Archive for the ‘interior life’ Category

Mary Magdala goes to the tomb early in the morning while it is still dark. Preoccupied with Jesus, nothing keeps her from seeking him. When she gets to the tomb she sees that the stone has been rolled away, and the tomb is empty. She runs to tell the others.

“We, too, (like Mary) have a keen desire to find the Lord: perhaps we have been seeking Him for many long years. Further, this desire may have been accompanied by serious preoccupation with the question of how we might rid ourselves of the obstacles and roll away from our souls the stone which has prevented us thus far from finding the Lord, from given ourselves entirely to Him, and from letting Him triumph in us. Precisely because we want to find the Lord, we have already overcome many obstacles, sustained by His grace; divine Providence has helped us roll away many stones, overcome many difficulties. Nevertheless, the search for God is progressive, and must be maintained during our whole life. For this reason, following the example of the holy women, we must always have a holy preoccupation about finding the Lord, a preoccupation which will make us industrious and diligent in seeking Him, and at the same time confident of the divine aid, since the Lord will certainly take care that we arrive where our owns strength could never bring us, because He will do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.” (Divine Intimacy,  p. 420, Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.)

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The mission of the priest is to mediate between God and man. This mission is two-fold for he offers Christ to the Trinity when he offers the host during the consecration, and then at communion he distributes to the faithful the Bread of Life giving Christ to the world.

For this divine task Christ-like souls are needed, which is why Carmelites pray for priests. The whole Church should help priests to acquire this Christ-like soul, but contemplatives in particular come to their aide.This apostolic element of the Teresian charism is found in The Way of Perfection where St. Teresa of Jesus exhorts her nuns to:

“strive to be the kind of persons whose prayers can be useful in helping those servants of God who through much toil have strengthened themselves with learning and a good life and have labored so as now to help the Lord.” (Way of Perfection 3:2)

This apostolate of those who dwell in cloisters is to silently immolate their lives in purity, simplicity and crucified.

Since the priest is another Christ and is to communicate Christ to the world, he needs an interior life even though he may be busy. However, he can only do that in the measure in which he possess Jesus himself. Therefore, contemplatives need to pray for priests asking God to help them to remain ever at the fountain of living water so that He can overflow on those around him without ever becoming empty himself.



While the priest carries Christ to souls in word and sacrament, contemplatives then stay close to the feet of Christ in silent adoration, like Mary beside the cross, asking Him to render the priest’s words fruitful in souls. The contemplative does this to help priests and for the redemption of souls.




“I beg you to strive to be such that we might merit from God two things: First, that among the numerous learned men and religious there be many who will meet these requirements I mentioned that are necessary for this battle, and that the Lord may prepare those who do not meet them; one who is perfect will do much more than many who are not. Second, that after being placed in this combat, which as I say, is not easy, they may receive protection from the Lord so as to remain free of the many perils there are in the world, and stop their ears in order not to hear the siren’s song on these dangerous sea. If we can obtain some answers from God to these requests , we shall be fighting for Him even though we are very cloistered.” (Way of Perfection 3:5)

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St. John of the Cross pic

What we need most in order to make progress is to be silent before this great God with our appetite and with our tongue, for the language he best hears is silent love.  –St John of the Cross, OCD

Advent is a time of waiting…waiting in the darkness where it is still and quiet. This season is also a time to establish the conditions I need to have in order to bring Christ into my life.

Night, these long winter nights, can be a time for prayer, waiting prayer. In this night of waiting prayer, I can remain before the Lord in silence. St. John of the Cross teaches that silence is the language the God hears best.

As St. John of the Cross reminds me, I need to remain in silence with my desires and tongue silenced. Thoughts and words are limiting. They limit my time with the Lord; therefore, I need to be present before Him with these silent and remain there in a state of interior quiet. It is in this silent waiting of my prayer through faith and love that will bring me to the God I am seeking.

In the darkness of Advent I can then see and adjust my responding after this time in silence. My response can then be to bring Christ into the lives of others, but first I need to begin by bringing Him into my own interior life.

Today is the Feast of St. John of the Cross who was and still is a good guide through the darkness that is faith. With him and his writings he will draw me to seek God in faith and love.

