The Divine Office

Nancy over at The Cloistered Heart has a lovely post on the Divine Office. Read about it here.

Originally posted on Wonder and Beauty:

Rogier van der Weyden (Flemish painter, 1400-1464) Magdalen Reading (fragment of an altarpiece)

Rogier van der Weyden (Flemish painter, 1400-1464) Magdalen Reading (fragment of an altarpiece)

“There are layers of silence,  Van der Weyden’s Magdalen is deeply silent, but she is reading.  Her mind is active, and willed into activity.  This, then, is a mitigated silence, since we are only receptive to the thoughts of what we are reading.  The Magdalen is obviously reading the scriptures, and meditating on what she reads, but her silence can only be between passages of reading and will be concerned with those passages.  If we do not read with intervals of silent reflection, we will understand only part of what we read.  This is a fractured silence, good but imperfect.  We all need to read, to keep our spirit alert, to have an inner texture, as it were, that can respond to the absolutes of pure soundlessness, but this chosen, meditative layer, is the least significant.”  (Sr…

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False Peace

Rosemarie of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, OCDS over at Spirit Singing has a wonderful post about false peace and the importance of self-knowledge that St. Teresa of Jesus so often emphasizes. Check out what she wrote here.

Originally posted on a solitary bird:

July 16th is the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and is the principle feast for all who wear the Brown Scapular. The Brown Scapular is an outward sign of the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary, our sister, mother and queen. It is a symbol of her protection to the Carmelite Order which includes all its members and associates. Anyone who wears the scapular and practices the spirituality of the Carmelite Order has an affiliation to the Carmelite family and shares in the graces traditionally associated with the Brown Scapular.

Some basics of Carmelite spirituality would be:

-frequent participation in Mass and receiving Holy Communion

-reading and meditation on Sacred Scripture

-praying the Liturgy of the Hours, or part of them

-devotion and imitation of Mary the woman of faith who hears the Word of God and puts it into practice

-practicing virtue, particularly charity, chastity (according to…

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When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” (Jn 21:15)

breakfast on beach01-400x320

Breakfast on the beach – I have always been fond of this Gospel passage. There is something familiar and ordinary about it. It is morning, a new day has begun and the apostles are eating breakfast with Jesus. It is a new day and a new beginning for St. Peter.

This scene tells us of something so foundational about our faith in Jesus. It tells us that Jesus has a merciful heart. His mercy is antithetical to the scornful attitude of the Pharisees. The mercy of Jesus is like that of the Good Shepherd who seeks out the lost. He goes out in search of the sinful in order to find them, rescue them and bring them back into the sheepfold.



This Divine Mercy extents to great sinners who have repented of serious sin and have turned to Him. His mercy also reaches to those who humbly turn from venial sin only to rise again after each failure committed due to weakness or lack of reflection. Here is where I have sympathy for St. Peter. He was weak, like me. He did not reflect, but acted wrongly even though he loved the Lord. How much I am like St. Peter. I make many resolutions and want to overcome some fault, like impatience! And still, I fail – again and again. But Jesus is merciful each time I repent and turn back to Him.

St. Therese says that He, “thrills with joy when, humbly acknowledging our faults, we come to fling ourselves into His arms, imploring forgiveness; then He loves us even more tenderly than before we fell.”

Since we are poor sinners let us remember St. Peter and trust in God’s infinite mercy.


The greatest obstacles to contemplation is not disposing yourself for it. When we remain dissipated and attached we block the reception of this most sublime gift.

St. John of the Cross in his work  The Dark Night speaks of this desire for contemplation when he writes, “For God does not bring to contemplation all those who purposely exercise themselves in the way of the spirit, nor even half. Why? He best knows.” (Book I, Chap 9) However, in his commentary on The Rule of Carmel, Jerome of the Mother of God, OCD,  says that the saying “He best knows” is a Spanish saying which means: the whole world knows it. Because precisely when one does not do what one ought- then it is clear as day!

How can we excite in ourselves the desire to attain the gift of contemplation?

We often fail to dispose ourselves for contemplation either because we give in to too much activity or because we do not produce enough acts of love. By offering to God a  holy heart, one free from all actual stain of sin, we can at least do our part and strive for perfection.

St. Teresa in The Way of Perfection chapter 17 says, “I don’t say that we shouldn’t try; on the contrary, we should try everything. What I am saying is that this is not a matter of your choosing but of the Lord’s….Be sure that if you do what lies in your power, preparing yourselves for contemplation with the perfection mentioned, and that if He doesn’t give it to you (and I believe He will give if detachment and humility are truly present), He will save this gift for you so as to grant it to you all at once in heaven.”

May all our efforts cooperate with the grace God gives in each moment to prepare a heart, pure and receptive, to receive so great a gift.



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