An Unpetalled Rose….

(I have been on a bit of a blog break, falling in love with my precious granddaughter….now ten weeks old).   Meanwhile, here is a favorite post of mine from 2011.


The summer after I graduated from highschool, I attended a “going away” shower for a pretty girl who had graduated with me.  She was leaving to enter a Carmelite monastery nearby.                                                                                                                  

Earlier that year when Mary had announced her plans, the comment, “What a waste,”  was frequently bantered about.  And on the day of her shower, after we had helped her load the gifts into her car, and she had hugged everyone good-bye, the same comment was repeated as she drove away.

Then there was Dolores Hart.  She sent the “what a waste” crowd into apoplexy when she abandoned her Hollywood career to join a Benedictine monastery — even after starring in two movies with Elvis, no less.  I admit to being intrigued by Dolores myself when she made appearances on EWTN Live a couple of times over the past few years.  She is still beautiful in her 70’s, and is radiant and funny and full of joy– and still a nun.

My friend Mary, and Mother Dolores Hart come to mind whenever I read one of my favorite poems by St. Therese.  It’s titled, The Unpetalled Rose.  How like Therese to want to “squander” her life just for God — simply to give Him pleasure, to be a fresh petal beneath His feet.

But this beautiful poem is not limited to cloistered nuns like Therese and Mary and Dolores.  We can all desire to be “unpetalled.”  We can surrender with joy our plans and dreams into the Heart of God and fling away the script we had hoped our life would follow.

And, petals fall too when we truly seek the last place, rejoicing when others are praised and rewarded while we are overlooked….when we live our lives “with mystery” as Therese states in the last stanza of her poem.  To live in mystery is to be an enigma to the world, to choose what the world does not understand, all the while in secret, unpetalling the rose of our lives.

There are a thousand ways to lose our petals, and allow ourselves to simply be used up for God’s pleasure.  You can tell when you are being unpetalled.  There is a pain within, like a struggle… like dying… self.

But suddenly, you feel lighter.  There is fragrance.  Another petal has dropped…. for  His Joy Alone!

But now let Therese tell us as only she can —

An Unpetalled Rose

  St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face

Jesus, when I see you held by your Mother,
Leaving her arms
Trying, trembling, your first steps
On our sad earth,
Before you I’d like to unpetal a rose
 In its freshness
So that your little foot might rest ever so softly
On a flower!….

This unpetalled rose is the faithful image,
Divine Child,
Of the heart that wants to sacrifice itself for you unreservedly
at each moment.
Lord, on your altars more than one new rose
Likes to shine.
 It gives itself to you…..but I dream of something else:
 To be unpetalled!….”

The rose in its splendor can adorn your feast,
Lovable Child,
But the unpetalled rose is just flung out
To blow away.
 An unpetalled rose gives itself unaffectedly
To be no more.
Like it, with joy I abandon myself to you,
Little Jesus.

One walks on rose petals with no regrets,
And this debris
Is a simple ornament that one disposes of artlessly,
That I’ve understood.
Jesus, for your love I’ve squandered my life,
My future.
In the eyes of men, a rose forever withered,
I must die!…

For you, I must die, Child, Beauty Supreme,
What a blessed fate!
In being unpetalled, I want to prove to you that I love you,
O my Treasure!…
Under your baby steps, I want to live here below
With mystery,
And I’d like to soften once more on Calvary
Your last steps!….

(all emphases by Therese)

From:  The Poetry of St. Therese of Lisieux

Translated By:  Donald Kinney, OCD

ICS Publications, (Institute of Carmelite Studies) 1995

(first posted August 9, 2011)

Adoring the Holy Face of Jesus

Today is the Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus.  It always falls on Shrove Tuesday (Mardi Gras.)  I can’t help thinking that this Feast of reparation falls on this day at least partly because of all the sins committed during the Mardi Gras celebrations.  (I grew up in New Orleans, so I know….)

I hope you will visit this link to my post featuring the history of this feast, as well as the Golden Arrow Prayer which Jesus Himself dictated to a Carmelite nun….a prayer to bring delight to His Heart.

But I also wanted to celebrate the Beauty of the Face of Jesus today.  I substituted at Adoration yesterday, and found myself meditating much on His Sacred Humanity, and how irresistible the Face of Jesus must be.

I cannot imagine such love and compassion, such kindness, tenderness, majesty and power, such goodness and glory all shining forth in one Sacred Countenance.  Truly, one could not see Him as He is and live!

I remember the words of St. Faustina:  Jesus, who will paint You as beautiful as You are?


