The Mystery of Suffering

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IP#315 Fr. Robert Spitzer – The Light Shines On In The Darkness on Inside the Pages

IP#315 Fr. Robert Spitzer – The Light Shines On In The Darkness on Inside the Pages from Discerning Hearts on Vimeo.

Simply one of the finest works ever compiled on the mystery of suffering.  Fr. Robert Spitzer’s “The Light Shines On In The Darkness: Transforming Suffering through Faith (Happiness, Suffering, and Transcendence)” could be considered a “catechism of suffering,” but not one rooted in misery, but rather anchored in the experience of God’s great mercy and redemptive sacrifice.  This is a book of hope and one that should be experienced by all Christians, and in particular, those who minister in any way, shape, or form in the New Evangelization.  Why would a loving God allow suffering?  Is there any good that can be brought forth from our trials?   So much more is addressed in this opus. I could not put this book down.  Pick it up, you won’t regret it!

You can find the book here

“Suffering has the power to break or elevate the human spirit.  Lived in the spirit of the Gospel and borne for the sake of others, it’s the most redemptive, transfiguring force in creation.  Fr. Spitzer has written a magisterial work on the meaning of suffering, a work remarkable both for its depth and beauty.”
— Most Rev. Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia

“In this trenchant and searching book, Fr. Spitzer responds to the most powerful objection to the proposition that God exists, namely, the problem of suffering.  And he dares to do what very few are willing to do today:  to articulate how evil and pain are ingredients in the providential design of a loving God.”
Bishop Robert Barron, Host, Catholicism film series

 

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Deacon James Keating Ph.D. – “The Light Shines in the Darkness” Advent Reflection

Deacon James Keating Ph.D. – “The Light Shines in the Darkness” Advent Reflection from Discerning Hearts on Vimeo.

This reflection was given by Deacon James Keating during the “The Light Shines in the Darkness” Insititute for Priestly Formation 2016 Advent Retreat  at Christ the King Church, in Omaha, NE on December 2016. Deacon Keating was joined by Fr. Mauritius Wilde OSB. This if the first of two talks.

Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., is the director of Theological Formation for the Institute for Priestly Formation, located at Creighton University, in Omaha.

Here is the audio podcast, if you prefer:

For more information on the “Institute for Priestly Formation” and for other material available by Deacon Keating, just click here

Check out Deacon Keating’s “Discerning Heart” page

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IP#183 Dr. Regis Martin – Still Point: Loss, Longing and Our Search for God on Inside the Pages


Dr. Regis Martin, as Dr. Scott Hahn has said, is “a sage for our times”.  By presenting the truths of our faith with such beauty, he evangelizes directly the heart.  Dr. Martin is a joy to read.

I didn’t want “Still Point:  Loss, Longing and Our Search for God” to end.  That is the mark of a great book for me…it is one I desire to return to over and over again.  He offers the rich insights of the saints,  poets, and philosophers, to direct us to the “still point”   where  “one encounters the mingling of past and future, grit and grace, man and God.”  Wonderful, enchanting, poignant and compelling…don’t miss.

You can find the book here

“With the eloquence and poignancy of a poet, Regis Martin gets to the heart of life’s most urgent questions, forging a link between our ‘desperate desires’ and our “homesickness for God” in this profound and beautiful book.”–Rev. Peter John Cameron, O.P. , Editor-in-Chief, Magnificat

“Regis Martin is one of Catholicism’s trustworthy guides to the spiritual life in all its dimensions–including, as he demonstrates here, its hard and challenging dimensions.”–George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center

“Regis Martin’s moving reflection on our death-haunted and restless search for God is both beautiful and bracing. Drawing on the profound imaginings of our poets and our theologians, Martin’s meditation takes place on the lip of the abyss as he shows us Who it is our hearts so restlessly long for.” —Gregory Erlandson, President, Our Sunday Visitor Publishing

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IP#219 Fr. Kenneth Baker S.J. – The Will of God on Inside the Pages

The Will of God: Finding and Fulfilling Your Purpose in Life” is a great book which uses the great Psalm 119 to help us in the Fr.-Kenneth-Bakerarea of discernment.  Taking a lifetime of steeped  in prayer and sound theology, Fr. Baker gives us a unique and penetrating resource to aid in our growth in the areas of contemplation and discernment. Father Baker was the editor of Homiletic & Pastoral Review for more than 40 years, and currently serves as Editor Emeritus of the online edition.  He was a joy to talk with and to learn from….not to be missed for the discerning heart!

