Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Eyes of St. Therese

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St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face

While I love every picture of St. Therese, there is just something about this one!  Her eyes speak to me – they have since I was a little girl.  At the age of 9 years, I read her “Story of a Soul”, one of the few that was actually from HER authentic writings and not edited by her blood sister and prioress, Mother Pauline.  The book was by a Fr. Ronald Knox.  I actually read it in my school library – back in the days when things were normal and they were banning catholic books and the Bible from schools and letting evil, satanic, new age garbage in or tossing catholic books and letting other denominational books stay!

St. Therese spoke to me way back then.  My middle name is after her, Therese, so she is my patron.  Let St. Therese’s eyes speak to you too!

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St. Therese Quote

St. Th quote snowflakes

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January 30, 2013 · 11:26 pm

The Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne

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The Martyrs of Compiègne were the sixteen members of the Carmel of Compiègne, France: eleven Discalced Carmelite nuns, three lay sisters, and two externs (tertiaries of the Order, who would handle the community’s needs outside the monastery). During the French Revolution, they refused to obey the Civil Constitution of the Clergy of the Revolutionary government, which mandated the suppression of their monastery.

Consequently, they were arrested in June 1794, during the Reign of Terror. They were initially imprisoned in Cambrai, along with a community of English Benedictine nuns, who had established a monastery for women of their nation there, since monastic life had been banned in England since the Reign of Henry VIII. Learning that the Carmelites were daily offering themselves as victims to God for the restoration of peace to France and the Church, the Benedictines regarded them as saintly.

The Carmelite community was transported to Paris, where they were condemned as a group as traitors and sentenced to death. They were sent to the guillotine on 17 July 1794. They were notable in the manner of their deaths, as, at the foot of the scaffold, the community jointly renewed their vows and began to chant the Veni Creator Spiritus, the hymn sung at the ceremony for the profession of vows. They continued their singing as, one by one, they mounted the scaffold to meet their death. The novice of the community, Sister Constance, was the first to die, then the lay Sisters and externs, and so on, ending with the prioress, Mother Teresa of St. Augustine, O.C.D.

When the Reign of Terror ended only days after their martyrdom, the English nuns credited the Carmelites with stopping the Revolution’s bloodbath and with saving their own community from annihilation. The nuns of Cambrai preserved with devotion, as the holy relics of martyrs, the secular clothes the Carmelites had been required to wear before their arrest, and which the jailer forced on the English nuns after the Carmelites had been killed. (The Benedictines were still wearing them when, on 2 May 1795, they were at last allowed to return to their homeland, where they became the community of Stanbrook Abbey.)

The martyrs are commemorated on that date in the Calendar of Saints of the Carmelite Order.

Amazing heroism. They have something that I want, being able to look past the guillotine to the world that lies beyond it.

(above from a great site, http://catholicninja.tumblr.com)

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Devotion to Our Holy Father St. Elijah

Those to whom Elijah is little more than a myth, should visit Mount Carmel on July 20 — his Feast. They would behold a revelation. The chronicles of the Order give accounts of it each year, for it is a thing not of the past but of the present. The Holy Mountain is a teeming mass to celebrate Mar Elijah, as it is called. It is not by hundreds, but by thousands, the people are counted. For centuries, they have come on foot, on asses, on camels, on horseback, in carriages, and now, in automobiles! They come in caravans on pilgrimages, and singly on the eve, the pilgrims take their places nearest the Monastery, in every possible costume. The accounts are fascinating, and the ceremonies lend themselves to vivid description, but they would over-pass our space. The tone of the Feast is of innocent joy and profound veneration. There are two statues of Elijah, one in the original grotto under the Sanctuary, reached by steps from the Basilica, another exposed in the Basilica itself; they go from one to the other, praying and asking protection — the devotion to the Prophet enters into the very life of the people.

The good Fathers lend themselves with the utmost charity to all harmless local customs. The archives of the Monastery record many well-authenticated incidents of miraculous favors, and even of apparitions of the Prophet. Children are dedicated to him and offered to God in his grotto. There are always many baptisms. The Arabs of the Greek Catholic Rite wish their children baptised in that spot, and often defer the Sacrament until their yearly pilgrimage.

The closing of the Feast leaves a beautiful picture; the sun sets in the deep blue of the Mediterranien; the Mountain, so lovely in form that the Canticle says of the Bride, “Thy head is as Carmel,” is veiled in shadow, the moon rises over the olives, and it is night! The monks come out upon the terrace, and the traditional illumination takes place, the Monastery is outlined in fire, and as it fades away once more, the pilgrims in their turn continue the display far into the night.

Devotion to the Holy Prophet was brought into the West with the advent of Carmel, and probably no living man has so many adherents, followers, and devotees as he. East and West combine to do him homage: East, because of traditions which hang without dispersion, as clouds in summer, over those dreamy, non forgetting, changeless peoples; West, because of the diffusion of Carmel throughout every nation.

