Carmelite Conversations with Mark Danis and Frances Harry

Carmelite Conversations is a weekly program hosted by Mark Danis and Frances Harry that centers on the teachings of Carmelite Spirituality and their application to our busy modern lives. It provides counsel on how to live the Carmelite call to combine contemplative prayer with service to the Church, while at the same time providing guidance on how to make progress in holiness.

April 11, 2016 – Great Books

Mark and Frances took this opportunity to discuss some of their recent and favorite “Great Books.” The definition of Great refers to any of a number of Spiritual books that help to lead the reader into a deeper appreciation for and experience of the Living God. The 13 books discussed in this conversation fall into a short list of categories. There are those are intended to provide some intellectual insight and analysis of a particular topic of faith, for example the meaning and value of Human Suffering. There are also books discussed which help a person to prepare for or enter into a deeper experience of prayer. These include simple, straightforward devotionals as well as those they seek to explain and provide knowledge on the act of prayer. This discussion also includes books that are designed to provide consolation, comfort in difficult times and a sense of Peace regarding God’s presence in our daily lives. There are also books about the lives of specific Saints. As Mark points out, as much as we can benefit from the writings of the Saints, there are times when we can derive even more benefit just from reading about the events of their lives and how they responded to the difficult circumstances they faced. Finally, Mark and Frances discuss books that have inspired them in their faith, books that have helped lift them up and provided the motivation we all need from time to time, as we continue on our journey of faith. If you are looking for a list of good, dare we say ‘Great Books’ to read, you will find this a very worthwhile program.

“Drink of the Stream: Prayers of the Carmelites” by Penny Hickey, OCDS; Ignatius Press.
“Under the Torrent of His Love: Therese of Lisieux, a Spiritual Genius” by Fr. Marie-Eugene of the Child Jesus; Alba House.
“Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart” by Fr. Jacques Philippe; St. Pauls.
“My Ideal: Jesus Son of Mary” by Fr. Emil Neubert, SM; Tan Books.
“33 Days to Merciful Love: a Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Consecration to Divine Mercy” by Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC; Marian Press.
“City of God: The Divine History and Life of the Virgin Mother of God” as manifested to Venerable Mary of Agreda; Tan Books.
“Divine Intimacy: Meditations on the Interior Life for Every Day of the Liturgical Year” by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD; Tan Books.
“On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering” Anniversary Edition with Commentary by Myles N. Sheehan, SJ, MD; Paulist Press.
“The Contemplative Hunger” by Fr. Donald Haggerty; Ignatius Press.
“Brother Andre: All He Could Do Was Pray” by Boniface Hanley; St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mt. Royal Press.
“An Unpublished Manuscript on Purgatory” by S. T. D. (Nihil obstat/Censor Librorum Rev. Msgr. Carroll E. Satterfield and Lawrence Cardinal Shehan Imprimatur/Archbishop of Baltimore); Faitma House/The Reparation Society.
“The Prayer of the Presence of God” by Dom Augustin Guillerand; Sophia Press.
“Imagine Heaven” by John Burke; Baker Books.

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March 21, 2016 – A Reflection on Reconciliation

The Sacrament of Reconciliation has rightly been called by a number of names, including confession, the Sacrament of forgiveness, and the Sacrament of healing. It is less well known by what is perhaps its most important name, and its most important benefit, and that is the Sacrament of conversion. In this conversation on the Sacrament, Mark and Frances explore the historical context, benefits and means of preparation. They discuss how God not only wants to grant us His forgiveness and Mercy for our failings and our sin, but He wants to use that very weakness of our nature to bring about our conversion, purification and transformation into His Son, Jesus Christ. The most important aspect for our participation in this process is a continual and ever more challenging examination of our own behavior and even our very thoughts. Here Mark and Frances share three separate means of conducting such an examination, and they demonstrate how the process begins with looking at ourselves externally, turning to our interaction with our neighbor and then returning again to look at ourselves in a much deeper, spiritual and more interior way. This is an important topic and hopefully motivation for many of us to return to and enrich our experience of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and Conversion.