51NA4FEfn2L._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_You can find the book here

“Father Baker helps us to discover God’s will and, what is even more, important how to live God’s will! He uses the Holy Scriptures,the teaching of the Church and the saints to help us become holy and transformed into the saints that God created us to be. Read this book and discover what God wants you to do!” —Fr. Larry Richards, Author, Be a Man!

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BTP-LR1 The “Last Retreat” Day 1 – Beginning to Pray with Dr. Anthony Lilles

Beginning to Pray: “The Last Retreat – Day 1 “Nescivi.  I no longer knew anything.”Anthony-Lilles

From “Last Retreat Day 1” found in The Complete Works vol 1:

1. “Nescivi.” 1 “I no longer knew anything.” This is what the “bride of the Canticles ” sings after having been brought into the “inner cellar.” 2 It seems to me that this must also be the refrain of a praise of glory on this first day of retreat in which the Master makes her penetrate the depths of the bottomless abyss so that He may teach her to fulfill the work which will be hers for eternity and which she must already perform in time, which is eternity begun and still in progress. 3 “Nescivi”! I no longer know anything, I do not want to know anything except “to

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity
Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity

know Him, to share in His sufferings, to become like Him in His death.” 4 “Those whom God has foreknown He has also predestined to become confirmed to the image of His divine Son,” 5 the One crucified by love. When I am wholly identified with this divine Exemplar, 6 when I have wholly passed into Him and He into me, then I will fulfill my eternal vocation: the one for which God has “chosen me in Him ” 7 “in principio,” the one I will continue “in aeternum” when, immersed in the bosom of my Trinity, I will be the unceasing praise of His glory, Laudem gloriae ejus.

For other episodes in the series visit the Discerning Hearts page for Dr. Anthony Lilles

This the text we are using to discuss “Heaven in Faith” you can find it here and order from the Carmelite Sisters

 

We would like to offer heartfelt thanks to
Miriam Gutierrez for providing for us “the voice” of Blessed Elizabeth for this series

 

Anthony Lilles, S.T.D. is an associate professor and the academic dean of Saint John’s Seminary in Camarillo as well as the academic advisor for Juan Diego House of Priestly Formation for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. For over twenty years he served the Church in Northern Colorado where he joined and eventually served as dean of the founding faculty of Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver. Through the years, clergy, seminarians, religious and lay faithful have benefitted from his lectures and retreat conferences on the Carmelite Doctors of the Church and the writings of Blessed Elisabeth of the Trinity. After graduating from Franciscan University of Steubenville, he completed licentiate and doctoral studies in spiritual theology at the Angelicum in Rome. In 2012, he published Hidden Mountain, Secret Garden: a theological contemplation of prayer by Discerning Hearts. Married with two young adult children pursuing their careers and a teenager still at home, he has settled in family in Oxnard, California.For other episodes in the series visit the Discerning Hearts page for Dr. Anthony LillesAnthony-cover1

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“BE NOT AFRAID” – Msgr. John Esseff on the role of fear in suffering…and the remedy…faith

Msgr. Esseff discusses the crippling effects of fear and it’s remedy.  Fear, in a very real way, is the opposite of faith.  There’s an adage in spirituality that says that if we can name the demon we can tame it.  Jesus wants us not to be afraid.  He may challenge us in some ways, so that we can name it and bring it out of the darkness into peace.  The Light dispels the fear!  Fear fuels sin.  Ultimately, it’s a fear of not being loved and losing relationship in some way.  Luke 15 ( the parable of the Prodigal Son) shows us how much the Father loves us…no matter what!  He’s waiting with open arms to relieve the pain and suffering.  Look at the One who wants to pick you up!  Some suffer in silence, especially when falsely accused…stand with Jesus at the first station of the cross.  Do not take your eyes off the face of Jesus…we are meant for eternal life.  Learn from the examples of the saints… BELIEVE.

Isaiah 41:10
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Be sure to visit Msgr. Esseff”s website:  “Building A Kingdom of Love

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HR#22 “On Suffering” – The Holy Rule of St. Benedict with Fr. Mauritius Wilde O.S.B

Episode 22 – The Holy Rule of St. Benedict: A Spiritual Path for Today’s World with Fr. Mauritius Wilde O.S.B., PhD.The Holy Rule of St. Benedict with Fr. Mauritius Wilde OSB 1

On Suffering

From the Holy Rule of St. Benedict:

St.-Benedict-dCHAPTER 7

an excerpt:

