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Welcoming the Savior

The Virgin, weighed

with the Word of God

comes down the road:

if only you’ll shelter her.

~St. John of the Cross

The Unwelcome Savior

'The Adoration of the Shepherds' Guido Reni

‘The Adoration of the Shepherds’  Guido Reni

God enters the world as a small infant. There is no room for him. . . no crib.

We are ungrateful children and haven’t known the value of Jesus’ visit. Light came to disperse the darkness; His message has gone unheeded. For on that cold winter night the angels did sing, but in vain. Our indifference has stifled their glad tidings. We were astonished, but only for a moment.

Jesus came into the darkness, the darkness of sin and death, but the darkness did not receive His light. Oh! if this Advent our darkness would desire and comprehend His light! Even if we don’t, the day will come when His justice will burst upon us in all its brilliance, and He will disperse all the spiritual darkness in man’s heart.

During Advent reflect on the state of our world before Christ’s coming. It was a world filled with darkness and sin. Then let us fill our hearts with gratitude towards Jesus who came down from heaven so that He might know our miserable state experiencing all of it, except for sin, and saving us from death.

Then let us reflect on His mysterious coming that He desires to accomplish in hearts. Let us open our hearts to receive Him more fully than ever before. He desires to enter there, to dwell there and transform us. Let us consent to receive this Divine guest. He knocks and asks to be let in. He delights to be born in our hearts. Do not refuse Him. Receive Him and let Him in.

This Advent let Him in and preserve Him within you as a great treasure. Let Him rest there where He can shape your thoughts and guide your actions to be like His. Welcome Him with love and care more than before.

The Virgin, weighed
with the Word of God
comes down the road:
if only you’ll shelter her.

~St. John of the Cross

All Carmelite Saints

Happy Feast of All Carmelite Saints!

From St. Teresa’s Foundations (Chap. 29:33)
“. . . remember the favor our Lord has granted us in bringing us to this order” and  “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.”
Have a Blessed Feast Day!

St. Teresa is venerated most highly as the Saint of Spain. Her virtues of faith, love and humility have influenced many throughout the centuries and in the time in which she lived. She still watches over her children, those devoted to her, influencing them with her faith and love of solitude amidst all the dangers and temptations of the present times.

Like the times in which St. Teresa lived, our present age is blemished with the tendency to be overindulgent in material goods and lazy about the spiritual life. The world seeks after scientific wisdom while ignoring or even denying the supernatural. Love is for the pursuit and acquisition of the material and all sorts of pleasures to tantalize the senses. All this captivates the heart and removes all love of God from it.

I’d like to propose this beautiful novena in honor of St. Teresa composed by St. Alphonsus Liguori.

St. Teresa offers a valuable remedy in her writings, teachings and in her devotion to God. Her heroic virtues, mirrored those virtues of Christ and reflected in her beautiful life, are represented in this novena.  Each day highlights one of her virtues for us to meditate on and espouse.

Day 1

O Most amiable Lord, Jesus Christ! we thank Thee for the great gift of faith and of devotion to the Holy Sacrament, which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa: we pray Thee, by Thy merits, and by those of Thy faithful spouse, Teresa, to grant us the gift of a lively faith, and of a fervent devotion toward the most Holy Sacrament of the altar; where Thou, O infinite Majesty! hast obliged Thyself to abide with us even to the end of the world, and wherein Thou didst so lovingly give Thy Whole Self to us.

Our Father..etc. & Hail Mary, etc.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
O Jesus! Who Teresa’s beauteous soul

With Thy love-dart didst fire;

Deep in my heat of hearts

Her own sweet longing of love of Thee inspire.

IMG_3539
Day 2

O merciful Lord, Jesus Christ! we thank Thee for the great gift of hope which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa: we pray Thee, by Thy merits, and by those of Thy holy spouse, Teresa, to give us a great confidence in Thy goodness, by reason of Thy precious blood, which Thou hast shed to its last drop for our salvation.

