Carmelite Conversations
The Virtue of Hope:  Drawn from “Divine Intimacy” and Pope Benedict XVI’s “On Christian Hope”

The Virtue of Hope: Drawn from “Divine Intimacy” and Pope Benedict XVI’s “On Christian Hope”

April 25, 2016


“Divine Intimacy” by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD; Tan Books.

“Prayers of Hope” by Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan; Pauline Books & Media


“On Christian Hope” encyclical by Pope Benedict XVI.

Scripture Passages:

Romans 8:24a

Romans 8:24b

1 Corinthians 2:9

Hebrews 13:14

Matthew 7:7-11

1 Timothy 2:4

1 Thessalonians 4:3

Luke 17:10

Practical Ways to Increase Hope:

1.     Pray, pray, pray!

2.     Change your thoughts into positive thoughts.

3.     Be kind to yourself…read a great book, watch a movie classic, have a great cup of coffee.

4.     Curtail your intake of the news.

5.     Celebrate Life by treating each day like the precious gift it is.

6.     Take a Break.

7.     Practice an Attitude of Gratitude; thank God for the sun, your breath, your eyesight, your senses, your gifts, your loved ones.

8.     Express Love Tangibly:  hugs, words, notes, acts of kindness.

9.     Say this affirmation frequently each day:  Jesus, I trust in you.

10. Make a Difference by pitching in, serving others, being a part of something bigger than yourself.

11. Keep perspective.


13. Notice little signs of hope in your life.

14. Stay healthy.

15. Take time to remember all the amazing things God has done for you.

16. Surround yourself with optimism.

17. Enjoy Nature:  take a walk, study a leaf, smell a flower, enjoy a sunset, ravish God’s natural beauty.

18. Ponder the possibilities!

Introduction to the Virtuous Life and Spiritual Insight of Madame Barbara Acarie/Blessed Mary of the Incarnation, OCD

Introduction to the Virtuous Life and Spiritual Insight of Madame Barbara Acarie/Blessed Mary of the Incarnation, OCD

April 18, 2016

What a difference one soul can make! If it weren’t for Madame Barbara Acarie, who later in life became Blessed Mary of the Incarnation, we might not have had the likes of St. Therese of Lisiuex, St. Mary of Jesus Crucified, or Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, all of whom were Discalced Carmelites in France. This daughter, wife, mother, mystic, and Discalced Carmelite Nun, gives an example of how to live the “interior life” at all stages of life. Through her openness to God’s call in her life and her receptivity to His gifts, she was a “light” shining in the dark to all those around her. She was gifted with prophecy, the reading of hearts, the gift of healing, discernment of spirits, as well as having the invisible stigmata. How did Madame Acarie become a foundress for the Carmelites in France? How did she handle the many trials and tribulations of her life? The insights given will help us live the interior life with greater charity and clarity.


Scripture: John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Great Books

Great Books

April 12, 2016

Mark and Frances took this opportunity to discuss some of their recent and favorite “Great Books.” The definition of Great refers to any of a number of Spiritual books that help to lead the reader into a deeper appreciation for and experience of the Living God. The 13 books discussed in this conversation fall into a short list of categories. There are those are intended to provide some intellectual insight and analysis of a particular topic of faith, for example the meaning and value of Human Suffering. There are also books discussed which help a person to prepare for or enter into a deeper experience of prayer. These include simple, straightforward devotionals as well as those they seek to explain and provide knowledge on the act of prayer. This discussion also includes books that are designed to provide consolation, comfort in difficult times and a sense of Peace regarding God’s presence in our daily lives. There are also books about the lives of specific Saints. As Mark points out, as much as we can benefit from the writings of the Saints, there are times when we can derive even more benefit just from reading about the events of their lives and how they responded to the difficult circumstances they faced. Finally, Mark and Frances discuss books that have inspired them in their faith, books that have helped lift them up and provided the motivation we all need from time to time, as we continue on our journey of faith. If you are looking for a list of good, dare we say ‘Great Books’ to read, you will find this a very worthwhile program.

“Drink of the Stream: Prayers of the Carmelites” by Penny Hickey, OCDS; Ignatius Press.

“Under the Torrent of His Love: Therese of Lisieux, a Spiritual Genius” by Fr. Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus; Alba House.

“Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart” by Fr. Jacques Philippe; St. Pauls.

“My Ideal: Jesus Son of Mary” by Fr. Emil Neubert, SM; Tan Books.

“33 Days to Merciful Love: a Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Consecration to Divine Mercy” by Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC; Marian Press.

“City of God: The Divine History and Life of the Virgin Mother of God” as manifested to Venerable Mary of Agreda; Tan Books.

“Divine Intimacy: Meditations on the Interior Life for Every Day of the Liturgical Year” by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD; Tan Books.

“On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering” Anniversary Edition with Commentary by Myles N. Sheehan, SJ, MD; Paulist Press.

“The Contemplative Hunger” by Fr. Donald Haggerty; Ignatius Press.

“Brother Andre: All He Could Do Was Pray” by Boniface Hanley; St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mt. Royal Press.

“An Unpublished Manuscript on Purgatory” by S. T. D. (Nihil obstat/Censor Librorum Rev. Msgr. Carroll E. Satterfield and Lawrence Cardinal Shehan Imprimatur/Archbishop of Baltimore); Faitma House/The Reparation Society.

“The Prayer of the Presence of God” by Dom Augustin Guillerand; Sophia Press.

“Imagine Heaven” by John Burke; Baker Books.

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