Today’s pondering is a focus on silence. On quiet. On listening and not speaking during prayer.
Do you find yourself aimlessly reciting prayers, without pondering what you are saying, because your mind is clouded with distractions? Be the distractions of what your plans are later, what is troubling you, what you had experienced at some other time or even trying to focus on the words themselves, so not to make a mistake while reciting them?
What one can try is very simple. Stop everything. Keep the focus on what you are doing right now. You are in prayer. Be in prayer. Place 100% into the prayer. Sit and be mindful. Turn off what your distraction is, and “turn on” what you are doing. Slow down what you are saying, so that each word perminates you. Allow the fragrance of the prayer to envelop your entire being. When we bend down to smell a flower, do we bend down without thinking of what we are doing, while thinking of all our troubles? No. We are captivated by the beauty of the flower, while taking in the lovely scent. Thus, we stop to smell the flowers. The same must be done with prayer.
In practicing this always, that same focus takes in the beauty of our Lord. He becomes our focus, while all else, falls away.
May we take this time we have been given today, to look deeply within our lives, and see where all our own dead parts are. What are dead parts, but that which sin has taken root, behaviors that cause us harm, unhealthy attitudes about others and ourselves, but especially actions that harm not only us, but all those around us.
Today’s Novena focuses on the red rose and “pruning”. I am brought to the Gospel of John.
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.
To remain in our Lord, is to love Him above all else. To continue daily to carry out His will and His commands. All that we love above our Lord, needs to be pruned or cut away, as it can not produce anything for our Lord. Again we hear in the Gospel of John:
1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the vine grower.2 He takes away every branch in me that does not bear fruit, and every one that does he prunes so that it bears more fruit.
I recently deleted my twitter account, and in the next few weeks, will be deleting my Facebook page. You see, I have been sitting on social media for many years now, not just blogging here, but starting all the way back in 06, blogging for someone else. I have begun to feel like a parrot lately. I can go back all through the years, and recite the same things, over an over again. I don’t even have to write them anymore, as my comments on most everything have already been logged here.
Politics never changes. Its always political. Faith, our faith, in how we grow in it, changes us all the time, while our Lord, never changes. What more can I say all day long on social media, that I haven’t already said? Not much. What I can do, is put it more into practice in the ways I have been unable to in the past. Within my own “home”. Holy Abandonment is beautiful. It allows the soul to rest in our Lord, knowing that no matter what may come, may our Lord’s Will be done. My own “home” is what our Lord has entrusted me with.
So my days and time on social media platforms may not be a prevalent as past years, but my putting this faith into actions, I have been given, will be used where it is needed. In my home, in formation with my Carmalite community and in my parish.
Imagine my surprise today, to find this beautiful reflection in my morning prayer, in iBreviary. The words, echo my thoughts as I have contemplated this decision to leave. Our Lord is the Divine Master of all. What peace He has given to souls who seek Him.
From the book Way of Perfection by Saint Teresa of Avila, virgin (Obras de la gloriosa madre Sta Teresa de Jesus, Tomo 1, Madrid, 1752: 30:1-4 pp. 526-528)
Your kingdom come
“When asking a favor of some person of importance would anyone be so ill-mannered and thoughtless as not first to consider how best to address him in order to make a good impression and give him no cause for offense? Surely he would think over his petition carefully and his reason for making it, especially if it were for something specific and important as our good Jesus tells us our petitions should be. It seems to me that this point deserves serious attention. My Lord, could you not have included all in one word by saying “Father, give us whatever is good for us?” After all, to one who understands everything so perfectly, what need is there to say more?
O Eternal Wisdom, between you and your Father that was enough; that was how you prayed in the garden. You expressed your desire and fear but surrendered yourself to his will. But as for us, my Lord, you know that we are less submissive to the will of your Father and need to mention each thing separately in order to stop and think whether it would be good for us, and otherwise not ask for it. You see, the gift our Lord intends for us may be by far the best, but if it is not what we wanted we are quite capable of flinging it back in his face. That is the kind of people we are; ready cash is the only wealth we understand.
Therefore, the good Jesus bids us repeat these words, this prayer for his kingdom to come in us: Hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. See how wise our Master is! But what do we mean when we pray for this kingdom? That is what I am going to consider now, for it is important that we should understand it. Our good Jesus placed these two petitions side by side because he realized that in our inadequacy we could never fittingly hallow, praise, exalt or glorify this holy name of the eternal Father unless he enabled us to do so by giving us his kingdom here on earth. But since we must know what we are asking for and how important it is to pray for it without ceasing and to do everything in our power to please him who is to give it to us, I should now like to give you my own thoughts on the matter.
