Carmelite Conversations
Purity of Heart: a Spiritual Perspective

Purity of Heart: a Spiritual Perspective

August 29, 2016

We so often hear the phrase, ‘Purity of Heart’ but what does this actually mean. More importantly, what does it mean in a spiritual context. Many people rightly believe the definition includes such characteristics as keeping our thoughts pure or keeping our bodies chaste, and this is certainly true, but neither of these elements go far enough. According to the Danish philosopher, Soren Kiergegaard, in a book by this very title, “Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing.” Scripture would seem to support Kierkegaard’s argument when it tells us to ‘Seek first the Kingdom of God.’ In other words, the first and most important thing in our life must be the pursuit of God and His Kingdom, and this is exactly what Kierkegaard argues for in his book. The entire text is basically an assault on what Kierkegaard calls ‘Double-Mindedness’ or the propensity of individuals to attempt to balance their pursuit of the Good, (which Christ Himself tells us is God) with their individual desires for the things of this world. According to Kierkegaard there can be no such balance. Instead, he argues, everything else must be subordinated to our pursuit of the only thing that can bring us ultimate fulfillment. Mark and Frances draw extensively from the writings of Kierkegaard for this important conversation, but then they go on to incorporate and validate his argument with quotes from some of the great Saints of Carmel. If you are looking for the reasons of so many of the apparent discontinuity in your life, and the remedy for these disconnects, then this is the program to listen to.


“Magnificat,” August 2016; Yonkers, NY.

“Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing” by Soren Kierkegaard; Harper & Brothers.

“The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross: ‘Ascent to Mt. Carmel’” by John of the Cross; Trans. by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD and Otilio Rodriguez, OCD; ICS Publications.

“The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity, Vol. 1: Major Spiritual Writings; ‘Heaven in Faith,’ by Elizabeth of the Trinity; Trans. by Aletheia Kane, OCD; ICS Publications.

“Commentary On Kierkegaard” by D. Anthony Storm found at

Mt 5:8, Mt. 19:17, Mt. 6:33, Rom. 3:23, Phil. 4:6-8

How to Introduce Contemplative Prayer to Children With Guest: Colleen Sollinger, OCDS

How to Introduce Contemplative Prayer to Children With Guest: Colleen Sollinger, OCDS

August 22, 2016

Parents have a very important obligation to teach their children how to pray. Secular Discalced Carmelite, Colleen Sollinger, has much to share with us on this topic. She is a mother of 6 and has homeschooled all of them. 2 of the 6 are in college now. She is also a formatter for the OCDS Community in Dayton. She shares tips on how to set the stage for prayer, providing opportunities for children to pray, and ways to make it personal and relative to their lives. She also gives ideas on how to appeal to your child’s own personality. Many resources are given to help in this most important journey to God through prayer.


“A Spiritual Growth Plan for Your Choleric Child” by Connie Rossini; Four Waters Press.
“Loyola Kids Book of Saints” by Amy Welborn; Loyola Press.
“A Yearbook of Seasons and Celebrations,” by Joanna Bogle; Gracewing Press.
“Prayer and Temperament: Different Prayer Forms for Different Personality Types,” by Chester P. Michael and Marie C. Norrisey; The Open Door, Inc.
“Story of a Soul: The Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux,” translated by John Clarke OCD; ICS Publications.

In the Heart of My Home

Catholic All Year

Catholic Apps with guests, Jennifer Kane, OCDS and Tim Bete, OCDS

Catholic Apps with guests, Jennifer Kane, OCDS and Tim Bete, OCDS

August 16, 2016

People have access to an amazing amount of technology thru their computers, tablets, and smartphones. How can this technology be used to help us grow in our spiritual life? How can it help us grow in prayer? How can we use it so it enhances our growth rather than becoming a distraction? How can it help those with a vocation to the Carmelites? Founder, Jennifer Kane has much to share with us. Tim Bete, techno guru, helps Carmelite Conversations’ host, Frances, interview Jennifer to get all the newest scoops and best advice on Catholic Apps.


