Lessons from St. Therese of Lisieux on Death and Dying

As we approach All Saints Day and All Souls Day, our thoughts turn to the topic of “Death & Dying.” Many people try to avoid thinking about that topic, as it brings on feelings of anxiety…or gloom…or fear. The fact of the matter is, we gain much wisdom by pondering death during our life. As the old saying goes: “The art of living well is in knowing how to die well.” What is death? How does one prepare for death? How do we confront our fear of death? St. Therese of Lisieux was confronted with death early in her life, from hearing about and seeing death all around her and especially in the death of her own mother when she was only 4 ½ years old. These occasions, rather than causing her to flee from the subject, enticed her throughout her life to ponder them deeply and seek the treasures of wisdom hidden therein. Yes, St. Therese had her own fears to confront. She confronted the meaning of death. She grasped the seed of faith in her belief in Heaven, beyond even her feelings. God allowed her to be purified especially in the last 18 months of her life. Her faith and embrace of God’s will and plan for her life surged forward in an ever- deeper surrender and abandonment to God. St. Therese shares her wisdom with us on this all-important topic which will help us today to prepare for that final day of this exile.

Listen to or download the podcast.

RESOURCES:

Scripture:  1 Thes. 5:2; 1 Cor 2:9; Ps. 23:4;

Catechism of the Catholic Church:  #1016

Article:
“The Most Insightful St. Therese of Lisieux Quotes on Death” by Catherine Birri, http://www.coraevans.com/blog/article/the-most-insightful-st.-therese-of-lisieux-quotes-on-death

Books: “Story of a Soul: the Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux,” Study Edition, Trans. by John Clarke, OCD; Prepared by Marc Foley, OCD; ICS Publications.

“Living on Love!…” and “What I’ll Soon See for the First Time!…” found in “The Poetry of St. Therese of Lisieux,” Trans. by Donald Kenney, OCD; ICS Publications.

“The Letters of St. Therese of Lisieux and Those Who Knew Her: General Correspondence, Vol. 2,” Trans. from the critical edition by John Clarke, OCD; ICS Publications.

“St. Therese of Lisieux: Her Last Conversations,” Trans. from the critical edition by John Clarke, OCD; ICS Publications.

The Sign of the Cross

Think about one of the most common acts you perform every day as a Christian, the Sign of the Cross. Now ask yourself whether you truly understand the meaning of this sacramental act, or what it signifies to us Christians. In this program Mark and Frances begin by providing a history of the development of Sign of the Cross. Next they discuss the three most significant meanings expressed within this sign. Much of the material for this conversation is taken from a book written by Saint Francis de Sales, which was intended to specifically defend both the use of the sign, and also provide some insight into the real power of the Sign of the Cross. As with so many of the acts of devotion we Catholics use every day, it is important for us to understand the fuller meaning and power associated with the signs of our Faith. This particular program will hopefully provide you with some of the deeper insight and understanding that will allow you to look at the Sign of the Cross in a much more meaningful way. And, it might also cause you to gain a much deeper appreciation and reverence the next time you begin to make the Sign of the Cross.

Listen to or download the podcast.

RESOURCES

Books:
“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

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.

Listen to or download the podcast.

RESOURCES:

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

Books:
“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.

Articles:
“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.

Encyclicals:
“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:
www.catholicnewsagency.com 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”

www.usccb.org “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.

www.therealpresence.org on the Holy Hour of Eucharistic Adoration

“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

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

Listen to or download the podcast 

Books: 

“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

Documents:

“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.

12. LAUGH!  SMILE!

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!

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.
Listen to or download the podcast

RESOURCES
“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.

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.
Listen to or download the podcast

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The 9 Ways of Being an Accessory to Another’s Sin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.
RESOURCES

The role of the Holy Spirit

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.
RESOURCES
Books:
“Mariam, the Little Arab” by Amedee Brunot, S.C.J.
“The Advocate: The Spirit of Truth” by Fr. Andrew Apostoli
“The Comforter: the Spirit of Joy” by Fr. Andrew Apostoli
“The Indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the Souls of the Just: According to the Teachings of St. Thomas of Aquinas” by Fr. Barthelemy Froget
“The Sanctifier” by Rev. Luis M. Martinez
 
Encyclical entitled: “On the Holy Spirit” by Pope Leo XIII