Song of the Soul

Something lovely for you today. It had been intended for an earlier date but got overlooked. This is a fine translation by Roy Campbell of St. John’s mystical poem, a favorite of mine. I do hope you like it

 

Song of the soul that is glad to know God by faith
by Saint John of the Cross

 

How well I know that fountain’s rushing flow
Although by night

Its deathless spring is hidden. Even so
Full well I guess from whence its sources flow
Though it be night

Its origin (since it has none) none knows:
But that all origin from it arose
Although by night.

I know there is no other thing  so fair
And earth and heaven drink refreshment there
Although by night.

Its clarity unclouded still shall be:
Out of it comes the light by which we see
Though it be night.

Flush with its banks the stream so proudly swells:
I know it waters nations, heavens and hells
Though it be night.

The current that is nourished by this source
I know to be omnipotent in force
Although by night

From source and current a new current swells
Which neither of the other twain excels
Though it be night.

The eternal source hides in the  Living Bread
That we with life eternal may be fed
Though it be night.

Here to all creatures it is crying, hark!
That they should drink their fill though in the dark,
For it is night.

This living fount which is to me so dear
Within the bread of life I see it clear
Though it be night.

 

If there is an interest, I will also post E. Allison Peers’ version of the poem.

Please, Pray the Rosary and confound satan and those who serve him!

†  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.
† . Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Thy kingdom come! Viva Cristo Rey!

~  for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!

The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

 

Today, we celebrate the Feast of the Annunciation, in which Our Lord introduces to us His Mother, and shows us her loveliness, her excellent virtues and her unique stature before the Holy Trinity. Thus, He shows us the model for our lives; “Here is My Mother”, He says, “see, we shall have the same Mother. She will teach you the virtues necessary to advance toward union with Me, so that we may rejoice together in heaven.”

Nestled within the feast of the Annunciation is the feast of the Incarnation of our Savior. The Annunciation carries within it the humility and obedience of Jesus and Mary, Who are our models for perfect, loving obedience, even unto death. And this obedience begins with the humble obedience of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to thy word.

“Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Be it done unto me according to thy word.”

In the Gospel of St Luke, the Holy Spirit reveals the unique importance of the Blessed Virgin Mary in God’s plan of Salvation for us. Let’s see what He tells us:

Luke, Chapter 1, 26-35. “And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said to her: “Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God.

Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a Son; and thou shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of David His father; and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. And of His kingdom there shall be no end.” And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?” And the angel answering, said to her: “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

 

Continue reading “The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary”

Mary, Temple of the Trinity, 2018

Today, the eve of the Feast of the Annunciation,  we conclude our Novena. And again we share the popular poem for the Annunciation by peregrine, a reader/contributor.

 

                 Annunciation

Hail Mary, Temple of the Trinity!

        Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee,

Art thou astonished at His deference?

Fear not, for thou hast found grace with God.
             Thou shalt conceive … and bring forth a Son
                               Thou shalt call His name Jesus.

How shall it be?
          (Mindful of thy chastity)

And yet . . . it is thy purity draws Him down
Captivated by thy pure and humble love
                Thy Creator awaits at the door of thy will,

The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee
          . . .  the most High shall overshadow thee . . .
                        the Holy born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

His will is clear
          . . . moved by His will alone . . .

Behold the handmaid of the Lord
Be it done unto me…

The Architect of earth and heaven
                    Thus closed Himself in thy pure frame.
At thy “fiat” the Almighty Word
               leapt down from heaven
                              The Sword of Truth wrought death to death,
Obedient, He vanquished disobedient pride.

And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us,

peregrine, March 25, 2004

© All Content Copyright 2013-2018 ReturntoFatima.org. All Rights Reserved.

Now everyone is in the dark

When I read the following, it called to mind the prophecy of St. John Bosco that begins with, “It was a dark night…” St. John Bosco continued, if I recall, with, “ they all realized that they were no longer in Rome.”  

From  Rorate Caeli comes this insightful article by Antonio Socci:

Socci: Do the hierarchies in the Church still have the Catholic Faith?
Antonio Socci
“Libero”
March 10, 2018

The parish priest of Cisterna in Latina, Don Livio Fabiani caused a bit of sensation with his words at the funeral of the two children killed by their father.

