Friday, 30 April 2010

Many Mansions

Thérèse of Lisieux

Autobiography of a Saint

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

The Little Flower of Jesus

Translation: Thomas N. Taylor 1927

Chapter 1, pp.30-31.

Thérèse of Lisieux

Autobiography of a Saint

Translation:. Ronald Knox 1958 posthumous.
Chapter 1, pp.25-26.

I often asked myself why God has preferences, why all souls do not receive an equal measure of grace…

Our Lord has deigned to explain to me this mystery. He showed me the book of Nature, and I understood that every flower created by Him is beautiful, that the brilliance of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not lessen the perfume of the violet or the sweet sim­plicity of the daisy. I understood that if all the lowly flowers wished to be roses, Nature would lose her spring­tide beauty, and the fields would no longer be enamelled with lovely hues.

t is the same in the world of souls, Our Lord's living garden. He has been pleased to create great Saints who may be compared to the lily and the rose; but He has also created lesser ones, who must be content to be daisies or simple violets flowering at His feet, and whose mission is to gladden His divine eyes when He deigns to lookdown on them: the more joyfully they do His will, the greater is their perfection.

I understood this also, that God's love is made manifest as well in a simple soul which does not resist His grace as in one more highly endowed. In fact, the characteristic of love being self-abasement, were all souls to resemble the holy Doctors who have illumined the Church, it would seem as if God in coming to them did not stoop low enough. He has created, however, the little child who knows nothing and can but utter feeble cries and the poor savage who has only the natural law to guide him, and it is to their hearts that He deigns to stoop. These are the field flowers whose simplicity charms Him; and by His condescension to them Our Saviour shows His infinite greatness. As the sun shines both on the cedar and on the smallest flower, so the Divine Sun illumines each soul, great or lowly, and all thing's work together for its good, just as in Nature the seasons are so disposed that on the appointed day the humblest blest daisy shall unfold its petals.

I had always wondered why it was that God has his preferences, instead of giving each soul an equal degree of grace…

Jesus has been gracious enough to teach me a lesson about this mystery, simply by holding up to my eyes the book of nature. I realised, then, that all the flowers he has made are beautiful; the rose in its glory, the lily in its whiteness, don't rob the tiny violet of its sweet smell, or the daisy of its charming simplicity. I saw that if all these lesser. blooms wanted to be roses instead, nature would lose the gaiety of her springtide dress-there would be no little flowers to make a pattern over the countryside.

And so it is with the world of souls, which is his garden. He wanted to have great Saints, to be his lilies and roses, but he has made lesser Saints as well; and these lesser ones must be content to rank as daisies and violets, lying at his feet and giving pleasure to his eye like that. Perfection consists simply in doing his will, and being just what he wants us to be.

This, too, was made dear to me-that our Lord's love makes itself seen quite as much in the simplest of souls as in the most highly gifted, as long as there is no resistance offered to his grace. After all, the whole point of love is making yourself small; and if we were all like the great Doctors who have shed lustre on the Church by their brilliant teaching, there wouldn't be much condescension on God's part, would there, about coming into hearts like these? But no, he has created little children, who have no idea what's going on and can only express themselves by helpless crying: he has made the poor savages, with nothing better than the natural law to live by; and he is content to forget his dignity and come into their hearts too-these are the wild flowers that delight him by their simplicity. It is by such condescension that God shows his infinite greatness. The sun's light, that plays on the cedar trees, plays on each tiny flower as if it were the only one in existence; and in the same way our Lord takes a special interest in each soul, as if there were no other like it. Everything conspires for the good of each individual soul, just as the march of the seasons is designed to make the most insignificant daisy unfold its petals on the day appointed for it.

Workshop …
The translators are very different characters.

Comparing both to the French Original will be even more interesting.


STORY OF A SOUL

The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux

A New Translation

from the Original Manuscripts by

JOHN CLARKE, O.C.D.

