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Showing posts with the label Carmelites

Where are you in St. Teresa's seven mansions?

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Today I’d like to start digging a little deeper into Teresa of Avila’s Interior Castle. Specifically, let’s talk about the seven mansions and how each of them is different.

While Teresa divides her book into sections talking about seven different stages of the spiritual life, we should note that she speaks about “first dwelling places,” et cetera, not “the first mansion.” What does this mean? Each stage has several rooms. Not everyone follows exactly the same path to union with God.
You must not imagine these mansions as arranged in a row, one behind another, but fix your attention on the centre, the room or palace occupied by the King. Think of a palmito, which has many outer rinds surrounding the savoury part within, all of which must be taken away before the centre can be eaten. Just so around this central room are many more, as there also are above it. In speaking of the soul we must always think of it as spacious, ample and lofty; and this can be done without the least exag…

The foundation of St. Teresa's teaching

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On Wednesday the Church celebrated the feast of St. Teresa of Avila, founder of the Order of Discalced Carmelites and Doctor of the Church. The Carmelites are celebrating the 500th anniversary of her birth with an entire year of events beginning this month. Over that time period I hope to have many vibrant discussions here about Teresa, her life, and her teachings.

Sometimes we become interested in a saint when we hear one story about him or her. We don’t always view that story from the total context of a saint’s life and teaching. With my melancholic temperament, I like to look for the unifying principles behind things. This gives me a greater grasp of the meaning of individual facts. For St. Therese, that unifying principle was a childlike trust in God.

So what is the unifying principle behind true Teresian spirituality? Intimacy with Jesus.
Continue reading at Contemplative Homeschool.

Should we sit quietly during prayer? (Part 1 of 3)

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Last week I wrote about St. Teresa’s of Avila’s method of mental prayer. Today I want to discuss misunderstandings about prayer from a different angle. Since we desire contemplation, should we sit still in prayer and wait for it? Should we try to make it happen by quieting our minds? Like last Friday’s post, this series speaks to the differences between Carmelite teaching and Centering Prayer, yoga, and other types of meditation influenced by eastern religions.

Some people falsely equate silence with supernatural (infused) contemplation. They read about the need for interior silence in prayer, and they mistakenly think that if they sit quietly, God will necessarily bestow contemplation upon them. They equate the peace they find in silence to communion with God.

The Vatican has cautioned us about certain methods of prayer In 1989, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI), as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote Letter to the Bishops of th…

Free e-book: Five Lessons from the Carmelite Saints That Will Change Your Life

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It’s finally here–my first e-book! I hope you’re as excited as I am. I wrote this e-book for you, to aid you in your spiritual life. And today I’m going to ask you to do something for me. But first, I want to tell you how you can receive a free copy of Five Lessons from the Carmelite Saints That Will Change Your Life.

It’s easy. All you have to do is sign up to receive my blog posts by email, using the form at the top of the sidebar on my blog. At the end of the process, you will receive an email containing a link to download the e-book.

What if you are already following my blog by email? No problem. I have set up a new account at MailChimp to handle my emails to subscribers. I have also removed the old WordPress widget for email signup from my sidebar. All new subscribers will go onto the MailChimp list. If you are on the old list, simply sign up for the new list and download the e-book. Then you can click on “unsubscribe” in the email you got today for this post to rem…

What is Carmelite spirituality?

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What is Carmelite spirituality? A couple of readers have asked me this question, and I assume several more have wondered and not asked. So I'm going to write this as a post (for maximum visibility and readership), then make it a permanent page soon.

Carmelite spirituality stems from the teaching and lifestyle of one of the oldest surviving religious orders in the Catholic Church. Like the Franciscans, Jesuits, Dominicans, and others, the Carmelites have a particular way of living out the faith, which has been approved by the Church. St. Therese of Lisieux, one of the best-beloved saints of our age, was a Carmelite nun.

From ancient Mt. Carmel to medieval Europe In the 12th century, a group of Christian hermits settled on Mt. Carmel,  where the prophet Elijah had once lived in a cave. St. Albert of Jerusalem wrote a rule of life for them to follow. They built a monastery and came together for prayer, but each lived in his own cell. They dedicated their oratory to Mary…

Holy Tuesday: Reflecting on Christ Alive

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This Holy Tuesday morning I drove to the Carmelite Nuns Monastery in Georgetown for daily Mass.  It's a good 25 minute drive from where I live, and I had hoped not to be late.  I arrived at my destination with 5 minutes to spare.

Not only did I wish to attend Mass, but I also hoped that the Nuns had posted their Triduum schedule.  They had.  Now I can look forward to attending their Holy Week liturgies.  I have done so in previous years. 

The Monastery has a public chapel where visitors attend Mass while the Nuns have their own chapel to the left side of the sanctuary.  Their chapel is separated from the sanctuary by a grill.  You might enjoy looking at the chapel photos on the Nuns website, here.

The daily Mass is not too different from daily Mass at a parish, but the atmosphere in the chapel is, in my opinion, quieter, as there are fewer people present, and those who are observe great reverence.  At communion time, the chaplain, Fr. Tom, distributes Holy Communion …

What is mental prayer and how you can do it?

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Catholics divide prayer into 2 broad categories – vocal and mental. Vocal prayer includes prayers written for recitation. Mental prayer is prayer in one’s own words.
St. Teresa of Avila wrote, “Mental prayer, in my view, is nothing but friendly intercourse, and frequent solitary converse, with Him Who we know loves us." St. Thérèse of Lisieux likewise wrote, “With me prayer is an uplifting of the heart; a glance towards heaven; a cry of gratitude and love, uttered equally in sorrow and in joy."

Catholics are generally comfortable with vocal prayer, but mental prayer can leave us at a loss. How can you spend 20 minutes or more in prayer without a pre-written text? How can you keep your prayer from becoming mere rambling?

Read to learn a suggested form of mental prayer.

Beg, borrow, or steal buy: Fire Within

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In this occasional series of posts, I recommend resources for you and your family in 100 words or less. More detailed reviews may come later.

Read the review of Fire Within.

Contemplative Homeschool will help you and your family see Jesus everywhere

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Greetings, Ladies (and you few gentlemen who are members of or visit this site). Thank you for the privilege of joining you in spreading the Gospel on the internet. I'm Connie Rossini. I'd like to introduce you to my new blog.



Learn how to pray and live the Carmelite way I began writing at http://contemplativehomeschool.wordpress.com in November. Unlike many homeschool blogs, Contemplative Homeschool is not so much about daily life in my family as it is about growing in Christ. I believe the best way to keep our kids Catholic and to educate them in the faith is modeling prayer and virtue for them. I write a lot (about half my posts) about how you can grow closer to Christ. As a former member of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (OCDS), I write from a Carmelite perspective.

Let your homeschool be an outgrowth of your own prayer time I use my own unit studies based on The Golden Children's Bible for daily instruction. I meditate on one of the Bible passages in my…

From a Fellow Carmelite: On Beauty

I belong to the Carmelite Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary.  They have recently revamped their website.  It still has some kinks, but it is very attractive and informative.  This link is part of their prayer page.  It is an inspiring essay on beauty as a way of access to God.  Enjoy!

On Beauty - Order of Carmelites | Order of Carmelite