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"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

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Monday, 4 December 2017

HEAVEN ON EARTH- MONASTICISM




St Paul the Hermit's Monastery
The first Christian hermits seem to have established themselves on the shores of the Red Sea, where in pre-Christian times the Therapeutae, an order of Jewish ascetics, had been established. Not long afterward the desert regions of Upper Egypt became a retreat for those who fled from the persecutions of the Christians so frequent in the Roman Empire during the 3rd century, and for those who found the vices of the world intolerable. The earliest form of Christian monasticism was, probably, that of the anchorites or hermits; a later development is found in the pillar saints, called Stylites, who spent most of their time on the tops of pillars in order to separate themselves from the world and to mortify the flesh. After a time, however, the necessities of the religious life itself led to modifications. In order to combine the personal seclusion of individuals with the common exercise of religious duties, the early hermits had an aggregation of separate cells called laura, to which they could retire after their communal duties had been discharged. From the union of the common life with personal solitude is derived the name cenobite (Greek koinos bios,"common life"), by which a certain class of monks is distinguished.

St. Anthony, who embraced solitude, established himself at Alexandria, and the fame of his sanctity, as well as his gentleness and learning, drew many disciples to him. Most of his followers accompanied him when he retired to the desert. One of his disciples, St. Pachomius, who established a great monastery on an island in the Nile River, is regarded as the founder of the cenobitic manner of living. Pachomius drew up for his subjects a monastic rule, the first regulations of the kind on record. Many thousands of disciples flocked to him, and he founded several other monasteries for men and one for women under the direction of his sister. All of these houses recognized the authority of a single superior, an abbot or archimandrite. They constitute the original type of the religious order.
(source here)

Visiting the monastery of St Antony of Egypt


Hermit Father Lazarus Al-Anthony of St Anthony's Monastery
His Testimony

modern monks seek God in an ancient monastery

Tradition at the heart of Renewal
by Anthony Mahoney
The Egyptian desert is not only the home of monasticism but of monastic revival which is at the heart of the reform and renewal of the Coptic Orthodox Church. This monastic revival is not the work of one person but of a series of spiritual gifted individuals, in particular Patriarch Cyril VI (1902–1971), Matta el-Meskeen (1919–2006) and the current Patriarch Shenouda III (elected in 1971), who have demonstrated leadership and vision in shaping Coptic Christianity in the modern era. The monastic renewal has also been made possible by the growth in monastic vocations, both male and female, which have made this structural renaissance possible in the Coptic Church. Members of the episcopate in the Coptic tradition are chosen from the ranks of the monks, thus the spiritual character of monastic renewal has become the face of the Church. Today the monasteries are intimately integrated into parish life and the ascetic and spiritual reading of the Desert Fathers have found a new home in the wider Coptic Christian community.

BENEDICTINE MONASTICISM


Benedictines carry on a monastic tradition that stems from the origins of the Christian monastic movement in the late third century. They regard Saint Benedict as their founder and guide even though he did not establish a Benedictine Order as such. He wrote a Rule for his monastery at Monte Cassino in Italy and he foresaw that it could be used elsewhere. Monte Cassino was destroyed by the Lombards about A.D. 577 and was not reestablished until the middle of the eighth century. Meanwhile the Rule found its way to monasteries in England, Gaul, and elsewhere. At first it was one of a number of rules accepted by a particular monastery but later, especially through the promotional efforts of Charlemagne and his son Louis, it became the rule of choice for monasteries of Europe from the ninth century onwards.

The early medieval monasteries of Europe, those for men and women, followed the Rule of Benedict with local adaptations needed in different climes and cultures. They continued, however, the tradition of community life with its common prayer, reading, and work. Some of the monasteries were founded as centers of evangelization of peoples; others carried on a program of education, art and architecture, and the making of manuscripts. Many monasteries were centers of liturgy and learning in the midst of chaotic times and shifting kingdoms....

During the course of the 1800s, however, Benedictines experienced a revival. Some congregations, e.g., the Solesmes and Beuronese Congregations, restored a kind of Benedictine monasticism that stressed the enclosed life with its round of liturgical prayer performed with great precision and splendor.