Documents:

“Merciful Like the Father” for 24 Hours for the Lord from the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization:
http://www.im.va/content/dam/gdm/documenti/pdfvari/24HoursForTheLord.pdf

“A Brief Examination of Conscience” Based on the Ten Commandments:
http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/sacraments-and-sacramentals/penance/upload/Examination-of-Conscience.pdf

Examination of Conscience According to the Seven Vices
https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/98280351/CSMP%20-%20Toolbox%20for%20Website/TBW_Examination%20of%20Conscience.pdf

Examination of Conscience Recalling Relationships with God and Others
http://www.loyolapress.com/an-examination-of-conscience.htm

Examination of Conscience According to the Three Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity
http://www.ewtn.com/library/SPIRIT/EXAMCONS.TXT

Examination of Conscience According to the Precepts of the Church
http://www.beginningcatholic.com/precepts-of-the-catholic-church.html

Examination of Conscience Using the Nine Ways of Being an Accessory to Another’s Sin
http://www.stpeterslist.com/6942/the-9-ways-of-being-an-accessory-to-anothers-sin/

Examination of Conscience for Priests and Religious
http://www.thelightisonforyou.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/TheLightIsOnForYou_ExaminationForReligiousAndPriests.pdf

Examination of Conscience and Catholic Doctrine
https://www.newmanconnection.com/ccwatershed/Examination.pdf

Examination of Conscience Based on the Beatitudes
http://www.johnpaul2center.org/JohnPaulIICenter/LayFormation/AdultFormation/SeasonofMercyFaithFormationRes/Beatitudes_EC.pdf

Comprehensive Examination of Conscience Based on the Twelve Virtues
http://www.catholicapologetics.info/thechurch/sacraments/adults.htm

Book:
“Frequent Confession: Its Place in the Spiritual Life” by (Dom) Benedict Baur, O.S.B.

Scripture passages cited from the New American Bible, printed 1970:
Lamentations 3:40
John 20:22-23
1 Peter 5:8
Matthew 5:28

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March 14, 2016 – The Remarkable Mercy of God (2 of 2)

In this second in a series of two programs on the Jubilee Year of Mercy, Mark and Frances continue their conversation on a book by the Holy Father entitled “God’s Name is Mercy.” In this follow-up conversation, they reiterate the importance of the scripture story of the woman caught in adultery, and how the Holy Father uses this story to demonstrate that Christ does not just apply justice, nor does He merely forgive sin, but indeed, He goes beyond that and actually “forgives with a caress” as the Pope Francis describes it. The Holy Father has built his argument that if humanity is wounded, indeed, as he says, deeply wounded, then forgiveness, though it will lead to salvation, is not enough to heal the wound within the human heart. It is this very wound in fact that impedes our ability to love and to become fully human persons, people made in the image of God who is love. This is really the entire them of the Holy Father’s message about Mercy – Justice is a balancing of the scales, but does not lead to forgiveness, forgiveness does lead to the absolution of sin and salvation, but Mercy is what heals a wounded heart. God’s message of Mercy is about healing and Love.

Books:
“The Name of God is Mercy: A Conversation with Andrea Tornielli” from Pope Francis, Trans. by Oonagh Stransky; Random House.
“The Church of Mercy: A Vision for the Church” by Pope Francis; Loyola Press.
“God’s Healing Mercy: Finding Your Path to Forgiveness, Peace and Joy” by Kathleen Beckman, LHS; Sophia Press.
“33 Days to Merciful Love: a Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Consecration to Divine Mercy” by Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC; Marian Press.
“Angels of the Battlefield: A History of the Labors of the Catholic Sisterhoods in the Late Civil War” by George Barton; Nine Choirs Press.