Yet perhaps – for Catholics – the homily of Cardinal Giuseppe Betori, Archbishop of Florence, at the funeral of the Fiorentina’s Captain, Davide Astori, who died two Sundays ago of a heart attack, ought to be a source of more amazement.

These two tragedies have made us face sudden death, the eruption of evil and the suffering of the innocents. We are all dumbstruck. The words “waste and void” repeated by Thomas S. Eliot in his poem (Choruses fromThe Rock)  describe our hearts in these situations.
For Christians, however, there was and always has been a voice that knows the mystery of all things, that knows how to make friendship even with “sister death” and for centuries has had the mission of illuminating man’s path: The Church.

Again Eliot recalls that She was seen for centuries as the One who: “who will perhaps answer our doubtings. The Watcher, who sees what is to happen. The Witness. The God-shaken, in whom is the truth inborn.” (also from Choruses from The Rock) The poet continues: “She tells them of Life and Death, and of all that they would forget./She is tender where they would be hard, and hard where they/like to be soft./ She tells them of Evil and Sin, and other unpleasant facts.”

CHRISTIAN WORDS
For this [reason] the parish priest from Latina in the heartrending Mass for the two murdered children, asked for prayer “even for the father” who had committed suicide after killing his own children and wounding his wife. The Corriere della Sera reported “that someone from the pews contested the priest’s words but that he said, after a moment of silence and commotion. “ Pardon me, but the family have forgiven”. In the homily the priest recalled: “I baptized Alessia, gave her First Communion and next May 6th she would have received the Sacrament of Confirmation and Martina would have begun attending catechism classes in the parish.”

Then he emphasized that “we brought Alessia and Martina here, not to a stadium or sports hall. We brought them here, to church where they first began their steps in Christianity ” because “it is here that we find the answers, in our faith in Jesus.” Simple but vertiginous, Christian words. They should extinguish the rancor that we have seen elsewhere. ANSA reports that at Secondigliano the body of Luigi Capasso (the father) was greeted with “with shouts and insults” but “was blessed at the Neapolitan cemetery of Poggioreale.”

Even when anger prevails among the people, the Church never fails in Her compassionate prayer for everyone, by taking the example from Jesus, Who, nailed to the Cross, prayed even for his executioners: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”
The Church is where one goes to seek the prayer we all are in need of and where we find consolation in suffering or when confronted with death.

The Church is the She – who, like a mother who loves – tells Her children even the uncomfortable truths they don’t want to hear. Starting with the necessity and duty of prayer for everyone. A mother doesn’t seek the approval of men, since she wants only the salvation of her children.

BEWILDERMENT
For this reason, the words of the Archbishop of Florence, Cardinal Betori at Davide Astori’s funeral Mass leave us somewhat bewildered.

Actually, there is not even one reference to prayer in his entire discourse: not for the young footballer’s soul and his eternal salvation, nor for his family and relatives who are grief-stricken.

This is astonishing since a churchman should make it clear that the bond with the dear departed doesn’t end with death, but we can and must continue helping each other with prayers for our salvation and eternal bliss. Prayers for those who have died convey that death is only a momentary exit from the field of vision, that “life has not been taken away, but rather transformed” . Thus Christians may cry out: “ Death where is thy victory?” .

Prayer for dear ones who have previously been called by God is a great act of love and reminds us that we have an immortal soul. As Chiara Corbella used to say: “we were born and we won’t die anymore.” These were the eternal words of the Church that thousands of people in Florence had wanted to hear.

The tragedy of Davide Astori has cast a chill on everyone as the sudden death of a 30 year old man is like a punch in the face and confronts us with the terrible fragility of life. Even when one is in the prime and vigor of his youth. It carries us to the brink of the abyss and the mystery of life. And it is above all at these times, that our gaze is directed to that place which promises “words of eternal life”. In fact, the Church of Santa Croce in Florence was filled to overflowing as was the piazza in front of it.

But Cardinal Betori didn’t embrace the suffering of all those people by inviting them to pray, thereby teaching them the faith and opening their hearts up to Christian hope. On the contrary, he said he was unable to give any consolation. Here is his astonishing preamble:

“The sense of many things in life escapes us, the “why” remains obscure. First of all death itself. We have no explanations to offer about death which could serve in giving consolation. Our suffering remains, especially when death takes away from us a person we love – a friend. It has happened now to us, with Davide Astori. Don’t ask me then for comprehensible reasons, for justifiable conclusions [or] motives to console [you]. I can only cry with you. And offer you something to think about.”

