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October 3, 2016 – “Joy in Suffering”


“Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light,” Edited and with Commentary by Brian Kolodiejchuk, MC; Doubleday.
“I Thirst: Saint Theres of Lisieux and Mother Teresa of Calcutta,” by Jacques Gauthier; St. Pauls.
“Love of the Cross: A Meditation” from the book, “The Hidden Life: Essays, Meditations, Spiritual Texts” from the Collected Works of Edith Stein, Ed.ted by Dr. L. Gelber and Michael Linssen, OCD and Translated by Waltraut Stein, PhD; ICS Publications.
“Science of the Cross” by Edith Stein; ICS Publications.

“Joy in Suffering According to St. Therese of the Child Jesus: A Novena,” by Bishop A. A. Noser, S.V.D., D.D.; Tan Books and Publishers.

Apostolic Letter:
“Salvifici Doloris” (On the Christian Meaning of Human Suffering”) by Pope John Paul II; Pauline Books and Media.
Scripture: Col. 1:24, Jn 15: 10-11; Mt. 22:37, 39-40; 1 Pt 1:8; 1 Jn 3:16-18; Jas 2:14-18.

September 26 2016 – “The Sign of the Cross”


“The Sign of the Cross: The Fifteen Most Powerful Words in the English Language” by St. Francis de Sales; Sophia Institute Press.
“The Sign of the Cross in the Nineteenth Century” by Mgr. Jean-Joseph Gaume; Loreto Publications.
“Fire from Above: Christian Contemplation and Mystical Wisdom” by Dr. Anthony L. Lilles; Sophia Institute Press.
“Hidden Mountain, Secret Garden: A Theological Contemplation on Prayer” by Anthony Lilles; Discerning Hearts.
Catechism of the Catholic Church: CCC #1131, CCC #1670

September 19 2016 – “Beginning Eucharistic Adoration” with Guests: Teresa Gooding and Marika Zimmerman

What can you do to fight the suffocating plague of indifference and immorality? Eucharist Adoration!! Guests Teresa Gooding and Marika Zimmerman share the details on how to get started. What is Eucharistic Adoration and how does one go about doing this? What if your parish doesn’t have Eucharistic Adoration? How would you go about setting it up? What do the Popes say about spending time with Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament? What did some of our Carmelite Saints think about it? There are many reasons to begin Eucharistic Adoration, not the least coming from Scripture. The benefits pay off in Heavenly dividends! It’s good to start developing a love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament in our young people today, to help them become spiritually strong and virtuous.


Scripture passages:
Lk. 24:29, Mt. 28:20, Jn 6:51, Jn 6:40, Jn 15:4, Mt. 26:40, Mt. 11:28, and 1 Pt 5:7

Catechism of the Catholic Church: CCC #2096, #2628

“Bread of Heaven: A Treasury of Carmelite Prayers and Devotions on the Eucharist” Compiled by Penny Hickey, OCDS; Christian Classics.
“Eucharistic Colloquies” by Mother Maria Candida of the Eucharist, Discalced Carmelite (1884-1949); Edizioni Feeria – Edizioni OCD.
“7 Secrets of the Eucharist” by Vinny Flynn; MercySong Ignatius.
“Manual for Eucharistic Adoration” by the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration; Tan Books.
“Meditations for Eucharistic Adoration” by Elizabeth Ficocelli; Paulist Press.
“20 Holy Hours” by Fr. Mateo Crawley-Boevey SS.CC.; St. Paul Books and Media.

“John Paul II and the Blessed Sacrament” by Jason Evert.
“The Spirituality of St. Teresa of Avila Applied to the Five Marks of the Norbertine Order”
“The History of Eucharistic Adoration: Development of Doctrine in the Catholic Church” by Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

“Mane Nobiscum Domine” (“Stay with us Lord”) by Pope John Paul II, 2004.
“Ecclesia de Eucharistia” (“The Church from the Eucharist”) by Pope John Paul II, 2003.
“Dominicae Cenae” (“The Mystery and Worship of the Eucharist”) by Pope John Paul II, 1980.
“Mysterium Fidei” (“The Mystery of Faith”) by Pope Paul VI, 1965.
“Mirae Caritatis” (“Mirror of Charity”) by Pope Leo XIII, 1902.

Websites: for article on “24 Reasons for Spending a Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament”

benefits_of_holy_hour.pdf for article on “Over 100 Benefits of Eucharistic Adoration” “The United States Catholic Conference of Bishops.”

eucharistic-devotion on Eucharistic Devotion and Holy Hours.

perpetual-expositon-of-the-blessed-sacrament.cfm on Perpetual Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. on the Holy Hour of Eucharistic Adoration

August 29 2016 – “Purity of Heart: a Spiritual Perspective”

