Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Many of the religious orders which were founded in the Middle Ages had their own unique customs and rituals. The Carmelites were no exception, and the "Carmelite rite" or "Rite of the Holy Sepulchre" was used in monasteries of the ancient observance until 1972. The Carmelites were founded in the Holy Land and so their rite contained some elements of the eastern liturgies. It also had a great deal of emphasis on the Resurrection of Christ and on the Blessed Virgin. As one article explains:
The rite in use among the Carmelites since about the middle of the twelfth century is known by the name of the Rite of the Holy Sepulchre, the Carmelite Rule, which was written about the year 1210, ordering the hermits of Mount Carmel to follow the approved custom of the Church, which in this instance meant the Patriarchal Church of Jerusalem: "Hi qui litteras noverunt et legere psalmos, per singulas horas eos dicant qui ex institutione sanctorum patrum et ecelesi approbata consuetudine ad horas singulas sunt deputati." This Rite of the Holy Sepulchre belonged to the Gallican family of the Roman Rite; it appears to have descended directly from the Parisian Rite, but to have undergone some modifications pointing to other sources. For, in the Sanctorale we find influences of Angers, in the proses traces of meridional sources, while the lessons and prayers on Holy Saturday are purely Roman. The fact is that most of the clerics who accompanied the Crusaders were of French nationality; some even belonged to the Chapter of Paris, as is proved by documentary evidence. Local influence, too, played an important part. The Temple itself, the Holy Sepulchre, the vicinity of the Mount of Olives, of Bethany, of Bethlehem, gave rise to magnificent ceremonies, connecting the principal events of the ecclesiastical year with the very localities where the various episodes of the work of Redemption has taken place.The Carmelite rite is still used by a few religious communities.
Sunday, June 21, 2009
The priest is essentially a man who, in offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, witnesses day after day to the mystery of the Heart of Jesus, opened by the soldier's lance and never closed. Your role, Spiritual Mothers, is not to look at the priest; it is, rather, to look with Him at the pierced Side of Jesus until, by the force of Love's irresistible attraction, the priest, and you with him, are drawn across the threshold of that wound, into the inner sanctuary of the Sacred Heart.
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Here is a prayer of Madame Elisabeth, the sister of Louis XVI, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus:
Adorable heart of Jesus, sanctuary of the love that led God to make himself man, to sacrifice his life for our salvation, and to make of his body the food of our souls: in gratitude for that infinite charity I give you my heart, and with it all that I possess in this world, all that I am, all that I shall do, all that I shall suffer. But, my God, may this heart, I implore you, be no longer unworthy of you; make it like unto yourself; surround it with your thorns and close its entrance to all ill-regulated affections; set there your cross, make it feel its worth, make it willing to love it. Kindle it with your divine flame. May it burn for your glory; may it be all yours, when you have done what you will with it. You are its consolation in its troubles, the remedy of its ills, its strength and refuge in temptation, its hope during life, its haven in death. I ask you, O heart so loving, the same favour for my companions. So be it.
O divine heart of Jesus! I love you, I adore you, I invoke you, with my companions, for all the days of my life, but especially for the hour of my death.O vere adorator et unice amator Dei, miserere nobis. Amen.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
The solemnity of Corpus Domini ... leads us to the Upper Room, helping us live the spiritual climate of that night, celebrating Passover with his disciples; the Lord through the mystery anticipated the sacrifice that would be consumed the next day on the cross. The institution of the Eucharist thus opens up to us as a Christ’s acceptance of his death....Jesus moreover, showed that through his death God’s close alliance with his people finally became effective. The ancient covenant sanctioned on Sinai by animal sacrifice with the chosen people, who had been freed from slavery in Egypt, and had promised to follow all the commandments given them by the Lord (Ex 24, 3). In reality, Israel from the very outset through its creating the golden calf, proved itself incapable of keeping faithful with the divine pact, what’s more it would often transgress, adapting the tablets of the Law that was to teach them of life to their own hearts desires. The Lord however, is never found wanting in his promise....I speak to you in particular, my dear priests, who Christ chose so that together with him you can live your live in sacrifice and praise for the salvation of the world. Only through union with Christ will you be able to draw on a spiritual wealth that generates hope for your pastoral ministry. St. Leo the Great reminds us that our participation in the Body and Blood of Christ only aims to become what we receive’ (Sermo 12, De Passione 3,7, PL 54). If this is true for every Christian, it is to an even greater degree for us priests.Being Eucharist! This must be our constant desire and duty so that the sacrifice of our existence accompanies our offering of the Body and Blood of Christ at the altar. Every day, from the Body and Blood of the Lord we find that free and pure love that renders us worthy ministers of the Christ and witnesses of its joy. It is this that the faithful expect in a priest: the example of an authentic devotion for the Eucharist; they love to see him spend long moments of silence and adoration in front of Jesus as did the Holy Curé of Ars, whom we will particularly remember during the imminent Year for Priests. ...