ICS Publications INSTITUTE OF CARMELITE STUDIES Washington 1975,

ALENCON J.M.J.T. ` Jesus January 1895

SPRINGTIME STORY

OF A LITILE WHITE FLOWER WRITTEN BY HERSELF AND DEDICATED TO THE REVEREND MOTHER AGNES OF JESUS

I wondered for a long time why God has preferences, …

Jesus deigned to teach me this mystery. He set before me the book of nature; I understood how all the flowers He has created are beautiful, how the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the Lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy. I understood that if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the fields would no longer be decked out with little wild flowers.

And so it is in the world of souls, Jesus' garden. He willed to create great souls comparable to Lilies and roses, but He has created smaller ones and these must be content to be daisies or violets destined to give joy to God's glances when He looks down at His feet. Perfection consists in doing His will, in being what He wills us to be.

I understood, too, that Our Lord's love is revealed as perfectly in the most simple soul that resists His grace in nothing as in the most excellent soul; in fact, since the nature of love is to humble oneself, if all souls resembled those of the holy Doctors who illumined the Church with the clarity of their teachings, it seems God would not descend so low when coming to their heart. But He created the child who knows only how to make his feeble cries heard; He has created the poor savage who has nothing but the natural law to guide him. It is to their hearts that God deigns to lower Himself. These are the wild flowers whose simplicity attracts Him. When coming down in this way, God manifests His infinite grandeur. Just as the sun shines simultaneously on the tall cedars and on each little flower as though it were alone on the earth, so Our Lord is occupied particularly with each soul as though there were no others like it. And just as in nature all the seasons are arranged in such a way as to make the humblest daisy bloom on a set day, in the same way, everything works out for the good of each soul.




Friday, 30 April 2010

Fourth Week of easter

Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ according to Saint John 14:1-6.

Jesus said to his disciples: «Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me. In my Father's house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be. Where (I) am going you know the way." Thomas said to him, "Master, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus (1873-1897), Carmelite, Doctor of the Church
Autobiography of a soul, Manuscript A, 2r°- 3r° (trans. Ronald Knox)

"In my Father's house there are many dwelling places"

I had always wondered why it was that God has his preferences, instead of giving each soul an equal degree of grace... Jesus has been gracious enough to teach me a lesson about this mystery, simply by holding up to my eyes the book of nature. I realised, then, that all the flowers he has made are beautiful; the rose in its glory, the lily in its whiteness, don't rob the tiny violet of its sweet smell, or the daisy of' its charming simplicity. I saw that if all these lesser blooms wanted to be roses instead, nature would lose the gaiety of her spring tide dress-there would be no little flowers to, make a pattern over the countryside.

And so it is with the world of souls, which is his garden. He wanted to have great Saints, to be his lilies and roses, but he has made lesser Saints as well; and these lesser ones must be content to rank as daisies and violets, lying at his feet and giving pleasure to his eye like that. Perfection consists simply in doing his will, and being just what he wants us to be.

This, too, was made clear to me: that our Lord's love makes itself seen quite as much in the simplest of souls as in the most highly gifted, as long as there is no resistance offered to his grace. After all, the whole point of love is making yourself small; and if we were all like the great Doctors who have shed lustre on the Church by their brilliant teaching, there wouldn't be much condescension on God's part, would there, about coming into hearts like these? But no, he has created little children, who have no idea what's going on and can only express themselves by helpless crying: he has made the poor savages, with nothing better than the natural law to live by; and he is content to forget his dignity and come into their hearts too - these are the wild flowers that delight him by their simplicity. It is by such condescension that God shows his infinite greatness. The sun's light that plays on the cedar-trees plays on each tiny flower as if it were the only one in existence; and in the same way our Lord takes a special interest in each soul, as if there were no other like it.

Daily Gospel org




THE STORY OF A SOUL

THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF SAINT THERESE OF LISIEUX

Edited by MOTHER AGNES OF JESUS

Translated, with a critical Preface, by MICHAEL DAY, Cong. Orat.

LONDON BURNS & OATES

FOR MOTHER AGNES OF JESUS

CHAPTER I, pp.1-2

For a long time I had wondered why God had preferences, why He did not give the same degree of grace to everyone. …

Also I wondered why so many poor savages die without even hearing Our Lord's name. Jesus chose to enlighten me on this mystery. He opened the book of nature before me, and I saw that every flower He has created has a beauty of its own; that the splendour of the rose and the lily's whiteness do not deprive the violet of its scent, nor make less ravishing the daisy's charm. I saw that if every little flower wished to be a rose, nature would lose her Spring adornments, and the fields would be no longer enamelled with their varied flowers.

