What were the life changers in the early life of our Little Flower, St. Therese? How did her family impact her? How do you raise a Saint? When the Church is talking about the family, and when we have the upcoming canonization of Therese’s parents (and the process of beatification has begun for her sister, Leonie, the problem child), wouldn’t you like to hear more and get into some of the details of Therese’s life and the impact of her family on her formation…not only formation as a family member, but as a Catholic, and, of course, how influential her upbringing and life’s events were in forming her into a Carmelite, Saint, and Doctor of the Church!
“What are you reading these days?” That’s a question Mark and Frances often get asked. Every now and then, we stop our regular programming and do a catch up on great “Carmelite Reads.” There are some suggestions to help you in prayer, of course, as well as some newly published books of interest to those who love Carmelite spirituality. Some are “classics” and others are still in the process of being discovered. Over 20 books are reviewed. Come and see what you’ll like. Let us know what you think.
The Holy Spirit is often referred to as the forgotten member of the Trinity. In this conversation Mark and Frances explore the important role the Holy Spirit plays in our spiritual journey, most especially our prayer life. They discuss Christ’s own promise that He would send us the Helper, the Greek meaning for the word Paraclete. Mark and Frances discuss how we individually can better come to understand the workings of the Holy Spirit in the individual events of our life. They also talk about how we can and must increase our desire for the Holy Spirit, as we know that God will not send us His Spirit unless we are genuinely desirous of Him. Finally, they provide some practical advice on how we can begin to apply some of this understanding to our daily lives and prayerful devotions.
As an Apostle of the Holy Spirit, St. Mary (aka Mariam, the little Arab) of Jesus Crucified shows us how, through the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience, in the foundation of humility, one grows ever more docile to the Holy Spirit. In the trajectory of her life, she crossed boundaries of all kinds to include various countries, cultures, faith traditions and families, in addition to crossing the ordinary and the extraordinary of the natural and supernatural worlds. She is a sign of hope and support as well as a bridge between the two lungs of the Church in the East and the West. She is a compass pointing out the direction to the heart of God. How can we imitate her? What words of wisdom does this giant of the mystical life have for us? How is she a “light on our path?”
In this third and final conversation on the life of St. Therese of Lisieux, from a book by Fr. Jean LaFrance entitled, “My vocation is Love,” Mark and Frances deal with one of the most difficult issues we face along the Spiritual Journey. At some point every soul will struggle with the temptation against Hope, and the sense of abandonment by God. This is the most trying time the human soul can experience, but St. Therese, who experienced this trial herself, provides us with very helpful advice and witness as to how we must respond to this situation. She also offers, through the observations of Fr. LaFrance, great insights on how the soul can benefit from such trials. Finally, St. Therese’s very life is a witness to the great joy that is available to us if we would only surrender ourselves to God’s will and allow Him to work freely in us.
Discover the compelling urgency of the messages and related promises regarding the “Flame of Love” as given to Third Order Carmelite member, Elizabeth Kindelmann. A gigantic storm is brewing just ahead and we must be ready to fight Satan, now more than ever. Victory is assured: the Flame of Love is the instrument of spiritual warfare put at our disposal for that purpose. How is it connected to the Fatima message? How does this lead to the “Triumph of Mary” which causes the New Pentecost? How can we cooperate? What is the role of the Holy Spirit in this?
This conversation picks up on the series from the book on St. Therese of Lisieux titled “My Vocation is Love.” The second section of the book focuses on St Therese’ own movement of Abandonment to the will of God in her life. Mark and Frances discuss how this simple little French Carmelite had to muster a great deal of courage in order to completely give herself over to the action of God in her soul. The author of this work goes so far as to suggest that the act of Abandonment really summarizes all of St. Therese’ very profound spirituality. Indeed, in this conversation we hear directly from St. Therese own experiences as Fr. LaFrance gives us insight on conversations between Therese and her older sisters, to whom she (Therese) ends up providing spiritual counsel. We also hear again about the importance of prayer, and we are give St. Therese of Lisieux’s, a Doctor of the Church, own definition of prayer. This is powerful conversation for those who would like to gain a deeper insight on just how simple but powerful our prayer life can become.
In this first of a series of conversations, Mark and Frances discuss a book about the great Carmelite Saint Therese of Lisieux, from a book by Fr. Jean LaFrance entitled “My Vocation is Love.” The book is broken into two major sections, in the first Therese focuses on her own nothingness and her continual need for God’s great mercy. She finds this mercy reflected most powerfully in the face of Jesus, to which she was profoundly devoted. It is from these experience of her own littleness and the discovery of God’s mercy that Therese composes her personal prayer of Oblation (offering) to Merciful Love. It is also in through this discovery of mercy that Therese experiences total confidence in God, a confidence she would retain until the end of her life. This is a particularly powerful conversation for those who may be struggling with doubts about God’s great mercy, or their own confidence in God.
This program is the second in a series on the life and writings of Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen. In this conversation Frances and Mark pick up from Fr. Gabriel’s ordination and his early assignment teaching in Belgium and then later in Rome. This is also the time in his life when he discovered his passion for the study and teaching of mysticism and contemplative prayer. Fr. Gabriel was directly involved in the discussion going on in the Church at the turn of the 19th Century regarding the different schools of thought on acquired and infused contemplation. This topic, along with all the elements of mysticism, would become his entire life’s work. His second greatest contribution to the Church is the significant amount of writing and lecturing he did on these important topics, but his single greatest contribution and gift to the Church was simply that of his virtuous life. His greatest form of teaching was serving as a model of charity, patience and unwavering trust in Divine Providence.