The fourth degree of humility is, that, if hard and distasteful things are commanded, nay, even though injuries are inflicted, he accept them with patience and even temper, and not grow weary or give up, but hold out, as the Scripture saith: “He that shall persevere unto the end shall be saved” (Mt 10:22). And again: “Let thy heart take courage, and wait thou for the Lord” (Ps 26[27]:14). And showing that a faithful man ought even to bear every disagreeable thing for the Lord, it saith in the person of the suffering: “For Thy sake we suffer death all the day long; we are counted as sheep for the slaughter” (Rom 8:36; Ps 43[44]:22). And secure in the hope of the divine reward, they go on joyfully, saying: “But in all these things we overcome because of Him that hath loved us” (Rom 8:37). And likewise in another place the Scripture saith: “Thou, O God, hast proved us; Thou hast tried us by fire as silver is tried; Thou hast brought us into a net, Thou hast laid afflictions on our back” (Ps 65[66]:10-11). And to show us that we ought to be under a Superior, it continueth, saying: “Thou hast set men over our heads” (Ps 65[66]:12). And fulfilling the command of the Lord by patience also in adversities and injuries, when struck on the one cheek they turn also the other; the despoiler of their coat they give their cloak also; and when forced to go one mile they go two (cf Mt 5:39-41); with the Apostle Paul they bear with false brethren and “bless those who curse them” (2 Cor 11:26; 1 Cor 4:12).

 

Father Mauritius Wilde, OSB, Ph.D., did his philosophical, theological and doctoral studies in Europe. He is the author of several books and directs retreats regularly. He serves as Prior of our monastery in Schuyler.

St.-Benedict-Center-2For more information about the ministry of the the Missionary Benedictines of Christ the King Priory in Schuyler, Nebraska visit here:

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BA3 – The Crucible of Suffering and the Gift of Faith – Begin Again: The Spiritual Legacy of Ven. Bruno Lanteri with Fr. Timothy Gallagher

Fr.-GallagherEpisode 3 – The Crucible of Suffering and the Gift of Faith – Begin Again: The Spiritual Legacy of Ven. Bruno Lanteri with Fr. Timothy Gallagher

In this episode, Fr. Timothy Gallagher discusses the crucible of suffering that occurred in the young Bruno Lanteri’s life. The tragedies became the stepping stones for newness in the spiritual journey. So are the opportunities that may arise in our lives when we are challenged with failure, suffering, and illness. Like Ven. Lanteri, will we “begin again” and allow faith to support and guide us through the storms of life?

During the course of this series we find that the Ven. Bruno Lanteri’s life and mission contains significant spiritual relevance to nurture the hearts of today’s religious and lay faithful.

Father Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V., was ordained in 1979 as a member of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, a religious community dedicated to retreats and spiritual formation according to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Fr. Gallagher is featured on the EWTN series “Living the Discerning Life: The Spiritual Teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola”.

For more information on how to obtain copies of Fr. Gallaghers’s various books and audio which are available for purchase, please visit his website: frtimothygallagher.org

For the other episodes in this series check out Fr. Timothy Gallagher’s “Discerning Hearts” page

Please visit the site dedicated to Ven. Bruno Lanteri for more information and prayer requests

Lanteri-website

 

Prayer to Obtain Graces by the intercession of Ven. Bruno Lanteri

Heavenly Father, you filled the heart of your servant Bruno with a living and active faith. Grant that our lives be guided by that same faith, and, through his intercession, give us the grace of which we have so great need… Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.

Jesus, uncreated Wisdom, through the hope in your merits and in your Cross infused into the heart of your servant Bruno, and through the zeal he showed in teaching your goodness and mercy, grant us the same ardor and the grace for which we fervently ask… Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.

Holy Spirit, fount of charity, through the love for God and neighbor that you enkindled in the heart of your servant Bruno, grant also to us that, living far from sin, in charity and justice, we may be worthy of the grace we humbly seek and gain the joy of heaven… Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.

And you, Virgin Mother of God and our Mother, obtain from the Lord the beatification of your servant Bruno, who all his life loved you as a loyal son and zealously sought to lead others to you, and obtain for us through his intercession the grace that with great trust we ask of you… Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.

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BA14 – “Fixing Our Eyes on the Crucified Christ” – Begin Again: The Spiritual Legacy of Ven. Bruno Lanteri with Fr. Timothy Gallagher

BA6 - "Refuse to Accept Discouragement" - Begin Again: The Spiritual Legacy of Ven. Bruno Lanteri with Fr. Timothy Gallagher Episode 14 – “Fixing Our Eyes on the Crucified Christ” – Begin Again: The Spiritual Legacy of Ven. Bruno Lanteri with Fr. Timothy Gallagher

In this episode, “Suffering” … no spiritual direction can be truly complete unless it offers effective counsel with regard to suffering. Ven. Lanteri guides those he directs to look toward the only fully satisfying answer to the question about suffering—the crucified Christ—and to see in such suffering the hand of God which disposes all things for our spiritual progress.

