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Scriptural Stations of the Cross
Laura Marie Durant, OCDS, a Secular Carmelite in Austin, TX, shares with us her reflections on the Stations of the Cross based on Scripture.The reflections are available in PDF format from the Downloads page.
What does it mean, to "believe?"
"Blessed is she who believed that the Lord's words to her would be fulfilled." (Luke 1:39). St. John Paul II calls this verse a "key" to understanding Mary in his encyclical, "Mother of the Redeemer."
"HEAR, O Israel... you shall love the Lord your God with all your HEART...". The call to hear, listen to what is meant to be heard; and to have a heart that responds in love: this is the dynamic!
To REALLY believe, means that there is no disruption between believing and carrying out.
There is such a desire, fueled by grace, that enables the hearing to penetrate the heart so adequately, fully, that the carrying out can't help but be part of that one movement, sparked by holy desire.
This is to truly believe.
A living expression stood out to me after Holy Communion on the Solemnity of the Annunciation. I don't recall why, but a question surfaced in my mind: "What does it mean, to have faith?"
Joy sprang up in me moments later, as I noticed what sounded like the answer being sung in the refrain of the Communion hymn: "My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God, my Savior."
Written by "A Listening Heart"
A Light for Revelation (The Light Went On)
When we hear the phrase, "the light went on," it's often associated with a moment of recognition. The simple example of entering a dark room and flipping a light switch is an illustration of going from one moment, not being able to see, and the next, with visibility now possible in our surroundings.
In hearing today's gospel for the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus, the "light went on" for Simeon and Anna; and not only for them. How did that Light, previously hidden, become so manifest? Both of these figures had been stirred by the Holy Spirit to await something - Some One.
In the address preceding the blessing of the candles before Mass:
"Prompted by the Holy Spirit, Simeon and Anna came to the Temple. Enlightened by the same Spirit, they recognized the Lord and confessed him with exultation."
Simeon's "Nunc Dimittis" gives testimony to his realization of the Messiah's appearance: "My eyes have seen your salvation...a light for revelation...". There is endless food for pondering in his proclamation.
A focus struck me today as if a spotlight had shifted to Anna. It was seeing a connection, especially for ourselves as Carmelites, being so present to the hidden; often, not witnessing the fulfillment of waiting in the interior life of prayer, yet persevering because there is a persistent beckoning that is barely perceived.
"There was also a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived seven years with her husband after her marriage and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple, but worshiped night and day with fasting and prayer. And coming forward at that very time, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were awaiting the redemption of Jerusalem."
What an amazing length of time to be at the temple, in fasting and prayer! Additionally, she perseveres to "that very time;" she does not stop short. I think of St. Therese, and others, attesting to the value and importance of every outward expression of light and love to be supported by faithful, loving contemplation.
The connection between both comes together uniquely in Anna. When the revealing Light, Jesus, arrives on the scene, a geyser comes to mind. At "that very time," the decades plus of prayerful presence in the temple erupts into thankfulness and proclamation. The Light is recognized by her after this immensely extended preparation, and, even more, that prayer-fueled recognition doesn't stop flowing. In one human being, in one moment, the Light is joyfully recognized and shared, now manifested "to all who were awaiting." (Luke 2).
Our new saint, Elizabeth of the Trinity, provides a special reflection and prayer for us on this feast:
"After Jesus Christ, in the measure in which the finite is distant from the infinite, there is a creature who was the great praise of the glory of the glory of the Blessed Trinity. She corresponded fully to the divine vocation of which the Apostle speaks; she was always 'holy and spotless and unreproved' in the sight of the thrice holy God.
Her soul is so simple, its movements are so profound that one cannot comprehend them.
She seems to reproduce on earth the life of the Divine Being, the simple Being. She is so transparent, so luminous, that one might mistake her for the light itself. Nevertheless, she is only the mirror of the sun of justice, 'Speculum Justitiae.'
...May she obtain for us in the words of the Apostle that 'Light whose shining is to make known the glory of God as He has revealed in the features of Jesus Christ.' Let is go and beg it of her in the silence of prayer..."
Written by "A Listening Heart"
Journaling in the Chapel
While in the Chapel after Mass this morning, a feeling of warmth came over me. Like being warmed by a heat, a magnificent flame, I began to think what a gift it was to be here in the presence of my Creator and His faithful Missionary Carmelites of St Teresa. Talking to God, I asked, why do you love me? Why have you given me such a wonderful environment to grow in Carmelite spirituality?
How can you love me when I abandon you so often for worldly things. Let me focus on your Divine love for me. Please hold my hand when I falter. Lead me on the new path. Guide me towards the things that bring meaning to my soul. When I am down and my heart is heavy, lift me up in your arms. When I fall and stumble, forgive my ways. As I weary from sorrow, let me take rest in your arms, remembering your cross, 'love's crimson emblem' as St. Therese of Lisieux has said.
May I practice 'determinacion' as prompted by St. Teresa of Avila in my quest to enrich my soul, to
When I am low in spirit may your love hover over me like glowing embers on the hearth beckoning me to the inner recesses of your heart. Then when I soar with the eagles in joy and laughter may your magnificent flame flare vividly around me sharing my vibrant nature.
May I strive to be a representative of your love towards others. May I truly be humble and consider it an honor to be your follower. Give me strength to persevere in my intentions. Thank you God for loving me!
Written by Kay Dumesnil, OCDS, of the San Juan de la Cruz Community in Houston, TX
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 email@example.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.