Friday, August 29, 2014

Did Teresa of Avila teach Centering Payer?

By Connie Rossini

St. Teresa's Transverberation by Joefa de Obidos (Wikimedia Commons)

Last winter on social media, I came across another Catholic author who was promoting yoga. Not as an exercise program, but for spiritual growth. I was shocked. I asked her why she wasn’t promoting prayer instead. She answered, “Meditation is prayer!”


Two months ago, my brother forwarded an email from a colleague, asking about Centering Prayer. A friend was pushing it relentlessly. I looked at the website of the Catholic group that promotes Centering Prayer and found this in the FAQs:
This form of prayer was first practiced and taught by the Desert Fathers of Egypt … the Carmelites St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St. Therese of Lisieux…


The other day a new reader asked in the comments about meditating on Sacred Scripture. “Is this the same as the method of Fr. John Main, who has adapted an Eastern mantra method for Christian meditation?”


I have written a little on this topic before, but I think it’s time to revisit it. Let’s start with Teresa of Avila.

Continue reading at Connie's blog Contemplative Homeschool.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My own "Crown of Thorns"

By Theresa

{my favorite icon: Nymphios which means Bridegroom}

As I was reflecting on my Profession into the Secular Order of the Discalced Carmelites, I was thinking particularly about the name I took when I received the scapular many years ago. I felt inspired to take the name "Theresa of Jesus Crowned with Thorns" since I have a great devotion to this image of Jesus. This image, most of all, pierces my very soul.

I also reflected on how Christ has allowed me to share in this particular suffering during the last 14 years. Through my own depression, anxiety and the chronic insomnia that resulted...Jesus has blessed me with my very own "crown of thorns". This was compounded by the erratic sleep patterns of my youngest daughter and in the last several years, different hours at work that require me to be "on call" through several nights (so I can stay home during the day). Many, many times, it has felt like anything but a "blessing". But it is through this very suffering that God has taught me to rely completely on Him to help me make it through the take care of my family, my home, to work part-time, in other words, to remain faithful to my vocation as wife, mother, and Carmelite.

Please do not get the impression that I did not fail in accepting this suffering. I failed many times...miserably the point of despair. In the depths of severe sleep deprivation, it is not hard for one to lose all hope and feel as though something will snap inside. There must of been a thread...a thin thread...that kept my soul clinging to God with whatever strength was left. And each time, He pulled me out of the depths of despair. I have lost count...

Continue reading at Theresa's blog my desert heart.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Jesus was waiting for us

By Lora Goulet


 With tachycardic angst we found ourselves in a traffic jam. Meanwhile, a midsummer thunderstorm had left it's most beautiful remnant, a glorious rainbow. Then, a labyrinth of one way streets delivered us to the front steps of an old yet elegant Catholic Church. Three doors were locked. The Holy Spirit directed us to the fourth door, hidden behind a little porch's colorful flowers. There a kind Carmelite brother escorted us into the marvelous sanctuary of the Church...

where Jesus was waiting for us to visit Him.

Lora blogs at mommynovenas. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

A weary mama's morning offering

By Jaime Cheaney

Dear Jesus, I offer you my sufferings today.  The lack of sleep, messy house, never-ending laundry, marathon nursing sessions, and squabbling children.  I especially offer up the feeling that I am failing as a parent.  I entrust myself and my entire family to your care, knowing You are in control.

Please unite my sufferings with Yours on the cross, using them to bring others to know You.  Please comfort those who pray for a baby, those who mourn the loss of a child, and the neglected children unloved by anyone but You.


Jesus, I thank you for every late night teenage heart-to-heart, every sloppy kiss and snuggle, and even the constant busyness.  Every day with my family is a gift.  Please give me Your heart and Mother Mary’s simple yes to Your will.  Guide me as I teach this to my children.
In Jesus’ name, I pray.  Amen.

**The picture above is one of my favorites.  I took it standing at the foot of the crucifix statue at the Black Madonna Shrine in Eureka, Missouri.

Jaime blog at Fruitful Mama.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Who is the center of my universe?