The Catholic Apptitude website/apostolate is based on Mark 4:1-2.
Catholic Apptitude is also influenced by Pope Francis’ message for the 50th World Communications Day, Communication and Mercy: a Fruitful Encounter (2016).
In this light, Jennifer Kane (founder of sees Catholics apps as developers (via software) communicating with users in a nonjudgmental way. Think about it. This software doesn’t presume anything about the user nor does it make judgments. The user doesn’t sense this even in the examination of conscience section of a confession app! Catholic apps are “welcoming” almost by nature. So many of them are specifically designed to “accompany” the user in his/her spiritual journey, as Francis recommends.

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

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

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

August 8, 2016

The conversation on humility continues in this 3rd program of 3. Why is “humility” such an important virtue among all the other virtues? What does a humble soul really look like? What characteristics does a truly humble soul have? What can help motivate us to want to grow in humility? How can we conquer our natural and sinful inclinations so as to grow in humility? What are some images that serve as models of humility to motivate us? What are the rewards of humility? Finally, what are the famous 12 Steps (or Degrees) of Humility?


Mt. 11:29

Articles Online:
“Treatise on Humility” by Pope Leo XIII
“Humility: 30 Short Meditations” by Fr. Richard F. Clarke, SJ.

“Divine Intimacy” by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD; Tan Books.
“The Way of Transformation” by Fr. Mark O’Keefe, O.S.B.; ICS Publications.
“Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila” translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD and Otilio Rodriguez, OCD; ICS Publications.
“The Teresian Gospel” by Otilio Rodriguez, OCD; Darlington Carmel.
“Thoughts: Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified” by Rev. D. Buzy, S.C.J.; Carmel of Bethlehem.
“The Steps of Humility & Pride” by Bernard of Clairvaux; Cistercian Publications.
“Humble Pie: St. Benedict’s Ladder of Humility” by Carol Bonomo; Morehouse Publishing.
“Humility: Wellspring of Virtue” by Dietrich von Hildebrand; Sophia Institute Press.

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

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

August 1, 2016

Guest: Chris Cotter, OCDS

Without the virtue of humility, the house of our interior life falls, as humility is the bedrock foundation on which to build. Guest, Chris Cotter, continues the conversation about humility because of its great importance in our growth. Pope Francis said recently at the World Youth Day in Poland: “Thus, contrary to our expectations and perhaps even our desires, the kingdom of God, now as then, ‘does not come in a way that attracts attention’ but rather in littleness, in humility.” The very word, “humility” comes from “humble” which comes from the Latin word “humus” which means grounded. How good it is to stay grounded…grounded in Christ and the humility he showed us. As we pray, we should continue to grow in self knowledge. “To know who we are in relation to who God is” is paramount in spiritual growth. Not all souls experience the heights of prayer, but all souls experience moments of being humbled. To embrace these moments is an opportunity to really enlarge our hearts and imitate our Lord. Chris Cotter gives us several suggestions from St. Teresa of Avila in how to grow in humility.


“The Prayers of Saint Therese of Lisieux” translated by Alettheia Kane, OCD.
“Letters (1579)” by St. Teresa of Avila, Vol. 1; E. Allison Peers, ed. 1950.
“Interior Castle,” “The Book of Her Life,” “The Way of Perfection” all from “The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila;” ICS Publications.
“The Teresian Gospel: An Introduction to a Fruitful Reading of the Way of Perfection” by Otilio Rodriguez; Darlington Carmel, U. K., 1974.
“Sayings of Light and Love” from “The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross;” ICS Publications.

Cathechism of the Catholic Church:
#2559, #2706, #2558

Lk 18:14
Matt 11:29
James 4:6
Genesis 2:7
Luke 18:9-14

OCDS Constitutions, Section 17.

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