“Mercy” is a big theme this year, even more so as we lead up to the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy being declared by Pope Francis. What do we mean when speaking about God’s mercy? Some scholars say that “the greatest grace of Therese’s life was her understanding of mercy.” Guest Jade Silverman talks with Frances about examples of “mercy” in the life of St. Therese and how we can imitate her. Therese was really very revolutionary in this aspect during her lifetime. We are the great beneficiaries of the lights she was given on God’s mercy. It was through prayer that her interior developed. It is very important for all of us to develop the interior life and analyze one’s intentions with the Lord. St. Therese guides us along this path by a deeper understanding of God’s mercy especially in regards of our littleness and weakness. As St. Therese said: “Let us love our littleness, let us love to feel nothing, and we shall then be poor in spirit and Jesus will come to look for us, however far away we are. He will transform us into flames of love. ….It is the blind hope I have in his mercy…. There is my only treasure.” (Letter 9/17/1896)
For this conversation, Mark welcomes into the studio Cynthia Montanaro, and member of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites. Cindy is the author of the book, Diary of a Country Mother. In this year-long memoir, she recounts the details of the life of her adopted son Tim. Cindy and her husband Andy chose to adopt a child late in life, and only later discovered that this blessed soul also introduced some unique challenges into their life. With penetrating vulnerability and remarkable spiritual insights, Cindy relates the ups and downs of raising a special needs child, and the strength she and her family drew from their Catholic faith. This is a heartwarming story of both tragedy and triumph, but more than anything, it is a spiritual reaffirmation of the inherent dignity and gift of every single human person.
In this last of a series of programs on the book titled Worshipping a Hidden God, Mark and Frances discuss the all too real challenge of desolation in the spiritual journey. In this wonderful book by the former Archbishop of Mexico City, Luis M. Martinez, we discover what happens when we enter a period of desolation. What are we supposed to do in these difficult times, and perhaps more importantly, what are not supposed to do. Archbishop Martinez also skillfully explains the great benefits available to those who faithfully undergo this difficult spiritual phase, and in doing so, he offers great encouragement to those who may now be in a time of spiritual desolation. If you have begun to deepen your prayer life, or perhaps have already experienced a time of desolation, you will find this a particular useful conversation.
Host Frances Harry has the joy of interviewing Maureen O’Riordan of Philadelphia on the parents of St. Therese, the Little Flower: Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin. She has studied, imitated, and promoted the life and spirituality of St. Therese and her family over the past 30 years. What can we learn from St. Therese’s parents, Blessed Louis and Zelie Martin to help us in our lives today? What were they like as husband and wife? What were they like as parents? How did they relate to people around them? What can we learn from them about relationships and growing in the spiritual life today? How did they did manage the pressures of family life, work life, illnesses and tragedies, and other special challenges? Why are they “witnesses of hope” for us now?
What is your favorite phrase to refer to Jesus: Son of God, the Christ, the King, or perhaps Lord. For St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi, a Carmelite Mystic who lived from the late 1500’s to the early 1600’s, the favorite way of referring to Jesus was simply the Word. For her ‘the Word’ described Jesus, and for her the Word was simply Love. Jesus represented the Word spoken by Father, and that Word was Love. In this conversation Mark and Frances explore the details of the life of St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi. During her lifetime she had a number of encounters with God the Father and with the Lord Jesus. During these ecstatic encounters Mary Magdalene de Pazzi received a number of profound insights about the nature of our relationship with God the Father and the depth of the sacrifice made by our Lord. Most importantly, St. Mary Magdalene de Pazzi’s entire life was a model of what she heard from the voice of the Father and witnessed in the life of the Son our Lord and Savior.
There always seems to be a lingering question whenever we pass through the Christmas Season, can we really believe and did we really experience all that those readings from Isaiah say about the coming of the Lord. In this thought provoking conversation Mark and Frances reflect on the experience of Simeon and Anna, the two individuals waiting at the Temple who were able to recognize the arrival of the Lord. What was it about their preparation, their watchfulness and the state of their soul that allowed these two devout individuals to see what so many others at the Temple that day were not able to recognize. This conversation will also open up the scripture verse about the offering of the two turtle dove that Joseph and Mary presented as a thanks offering for the gift of the birth of the child Jesus. And, it will relate this story to our own faith journey and our call to make ourselves ready to receive what it is the Lord want to share with us on His arrival.
Frances Harry interviews Secular Discalced Carmelite members Jade Silverman and Colleen Sollinger on the topic of St. John of the Cross in celebration of his feast day Dec. 14th. How did they get introduced to him and what did they think? How has that changed over the years? Where are you at with him today? Why is he such a good Advent Saint? What are some of his most famous quotes? What books would you recommend about him?
This is a very special broadcast. Mark has the great privledge to welcome Frances back in the studio after her successful surgery from cancer. In this touching conversation Frances shares the incredible insights she gained during this most trying time of her life. She reflects on the sayings of some of the better known Carmelites Saints, and she offers her unique perspective on what these sayings a prayers meant to her as she sought to find solace through her trials. She also shares some wonderful insights on the role of the Blessed Mother and the joy of being covered in her mantle through this struggle. Frances also offers some comfort and guidance for anyone who might also be battling with cancer, and how those individuals can find great consolation at the feet of our great Saints.
