Carmelite Conversations
The Epiphany and Conversion of Sally Read

The Epiphany and Conversion of Sally Read

January 9, 2017

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.

RESOURCES:

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

The Signs, Saints, and Silences of Advent—to Help Us Grow Spiritually Guest: Colleen Sollinger, OCDS

December 12, 2016

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!

 

RESOURCES:

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.

Praying the Rosary

Praying the Rosary

November 21, 2016

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.

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.

RESOURCES:

BOOKS:
“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.

WEBSITES:
In the Heart of My Home
elizabethfoss.com

Catholic All Year
catholicallyear.com

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?

Resources:

Scripture:
Mt. 11:29

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

Books:
“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.

Resources:

Books:
“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

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

Other:
OCDS Constitutions, Section 17.

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.

The Grace of Contemplative Prayer, Part One of Three

The Grace of Contemplative Prayer, Part One of Three

June 27, 2016

Join Mark and Frances on an introduction and discussion on contemplative prayer. We start by defining the words: prayer, grace, and contemplation. The word “contemplation” means many different things depending on the context and culture it is used. There is much misinformation regarding different aspects of this word. Mark and Frances talk about what contemplation is NOT as well as how it is compared to New Age practices. We then go into both the natural and supernatural modes of contemplative prayer. St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church, is the expert we turn to in order to define the term.

Resources:

Scripture:
Jeremiah 29:11-14
Psalm 46:11

Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC):
CCC #2559
CCC #2558
CCC #2709
CCC #1997
CCC #2003
CCC #2005
CCC #2724

Books:
“Spiritual Canticle” by 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” by 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.

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