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?
An important Marian celebration associated with the Order of Discalced Carmelites is the Memorial of ”Our Lady, Mother of Divine Grace,” celebrated on July 23. What connection does this title have to “Our Lady of Mt. Carmel?” What other connections are present? How is it important for all of us? What is “grace” and what kinds of grace are available to us? How do we obtain more grace? What unique role does the Blessed Mother play? What application does that have to the beginning words of the Angelic Salutation: “Hail, full of grace,” directed to Mary? How can knowing that help us to pray more fervently?
What exactly is required of us in the spiritual journey? How do we make progress? What disposition of heart is necessary for us to be drawn into the heart of the Lord? These are important questions. If we are truly seeking the Lord and we genuinely desire to be transformed into the persons we were created to be, then these are questions we need to explore for ourselves. It is always nice, however, to have a picture, to learn from the experience of someone else who may have already traveled down a similar path. In this conversation, Mark and Frances delve into the secrets of sainthood. While looking through the lens of the life of someone who, for many, is a hidden Saint. Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart of Jesus' own writings, and the reflections of her personal spiritual director, provide us remarkable insight into what is required of that soul who would be raised to the very heights of divine union or spiritual marriage. This exploration into the life of this Saint will look at both her total abandonment to the Lord, what she herself describes as her complete detachment from all things worldly, but it also examines her complete devotion to the glory of God and the salvation of souls. Perhaps most importantly, especially for those of us who live in the world day to day, this Saint will reveal to us her secret for the practice of Recollection, and how it is that she is able to enter into herself and communicate with the Lord, even in the midst of her busy daily activities. This is an important conversation for anyone who struggles in understanding exactly what it is the Lord desires from us, if we truly desire to enter into a deeper relationship with Him.
After the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Joseph was the greatest Saint ever! In pondering the “glories” of St. Joseph, we are made aware of how God prepared him and used him for the lofty mission of being the Spouse of Mary and the foster father of Jesus. In this “live” presentation given to the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites in Dayton, OH at their general meeting, Frances pinpoints a few of the “glories” of St. Joseph from the beginning to the end of his life. These will surely help the listener to appreciate St. Joseph ever more deeply and to imitate him in loving Jesus and Mary.
We are beginning 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 compares the God-given gifts we have to flowers in a spiritual bouquet. How are we using our gifts? What does St. Therese, the little flower, say about our gifts?