In a conference given to her novices, Mother Mary Francis,—of happy memory—in her own masterful way, informed them that their virginal love of Christ must yet be a fruitful union by noting that in the Canticle of Canticles the Bridegroom (a type of Christ) calls His beloved a “garden enclosed”, but does not say: “…a chunk of desert is my sister, my bride…” However, in the profound paradox that Our Divine Spouse prefers, one must enter into what seems to be the Barren Beyond of the dessert in order not to become spiritually barren oneself. This is why Our Lord draws His loved ones into Dark Nights of the Soul and permits valleys of desolation; it is why fruitful apostolic ventures are often preceded by laborious toil, physically and spiritually, and why the birth of spiritual life comes at high interior cost to faithful souls—in a special way to His brides. It is why annually, in accordance with the mind of the Church, our community takes a retreat.
"The works of art inspired by Scripture
remain a reflection of the unfathomable mystery
which engulfs and inhabits the world."
- Pope St. John Paul II: Letter to Artist (1999)
As the New Year begins, many people look towards the motto, "new year, new me." Many wish to get back on track with their health - starting exercise routines or a different way of eating. Others focus on mental health. removing stress in their life, or carving out more time for family and loved ones. Thankfully, others wish to bring about a healthier soul - diving deeper into their spiritual life. All of these are good attitudes for one to have, providing that we see that a healthier body, mind, and soul helps one to serve God better and to more perfectly do His will.
“If, then, we establish solid devotion to our Blessed Lady,
it is only to establish more perfectly devotion to Jesus Christ,
and to provide an easy and secure means for finding Jesus Christ.
If devotion to Our Lady removed us from Jesus Christ,
we should have to reject it as an illusion of the devil;
but so far from this being the case, devotion to Our Lady is, on the contrary,
necessary for us—as I have already shown, and will show still further hereafter--
as a means of finding Jesus Christ perfectly, of loving Him tenderly,
of serving Him faithfully.”
- St. Louis Marie de Montfort: True Devotion
"The first and foremost duty of all religious is to be the contemplation of divine things and assiduous union with God in prayer." - Code of Canon Law, 663
Fall is well underway here in Santa Rosa and at Regina Pacis Convent as the golden leaves make quite a contrast with the scattered, blooming flowers. The season began with a postulant project: pumpkin carving - Catholic style. We may be a bit biased, but we think these were the finest carved pumpkins in town! (Who wouldn't want a monstrance with accentuating candelabra for table or fireplace decor?)
O Lord Jesus Christ, King of glory, deliver the souls of all the faithful departed from the pains of hell and from the deep pit; deliver them from the lion's mouth, that hell engulf them not, nor they fall into darkness, but let Michael, the holy standard-bearer, bring them into the holy light which Thou once didst promise to Abraham and his seed. We offer Thee, O Lord, sacrifices and prayers of praise; do Thou accept them for those souls whom we this day commemorate; grant them, O Lord, to pass from death to the life which Thou once didst promise to Abraham and his seed.
- Offertory from Daily Requiem Mass
"When we love, we remember; and this memory, the effect of love, is not a barren thought. It resolves itself into deeds for the loved one. Why, when sorrow is united with faith, should not our sad memories resolve themselves into sentiments sweet and precious to the soul? To recall the features, the accents, the manners, and the sentiments of a loved one is still to see him, to hear him, to touch him, and to associate him with the joys and sorrows which he formerly shared." - Gergeres
August is traditionally devoted to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The heart symbolizes love; the Immaculate Heart symbolizes the love of the best of Mothers for her children.
Our love for our Lady, Queen and Mother of Religious Life, is renewed and manifested by our expressions of devotion related to each of her feastdays. On this feast of the Flower of Mount Carmel, we reflect in gratitude on her gift, the brown scapular, which we wear as a sign of our union with Jesus and Mary. We trust that as we strive to imitate Christ her Son she will wrap us in her maternal mantle of protection, strengthening us in the battle against evil.