The First Call: Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, July 22

797px-Alexander_Ivanov_-_Christ's_Appearance_to_Mary_Magdalene_after_the_Resurrection_-_Google_Art_ProjectChrist’s Appearance to Mary Magdalene,  Alexander Ivanov (1835)

Mary Magdalene, with her eyes of love and faith, was the first to be called by Christ to share the good news of His resurrection.  Mary Magdalene, with her utmost confidence in Jesus, was the first to testify and bear witness to His glorified body, despite opposition and ridicule from the apostles.  She was the first evangelizer. When the men who were closest to Jesus had given up hope, she called them back to Him, and they responded.   St. Mary Magdalene, pray for us.

We, like Mary Magdalene, are called to share and live in the joy of Christ’s resurrected body, though some are called to a consecrated life. Do you know anyone who might have this particular call?

The Call: Discalced Carmelite Friars – Western Province  “As Teresian Carmelites we strive to live a zealous life of allegiance to Jesus for the salvation of souls, in the contemplative and missionary spirit of St. Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross.”

Source: Discalced Carmelite Friars, Western Province (May 2015)


The Call: Discalced Carmelite Nuns

“These are Movie Clips compiled to reach out to the modern viewers about the Carmelite Vocation, Carmelite Saints, and Carmelite Spirituality. Featuring Carmelite entrance, investiture, solemn vows. I wanted to depict Contemplative life as a powerhouse of prayer and sacrifice, love of God and the world, and interior joy. The Video Clips are taken from the movies of the following carmelite saints: St. Teresa De los Andes, St. Teresa of Avila, St. Therese of Lisieux, and Edith Stein.

There are several movies that the clips are showing. You can buy these movies at any Catholic Bookstore or Amazon online: (1) Thérèse with actress Catherine Mouchet (2) Edith Stein: The Seventh Chamber (3) St. Teresa of the Andes Miniseries (4) The Passion of the Christ (5) Therese with actress Lindsay Younce. Also recommended Carmelite movies: Saint Teresa of Avila with actress Concha Velasco” (MaryVeronica JMJ).

Source: MaryVeronica JMJ Discalced Carmelite Nuns (2011)


Father Robert Barcelos, OCD, Feast of Saint Elijah: July 20


The entrance to a cave on Mount Sinai

(1 Kings 19: 10-14 )

Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.”

11 He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. 13 When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 14 He answered, “I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are seeking my life, to take it away.”


Our faith is tested to really see the reality of who it is we believe in. In other words, we have to go before the mouth of the cave, as Saint Elijah did, when he was on Mount Sinai. The Lord told him to go out before the mouth of the cave because He would be passing by. The Lord did not pass by in the many ways Elijah expected, not in the same ways that the eternal Lord and God manifested to Moses in Sinai, those magnificent ways, through the power of the elements of creation. All that took place before Elijah, but God wasn’t present there. He was present in an unexpected manner, in a way that surprised him; in a way that was utterly simple and ordinary, and yet the fullness of His presence was there, concealed and hidden.

The Spirit told Elijah inside of his soul to go out before the mouth of the cave, and there it was — God’s silent breeze. The breath of God passed by, and Elijah recognized whose presence he stood, and he bowed down in worship and adoring silence.

When we come to Carmel, oftentimes, there are a series of steps and graces that God gives us to be able to experience His call and to be convinced of it. Definitely, certain blessings accompany the graces, to build up our confidence, and our faith, hope, and love, to be able to abandon ourselves to that extent.

And then, when we finally enter, we might expect God to manifest in certain ways. We might expect certain things to happen, but sometimes, it doesn’t. Part of the spiritual life, inevitably, is that we become entirely aware – we thought and expected ecstasy. Instead, we are immersed in our own poverty, and so aware of the reality of our need for healing, in respect to what it means to be whole and holy in the Lord. That can be such a scandal to ourselves because we thought we were so much better than that!

Yet, God knew exactly who you were, better than you knew yourself, when He called you. You’re just starting to figure it out now. He knew who you were from the beginning, but He loved you anyway. Our weaknesses don’t get in His way, and neither does our poverty. Quite the contrary. Our weaknesses are where He wants to be born. That’s the manger. That’s the Bethlehem.