Of the many joys that are found in the kingdom of heaven, the greatest seems to me to be the sense of tranquility and well-being that we shall experience when we are free from all concern for earthly things. Glad because others are glad and for ever at peace, we shall have the deep satisfaction of seeing that by all creatures the Lord is honored and praised, and his name blessed. No one ever offends him, for there everyone loves him. Loving him is the soul’s one concern. Indeed it cannot help but love him, for it knows him. Here below our love must necessarily fall short of that perfection and constancy, but even so how different it would be, how much more like that of heaven, if we really knew our Lord!”
Edit to add: 7/03/2020 2:00 PM
I have now, reactivated my twitter account as of today, as I received an email from the Coordinator of Lay Carmelites, Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary, inquiring if I would take the position of Regional Formation Coordinator for the San Diego region. After much consideration, and truly, this being the feast of St. Thomas the Apostle, this is something I have been pondering for quite a while. Where, Lord, did You need me? That I may give You my all. What, Lord, are You asking of me? That I may give You to all. Social media, for me, had become a very loud place as I was trying to find that inner silence again. Sometimes, we get drawn into the chaos of the world, and our Lord truly is the only exit. I was unsure as to the answers of these questions and to be frank, that email from the Coordinator sat in my inbox for two days, without me even seeing it.
I have answered with a resounding yes to the coordinator and to our Lord. This latest encounter with our Lord, has definitely found me proclaiming, “My Lord and my God.”
With this yes, comes the challenge to keep my focus on our Lord, and Carmel. Looking into the deleting of some platforms, I have found myself turning them back on, as there are many souls who do seek our Lord, and in those platforms, a channel to Him has been established.
“I repeat, it is necessary that your foundation consist of more than prayer and contemplation. If you do not strive for the virtues and practice them, you will always be dwarfs. And, please God, it will be only a matter of not growing, for you already know that whoever does not increase decreases. I hold that love, where present, cannot possibly be content with remaining always the same.” – St. Teresa of Jesus —Interior Castle VII:4.9
October 15th is the Solemnity of St. Teresa of Avila. Over at Elijah’s Breeze, you will find the Liturgy of the Hours for the day.
From the USCCB: The Liturgy of the Hours, also known as the Divine Office or the Work of God (Opus Dei), is the daily prayer of the Church, marking the hours of each day and sanctifying the day with prayer. The Hours are a meditative dialogue on the mystery of Christ, using scripture and prayer.
Today, we commemorate the feast day of one of the most remarkable women to have ever walked the earth, a Spanish contemplative nun who lived and died well over four centuries ago but whose words and deeds continue to impact us, especially those who have chosen to heed the silent call of Carmel.
October 1 SAINT THERESE OF THE CHILD JESUS Virgin and Doctor of the Church
Thérèse Martin was born at Alencon in 1873. At the age of fifteen she entered the Carmel at Lisieux. She practiced heroic humility, evangelical simplicity and trust in God, and taught the novices these virtues by word and example. She offered her life for the salvation of souls and the growth of the Church. She died September 30, 1897.
Ant. The Lord reveals himself to little ones; come, let us worship him.
Invitatory psalm, as in the Ordinary.
Office of Readings
Let all who lovingly avow
Those gifts the Christ Child came to share
Acclaim Thérèse’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 Thérèse in fervor goes
To follow Christ, her one delight.
O beautiful Flower of Carmel, most fruitful vine,
Splendor of Heaven, holy and singular,
who brought forth the Son of God,
still ever remaining a Pure Virgin,
assist me in this necessity.
O Star of the sea, help and protect me!
Show me that Thou art my Mother.
O Mary, conceived without sin,
pray for us who have recourse to Thee!
Mother and Beauty of Carmel, Pray for us!
Virgin, Flower of Carmel, Pray for us!
Patroness of all who wear the Scapular, Pray for us!
Hope of all who die wearing the Scapular, Pray for us!
St. Joseph, Friend of the Sacred Heart, Pray for us!
St. Joseph, Chaste Spouse of Mary, Pray for us!
St. Joseph, Our Patron, Pray for us!
O sweet Heart of Mary, Be our salvation!
“And I saw the river over which every soul must pass
to reach the kingdom of heaven
and the name of that river was suffering:
and I saw a boat which carries souls across the river
and the name of that boat was love.”
