Carmelite: July 2003 Archives

Another Carmelite Celebration


Another Carmelite Celebration

And a particularly important one for the times. Today is the commemoration (memorial) and Feast of the Carmelite Martyrs of Compiègne whose sacrifice is attributed with bringing to an end the French Revolution.

Their sacrifice is particularly relevant for those of us today because they lost their lives for simply existing and being members of a relgiious order. This is the fierce power that secular society can and does turn on those who accuse it simply by their way of living. These martyrs are glorious witnesses to God's truth, and I pray that if I am faced with the same decision these noble women faced, through their intercession and the intercession of the Holy Mother of God, I may have the strength to choose the difficult crown rather than the easy way.

For more about the Martyrs of Compiègne, see William Bush's magnificent study To Quell the Terror, or listen to François Poulenc's Dialogue of the Carmelites based on a libretto by Georges Bernanos. Also related, Gertrud von Le Fort's ficitionalized account Song at the Scaffold. The lives of these great martyrs is food for thought for this day and for many more.

Later this week--the Feast of St. Elijah--Father of Carmel.

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Feast Day: Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Mother of Contemplatives, pray for us.
Mother of all who seek your Son, pray for us.
Gracious Lady, Mother of Our Order, Light and Guide, pray for us Carmelites, and all who seek a more profound union with your Son that we might find it.

A blessed day to you all. And to all Carmelites, a wonderful feastday, may it serve to bring us ever closer to living out our vocations in such a way as to draw people to Our Lord and Savior.

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A Message from a Correspondent--On Detachment

The following message comes from a correspondent who may choose to reveal identity within the comments box, but who otherwise remains anonymous. This voice speaks for a great many, i think, of the problems of becoming truly detached. I felt so strongly about how beautifully it was expressed, I asked permission to use it. I hope you all will be as edified as I was.

I have also been thinking more about your posts on detachment. I think the biggest obstacle to a healthy detachment is taking that very frightening step of forming a true attachment, or love, for God. To set our own illusions, desires, prides, and prejudices aside and truly love Him requires a great confidence that He is there to be loved. We know our selves and the material world around us is there but we can't (or won't) be sure of Him in the same way. Attaching to Him requires tremendous dedication, commitment, and sacrifice. It is not a complacent thing. Attaching to Him means ultimately detaching from your self. Your self is a pretty concrete, tangible thing. God isn't. You can't get a hold of Him like you can of your self. To detach from your self to attach to God means letting go of something you can hold onto in favor of letting God hold onto you.

When I was little, my siblings and I used to play Jumping Day with Daddy. When he came home from work, we would stand on a step and jump into his arms. We would jump off the stairs and he would catch us. Well, detaching from your self to attach to God is like jumping off the stair of Man. There is always a little voice in your head, whether the Devil or just your own fallen nature, telling you that maybe there's nobody there to catch you. Not many people have enough trust in God to believe He will absolutely be there.

The profound truth of this really knocked me over. It is rare that someone will state straight out that there is darkness and there is doubt. I think many have difficulty letting go of what they know for a leap into the unknown. And yet, we have seen throughout the ages, a great many who survived that leap and told the tale. The story of all the saints is the story of those who somehow managed to conquer self to make that leap into the Father's arms.

My great thanks to the correspondent who gave me, and I hope all of you so much to think about in this small reflection.

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A Poem by St. Edith Stein


A Poem by St. Edith Stein

I really must get a copy of the Science of the Cross ASAP. Unfortunately, as those who have families and small children know, there is little left over for such indulgences.

from Drink of the Stream Compiled by Penny Hickey, O.C.D.S.

To God, the Father
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross--Edith Stein

Bless the mind deeply troubled
Of the sufferers,
The heavy loneliness of profound souls,
The restlessness of human beings,
The sorrow which no soul ever confides
To a sister soul.

And bless the passage of moths at night,
Who do not shun spectres on paths unknown.
Bless the distress of men
Who die within the hour,
Grant them, loving God, a peaceful and blessed end.

Bless all the hearts, the clouded ones, Lord, above all,
Bring healing to the sick.
To those in torture, peace.
Teach those who had to carry their beloved to the grave, to forget.
Leave none in agony of guilt on all the earth.

Bless the joyous ones, O Lord, and keep them under Your Wing.--
My mourning clothes You never yet removed.
At times my tired shoulders bear a heavy burden.
But give me strength, and I'll bear it
In penitence to the grave.

Then bless my sleep, the sleep of all the dead.
Remember what Your Son suffered for me in agony of death.
You great mercy for all human needs
Give rest to all the dead in Your eternal peace.

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About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Carmelite category from July 2003.

Carmelite: June 2003 is the previous archive.

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