Sunday, July 31, 2011

Blessed Elizabeth to be Canonized

It has been announced.
DIJON-FRANCE (12-07-2011).- On July 11, 2011, in the Chapel of the Archbishop of Dijon, in the presence of the Most Reverend Roland Minnerah, Archbishop of Dijon, the super miro process for the canonization of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880-1906) was opened.

After a brief prayer and in the presence of a relic of the Carmelite of Dijon, the following members of the Tribunal were sworn in: His Excellency, Ennio Apeciti of the Archdiocese of Milan, Archdiocesan Judge-Delegate; Canon Paul Chadeuf, Promoter of Justice; and Mr. Yves Frot, Notary.

Canon Marc Galen, Archdiocesan Chancellor, read the supplice libello of the Vice-Postulator for the Cause, Father Antonio of the Mother of God, OCD, in which opening of the process is requested as a result of the proposed miracle attributed to the intercession of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity.

Following this initial session, three Discalced Carmelites of the Monastery of Flavignerot were interviewed. The Belgian Monastery of Flavignerot is the location of the proposed healing miracle of Miss Marie-Paul Stevens.

Marie-Paul is a professor of religion in the Marist Brothers’ School in Malmedy, Belgium. In May 1997, she began to experience great difficulty in articulating words, simultaneously with the onset of salivary dysfunction. On the advice of a physician who was her friend, she underwent clinical analyses with a resulting diagnosis of Sjögren syndrome. This disease would gradually affect several body systems.

She traveled to Flavignerot after several unsuccessful treatments to thank Elizabeth of the Trinity for her support during her illness. On April 2, 2002, after having prayed in the chapel of the Carmel and made thanksgiving to Elizabeth for her help, she sat on some stones surrounding the parking area of the Monastery. Unexpectedly, before the dumbfounded eyes of two friends who accompanied her, she lifted her arms on high and exclaimed, full of surprise and joy, “I am no longer ill!” After that day, Marie-Paul resumed a completely normal life. (Read entire article.)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Kneeling for Communion

The Vatican's prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, recently recommended that Catholics receive Communion on the tongue, while kneeling. (Via Serge.)
 Receiving Communion in this way, the cardinal continued, “is the sign of adoration that needs to be recovered. I think the entire Church needs to receive Communion while kneeling.”

“In fact,” he added, “if one receives while standing, a genuflection or profound bow should be made, and this is not happening.”

“If we trivialize Communion, we trivialize everything, and we cannot lose a moment as important as that of receiving Communion, of recognizing the real presence of Christ there, of the God who is the love above all loves.... (Read entire article.)

Friday, July 29, 2011

St. Martha's Day

Christ in the House of Martha and Mary, by Jan Vermeer Van Delft, 1654-5
St. Martha of Bethany. It is ironic to me that she who tamed a dragon would also be the patroness of housewives. To quote from Fisheaters:
The exact nature of the (obviously now-extinct) creature being called a "dragon" is unknown (many Saints have been credited with having dealt with "dragons" -- Saints Margaret of Antioch and George being the two best-known -- and, of course, St. Michael will have his way with the Dragon of Dragons in the end!). But in any case, St. Martha's conquering of the beast known as "La Tarasque" has been commemorated in Tarascon, France (the town was named for the animal) ever since A.D. 1474 when "Good King Rene" instituted an annual celebration which continues to this day and takes place now in the last weekend of June. The town lies just between Avignon and Arles, on the left bank of the Rhone River, in a part of France famous for caves filled with "prehistoric" art. (Read entire article.)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Modesty and the Popes

A reader sent me a site which contains some of the traditional Catholic teachings on modesty from the not too distant past. Such directives and exhortations were intended to protect the dignity of women in an age when sexuality was being used more and more as a tool of  further exploitation. We are now so far beyond what anyone in the first part of the twentieth century would consider decent as far as clothing goes. However, I think we can derive at least a general idea of what is considered to be appropriate attire becoming to a devout Christian. Some Catholics find such writings by prelates to be very offensive; I can't think why. To quote:
Modesty will moreover suggest and provide suitable words for parents and educators by which the youthful conscience will be formed in matters of chastity. "Wherefore," as We said in a recent address, "this modesty is not to be so understood as to be equivalent to a perpetual silence on this subject, nor as allowing no place for sober and cautious discussion about these matters in imparting moral instruction."[103] In modern times however there are some teachers and educators who too frequently think it their duty to initiate innocent boys and girls into the secrets of human generation in such a way as to offend their sense of shame. But in this matter just temperance and moderation must be used, as Christian modesty demands.  ~Pius XII