A volume might be filled, indeed many have been filled, with memories of Elijah. The Prophet had no home, but a solitary cave in the mountain, and divine hospitality has opened a home for him in every quarter of the world. And what more in keeping with the idea of divine economy than to believe that when an ambassador of God returns to earth after thousands of years, God should thus provide for him, and how better provide than by constituting him the father of innumerable children who everywhere claim him as their own; who treasure every detail of his life, and, what is most sublime, who offer the supreme Sacrifice many times each day in the humble cave wherein he dwelt, which has be come a Sanctuary enclosed in the Basilica of Carmel. There in the Tabernacle, he will find his Master awaiting him.

The Manual of the Carmelite Order contains prayers for a procession to be made in time of drought or flood, for the holy Prophet both opened and closed the heavens, and in many countries messages are sent to the Monasteries for prayers in either necessity. In May, 1779, there was a great drought in Rome and a Triduum was inaugurated at the four Carmelite Churches in the City. Prayers were said in honor of Elijah, and the Cardinal Vicar of Rome urged the faithful to follow the exercises. The people came in crowds to the statue of the Thaumaturgus, and from the first day the prayer was granted, rain began to fall, and the devotions were continued in thanksgiving. This is only one of many analogous cases.

The Holy Prophet is invoked against pestilence, to avert public calamities, to restore peace of soul, and to draw down the blessings of God on those aspiring to perfection, as is proved in innumerable cases among the Saints and Blessed of Carmel. He is also called upon to avert wars and a remarkable instance is given when Roger of Sicily had to sustain terrible combats against the Saracens. So immediate was the answer of his prayers, that the pious Count built a Church and Monastery in honor of Elijah and presented it to the Carmelites. Many churches, altars, and statues have been erected in his name; states and cities have chosen him for Patron.

This devotion is proper to these latter times when the crimes of men are such as to weary the Divine patience and draw down calamities upon the human race. It is well to seek the charitable aid of him “who has been chosen to appease the wrath of God.” (Ecclesiasticus) Then, too, each day brings us nearer the time when he will come among us with the last message of mercy and forgiveness, ere he sheds his blood for the Lord “in whose sight he stands.”

PRAYER TO ST. ELIJAH

Holy Prophet of God Elijah, Leader and Father of Carmelites, intercede
for us and for the salvation of all.

V: Pray for us, O holy Father Elijah.
R: That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
Grant, we beseech You, O Almighty God, that we who believe that the
Blessed Elijah Your Prophet and our Father was wonderfully carried up in
a fiery chariot, may by his intercession be raised to the desire of
heavenly things and rejoice in the society of Your saints. We ask this
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Source: “Carmel, Its History, Spirit, and Saints” (NEW YORK: P.J. KENNEDY & SONS, 1927), pp 240-42.

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“Practice of the Presence of God” Br. Lawrence, Carmelite

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“Practice of the Presence of God” according to Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection (1611-1691), Discalced Carmelite of Paris, translated by Donald Attwater, St Pauls Press – see the full book on him.

Necessary practices for attaining the Spiritual Life

1. The most holy, the most general and the most necessary practice in the spiritual life is the practice of the presence of God, whereby the soul finds her joy and contentment in His companionship, talking humbly and lovingly to Him always and at all times, but particularly in moments of temptation, of trouble, of spiritual dryness, of revulsion, and especially when we fall into unfaithfulness and sin

2. We should try unceasingly to allow each one of our actions to become a moment of communion with God: not a studied act, but just as it comes from purity and simplicity of heart.

3. We must act recollectedly, not with that impetuosity and thoughtlessness that mark an undisciplined mind; and we must work quietly, calmly and lovingly before God, beseeching Him to accept our labours. By such unceasing turning to God we shall crush the head of Satan and strike his weapons from his hands.

4. During our work and other activities, during our spiritual reading or study, yes, even in our set devotions and vocal prayer, we ought to stop for a moment, as often as we can, in order to worship God in our hearts, to touch Him as it were by stealth as He passes. Since you know that God is with you in all your actions, that He is at the very depth and centre of your soul, why not then pause an instant in your external occupations, and even in your prayers, to worship Him inwardly, to praise Him, to petition Him, to offer Him your heart and to thank Him? What can be more pleasing to God than this quitting many times a day of material things, in order to withdraw within ourselves and worship Him? Furthermore, these moments of recollection little by little purge us of those things of sense, among which alone self-love can flourish. Indeed, we can give God no more convincing evidence of our faithfulness than often to put aside and avoid the creature, that we may rejoice for one moment in the Creator. I am not proposing to you to give up material things entirely; that is impossible: Prudence, the queen of virtues, must be your guide. Nevertheless, I maintain that it is a common mistake among religious people to neglect this periodical recollection in which they may worship God inwardly and enjoy for a few moments the peace of His holy presence. The digression has been long, but no longer that I believe the matter to require; let us then return to our subject.

