Sunday, February 28, 2010
God reward you!
Our Lady of Mt Carmel and all Carmelite saints, pray for them! St Joseph, pray for them!
But God wished to go further: by becoming man, He put Himself also among the number of the suffering. Jesus wished to be born in a wretched stable; He worked hard to gain His daily bread; He knew hunger, thirst, the weariness of long journeys on foot (cf. John 4: 6); for three years, He did not have a home, not even a rock on which to rest His head (cf. Matt. 8: 20); He suffered the misunderstanding of men, their mockeries; they treated Him as a man given over to wine and good food. The truth and the depth of His fear of suffering appears particularly in the prayer in Gethsemani: My God, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me! In the passion, physical and mental pain reach their paroxysm. Finally, Our Lord wished to join man in the mystery of death. All men who suffer can say in facing the Crucified: "He too has suffered."
But if Jesus passed through the abyss of suffering, it was to transfigure it and give it a completely new dimension: from now on suffering is linked to love. If it remains a great evil in itself, suffering has become the most solid foundation of the essential possession of man, that is to say, eternal salvation. It permits us to be tied to Jesus in the work of the Redemption. A consequence of sin, it becomes, by the power of God, the means of our moral recovery."
-- From the spiritual letter of November 21, 1996, by Dom Antoine Marie, osb. Reproduced with permission through the kindness of Fr Jacques Marie, osb.
** Dom Antoine is a benedictine priest at Saint Joseph de Clairval Abbey in Flavigny.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
-- St Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, CP
** Those following the 1962 Liturgical Calendar and those living in Italy observe today the memorial of St Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows. Francis Possenti (1838-1862) entered the Passionist monastery in Morovalle in 1856, where he received the name of Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows. Gabriel was a joyous young man who loved prayer and the poor. He died of tuberculosis 6 years later. St Gemma Galgani had a great devotion to him.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Her motto, which characterized her, was "to do good to everyone", without distinction of creed or party, placed her in the footsteps of Jesus who "passed by doing good". We could sum her up as "loving God and neighbour", welcoming, simple and kind. Her virtue has been proclaimed heroic (Rome, 17th December 1997).
-- Adapted from the Teresian Carmelite Missionaries website
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
"If we ask, why penance and reparation, the first answer is: Because God wants it.
But if we press the question: Why does God want it? Then we must say, because in His mysterious wisdom, His justice requires it. We may legitimately say, without really understanding it, that He has no choice. Having given us a free will, if we abuse liberty, we must use our freedom to repay to God the love we have stolen from Him (which is penance) and repair the damage we have done (which is reparation).
Notice, all along I have been using the first person plural, "we", because penance and reparation are owed to God not only because I have individually sinned, but because we human beings have sinned and are sinning, in our day, on a scale never before conceived in the annals of history.
We know better than Cain after he killed his brother, Abel. We are our brother's keepers. We are mysteriously co-responsible for what other people do wrong. There is a profound sense in which all of us are somehow to do penance and make reparation, not only for our sinful misdeeds, but for the sins of our country and, indeed, for the sins of the whole human race.
We return to our question: Why penance and reparation? Because, in Christ's words, "Unless you do penance, you shall all likewise perish".
Is it any wonder that on Pentecost Sunday, after Peter preached his sermon, and rebuked the people for their sins, and they asked him, "what must we do," his first word to the multitude was the imperative verb, "Repent!"
Is it any wonder that Our Lady of Fatima's message to a sinful world in our day, may be summarized in the same imperative, "Do penance."
Indeed, the calamities that we have so far seen in this present century: two world wars with more casualties than in all the previous wars of history, and the threat of a nuclear holocaust that hangs over us like a tornado cloud. All of this is God's warning to do penance and reparation. Why? Because God is not mocked.
You do not offend God with impunity. You do not sin without retribution. You do not ignore the will of the Almighty and expect the Almighty to ignore what you do.
What bears emphasis, however, is that this retribution is either to be paid willingly, with our penance and reparation, or will be paid unwillingly within the divine punishment.
The divine logic is simple, awfully simple, and all we have to do is learn what God is telling us. Either we do penance and reparation because we want to, or we shall suffer (against our will) the consequences of our sins in this life, and in the life to come.
