Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: Gettin’ Out of His Way

The Litany of Humility

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.

From the desire of being loved…
From the desire of being extolled …
From the desire of being honored …
From the desire of being praised …
From the desire of being preferred to others…
From the desire of being consulted …
From the desire of being approved …
From the fear of being humiliated …
From the fear of being despised…
From the fear of suffering rebukes …
From the fear of being calumniated …
From the fear of being forgotten …
From the fear of being ridiculed …
From the fear of being wronged …
From the fear of being suspected …

That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

That others may be esteemed more than I …
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease …
That others may be chosen and I set aside …
That others may be praised and I unnoticed …
That others may be preferred to me in everything…
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should…

The Litany of Humility is a great introduction to the ‘nada’ the negation of St. John of the Cross. Why? Because his ascetism is all about desire. It’s not about things and it’s not about people. It’s about what’s inside, and the space that we need to make inside for the savior to reside and thrive. The biggest obstacle to this mystical space, the biggest obstacle to this presence of God, the gift of His presence and His grace is nothing less, and rooted in pride – the false pride of an ego-centered existence.

This Litany goes totally against the grain of our human, automatic, natural need. By nature, especially if we’re looking at the human person simply from an emotional and psychological perspective, we need at times, to feel esteemed. We need to be loved. We need to somehow, some way, feel honored; hence, the birthday parties.

We need, at times, to want to be approved and validated. By nature, we cringe and are afraid of being humiliated. We don’t want to be despised. We don’t like to suffer rebukes. Nobody wants to be calumniated, or feel forgotten. Nobody enjoys being ridiculed, wronged, or suspected. In the prayer, we ask God to give us the grace of not allowing our happiness to be dependent on things, and our well-being to be attached and dependent upon other people.

When my sense of self-worth is dependent on other people, and how they respond to me, and if that’s the center, then my life will always be disordered. There will always be something missing, or upsetting me, or disturbing me, or making me afraid – if my life is dependent and entirely intertwined with how other people respond to my personality. This is a recipe for disappointment.

These fears of humiliation, being despised, and of suffering rebukes are normal, but we ask in the Litany, ‘from the fear of this, deliver me!’ Ultimately, what causes this anxiety is pride. The pride that is rooted in egoism is annihilated when I embrace my nothingness, and my total dependence on God.

‘I am not God, I am not in total control, in full charge of all the ramifications that affect my life. I can’t dictate the consequences and outcomes of how everything is going to be. I’m entirely dependent on someone greater than me. I am not sovereign in and of myself.’ That’s embracing my nothingness. I am a human being. I am not God.

Therefore, when I embrace that nothingness, I embrace my own imperfection. I embrace the fact that I am not perfect, nor can I be perfect based on myself and on my own effort. If I am going to be refined and purified by correction, by my faults being brought to my attention – then that is the truth of who I am! That is the truth of my nothingness, and I have to embrace that truth in order to be set free.

If I try to embrace a fundamental falsehood that ‘I don’t need correction, or I don’t need improvement, or I don’t need anybody to tell me what to do and how to become better,’ then I’m going to be subject to these fears. And I’m still going to be enslaved to myself, a slave to myself!

Saint John of the Cross is trying to set us free from that slavery, from that Egypt. He calls us to an exodus, to escape from our self-centered existence.

In the last part of the prayer, we ask, ‘That others may be loved more than I.’ This gets to the core, the heart of how we normally, naturally, automatically think, feel, and desire – based on nature.

According to a secular, psychological perspective of the human being, this request seems like a total contradiction; it’s a total contradiction to healthy, human development, but it’s the wisdom and the power of the cross. This is the remedy to truly make us fully human.

That others may be loved more than I’ – prepares the way, on a human level, a certain altruism, desiring the good of someone else more than your own good. What a breakthrough that is! What a liberation that is! – to be more concerned with someone else’s good than my own?

That others may be esteemed more than I’ – to rejoice when somebody else is praised and I am totally left unnoticed? The moment of liberty is to truly be able to rejoice from the inside out. When you are truly happy from the core of your being for someone else’s accomplishment without a tinge of jealousy, but celebrating their victory as if it were your own – that’s humility. It’s a beautiful thing. That’s truly living as one, as a community.

That in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease.’ In other words, according to the spirit of the world, I have no desire to be popular. If I am no longer esteemed as being ‘with it,’ if I am no longer considered to be hip or whatever might make the personality of an individual attractive to the spirit of the world, then maybe, I’m doing something right – in regards to what is attractive to Christ and with respect to my lifestyle.

