Carmelite Conversations
The Dark Night of the Soul—Preparing to Meet the Beloved by Deacon Rusty Baldwin, OCDS.

The Dark Night of the Soul—Preparing to Meet the Beloved by Deacon Rusty Baldwin, OCDS.

December 13, 2020

Dec. 14th is the Solemnity/Feast of St. John of the Cross, a Discalced Carmelite and Doctor of the Church.  He is often referred to as Doctor Mysticus or Doctor of Love.  He is a great Saint for Advent with his writings centering on mystery, darkness, intimacy, light and flame of love. 

This presentation will help us ponder these questions:

What is a mystic?

What are we called to?

What is the Dark Night and what it is NOT?

What is true happiness and joy?

Why did St. John of the Cross use the term, Dark Night?

What did he ask to be recited to him as he lay dying?

What is the Flame of Love?

Mary in the Life and Writings of St. John of the Cross by Lynn Bete, OCDS

Mary in the Life and Writings of St. John of the Cross by Lynn Bete, OCDS

December 13, 2020

St. John of the Cross is known as one of the greatest Spanish Poets.  Thankfully, he was asked to expound upon his poems which resulted in the classics we may be familiar with…such as “The Spiritual Canticle,” “The Dark Night,” and “The Living Flame of Love.”  Someone new to St. John of the Cross may complain, however, that he didn’t write very much about the Blessed Virgin Mary.  This presentation by Lynn Bete, a professed Discalced Carmelite Secular in Dayton, OH, may change their perspective on that topic.  What were the major Marian influences in St. John of the Cross’s life?  How did our Blessed Mother draw him to come and to stay in Carmel?  What does he write about our dear Blessed Mother?  How can he be called totally Marian?

 

Sources:

The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD and Otilio Rodriguez, OCD

“The Mariology of Saint John of the Cross” by Br. John-Mary of Jesus Crucified, OCD 

https://discalcedcarmel.org/the-mariology-of-saint-john-of-the-cross/

“Mary and the Holy Spirit in the Writings of John of the Cross” by Emmanuel J. Sullivan, OCD 

http://blesslife.org/ourgarden/maryspirit.html

Passages from St. John of the Cross:

God alone moves these souls [who have reached habitual union with God] toward those works that are in harmony with his will and ordinance, and they cannot be moved toward others. Thus the works and prayer of these souls always produce their effect.

Such were the prayer and the works of our Lady, the most glorious Virgin Raised from the very beginning to this high estate, she never had the form of any creature impressed in her soul, nor was she moved by any, for she was always moved by the Holy Spirit.

~ Ascent of Mount Carmel 3.2.10

 

The discreet lover does not care to ask for what she lacks and desires, but only indicates this need so the Beloved may do what he pleases. When the Blessed Virgin spoke to her beloved Son at the wedding feast at Cana in Galilee, she did not ask directly for the wine, but merely remarked: They have no wine.

~ Commentary on The Spiritual Canticle 2.8

 

You will not take from me, my God, what you once gave me in your only Son, Jesus Christ, in whom you gave me all I desire… 

Mine are the heavens and mine is the earth. Mine are the nations, the just are mine, and mine the sinners. The angels are mine, and the Mother of God, and all things are mine; and God himself is mine and for me, because Christ is mine and all for me.

~ Sayings of Light and Love #27 and #28

 

Then he called 

the archangel Gabriel 

and sent him to 

the virgin Mary, 

at whose consent 

the mystery was wrought, 

in whom the Trinity 

clothed the Word with flesh. 

and though Three work this, 

it is wrought in the One; 

and the Word lived incarnate 

in the womb of Mary. 

And he who had only a Father 

now had a Mother too…

~ Romances 8

 

Christmas Refrain

The Virgin, weighed

with the Word of God,

comes down the road:

if only you'll shelter her.

The link between contemplative prayer and poetry

The link between contemplative prayer and poetry

December 9, 2019

Frances Harry, OCDS, interviews poet Tim Bete, OCDS, about the link between contemplative prayer and poetry, including the "secret wisdom" discussed by St. John of the Cross the the concept of "creative intuition" discussed by Jacques Maritain.

Books of poetry by Tim BeteThe Raw Stillness of HeavenWanderings of an Ordinary Pilgrim

Primary source material: The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross (includes The Ascent of Mount Carmel, The Dark Night, The Spiritual Canticle, The Living Flame of Love, Letters, and The Minor Works) [Revised Edition]. ICS Publications.

The Range of Reason by Jacques Maritain
https://maritain.nd.edu/jmc/etext/range01.htm

 

How should we approach the poetry of St. John of the Cross?

How should we approach the poetry of St. John of the Cross?

December 9, 2019

Fraces Harry, OCDS, interviews poet Tim Bete, OCDS, about the poetry of St. John of the Cross. Below are resources and links to things mentioned in the podcast.

Books of poetry by Tim BeteThe Raw Stillness of HeavenWanderings of an Ordinary Pilgrim

Primary source material: The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross (includes The Ascent of Mount Carmel, The Dark Night, The Spiritual Canticle, The Living Flame of Love, Letters, and The Minor Works) [Revised Edition]. ICS Publications.

The Living Flame of Love by St. John of the Cross

1
O living flame of love
that tenderly wounds my soul
in its deepest center! Since
now you are not oppressive,
now consummate! if it be your will:
tear through the veil of this sweet encounter!

2
O sweet cautery,
O delightful wound!
O gentle hand! O delicate touch
that tastes of eternal life
and pays every debt!
In killing you changed death to life.

