Monthly Archives: February 2008

2000 Years of Deception and Error, 9 A: Carmelites

From the BOOK

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.”—Matthew 7:21

“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?”
—Matthew 7:22

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?”—Luke 6:46

Today’s post will be on the Carmelite Order. As I continue to write about different monastic orders, I hope you will notice that their beliefs are not based on God’s Word being the authority, but on mystical experiences— their desire and goal is to have a mystical union with God or Jesus. This is not the Lord Jesus Christ or the God of the Bible and it is not about salvation from sin and a faith walk with our Lord. It is based on Satan’s original lie.

“For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”—Genesis 3:5

Carmelite History
The Order of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, known as the Carmelites, are a contemplative order founded between 1206 and 1214, on Mount Carmel, Israel. A group of European pilgrims and crusaders chose Mt. Carmel partially because it was the traditional home of Elijah. The group was forced to leave Mt. Carmel and go to Europe. Elijah and the “blessed virgin” were called the founders of the early models of the community, but later under pressure, the founder was changed to Bertold.

The charism, or spiritual focus, of the Carmelite Order is contemplative prayer. They have a strong Marian devotion and the Roman church considers the Order to be under the special protection of the person they call Virgin Mary. The First Order Carmelites are active/contemplative friars; the Second Order are cloistered nuns; and the Third Order are lay people who live in the world, and can be married, but participate by liturgical prayers, apostolates (ministries), and contemplative prayer.

In the second half of the 1500s, Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross carried out a thorough reformation which resulted in the Discalced or barefoot Carmelites being established. At the end of the 17th century, there were controversies, mainly with the Jesuits. A decree was finally issued in 1696, by Rocaberti, archibishop of Valencia and inquisitor-general which forbade any more controversies between the Carmelites and Jesuits. It was reinforced by Pope Innocent XII two years later on pain of excommunication.

Rule of St. Albert
The Carmelite Rule of St. Albert, written by Albert Avogardro between the years of 1206 and 1214, is directed to Brother B(ertold) and the hermits living in the spirit of Elijah who dwell near the spring on Mt. Carmel in Israel.

The Rule, consisting of 16 articles, imposes strict obedience to their prior, living in individual cells, constancy in prayer, hearing of Mass every morning in the oratory (private communal prayer room ) of the community, vows of poverty and toil, daily silence from vespers (evening prayer service) until terce (the third hour of the day after dawn), abstinence from all forms of meat except in cases of severe illness, and fasting from September 14 (called Holy Cross Day as it commemorates the “finding” of the “true” cross by Helena, the mother of Constantine I) to Easter of the following year.

Discalced Carmelites
The Discalced Carmelites, or Barefoot Carmelites, were established in 1593,
by two Spanish mystics, Teresa of Ávila and John of the Cross. It is a Roman
Catholic mendicant order with roots in the eremitic tradition of the Desert
Fathers and Mothers.

The Discalced Carmelite order uses the initials “O.C.D.”; The older branch, Carmelites of the Ancient Observance, uses “O. Carm.”; The Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites, also known as the “Third Order” is “O.C.D.S.”

For a Carmelite, prayer is guided by the teachings and experience of St. Teresa
of Ávila and St. John of the Cross, and several others. Each day is marked by
silence to create an environment for a house of prayer. In addition to the daily
celebration of the full Liturgy of the Hours, two hours are set aside for
uninterrupted silent prayer.

Scapular
Their distinctive garment was a scapular of two strips of gray cloth, worn on the breast and back, and fastened at the shoulders. It is said that this was given to St. Simon Stock by the Virgin herself, who appeared to him and promised that all who died clothed in it would be saved.

The Scapular says: Whosoever dies wearing this scapular shall not suffer eternal fire. Our lady’s scapular promise.

Today’s version of the scapular, a smaller version of the original, has two thin brown cords that connect to two small brown rectangular patches that hang in front of and behind the wearer.