Other congregations; e.g., the St. Ottilien Congregation and groupings of American Benedictine women, stressed the missionary endeavors of evangelizing, teaching, and health care. Men and women Benedictines continued to establish new houses in many countries right up to the time of Vatican Council II (1962-1965). Since then the number of Benedictines has declined once again, at least in the First and Second World, but it has increased in other regions, e.g., East Africa and South Korea.

One Day in the Life of a Monk
Tyniec Benedictine Monastery in Poland

Orthodox Monasticism

Although not considered as one of the sacraments of the Church since it is not essential to the Christian life as such and is not a necessary element for the very existence of God’s People, monasticism has played an important role in Christian history and is highly valued by the Orthodox Church.

In the Orthodox Tradition the monastic calling is considered to be a personal gift of God to the individual soul for his salvation and service to the Body of Christ. The monastic vocation is the calling to personal repentance in a life dedicated solely to God. The ultimate Christian virtue of love is sought by the monk or nun primarily through prayer and fasting, and through the exercise of the Christian virtues of poverty, chastity, humility and obedience.

The monastic Christian does not normally exercise any particular ministry in the Church such as that of priest, pastor, teacher, nurse or social worker. The monk is normally a layman and not a cleric, with each monastery having only enough clergy to care for the liturgical and sacramental needs of the community itself.

In Orthodox Christian history many missionaries, teachers and bishops have come from men with monastic vocations. For centuries the bishops have been traditionally selected from among the monks. These additional callings, however, are considered to be acts of God’s will expressed in his people, and are not the purpose or intention of the monastic vocation as such. Indeed, one must enter a monastery only in order to repent of his sins, to serve God and to save his soul according to the ideals of monastic ascetism. The ceremony of monastic profession indicates this very clearly. Thus, for example, Saint Herman of Alaska was first dedicated to the monastic life, and only then, in obedience to his spiritual father, left his solitude to become a great missionary.

The Monastic Ranks

The Orthodox monastic tradition has four classical ranks that apply equally to men and to women. The first step is that of novice, which in church terminology is called the rank of obedience. At this first stage the candidate for monastic profession simply lives in the monastery under the direction of a spiritual father or mother.

The second step is that of riasa-bearer, which means that the person is more formally accepted into the community, and is given the right to wear the monastic robe, called the riasa. At this stage the candidate is not yet fully committed to the monastic life.

The third rank is that of the small schema which means that the person is a professed monastic. He or she now receives a new name and wears the monastic schema (a cloth with the sign of the cross), the veil and the mantle (mantia). At this stage the person pledges to remain in the monastic community in perpetual obedience to the spiritual leader and to the head of the monastery, called the abbot or abbess (igoumenos or igoumenia). The service of profession, in addition to the hymns and prayers, includes a long series of formal questioning about the authenticity of the calling, the tonsuring (i.e., the cutting of the hair), and the vesting in the full monastic clothing.

The final rank of the monastic order is that of the great schema. This last step is reserved for very few, since it is the expression of the most strict observance of the monastic ideals, demanding normally a state of life in total seclusion in perpetual prayer and contemplation. With this final profession a new name is again received, and a new monastic insignia—the great schema—is worn.

In the Orthodox tradition there is no prescribed length of time that a person must remain in one or another of the monastic ranks. This is so because of the radically personal character of the vocation. Thus, some persons may progress rapidly to profession, while others may take years, and still others may never be formally professed while still remaining within the monastic community. The decision in these matters is made individually in each case by the spiritual director and the head of the community.

Types of Monasticism

Although the Orthodox Church does not have religious orders as the Latin Church does, there are in Orthodoxy different styles of monastic life, both individually and in community. Generally speaking some monasteries may be more liturgically oriented, while others may be more ascetic, while still others may have a certain mystical tradition, and others be more inclined to spiritual guidance and openness to the world for the purpose of care and counseling. These various styles of monasticism, which take both a personal as well as a corporate form, are not formally predetermined or officially legislated. They are the result of organic development under the living grace of God.

In addition to the various spiritual styles of monastic life, three formal types of organization may be mentioned. The first is that of coenobitic monasticism. In this type all members of the community do all things in common. The second form is called idiorhythmic in which the monks or nuns pray together liturgically, but work and eat individually or in small groups. In this type of monasticism the persons may even psalmodize and do the offices separately, coming together only for the eucharistic liturgy, and even then, perhaps, only on certain occasions. Finally, there is the eremitic type of monasticism where the individual monks or nuns are actually hermits, also called anchorites or recluses. They live in total individual seclusion and never join in the liturgical prayer of the community, except again perhaps on the most solemn occasions. In the rarest of cases it may even happen that the Holy Eucharist is brought to the monk or nun who remains perpetually alone.

