A Novena to St. Teresa of Avila Day 6 – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Day 6: THE REALITY OF HELL

St. Teresa you have saida67031f06448ccc5804fffbdfa4a517b

“A long time after the Lord had already granted me many of the favors I’ve mentioned and other very lofty ones, while I was in prayer one day, I suddenly found that, without knowing how, I had seemingly been put in hell…The fact is that I don’t know how to give a sufficiently powerful description of that interior fire and that despair, coming in addition to such extreme torments and pains.  I didn’t see who inflicted them on me, but, as it seemed to me, I felt myself burning and crumbling; and I repeat the worst was that interior fire and despair.”

—Autobiography XXXII.1,2

Teresa experiences the vision described above within the context of God’s salvific action, both universal and personal, in order that she might understand the torments from which she was freed because of His mercy, and also to motivate her to realize her personal vocation of reform.

The theme of hell appears often in her writings, and underlines humanity’s gift of free will and its natural consequences.  The redemption wrought by Christ is intended for all, and the Divine plan is that all should be saved, but this does not preclude one’s possibility to choose.  Hell is the result of a lifetime of choices made of separating oneself from God through sin, resulting in the suffocating experience of being completely bound in the darkness of God’s absence, without freedom and without hope.

 Not wanting to see others end like this, Teresa exercised her own free will, dedicating her life to participating in Christ’s own saving action via her life of prayer.  May we, like Teresa, give thanks to God for the truths revealed to us about eternal life, for our redemption through Christ’s blood, and for the gift of free will that allows us to choose and love him freely.  Let us also pray for all those who most need our prayers for conversion of heart today.

 St. Teresa speaks to us today saying:

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

O God, who through your Spirit
raised up Saint Teresa of Jesus
to show the Church the way to seek perfection,
grant that we may always be nourished
by the food of her heavenly teaching
and fired with longing for true holiness.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

St. Teresa, pray for us:
That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

reflection written by Fr. Emiel Albalahin, O.Carm. Used by permission via the  Curia Generalizia dei Carmelitani  Please visit http://www.ocarm.org/en/

The prayer offered by Dr. Matthew Bunson and Kris McGregor

Audio versions of the “Interior Castle” and “The Way of Perfection” by St. Teresa of Avila

A Novena to St. Teresa of Avila Day 5 – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Day 5: HUMILITY 

St. Teresa you have said2c773951f5a3c1f26f639842d3d9c49e

“O Eternal Father!  How much this humility deserves.  What treasure do we have that could buy Your Son?  The sale of Him, we already know, was for thirty pieces of silver.  But to buy Him, no price is sufficient.  Since by sharing in our nature He has become one with us here below—and as Lord of His own will—He reminds the Father that because He belongs to Him the Father in turn can give Him to us.  And so He says, “our bread.”  He doesn’t make any difference between Himself and us, but we make one by not giving ourselves up each day for His Majesty.”

—Way of Perfection XXXIII.5

Teresa composed these words as she reflected on the words of the Our Father: “Give us this day our daily bread.”  Her meditation on this phrase brought her immediately to Christ’s experience of the passion and its significance for her and her contemporaries.  For her, Jesus is the foundation and model of humility in the spiritual life.

Humility plays an important role in interior progress, because through it we come to appreciate and understand the beauty of our souls and our limitations, to gradually cede control of our lives to God in faith and trust and develop a sensibility for perceiving and carrying out His will, to love others properly, and to accept and cherish the depth of the love God has for us.  

So let us ask for the grace of humility, that we may grow in truthful relationship with God, ourselves, and others.

 St. Teresa speaks to us today saying:

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

O God, who through your Spirit
raised up Saint Teresa of Jesus
to show the Church the way to seek perfection,
grant that we may always be nourished
by the food of her heavenly teaching
and fired with longing for true holiness.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

St. Teresa, pray for us:
That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

reflection was written by Fr. Emiel Albalahin, O.Carm. Used by permission via the  Curia Generalizia dei Carmelitani  Please visit http://www.ocarm.org/en/

The prayer offered by Dr. Matthew Bunson and Kris McGregor

Audio versions of the “Interior Castle” and “The Way of Perfection” by St. Teresa of Avila

A Novena to St. Teresa of Avila Day 4 – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Day 4: THE SOUL 

St. Teresa you have saidsaint_teresa_-avila_639

“It is that we consider our soul to be like a castle made entirely out of a diamond or of very clear crystal, in which there are many rooms, just as in heaven there are many dwelling places.  For in reflecting upon it carefully, Sisters, we realize that the soul of the just person is nothing else but a paradise where the Lord says He finds His delight…I don’t find anything comparable to the magnificent beauty of a soul and its marvelous capacity.  Indeed, our intellects, however keen, can hardly comprehend it, just as they cannot comprehend God’ but He Himself says that He created us in His own image and likeness.”