Visions and Devotions
Among the various Catholic orders, Carmelite nuns have had a proportionally high ratio of visions of what they call Jesus and Mary, and have been responsible for key Catholic devotions.

Catholic devotions are popular spiritual practices of Catholics that can take the form of formalized prayers, sacred objects or sacred images that arise from private revelations, or personal religious experiences of individuals who think they have seen apparitions of Mary or of Jesus. Catholic devotions also include the veneration of the saints.

Just the BOOK

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”
—John 14:6

“Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
—Galatians 2:16

“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”—Titus 3:5

“And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”—Romans 5:11

2000 Years of Deception and Error, Part 8 C: Benedictines, Cistercians, Trappists

Part 8 C: Benedictines, Cistercians, Trappists
(updated March 2009)
The men I talk about in this post, along with others in the monastic and Roman tradition, have had a great influence on the emergent church. You will notice they are strongly influenced by Eastern beliefs.

Note: “Lectio divina”, “centering prayer”, “contemplative prayer” and
other “spiritual disciplines” are not found in the Bible. Do a word search.
I did find one verse with discipline in it. The word “spiritual” is used with
man, gifts, law, blessings, songs, wickedness, understanding, house,
sacrifices, but not disciplines.

GOD’s WORD

“He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity.”—Job 36:10

“But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”—1 John 2:27

Benedictine, Cistercian or Trappist Monks who have influenced the emergent church

Thomas Merton (1915–1968), a Trappist monk of the Abbey of Our Lady of Gethsemani, in Kentucky, was one of the most influential Catholic authors of the 20th century. Thomas Merton was strongly influenced by Buddhist meditation, particularly as found in Zen and was a lifetime friend of Buddhist meditation master and Vietnamese monk and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh. Merton was also a proponent of inter-religious dialogue, engaging in spiritual dialogues with the Dalai Lama, Thich Nhat Hanh and D.T. Suzuki. His theology attempted to unify existentialism with the tenets of the Roman Catholic faith. He was also an advocate of the non-rational meditation of contemplative prayer.

Wayne Teasdale (1945–2004), a Trappist monk, author, and teacher, became known as a creative proponent of the mutual understanding between the world’s religions. At St. Joseph’s Abbey, he came under the spiritual direction of the then Abott, Thomas Keating, a founder of the centering prayer movement.

Teasdale visited his Shantivanam Ashram in Tamil Nadu, India; he then lived for two years at an Ashram nearby. In 1989, through Bede Griffiths, Teasdale was made a “Christian” sanyassa (or Hindu renunciate). Benedictine Bede Griffiths (read below) was a major spiritual influence on Wayne Teasdale.

Teasdale also became well acquainted with the Dalai Lama and was a member of the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue where he assisted the Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, Thomas Keating and others, in negotiating the text of the Universal Declaration on Nonviolence (1990), which sought to further the Satyagraha ideals established by Gandhi.

Thomas Keating, O.C.S.O. (b. 1923), a Trappist monk born in New York City, attended Yale University and Fordham University and graduated in December 1943. Keating co-founded Contemplative Outreach, Ltd., now an international, ecumenical organization teaching Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina, a form of meditation drawn from the “Christian” contemplative tradition. Keating is a past president of the Temple of Understanding and of the Monastic Interreligious Dialogue among other interreligious activities. He lives at St. Benedict’s Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado.

Basil Pennington, O.C.S.O. (1931–2005), was a Trappist monk and priest. He was a leading Roman Catholic spiritual writer, speaker, teacher, and director…Pennington became known internationally as one of the major proponents of the Centering Prayer movement begun at St. Joseph’s Abbey during the 1970’s.

