Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Connection between St. Teresa of Avila & St. Philip Neri

JMJT! Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!

Dear Ones-

When I think of these two saints, I think of the heart! We know our dear mother experienced the Transverberation of the Heart as a wound that united her to Our Lord Jesus.  This is celebrated on August 27th. (See for more information.   St. Philip Neri experienced such heartfelt love for Our Triune God, that his heart would beat violently and shake the bed! Additional information about this is as follows: "A peculiar charism was his burning love of God, a love that imperceptibly communicated itself to all about him. So ardently did this fire of divine love affect him during the octave of Pentecost in his twenty-ninth year that the beating of his heart broke two ribs. It was a wound that never healed." (see

As we approach Pentecost and the month of June, dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, let us strive to love more fully by immersing ourselves in the fire of God's love. The more empty we become, the more He can fill us up and make our hearts beat in pure love for Him! We can then give this love out to all those we meet. As Carmelites, our affair is of the heart.

If we give our fiat, He will do the rest.

Love in Carmel,

Candida Kirkpatrick, ocds

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Fr. Doug's Homily on Confession

JMJT! Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!

Our dear Spiritual Director,  Fr. Doug Lorig,  shared a homily with us during Mass this past Saturday regarding five points of light or additional elements that we can look at when we prepare for Confession.  They were the following:

1. Perpetual Repentence: Letting go of others wrong throughout the day and focusing on your own responsibilities.

2. Divine Mercy: Are you truly merciful? The pharisees lacked mercy and this is why Jesus criticized them.

3. Forgiveness: Seek to forgive others who have wronged you. Dig deeply within. Have Masses said for those who have hurt you. This is a step towards true forgiveness.

4. Develop Virtue: St. Therese built on virtue and was constantly developing these - most especially humility. She studied the virtues of Jesus as found in the Gospels and used them.  We need to look at the 9 fruits of the Holy Spirit and see how they are manifesting themselves in our lives.

5. Love: Lack of love is what purgatory is all about. Increase humility and love to enable the fullness of the Holy Spirit to reside within the soul.  The Parable of the Ten Virgihns speaks to this. Only five were prepared or had the light of the Holy Spirit in their souls. We must guard this and constantly cultivate this.

I hope that Fr. Doug does not mind me adding a few notes that I have written about Confession as an aid to the essential goal of self knowledge that was so very important to our Foundress St. Teresa of Avila. Here it goes...

Almost every saint and serious theologian recognizes the importance of self-knowledge when one seeks to experience closer intimacy and eventual union with God. This is the foundation of a deepening prayer life and relationship with God. St. Teresa calls this the first of the seven mansions in the soul’s interior castle, and one which must be revisited often no matter the level and depth of one’s interior prayer life.

The first step to self-knowledge is to utilize the graces in Confession to remove any mortal sin that may be clouding the soul from the graces God wishes to give each of us as His son or daughter.  Our Savior breaks the chains that bind us to evil, and we begin to be restored to peace, wholeness, and a realization of who we are and were created to be in the eyes of the Father. This can be a life-ling process which is absolutely fine! As we are healed from mortal sin, we can begin to focus on venial sin and root out venial sins, faults and imperfections in our lives.

Since the Rule of St. Albert encourages frequent reception of this sacrament along with a daily examination of conscience (See , having Fr. Doug's five points of light, as well as other resources can only help us as we strive towards an increase in holiness. The following might be helpful additional resources for an examination of conscience:

1 Examination of Conscience Based on the Beatitudes See

2. Another classic on living a life of holiness for beginners onward is St. Francis de Sales Introduction to a Devout Life. This contains recommendations on how to rid ourselves of sin in our daily lives and strive towards holiness."

I think that our next Confessions will all be very special indeed! :)

In Carmel,

Candida Kirkpatrick, ocds

Monday, May 23, 2011

Praise be Jesus Christ Now and Forever!

JMJT! Praise be Jesus Christ! Now and Forever!

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Carmel,

I want to express my sincere gratitude for all of the love and support you have shown me throughout my journey with our community, and the enthusiasm with which you embraced me and all of the members of the newly elected council on Saturday. I am truly humbled to be able to serve you as your new president, and want to express my sincere gratitude to Rosemarie Ludwig who served tirelessly for two terms, as well as the council members, the Director of Formation, Harold Jeffers, and Margaret Seibolt and Vic Tinelli who served as the community's Secretary and Treasurer respectively.

We are all truly blessed to have been called by Our Lord and Our Lady to this community, and to have one another as  companions as we ascend or drill down deeper (depending on which way the Holy Spirit is leading you) into the Mount of Carmel.  Furthermore, as we approach the 500th anniversary of St. Teresa of Avila's birth, it is a fitting time to ponder how we can further St. Teresa's call and vision to foster a deeper love for God amongst all of humanity through loving attentiveness to Our Lord Jesus in prayer.   By taking time throughout the day to 'choose the better part' as St. Mary Magdalene did, we are then nourished by Our Lord to bring His Divine Mercy and Goodness to all those we encounter.  How our world so desperately needs this  right now!

This week, on May 25th, we celebrate the Memorial of St. Mary Magdalen de Pazzi of Florence, Italy  (1566-1607).  This beautiful mystic sought to be united to God at all times through the inspirations of the Holy Spirit and desired to bring mercy to all of humanity.  She is recorded as having prayed the following, "O Trinity, O Father, O Word, O Spirit, give your light to your creatures, one by one, so that they may understand their malice; and give me the grace to be able to satisfy for them, even by giving my life when this might be necessary. O why can I not give this light to all? Would that we could all together give reparation for the offenses you receive, even though we could not satisfy for them except by your own goodness."
She also had a pure love of Our Lady, which is captured in the following prayer, "O most pure Mary, I offer and give myself to you, not only with that purity and innocence that I received when I consecrated myself to you, but adorned beyond that, and then repurified, and then adorned again. Receive me therefore, O Mary, and keep me within yourself."

What beautiful words to ponder as we approach the end of the month of May, dedicated to Our  Lady. I pray that she may continue to draw each of us closer to her Beloved Son, Jesus and to Her Spouse, the Holy Spirit, in order to be pleasing to Our Heavenly Father.  Minutes for the next meeting will be coming next week along with details concerning your formation groups, leaders, and any materials/books that you need to purchase.  In the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me with any questions, concerns, prayer requests or other information you wish to share with the community. 

Please be assured of my prayers and love as we continue to sojourn through our Carmel in the desert together.

In Him,

Candida Kirkpatrick, ocds