But remember, this penance and reparation is to be done not only for what we have personally done wrong. It is for all the pride and lust, for all the cruelty and greed, for all the envy and laziness and gluttony of a sin-laden human family.
God is merciful and in fact as our Holy Father has told us, Jesus Christ is the Incarnation of divine mercy. But God's mercy is conditional. It is conditional on our practice of penance and reparation."
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
"Out of the whole world on man, Peter, is chosen to preside at the calling of all nations, and to be set over all the apostles and all the fathers of the Church. Though there are in God's people many bishops and many shepherds, Peter is thus appointed to rule in his own person those whom Christ also rules as the original ruler. Beloved, how great and wonderful is this sharing in his power that God in his goodness has given to this man. Whatever Christ has willed to be shared in common by Peter and the other leaders of the Church, it is only through Peter that he has given to others what he has not refused to bestow on them.
The Lord now asks the apostles as a whole what men think of him. As long as they are recounting the uncertainty born of human ignorance, their reply is always the same.
But when he presses the disciples to say what they think themselves, the first to confess his faith in the Lord is the one who is first in rank among the apostles.
Peter says: You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Jesus replies: Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona, for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father who is in heaven. You are blessed, he means, because my Father has taught you. You have not been deceived by earthly opinion, but have been enlightened by inspiration from heaven. It was not flesh and blood that pointed me out to you, but the one whose only-begotten Son I am.
He continues: And I say to you. In other words, as my Father has revealed to you my godhead, so I in my turn make known to you your preeminence. You are Peter: though I am the inviolable rock, the cornerstone that makes both one, the foundation apart from which no one can lay any other, yet you also are a rock, for you are given solidity by my strength, so that which is my very own because of my power is common between us through your participation.
And upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. On this strong foundation, he says, I will build an everlasting temple. The great height of my Church, which is to penetrate the heavens, shall rise on the firm foundation of this faith.
The gates of hell shall not silence this confession of faith; the chains of death shall not bind it. Its words are the words of life. As they lift up to heaven those who profess them, so they sent down to hell those who contradict them.
Blessed Peter is therefore told: To you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed also in heaven.
The authority vested in this power passed also to the other apostles, and the institution established by this decree has been continued in all the leaders of the Church. But it is not without good reason that what is bestowed on all is entrusted to one. For Peter received it separately in trust because he is the prototype set before all the rulers of the Church."
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Alone among the three, Francisco never heard the Lady’s words, although he saw her and felt her presence. After the first apparition, Lucia conveyed the Lady’s message to him, that he would go to heaven if he prayed many Rosaries. In the second apparition, Lucia asked to be taken to heaven, and the Lady replied that Francisco and Jacinta would be taken soon, but Lucia would have to wait for a time. (She is still alive.)
In the third apparition, the children were given a secret, including a vision of hell, which so changed them that they became more like adults than children. At this time the Mayor of the district, Artur de Oliveira Santos, a Freemason, devised a scheme to discredit the apparitions by terrorizing the children. He tried to bully them into admitting they lied, threatened to boil them in oil if they withheld the Lady’s “Secret” (Francisco showed extravagant courage in anticipation of going to heaven), and jailed them to keep them from their appointment with the Lady on the day of the fourth apparition (August 13). They kept their appointment two days later.
For the fifth apparition, tens of thousands attended, having been alerted by the press to the Mayor’s controversy with the children. Among the curious was a seminary professor from Santarem, Dr. Manuel Formigao, who questioned the children afterward and became convinced of their veracity.
When the public learned of a miracle promised for the next appointed day, many resolved to be there, and on October 13 perhaps 70 thousand people were present for the miracle of the sun.
After the apparitions ended, Francisco was enrolled in school but played truant as often as possible. He preferred to spend time praying to the “Hidden Jesus” in the Tabernacle. His great concern was to console His sorrowing Lord and the Heart of His Mother. When asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, Francisco answered, "I don't want to be anything. I want to die and go to heaven."