St. John of the Cross
Excellent read over at Church Life Journal to keep my readers busy in contemplation for today, the Feast of St. John of the Cross.
ATTN: Prayer Request: Through the Intercession of Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Carmel,
Praised be Jesus Christ! A prayer request for Damian Jude Cooper, a little eight-year-old boy who is having critical cancer surgery on December 12. This message comes from the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, the Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart in Mexico and South America, and from myself.
If you could please pray for Damian and also circulate this message, we would be most grateful!
Yours in Jesus, Mary, and Mother Luisita,
Fr. Donald Kinney, OCD
O Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, King and center of all hearts! Look with merciful love on the petitions we present to You through the intercession of Your servant, Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
(Pause and request your petition)
We humbly beseech You to glorify her who was always such a fervent lover of Your Sacred Heart by granting us these favors if they are for Your greater honor and glory. Amen.
Damian Jude Cooper, an 8-year old who has become a friend of the
Sisters, was diagnosed with a very serious form of bone cancer in July.
Damian is currently going through aggressive treatment at City of
Hope, and has good days and difficult days, but inspired us greatly with
his faith and joy amid suffering. (PLEASE CONTINUE READING HERE)
Father, you came down to me, you have come to me, you have touched my heart, you have spoken to me and promised joy, presence and salvation. By the grace of the Holy Spirit, who overshadows me, I, together with Mary, have been able to say to you yes, the ‘Here I am’ of my life for you. Now there remains only the force of your promise, of your truth: “You are to conceive and bear Jesus”. Lord, here is the womb of my life, of my being, of all that I am and have, open before you. I place all things in you, in your heart. Enter, come, come down again, I beg you, and make me fruitful, make me one who gives birth to Christ in this world. May the overflowing love I receive from you find its fullness and truth in touching the brothers and sisters that you place beside me. May our meeting, Father, be open, a gift to all. May Jesus be the Saviour. Amen.
A few days ago, seen a homeless man. I stopped and gave him some change & asked him his name, after I prayed with him. As I was leaving him, I heard a voice which tried telling me I was an idiot & a fool to do it. I began thinking maybe he wasn’t really homeless.
Today,as I was leaving my house, I noticed my neighbor had someone raking his yard & cleaning it up for him. It looked like the homeless man. I ran to the store and did what I needed to do. When I was returning and I pulled into my driveway, I seen the homeless man just leaving my neighbors. It was Josh the homeless man. I called his name and he asked me how I knew him. I smiled & said I remembered him. He smiled as did I. I handed him the few coins I had in my pocket & said God bless you and he went on his way. Yes. He was the homeless man, and yes, he was most definitely, homeless. Its not often we get a confirmation of something like this, but when we do, praise be to God. When we don’t, trust in God.
There is a quote I have been holding in my heart for many years and one try to live by.
“See God in all, Serve God in all, Love God in all” – Blessed Maria Teresa of St. Joseph, Foundress of the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus.
The soul, has grown aware of her obligations and observed that life is short (Job 14:5), the path leading to eternal life constricted (Mt. 7:14), the just one scarcely saved (1 Pet. 4:18), the things of the world vain and deceitful (Eccles. 1:2), that all comes to an end and fails like falling water (2 Sam. 14:14), and that the time is uncertain, the accounting strict, perdition very easy, and salvation very difficult. She knows on the other hand of her immense indebtedness to God for having created her solely for Himself, and that for this she owes Him the service of her whole life; and because He redeemed her solely for Himself she owes Him every response of love. She knows, too, of the thousand other benefits by which she has been obligated to God from before the time of her birth, and that a good part of her life has vanished, that she must render an account of everything—of the beginning of her life as well as the later part—unto the last penny (Mt. 5:25) when God will search Jerusalem with lighted candles (Zeph. 1:12), and that it is already late—and the day far spent (Lk. 24:29)—to remedy so much evil and harm. She feels on the other hand that God is angry and hidden because she desired to forget Him so in the midst of creatures, Touched with dread and interior sorrow of heart over so much loss and danger, renouncing all things, leaving aside all business, and not delaying a day or an hour, with desires and sighs pouring from her heart, wounded now with the love for God, she begins to call her Beloved. – St. John of the Cross
Its not the cloth, nor the promise made, nor the prestige, nor the fame of the name. None of these can bring us love and life in Christ. Its the life in Love we choose to give and live in total contemplation, prayer for our Lord through our beautiful Mother.