Saturday, June 13, 2009
"All the glory of the king's daughter is within...."
-- Psalm 44:14
At Fatima, Portugal on June 13, 1917, Our Lady said to the three little children: "My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the way that will lead you to God." Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary was manifested by Heaven as being the path to peace for individuals and for the world. Two hundred years before the Fatima apparitions, St. Louis-Marie Grignion de Montfort instructed his followers on how to live out one's consecration to the Blessed Virgin in the treatise True Devotion to Mary. "Mary is the sanctuary and repose of the Holy Trinity, where God dwells more magnificently and more divinely than in any other place in the universe, not excepting his dwelling between the Cherubim and the Seraphim."
To take our refuge in Mary's heart is a shortcut to holiness, to union with God. "This practice of devotion to our Blessed Lady is also a perfect path by which to go and unite ourselves to Jesus, who...took no other road for His great and admirable journey....The Most High has come down to us perfectly and divinely, by the humble Mary....So it is by Mary that the very little ones are to ascend...without any fear, to the Most High." (True Devotion to Mary)
The key to Marian consecration is the renewal of our baptismal vows, when we "give ourselves entirely to Jesus Christ by the hands of Mary," as St. Louis de Montfort recommends. In doing so, we give to Our Mother "our body with all its senses and its members; our soul with all its powers, our exterior goods of fortune, whether present, or to come; our interior and spiritual goods, which are our merits and our virtues, and our good works, past, present, and future." By giving everything to Our Lady, she will purify our good works and offer them to God on our behalf, bringing about the greater glory of God. Uniting our hearts with hers, we "do all our actions by Mary, with Mary, in Mary, and for Mary; so that we may do them all the more perfectly by Jesus, with Jesus, in Jesus, and for Jesus."
The Holy Eucharist seals our covenant with God. St. Louis de Montfort urges that before receiving Holy Communion:
You must implore that good Mother to lend you her heart, that you may receive her Son there with the same dispositions as her own. You will explain to her that it touches her Son's glory to be put into a heart so sullied and inconstant as yours....But if she will come and dwell with you, in order to receive her Son, she can do so by the dominion which she has over hearts....You will ask her for her heart by these tender words: 'I take thee for my all. Give me thy heart, O Mary.' (True Devotion)
Friday, June 12, 2009
Go to the saints, certain of their interest in whatever interests you. You can count on their sympathy, on their readiness to listen, and on their help.
There is a cold, reasonable, and altogether too “grown-up” form of religion that fails to address the needs of the heart. Chilly and cerebral, it is foreign to the spirit of the Gospel because it is so far removed from things that children need and understand. In many places, the past forty years saw the imposition of a new iconoclasm, an elitist religion without warmth, a religion for the brain with precious little for the heart, a religion stripped of images and devoid of the sacred signs that penetrate deeply those places in the human person where mere discourse cannot go.
The Grace of FolkloreThis is the religion of barren churches, white-washed and devoid of transcendence. This is the religion of those who sniff uncomfortably at what they dismiss as folklore, forgetting that folklore is, more often than not, the expression of an ancient wisdom, piety, and fear of the Lord. This is the sterile religion of those who, in the name of “discretion and good taste” displaced tabernacles, and removed crucifixes and images of the saints. You can find them now for sale on E-bay and in trendy antique shops.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
It was not uncommon for children to visit the Blessed Sacrament after school. Yes, it is true that the teaching Sisters encouraged visits, but it was something that children did freely. In the context of a family neighbourhood where nearly everyone walked to the bank, the Post Office, and the market, visits to the Blessed Sacrament were simply part of the fabric of Catholic life. Rarely were our neighbourhood churches empty. Nearly always there was someone kneeling in prayer, lighting candles, stopping at Our Lady's altar, or making the Way of the Cross. Then came the so-called "urban renewal," the destruction of so many family neighbourhoods, and the so-called "post-conciliar renewal," of which enough has been said elsewhere in the blogosphere.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Fr. Mark offers a beautiful discussion as well.
