“My Divine Master revealed to me that it was His ardent desire to be known, loved and honored by men, and His eager desire to draw them back from the road to perdition, along which Satan is driving them in countless numbers, that induced Him to manifest His Heart to men with all the treasures of love, mercy, grace, sanctification and salvation that It contains.”
– St. Margaret Mary, July 2, 1674
Dear Friends of Carmel,
Holy Mother Church dedicates the beautiful month of June to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Heart of our beloved Lord and Savior is filled with true and supreme love for mankind, which He mercifully pours forth upon a troubled world.
In times of worldwide unrest, we instinctively look for answers and for someone to lead us out of it; a leader who could pacify the unruly chaos that rules society and so troubles humanity. It is more than apparent that the rulers of this world are just not getting it right. Indeed, when the principles governing their actions are those of the world and in opposition to God, is it surprising that their actions could be considered the source of the chaos rather than its resolution?
The sublime prayer of the Litany of the Sacred Heart addresses Our Lord with many worthy titles that both proclaim and petition His Heart’s mercy to help, guide and lead us. One of these is Heart of Jesus, King and Center of all hearts, have mercy on us! Jesus declared to a worldly leader: “My kingdom is not of this world… This is why I was born, and why I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice (Jn. 18:36, 37).”
Note that Our Lord in this response to Pilate emphasizes the regal authority of His Heart over hearts! The Kingdom of Christ is a spiritual kingdom, but certainly has a social rule. Today, however, in speaking of the “King and Center of all Hearts,” we speak of His Sacred Heart and of His rule over those “who hear His voice.” It is from His reign in individual souls that He will one day reign in society. He, our Lord and Redeemer, gains the allegiance of mankind, soul by soul. Recall that He uses similar words in His parable of the Good Shepherd, saying that His sheep “hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them forth. And when he has let out his own sheep, he goes before them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. But a stranger they will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers…(Jn. 10:3-5).”
Truly, the ways of this world are inimical to the ways of God and His Kingdom. We are warned by the Apostle St. James that the friendship of this world is enmity with God and that whoever wishes to be a friend of this world becomes an enemy of God (Jas. 4:4). Turning again the present state of the world, we need no convincing that the answers are not to be found in it! Rather, taking refuge in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, our King and Shepherd, gives steadfast hope to the soul. The authority of the Church guides us in devotion to the Sacred Heart as King and Center of our hearts:
That Christ should be styled king in the figurative meaning of the word has long been of common usage on account of the exalted excellence by which He eminently surpasses all created things. Thus He is said to reign in the minds of men, not so much because of mental power or great extent of knowledge, as because He is the very truth. And mortal man must necessarily derive and obediently accept from Him the truth. He reigns likewise in the wills of men, because in Him there is an altogether perfect integrity and compliance of the human will with the holiness of the Divine Will, and He so subjects our free will by His own influence and impulse as to make us aspire to all that is most noble. Christ, finally, is acknowledged as King of hearts on account of His charity, surpassing all knowledge, and a meekness and kindliness that attracts souls. – Pope Pius XI – Quas Primas, December 11, 1925
In that Heart of love, there is no deception, but only truth and holiness. Jesus is the King of truth. He left us a summary of His teaching in the Eight Beatitudes. Blessed are the poor in spirit, the meek, those who mourn, those who hunger and thirst for justice; blessed the merciful, the pure of heart, the peacemakers and those who suffer persecution for the sake of justice (Mt. 5:1-12). These principles contrast sharply with those of the world. But in them, we see clearly that hope for peace of soul – and for order and peace in the world – can only be won through holiness of life. St. Paul tells us, “This is the will of God, your sanctification (Thes. 4:3).” And Our Lord left us the beautiful, mysterious words, “The Kingdom of God is within you (Lk. 17:21),” inviting souls to interior, spiritual life with Him. This is the Divine Indwelling of the Holy Trinity, by which God lives and reigns in us – and through us, in the world. He wills that we be the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world (Mt.5:13, 14).”
