Building upon last week’s conversation and using the spiritual navigational tools of 1) rest on the bosom of Jesus/in His Heart/in adoration; 2) embrace Jesus in the night via night vigils; 3) silence the faculties of the soul and listen interiorly to the Lord, Mark and Frances share a perspective on the actions of St. Peter during Holy Week and how that applies to the purification of the memory and the advancement of the soul in receiving God’s love. Mark also brings up a movie, called The Mission, which exemplifies the points we are trying to make. When seen through the eyes of both a Hermit and Crusader spirit, we see how important prayer is before action, which is also the call of Secular Discalced Carmelite.
The life of contemplation is itself a lifetime journey. Just as with any significant journey, and there is no more important journey then the journey to the interior of our soul, we must make preparations. We must understand the mode of transportation we will use for different parts of the journey, and we have a few means of navigation to ensure we stay on course, or that we are able to find our way back on course if we should become lost. Finally, we must be able to anticipate the obstacles that we may encounter along the way. In this first of a series of conversations, Mark and Frances discuss the work we must do in our prayer life to allow us to advance, and to make sure we can stay on the right path. Beginning with the very foundation of the Order of Carmel, they offer a series of practical tips and a narrative explanation of how the journey of faith, guided by contemplation, might play out in someone's life. This particular program is an excellent introduction to an understanding of how the memory can serve as an impediment to our progress in the life of prayer. More importantly, through the introduction of various means of navigation, they present solid advice on how on anyone can learn to avoid the obstacles along the journey.
In this second part of the two part series titled, 'Fifteen Days of Prayer with Blessed Fr. Marie-Eugene and the Child Jesus,' Mark and Frances explore more deeply the need for each of us, as we begin to make more progress in prayer, to begin to dispose ourselves more completely to the Lord's will. Our entire lives must become a total self-giving in exactly the same way as Christ gave Himself to His Father's will. This of course requires a great deal of confidence in God's faithfulness to His promise that He will always be with us, even if quite often His presence seems hidden. We must also begin to develop more intensely the virtue of Hope, which is often discovered in the midst of our spiritual poverty. Fr. Marie-Eugene teaches that we must become audacious in our trust, but we must also understand that God's action in our lives is to be found in the little, often monotonous events that make up our days. He also teaches that we draw strength from the realization that Christ is always with us, not only as our model, but also as our servant, as demonstrated by His willingness to wash the feet of His disciples. As one of the more outspoken proponents for our reliance on the Holy Spirit, Fr. Marie-Eugene advocates not only our need to pray to the Holy Spirit, but also to allow the Spirit to transform our prayer life from one of transforming ourselves, to one of transforming the world around us. Finally, as any good Carmelite, Blessed Fr. Marie-Eugene strongly encourages us to rely on the intercession of the Blessed Mother. No matter where you find yourself in your prayer life today, this two part series will have something to offer you to help move to the next level of intimacy with our Lord.
Lk 23:46, Romans 8:20; Mt 5:3; Mk 10:45; Jn 13:8; 1 Jn 4:19; Acts 10:38
“Fifteen Days of Prayer with Father Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus, Carmelite, Founder of Notre-Dame de Vie” by Roselyn Declare and Joelle Guichard; St. Paul’s.
Mark and Frances chat with Sally Read, author of the book, Night's Bright Darkness: A Modern Conversion Story. Sally was staunchly atheist yet converted to Catholicism in the space of only nine months. In 2010, she was heralded as one of the bright young writers of the British poetry scene. Feminist and deeply anti-Catholic, she was writing a book about female sexuality when, during her research, she spoke with a Catholic priest. The interview led her on a dramatic spiritual quest that ended up at the Vatican itself, where she was received into the Catholic Church. All along the way, Carmelite saints influenced her conversion. Also joining the conversation is Tim Bete, another member of the Our Lady of Good Counsel Secular Carmelite Community.
Night's Bright Darkness: A Modern Conversion Story by Sally Read
Divine Intimacy by Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen
The Signs, Saints, and Silences of Advent—to Help Us Grow Spiritually Guest: Colleen Sollinger, OCDS
Have you ever had the experience of arriving at Christmas and suddenly get this sinking feeling that you have hardly done anything to grow spiritually during the Advent season? Colleen Sollinger, our guest on Carmelite Conversation, helps us with some ideas on various ways we may prepare our hearts and souls for the Incarnation of Christ. What do the signs used in Advent mean and how might they help us? Have you ever considered asking a Saint or Advent figure to accompany you thru the season…to prepare in imitation of them…or gain insights from them? How beneficial is it to practice silence …and silent prayer during this time? It’s never too late to begin…just begin!
Scripture: Jn 1:29, Mt. 3:2, Mt. 3:8, Lk 1:38, Lk 1:45, Lk 17:21
Website Articles: “Degrees of Perfection” by St. John of the Cross; http://ocarm.org/ebook/John/minorworks.htm#DEGREES%20OF%20PERFECTION
“This Is Your Brain on Silence” by Daniel A. Gross; http://nautil.us/issue/16/nothingness/this-is-your-brain-on-silence
“Good Feet, Courage and Tenacity of Spirit” by a solitary bird; https://asolitarybird.wordpress.com/2016/09/13/good-feet-courage-and-tenacity-of-spirit/
“By the Manger in the Morning Prayer Journal” by Elizabeth Foss; https://blessedisshe.net/product/advent-2016-prayer-journal/
Books: “The Little Way of Advent: Meditations in the Spirit of St. Therese of Lisieux” by Fr. Gary Caster; Servant Books.
“St. John of the Cross Advent Saint” by Rev. John Saward; publ. by Discalced Carmelite Nuns of Philadelphia, PA.
“The Music of Silence: Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity for Everyone” by Elizabeth Ruth Obbard; New City.
“Divine Intimacy” from Second Week of Advent, by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen; Tan Books.
Many Catholics, even very faithful Catholics, have simply fallen away from the practice of praying the Rosary. This is indeed an unfortunate set of circumstances. Many of the Church's greatest Saints have consistently reminded us of the importance of the Rosary especially its use as a strong defense and even a spiritual weapon against the demons and their assaults. In this conversation Mark and Frances reexamine the importance of the Rosary as they look at it through the eyes and the words of some of its Greatest Champions. The list of individuals includes such notable figures as Saint Pope John Paul II, St Padre Pio and St Teresa of Calcutta. More than just advocating the recitation of the Rosary, however, Mark and Frances discuss how these Champions encouragement can be seen as a means of using to Rosary to confront the most difficult challenges facing our society, such challenges as Divorce, Abortion, Suicide and even Terrorism. In the second half of the conversation, Mark and Frances offer helpful hints for getting out of our Rosary rut, whether someone might have just become a bit bored with praying the Rosary, or whether someone may have stopped praying it altogether. If you have lost that loving feeling for the Rosary, this might be a good program to re-inspire you and get you back to praying this powerful prayer.
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
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?
“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.
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
OCDS Constitutions, Section 17.
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.
“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