Carmelite Conversations

Provoking Contemplation—Poverty, Self Denial and Trial

February 8, 2016
This is the third in a series of conversations reflection on the work by Fr. Donald Haggerty entitled "Contemplative Provocations." During this conversation Mark and Frances begin by cautioning against what Fr. Haggerty refers to as 'Aberrations.'' By this he means the pursuit of a spirituality without a firm foundation in the Dogmatic Teaching of the Church. Such pursuits can lead the soul to pursue experiences in prayer, which can lead a person astray an seeking their own desires in the spiritual life. Mark and Frances then go on to deal with the very difficult subjects of poverty, sacrifice and trial, so often found in God's purifying work of sanctification. Our poverty of Spirit is so necessary in the work of purification because there will always be something deep within ourselves that even we are not aware. In order to allow God's work to be done in us we must remain small, humble and poor. Likewise, we are called to make sacrifices and practice the spiritual asceticism, an asceticism that must go beyond simply fasting and detachment, and move to abandoning our will and learning to put others before ourselves. Finally, Mark and Frances remind us, as all the Saints would, that the only place we will find the strength for this phase of the journey is in love, and most especially before our Eucharistic Lord. If you are looking for a deeper understanding of some of the more challenging elements of the faith journey and some context for what we must go through to become Saints, this is a good listen.
 
RESOURCES
Books:
“Contemplative Provocations” by Fr. Donald Haggerty; Ignatius Press.
 
“The Ascent of Mount Carmel, Book II, 13:2-4” 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, 9:2-8” 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.
 
“Union with the Lord in Prayer” by Rev. Venard Poslusney, O.Carm; 101 Foundation.
 
“My Only Friend is Darkness: Living the Night of Faith with St. John of the Cross” by Barbara Dent; ICS Publications.