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March 7, 2016 – The Remarkable Mercy of God (1 of 2)

The Holy Father recently declared this year an Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy. There are a number of celebration and activities planned for this year, and there are many graces and blessings available for those who take up the Holy Father’s call to seek God’s Mercy. As part of his effort to communicate the importance of this message of Mercy, the Holy Father, Pope Francis, granted an interview with a journalist and commissioned the publication of a book entitled, “The Name of God is Mercy.” In this conversation on the importance of the message of Mercy, Mark and Frances use portions of the Holy Father’s book, key verses from scripture, and some of the quotes of the famous Carmelite Saints to help explain exactly what the Holy Father is trying to tell the Church about God’s Mercy. The most important aspect of this message is that Mercy is that attribute of God, His most important attribute according to Pope Francis, that does more than overcome God’s Justice, and in fact, it does more than allow for the forgiveness of sins, Mercy is what actually leads to the healing of both the effects of sin and the woundedness of our human nature that leads us to sin in the first place. In this important conversation the listener is invited to come to a deeper understanding and a genuine desire to seek out God’s all encompassing Mercy.

Books:
“The Name of God is Mercy: A Conversation with Andrea Tornielli” from Pope Francis, Trans. by Oonagh Stransky; Random House.
“The Church of Mercy: A Vision for the Church” by Pope Francis; Loyola Press.
“God’s Healing Mercy: Finding Your Path to Forgiveness, Peace and Joy” by Kathleen Beckman, LHS; Sophia Press.
“33 Days to Merciful Love: a Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Consecration to Divine Mercy” by Fr. Michael E. Gaitley, MIC; Marian Press.
“Angels of the Battlefield: A History of the Labors of the Catholic Sisterhoods in the Late Civil War” by George Barton; Nine Choirs Press.

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February 29, 2016 – The Way of the Cross with the Carmelite Saints

The Way of the Cross is a remarkably powerful and grace filled devotion, one we should certainly find time to practice during the Season of Lent. In this particular program Mark and Frances draw from the writings of the great Carmelite Saints to provide a complete reflection on each of the Stations of the Cross. Each reflection includes a brief statement on the significance of a particular Station, a verse from the Bible that enhances and expands our understanding of that Station, and then a reflection from one of the Carmelite Saints, which seeks to further deepen our experience and encounter with the Man of Sorrows and His Passion. This is a particularly moving series of reflections and it is a program best listened to when you have the time to be quiet, reflective and in a situation to meditate on each of the readings offered along the Way of the Cross. This is a program rich in material for our sanctification and will be one that many people will want to listen to more than once.

Books:
“The Way of the Cross with the Carmelite Saints” Compiled and Illustrated by Sister Joseph Marie, Carmelite Hermit of the Trinity; ICS Publications.
“Meditations on the Way of the Cross of Albert Servaes” by (Blessed) Titus Brandsma, O. Carm; Carmelite Press Publication.
“Calvary and the Mass” by (Archbishop) Fulton J. Sheen; P. J. Kenedy & Sons, Publishers, 1936.
“The School of Jesus Crucified: the Lessons of Calvary in Daily Catholic Life” by Father Ignatius of the Side of Jesus, Passionist; Tan Books.

Article:
“How Did the Stations of the Cross Begin?” by Fr. William Saunders, found on www.ewtn.com.

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February 22, 2016 – Provoking Contemplation—Who are these Contemplatives Anyway?

Books Referenced in This Episode:
“Contemplative Provocations:  Brief, concentrated observations on aspects of a life with God” by Fr. Donald Haggerty; Ignatius Press.
“The Way of the Cross with the Carmelite Saints” Compiled and Illustrated by Sister Joseph Marie, Carmelite Hermit of the Trinity; ICS Publications.
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February 15, 2016 – Provoking Contemplation—Suffering Trials, the Poor and Contemplation