‘That in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease.’ That is an echo of Saint John the Baptist, a restructuring of John 3:30, ‘That He (Jesus Christ) may increase, and I may decrease.’ One of my favorite lines from Saint Athanasius is ‘If the world goes against the truth, Athanasius goes against the world.’

‘That others may be chosen, and I, set aside.’ – that others may be preferred to me in everything!

Ultimately, the crown of them all, ‘That others may become holier than I, provided that I become as holy as God is calling me to be, provided that I BE-come who I am created to BE.’

That’s true humility because humility always breeds confidence. Embracing my nothingness should always lead to a greater embrace of God’s greatness. The two are interconnected. I’m not dust, left to myself; I’m dust, redeemed by the cross, and therefore, united to God’s greatness.

This is a good introduction to the nada, the right kind of emptiness of Saint John of the Cross. We need to understand the right kind of emptiness and self-denial, as it is called in traditional spirituality.

Copyright  2017 Father Robert Barcelos, OCD. All rights reserved


Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: Gettin’ Out of His Way


In The Impact of God, Iain Matthew explains that the proper understanding of emptiness requires a fundamental revision of how we perceive our own roles and our relationship to God. He writes, “our main job is not to construct but to receive; the key word will be not be so much ‘achievement’ as ‘space.’” We must make space for God in order to receive.

Iain Matthews points out that Christian progress means searching for the one who is giving joy to my life, who seems to believe in me, who makes me alive. In using the different images in his poetry, Saint John of the Cross emphasizes that our spiritual lives is not about forging a way, but about our getting out of the way. Iain Matthews writes, “Progress will be measured less by ground covered and more by the amount of room God is given to maneuver.” Therefore, space and emptiness are key words which are synonymous with what Saint John of the Cross means for nada, nada, nada.

We must rid ourselves of expectations that are not in alignment with how God is being present, is being active, is connecting and communicating, and which prevents us from even noticing His activity. He is always there constantly, in one way or another, and sometimes, He is more intensely felt than at other times. Even when He is present and manifesting Himself, but not according to our expectations, or even when we don’t recognize Him in our conscious awareness, we have the choice of celebrating the gift and the grace of that manifestation, rather than allowing ourselves to be taken under the rip roaring rapids of other fixations.

Attachment is primarily about attitude. Where is my heart? What is my heart clinging to? Therefore, it’s not about created things, as much as the desire to hold on to certain things. Those attachments don’t necessarily have to be about material things; it could be about interior attachments.

No thing. God cannot be tied down by created order. He’s not a creature and is not part of his creation but rather, He transcends time, space and even human concepts. Human concepts can point us in the direction of what God has revealed about Himself. Right reason enlightened by faith can point us to a relationship with the true reality of God. But ultimately, that reality of love transcends anything that can be tied down. That reality of love is Somebody who is infinite.

Copyright 2017, Father Robert Barcelos, OCD. All Rights Reserved

Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: Pure Gospel Charism

The battle begins in the mind. How do I relate to the thoughts that come into my head which are subject to all types of influences. More than just what I see and perceive with my senses and physically, we’re also influenced by other things that are alive and going on behind the scenes and are alive spiritually. All of that influences us. Through our senses, we process information which then comes into our soul.

More than what we see physically, we’re influenced by other things going on behind the scenes that are alive spiritually. The struggle gets down to a choice. Who’s side will we be on? Every sin is cloaked in deception. For a person to swallow a lie, it has to be sugar-coated with some kind of truth, a half-truth, just enough to make you bite it, and enough to make you sick.

This is our context of our human condition in a broken world before the beauty of God. The fundamental, essential, and basic step to enter into a relationship with God, is the humility to recognize that we are not God – that we need someone greater than us. This is an epiphany and a revelation.

We must recognize that ‘I need to bend my knee to someone other than me.’

Humility is the door of breakthrough for love. The world doesn’t understand that and the world can disfigure the whole notion of humility to mean that you have to be a doormat, that you have to be a slave, or that you have to be subject to a set of rules. You have to do what they tell you and have blind faith, and all these misconceptions and persecutions.

Before, one of my perspectives was that Christianity was just a crutch for weak people who couldn’t figure it out on their own. But after my own conversion, I came to realize, ‘That’s the spirit of the world speaking which bows to the enemy.’

The enemy wants us to believe that Christianity is for weaklings. If you want to be strong, you don’t need a religion. It’s a waste of time. You’re your own master. Do it your own way. In our common fight of faith, these are just some things we will face.

