St. Therese’s famous prayer, “The Act of Oblation to Merciful Love” is rich with spiritual concepts for us to ponder, especially the recognition of our poverty and weakness, yet pulsating desire to console Jesus in every way. Knowing souls were rejecting His love, St. Therese offers herself as a victim of his merciful love so that the love others souls rejected would come to her. She vehemently desires to be a saint but is not the great eagle that they are…so she implores God Himself to be her sanctity!! She displays her great confidence in God’s transforming fire of love. How may we imitate her? How may we make her prayer our own? This program carefully considers the duties of a victim of love, the obstacles to be overcome, the soul’s attitude toward suffering, and in what a “death of love” involves. Let us remember that St. Therese prayed for a “legion of little victims worthy of His love” to be raised up. Are you willing to be one?
If you read St. Therese's Act of Oblation to Merciful Love, you will no doubt discover some terminology that might sound a little harsh to the modern ear. Terms like victim, holocaust, and martyr are not words that are cast about lightheartedly these days. But in order to fully appreciate St. Therese's use of these terms in her personal prayer to Jesus Christ, we must also understand what St. Therese is sacrificing or, to use a more familiar term, consecrating herself to. Therese understands that what God wishes to do in her soul, and indeed in each of our souls, is to both ignite the internal fire of love that will consume everything that is inconsistent with His Love, while, at the same time, God wishes to consume the very soul that is burning with this interior love for Him. This is not possible, Therese well knows, unless she make the ultimate sacrifice of herself to God, to His merciful love. In this program, Mark goes through each of these terms, and others, and he describes the context in which St. Therese is using them. He also explains how each of these terms is a perfectly appropriate description of the very action of the Holy Spirit within the soul. He then goes on to explain both some of the cautions related to a soul's adoption of the mindset of oblation to God, and he also describes the remarkable benefits that can accrue from a soul making and living such a sacrifice. Finally, Mark goes on to explain the remarkable benefit such a committed soul can have on the Church as a whole. This is a very valuable presentation for anyone who desire to gain a deeper understanding of just what the Lord is inviting each of us to, what is required of us to respond, and what eternal benefits are available for ourselves and the Church, if we only respond with great fidelity.
This is the second episode in a new monthly series of talks by Deacon Rusty Baldwin, a Secular Discalced Carmelite who gives a presentation to our Community in Dayton each month. These are recorded live during our Holy Hours. In this program, Deacon Baldwin discusses Carmel and the Evangelical Counsels.
August 26 is the day the Discalced Carmelite Order celebrates the supernatural grace of the “Transverberation of the Heart” of St. Teresa of Avila. What does that entail? To what purpose can it be associated with? How do you discern this grace? St. Teresa gives us a detailed explanation of the first time she experienced the transverberation of her heart. God has given us a great grace through the incorrupt body of St. Teresa, with an incorrupt heart, which may be seen today in a special reliquary. What phenomena are associated with St. Teresa’s heart? What does it mean? How can we share in this grace in a natural, ordinary way? What was St. Padre Pio’s experience of the transverberation of the Heart? Understanding their experiences helps us to realize another way in which God is present and how it affects the whole world.
Prayer is to the soul what air is to the lungs. If we don’t pray, we die spiritually. St. Mary of Jesus Crucified, a Discalced Carmelite Mystic, talked about how we can be a “cell for Jesus” and how Jesus wants to come to you. In the depths of prayer, the Lord sometimes grants supernatural graces, which leads us to the deep prayer of 3 great Carmelites: St. John of the Cross, St. Mary of Jesus Crucified, and St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila). One great grace that both St. Mary of Jesus Crucified (Mariam, the Little Arab) and St. Teresa of Avila experienced was the transverberation of the heart, a wound of the heart. St. John of the Cross gives us a great explanation of this grace, then the descriptions of this experience from St. Mary of Jesus Crucified and St. Teresa of Avila is given. It is interesting to compare their accounts. Then we turn to some quotes on the Blessed Mother and a meditation on the Virtues of Mary from St. Mary of Jesus Crucified.
Recently canonized, St. Mary of Jesus Crucified is a Discalced Carmelite nun and mystic who received incredible supernatural charismatic gifts from God for the Church. She is like the “Padre Pio” of the Carmelite world. This conversation touches briefly on some highlights of her life and on some of her gifts. Her famous prayer to the Holy Spirit is also prayed on this podcast.
