Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

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Welcome to the Provincial Blog.


Here, we feature posts by our Friars and by other contributors from the Carmelite family. Our goal is to provide you with content relevant to Carmelite spirituality and life in the Province of St. Therese.

To learn more about the people behind this blog, visit the About Blog Central page.
To post a comment, just click on the "Comments" link at the bottom of each post or you can
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Nativity of John the Baptist


Readings:
1st Reading: Isaiah 49:1-6
Resp.:  Psalm 139:1b-3, 13-14ab, 14c-15
2nd Reading: Acts 13:22-26
Gospel: Luke 1:57-66, 80

John the Baptist is the last of the Old Testament prophets. He heralds the advent of Jesus coming to preach and teach and ultimately die for all our sins. Just as the dawn precedes the day and clouds precede a rainstorm, Jesus was made known to those who listened to John even before he was born on the earth. In order to make room for God in our hearts, we must be prepared. If we are so full of ourselves, we cannot make room for Jesus. This is why the life of John the Baptist is necessary.

John's baptism was one of repentance – and by repenting we make room for God in our hearts. Then when we hear the word of God, it can take root and yield 30, 60 and 100-fold. As St. John of the Cross tells us, the Holy Spirit speaks to us whenever we read the Scriptures. This means that the Holy Spirit moves us to be and to do, when we are attentive to God's words.  

Doing God's Will makes us vibrant members of the Church. Just like when Zechariah verified that his son's name is John and was able to praise God, our belief in Jesus despite not seeing, despite not feeling perhaps, we are moved to praise Him as we should. May the birth of John the Baptist help us to repent and believe in an even greater way.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD
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Trinity Sunday

[Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Readings:
1st Reading: Deuteronomy 4:32­-34, 39­-40

Resp.: Psalm 33:4­5, 6, 18­-19, 20, 22
2nd Reading: Romans 8:14­-17
Gospel: Matthew 28:16­-20

The Most Holy Trinity is a mystery. We cannot possibly come near to understanding it completely but we do know some things: God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are madly in love with each other ­­ three Divine Persons but One God. God wants to share this love with each and every one of us. It is God who revealed this to us at the Baptism of Jesus when God the Father's voice was heard and the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus in the bodily form of a dove. While the word "trinity" is not in the Bible, our Church teaches us that God is indeed triune: Three in One – the Holy Trinity.

In the Holy Trinity is no subordination. All are equal. The Father is not number one, Jesus number two and the Holy Spirit number 3. However, a key to understanding the Holy Trinity is that the Holy Trinity is about relationship: Fathers and sons have relationships, which is why God reveals Himself this way. Its like if someone is a male, he can be a father and a son and a brother all at the same time. The difference comes in how he relates to others as a father, son or brother – nevertheless he is still the same person. The Holy Spirit is the love between the Father and the Son and again we are invited to partake in this relationship.


St Elizabeth of the Trinity, OCD experienced the indwelling of the Holy Trinity inside her. Her writings are quite sublime: in other words, there ARE no words to sufficiently describe such an Indwelling. Suffice it to say that God is love and what we experience here on earth is just a mere introduction of the love we will be part of ­­ in Heaven.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD
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Ascension Sunday



Readings:
1st Reading: Acts 1:1­-11
Resp.: Psalm 47:2­3, 6­7, 8­9(6) 2nd Reading: Ephesians 1:17­-23 Gospel: Mark 16:15­-20

Jesus gives today what is called the Great Commission. He tells his apostles to go out through all the world and tell the good news. He asks them to do great things for his kingdom, but one day he will return the same way they saw him leave.

So instead of God doing all the work directly, he now works through his ministers. His Church will not be destroyed despite all the trials and tribulations to be endured in the future. This is what helps us to put our faith in God. Jesus Christ established one Church that can never err. People in the Church make mistakes and can sin grievously but she is still the spotless Bride of Christ that cannot err in her teaching, a guarantee of the Holy Spirit.

Some may ask – where are all the miracles of the past? Why don't we see the accompanying signs that Jesus mentioned at the end of today's Gospel? They're still there – but do we perceive them through all the negativity of today's world? Most of the news we get is negative and base. We must put on the mind of Christ as St Paul says. Pope St. John Paul II said that the new springtime is here – do we not perceive it? Its not a matter of wearing rose­-colored glasses, it's a matter of doing, seeing and hearing things God's way. Friendship with God.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD
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Fifth Sunday of Easter



Readings:
1st Reading: Acts 9:26­-31
Resp.: Psalm 22:26­-27, 28, 30, 31­-32 (26a) 2nd Reading: 1 John 3:18­-24
Gospel: John 15: 1­8

There are times that I've asked – why are we doing things this way? And the usual answer was ­ because we've always done it this way. There are at least two responses to that: if its working, lets continue but if we can do better, we need to change. This takes discernment. In the first reading, the disciples were afraid of Saul because of his past. They were used to avoiding him but now he is different and its taking time for him to be accepted.

The same is true for us when we change for the better. Some will begin to shun us while others will befriend us. God's grace in our lives necessitates changes. God is dynamic, which means we need to be changing quite often for the better. Change is usually what we avoid because it draws us out of our comfort zones – it causes anxiety. But if we trust, we do not need to fear.

In other words, we need to be pruned in order that we will bear more fruit. If change is difficult then pruning hurts. The problems is that we don't seem to mind when others are pruned but when it is me myself, then we have difficulties.

Its okay to hurt, its part of life, and we need to ask God to bring good out of all our pains. Its not okay to sin because of our hurts but we should allow God to make us stronger despite them. St Paul preferred bad treatment because he saw the benefit: when we suffer for being good, we are being like Jesus.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD


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Fifth Sunday of Lent



Readings:
1st Reading: Jeremiah 31:31-­34

Responsorial: Psalm 51:3-­4, 12­-13, 14­-15
2nd Reading: Hebrews 5:7-­9
Gospel: John 12:20­-33

Jesus goes before us to show us the way. He told his disciples about the grain of wheat that must die if it is to bear much fruit. But why do we have to die? Because of the Sin of Adam and Eve. So Jesus takes us to a new level – if we die to our earthly desires, we will reign with Him in Heaven. Before, we were promised Paradise, the Garden of Eden. Now we can go to Heaven if we follow Jesus.

We know that we must give up sinning. But what else? Even good things too, not that they are sinful but if God does not want us to have those things or do certain good things, we shouldn't try. In other words, to be with God in His Kingdom and to die to ourselves on earth, we need to be obedient. Pope St. John Paul II wanted to be a Carmelite but his bishop, when he was in the seminary, did not allow this.

God knows all the hows and whys of life. We certainly don't even though we might be tempted to think we do. God's way is best. We need to trust. Specifically, we need to trust Jesus.

Jesus, I trust in You. All will work out for the best – maybe not the way we might like, but the way that truly is best – eternal life with God.

Written by Fr. Jim Curiel, OCD
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