A new saint for the Discalced Carmelite Order
The Discalced Carmelite nun Mary of Jesus Crucified has been canonized. She is the first Carmelite nun from the Middle East.
Born in Galilee, Mary lived in Egypt, Lebanon, France and India and her short life came to an end in Bethlehem. She is a bridge between the Christians of the East and those of the West and invites us to live more intensely the communion of saints under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
"In her, everything speaks to us about Jesus," said Saint John Paul II. We rejoice that this flower of the Holy Land is given as an example for the universal Church and particularly for the Near and Middle East. It is a great happiness, a sign of hope and support for the Christians of the East!", state the Discalced Carmelite nuns of the present Bethlehem community.
Present at the canonization was the General of the Order, Fr Saverio Cannistrà, as well as numerous representatives from the Teresian family.
To make the new Saint better known, the Discalced Carmelite nuns in Bethlehem have created a blog (http://mariamdejesuscrucifieblog.blogspot.co.il) They assure us that, "Through this blog we wish to invite you to join with us in the joy and thanksgiving for this daughter of Carmel and the Holy Land. She is a flower of sanctity for the whole Church and in a special manner for the whole of the Middle East. She is a living witness to God's presence among his people." The web page is available in French, English, Spanish and Italian.
Manual of Teresian discernment
Fr Oswaldo Escobar, Provincial of Central America, has just published in the Editorial San Pablo of Colombia a "Manual of Teresian discernment" The book aims to be an instrument for understanding the vast Teresian doctrine, but in the light of spiritual discernment. While it is not true that nothing has been written about the topic, it is a subject that is rarely treated.
The book consists of eight abundant chapters which unwittingly become a small Teresian encyclopaedia, since it deals with issues of unique interest and great significance in the field of spiritual discernment.
The first chapter is about preliminary topics of discernment, such as God's will; what is the will of God for Teresa of Jesus?; what is discernment? Likewise, the basis of Teresian discernment is laid by a brief summary of her works and establishing the pivotal points which identify discernment for Teresa of Jesus.
The second chapter gives a summary of the doctrinal body of Teresa's works, but concentrating on the subject of temptations in the spiritual life, some of which are: abandoning prayer, the aim of the evil spirit to bring the person praying to total disintegration, the attacks of the evil spirit in the psychological dimension and imagination, to distort self knowledge.
The third chapter concentrates on the great interventions of God in the prayer life. The fourth chapter is of highest interest because it helps to discern how certain interior movements can be distinguished which do not come either from a good spirit nor even one that is bad, but are only echoes of our own psychological apparatus.
The fifth chapter stands out since it speaks about all the struggles Saint Teresa had against the spirit of evil, drawing attention to her work of exorcism and emphasising all her triumphs against the evil spirit.
An attractive and useful chapter (the fifth) is devoted to false peace in the one who is praying. Discussed here is how it can be many times that the peace a person enjoys does not have its origin in God.
The seventh chapter bears as its title, discernment in Teresa's experience of prayer. First of all non-mystical prayer is dealt with and its respective criteria for discernment. The second part makes an analysis of the authenticity of mystical phenomena.
The book concludes with a chapter devoted to depression in the spiritual life and the criteria for effectively lifting those who are praying out of these random difficult situations. In this chapter it is evident what depth Teresa had in the sciences of the soul.
Teresian activities in Chile
In the context of the V centenary of the birth of our Holy Mother, Saint Teresa of Jesus of Avila, the Discalced Carmelite family planned a series of activities of an artistic as well as an academic nature.
In Santiago de Chile, from the 18th April to the 10th May, the La Calderona theatre company debuted a work by the award winning Spanish dramatist, Juan Mayorga, "Language in pieces". It is a work that imagines an intense dialogue between Teresa of Avila and a member of the Inquisition. It is based mainly on her autobiographical work, the book of her Life, leading to reflecting on power, the word, and mysticism, attitudes strongly internalized in this great Saint.
Such has been the success of the work, that there are no bookings left for the remaining sessions; most probably there will be another season in June.
Together with this, a Teresian Congress has been planned for the 20th and 21st of August 2015, which will take place in the central hall of the Catholic Pontifical University in Chile - all are invited to come.
May the experience of God, Saint Teresa of Jesus shared with us, continue to be an encouragement and help in our search for friendship with God.
Visit to the General House by the Iranian ambassador to the Holy See
Fr Óscar I. Aparicio, OCD Archivist General
Recently, a small entourage of Iranian personalities visited the OCD General Curia and archives. Leading the delegation was not the Ambassador of Iran but Hojjat ol Eslam Seyyed Ali Ghazi Asghar, a distinguished scholar and Representative of the Supreme Guide of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He was accompanied by the Ambassador to the Holy See, a renowned Iranian theologian and two translators, one for Italian and the other for English, who were also journalists.
The purpose of the visit was to get a brief idea about the life of the Discalced Carmelite friars, and in the process to be able to see letters and documents kept in our Archives as records of our time in Persia during the 17th and 18th centuries. First of all, in the largest parlour of the OCD General House, we had an interesting conversation, in which they assured me that faith in God is very important for both the religions, that we should fight against poverty in the world, as Pope France reminds us, and that we should not permit offending religions with cartoons.....
Afterwards I showed them various places in the curia: chapel, sacristy (they asked me what our liturgical vestments were used for), then we went to our dining room and garden. They asked me about our daily prayer, where do we make it and how often..... Most of all they wanted to see a cell, in order to know about the place where we live... Then they asked me if we prayed in our room....
I then showed them letters from the Great Abbas of Persia which we have in our archives and other documents we have of our history in Persia. They were very struck by a map from the end of the 18th century (1791). They urged me to digitalize all the documents concerning Persia so that they could have a copy in their State Archives.
After the customary greetings and a gift to them of a Guide to the OCD General Archives, the visit of the Iranian delegation to our OCD General Curia came to an end. Let us hope that this approach leads to both religions, Christian and Islamic, living in peace and mutual respect.