Certainly, during the homily he juxtaposed some quotations from the Gospel, nonetheless, always on the horizontal, social dimension (let’s help others) and without changing substantially that leaden, awful preamble.

But a Church that proclaims “we have no explanations to offer about death which could serve in giving consolation” and “don’t ask me then for comprehensible reasons, for justifiable conclusions [or] motives to console [you]. I can only cry with you.” , – I say – what’s the use of a Church like that?

It is completely useless. It is as desolating as an abandoned post office. A despairing Church cannot help us, we despairing creatures. This is the salt that has become insipid – as Jesus says in the Gospel – it is of no use for anything and is thrown away to be trampled on.
We cannot even attribute this to a blunder by a cardinal, since Betori here has echoed things said several times by Bergoglio on the subjects of suffering, evil and death.

The present Church – at the end of the day – has at present a colossal problem contained in this question: does Her hierarchies still have the faith? All the drama is in this, as Cardinal Sarah recently commented.

Without firm and luminous faith (and the hope of eternal life) there is only an earthly horizon where you go about seeking the approval of the world. As Bertori did, by delivering a long eulogy on the Fiorentina football player to his fans. In truth, in the past, the Church had prescribed that at funerals a eulogy on the deceased should not be done, but that the teaching of Christ on life, judgment, the resurrection and eternal life should be made clear.

Betori delivered a discourse which was directed at the “violet”* heart of the city, more than the Christian conscience of the people. He even made detours about football.

Today the Church seems to be undergoing a catastrophic spiritual collapse seeing as the hierarchies expect the flock of the faithful to follow their same way.

Perhaps someone will say that all this – even if enormous – only concerns believers. Except that when there is no longer a place where hope for eternal life resounds, it is a frightful impoverishment for everyone. They have switched off the light – now everyone is in the dark.

*the colour of the Fiorentina football jersey.

Translation: contributor Francesca Romana

NOTES:

For those who may find it useful, we include a few more quotes from Eliot’s Choruses from The Rock. (Of course, it is much better to simply read it all, and there is a link provided at the end.)

The endless cycle of idea and action,
Endless invention, endless experiment,
Brings knowledge of motion, but not of stillness;
Knowledge of speech, but not of silence;
Knowledge of words, and ignorance of the Word.
All our knowledge brings us nearer to our ignorance,
All our ignorance brings us nearer to death,
But nearness to death no nearer to God.
Where is the Life we have lost in living?
Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?
Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?
The cycles of Heaven in twenty centuries
Bring us farther from God and nearer to the Dust.
. . .

III
The Word of the Lord came unto me, saying:
O miserable cities of designing men,
O wretched generation of enlightened men,
Betrayed in the mazes of your ingenuities,
Sold by the proceeds of your proper inventions:
I have given you hands which you turn from worship,
I have given you speech, for endless palaver,
. . .
And the wind shall say:

“Here were decent godless people:
Their only monument the asphalt road
And a thousand lost golf balls.”
. . .
When the Stranger says: “What is the meaning of this city?
Do you huddle close together because you love each other?”
What will you answer?
“We all dwell together To make money from each other”?
or “This is a community”?
And the Stranger will depart and return to the desert.
.  . .
Though you forget the way to the Temple,
There is one who remembers the way to your door:
Life you may evade, but Death you shall not.
You shall not deny the Stranger.

V
Oh Lord deliver me from the man of
excellent intention and impure heart:
for the heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately wicked.
. . .

VI
Why should men love the Church?
Why should they love her laws?
She tells them of Life and Death, and of all that they would forget.
She is tender where they would be hard,
and hard where they like to be soft.
She tells them of Evil and Sin, and other unpleasant facts.
They constantly try to escape
From the darkness outside and within
By dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good.

But the man that is will shadow
The man that pretends to be.
And the Son of Man was not crucified once for all,
The blood of the martyrs not shed once for all,
The lives of the Saints not given once for all:
But the Son of Man is crucified always
And there shall be Martyrs and Saints.

VII
In the beginning God created the world.
Waste and void.
Waste and void.
And darkness was upon the face of the deep.
And when there were men, in their various ways,
they struggled in torment towards God
Blindly and vainly, for man is a vain thing,
and man without God is a seed upon  the wind:
driven this way and that,
and finding no place of lodgement and germination.
. . .
But it seems that something has happened that has never happened before:
though we know not just when, or why, or how, or where.