In the Orthodox Church today in the Western world there are only a few communities with a genuinely monastic life. In the traditional Orthodox countries monasticism still thrives, although with greatly reduced numbers due to the political and spiritual conditions. In recent years, in some places, there has been a renewed interest in monasticism, particularly among the more educated members of the Church.
Day in the Life in a mens' monastery

Mount Athos - CBS Documentary

Sisters in love
Contemplative Catholic nuns






St. Therese's Life in the Carmel of Lisieux and the Influence of Her "Little Way."

Taken from:

CARMELITE SPIRITUALITY

by PAUL MARIE DE LA CROIX
of the Order of Discalced Carmelites


Those who concentrate on the life and doctrine of this child of Carmel who died at the age of twenty-four are seized with wonder and admiration. They discover, in fact, that her contribution to spirituality is as original as it is profoundly traditional. They also discover that under the Gospel-like simplicity of her message of "the little way of childhood" is hidden a spiritual structure both strong and perfectly balanced from the theological point of view.
No doubt this structure embodies the most authentic elements of the Order to which Theresa belongs; but Theresa has divided and arranged them according to her own genius. Better still, a very sure instinct, given by the Holy Spirit, enabled her to discern and sometimes to rediscover, not without merit, Carmel's purest spirit. Those who concentrate on the life and doctrine of this child of Carmel who died at the age of twenty-four are seized with wonder and admiration. They discover, in fact, that her contribution to spirituality is as original as it is profoundly traditional. They also discover that under the Gospel-like simplicity of her message of "the little way of childhood" is hidden a spiritual structure both strong and perfectly balanced from the theological point of view.
No doubt this structure embodies the most authentic elements of the Order to which Theresa belongs; but Theresa has divided and arranged them according to her own genius. Better still, a very sure instinct, given by the Holy Spirit, enabled her to discern and sometimes to rediscover, not without merit, Carmel's purest spirit.

Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus truly made this interior and radiant spirit incarnate. Her life of love of the absolute and of absolute love is of rare depth and fullness. It was a combination of certain inter-related spiritual principles and constitutes a true doctrine: this is "the little way of childhood" that we must now try to describe.

This doctrine is derived from a re-discovery of the central teaching of the Gospel which may be expressed in this sentence: We are, in Christ, God's children and we ought to love our Father in heaven with a filial love full of confidence and abandonment.

Christ taught us that God is our Father. Saint Theresa adheres to this teaching with all her strength and gives to it its whole meaning.

She had a deep understanding of the truth that such a teaching has two complementary aspects: a keen realization of God's fatherhood toward us; and the need of developing in us a filial attitude of absolute confidence toward God our Father.

If the confidence of Saint Theresa in the goodness of her Father in heaven is absolute, this is because God is a father and this father is God. She comes to this basic affirmation: "We can never have enough confidence in God who is so good, so powerful, so merciful".

From this we can understand how on her lips the words "Papa the good God" are not childish. On the contrary they testify to the simplicity of her intimate relations with Him and to a confidence so absolute that she can dare to say: "I know what it means to count on His mercy".[67]

One might be tempted to believe that such confidence was based on the assurance that had been given her that she "had never committed any mortal sins". But she hastens to correct this idea: "Make it clear, Mother, that if I had committed all possible crimes, I would still have the same confidence. I would feel that this multitude of offenses would be like a drop of water cast into a blazing fire"[68] "How could there be any limits to my confidence?"[69]
Saint Theresa could not have reached this point, it is certain, had she not had a deep experience of God's love. Even though she always claimed that she had not known extraordinary graces, and she never stressed the grac

More than this: she sought a way that depended on this very weakness. Had not the Apostle said: "When I am weak then I am strong" (2 Cor. 12: 10). So that in searching the Gospels she found the words of the Master: "Let the little children be, and do not hinder them from coming to me, for of such is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 19: 14).

Such a statement corresponded too well to her knowledge, both of her weakness and also of God's fatherly heart, for it not to have been a true light. It served, too, as a link between her spirit of childhood and her confidence in the divine fatherhood.