It is so very important for all of us to stop at times, take a breath and just reflect on the many blessings God has provided. For those who are either members of a Carmelite Community, or have a devotion to Carmel, it is especially important that we pause to recognize what a wonderful blessing we have in Carmel. In addition to our great Saints, including three Doctors of the Church, our great teachings on prayer, we also have a wonderful spiritual legacy going all the way back to Elijah. During this program, Mark takes us on a brief history of both the founding and evolution of the Order of Carmel, not by way of a history lesson, but more so we can see how powerfully and mercifully God has worked throughout history to provide this great blessing to the Church and to each of us. In addition, it is always important to remain very focused on the peace, glory and love to which we are called as Baptized Catholics. In that regard, it is good to remind ourselves of the mystical teachings of St. John of the Cross. This is best discoverd in his commentary on the Living Flame of Love, where he gives us insight into the elevated condition of his own soul, the same high degree of union with God that we are all called to in this life.
One of the most difficult things for us as Christians to do is simply trust that the Lord is always in our lives, and always working in our best interest. This trust can be made even more difficult when we face difficulties or tragedy in our lives, and it is made most difficult when we have actually prayed and sought the Lord’s will, and we still experience hardship. In this revealing look at the practice of trust, Mark welcomes into the studio well known Catholic author Connie Rossini. Connie has a powerful, personal witness from the events of her own life, and she shares some of the details in a recent book entitled Trusting with St. Therese of Lisieux. In this very compelling conversation Connie demonstrates not only how we can see correlations between our own spiritual path and the one walked by the Saints, but she also shows us how we can draw faith, consolation, strength and that all important Trust, from the events in the lives of our favorite Saints.
In the on-going series on poetry and prayer, Mark and Frances explore the prayerful poem by St. Teresa of Avila entitled, “In the Hands of God.” This wonderful reflection by St. Teresa is her own version of prayerful abandonment to the will of God. Much like the more later prayer penned by St. Therese of Lisieux, titled ‘Act of Oblation to Merciful Love,’ this poem by St. Teresa is a heartfelt outpouring of her deep desire to place everything in the hands of her Heavenly Father. Mark and Frances walk through each verse of the poem and provide both the literal explanation as well as uncover the deeper meaning of Teresa’s words. This is a great introduction not only to one of St. Teresa’s great poems, but also to the use of poetry as a means for vocal, meditative and even contemplative prayer.
The Catholic Church still does not talk much about Purgatory, and it is unfortunate. The final purification in love is one of God’s greatest acts of Mercy. We need to have a healthy and proper understanding of Purgatory today. In part so that we can perhaps prepare ourselves to spend little time there, doing the work of purifying our hearts during our earthly life, for we know that nothing impure can enter heaven. And we also need to understand the importance of praying for our loved ones who may still be undergoing their final, merciful purification. In this frank and inspiring conversation about the dogma of Purgatory, Mark and Frances provide a consoling perspective on the reality of God’s merciful plan of Purgatory. They draw on both the writings and experiences of many of the Saints to help us better understand the existence of Purgatory and its important role in preparing us for entry into the Glory of Eternity.
There is a lot of teaching on prayer, a lot of discussion on prayer, a lot of reading from those who have practiced prayer, but in this interactive program, Mark and Frances walk you through a genuine prayer experience. Using the Psalms, writings from the great Saints of Carmel and some of their own reflections, they take you through about a 30 minute session of vocal, meditative and ultimately contemplative prayer. The affect is of course limited by having to participate through radio, but depending on the listeners commitment and environment, one can experience some of what it must be like to enter into a genuine encounter with our Lord through prayer. Find a quiet spot, turn down the lights and quietly listen to this contemplative conversation.
What is a Christian to do? This is the theme for this conversation between Mark and caller named Angela. After briefly praying a portion of the Act of Oblation to Merciful Love from St. Therese of Lisieux, Mark goes on to discuss a recent homily offered by the Holy Father, on the theme of what we as Christians must do in these difficult times. The major theme of this homily is that we must prepare for the difficult times as they will surely come, but we must also pray. We must allow ourselves to accept the darkness and despair we so often experience in life, and learn to pray though it. In addition, the Holy Father says we must take on the suffering of those we see around us who will not or cannot pray for themselves. Next Mark and Angela discuss the 2 October message from Our Lady of Medjugorje, where the Blessed Mother asks the piercing question, ‘Do you not recognize the signs of the times?’ Finally, Mark discusses the importance of the Rosary and the messages of both Fatima and Akita. Most importantly how we are to not simply recite the Rosary, but allow ourselves to enter into each moment in the lives of Jesus, Mary and St. Joseph.
In this second of the two part series in preparation for the Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux, Mark and Frances discuss the impact St. Therese had on a number of well known and even lesser known mystics of the Church. Many people claim to have had special encounters with St. Therese over the years, and it is tue that she said before she died, that she would spend her heaven showing down roses to those on earth. In the case of these mystics, who range from the well known St Faustina, to the lesser known Therese Neumann and even the more contemporary Maria Esperanza. It is encouraging to hear all the wonderful stories about how St. Therese has affected so many lives, but it is particularly powerful to hear these mystics describe how Therese helped them in a very personal way to advance in their own spiritual journey
In this first of a two part series on St. Therese of Lisieux, and in preparation for her 1 October Feast Day, Mark and Frances walk through a complete nine day novena to St. Therese. They explore how each of the major themes of the novena were both lived out by Therese, and what she can teach us about how to mature our own spiritual life. Themes such as Abandonment, The Role of Suffering, The Love of God and many others, are explored through St Therese’ writings and the actual events of life. Regardless of when you listen to this program, it will serve to strengthen and support you on your spiritual journey as you encounter one of the most important and popular Saints in the history of the Church.