Men have left God not for other gods, they say, but for no god;
and this has never happened before
That men both deny gods and worship gods, professing first Reason,
And then Money, and Power, and what they call Life, or Race, or Dialectic.

The Church disowned, the tower overthrown, the bells upturned, what have we to do
But stand with empty hands and palms turned upwards
In an age which advances progressively backwards?
. . .
CHORUS:
Waste and void. Waste and void.
And darkness on the face of the deep.

Has the Church failed mankind, or has mankind failed the Church?
When the Church is no longer regarded, not even opposed, and men have forgotten
All gods except Usury, Lust and Power.

Eliot, T. S., Complete Poems and Plays, 1909-1950

 

The Greatest Conquest

A Christmas gift I treasure greatly was a small, used paperback book of the verses of St. John of the Cross, translated by Roy Campbell.  I did not want to post on these verses until I’d been able to read and think on them all, but the surprising interest in yesterday’s post has led me to share this one. I hope it is not precipitate of me.

With a most unpoetic title – “Other verses with a divine meaning” (Otras del mistro a la divina), St. John of the Cross writes of the spiritual quest:

Other verses with a divine meaning

by St. John of the Cross,
translated by Roy Campbell

Not without hope did I ascend
Upon an amorous quest to fly
And up I soared, so high, so high,
I seized my quarry in the end.

As on this falcon quest I flew
To chase a quarry so divine,
I had to soar so high and fine
That soon I lost myself from view,
With loss of strength my plight was sorry
From straining on so steep a course.
But love sustained me with such force
That in the end I seized my quarry.

The more I rose into the height
More dazzled, blind and lost I spun.
The greatest conquest ever won
I won in blindness, like the night.
Because love urged me on my way
I gave that mad, blind, reckless leap
That soared me up so high and steep
That in the end I seized my prey.

The steeper upward that I flew
On so vertiginous a quest
The humbler and more lowly grew
My spirit, fainting in my breast.
I said ‘None yet can find the way’
But as my spirit bowed more low,
Higher and higher did I go
Til in the end I seized my prey.

By such strange means did I sustain
A thousand starry nights in one,
Since hope of Heaven yet by none
Was ever truly hoped in vain.
Only by hope I won my way
Nor did my hope my aim belie,
Since I soared up, so high, so high,
That in the end, I seized my prey.

From “The Poems of St. John of the Cross” translated by Roy Campbell, published by  Grosset & Dunlap,  Universal Library Edition, 1967, NY. There is another excellent edition by E. Allison Peers as well.

by peregrine for love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, December 30, 2017.

Mary, Temple of the Trinity

From our archives.  we offer for this Advent a poem composed originally for the Feast of the Annunciation, but also apt for this season in which we anticipate the coming of the Savior of the world, born of the Virgin Mary in abject poverty, ignored by the powerful, disdained even by His own, who were unable to find room for Him in their busy, self- important lives.

But the shepherds came and adored Him. After two millennia, what shepherds will come? Who will adore?

The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.
The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

 

                 Annunciation

Hail Mary, Temple of the Trinity!

        Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee,

Art thou astonished at His deference?

Fear not, for thou hast found grace with God.
             Thou shalt conceive … and bring forth a Son
                               Thou shalt call His name Jesus.

How shall it be?
          (Mindful of thy chastity)

And yet . . . it is thy purity draws Him down
Captivated by thy pure and humble love
                Thy Creator awaits at the door of thy will,

The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee
          . . .  the most High shall overshadow thee . . .
                        the Holy born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

His will is clear
          . . . moved by His will alone . . .

Behold the handmaid of the Lord
Be it done unto me…

The Architect of earth and heaven
                    Thus closed Himself in thy pure frame.
At thy “fiat” the Almighty Word
               leapt down from heaven
                              The Sword of Truth wrought death to death,
Obedient, He vanquished disobedient pride.

And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us,

peregrine, March 25, 2004


Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin! Give me strength against thine enemies!

© All Content Copyright 2013-2017 ReturntoFatima.org. All Rights Reserved.

St. Teresa of Avila, 2017

Today we honor St. Teresa of Avila, one of the greatest saints, yet, like St. Joseph, to whom she was devoted, one of the most approachable saints. Like all our greatest saints, ,we often find in her writings and life, wisdom to help us understand the challenges we face; though centuries pass, her words ring just as clear today, her wisdom fresh and appropriate as always.Plus, we close with a poem St. Teresa wrote that is quite lovely.