"I leave to great souls and lofty minds the beautiful books I cannot understand, much less put into practice and I rejoice that I am little because children alone and those who resemble them will be admitted to the heavenly banquet. I am glad that there are many mansions in the Kingdom of God, because if there were only those whose description and whose road seem to me incomprehensible, I could never enter there."[70]

This, therefore, was her way. God Himself had pointed it out and declared its efficacy. On it Theresa was to advance unfalteringly and to draw all the necessary conclusions with courage.

No one will deny that weakness is the characteristic of little children. But this weakness is the surest of guarantees to those who care for them and love them. Teresa remembered a text of Isaias that she copied in a little notebook she used:

"You shall be carried at the breasts, And upon the knees they shall caress you. As one whom the mother caresseth, So will I comfort you" (Is. 66: 12).

Moreover, having learned from experience about this "motherly" goodness of God, and knowing that the smaller the child, the more it can count on merciful help and attentive care, Theresa intended to remain little, that is to say, she would no more be concerned about her powerlessness, on the contrary she would rejoice in it. "How happy I am to realize that I am little and weak, how happy I am to see myself so imperfect". She does not count on her works, or on her merits, she "keeps nothing in reserve" and she is not to be discouraged even about her faults.

"It is needful to remain little before God and to remain little is to recognize one's nothingness, expect all things from the good God just as a little child expects all things from its father; it is not to be troubled by anything, not to try to make a fortune. Even among poor people, a child is given all it needs, as long as it is very little, but as soon as it has grown up, the father does not want to support it any longer and says: "Work, now you are able to take care of yourself". Because I never want to hear these words I do not want to grow up, feeling that I can never earn my living, that is, eternal life in heaven. So I have stayed little, and have no other occupation than of gathering flowers of love and sacrifice and of offering them to the good God to please Him.

Saint Theresa had very great desires, yet she would never admit that she was a great soul or that she had the strength necessary to do great things, like the saints who had been proposed to her as models. So she had to find a way in keeping with this littleness of which she was so deeply conscious.
"For a long time I had been asking myself why souls did not all receive the same amount of grace. Jesus deigned to instruct me about this mystery. Before my eyes He placed the book of nature and I understood that all the flowers created by Him are beautiful... that, if all the little flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime garb. The same is true of the world of souls, the Lord's living garden." To be little also means not to attribute to one's self the virtues that one practices, believing that one can do something, but to acknowledge that the good God has placed these treasures in the hands of His little child so that the child can make use of them as needed, but always as the treasures of the good God.
Finally, it means not be to discouraged by one's faults because children often fall but they are too little to hurt themselves badly."[71]

This is a pleasant intuition and one that affords many fruitful applications for the spiritual life.

Most especially it drew Theresa along the path of a confidence that was not only a virtue but the life in us of the true theological virtue of hope. Advancing with great boldness to the end of this hope and wishing to place no limits to God's mercy for those who love Him with filial love, she wrote to a sister:

"You are not sufficiently trusting, you fear God too much. I assure you that this grieves Him. Do not be afraid of going to purgatory because of its pain, but rather long not to go there because this pleases God who imposes this expiation so regretfully. From the moment that you try to please Him in all things, if you have the unshakable confidence that He will purify you at every instant in His love and will leave in you no trace of sin, be very sure that you will not go to purgatory."[72]

And again:

"O, how you hurt me, how greatly you injure the good God when you believe you are going to purgatory. For one who loves there can be no purgatory.[73]

It seems to me that there will be no judgment for victims of love, or rather, the good God will hasten to reward, with eternal delights, His own love which He will see burning in their hearts."

Saint Theresa's confidence in God's infinite mercy leads her to this other certitude, as theologically sound as the preceding, that if God divides His graces unequally, He does so because of the same love.

"For a long time I had been asking myself why souls did not all receive the same amount of grace. Jesus deigned to instruct me about this mystery. Before my eyes He placed the book of nature and I understood that all the flowers created by Him are beautiful... that, if all the little flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime garb. The same is true of the world of souls, the Lord's living garden.[74]

God's love is revealed just as much in the most simple soul who does not resist His graces as in the most sublime."[75]

Lastly this confidence in God leads Saint Theresa, by paths of poverty of spirit and self-forgetfulness, to a wonderful simplification of spiritual life. In fact, how could she have failed to notice that the kingdom of heaven is offered not only to little children but also to the poor in spirit, and almost in the same words: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 5: 3). "Unless you turn and become like little children, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. 1 8: 3). "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for of such is the kingdom of God" (Mark 10: 14).

