CW5 All Hallow’s Eve (Halloween) – The Great Cloud of Witnesses: Guides for Prayer with Fr. Mark Cyza – Discerning Hearts

Fr. Mark Cyza discusses the origins of All Hallow’s Eve and it’s development into the secular celebration known as “Halloween”.  How should celebrate this time and what should our prayer reflect?

IP#306 Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC – Champions of the Rosary on Inside the Pages

 fr-_donald_calloway_micIt’s always a delight to talk with Fr. Donald Calloway, particularly when it’s about Our Lady!  In “Champions of the Rosary: The History and Heroes of a Spiritual Weapon”, Fr. Calloway proves once again to be one of the Blessed Mother’s great knights in our modern-day spiritual battle.  His humble, joy-filled witness is inspiring!  Along with the Sacraments of the Church and Sacred Scripture, Fr. Calloway knows exactly what we need to enhance and deepen our experience of grace in these crazy challenging times which we now live in  – The Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary!  For the restless contemplative heart, there is no place better to ponder the presence and mysteries of God than in Our Lady’s “garden of prayer.”  In that prayer, she will bring us to encounter Christ, and through Him, with Him, and in Him, the world will be transformed. This fantastic book is like a multi-faceted diamond.  In its pages, Fr. Calloway shares the rich history of the Holy Rosary, beautifully pious devotional reflections (with stunning artwork as well), and the stories of those whose lives encourage us to become champions of this devotion as well!  This is a must have in every Catholic home and parish!

 

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You can find the book here

“Champions of the Rosary is an encyclopedic and inspiring work on the rosary, the spiritual weapon that has been given to the Church. In a remarkable way, it presents the fascinating saga of the birth and development of the devotion so linked to theDominican Order! This is a wonderful tool for better understanding the rosary, promoting its use, and championing it in our troubled world. I am certain that these pages will inspire us all to take up our rosary!” Fr. Louis-Marie Arino-Durand, OP. Promotor Generalis pro Rosario. Rome, Italy

“Champions of the Rosary is an extremely insightful, pious, and scholarly work on the rosary. Father Calloway’s insights and contributions into the history and heroes of the rosary will not go unnoticed or unappreciated.” — His Eminence Christoph Maria Cardinal Schonborn, OP, STD Archbishop of Vienna, Austria

IP#306 Fr. Donald Calloway, MIC – Champions of the Rosary on Inside the Pages from Discerning Hearts on Vimeo.

IP#318 Fr. John Burns – Lift Up Your Heart on Inside the Pages


“Lift Up Your Heart: A 10-Day Personal Retreat with St. Francis de Sales” is outstanding.  A wonderful “introduction to the devout life”… literally!  Fr. John Burns breaks open up the teachings of the great spiritual director and Doctor of the Church St. Francis de Sales in a wonderfully fresh new way.  Very practical and perfect for meditation during prayer times during the day, this is a mini-retreat we can all benefit from.

You can find the book here

From the book description:

This practical book goes right to the heart of helping you kick the habit of floating along on your spiritual journey to start actively pursuing holiness and devotion to God. During the course of the retreat, you ll learn the basics of forming a daily prayer routine, including how to offer yourself to God, meditate on his love, and maintain peace in the face of suffering and clarity in the midst of temptation.

The meditations will help you:

  • Adopt gratitude as a daily prayer practice.
  • Examine and reorder your priorities and relationships to better reflect your love for God.
  • Discern between good and evil in your life.
  • Desire to love and serve as Jesus did.

In a very real sense, Burns helps you take St. Francis de Sales as your spiritual director for ten days. As you do so, you’ll feel God’s fatherly love and restart your faith life, equipped with the tools to connect with God and live for heaven now.

SP#2 “To Live Our Prayer in Union with Love” – The School of Prayer – with Fr. Scott Traynor

SP#2 “To Live Our Prayer in Union with Love” – The School of Prayer: Foundations for the New Evangelization

Catholic Spiritual Formation - Catholic Spiritual DirectionFr. Scott Traynor talks about how we have to do more than just talk about prayer.  He discusses how we must “live” our prayer  in the union of love within the heart of the Holy Trinity.  That is the goal of Christian prayer.  He goes on to describe the very nature of the Holy Trinity….the relationship of love between the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Parish-School-of-PrayerIn Father Scott Traynor’s book, Blessed John Paul II’s memorable call to make of the parish a school of prayer takes on flesh and becomes concretely attainable. Those you read these faith-filled pages will find renewed desire to create such parishes and a clear road-map toward this goal.
–Father Timothy Gallagher, OMV

Father Scott Traynor received his STB from the Pontifical Gregorian University and his JCL from Catholic University of America. He has been an instructor and spiritual director for many of the programs at the Institute for Priestly Formation.
Father Traynor is a retreat master and spiritual director who has travelled the country as a speaker at various conferences, diocesan gatherings and national conferences.. He is especially sought after to present on the topics of prayer, discernment and priestly identity and mission.
He serves the Rector of the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver Colorado.