In August 1918, when World War I was nearing an end, Francisco and Jacinta both contracted influenza. They had short reprieves, but their decline was inevitable. In April of the following year, Francisco, knowing his time was short, asked to receive the Hidden Jesus for the first time in Holy Communion. The next morning, April 4th, at ten o’clock, he died with a glow on his shrunken face. He was buried the next day in a little cemetery in Fatima, across from the parish church, and later translated to the Sanctuary at Cova da Iria.
-- From EWTN
Friday, February 19, 2010
"The thorns, with which the adorable head of our Lord was crowned, were not planted upon earth by the paternal hand of God, but they were maliciously sowed by a treacherous enemy. From the Gospel we learn that this enemy was the Devil, and the sin of our first parents, Adam and Eve was the noxious seed. The curse of God made them grow long and sharp. These thorns and thistles were more intended to prick the sinner's conscience than the callous hand of the industrious laborer. This is the wise reflection of St. John Chrysostom: "when God said to our fallen parents: Cursed is the earth in thy work; thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to thee." He intended to signify: thy conscience O sinner, shall never cease producing thorns and stings which will prick thy guilty soul. (St. John Chrys. in Mark 10:19) The thorns of this accursed earth are therefore the figures of our sins. They are the brand of God's malediction impressed on the forehead of sinners. Even the learned Protestant Grotius discovered this truth and said: "The curse of sin was the origin of thorns." "Maledictio in spinis Coepit." (Grot. comm. in Mark 15:17)
Now our Lord Jesus Christ, being the second Person of the most adorable Trinity, essential holiness in human flesh, Verbum Caro factum and the most cherished object of the eternal predilection of His heavenly Father, could never be defiled by the least shadow of sin and consequently He never could be subject to the malediction of God. In His infinite mercy He could however consent to experience the temporary effects of both. Jesus could assume and wear for our sake the infamous badge of sin. He could in mercy for us taste and drink the loathsome bitterness of the cup filled up to the brim with the gall and vinegar of God's malediction.
Our Divine Redeemer did in fact consent to wear during His whole mortal life, the sinner's garb and He daily drank in large doses the disgusting potion squeezed from the corrupted hearts of sinful men as from sour grapes by the weight of God's anathema. But because the large and deep vessel containing the poison of sin was not exhausted, being daily and hourly replenished by new crimes; so our dear Lord was obliged to make a most painful effort in order to drain it all at once and completely during His bitter Passion. This heroic act was accomplished in the garden of Gethsemani wherein He was so copiously drenched with the large chalice of sin that He was cast into a deadly swoon and His life's Blood was forced out from every pore of His agonizing Body.
Now we should attentively observe that the same plan was followed by our merciful Redeemer in wearing the filthy badge of sin. Having once assumed it in His incarnation with our human nature, He had to wear it continually during His whole mortal life. At the time, however, of His Passion our Lord had to be publicly and solemnly installed as the King of Sinners and Sorrows. Oh! the grand and sublime mystery of the Crown of Thorns.
It was then in the city of Jerusalem, the capital of Judea, it was in the hall of Pilate, the Roman Governor, that our Divine Lord chose to be crowned with thorns and to assume the full uniform of sinner and the infamous wreath of sin. It was on this memorable occasion that the great and eternal Son of God the Incarnate Word was installed as the King of Sinners and consequently as the man deepest in infamy and greatest in sorrow: "Despised and the most abject of men! ..." Our sins are Jesus' Crown of Thorns. "Corona ex spinis peccata sunt... (Theopil. in Matt. 27) Thorns being the offshoot and the stigma of God's malediction against sin, hence, by consenting to be crowned with thorns, our merciful Lord voluntarily became the responsible head and the willing victim of God's anathema directed and intended for sinners only. It is thus according to St. Paul that "Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us." (Gal. 3:13) Hence, by wearing the Crown of Thorns, our most holy Redeemer received upon His adorable head the curse pronounced by the irritated justice of God against our sinful race, and through this act of mercy He shielded us from its terrible blow. "In corona spinea maledictum solvit antiquum," says Origen.