Lord, I am Thine, for I was born for Thee! Reveal what is it Thou dost ask of me.
Lord, I am Thine, for I was born for Thee!
Reveal what is it Thou dost ask of me.

 

In her work, The Way of Perfection, she discusses the ‘Our Father’, Our Lord’s own prayer. She especially recommends it as part of thanksgiving after Communion. In Chapter 35, St. Teresa remarks on the evils of the protestant attacks on the Blessed Sacrament and the Mass that were even then occurring.   As you read this, consider what her response would be to Pope Bergoglio’s enthronement of Luther in the Vatican in our times.   One portion of her commentary strikes us as most appropriate to these times in which we suffer with Christ the Passion of His Church. St. Teresa, remarking of the Lord’s Prayer,

“Let us rely on Our Lord’s command to us to pray to Him, and in fulfillment of our obedience to Him, let us beseech His Majesty, in the name of the good Jesus, … that He prevent Him from being so ill-treated. Since His Holy Son has given us this excellent way in which we can offer Him up frequently as a sacrifice, let’s make use of this precious gift so that it may stay the advance of such terrible evil and irreverence as is paid in many places to this Most Holy Sacrament.

For as those Lutherans seem to want to drive Him out of the world again: they destroy churches, cause the loss of many priests and abolish the sacraments. And there is something of this even among Christians, who sometimes go to church meaning to offend Him rather than to worship Him.”

She then goes on to importune the Heavenly Father to spare Our Lord the offenses He suffers against His Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, begging Him, although she is unworthy,

“Indeed, it may perhaps be for my sins, and because I have so greatly offended Thee, that so many evils come. What then can I do, my Creator, but present to Thee this most Holy Bread which, though Thou gavest it to us, I return to Thee, beseeching Thee, by the merits of Thy Son, to grant me this favor, which on so many counts, He has merited. Do Thou, Lord, calm this sea, and no longer allow this ship, which is Thy Church, to endure so great a tempest. Save us, my Lord, for we perish.” (Way of Perfection, p. 234-236).

It is as if she was anticipating the Angel of Fatima’s Prayer,  isn’t it?

Here in closing, is a poem of hers that recently came to our attention, thanks to Rorate Caeli:

Continue reading “St. Teresa of Avila, 2017”

To Mary, Temple of the Trinity, 2017

The time of this Novena has been an especially painful one for me as I have watched in increasing perplexity the unfolding drama of the “regularization” dialogue with apostate Rome. Our Heavenly Father, in His wisdom, in place of a brilliant mind, gave me instead a heart filled with love for Him. With my limitations, this situation presents itself to me in very simple, clear terms:

Does Pope Francis, in any way, show us his love of, reverence for, Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Church he founded? Does he show us, teach us his flock, love for, reverence for, Our Lord’s Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary?

If Pope Francis does not, then he is no friend, no follower of Jesus Christ, our Savior and the true Head of the One True Church founded by Him.  If therefore, Pope Francis is no friend of Our Lord Jesus Christ, why would any Catholic  associate  himself with him? We are not to associate ourselves with those who betray Christ, are we? 

In my pain, I tend to forget, and so I remind myself, and you too, that when we have prayed so profoundly to Our Most Blessed Mother, we must then let go of our burden and trust in her love for us, her children. For it would be an insult to her to continue to be in anguish once we have entrusted our cares to her. And so, let us end our Novena of the Annunciation with this meditative poem celebrating the grandeur of the Word made flesh, that dwells among us and comes to us daily through the consecrated hands of our beloved priests.

†  †  †

Today, the eve of the Feast of the Annunciation, we conclude our Novena. And again we offer the popular poem for the Annunciation shared with us by Peregrine, a reader/contributor.

“The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

 

                 Annunciation

Hail Mary, Temple of the Trinity!

        Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee,

Art thou astonished at His deference?

Fear not, for thou hast found grace with God.
             Thou shalt conceive … and bring forth a Son
                               Thou shalt call His name Jesus.

How shall it be?
          (Mindful of thy chastity)

And yet . . . it is thy purity draws Him down
Captivated by thy pure and humble love
                Thy Creator awaits at the door of thy will,

The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee
          . . .  the most High shall overshadow thee . . .
                        the Holy born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

His will is clear
          . . . moved by His will alone . . .