Anxieties, temptations, aridity, heaviness of heart, tribulations, injuries, unpleasant situations, offenses, ingratitude, crosses, matters which do not go well, and sorrows of various kinds: I will expect all these, even from those I love and those I have helped. But I will never consider these as evil, nor will I regard their origin in men, but rather in God. I know that nothing can take place against the will of God. I know that this is the way He Himself followed here on earth, and through which He led the saints closest to Him, even His very mother, so as to glorify her correspondingly in heaven. And so I will consider these as favors and opportunities which He gives me, so that I will need to ask His help, so that I will know my weakness, and do penance for my sins. I will try to accept them, confident that this is the road He has laid out for me, that all is ordered for my good, and that my part is to seek to benefit from these situations (To a Married Woman, Positio, 539).

Let us fix the eyes of our faith and love on the crucified Christ, and we will see that He was not satisfied only with the possibility of suffering, but that He truly suffered every kind of pain, both in body and in spirit, since it is not the possibility of suffering, but sufferings themselves that cause us to gain merit. Let us then accept from His hand every occasion of suffering and practicing virtue, and since all things are disposed for our salvation, let us try to enter into His purpose of love, to follow His plan the best we can, convinced that grace is linked to all that happens, to every cross, and that every such grace we welcome will receive an eternal recompense and reward (in Gastaldi, 473)

Lanteri-1During the course of this series we find that the Ven. Bruno Lanteri’s life and mission contains significant spiritual relevance to nurture the hearts of today’s religious and lay faithful.

Father Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V., was ordained in 1979 as a member of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, a religious community dedicated to retreats and spiritual formation according to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Fr. Gallagher is featured on the EWTN series “Living the Discerning Life: The Spiritual Teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola”.

For more information on how to obtain copies of Fr. Gallagher’s various books and audio which are available for purchase, please visit his website: frtimothygallagher.org

For the other episodes in this series check out Fr. Timothy Gallagher’s “Discerning Hearts” page

Please visit the site dedicated to Ven. Bruno Lanteri for more information and prayer requests

Lanteri-website-300x225

 

Prayer to Obtain Graces by the intercession of Ven. Bruno Lanteri

Heavenly Father, you filled the heart of your servant Bruno with a living and active faith. Grant that our lives be guided by that same faith, and, through his intercession, give us the grace of which we have so great need… Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.

Jesus, uncreated Wisdom, through the hope in your merits and in your Cross infused into the heart of your servant Bruno, and through the zeal he showed in teaching your goodness and mercy, grant us the same ardor and the grace for which we fervently ask… Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.

Holy Spirit, fount of charity, through the love for God and neighbor that you enkindled in the heart of your servant Bruno, grant also to us that, living far from sin, in charity and justice, we may be worthy of the grace we humbly seek and gain the joy of heaven… Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.

And you, Virgin Mother of God and our Mother, obtain from the Lord the beatification of your servant Bruno, who all his life loved you as a loyal son and zealously sought to lead others to you, and obtain for us through his intercession the grace that with great trust we ask of you… Our Father. Hail Mary. Glory Be.

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IP#253 Fr. Robert Cormier – Better Than We Believed on Inside the Pages

It was rich blessing to have the opportunity to talk Fr. Robert Cormier about his book “Better Than We Believed:  How to Apply the Fr.-Bob-CormierVision That Is Faith to the Struggle That Is Life”.  With an incredible witness in ministry Fr. Bob, as he prefers to be called, has served a parish priest for many years, as well as  prison chaplain and a rehab counselor. For the last eighteen years he has been president of Project Live—a leading institution for the care of the mentally ill.  He also spent summers in mission work in  Guatemala and other areas of Central America.  This varied background serves him well as he addresses many of the the areas which challenge many people when it comes to “faith”.  What is faith?  And how do I live it out?  Especially when afraid or challenged, how can I draw on faith for strength to live the life that we were meant for? This books is an excellent resource and wonderful source of inspiration.

(Special note:; On May 13, Fr. Bob died in a climbing accident on Mount Hood in Oregon, after reaching the summit. He was 57 years old. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May the soul of Fr. Bob, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.)

Better-than-we-believed

 

You can find the book here

Here is a link to Faith Kit, the website Fr. Bob mentions during our conversation www.faithkit.org

From the book description:
Presuming nothing that both traditional believers and critical-thinking searchers will not find in their hearts, Better Than We Believed presents a strikingly clear concept of faith that answers the unhappiness of people you will recognize:
MARK, who struggles with anger
IRENE, who battles stress
HENRY, who is consumed by hatred
GLORIA, who has been betrayed
BRIAN, who suffers depression
MARY, who feels trapped by her duty to a loved one
JOY, who can’t get over a loved one’s death, and
JAMES, who knows that he is dying
As we witness this faith applied to these and other serious struggles, we will see how it can transform our own experience, and offer us peace, purpose, and joy.

