Let all who lovingly awow
Those gifts the Christ Child came to share
Acclaim Therese's virtues now
And praise her name in song and prayer.
Her patroness and mother chose
The lofty peaks of Carmel's height
And there Therese in fervor goes
To follow Christ, her one delight.
Inspired by Jesus to convey
Amazing secrets of His grace
She taught the world the simple way
Of childhood that the Gospel's trace.
From Story of a Soul: Considering the mystical body of the Church, I had not recognized myself in any of the members described by St. Paul, or rather I desired to see myself in them all. Charity gave me the key to my vocation. I understood that if the Church had a body composed of different members, the most necessary and most noble of all could not be lacking to it, and so I understood that the Church had a heart and that this heart was burning with love. I understood that it was love alone that made the Church's members act, and if love ever became extinct, apostles would not preach the Gospel and martyrs would not shed their blood. I understood that love comprised all vocations, that love was everything, that it embraced all times and places -- in a word, that it was eternal!
Holy Love Ministry
September 19, 2017
Once again, I (Maureen) see a Great Flame that I have come to know as the Heart of God the Father. He says:
"I am here - Lord of the important and the unimportant - the proud and the humble. I am the Refuge and Protector of the Remnant Faithful and of all who hold wisdom and Truth in their hearts. I am Lord of those who are misled by their own opinions."
"Decades ago I sent the Holy Mother to earth requesting the title 'Protectress of the Faith'. It was summarily dismissed as unnecessary and unimportant.* So, I am coming here** as Protector of the Remnant Faithful. I do not seek earthly approval. I seek the souls who are confused by earthly challenges of the Faith. I desire they come into My Paternal Heart as a safe Refuge and be united in the Truth. Those leaders who reign over confusion and do not attempt to reconcile it with the Truth are answerable to Me. I show no partiality towards power in the world. Rather, those in positions of great influence have much more to answer for."
"The Tenets of Faith and My Commandments will not change to suit an erring population. I pay no deference to pleasing people. I wait patiently for people to please Me through obedience"
"Protecting the faith, which was deemed unnecessary in the past, has taken on all importance, as the popular challenges of the Faith are supported by those in leadership roles. Answerable to Me are those who compromise the Truth and abuse authority. I cannot state it more clearly."
During his office as Patriarch of Jerusalem from 1206 to 1214, Albert Avogadro wrote a Rule for the hermits living on Mount Carmel. The Rule of Saint Albert is still in use as the Rule for Carmelites. Returning to what she called "the primitive Rule," meaning the unmitigated Rule, became for Saint Teresa of Avila a priority for her reform of the Order in the 1500s. For her at that time, keeping the primitive Rule meant that the nuns should have no possessions of their own, that they should live on alms and not on an income, and that they should not eat meat. Also, the spirit of enclosure was embodied in the primitive Rule with the stipulation that the hermits, when not engaged in necessary work for the community, should remain alone in their cells "pondering the law of the Lord." The eremitic spirituality was the basis of their contemplative ideal of solitude and silence, which the reforming Saint sought to imitate and revive. Saint Albert was murdered at Acre while processing with Christians.
Excerpt from The Rule of Saint Albert: You may have foundations in deserts, or wherever they shall be given to you, suitable and adaptable to the observance of your rule, as the prior and the other religious shall judge proper. Moreover, each one shall have a separate cell, in the place wherein you propose to live, which shall be assigned to him by the order of the Prior, and with the consent of the other religious, or the more capable part of them. But you shall all assemble in the refectory to take in common the food which shall be given to you, while hearing some part of Holy Scripture read, when this can be conveniently done. No religious shall leave the cell assigned to him or exchange it with another without leave from the Prior. The cell of the Prior shall be at the entrance of the monastery, in order that he may be the first to meet those who come there and everything shall be done according to his will and direction. Each one shall remain in his cell or near it, meditating day and night on the Law of the Lord and watching in prayer, unless otherwise justly occupied.