Have you ever wondered why so many Saints have taken to writing poetry, this is certainly the case for the more contemplative orders, and all the well known Carmelites wrote both poetry and prayers. What is it about the Psalms that makes them so important to our daily prayer life and to the liturgy? In this informative conversation, Mark and Frances explore the role of poetry in the act of prayer, and specifically contemplative prayer. They read from the Psalms and from some of the great Saints of Carmel, but they also discuss how even secular poetry can serve as a means to deepen our awareness of the world around us and help us to enter into a conversation with the Creator.
Special Guest, Mrs. Lynn Bete, OCDS and President of the Dayton OCDS in Ohio, talks with host, Frances Harry, OCDS about the recent 2014 OCDS Congress in Atlanta, Georgia. What is a Congress? What happened there? Who was there? What was the theme? Why should one attend? What were some of the highlights: Fr. Alzinir Francisco Debastiani’s talk on the new additions to the OCDS Constitution and his challenge for our communities; Dr. Keith Egan, TOC, on St. Teresa of Avila: Hope is the Same as Remembering; the wonderful and prayerful John Michael Talbot Concert; Fr. Bonaventure Sauer’s talk on the poetry of St. Teresa; and much, much more. We discussed the workshops and the Provincial Council Forum that was so inspirational as well as what vendors were present and where we got to go sight-seeing!
In this second program on the two part series of Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified, Mark and Frances explore in even greater detail what it is that makes this Carmelite such a wonderful model of holiness. In addition, they discuss the terribly important role she has played, is playing and can play in the future of Christian and Muslim relations, especially in the Middle East. Blessed Mary of Jesus’ life is a model of obedience, prayer, sacrifice and even suffering; but in that context, and because of her own unique background, she can serve as a powerful intercessor for the problems currently facing the Middle East and the world. Indeed, she was identified as far back as 1934 as the Patron for an organization, sanctioned by the Church, and dedicated to praying for relationships between Muslims and Christians. Listen and hear this remarkable story, and then join us in praying for peace.
Sometimes it happens that the life of a particular Saint is lesser known for a time, only so that when the Church finally acknowledges them, their life can have the full impact that God intended. Such is likely the case with a Carmelite Blessed name Mary of Jesus Crucified, whose cause for Canonization is currently being considered. There are many things about Mariam Baouardy’s that are very instructive for us as Christians. In this first of a two part series, Mark and Frances explore the remarkable life of this lesser known Blessed from Carmel. She was blessed with many spiritual graces, including the stigmata of Christ, the gift of levitation, ecstasies, the ability to read hearts, transverberation of the heart among others. Listen to the incredible story of her life, and then tune in to the following program to hear the real significance of her cause for canonization.
There is not question that the institution of the Family is under more pressure and more assault in these times then at any other time in history. But we are not without our defenses. In this lively, interactive discussion on how families can work to live out their Christian call, and also protect themselves from the temptations of our modern society, Mark and Frances are joined by Joshua and Holli Danis, Mark’s son and daughter-in-law, to discuss practical ways families can help their children grow in their faith. In addition, they rely on the example set by the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux, Carmelite and Doctor of the Church. The Martin family that Therese grew up in was responsible for five vocations to the Church at the end of the 19th Century and beginning of the 20th. All four of Therese’s sisters entered religious life, and this conversation will identify some of the important ways the Martin parents helped create an environment that allowed their children to grow in holiness.
It is always interesting and spiritually rewarding to be introduced to other Carmelite Saints, Blesseds and Venerables. This week Mark and Frances reintroduce the Venerable Dominic of Jesus and Mary. Venerable Dominic lived a very active life within the Order, withing the Church and in helping to battle some of the most significant military and political issues in his time. He was known and hailed by Popes and Kings for his ability to mediate difficult situations, and also for his ability to rally men to a cause. And, despite his busy schedule and extensive traveling, he never allowed it to interrupt his very assiduous prayer life. Indeed, he was the author of a couple of very important works on spiritual direction and the stages of development in the spiritual life.
Another important feast associated with the Order of Carmel, and dedicated to Our Blessed Mother, is the Feast of Our Lady, Mother of Divine Grace. This week Mark and Frances discuss the brief history of this important Feast, and the unique role that Our Blessed Mother plays in dispensing grace to the Church. They also discuss a very unique image of Our Blessed Mother known as the Lady of the Bowed Head. This image has its own unique story, which they discuss, and they also touch on an important Carmelite Venerable who is directly associated with this image. Again, for anyone who wishes to learn more about the Blessed Mother’s role as dispenser of grace, this is an important conversation.
This week all Carmelite celebrate one of the most significant feasts in our calendar year, the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. In this conversation Mark and Frances discuss briefly the history of this great feast, but then go on to discuss its relevance for the Church today. They discuss the importance of Mary’s Patronage to the Order of Carmel, and then they take their listeners through a full nine day novena in Honor of Our Lady of Mt.Carmel. The novena presents nine different titles by which Mary is known, and then offers specific reflections and prayers associated with those titles. This is a very important conversation for anyone who has a special devotion to the Blessed Mother.