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Christ of the Tabernacle

Fr. Mark on Eucharistic Adoration.
The hidden Christ, the silent Christ, the humble Christ of the Tabernacle models the virtues of the Rule of Saint Benedict in the most astonishing way, and communicates those same virtues to those who linger in His company. Far from being a baroque adornment detracting from some mythical primitive Benedictine sobriety, Eucharistic adoration is the wellspring of the holiness that Saint Benedict describes in his Rule.
Eucharistic Adoration is the school of hiddenness,
-- of silence,
-- of solitude,
-- of humility,
-- of obedience,
-- of servanthood,
-- of an abiding love that calls no attention to itself,
-- of ceaseless prayer to the Father,
-- of the Work of God,
-- of compassion for sinners,
-- of burning love for souls,
-- of gentleness towards the weak,
-- of Divine Hospitality,
-- of monastic perfection. (Read entire article.)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Masters of the Spiritual Life

Father Peter Damian M. Fehlner, F. I., gives an exposition on the seven great spiritual masters. (via Immaculatae.)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

When Saints Help Saints

How St. Vincent de Paul came to the rescue.
I have long believed that saints, like the fruit of the vine, grow in clusters. The history of the saints in every age bears this out. Saint Vincent de Paul was no exception. He was in relation with a myriad of other holy souls of France's Grand Siècle, the age of what Henri Brémond called her "mystical invasion."
The ravages of The Thirty Years War in Mother Mectilde's native Lorraine stirred Saint Vincent de Paul to an active compassion. He sent out priests belonging to his Congregation of the Mission to bring relief to those distressed by the war, those turned out of their homes and reduced to a miserable poverty. (Read entire article.)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Pope Benedict on the Brown Scapular

From Zenit:
The scapular is a particular sign of union with Jesus and Mary. For those who wear it, it is a sign of filial abandonment to the protection of the Immaculate Virgin. In our battle against evil, may Mary our Mother wrap us in her mantle. I commend you to her protection and I bless you from my heart. (More HERE.)

(Image Source)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Our Lady and the Carmelites

A History.
For many centuries before Christ, men communicated with God living in caves on the slopes of Mount Carmel in the Holy Land where Jesus was to be born.  These men were hermits devoted to the one true God of Israel.  They lived a life of solitude and service inspired by the great prophet Elijah whom they looked on as their spiritual father.  In later centuries after Christianity had spread far and wide, came the desire to follow Christ in his homeland in solitude and prayer. Pilgrims to the Holy Land joined the hermits on Mount Carmel and became known as Carmelites.  In the 12 and 13thcenturies war in the Holy Land forced these men of prayer to spread abroad.  The Church asked this group, now officially known as "the Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel" to serve the people by bringing their contemplation and love of prayer into communties in the busy streets of cities, in quiet rural areas, wherever they were needed.  They served the needs of the people by preaching , by teaching, by bringing the knowledge and love of Jesus into the market place.  Always and everywhere they remained true to the ancient heritage which they brought with them from Mount Carmel.  And in everything they did, they were inspired by the Old Testament prophet Elijah and Mary the Mother of Jesus.

Elijah embodied the ideal of the contemplative man of prayer and the active apostle of God.  Mary called them to selfless service and closeness to Christ.  The Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel is a garment and the Order of Carmel.  This sacramental is a sign of affiliation to the Carmelite Order and a symbol of our Lady's desire to bring us all to Jesus.  The message of the Scapular is the same advice she gave the servants at the Cana wedding: "Do whatever he tells you."  When we wear the Scapular, it is a sign of our loving response to the Mother of God.  So, in our special devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Carmelites celebrate our unique relationship with Mary as an intrinsic part of our spirituality.  We love her, venerate her and, with our bothers and sisters in Christ, we are called forever to be her children.  We invite you to share this spirituality with us, particularly in our devotion to Mary as Our Lady of Mount Carmel.

(Article taken from "Special Devotions to Our Lady of Mount Carmel" by National Shrine of Our Lady of Mount Carmel). 

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Journey to Carmel

Several people have asked me about my spiritual journey and how I got involved in Carmel. In 1986 I had just received my Master's degree from SUNY Albany when I visited the cloistered Carmelite nuns in Schenectady, NY. I was fascinated with their austere, radical way of living the Gospel. I began reading the works of the Carmelite saints and going to daily Mass. However, there was also someone I wanted to marry, but I was not sure about him. So I prayed for guidance.