Our merciful Savior effected still more in our behalf. Thorns and thistles, as we have remarked, are the principal offshoot of God's curse against sin. Now by consenting to take these sharp thorns upon His adorable head, He removed this malediction and changed it into a blessing for mankind. In this way our Lord Jesus Christ diminished the quantity and the intensity of our temporal sufferings; and through His blessing, grace and example, He rendered all our labors and toils meritorous of eternal reward. Children of sinful parents, conceived and born in sin, we have indeed much to suffer yet; but had not our blessed Lord come to our relief our temporal sufferings should have been by far more numerous in quantity and more intense in quality as daily experience testifies among Infidel and Pagan nations. Moreover we should have been condemned to pass from temporal to eternal misery. Through His merciful Crown of Thorns our Savior has removed from mankind the brand of everlasting infamy and has secured for His faithful servants the diadem of heavenly glory. "In that day, the prophet Isaias says, the Lord of Hosts shall be a crown of glory, and a garland of joy to the residue of His people." (Is. 28:5) Hence St. Jerome could with reason say that: Through the merit of the thorny crown of Jesus' head we have acquired a right to the diadem of the heavenly kingdom. "Corona spinea capitis ejus diadema regni adepti sumus." (In Marc. 15)
In all our sufferings then let us look up to the King of Sorrows crowned with thorns. This should be done more especially when by irksome neuralgia, and severe headaches, we are invited to bear a share of the thorny crown of our Divine Master. St. Bernard justly remarks that: "Christians should be ashamed to be too delicate members of a Divine head crowned with thorns." We should however acknowledge that persons afflicted with these sufferings deserve more charitable compassion than they do generally receive. These afflictions being internal and invisible do not excite to commiseration those especially who had never experienced their painful and saddening effects. We should also reflect that headaches are often caused by an overflow of blood to the head which produces a flush on the face and this is mistaken by many superficial observers for a sign of vigorous health. Hence compliments are offered which to the ears of the sufferer sound like irony. Moreover these painful attacks of the head are naturally the cause of mistakes and of awkward failures, which bring upon their victim ridicule and undeserved humiliations. The best and perhaps the only comfort and consolation on these mortifying occasions, will be a devout glance at Jesus crowned with thorns and mocked in the hall of Pilate. He is fully aware of our sufferings and trials. He suffered more than we do both in physical pain and in humiliations. Our Lord can compassionate our misery and will abundantly reward our humility, meekness and patience.
In the lives of the Fathers of the Desert, we read that St. Pacomius towards the end of his life, while suffering intense pain in his head and oppressed with interior anguish of mind, had recourse to prayer to obtain some relief and consolation from God. On this occasion our Lord appeared to him accompanied by many holy Angels and wearing a Crown of Thorns but at the same time shining with dazzling glory. Surprised at the heavenly vision the suffering servant of God prostrated himself with his face to the ground when one of the Angels very affectionately raised him up and informed him that Jesus Christ had come to console him in his affliction. Our Lord then spoke to Pacomius words of heavenly comfort encouraging him to bear his trials and sufferings with resignation, assuring him that they were intended for the purification of his soul, and for a great increase of merit which was soon to be crowned with corresponding glory and bliss for all eternity in Heaven."
-- The Mystery of the Crown of Thorns by A Passionist Father
** Traditionally, the first Friday in Lent is dedicated to the Crown of Thorns.
** Art by Bryan Lynch
Thursday, February 18, 2010
"Penance and reparation are the consequence of sin. Or again, penance and reparation are the price we have to pay for our own and other people's sin. Penance and reparation, finally, are what God requires from sinners as a condition for showing them His mercy.
In order to better understand the meaning of penance and reparation, we have to look for a moment at what happens whenever we sin. Two things happen:
- First: we incur guilt before God for the self-will that caused us to sin. We become more or less separated or estranged from God, depending on the gravity of our sin.
- Second: We deserve punishment for the disorder we cause by our sinful conduct. We become liable to suffering pain, again more or less pain, depending on how seriously we have done wrong.
- Penance is the repentance we must make to remove the guilt, or to reinstate ourselves in God's friendship.
- Reparation is the pain we must endure to make up for the harm we brought about by our self-indulgence when we sinned.
But if penance and reparation have this in common, how do they differ? They differ, as we have seen, in the two different ways that we do wrong whenever we sin. Because we have failed in loving God, we now owe Him more love than He would have required had we not offended Him. We did wrong by our willful love of self. So now we have to make up by our selfless love of God. This is Penance.