Let us then strive for that holiness of life that we find in the Heart of Our Lord. Let us dedicate our lives to Christ and His loving, most noble Heart by “offering to it the homage of our devotion and worthily fulfilling our duty of reparation (from the Liturgy for the Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus).” Other invocations from the Litany of the Sacred Heart that implore His help to this sanctity and for peace in the world:
Heart of Jesus, fountain of life and holiness,
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation,
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation,
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those that hope in Thee,
Heart of Jesus, delight of all the saints – have mercy on us.
The more that souls love Jesus and the closer they approach His Sacred Heart as the center of their love, the more they will love one another, keeping His great commandment of charity. The hope of mankind lies in the Sacred Heart of Jesus, for He gave this devotion particularly for this “last age of the earth.” Among the promises He made, through St. Margaret Mary, to those who practice it, are these:
- I will touch the most hardened hearts
- Tepid souls shall become fervent
- Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection
- I will establish peace in their families
- I will console them in all their troubles
- I will grant them all the graces proper to their state in life
- I will reign by My Heart
To encourage and help promote Devotion to the Sacred Heart, we have published a leaflet with this beautiful Litany for your benefit. The PDF version is here: Feel free to print and use. As well, we have printed and formatted in a completed leaflet form, which you may order, if you prefer. A brief history of the Litany is provided, along with the Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart to those who practice this devotion.
No Catholic home should be without a crucifix. In fact, it is common custom to have a crucifix, in every room of one’s home. How important it is to keep this image of redemption and perfect love before our eyes as we go about our daily tasks and strive to unite ourselves to our Divine Savior.
But Our Savior Himself gave us another image with which to honor Him, and neither should any Catholic home be without an image of the Sacred Heart. The enthronement of the Sacred Heart (detailed in the books below) has brought beautiful graces to families who have practiced it. St. Margaret Mary said of this practice:
“He promised to pour out into the hearts of all those who honor the image of His Heart all the gifts it contains in fullness, and for all those who would wear this image on their persons He promised to imprint His love on their hearts and to destroy all unruly inclinations. Everywhere this holy image was exposed to be honored, He would pour fourth His graces and blessings. This blessing was, as it were, a final effort of His love. He wanted to bestow upon men during these final centuries such loving redemption in order to snatch them from the control of Satan, whom He intended to destroy.”
The Ibarraran Sacred Heart print (pictured above) makes a perfect image for the Enthronement. We are so pleased to continue offering excellent quality prints of the original masterpiece of this wonderful artist, a master at the Old Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Mexico.
The Italian wood-carved statue of the Sacred Heart (Style 1 or Style 2), available in many sizes, is one of the finest designs from our woodcarver friends in the Val Gardena region. But we also offer a smaller (6”) resin statue, suitable for personal devotion for one’s room or desk. The Sacred Heart holy water font is also very dignified and lovely, serving a double purpose in the home or schoolroom.
Last, but never least, we just mentioned the Sacred Heart Badge, a devotion begun by St. Margaret Mary upon Our Lord’s request. In its history, this one sacramental has been influential in the proclaiming and preserving of the Faith for millions, through war, plague, and other disasters of the Church. It is the sign of allegiance to Christ, it is the sign of undying hope in His protection. You might like to read more about the fascinating history of this sacramental in our archived Newsletter from July, 2015: Freedom and the Martyrs of Compiegne.
The young woman who handcrafts our selection of 100% beeswax devotional candles has once again added a beautiful new design to the selection. The cross candle has been a favorite among our customers. She designed this new Lily Candle in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in tribute to her great purity and innocence of life. As always, if you would like us to have the candle blessed before shipping it, please just let u know!