By Melanie Jean Juneau

File:Observable universe logarithmic illustration.png

Observable universe logarithmic illustration by
Unmismoobjetivo (Wikimedia Commons).

An interesting question to ask ourselves, “Am I Christ centric or ego centric?”

I was shocked when I discovered that I functioned as if I was the center of the universe.
Shocked because I  really did not grasp that my whole paradigm was skewed.
Shocked because I thought I had given my life to God.
Shocked to understand just how much inner transformation it takes to say with St. Paul,
 Galatians 2:20
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
 Until we allow our false selves, our egos to die, we  view the world through our eyes with events and other people revolving around ourselves as the centre.
Only surrendering that false self to Christ on the cross can free us from this prison of selfish isolation and plug us into the Mystical Body of Christ.
Then we are free to simply be children of God as we gather with others to worship Christ at the center of all life.
I do not make Christ  the center of my life because Christ isn’t merely the center according to St. Paul, He IS my life!

Colossians 3:4 “When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.”
 Melanie originally posted this at:

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Splendor of the Ocean

By Nancy Ward

The Beach at Trouville by Boudin

More powerful than the roar of many waters, more powerful than the breakers of the sea, powerful in the heavens is the LORD. (Psalm 93:4)

My first glimpse of the ocean was at crowded Mission Beach in San Diego as a young bride. Once I saw the breathtaking splendor and power of God’s creation where waves meet sky, I was hooked. Now I look for every possible opportunity to relax on any beach, anywhere. In Maui, the most gorgeous native natural habitat surrounds the almost endless beaches. I have even seen this panorama from a parasail 500 feet above Kauai, Maui and Molokai.

In Hawaii or Texas, I enjoy the waves pounding the sand and the circling gulls awaiting my every crumb. Walking on the beaches from Coronado Island to Cape Cod thrills me. Even January in Oregon, the foggy skies overhead, gusty wind on my face and freezing water lapping on my timid toes, bring me incredible joy.

A recent day on familiar Vanderbilt Beach on the Florida Gulf Coast recalled many exciting experiences in our sunshine times playing with our children and young grandchildren. I can’t forget those winter times of consolation and comfort when we came here to soften our heartbreak and find acceptance of our tragedies.

Read how God beckons us at

Friday, August 8, 2014

The meaning of the Immaculate Conception

By David Torkington

Byzantine Madonna and Child

Of course I can’t remember being conceived nor growing into a baby in my mother’s womb. Nor for that matter do I remember being baptised a week later. I was totally dependent on my mother for everything, not just in those first weeks of my life, but for many months to come. I, not only depended on my mother, for my physical growth and development, but for my spiritual development too.

I received my first experience of God’s love from her love of me. Exactly the same happened to Jesus. St Paul said that he was ‘like us in every way but sin’, that’s how God had planned things from the beginning. That’s why at the very moment that he decided that his Son would be made flesh, that decision included having a human mother. As Blessed John Duns Scouts put it: - ‘if God willed the end he must have willed the means’. If he chose to enter into this world as a human being he must have a human mother, for without a human mother he could not be a true human being, the incarnation simply could not happen.

The hermit, Sister Wendy Beckett, said that she had a profound and vivid experience of God, which determined the rest of her life, when she was only four years of age. Before that her experience of God came primarily through her mother. She was unusual, because it usually takes much longer before an inner spiritual capacity develops sufficiently to enable a person to have a direct and independent experience of the love of God.

In my case it took years. I have no doubt that Jesus had such an experience at an even earlier age than Sister Wendy, but nor do I doubt that before that he was dependent on his mother for the experience of God’s love. That’s why from the very beginning, Blessed John Duns Scotus insisted there must be no barrier in her that could possibly prevent the love of God from being transmitted through her to her son, Jesus. That’s why he was so emphatic in demanding that she must therefore have been immaculately conceived, so that neither nature nor nurture would prevent God’s love ensuring that her son would be born and grow up as a perfect human being, and the perfect person to draw another human being into the perfect communion that he had with his Father.

Contineu reading at David Torkington