3
O lamps of fire!
in whose splendors
the deep caverns of feeling,
once obscure and blind,
now give forth, so rarely, so exquisitely,
both warmth and light to their Beloved.

4
How gently and lovingly
you wake in my heart,
where in secret you dwell alone;
and in your sweet breathing,
filled with good and glory,
how tenderly you swell my heart with love.

Spanish
1
¡Oh llama de amor viva,
que tiernamente hieres
de mi alma en el más profundo centro!
Pues ya no eres esquiva,
acaba ya, si quieres;
¡rompe la tela de este dulce encuentro!

2
¡Oh cauterio suave!
¡Oh regalada llaga!
¡Oh mano blanda! ¡Oh toque delicado,
que a vida eterna sabe,
y toda deuda paga!
Matando, muerte en vida la has trocado.

3
¡Oh lamparas de fuego,
en cuyos resplandores
las profundas cavernas del sentido,
que estaba oscuro y ciego,
con extraños primores
calor y luz dan junto a su Querido!

4
¡Cuán manso y amoroso
recuerdas en mi seno,
donde secretamente solo moras
y en tu aspirar sabroso,
de bien y gloria lleno,
cuán delicadamente me enamoras!

 

The Living Flame of Love in song

In Spanish
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rjvx3dx8RNI

Living Flame of Love (Marcus Steer) Malone University Chamber Choir
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GqLgA5cX0R0

Love's Living Flame sung by a choir (text by St. John of the Cross)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xx6PP954Dh8

John Michael Talbot (song)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MFdI6JMQuqg

O Living Flame of Love (song by Karl Kohlhase)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOaE2U0xljQ

 

Fr. Bonaventure Sauer's talk about poetry

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxECpvpN_K6BU3U0cXRucDF2WDQ/view

 

 

 

A Cell of Prayer, the Transverberation, and the Virtues of Mary

A Cell of Prayer, the Transverberation, and the Virtues of Mary

August 24, 2019

Prayer is to the soul what air is to the lungs.  If we don’t pray, we die spiritually.  St. Mary of Jesus Crucified, a Discalced Carmelite Mystic, talked about how we can be a “cell for Jesus”  and how Jesus wants to come to you.  In the depths of prayer, the Lord sometimes grants supernatural graces, which leads us to the deep prayer of 3 great Carmelites:  St. John of the Cross, St. Mary of Jesus Crucified, and St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila).  One great grace that both St. Mary of Jesus Crucified (Mariam, the Little Arab) and St. Teresa of Avila experienced was the transverberation of the heart, a wound of the heart.  St. John of the Cross gives us a great explanation of this grace, then the descriptions of this experience from St. Mary of Jesus Crucified and St. Teresa of Avila is given. It is interesting to compare their accounts.  Then we turn to some quotes on the Blessed Mother and a meditation on the Virtues of Mary from St. Mary of Jesus Crucified.

In the Silence of the Night There is Music

In the Silence of the Night There is Music

December 14, 2015
The great philosopher Soren Kierkegaard once said, "The present state of the world and all of life is diseased. If I were a doctor and were asked my advice, I should reply: Create Silence! Bring men to Silence. The word of God cannot be heard in the noisy world of today. This conversation focuses on the celebration of the Feast of St. John of the Cross. We briefly discuss the theme of silence in John's own writings and the importance of it in his life, but then we go on to see how John's writings and teaching on the theme of silence so profoundly impacted Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, and how she married John's poetry to her own experience of entering into a silent and intimate encounter with the Lord. Since this is December, the conversation also reflects on our own need to enter into silence in anticipation of the arrival of the Lord, and how the Blessed Mother was for John, Elizabeth and can be for us, the model of the interior soul, waiting in silence for the arrival of the gift of her son.
 
RESOURCES
The Twelve Degrees of Silence by Marie-Aimee of Jesus; Trans. from the French by Souer Ginette, Missionary Recluse
 
The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, ICS Publications.
 
Elizabeth of the Trinity: The Compete Works, Vol. 1: General Introduction, Major Spiritual Writings,” ICS Publications.
 
A Soul of Silence: Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity  by Mary Amabel du Coeur de Jesus,OCD
St. John of the Cross

St. John of the Cross

September 12, 2011

This program deals with the last and most difficult of St John of the Cross’ four stages of the spiritual journey, the Passive Night of Sense. Here the Lord takes us through the later stages of interior prayer. This is where God takes us through the very painful experiences necessary to teach us that He will not be limited by our all too small perception of him.

St. John of the Cross – Active night of the Spirit

St. John of the Cross – Active night of the Spirit

August 29, 2011

 This program provides an introduction St John of the Cross’ teaching on the four nights that he uses to describe the spiritual journey. This program introduces the Active Night of Spirit. Here the soul must take responsibility to begin to detach itself from even the spiritual consolations we experience along the journey. We must look beyond the simple consolations of prayer, so that we can reach the higher states of prayer.

St. John of the Cross – Active night of the Spirit

St. John of the Cross – Active night of the Spirit

August 22, 2011

This program provides an introduction to St John of the Cross’ teaching on the second of the four nights, the Passive Night of Sense. In this night the Lord begins to finish the work of detaching us from our over dependence on material comforts, supports and consolations.

St. John of the Cross

St. John of the Cross

August 15, 2011

This program provides an introduction to the teaching of St John of the Cross on the first of the four nights that John uses to describe the progress of the interior life. The first stage in this process is the Active Night of Sense. Here the soul must take the responsibility to begin to practice detachment from anything that does not lead to God.

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