Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

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Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Elijah

"Planted in the house of the Lord, They will flourish in the courts of our God." (Ps 92:13)

Celebrating both the Solemnities of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and of Elijah - within four days' time - springs forth an image of what they share on the most hidden to manifest levels.

Reading the above verse from Psalm 92, on the day before Our Lady of Mount Carmel, I was struck by the invisible but essential aspect of being planted, that gives way to flourishing. I immediately thought of Mary, and our Lord being pleased to dwell in the "garden" of her heart, as she found the delight of her heart to dwell in the garden of His presence.

It simultaneously occurred to me how the consummate faith of Mary is one that is so permeated by God that she conceived and bore Him, as so many writers have described.

In every account from Scripture, her example gives witness to God being pleased to abide in her and act through her. Sometimes we hear of a human tendency to separate the intimacy of prayer, believing, with actions that flow from faith; the invisible, from the visible, the hidden, from the revealed (not a Carmelite approach!).

But there is no separation: only a progression, as in the seed taking root, to shoot outward and in its time, bear fruit. Praying, believing as Mary, does not raise a question about whether the hidden will have its impact. Jesus is the Seed, the Word, who will not return return void to the Father, achieving the end (Is 55:11).

How much that is true of Elijah! His communion of prayer with God was so thorough, that it could not but be revealed in his zeal, in mission: from the whisper in his inmost being, penetrating through his most depleted condition; and the fire that descended from heaven in view of all, finally raising him up into the fullness of God's fire of love.

Written by A Listening Heart

Abiding in God

Not too long ago, I came out of Mass with 1 John 4:16 on my mind and heart: specifically, ". . . he who abides in love, abides in God and God in him."

What came through my mind was that the first part, abiding in God, being enveloped by him, is more often sweet, permeated with peace, and seems to happen more readily.  God abiding in us brings the thought of being wounded, but in a welcoming way – not humanly so or something readily done, but more than worthwhile when recognized and embraced. It is more of a "journey" than the first dynamic.  More than words can say, it is like a picture in my mind's eye, the end all and be all of being at home with God, and how it comes about and is experienced.

What struck me simultaneously was that since the first dynamic brings less challenge, so to speak, then one can turn to God fully as frequently as possible.  This will help increase the welcoming that happens – God abiding in us.  It is somewhat like the Little Flower's religious name: St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face.  It conjures up an image of jumping into God's lap just like a child and, in so doing, opening the way for intimacy with Jesus and the fullness of who he is – his suffering Face driving home the depth of love.  It is like our efforts to abide in God "sets the stage" or prepares us for him to abide in us, and yet it happens at the same time.  He abides in us to deepen our desire to abide in him.  Neither drops off – abiding in God, and he in us.  They both remain, abiding to bring more life, both integral to love.

Written by A Listening Heart

Night Owl

It’s Two o’clock and the house tucks 
itself in, settling for the night. The old wood 
creaking, sighing, purring itself to sleep. 
Tonight, I am its sentinel.  

Between solitude and sleep, two fatigues 
push and pull me down a valley of purple haze 
while fragments and dried feathers snap, 
scrape and break against my cheeks. Here bare 
knuckled skin brush away a flow of tears.

Peering over the window ledge, past a manse 
of murky oaks and pines, a scroll of scattered 
words try to work free from their tussle of cares.

Shaking my head from side to side might 
wrench me free from damp and achy thoughts…
Something outside not far off, advances. 
It presses through the dusty panes. “Whoo, 
Who- Hoo- Ho-ooo” rising.   And falling…

It nudges, repeats, trails off… as if awaiting 
response.  It’s been a dozen years since the evening 
I strolled along the patchy banks of a rivulet
where he flew – gliding – above my head. 
In that first fail swoop – he signed and invited – 
establishing an immediate, unlikely friendship.

Many say that Owls are Wise. Have any yet dared
tell of their secretive social wiles? Aha!  ‘Tis now 
my turn to speak through this shapeless vale,
crafted and cared for by the Maker and Giver 
of such dear - such precious gifts.  

He, who sealed my heart allows its surrender.

“Good Night. Good Owl. Good Night.”

Written by Hannah De Lisser
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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.