Saving God's Word
One of the great joys of my life in Carmel is moving through the cycle of the liturgical year as we relive the great mysteries of salvation history. Following the cycle of designated readings deepens within me such a relish for God’s word. Our Carmelite way of life with its focus on meditation day and night on God’s word stands in relief and flows into a natural rhythm like breathing. As a Carmelite, one might say that it becomes con-natural.
Sacred Scripture is filled with character studies of real people sharing the same dynamics of human existence as ourselves. Mysteriously, inspired by the Holy Spirit, a whole library of literature provides both structure and diversity as the pen of some sacred writer scrawls across a piece of parchment. This remarkable account of the formation of salvation history is my story and I do well to claim it daily!
Admiring the lyrical beauty of poetry and becoming versed in the metaphorical and symbolic language clothing the word of God came become euphoric while at other times quieting, calming and reassuring. The kingdom of God makes its presence felt, recognized touching the immanent and obvious or soaring to transcendent spheres in invisible mystery; that “ruah” (Hebrew) breath of the Holy Spirit in mighty wind or delicate whispering breeze. For the famished Christian, a whole banquet is spread; wisdom and insight to the willing listener and avid learner. Spirit searches the breadth and scope of creation anxious to abide in such a one when humbly solicited. There within He quietly without utterance, takes delight forming and shaping us to mirror the Incarnate Word so that the Father can truly say this one in all uniqueness is formed to our image and likeness. In the words of Ps 119:160, “Your every word is enduring; all your righteous judgments are forever.”
Written by a Carmelite Sister
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Reflections - Mary’s Assumption or Dormition - August 17, 2017
Reflecting on Mary’s Assumption into heaven or Dormition (Eastern Churches) meaning her gentle falling asleep, I always feel a little bereft or left behind as it were to continue on without her in this pilgrimage of faith. Her Assumption into heaven, now a dogma of faith, seems only fitting to one so faithful. Perhaps, it was her own yearning to be reunited with her Son that drew forth her last breath. Renowned artists have set forth their best efforts to capture the scene with touches of majesty. The liturgy climaxes with her coronation one week later. Throughout the week following this solemnity, in the liturgy of the hours, the final antiphon at night prayer may change to Hail Queen of Heaven. Is this Queen Mother honored by being received at the right hand of her Son? In the first book of Kings (2:19) Bathsheba, the mother of King Solomon sits at his right on the throne he provided for her. Would that the two brother apostles, James and John, together with their mother been a little reflective on this past event before making their request for obtaining for themselves honored places in the kingdom! However the audacious request was made, the surprising answer of Jesus to them and subsequent instruction to all his disciples is weightier in gold than all that Solomon was able to amass for his magnificent palace and throne. (Matt.20:20-28) The words of the Magnificat placed on Mary’s lips in St. Luke’s account of her visit to her cousin Elizabeth, is for her as Queen, Mother and Sister and ourselves as well, a timeless and fitting refrain of praise and thanksgiving for the gift of her glorious bodily Assumption into heaven and subsequent feast of her Coronation on August 22nd.
“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
For he has looked upon his handmaid’s lowliness;
behold from now on will all ages call me blessed.” (Lk1:46-48)
Written by a Carmelite Sister
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The pleasing ability and nonchalant manner of making excuses characterizes some of the free flowing, familiar style of our holy mother, Saint Teresa. This is particularly noticeable in her early chapters of the Way of Perfection. I find this trait crops up in my own life occasionally. Thus, the long absence of entries for Rhapsodee was due to some personal health issues and the challenge of meeting and dealing with new assignments in community. Some of these latter necessitated spontaneous ingenuity, creative organization and an ongoing prayerful plea for a share in Teresa’s determined determination; and this, with a dash of audacious perspicacity to add a little spice. In following the Lord wherever he leads, one finds the courage and grace to move on in trusting blind faith because “the love of Christ impels.”
Some Marian echoes of our recent evening novena to honor Our Lady of Mount Carmel are tingling in the background as we return to live our ordinary schedule. They come to each of us in as many and varied ways as we ourselves are unique and in different phases of our earthly pilgrimage. Some graces and insights are like thunderbolts and strike suddenly and unexpectedly; others like falling snowflakes, obvious but noiseless. In whatever way these penetrate our daily round of the routine and commonplace, it behooves one to pay attention and open up to reflection and possible change. Far as someone has aptly said, “the unreflective life is a disaster.”
Mary as our sister in Carmel is that which plays in the background like a melodious refrain gently enticing me to live in union with her as she unveils herself as a real sister, teaching and mentoring. I want to imitate her poised compliance of surrender to whatever he asks. The real Mary steps forth in our everyday happenings and reveals herself in numerous ways as the first disciple of Christ. What a joy and privilege to have by experience a little taste of this companionship; yielding the spirit within, one is never wholly satisfied and yearns for more of the same. Hail Mary, full of grace. Come into the life of each of us and accompany us in our desire to please him alone.
Written by A Carmelite Sister