Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

OCDS Central

"By Heart"

Last [summer] my daughter asked me to stay with her children (her almost four year old daughter, and one and a half year old son) for an hour or so while she attended to a task with focus. It turned out to be more delightful than I could have imagined, and a cause for simple, peaceful and enlivening reflection afterward.

I had barely come into the living room, when my granddaughter wanted to play a CD from vacation bible school that had been a key part of that week. Amazingly, and almost humorously, she had the dance moves almost down pat, perfectly. That is mainly because her mom, my daughter, had been responsible to lead the dozens of young children in their daily music activity. And as can be imagined, those songs had been played dozens of times at home in the previous month, so that they and their accompanying dances could be "taught" to the VBS participants. Not surprisingly, my granddaughter knew it all by heart.

Of course, the idea was that Grandma was supposed to follow her lead! Well, I did, and I experienced the greatest surprise - I was really flooded with joy!

It flashed through my mind while driving home (I might add that some of the route is through very lovely pastoral scenery), that a key to that joy was the freedom and focusing that came from jumping in. Here I was, sixty-three year old grandma, enjoying the fact that my granddaughter could be absorbed in the music, confident she knew it by heart.

All of a sudden it occurred to me that the "knowing by heart" is connected to drills, the repetition, a waiting period until all takes hold. And what happens with drilling? There's a boring through - not necessarily fun or exciting, but a definitive purpose to reach that opening, the destination. The knowing "by heart" is very connected with our whole being. And I see that displayed so exquisitely in the range of experiences by today's Saint, Elijah. There's the being still, the trekking, and the bursts, giving a glimpse of our God most Holy, most powerful, while most interiorly, gently working and abiding, giving rise to more than we can describe this side of heaven.

Written by "A Listening Heart"

Carmel: Garden, Mountain

By Gideon Pisanty (Gidip) גדעון פיזנטי [CC BY 3.0  (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], from Wikimedia Commons

At the heart of Carmel
    is both garden and mountain.

Filled from the Fountain,
   consummately gentle –
Waiting in the garden...
Being steeped in Dew, to burst 
   in a moment 
   to scale the Mount Who is Love.
Isn't that the way of the Heart?
In part, parched because of the work
And then, ever more thoroughly, His
Hidden thirst draws us to drink
His Draught manifest,
Ebbing and flowing,
Here and there,
Rooted in Him Who is our Rest,

Renewing Fire, Zeal, Stream –
   at the crest.

Written by A Listening Heart


~ home spirit

Evening lounges across the harbour,
stretching off to the purple blue
horizon.  Sailboats, having stripped
their masts lay scattered on a glassy
sea, like so many chess board pieces.

My island yawns before me in a Techni-
colour dream.  Its image burning bright
green from clouds mirrored in the sky
+ blazing just for me.  “When will I
return to my father’s land?  Now that

I’ve grown accustomed to the life of
creature comforts, fast cold drinks,
and other such substance.” But closing
the blinds on these words, I let the
dry seeds of my desire burst forth.


To stand barefoot in the grass while
hanging clothes out to dry.  To relish
the purity of perspiration amidst a
playful whish of breeze.  To know

a type of friendship with fly swatters,
and the readiness of hand-fans cooling
the heat of an airy kitchen, brimming
in jovial yellow light.  To be just off

the pedestrian path, a stone’s throw from
colonial poverty’s sultry trail. Where creaking
hand-carts of sun-dried wood and crusty
metal get pushed and pulled along roughly.

To hear wailing street merchants
peddle organic wares – straw brooms,
leathered-belts, concocted bottle drinks – 
melodic in tones of brimstone and thunder.

To gulp greedily a glass of limeade dull in
touch when sticky doldrums land.  To seek
out the Indian mystic fruit bomb by its tongue
round scent ~ rosie-green mangoes hanging

pendulously close ~ to pluck.  To grieve such
taste-filled enchantment, as little lizards dart
lightening fast through the house.


August breathes along narrow roads.  Shifting
past jutting hills, green creased river valleys, darkly
yearned for forests.  To distant views of cresting
white horses, breaking on wind-tossed beaches.

Each scene anoints my eye and tangles my hair,
making me giddy for cooler mountain air.

From those heights I hope to find, a peace for
which I pray.  Growing once more whole, whole
of eye and whole of limb - supple yet strong –
like arching sprays of a cherry coat plum.


Graceful daylight fades as my gaze roves southward.
Surfing over mad capped gingers, towering tulip trees
and fern lacy acres.  Roaming through thick miles of

sugar plantations ending at the sea.  This island dream
lingers on the evening tide where I cast me net
~ where I built me a bonfire at its tender wish.

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.