We so often hear the phrase, ‘Purity of Heart’ but what does this actually mean. More importantly, what does it mean in a spiritual context. Many people rightly believe the definition includes such characteristics as keeping our thoughts pure or keeping our bodies chaste, and this is certainly true, but neither of these elements go far enough. According to the Danish philosopher, Soren Kiergegaard, in a book by this very title, “Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing.” Scripture would seem to support Kierkegaard’s argument when it tells us to ‘Seek first the Kingdom of God.’ In other words, the first and most important thing in our life must be the pursuit of God and His Kingdom, and this is exactly what Kierkegaard argues for in his book. The entire text is basically an assault on what Kierkegaard calls ‘Double-Mindedness’ or the propensity of individuals to attempt to balance their pursuit of the Good, (which Christ Himself tells us is God) with their individual desires for the things of this world. According to Kierkegaard there can be no such balance. Instead, he argues, everything else must be subordinated to our pursuit of the only thing that can bring us ultimate fulfillment. Mark and Frances draw extensively from the writings of Kierkegaard for this important conversation, but then they go on to incorporate and validate his argument with quotes from some of the great Saints of Carmel. If you are looking for the reasons of so many of the apparent discontinuity in your life, and the remedy for these disconnects, then this is the program to listen to.


“Magnificat,” August 2016; Yonkers, NY.

“Purity of Heart Is to Will One Thing” by Soren Kierkegaard; Harper & Brothers.

“The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross: ‘Ascent to Mt. Carmel’” by John of the Cross; Trans. by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD and Otilio Rodriguez, OCD; ICS Publications.

“The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity, Vol. 1: Major Spiritual Writings; ‘Heaven in Faith,’ by Elizabeth of the Trinity; Trans. by Aletheia Kane, OCD; ICS Publications.

“Commentary On Kierkegaard” by D. Anthony Storm found at

Mt 5:8, Mt. 19:17, Mt. 6:33, Rom. 3:23, Phil. 4:6-8

August 22 2016 – “How to Introduce Contemplative Prayer to Children” With Guest: Colleen Sollinger, OCDS

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

August 15, 2016 – “Catholic Apps” with guests, Jennifer Kane, OCDS and Tim Bete, OCDS

People have access to an amazing amount of technology thru their computers, tablets, and smartphones. How can this technology be used to help us grow in our spiritual life? How can it help us grow in prayer? How can we use it so it enhances our growth rather than becoming a distraction? How can it help those with a vocation to the Carmelites? Founder, Jennifer Kane has much to share with us. Tim Bete, techno guru, helps Carmelite Conversations’ host, Frances, interview Jennifer to get all the newest scoops and best advice on Catholic Apps.


The Catholic Apptitude website/apostolate is based on Mark 4:1-2.
Catholic Apptitude is also influenced by Pope Francis’ message for the 50th World Communications Day, Communication and Mercy: a Fruitful Encounter (2016).
In this light, Jennifer Kane (founder of sees Catholics apps as developers (via software) communicating with users in a nonjudgmental way. Think about it. This software doesn’t presume anything about the user nor does it make judgments. The user doesn’t sense this even in the examination of conscience section of a confession app! Catholic apps are “welcoming” almost by nature. So many of them are specifically designed to “accompany” the user in his/her spiritual journey, as Francis recommends.

“Divine Intimacy” by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD; Tan Books

August 08 2016 – “Humility: the Bedrock of Prayer and Spiritual Growth,” Part Three

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?


Mt. 11:29

Articles Online:
“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.

August 1 2016 – “Humility: the Bedrock of Prayer and Spiritual Growth,” Part Two

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

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

OCDS Constitutions, Section 17.

July 25 2016 – “Humility: the Bedrock of Prayer and Spiritual Growth” Part One

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

July 18 2016 – “The Grace of Contemplative Prayer” Part Three of Three

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?


“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.

Psalm 46:11
Luke 11:9-13
Jeremiah 29:11-14

“Transition from Meditation to Contemplation According to St. John of the Cross” by Father Laurian Zabalza, OCD

July 11 2016 – “The Grace of Contemplative Prayer” Part Two of Three

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?


“St. Teresa’s Prayer of Recollection” by St. Teresa of Avila, brochure; ICS Publications.

Ps. 46:11

“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.

June 27 2016 – “The Grace of Contemplative Prayer” Part One of Three

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.


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

“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.

June 20 2016 – Silence and Poetry

In this second of a two part series, Mark and Frances continue a discussion of the important role of silence in our contemplative prayer life, and in our daily life. Building on the more objective list of the twelve degrees of silence they discussed in the previous program, this week they introduce the writings of Saint Mary of Jesus Crucified, a Carmelite Saint who was Canonized in 2015, where Jesus Himself instructs the Saint on how to practice silence. The Lord uses very powerful poetic imagery to try and provide a picture of just what He wants Miriam (Saint Mary of Jesus Crucified), and for that matter all of us, to try and practice this deep interior silence. The Lord well understands that it is not the external noise of the world that often interrupts our efforts to find this silence, but rather it is the reverberating echo of our own thoughts and internal conversation that disrupts our prayer life. External events and circumstances will always pose a threat to our interior silence, but it is more how we respond to them and what permission we give them to enter into our hearts that has the potentially most negative consequences for our prayer. This program is very helpful for anyone looking to find more effective ways to practice silence, both in prayer and in their daily life.

