Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Spiritual Mourning

Our only great sorrow should be for our sins.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Prayerful Summer

It's not always easy when there is so much going on....

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Carmelite Rite

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 Year of the Priest

It has begun. It is the mission of Carmelites to pray for priests. Fr. Mark's reflections are worth savoring.
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

Berthe Petit

Mystic of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Food for the Journey

Genevieve Kineke reflects upon the meaning of viaticum.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Heart of Mary

"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

Visiting the Saints

Let us be like little children. According to Fr. Mark:
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.

Sacred Signs

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 Folklore

This 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

Making a Visit

Some inspiring reflections from Vultus Christi on making a visit to the Blessed Sacrament, and how important this is for small children.
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

Mystic for the Age of Revolution

Terry Nelson blogs about wife, mother, mystic and tertiary Blessed Anna Maria Taigi. She predicted many future upheavals. She was often visited by prelates, and people like Napoleon's mother. However, her irate husband and family of seven children always came first. She was one of the mystics who prophesied the controversial "Three Days of Darkness."

Fr. Mark offers a beautiful discussion as well.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Brown Scapular

Some reflections on one of the greatest Marian sacramentals.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Marie-Antoinette and the Carmelite Order

The connection between the Carmelite Order and the Royal House of France originated in the Middle Ages, when St. Louis IX encountered the hermits on Mt. Carmel and brought them to France. When the Discalced Reform came to France from Spain in the early seventeenth century, the royal family assisted the nuns with their patronage. The French court was shaken in 1674 when Louise de la Vallière, the former mistress of Louis XIV, publicly begged the queen's forgiveness and entered a Carmelite monastery. In his book To Quell the Terror, William Bush details the many connections of the later Bourbons with Carmel, particularly the patronage of Queen Marie Lesczynska and her daughter Madame Louise. When Louise herself chose to become a Carmelite nun in 1770, it cemented the spiritual ties between those in the worldliness of Versailles and those in the austerity of the cloister.

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: "t
he 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

Holy Fear

Dom Gueranger on Fear of the Lord:
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
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