Mystagogy

Mystagogy

In a tradition that dates back to the first centuries of Christianity, many newly initiated Christians were prepared for lives of faith through a formation with spiritual, liturgical, and communitarian dimensions. This period of formation was called mystagogy, a word which, in Greek, means "leading through the mysteries." Our program of mystagogy will have four primary goals: 1) To break open Magisterial teaching on the lay state (selections from Vatican II as well as letters/encyclicals from recent popes) as well as classic spiritual texts to build a thoughtful, practical devotional life; 2) To introduce the various spiritual charisms in the Church (i.e. Dominican, Carmelite, Franciscan, Salesian, etc.) so that they may develop a personal program of spirituality rooted in the uniquely Catholic legacy; 3) To deepen the prayer life through study, communal prayer, the practice of meditation, Mass, and the Liturgy of the Hours; and 4) To establish a fully Catholic life and mission, including a formation in the art of the Church, the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, and the commitment to a specific personal work of service.

Episodes

May 5, 2022 66 mins

To kick off our summer series, we will reflect on some writings that go way back to the third century of Christendom.  While the Church was suffering under the Roman persecutions, hundreds of thousands of Christians fled into the desert first to survive, but then to encounter the Lord in simplicity, silence, Scripture, and prayer.  What they learned in the desert became the foundation for Christian spiritual practice, and the keyno...

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This week, we consider the nature and elements of Catholic prayer from The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), and also a short passage on the four ways to God from the book Psychology and Spirituality by Fr Benedict Groeschel, OFM.

The readings are:
CCC #31-35#2623-2643 and #2697-2719
Psychology and Spirituality, pages 6-11

The music in the introduction and close of this podcast is provided by Geo...

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This week we launch a month in the company of the Church’s great Doctor of Prayer, St. Teresa of Avila.  We will begin by reading the famous metaphor of the soul as a garden from her autobiography. With Don Quixote, The Book of Her Life is still considered to be the greatest work of Spanish letters.

You can prepare for the discussion by reading Chapters 11-15 of her autobiography.

The music in the introduction an...

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We continue our consideration of the spiritual metaphors of Saint Teresa of Avila, the Church’s Doctor of Prayer.  We turn to her most famous spiritual work, The Interior Castle, and discuss the levels of prayer.  In this session, we look at the first three rooms of the castle.

The music in the introduction and close of this podcast is provided by George Sarah.

This program of mystagogy is hosted by the Adult Fait...

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We complete our brief introduction to Saint Teresa of Avila's writings on prayer, picking up with the Third Mansion in The Interior Castle and continuing on to the Seventh Mansion.

The Interior Castle  by St. Teresa of Avila

The music in the introduction and close of this podcast is provided by George Sarah.

This program of mystagogy is hosted by the Adult Faith Programs at Saint Stephen Martyr Churc...

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June 30, 2022 63 mins

This session provides a consideration of Catholic spirituality in the contemporary moment by discussing chapters 6, 7 and 8 of the book Spiritual Passages by Father Benedict Groeschel, CFR.

The music in the introduction and close of this podcast is provided by George Sarah.

This program of mystagogy is hosted by the Adult Faith Programs at Saint Stephen Martyr Church in Chesapeake, Virginia.

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This talk is the first part of a two-part consideration of the spirituality of the Mass and Holy Eucharist.  Our primary text for discussion of the Mass is the 20th century classic Meditations Before Mass by Father Romano Guardini, servant of God.  Guardini is a favorite author of both Pope Benedict and Pope Francis, among many others.  This talk focuses especially on the following sections:

2. I - Stillness

2.XVIII - The Congregatio...

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We continue our spiritual tour through the Holy Mass and give particular emphasis to Jesus’ gift of Himself in the Blessed Sacrament. 

Our primary text for discussion is a work by the wonderful 19th-century saint of the Eucharist, Saint Peter Julian Eymard.  You can find the work here

We also consider some ideas from Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic exhortation on the Eucharist: Sacramentum Caritatis. Specifically, we cover Part III, ...

