Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

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Black Pearl

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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
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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. Yeton 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
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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
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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
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A Distraction While Meditating

As given in The Rule of Saint Albert, Carmelites “should live a life of allegiance to Jesus Christ” and while this reflection isn’t all about the Rule all Carmelites wish to live up to, it does relate to it directly.Recently, after receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, part of my penance – after my public flogging (just kidding) – was to meditate on the Passion of
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BELIEVE

"BELIEVE." "I do believe." 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
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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
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Mustard Seed Faith – Part 2

Jesus' response to the apostles' request in Luke 17:5, to "Increase our faith," is one that has continued to intrigue me in recent months. It has brought a continuing refrain: "If you had faith the size of a mustard seed..."It has struck me during this time how it seems that Jesus infers they (myself, included!) are needing more insight on what faith is, and it's related to the minuscule size of that
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Reflections on an analysis of The Spiritual Canticle

“A lyric creation by a poet does not necessarily show concern for the logical demands of a theologian.”— The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, p. 465Alone in his cramped prison cell,John of the Cross erupted witha melodic chorusof love so deep,his soul burst forth,filling his confinementwith dazzling light,his freedom gainedas he soared tothe One he loved.And as his soul exploded,his
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Mustard Seed Faith – Part 1

        The gospel passages that include the phrase, "faith the size of a mustard seed" have not particularly kept my attention over the decades of my life. If anything, I've noticed in myself a sort of sense of passing over it, or wondering, why faith should be such a challenge at times, especially since only (at first glance) such a seemingly minuscule
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A silent re-presentation of the poem A Hummingbird Visits

Submitted by Hannah De Lisser
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A Hummingbird Visits

Just beyond the clear clean glassarrives a blur of iridescent colours.Related and opposing,One to another. Orange,green, red, yellow, black.Standing there, all herattention taken up with a hovering bird.  Humming, amid the fireworks ofcascading Summer blooms.In a hushed trancethe swift, soft beating of tiny wings vibrate through the window.  Leaving hertransfixed –
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Time Machine

“But if before heaven and earth there was no time, why is it demanded, what Thou then didst? For there was no ‘then,’ when there was no time.”  — The Confessions of St. AugustineIn the beginning,God created a time machine,so I couldtravel to a daywhen I love Himmore than Ilove myself.Years ticking by,seasons pulling me along,like a mother on a mission,holding
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Chasm

This poem is a response to the pervasive and wanton distractions that overrun our age; to which Christians are not entirely immune.   Our Carmelite vocation stands as a remedy to these distressing symptoms of Modernity; and humanity’s deepest longing for spiritual wholeness.chasmWoven into the summer’s heat a drowsy instance snaps, a crack of thunder – jarring –revealing
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The Carmel, a poem by Tim Bete, OCDS

Introduction by Fr. Bonaventure Sauer, OCD        One might define poetry, very simply, as “structured speech”—meaning that, since it is speech, even when it is written it should normally be read aloud, or at least read to oneself by sounding the words clearly in one’s head.        Anyway, given that poetry is structured speech,
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“Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!”

        “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”        Philippians 4:8 The television comedy series Monty Python was known
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Baking God

At the same lunch tablewhere she has eaten for 30 years,she unpacks a ham sandwichand thermos of coffee.A break from the linewhere she inspects small round disks of white and tan,bread destined to become God.Thankful for work, so contemplative,hours of placid meditation on tiny canvases, soon to be transformedinto the Lord Himself.The plant, her convent;production line, her cell;denim work shirt, her
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The Longest Road

“So he got up and went back to his father.”                               — Luke 15:20How many days did he walk,mulling over words he would sayto a father scorned and insulted,replaying scenarios in his mind.Still so focused on himself,all
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A Reflection

A Reflectionfor our community study of Fr. Marc Foley’sReflections on John of the Cross’s Ascent of Mount Carmel,        [from p.115, quoting St. John of the Cross:]        To understand the nature of this union [with God], one should first know that God sustains every soul and dwells in it substantially, even though
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Mystery

With each insight You grantYour mystery grows largeruntil I know much more and yet much less about You.​Love’s enigmaerases the questionsmy mind once asked.​Being with You is enough;in silence is Your love.Written by Tim BeteTim Bete is a Secular Discalced Carmelite from Dayton, OH
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The Nativity – Everyday