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“Into Your Hands I Commend My Spirit” with Fr. James Rafferty and Deacon James Keating – Discerning Hearts

Bouguereau-Mary-2

Fr. James Rafferty and Deacon James Keating offered a Lenten Morning of Reflection on behalf of the Institute for Priestly Formation entitled “Into Your Hands I Commend My Spirit”.

William-Adolphe Bouguereau’s “Pieta” was used as the vocal point for reflection, as well as the following passages:

From  John 3:16-17

For God so loved the world that he gave* his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.k17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn* the world, but that the world might be saved through him.l

Excerpts from Pope Francis’ encyclical “Light of Faith“:

Our culture has lost its sense of God’s tangible presence and activity in our world. We think that God is to be found in the beyond, on another level of reality, far removed from our everyday relationships. But if this were the case, if God could not act in the world, his love would not be truly powerful, truly real, and thus not even true, a love capable of delivering the bliss that it promises. It would make no difference at all whether we believed in him or not. Christians, on the contrary, profess their faith in God’s tangible and powerful love which really does act in history and determines its final destiny: a love that can be encountered, a love fully revealed in Christ’s passion, death and resurrection.

Yet it is precisely in contemplating Jesus’ death that faith grows stronger and receives a dazzling light; then it is revealed as faith in Christ’s steadfast love for us, a love capable of embracing death to bring us salvation. This love, which did not recoil before death in order to show its depth, is something I can believe in; Christ’s total self-gift overcomes every suspicion and enables me to entrust myself to him completely.

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BKL#59 – Why Do You Worry? – Building a Kingdom of Love w/ Msgr. John Esseff

Msgr.-John-EsseffShow 59 ” Building a Kingdom of Love” – Why Do You Worry?

*Note: This is a special reflection given by Msgr. Esseff on the morning of his departure for his mission to Peru.

Gospel MT 6:24-34

Jesus said to his disciples:
“No one can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, Jesus-follow
what you will eat or drink,
or about your body, what you will wear.
Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds in the sky;
they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns,
yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are not you more important than they?
Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?
Why are you anxious about clothes?
Learn from the way the wild flowers grow.
They do not work or spin.
But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor
was clothed like one of them.
If God so clothes the grass of the field,
which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow,
will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith?
So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’
or ‘What are we to drink?’or ‘What are we to wear?’
All these things the pagans seek.
Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,
and all these things will be given you besides.
Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself.
Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine;

Msgr. John A. Esseff is a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Scranton. He was ordained on May 30th 1953, by the late Bishop William J. Hafey, D.D. at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton, PA. Msgr. Esseff served a retreat director and confessor to Blessed Mother Teresa. He continues to offer direction and retreats for the sisters of the missionaries of charity around the world. Msgr. Esseff encountered St. Padre Pio, who would become a spiritual father to him. He has lived in areas around the world, serving in the Pontifical missions, a Catholic organization established by Bl. Pope John Paul II to bring the Good News to the world especially to the poor. Msgr. Esseff assisted the founders of the Institute for Priestly Formation and continues to serve as a spiritual director for the Institute. He continues to serve as a retreat leader and director to bishops, priests and sisters and seminarians and other religious leaders around the world.

 

To obtain a copy of Msgr. Esseff’s book by visiting here

 

Be sure to visit Msgr. Esseff’s website “Building a Kingdom of Love

 

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IP#207 Sr. Janice McGrane – Saints for Healing On on Inside the Pages

Sr.-Janice-McGraneIt was a delight to once again talk with Sr. Janice McGrane S. S. J., this time about her book “Saints for Healing:  Stories of Courage and Hope”.  In this, her second book, she  offers  a short biography of the lives of 11 saints,  their background on relevant cultural issues, and a reflection.  Each saint has a special connection to “healing”…some are expected, some are a wonderful surprise.  Sr. Janice has introduced us to special companions who can walk with us on the journey to our ultimate destination….an encounter with the Divine Physician.  Marvelous, simply marvelous.


Saints-for-HealingFor a copy of the book

From the book description:

With grace and insight, McGrane tells us also about healing that occurs on a larger scale: Joan of Arc healed the morale of France in its most dire hour, Edith Stein and Maximilian Kolbe offered comfort and consolation in the midst of the horror of Auschwitz, Henriette DeLille transceneded the racism of her time to minister with slaves, Hildegard of Bingen shared her knowledge of herbs to heal others, Catherine of Siena helped repair a divided and corrupt church, Damien ministered to the lepers of Molokai. These stories and those about Teresa of Avila, Dorothy Day, Mother Teresa, Archbishop Romero, and Fr. Mychal Judge lead us to these healing saints for compaionship and inspiration when we, too, hurt.

