True Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and a Message for Christmas 2016

It is always important for each of us to take deliberate steps to make the most of our preparation for the Advent Season. In this particular conversation, Mark and Frances present an interesting idea of one way we can begin and continue that preparation. Drawing from previous conversations on the prayer of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity, they reemphasize the request of Elizabeth to have the Holy Spirit bring about within her another incarnation of the Word. This very prayer of course evokes the scene of Mary and the Nativity, which we can all reflect on at this time of year. For Elizabeth, Mary’s silence and courageous acceptance of her mission, from the Annunciation to the Nativity, is the very model for interior souls, those souls who wish to be the resting place for God within them. With this as a backdrop, Frances and Mark then go on to explain each of our roles as members of the Mystical Body of Christ, Christ who is born within us, but of whom we are also members. They provide supporting scripture verses and other sources, including the Catechism and Papal documents, to explain this important teaching on our participation as members of Christ’s mystical body. Finally, as it is clear that the heart is the very center and support of the physical body, Christ’s Sacred Heart is the very center of our spiritual lives. If then, we are to ‘incarnate’ the word in our very person, we must also understand the importance of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and its role in our spiritual lives. This program provides a very good means of building on the theme of incarnation and leading to devotion to the Sacred Heart, as an Advent preparation for the arrival of Christ.

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Scripture: Lk 1:35; Eph 4:15-16; Rom 6:4-5 1; Cor 12:3; Rom 8:26; Eph 1:9-10; Col 1:24

Encyclical: Mystici Corporis Christi: Pope Pius XEE on the Mystical Body of Christ

Cathechism of the Catholic Church: #790-791

Books: “The Complete Works: Elizabeth of the Trinity, Vol. One” Trans. by Sister Aletheia Kane, OCD; ICS Publications.

“God is Love: Saint Teresa Margaret: Her Life” by Margaret Rowe; ICS Publications.



Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

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.

Devotion to the Sacred Heart

“During this conversation Mark and Frances discuss the unique Devotion that Carmelites have to the Sacred Heart. They begin by reading and discussing comments made by the Holy Father, Francis, regarding the role of the heart in our journey to Christ. Pope Francis speaks about the need to conform our heart to the heart of Christ, and to be transformed by that very act. Mark and Frances then go on to explore St. Therese of Lisieux’s perspective on devotion to the Sacred Heart. For St. Therese, Christ’s heart is always a heart of love. She does not focus, as so many others do, on the suffering of the piercing thorns which wounded our Lord, for St. Therese the central idea of Christ’s heart is an all-purifying love. She understands that suffering is part of the process, but she emphasizes that this is not an end in itself. The only reason for this devotion, in the mind of Therese, is to help us conform our own hearts to the buring heart of love, which is the heart of Jesus.”

Devotion to the Sacred Heart

In this particular program Mark and Frances discuss Devotion to the Sacred Heart, and the unique role this this devotion plays in Carmelite Spirituality. The Church is being called in a special way today to rededicate and consecrate herself to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, but what does this mean to us individually. This conversation will explore the history of the Devotion to the Sacred Heart, and then address how this powerful devotion can contribute to our personal growth in holiness. We will hear about how we, like St John the Beloved, can begin to get our own heart in rhythm with the heart beat of the Lord. This conversations explores the deeper and spiritual meaning of the ‘heart,’ and what it means to strive, as our Blessed Mother did, to become pure of heart.

St. Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart

In this particular program Mark and Frances welcome Deacon Tracy Jamison from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati do have a conversation about St. Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart, also known as the Lilly of Florence. One of the most important topics of discussion in this particular conversation is on how we can each dispose ourselves for the gift of union with God. Deacon Jamison explains, in some detail, the need for each one of us to practice St. Teresa of Avila’s great advice of detachment and recollection. He also discusses the important role of asceticism and the degree to which we must participate in such practices vs the degree that God must do this work in us. Another important topic discussed is the idea of putting on Christ, how we adopt His thoughts, how we get to the point where each movement of the heart is actually exercised and engendered by Christ dwelling in us. Finally, this conversation addresses the death of St. Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart, and how the compassion she felt for others was fully experienced in her acceptance of her great suffering at her death.

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ntroduction to the Life of St. Teresa Margaret (Anna Maria Redi) of the Sacred Heart, Part 2

We continue the introduction to the life of St. Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart by addressing the challenges she faced once she left civilian life and entered the convent in Carmel.  What were the lessons she still needed to learn?  How may we profit from them as well?  Additionally, what can we learn from her ardent devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus?  Then, we approach the conversation of her mystical life and the famous mystical experience she had of “God is Love!”  What were the effects of this experience?  Finally, we touch on the relationship of St. Teresa Margaret of the Sacred Heart to Pope Benedict XVI’s recent encyclical letter:  “Deus Caritas Est.”

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Saint Teresa Margaret Redi and the Blessings of the Sacred Heart

This conversation begins a series on St. Teresa Margaret Redi of the Sacred Heart. The program begins with a brief biographical sketch of Anna Maria Redi, the future St. Teresa Margaret Redi. This particular section of the program emphasizes the importance of raising children in a solid Christian culture and exposing them to the basic principles of devotion and religious virtue. Interestingly, and perhaps encouraging for many of us, St. Teresa Margaret Redi was not particularly noted for her sanctity or holiness as a young person. She was not an disobedient or difficult child, but rather she simply lived a very normal childhood without any evidence of the characteristics of a future Saint. None the less, even as a young girl, Anna Maria does develop a devotion to both the Sacred Heart and a great attachment to the sacrament of reconciliation. Another great mark of her future devotion, and one that was somewhat revealed even early on in her life, was her desire for hiddeness, a desire to be alone and to go unnoticed. St. Teresa Margaret Redi did experience an early locution of St. Teresa of Avila, which ended up having a profound impact on her call to Carmel. The program discusses a number of the early efforts of St. Teresa Margaret Redi to overcome her natural dispositions to her earthly life, as well as her mistaken efforts to, at times, over do her asceticism. This is a very helpful discussion for those who want to see and understand how many of us make similar mistakes in our early efforts to pursue Sainthood.
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