O Most Beautiful Face
Of my Savior,
I adore Your Divine Beauty,
Hidden from me now,
Yet known somehow
In the depths of my soul.
I sit before You,
Beneath Your Loving Gaze.
I gaze back,
Only the Sacred Host,
Yet knowing
That it is into the
Eyes of my Beloved Savior that
I see,

For an outstanding article on the Holy Face, visit:

The Dream……

(Because I am in the midst of a storm, and need to snuggle close to Jesus on the rough waters of life, I share this post from 2011.)

Then it began to blow a great gale and the waves were breaking into the boat so that it was almost swamped. But He was in the stern, His head on the cushion, asleep. Mark 4:37-39

I especially love Mark’s account of the calming of the storm on the lake, because it includes the lovely little detail of Jesus resting His head on the cushion

O Son of God, asleep in the boat, Your Sacred Head resting upon a cushion — like us, You sought a bit of comfort. 

O how beautiful You are, Divine Jesus.  I love to sit and contemplate Your Holy Countenance at rest.  Sweet and Innocent Lamb of God, You are breathtaking, and I cannot turn my eyes away.

Gently, I reach out to brush back your damp hair so that I may drink in all the Beauty of Your Face.

I find myself wondering what You are dreaming about.  You look so peaceful.  O, I hope it is a lovely dream.  Perhaps You are dreaming of all who will one day love You and sing Your praises forever.

Are you dreaming of the great Saints and Martyrs who will live lives of heroic virtue, and even die for love of you?  Are you dreaming of Your Home in Heaven?

My Jesus, do I dare hope that You are dreaming of me?

The wind has picked up and a huge storm is moving into my life, but I must not wake You.   I recall Your words to Your disciples:  “Why are you frightened?  Have you still no faith?”

Increase my faith, O dearest Jesus!

“I sleep, but My Heart is awake.” (Song of Songs 5:2)  Your Heart hears my unspoken prayers.

Our boat is tossed about.  I can scarcely hold on.  I come closer, and snuggle next to You, resting my head upon Your Heart.  I close my eyes.  The waves wash over us.  I feel Your Closeness.  “I will not wake Him,”  I whisper to myself.  And I too drift off to peaceful sleep…….

“His left arm is under my head,
His right embraces me.” (Song of Songs 2:6)

 ………Some years ago, I often liked to ask Jesus what He dreamed about while on earth.  I never expected an answer, of course.  But one weekend, I went to a huge Marian Conference in New Orleans.  There were thousands of people there praising and worshiping God.  The Masses were beautiful.  There was an adoration chapel set up, and Our Blessed Lady was honored with beautiful words, prayers and an abundance of flowers.

I felt I had died and gone to Heaven, but the best was yet to come.  On Sunday evening, suddenly I heard the steady ringing of bells from a distance while the choir began to exquisitely sing “Crown Him with many Crowns.”  Then I saw the procession of white vested priests start down the aisle, amidst clouds of incense, and as the bells grew louder, I saw Him.  He was being carried in a ciborium swaddled in white, surrounded by candles.

But what took my breath away were His people.  As the procession passed each row in this immense conference center, all of the people bowed to the ground.  Row after row fell on their faces before Him.  As I watched with tears filling my eyes, awaiting His approach, I thought, “Oh, this must be what Heaven is like.”

And, unexpectedly, astonishingly, I heard a clear and tender voice whisper to my heart,

THIS is one of My Dreams! 

My Beautiful One…..

“One thing I ask of the Lord; this I seek: To dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life. That I may gaze on the loveliness of the Lord and contemplate His temple.” Psalm 27


I am held captive
by Your Beauty,
although You remain
Nothing created
could ever enamor
my heart like You.
Yours is an
Indefinable Beauty
Which no words
could describe.
It is the Way You are
It is What You do
It is the Perfection
In all of Your Works.
It is Your
Flawless Wisdom.
Your Beauty is
the Way You Love,
the Way You ARE Love
It is the
Radiance of Your Face.
Awareness of
Divine Beauty
grows ever in my heart
Each of
Your Attributes
appears infused with
to me.
about You
my God
Incomparably Beautiful.
And, gazing upon the
Sacred Host
my heart cries out:
How beautiful You are
my Jesus!
You are so

Where Love descends……


O Most Blessed Trinity, my One God,

Trinity of Love, I worship You!

Three in One, sweet and precious Mystery,

Beloved Trinity

You choose to dwell in me.