June 13 2016 – “The Role of Silence in Prayer”

You cannot have vocal prayer without the spoken word, and you cannot have contemplative prayer without silence. Mark and Frances discuss the role of silence in prayer and its importance. Silence in prayer will tend to grow as the soul’s prayer matures. We lead into an in-depth discussion of the “Twelve Degrees of Silence” by Sr. Marie-Aimee de Jesus, OCD. We proceed to the analogy of the “Five Ways of Practicing Silence” as given to St. Mary of Jesus Crucified. We end by considering the example of our Blessed Virgin Mary through the eyes of Bl. (soon to be Saint) Elizabeth of the Trinity, OCD.


“The Twelve Degrees of Silence” by Marie-Aimee de Jesus, OCD; ed. By Lucinda M. Vardey; The Bible Reading Fellowship.
“Thoughts: Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified” by Reverend D. Buzy, S.C.J.; Carmel of Bethlehem.
“The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity, Vol. 1: Major Spiritual Writings,” by Elizabeth of the Trinity, Translated by Aletheia Kane, OCD; ICS Publications.
“Exploring Silence” by Wendy Robinson; Fairacres Publications.

Roman 8:26
1 Kings 19:11-12
Ps. 46:10

June 6 2016 – An interview with Fr. and Carmelite Friar Don Brink OCD

In this conversation Mark and Frances invite Fr. Don Brink into the studio for a lively conversation on a range of topics, all things Carmel. Fr. Don reflects on the different stages of Contemplative prayer and how we might identify some of the elements of our progression through these stages. He also discusses the sometimes difficult balance individual souls must attempt to find between our lives of prayer and our call to active ministry in the world. Fr. Don makes very clear, consistent with sound Carmelite teaching, that our more active ministry in the Church, whether teaching, assisting the poor or anyone of a number of works of charity we may engage in, must always be grounded in and preceded by our life of prayer. Additionally, Fr. Don goes to some length to emphasize the importance of the role of the Holy Spirit in our spiritual journey. He strongly advocates that we must continually seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and allow this great gift of God to direct our path through all the circumstances of our life. This is a very good program for those who may be looking for a broad introduction to all the key elements of Carmelite life.

May 23 2016 – “The Marian Devotion of St. Teresa of Avila”

How did St. Teresa of Avila express her Marian devotion and how might we imitate her? Although St. Teresa did not write a major work on the Blessed Virgin Mary, there is no doubt the importance she played in St. Teresa’s life, from her youth up through her founding many monasteries. One may ask, what place did the rosary have in her prayer life? What was the importance of the Virgin Mary in St. Teresa’s prayer? Did she have some mystical encounters involving the Blessed Mother? And, for today, how might we grow in our devotion to our Heavenly Mother?


Scripture: Lk 1:35

“The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Vol. 1, 2, and 3,” Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD and Otilio Rodriguez, OCD; ICS Publications.

“Sermon in a Sentence: a Treasury of Quotations on the Spiritual Life, Vol. 4, St. Teresa of Avila,” Selected and Arranged by John P. McClermon; Ignatius Press.

“Saint Teresa of Jesus and the Virgin Mary” found at www.ocd.pcn.nt/mad_en1.htm

May 16, 2016 – “Mary as Our Principal Intercessor to Receive the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit”

In this continuing series on devotion to the Blessed Mother, Mark and Frances discuss just what it is that make’s Mary so significant in her role as our defender against our spiritual enemies, and in her role as a model for the Christian journey. There is one principle virtue for which Mary is most notable, and it so happens it is also the virtue that St. Teresa of Avila teaches us is absolutely indispensable for the journey of faith, and that is humility. In this conversation honoring Mary in her special month of May, Mark and Frances explore some of the events of Mary’s life, and her own words, most especially the prayer of the Magnificat, as the clearest examples of why it is that Mary is our preeminent model as a follower of Jesus Christ. After some preliminary material to lay the ground work, Mark and Frances take the listener through each verse of the ancient prayer of the Magnificat, and they use is as the principle means to reveal Mary’s heart, both in relation to the Father, in relation to her own humble state and also in her expression of complete dependence on God’s promises. In this prayer Mary expresses exactly the sentiments and the mindset we must all adopt if we wish to make our prayer effective, and indeed, in closing this conversation, Mark and Frances link all of Mary’s guidance to our life of contemplative prayer. If you are wondering how you might more effectively engage Mary to help you advance in your prayer life, this is a good listen.


Scripture Passages:
Lk 1:28, 30; Eph 1:6; Gen. 3:6; Lk 1:46-55; Mt 5:6; Lk 1:38; Lk 1:46-48; Jn 2:5; Jn 16:13-14; Jn 14:26

“The Magnificat: Mary’s Own Prayer” by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ
“The holy Spirit & Mary: Lessons for Pentecost” by Kathleen Beckman
Definition of Humility

May 9 2016 – “Docility to the Holy Spirit.”