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We will be considering Saint Thomas Aquinas’s teaching on suffering from his Literal Exposition of the Book of Job. All-but-forgotten today, this monumental text was considered the greatest work of biblical exegesis in its time. For 200 years, it was the definitive interpretation of Job’s story and a template for scholarly commentary on Scripture. We will discover that St. Thomas Aquinas believed a life story could tell us more abo...

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August 8, 2022 68 mins

We conclude our summer spirituality series with the work that has arguably meant more to more people than any other written work in human history, except only the Scriptures.  In his Confessions, St. Augustine – "the Doctor of Grace" –  takes us intimately into his confidence, holding nothing back about all the ways that he fled from God until he finally surrendered to Divine Love and Providence.

The music in the...

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We continue exploring the Confessions of Saint Augustine – "the Doctor of Grace" – by discussing Books 3 and 4.

You can find the text online by clicking here.

The music in the introduction and close of this podcast is provided by George Sarah.

This program of mystagogy is hosted by the Adult Faith Programs at Saint Stephen Martyr Church in Chesapeake, Virginia.

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August 22, 2022 64 mins

We continue exploring the Confessions of Saint Augustine – "the Doctor of Grace" – by discussing Books 5, 6 and 7. 

You can find the text online by clicking here.  

The music in the introduction and close of this podcast is provided by George Sarah.

This program of mystagogy is hosted by the Adult Faith Programs at Saint Stephen Martyr Church in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Support the Show.

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We examine the conversion of Saint Augustine as he describes it in Books 8 and 9 of his Confessions.

You can find the text online by clicking here

The music in the introduction and close of this podcast is provided by George Sarah.

This program of mystagogy is hosted by the Adult Faith Programs at Saint Stephen Martyr Church in Chesapeake, Virginia.

Support the Show.

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We begin our fall series with the work that G.K. Chesterton called, "the greatest poem ever written in modern English," namely, Francis Thompson's devastating piece, "The Hound of Heaven."  J.R.R. Tolkien credited this work with having a significant influence on his masterpiece trilogy, The Lord of the Rings, noting that the poem is "one of the most profound expressions of mature spiritual experience.&...

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October 17, 2022 61 mins

We continue our consideration of the wonderful spiritual poem and testimony by Francis Thompson, "The Hound of Heaven."

Here is a copy of the poem to read.

Or, you may prefer listening to it in audio version.

Also, here is a modern, animated adaptation that might help you into the work.

Slide presentation

The music in the introduction and close of this podcast is provided by George Sarah.

This pro...

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We will be reading and discussing together the classic work that National Review called, "The greatest 20th century work on time and grace."  Brideshead Revisited is that rare novel that marries style and substance powerfully.  The prose is engaging and loaded with memorable lines and phrases.  All this is in service to a serious attempt to lay out in a narrative all the ways that the Sacramental life "ruins" a ...

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In this session, we continue our tour through Evelyn Waugh's stunning literary classic, Brideshead Revisited, making our way through the cast of characters by considering Julia, Cordelia, Bridey, and Charles.

The music in the introduction and close of this podcast is provided by George Sarah.

This program of mystagogy is hosted by the Adult Faith Programs at Saint Stephen Martyr Church in Chesapeake, Virgini...

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We will be breaking open the classic Academy Award-winning film, Babette's Feast.  The National Catholic Register wrote that the film is "a quiet celebration of the divine grace that meets us at every turn, and even redeems our ways not taken, our sacrifices and losses."

You also may want to read the original short story on which the film is based.

The music in the introduction and close of this pod...

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Gregorian Chant has been called "one of the richest and most subtle art forms in music - indeed in the music of any culture." (Catholiceducation.org)  Pope Francis has exhorted the People of God, "Together, devote yourselves better to song as an integral part of the Liturgy, with Gregorian chant inspiring you as the first model." (Address to Society of St. Cecilia, 9/28/2019)

This Mystagogy session provides an in...

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Today's episode is a presentation on Polyphony as a development from the tradition of Gregorian chant.

Our guest presenter is Dr. Cynthia Nicolosi.  Dr. Nicolosi has a PhD in philosophy from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, Italy. She studied music composition for two years at the Claremont Graduate School in California and completed the certificate program in Gregorian Chant at Catholic University in Washin...

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