—Interior Castle I:1.1

Teresa uses a variety of images to describe the soul, likening it to a beehive, a garden, and in this case, a castle.  In doing so, she attempts to explain its innate fecund richness brought about through its creation.  

Made in the image and likeness of God, our souls mirror the Divine in our natural interior profundity and in our capacity to do His loving and saving will.  Moreover, our souls are where Christ resides and interacts with us, and desires to permeate with his light.  The experience of God, therefore, is not something beyond the human experience, but intimately connected to it.  Indeed, the work of personal transformation takes place in this interior environment

May we learn from Teresa how to appreciate and care for our souls, that we may radiate Christ to others and give thanks to God for making us his home.

 St. Teresa speaks to us today saying:

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

O God, who through your Spirit
raised up Saint Teresa of Jesus
to show the Church the way to seek perfection,
grant that we may always be nourished
by the food of her heavenly teaching
and fired with longing for true holiness.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

St. Teresa, pray for us:
That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

reflection written by Fr. Emiel Albalahin, O.Carm. Used by permission via the  Curia Generalizia dei Carmelitani  Please visit http://www.ocarm.org/en/

The prayer offered by Dr. Matthew Bunson and Kris McGregor

Audio versions of the “Interior Castle” and “The Way of Perfection” by St. Teresa of Avila

A Novena to St. Teresa of Avila Day 3 – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Day 3:  THE CENTRALITY OF THE HUMANITY OF CHRIST

 

St. Teresa you have saidteresa_davila-740x493

“The thought comes to me now that our good Jesus showed us the weakness of His humanity previous to the trials, and when He was in the abyss of His sufferings showed such great fortitude that He not only did not complain but did nothing that would make it appear He was suffering with weakness. When He went to the garden, He said: My soul is sorrowful even to death. Yet, while on the cross, for He was already suffering death, He did not complain.”
—Meditations on the Song of Songs III.11.

Teresa desired to share her reflections on the Song of Songs, a rather daring act for her time.  Her ponderings on Songs 1:2, led her to describe the peace and union granted the soul, opening the person to the possibility of accepting trials in the service of God, opportunities that also bring one’s weaknesses and limitations to the fore.  Desiring to encourage her sisters, she looks to Christ’s own experience during his Passion.

Indeed, the humanity of Christ plays a crucial role in her doctrine on prayer.  In his Incarnation, he expresses the profundity of God’s love for humanity, and is the perfect mediator between the two.  Moreover, his earthly life serves as the example and guide for our spiritual growth.  In this way, he leads us to discover our true selves as we

Thus, as we continue to pray through the intercession of the saint, let us recognize that she invites us to be in love with Jesus Christ, Emanuel, “God-with-us.”

 St. Teresa speaks to us today saying:

 “May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing that you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love.
It is there for each and every one of you.”

O God, who through your Spirit
raised up Saint Teresa of Jesus
to show the Church the way to seek perfection,
grant that we may always be nourished
by the food of her heavenly teaching
and fired with longing for true holiness.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

St. Teresa, pray for us:
That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

reflection written by Fr. Emiel Albalahin, O.Carm. Used by permission via the  Curia Generalizia dei Carmelitani  Please visit http://www.ocarm.org/en/

The prayer offered by Dr. Matthew Bunson and Kris McGregor

Audio versions of the “Interior Castle” and “The Way of Perfection” by St. Teresa of Avila

A Novena to St. Teresa of Avila Day 2 – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Day 2  INTIMATE AND TRANSFORMATIVE PRAYER

 

St. Teresa you have said28-s-teresa-avila

 “Whoever has not begun the practice of prayer, I beg for the love of the Lord not to go without so great a good.  There is nothing here to fear but only something to desire…And if one perseveres, I trust then in the mercy of God, who never fails to repay anyone who has taken him for a friend.  For mental prayer, in my opinion, is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us.  In order that the love be true and the friendship endure, the wills of the friends must be in accord.”

Autobiography VIII.5

On September 27, 1970, Pope Paul VI proclaimed Teresa a doctor of the Church. In his address, the Pope celebrated Teresa’s gift of spiritual doctrine, a fact underlined by the title written on her statue in the basilica in Ávila: Mater Spiritualium (the Mother of Spirituality). She certainly merits this title.

Her writings are not theoretical abstracts, but concrete lessons drawn from her own experience and interaction with the Divine. In entering the struggle of spiritual growth, she came to discover some very important truths about the process of prayer, the truth of God and the realization of self in this context. She realized in a very real and personal way Jesus’ words: “I call you friends.”

Learning from Teresa, let us make ample space for prayer, taking time and having the courage to open ourselves to all of the possibilities that lie open to us when we enter this deep and profound relationship, including our own transformation in God and His love.

 St. Teresa speaks to us today saying:

 “May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing that you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love.
It is there for each and every one of you.”