So it is in the world of souls, the living garden of the Lord. It pleases Him to create great saints, who may be compared with the lilies or the rose; but He has also created little ones, who .must be content to be daisies or violets nestling at His feet to delight His eyes when He should choose to look at them. The happier they are to be as He wills, the more perfect they are.

I saw something further; that Our Lord's love-shines out just as much through a little soul who yields completely to His Grace as it does through the greatest. True love is shown in self-abasement, and if everyone were like the saintly doctors who adorn the Church, it would seem that God had not far enough to stoop when He came to them. But He has, in fact, created the child who knows nothing and can only make feeble cries; and the poor savage with only the natural law to guide him; and it is to hearts such as these that He stoops. What delights Him is the simplicity of these flowers of the field, and by stooping so low to them, He shows how infinitely great He is. Just as the sun shines equally on the cedar and the little flower, so the. Divine Sun shines equally on everyone, great and small. Everything is ordered for their good, just as in nature the seasons are ordered that the smallest daisy comes to bloom at its appointed time.





9th Centenary St Aelred



From Nunraw, Fr. Hugh and Fr. Nivard went to

MOUNT SAINT BERNARD ABBEY for the

Saint Ailred Workshop 26th April- 1st May 2010

To mark the 900th anniversary of the birth of St. Ailred of Rievaulx (1110 - 1167)

Fr. Michael Case - giving a workshop on St. Ailred at Mount St. Bernard Abbey from Monday 26 April to Saturday 1st May. Inviting up to two members of each house to attend this.

The first talk will be on the evening of 26th April and the final talk will be on the morning of 1st May. On the Thursday (29th) an outing is planned to Rievaulx Abbey, including a visit to Ampleforth Abbey and to Stanbrook's new monastery at Wass.

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Nivard …
To: donald …
Sent: Mon, 26 April, 2010 11:37:05
Subject: Fw:
Aelred 9th Centenary

Hi to All of you,

Fr Hugh and I arrived safe and sound here at Mt Saint Bernard. Abbot Joseph met us. The train was on time in spite of two rail problems, after the change at Derby, when we were delayed on the sidings. There was no mention from the driver or the screen about Loughborough so we were afraid we were on the wrong train. We were sure relieved when on reaching the new airport station, East Midlands PARKING PLACE, when 'Loughborogh' appeared on the screen.

We had supper together with other early participants in the Guest House, where Fr Lawrence gave us a big welcome. We met Fr Michael Casey, Fr Aelred McGee from Bethlehem, Sr Denise from Glencairn, two from Caldey, two from Whitland, Sr Elizabeth from Melbourne and Sr Jo, among others. Three Sisters each will be coming from Hyning, Brownsfield, the Ware Carmel etc.

The first talk will be this evening. We have a mimed copy of St Aelred's Discourses on the Liturgy, 150 pages.

The weather is beautiful and mild. Apple tree and plum? are in magnificent bloom. So I must get started with the camera. I went for a walk in the garden and couln't get back in because of all the self-locking doors. But I eventually found an open door. The security system is high tech. with closed circuit television etc in the Guest House.

The community has shrunk a bit but they give a youthful and pleasant impression. Fr Mark Hartley is going great guns with the music and especially the the Gift Shop. It has been wonderfully extended and transformed. It uses the bar-code system setup with the help of Peter ...

Fr Luke in the book bindery is kept busy with new work being thrown at him all the time. At the moment he is teaching Sr Jo, Whitland. She is simply professed.

The singing at Mass and Office is very good. It makes it so much easier to sing and join in without disturbing the rhythm. Each monastery has its own rhythm.

I brought the laptop and am already continuing with the Bamenda/Nsugbe Mass Chants. I am well setup in the Guest House. With two talks a day there is plenty free time.