Christ Is Bridegroom of the Church
“As the Redeemer of the world, Christ is the Bridegroom of the Church. The Eucharist is the Sacrament of our Redemption. It is the Sacrament of the Bridegroom and the Bride. The Eucharist makes present and realizes anew in a sacramental manner the redemptive act of Christ, Who ‘creates’ the Church, His body. Christ is united with this ‘body’ as the bridegroom with the bride. All this is contained in the Letter to the Ephesians. The perennial ‘unity of the two’ that exists between man and woman from the very ‘beginning’ is introduced into the ‘great mystery’ of Christ and of the Church. … Although the Church possesses a hierarchical structure, nevertheless this structure is totally ordered to the holiness of Christ’s members. And holiness is measured according to the ‘great mystery’ in which the Bride responds with the gift of love to the gift of the Bridegroom.’
“This concerns everyone in the Church, women as well as men. It obviously concerns those who share in the ministerial priesthood, which is characterized by service. In the context of the ‘great mystery’ of Christ and the Church, all are called to respond – as a bride – with the gift of their lives to the inexpressible gift of the love of Christ, Who alone, as the Redeemer of the world, is the Church’s Bridegroom. The ‘royal priesthood,’ which is universal, at the same time expresses the gift of the Bride (Mulieris Dignitatem VII 26 - 27).”
In its innocence her soul turned spontaneously to God, and seemed able to find rest in Him alone. In her, utter purity was joined to profound humility and she genuinely loved to be disregarded and despised. She did not simply bear humiliations, she rejoiced in them. Her purity of heart and her lowliness of spirit earned for her a high degree of charity, and this rapidly increased until her ardor became truly seraphic and she could hardly speak of God without her face becoming suffused with joy. Her love of God went hand in hand with a deep love for her neighbor and especially for sinners, on whose behalf she offered herself unreservedly to God as a victim. Her unassuming kindness and complete self-denial for the sake of her sisters in religion, especially the sick, were such that she was regarded as an angel of charity. The fires of her love were fed principally by the Eucharist, and she looked forward with longing to her communions. She was also especially devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a devotion which did much to curb the advances of Jansenism at that time in Tuscany. She was utterly devoted to Our Lady, whom she regarded as the model and protectress of her own virginal purity. She was endowed to a high degree with the gift of contemplative prayer, and daily grew closer to God, as though reflecting the glory of the eternity she was fast approaching. As her life neared its end this true daughter of the holy Mother Teresa and faithful disciple of Saint John of the Cross was called upon through a mystical martyrdom of the spirit to resemble her crucified Spouse yet more closely. It was the very intensity of her love which caused this martyrdom, for the more fervent love becomes the more unrelenting it spurs the soul on to further love, and since no love of ours can match God's infinite loveableness, such a soul suffers exquisite torments from its insatiable thirst for greater love, and seems to itself to be wrapped in impenetrable darkness and to be totally lacking in love for God. In fact, the greater the love, the less it seems to itself to be. It is the soul that is truly "nailed to the cross with Christ" by this supreme martyrdom of the heart that wins for itself and for others the choicest fruits of redemption. Such souls by their silent apostolate of suffering, love and prayer, are foremost in the benefits they obtain for mankind and are the purest and most exalted in the whole Church. [From the Decree of Canonization. Teresa Margaret Redi died in the Carmelite monastery of Florence, Italy, at the age of twenty-three in 1770.]
As Moses declares in Deuteronomy, "Our Lord is a consuming fire," that is, a fire of love, which being of infinite power, can inestimably consume and transform into itself the soul it touches. Yet He burns each soul according to its preparation: He will burn one more, another less, and this He does in so far as He desires, and how and when He desires. When He wills to touch somewhat vehemently, the soul's burning reaches such a high degree of love that it seems to surpass that of all the fires of the world: for He is an infinite fire of love.
Because the soul in this case is entirely transformed by the divine flame, it not only feels a cautery, but has become a cautery of blazing fire.
It will happen that while the soul is inflamed with the love of God, it will feel that a seraph is assailing it by means of an arrow or dart which is all afire with love. And the seraph pierces and in an instant cauterizes this soul which, like a red-hot coal, or better a flame, is already enkindled. The soul is converted into an immense fire of love. Few persons have reached these heights. Some have, however, especially those whose virtue and spirit were to be diffused among their children. For God accords to founders, with respect to the first fruits of the spirit, wealth and value commensurate with the greater or lesser following they will have in their doctrine and spirituality.
