This is the second episode in a new monthly series of talks by Deacon Rusty Baldwin, a Secular Discalced Carmelite who gives a presentation to our Community in Dayton each month. These are recorded live during our Holy Hours. In this program, Deacon Baldwin discusses Carmel and the Evangelical Counsels.
Testing and Discerning a Vocation to the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites with Guest, Colleen Sollinger, OCDS
Who is called to be a Secular Discalced Carmelite? How do you distinguish between those who are called and those who are not called? What are some principles that you can use to discern the vocation to the OCDS? Guest, Colleen Sollinger, shares 6 distinct elements that, considered in totality, paint a good picture of a soul who is called to the Order of the Discalced Carmelite Seculars. Having been a formation facilitator for her community, she speaks from experience as well as from the guidance of Fr. Aloysius Deeney, OCD who has served as the General Delegate for the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites.
“Welcome to the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites” by P. Aloysius Deeney, OCD; ICS Publications.
“Welcome to Carmel” by Michael D. Griffin, OCD, contributor and compiler; Teresian Charism Press.
“Christifidelis Laici” by Pope John Paul II.
“Ratio Institutionis” for the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites at http://www.ocds.info/LegislativeDocuments/RatioInstitutionis.pdf
The original founders of the Order of Carmel found it necessary to identify a Rule by which they could conduct their daily activities and stay focused on what was most important. This is no less important for us today. We all need to have some basic guidance that helps stay focused and make progress along the Spiritual Journey. In this conversation Mark and Frances discuss the elements of what should go into a Rule of Life. They also discuss how the development of a Rule can be tailored to our individual circumstances and those elements we need to work on in our own spiritual path. They also discuss some of the best thinking on a Rule from the writings of the Saints and the Church Fathers.
Continuing on the theme from the previous program, Mark and Frances reiterate the importance of community, and the need to participate in community as a way to continue to grow. Again, echoing the ideas of St. Teresa of Avila, they outline the important elements that must be found in community. The virtues of kindness, compassion, patience, openness, trust and of course humility are all important. But they also emphasize the need for Joy, we must be able to find real Joy in knowing that we are working to become the very people God called us to be, and we do this most effectively in community. Mark and Frances also read from a letter by Pope Francis written specifically to the Carmelite Order world wide. In this encouraging and yet challenging document, the Holy Father tells the Carmelite Community they must again capture the spirit of the Brothers of Mount Carmel, both by fulfilling our call to contemplation, but also by fulfilling our mission by becoming Prophets of Hope to a fractured and disoriented world.
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.
Carmelites are called to be ‘active contemplatives,’ but what does this mean? Have you ever wondered how to go about striking the right balance between prayer and the active life. In fairness, most of us have difficulty finding enough time in our busy lives for a sufficient amount of prayer. But the active life referred to in this particular conversation is the life of virtue, the life of charity. During this informative and helpful conversation, Mark welcomes Deacon Rusty Baldwin to the studio to discuss the importance of all Christians maintaining an active apostolate, or an individual ministry of service to others. Indeed, St. Teresa of Avila herself said it is permissible to leave the activity of prayer for only one purpose, and that is to do an act of charity for another. Even the Carmelite Rule directs the members of Carmel to stay in prayer, unless otherwise justly occupied. This just occupation is the work of charity, which includes certainly the fulfillment of the responsibilities of our station in life, but also some form of ministry. This conversation will explore those opportunities, while at the same time helping us to understand how we can still maintain a state of prayer even in the midst of the active life.
We all use the word faith quite often and believe we understand what it means, but do we really understand the deeper meaning of faith as it relates to journey toward God. In this informative conversation, Frances speaks with Deacon Tracy Jamison of the Diocese of Cincinnati. Dr. Jamison is both a Deacon and a professor at the seminary in the Diocese of Cincinnati, and has published articles on the issues of faith and prayer, and more specifically how prayer serves as a means to nurture and strengthen out faith. Finally, drawing on specific Carmelite texts, Deacon Jamison demonstrates how prayer and faith play a vital role in our spiritual journey. This is both a very informative discussion, and very timely as we move toward the end of the “Year of Faith” in the Church.
Summer is a great time for reading. Have you wondered what Carmelite books are the best to read, what might be considered the essential reading for a Carmelite. In this conversation Frances Harry welcomes Mark Olsen into the studio to discuss some of the most important reading for those interested in Carmelite Spirituality. Mark is the Director of Formation for the Dayton Community of Discalced Carmelites, so he is uniquely qualified to offer suggestions on some of the more important works in the Carmelite tradition of spiritual literature. Mark and Frances discuss a list of what they consider to be both a good introduction, and a comprehensive outline of the essential texts. These books are presented not as individual titles in themselves, but in the context of the different categories of spirituality such as prayer, practicing the virtues, stages of the spiritual journey and so forth. This is a great program to get a solid grounding in the books you should be reading if you are interested in Carmelite Spirituality.
Host, Frances Harry, along with guest, Deacon/Dr. Tracy Jamison, OCDS talk about “spiritual marriage.” There are lots of questions about spiritual marriage. What is it? What does it involve? Where do we get this term? What happens in it? What difference does it make in my life and in those around me? Is it possible for all of us?