Wednesday, November 06, 2002


. . . .in the Carmelite calendar is the feast of Blessed Francis Palau y Quer, a Discalced Carmelite priest who in turn founded two other Congregations, one of Carmelite brothers and one of Carmelite sisters.

There are some facts about him and a picture here. A few years ago, my friend Lonnie S. gave these insights into his spirituality when some of us were wondering just who he was:

In 1860-61 he founded the Congregations of the Carmelite Brothers and
Sisters in the Balearic Islands. In 1867 the Apostolic Commissary of the
Discalced Carmelites of Spain appointed Fr. Francisco to be the Director of
the Tertiaries of the Order and in 1872 he wrote the Rules and Constitutions
of the Tertiary Order.

His spiritual life centered on the Church as a "loved person", a Mystical
Body, but also a Mystical Person with whom he could relate. No where in
Christian history do we have anyone else with this Church-centered
mysticism. He sees the personality of the Church as mystical and the living
reality of the Church as an unfathomable mystery. One of the aspects of
this mystery is the joining of Her visible structures with the supreme
reality of love among men and their love of Christ in the Holy Spirit, Who
gives Her life and gathers Her into unity. He teaches that Christ and
mankind cannot be separated from each other and he sees the Church as The
Whole Christ, The Mystical Christ. This is a bountiful topic for meditation
that can bring us a deeper love of, and Obedience to, the Church.

His second original intuition for the spiritual life, and later corresponded
with Vatican II, is that to think of Our Blessed Mother independently of the
framework of the Church would distort her person and her mission. Mary is
the perfect model of the Church's holiness and purity and the mirror in
which all the perfections of the Church are reflected.

The seventh of November is also kept in honor of St. Ernest, Abbot of Zwiefalten. Hearing from St. Bernard that the Kingdom of Jerusalem was about to fall back into Mohammedan hands, St. Ernest left his monastic charge for the Second Crusade saying, “I do not expect to see you again here below, for God will grant me, I trust, soon to shed my blood. The death I am destined to die matters little so long as it allows me to suffer for the love of Christ.”

His prediction came true. The Second crusade was an utter failure. St. Ernest and some others were captured and brought to Mecca. He suffered a particularly brutal martyrdom upon refusing to convert to Mohammedanism.