We quote St. Mary of Jesus Crucified on her “Prayer in Time of Desolation.” When we suffer temptations of desolation, this prayer helps us to keep focused on God and to persevere on this spiritual journey. It has many metaphors and analogies that we can easily relate to.
If you are looking for a deeper understanding of the nature of the Lord's call to all baptized souls, and you want to discover the depth of commitment and devotion to which a soul can be carried, then you will want to listen to this series. Mark and Frances present here a Catechism on St. Therese of Lisieux's Act of Oblation to Merciful Love. It is the Saint's formal written expression and promise of abandonment to Jesus Christ. The conversation begins by laying the groundwork for the benefits St. Therese received by drafting and continually praying this Act of Oblation. It then presents the significant events, over the course of about five years, that led up to Therese's decision to put into words what she was experiencing in her heart. The Act itself is filled with the language and sentiments that St. Therese wanted to communicate in what is essentially her Love Letter to the Lord. Having read the entire Act, Mark and Frances then begin to analyze some of the more challenging terms for the modern ear. They explore and explain phrases like victim, oblation, holocaust and even martyrdom. These are striking terms to be found in a love letter, but what soon becomes clear, as one reads and prays St. Therese's document, is that her Act is less an offering and more an acceptance of what she understands the Lord wishes to offer her, which is nothing other than His complete self. It is her acceptance of the Lord's offer of merciful love that allows the Lord to complete His work in this well-known Saint. St. Therese's Act is also an invitation to each one of us, not to simply adopt her words, but rather, and more importantly, to open ourselves to the transforming work of sanctification that the Lord wishes to complete in all of us. If you want to truly understand the language of love, then this is a wonderful series for you.
Continuing with the series on the life of the Discalced Carmelite mystic, St. Teresa Margaret Redi of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, this program delves into the depths of aridity that caused this Saint to view her religious duties and devotions with repugnance; yet, because of her insatiable desire to love God, she obediently continues with the utmost charity for the other nuns, who never had any inkling of the depths of aridity, darkness, and coldness the Lord permitted her to go through. There are many counsels given to her that will help other souls experiencing the trials of the Dark Night of the Spirit. Her offer to be a victim soul was accepted by Heaven and she was intensely tested. St. Teresa Margaret courageously went forth in a pure faith, a dark faith, an arid faith. In the end, she died of love as the force of her love burst through the veil separating her from the one she loved with all her heart, mind, body and strength. As she glorified the Lord on earth, so the Lord glorified His faithful servant in Heaven. Many prodigies occurred at her death and afterwards. Her body still lies incorrupt in Florence, Italy today. Up to the very end, she lived the hidden life in imitation of Jesus, and now, the Lord is bringing her to the fore for us as an example of a pure soul who battled bravely and was purified to an eminent degree.
Battling Scrupulosity and Aridity in the Dark Night: What the Experience of St. Teresa Margaret Redi of the Sacred Heart Can Teach us
In this conversation, the battle of scrupulosity and aridity in the Dark Night of St. Teresa Margaret are examined. What is it like to be in the midst of these battles? What is the cause of scrupulosity and aridity? What are some good counsels and strategies we can use to overcome these trials? How does God uses these battles to purify and perfect us? What virtues are most needed?
The Lord Thy God is a Consuming Fire: St. Teresa Margaret Redi of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Dark Night of the Spirit
After the great grace of “Deus Caritas Est/God is Love,” the Discalced Carmelite St. Teresa Margaret Redi of the Sacred Heart of Jesus enters a stage of marked passivity in which God is purifying her soul. This stage is referred to as the Dark Night of the Spirit and falls in the 6thMansion of the Interior Castle of St. Teresa of Avila. How does this purification through the dark rays of contemplation occur? Why is it so painful? St. John of the Cross uses the analogy of the log of wood and the fire to describe the process of purification of this more interior, darker night. He also portrays the journey in this Dark Night of Spirit as going up a Secret Mystical Ladder of Love made up of 10 steps. What are those steps? How do they differ from each other? How is a soul in this darkest of nights described? What kind of language does St. Teresa Margaret use to describe her interior sufferings? What can we learn from all of this?