And because we have brought disorder into the world by our sins, we must undergo pain to undo this harm we have caused. This is reparation."
-- Penance and Reparation: A Lenten Meditation Fr John A Hardon, SJ
Copyright © 2003 by Inter Mirifica
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
"Let the one truly possessed by the love of Christ keep his commandments. Who can express the binding power of divine love? Who can find words for the splendor of its beauty? Beyond all description are the heights to which it lifts us. Love unites us to God; "it cancels innumerable sins," has no limits to its endurance, bears everything patiently. Love is neither servile nor arrogant. It does not provoke schisms or form cliques, but always acts in harmony with others. By it all God's chosen ones have been sanctified; without it, it is impossible to please him. Out of love the Lord took us to himself; because he loved us and it was God's will, our Lord Jesus Christ gave his life's blood for us -- he gave his body for our body, his soul for our soul.
See then, beloved, what a great and wonderful thing love is, and how inexpressible its perfection. Who are worthy to possess it unless God makes them so? To him therefore we must turn, begging of his mercy that there may be found in us a love free from human partiality and beyond reproach. Every generation from Adam's time to ours has passed away; but those who by God's grace were made perfect in love and have a dwelling now among the saints, and when at last the kingdom of Christ appears, they will be revealed. "Take shelter in your rooms for a little while," says Scripture, "until my wrath subsides. Then I will remember the good days, and will raise you from your graves."
Happy are we, beloved, if love enables us to live in harmony and in the observance of God's commandments, for then it will also gain for us the remission of our sins. Scripture pronounces "happy those whose transgressions are pardoned, whose sins are forgiven. Happy the one," it says, "to whom the Lord imputes no fault, on whose lips there is no guile." This is the blessing given those whom God has chosen through Jesus Christ our Lord. To him be glory for ever and ever.
Let us fix our attention on the blood of Christ and recognize how precious it is to God his Father, since it was shed for our salvation and brought the grace of repentance to all the world.
If we review the various ages of history, we will see that in every generation the Lord has "offered the opportunity of repentance" to any who were willing to turn to him. When Noah preached God's message of repentance, all who listened to him were saved. Jonah told the Ninevites they were going to be destroyed, but when they repented, their prayers gained God's forgiveness for their sins, and they were saved, even though they were not of God's people.
Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the ministers of God's grace have spoken of repentance; indeed, the Master of the whole universe himself spoke of repentance with an oath: "As I live," says the Lord, "I do not wish the death of the sinner but the sinner's repentance." He added this evidence of his goodness: "House of Israel, repent of your wickedness. Tell my people: If their sins should reach from earth to heaven, if they are brighter than scarlet and blacker than sackcloth, you need only turn to me with your whole heart and say, `Father,' and I will listen to you as to a holy people."
In other words, God wanted all his beloved ones to have the opportunity to repent and he confirmed this desire by his own almighty will. That is why we should obey his sovereign and glorious will and prayerfully entreat his mercy and kindness. We should be suppliant before him and turn to his compassion, rejecting empty works and quarreling and jealousy which only lead to death.
We should be humble in mind, putting aside all arrogance, pride, and foolish anger. Rather, we should act in accordance with the Scriptures, as the Holy Spirit says: "The wise must not glory in wisdom nor the strong in strength nor the rich in riches. Rather, let the one who glories glory in the Lord, by seeking him and doing what is right and just." Recall especially what the Lord Jesus said when he taught gentleness and forbearance. "Be merciful," he said, "so that you may have mercy shown to you. Forgive, so that you may be forgiven. As you treat others, so you will be treated. As you give, so you will receive. As you judge, so you will be judged. As you are kind to others, so you will be treated kindly. The measure of your giving will be the measure of your receiving."
Let these commandments and precepts strengthen us to live in humble obedience to his sacred words. As Scripture asks: "Whom shall I look upon with favor except the humble, peaceful one who trembles at my words?"
Sharing then in the heritage of so many vast and glorious achievements, let us hasten toward the goal of peace, set before us from the beginning. Let us keep our eyes firmly fixed on the Father and Creator of the whole universe, and hold fast to his splendid and transcendent gifts of peace and all his blessings."