Our Doctrine and Devotions page on the Sacred Heart Devotion gives a good summary of the devotion and includes particularly fine portions of Haurietis Aquas, the 1956 Encyclical of Pope Pius XII, along with a brief history and development of the devotion. Over many years, we have chosen books to offer on our website to assist souls in the Sacred Heart devotion. These include small booklets, as well as books with fuller treatment of the doctrines upon which the devotion is based, history of the devotion, etc. The Enthronement of the Sacred Heart has become, through the untiring work of Father Mateo, one of the finest ways of observing and instilling this devotion within families, communities and beyond. His book, Jesus King of Love has become the definitive work for explaining the origins and lofty purpose of the Enthronement – as well as its marvelous, sometimes truly miraculous, fruits. Enthronement of the Sacred Heart in the Home is a practical guide based on Father Mateo’s work that helps prepare for the Enthronement; it includes the Enthronement Ceremony, along with devotional prayers that help to establish Devotion of the Sacred
Please also peruse our past newsletters to learn more about this fundamental devotion of our Holy Faith: The Month of the Sacred Heart (June, 2008), The Sacred and Eucharistic Heart of Jesus (June, 2014), The Sacred Hearts and Fatima (October, 2017).
NEW MEDALS – We are always adding to the religious medals we offer on the site. Two have beautiful images of the Sacred Heart, being “Scapular medals,” since they also bear the image of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel on the reverse. Besides Sacred Heart medals, we have added to our selection of Miraculous Medals and opened an entirley new section of the website for lapel pins.
And lastly – we have received complaints over the past few months regarding the usability of our “build a custom rosary feature.” We are working to resolve this issue, but it will likely take some time to re-design it to be more compatible with recent technology upgrades. If you are trying to order a rosary and are having issues, please just let us know through email!
Let us just begin this section of the newsletter by remarking that Carmelites never let grass grow under their sandals! We could also use a variation on a phrase, “A Carmelite’s work is never done!” And truly, whether spiritual or temporal, our work is never completed… But each day’s effort is to make a good try at it, relying on the help of Our Lord, Our Lady and our Carmelite Saints to foster our work, make it fruitful, and preserve us in God’s holy love and grace all our days.
Every year we joke about it – that Colorado winters really don’t hit until spring. But this year seemed different. March brought high winds, but warmer days and sightings of robins, grass greening and lilac buds forming. April was warm and lovely, for the most part, early May popping with the colors and scents of spring. A very promising, true spring. Until winter arrived again. May 21st.
Spring flowers and young leaves – basically fried-by-freezing – when the entire Front Range of the Rockies had a true winter storm. Very wet, very heavy snow smashed plants, broke large branches, killed new growth on nearly everything. Our efforts to cover things only kept plants in the garden from freezing – we didn’t think of the heavy snow killing by sheer weight! But tucked safely in 2 cold frame gardens were the kohlrabi, lettuces and other greens – they didn’t even notice it was winter again, but kept up their steady growing beneath light sheets and tarps… The Sisters had caught spring fever and really wanted to start planting the flower pots. But Mother Prioress had been watching the weather reports, so she only allowed a few movable pots to be planted – ones that could easily be brought into the mud room for the storm’s duration.
It lasted two days, and when it was over, although there was a mess to clean up, it wasn’t as bad as we thought it would be, nor as bad as experienced in the city. Tree damage there was severe, we heard. But besides losing most new leaf sprouts, only one tree gave us worry – a beautiful, stately ash tree. It was basically split in two, with half of its tall, reaching branches broken and on the ground. Some of the Sisters had made trips out during the storm to unburden tree branches of snow – using rakes, brooms, whatever we had on hand to reach up! Using rakes as “snow harpoons” had its disadvantages; sometimes it gets stuck, and the next day when the snow began to melt and the trees were no longer bowed over, that rake was stuck up in the top of thirty foot tree!
Spring returned, the weeks since then have proven that all trees survived and are healthy. Watching for signs of life on what looked dead was one of our daily activities as we passed through the yard and around the Monastery enclosure – with updates at recreation, and cheers all around when the smallest sign of green emerged from winter-looking branches.