Our Father..etc. & Hail Mary, etc.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.
O Jesus! Who Teresa’s beauteous soul

With Thy love-dart didst fire;

Deep in my heat of hearts

Her own sweet longing of love of Thee inspire.

jesus-precious-blood

Day 3

O most loving Lord, Jesus Christ! we thank Thee for the great gift of love which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits, and by those of Thy most loving spouse, Teresa, to give us the great the crowning gift of Thy perfect love.

Our Father..etc. & Hail Mary, etc.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

O Jesus! Who Teresa’s beauteous soul

With Thy love-dart didst fire;

Deep in my heat of hearts

Her own sweet longing of love of Thee inspire.

Bringing the Joy of His Presence to All

 Day 4

O most sweet Lord, Jesus Christ! we thank Thee for the gift of great desire and resolution which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa, that she might love Thee perfectly; we pray Thee, by Thy merits and by those of Thy most generous spouse, Teresa, to give us a true desire, and a true resolution of pleasing Thee to the utmost of our power.

Our Father..etc. & Hail Mary, etc.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

O Jesus! Who Teresa’s beauteous soul

With Thy love-dart didst fire;

Deep in my heat of hearts

Her own sweet longing of love of Thee inspire.

Day 5

O most kind Lord, Jesus Christ! we thank Thee for the great gift of humility which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits, and by those of Thy most humble spouse, Teresa, to grant us the grace of a true humility, which may make us ever find our joy in humiliations, and prefer contempt before every honor.

Our Father..etc. & Hail Mary, etc.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

O Jesus! Who Teresa’s beauteous soul

With Thy love-dart didst fire;

Deep in my heat of hearts

Her own sweet longing of love of Thee inspire.

Day 6

O most bountiful Lord, Jesus Christ! we thank Thee for the gift of devotion towards Thy sweet mother, Mary, and her holy spouse, Joseph, which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits, and by those of Thy most dear spouse, Teresa, to give us the grace of a special and tender devotion toward Thy most holy mother, Mary, and toward Thy beloved foster-father, Joseph.

Our Father..etc. & Hail Mary, etc.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

O Jesus! Who Teresa’s beauteous soul

With Thy love-dart didst fire;

Deep in my heat of hearts

Her own sweet longing of love of Thee inspire.murillo holy family

Day 7

O most loving Lord, Jesus Christ! we thank Thee for the wonderful gift of the wound in the heart which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits, and by those of Thy most seraphic spouse, Teresa, to grant us also a like wound of love, that, henceforth, we may love Thee, and give our mind to the love of nothing but Thee.

Our Father..etc. & Hail Mary, etc.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

O Jesus! Who Teresa’s beauteous soul

With Thy love-dart didst fire;

Deep in my heat of hearts

Her own sweet longing of love of Thee inspire.

Josefa_st.teresa-transv

Day 8

O most beloved Lord, Jesus Christ! we thank Thee for the eminent gift of the desire for death which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits, and by those of Thy most constant spouse, Teresa, to grant us the grace of desiring death, in order to go and possess Thee eternally in the country of the blessed.

Our Father..etc. & Hail Mary, etc.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

O Jesus! Who Teresa’s beauteous soul

With Thy love-dart didst fire;

Deep in my heat of hearts

Her own sweet longing of love of Thee inspire.

sickness

Day 9

Lastly, O dearest Lord, Jesus Christ! we thank Thee for the gift of the precious death which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa, making her sweetly to die of love; we pray Thee, by Thy merits, and by those of Thy most affectionate spouse, Teresa, to grant us a good death; and if we do not die of love, yet that we may, at least, die burning with love for Thee, that so dying, we may be able to go and love Thee for evermore with a more perfect love in heaven.

Our Father..etc. & Hail Mary, etc.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

St. Teresa, pray for us!

That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.

Graciously hear us, O God, our salvation! that as we rejoice in the commemoration of the holy virgin Teresa, so we may be nourished by her heavenly doctrine, and draw from thence the fervor of a tender devotion; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirt, God for ever and ever. Amen.