We head north on Thursday to visit Riveaux and then on to lunch at Ampleforth and to New Stanbrook.

Enuff blarney the noo.

Love to all

Nivard



Thursday, 29 April 2010

Catherine of Siena

Saint of the day: 29th April
At our Community pre-Compline Reading we are finding the book, "Catherine of Siena’s Way" by Mary Ann Fatula, as the best of contemplative listening at the end of the monastic day.

Catherine of Siena’s Way by Mary Ann Fatula 1987

The Blood of Jesus: Mercy for the Human Hear! Chap. 6.

Catherine’s Mystical Grace:
Thirst for the Blood of Jesus

Three years earlier, Catherine had witnessed what a death in and for the Lord could mean. In 1375, the same year in which she had received mystically the Lord's wounds, a Sienese youth, Niccolo di Tuldo, had been condemned to beheading for a political offense. Hearing of his bitterness and despair, Catherine went to strengthen and comfort the imprisoned young man; on the morning of the execution she accompanied him to Mass and assisted at his first Communion in a long time. The grace of this Eucharist so filled Niccolo with God's mercy that his rage turned inexplicably to contentment, and he began to long for the death that would unite him to his Lord.

The youth begged Catherine to stay at his side during the execution. "So it shall not be otherwise than well with me. And I die content." (Letter T 273 (DT 31) to Raymond of Capua; Scudder, p. 112). As Catherine ministered to him, she sensed how fragrant an offering in the Church his death would be if he went to it bathed in forgiveness and peace. She encouraged him to go to his execution as to his wedding feast, covered with Jesus' blood. Catherine's words pierced the young man's heart. Fear and sadness gave way to an interior joy so deep that he called the place of justice a "holy place" and begged Catherine to await him there. As she did, her own desire to die for the Lord so deepened that she longed to take Niccolò's place. When he arrived, she gently blessed him, speaking to him of Jesus' blood; within moments, she received his severed head into her hands.

Immediately afterwards, Catherine wrote to Raymond recounting this experience. At Niccolò's death, she seemed to see Jesus bathed in his own blood and the fire of infinite love. In turn, he drew to himself the young man's blood filled with his desire for Jesus. Fire met fire. As mercy alone had converted Niccolò, Jesus now led him to his open side, full of mercy. Catherine felt the sweetness of the Lord's desire to receive the youth into his heart; bathed in his own blood made powerful by Jesus' blood, Niccolò approached Jesus' open side.

The youth then seemed to turn his face toward Catherine and to give a parting sign "sweet enough to draw a thousand hearts." Having tasted the sweetness of God, Niccolò did as the bride who, at the threshold of the spouse's home, turns her gaze toward the companions who have assisted her, and gives a gentle sign of love and gratitude. "And the hands of the Holy Spirit locked him within" the paradise of the Lord's heart. This vision filled Catherine with such peace that she could not bear to remove the youth's blood from her clothes, so fragrant an offering it seemed to her. "Ah me, ... 1 will say no more," she writes." I stayed on the earth with the greatest envy." (Ibid.; Scudder. p. 114).

In the bitterness of Niccolò's death, Catherine experienced the power of Jesus' blood to transform both his own sin and that of his enemies. "Ask, and it will be given you" (Lk 11 :9); convinced that God remains true to his promise, she began to make her life a living intercession for a new outpouring of Jesus' blood upon the world. She realized that this blood is ours, that God has made it a bath for us and will not refuse it to anyone who asks. "Put into the scales the price of your Son's blood," she begs the Father; "it is this blood that your servants, hungry as they are, are asking for at this door. They are asking you through this blood to be merciful to the World." (ID 134, p. 276).

Catherine began to steep herself in the mystery of God's mercy which longs to reach down to our lowliness and to help us in our need. "Oh very sweet love. How mercy is proper to you!" When the human race first sinned, God did not command the earth to swallow us up nor the beasts to devour us, but instead clothed us in mercy, indeed, lavished on us a mercy infinitely greater than the effects of our sin.'? The Father forbids us to expect less of him today: "Keep expanding your heart and your affection in the immeasurable greatness of my mercy." And Catherine in turn urges us: "Hide yourself under the wings of the mercy of God, for it is more inclined to pardon than you are to sin. Bathe yourself in the blood of Christ." (Let T 173 to a religious who left his order).

