Friday, July 25, 2014

Reflections on silence

"I am writing this ahead of time. At the time of this post, my family will be upstate attending my mother-in-law's funeral. She has suffered for many years after a stroke left her almost paralyzed. There is much peace that she is now no longer suffering and is resting in the arms of God.
We appreciate any prayers you can offer...perhaps...a moment of silence."

Blessings ~ Theresa ~

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Conclusion--The Our Father

I have two reflections to share in these concluding posts on the Our Father/Pater Noster: 

From The Way of Perfection, St. Teresa of Jesus states: "We ought to give praise to the Lord for the sublime perfection of this evangelical prayer. Each of us, daughters, can apply the prayer to her own needs since it was composed by so good a Master. I marvel to see that in so few words everything about contemplation and perfection is included; it seems we need to study no other book than this one.

"It has seemed to me that since this prayer was intended for general use so that each of us could petition according to our own intention, be consoled, and think that we have a good understanding of the prayer, the Lord left it in this obscure form. Contemplatives and persons already much committed to God, who no longer desire earthly things, ask for the heavenly favors that can, through God's goodness, be given on earth. Those who still live on earth, and it is good that they live in conformity with their state in life, may ask also for bread. They must be sustained and sustain their household. Such a petition is very just and holy. But both should consider that two of the things mentioned pertain to all: giving him our will and forgiving others." (my emphasis)

In He Leadeth Me, Father Ciszek states: "...only slowly did I come to experience how perfect a prayer is the Our Father, the Lord's Prayer. 'Lord, teach us to pray', the disciples had said, and in his answer the Lord had explained the whole theology of prayer in the most simple of terms, exhaustive in its content and yet intended for the use of all men without distinction. The human mind could not elaborate a better pattern in prayer than the one the Lord himself gave us.

"He begins by placing us in the presence of God. God the almighty, who has created all things out of nothingness and keeps them in existence lest they return to nothingness, who rules all things and governs all things in the heavens and on earth according to the designs of his own providence. And yet this same all-powerful God is our Father, who cherishes us and looks after us as his sons, who provides for us in his own loving kindness, guides us in his wisdom, who watches over us daily to shelter us from harm, to provide us food, to receive us back with open arms when we, like the prodigal, have wasted our inheritance. Even as a father guards his children, he guards us from evil--because evil does exist in the world. And just as he can find it in his Father's heart to pardon us, he expects us to imitate him in pardoning his other sons, our brothers, no matter what their offenses.

"The Our Father is a prayer of praise and thanksgiving, a prayer of petition and of reparation. It encompasses in its short and simple phrases every relation between man and his Creator, between us and our loving, heavenly Father. It is a prayer for all times, for every occasion. It is at once the most simple of prayers and the most profound. One could meditate continuously on each word and phrase of that formula and never fully exhaust its riches. If one could only translate each of its phrases into the actions of his daily life, then he would indeed be perfect as his heavenly Father clearly wishes him to be. Truly, the Lord's Prayer is the beginning and end of all prayers." (my emphasis)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Reflections on silence

"We don't mean to imply all noise is sinful, nor do we intend to imply that all silence is virtuous. However, I think you will agree that much of the disturbing noise in the world can be traced to confusion, turmoil, and despair. Apart from this disquieting effect this pandemonium has on the nervous system, there is still a more serious effect on the soul. The constant chatter of people and the din of mechanical monsters have a way of filling the mind with sounds and confusion from without. The soul cannot hear the still, small voice within; nor can it recollect itself in the midst of the bedlam of its own mind.

From my own experience in the world, I know it is possible, despite the external noise, to listen and hear God in the silence of one's own heart - but I also know it is not easy. People in the world can and do become oblivious of the turmoil; many rise above the turbulent restlessness of created things and spend some time each day in silent prayer."

~Mother Catherine Thomas
"My Beloved: The Story of a Carmelite Nun"

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

O Blessed Feast Day {July 16}

{Icon: Come Lord Jesus by the Carmelite Sisters of Terre Haute, IN}

"May the most holy Virgin Mary confirm you in your Carmelite vocation. May she safeguard your love for the things of the spirit. May she obtain for you the graces you need in your holy, laborious ascent towards the knowledge of the divine realm and the ineffable experiences of its dark nights and light-filled days. May she give you the desire for sanctity, the desire to bear eschatological witness to the kingdom of heaven. May she make you models for all the members of God's Church, and bind you to them in brotherhood. And may she one day lead you into that possession of Christ and his glory which, even now, is the goal towards which your whole life is directed."

Office of Readings for the Solemnity of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel
Reading by Pope Pius VI

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, pray for us! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

St. Teresa and the Lord's Prayer {but deliver us from evil, amen.}

St. Teresa states that, "By the 'amen' I understand that since with this word all things come to an end, the Lord asks that we be freed from all evil forever.

"Deliver me, Lord, from this shadow of death, deliver me from so many trials, deliver me from so many sufferings, deliver me from so many changes, from so many compliments that we are forced to receive while still living, from so many, many, many things that tire and weary me. This weariness must come to me because I have lived so badly, and from seeing that the way I live now is still not the way I should live since I owe so much. I beseech the Lord to deliver me from all evil forever since I do not make up what I owe; it could be that perhaps each day I become more indebted. And what is unendurable, Lord, is not to know for certain that I love you or that my desires are acceptable before you. O my Lord and my God, deliver me now from all evil and be pleased to bring me to the place where all blessings are."

Padre Pio in Secrets of a Soul states "Life here a sorrow for me. Living the life of an exile is such a bitter torment that I can hardly bear it. The thought that I could lose Jesus at any instant causes me such anxiety that I cannot express it." (my emphasis)

So, we do suffer from many evils that threaten and tempt us to forget Jesus while in this life. We ask for the grace to be delivered from what could lead us to lose Him. We ask God to draw us at last away from every evil forever.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Reflections on silence

''...with silence dwelling constantly in the soul - a Mary Magdala at the feet of Christ - speech will come more easily to people whose souls are completely recollected in that silence, in the Lord. Speech, and works too. These people will move among men gently, softly, kindly. Love will shine in their every gesture, in their every word. There will always be time to do something more for someone, somewhere.

"Slowly, imperceptibly, the world roundabout them will change. For the silence within them will become part of God's loving, mighty, creative, fruitful silence. His voice will be heard through them. His face will be seen in theirs! And the light of it will become a light to their neighbor's feet.

"Thus silence will bring peace to all. The prayer of silence will be heard in our land far and wide. And the Beloved will once more come to dwell among men, for his vineyard - the world - will be restored to him. Yes, 'Be still and know that I am God.'(Ps. 46:10)"

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Novena~Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

{Icon: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel by Terry Nelson at Abbey Roads}

...begins July 8 and concludes on the Feast Day, July 16.  The below is taken from the novena booklet from the Carmelite Monastery, Philadelphia, PA.  To be recited everyday:

"O most beautiful Flower of Mt. Carmel, fruitful vine, splendor of heaven, singular vessel of the Holy Spirit, hear my prayer as I kneel before you.  Mary, Empress of Heaven, from the bottom of my heart I beg you to hear my prayer and grant me the graces and favors I ask...(add your requests here).  If what I ask is not for the glory of God or the salvation of my soul, then give me peace of mind and what is most conducive to both. Amen."

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