Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

Keep Praying, Keep Heart, Keep Faith

What does it mean, to "pray always and not lose heart?" So many connections surface, but the focus that recently jumped out was the connection between the praying, and not losing heart. I'm reminded of what is stated in the introduction to the section on Prayer in the Catechism: "According to Scripture, it is the heart that prays...The heart is the dwelling place where I am...the heart is our hidden center...it is the place of encounter." These descriptions evoke the image of abiding recollection, welcoming God, His Presence. It's stillness with vitality, that is fruitful in courage.

If I will "pray always," I won't "lose heart." So, what is it to "keep" heart?" If someone keeps heart, he or she possesses courage (from the Latin, "cor"). To not lose heart, or to keep heart, is to keep courage; it denotes the strength to face challenge and temptation, to persevere, to spring into action, if need be. The not losing of heart flows from the praying always. That is because the abiding is in God, who is love, and He in us.

Even more, the praying always and not losing heart is a "necessity." The goal, at every turn, is to pray, and to not lose heart. If it is lost, then it is a necessity to recover, in order to keep custody of the heart, growing in the prized gift of faith that allows the current of God's vital love to increasingly permeate and radiate. "With closest custody, guard your heart, for in it are the sources of life." (Proverbs 4:23).

Written by A Listening Heart

Outside Time

We entered an eclipse but 
instead of creeping nightfall 
the afternoon shimmered with 
embers of burning silver light.

Thousands – dare I say millions – 
pledged a view of the spectacle. Yet
on my patch of grassy earth, 
all is calm, quiet, and bright.

Neither bird nor bee, dog nor tree stir.
And I stand – stunningly alone.  For 
this midday Rapture isn’t darkness, 
but a soul resounding Thud…

Was it a chord struck in the cosmos,
Reaching forever outward, 
into the noonday of Time?

This poem is an attempt to share what transpired during the solar eclipse of Aug 21, 2017.  I was in a geographic area that only had a partial – 80% – eclipse, but what transpired – for me – was/is inexpressible.

Written by Hannah De Lisser

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
See Older Posts...