I am Your little home

You Whom the universe cannot contain –

You seek out tiny, hidden, ordinary places,

like a stable, a carpenter’s house, a simple host of bread,

and me!

How beautiful You are

O my Adored God!

You love to humble Yourself,

You before Whom the Seraphim cover their faces.

O, I long to see You face to face,

But I love Your game of hiding too!

How grateful I am that You never leave me.

I want to savor Your Presence within and all around me.

Lost in You

You in me

I unworthy,

Your Love transforming

Redeeming me.

Like a child,

I rest in Your arms,

so safe, so loved.

Jesus, You touched the lepers,

And eagerly You touch me.

I am worse than a leper

But You are the healer of souls.

Your Goodness astounds me;

Tears flow.

Set my heart on fire like the Seraphim

Yet with uncovered face

May I gaze upon You

eternally, adoringly


Lay me down, my Jesus……

I am re-posting this little prayer/poem from two years ago, because I need it this week…just as I did when I wrote it in Adoration a long time ago. Lying down on the Heart of Jesus is sometimes the very best prayer.


Jesus, my All,
lay me upon Your Heart,
for I am so very weary.
May I rest awhile in You,
in Your Heart so Pure,
in the Shelter of Your Love?

Lay me down my Jesus;
draw me close to You,
where I will find again
all life seems to have
used up in me.

Everything I thought lost
is not really lost at all.
Both my joys and sufferings
Are but instruments for good
in Your Sacred Hands.

Ah, how kind You are,
I know it well.
You are the Love I yearn for.
My poor little life
is precious to You,
and that so charms me,
O King of kings!

I am free and loved,
because there is nothing
I could possibly give
or do for You.
You want only my heart,
my gaze fixed on You.

How Pure is Your Love!
The world tugs and pulls me,
but You gather me up
How sweet and peaceful is Your Love.
I long for You, my unseen,
Beautiful One.

Lay me down upon Your breast,
my sweet Jesus.
Let me pass what remains
of this life
in the safe and loving warmth
of Your embrace.

O “my Three,” my All my Beatitude…

I have posted this before, but it is my favorite prayer to the Most Blessed Trinity, written by a Carmelite nun, Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, whose name means “house of God.” How providential! She was enraptured by the truth that the Divine Trinity dwelled within her soul. Her desire was that her life be a “praise of glory.”

“A praise of Glory is a soul of silence that remains like a lyre under the mysterious touch of the Holy Spirit so that He may draw from it divine harmonies; it knows that suffering is a string that produces still more beautiful sounds; so it loves to see this string on its instrument that it may more delightfully move the heart of God…” Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity.

Today’s Feast is especially dear to my heart, as I am observing the 12th anniversary of my Definitive Promise as a secular discalced Carmelite. Thanks be to our Triune God!

Please join me in praising Him with Blessed Elizabeth in her exquisite prayer:


Prayer to the Most Holy Trinity
Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, OCD

O my God, Trinity whom I adore, help me to become utterly forgetful of myself so that I may establish myself in you, as changeless and calm as though my soul were already in eternity. Let nothing disturb my peace nor draw me forth f from you, O my unchanging God, but at every moment may I penetrate more deeply into the depths of your mystery. Give peace to my soul; make it your heaven, your cherished dwelling-place and the place of your repose. Let me never leave you there alone, but keep me there, wholly attentive, wholly alert in my faith, wholly adoring and fully given up to your creative action.

O my beloved Christ, crucified for love, I long to be the bride of your heart. I long to cover you with glory, to love you even unto death! Yet I sense my powerlessness and beg you to clothe me with yourself. Identify my soul with all the movements of your soul, submerge me, overwhelm me, substitute yourself for me, so that my life may become a reflection of your life. Come into me as Adorer, as Redeemer and as Saviour.

O Eternal Word, utterance of my God, I want to spend my life listening to you, to become totally teachable so that I might learn all from you. Through all darkness, all emptiness, all powerlessness, I want to keep my eyes fixed on you and to remain under your great light. O my Beloved Star, so fascinate me that I may never be able to leave your radiance.

O Consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, overshadow me so that the Word may be, as it were incarnate again in my soul. May I be for him a new humanity in which he can renew all his mystery.

And you, O Father, bend down towards your poor little creature. Cover her with your shadow, see in her only your beloved son in who you are well pleased

O my `Three’, my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in which I lose myself, I surrender myself to you as your prey. Immerse yourself in me so that I may be immersed in you until I go to contemplate in your light the abyss of your splendour!

Let us cover the Face of Jesus with kisses of love and repentance….