As always, and as it should be, much of our work day revolves around the Holy Liturgy. Washing and preparing altar linens, assembling flower arrangements for the altar, sacristy dusting and cleaning, etc. And these past few months, yet another vestment project for the honor and glory of God, specifically in honor of His Ascension. (No surprises here, we know.) This vestment was in the “planning” stages for four years, in between other projects, as we perfected techniques that we would be able to use in “full force” for this beautiful set. Techniques included research and execution in photo-editing, embroidery and of course, sewing.
- 3-D puffy foam layered for maximum 3-D effect,
- printed sublimation,
- working with dozens of colors of metallic threads of all different types, textures and colors,
- artistic input of two religious Communities, not only creative idea sharing, but also hand-drawn artwork by one of the Fathers,
- colorization of very old black and white pictures,
All of this – and sacrificial time and prayerful energy – made this vestment set a work of love for the altar. This was our most ambitious project yet. But that is the problem with ambition – it just keeps growing!
The Sister running the embroidery machine noticed that this particular set seemed to be so very “slow-sewing.” It just seemed to be taking four times longer than usual to get each piece done and give it over to the sewing Sisters to be incorporated into its rightful place on the vestment. Out of curiosity, she quickly added up all the stitches in each of the individual embroidery patterns, and discovered that there were one million stitches, on the back of the chasuble alone! That is why it was so slow! So very, very many stitches!
At this point, she took a moment to thank God for all of the wonderful technology He has given us to complete this work – for we would never have time to put in those one million stitches by hand.
The words beneath the picture captured one of our most beloved themes for the Feast of the Ascension: “I go to prepare a place for you.” While the angels on the vestment front and back, like the two angels at the scene in the Gospel, hold banners with the words that proclaimed the dogma to the Apostles: “Jesus has ascended into Heaven!” Our joy was complete when just a few weeks after finishing the set we were able to see it worn at this year’s solemn Ascension Mass. We always feel that a vestment is never really “complete” until it has served its purpose, at least once, at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Never can we neglect what God has given us through so many good people over so many years. That is why our probably most boring news in the letters each time has mention of “repairs”! It is just part of being good stewards over the gifts of God. So old, weathered concrete at the back of the property near the service gate needed to be replaced – a bigger project than we at first supposed. Fans in the pantry and bathrooms all needed to be replaced with new and improved. A number of window screens, weathered and puppy-attacked have recently been repaired or replaced. The list could go on, since each week at least a few little projects are taken care of, most of the time without the Community needing to worry about it. Mother Prioress, in the position of true overseer, sometimes jokes with wide, smiling eyes at how much it takes to keep up a simple, rather small Monastery.
But quietly and efficiently, she and the Sisters who have responsibility over the certain areas of the Monastery property, take care of what needs to be done. We can get screen material to repair window screens, but – no, we do not pour concrete!
It was our joy once again to spend part of the day before the Feast in prayer, with the Blessed Sacrament exposed at our choir grille. We opened the Feast in Our Lord’s presence, chanting First Vespers, then later in the afternoon, reciting Matins, then Compline. The quiet of those hours have a mystery and beauty that cannot be described. The busy world is far away, and we are in solitude with God. The words of Our Savior, “worship Him in spirit and in truth,” come to mind in the peace of that time… Heaven really does come to earth in those hours – and we did not fail to remember all our friends, families and kind benefactors, both living and deceased, in our prayers to that Heaven!
In closing, we send you this sublime, little prayer called “Invoking the Blessing of the Sacred Heart Upon a Friend” –
May the grace and blessing of the Sacred Heart be with you; the peace of the Sacred Heart encompass you; the merits of the Sacred Heart plead for you; the love of the Sacred Heart inflame you; the sorrows of the Sacred Heart console you; the zeal of the Sacred Heart animate you; the virtues of the Sacred Heart shine forth in every word and work; and may the joys of the beatific vision be your eternal recompense. Amen.
Happy Feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus!
Your Carmelite Sisters
The Litany of the Sacred Heart by Rev. A. Biskupek
Jesus King of Love by Father Mateo
Jesus Christ the King of Our Hearts by Bishop A. Lepicier