O God, who through your Spirit
raised up Saint Teresa of Jesus
to show the Church the way to seek perfection,
grant that we may always be nourished
by the food of her heavenly teaching
and fired with longing for true holiness.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

St. Teresa, pray for us:
That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

reflection written by Fr. Emiel Albalahin, O.Carm. Used by permission via the  Curia Generalizia dei Carmelitani  Please visit http://www.ocarm.org/en/

The prayer offered by Dr. Matthew Bunson and Kris McGregor

Audio versions of the “Interior Castle” and “The Way of Perfection” by St. Teresa of Avila

A Novena to St. Teresa of Avila Day 1 – Discerning Hearts Podcast

DAY 1: QUALITY SPIRITUAL READINGst-teresa

St. Teresa you have said:

 “The prioress should see to it that good books are available, especially The Life of Christ by the Carthusian, the Flos Sanctorum, The Imitation of Christ, The Oratory of Religious, and those books written by Fray Luis de Granada and by Father Fray Pedro de Alcantara.  This sustenance for the soul is in some way as necessary as is food for the body.”

—Constitutions 8

In chapter 4 of her autobiography, Teresa recounts the story of a particular visit to her uncle, Pedro Sánchez de Cepeda, wherein he gave her a copy of Francisco de Osuna’s book, the Third Spiritual Alphabet.  It provided the foundations for her spiritual life and remained an important reference for many years.  In time, Teresa added other works to her list of spiritual influences, including those listed in her Constitutions.  It was essential to her spiritual growth and to that of her sisters to be educated by knowledgeable people in the realm of the interior life.

 Through her example and counsel, we are also invited to enrich our faith and our interior lives by reading and studying the writings of the many holy authors whom the Church recommends to us.  Of course, among these, Teresa is one who is especially recommended. Perhaps one way of preparing for the feast during these nine days of novena would be to prayerful read and reflect on one of her writings.

 May she and all of the saintly authors continue to inspire us through their teachings and experience. 

 St. Teresa speaks to us today saying:

 “May today there be peace within.
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing that you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise, and love.
It is there for each and every one of you.”

O God, who through your Spirit
raised up Saint Teresa of Jesus
to show the Church the way to seek perfection,
grant that we may always be nourished
by the food of her heavenly teaching
and fired with longing for true holiness.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

St. Teresa, pray for us:
That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

reflection written by Fr. Emiel Albalahin, O.Carm. Used by permission via the  Curia Generalizia dei Carmelitani  Please visit http://www.ocarm.org/en/

The prayer offered by Dr. Matthew Bunson and Kris McGregor

Audio versions of the “Interior Castle” and “The Way of Perfection” by St. Teresa of Avila

The Chaplet of St. Michael the Archangel – Discerning Hearts Podcast

ArchangelsOL

Chaplet of St. Michael the Archangel text and mp3 download

O God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me. Glory be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Then one ‘Our Father’ and three ‘Hail Marys’ are to be prayed after each of the following nine salutations

1. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Seraphim may the Lord make us worthy to burn with the fire of perfect charity. Amen.

2. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Cherubim may the Lord grant us the grace to leave the ways of sin and run in the paths of Christian perfection. Amen.

3. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Thrones may the Lord infuse into our hearts a true and sincere spirit of humility. Amen.

4. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Dominions may the Lord give us grace to govern our senses and overcome any unruly passions. Amen.

5. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Powers may the Lord protect our souls against the snares and temptations of the devil. Amen.

6. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Virtues may the Lord preserve us from evil and falling into temptation. Amen.

7. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Principalities may God fill our souls with a true spirit of obedience. Amen.

8. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Archangels may the Lord give us perseverance in faith and in all good works in order that we may attain the glory of Heaven. Amen.

9. By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Angels may the Lord grant us to be protected by them in this mortal life and conducted in the life to come to Heaven. Amen.

Next, one Our Father is to be said in honour of each of the following leading Angels: St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael and our Guardian Angel.

Concluding prayers

A Saint Michael rosary.O glorious prince St. Michael, chief and commander of the heavenly hosts, guardian of souls, vanquisher of rebel spirits, servant in the house of the Divine King and our admirable conductor, thou who dost shine with excellence and superhuman virtue deliver us from all evil, who turn to thee with confidence and enable us by your gracious protection to serve God more and more faithfully every day.

Pray for us, O glorious St. Michael, Prince of the Church of Jesus Christ, that we may be made worthy of His promises.

Almighty and Everlasting God, Who, by a prodigy of goodness and a merciful desire for the salvation of all men, has appointed the most glorious Archangel St. Michael Prince of Thy Church, make us worthy, we beseech Thee, to be delivered from all our enemies, that none of them may harass us at the hour of death, but that we may be conducted by him into the August Presence of Thy Divine Majesty. This we beg through the merits of Jesus Christ Our Lord.

