Spiritual Enrichment Lectures

Spiritual Enrichment Lecture Series (SELS)

                                                  ... nurture and enrich your spiritual life

The Centre for Applied Carmelite Spirituality is running a new series of monthly lectures from September 2019 – May 2020. The speakers are Discalced Carmelite friars. They will explore contemplative prayer and spiritual growth in the Carmelite tradition. These talks will be particularly suited to those who wish to know more about contemplative prayer or to deepen their experience of it, and to relate it to their daily living.


Spiritual Enrichment Lecture Series (SELS) 2019-20


7th September, 2019

Awakened by the Beloved - Fr Alexander Ezechukwu

If the soul is seeking God, so much more is God seeking the soul. - St John of the Cross

The profound yearning of the human heart for something more is at the basis of every longing for a deeper spiritual experience. This talk by Fr Alex, a Carmelite priest and biblical scholar, will explore amongst other things the prayerful attitude of attentive listening to the sound of the God who approaches us – in other people, in the events happening around us, and in what is happening within us. And, through all these means respectfully inviting us to deeper intimacy of friendship and belovedness.

5th October, 2019

Letting Go and Letting God - Fr Liam Finnerty

How will a person brought to birth and nurtured in a world of small horizons rise up to you Lord, if you do not raise him by your hand which made him. - St John of the Cross

This presentation will explore the resistance which we put up, consciously and unconsciously to the loving inflow of God which alone can set the heart aflame with love. St John of the Cross illustrates this human condition of resistance and the need to be freed with the image of a bird which as long as it is held down whether by a string or a rope, will remain unable to soar into the skies. How can we experience the greater love that empowers us to leave lesser loves behind? In this lecture, clues will be provided.

2nd November, 2019

Receiving True Life from the Tree of Life - Fr Alexander Ezechukwu

Your very beauty will be my beauty; and therefore, we shall behold each other in Your beauty. - St John of the Cross

Fruitfulness is a biblical theme typified in the image of the beautiful Garden of Eden and the Tree of Life at its centre whose fruit is beautiful to behold. This imagery will be explored in the light of Carmelite understanding of total loving attentiveness to Christ as a “gazing” on Christ the source of the soul’s life which at the same time is a process of transformation in beauty.

7th December, 2019

Resting in God and from Self - Fr Kelvin Ekhoegbe

When night comes and you look back over the day … put it into God’s hands and leave it to Him … then you will be able to rest in Him, really rest, and start the next day as a new life. - St. Edith Stein

This presentation will explore the idea of ‘rest’ and its importance for a way of life that is attentive to God. This idea is rooted in the spirituality of the Sabbath in the scriptures and which is essential for the self-disclosure of God as well as growth in self-knowledge which St Teresa defines as living in the truth. It will address the reality of the ‘restlessness’ of the human heart and the remedy revealed in scripture and in the Carmelite tradition.

4th January, 2020 - Fr Yamai Bature

Simplicity and Contemplative Discernment

O living flame of love that tenderly wounds my soul. - St John of the Cross

The lecture will explore the dynamics of spiritual transformation. As growth in the spiritual life corresponds to purity of heart, it entails a necessary stripping off and purification from all that is not God so that God may be all in all for the soul. Understanding the process is vital as it could lead to discouragement due to the experience of God’s ‘Absence’ – suffering, dryness and confusion – that does accompany it.

1st February, 2020

The Contemplative School of Mary - Fr Denis Chardonnens

The devotion to Mary is one of the most delightful flowers in Carmel’s garden. - Blessed Titus Brandsma

Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is one figure in biblical history and in Christian memory who is revered as a model of the contemplative. In Carmelite spirituality, she is the archetypal figure who engaging with the Word of God and docile to the Holy Spirit allows God to transform her in divine blessedness and beauty (cf. Luke 1:49). This theme will explore the figure of Mary as ‘Blessed and Beautiful’ whose life can be a model for those who seek a deeper relationship with Christ through praying in the spirit of Carmel.

7th March, 2020

Forgiveness and Healing in Relationships - Fr Liam Finnerty

All must be friends, all must be loved, all must be held dear, all must be helped. - St. Teresa of Avila

How do we learn to forgive? Where do we learn about forgiveness? How can we be empowered to forgive? This presentation will engage the important question of forgiveness and healing in relationships. The understanding of friendship in Carmelite spirituality and its rootedness in scripture will be explored as key to our flourishing as individuals and communities. Important dispositions for giving forgiveness and receiving it will be proposed.

4th April, 2020

Spiritual Commitment and Soul-Care - Fr Matt Blake

Flame, living flame, compelling, yet tender past all telling, reaching the secret centre of my soul! Since now evasion’s over, finish your work, my Lover, break the last thread, wound me and make me whole! - St. John of the Cross

How can we become more sensitive to the daily invitations to a deeper spiritual life and recognising the roadblocks to true peace of soul which arise from depreciative thinking? This presentation will explore the formational role of the gospel vision as proposed in Matthew 19:21 and its importance in enabling us to achieve the Carmelite ideal of intimacy with God in our everyday life.

2nd May, 2020

Transformed by the Beloved - Fr Iain Matthew

Her love for him [God] is as strong and perfect as his love for her, for the two wills are so united that there is only one will and love, which is God’s. - St John of the Cross

This presentation will explore key themes on the art of contemplation in the Carmelite tradition, highlighting how the transformative power of God’s love which is experienced in contemplative prayer and living can be celebrated in a constant spirit of gratefulness. 


The lectures will be followed by guided prayer, reflection and sharing.


Venue: Carmelite Priory, Boars Hill, Oxford OX1 5HB

Time: 10.00 am – 1:00 pm

  9.30am: Registration 

10.00am: Introduction and Lecture (Part 1)

10.45am: Short Break

11.00am: Lecture (Part 2, including questions and discussion)

12 noon: Guided prayer

12:30 pm: Reflection and sharing

  1:00 pm: Finish


The cost of each lecture is £30 including refreshments.


To reserve a place, please email courses@carmelite.org.uk or call 07849 596572. You may also book online, go to www.oxcacs.org/lecture-series



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