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Whoever sees me, sees the Father




Mass Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter 2010

John 12: 40-50

Introduction – Fr. Mark

‘Whoever sees me, sees the Father’ – So declares Jesus in today’s Gospel Reading.

It’s not easy to believe in an Invisible Father.

But Jesus’ words are; “If you believe in me, you believe the Father”. So, there must be a new way of knowing the Father. When we see what Jesus does and says in the Gospels in some way we known and experience the Father.

By uniting ourselves to Jesus as we meet him in the Gospels and our daily lives we are in some mysterious manner touching the hem of the Father’s garment.

1. God the Father, in you reveal yourself to us, Lord have mercy …

2. You show us your care and love in the words and actions of your Son, Christ have mercy …

3. You give us eternal life that we may be with you for ever, Lord have mercy …



Night Office

Second Reading - Saint Ambrose from a commentary on psalm 118

by (Sermo 7, 6-7: CSEL 62, 130-131)

Christians, Ambrose teaches, are sustained in time of affliction by hope based upon the word of God God's word gives life to our souls and guides us in all we do.


In time of affliction my comfort lies in this, that your word gives me life. Here is the hope that your promise arouses in me. It brings me comfort, enabling me to bear the misfortunes of these present times and to face the future with confidence. See how God's word reassures us! We read in the Letter to the Romans:


What can come between us and the love of Christ? Can trouble, or worry, or persecution, or hunger, or peril; or the sword? It is written:

For your sake we are being massacred daily, and reckoned as sheep for the slaughter. Then Saint Paul goes on to explain how it is possible to endure such trials with patience. In all these things, he says, we triumph by the power of him who loved us.


So then, if anyone is determined to overcome adversity, whether persecution or peril or death, whether his body is wasted by disease or whether burglars break into his house or his property is confiscated, or whether he suffers anything else that the world considers a disaster, he will succeed without effort if he is buoyed up by hope. Even if these calamities should overtake him, they will not weigh heavily upon him as long as he can say: I reckon the sufferings of this life are not worth comparing with the glory that is to come. Slight afflictions can never crush anyone who lives in the hope of receiving something far better.


In time of affliction, then, our comfort lies in hope, a hope that does not disappoint us. It seems to me that the time of affliction is the time when we are tempted. It is indeed an affliction for a soul to be handed over to the tempter to be tested by harsh trials, and to experience the assaults of a hostile power. But as we wrestle with temptations God's promises put new life into us. His word is in fact the very lifeblood of our souls, nourishing, sustaining, and guiding us; there is no other source of life for our spiritual nature. Just as God's word grows in our souls according to the measure in which we receive and understand it and are able to assimilate its meaning, so too the life of our souls expands. Similarly, if our souls cease to find consolation in the promises of God, they begin to lose what life they had And as the organic union of our body and soul is established, nurtured, and maintained by the breath of life, so too our soul is endowed with life by the word of God and the breath of his grace.


Let all other affairs take second place, therefore, and let us strive by every means in our power to make God's consoling promises our treasure. If we store them up in our minds and hearts, if we allow them to influence all our concerns and govern all our thoughts and undertakings, then all our actions will be in tune with the words of Scripture and our lives will not be at variance with the teaching of the sacred writers. In this way we too shall be able to testify: Your word gives us life.


Responsory Psalm 118:49.50.105

Remember your word to your servant,

by which you gave me hope.

_ In time of trouble this is my comfort:

that your promise give me life, alleluia.

Your word is a lamp for my feet,

and a light for my path.

- In time of ...


Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Vocation – Saint Rafael

Vocation – Saint Rafael.

St. Rafael Arnaiz Baron ocso. La Trappe, Abadia San Isidro

The Introduction of the Mass this morning gave us an insight to the particular calling to the community of San Isidro.

When we say a "special vocation", it expresses not something divisive but the calling to God, God Alone, as Rafael was fond to name it.


