Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: Saint Teresa of Avila 2

The Purgative Way (Mansions 1-3)

The Second Mansion – This stage requires great battle and we experience increased temptations to turn back, especially through False Humility. It is crucial that we renounce temptations immediately before they grow and take root.  We must willfully and voluntarily mortify our senses so that we discipline and cultivate virtues in our lower faculties.  Spiritual readings, spiritual direction, spiritual friendships, and holy meditation, are helpful in overcoming these new trials.  The primary Gift of the Spirit here is Piety and Reverence.

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SOURCE: Santa Clara OCDS Meeting, 2014 All Rights Reserved

Novena to Saint Teresa of Avila (written by St. Alphonsus of Liguori)
O most amiable Lord Jesus Christ! We thank Thee for the great gift of faith and of devotion to the Holy Sacrament, which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits and by those of Thy faithful spouse, to grant us the gift of a lively faith, and of a fervent devotion toward the most Holy Sacrament of the altar; where Thou, O infinite Majesty! hast obliged Thyself to abide with us even to the end of the world, and wherein Thou didst so lovingly give Thy whole Self to us.

Say one Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be.

V. St. Teresa, pray for us:

R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray: Graciously hear us, O God of our salvation! that as we rejoice in the commemoration of the blessed virgin Teresa, so we may be nourished by her heavenly doctrine, and draw from thence the fervour of a tender devotion; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: St Teresa of Avila 1

The Purgative Way (Mansions 1-3)

In this conference Father Robert discusses the stages of the Prayer and Love relationship with God.

The First Mansion – is friendship with God, but not a deep personal relationship. The common form of prayer in this stage is Vocal Prayer – communal prayers, the rosary, and Mass prayers. The primary gift of the Spirit is Fear of the Lord

The Second Mansion – is an active life of friendship with God, the beginning of a personal relationship with Jesus, and the first desires to grow spiritually. The true self begins to emerge, and we begin to genuinely examine our conscience. We enter the beginnings of a new form of Prayer, Recollection/Meditation. Spiritual pride is prevalent in this stage, and so are dryness, trials, and discouragement.

SOURCE: Santa Clara OCDS Meeting, 2014 All Rights Reserved

Novena to Saint Teresa of Avila (written by St. Alphonsus of Liguori)
O most amiable Lord Jesus Christ! We thank Thee for the great gift of faith and of devotion to the Holy Sacrament, which Thou didst grant to Thy beloved Teresa; we pray Thee, by Thy merits and by those of Thy faithful spouse, to grant us the gift of a lively faith, and of a fervent devotion toward the most Holy Sacrament of the altar; where Thou, O infinite Majesty! hast obliged Thyself to abide with us even to the end of the world, and wherein Thou didst so lovingly give Thy whole Self to us.

Say one Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory be.

V. St. Teresa, pray for us:

R. That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

Let us pray: Graciously hear us, O God of our salvation! that as we rejoice in the commemoration of the blessed virgin Teresa, so we may be nourished by her heavenly doctrine, and draw from thence the fervour of a tender devotion; through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.

Fatima 100th, Consecration to Our Lady – October 7, 2017

1) To mark the 100th Anniversary of Our Lady’s Apparitions at Fatima, Father Robert Barcelos will give a reflection, lead us in prayer, and consecrate our families and the Carmelite Monastery to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Please join the Carmelites in Adoration, a 15-decade Rosary Procession, and Consecration at Mount Saint Josephs Monastery (12455 Clayton Road, San Jose, CA) starting at 7:30 PM, Saturday,  October 7.  Bring a flashlight.

2) The San Francisco Archdiocese will also be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by Archbishop Cordileone on October 7 at 9:00 AM at Saint Mary’s Cathedral. Click here for more details.

Father James Geoghegan, OCD: St. Thérèse of Lisieux 9: Her Path of Prayer

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Relics located at The Carmelite Monastery in Philadelphia. Photo credit: thespeakroom.org

Editor’s note: Those of you who want to learn more about Saint Thérèse can also visit Maureen O’Riordan’s blog, “Saint Thérèse of Lisieux: A Gateway,” at http://www.thereseoflisieux.org/.  

Also, as we approach the Feast Days of three great Carmelite saints,  please keep the intentions of the readers of this blog in your hearts.

Thérèse devised a daring new path in life, her little way of spiritual childhood – one that she lived in prayer. Her approach to God was intensely personal and creative, but it was balanced by a deep liturgical life. She tells us how she loved the Divine Office. Her First Holy Communion was a major turning point in her life of prayer. From her childhood she loved daily Mass.