As Theresa made spiritual childhood her own, so she made her own poverty of spirit. She aspires to be nothing more than "a poor little child" who looks to her Father for everything and who obtains everything from Him because of this same poverty. She cultivates this poverty and wants to keep nothing for herself, not even her merits and her good works.
"There is only one way to force the good God not to judge at all, and that is to present one's self to Him with empty hands.

When I think of this word: 'I will soon come and I carry My reward with Me to give to each one according to his works ', I say to myself, He will be very embarrassed for me because I have no works. Well, He will have to give me according to His own works."

She is forgetful of herself and counts on nothing, she is truly poor: "It is necessary to consent to remain poor and weak; this is hard ". "I have always longed to be unknown, I am resigned to being forgotten". "It is necessary to count on nothing".

Theresa arrived at perfect detachment but in her own humble, hidden "little way".

"I know well that it is not my great desires that please God in my little soul, what He likes to see is the way I love my littleness and my poverty; it is my blind hope in His mercy, this is my only treasure.... The weaker one is, without desires or virtues the more ready one is for the operations of this consuming and transforming love.... God rejoices more in what He can do in a soul humbly resigned to its poverty than in the creation of millions of suns and the vast stretch of the heavens."

She buries herself with delight deep in this radical poverty. "I tell you that it is enough to recognize one's nothingness and to abandon one's self like a child in the arms of God.[76]

Theresa is marvelously free from herself and marvelously free for God. Her soul is wide open to the invasions of divine love. We, in fact, prevent God from coming to us and "flooding our souls with waves of His tenderness", because we do not open to Him the place He wants to occupy. Only when poverty is united with confidence, is He able to realize in us the desires of His love. It is difficult for us to understand much less to describe how great was Saint Theresa's desire to love. Nevertheless she who wished "to love and to make Love loved", perhaps wished even more "to be loved" by this infinite Love. The deep reason for this will be evident when we remember that she wrote:

"Merit is not to be found in doing much or in giving much, but rather in receiving and in loving much. It is said that it is far sweeter to give than to receive, and this is true. But when Jesus wants for Himself the sweetness of giving, it would not be gracious to refuse. Let Him take and give whatever He wants."

To take and to give, in these two cases, Theresa will remain poor, in order that she can receive the love that God thirsts to pour out on her.

"I beg You to allow the waves of infinite tenderness hidden in You to overflow into my soul so that I may become a martyr of Your love."

Because she will not keep this love for herself but will pour it out on others, she adds:

"As for me, if I live until I am eighty I shall always be just as poor, I do not know how to economize. All that I have, I spend immediately to buy souls."[77]

"I know well that it is not my great desires that please God in my little soul, what He likes to see is the way I love my littleness and my poverty; it is my blind hope in His mercy, this is my only treasure.... The weaker one is, without desires or virtues the more ready one is for the operations of this consuming and transforming love.... God rejoices more in what He can do in a soul humbly resigned to its poverty than in the creation of millions of suns and the vast stretch of the heavens."
Theresa has given us the secret of this outpouring of love and its apostolic fruitfulness: her love is crucified. In offering herself to merciful Love, she gave herself up without any reserve to trial and suffering which from this moment mark her life as with a seal. From the day that "love penetrated and possessed her" suffering seized her as if she were its prey. The victim offered in holocaust had been accepted. Saint Theresa was really flooded with divine love and that is why her life bore such fruit. This charity transfigured two qualities that in her were always to remain united: love of God and love of neighbor. And when we consider her fraternal charity which was so practical, so delicate, so heroic and which flowed from a charity for God that was so faithful that "from the age of three she had never refused" Him anything and was willing to suffer all things in silence for His love and for the love of souls, then no one can any longer oppose contemplation and action, prayer and the apostolate, the service of God and the service of the Church.
She who had carried so far confidence and abandonment never ceased to multiply her own most concrete and generous efforts.

It is because of this confidence and fidelity that God could communicate the plenitude of His own life that transformed her soul and opened it to the dimensions of infinite Love.