Saturday, June 6, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Marie-Antoinette of Austria married the Dauphin in the same year that Madame Louise entered the monastery. The young princess offered to represent Louis XV at the ceremony at which his daughter Louise received the habit of Carmel, since it was too painful for the king and the rest of his family to be present. So it was the teenaged Marie-Antoinette who veiled the new "Soeur Thérèse de Saint-Augustin."
In the years the followed, Marie-Antoinette would visit her husband's aunt three times year at the Carmel, of which she was a benefactress. As the Queen's maid Madame Campan relates in her Memoirs:
The Court went to visit her about three times a year, and I recollect that the Queen, intending to take her daughter there, ordered me to get a doll dressed like a Carmelite for her, that the young Princess might be accustomed, before she went into the convent, to the habit of her aunt, the nun.According to Madame Campan, Madame Louise as a nun was deeply involved in church affairs; she was always petitioning her nephew's wife, so that Marie-Antoinette called her: "the most intriguing little Carmelite in the kingdom." It was at the request of Madame Louise, however, that Marie-Antoinette granted a dowry to a poor, pious girl named Mademoiselle Lidoine, so that she could enter the Carmel of Compiègne. Mademoiselle Lidoine became the Mother Prioress of the heroic Martyrs of Compiègne, who like Marie-Antoinette, died on the guillotine during the French Revolution.
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
The spirit of independence and false liberty, which is nowadays so rife amongst us, is a great enemy to the fear of God; and one of the miseries of our age is that there is little fear of God. Familiarity with God but too frequently usurps the place of that essential basis of the Christian life. The result is that there is no progress in virtue, such people are a prey to illusion; and the sacraments, which frequently worked so powerfully in their souls, are now well-nigh unproductive. The reason is that the gift of fear has been superseded by a conceited self-complacency. Humility has no further sway; a secret and habitual pride has paralyzed the soul and seeing that these people scout the very idea of their ever trembling before the great God of heaven, we may well ask them if they know who God is.
~Abbot Gueranger's The Liturgical Year, Vol IX, p.334
Monday, June 1, 2009
Clothing is often so much more than a few pretty things to wear, as the iconography of Our Lady of Guadalupe shows. It is important to bear in mind her status as the most important Mexican religious and cultural symbol, from her apparition to an indigenous Mexican, Juan Diego, during a period of conversion to Christianity from the Aztec religion, to her role as a symbol of national unity during the War of Independence.
Sun and moon: as in Revelation 12:1, "arrayed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars". However in this case the stars are on the cloak and there are far more than twelve. Another interpretation is of an image of triumph over the Aztec sun and moon deities -in fact the little squashed figure underneath may be a winged moon god.
Cloak: Blue and green were Aztec colours of divinity. I have seen detailed argument that the arrangement of stars is that which appeared in the night sky on the date of the apparition, although to my untrained eye they do seem quite regularly spaced.
Dress: Rose coloured, as one might expect given that the apparition story involves the production of Castilian roses from a Mexican hill. Interpretations of the pattern range from more roses, to a contour map of Mexico.
Belt: A black belt was an Aztec symbol of pregnancy.
Brooch: On the original icon, and some detailed reproductions, it is possible to see a cross shaped brooch at her neck. Despite the indigenous influences, she is definitely a Christian figure.
So, the clothing of one relatively simple and well known image of Our Lady can lead to many interesting discoveries -more of her political and social implications as a Mexican national symbol are discussed in this essay.
I begged Our Lord to teach you the secret of sanctity and happiness in the sanctification of the present moment--peacefully. The present moment contains all grace for our sanctification, and it is the only thing that matters.
Keep your eyes ever on the Divine Guest within, Whose love is directing all that concerns you every moment, even the annoying little things that cause irritation. Be generous with Him, and let your joy be in sacrifice. It was His joy. He came from Heaven to prove it to us, and love can find no other real test....
Sweet and peaceful conformity to God's Will is the test of love. It is often crucifying to self-love and self-will, but suffering was the chosen portion of Our Lord, and the faithful lover should want no other.
~Fragrance from Alabaster by Mother Aloysius of the Blessed Sacrament, OCD