Pentecost is coming up very soon. It is a great time to put special emphasis on knowing and being open to the Holy Spirit. Although it was truly an historical event which changed the Apostles dramatically, it is also an on-going event in the life of each soul who tries to hear the Holy Spirit and respond to His call. We discuss how the Holy Spirit is present in the soul. He enters the soul through both actual and sanctifying grace. Our goal is to be possessed by the Holy Spirit, so that He may purify us, strengthen us, enlighten us, and sanctify us. On our part, how is it that we may become more open, more docile to the Holy Spirit? That’s the question we discuss in this program. May the Holy Spirit possess us all!


Scriptures: Rom. 5:10, 1 Cor. 6:11, Acts 17:28, Acts 7:51, Rev. 3:22, Jn 15:5, Phil. 4:13, 1 Cor 13:7, Mt. 10:39, Rom. 8:14.

Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) #1861

“In the School of the Holy Spirit” by Fr. Jacques Philippe; Scepter Publishers.
“The Sanctifier” by Most Rev. Luis M. Martinez; St. Paul Editions.
“Who Dwells in You? What Difference Would It Make?” by Mark Miravalle; Gabriel Press.
“An Explanation of the Veni Sancte Spiritus” by Rev. Dr. Nicholas Gihr; Loreto Publications.
“Divine Intimacy: Meditations on the Interior Life for Every Day of the Liturgical Year” by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD; Tan Books.

May 2 2016 – “Preparing to Receive the Holy Spirit at Pentecost”

By studying the book of Acts, one may learn a great deal about the Holy Spirit. Of great importance to each person is the way to prepare to receive the Holy Spirit. The earlier verses from Acts give us lots of indicators on how the Apostles prepared and thus set the example for how we may prepare. This conversation covers a list of 9 simple steps to get ready for Pentecost.


Scripture Passages:
Jn 14:26, Acts 1:8, Lk 12:12; Jn 14:16-17; Jn 16:13, Mt 4:5, Mt 5:35, Ps. 46:10, Is 40:31, Acts 1:6, Acts 1:13-14, Lk 11:9-10, 13; Lk 10:21, Acts 10:44-46, Jn 4:23-24, 1 Cor 10:31.

“The Sanctifier: The Classic Work on the Holy Spirit” (also known as “True Devotion to the Holy Spirit”) by Archbishop Luis Martinez, Translated by Sister M. Aquinas; St. Paul Editions.
“Holy Spirit Make Your Home in Me: Biblical Meditations on Receiving the Gift of the Spirit” by George T. Montague, S.M.; The Word Among Us Press.
“Hearts Aflame: the Holy Spirit at the Heart of Christian Life Today” by Alan Schreck; Servant Publications.
“Paraclete: the Spirit of Truth in the Church” by Fr. Andrew Apostoli, C.F.R.; Servant Publications.
“Thoughts of Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified” by Rev. D. Buzy, S.C.J.; Carmel of Bethlehem.
“Divine Intimacy” by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.; Tan Books.

April 25 2016 – “The Virtue of Hope: Drawn from “Divine Intimacy” and Pope Benedict XVI’s “On Christian Hope”

It is not overstating the matter to say that we are living in very dark times. Unfortunately, some recent statistical data was just published that seems to support that statement. We are experiencing a sharp increase in the rate of suicide in this country, and it affects almost every demographic with the exception of the older generation, those in their 70’s. Perhaps most disturbing was the sharp rise in women in their middle ages, age 45 – 64. Here we saw an increase in suicide of 64%. It is not entirely clear to researches what has led to this unfortunate increase, but for those who understand something about the spiritual life, there is no question that these people are all experiencing a loss of Hope. In this particular conversation Mark and Frances address this issue head on. Drawing from former Pope Benedict XVI’s Encyclical, ‘On Christian Hope’ and reflections from the writings of Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalen entitled ‘Divine Intimacy.’ This conversation focuses on the three main areas that serve as our basis for Hope: the reality of our future destiny of Glory in Heaven, the more immediate reality of the existing of a Loving God who has called us to Union with Him, and Hope is found in knowing that even though we have responsibilities to fulfill in the first two areas, even the grace required for us to do it is a gift from God. This is an important program for those who may be struggling holding on to Hope.


“Divine Intimacy” by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD; Tan Books.
“Prayers of Hope” by Cardinal Francis Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan; Pauline Books & Media

“On Christian Hope” encyclical by Pope Benedict XVI.

Scripture Passages:
Romans 8:24a
Romans 8:24b
1 Corinthians 2:9
Hebrews 13:14
Matthew 7:7-11
1 Timothy 2:4
1 Thessalonians 4:3
Luke 17:10

Practical Ways to Increase Hope:

  1. Pray, pray, pray!
  2. Change your thoughts into positive thoughts.
  3. Be kind to yourself…read a great book, watch a movie classic, have a great cup of coffee.
  4. Curtail your intake of the news.
  5. Celebrate Life by treating each day like the precious gift it is.
  6. Take a Break.
  7. Practice an Attitude of Gratitude; thank God for the sun, your breath, your eyesight, your senses, your gifts, your loved ones.
  8. Express Love Tangibly: hugs, words, notes, acts of kindness.
  9. Say this affirmation frequently each day: Jesus, I trust in you.
  10. Make a Difference by pitching in, serving others, being a part of something bigger than yourself.
  11. Keep perspective.
  13. Notice little signs of hope in your life.
  14. Stay healthy.
  15. Take time to remember all the amazing things God has done for you.
  16. Surround yourself with optimism.
  17. Enjoy Nature: take a walk, study a leaf, smell a flower, enjoy a sunset, ravish God’s natural beauty.
  18. Ponder the possibilities!