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The Passion of the Lamb ….In Conversation with Fr. Thomas Acklin O.S.B.

Bruce and I had the opportunity to have a conversation with Fr. Thomas Acklin, a Benedictine monk and priest, who is a professor of theology and psychology at St. VincentFr.-Thomas-Acklin College and Seminary in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.  He is author of a tremendous work entitled “The Passion of the Lamb”.  In this book, he challenges us to become lambs like Christ, the little children He calls us to be so that we may be able to follow him in Word and Deed.  Fr. Acklin is a master spiritual director, who helps us to hear the voice of the Lord in our hearts and encourages us to respond, in trust, to the will of the Father.  An important not to be missed gift.

Passion-of-the-Lamb

You can find the book here

From the book description:

Many today fear that we hover on the brink of global collapse. War, terrorism, poverty and disease provoke a sense of despair. Yet in our midst stands Jesus Christ, undaunted by the brutal realities of a world that rejects him. And as he looks at each of us, he asks directly and personally, Will you have faith in me?

In this powerful book Fr. Acklin reveals the passionate love of God for every person, love that will not be denied or defeated. God is for us in spite of our indifference. God has not been eclipsed by the world s agenda. God willnever abandon us. God will always seek out the wounded and lost. We have his guarantee that this is so because the suffering and death the passion of Jesus clinched the deal confirming God s commitment to his creation.

The Passion of the Lamb helps us answer the only question that ultimately matters: Will we have faith in Jesus?

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IP#184 Fr. Joe Kempf – No One Cries the Wrong Way on Inside the Pages

Fr. Joe Kempf has given us two excellent resources for both adults and kids to help us deal with loss.   Fr. Joe really understands the grieving process and offers excellent advice for those at any stage of that journey.

You can find this book here

Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York says this about Fr. Kempf’s books: “Fr. Kempf, with grace and sensitivity, helps us learn what to say – and do – in moments when people long for a word of hope and consolation.”

 

You can find this book here

From the description:

When the heartaches come, these reflections, prayers, and activities will help every child find their way forward with God. In the back of the book, parents, grandparents, and teachers will find the coaching they need to love their children through the difficult times.

This wonderfully illustrated book meets the child (and the child in each of us) right where we are with just what we need. No one connects faith and real life like Fr. Joe and Big Al. Sometimes Life is Just Not Fair is the perfect book for when the difficult times come…and they visit us all.

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IP#171 Fr. Michael Gaitley – Consoling the Heart of Jesus on Inside the Pages

What a joy to have the opportunity to talk once again with Fr. Michael Gaitley at the 2012 CMN Trade Show in Dallas, TX.  We discuss the Year of Faith, “Consoling the Heart of Jesus” and his new book coming soon…”The One Thing is Three”.  We talk about how the New Evangelization and the role model that Bl. John Paul II was to all of us.  We all discuss “All Hearts a Fire” the new parish based program which is absolutely FANTASTIC!  Be sure to check it out and pass it on!

You can find the book here

Michael Gaitley, MIC’s book is a form of a weekend retreat accessible to those at the beginning stages of a simple way to holiness. While reading this book, I wished I could have had it in conversing with people of little or practically no faith who yet had a longing for the faith that lies at the core of human existence. These hearts are restless until they rest in Thee, Lord and this book guides them on a journey to resting in God. –Fr. Mitch Pacwa

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The Truth About Trouble…. In Conversation with Fr. Michael Scanlan

 A few years ago, Bruce and I had the blessing of having a very special conversation with Fr. Michael Scanlan about “The Truth About Trouble: How Hard Times Can Draw You Closer To God”.  Fr. Scanlan’s wisdom is extraordinary…he knows how to pastor us through hard times, because he has suffered it, but he also knows that it is through Jesus, with Jesus, in Jesus that in the end all will be well.  He talks about the cancer of discontent, which is so dangerous to our spiritual lives.  Fr. Scanlan also describes how the devil desires to use trouble to turn us away from God.  We should realize that when that is happening and recognize, believe or not, that trouble isn’t the worst thing that could happen to us…it is actually a pathway to purification…be not afraid!  What a gift Fr. Scanlan is to us all!