He doesn’t want the palace. He didn’t come for the perfect. He came for those who were lost and in need of Him, and who recognized their need for Him. He wants to be born in the mess of the manger. When He is born there, that mess can gradually become immaculate, amidst the messiness of it all. We can become so changed that what makes our lives most radiant, is the way God has touched us in our wounds, in the way God has transfigured us in our weakness. St. Elijah, pray for us.

(SOURCE: “Transforming Union With God” Retreat, 2013)

Copyright Fr. Robert Barcelos, OCD, 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Click here for the Office of Readings, Feast of Saint Elijah, (St. Louis OCDS)


Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: Marian Devotion

In scripture, whenever Mary is exalted or honored, she doesn’t want to be the center because she wants God to be the center. Who honors her? Not just anybody – an archangel is the first to honor her at the Annunciation. If you were to examine in scripture of every time an angel appeared to humanity, it was always at a pivotal moment in salvation history, when God was allowing his covenant of love to unfold and deepen. To concretely establish this relationship, an angel would prepare the way and serve as agent of His will.

Whenever an angel appeared, the human person that he was appearing to would prostrate on the floor. That person would think he was in the presence of God because the angel was so much more beautiful, more magnificent, and more luminous than anything that he had ever seen before. He did not think he could look at God face to face in His presence, and felt that he was unworthy of beholding such beauty. Every time, a person prostrated on the floor, the angel would ask him to get up, and say ‘I’m not God. Don’t worship me. Get up.’ And the angel would give a message.

Here, in the fullness of time, when the Son of God was meant to go into the world through a woman’s womb, an angel appears to Mary, and he genuflects. The angel honors her with the highest salutation possible. He doesn’t even call her by her earthly birth name. He calls her by who she is in God’s eyes – the only one who is full of grace, full of the goodness of grace. He looks at her with awe and essentially says, ‘Wow!’ – ‘Hail full of grace.’

Mary doesn’t powder her nose and say ‘Oh I know,’ but she immediately asks, ‘Who are you? What do you want?’ The angel says, ‘Actually, God wants something, and you won’t believe what He wants from you. He wants you to be the mother of the Messiah that you have been waiting for and praying about. He has chosen you to be the mother of the Messiah.’

She responds, ‘You must have the wrong girl. God knows I made a vow to Him to be a virgin to God for the rest of my life. How could I possibly be a mother?’ I’m paraphrasing the Greek and putting it in contemporary terms. The angel responds, ‘You won’t have to break that vow. You won’t conceive by the seed of man, but the power of the Holy Spirit will be your spouse. Through this Word that you have just heard, through His seed, if you let it into your heart, it will bring about a harvest through your conception of the Christ. All you have to do is say Yes.’

And she says, ‘Behold, here I am, I am yours’ (to be continued)

Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: Fatima – from love to Love

AUDIO: To listen, click on the triangle on the left. Father Robert’s talk refers to Lacrae’s ‘Blessings.’ (You Tube video above).

SOURCE: Homily by Father Robert Barcelos, OCD. Fatima Pilgrimage June 2017. All Rights Reserved

(Fatima Pilgrimage organized by sweet and spirit-filled Caroline of Syversen Touring.)

Gospel – Jn 6:51-58
Jesus said to the Jewish crowds: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.”

The Jews quarreled among themselves, saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,
unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food,
and my blood is true drink.

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.
Just as the living Father sent me and I have life because of the Father,
so also the one who feeds on me will have life because of me.
This is the bread that came down from heaven. Unlike your ancestors who ate and still died,whoever eats this bread will live forever.”

Monument to the Fatima Seers. Photo credit: 2017

Reading 1 – Dt 8:2-3, 14b-16a
Moses said to the people:
“Remember how for forty years now the LORD, your God, has directed all your journeying in the desert, so as to test you by affliction
and find out whether or not it was your intention to keep his commandments. He therefore let you be afflicted with hunger,
and then fed you with manna, a food unknown to you and your fathers,
in order to show you that not by bread alone does one live,
but by every word that comes forth from the mouth of the LORD.