Why do we ask for the intercession of the Saints to help us in our needs? Why don’t we Catholics just talk to God alone? How do we explain this to those who don’t understand why we do this? How can I become a Saint? What does it take? What guidance do I get from Scripture? What happened to St. Teresa of Avila to make her have a “determined determination” to pray for souls and trust in God? How might we imitate her? These are the many questions that Mark and Frances discuss. We are most grateful for the insights we gleaned from Fr. Don Brick, OCD, on this topic.
On 22 October we celebrated the feast of Pope St. John Paul II, this is a very special feast for all of us, and in a special way to those of us in Carmel. As we have spoken about in the past, John Paul II had a very strong devotion to Carmel and its Saints. He did his graduate dissertation in Rome on the role of Faith in the writings of St. John of the Cross, and he was very devoted to St. Teresa of Avila, St. Therese of Lisieux and Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity. In a recent presentation offered as the Key Note for the Annual Carmelite Congress, George Weigel presented a wonderful explanation of the Carmelite soul of St. John Paul II. In this particular conversation, Mark and Frances launch off this presentation to explore new ideas about St. John Paul II’s use of Carmelite Spirituality to present his own theology of the human experience and our search for God. Most significant among these ideas are the impact Karol Wojtlya’s own personal life and early trials would have on his desire to find meaning in the midst of all the apparent futility of life. Building on this idea, Mark and Frances explore a deeper meaning for the story of the Wedding at Cana, and how the events of this story reveal four different levels of the understanding of Love. Finally, and most significantly, Mark and Frances discuss what is arguably the central theme in all of St. John Paul II’s writing and ministry, and this is the reality that man is never fully himself until he gives himself away in an act of self-giving love.
Even after 500 years, the ripple effect of St. Teresa of Avila is being felt all around the world. Her writings on prayer and loving Christ have become “classics” in mystical and Catholic literature. How has she effected you? Being a Doctor of the Church, we know her teachings have universal appeal…and not just to Catholics. Even today, new books are being written on her by philosophers, literary critics, historians, psychologists, spiritual directors, and ordinary people. As a mystic, she continues to be a trailblazer in growing in the spiritual life, sharing her prayers and her experiences so vividly that one is convinced of her authenticity. As a Reformer, she saw the value of returning to the primitive roots of Carmel, but also, challenging the status quo in regards to the value of the contemplative life and the call to mental prayer for all. Her value of Love and Friendship shows off her affability and affection that reached from the lowest to the highest of the classes in her time. As “La Madre” of the Discalced Carmelite Order, her appeal rings loud and clear as she provides solidarity with fellow travelers as well as guidance into the depths of intimacy with our Lord. Having founded 17 monasteries of nuns and 15 of the friars, she was a bedrock for all to build upon. Call upon her intercession. There’s no doubt she is still working to bring souls to Christ!
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: http://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.”