Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Blessed Titus Brandsma

His feast day is almost over, but I wanted to mentioned something about Blessed Titus Brandsma here to honor him. That is his picture shown above in the garden at Nijmegen with his beloved pipe. A fairly comprehensive and well-illustrated biography of Blessed Titus can be found here. A Dutch Carmelite of the Ancient Observance, he defied the anti-Catholic orders of the Nazi invaders of his native Holland and was sent to Dachau where he died. If you can get hold of his writings they are both very learned and very accessible. A well-known passage of his is shown below. "Two Branches of the Same Trunk" refers to the Ancient Observance and the Discalced Carmelite Orders.

Two Branches of the Same Trunk

Looking at Carmel from above, its two branches are united at their summits. Despite the separation which exists on the trunk, the two branches intermingle their foliage and blossoms without our being able to distinguish those which belong to the one from those which belong to the other. The blind singer of Rennes, Ven. John of St. Samson, does not have a different melody from that of the inspired singer imprisoned in the Carmel of Toledo, because both repeat what the Institutio primorum monachorum had inculcated in the Carmelites of the first centuries, namely, that all Carmelites, Brothers and Sisters of the Order of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, in order to be faithful to their vocation should do their very utmost to go, under the guidance of the saintly hermit and prophet Elijah, across the desert of this life up to the Mt. Horeb of the vision of God, strengthened by the heavenly nourishment which is shown on the altar.