 

 

You can find it here

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BKL#12 – Building a Kingdom of Love w/ Msgr. John Esseff – Why do those who trust God sometimes suffer? – Discerning Hearts

Show 12 ” Building a Kingdom of Love” – Why do those who trust in God sometimes suffer? Msgr. Esseff then addresses the issue of trust in the Lord as an expression in our faith…even when it’s hard

Msgr. Esseff reflects on Hab 1:12-2:4

Are you not from eternity, O LORD,
my holy God, immortal?
O LORD, you have marked him for judgment,
O Rock, you have readied him punishment!
Too pure are your eyes to look upon evil,
and the sight of misery you cannot endure.
Why, then, do you gaze on the faithless in silence
while the wicked man devours
one more just than himself?
You have made man like the fish of the sea,
like creeping things without a ruler.
He brings them all up with his hook,
he hauls them away with his net,
He gathers them in his seine;
and so he rejoices and exults.
Therefore he sacrifices to his net,
and burns incense to his seine;
for thanks to them his portion is generous,
and his repast sumptuous.
Shall he, then, keep on brandishing his sword
to slay peoples without mercy?
I will stand at my guard post,
and station myself upon the rampart,
And keep watch to see what he will say to me,
and what answer he will give to my complaint.

Then the LORD answered me and said:
Write down the vision
Clearly upon the tablets,
so that one can read it readily.
For the vision still has its time,
presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint;
If it delays, wait for it,
it will surely come, it will not be late.
The rash man has no integrity;
but the just man, because of his faith, shall live. -NAB

Msgr. John A. Esseff is a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Scranton.  He was ordained on May 30th 1953, by the late Bishop William J. Hafey, D.D. at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton, PA.  Msgr. Esseff served a retreat director and confessor to Blessed Mother Teresa.    He continues to offer direction and retreats for the sisters of the missionaries of charity around the world.  Msgr. Esseff encountered St.  Padre Pio,  who would become a spiritual father to him.  He has lived in areas around the world,  serving  in the Pontifical missions, a Catholic organization established by Bl. Pope John Paul II to bring the Good News to the world especially to the poor.  Msgr. Esseff assisted the founders of the Institute for Priestly Formation and continues to serve as a spiritual director for the Institute.  He continues to  serve as a retreat leader and director to bishops, priests and sisters and seminarians and other religious leaders around the world.   

 

 

To obtain a copy of Msgr. Esseff’s book byvisiting here

 

Be sure to visit Msgr. Esseff’s website “Building a Kingdom of  Love

 

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BKL#12 – Building a Kingdom of Love w/ Msgr. John Esseff – Why do those who trust God sometimes suffer?

Show 12 ” Building a Kingdom of Love” – Why do those who trust in God sometimes suffer? Msgr. Esseff then addresses the issue of trust in the Lord as an expression in our faith…even when it’s hard

Msgr. Esseff reflects on Hab 1:12-2:4

Are you not from eternity, O LORD,
my holy God, immortal?
O LORD, you have marked him for judgment,
O Rock, you have readied him punishment!
Too pure are your eyes to look upon evil,
and the sight of misery you cannot endure.
Why, then, do you gaze on the faithless in silence
while the wicked man devours
one more just than himself?
You have made man like the fish of the sea,
like creeping things without a ruler.
He brings them all up with his hook,
he hauls them away with his net,
He gathers them in his seine;
and so he rejoices and exults.
Therefore he sacrifices to his net,
and burns incense to his seine;
for thanks to them his portion is generous,
and his repast sumptuous.
Shall he, then, keep on brandishing his sword
to slay peoples without mercy?
I will stand at my guard post,
and station myself upon the rampart,
And keep watch to see what he will say to me,
and what answer he will give to my complaint.

Then the LORD answered me and said:
Write down the vision
Clearly upon the tablets,
so that one can read it readily.
For the vision still has its time,
presses on to fulfillment, and will not disappoint;
If it delays, wait for it,
it will surely come, it will not be late.
The rash man has no integrity;
but the just man, because of his faith, shall live. -NAB

Msgr. John A. Esseff is a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Scranton.  He was ordained on May 30th 1953, by the late Bishop William J. Hafey, D.D. at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton, PA.  Msgr. Esseff served a retreat director and confessor to Blessed Mother Teresa.    He continues to offer direction and retreats for the sisters of the missionaries of charity around the world.  Msgr. Esseff encountered St.  Padre Pio,  who would become a spiritual father to him.  He has lived in areas around the world,  serving  in the Pontifical missions, a Catholic organization established by Bl. Pope John Paul II to bring the Good News to the world especially to the poor.  Msgr. Esseff assisted the founders of the Institute for Priestly Formation and continues to serve as a spiritual director for the Institute.  He continues to  serve as a retreat leader and director to bishops, priests and sisters and seminarians and other religious leaders around the world.   