Pondering: Vatican II (inside the church) not being the reason souls left the pews, but the temptation of the ‘sexual revolution” (on the outside), being the “apple” many “fell for” that lead souls astray and out of the pews. Therefore our Lord was already prepared to address the needs of a society of souls far off, and the Father meeting them on the road to welcome them back home.
If souls were “obedient” and in love with our Lord, there wouldn’t have been a mass exodus. It’s as if a fear of something other than of our Lord gripped the souls in the pews rather than “trust” and “obedience” to our Lord, which holds all souls in love.. Just as a temptation that “original sin” is a thing of the past grips souls today and holds them in that same lack of “obedience” to God.
BUT “patience obtains all things” and “all things work for the greater glory of God”.
“For though we know quite well that God is present in all that we do, our nature is such that it makes us lose sight of the fact; but when this favour is granted it can no longer do so, for the Lord, who is near at hand, awakens it. And even the favours aforementioned occur much more commonly, as the soul experiences a vivid and almost constant love for Him whom it sees or knows to be at its side.”
― St. Teresa of Ávila, Interior Castle
This is Vinny. Named after St. Vincent de Paul (because he adopted me on his feast day) He was homeless. He spent an entire morning with our Lord in Exposition a few years ago. He walked into the Day Chapel at St. John of the Cross when someone left the door open. Spent the entire morning there and never bothered a soul. Until I got there to take care of some things as I was taking care of the Altar Linens.
As I knelt down to pray, Vinny came to me and wouldn’t leave me alone. A woman whispered that he hadn’t bothered anyone all day as he was there but me. I thought it was a joke because he was so affectionate and clung to me as if he knew me his entire life. He jumped into my lap as I sat in a chair to pray. He literally was all over me. So, I asked our Lord and decided to bring him home to my house. KNOWING we had a dog and Mooch the dog, would probably run him off when we got home. I picked him up and carried him all the way to my truck, which was parked a far distance for the Chapel. He was like a tiny kitten and did NOT want to get out of my arms as we walked. I opened the door and he got right in as if we had done this every day. The drive was like nothing. I was amazed as I knew that cats were not exactly the best handlers of car rides. He never freaked out in the truck while I was driving.
When I got him home, with him in my arms, I entered the house through the garage knowing it would be a little easier for him to meet Mooch the dog this way. They met nose to nose and INSTANTLY were best friends as still are today. Praise, glory & honor to our Lord.
Sometimes I wonder if our Lord is actually calling me to the Franciscans. Or, maybe I just have a Carmelite calling with Franciscan leanings. This is my struggle lately. Lord, lead the way.
The Order of Discalced Carmelites, friars, nuns, and seculars, the entire Teresian family, in union with the whole Church, today celebrates the 500th anniversary of the birth of its foundress, Saint Teresa of Jesus, Doctor of the Church.
At the request of the Father General of the Order, during the span of this day a world hour of prayer for peace will take place in all convents, monasteries, and fraternities. I unite myself joyfully to this initiative and begin with these words our supplication to God, Father of all of us, so that, through the intercession of Christ Jesus, he will pour his Spirit over all the nations, so that dialogue among men will triumph over violence and the conflicts that scourge our world. To this prayer I invite all faithful Catholics, all Christians of other denominations, and also members of other religions and men and women of good will.
“The world is all in flames […] and are we to waste time asking for things that if God were to give them we would have one soul less in heaven? No, my Sisters, this is not the time to be discussing with God matters that have little importance” (Teresa of Jesus, Way of Perfection 1,5).
The world is all in flames is the sorrowful cry of Teresa as she contemplates the conflicts, wars, and divisions in society and the Church of her time. Today we also make this our cry and present it to Jesus as a supplication: Lord, the world is all in flames!
We, like Saint Teresa, know that by our own efforts we will not attain the precious gift of peace. Therefore, with our petition let us hold tightly to the power of the redeeming Cross of Christ: “Oh my Lord and my Mercy, my only Good! What more do I seek in this life than a union so close to you, that there can be no distinction between you and me? With such a companion, what can be difficult? With you so close to me, what dare I not attempt for your sake?”
Joined to the Cross of Christ and from the hand of the Virgin, his Mother and our Mother, and from the hand of Teresa, we beseech God to increase the opportunities for dialogue and encounter among men, that we learn to ask for forgiveness so that peace may grow in the world like the fruit of the reconciliation that he has come to bring to us.
Let us pray:
St Teresa of Avila, pray for us
Lord Jesus Christ, Spouse of our souls, heal us from every division that separates us from you.