April 18 2016 – “Introduction to the Virtuous Life and Spiritual Insight of Madame Barbara Acarie/Blessed Mary of the Incarnation, OCD, Foundress of the Discalced Carmel in France”

What a difference one soul can make! If it weren’t for Madame Barbara Acarie, who later in life became Blessed Mary of the Incarnation, we might not have had the likes of St. Therese of Lisiuex, St. Mary of Jesus Crucified, or Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, all of whom were Discalced Carmelites in France. This daughter, wife, mother, mystic, and Discalced Carmelite Nun, gives an example of how to live the “interior life” at all stages of life. Through her openness to God’s call in her life and her receptivity to His gifts, she was a “light” shining in the dark to all those around her. She was gifted with prophecy, the reading of hearts, the gift of healing, discernment of spirits, as well as having the invisible stigmata. How did Madame Acarie become a foundress for the Carmelites in France? How did she handle the many trials and tribulations of her life? The insights given will help us live the interior life with greater charity and clarity.



Scripture: John 3:30 “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

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.

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.


“Merciful Like the Father” for 24 Hours for the Lord from the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization:

“A Brief Examination of Conscience” Based on the Ten Commandments:

Examination of Conscience According to the Seven Vices

Examination of Conscience Recalling Relationships with God and Others

Examination of Conscience According to the Three Theological Virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity

Examination of Conscience According to the Precepts of the Church

Examination of Conscience Using the Nine Ways of Being an Accessory to Another’s Sin

Examination of Conscience for Priests and Religious

Examination of Conscience and Catholic Doctrine

Examination of Conscience Based on the Beatitudes

Comprehensive Examination of Conscience Based on the Twelve Virtues

“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

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.

“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.

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.

“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.

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.

“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.

“How Did the Stations of the Cross Begin?” by Fr. William Saunders, found on

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

In this last in a series of five conversations on a book entitled ‘Contemplative Provocations,” by Fr. Donald Haggerty, Mark and Frances conclude their earlier discussion on how Christ hides Himself in and among the Poor. This is an important discussion to reflect on as we continue through this Extraordinary Year of Mercy. Indeed, we are all called to not only to receive Mercy, but also to share it with others, even those who may have offended us. Mark and Frances then go on to discuss the very nature of the contemplative personality. What does it mean to live the Contemplative life? What are the characteristics of a true call to contemplation? What unique stages of development does the contemplative soul go through that might give evidence to a genuine call to contemplation? And, perhaps most importantly, what is the goal of the contemplative encounter with the living God? Finally, this conversation concludes with solid counsel from St. John of the Cross, one of the masters of the mystical or contemplative life. The reflection from St. John seems to sum up very succinctly what this entire series has been about.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

January 18, 2016 – “A Call to Carmel as an OCDS” with Colleen Sollinger, OCDS

OCDS stands for Order of Carmel Discalced Seculars.  Many have never heard of this 3rd part of the Order of Carmel.  Guest, Colleen Sollinger, a professed Secular Discalced Carmelite, answers lots of questions on this topic.  What is an OCDS?  What kind of people are attracted to and suited for the OCDS?  What happens at their meetings?  How do you discern if you are being called to Carmel?  What is required?  This program sheds light on what one might expect when making their first visit to an OCDS meeting

January 11, 2016 – “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined the things that God has prepared for those who love him.”

With these words St. Paul is intending to encourage and lift the spirits of the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 2:9) to whom he is writing in this letter from the New Testament.  In this uplifting conversation about reflecting on the Glory of Heaven, Mark and Frances discuss what so many of the Saints have written and spoken about the remarkable joy that awaits us in our final home.  After a brief explanation of the various definitions of what the Catholic Church teaches about the nature of Heaven and how the faithful will dwell there, Mark and Frances go on to describe what matters now, what should we and must we be doing in this life to prepare ourselves, both for entry into and the fullest experience of our life to come.  Drawing from the reflections of the Beautiful soul known as Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, this conversation emphasizes that we are in possession of eternity even now, but we still have a role to play in bringing clarity to our vision of it, “We will be glorified in the measure in which we have been conformed to the image of His Divine Son.” (Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, the Complete Works)  This is a program that will provide great consolation as it reflects on the Glory and Majesty of our future, but will also challenge the listener to step out in faith and do whatever our Lord asks of us that we might more fully conform ourselves to His image.