The single most difficult aspect of the journey of prayer are the times of suffering and trial.  Just when we believe we have launched on the correct path to holiness and are responding to God in the way that He desires, we seem to be met with no end of trials and setbacks.  In this open but difficult conversation on this topic, Mark and Frances reveal the hard truth of the journey of the soul that desires to arrive at union with God.  To be sure, there are many graces and blessings along the way, but in this fourth in a series of conversations from a book by Fr. Donald Haggerty called “Contemplative Provocations,” Mark and Frances present the reality of our individual need for purification and self denial.  Our greatest consolation during this journey is found in the suffering and trial of our Lord’s own passion and poverty.  And for those looking for the model of that poverty in our world today, one need look no further than the very poor in our midst.  Fr. Haggerty draws on his own experiences with Mother Teresa of Calcutta to explain how we must seek the hidden Christ in the very eyes of the most impoverished in our society’ indeed it is among them where Christ continues to express His own plea from the Cross “I Thirst.”  This is ultimately a very encouraging conversation for those seeking a deeper meaning in the midst of trials and suffering.
Books Referenced in this Episode:
 
“Contemplative Provocations” by Fr. Donald Haggerty; Ignatius Press.
“Worshipping a Hidden God:  Unlocking the Secrets of the Interior Life” by Archbishop Luis M. Martinez; Sophia Institute Press.
Scripture Passages:  Mt 25:40, Mk 14:7, Mt. 25:35, Jn 19:28.
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February 08, 2016 – Provoking Contemplation—Poverty, Self Denial and Trial

Books Referenced in this Episode:
“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.
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February 01, 2016 – Provoking Contemplation au Deux

his particular program aired on the eve of the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord.  This feast recalls not only the Lord’s arrival at the temple, but also the preparation of the two individuals who were able to recognize the Lord, Anna and Simeon.  It is written that both these contemplative souls had prepared themselves well through prayer and fasting, and that they waited with heroic patience and perseverance for the arrival of the Lord.  In a very real way they serve as models of the persons of prayer we are all called to be.  In this program Mark and Frances pick up the conversation on the book by Fr. Donald Haggerty entitled “Contemplative Provocations.”  Here they discuss the clear signs that a person has begun to enter into contemplative prayer, and they provide recognizable affirmations that the can assure the soul they are not actually regressing or losing time in prayer.  They also discuss the importance of not being led by our emotions in prayer, and how we must seek to go beyond a felt experience.  Finally, Mark and Frances discuss the role of the mind in contemplative prayer, and most especially what we can do about the wild thoughts that so often try to distract us away from our loving focus on the Lord.

 

Books Referenced in this Episode:
“Contemplative Provocations” by Fr. Donald Haggerty, Ignatius Press.
“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.
“The Dark Night” 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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January 25, 2016 – Provoking Contemplation

This program originally aired on the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul.  During this conversation Mark and Frances first discuss the event of Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus.  What is most striking about this event is the presence of the unbearable light that Paul cannot view with his human eye.  Instead, Paul is gifted with spiritual vision and provided an encounter with Christ that, in some way, we are all called to.  We are called to this light because we are all called to ever deepening levels of conversion.  The conversation then moves on to look in detail at our individual call to a contemplative encounter with Christ.  For this conversation Mark and Frances are using a book entitled “Contemplative Provocations” by a Fr. Donald Haggerty.  Fr. Haggerty gives due credit to St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross for many of the insights he shares in this series of reflections.  This first in a series of discussions on this book focuses on how and why God often conceals Himself when we seek Him in contemplative prayer.  Mark and Frances also discuss how we must continue to respond in faith to these early and often confusing first stages on contemplative prayer.
Books Referenced in the Episode:
“Contemplative Provocations” by Fr. Donald Haggerty, Ignatius Press.
“Contemplative Hunger” by Fr. Donald Haggerty, Ignatius Press.
“The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross,” trans. by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD and Otilio Rodriguez, OCD, revised edition (1991), ICS Publications.
“The Practice of Contemplation According to John of the Cross” by James W. Kinn, ICS Publications.
“Secrets of the Interior Life” by Luis M. Martinez (Also known as “Worshipping a Hidden God: Unlocking the Secrets of the Interior Life”), Sophia Institute Press.
“Fire Within” by Fr. Thomas Dubay, Ignatius Press.
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