From Living Flame of Love, St. John of the Cross
Mary Baouardy was born in 1846 in Abillin, near Nazareth. She was the first surviving child of Georges and Mary Baouardy, poor powder-makers who had lost twelve boys in infancy. Mary was born in answer to a novena to the Blessed Virgin in Bethlehem, with the promise that she would be named for her. Two years later, her brother Paul was born, and then, tragically, both parents died of an infectious disease, leaving Mary and Paul orphaned. They went to live with different relatives, and never saw each other again. These events were only the first of many sufferings in store for little Mary. Her wealthy uncle treated her well, but as was the custom during those times, he had arranged a marriage for her when she was only thirteen. Mary had always loved Jesus and the Virgin, and she did not want to marry. She prayed. The night before her wedding, Jesus spoke to her, telling her that He would help her. She cut off her beautiful long braids, wrapped the jewels she had been given in them, and sent them to her uncle. This made him furious, and from that day Mary was treated as a household slave. In her anguish, she befriended another servant, a man who was a Muslim. He promised to help her to deliver a letter to her brother in a different town. But when she went to his home with the letter, he tried to force her to renounce her faith in Christ. This she refused to do, and the angry man slit her throat. The next thing Mary remembered was a beautiful woman in blue came to her with a delicious broth that gave her strength. The woman dressed her wound, and then told her that she would enter a Carmelite monastery, make her vows in another, and die in another. This prediction proved true, because Mary later entered the Carmel of Pau, France. She assisted a foundation in India where she made her vows, and she died in the Carmel that she had helped to found in Bethlehem. Mary herself later wrote: "After my wound was healed I then had to leave the grotto and the Lady took me to the Church of St. Catherine served by the Franciscan Friars. I went to confession. When I left, the Lady in Blue had disappeared.” Awaking in a confessional in a Franciscan church located in Jerusalem, Mary began working as a domestic. A series of positions led her to the family that brought her to France, where she began her religious life as a Sister of St. Joseph of the Apparition, but her mystical graces alarmed the sisters, and they did not accept her there. Her novice mistress brought her to the Carmel of Pau, where she was accepted and given the name Mary of Jesus Crucified. She died in the Carmel of Bethlehem from a fall that wounded her leg in 1878. Mary of Jesus Crucified was canonized on May 17, 2015 by Pope Francis.
Excerpt from Mulieris Dignitatem, The Dignity of Women, by Pope Saint John Paul II: "Thus the 'fullness of time' manifests the extraordinary dignity of 'the woman.' On the one hand, this dignity consists in the supernatural elevation to union with God in Jesus Christ, which determines the ultimate finality of the existence of every person, both on earth and in eternity. From this point of view, the 'woman' is the representative and the archetype of the whole human race: she 'represents the humanity' that belongs to all human beings, both men and women. On the other hand, however, the event at Nazareth highlights a form of union with the living God that can only belong to 'the woman,' Mary: the union of mother and son. The Virgin of Nazareth truly becomes the Mother of God."
John Baptist, Michael Aloysius, and James, priests and martyrs, refused to take the oath of the Civil Constitution of the Clergy during the French Revolution which, among other things, demanded public election of the Pope and Bishops. Saint Pope John Paul II beatified 63 priests and religious on October 1, 1995 who had been imprisoned on board two ships stationed in Rochefort Bay, France, for ten months awaiting deportation into slavery.
The following are excerpts from Resolutions Drawn Up by the Priests Imprisoned on the Ship Les Deux Associes:
They will never give themselves up to useless worries about being set free. Instead, they will make the effort to profit from the time of their detention by meditating on their past years, by making holy resolutions for the future, so that they can find in the captivity of their bodies, freedom for their souls...
If God permits them to recover totally or in part this liberty nature longs for, they will avoid giving themselves up to an immoderate joy when they receive the news. By keeping their souls tranquil they will show they support without murmur the cross placed on them, and that they are disposed to bear it even longer with courage and as true Christians who never let themselves be beaten by adversity.
They will not show grief over the loss of their goods, no haste to recover them, no resentment against those who possess them.
They will never get mixed up in the new politics, being content to pray for the welfare of their country and prepare themselves for a new life, if God permits them to return to their homes, and there become subjects of edification and models of virtue for the people, by their detachment from the world, their assiduousness in prayer, and their love for recollection and piety.
