Preparing for November with the Good Sisters of Carmel for the Holy Souls. (Divine Crucible)
There is a Being who is Love and who wishes us to live in communion with Him. Oh Mama, it is delightful, for He is there keeping me company, helping me to suffer, urging me to go beyond my suffering to rest in Him; do as I do, you will see how that transforms everything.
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 327 to her mother (excerpt)
Around 20 October 1906
Photo credit: Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. (Some rights reserved)
One day Celine saw St. Therese touching the crown of thorns and the nails on her crucifix. Celine asked her, “What are you doing?”
Therese was surprised and answered, “I’m removing His nails and His crown of thorns.”
From the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux
St. Therese’s profession crucifix
Do not love one person more than another, for you will err; the person who loves God more is the one more worthy of love, and you do not know who this is.
St. John of the Cross
This quote comes from the first of his three Precautions; you can read the context here.
I’m going to remember to come back to this thread whenever I can. I’m thinking about becoming a secular Carmelite.
God reward you! I know that it’s difficult right now to begin inquiring with many of our Secular Carmelite communities because not all of us have resumed face-to-face meetings once again. And really, that is the only way to begin the inquiry and discernment process, is to attend community meetings.
But like our Holy Mother Teresa says, patience obtains everything. Even if the OCDS community nearest you isn’t meeting face-to-face yet, perhaps they have other options for you to become acquainted with the community via Zoom meetings or small group visits with the formation director and others over coffee or tea. Why not? Zoom meetings have been seeing so many of us through this crisis. I pray the Zoom rosary 6 nights a week with OCDS from the USA and UK. It’s a blessing.
However the Holy Spirit leads you, know that you’ll be in my prayer. Or as St Therese simply prayed, “draw me.”
I think that in Heaven my mission will be to draw souls by helping them go out of themselves to cling to God by a wholly simple and loving movement, and to keep them in this great silence within that will allow God to communicate Himself to them and transform them into Himself.
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 335, 28 October 1906
You can read this quote in context here. Saint Elizabeth was losing strength, less than two weeks before her death. This letter was directed to Sr. Marie-Odile, who was a confidante from the Carmel of Paray-le-Monial, one of St. Elizabeth’s oldest friends in religious life. Originally, Elizabeth was supposed to enter religious life in the Carmel of Paray-le-Monial (which was founded by nuns from Dijon at the beginning of the 20th century), but friends of St. Elizabeth’s family intervened with the prioress, explaining that such a move to a monastery so far from Madame Catez, the Saint’s mother, would impose too much of an emotional burden on the widow.
The widow Catez with her two daughters:
Elizabeth (left) and Marguerite (right)
Note the matching dresses for the girls
The evening of my life has arrived, the evening that precedes the eternal day, and I feel an even stronger overflowing of love in the depths of my heart.
St. Elizabeth of the Trinity
Letter 315 to Madame Gout de Bize
23 September 1906
Because I have gone through Cubism and Surrealism, my Christ does not look like the other Christs, without ceasing to be classical. I believe that he is, at the same time, the least expressionistic of all those that are painted today. He is a beautiful Christ, like God, who is beautiful.
POR QUÉ SE ATACA A LA GIOCONDA? , P. 231
The French Discalced Carmelite friar Bruno of Jesus-Mary was the fortunate one who showed Dalí the original sketch by St John of the Cross in 1951.
Today more than ever before, the threats looming over us urge us to make love and brotherhood the fundamental law of social and international relations, in a spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness, taking inspiration from the way of life of which Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified is an example not only for her people but for the whole world. May this new way of life give us peace based not on terror, but on mutual trust.