God reveals Himself and He reveals himself through an evolution of covenants. His love is revealed and unveiled in a way that develops over time. The first covenant is the covenant of creation between Adam and Even. He designs creation so that humanity can be in relationship with Himself. He set things up in paradise in a beautiful manner. It was a sheer gift.

He did so not because he wanted a host of subjects and robots. No, He gave us free will. It was a pure, gracious gift. But then, brokenness came and He promised that there would be healing in this brokenness.

And for this complete gift of Himself, despite all the war and brokenness, we must always, forever — be thankful.

Copyright 2017. Father Robert Barcelos, OCD. All rights reserved.

Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: Pure Gospel Charism

A reading from the book of Isaiah 43

But now, thus says the LORD, who created you, Jacob, and formed you, Israel: Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name: you are mine. 2When you pass through waters, I will be with you; through rivers, you shall not be swept away. When you walk through fire, you shall not be burned, nor will flames consume you. 3For I, the LORD, am your God, the Holy One of Israel, your savior. 4Because you are precious in my eyes and honored, and I love you.

10You are my witnesses, my servants whom I have chosen, To know and believe in me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, and after me there shall be none. 11I, I am the LORD; there is no savior but me.

Through the power of God’s word, may His spirit make His presence, that His promise may be accomplished in your life. May the blessing of Almighty God come upon us in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

“Oh sweetest love of God, so little known. Whomever has found this rich mine is at rest.” That is from the Sayings of Light and Love, by Saint John of the Cross. Truly, we are meant to know the love of God from the inside.

Maybe once, we practiced our own religion – perhaps when we became teenagers and we started to think for ourselves,  we went through growing pains, that development process when we were trying to discover our own identity apart from our parents and family.

A normal part of the development of faith as a human being, be you male or female, is that young people will eventually begin to disengage themselves emotionally from their mother, father, and immediate family in order to discover their own individuality and what makes them unique. What they had normally previously assumed, received, and trusted in, starts being called into question. Everything is called into question.

We start to question everything and there’s a distrust of authority, especially religion. We can’t always fully and immediately explain religion with reasons that are at our fingertips. Often, in matters of faith, we have to have faith before we receive understanding.

But the problem is that when we question matters of our faith, we take the position of pride. ‘Unless I understand, I won’t believe. Unless you prove it to me, you won’t have my trust.’

We become aloof, and eventually, little by little, our faith can shrink. An erosion process based on the lack of trust happens. Eventually, we can even become strangers to God, ‘enemies of the cross.’

I also experienced this erosion process and became an enemy of Christ and the cross, but by God’s grace, He called me back to Himself. He calls all of us differently, at different times in our lives, and at different times of our growth. Usually, He will use a crisis to wake us up and to recognize our vulnerability, and need to get down on our knees, to recognize that we’re not all in control and that we are not invincible.

The fundamental first step of any recovery from any addiction or dysfunction requires that one act of humility – ‘I can’t save myself. I can’t cure myself. I need the humility to ask for help.’ This is when breakthrough happens.

However, the way and wisdom of the world says that to be powerful means you are independent and autonomous. You need nothing else besides yourself. That is strength. That is power. That is exactly what the serpent said to Eve in the original garden.

To create distrust, the serpent said, ‘What? God said that? Oh no, let me reframe the situation for you.’ This false perception and perspective was part of the deception to break down trust that would eventually lead to disobedience.

He said, ‘God only said that because He knows that if you eat from the tree, you are going to be like Him. He doesn’t want competition. He wants you to be submissive. But if you eat that fruit, you know what? You’re not even going to need Him anymore. You are your own person. You are your own god.’  That is exactly how we, and most especially the younger generation, are being challenged in our faith.

We are at a war, at war between light and darkness, and our souls are at stake. Our choices make the difference in our destiny. Where does this battle begin? – in the mind, and in our thoughts. If we don’t’ guard our thoughts, our thoughts will become our words. If we don’t guard our words, our words will become our actions. If we don’t guard our actions our actions will become our habits and our character…And our character becomes our destiny. (to be continued)

Copyright 2017, Father Robert Barcelos, OCD. All Rights Reserved

Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: Saint Thérèse the Warrior

Date: January 1889, several days after Thérèse’s clothing. Photo Credit: Fr. Gombault

Father Robert explains Saint Thérèse’s methods of overcoming her temptations  and “natural antipathy” in the context of her community:  “I want to be charitable in my thoughts toward others at all time,” she says, for our thought life is where the battles for our souls begin and play out. He also talks about Saint Thérèse as a warrior in the darkness of her spiritual purgation as she lay dying of tuberculosis.