--From a letter of St Clement I to the Corinthians
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Jesus, Your ineffable image
Is the star which guides my steps.
Ah, You know, Your sweet Face
Is for me Heaven on earth.
My love discovers the charms
Of Your Face adorned with tears.
I smile through my own tears
When I contemplate Your sorrows.
Oh! To console You I want
To live unknown on earth!
Your beauty, which You know how to veil,
Discloses for me all its mystery.
I would like to fly away to You!
Your Face is my only homeland.
It's my Kingdom of love.
It's my cheerful meadow.
Each day, my sweet sun.
It's the Lily of the Valley
Whose mysterious perfume
Consoles my exiled soul,
Making it taste the peace of Heaven.
It's my Rest, my Sweetness
And my melodious Lyre
Your Face, O my Sweet Savior,
Is the Divine Bouquet of Myrrh
I want to keep on my heart!
Your Face is my only wealth.
I ask for nothing more.
Hiding myself in it unceasingly,
I will resemble You, Jesus
Leave in me, the Divine Impress
Of Your features filled with sweetness,
And soon I'll become holy.
I shall draw hearts to You.
So that I may gather
A beautiful golden harvest,
Deign to set me aflame with Your Fire.
With Your adorned mouth,
Give me soon the Eternal Kiss!
Monday, February 15, 2010
We humans never have enough because, with St. Thérèse of Lisieux, we choose all. And we will never rest until we get it. The Carmelite tradition recognises this hunger in the human heart and says we are made this way. We are made to seek and search, to yearn and ache, until the heart finally finds something or someone to match the depth of its desire, until the heart finds food sufficient for its hunger. We name that food, that fulfilment, that goal of human desire, God. Carmelites have been intentionally pursuing that elusive, mysterious fulfilment for 800 years. 'I wanted to live,' wrote St. Teresa of Avila, 'but I had no one to give me life...'
We believe that, named or not, every human being is on this quest. We can assume this: that every student in our school, every member of our parish, every pilgrim to our shrine, every candidate in our seminary has an openness to the transcendent mystery we name God. Time and time again the desire will be denied, the hunger temporarily satisfied, the yearning stifled, distracted, weak. But we know it is there and it will emerge in one form or another. Our tradition has the power, the language, the imagery to help illumine what people are experiencing in their innermost being.
The Carmelite tradition attempts to name the hunger, give words to the desire, and express the journey's end in God. The human heart will forever need this clarification of its wants. Carmel has wanted the same thing and will walk with anyone who is met along the way. We cannot satisfy their hunger, but can help them find words for it and know where it points. We can do it, and have done it, in art, in poetry and song, in counselling and teaching, in simply listening and understanding. And we can warn people that eventually all words fail and at times all we have is the desire itself."
-- Seasons of the Heart by Fr John Welch, OCarm
Sunday, February 14, 2010
"The highest perfection consists not in interior favours or in great rapture, but in bringing of our wills so closely into conformity with the will of God that as soon as we realize that He wills anything, we desire it ourselves with all our might."
Saturday, February 13, 2010
-- St Francis de Sales
** Photo by Ilona Wellman
Friday, February 12, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!
** The girl kneeling in the grotto is St Bernadette.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
"God is a simple Being in Whom there are no parts. Hence, if we want to become as much like Him as possible, we must strive to become by virtue, what He is by nature, that is, we must be simple in spirit and action, natural in speech and behavior, without sham or deception. Our exterior must always be in conformity with our interior and only and always we must have no other intentions in mind than to please God."
-- St Vincent de Paul
Monday, February 8, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Listen, my Jesus, I wish to make you a confidence ...
You know me well
and not hidden to you is my overall helplessness.
Well, it is precisely the weakness that leans to the fortitude
helplessness to the power of God ...
in short, it is my own smallness
that makes me happy and makes me live in You!
-- Bl Elia of St Clement, ocd
translated by ocdsister
** Painting by Greg Olsen
Saturday, February 6, 2010
-- Lodo... by Valeria Carta, ocds
translated by ocdsister
** Valeria Carta (1944-1984) was an Italian lay woman. She left school after fifth grade and at the age of 12 she began to work as a domestic worker. In 1960 she was diagnosed with transverse myelitis (a neurological disorder), and from that time her life became a real calvary, going from one nursing home to another. In 1969 she entered the Discalced Carmelite Third Order, having a great love for St Teresa, St John of the Cross and St Thérèse. My understanding is that her cause has been introduced.