Born in Lilo, Spain, to Ricardo Moragas and Isabel Cantarero January 8, 1881, Elvira was the first woman in Spain to become a pharmacist, like her father, at which she excelled. She entered a Carmelite monastery in Madrid, made her solemn profession of vows on Epiphany 1920, was elected prioress in 1927 and became novice mistress in 1930. Her desire to be a martyr was fulfilled when, on July 20th of 1936, (she had been again elected prioress a few weeks earlier), her convent was attacked. Mother Maria found shelter for all of her daughters in the homes of friends, but was herself arrested, along with another Sister, on August 14th. Refusing to reveal the hiding places of her daughters, Blessed Maria was shot to death on August 15th, Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her daughters survived the ordeal and were spared. She was beatified in 1998 by Saint Pope John Paul II.
Born on October 12, 1891, the youngest child of the merchant Siegfried Stein and his wife Auguste (Courant), "smart Edith," as she was called by her six siblings, lost her father at the age of three. Her strong mother ran the family lumber business in Breslau, which prospered. This Jewish family, led by her mother, kept the feasts and fasts of the Old Covenant with steadfast faith and rich observance. However, Edith renounced her Jewish tradition at an early age, choosing to pursue the study of psychology and philosophy at the University of Breslau. Later, in Gottingen, she became assistant to Edmund Husserl, a Protestant Christian who had formulated the new science of phenomenology, a branch of philosophy which seeks "the essence of that which appears." Here she met Adolf Reinach who, attracted by Husserl's ideas, had come to Gottingen with his wife Anne. He worked closely with Husserl as lecturer, and with Theodor Conrad founded the "Philosophical Society," a lively group of philosophers, including the enthusiastic Catholic Max Scheler, all of whom were influenced by Husserl's ideas. The World Wars were at that time brewing in Europe. In 1914, Edith worked as a Red Cross nurse at a military hospital. In 1917, her friend Reinach was killed on the western front. This may have been a turning point in Edith's life, because she was amazed at the composure of Anne Reinach, who was a Christian, in the face of the death of her beloved husband. In 1921, in the home of her phenomenologist friends Theodor and Hedwig Conrad, Edith was introduced to the writings of Saint Teresa of Avila. whose life-story convinced her to become a Catholic. She was baptized on New Year's Day at the Church of St. Martin in Bergzabern wearing the wedding dress of her friend and sponsor, Hedwig Conrad-Martius. At that time, New Year's Day was the Feast of the Circumcision of Jesus, the Jewish rite of the Covenant with Abraham. Today, New Year's Day is celebrated as the Solemnity of the Mother of God, a celebration of the spiritual motherhood of Mary of Nazareth, the mother of Jesus Christ and Mother of the Church.
From her writings: "The world is in flames. The struggle between Christ and antichrist rages openly, so if you decide for Christ you may even be asked to sacrifice your life. Contemplate the Lord Who hangs before you on the wood, because He was obedient even to the death of the Cross. He came into the world not to do His own will but that of the Father. And if you wish to be the Spouse of the Crucified, you must renounce completely your own will and have no other aspiration than to do the will of God. Before you the Redeemer hangs on the Cross stripped and naked, because He chose poverty. Those who would follow Him must renounce every earthly possession. Stand before the Lord Who hangs on the Cross with His heart torn open. He poured out the blood of His heart in order to win your heart. To follow Him in holy chastity, your heart must be free from every earthly aspiration. Jesus Christ must be the object of your every longing, of your every desire, of your every thought. The world is in flames: the fire can spread even to our house, but above all the flames the Cross stands on high and it cannot be burnt. The Cross is the way which leads from earth to heaven. Those who embrace it with faith, love and hope are taken up, right into the heart of the Trinity."
Born 1881 Anno Brandsma to Titus and Tjitsje Brandsma, small dairy farmers in Friesland, Holland. Five of their six children entered religious life. Titus began his studies with the Franciscans, and entered the Carmelite novitiate in Boxmeer in 1898, taking his father's name Titus for his religious name. He was ordained in 1905, studied at the Roman Gregorian University, and graduated in 1909 with a doctorate in philosophy.
Titus dedicated his life to education, particularly to Carmelite mysticism, philosophy, and journalism. In 1923 he helped found the Catholic University of Nijmegen in Holland, where he taught and served as rector. In 1935, he completed a lecture tour in the United States at various Carmelite institutions, and in the same year he was appointed by his archbishop to serve as advisor to Catholic journalists in Holland.
