Prayers: May 2003 Archives

Drink of the Stream--A Review


Drink of the Stream--A Review

A book compiled by Penny Hickey O.C.D.S.

I've spoken of it frequently, and now it is a constant companion--a companion I would recommend for all Carmelites and indeed for all seriously interested in the interior life. The subtitle, "Prayers of Carmelites" gives the general thrust of the spirituality--it is strongly Carmelite with the via negativa (St. John of the Cross's famous "Nada, nada, nada, nada. . .) and references to the dark night.

The book presents prayers derived from the work of some 25 Carmelite Saints, Blesseds, and Servants of God, from Elijah and Elisha to the relatively unknown St. Teresa of Jesus of the Andes. (Another 20th century Saint who, like Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity and St. Thérèse of Lisieux died at a very young age). These prayers are derived from the writings of St. Mary Magdalene da Pazzi, St Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and others. As such, they have the character of mediations and meditation starters. They encourage one to peer deeply into the heart of God and one's own connection with God. They demand that one face certain truths in one's own life. In short, they are preparation for the Ascent, or companions on the climb who continually urge us to the difficult path, noting that when we stop thinking of it as difficult, it becomes God's own work and path and the climb is mysteriously easier.

Each set of prayers and mediations is prefaced by a very brief biography that "sets the stage." The prayers themselves are usually quite brief, a matter of a minute or so reading, but they are incredibly powerful, sticking with you throughout the day.

As I have said, this book is now my nearly constant companion, from it I derive tremendous strength and hope in what has been and continues to be a very trying time.

For additional information about the book visit Ignatius Press.

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With some remarkable words of St. Raphael Kalinowski. St. Raphael Kalinowski spent many years in Siberia for participation in a rebellion. He joined Carmel after returning from Siberia. He was certain that unity of the Orthodox and Catholic churches could be attained through the devotion to Our Lady that the churches held in common.

from Drink of the Stream A Prayer of St. Raphael Kalinowski

Jesus, hope of suffering humanity, our refuge and our strength, whose light pierces the black clouds that hang over our stormy sea, enlighten our eyes so that we can direct ourselves toward You Who are our harbor. Guide our bar[que] with the rudder of the nails of Your cross, lest we drown in the storm. With the arms of this cross rescue us from the turbulent waters and draw us to Yourself, our only repose, Morning Star, Sun of Justice, for with our eyes obscured by tears, we can catch a glimpse of You there, on the shores of our heavenly homeland. Redeemed by You, we pray: Salvos nos fac propter nomen tuum--"Save us for the sake of Your holy name." And all this through Mary.

I am stunned by the remarkable consistency of the metaphor. Had John Donne composed this prayer, I would call it a metaphysical conceit (although that may be taking the matter a bit too far.) The elements all appeal, and the truth is stunningly brought home with the line "we catch a glimpse of You ther, on the shores of our heavenly homeland." Sometimes we need to be vouchsafed a glimpse of that homeland, if only to know what we steer toward. And even if only vicariously.

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This page is a archive of entries in the Prayers category from May 2003.

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