La Petite Arabe
The message of the “Little Arab,” Mariam Baouardy, Saint Mary of Jesus Crucified, canonised on 17 May 2015, is well suited to this 14th Sunday after Pentecost with its Epistle (Galatians 5: 16-24) of the Twelve Fruits of the Holy Ghost and its Gospel (Matthew 6:24–33) of the Birds of the Air and of the Lilies of the Field. Mariam was born in Abbelin, a village of Galilee, on January 5th, 1846. She was plunged into the water of Holy Baptism and chrismated in the Melkite Greek Catholic Church fifteen days after her birth. After an astonishingly adventurous life that took her from Alexandria in Egypt to Marseilles and then Pau in France, and then to Mangalore, India, she was instrumental in founding the Carmel of Bethlehem in the Holy Land where she died on August 26th, 1878.
Saint Mary of Jesus Crucified illustrates the fundamental principle of holiness according to the Gospel: “Whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Mt 23:12). In Carmel she was a “sister of the white veil,” charged with the monastery’s menial tasks and not bound to the Divine Office in choir. She was often “lifted up by the Spirit” (Ezekiel 43:5) even literally, and shown the glory of the Lord. Though illiterate and ignorant of every worldly sophistication, Blessed Mary could say with the psalmist, “Let me hear what God the Lord will speak” (Psalm 84:8). What she heard in prayer, she communicated in simplicity of heart. Rather than write about Saint Mary of Jesus Crucified, I will allow her to speak for herself. Here are some of her sayings:
Prayers to the Holy Spirit
First, there is her famous little prayer to the Holy Spirit. Today it is known and prayed by people all over the world:
Holy Spirit, inspire me.
Love of God, consume me.
Along the true road, lead me.
Mary my Mother, look upon me.
With Jesus, bless me.
From all evil, from all illusion,
from all danger, preserve me.
Again, to the Holy Spirit:
Source of peace, Light,
come and enlighten me.
I am hungry, come and nourish me.
I am thirsty, come and quench my thirst.
I am blind, come and give me light.
I am poor, come and enrich me.
Devotion to the Holy Spirit
The world and religious communities are seeking novelties in devotions, and they are neglecting true devotion to the Paraclete. That is why there is error and disunion, and why there is no peace or light. They do not invoke light as it should be invoked, and it is this light that gives knowledge of truth. It is neglected even in seminaries . . . . Every person in the world that will invoke the Holy Spirit and have devotion to Him will not die in error.
Message to Priests
Every priest that preaches this devotion will receive light while he is speaking of it to others. I was told that each priest in the world should be required to say one Mass of the Holy Spirit each month, and all who assist at it will receive very special grace and light.
God is hidden in the fruit like seed in the apple. Open an apple and you will find five seeds in the center. God is thus hidden in the heart of man. He is hidden there with the mysteries of His passion represented by the five seeds. God has suffered and man must suffer, whether he wishes it or not. If he suffers through love, in union with God, he will suffer less and will gain merit. The five seeds that are in the depth of his heart will germinate and produce abundant fruits. But if he rejects the trial, he will suffer more, without gaining any merit.
Only love can fill the heart of man. The just man is satisfied with love and a pinch of earth.
In heaven, the most beautiful trees are those that have sinned the most. But they used their miseries as dung that is around the base.
After receiving Holy Communion: Now I have everything.
I hope in God against all hope.
My God, in spite of all my miseries and sins, I will always hope in You. Even if You cast me into hell, I will still hope in You.
I am nothing, I can do nothing, but You can do all. I hope in Divine Mercy.
I do not know if I will be saved; but I hope, my God, that You will save me. Yes, I have the hope that I will see God.
On devotion to the Mother of God
Here she reflects on the mysterious and tragic events that followed the death of her parents and on her restoration to health by the Mother of God:
Mary counts your steps and your labours.
Tell yourselves: at the feet of Mary I came back to life.
You who dwell in this monastery,
detach yourselves from the things of earth.
Your salvation and your life are at the feet of Mary.
I dwell in the heart of my Mother,
there I find my Beloved,
Am I then an orphan?
In the bosom of Mary I have found life.
Do not say, I am an orphan:
I have Mary for Mother and God for Father.
The serpent, the dragon wished to catch me and take my life,
but at the feet of Mary, I recovered my life.
Mary called me,
and in this monastery will I remain forever.
At the feet of Mary I came to life again.