SP#1 “Opening Our Hearts in Prayer” – The School of Prayer – with Fr. Scott Traynor

SP#1 “Opening Our Hearts in Prayer” – The School of Prayer: Foundations for the New Evangelization

Catholic Spiritual Formation - Catholic Spiritual DirectionFr. Scott Traynor begins this series on prayer by describing how Jesus Christ desires a deep personal relationship of the heart with each of us and how this is the true foundation for the New Evangelization. He discusses the adventure of the life of faith and the gifts the Father wishes to shower upon us in union with Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. He breaks open the reality of the indwelling Holy Spirit, who is the great teacher of prayer. Fr. Traynor encourages us to grow in union with Trinity through opening our hearts in prayer.
Parish-School-of-PrayerIn Father Scott Traynor’s book, Blessed John Paul II’s memorable call to make of the parish a school of prayer takes on flesh and becomes concretely attainable. Those you read these faith-filled pages will find renewed desire to create such parishes and a clear road-map toward this goal.
–Father Timothy Gallagher, OMV

Father Scott Traynor received his STB from the Pontifical Gregorian University and his JCL from Catholic University of America. He has been an instructor and spiritual director for many of the programs at the Institute for Priestly Formation.
Father Traynor is a retreat master and spiritual director who has travelled the country as a speaker at various conferences, diocesan gatherings and national conferences.. He is especially sought after to present on the topics of prayer, discernment and priestly identity and mission.
He serves the Rector of the St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver Colorado.

The Mysterious Prayer of Gethsemane – a reflection with Dr. Anthony Lilles

 

From Dr. Anthony Lilles’ blog “Beginning to Pray

There are stories about great saints who struggled to pray in the face of great difficulty.   This can be baffling until we try to enter into the Passion of Christ and consider the movements of His Heart before the merciful love of the Father.  Until we contemplate the prayer of the Word of the Father, this struggle to pray is often deemed to be merely a stage through which we pass.   Yet, in the Garden of Gethsemane (see Luke 22:35ff), the bloody sweat of the Son of God reveals this struggle as a supreme moment of Christian contemplation, a terrifying standard against which the truth of all our other prayers can be discerned.The hymn of praise learned with the Suffering Servant on the Mount of Olives is shrouded in a mystery.  It is against this mystery that therapeutic approaches to prayer should be discerned.  Psychological or physical tantrums are silenced before the authentic cry of heart offered by the Son of Man.  His love for his disciples and devotion to the Father challenges any consumerist attitude toward the things of God.   His sorrow and spiritual poverty helps us feel the appropriate shame we ought to have over any gluttonous expectation for mental relief or euphoric experience.  Against the dark terror Jesus confronts in prayer, spiritual consumerism can only be seen as limiting the freedom that our conversation with the Lord requires.

The Word made flesh baptized every moment of his earthly life in this kind of prayer.   Every heart beat and every breath was so filled with zeal for the Father and those the Father gave Him, divine love ever exploded in His sacred humanity with resounding silence, astonishing signs, heart-aching wonders and words of wisdom which even after two thousand years still give the world pause.  Each verse of the Gospels attempts to show us His self-emptying divinity boldly hurling His prayerful humanity with the invincible force of love to the Cross.In Gethsemane we glimpse how the Son of Man availed Himself to these mysterious promptings of the Father’s love, an unfathomable love that is not comfortable to our limited humanity.   Unaided human reason cannot penetrate the divine passion that compelled Him into the solitude hidden mountains and secret gardens.   His vigil on the Mount of Olives can only be understood as the culmination of the ongoing conversation to which He eagerly made His humanity vulnerable.

If, in this culminating movement of heart, Christ sweat blood, we who have decided to follow in the footsteps of our Crucified Master should not be surprised by moments of great anguish in our own conversation with God.  In the face of this mystery, we must allow the Risen Lord to give us His courage.   What is revealed on the Mount of Olives helps us see why Christian prayer can mature into a beautiful surrender, a movement of love which gives glory to the Father and extends the redemptive work of the Redeemer in the world.   What Christian contemplation sees with the Son of God can involve very difficult struggle, through the strength that comes from the Savior even the terrifying moments of such prayer can resolve themselves in trustful surrender: “Not my will… Yours be done.”

Dr. Anthony Lilles is the author of “Hidden Mountain, Secret Garden”

Available at Amazon.com as an ebook (click here), a paperback edition (click here).  You may also order a paperback edition at createspace.com.

IP#114 Michael Novak – Living the Call: An Introduction to the Lay Vocation on Inside the Pages

Michael Novak is a shining witness of what occurs in the soul when the head makes the journey to the heart.  What a gift he is to all of us and what a profound sage of wisdom…when he so gently speaks, I listen….we all should!  In “Living the Call: An Introduction to the Lay Vocation,” Michael, along with his co-author William E. Simon, Jr, establishes, in Part 1, of the book, the need for the lay vocation in the Church today.  They chronicle that need with a national and global perspective.  They also present how “living the call”  looks in the lives of nine committed lay faithful working in parish life today.