5. All these acts of worship must be the fruit of faith. We must believe that God is indeed within our hearts, and that we must worship, love and serve Him in spirit and in truth; that He knows all that happens or can happen among His creatures; that He is self-existent, while we depend entirely upon Him; that His infinite perfections are such sovereign excellence and authority that we are required to put everything, ourselves, our souls and bodies at the disposition of His will now and for ever; that in justice we owe Him our thoughts, our words and our deeds. Let us see that we act accordingly.

6. We must diligently examine our conscience to find out of what virtues we are most in need, and which are the most difficult for us to acquire; and to learn our habitual sins and the occasions upon which we generally fall into them. In times of temptation we should go straight to God with complete trust: remain recollected in His presence, humbly worshiping the divine majesty: tell Him our woes and weaknesses: lovingly beg for the aid of His grace; and we shall find in Him the strength that we ourselves lack.

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Blessed Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection
Patron Saint of Cooks, Chefs, and Cobblers

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The Golden Arrow Prayer

Sr_Mary of St Peter golden arrow prayer

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January 30, 2013 · 3:40 pm

Holy Face Devotion – St. Therese and Sr. Mary of St. Peter, Carmelite

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Devotion to the Holy Face

Sister Marie de Saint-Pierre, born in 1816 at Rennes (France), entered the Carmelite monastery at Tours in 1839, having already a rich prayer life and an intense devotion to the Infant Jesus. In 1843 our Lord urged her to undertake herself and to encourage in others reparation for blasphemies, revealing that the adoration of His holy face would honor Him and serve in the work of reparation.

Further, our Lord informed that adoration of His holy face in reparation would render Him the same service as St. Veronica’s wiping from His holy face the spittle, dust, sweat, and blood that covered it as He struggled on the road to Calvary. In a later vision that same year, our Lord told Sr. Marie that His sacred face is “like a divine stamp” that reproduces the image of God in souls. During the course of the revelations, which took place over five years (from 1843 until 1848), our Lord made several promises to the Carmelite nun.

On October 27, 1845, our Lord said, “By My holy face you will work wonders.”

On November 5, 1845, Sr. Marie realized by “divine illumination” that through devotion to His holy face in reparation for the outrages committed against God, our Lord would restore His image in souls by applying to them the virtue of His holy face.

On March 12, 1846, our Lord promised that “all who defend His cause in the work of reparation, whether by their words, their prayers, or their writings, He would Himself present before His eternal Father and that He would give them His kingdom.” Moreover, He promised that at the death of those who strive to atone for blasphemies “He would purify . . . their souls by effac- ing the stains of sin and that He would restore to them their original beauty.”

On November 22, 1846, our Lord assured Sr. Marie that through His holy face she would obtain the conversion of many sinners: “Nothing that you ask in virtue of the holy face will be refused you.”

The Golden Arrow
On March 16, 1844 Our Lord told Sister Mary of St. Peter, “Oh! If you only knew what great merit you acquire by saying even once, ‘Admirable is the Name of God,’ in a spirit of reparation for blasphemy.” He revealed the following prayer to her:

May the most holy,
most sacred,
most adorable,
most incomprehensible
and ineffable Name of God
be forever praised,
blessed,
loved,
adored
and glorified
in Heaven,
on earth,
and under the earth,
by all the creatures of God,
and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. Amen.

After receiving this prayer, Sister Mary of St. Peter was given a vision in which she saw the Sacred Heart of Jesus delightfully wounded by this “Golden Arrow” as torrents of graces streamed from It for the conversion of sinners.

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Prayer to the Holy Face

(Composed by St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus and of the Holy Face)

As she herself tells in The Story of a Soul, St. Thérèse had a fervent devotion to the holy face, where she found unfathomable “depths of treasures hidden.” She wrote further, “Ah, I desired that, like the face of Jesus, [and now quoting Isaiah] ‘my face be truly hidden that no one on earth would know me.’”
On August 5, 1899, just a few weeks before her death, to celebrate the Feast of the Transfiguration her sisters brought to the infirmary from the choir the “picture of the holy face she so much loved and hung it where she could see it” Looking at the picture, she said, “Oh, how much good that holy face has done me in my life!”

O adorable face of Jesus,
sole beauty which ravishes my heart,
vouchsafe to impress on my soul
Your divine likeness
so that it may not be possible
for You to look at Your spouse
without beholding Yourself!
O my Beloved,
for love of You I am content
not to see here on earth
the sweetness of Your glance,
nor to feel the ineffable kiss
of Your sacred lips,
but I beg of You
to inflame me with Your love
so that it may consume me quickly
and that soon I (name) may behold
Your glorious countenance in heaven.

Credits:“The Little Book of Carmelite Spirituality and Practice” and various web sites ( http://www.ctocds.com)

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