Amen.

 


ArchangelMichael1-217x300Prayer to St. Michael

St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May GOD rebuke him we humbly pray, and do thou o’ prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of GOD cast into hell satan and all the evil spirits who prowl throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.
A St. Michael Website

 

Gabriel-201x3001Prayer to the Archangel St. Gabriel

O God, who from among all your angels chose the Archangel Gabriel to announce the mystery of the Incarnation, mercifully grant that we who solemnly remember him on earth may feel the benefit of his patronage in heaven, with Jesus who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.
A St. Gabriel Website

 

 

raphael11Prayer to the Archangel Raphael

Glorious Archangel St. Raphael, great prince of the heavenly court, your are illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace. You are a guide of those who journey by land or sea or air, consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners. I beg you, assist me in all my needs and in all the sufferings of this life, as once you helped the young Tobias on his travels. Because you are the “medicine of God”, I humbly pray you to heal the many infirmities of my soul and the ills that afflict my body. I especially ask of you the favor
(name it) and the great grace of purity to prepare me to be the temple of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
A St. Raphael Website

St. Therese Novena Day 8 – Discerning Hearts Podcasts


Day 8St.-Therese-5 (1)

St. Therese you have said:

“And it is the Lord, it is Jesus, who is my judge. Therefore I will try always to think leniently of others, that He may judge me leniently, or rather not at all, since He says: “Judge not, and ye shall not be judged.”

Saint Therese, flower of Carmel,
you said you would spend your heaven
doing good upon the earth.
Your trust in God was complete.

Listen to my prayer;
bring before God my special intention…
Pray for me that I may have something of your confidence
in the loving promises of our God.
Pray that I may live my life in union with God’s plan for me,
and one day see the Face of God who you so ardently loved.

Saint Therese,
you kept your word to love God
and to trust the world to that loving providence.
Pray for us that we may be faithful to our commitment to love.
May our lives, like yours,
be able to touch the world and bring it to peace.

Amen

Day 9 – Novena to St. Padre Pio – Discerning Hearts Podcast


Day 9

St. Padre Pio you have said:Padre-Pio-4

How fortunate we are to be slaves of this great God who submitted Himself to death for us.

 

Gracious God, you generously blessed your servant, Padre Pio, with the gifts of the Spirit. You marked his body with the five wounds of Christ Crucified, as a powerful witness to the saving Passion and Death of your Son, and as a stirring inspiration to many people of your infinite mercy, forgiveness and love.

In the confessional, Padre Pio labored endlessly for the salvation of souls. Through his powerful intercession, many who suffered were healed of sickness and disease. Endowed with the gift of discernment, he could read people’s hearts. With dignity and intense devotion, he celebrated daily Mass, inviting countless men and women to a greater union with Jesus Christ, in the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

Through the intercession of Saint Pio, we confidently beseech you to to grant us the grace of (state your petition here). Help us to imitate his example of prayerful holiness and compassion, so that we, too, may faithfully follow the Risen Lord, and one day rejoice in the Kingdom, where you live and reign forever and ever.

St. Hildegard von Bingen Novena Day 9


Day 9

St. Hildegard you have said:

“A human being is a vessel that God has built for himself and filled with his inspiration so that his works are perfected in it.”

“Now, O son of God, set in the valley of true humility, walk in peace without pride of spirit, which, like a precipitous mountain, offers a difficult, or near-impossible, ascent or descent to those who attempt to scale it, and on its summit no building can be built. For a person who tries to climb higher than he can achieve possesses the name of sanctity without substance, because, in name alone without a structure of good works, he glories in a kind of vain joy of the mind.”

“Humility always groans, weeps and destroys all offenses, for this is its work. So let anyone who wishes to conquer the Devil arm himself with humility, since Lucifer fervently flees it and hides in its presence like a snake in a hole; for wherever it finds him, it quickly snaps him like a fragile thread.”

 

O glorious St. Hildegard, abbess of the order of St. Benedict and doctor of the universal Church, we now join in the prayer you taught us….

God is the foundation for everything
This God undertakes, God gives.
Such that nothing that is necessary for life is lacking.
Now humankind needs a body that at all times honors and praises God.
This body is supported in every way through the earth.
Thus the earth glorifies the power of God.

O God, by whose grace your servant Hildegard, kindled with the Fire of your love, became a burning and shining light in your Church: Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline, and walk before you as children of light; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
St. Hildegard von Bingen, pray for us

For the Discerning Hearts 9-Day Novena to St. Hildegard von Bingen page

Musical excerpt: Ave generosa, by Hildegard von Bingen (1089 – 1179)
Laurence Ewashko, conductor
30 January 2000, St. Matthew’s Church, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
http://www.cantatasingersottawa.ca/listen.php