oneself as small as possible, to surrender oneself without reserve.

What saint do you love most?
The disciple Jesus loved, who rested his head on Jesus’ breast.

Which part of the Rule speaks most directly to you?
Silence.

What is the dominant trait of your character?
Sensitiveness.

Your Favorite Virtue?
Purity. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

The fault you most abhor?
Egoism in general.

Give a basic definition of prayer.
The union of one who is not with the One who Is.

What is your favorite book?
The soul of Christ—it reveals to me all the secrets of the heavenly Father.

~ By Two Sisters in the Spirit, Ignatius Press

*For more information about the life of Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, please check:
 carmelitesofboston.org/spirit-of-carmel/our-saints/saint-elizabeth-of-the-trinity/

 

saint elizabeth

On December 8th, 1901 She receives the habit and is given the name “Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity”

 

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, pray of us! 

 

Little and Great Saints

 

Communion of Saints by john R Mccoy

Communion of Saints, art by John R. McCoy (left panel)

 


“Through the intercession of Your saints, O Lord, may I tread the way of holiness courageously.”
~ Divine Intimacy ~


 

Communion of saints by john mccoy3

Communion of Saints, art by John R. McCoy  (right panel)

 

Every one of us would probably admit that the distance between the great saints and us feels quite great. Their pattern of life can be so bright that there is a risk that—rather than urging us on—they make us wonder whether there is any sense in trying to follow their example.

For that reason it is good sometimes to turn our gaze to the great multitude of insignificant, anonymous, little saints. They are ordinary people who haven’t always been exemplary. They haven’t lived in ceaseless prayer and have not always been obedient and faithful to the promptings of the Spirit. They have had their failings, maybe big and tangible failures, but they haven’t said an irrevocable “no” to God. They are now, thanks to God’s incomprehensible mercy, together with the great saints before the throne of God.

They know, and we know, that it isn’t their great deeds or achievements that opened heaven to them. They acknowledge, and we with them, that God alone has saved them, and that their clothing has been washed clean in the blood of the Lamb.

These little saints aren’t envious of the great ones. And the great saints aren’t condescending toward the little ones. All who stand before God are full-grown saints, according to the measure God has determined for each.

It fills us with encouragement and resolve to love God more when we see that it isn’t through great feats we come to him but only through the infinite love of this God to whom we finally surrender.

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

 


“O saints of heaven, I am the least of all creatures. I know my worthlessness, but I also know how noble and generous hearts love to do good. Therefore, O blessed inhabitants of the heavenly City, I entreat you to adopt me as your child. All the glory you may help me to acquire will be yours; deign, then, to hear my prayer and obtain for me … your love …” (T.C.J. St, 13) Divine Intimacy.


 

All Saints by elizabeth wang

Radiant Light, art by Elizabeth Wang

 

Prayer to the Saints of Carmel

Holy men and women of Carmel,
you found in the Carmelite Family a school of prayer,
a community ready to serve others,
and sure companions for your pilgrimage through life.
From your place at the summit of Mount Carmel,
Jesus Christ, help us to walk steadily in his footsteps,
that our prayers and good works may further the cause of his Church.
Amen.

 

The Carmelite Vine by anonymous artist

The Carmelite Vine by Anonymous Novohispanic Artist, 18th century – Templo del Carmen de San Ángel, Mexico City, Mexico

 

Wishing you all a very Blessed Feast of All Saints! 

To My Angel Guardian

 

angel by my side

My Guardian Angel

 

O glorious guardian of my frame!
In heaven’s high courts thou shinest bright,
As some most pure and holy flame,
Before the Lord of endless light.
Yet for my sake thou com’st to earth,
To be my brother, Angel dear:
My friend and keeper from my birth,
By day and night to me most near.

Knowing how weak a child am I,
By thy strong hand thou guidest me;
The stones that in my pathway lie,
I see thee move them carefully.
Ever thy heavenly tones invite
My soul to look to God alone;
And ever grows thy face more bright,
When I more meek and kind have grown.

O thou who speedest through all space
More swiftly than the lightnings fly!
Go very often, in my place,
To those I love most tenderly.
With thy soft touch, oh! dry their tears;
Tell them the cross is sweet to bear;
Speak my name softly in their ears,
And Jesu’s name, supremely fair.

Through all my life, though brief it be,
I fain would succor souls from sin.
Dear Angel, sent from heaven to me,
Kindle thy zeal my heart within!
Naught but my holy poverty,
And daily cross to give have I;
O join them to thine ecstasy,
And offer them to God on high.

