Carmelite Conversations
Humility:  the Bedrock of Prayer and Spiritual Growth, Part One

Humility: the Bedrock of Prayer and Spiritual Growth, Part One

July 25, 2016

St. Teresa of Avila said: “There is more value in a little study of humility and in a single act of it than in all the knowledge in the world.” With that in mind, we begin a “little study of humility.” We begin with St. Teresa’s quote: “Humility is to walk in truth.” We must walk in the truth of who we are and who we are before God. To walk in truth is to act in justice. What does St. Teresa teach us about true humility? What signs indicate true humility versus false humility? What signs can we look for in discerning the exercise of humility in temptaions? Why is humility the essential key to holiness? Why is humility a sign of great courage? Listen and learn along with us.

Resources:

“Divine Intimacy” by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD; Tan Books.
“Way of Perfection” by St. Teresa of Avila, from “The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila” translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD and Otilio Rodriguez, OCD; ICS Publications.
“Interior Castle” by St. Teresa of Avila, from “The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila” translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD and Otilio Rodriguez, OCD; ICS Publications.

Scripture: 1 Peter 5:5b-7

The Grace of Contemplative Prayer, Part Three of Three

The Grace of Contemplative Prayer, Part Three of Three

July 18, 2016

In the final segment of the three part series, Mark and Frances start with St. John of the Cross’s counsel on the attitude the soul should take during the transition to the beginning of the supernatural gift of contemplation. We then discuss different metaphors that may help one to understand what this is like. We then bring up descriptions of contemplation by our saints and others. Finally, what is the key sign that a soul has experienced the gift of infused contemplation? What are the general characteristics of this supernatural prayer? What are the four stages of infused contemplative prayer? What are the fruits of this gift of prayer? Finally, what are the eight practical steps a soul may take so as to live a more contemplative life and incorporate contemplative prayer?

Resources:

Books:
“The Practice of Contemplation According to John of the Cross” by James W. Kinn; ICS Publications.
“The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross” translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD and Otilio Rodriguez, OCD; ICS Publications.
“Fire Within” by Fr. Thomas Dubay, SM; Ignatius Press.
“What is Contemplation?” by Thomas Merton; Templegate Publishers.
“Armchair Mystic: Easing Into Contemplative Prayer” by Mark E. Thibodeaux, SJ; St. Anthony Messenger Press.

Scripture:
Psalm 46:11
Luke 11:9-13
Jeremiah 29:11-14

Articles:
“Transition from Meditation to Contemplation According to St. John of the Cross” by Father Laurian Zabalza, OCD

The Grace of Contemplative Prayer, Part Two of Three

The Grace of Contemplative Prayer, Part Two of Three

July 11, 2016

In this segment, Mark and Frances delve into more of the particulars of the transition from active mental prayer to passive contemplative prayer. We start with a discussion of how to prepare for the gift of infused contemplation. St. Teresa of Avila recommended the practice of the prayer of recollection. What do we need to do to get recollected? What does the transition from the active prayer degrees to the passive contemplative prayer degrees look like? What signs does St. John of the Cross give us to help us know when we are being called to leave discursive prayer and mental reasoning and practice more simplicity in prayer? What signs does he give to indicate we have entered the “Passive Night of the Sense”? What should the soul do when we are in this transition period? What should the soul be cautious about?

Resources:

Brochure:
“St. Teresa’s Prayer of Recollection” by St. Teresa of Avila, brochure; ICS Publications.

Scripture:
Ps. 46:11

Books:
“Divine Intimacy” by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD; Tan Books.
“The Ascent of Mt. Carmel” ( Book 2, Ch. 13) by St. John of the Cross 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, Ch. 9) by St. John of the Cross 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.