Part 2 is worth its weight in gold! It outlines the absolute necessity of growth in the interior life of the laity.  How essential it is to deepen the spiritual life.  They give voice to the need to appreciate the desert experiences of our lives as opportunities for greater unity with Christ; such periods provide the fonts of grace which nurtures the work in ministry.   For anyone who severs in a ministry of any kind, either as an employee or as a volunteer, if you pass this indispensable book by, you do so at your peril!

 

Michael Novak’s website can be found here

 You can find “Living the Call” here

“This is the book that countless Catholic laypeople have been waiting for as they ponder how to respond to Vatican II’s challenge to take more active roles in the life of the Church and to bring Christian principles to life in the secular world. It’s a gem of a book that speaks to laypeople in all walks of life and at all stages of their earthly journeys.”

Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law, Harvard University

IP#295 Dr. Peter Kreeft – How to be Holy on Inside the Pages

Inside the Pages – How to be Holy with Peter Kreeft from Discerning Hearts on Vimeo.

Peter KreeftOnce again a spiritual classic has been given to us from the prolific Catholic philosopher Dr. Peter Kreeft!.  “How to be Holy: First Steps in Becoming a Saint” derives it’s direction from the incredible “Abandonment to Divine Providence” by Jean-Pierre de Caussade, S.J.  and it’s simple message that God reveals himself through the daily events of our lives.  How we respond is the key to faith and our opportunity to grow in holiness.  Do you place your trust the Father’s will?  Can you respond in love?  Do you truly believe Romans 8:28 “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose” (RSV)?  To be holy, we must take the first step…Dr. Kreeft shows us the way.  Outstanding!

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You can find the book here

From the book description:

The ever-popular and prolific Peter Kreeft says that the most important question he has written about is how one becomes holy; or to put it another way, how one becomes a saint. This question is central to all the great religions, Kreeft demonstrates, for striving toward holiness, moving toward perfect love, is the whole purpose of life.

Kreeft admits that he is only a beginner on the climb to holiness, and it is to novices like him that he has written this engaging and encouraging book. Using the insights and experiences of saints and great spiritual writers throughout history, Kreeft shows what holiness is and how it can be achieved.

IP#121 Fr. Larry Richards – Surrender on Inside the Pages

“Surrender! The Life Changing Power of Doing God’s Will” is another outstanding offering from Fr. Larry Richards!  From start to finish Fr. Larry challenges us to place Jesus Christ first in our lives and our relationships with others and the world.  Once we can do that, things begin to fall into place.  Then he helps us to recognize the difference between God’s will and our will, and to trust that His will be better for us if we trust, love and….SURRENDER!

Fr. Larry Richards is an engaging writer, who never fails to keep us hooked through the entire book.  This will be one of those books that you want to purchase at least two copies, because you’ll want to pass it on to another, and you’ll want to keep one for yourself for years to come.

 

You can find the book here

From the book description:

…Surrender outlines concrete steps you can take to dwell in peace. Simply put, God wants every one of us to be a saint which is a lot of work! It requires developing a plan for your life, in accordance with the Lord’s will.

Prayer is the key to this, as it opens the soul to hearing God’s voice and accepting his guidance. But prayer too requires discipline and planning. Father Richards is the life coach every one of us needs on the sidelines of our daily life the tough love coach who calls it like he sees it.

Allow yourself to move out of the driver seat and surrender to the one who knows all God.

 

 

IP#77 Anthony DeStephano – Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To on Inside the Pages

I love the book!  “Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To: Divine Answers to Life’s Most Difficult Problems” by Anthony
DeStephano is filled with a bazillion “ah-ha” moments…you knew that, but you didn’t know you knew that.
Anthony has a wonderful way of breaking down daunting theological questions to easily understood basics in order to nurture a healthy prayer life.  With all the  “driven-life-Jabez-easy-answer” books out there, this is the one you should pick up and pass on to friends.  Anthony, who is the executive director of Priest for Life, offers rock solid Catholic perspective, rooted deeply in the Scriptures, to life’s toughest challenges. Take a listen to the podcast and hear for yourself.  Visit the 10 Prayers website

 

You can pick up the book here

“Anthony DeStefano has once again drawn his readers into the mystery of God’s love and invited us to reflect more deeply on our relationship with Him. In a simple yet profound way, Ten Prayers God Always Says Yes To offers insights, and indeed a practical wisdom, that will resonate with anyone who has ever struggled with personal prayer. I recommend this book to any and all who are searching for a fresh perspective on the meaning and value of a life of prayer, and, ultimately, for a more fulsome encounter with the Living God.”

Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino
President, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace
The Vatican