Thine are heaven’s glory and delight,
The riches of the King of kings;
The Host in our ciboriums bright
Is mine, and all the wealth pain brings.
So with the Cross, and with the Host,
And with thine aid, dear Angel Friend,
I wait in peace, on time’s dark coast,
Heaven’s happiness that knows no end.

~ A poem written by Saint Thérèse of Lisieux on February, 1897 (seven months before her death) From a translation by S.L. Emery, 1907.

 

May we always have our Holy Guardian Angel by our side guiding and protecting us!

Wishing you all a very blessed Feast Day of the Holy Guardian Angels!

 

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

 


O most Blessed Virgin Mary, assumed into heaven, I beg you to purify my senses so that I may begin to enjoy God even while I am on earth.


 

Assumption of Blessed Virgin Mary2

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, art by Bradi Barth

 

The Blessed Virgin Mary’s Assumption shows us the route we must follow in our spiritual ascent: detachment from the earth, flight toward God, and union with God.

Our Lady was assumed body and soul into heaven because she was Immaculate; she was- all pure—free not only from every shadow of sin, but even from the slightest attachment to the things of earth, so that she “never had the form of any creature imprinted in her soul, nor was moved by such, but was invariably guided by the Holy Spirit” (J.C. AS III, 2,10). 

The first requirement for attaining God is this total purity, the fruit of total detachment. The Blessed Virgin, who lived her earthly life in absolute detachment from every created thing, teaches us not to allow ourselves to be captivated by the fascination of creatures, but to live among them, occupying ourselves with them with much charity, but without ever letting our heart become attached to them, without ever seeking our satisfaction in them.

In her Assumption Mary speaks to us of flight toward heaven, toward God. It is not enough to purify our heart from sin and all attachment to creatures, we must at the same time direct it toward God, tending toward Him with all our strength. The Church has us pray in today’s Mass for the Feast of the Assumption, “O Lord, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary who was assumed into heaven, may our hearts, enkindled by the fire of Thy love, continually aspire toward Thee” (Secret). Our earthly life has value for eternal life insofar as it is a flight toward God, a continual seeking after Him, a continual adherence to His grace. When this flight fails, the supernatural value of our existence lessens.

Mary has been taken up to heaven because she is the Mother of God. This is the greatest of her privileges, the root of all the others and the reason for them; it speaks to us, in a very special way, of intimate union with God, as the fact of her Assumption speaks to us of the beatific union of heaven. Mary’s Assumption thus confirms us in this great and beautiful truth: we are created and called to union with God. Mary herself stretches out her maternal hand to guide us to the attainment of this high ideal. If we keep our eyes fixed on her, we shall advance more easily; she will be our guide, our strength, and our consolation in every trial and difficulty.

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

“O Immaculate Virgin, Mother of God and Mother of men, we believe with all the fervor of our faith in your triumphal Assumption, both body and soul, into heaven, where you are acclaimed as Queen by all the choirs of angels and all the legions of the saints. And we unite with them to praise and bless the Lord who has exalted you above all other pure creatures, and to offer you the tribute of our devotion and our love.” (Pius XII)

 

Wishing you all a very blessed Feast day of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

A Brown Habit

 

Carmelite Brown habit

Photo source unknown

 

That long brown habit
hanging on the door recalls me
a solid human body, tall and straight,
reliable and steady as Gibraltar, the guard
of that ancient sea and all its craft.

I touch it with my reverent hands
I rest my cheek against it. I feel at home
and safe at last, within our mutual
Beloved’s arms; He holds me lest I fall.
He has my head against his heart.
His left hand clasps it close, his right hand
“doth embrace me.” Such indestructible
enclosure makes me laugh at threats
and turns my tears to precious stones
he links into a chaplet and puts upon my head.

The brown habit was your robe
when you said Mass for us within my home—
a blessing and a treasure past all reckoning
and it was you who brought it to me
across the heaving oceans and cold, autumn skies, and then
presented it as gift and grace
adornment for my poverty, crowning for my solitude,
proof of the Christed love between us.

~ A poem by Barbara Dent, O.C.D.S.

The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Carmelite Scapular2

 

~ What is the Brown Scapular?
http://www.meditationsfromcarmel.com/content/what-brown-scapular

~ The Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel by Fr. Camilo Maccise OCD, Prior General.
http://www.meditationsfromcarmel.com/content/brown-scapular-our-lady-mount-carmel

~ Brown Scapular Catechesis: 
http://www.meditationsfromcarmel.com/content/scapular-catechesis

~ Brown Scapular: A “Silent Devotion” By Father Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD
http://www.meditationsfromcarmel.com/content/brown-scapular-silent-devotion

 

Investiture of the Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Saturday, June 16th, 2012 Feast of The Immaculate Heart of Mary ~ A visit to the Discalced Carmelite Nuns of St. Joseph with our OCDS communities. Holy Mass presided by Father Dominic, my Admission to Formation to the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites and Receiving the Brown Scapular of the Order… A very special and blessed day… Eternally grateful!