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The month of May is dedicated to Mary. Our devotion to her should consist in imitation of her life and virtues. For Carmelites, she is our teacher and model of the interior life, which is our apostolate. Not to discount or underestimate the exterior apostolate, the interior apostolate consists of prayer, love and sacrifice. The fruitfulness of all exterior activity rests on this interior apostolate.

According to Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D, Mary’s apostolate “was a quiet one, free from ostentation; it was accomplished in the most humble, hidden and silent way.” (Divine Intimacy #184)

Mary shared in the whole life of Jesus, her Son: the daily life of a family, performing household duties, living with difficulties, making sacrifices, enduring trying situations, even sharing in His Passion. In all these ways she shared in the redemptive work of Jesus. His work of redemption still continues, and, like Mary, we can share in that work.

During those times when we feel the pressure of the urgency of our works and become tempted to make these exterior activities the net worth of our apostolate, let’s turn to Mary who shows us how to love, pray and make hidden sacrifices – known only to God and are of infinite value – redemptive value.

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Today is the anniversary of the visions of the Blessed Mother at Fatima. We are all familiar with these and the three shepherd children. However, let us not forget the main point of Our Lady’s messages and pray the Rosary everyday, wear the Brown Scapular and to remember that no matter what happens…and it seems like things are happening in spite of it all… that the most important thing that Mary said was that “In the end my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” Her Immaculate Heart is a heart of love, filled with love for God and neighbor; let this be the same sentiments of our hearts. Mary is our example of the interior life, and the heart is the center of this interior life, which is all about love. It is love that really matters.

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St. Therese in her Last Conversations pointed out that the Blessed Mother is someone to imitate. “She is spoken of as unapproachable, whereas she should be represented as imitable.” Of course, the Virgin has been graced with special privileges: Mother of God, perpetual virginity, conceived without sin; but she is a model for us to try to be like. That is, imitable in the concrete picture of her earthy life: to imitate her virtues.
May is the month of Mary. During this month while meditating on her virtues, she will show us the secret of her interior life. She is our model in this respect, the model and norm of our own interior life.

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O Jesus, living in Mary,
come and live in Thy servants.
in the spirit of Thy holiness,
in the fullness of Thy power,
in the perfection of Thy ways,
in the truth of Thy virtues,
in the fellowship of Thy mysteries,
rule Thou over every adverse power
in Thy spirit, for the glory of the Father.
This efficacious prayer sums up living the interior life. If a soul desires to live a holy life and to profit from the means of sanctification offered by the Church, then it must draw into the interior dispositions of Jesus. What better way to do this than to do it with, through and in Mary, the most perfect living image of Christ.
The object of this prayer is the interior life, a life that is a participation in the life of Jesus.
“Because Jesus is the source of all holiness, we ask Him to live and to act in us, in order that He may communicate to us His Own sanctity: In the spirit of thy holiness.”
“Since we are unable to acquire such an exalted sanctity through our own efforts, we beg Him to come to us in the fullness of his power.”
“Since holiness cannot be attained without the imitation of Our Divine Model, we beg Him to make us walk in the perfection of His ways, that is to say, to make us able to imitate His conduct, His exterior and interior actions, in all their perfection.”
In the truth of thy virtues. The virtues we ask for are real virtues…What Jesus comes to bring us therefore are interior virtues, crucifying virtues: humility, poverty, mortificaton, perfect chastity of mind, heart and body; and unifying virtues; the spirit of faith, of confidence and of love.”
“Jesus practices all these virtues especially in His mysteries, and on this account we pray Him to make us partake in the grace of His mysteries: in the fellowship of thy mysteries….
—the Incarnation, which invites us to put off all self-love in order to consecrate ourselves entirely to the Father in union with Jesus.
—the Crucifixion, Death and Burial which express so many degrees of the total immolation of self by which we crucify our disordered nature and seek to put off and bury our evil inclinations
—the Resurrection and the Ascension, which are the symbols of a perfect detachment from creatures and of the altogether heavenly life which we desire to lead in order to reach heaven.”
“We can not assuredly attain such perfection unless Jesus comes to vanquish our powerful enemies, the world, the flesh and the devil: to rule over every adverse power.”
“Lastly, in order to obtain this grace more readily, we proclaim the with Him we have but one end in view, to procure the glory of the Father under that action of the Holy Ghost: by the spirit unto the glory of the Father.”
(The Spiritual Life by Rev. Adolphe Tanquerey, S.S., D.D.. Tan Publishers)

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