January 04, 2016 – Pondering the Epiphany

In this first week of January in the year 2016 we will again celebrate the Epiphany of our Lord.  This is a celebration rich with Meaning for our individual spiritual lives, and it is important to understand some of the major symbols of this event, and also for us to each enter into a personal reflection of what the Epiphany means for us. In this conversation Mark and Frances begin by exploring some of more significant meanings around the Church’s understanding of Epiphany, including Divine Manifestation, Royal Kingship, The Light that Comes into the World, and finally, the Royal Nuptials, or the analogy to the Wedding Celebration.  During the second half of the program, Mark and Frances walk the listener through an actual Lectio Divina on the Epiphany, taken from the verses describing this in Matthew 2:1-9.  This is a wonderful opportunity to prepare for Epiphany, or to reflect, at any time of year, on the meaning of the Lord’s revealing of Himself to our world – a world so desperately in need of this encounter with our Living God.

December 14, 2015 – In the Silence of the Night There is Music

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.

December 07, 2015

At the request of one of our listeners, Mark and Frances chose to have a conversation about one of the most important Carmelite Saints in the recent history of the Church, St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, or Edith Stein.  After a brief biographical sketch, Mark and Frances discuss a very special, but lesser known work of St. Teresa Benedicata of the Cross, a Lecture she offered to a group of Catholic academics entitled, ‘The Mystery of Christmas.’  In this short but profound work, Edith Stein offers a powerful reflection on the mystery of the Incarnation, and what this mystery means for each of us who call ourselves Christians.  The centerpiece of this reflection is the importance of relying on God’s Will in all things – this is truly the virtue of Faith lived out in the midst of the often difficult and confusing reality of the human experience.  Even though speaking at the time as primarily an academic, Edith Stein none-the-less shows great spiritual wisdom in challenging us to give up our reliance on earthly wisdom and earthly solutions, and instead to abandon ourselves into the arms of our Father, just as the Christ Child did when He willing came as the light of the world to a small stable in Bethlehem.

November 30, 2015

This program originally aired just after the first Sunday of Advent.  Here Frances and Mark explore a little about the meaning of Advent and the Liturgical Calendar for the Season.  They discuss each of the four weeks of Advent and their individual focus on some aspect of preparing for the arrival of Christmas.  They also offer a somewhat more challenging message about the coming of the Lord from a reflection written by a woman who understood that there are two Comings of Christ, and each individual Advent Season is designed to better prepare us for His eventual Second Coming.  Finally, this program discusses some of the important symbols of the Advent Season, goes over the Mass Readings for the first two weeks of Advent (2015), and then offers some very practical advice on how we might individually prepare ourselves for the Coming of the Lord.

November 23, 2015

In Christian circles we spend a great deal of time talking about the cross, our need to carry the cross, and even Christ Himself tells us that we need to carry our cross daily, implying of course that there is a cross specifically designed for us.  So what is this cross, how are we to know what our cross is, and how is it beneficial for us to carry our cross.  In this lively conversation about a serious topic, Mark and Frances begin with the statement made by a visiting Carmelite Friar, that we are our own cross.  They use a text from St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross titled, “The Science of the Cross,” to explore how our crosses are actually individually designed for us, and they are not only the means of our salvation, but also the means of our purification.  Furthermore, if we will allow it, they are the means by which the Lord will allow us to participate in His work of redemption for the whole world.  This conversation will also explore how the work of the cross is something far deeper within our spirit than the mere worldly perception of the trials in our life, and as such, it is truly an act of love on the part of our Savior.

November 16, 2015 – All Carmelite Saints and Souls

Why do we ask for the intercession of the Saints to help us in our needs?  Why don’t we Catholics just talk to God alone? How do we explain this to those who don’t understand why we do this?  How can I become a Saint?  What does it take?  What guidance do I get from Scripture?  What happened to St. Teresa of Avila to make her have a “determined determination” to pray for souls and trust in God?  How might we imitate her?  These are the many questions that Mark and Frances discuss.  We are most grateful for the insights we gleaned from Fr. Don Brick, OCD, on this topic.

November 09, 2015 – Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity

Some of the best guides in the area of the spiritual life provided their communication via letters, among them are St. Padre Pio, St. Francis de Sales and Jean Pierre de Caussade.  Certainly written communication does have its limitations, but there are also some benefits to it.  Another great source of spiritual insight are the casual letters of many of the great saints.  Though they may not have been intended for publication, and even less so as a form of spiritual direction, much of this literature can none-the-less serve as a window into the heart and soul of a person in Union with God.  In the life of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, a French Carmelite who died at the young age of 26, we have a wonderful collection of over 300 letters that span the time before she entered Carmel, and leading up to only days before she died.  In these letters we read and see the continuing maturity of a soul in headlong pursuit of God.  At first communicating her desire to deepen her relationship, then moving to a fuller understanding of the nature of the relationship, and finally blossoming into a full encounter with the Trinity who she discovers within herself.  In letters to her mother, her sister, her cousins, aunts, Priests and friends, we are given an insiders view to the development of both her spirituality and the growth of her soul.  In the end we see how Elizabeth moves from the young and still unsure novice to an eventual master of the spiritual like, and one who is able, before she dies, to provide all of us with profound guidance and direction on how to pursue an intimate relationship with God.  This program is a wonderful introduction to the life of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity and her unique Carmelite Spirituality.