His growing interest in the spirituality of Eastern Orthodoxy during the 70’s brought him to Greece and to Mount Athos for an extended visit. This led to the publication of O Holy Mountain in 1978. In 1978, he became Vocation Director at Spencer. It was also during the 70’s that he became increasingly interested in Centering Prayer, which had first been taught at Spencer by Fr. William Meninger. In 1981, he travelled to India for a seminar on Monasticism in World Religions and for lectures at the Cistercian monasteries in the Philippines and on Lantao Island near Hong Kong.— from centeringprayer.com

“I believe those in ministry or preparing for ministry should seek some experiential knowledge of many different ways. They should know how to pray and from their experience know how to teach others how to pray in at least some of our traditional ways: the rosary, the Stations of the Cross, the breviary and other forms of liturgical prayer, the Jesus Prayer, Centering Prayer, Ignatian prayer, the Salesian method, and so on.

They should also know experientially some of the possible contributive elements of other traditions such as Yoga, Zen and insight meditation…”
—Basil Pennington in his book, Centered Living, p. 3

Bede” Griffiths was an author, a proponent of Wisdom Christianity, as well as of dialogue between Hindu and Catholic. British-born Bede was also known as Swami Dayananda (Bliss of Compassion), and was a Benedictine monk and mystic who lived in ashrams in South India.

After two decades of community life in the Benedictine Monastery, Bede moved to Kengeri, Bangalore, India in 1955…in 1958, he helped establish Kurisumala Ashram (Mountain of the Cross), a Syriac rite monastery in Kerala. In 1968, he moved to Shantivanam (Forest of Peace) Ashram in Tamil Nadu. Although he remained a Catholic monk he adopted the trappings of Hindu monastic life and entered into dialogue with Hinduism. Griffiths wrote twelve books on Hindu-Christian dialogue, which are categorized as, “Wisdom Christianity.”

From site of the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration Tucson, AZ
http://www.tucsonmonastery.com/history.asp

“Currently we sponsor a Contemplative Prayer group that meets weekly for instruction and practice in this ancient monastic prayer, and an Oblate Program (with chapters in Phoenix and Prescott), for those who find inspiration for their lives from Benedictine spirituality. Both groups meet in our assembly room which is also utilized by the diocese for church related meetings.

“Contemplative prayer is prayer without words. One removes conscious thought from the mind and simply exists in the presence of the Holy Spirit who lives in all baptized persons. By stilling the ego, the Holy Spirit prays within us. We ask God for nothing but His presence.

“You are invited to join our Contemplative Prayer Group. We meet on Monday evenings at 7:30 pm. The suggested offering is $3.00 per evening.”

Benedictine related groups in the US

Benedictine Sisters
Sisters of Perpetual Adoration,
Mount St. Scholastica, Atchison, KA

Benedictine Sisters of Cullman, Alabama 

Sacred Heart Monastery, Richardton, ND 

St. Emma Monastery, Greensburg, PA 

Red Plains Monastery, Piedmont, Oklahoma

Benedictine Brothers
St. Benedict’s Abbey, Benet Lake, WI

Mount Saviour Monastery, Pine City, NY

Calvary Monastery, Santa Barbara, CA

Cistercian and Trappist Houses in the United States
http://www.osb.org/cist/index.html
Abbey of the Genesee (Piffard, New York) Trappist
Abbey of Gethsemani (Kentucky) Trappist
Abbey of the Holy Spirit (Conyers, Georgia) Trappist
Abbey of New Clairvaux, (Vina, California) Trappist
Assumption Abbey (Missouri) Trappist
Holy Cross Abbey (Virginia)
Holy Trinity Abbey (Huntsville, Utah) Trappist
Mepkin Abbey (Monks Corner, South Carolina) Trappist
Mount Saint Mary’s Abbey (Wrentham, Massachusetts) Cistercian Nuns
New Melleray Abbey (near Peosta, Iowa) Trappist
Our Lady of the Angels Monastery (Virginia)
Our Lady of Dallas Abbey, (Irving, Texas)
Our Lady of Fatima (Mount Laurel, New Jersey)
Our Lady of Guadalupe Abbey (Oregon)
Our Lady of the Mississippi Abbey (Iowa)
Our Lady of Springbank Cistercian Abbey (Sparta, Wisconsin)
Redwoods Monastery (Whitethorn, California)
Saint Benedict’s Monastery (Colorado)
Saint John’s Abbey (Minnesota) (Cistercian Publications)
Saint Joseph’s Abbey (Spencer, Massachusetts) Trappist
Santa Rita Monastery (Sonoita, Arizona) Trappistine
Snowmass Monastery (Snowmass, Colorado) Trappist
Valley of Our Lady Monastery, Cistercian Nuns (Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin)