She speaks of her preparation for the Sacraments of Penance and Confirmation. Through the daily family reading of Dom Gueranger’s The Liturgical Year, she prepared for the great feasts and actively participated in them. She situates some of the marvelous graces of her life in the context of the liturgical feasts: her conversion occurred after Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve; she revealed her desire to enter Carmel after Vespers on Pentecost Sunday; she entered on the Feast of the Annunciation, made her profession on Mary’s Birthday; offered herself to God’s merciful love on Trinity Sunday; she received the call to join her Bridegroom and began her dark night of faith during the Sacred Tridium of Holy Week. Thérèse was very aware of the graces of these liturgical feasts. This balance of personal and liturgical prayer is also seen in her relationship to the Church. As she developed, she became more aware of God’s infinite love for her and also of her place in the Church. Her prayer is not only her own; it is the prayer of the Church. As she began mature prayer after her conversion, she prayed for Pranzini (a known criminal); her prayer was answered. After her pilgrimage to Rome her zeal extended to priests. Eventually, united in prayer with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the whole world is the area of her love and concern. She found the lever and fulcrum to raise the world.

Thérèse’s prayer is deeply personal, united simply with God in the very depths of her soul where she is unique and totally herself. There, too, she is open to the Church and to the whole world. She teaches us, as does St. Teresa in the Seventh Mansions, that the gift of contemplation expands into love for the Church; that it is apostolic.

In St. Teresa of Lisieux, A Spiritual Renaissance, Father Petitot says that Thérèse freed us from a method. This can be an oversimplification. She used vocal and formal prayers all her life. She offered herself to God in a formula her mother taught her. The “Our Father” and “The Lord is my Shepherd” sustained her in her agony.

As a child she was deep and intuitive. Through reflecting on nature, she got valuable insights and practical ideas. Thus a storm or the sea at Trouville show her God’s power; stale bread, a dead lamb, friendship unreturned, loneliness, led her to thoughts of God, life and eternity. This was prayer; yet we find her seeking a method. She asked Sister Henrietta of the Abbey to teach her how to pray. The Sister explained that for her praying meant opening her heart to God and talking to Him like a child with its father. From Sister Henrietta Thérèse learned simplicity and openness with God in prayer of the heart.

Having entered Carmel Thérèse found dryness and insipidity in prayer. She sought a method to help her during the formal hours of prayer. These two hours daily, faithfully observed, were difficult times – she got her insights at other times. The method she adopted was that of reflective reading with outbursts of prayer of the heart. It seems that this was the source of her extraordinary knowledge of St. John of the Cross’ works. While she was 17 and 18 years of age, she read his works prayerfully. This deep personal knowledge will later save her sanity, for St. John gave her a map of the terrain she will travel in her fearful and terrible dark nights.

It was especially by meditative reading of Sacred Scripture, in particular the Gospels, that she prayed. She would savor the words, penetrate their meaning and act on the lights received. She slowly prayed the words of the Our Father, the Hail Mary and some of the Psalms.

Thus we see that Thérèse does teach us the value of a method, one that gives stability to prayer. It is not complicated, composed of divisions and subdivisions. It is simple, the way of a child who uses all the help it can get. As a young girl she used the formula taught her by her mother or Pauline; later she used prayers of holy people; finally, she responded with love to the infinite love of God revealed in Sacred Scripture, like Mary hearing the Word of God and treasuring it in her heart

Thérèse’s prayer is inescapably linked with her life. Here she is a true daughter of Teresa of Avila. You cannot live one way and pray another. “My words fly up, my thoughts remain below. Words without thoughts never to heaven go,” said Claudius in “Hamlet.” Prayer is communicating with God, being in His presence in all the naked truth of ourselves. We are most ourselves when we pray. In prayer we hear God say, “I love you as you are” and we listen and respond, “I love you.” If our life is not a life of love we cannot say that. Saint Thérèse, pray for us.

SOURCE: Seattle OCDS Congress, date unknown

Copyright 2016, Fr. James Geoghegan. All rights reserved

Feast Day Novena Prayer

(This prayer is used by the Carmelites during the Feast Day Novena)

St. Therese, Flower of fervor and love, please intercede for us. Fill our hearts with your pure love of God. As we approach and celebrate your feast day, make us more aware of the goodness of God and how well He tends His garden. Instill in us your little way of doing ordinary things with extra-ordinary love.

Give us the heart of a child who wonders at life and embraces everything with loving enthusiasm. Teach us your delight in God’s ways so that divine charity may blossom in our hearts. Little Flower of Jesus, bring our petitions (mention in silence here) before God, our Father.

With your confidence, we come before Jesus as God’s children, because you are our heavenly friend. As we celebrate the Feast Day of your homecoming in heaven, continue to shower roses and grace upon us.

Amen

Father James Geoghegan, OCD: Feast Day of Saint Thérèse – Her Path of Prayer

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Editor’s note: Those of you who want to learn more about Saint Thérèse can also visit Maureen O’Riordan’s blog, “Saint Thérèse of Lisieux: A Gateway,” at http://www.thereseoflisieux.org/.   She is a dear friend of Father James Geoghegan of the San Jose Monastery, CA.

As a child Thérèse lived in a family atmosphere of prayer. She prayed for her friends, for an enjoyable holiday for her dad, for good weather for her cousin at the seaside, and she asked others to pray for her.