From the conclusion of the book,, God Alone, Dom Gonzalo, sometime Abbot of Abadia San Isidro, clarifies that “His was an exceptional vocation” against all the odds – the time of the Spanish Civil War, illness and final diabetic coma, at 27 years.

Gonzalo, acquaintance encountered in the Cistercian Order, makes the happy connection with St. John of the Cross’s mystical understanding. ("Saint John of the Cross says that people who have reached intimate union with God do not leave this life because of illness or old age (even if they die of illness or of old age), but by the force of their love").

It is the wonderful pattern of CALLING or VOCATION seen in the saints known and unknown.


God Alone

It seems right to conclude this point by stating that Rafael returned repeatedly to the monastery in answer to God's particular call to him; a special call, outside the usual norms. He was not meant to live the life of his La Trappe; he was meant to live in his La Trappe, and, it may be added, to suffer and die in his La Trappe. His was an exceptional vocation, but it was acknowledged and accepted by those responsible in the monastery, even if it meant nonconformity with the normal life prescribed by the Rule. And it was accepted above all by Rafael himself, who answered it, fully aware that by going to the monastery he was shortening a life already impaired by illness, which is why it seems right to regard him as a "martyr to his vocation." And doubtless, a martyr to his love, the love that killed him, just as he himself had desired and declared over and over again.


Saint John of the Cross says that people who have reached intimate union with God do not leave this life because of illness or old age (even if they die of illness or of old age), but by the force of their love. ( The Living Flame of Love, Stanza 1,30). So, although the death certificate signed by the Abbot states that "a diabetic coma" was what snatched Rafael's life away so soon, all those in the know were quite sure that it was more the fire of his charity and of his great love for God than his illness that did it. And thus the parchment that was kept in the casket containing Rafael's remains after their exhumation and removal in 1965 stated, "He breathed his last consumed by love for God." It would seem that Rafael at the end of his days could have made his own those lines from Saint John of the Cross that he was undoubtedly aware of and that reflect so well the high altitude of his spiritual flight:

In a wonderful way I flew
A thousand flights in one,
For by heaven-sent hope is won
Whatever is expected and true;
I gambled on this one chance,
And my hope did not belie,
Since I went so high, so high,
That I up to the prey did advance"

In view of what his life was like it seems right to apply to him these words of the Book of Wisdom: "With him early achievement counted for long apprenticeship; so well did the Lord love him that from a corrupt world he granted him swift release" (Wis 4:13-14). Yes, Rafael was a man pleasing to God, one whose purpose was to love God as fully as possible, God alone, as expressed in his oft-repeated cry: GOD ALONE! Like all the saints Rafael was a "friend of God," which was acknowledged by the Church at his recent (… canonisation in October 2009).

Gonzalo Fernandez, ocso. pp.119-120.


God Alone, Monastic Wisdom Series,
Cistercian Publications 2008.

Saint Rafael Cistercian

Tuesday, 27 April 2010.

This morning we celebrated the Memorial of Saint Rafael of Abadia San Isidro, Spain.

The details are included in the Saints; “Saints.SQPN*, Star Quest Production Network, (Notes about your extended family in heaven”).


Saint Rafael Arnáiz Barón
Also known as

María Rafael

Memorial

27 April

Profile

Oblate friar of the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance (Trappist).

Born

9 April 1911 in Burgos, Spain

Died

26 April 1938 in Dueñas, Palencia, Spain

Venerated

7 September 1989 by Pope John Paul II (decree on heroic virtues)

Beatified

27 September 1992 by Pope John Paul II

Canonized

11 October 2009 by Pope Benedict XVI

Additional Information

Saints.SQPN.com

Abadia Cisterciense de S. Isidro de Dueñas

Hagiography Circle

Category: Beatified by Pope John Paul II, Beatified in 1992, Born in 1911, Born in Spain, Canonized by Pope Benedict XVI, Canonized in 2009, Died in 1938, Died in Spain, Saints Beati and Venerables, Saints who were Cistercians, Saints who were Monks, Saints who were Trappists, Venerated in 1989

See other Posts: http://nunraw.blogspot.com/

12, 14, 18 Oct 2009