From the beginning of her religious life, Theresa, like a true daughter of Elias, is devoured with apostolic ardor. Was it not love for souls, especially for the souls of priests, that she came to Carmel? To save souls she would have liked to have fulfilled all vocations. She would have liked to have been preacher, apostle, missionary, martyr.

Yet it was only after she had offered herself to the divine outpouring and surrendered herself to merciful Love that she discovered the vocation God destined for her.

"I understand that love includes all vocations. I realize that all my desires are fulfilled. I have found my vocation. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love."

It was only then, too, that her vocation reached its full apostolic dimension and revealed its limitless fruitfulness. In fact, henceforth, Theresa was to think and to speak only in universal terms: "I shall spend my heaven in doing good upon earth". "Yes, until the number of the elect shall be complete, I shall take no rest".

Just as blood flows from the heart and moves with life-giving power into every part of the whole body, so this apostolic spirit springs from the love that possesses her and extends to the whole Church.

"From her little cell, as from a broadcasting station, wonderful waves escape night and day. The souls whom they reach are unaware of their origin. They merely murmur: 'Someone has prayed for me.'"[78]

Theresa has given us the secret of this outpouring of love and its apostolic fruitfulness: her love is crucified. In offering herself to merciful Love, she gave herself up without any reserve to trial and suffering which from this moment mark her life as with a seal. From the day that "love penetrated and possessed her" suffering seized her as if she were its prey. The victim offered in holocaust had been accepted. Love was to consume her body, by a most painful illness, and her soul, by a terrible trial: "A wall rose up to heaven and hid God from me". "O Mother, I did not believe that it was possible to suffer so much... I can only explain it by my very great desire to save souls".

But knowing that God had never before shown her so much love and that such trials also made it possible to prove her love for Him, Theresa accepted them with heroic generosity and even with joy. "I would not want to suffer less. "She offered her sufferings for souls until the last ounce of her strength: "I walk... for a missionary".
Before departure she gave us not only the assurance of a wonderfully efficacious help: "Because I never did my will on earth, the good God will do all that I want in heaven", but she told us how she was able to realize her contemplative and missionary vocation in all its fullness: "I do not regret having surrendered myself to Love".

When we look at the life of Saint Theresa of the Child Jesus we are struck by its simplicity and wonderful transparency. We are amazed to discover through her, not only the purest Gospel teaching but Christ Himself. We also notice that the unity of her spiritual life is unique and profound. In fact, all her words, acts, sufferings, life and death are of a piece, yield the same tone and are proof of an equal plenitude. Like her Master, Theresa is true, and also like Him, her person and her message are one.

It must also be noticed that the Christian instinct was not deceived. In search of a spirituality that is adapted to life and is livable men turned to Saint Theresa. Not the least original thing about this cloistered religious who died at the age of twenty-four was that she has given to our times the most "incarnate" and at the same time the most supernatural doctrine that there is. Transcendence and immanence. Her life prolongs the message of the Gospel in our midst. This, no doubt, is the reason that devotion to her, surprisingly enough, was not limited by the boundaries of France but became worldwide, truly universal, because her spirit is truly Catholic.

Saint Theresa brought a maximum of depth and supernatural efficacy to spiritual life. She is as apostolic as she is contemplative, and that with a minimum of means. "Purely and simply", she succeeded in being both.

It is not only our utilitarian age (and this is true even in spiritual matters) that is conscious of her success, it is Christian life in general which has been enriched by a new way leading to sanctity, a way as quick and sure as it is evangelical.

If Saint Theresa received from Carmelite spirituality a great part of the wealth she used--and they are forgetful who fail to connect her with her "family" or who minimize what she owes it--she knew how to increase her heritage. She offers us a style of spiritual life that is so detached, so simply reduced to the essential, so supple in its absolute surrender to love, so generous in the gift to the Church and to her brothers. She made her life a reality that is so near to us and so lived in God, that to breathe the fragrance of this flower of Carmel is to breathe the fragrance of eternal life.




LIFE IN HIDDEN LIGHT

"There is only one thing worth knowing: that God loves you and wants to be loved."
(words of an old Carmelite nun,)

AN EXCELLENT AND THOUGHT-PROVOKING VIDEO

MOUNT ATHOS
(very beautiful)


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