 

 

Prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel

The Immaculate Heart of Mary

Awake, O my harp, your chords, in praise of the Virgin Mary! Lift up your voice and sing the wonderful history of this Virgin, the daughter of David, who gave birth to the Life of the world!

~ Saint Ephraim the Syrian

Inmaculado Corazon de Maria

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

Today is the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and optional memorial of Saint Ephrem the Syrian (306-373), he is one of Mary’s greatest cantors. He has exalted her in her privileges and in her unique perfection: “You, O Christ, and Your Mother are the only ones who are beautiful under every aspect, because there is no uncleanness in You, O Lord, and no stain in Your Mother.”

St. Ephrem also speaks in a notable fashion about the action that Mary exercises over the lives of Christians. He guides the faithful to invoke Mary as Mother and Mediatrix and to take refuge in her Immaculate Heart with humble and filial trust: “Mary is the hope of those exiled who can attain reconciliation and reenter paradise.”

Owing to the elegance of his writing style, St. Ephrem has been called the “lyre of the Holy Spirit.” In addition, his Mariological teaching has earned him the title of “Marian Doctor.”

~ By Rev. Virgilio Noe

 

Jesus and Mary with a rose

Madonna and Child, by artist unknown

 


“The greatest Syriac Father and most renowned Patristic poet, Ephrem the deacon is an example of liturgical fidelity and charitable service to all.”
~ Pope Benedict XVI


 

 Prayer of praise to the Blessed Virgin Mary by St. Ephrem The Syrian:

O Virgin, most pure, wholly unspotted, O Mary, Mother of God, Queen of the universe, you are above all the saints, the hope of the elect and the joy of all the blessed. It is you who have reconciled us with God. You are the only refuge of sinners and the safe harbor of those who are shipwrecked. You are the consolation of the world, the ransom of captives, the health of the weak, the joy of the afflicted, and the salvation of all. We have recourse to you, and we beseech you to have pity on us. Amen!

 

 

Wishing all of you a very blessed Feast of the Immaculate Heart of the Blessed Virgin Mary!

 

 

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus


O Jesus, grant that I may penetrate the secrets hidden in Your divine Heart.


 

Sacred Heart of Jesus2

The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, art by Jose Luis Castrillo

 

After we have contemplated the Eucharist, a gift crowning all the gifts of the love of Jesus for men, the Church invites us to give direct consideration to the love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the source and cause of all His gifts. We may call the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus the feast of His love for us. “Behold this Heart which has so loved men,” Jesus said to St. Margaret Mary; “Behold this Heart which has so loved men,” the Church repeats to us today, showing us that it is truly “in the Heart of Christ, wounded by our sins, that God has deigned to give us the infinite treasures of His love” (cf. Collect). Today’s liturgy inspired with this thought, reviews the immense benefits we owe to the love of Christ and sings a hymn in praise of His love. “Cogitationes cordis ejus,” chants the Introit of the Mass” “The thoughts of His Heart”—the Heart of Jesus—“are to all generations” to deliver them from death, to feed them in time of famine.” The Heart of Jesus is always in search of souls to save, to free from the snares of sin, to wash in His Blood, to feed with His Body. The Heart of Jesus is always living in the Eucharist to satisfy the hunger of all who long for Him, to welcome and console all those who, disillusioned by the vicissitudes of life, take refuge in Him, seeking peace and refreshment. Jesus Himself is our support on the hard road of life. “Take up My yoke upon you and learn of Me, because I am meek and humble of heart, and you shall find rest for your souls, Alleluia” It is impossible to eliminate sorrow from our life; yet if we live for Jesus we can suffer in peace and find in the Heart of Jesus repose for our weary soul.

