Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

OCDS Central

Black Pearl

Photo by Brocken Inaglory (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or
CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Summoned to dwell the realm
of a boundless, bottomless keep,
Where arching spires have no feet,
They form a gentle fingered dome 
Sheltering her wonderings
– praises and song.

~ He who dwells ~ Whose image 
shrouded stays, just beneath a Black
stained skin of precious Pearl,
Enjoins on her a language taught only 
by exchange, of His endearing gaze 
into the Heart of her cloister.

In case you’re wondering, this poem is about prayer and the heart.  The stanzas are separated by different ideas about the heart and what happens there.  Do the words “boundless” or “Black” feel relevant to each stanza?  Might you have chosen to use some other word instead of “endearing” in the second stanza?  Does the poem make anything clear or point to a resolution of any kind?

Give it a think.

Written by Hannah De Lisser


Lent has begun: Mission—be filled with the Holy Spirit

Upon awakening this morning, the first thought that came to my mind was, “Lent has begun.”

That was immediately followed by my recalling how Jesus was sent out into the desert, prompted by the Holy Spirit.  That is what we too are to do, to go out and be in the desert.

But then what next really stood out for me was how it began for Jesus, and how it must begin for us—it began with the Holy Spirit.  We all need to be prompted and strengthened by the Holy Spirit if we would purposely—by going out into the desert—divest ourselves of our human self-gratifications and ambitions, emptying ourselves of Ourselves during Lent.

Then we can come to the last day of the Easter Season, Pentecost, and be “filled with the fullness of God,” in the Holy Spirit, becoming more fully the sons and daughters of God.

We must first be strengthened to live victoriously in this world.  Then, when that happens, God can impact us and direct us more fully as and wherever He pleases.

May [God] grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self (Eph 3:16). 

But you, beloved, build yourselves up in your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit (Jude 20). 

The Holy Spirit is the gift that comes into the heart with prayer . . . Who will win it?  The one who welcomes the gift.  [St. John Paul II]

It’s something each of us can do, for we are called to do it—in fact, we must therefore do it.  That is the starting place for each of us in this mission of life.

Brothers, I for my part do not consider myself to have taken possession.  Just one thing:  forgetting what lies behind, but straining forward to what lies ahead, I continue my pursuit toward the goal, the prize of God’s upward calling, in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:13-14).

Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.  There is need of only one thing.  Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her (Lk 10:41-42).

Jesus, looking at [the rich man], loved him and said to him, “You are lacking in one thing. Go, sell what you have, and give to [the] poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me” (Mark 10:21).

It’s too humanly difficult to walk in Jesus’ footsteps . . . One thing I ask of the Lord, this I seek, to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life [Ps 27:4] . . . And so I pray, Help me, Lord, come reign in the temple of my heart, so that I may abide in Your Presence as I go about my day, my life . . . Jesus, have mercy on me, forgive me . . . A clean heart create for me, O God; renew within me a steadfast spirit (Ps 51:12).

Whoever believes in me, as scripture says:  “Rivers of living water will flow from within him.”  He said this in reference to the Spirit that those who came to believe in him were to receive (Jn 7:37-39) . . .

Mary, be with us, just as you were with the apostles, who were filled with the Spirit so as to be sent.  Mass . . . Missa . . . to be sent . . . to be sent forth from THE place where we are most strengthened, THE HEART of everything . . . Jesus, we trust in You, fill us with your very own fullness of life! . . .

It is confidence, and nothing but confidence, that must lead us in the way of love [St. Therese] . . . Therefore, do not throw away your confidence; it will have great recompense.  You need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promise (Hb 10:35-36).

Written by A Listening Heart


The Church

The narthex, the nave, the steeple,
the transept, the columns, the corbel,
the buttress, the portal, the plaster,
the gold, the marble, the silver.

The Stations of the Cross
carved in Paris and shipped
in the hold of a schooner
on its way to Boston.

The bond stone, the bed joints, the mortar,
the granite, the weep holes, the stretcher.

The Irish mason who ate
his lunch sitting on scaffolding,
legs dangling in the air
200 feet above the ground.

The bull’s eye, the rondel, the solder,
the leading, the fish tape, the badger.

The stained glass designed
in Germany by a man whose
apprentice was engaged
to his oldest daughter.

The birdsmouth, the cheek cut, the gable,
the stringer, the molding, the spandrel.

The carpenter who kept
a holy card of St. Stanisław
in his pocket, given to him
by his mother in Krakow.

The arches, the ambo, the pillars,
the chancel, the pew rows, the altar.

My heart and knees joined
to those who lived long ago,
whose hands forged
this sacramental frame

in which I kneel; the mysteries
of their craft caressing
the mysteries of God;
calling the faithful to prayer.

Written by Tim Bete, OCDS
Tim Bete is a Secular Discalced Carmelite from Dayton, OH

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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.