Want to blind Satan? Fight fire with fire! Put out the fire of hatred with the fire of love. The Blessed Mother told Elizabeth Kindelmann: “My Flame of Love will be lit first in Carmel.” She also said that the flames which spring from her love (Flame of Love) will quench the fire of hell and blind Satan. Listen in to find out how. Guest Marika Zimmerman returns to the program to discuss with host, Frances Harry, the newly published English translation of Elizabeth Kindelmann’s “Spiritual Diary” on the “Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” What is in the diary? What inspires you in this diary? We talk about the many ways and means of participating in this devotion which has come about thru the Blessed Virgin Mary’s intercession and desire to blind Satan for the salvation of souls. Through this devotion, our Blessed Mother said, “Evil will diminish gradually, the burning flame of hatred will be put out, and the splendor of my Flame of Love will fill all regions of the earth.” Many special graces are promised.
Frances Harry interviews guest, Marika Zimmerman, on the Third Order Carmelite Elizabeth Kindelmann of Hungary about the “Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary” Movement. This program lays the foundation for the “Flame of Love” devotion that begins in Hungary. Who is Elizabeth Kindelmann? What kind of life did she live? What is the “Flame of Love” movement? How did it come about? Why is this worthy of our attention? We talk about the private revelations given thru interior locutions to Elizabeth Kindelmann. Cardinal Peter Erdo, the Archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Primate of Hungary and President of the Council of Episcopal Conferences of Europe, gave his Imprimatur to the original Hungarian Diary on the “Flame of Love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.” It also has the “nihil obstat” to indicate there is nothing contrary to our faith or morals in the book. This new devotion is pertinent for today because the Blessed Mother wants to blind Satan and save souls. She asks our help in this work of Redemption.
Mark welcomes Carmelite Friar and scholar Fr. Marc Foley into the studio for a conversation on the works of St. John of the Cross. Many people have attempted to read the works of this truly great Carmelite Saint and mystic, St. John of the Cross. Unfortunately, many have also struggled with this effort. St. John is not easy to grasp on a first reading, but there is so much he has to offer us that it is well worth the time and effort to gain a deeper understanding of his teaching. Thankfully, the Carmelite Order has a number of knowledgeable individuals who can easily explain St. John’s writings. Fr. Marc Foley is a nationally recognized expert on the teachings of St. John of the Cross, and also has done undergraduate work in psychology and graduate work in the area of pastoral counseling. This combination provides Fr. Marc with a unique perspective not only on St. John of the Cross’ teaching, but also on how they so appropriately apply to the spiritual struggles we face in our modern world. This is an extremely informative program and a mini course in Spiritual Direction.
In the month of June the Church celebrates the wonderful feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This is a very special feast and a very powerful devotion. In this particular program, Mark and Frances build on a series they did previously on the Sacred Heart, but discussing the more practical aspects of practicing the devotion. They discuss how we can actually go about conforming our hearts to the Heart of Christ. Drawing from two historical and comprehensive texts on the devotion, they describe how the activities of prayer, detachment, the sacraments and even our trials can all assist us in entering into the many Blessings of the Sacred Heart. They also explore Christ’s own words on the need to enter by the Narrow Gate as an analogy for how we must allow Christ to increase His presence within us. Much like St. John the Baptist, we must decrease and we must allow Christ to increase within us. Drawing on numerous scripture verses, Mark and Frances describe just how we can apply ourselves to this most powerful devotion to the Sacred Heart.
In this program Mark and Frances discuss one of the greatest mysteries of the Catholic faith, what is theologically described as the Indwelling Trinity, or the Dogmatic teaching on how the three persons of the Trinity truly reside in the hearts of the faithful. This great mystery was the entire spirituality of a well known Carmelite Nun who went by the name of Elizabeth of the Trinity, currently Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, though her cause for Sainthood is being examined. Elizabeth is perhaps best known for a prayer she wrote to the Trinity that reflects both her belief in this great blessing, and her petition to each member of the Trinity for the unique gifts they each offer. This prayer is very powerful in providing believers consolation in the midst of trials, and it helps individuals conform their hearts and minds to the will of the Father. For those who pray it consistently, it allows Blessed Elizabeth to fulfill her mission: “I think that in Heaven my mission will be to draw souls by helping them to go out of themselves in order to cling to God by a wholly simple and loving movement, and to keep them in this great silence within which will allow God to communicate Himself to them and to transform them into Himself.”
Have you ever asked yourself if Heaven is for real? With the popular book, and now movie, out by that same name, many may actually stop to ponder whether Heaven really is for real and if it is possible for someone to have a private revelation of Heaven. Frances Harry interviews special guest Deacon (and Dr.) Tracy Jamison, OCDS about what our Catholic teaching tells us about Heaven and also about private revelation.
Although St. Teresa of Avila said she was NOT a writer, she has a compilation of writings that would dwarf many an author today. Special guest, Lisa LaRosa, tells us about St. Teresa’s writing starting with an early novel as well as her four most famous major works. Additionally, St. Teresa’s minor works cover a vast terrain from biblical commentary to post-communion reflections and meditations, to spiritual challenges, satire, poems, instructional works, and more. Her personal letters, of which 468 were found, covered the years 1546-1582. We get a candid look at St. Teresa’s personal thoughts and expressions and concerns as well as gems of wisdom that are very applicable to our lives today. We begin with some of the early letters and will continue the series throughout the year highlighting some of the letters with the most notable points. St. Teresa, pray for us!
