Fr. Thomas McDermott – Prayer and the Dominican Tradition

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St. Catherine of Siena: Her life and teachings

with Fr. Thomas McDermott, O.P.

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For more on the work of Fr. Thomas McDermott, O.P. and St. Catherine of Siena, visit the “Drawn by Love” website at:  http://www.drawnbylove.com/

SCS1 – Introduction & Childhood – St. Catherine of Siena with Fr. Thomas McDermott O.P.

In this introductory episode, Fr. McDermott discusses the person of Blessed Raymond of Capua, O.P., (ca. 1330 – 5 October 1399), who was a leading member of the Dominican Order, served as its Master General from 1380 until his death, and was the confessor and biographer of St. Catherine. Fr. McDermott talks about the importance of having the Dominican perspective when looking at the accounts of St. Catherine’s life. Her family and early childhood, including her first mystical experience, are then discussed..

SCS2 – The Fundamental Maxim and The Dark Night of Self-Knowldege – St. Catherine of Siena with Fr. Thomas McDermott O.P.

In this episode, Fr. McDermott discusses the difference between solitude and isolation by means of moments in St. Catherine’s life.

What is a “Third Order” and why did St. Catherine choose this means to live out her life? A dream affected St. Catherine deeply. Fr. McDermott teaches how we can discern dreams that might occur in our lives.

Why would St. Catherine have a special devotion to St. Mary Magdalene? Fr. McDermott discusses the significance of the “fundamental maxim” and the imagery of “the well”, and the times of temptation that began to occur in her life and the experience of “The Dark Night of Self-Knowledge”.

SCS3 – The Mystical Experiences – St. Catherine of Siena with Fr. Thomas McDermott O.P.

In this episode, Fr. McDermott discusses the experience of St. Catherine’s “Mystical Espousal” and it’s spiritual relevance.

The virtues are discussed as central to St. Catherine’s teachings and the importance of properly understanding their value in our lives. The response to the needs of one’s neighbor is emphasized. In particular, the special interaction with Andrea, the woman with cancer, is presented as an extraordinary moment of grace which aided in St. Catherine’s spiritual maturity and growth in holiness. Fr. McDermott addresses the contemporary “controversy” over the actions taken in this particular experience.

The other experiences of the summer 1380, the exchange of hearts the mystical death are discussed, as well as, the saint’s invisible stigmata.

SCS4 – The Avignon and Rome Years – St. Catherine of Siena with Fr. Thomas McDermott O.P.

In this episode, Fr. McDermott discusses the experience of St. Catherine’s intervention in the events in Avignon, France and her influence with the Pope.

Fr. McDermott speaks of her time in Rome and the events surrounding her death. And we lay the groundwork for our future episodes which we discuss specific aspects of St. Catherine’s teachings.

SCS5 – “The Supreme Truth” and other topics – St. Catherine of Siena with Fr. Thomas McDermott O.P.

In this episode, Fr. McDermott begins a more generalized discussion on the teachings of St. Catherine of Siena.

Fr. McDermott speaks of “The Dialogue” and how it came to be. Some of the basic teachings of St. Catherine are presented such as “The Truth of God the Father”. He relates the motto of the Dominican order, “Veritas” (Truth), was foundational for St. Catherine. The Supreme Truth about God and the truth of the human person. Fr. McDermott also touches on St. Catherine’s teachings on sin, selfish self-love in particular. How do we arrive at “truth”? Prayer is key, along with the Scriptures and the Sacraments. Also St. Catherine’s teachings on discernment, humility, love, patience and obedience, as well as, the doctrine of deification, is addressed.

SCS6 – “The Precious Blood”, “The Christ Bridge” and other topics – St. Catherine of Siena with Fr. Thomas McDermott O.P.

In this episode, Fr. McDermott aids in our understanding of St. Catherine’s teachings on the “Blood of Christ” and it’s context from Sacred Scripture and Medieval sensibilities. He discusses “The Christ Bridge” as a central image in St. Catherine’s writings one’s spiritual journey. The flowering of baptismal grace is exemplified in this teaching.

SCS7 – “Stages” in the Spiritual LIfe – St. Catherine of Siena with Fr. Thomas McDermott O.P.

In this episode, Fr. McDermott aids in our understanding of St. Catherine’s teachings on the “stages” of our spiritual life.

What is the proper understanding of grace and sharing in the Divine Life. Good feelings, consolations, joy are experiences during the second step on the “Christ-Bridge”. The concern of “falling in love more with the gifts rather than with the Giver” is discussed. The danger of spiritual gluttony and pride, as well as the need to care for one’s neighbor are essential elements in St. Catherine’s teachings. Fr. McDermott also reflects on her teachings about the Divine Fire and gift of Tears.

SCS8 – “Stages” in the Spiritual LIfe – St. Catherine of Siena with Fr. Thomas McDermott O.P.

In this final episode, Fr. McDermott discuss the final step of the spiritual life which is actually comprised of two stages: “perfect love” and “perfect union”. On the “Christ-Bridge” we find ourselves with St. Catherine at the “mouth” of Christ which corresponds to the first chapter of the “Song of Songs”. Fr. McDermott expands on St. Catherine’s teachings on the role we have as sons and daughters of the Father.

Fr. McDermott then offers a summation of St. Catherine’s teachings as a conclusion for our discussions.

Fr. Thomas McDermott, OP is Regent of Studies for the Dominican Province of St. Albert the Great and is the author of “Catherine of Siena: Spiritual Development in Her Life and Teaching” (Paulist, 2008) and “Filled with all the Fullness of God: An Introduction to Catholic Spirituality”. He obtained a doctorate in spiritual theology from the Angelicum and taught for several years at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis. He currently serves as pastor at St. Vincent Ferrer, in Chicago, IL.

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2 thoughts on “Fr. Thomas McDermott – Prayer and the Dominican Tradition

  1. Fr.Dereje Bekele Degefa,
    I am a student of Pontifical University of St.Thomas Aquinas ,Angeli-cm , at Rome.Spirituality Theology.I am Ethiopia .So ,thank you very much about the teaching St.Catherine of Siena.Really it so much have been-helping me because her teaching is very much deep and full of grace.So,thank you very much because it helps me a lot since English is my second language but now thanks to you I Can listen and read to follow her teaching ,thanks so much .Happy New Year.God bless you.
    [email protected]

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