In January of 1942, the Third Reich had invaded Holland and ordered Catholic newspapers to print Nazi propaganda. Titus hand-delivered a letter written by the Dutch bishops to the editors of 14 newspapers asking them not to obey before he was arrested on the 19th of January. By the 19th of June, he was in Dachau concentration camp, where he was hospitalized. On the 26th of July he was killed by a lethal injection administered by a nurse as part of their medical experimentation on prisoners.
Blessed Titus Brandsma was beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1985.
From his writings: "We do not accept the idea of emanation from the divine; we do not divinize ourselves. .... We admit descendence in dependence. We do not want a relapse into the sin of the earthly paradise, into the sin of making ourselves equal to God. We do not wish to begin a cult of heroes based on the divinization of human nature. We acknowledge the law of God and we submit to it. We do not wish to frustrate -- through an unhealthy and heady knowledge of ourselves -- our dependence on the supreme Being Who gives us existence."
This woman was described by a Sister as a religious "according to the heart of God: she was prudent and truthful, calm and gentle in her reactions, having a natural goodness in all her dealings with others, but firm in character." She entered The Society of St. Teresa of Jesus, a community of teachers, in 1904. She was shot to death on July 23rd, 1936, at the age of 56, in Barcelona.
From the writings of Blessed Henry de Osso, priest: "I shall live, eat, sleep, talk, keep silent, work, suffer: I shall do everything in union with Jesus. All that Jesus desires that I suffer or do, this shall I do in union with that divine intention and those sentiments that Jesus had in all that He did or suffered. Whoever does this will live here on this earth a life of heaven, will be transformed into Jesus, and will be able to say with the Apostle: "I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me."
Murdered by Communists in 1936 during the Spanish Civil War: Sr. Maria Pilar of St. Francis Borgia, 58 years old, Sr. Teresa of the Child Jesus, 27, and Sr. Maria of the Angels, 31. On July 22, eighteen nuns of the Carmelite monastery in Guadalajara went into hiding in secular dress. These three martyrs hid in the basement of a hotel. Two days later, making their way along a street, a woman soldier recognized them as nuns and ordered them to be shot. Sr. Maria of the Angels died instantly. Sr. Maria Pilar, although wounded, cried out: "Long live Christ the King!" This infuriated the soldiers, who shot at her and slashed her with a knife. She died with the words, "My God, pardon them. They do not know what they are doing." Sr. Teresa was led to a nearby cemetery where, after her words "Long live Christ the King!," she also was shot in the back. They were beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II on March 29th, 1987. Their feast day is observed on July 24th, the day of their martyrdom.
Juanita Fernandez Solar was born in Santiago, Chile, on July 13, 1900, and died on April 12, 1919, in the Carmel of the Andes. She was canonized by Pope Saint John Paul II in 1993, who proposed her as a model for youth.
From her writings: Jesus alone is beautiful; He is my only joy. I call for Him, I cry after Him, I search for Him within my heart. I long for Jesus to grind me interiorly so that I may become a pure host where He can find His rest. I want to be athirst with love so that others may possess this love. I would die to creatures and to myself so that He may live in me.
Is there anything good, beautiful or true that we can think of that would not be found in Jesus? Wisdom, from which nothing would be secret. Power, for which nothing would be impossible. Justice, which made Him take on flesh in order to make satisfaction for sin. Providence, which always watches over and sustains us. Mercy, which never ceases to pardon. Goodness, which forgets the offences of His creatures. Love, which unites all the tenderness of a mother, of a brother, of a spouse and which, drawing Him out of the abyss of His greatness, binds Him closely to His creatures. Beauty which enraptures . . . what can you think of that would not be found in this Man-God?
Are you perhaps afraid that the abyss of the greatness of God and that of your nothingness cannot be united? There is love in Him. His passionate love made Him take on flesh in order that by seeing a Man-God we would not be afraid to draw near Him. This passionate love made Him become bread in order to assimilate our nothingness and make it disappear into His infinite being. This passionate love made Him give His life by dying on the Cross.