Special guest, Colleen Sollinger, member of the Dayton, OH OCDS, is interviewed by hostess, Frances Harry. Too often people think to become a Saint means to have done extraordinary things, build cathedrals, form new communities, have supernatural experiences, be only for those in the religious life! Well, our Carmelites have left us plenty of food for thought on this topic. We are ALL called to HOLINESS…ALL called to UNION with GOD! Listen in for the simple ways to LOVE…because at the end of life, it’s not what you’ve accomplished but how well you’ve LOVED that really makes the difference. Colleen Sollinger has collected lots of quotes and categorized them to help us make progress in our ordinary day in ordinary ways! She gave us some solid spiritual challenges that will help us all to grow!
Have you wondered what some of the key themes are for Pope Francis? Well he is certainly interested in the needs of the poor, and we know that he has some very specific ideas about economics and the need to pursue peace in the midst of political conflicts. However, if there is one consistent theme that Pope Francis has continued to focus on, it is the Mercy of God. In this particular conversation, Mark and Frances explore Carmelite perspectives on Mercy, largely through the writings of St Therese of Lisieux and also Pope France’s new book, entitled “The Church of Mercy.” Pope Francis himself stresses that we must remember that beyond the simple reality of God’s omnipotence, omnipresence and transcendence, God should first and foremost be known for His Mercy. Mercy is understood as compassion, kindness and forgiveness, and despite our too often view of God as judgmental, He greatest attribute is Mercy.
“The Holy Father just released a book entitled “The Church of Mercy.” In this particular conversation, Mark and Frances begin a series of discussions on the importance of the message of Mercy in the Church today. They begin by focusing on the upcoming event of Divine Mercy Sunday, and then move forward in time to both Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II and what they both had to say about the gift of Mercy that we receive from God. They then discuss our current Holy Father’s book about Mercy, and one of the sources of his inspiration for this book, a certain German Theologian and Cardinal named Walter Kasper, who himself wrote a book simply titled “Mercy.” It is a book that our Holy Father Francis strongly endorsed and from which he drew a great deal of insight for his own book. Mark and Frances go on to discuss a number of Saints, including St. Therese of Lisieux, and Saint Faustina, and what they had to say about God’s great Mercy. This is a message which is so important for us to hear today, especially in light of a world that so often struggles with the loss of Hope and the onslaught of despair. Mark and Frances will continue this important message through the Easter Season.”
“This program is the third and final in a series on the life and death of Blessed Titus Brandsma. In this program Frances and Mark discuss the last months of Titus’ life spent in a Nazi concentration camp. They explore both Titus great lows, his moments of near despair and loss of hope, and also his ultimately victory in overcoming his own will. Titus’ life is an example that few of us will ever have to experience; he was called to a particularly high degree of sanctity. But at the same time, it can serve as a model for what all of us must go through on some level, the overcoming of our individual desires and our self will. We see again the importance of the individual cell for a place of refuge in the interior life, but in Titus’ case even that cell must ultimately be abandoned to the will of the Father. Titus must go to his own Cross by completely abandoning himself to the mercy of the Father. His ultimate death, at the hands of his captors, is a testament to the struggle with evil, lived out in the most horrible circumstances of deprivation and cruelty. His life is truly a Witness to Hope.”
For this conversation Mark and Frances welcomed into the studio one of the new Aspirants in the local Carmelite Community in Dayton, Ohio, Tim Bete. Tim is actually married to one of the long time members of the Secular Carmelite Order, so Mark and Frances wanted to explore what it was like to have be a ‘couple in Carmel.’ They also asked Tim what it was that drew him personally to Carmelite Spirituality. In addition to their own journey in Carmel, Tim and his wife are also the parents of a daughter who is pursuing a vocation as a Dominican Sister. This led to an interesting discussion on what it takes to raise and keep our children Catholic in our modern culture. Not surprisingly the main points focused on prayer, witness and continued exposure to things spiritual.
In this second program on Blessed Titus Brandsma, a Dutch Carmelite Friar who ultimately was martyred during WWII, Mark and Frances continue the discussion of Titus’ contribution to the history of Mysticism. They discuss some of his more significant writings, his theology regarding the importance of creating a sacred space within our hearts, our cell, his political activities against Nazi tyranny, and the central role the virtue of Hope played in his life. Both Titus Brandsma’s teachings, and most significantly his life, serve as models of how we are to conduct ourselves on the path to holiness.
“The Carmelite Order has no shortage of martyrs, especially during the Second World War, and one of the most well known is Titus Brandsma. Fr. Titus Brandsma was a renowned professor of Philosophy, very active in the development of Catholic education, and a significant contributor to the field of journalism on behalf of Catholic causes. In this conversation Mark and Frances discuss Titus’ early life, his call to Carmel, his growing reputation as a voice of reason against the backdrop of the horrors of WWII, and his efforts to communicate the beauty of the interior life which he found in Carmel. Titus was both a great philosopher and someone keenly aware of the power of they mystical life. He was able to combine these two disciplines in a way that allowed him to both understand and deal with the tragic events of his time.”
