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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Docility to the Holy Spirit

In this second of a two part series on the Holy Spirit, Mark and Frances speak about the work of the Holy Spirit in our individual souls. After providing a brief list of the names given to the Holy Spirit, the conversation moves to a deeper exploration of role of the Holy Spirit in the work of our sanctification. As the Church teaches this all a work of Grace, so Mark and Frances take the time to describe the two elements of Grace and how they each play a unique role in our sanctification. After describing the more Theological aspects of the working of Grace, they go on to provide a detailed explanation of the more practical aspects of Grace and how individual souls might go about securing Grace for themselves. The single greatest source of Grace of course are the Sacraments of the Church, but not all receive the Sacraments to the same degree, or with the same degree of preparation, and therefore not everyone receives the same amount of Grace, even though they may attend the same Mass. The conversation also explore the important role of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and the Trinity. Here Mark and Frances investigate how we each soul might best prepare ourselves to cooperate with this work of the Trinity, this is most especially done through prayer.
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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.
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Resources

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.

Books:

“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.