 

 

To obtain a copy of Msgr. Esseff’s book byvisiting here

 

Be sure to visit Msgr. Esseff’s website “Building a Kingdom of  Love

 

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Bert Ghezzi – Sign of Cross – Discerning Hearts

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Blessed Herman the Cripple – author of one of the most heartbreakenly beautiful prayers of all time – Discerning Hearts

Everytime we pray the rosary, we pray with Blessed Herman the Cripple.  He’s the author of one of the most heartbreakenly beautiful prayers of all time….the Salve Regina.

Blessed Herman (1013-1054) was born with many medical problems: cleft palate, cerebral palsy, and spina bifida. During his lifetime he was known as Blessed Herman the Cripple. Father Robert F. McNamara on his website, Saints Alive, calls him Blessed Herman the Disabled.

He was a remarkable man. Despite his daunting physical limitations he studied and wrote on astronomy, theology, math, history, poetry, Arabic, Greek, and Latin. He also built musical and astronomical equipment. He was considered a genius in his time. He wrote prayers and hymns – the most notable being the Salve Regina (Hail Holy Queen).

Father McNamara in his article on Blessed Herman the Disabled comments on the great meaning of Herman’s life with this closing insight:

“In his own day, the heroic cripple who achieved learning and holiness was called ‘The Wonder of His Age’.

In our day, many voices say that people with disabilities should be phased out of existence. Which were the Dark Ages, then or now!”

Let us pray with Blessed Herman, and ask him to help us to receive the graces for the virtues we lack…humility, patience, kindness,  and all the others which allow the love of Christ to shine in the world through us.

Prayers        

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The Hail Holy Queen (The Salve Regina)

Hail, Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life, our sweetness and our hope! To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve! To thee do we send up our sighs; mourning and weeping in this vale of tears! Turn, most gracious Advocate, thine eyes of mercy towards us, and after this, our exile, show to us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus! O Clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary! Pray for us O Holy Mother of God…That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.  Amen. – Blessed Herman

The poem below is from Father Benedict J Groeschel’s book,
Stumbling Blocks or Stepping Stones.

Herman The Cripple
by
William Hart Hurlbut, M.D.

I am least among the low,
I am weak and I am slow;
I can neither walk nor stand,
Nor hold a spoon in my own hand.

Like a body bound in chain,
I am on a rack of pain,
But He is God who made me so,
that His mercy I should know.

Brothers do not weep for me!
Christ, the Lord, has set me free.
All my sorrows he will bless;
Pain is not unhappiness.

From my window I look down
To the streets of yonder town,
Where the people come and go,
Reap the harvest that they sow.

Like a field of wheat and tares,
Some are lost in worldly cares;
There are hearts as black as coal,
There are cripples of the soul.

Brothers do not weep for me!
In his mercy I am free.
I can neither sow nor spin,
Yet, I am fed and clothed in Him.

I have been the donkey’s tail,
Slower than a slug or snail;
You my brothers have been kind,
Never let me lag behind.

I have been most rich in friends,
You have been my feet and hands;
All the good that I could do,
I have done because of you.

Oh my brothers, can’t you see?
You have been as Christ for me.
And in my need I know I, too,
Have become as Christ for you!

I have lived for forty years
In this wilderness of tears;
But these trials can’t compare
With the glory we will share.

I have had a voice to sing,
To rejoice in everything;
Now Love’s sweet eternal song
Breaks the darkness with the dawn.

Brother’s do not weep for me!
Christ, the Lord, has set me free.
Oh my friends, remember this:
Pain is not unhappiness.

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IP#62 Debra Herbeck – Safely through the Storm on Inside the Pages

Debra Herbeck has compiled a compelling selection of reflections from saints and writers who have suffered, who were tempted to depair, and who were tested in everyway, but through grace and faith, they never gave up. Hope, a viture we can’t live without.  If you or someone you know is suffering through hard times, “Safely Through the Storm” is for you.

Check out the book here

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IP#13 Mike Aquilina discusses Why Me – When Bad Things Happen on Inside the Pages

Why me?  Who hasn’t asked them self that question over and over again throughout the course of their life.  With a smile of joy in his voice and compassion in his heart, Mike Aquilina attempts to answer the age old question…Why Me? With Mike’s help, we look toward the saints, and ultimately to Our Blessed Lord, for the answer.  Mike tackles this tough subject with love and grace.  After all, isn’t that exactly how God attempts to break through to us in our suffering with His answer?  On a personal note:  Mike Aquilina is one of the finest men I know. It is a joy to talk with him about any subject, but when it comes to matters of the Church and God, watch out…your heart will swell up with faith, hope and love.  He’s like your pal on the road to Emmaus.

Click here to find Mike’s gift to us all

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CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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