“This program is the third in a three part series on the life of Hermann Cohen, the renowned piano player who converted to Catholicism and eventually became a Carmelite Friar. Fr. Cohen’s life was a remarkable witness to the power of the Eucharist and the power of prayer. In this third conversation on Hermann Cohen’s life, Mark and Frances discuss his close relationship with the famous Franz Liszt, and the role that Fr. Cohen played in bringing Liszt back to the faith. They also discuss the impact Fr. Cohen had on the spread of Eucharistic adoration, especially night adoration. They also discuss the remarkable events that led eventually to Hermann Cohen’s death and the sacrifices he made toward the end of his life.”
We can never hear enough about the power of the Eucharist and the influence it can have on people’s lives. In this compelling program, Mark and Frances discuss the life of Hermann Cohen, a famous pianist who converted to Catholicism and eventually became a Carmelite Hermit. This is a fascinating story with three central characters, Hermann Cohen, the Blessed Mother, and our Lord, in the form of the Holy Eucharist. Cohen’s story is one of faith and inspiration for anyone looking to find the central meaning in our lives. Despite a very colored and misguided early life, Hermann Cohen, through his contact with our Lord in the Eucharist, came to understand the true meaning for his life, and for all our lives.
Mark and Frances discuss the remarkable story of Hermann Cohen, a very famous classical pianist who became a Carmelite Friar. In this first of a two part series, they focus on the story of Fr. Hermann, as he would come to be known, and his incredible cure at Lourdes. Fr. Hermann suffered from an advanced stage of glaucoma, and was beginning to lose his eyesight when he decided to begin a novena to Our Lady of Lourdes. His novena began on the feast of St. Raphael the Archangel. While on pilgrimage to Lourdes, Fr. Hermann also had the good fortune to meet Bernadette Soubirous, who, like Fr. Hermann, had been ravished by Our Lady. Fr. Hermann, in his personal writings says, “Mary revealed to me the mystery of the Eucharist.” This is a truly remarkable story of faith, blessing and redemption.
This program is the final in a three part series based on the book “Into your hands Father” by Fr. Wilfrid Stinissen OCD, which discusses our need to conform our will to the will of God. Mark and Frances build on the foundation of the first two parts, namely, our need to accept all the circumstances in our life as having come from our heavenly Father, and our need to put our hands to the plow and do our part. In this third part however, we begin to learn that we must dispose ourselves to the work of the Holy Spirit. Our most important role here is to begin to see how all the elements of our life are simply part of the Lord’s work of sanctification in us. We need to maintain a single focus on our participation in the Lord working in us. This program will be very helpful for anyone struggling to understand what they must do to participate with the Lord in this final work of preparation for Union with God. It is a challenging call, but one well worth the effort.
In this conversation Mark and Frances continue with the second part of a three part series on conforming our will to the will of God. They are using a text from Carmelite Friar Father Wilfrid Stinissen entitled “Into your Hands, Father.” After finishing up the last section of the first part of Fr. Stinissen’s book, which concluded with the role of the memory and the practice of the virtue of Hope, Mark and Frances move to the second section of the book. In this second section Fr. Stinissen speaks about our need to not only accept everything in our life as God’s will, but to them move to put our hands on the plow and begin to do the work the Lord calls us to. Here Fr. Stinissen asks and answers his own question, namely, does God guide us through every moment of our day. The answer is yes, but He uses both external and internal means of doing this. After going through each of these means, Mark and Frances discuss the importance of the role of detachment, and our need to practice genuine human freedom in the context of pursuing our final ends as human persons. It is only through the practice of genuine freedom that we free ourselves to obey God in all things.
The original founders of the Order of Carmel found it necessary to identify a Rule by which they could conduct their daily activities and stay focused on what was most important. This is no less important for us today. We all need to have some basic guidance that helps stay focused and make progress along the Spiritual Journey. In this conversation Mark and Frances discuss the elements of what should go into a Rule of Life. They also discuss how the development of a Rule can be tailored to our individual circumstances and those elements we need to work on in our own spiritual path. They also discuss some of the best thinking on a Rule from the writings of the Saints and the Church Fathers.
In our busy preparations for Christmas, even our spiritual preparations, we can sometimes forget the most significant theological aspect of Christ’s birth, the Incarnation of God into our human lives. During this conversation Frances and Mark discuss some interesting historical facts regarding the use of the term ‘Incarnation’ in the history of the Carmelite Order. They then go on to speak about an interesting phrase in a Prayer by Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, which she wrote to the Trinity. In that well know prayer she asks: “Consuming Fire! Spirit of Love! Descend within me and reproduce in me, as it were, another incarnation of the Word that I may be to Him another humanity wherein He may renew His mystery.” This is a prayer very rich in meaning, especially as each of us is called to become another Christ and to Incarnate His life into our own. In this pre-Christmas conversation, Mark and Frances discuss how we can work to prepare ourselves to receive this ‘Incarnation’ in our own souls.
How are these two homeschooling moms using the Carmelite Saints in teaching their children? Host Frances Harry interviews guests Colleen Sollinger and Connie Rossini about this topic. Colleen is a member of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites and has had a long term interest in sharing Carmelite Spirituality with her family as well as in developing a “Carmelite Spirituality Youth Group.” Connie Rossini is an author/writer as well as diocesan columnist and has a great blog at: www.contemplativehomeschool.com. She is also the administrator of a Catholic Spirituality Blogs Network that has a community of 20+ blogging on the spiritual life. We will talk about how they teach the contemplative life and prayer to their children as well as get a peak at Connie’s E-book:”Five Lessons front the Carmelite Saints That Will Change Your Life.”