November 02, 2015 – “Holy Souls and Purgatory through the Eyes of Love” with guest, Tammy Jetton

How did what was once a way of consoling a friend at the loss of her mother become a way of remembering family and friends at the local cemetery?  How did that develop into simple but heart-felt prayer? In what does a devotion to the Holy Souls of Purgatory consist?  How can this devotion help you become better formed in our Catholic faith and increase your charity for others? While making an effort to help the poor souls in purgatory, we must also become much more aware of God’s original plan for all of us to come directly to Heaven.  St. Therese of Lisieux provides us with some insights that help us go from a “severe, punishing” view of God to the loving, merciful Father He truly is.  Her radical teaching should enlighten and help us all aim for Heaven.

October 26, 2015 – Through the Lens of St. John Paul II

On 22 October we celebrated the feast of Pope St. John Paul II, this is a very special feast for all of us, and in a special way to those of us in Carmel.  As we have spoken about in the past, John Paul II had a very strong devotion to Carmel and its Saints.  He did his graduate dissertation in Rome on the role of Faith in the writings of St. John of the Cross, and he was very devoted to St. Teresa of Avila, St. Therese of Lisieux and Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity.  In a recent presentation offered as the Key Note for the Annual Carmelite Congress, George Weigel presented a wonderful explanation of the Carmelite soul of St. John Paul II.  In this particular conversation, Mark and Frances launch off this presentation to explore new ideas about St. John Paul II’s use of Carmelite Spirituality to present his own theology of the human experience and our search for God.  Most significant among these ideas are the impact Karol Wojtlya’s own personal life and early trials would have on his desire to find meaning in the midst of all the apparent futility of life.  Building on this idea, Mark and Frances explore a deeper meaning for the story of the Wedding at Cana, and how the events of this story reveal four different levels of the understanding of Love.  Finally, and most significantly, Mark and Frances discuss what is arguably the central theme in all of St. John Paul II’s writing and ministry, and this is the reality that man is never fully himself until he gives himself away in an act of self-giving love.

October 19, 2015 – 2015 OCDS Congress Report

Mark Danis interviews co-host Frances Harry regarding the 2015 OCDS Congress she attended which was held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The highlight of the Congress for her was the Feast Day Mass for St. Teresa Avila on Oct. 15 at the Basilica of Mary, Help of Christians Shrine at Holy Hill, in Hubertus, Wisconsin. She tells of all the things to see at the Shrine as well as the excitement of this once in a lifetime occasion. She then highlights the very inspiring presentations given to the Congress by Fr. Kieran Kavanaugh, Fr. Alzinir Debastiani, Fr. Marc Foley, Fr. Michael Berry, and Mr. George Weigel. It is very evident that St. Teresa left a legacy that continues to form souls and be extremely relevant for our age.

October 12, 2015 – The Ripple Effect of St. Teresa of Avila

Even after 500 years, the ripple effect of St. Teresa of Avila is being felt all around the world.  Her writings on prayer and loving Christ have become “classics” in mystical and Catholic literature.  How has she effected you?  Being a Doctor of the Church, we know her teachings have universal appeal…and not just to Catholics.  Even today, new books are being written on her by philosophers, literary critics, historians, psychologists, spiritual directors, and ordinary people.  As a mystic, she continues to be a trailblazer in growing in the spiritual life, sharing her prayers and her experiences so vividly that one is convinced of her authenticity.  As a Reformer, she saw the value of returning to the primitive roots of Carmel, but also, challenging the status quo in regards to the value of the contemplative life and the call to mental prayer for all.  Her value of Love and Friendship shows off her affability and affection that reached from the lowest to the highest of the classes in her time.  As “La Madre” of the Discalced Carmelite Order, her appeal rings loud and clear as she provides solidarity with fellow travelers as well as guidance into the depths of intimacy with our Lord.  Having founded 17 monasteries of nuns and 15 of the friars, she was a bedrock for all to build upon.  Call upon her intercession.  There’s no doubt she is still working to bring souls to Christ!

October 05, 2015 – “Thoughts on the Novena with St. Therese of Lisieux” with Guest, Colleen Sollinger, OCDS

Pope Pius X proclaimed St. Therese of Lisieux as the “greatest saint of modern times.”  So many people throughout the world identify with her and her little way of spiritual childhood.  It is only natural that so many would want to pray a novena to St. Therese asking for her intercession.  Colleen Sollinger headed up a “Novena of Holy Hours for Jesus with St. Therese” at her parish.  What format did she use?  What novena did she pick?  What were the themes?  What was the setting?  What kind of reflections were used?  Here some sample reflections on St. Therese’s confidence in God, zeal for souls, and her mission.  See how you can do this at your parish next year.  Just think of the impact it would have on souls!!  What a joy to gather up lots of Holy Hours for Jesus with St. Therese!