Friday, February 5, 2010
"My fellow Christians, our annual celebration of a martyr's feast has brought us together. She achieved renown in the early Church for her noble victory; she is well known now as well, for she continues to triumph through her divine miracles, which occur daily and continue to bring glory to her name.
She is indeed a virgin, for she was born of the divine Word, God's only Son, who also experienced death for our sake. John, a master of God's word, speaks of this: He gave the power to become children of God to everyone who received him.
The woman who invites us to this banquet is both a wife and virgin. To use the analogy of Paul, she is the bride who has been betrothed to one husband, Christ. A true virgin, she wore the glow of a pure conscience and the crimson of the Lamb's blood for her cosmetics. Again and again she meditated on the death of her eager lover. For her, Christ's death was recent, his blood was still moist. Her robe is the mark of her faithful witness to Christ. It bears the indelible marks of his crimson blood and the shining threads of her eloquence. She offers to all who come after her these treasures of her eloquent confession.
Agatha, the name of our saint, means "good." She was truly good, for she lived as a child of God. She was also given as the gift of God, the source of all goodness to her bridegroom, Christ, and to us. For she grants us a share in her goodness.
What can give greater good than the Sovereign Good? Whom could anyone find more worthy of celebration with hymns of praise than Agatha.
Agatha, her goodness coincides with her name and way of life. She won a good name by her noble deeds, and by her name she points to the nobility of those deeds. Agatha, her mere name wins all men over to her company. She teaches them by her example to hasten with her to the true Good, God alone."
-- From a homily by St Methodius of Sicily
Thursday, February 4, 2010
-- From the Resolutions of St Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart, ocd (Redi)
** Madonna of Humility icon by Simon Ushakov
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Our lighted candles are a sign of the divine splendor of the one who comes to expel the dark shadows of evil and to make the whole universe radiant with the brilliance of his eternal light. Our candles also show how bright out souls should be when we go to meet Christ.
The Mother of God, the most pure Virgin, carried the true light in her arms and brought him to those who lay in darkness. We too should carry a light for all to see and reflect the radiance o the true light a we hasten to meet him.
The light has come and has shone upon a world enveloped in shadows; the Dayspring from on high has visited us and given light to those who lived in darkness. This, then is our feast, and we join in procession with lighted candles to reveal the light that has shone upon us and the glory that is yet to come to us through him. So let us hasten all together to meet our God.
The true light has come, the light that enlightens every man who is born into this world. Let all of us, my brethren, be enlightened and made radiant by this light. Let all of us share in its splendor, and be so filled with it that no one remains in the darkness. Let us be shining ourselves as we go together to meet and to receive with the aged Simeon the light whose brilliance is eternal. Rejoicing with Simeon, let us sing a hymn of thanksgiving to God, the Father of the light, who sent the true light to dispel the darkness and to give us all a share in his splendor.
Through Simeon's eyes we too have seen the salvation of God which he prepared for all the nations and revealed as the glory of the new Israel, which is ourselves. As Simeon was released from the bonds of this life when he had seen Christ, so we too were at once freed from our old state of sinfulness.
By faith we too embraced Christ, the salvation of God the Father, as he came to us from Bethlehem. Gentiles before, we have now become the people of God. Our eyes have seen God incarnate, and because we have seen him present among us and have mentally received him into our arms, we are called the new Israel. Never shall we forget this presence; every year we keep a feast in its honor."
-- From a sermon by St Sophronius
** This feast is also known as the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple
Monday, February 1, 2010
Later, she began the foundation of a new religious congregation, dedicated to serving the poor. The congregation was definitively established in 1910 with the name "Congregation of the Sisters of the Poor of Altagracia de Orituco." Afterward, the congregation was affiliated to the Carmelite Order, and was called the Third Order of Regular Carmelites. Today they are known as the Venezuelan Carmelite Sisters or Carmelites of Mother Candelaria.