Frances and Mark continue their conversation about Mark’s recent trip to Spain. While there he was able to visit some of the most important sites for the founding of the Discalced Carmelite Order. Frances continues this interview by asking Mark what he read while he was on the trip and how that might have both prepared him and affected him while visiting this important locations. Frances draws out some of the most important events from the trip and how those contributed to the graces Mark received while on the trip. They also discuss the conferences provide by the Carmelite Friars who were on the pilgrimage with them. Finally, as this program originally aired on Veterans Day, Mark takes the opportunity to discuss a chance encounter with a young soldier who the pilgrims met on their return flight to the US. He also makes a point about our need to lift up our Veterans in this country as they face so many challenges today.
During this spirited conversation, France turns the mike on Mark and interviews him about his recent pilgrimage to Spain. While there Mark was able to visit many of the most important sites associated with the Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross’ Reform of the Carmelite Order. He began the trip in Avila where the pilgrims spent most of the 11 days. While there they also traveled to Alba de Tomas where St. Teresa is buried, and Segovia where St. John’s tomb is located. They also visited the birth place of John and the location for the original Friar foundation in Durelo. Finally, they got to visit and stay in the famous city of Toledo, where Mark share a special moment he had at the Carmel in Toldeo. If you have been to Spain before, of even if you have not, you will enjoy listening to this colorful conversation about the most important locations for the beginning of the the ‘Reformed,’ Discalced Carmelite Order.
Host, Frances Harry, along with guest, Deacon/Dr. Tracy Jamison, OCDS talk about “spiritual marriage.” There are lots of questions about spiritual marriage. What is it? What does it involve? Where do we get this term? What happens in it? What difference does it make in my life and in those around me? Is it possible for all of us?
“Quotable Quotes of St. Teresa of Avila, #1” with host, Frances Harry, along with Guest, Chris Cotter, OCDS.
We will be focusing on some of our favorite quotes of St. Teresa of Avila. Some topics to be covered: St. Teresa ‘s conversion story from the “Book of Her Life,” important points about prayer, what she says about “the cross,” her approach to Confession, the importance of “Love, Detachment, and Humility” for growth in the spiritual life, and why we should practice mortification.
We are all familiar with the Rosary, but do we all understand its history or the importance so many Saints have place on reciting it daily.
In this informative and inspiring program, Mark and Frances discuss the origins of the prayer of the Rosary. They touch on the details of our Lady
having shared this prayer with St. Dominic. They also discuss the importance it played in bringing about a great military and spiritual victory in the Battel of Lepanto. Padre Pio of course was very dedicated to the Rosary, and this program discusses his emphatic counsel to use the Rosary as our weapon
against the evils of this world. Pope John Paul II was likewise very dedicated to the Rosary and this program outlines the additions he brought to this
form of prayer. Finally, Mark and Frances discuss the role of Mary and the use of the Rosary as a means of joining the Blessed Mother in contemplative prayer.
Continuing on the theme from the previous program, Mark and Frances reiterate the importance of community, and the need to participate in community as a way to continue to grow. Again, echoing the ideas of St. Teresa of Avila, they outline the important elements that must be found in community. The virtues of kindness, compassion, patience, openness, trust and of course humility are all important. But they also emphasize the need for Joy, we must be able to find real Joy in knowing that we are working to become the very people God called us to be, and we do this most effectively in community. Mark and Frances also read from a letter by Pope Francis written specifically to the Carmelite Order world wide. In this encouraging and yet challenging document, the Holy Father tells the Carmelite Community they must again capture the spirit of the Brothers of Mount Carmel, both by fulfilling our call to contemplation, but also by fulfilling our mission by becoming Prophets of Hope to a fractured and disoriented world.
During this program Mark and Frances continue on the theme of Mary and the work of Evangelization. Here they discuss a presentation by Carmelite Friar and General Delegate to the OCDS, Fr. Debastiani, on our Carmelite call to mission. The presentation begins by reflecting on the contemplative nature of the call to Carmel. The importance of encountering the living God in the intimate experience of personal prayer. Fr. Debastiani then goes on to explain the importance of the call to community. Echoing the writings of St. Teresa of Avila, Fr. Debastiani points our that for Carmelites, and for that matter all Christians, must nurture the fruit of prayer in a community of faithful believers. It is in a supportive community that we both engage in conversation about our faith, are both challenged and supported on our journey and enter into community prayer to lift up the entire body of Christ.
Mark welcomes Mary Pyper, Treasurer for Radio Maria US, into the studio to discuss some recent work she has been doing around a school of Evangelization and the role of Mary in the work of Evangelization.
Acknowledging Mary’s role in both bringing our Lord into the world, and in being the one who initiated His public ministry at the wedding in Cana, this conversations centers around the role of Mary in helping us develop our interior life. It is this very interior life and intimate relationship with the Lord that then allows us to carry on the great commission of spreading the Gospel. For many of us, the work of Evangelization and spreading the Gospel message may be the simple presence we offer to those in need or those who need to witness a person who lives with Hope. In order to be that person for others, we must draw from a well of deep prayer and an interior understanding of how God is working in our life. The best example of this from scripture is the Blessed Mother’s visit to her cousin Elizabeth. Here we see that the fruit of Mary’s rich prayer life, and her role as Christ Bearer is easily recognized by her cousin. In our lives we are also called on to be bearers of Christ, and Evangelizers of the message of hope. In this effort, the Blessed Mother serves as both our model and our and our guide.