St. John Paul II
Homily, Beatification of Mary of Jesus Crucified (Mariam Baouardy)
13 November 1983
Now we are all at peace, calced and discalced; no one can hinder us from serving our Lord. Hence, my Brothers and Sisters, since His Majesty has heard your prayers so well, let us make haste to serve Him. Let those in the present who are eye-witnesses, consider the favors He has granted us and the trials and disturbances from which He has delivered us. And those who are to come, when they find everything running smoothly, let them, for the love of our Lord, not neglect anything relating to perfection. May that which is said of some orders that praise their beginnings not be said of them. Now we are beginning, and let them strive to advance always from good to better. Let them beware, for the devil through very small things drills holes through which very large things enter. May it not happen that those who are to come say: “These things are not important; don’t go to extremes.” Oh, my daughters, everything that helps us advance is important.
For love of our Lord I beg you to remember how soon everything comes to an end, to remember the favor our Lord has granted us in bringing us to this order and the great punishment that will befall anyone who might introduce some mitigation. Rather, fix your eyes always on the ancestry from which we come, those holy prophets. How many saints we have in heaven who have worn this habit! Let us adopt the holy presumption that with the Lord’s help we will be like them. The battle will be brief, my Sisters, and the end is eternal. Let us set aside these things that in themselves are nothing, using only those that lead us to this end without end, so as to love Him and serve Him more, for He will live forever and ever, amen, amen. Thanks be to God.
Saint Teresa of Avila
The Book of the Foundations, 29.32–33
These are two of the most famous paragraphs in all of St Teresa’s collected works, favorites among the Carmelites. “Now we are beginning” is the English translation of the Spanish ahora comenzamos, a Teresian motto. The second paragraph is read every year during the second reading at the Office of Readings for the Feast of All Saints of Our Order, November 14.
The Sovereign Pontiff lowered his head toward me in such a way that my face almost touched his, and I saw his eyes, black and deep, fixed on me and they seemed to penetrate to the depths of my soul. “Holy Father, in honor of your Jubilee, permit me to enter Carmel at the age of fifteen!”
Emotion undoubtedly made my voice tremble. He turned to Father Révérony who was staring at me with surprise and displeasure and said: “I don’t understand very well.” Now if God had permitted it, it would have been easy for Father Révérony to obtain what I desired, but it was the cross and not consolation God willed to give me.
“Most Holy Father,” answered the Vicar General, “this is a child who wants to enter Carmel at the age of fifteen, but the Superiors are considering the matter at the moment.” “Well, my child,” the Holy Father replied, looking at me kindly, “do what the Superiors tell you!” Resting my hands on his knees, I made a final effort, saying in a suppliant voice: “Oh! Holy Father, if you say yes, everybody will agree!” He gazed at me steadily, speaking these words and stressing each syllable: “Go… go… You will enter if God wills it!” (His accent had something about it so penetrating and so convincing, it seems to me I still hear it.)
I was encouraged by the Holy Father’s kindness and wanted to speak again, but the two guards touched me politely to make me rise. As this was not enough they took me by the arms and Father Révérony helped them lift me, for I stayed there with joined hands resting on the knees of Leo XIII. It was with force they dragged me from his feet. At the moment I was thus lifted, the Holy Father placed his hand on my lips, then raised it to bless me. Then my eyes filled with tears and Father Révérony was able to contemplate at least as many diamonds as he had seen at Bayeux. The two guards literally carried me to the door and there a third one gave me a medal of Leo XIII.
St. Therese of Lisieux
20 November 1887, the Vatican
I love this story.
St Therese and Pope Leo XIII pray for me please.
Me too! It’s high drama… I never tire of reading it and imagining the scene. During the Ordinary Process and the Apostolic Process, Céline had nothing remarkable to say about the event, but after the audience, the letter that she wrote to Pauline was quite enthusiastic!
For every Catholic there lies ready an immeasurable treasure: the proximity of the Lord in the holy sacrifice and in the most holy sacrament of the altar.
Saint Edith Stein
Spirituality of the Christian Woman
Zurich, January 27–28, 1932
This excerpt comes from the fourth of a series of lectures that Dr. Stein gave in January 1932 in Zurich, Switzerland. You can read this excerpt in the context of the complete paragraph here; this lecture is found in the ICS Publications volume, “Essays on Woman”.
Photo taken in 1931: photo source, Discalced Carmelites