”While they were (in Bethlehem)…she gave birth to her first-born” (Lk 2:6)           It is, as often as not, in the “Bethlehem’s” of our lives, that we can notice Jesus being “born” in our midst. “(She) wrapped him in swaddling clothes” (Lk 2:7)          
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Winter Evening

Star-filled sky,a tabernacle;moon glowinglike Sanctuary lamp,smell of melting waxand incensereplaced by pine mixedwith cold winter air.Dirt road covered by snow,crunching under foot,breaking the stillness,until I stopped.Motionless,ears cocked,there was no soundexcept darkness,and silent peace;the entire world’svastnessfrozen in time.At that moment,You pierced my heart,shattering the tabernacleof
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Reflection on the Centenary Year

As the Centenary Year Celebration approaches I look back over the past five years of study of Our Holy Mother Teresa’s works and am grateful for all the insights and wisdom she has shared with us. I was especially blessed to get to know her better in the study guide of her Foundations and surprisingly in her Letters and Spiritual Testimonies. St. Teresa’s
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Mist of the Mountains

Zosia – my Dragon Poet - small, pensive, sweet.Whose long ardent sighsrevive in me memories ofafternoon fog descendingon the mountain’s side. I a little girl with father and two brothers.Father clasps my little brother’s wrist as we four, stroll back to our holiday cottage.Both mother and sister attentive to our return.There everything in viewis shrouded  by clouds, asa mystical
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Unavoidable Weakness

What unavoidable weakness in yourself do you struggle to accept?This question for reflection in our parish’s weekly newsletter caught my attention, with its specific attention to unavoidable weaknesses. Like most, I struggle mightily (or often not so mightily) against the sinful dispositions which sabotage my desire for holiness of life. But it has helped especially in my more mature years to
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Community

If God is my Alland he is with me ...why am I lonely?Why do I feel alone?Father.Son.Holy Ghost.Even those threeneed one anotherto be God!That is my answerto why I needto seek the companyof others in the race.But I must seekthat company,that holy communion,in him ...He must lead the way.It is in imitationof his perfect examplethat I seek others with whom to be myself. Each of us gives to the
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ABIDE

Abide, ABIDE–The tide of graceFlows fully in the spaceFreshly opened by the crushingof your heart.A part of you has died.Now, springs from His sideThe new life that shines more widelythan the death endured.Moored in Jesus, anchoredSo deeply, abide, that the waves crash, butDo not crush the hidden seed ofHis responding to your seeking.It was always first His voice that you had heard,But only now
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Releasing the Dragon (Poet)

  Writing poetry or other forms of literary work for a Blog under a nom de plume is pretty much a necessity when dealing with feelings and expressions of a spiritual nature.  The biggest reason for remaining unknown is a fear of recognition – or more pertinent – the fear of speculation and judgement by those readers who may know you; or think they know you.  Then to a lesser
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Unnatural Joy

!!!????!!!!!!Wait.  What just happened?!!Darkness, quiet, emotions subdued,Stillness, waiting, a match sizzlesWood pops and hisses withLife and anticipation.Senses like a held breath,All quiet.Exult! You heavenly choirs Exult!Christ the Lord is risen, sound the trumpet of salvation!No. Wait. Slow down. I’m not ready.40 days? Chocolate, wine, Facebook?No! Let me do something worthy of this.No. 
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The Expanse of My Past

Photo by Banjoman1 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsMy paternal grandfather died just before my 4th birthday, what I remember the most about him was the love he had for me.  I was his seventh grandchild and all he wanted to do was make the most of this little-one while visiting from the countryside.  The moment he saw me, he'd gather me into his arms and hug me relentlessly.
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Something Old, Something New - Part I

        I've been mindful of making a special effort to carve out little spaces for a slower pace since the beginning of the year, and it has woven in easily with having to stay inside more due to colds, sinus, etc., which are quite improved now, thank you.        During the past month, then, I found myself being reminded of moments
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The words to hymns so often get lost in the singing

 Some of our best prayers are found in ‘little hymns’ that go unnoticed, get little acclaim. one, often sung at Morning Prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours:Lord Jesus, once you spoke to menUpon the mountain, in the plain;O help us listen now, as then,And wonder at your words again.We all have secret fears to face,Our minds and motives to amend;We seek your truth, we need your grace,Our
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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.