Carmelites are well aware of the spiritual journey climbing Mt. Carmel to grow in union with our Lord. What may be passing under our radar is the Mystical Union with our Blessed Virgin Mary. This program addresses what that union is, what Marian souls experience in it, and how we may prepare ourselves to be open for such a great grace. The main source was the book by Fr. Emile Neubert called “Life of Union with Mary.”
For 2020, our OCDS Community in Dayton, Ohio, has the theme of "Mary, Our Mother” for all of our community presentations. This month’s presentation is on “Mary in Scripture.” There are some eye-opening analogies and topologies presented in this talk that will bolster the faith of many. Additionally, many scriptural passages are referenced for your benefit. The presentation is by Chris Cotter, OCDS.
It’s no surprise to learn of the great devotion St. Therese of Lisieux had for our Mother Mary. She was immersed in Marian devotion from her birth, being born into a family that all loved Mary. The focus of this presentation is on four aspects of Therese’s love for Mary: 1) the Ordinary/Simple Mary, 2) the Healing Mother/Child of Mary, 3) Being Under the Mantle/Veil of Mary, and 4) Mary’s Maternal Love: More Mother than Queen. At the end of the reflection, Therese’s poem “Why I Love You, O Mary” (from “The Poetry of Saint Therese of Lisieux” translated by Donald Kinney, OCD; ICS Publications) is recited. Take time to ponder this poem. It summarizes Therese’s love for Mary!
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?
How did St. Teresa of Avila express her Marian devotion and how might we imitate her? Although St. Teresa did not write a major work on the Blessed Virgin Mary, there is no doubt the importance she played in St. Teresa’s life, from her youth up through her founding many monasteries. One may ask, what place did the rosary have in her prayer life? What was the importance of the Virgin Mary in St. Teresa’s prayer? Did she have some mystical encounters involving the Blessed Mother? And, for today, how might we grow in our devotion to our Heavenly Mother?
Scripture: Lk 1:35
“The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Vol. 1, 2, and 3,” Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD and Otilio Rodriguez, OCD; ICS Publications.
“Sermon in a Sentence: a Treasury of Quotations on the Spiritual Life, Vol. 4, St. Teresa of Avila,” Selected and Arranged by John P. McClermon; Ignatius Press
“Saint Teresa of Jesus and the Virgin Mary” found at www.ocd.pcn.nt/mad_en1.htm
We are all familiar with the Rosary, but do we all understand its history or the importance so many Saints have place on reciting it daily. In this informative and inspiring program, Mark and Frances discuss the origins of the prayer of the Rosary. They touch on the details of our Lady having shared this prayer with St. Dominic. They also discuss the importance it played in bringing about a great military and spiritual victory in the Battel of Lepanto. Padre Pio of course was very dedicated to the Rosary, and this program discusses his emphatic counsel to use the Rosary as our weapon against the evils of this world. Pope John Paul II was likewise very dedicated to the Rosary and this program outlines the additions he brought to this form of prayer. Finally, Mark and Frances discuss the role of Mary and the use of the Rosary as a means of joining the Blessed Mother in contemplative prayer.
During this program Mark and Frances continue on the theme of Mary and the work of Evangelization. Here they discuss a presentation by Carmelite Friar and General Delegate to the OCDS, Fr. Debastiani, on our Carmelite call to mission. The presentation begins by reflecting on the contemplative nature of the call to Carmel. The importance of encountering the living God in the intimate experience of personal prayer. Fr. Debastiani then goes on to explain the importance of the call to community. Echoing the writings of St. Teresa of Avila, Fr. Debastiani points our that for Carmelites, and for that matter all Christians, must nurture the fruit of prayer in a community of faithful believers. It is in a supportive community that we both engage in conversation about our faith, are both challenged and supported on our journey and enter into community prayer to lift up the entire body of Christ.
Mark welcomes Mary Pyper, Treasurer for Radio Maria US, into the studio to discuss some recent work she has been doing around a school of Evangelization and the role of Mary in the work of Evangelization. Acknowledging Mary’s role in both bringing our Lord into the world, and in being the one who initiated His public ministry at the wedding in Cana, this conversations centers around the role of Mary in helping us develop our interior life. It is this very interior life and intimate relationship with the Lord that then allows us to carry on the great commission of spreading the Gospel. For many of us, the work of Evangelization and spreading the Gospel message may be the simple presence we offer to those in need or those who need to witness a person who lives with Hope. In order to be that person for others, we must draw from a well of deep prayer and an interior understanding of how God is working in our life. The best example of this from scripture is the Blessed Mother’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth. Here we see that the fruit of Mary’s rich prayer life, and her role as Christ Bearer is easily recognized by her cousin. In our lives we are also called on to be bearers of Christ, and Evangelizers of the message of hope. In this effort, the Blessed Mother serves as both our model and our and our guide.
This particular conversation picks up on the theme of Mary and her role in helping us develop a deep interior life. Moving from the previous conversation, which focused largely on her earthly life, this particular program moves to an understanding of Mary’s role in heaven. Mark and Frances explore what is unique about the Church’s teaching on Mary’s powerful intercession. They also propose the compelling idea so often expressed around the life of Mary, in both her heavenly role in and her earthly manifestations and apparitions, that Mary knows the great ‘secret.’ Part of our call in coming to a deeper understanding and Devotion to Mary, is to pray that she might reveal her secret to us, and help us to understand how we might apply it to our individual lives. This conversation is rich in sound doctrine, but never looses the theme of the need for all of us to understand how to make practical use of this information and be able to apply it to our daily lives.