Carmelite Conversations
The Way of the Cross with the Carmelite Saints

The Way of the Cross with the Carmelite Saints

February 28, 2016

The Way of the Cross is a remarkably powerful and grace filled devotion, one we should certainly find time to practice during the Season of Lent. In this particular program Mark and Frances draw from the writings of the great Carmelite Saints to provide a complete reflection on each of the Stations of the Cross. Each reflection includes a brief statement on the significance of a particular Station, a verse from the Bible that enhances and expands our understanding of that Station, and then a reflection from one of the Carmelite Saints, which seeks to further deepen our experience and encounter with the Man of Sorrows and His Passion. This is a particularly moving series of reflections and it is a program best listened to when you have the time to be quiet, reflective and in a situation to meditate on each of the readings offered along the Way of the Cross. This is a program rich in material for our sanctification and will be one that many people will want to listen to more than once.

RESOURCES
Books:
“The Way of the Cross with the Carmelite Saints” Compiled and Illustrated by Sister Joseph Marie, Carmelite Hermit of the Trinity; ICS Publications.
“Meditations on the Way of the Cross of Albert Servaes” by (Blessed) Titus Brandsma, O. Carm; Carmelite Press Publication.
“Calvary and the Mass” by (Archbishop) Fulton J. Sheen; P. J. Kenedy & Sons, Publishers, 1936.
“The School of Jesus Crucified: the Lessons of Calvary in Daily Catholic Life” by Father Ignatius of the Side of Jesus, Passionist; Tan Books.

Article:
“How Did the Stations of the Cross Begin?” by Fr. William Saunders, found on www.ewtn.com.

Provoking Contemplation—Who are these Contemplatives Anyway?

Provoking Contemplation—Who are these Contemplatives Anyway?

February 23, 2016
In this last in a series of five conversations on a book entitled 'Contemplative Provocations," by Fr. Donald Haggerty, Mark and Frances conclude their earlier discussion on how Christ hides Himself in and among the Poor. This is an important discussion to reflect on as we continue through this Extraordinary Year of Mercy. Indeed, we are all called to not only to receive Mercy, but also to share it with others, even those who may have offended us. Mark and Frances then go on to discuss the very nature of the contemplative personality. What does it mean to live the Contemplative life? What are the characteristics of a true call to contemplation? What unique stages of development does the contemplative soul go through that might give evidence to a genuine call to contemplation? And, perhaps most importantly, what is the goal of the contemplative encounter with the living God? Finally, this conversation concludes with solid counsel from St. John of the Cross, one of the masters of the mystical or contemplative life. The reflection from St. John seems to sum up very succinctly what this entire series has been about.
 
RESOURCES
Books:
“Contemplative Provocations: Brief, concentrated observations on aspects of a life with God” by Fr. Donald Haggerty; Ignatius Press.
 
“The Way of the Cross with the Carmelite Saints” Compiled and Illustrated by Sister Joseph Marie, Carmelite Hermit of the Trinity; ICS Publications.
Provoking Contemplation—Suffering Trials, the Poor and Contemplation

Provoking Contemplation—Suffering Trials, the Poor and Contemplation

February 16, 2016
The single most difficult aspect of the journey of prayer are the times of suffering and trial. Just when we believe we have launched on the correct path to holiness and are responding to God in the way that He desires, we seem to be met with no end of trials and setbacks. In this open but difficult conversation on this topic, Mark and Frances reveal the hard truth of the journey of the soul that desires to arrive at union with God. To be sure, there are many graces and blessings along the way, but in this fourth in a series of conversations from a book by Fr. Donald Haggerty called “Contemplative Provocations,” Mark and Frances present the reality of our individual need for purification and self denial. Our greatest consolation during this journey is found in the suffering and trial of our Lord’s own passion and poverty. And for those looking for the model of that poverty in our world today, one need look no further than the very poor in our midst. Fr. Haggerty draws on his own experiences with Mother Teresa of Calcutta to explain how we must seek the hidden Christ in the very eyes of the most impoverished in our society’ indeed it is among them where Christ continues to express His own plea from the Cross “I Thirst.” This is ultimately a very encouraging conversation for those seeking a deeper meaning in the midst of trials and suffering. 