From a work by Saint Teresa of Avila, virgin
(Opusc. De libro vitae, cap 22, 6-7. 14)
Let us always be mindful of Christ’s love
If Christ Jesus dwells in a man as his friend and noble leader, that man can endure all things, for Christ helps and strengthens us and never abandons us. He is a true friend. And I clearly see that if we expect to please him and receive an abundance of his graces, God desires that these graces must come to us from the hands of Christ, through his most sacred humanity, in which God takes delight.
Many, many times I have perceived this through experience. The Lord has told it to me. I have definitely seen that we must enter by this gate if we wish his Sovereign Majesty to reveal to us great and hidden mysteries. A person should desire no other path, even if he is at the summit of contemplation; on this road he walks safely. All blessings come to us through our Lord. He will teach us, for in beholding his life we find that he is the best example.
What more do we desire from such a good friend at our side? Unlike our friends in the world, he will never abandon us when we are troubled or distressed. Blessed is the one who truly loves him and always keeps him near. Let us consider the glorious Saint Paul: it seems that no other name fell from his lips than that of Jesus, because the name of Jesus was fixed and embedded in his heart. Once I had come to understand this truth, I carefully considered the lives of some of the saints, the great contemplatives, and found that they took no other path: Francis, Anthony of Padua, Bernard, Catherine of Siena. A person must walk along this path in freedom, placing himself in God’s hands. If God should desire to raise us to the position of one who is an intimate and shares his secrets, we ought to accept this gladly.
Whenever we think of Christ we should recall the love that led him to bestow on us so many graces and favors, and also the great love God showed in giving us in Christ a pledge of his love; for love calls for love in return. Let us strive to keep this always before our eyes and to rouse ourselves to love him. For if at some time the Lord should grant us the grace of impressing his love on our hearts, all will become easy for us and we shall accomplish great things quickly and without effort.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.
I absolutely love my sister St. Teresa of Ávila, my sister the Doctor. It was through her writings that I came to understand what our Lord is doing to my soul. If you haven’t read her writings, please do. She brings His tenderness to the peace our Lord is seeking to share with us in this faith we have in Him. His compassion is noticeable and ripe for the picking.
Yesterday was my monthly meeting with the Third Order of Carmel. Our lectio divina was of John 9 (Jesus Heals a Man Born Blind). I had to leave the room as the tears ran down my cheeks. After composing myself and knowing what our Lord has done for me, please see here , I joined my group once again and realized for a fact, our Lord had called me and I had answered.
Our group talk was on St. Teresa Avila and the Interior Castle. I knew what was needed to be said as I knew through experience what was asked of me in the 6th Mansion. Our Lord had been my Life Partner, being the Spouse of my Soul. I had gone through many spiritual trials in my faith and like the pangs of birth, they would come and go, increasing in pain and strength, the more my spiritual life increased. In order to give birth, otherwise to bring for the fruit from the seed that had been planted so long ago, our Lord nurtured this faith until it had manifested into reality. Giving me the strength to carry on further into total trust in Him. Just as a woman in labor pushes and pushes for this birth, so have I in trying to bring about this “child” sooner then God had allowed. All at once while speaking about the Sixth Mansion, I seen the past few days coming to a head, giving me strength as the faith I had was crowing and our Lord called me to push further and harder just one more time, and as I did, I gave birth to this “fruit” of faith bringing me into total joy after so much pain, through the One who planted this inside of me. I handed this “fruit” to Him through the waiting arms of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and into the arms of the Most Sacred Heart of my Lord. Like the presentation of our Lord, I was presenting all He had called me to do in love. I give it all back to my Lord Jesus Christ, and pray that many “children” may come to Him through this new birth of belief in Him, completely.
Audrey Stevenson was born in 1983 to a nominally Catholic family, a family that did not even say grace at meals. When she was three, her family visited the home of Theresa of Lisieux and then to the convent where the Little Flower lived and died, and Audrey exclaimed: “I want to enter Carmel.”
Not long after the family moved into a new apartment. Audrey drew a crude yellow crucifix and put it on the wall. She had put identical crucifixes in each room of the house where they remained for a good long time.
O my God! Source of all mercy! I acknowledge Your sovereign power. While recalling the wasted years that are past, I believe that You, Lord, can in an instant turn this loss to gain. Miserable as I am, yet I firmly believe that You can do all things. Please restore to me the time lost, giving me Your grace, both now and in the future, that I may appear before You in “wedding garments.” Amen. – by St. Teresa of Avila