Benedictine schools
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Colleges_in_the_United_States
Benedictine (Order of Saint Benedict)
1. Belmont Abbey College (Belmont, NC) Official Site
2. Benedictine College (Atchison, KS) Official Site
3. Benedictine University (Lisle, IL) Official Site
4. Saint Leo University (Saint Leo, FL) Official Site
5. College of Saint Benedict (St. Joseph, MN) Official Site
6. The College of St. Scholastica (Duluth, MN) Official Site
7. Mount Marty College (Yankton, SD) Official Site
8. Saint Anselm College (Manchester, NH) Official Site
9. Saint Gregory’s University (Shawnee, OK) Official Site
10. Saint John’s University (Collegeville, MN) Official Site
11. Saint Martin’s University (Lacey, WA) Official Site
12. Saint Vincent College (Latrobe, PA) Official Site
13. University of Mary (Bismarck, ND) Official Site

God’s WORD

“For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.”—Matthew 23:4

“Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.”
—Jeremiah 23:16

“For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.”—Jeremiah 2:13

“Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.”—Titus 1:14

“Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.”—Ephesians 5:6

“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.”—Amos 8:11

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.”
—2 Peter 3:18

2000 Years of Deception and Error, 8 B: Benedictines, Cistercians, Trappists

Blessed Assurance

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

Refrain
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.

Perfect submission, all is at rest;
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with his goodness, lost in his love.

It has been very sad to read about monastaries and convents across the US and around the world, where men and women for over 1500 years, went (or sometimes were put) thinking to attain holiness and divinity. I had thought that the main problem with monastic and Roman beliefs was that church fathers, tradition, and man’s wisdom are given credence above the Bible. Now I find that not only what I thought was true, is, but a twisted, torqued, convoluted way of reading scripture and prayer is taught and practiced. These very same practices are now in the emergent church.

God’s Word tells us that Jesus came to give light and life and free us from sin and bondage—there are NOT special disciplines, practices or ways to get to God or to get closer to God. Christ Jesus is our sanctification.

I am going to discuss lectio divina, centering prayer, and then in 8C, I will discuss several Benedictine or Trappist monks who have had tremendous effect on the new spirituality that has become such a part of what is called the emergent church. Notice the major Eastern religion influence. Notice too, what is said about these false practices—they are NOT based on what the Bible says.

I have not gone into great depths explaining these false beliefs as I am not interested in learning about the ways of darkness. At the end of 8C is a quote from a Benedictine Convent in Tucson, AZ, then a list of US Benedictine, Cistercian, and Trappist monasteries and convents, and lastly a list of Benedictine schools in the US, followed by some Bible verses.

The BIBLE

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”—Romans 1:16

“Because with lies ye have made the heart of the righteous sad, whom I have not made sad; and strengthened the hands of the wicked, that he should not return from his wicked way, by promising him life:”—Ezekiel 13:22

“And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.”—Romans 5:16

“Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.”—Romans 5:18

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:”
—1 Corinthians 1:30

Lectio Divina
The practice of Lectio Divina has been used since the desert fathers and became part of the monastic rules for Benedictines when Benedict set aside the best part of the day for the brothers to practice Lectio, which the Benedictine monks are still expected to do.

The Latin “Lectio Divina” is translated divine or spiritual reading. (Sometimes, falsely called praying the scriptures.) The proponents of Lectio Divina claim it is a scriptural reading which creates communion with God, and promises special spiritual insights.