Are you perhaps afraid to draw near Him? Look at Him, surrounded by little children. He caresses them, He presses them to His heart. Look at Him in the midst of His faithful flock, bearing the faithless lamb on His shoulders. Look at Him at the tomb of Lazarus. And listen to what He says to Magdelene: "Much has been forgiven her because she has loved much." What do you discover in these flashes from the Gospel but a heart that is good, gentle, tender and compassionate: in other words, the heart of a God?
He is my unending wealth, my bliss, my heaven.
A Discalced Carmelite nun of Ragusa, Sicily, she was mistress of novices and prioress until her death on June 12, 1949. She was beatified by Pope Saint John Paul II in 2004.
From her writings:
To contemplate with deep faith our Beloved in the Blessed Sacrament, to live with Him Who comes to us every day, to remain with Him in the depths of our hearts, this is our life! The more intense this intimate life is, the more we will be Carmelites and make progress in perfection. This contact, this union with Jesus is everything: what fruits of virtue will come from it! You must have this experience: to live with Jesus and to live by His virtues is to listen to His beautiful voice, to His most loving wish, and immediately to obey it, to quickly please Him. Our eyes close, longing to find Him again, to contemplate Him in the depths of our hearts: is this not the reason why He gives us Holy Communion in the morning? Is it not the attraction for Him that remains in the Blessed Sacrament, where He lives? I do not know how to separate the ciborium that remains in the Tabernacles from the ciborium in hour hearts. Oh how many times, even though we are in the choir, before His sacred presence, at times exposed, we experience the great need to go deeply within ourselves, and there rediscover and remain with our Jesus!
What mystery of love is this intimacy with our Beloved! I reflect on this sometimes with emotion and give praise to Him Who is Love. And with tears I contemplate this intimacy. Everything here on this earth is nothing for us, withdrawn as we are, far from Him Who loved us so much. Our eyes no longer see anything, and even though we close them again to lose ourselves from the same sacred environment, we close them anxious to find Him again, to see Jesus! The most delightful Mystery of Love! He allows Himself to be found by the heart that searches for HIm, by the soul that knows how to do without many things for love of Him.
To be close to our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, like the Saints in Heaven, is what we must do, according to our Holy Mother Saint Teresa. Seven times a day we come together around the throne of our good God, the sacred Tabernacle, reciting the divine praises; oh how much faith merits such lofty activity, what dying to self! May adoration and love accompany and beautify everything!
Alphonsus Mary of the Holy Spirit was born in Poland in 1891. He became a Discalced Carmelite in 1908, and served as priest, professor of youth, prior and bursar. On August 28, in 1944, he was shot to death by Nazi troops that had invaded Poland. He was beatified on July 13, 1999, by Pope Saint John Paul II.
From the address by Pope Saint John Paul II:
"Blessed are you when people abuse you and persecute you and speak all kinds of calumny against you falsely on My account. Rejoice and be glad for your reward will be great in heaven; for this is how they persecuted the prophets before you."
To whom do these words still apply? To many, many people throughout humanity's history, to whom it was given to suffer persecution for the sake of justice. We know that the first three centuries after Christ were marked by persecutions, at times terrible, particularly under some Roman emperors from Nero to Diocletian. Even though these ceased under the Edict of Milan, nevertheless they broke out again in various historical eras, in numerous places throughout the world.
Even our century has written a great martyrology. I myself, over the twenty years of my pontificate, have elevated to the glory of the altar numerous groups of martyrs: Japanese, French, Vietnamese, Spanish, Mexican. How many there were during the period of the Second World War and under the Communist totalitarian system! They suffered and gave their lives in the Hitlerian and Soviet extermination camps. This time has now come to remember all these victims and to render due homage to them.
According to St. 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: "Father, 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 the cross for one another, 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 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 make us see the truth; and where faith is wanting, there is no light, and no way leading to goodness. [From A Meditation on the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ, by Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew.]