Every day after 8 am Mass at St. John's in Frederick, Maryland I would stay after and pray and I noticed one other lady who did the same. One day, the lady came up to me and introduced herself. Her name was Mrs. Quinn and she had eight children. I told her about my interest in Carmel and my discernment struggles. She told me that she and her husband were both "Third Order Carmelites" and she invited me to attend a meeting with them in Baltimore some Sunday. I loved the community and joined it.

The Third Order or Secular Discalced Carmelites are composed of lay people who make promises of poverty, chastity and obedience according to their state in life. They can be married but try to live the Carmelite charism of prayer in the world, in the spirit of the Holy Mother St. Teresa of Jesus. They commit themselves to saying parts of the Divine Office, including Morning and Evening prayer, as well as spiritual reading and at least a half an hour of mental prayer a day. Daily Mass is also encouraged, and devotion to Our Lady. Monthly meetings are required and an intensive formation period, too. There are certain days of fast, such as the vigils of some Carmelite feasts. The "habit" of Teresian Carmelites is the small brown scapular which symbolizes consecration to the Mother of God. Carmel is "Mary's order."

Being a tertiary has been a great mercy to me, for it has given a discipline and compass to my spiritual life. I have received much help, guidance and support over the years from my brothers and sisters in Carmel. It is a challenging but joyful vocation, of which no one is worthy, for like any vocation it is a gift from God.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Origins of the Devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Here is an article on the history of the devotion based upon Scripture and Tradition.
Mount Carmel comes to memory as the biblical site where the prophet Elias battled the 450 priests of Baal in a public spiritual contest which led to their defeat and ruin as Scriptures aptly recorded. (1 Kings 18:19-40). It was also here where Elias sent his servant seven times to the mountaintop to look for rain after years of drought which ended as he proclaimed, "Behold a little cloud arose out of the sea like a man's foot." (1 Kings 18:44).
We can find Mount Carmel on the Mediterranean coast of Israel, overlooking the modern-day city of Haifa. It rises 1742 feet above sea level and towers above the Mediterranean coastline and its limestone rocks form a cliff-like landscape. The name "Carmel" means, in Hebrew (Hakkarmel [with the definite article], "the garden" or "the garden-land" because of its renowned lush and verdant beauty during ancient times. (Isaiah 35:2) It is known for its cover of flower blossoms, flowering shrubs, and fragrant herbs. Such was its charm and appeal that it was compared to the beauty of the bride in Solomon’s song. (Song of Songs 7:5) (Read entire article.)
The novena to Our Lady of Mount Carmel begins on July 7. There will be meditations here for every day of the novena.

Monday, July 4, 2011

God Save America


3 And I set my face to the Lord my God, to pray and make supplication with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes. 4 And I prayed to the Lord my God, and I made my confession, and said: I beseech thee, O Lord God, great and terrible, who keepest the covenant, and mercy to them that love thee, and keep thy commandments. 5 We have sinned, we have committed iniquity, we have done wickedly, and have revolted: and we have gone aside from thy commandments, and thy judgments. (Daniel 9: 3-5)
(Artwork courtesy of Holy Cards for your Inspiration)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

St. Oliver Plunkett

The last priest to be executed at Tyburn. According to Stephanie Mann:
St. Oliver Plunkett was born in 1629 in Loughcrew, County Meath, Ireland of well-to-do parents and studied for the priesthood at the Irish College in Rome. While Oliver Cromwell was inflicting the "righteous judgement of God" on the Irish who had rebelled against English rule during Charles I's reign, Plunkett had been unable to return to serve his people as a priest after ordination in 1654. He therefore remained in Rome and taught theology. In 1669 he was appointed the Archbishop of Armagh and the Primate of All Ireland and finally returned to Ireland the next year. For a time, Charles II's Restoration leniency allowed Plunkett to accomplish many reforms and reorganizations in education and catechesis. As Archbishop, he confirmed thousands (48,000!) but in 1673, persecution of Catholics in England's colony forced him to go into hiding and close the schools. Arrested in connection with Oates' plot, he was imprisoned at Dublin Castle. He was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1975 and in 1997 he was named the Patron Saint of Peace and Reconciliation in Ireland. (Read entire article.)
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