St. Therese of Lisieux was born on January 2, 1873 in Alencon, Normandy. She was the youngest of eight children born to Louis Martin and Zelie Guerin. Of the eight children, three died, and the surviving five girls all became religious. After Zelie’s death, when St. Therese was four years old, the family moved to Lisieux. St. Therese entered the Carmelite monastery of Lisieux at the age of fifteen. She died on September 30, 1897, at the young age of twenty-four.

St. Therese, of course, is most famous for her autobiography, Story of a Soul. In this story she describes her famous “little way” of spiritual childhood –a way of trust and surrender. It is well know how she would do “little” things with great love and how this is proposed to us to imitate.

What is little known or spoken of are the ways she would practice mortification. She never had any attraction to perform great acts of penance. She felt she was too cowardly. Her serious and mortified life consisted “in breaking my will always so ready to impose itself on others, in holding back a reply, in rendering little services without any recognition, in not leaning my back against a support when seated, etc.”

St. Therese made it a habit of always acting in a way opposite of the way she was feeling. There was s Sister in the community that she found quite displeasing to her in everything. She writes, “Each time I met her I prayed to God for her, offering Him all her virtues and merits, I felt this was pleasing to Jesus …and when I was tempted to answer her back in a disagreeable manner, I was content with giving her my most friendly smile, and changing the subject of the conversation.”

This saintly woman would resist the urge to give self-defense, to judge others, and to make claims to ‘her rights’. She would give what others asked of her and allowed others to take what belonged to her without asking for it back. These mortifications are heroic and are at the disposal for all of us to practice in our daily lives as well.

“I told myself that charity must not consist in feelings but in works.”

“And it isn’t enough to love; we must prove it.”

(Story of a Soul, ICS Publications)

Dan Burke has a great post today over on Catholic Spiritual Direction on how to pray a Clausular Rosary. You can see it here.

ol-and-jesus-on-cross

The duties and cares of the day ahead crowd about us when we awake in the morning (if they have not already dispelled our night’s rest). Now arises the uneasy question: How can all this be accommodated in one day? When will I do this, when that? How shall I start on this and that? Thus agitated, we would like to run around and rush forth. We must then take the reins in hand and say, “Take it easy! Not any of this may touch me now. My first morning’s hour belongs to the Lord. I will tackle the day’s work which He charges me with, and He will give me the power to accomplish it.”

(Edith Stein Collected Works, ICS Publications p. 143)

How often I have begun my day full of anxiety and already exhausted by the thoughts of what needs to be done ‘today’. I can’t go about my day disturbed and agitated. In today’s society we live with almost constant stress in our daily lives. Many things need to be done and physically we can feel overwhelmed, if not totally exhausted.

I believe St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) quoted above in her essay on Principles of Women’s’ Education has the answer for us. Our first duty each day should be to spend time with God in prayer. Ideally, it should be spent at Mass where we participate in the great offering of reconciliation and are purified and made happy. As we participate in Mass we lay all our doings and troubles along with the sacrifice on the altar.

sunrise

However, this is not always a possible way to start our day when we have a house full of small children to raise or if we don’t have the luxury of a convenient Mass time and a nearby church. Nevertheless, I can get up a bit early, before everyone else in the house has awaken, and spend some quiet moments with the Lord in prayer.

I can spend a moment making a spiritual communion and unite myself with Him. A spiritual communion is the best way to express, in prayer, my desire to receive Jesus. God will respond to this act with His grace. St. Teresa of Avila encouraged this practice as well. “When you do not receive communion and you do not attend Mass, you can make a spiritual communion, which is a most beneficial practice; by it the love of God will be greatly impressed on you” (The Way of Perfection, Ch. 35)

And when the Lord comes to me then in Holy Communion, then I may ask Him, “Lord, what to you want of me?” (St. Teresa). And after quiet dialogue, I will go to that which I see as my next duty. (Edith Stein Collected Works, ICS Publications p. 144)

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