September 28, 2015 – Spiritual Warfare 4: Engaging the Battle in our time

In this last of a series of programs on Spiritual Warfare, Mark and Frances present what they characterize as the Advanced School of Tactics and Strategy in Spiritual Warfare.  Mark and Frances offer great insights from the Saints of Carmel, specifically St. John of the Cross, St. Therese of Lisieux and especially St. Teresa of Avila.  One of the most important safeguards is to not reveal your weakness to your enemy.  We must work to enter into silence, most especially when we are in our moments of darkness.  In addition, and perhaps ironically, when we feel that assault of the enemy pressing us hard, that is actually the time to perhaps take on more penance rather than seeking consolation.  It is also the time to increase our devotion to the very basic practice of our faith, the use of Holy Water, intensity in attending the Mass, recitation of the Rosary and so many other forms of worship and devotion.  Again, the natural tendency here is to seek rest and consolation, but that is exactly what the enemy is hoping we will do.  Finally, Frances and Mark go on to correlate the verse in Ephesians which tells us to “Put on the full armor of God,” to how we must respond to the attacks of our ancient enemy – Satan.  This begins by first acknowledging the existence of our enemy, and then using the strategy and tactics outlined in this program.

September 21, 2015 – “Highlights of Holiness from the First National Conference of the Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” with Guest Anthony Mullen

Guest Anthony Mullen gives us the “Highlights of Holiness” from the Conference on the Flame of Love from which we can all grow.  Several nationally known speakers representing different aspects of the Marian Movement came together to share from their perspectives about the trials and tribulations of our times leading up to the “Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”  What will help us in these times?  What has God given us to help us grow in grace and virtue?  How will our “little” efforts unite with Mary and the Holy Spirit to bring the New Pentecost?  How will YOU respond???  What is the “Divine Antidote?” What does the “Flame of Love” have to do with it?

August 31, 2015 – “Into the Thick of the Battle–Physically and Spiritually in the Life of God’s Little General, 3rd Order Carmelite Army General Louis-Gaston de Sonis” with Guest, Colleen Sollinger, OCDS.

What is it like to live out your Christian faith in the thick of the battle? General de Sonis gives us a clear example of the prayer, devotion, faith, perseverance and courage it takes to live a life with the eyes of faith on God alone! Thru actual military battles, life-threatening wounds, and challenges from inside and out, General de Sonis fulfills the duty of the moment with heroic virtue. How was he viewed by others? What was his personal piety like? How did his structured life and personal self-discipline, self-sacrificial nature and mortification chisel him into battle readiness at all levels? How did his integrity hold up in the midst of the flames? How did he evangelize others? Here is a “manly man of God” who rightly earns the title of “God’s Little General.” This is program number 2 of a 2-part series. Part 1 was broadcast on July 20, 2015. May it inspire you to set out into the deep and trust in God in reaching for the heights of Heaven.

August 24, 2015 – Dan Burke

For this particular broadcast, Frances and Mark welcomed into the studio Dan Burke. Dan is founder of Catholic Spiritual Direction, the most widely read blog on the topic of authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan founded the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation and is also the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN’s National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio. Dan is also the author of the award winning book, Navigating the Interior Life, Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God. During this lively discussion, Dan offers great insight into the lesser known writings of St. Teresa of Avila, her individual correspondence and letters. Through the use of these letters, Dan brings out Teresa’s remarkable combination of strength and humility. He discusses her approach to Spiritual Direction, touches on her playful but serious approach to the practice of spiritual devotions, and offers encouragement for the practice of the Ascetic life. At the same time, Dan offers deep insight into his own experience of suffering and our need to take our spiritual journey very seriously. And of course, like St. Teresa, Dan offers encouragement and serious direction on our need to develop our daily prayer life. This is a wonderful conversation for those who may yet be struggling with their need to get down to praying.

August 10, 2015 – Spiritual Warfare 2

In this second in the series of programs on the topic of Spiritual Warfare, Mark and Frances look more specifically at how this on going spiritual combat is really a battle for the interior of our souls. They emphasize how this battle is not only not a bad thing, but is actually the means by which the Lord allows us to be transformed more and more into His image. They also examine the means by which the demons use to engage us in this battle, the vices which they most often try to exploit. Mark and Frances also explain the importance of humility in defending ourselves against these assaults. Finally, they help us to understand what other protections, or spiritual armor, we have at our disposal to protect us.

August 03, 2015 – Spiritual Warfare

There is little doubt, for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, that we are experiencing an increase in spiritual warfare in our modern society. The real questions are, what is the nature of this spiritual battle? and what can we do about it?

In this two part series on Spiritual Warfare, Mark and Frances begin by exploring the ways in which this great conflict between good and evil can be seen in our modern culture and society. They go on to describe some of the tactics of our ancient enemy, the devil and his demons. It is important for all Christians to gain an understanding of the methods of our enemy. Perhaps more importantly, however, Mark and Frances go on to offer very practical advice on how we must respond in the face of this battle. We know our number one defense is prayer, but what is it exactly that make our prayer so powerful and how can we improve its potency and effectiveness.

If you currently find yourself on the battlefield in the midst of spiritual warfare, this program will be particularly useful.