RESOURCES

Books:
Contemplative Provocationsby Fr. Donald Haggerty; Ignatius Press.
 
“Worshipping a Hidden God: Unlocking the Secrets of the Interior Life” by Archbishop Luis M. Martinez; Sophia Institute Press.
 
Scripture Passages:
Mt 25:40, Mk 14:7, Mt. 25:35, Jn 19:28.
Provoking Contemplation—Poverty, Self Denial and Trial

Provoking Contemplation—Poverty, Self Denial and Trial

February 8, 2016
This is the third in a series of conversations reflection on the work by Fr. Donald Haggerty entitled "Contemplative Provocations." During this conversation Mark and Frances begin by cautioning against what Fr. Haggerty refers to as 'Aberrations.'' By this he means the pursuit of a spirituality without a firm foundation in the Dogmatic Teaching of the Church. Such pursuits can lead the soul to pursue experiences in prayer, which can lead a person astray an seeking their own desires in the spiritual life. Mark and Frances then go on to deal with the very difficult subjects of poverty, sacrifice and trial, so often found in God's purifying work of sanctification. Our poverty of Spirit is so necessary in the work of purification because there will always be something deep within ourselves that even we are not aware. In order to allow God's work to be done in us we must remain small, humble and poor. Likewise, we are called to make sacrifices and practice the spiritual asceticism, an asceticism that must go beyond simply fasting and detachment, and move to abandoning our will and learning to put others before ourselves. Finally, Mark and Frances remind us, as all the Saints would, that the only place we will find the strength for this phase of the journey is in love, and most especially before our Eucharistic Lord. If you are looking for a deeper understanding of some of the more challenging elements of the faith journey and some context for what we must go through to become Saints, this is a good listen.
 
RESOURCES
Books:
“Contemplative Provocations” by Fr. Donald Haggerty; Ignatius Press.
 
“The Ascent of Mount Carmel, Book II, 13:2-4” from “The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross,” Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD and Otilio Rodriguez, OCD; ICS Publications.
 
“The Dark Night, Book I, 9:2-8” from “The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross,” Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD and Otilio Rodriguez, OCD; ICS Publications.
 
“The Practice of Contemplation According to John of the Cross” by James W. Kinn; ICS Publications.
 
“Union with the Lord in Prayer” by Rev. Venard Poslusney, O.Carm; 101 Foundation.
 
“My Only Friend is Darkness: Living the Night of Faith with St. John of the Cross” by Barbara Dent; ICS Publications.
Provoking Contemplation au Deux

Provoking Contemplation au Deux

February 2, 2016
This particular program aired on the eve of the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord. This feast recalls not only the Lord's arrival at the temple, but also the preparation of the two individuals who were able to recognize the Lord, Anna and Simeon. It is written that both these contemplative souls had prepared themselves well through prayer and fasting, and that they waited with heroic patience and perseverance for the arrival of the Lord. In a very real way they serve as models of the persons of prayer we are all called to be. In this program Mark and Frances pick up the conversation on the book by Fr. Donald Haggerty entitled "Contemplative Provocations." Here they discuss the clear signs that a person has begun to enter into contemplative prayer, and they provide recognizable affirmations that the can assure the soul they are not actually regressing or losing time in prayer. They also discuss the importance of not being led by our emotions in prayer, and how we must seek to go beyond a felt experience. Finally, Mark and Frances discuss the role of the mind in contemplative prayer, and most especially what we can do about the wild thoughts that so often try to distract us away from our loving focus on the Lord.
 
RESOURCES
Books:
“Contemplative Provocations” by Fr. Donald Haggerty, Ignatius Press.
 
“The Practice of Contemplation According to John of the Cross” by James W. Kinn, ICS Publications.
 
“Union with the Lord in Prayer” by Rev. Venard Poslusney, O.Carm, 101 Foundation.
 
“My Only Friend is Darkness: Living the Night of Faith with St. John of the Cross” by Barbara Dent, ICS Publications.
 
“The Dark Night” from “The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross,” Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD and Otilio Rodriguez, OCD, ICS Publications.