Blessed Anne of St. Bartholomew was one of the chosen souls who assisted in the first foundations of St. Teresa of Avila. She was born into a prosperous farm family in Castile, not far from Avila, Spain. She had many mystical experiences as a child, preserved in her diaries. She wanted to enter the foundation of St. Joseph's in Avila, but was at first turned away because of her youthfulness. Her parents had died, and her brother opposed her call to religious life, wanting her to marry and to help the family to maintain the farm. But after much trial, she entered the monastery where she made her profession of vows as a lay Sister at the age of twenty-three in 1572, ten years before the death of the Saint and founder, Teresa of Avila. As a daughter of peasants, Anne could not read or write; nevertheless, in the final suffering of her life, while again residing at St. Joseph's in Avila, St. Teresa chose Blessed Anne for her nurse and secretary, She learned to read and write, and later played a key role in the spread of the reform to France and Belgium, where she died at Antwerp in 1626. Her writings are preserved there.
Born in Barcelona in 1783, she married Theodore de Mas in 1799 and bore nine children before his death in 1816. As a widow, Saint Joachina founded the Congregation of Carmelite Sisters of Charity for the care of the sick and education of children. She died in 1854, and was canonized by Pope John XXIII. The following excerpts are from her letters.
"If only we were all on fire with love for God! If we were, we would preach love, proclaim love, and yet more love, until we had set the whole world on fire."
"We must be careful to free our hearts from everything that might get in the way of the pure love of our beloved Jesus. He is love itself, and wants to give Himself to us through love. Jesus is calling us all the time -- how long are we going to remain deaf to His voice? No, let us keep our hearts ready, our wills completely for Jesus, our faculties and our senses for the Lord."
"There must be no undue attachment in our hearts for created things; they must burn for love alone, love ever more fervent; for love never says 'enough,' never rests until it is completely on fire. When our hearts are completely on fire with pure love for Jesus, everything that might hinder love from taking complete possession will be cast out."
"We must not give in to weariness. We must spend every minute in loving God. God alone, the maker of heaven and earth, must be our rest and our consolation. The love of God is the only thing we can possess forever: everything else will pass away."
"Love, love and yet more love -- love that is never satisfied! The more we love God, the more we shall long to love Him. And when we have Jesus in our hearts, we shall have everything else in Him and with Him."
From The Way of Perfection, Saint Teresa of Avila. Anyone who really loves God loves everthing good, wants everything good, stands up for everything good, praises everything good, always sides with good people and supports them and defends them. People like this only love what is genuine and things that deserve to be loved. Do you think that anyone who really and truly loves God could love anything worthless? Of course not -- things like money or worldly trinkets or pleasures or honors; they are not going to fight about things like that, or be envious over them! Why? Because all they bother about is pleasing their Beloved. They are dying for His love, so their whole lives are devoted to finding out how to please Him more. And as for concealing the fact -- why, if it's genuine, love for God is impossible to hide! All you need to do is to look at St. Paul, or the Magdalen,. One of them, St. Paul, only took three days to realize he was ill with love; the Magdalen knew the first day. And how well they understood it! But there's this about it: there can be more, or less love. And the way to tell how strong it is, is this: if there is not much love it will not be very obvious, but it will if there is a lot. But however much there is, the love of God will always show itself. How could such a strong, right, ever-increasing love ever be hidden -- a love that will admit no reason for not loving, a love based on the fact that it has been repaid with another love which is beyond all doubt because it has been openly proved by such great pain and suffering and bloodshed, and the loss of life itself, so as not to leave the slightest doubt about its reality. May God be pleased to give us love like that before He takes us from this life! What a wonderful thing it will be, when we die, to know we are going to be judged by the one we have loved above all else! We won't have to worry about being charged with our sins, and we won't be going to a foreign country, but home, because it belongs to the one we have loved so much, and Who loves us.
I want to spend my life in deep silence, in the depths of my heart, in order to listen to the voice of Jesus.
BLESSED ELIA OF SAINT CLEMENT
Theodora, a name meaning "gift of God," was born January 17, 1901, in Bari, Italy. She entered the Carmelite monastery there at the age of nineteen, and died seven years later on Christmas day after making her total offering of herself to God in 1924. She was beatified in 2005 by Pope Benedict XVI.
From her writings:
My Delight, who could ever separate me from You? Who could be capable of breaking these strong chains that keep my heart attached to Yours? Perhaps the abandonment of creatures? It is precisely this that unites the soul to its Creator. . . . Perhaps tribulations, suffering, crosses? It is in these thorns that the canticle of the soul that loves You is freest and lightest. Perhaps death? But this will be nothing but the beginning of true happiness for the soul. . . . Nothing, nothing can separate this soul from You, not even for a brief moment. It was created for You and is lost if it does not abandon itself to You.
