Monday, June 7, 2010

Memorial of Bl Anne of St Bartholomew

"Anne of St Bartholomew was born in the district of Almendral in the diocese of Avila. Both her parents died when she was ten years old and her brothers put her to the humble work of tending their sheep. During his time she was frequently strengthened in spirit by the visible presence of Jesus Christ who appeared to her in the form of a child. Refusing offers of marriage and overcoming other obstacles, she entered the monastery of Discalced Carmelites founded in Avila. She was noted for her humility, her prompt obedience and her severe penances. The Foundress, Mother Teresa, chose her as her companion in her labors even though Anne was not educated. When the Seraphic Mother had been called from this earthly exile, Anne founded four flourishing monasteries, first in France, then in Belgium. She gave a singular example of unconquerable constancy and fortitude. The fame of her sanctity and her reputation for counsel and prudence spread everywhere. She was favored with rare gifts including those of prophecy and of infused knowledge. She rested in peace after a holy death in Antwerp in the year 1626. Benedict XV enrolled her among the list of holy virgins."

-- For the 1966 Discalced Carmelite Proper

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"According to Saint Bernard, it is the person who keeps silent and says nothing when things go wrong who is really humble. It is very virtuous, he says, to keep silent when people are talking about our true faults, but more perfect when we are slighted or accused without having committed any fault or sin. And though it is virtuous indeed to bear this in silence, it is more perfect still to want to be despised and thought mad and good-for nothing, and to go on, as our Lord Jesus Christ did, wholeheartedly loving those who despise us.

If Jesus kept silent, it was not because he hated anyone. He was simply saying to his eternal Father what he said on the cross: Lord, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. What infinite love burned in that sacred heart of yours, Lord Jesus! Without uttering a single word you spoke to us; without a word you worked the mysteries you came to accomplish—teaching virtue to the ignorant and blind. What our Lord did was no small thing. Where should we get patience and humility and poverty and the other virtues, and how could we carry each other’s burdens and cross, if Christ had not taught us all this first, and given himself as a living model of all perfection?

Blessed silence! In it you cry out and preach to the whole world by your example. Volumes could be written about your silence, Lord! There is more wisdom to be learned from it by those who love you than from books or study.

Our Lord became a spring of Living water for us, so that we should not die of thirst among all the miseries that surround us. How truly he said in the Gospel that he came to serve and not to be served! What tremendous goodness! Can we fail to be shamed by your words and deeds, and the patience you show with us every day? How truly, again Lord, did you say: Learn from me for I am meek and humble of heart. Where can we obtain this patience and humbleness of heart? Is there any way to achieve it except by taking it from Christ as he taught it to us with those other virtues we need—faith, hope and charity? Without faith we cannot follow that royal road of the divine mysteries. It is faith that opens our eyes and makes us see the truth; and where faith is wanting there is no light, and no way leading to goodness."

-- Meditations on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ by Blessed Anne of Saint Bartholomew

1 comment:

Mari Kate said...

Blessed Ann, what an inspiration. I remember reading that one day after feeling so inferior to the other more affluent Sisters, she complained to the Lord that she was only nothing, a piece of straw. HE told her that with a little piece of straw He would start a fire. It is when we know that we are nothing that He can be everything.