Blessed John Soreth, Priest

The Carmelite Feast of Blessed John Soreth *
July 28, 2017

Blessed John Soreth was born in Normandy in northern France in 1394 and entered Carmel as a young man.  He took a doctorate of theology in Paris, and served as Regent of Studies and provincial of his province.  He was Prior General from 1451 until his death at Angers, in western France in 1471.

During his earthly life, Blessed John restored observance within the Order and promoted its reform, wrote a famous commentary on the Rule, issued new Constitutions in 1462, founded the first Carmelite convent, and promoted the growth of the Third Order of Carmel.[1]

The Order of Carmelites and the Discalced Carmelites celebrate his feast on different dates.  Today is the feast of Blessed John in the calendar of the Discalced Carmelites.  In their breviary, today’s feast has as the Second Reading in the Office of Readings a passage from Blessed John’s Exhortation on the Carmelite Rule.  There, we hear:

“It is from Christ Himself, brother, that you will learn how to love Him.  Learn to love Him tenderly, with all your heart; prudently, with all your soul; fervently, with all your strength.  Love Him tenderly, so that you will not be seduced away from Him; prudently, so that you will not be open to deception; and fervently, so that downheartedness will not draw you away from God’s love.  May the wisdom of Christ seem sweet to you, so that you are not led away by the glory of the world and the pleasures of the flesh.

“May Christ, Who is the Truth, enlighten you, so that you do not fall prey to the spirit of error and falsehood.  May Christ, Who is the Strength of God, fortify you when hardships wear you out.

“St. Basil says that we are bound to our benefactors by bonds of affection and duty. But what greater gift or favor could we receive than God Himself?  For, He continues, I experience the ineffable love of God—a love more easily felt than described. Since God has planted the seeds of goodness in us, we can be certain that He is awaiting their fruits.

“So let the love of Christ kindle your enthusiasm; let His knowledge be your teacher, and His constancy your strength. May your enthusiasm be fervent, balanced in judgement and invincible, and neither lukewarm nor lacking in discretion. Love the Lord your God with all the affection of which your heart is capable; love Him with all the attentiveness and balance of judgement of your soul and reason; love Him with such strength that you will not be afraid to die for love of Him. May the Lord Jesus seem so sweet and tender to your affections that the sweet enticements of the world hold no attraction for you; may His sweetness conquer their sweetness.”[2]

[1] These first two paragraphs are taken from the introduction to the Office for Blessed John Soreth, Priest, found in Discalced Carmelite Proper Offices of Carmelite Saints and Blesseds in the Liturgy of the Hours, 2nd ed. (2007), 119.

[2] Ibid., 119-120.

Blessed John Soreth