Behold the handmaid of the Lord
Be it done unto me…

The Architect of earth and heaven
                    Thus closed Himself in thy pure frame.
At thy “fiat” the Almighty Word
               leapt down from heaven
                              The Sword of Truth wrought death to death,
Obedient, He vanquished disobedient pride.

And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us,

peregrine, March 25, 2004

Let us hold fast to the truth: we are her children after all!

  Our Lady of Fatima, Queen of the Most Holy Rosary, crush satan’s head and drive him from the Church!

  Immaculate Heart of Mary, Queen of our hearts, Mother of the Church, do thou offer to the Eternal Father the Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ, for the conversion of poor sinners, especially our Pontiff.

  St. Joseph, protect our families, protect our priests!

  St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle!

  Pray the Rosary and confound the devil and those who serve him!

~ posted by evensong with love the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ, King.

Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O Sacred Virgin, give me strength against thine enemies!

Please note: This post, and the poem, are property of peregrine, a friend of Fatima. Please respect her wishes and do not copy her work elsewhere without permission. Thank you.

Mary, Temple of the Trinity

Today, the eve of the Feast of the Annunciation,  we conclude our Novena. And again we share the popular poem for the Annunciation shared with us by Peregrine, a reader/contributor.

The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

 

 

                 Annunciation

Hail Mary, Temple of the Trinity!

        Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee,

Art thou astonished at His deference?

Fear not, for thou hast found grace with God.
             Thou shalt conceive … and bring forth a Son
                               Thou shalt call His name Jesus.

How shall it be?
          (Mindful of thy chastity)

And yet . . . it is thy purity draws Him down
Captivated by thy pure and humble love
                Thy Creator awaits at the door of thy will,

The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee
          . . .  the most High shall overshadow thee . . .
                        the Holy born of thee shall be called the Son of God.

His will is clear
          . . . moved by His will alone . . .

Behold the handmaid of the Lord
          Be it done unto me…

The Architect of earth and heaven
                    Thus closed Himself in thy pure frame.
At thy “fiat” the Almighty Word
               leapt down from heaven
                              The Sword of Truth wrought death to death,
Obedient, He vanquished disobedient pride.

And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us,

peregrine, March 25, 2004

 

St. Teresa of Avila, Saint for the Post-Synod Church

Today we honor St. Teresa of Avila, one of the greatest saints, yet, like St. Joseph, to whom she was devoted, one of the most approachable saints. Like all our greatest saints,we often find in her writings and life, wisdom to help us understand the challenges we face; though centuries pass, her words ring just as clear today, her wisdom fresh and appropriate as always.

Lord, I am Thine, for I was born for Thee! Reveal what is it Thou dost ask of me.
Lord, I am Thine, for I was born for Thee!
Reveal what is it Thou dost ask of me.

In her work, The Way of Perfection, she discusses the ‘Our Father’, Our Lord’s own prayer. She especially recommends it as part of thanksgiving after Communion. In Chapter 35, St. Teresa remarks on the evils of the protestant attacks on the Blessed Sacrament and the Mass that were even then occurring. One portion of this strikes us as most appropriate to these times in which we suffer with Christ the Passion of His Church. St. Teresa, remarking of the Lord’s Prayer,

“Let us rely on Our Lord’s command to us to pray to Him, and in fulfillment of our obedience to Him, let us beseech His Majesty, in the name of the good Jesus, … that He prevent Him from being so ill-treated. Since His Holy Son has given us this excellent way in which we can offer Him up frequently as a sacrifice, let’s make use of this precious gift so that it may stay the advance of such terrible evil and irreverence as is paid in many places to this Most Holy Sacrament.

For as those Lutherans seem to want to drive Him out of the world again: they destroy churches, cause the loss of many priests and abolish the sacraments. And there is something of this even among Christians, who sometimes go to church meaning to offend Him rather than to worship Him.”

She then goes on to importune the Heavenly Father to spare Our Lord the offenses He suffers against His Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, begging Him, although she is unworthy,

“indeed, it may perhaps be for my sins, and because I have so greatly offended Thee, that so many evils come. What then can I do, my Creator, but present to Thee this most Holy Bread which, though Thou gavest it to us, I return to Thee, beseeching Thee, by the merits of Thy Son, to grant me this favor, which on so many counts, He has merited. Do Thou, Lord, calm this sea, and no longer allow this ship, which is Thy Church, to endure so great a tempest. Save us, my Lord, for we perish.” (Way of Perfection, p. 234-236).

