Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

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The words to hymns so often get lost in the singing

Some of our best prayers are found in ‘little hymns’ that go unnoticed, get little acclaim. one, often sung at Morning Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours:

Lord Jesus, once you spoke to men
Upon the mountain, in the plain;
O help us listen now, as then,
And wonder at your words again.
We all have secret fears to face,
Our minds and motives to amend;
We seek your truth, we need your grace,

Our living Lord and present Friend.

The Gospel speaks, and we receive
your light, your love, your own command.

O help us live what we believe
In daily work of heart and hand.
(Melody: O Jesu, me dulcissime L.M.; Music: Clausener; Text: H.C.A. Gaunt, 1902)
The Teresian encouragement to know ourselves as we come to know Christ more intimately is an invaluable lesson in Carmelite formation, all Christian forma- tion. We all have secret fears to face, our minds and motives to amend; we seek your truth, we need your grace, our living Lord and present Friend. 

What a good and glorious, and challenging, gift is our daily communion in the Word of God, through participation in the universal Church’s Liturgy of the Hours. How often my Lord shines his light on the secret fears, sinful dispositions, unholy motivations behind my thoughts and words, what I do and what I fail to do, as I sit with him at Morning Prayer, or offer those very contritions at daily Mass. One of my sinful dispositions is to avoid his gaze on me by mentally directing his words, especially of exhortation, to others, whose minds and motives I am ques- tioning instead of my own. The old inner blindness caused by the plank in my own self-serving eye. Which brings to mind another of my favorite Divine Office hymns, which I am singing daily at Morning Prayer during Advent this year. It con- tains this excellent verse:
Savior, who came to bring
On your redeeming wing
Healing and sight ---
Health to the sick in mind,
 Sight to the inly blind,
O now to all mankind
Let there be light.
(Felice DeGiardini 1716-1796; Text: John Marriott 1780-1835; adapted by Anthony Petti)

Isn’t that a wonderful turn of phrase, ‘sight to the inly blind’? Lord God, as we sing these prayers, too often mindlessly, please hear and answer them. Help us grow in that humility which Teresa defines as simply coming to know the truth about our- selves in the light of Jesus’ friendship. And to allow you to transform our behavior, our witness, as we grow. Amen.

Written by A Carmelite Friend 
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Other Blogs by Secular Discalced Carmelites:

  • Bethany Hang Out – a blog by Shawn Chapman, OCDS. Shawn is a member of the Austin community of Secular Discalced Carmelites. She also writes regularly for ATX Catholic online.
  • Elizabeth Explores Writing - a blog by Elizabeth Ogilvie, OCDS. Elizabeth is a Secular Discalced Carmelite of the U.S. Central Province.
  • Gray Rising – a blog by Tim Bete, OCDS. Tim is a member of the community of the Secular Discalced Carmelites in Dayton, OH.
  • Hearth Cake and a Jug of Water – Mary Bellman, a member of the Dallas OCDS community, sends out a daily Carmelite quotation by e-mail. Send her an email at bellman.mary@gmail.com if you would like to be added on her mailing list and receive these Carmelite quotations.
  • Illumina, Domine – a blog by Pat Enk, a Secular Discalced Carmelite of the U.S. Central Province.