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

 


“O Jesus, now that I have been brought into Your most sweet Heart, and it is a great good to be here, I do not want to let myself be easily torn away from it. Oh! how good and pleasant it is to dwell in Your Heart! Your Heart, O good Jesus, is a rich treasure, it is the precious pearl which I have found in the secret of Your pierced Body, as in a furrowed field. Who could cast aside this pearl? Rather I will give all the pearls in the world, I will exchange for it all my thoughts and affections and I will purchase it for myself. I shall entrust all my cares to Your Heart, O good Jesus, and without fail it will support me. I have found Your Heart, O Lord, O most benign Jesus: the Heart of my King, my Brother, my Friend! Hidden in Your Heart, what is there that I shall not ask of You? I shall ask that Your Heart be mine also. If You, O Jesus, are my Head, can I not say that it is mine as well as Yours? Are not the eyes of my head also mine? Then the Heart of my spiritual Head is my Heart.  What joy for me! You and I have but one heart. Having found this divine Heart which is Yours and mine, O most sweet Jesus, I beseech You, O my God: receive my prayers in that sanctuary where You are attentive to them and, even more, draw me entirely into Your Heart”
~ Saint Bonaventure


 

 

My painting of Jesus Sacred Heart

This is a little prayer area I have in my house and I placed there a painting I did of the Sacred Heart of Jesus ❤  “Choose the divine Heart for your sacred oratory, wherein to offer to God your petitions and prayers that may be pleasing to Him.” ~ St. Margaret Mary Alacoque

 

Wishing all of you a very blessed Feast of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus ❤

The Visitation


O my Mother, most holy Virgin Mary, be always my model, my support, and my guide.


 

The Visitation by Bradi Barth

The Visitation, art by Bradi Barth

 

“And Mary, rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda.” These words are from today’s Gospel (Lk 1, 39-47). Mary, in the exquisite delicacy of her charity, has such a profound sense of the needs of others, that as soon as she hears of them, she acts spontaneously and decisively to bring help. Having learned from the Angel Gabriel that her cousin was about to become a mother, she goes immediately to offer her humble services.

If we consider the difficulty of traveling in those days, when the poor, such as Mary, had to go on foot over difficult roads, or at best, by means of some rude conveyance, and also the fact that Mary remained three months with Elizabeth, we can readily understand that she had to face many hardships in performing this act of charity. However, she was in no way disturbed: charity urged her, making her wholly forgetful of herself, for as St. Paul says: “Charity seeketh not her own” (1 Cor 13,5). How many times, perhaps, have you omitted and act of kindness, not to spare yourself a hard journey, but only to avoid a little trouble. Think how uncharitable you are and how slow to help others. look at Mary, and see how much you can learn from her!

Charity makes Mary forget not only her hardships but also her own dignity, which was greater than that given to any other creature. Elizabeth is advanced in years, but Mary is the Mother of God; Elizabeth is about to give birth to a man, but Mary will give birth to the Son of God. Nevertheless, before her cousin as before the Angel, Mary continues to look upon herself as the humble handmaid of the Lord, and nothing more. Precisely because she considers herself a handmaid, she comports herself as such, even in respect to her neighbor. In your case, perhaps, although you know how to humble yourself before God and recognize your lack of perfection in the secrecy of your heart, it displeases you to appear imperfect before your neighbor, and you quickly resent being treated as such. Are you not anxious to have your dignity, education, and ability recognized, as well as the more or less honorable offices or charges which have been entrusted to you? Your dignity is a mere nothing, and yet you are so jealous of it. Mary’s dignity approaches the infinite, yet she considers herself and behaves as if she were the least of all creatures.

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

The Visitation2

Art by Bradi Barth


O Mary, how great is your humility when you hasten to serve others! If it is true that he who humbles himself will be exalted, who will be more exalted than you who have humbled yourself so much?

“When Elizabeth caught sight of you she was astonished and exclaimed: ‘Whence is this to me that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? But I am still more astonished to see that you, as well as your Son, came not to be served, but to serve… It was for this purpose that you went to Elizabeth, you the Queen, to the servant, the Mother of God to the mother of the Precursor, you who would give birth to the Son of God, to her who would bring forth a mere man.

“But your profound humility in no way lessened your magnanimity; the greatness of your soul was not opposed to your humility. You, so small in your own eyes, were so magnanimous in your faith, in your hope in the Most High, that you never doubted His promises, and firmly believed that you would become the Mother of the Son of God.

“Humility did not make you fainthearted; magnanimity did not make you proud, but these two virtues were perfectly combined in you!

“O Mary, you cannot give me a share in your great privileges as Mother of God; these belong to you alone! But you want me to share in your virtues, giving me examples of them in yourself. If, then, sincere humility, magnanimous faith, and delicate, sympathetic charity are lacking in me, how can I excuse myself? O Mary,  O Mother of mercy, you who are full of grace, nourish us, your poor little ones, with your virtues!”
(cf. St. Bernard).