“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? CatholicApptitude.org 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.

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Resources:

www.CatholicApptitude.org

Scripture:
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 CatholicApptitude.org) 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.

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

“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?

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Resources:

Scripture:
Mt. 11:29

Articles Online:
“Treatise on Humility” by Pope Leo XIII
“Humility: 30 Short Meditations” by Fr. Richard F. Clarke, SJ.

Books:
“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.

“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.

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Resources:

Books:
“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

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

Other:
OCDS Constitutions, Section 17.

“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.

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Resources:

“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

“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?

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Resources:

Books:
“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.

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

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

“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?

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Resources:

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

Scripture:
Ps. 46:11

Books:
“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.

“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.

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Resources:

Scripture:
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

Books:
“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.

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.
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The Practical Practice of Silence

Here Mark and Frances reintroduce a topic they believe does not get enough attention in our discussion of contemplative prayer or even in conversations about the spiritual journey. The topic is the important role of silence in our daily prayer and in our daily lives. Mark and Frances begin by explaining that the spiritual definition of silence goes well beyond the simple absence of noise, and they readily admit that our human language always falls short when trying to adequately explain what is meant by true silence. Indeed, they contend it is something that can only be experienced by the individual soul; it is really a gift of the Holy Spirit and really the most we can hope to do it dispose ourselves to receive this gift. None the less, in this two part series, Mark and Frances do attempt to provide some explanation of what is meant by this gift if silence, and more importantly they hope that by offering what descriptions they can, the listener will be in a better position to seek after this intimate encounter of silence in prayer. In this conversation they begin by explaining the twelve degrees of silence that are offered from the writings of the Desert Fathers. These include some of the more obvious elements of quieting our imagination, our feelings or emotions and our self love. But the list also includes the less obvious elements of needing to quiet our intelligence, judgement and will. This program is a very good introduction to the critically important role of silence in our prayer life and in the daily circumstances of our spiritual journey.
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RESOURCES:

 Books:

“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.

Scripture:

Roman 8:26

1 Kings 19:11-12

Ps. 46:10

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.
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