Click on the triangle to play – Please do not download.

Copyright 2017, Father Robert Barcelos, OCD. All Rights Reserved. 

REMINDER OF UPCOMING EVENTS! – We hope that you are able to join the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites of the CA-AZ Province in spirit by keeping these evangelization efforts in your prayers.

November 2-5 2017: OCDS (Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites) Congress in San Antonio, Texas.

Saturday, November 11, 2017: A retreat day offered by the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites of Santa Clara, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. At the Carmelite Monastery 1000 Lincoln Street, Santa Clara, California. Everyone is welcome! For more information and to register, click here

An Encounter with St. Thérèse of Lisieux and her parents, Saints Louis and Zélie Martin  -Three conferences by Maureen O’Riordan of Philadelphia, Pa., curator of “Saint Thérèse of Lisieux: A Gateway


Sunday, November 12, 2017: “A Map of the Way of Confidence and Love of St. Thérèse of Lisieux,” 3:00 pm at Mt. St. Josephs Monastery, 12455 Clayton Road, San Jose, California. The conference and question and answer period will end before 5:00 p.m. You are welcome to stay for Evening Prayers and Benediction with the Carmelite Fathers and Seculars. No registration or tickets necessary. Free-will offering welcome.

Audios on the conferences and other talks by Father Robert Barcelos, OCD, Father James Geoghegan, OCD, and Maureen O’Riordan, will soon be available on http://thespeakroom.org/ for purchase.



Consecration of the Family to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

On a moonlit night, October 2017, Father Robert Barcelos, OCD consecrated  Mount St. Josephs Monastery (San Jose, CA) and the families of those attending a special 100th Fatima Anniversary event, to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Father Robert reiterated that no matter how difficult or impossible our situations can seem, in the Immaculate Heart of Mary, the victory has already been  won. We need to claim that truth for our lives.

This is the prayer that the congregation prayed. Feel free to print out the prayer and the image, and sign as your covenant with God. May it bring blessings to your own families.

O’ Sacred Heart of Jesus, source of all consolations. Redeemer of the human race! Look mercifully upon us, kneeling before you, with the desire of entrusting ourselves to Your Most Sacred Heart and to the Immaculate Heart of Your mother. We wish to be entirely Yours, and therefore, we humbly ask You to accept this offering as a token of our gratitude and love. On this day, we solemnly consecrate our family and home to Your Most Sacred Heart! You, the Creator of heaven and earth, desired to become the Son of Mary, Mother of the entire human race. On this day, we thank You in a special way for this precious gift of Your Mother, and following Your example, we too wish to offer ourselves entirely to her as her true children. May this consecration to the Heart of Your Immaculate Mother, strongly unite and bind us to Your Most Sacred Heart.

O Immaculate Virgin Mary, living tabernacle of the Most Holy Trinity! Once as the son of Elizabeth leaped with joy at the sound of your voice, we too leap with joy in your presence, because you brought Christ to us! As you filled the home of Elizabeth with the Divine grace of your Son, we beg you to fill our hearts and home with the Spirit of God’s love and grace!

We Your children, kneeling at your feet, solemnly consecrate to your Most Immaculate Heart our beloved family and home. To you we give our past, present, and future; to your care we entrust all that we are and all that we have. You know all our sufferingws and hopes; in your Motherly Heart you feel all the struggles and challenges we face between good and evil; between light and darkness. Accept the plea which we make directly to your heart, and with your maternal love embrace this family, which we entrust to you with affectionate love. Be our teacher and our guide in following the path of your Divine Son. May your presence refresh and nourish our faith and open the gates of grace to produce fruits of the Holy Spirit in us.

O’ Compassionate Mother, wash us with the blood of your Son; for the sake of His Sorrowful Passion, save us from evil inclinations, clothe us with His Glory, and adorn us with your virtues. Offer us to the Most Sacred Heart as a living and loving sacrifice, that we may live only for the Glory of God. May your smile dispel the darkness from our midst; may your touch bring healing to our souls and bodies, and may your love enkindle in our hearts the fire of Divine Love, that we may spread this flame wherever we go.

In confidence we gaze upon your face, O’ Amiable Mother, because you are the smile of God, the reflection of the light of Christ, the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit, and the Mother of the afflicted. Our life! Our sweetness! and our hope! Pray unceasingly for us your children, that one day, uniting our voices to yours, with angels and saints, we too may sing an eternal hymn of praise to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Amen!


On this ______ day of _______ in the Year of Our Lord _______

Reminder: Light your candle for All Souls Day