She was an intuitive and reflective person like her father. Through reflective prayer she gained insights into God (His power and beauty), into life (especially its transitory nature), and into eternity.

At her First Holy Communion Jesus became more than ever the center of her prayer. She longed to be alone with Him, above all during her own lonely hours. She learned to meditate in simple heart-to-heart conversations with Him.

At 14 under the grace of Christmas her mind matured. Her Prayer broadened and strengthened under the influence of solid reading. She writes of her experiences of God in the Belvedere, the top floor the Martin home.  These seem to be mystical experiences for she writes of advancing in virtue “under divine impressions” and “He taught me in silence the secrets of His love.” Through Pranzini, a notorious murderer at that time, she experienced the power of prayer and became an apostle of prayer.

She had been purified through her excessive sensitivity, scruples, illness, mother’s death, Pauline’s and Marie’s entrance to Carmel. This was a dark night of sense. By the time Thérèse entered Carmel she was a mature woman deeply in love with God, who prayed by reading solid books and reaching out to God in prayer in acts of love.

She entered the Carmel of Lisieux at 15 years of age. From that time she tells us her prayer was full of dryness and dereliction. Seven years later she was still concerned about dryness and drowsiness. She found it heartbreaking that she was so dry and full of distractions after Holy Communion. “I don’t know of any moment at which I experience less consolation.” God’s love was purifying her love. No longer did she find sensible joy in prayer and the Eucharist. She experienced the dark night (Saint John of the Cross). She suffered from the harshness of Mother Gonzague, from the trials regarding her vocation and the questioning whether God loved her. The thought of heaven – which once was her great consolation, giving meaning to her life and strength to bear her father’s insanity – now no longer helped her. It hurt; mocking voices became torture. A wall descended; what gave joy now gave pain – a characteristic of the night. Yet she said, “Aridity increased; no comfort in heaven or on earth, yet I was the happiest of mortals.”

During her illness she told Mother Gonzague that all she wanted was that God’s will be fulfilled in her. In her dark night her will was purified (e.g., by the postponement of her profession). In her aridity she became detached from creatures, and lived humbly in God. She grew in facility in the practice of the virtues and in trust in God.

We note that when she had her first hemorrhage that she felt joy and was thrilled at the thought of being with her beloved. Very soon her soul was plunged in darkness. She understood atheism, for she experienced the void, loneliness and suffocation of a godless life. Father Godfrey tells that at 18 Thérèse believed she was damned by God – but this led her to trust Him and abandon herself more totally to Him.

She suffered pain of body and of soul. She likened it to purgatory as does St. John of the Cross – a purification by love, not by fire. She experienced deep peace and joy and tells us that in the temptations against faith she made more acts of faith than at any other time in her life. “He knows I try to live by faith even though it affords me no consolation. I ask no other favor beyond that of never offending Him.” Her faith, love and trust were purified and strengthened in this dark night of the spirit.

In her we see the effects of this dark night as described by St. John of the Cross:

1. Her intelligence is purified as she receives clear insights.
2. Her will is purified in a growth of love.
3. Her security in God develops as she grows in trust and confidence.
4. Her faith is purified as she makes more acts of faith and the Creed, written in her blood, becomes her guideline.
5. She becomes more apostolic.

Her apostolic spirit reached out to sinners because she experienced their pain. She also experienced God’s love and wanted to share it. Her love grew. She chose all, and in her prayer finds all her desires fulfilled. “In the heart of my mother the Church I will be love” – a love that goes beyond the confines of space and time, Like the Crucified Christ with His arms open to embrace the world, Thérèse on her cross of physical pain, of loneliness, of spiritual darkness, opened her heart to embrace the world.

On her deathbed Celine went to visit her and scolded her, “You should be trying to sleep.”

“I cannot,” said Thérèse, “I’m praying.”

“What are you saying to Jesus?”

“I say nothing . . . I just love Him.”

St. Thérèse, pray for us.

SOURCE: Seattle OCDS Congress, date unknown

Copyright 2016, Fr. James Geoghegan. All rights reserved

Feast Day Novena Prayer

(This prayer is used by the Carmelites during the Feast Day Novena)

St. Therese, Flower of fervor and love, please intercede for us. Fill our hearts with your pure love of God. As we approach and celebrate your feast day, make us more aware of the goodness of God and how well He tends His garden. Instill in us your little way of doing ordinary things with extra-ordinary love.

Give us the heart of a child who wonders at life and embraces everything with loving enthusiasm. Teach us your delight in God’s ways so that divine charity may blossom in our hearts. Little Flower of Jesus, bring our petitions (mention in silence here) before God, our Father.

With your confidence, we come before Jesus as God’s children, because you are our heavenly friend. As we celebrate the Feast Day of your homecoming in heaven, continue to shower roses and grace upon us.

Amen

‘Arm yourselves with the armor of faith and the sword of truth.  Pray for the grace to forgive and to ask for forgiveness – and for the healing of wounded bodies and souls.’

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