Wisdom of Carmel

Saint John of the Cross


"A soul that walks in love neither rests nor grows tired."

"The more intense a man's faith, the closer is his union with God.

"God does not fit in an occupied heart."

"From my observations, Christ is to a great extent unknown by those who consider themselves His friends.  Because of their extreme self-love, they go about seeking Him in their own consolations and satisfactions.  But they do not seek, out of great love for Him, His bitter trials and death."

"What profit is it that thou gives one thin to god if He asks of thee another? Consider that which will please God and do it; in this way thou will better satisfy thy heart that with that to which thou inclinest."

"Have an intimate desire that His Majesty grant you what He knows you lack for His honor... Perfection does not lie in the virtues that soul knows it has but in the virtues which Our Lord sees in it.  This is a closed book."

"If you want devotion to be born in your spirit, and the love of God and desire for divine things to grow, cleanse your soul of every desire, attachments and pretensions, so that you care nothing for anything."

"He who seeks not the Cross of Christ seeks not the glory of Christ."

"Do not go in pursuit of Him outside of yourself.  You will only become distracted and wearied, and you will not find Him, nor enjoy Him more securely nor sooner, nor more intimately than by seeking Him within you."

It is very important and fitting, if you desire to possess profound peace in your soul and attain perfection, that you surrender your whole will to God, that it may thus be united with Him.

When the spiritual person cannot meditate, he should learn to remain in God's presence with a loving attention and tranquil intellect, even though he seems to himself to be idle.  For little by little and very soon the divine calm and peace with a wondrous, sublime knowledge of God, enveloped in divine love, will be infused into his soul.

In the first place it should be known that if a person is seeking God, his beloved is seeking him much more.

Saint Therese of the Child Jesus

"The Blessed Virgin kept all these tings in her heart.  They cannot blame me for doing the same."

"I am only a child, powerless and weak, and yet it is my weakness that gives me the boldness of offering myself as victim of your love, O Jesus! In times past, victims, pure and spotless, were the only ones accepted by the Strong and Powerful God.  To satisfy Divine Justice, perfect victims were necessary, but the law of Love ha succeeded to the law of fear, and Love has chosen me as a holocaust, me, a weak and imperfect creature.  Is not this choice worthy of Love? Yes, in order that Love be fully satisfied, it is necessary that it lower itself, and that it lower itself to nothingness and transform this nothingness into fire."

"I understood that if the Church had a body composed of different members, the most necessary and most noble of all could not be lacking to it, and so I understood that the Church had a Heart and that His hert was burning with love.  I understood it was love alone that made the Church's members act.. I understood that love comprised all vocations, that love was everything, that it embraced all times and all places- in a word, that it was eternal!  My vocation is Love."

"The greatest honor God can grant a soul is not to give much to it, but to ask much of it."

"I was puzzled at seeing how Our Lord was pleased to caress certain ones from cradle to the grave.. Jesus deigned to teach me this mystery.   He set before me the book f nature; I understood how all the flowers he has created are beautiful,.. and so it is in the world of souls, Jesus' garden.  Just as the sun shines simultaneously on the tall cedars and on each little flower, so Our Lord is occupied particularly with each soul"

I realize that what pleases God is to see my littleness and my poverty, the blind hope I have in His mercy.  That is my sole treasure.. why should not this treasure be yours?  Understand that to love Jesus, to be His victim of love, the weaker one is, without desires or virtues, the more apt one is for the operations of that consuming and transforming love.  Ah, let us love our littleness, love to feel nothing, then we shall be poor in spirit, and Jesus will come for us.  He will transform us in love's flames... it is trust, and nothing but trust, that must bring us to Love... Fear bring us only to justice.

 To a Novice who spoke of her desire for more strength and energy with which "to practice virtue", Therese countered, "And suppose God wishes to have you as feeble and powerless as a child? Do you think that would be less worthy in God's eyes? Consent to stumble, or even to fall at every step, to bear your cross feebly; love your weakness. Your soul will draw more profit from that than if, sustained by grace, you vigorously performed heroic deeds which would fill your soul with self-satisfaction and pride. (Story of A Soul, Manuscript C: 239-244)

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity

"My Master asks me to go to my passion with the majesty of a queen.  He wishes me to be an additional humanity in which He can go on suffering for the glory of the Father."

"You are uncommonly loved, loved by that love of preference that the Master had here below for some and which brought them so far.  He does not say to you as to Peter: "Do you love me more than these?" Listen to what He tells you:"Let yourself be loved more than these! That is, without fearing that any obstacle will be a hindrance to it, for I am free to pour out My love on whom I wish. "Let yourself be loved more than these " is your vocation.  It is being faithful to it that you will make Me happy, for you will magnify the power of My love.  This love can rebuild what you have destroyed. " Let yourself be loved more than these."

Pere Jacques de Jesus

"Prayer which is so intense at certain moments continues always, everywhere.  This prayer always continues in the depths of the soul, as one who walks in flat open country notices fields in the immediate foreground without raising his eyes to the horizon, but is aware of it even though he is not looking at it.  For the soul throughout the day there is a supernatural and divine horizon which encompasses all the actions and works which it undertakes."

The soul savors the exquisite joy of loving God, it savors above all the love that God pours into it.  It savors the contact with God because the soul touches God in prayer.  And at the same time it suffers because here below the soul can gather up only crumbs, and the soul has an absolute, infinite hunger for all of God.

Mary prayed in silence. And it was in the silence of this prayer that Mary heard the voice of the angel.  She would not have heard it had she not been silent.  All the silence of prayer is necessary to hear and recognize the voice of God, the call of God, the desire of God in a soul.

Only love has value.  What God seeks in us is not the quantity of material works, but a hymn of love that rises from the bottom of the heart, composed of strophes of contemplation or action, it matters little which, provided that it is a melody of love.  The saints have never attached importance to what their hands do; they did what they had to do but they did it for love.

St. Teresa of Jesus

"If it's true, Lord, that you want to endure everything for me, what is this that I suffer for you? Of what am I complaining? I am already ashamed, since I have seen you in such a condition.  I desire to suffer, Lord, all the trials that come to me and esteem them as a great good enabling me to imitate You in something."

 "It is the queen who gives the king most trouble in this chess-game and all the other pieces support her. There is no queen who can beat this King as well as humility can; for humility brought him down from heaven into the Virgin's womb, and with humility we can draw him into our souls by a single hair. Be sure that he will give most to him who has most already, and least to him who has least."

Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

Whoever seeks to consult with the Eucharistic God in all her concerns, whoever lets herself be purified by the sanctifying power coming from the sacrifice at the altar, offering herself to the Lord in the sacrifice, whoever receives the Lord in her soul's innermost depth in Holy Communion cannot but be drawn ever more deeply and powerfully into the flow of divine Life, incorporated into the Mystical Body of Christ, her heart converted to the likeness of the Divine Heart.

Saint Mary Magdalen de Pazzi

Nevertheless, I hold it a precious privilege to serve God at whatever cost to myself.