It is as if she was anticipating the St. Michael’s Prayer at Fatima, isn’t it?

Here in closing, is a poem of hers that recently came to our attention, thanks to Rorate Caeli:

Lord, I am Thine, for I was born for Thee!

Lord, I am Thine, for I was born for Thee!
Reveal what is it Thou dost ask of me.
O sovereign Lord, of majesty supreme!
O Wisdom, that existed from all time!
Bounty, showing pity on my soul!
God, one sole Being, merciful, sublime.
Behold this basest of created things.
As thus, with hardihood its love it sings.
And tell me, Lord, what Thou dost ask of me!

Lo, I am Thine ! Thou hast created me.
And I am Thine, Thou hast redeemed me.
And I am Thine, for Thou dost bear with me.
And Thine, for Thou hast called me to Thee,
And Thine, Who dost preserve me at Thy cost
Nor leavest me to perish ‘mid the lost
Say what it is, Lord, Thou dost will of me.

Declare what dost decree, O Master kind!
If serf so vile have any fitting task,
And tell what office by Thy will ordained
Is work that from so base a slave dost ask!
Behold, sweet Love, I wait for Thy command,
Behold me. Lord, before Whose face I stand!
Do Thou reveal what Thou dost will of me?

Behold my heart, which here I bring, and in
Thine hand as glad entire free-offering lay,
Together with my body, life, and soul,
The love, the longings that my being sway!
To Thee, Redeemer and most gentle Spouse,
In willing holocaust I pledge my vows.
What is there. Lord, that I may do for Thee?

Bestow long life, or straightway bid me die;
Let health be mine, or pain and sickness send,
With honour or dishonour ; be my path
Beset by war, or peaceful till the end.
My strength or weakness be as Thou shalt choose.
For naught Thou askest shall I e’er refuse,
I only wish what Thou wilt have of me.

Assign me riches, keep in poverty,
And let me cherished or neglected dwell,
In joy or mourning as Thou wilt, upraised
To highest heaven, or hurled down to hell!
Whether the sky be bright, from cloudlets free,
It matters not, I leave the choice to Thee,
What lot, Lord, wilt Thou decide for me?

Give contemplation if Thou wilt, or let
My lonely soul in dryness ever pine;
Abundance and devotion be the gift
Thou choosest, or a sterile soul be mine!
Majesty supreme, in naught apart
From Thy decree can I find peace of heart!
Say what it is, Lord, Thou dost wish of me?

Lord, give me wisdom, or, if love demand.
Leave me in ignorance ; it matters naught
If mine be years of plenty, or beset
With famine direful and with parching drought!
Be darkness over all or daylight clear.
Despatch me hither, keep me stationed here,
Say what it is, Lord, Thou wilt have of me?

If Thou shouldst destine me for happiness,
For Love’s sake, joy and happiness I greet;
Bid me endure and labour till I die.
Resigned, in work and pain my death I’ll meet,
Reveal the how, the where, the when; for this
Is the sole boon, O Love, I crave of Thee,
That thou declare what Thou wouldst have of me!

Let Calvary or Thabor be my fate,
A desert or a fertile land of rest;
Like Job, in sorrow let me mourning weep,
Or lie, like John, in peace upon Thy breast;
Bear fruit and flourish, or, a withered vine
I’ll perish fruitless, so the choice be Thine!
Reveal, O Lord, what Thou dost ask of me!

Like Joseph as he lay in shackles bound.
Or holding over Egypt first command;
David chastised, atoning for his sins,
Or David crowned as ruler o’er the land;
With Jonas struggling, ‘mid the raging sea
Submerged, or set from ills and tempests free
Declare, O Lord, what Thou wilt have of me!

Then bid me speak or bid me silence keep,
Make me a fecund or a barren land;
Expose my wounds by the stern Law’s decree
Or comfort me by Gospel message bland.
Let me in torture lie or comfort give,
I crave alone that Thou within me live,
And shouldst reveal what Thou wilt have of me!

Lord, I am Thine, for I was born for Thee!
Reveal what is it Thou dost ask of me.

~ evensong ~