This is a re-visit of a poem shared in Lent, 2011. May we all do what we can to console Jesus during His Passion, in a world that has seemingly forgotten Him.


(Picture taken at the entrance to the Holy Steps of Jerusalem, now in Rome, Italy)

Oh my Beloved!
You know the pain,
The pain of rejection —
Of wondrous love refused.
You do not discount my pain,
Though it is nothing beside Your Own.
Ah, this pain, does it not
Make me more like You,
My Jesus?

No heart ever loved like Yours,
Yet you were betrayed by
An intimate friend.
You laid down Your Life
For Your enemies.
Who can measure Your Love?

O my Adored God,
Let me fix my gaze upon you — unceasingly.
In Your Beautiful Face,
I will find strength to bear
My little crosses.
No one could ever betray me
Like You were betrayed.

I come to the Garden,
Running ahead of Judas.
I kiss Your cheek, wet with tears.
My kiss tells You of my love,
My trust, my desire to
Be faithful to You.
When the Betrayer comes,
Remember my poor kiss……

St. Michael in charge……

I will be away from my blog for a few weeks…during some of my favorite feast days. So, I leave the glorious St. Michael the Archangel in charge here. I will simply have to honor St. Therese in anticipation of her upcoming Feast, with a re-post or two in her honor… and maybe one or two of my other posts re-visited.

Meanwhile, I hope you will enjoy G.K. Chesterton’s magnificent poem about St. Michael, which I fell in love with the very first time I read it.

Peace and Joy to everyone, and special love and prayers for my dear blog friends….you know who you are         Auf Wiedersehen!    I will miss you….

Gilbert K. Chesterton

This poem was first published in The Legion Book (London 1929), and again in G. K.’s Weekly (September 24, 1936).The poem also appeared in Chesterton Review, May 1990 (Vol 16 No 2).

Michael, Michael: Michael of the Morning, Michael of the Army of the Lord, Stiffen thou the hand upon the still sword, Michael, Folded and shut upon the sheathed sword, Michael, Under the fullness of the white robes falling, Gird us with the secret of the sword.

When the world cracked because of a sneer in heaven, Leaving out for all time a scar upon the sky, Thou didst rise up against the Horror in the highest, Dragging down the highest that looked down on the Most High: Rending from the seventh heaven the hell of exaltation Down the seven heavens till the dark seas burn: Thou that in thunder threwest down the Dragon Knowest in what silence the Serpent can return.

Down through the universe the vast night falling (Michael, Michael: Michael of the Morning!) Far down the universe the deep calms calling (Michael, Michael: Michael of the Sword!) Bid us not forget in the baths of all forgetfulness, In the sigh long drawn from the frenzy and the fretfulness In the huge holy sempiternal silence In the beginning was the Word.

When from the deeps of dying God astounded Angels and devils who do all but die Seeing Him fallen where thou couldst not follow, Seeing Him mounted where thou couldst not fly, Hand on the hilt, thou hast halted all thy legions Waiting the Tetelestai and the acclaim, Swords that salute Him dead and everlasting God beyond God and greater than His Name.

Round us and over us the cold thoughts creeping (Michael, Michael: Michael of the battle-cry!) Round us and under us the thronged world sleeping (Michael, Michael: Michael of the Charge!) Guard us the Word; the trysting and the trusting Edge upon the honour and the blade unrusting Fine as the hair and tauter than the harpstring Ready as when it rang upon the targe.

He that giveth peace unto us; not as the world giveth: He that giveth law unto us; not as the scribes: Shall he be softened for the softening of the cities Patient in usury; delicate in bribes? They that come to quiet us, saying the sword is broken, Break man with famine, fetter them with gold, Sell them as sheep; and He shall know the selling For He was more than murdered. He was sold.

Michael, Michael: Michael of the Mustering, Michael of the marching on the mountains of the Lord, Marshal the world and purge of rot and riot Rule through the world till all the world be quiet: Only establish when the world is broken What is unbroken is the word..

O Queen and Beauty of Carmel….

O Queen and Beauty of Carmel,
I rejoice to be
in Your motherly care.
No harm shall come to me
beneath Your watchful eye.

I love Your tender smile,
and the assurance that
my tiny hand is held by Yours
O Mary, Fragrance
of Holiness!

Purity beyond comprehension,
I delight to be
Your child.
O Full of Grace,
draw me close to You.

And let your motherly touch
leave traces
of Your Holiness
lingering upon me
that I may resemble You.

I thank God that
You are my Mother,
For time and eternity
O lovely and incomparable
Virgin of Carmel.