By 1150, Lectio Divina consisted of four steps thanks to Guigo II, a Carthusian monk, who set up the theory of the four rungs:

Lectio—Read the passage slowly several times.
Meditatio—Reflect on the text of the passage.
Oratio—Respond to the passage by opening the heart to God.
Contemplatio—Listen to God…freeing oneself from one’s own thoughts.

Apparently, before starting the Lectio Divina practice, it is important to select the right time, place, and to be prepared for these four rungs of reading God’s Word that apparently the Lord Jesus forgot to tell us about. I have been on monastic sites that tell you step by step how to do Lectio Divina, and I must admit, it sounds spiritual and harmless, but it is NOT.

In September 2005, Pope Benedict XVI stated:
I would like in particular to recall and recommend the ancient tradition of Lectio divina: the diligent reading of Sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer brings about that intimate dialogue in which the person reading hears God who is speaking, and in praying, responds to him with trusting openness of heart (cf. Dei Verbum, n. 25). If it is effectively promoted, this practice will bring to the Church—I am convinced of it—a new spiritual springtime.

God’s WORD

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;”—1 Timothy 4:1

“And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God.”
—Mark 12:24

“That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”—1 Corinthians 2:5

“This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.”
—Joshua 1:8

“But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.”
—Psalm 1:2

“I will meditate in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways.”
—Psalm 119:15

Centering Prayer
Centering prayer is a popular method of contemplative prayer, placing a strong emphasis on interior silence and can be traced to the contemplative prayer of the Desert Fathers of early Christian monasticism, to the Lectio Divina tradition of Benedictine monasticism, and to works like “The Cloud of Unknowing” and the writings of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross.

The actual practice of centering prayer, to clear the mind of rational thought in order to focus on the indwelling presence of God, is not entirely alien to Catholics, who are advised to meditate in some form daily—usually on the rosary or on the more structured practice of lectio divina. The “Centering Prayer” movement can be traced to the 1970s and three Trappist monks, William Meninger, M. Basil Pennington, and Thomas Keating of St. Joseph’s Abbey in Spencer, Massachusetts.

Some Quotes on Centering Prayer and Contemplative Prayer

The purpose of Contemplative Outreach is to support one another
in the process of Divine transformation through the practice of Centering Prayer.

“Centering Prayer is a method of prayer, which prepares us to receive the gift of God’s presence, traditionally called contemplative prayer. It consists of responding to the Spirit of Christ by consenting to God’s presence and action within.”

“Christian Contemplative Prayer is the opening of mind and heart—our whole being—to God, the Ultimate Mystery, beyond thoughts, words and emotions, whom we know by faith is within us, closer than breathing, thinking, feeling and choosing; even closer than consciousness itself. The root of all prayer is interior silence. Though we think of prayer as thoughts or feelings expressed in words, this is only one expression. Contemplative Prayer is a prayer of silence, an experience of God’s presence as the ground in which our being is rooted, the Source from whom our life emerges at every moment.

“For the Church’s first sixteen centuries Contemplative Prayer was the goal of Christian spirituality. After the Reformation, this living tradition was virtually lost. Today, with cross-cultural dialogue and historical research, the recovery of the Christian contemplative heritage has begun. The method of Centering Prayer, in the tradition of Lectio Divina (praying the scriptures) is contributing to this renewal.” http://www.centeringprayer.com/cntrgpryr.htm

Quotes from Thomas Keatings’ Open Mind, Open Heart
Centering prayer is a method of refining one’s intuitive faculties so that one can enter more easily into contemplative prayer. It is not the only path to contemplation, but it is a good one. As a method, it is a kind of extract of monastic spirituality . . . you have to keep up a certain level of silence in the psyche and nervous system if you want to obtain the benefits of contemplative prayer. (Page 34)

GOD’s WORD

“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”—Philippians 4:6

“But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”—Matthew 15:9

“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things
ye have need of, before ye ask him.

“After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.

“Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”
—Matthew 6:7–14