My life is love; this sweet nectar surrounds me, this merciful love penetrates me, purifies me, renews me, and I feel it consuming me. The cry of my heart is, "Love of my God, my soul searches for You alone." My soul, suffer and be quiet; love and hope; offer yourself, but hide your suffering behind a smile, and always move on . . . . I want to spend my life in deep silence, in the depths of my heart, in order to listen to the gentle voice of my sweet Jesus.
Saint Mary of Jesus Crucified believed that she saw Our Lady after being mortally wounded. Our Lady prophesied that she would enter the Carmelites.
Mary Baouardy was born in 1846 in Abillin, near Nazareth. She was the first surviving child of Georges and Mary Baouardy, poor powder-makers who had lost twelve boys in infancy. Mary was born in answer to a novena to the Blessed Virgin in Bethlehem, with the promise that she would be named for her. Two years later, her brother Paul was born, and then, tragically, both parents died of an infectious disease, leaving Mary and Paul orphaned. They went to live with different relatives, and never saw each other again. These events were only the first of many sufferings in store for little Mary. Her wealthy uncle treated her well, but as was the custom during those times, he had arranged a marriage for her when she was only thirteen. Mary had always loved Jesus and the Virgin, and she did not want to marry. She prayed. The night before her wedding, Jesus spoke to her, telling her that He would help her. She cut off her beautiful long braids, wrapped the jewels she had been given in them, and sent them to her uncle. This made him furious, and from that day Mary was treated as a household slave. In her anguish, she befriended another servant, a man who was a Muslim. He promised to help her to deliver a letter to her brother in a different town. But when she went to his home with the letter, he tried to force her to renounce her faith in Christ. This she refused to do, and the angry man slit her throat. The next thing Mary remembered was a beautiful woman in blue came to her with a delicious broth that gave her strength. The woman dressed her wound, and then told her that she would enter a Carmelite monastery, make her vows in another, and die in another. This prediction proved true, because Mary later entered the Carmel of Pau, France. She assisted a foundation in India where she made her vows, and she died in the Carmel that she had helped to found in Bethlehem. Awaking in a confessional in a Franciscan church located in Jerusalem, Mary began working as a domestic. A series of positions led her to the family that brought her to France, where she began her religious life as a Sister of St. Joseph of the Apparition, but her mystical graces alarmed the sisters, and they did not accept her there. Her novice mistress brought her to the Carmel of Pau, where she was accepted and given the name Mary of Jesus Crucified. She died in the Carmel of Bethlehem from a fall that wounded her leg in 1878. Mary of Jesus Crucified was just canonized by Pope Francis on May 17, 2015.
Mother Maria Maravillas of Jesus was canonized by Saint Pope John Paul II in 2003 after establishing the Association of Saint Teresa in 1972 to help recover the Carmelite observance as practiced by Saint Teresa of Avila in her Constitutions.
Born in Madrid, Spain, on November 1, 1891 to Luis and Christina Pidal, devout Catholics. Her father was the Spanish Ambassador to the Vatican. Maria was a deeply religious child who made a vow of chastity at the age of five. She wanted to enter the Carmel of Madrid after reading the works of St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila, but her entrance was delayed until the age of twenty-seven after her father's death. Before making her solemn vows in 1924, Sr. Maria had already founded a Carmelite monastery six miles south of Madrid, in Getafe. This was the first of many Teresian Carmelite Monasteries founded by Mother Maravillas, who served as prioress throughout her life.
In 1972, she received permission from the Holy See to establish the Association of Saint Teresa as members of the Order of Discalced Carmelites. Although beginning in Spain, there are now at least ten monasteries of the Association in Canada and the United States. The monasteries belonging to the Association keep the observance as established by Saint Teresa of Avila in 1562.
After a life of service, Mother Maravillas died peacefully in one of the Carmels she had founded in Aldehuela, Spain, at the age of 84, on December 11, 1974.
Mother Maravillas of Jesus was canonized by Saint Pope John Paul II in 2003.
‘Confusion and error’ from Catholic leaders may be sign of end times: Cardinal Burke, published by LifeSiteNews
Cardinal Sarah: ‘We are called today to witness, which means martyrdom’ published by