BKL#2 – Building a Kingdom of Love w/ Msgr. John Esseff – The Good Shepherd

Show 2 ” Building a Kingdom of Love” – “The Good Shepherd“

Msgr. Esseff reflects on the readings from the 4th Sunday of Easter, and in particular, Our Lord’s teachings on role of the Good Shepherd.  Also, at the end of this episode, Msgr. Esseff offers a prayer with St. Padre Pio for healing.


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

 

St. Catherine of Siena, one of the great heroines of Christianity

Dominican Tertiary, born at Siena, 25 March, 1347; died at Rome, 29 April, 1380.
From the Catholic Encyclopedia, found at New Advent –

She was the youngest  one of a very large family. Her father, Giacomo di Benincasa, was a dyer; her mother, Lapa, the daughter of a local poet. They belonged to the lower middle-class faction of tradesmen and petty notaries, known as “the Party of the Twelve”, which between one revolution and another ruled the Republic of Siena from 1355 to 1368. From her earliest childhood Catherine began to see visions and to practise extreme austerities. At the age of seven she consecrated her virginity to Christ; in her sixteenth year she took the habit of the Dominican Tertiaries, and renewed the life of the anchorites of the desert in a little room in her father’s house. After three years of celestial visitations and familiar conversation with Christ, she underwent the mystical experience known as the “spiritual espousals”, probably during the carnival of 1366. She now rejoined her family, began to tend the sick, especially those afflicted with the most repulsive diseases, to serve the poor, and to labour for the conversion of sinners.

Though always suffering terrible physical pain, living for long intervals on practically no food save the Blessed Sacrament, she was ever radiantly happy and full of practical wisdom no less than the highest spiritual insight. All her contemporaries bear witness to her extraordinary personal charm, which prevailed over the continual persecution to which she was subjected even by the friars of her own order and by her sisters in religion.

She began to gather disciples round her, both men and women, who formed a wonderful spiritual fellowship, united to her by the bonds of mystical love. During the summer of 1370 she received a series of special manifestations of Divine mysteries, which culminated in a prolonged trance, a kind of mystical death, in which she had a vision of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, and heard a Divine command to leave her cell and enter the public life of the world. She began to dispatch letters to men and women in every condition of life, entered into correspondence with the princes and republics of Italy, was consulted by the papal legates about the affairs of the Church, and set herself to heal the wounds of her native land by staying the fury of civil war and the ravages of faction. She implored the pope, Gregory XI, to leave Avignon, to reform the clergy and the administration of the Papal States, and ardently threw herself into his design for a crusade, in the hopes of uniting the powers of Christendom against the infidels, and restoring peace to Italy by delivering her from the wandering companies of mercenary soldiers. While at Pisa, on the fourth Sunday of Lent, 1375, she received the Stigmata, although, at her special prayer, the marks did not appear outwardly in her body while she lived.

Mainly through the misgovernment of the papal officials, war broke out between Florence and the Holy See, and almost the whole of the Papal States rose in insurrection. Catherine had already been sent on a mission from the pope to secure the neutrality of Pisa and Lucca.

In June, 1376, she went to Avignon as ambassador of the Florentines, to make their peace; but, either through the bad faith of the republic or through a misunderstanding caused by the frequent changes in its government, she was unsuccessful. Nevertheless she made such a profound impression upon the mind of the pope, that, in spite of the opposition of the French king and almost the whole of the Sacred College, he returned to Rome (17 January, 1377).

Catherine spent the greater part of 1377 in effecting a wonderful spiritual revival in the country districts subject to the Republic of Siena, and it was at this time that she miraculously learned to write, though she still seems to have chiefly relied upon her secretaries for her correspondence. Early in 1378 she was sent by Pope Gregory to Florence, to make a fresh effort for peace. Unfortunately, through the factious conduct of her Florentine associates, she became involved in the internal politics of the city, and during a popular tumult (22 June) an attempt was made upon her life. She was bitterly disappointed at her escape, declaring that her sins had deprived her of the red rose of martyrdom. Nevertheless, during the disastrous revolution known as “the tumult of the Ciompi”, she still remained at Florence or in its territory until, at the beginning of August, news reached the city that peace had been signed between the republic and the new pope. Catherine then instantly returned to Siena, where she passed a few months of comparative quiet, dictating her “Dialogue”, the book of her meditations and revelations.

In the meanwhile the Great Schism had broken out in the Church. From the outset Catherine enthusiastically adhered to the Roman claimant, Urban VI, who in November, 1378, summoned her to Rome. In the Eternal City she spent what remained of her life, working strenuously for the reformation of the Church, serving the destitute and afflicted, and dispatching eloquent letters in behalf of Urban to high and low in all directions. Her strength was rapidly being consumed; she besought her Divine Bridegroom to let her bear the punishment for all the sins of the world, and to receive the sacrifice of her body for the unity and renovation of the Church; at last it seemed to her that the Bark of Peter was laid upon her shoulders, and that it was crushing her to death with its weight. After a prolonged and mysterious agony of three months, endured by her with supreme exultation and delight, from Sexagesima Sunday until the Sunday before the Ascension, she died. Her last political work, accomplished practically from her death-bed, was the reconciliation of Pope Urban VI with the Roman Republic (1380).

Among Catherine’s principal followers were Fra Raimondo delle Vigne, of Capua (d. 1399), her confessor and biographer, afterwards General of the Dominicans, and Stefano di Corrado Maconi (d. 1424), who had been one of her secretaries, and became Prior General of the Carthusians. Raimondo’s book, the “Legend”, was finished in 1395. A second life of her, the “Supplement”, was written a few years later by another of her associates, Fra Tomaso Caffarini (d. 1434), who also composed the “Minor Legend”, which was translated into Italian by Stefano Maconi. Between 1411 and 1413 the depositions of the surviving witnesses of her life and work were collected at Venice, to form the famous “Process”. Catherine was canonized by Pius II in 1461. The emblems by which she is known in Christian art are the lily and book, the crown of thorns, or sometimes a heart–referring to the legend of her having changed hearts with Christ. Her principal feast is on the 30th of April, but it is popularly celebrated in Siena on the Sunday following. The feast of her Espousals is kept on the Thursday of the carnival.

The works of St. Catherine of Siena rank among the classics of the Italian language, written in the beautiful Tuscan vernacular of the fourteenth century. Notwithstanding the existence of many excellent manuscripts, the printed editions present the text in a frequently mutilated and most unsatisfactory condition. Her writings consist of

the “Dialogue”, or “Treatise on Divine Providence”;
a collection of nearly four hundred letters; and
a series of “Prayers”.

The “Dialogue” especially, which treats of the whole spiritual life of man in the form of a series of colloquies between the Eternal Father and the human soul (represented by Catherine herself), is the mystical counterpart in prose of Dante’s “Divina Commedia”.

A smaller work in the dialogue form, the “Treatise on Consummate Perfection”, is also ascribed to her, but is probably spurious. It is impossible in a few words to give an adequate conception of the manifold character and contents of the “Letters”, which are the most complete expression of Catherine’s many-sided personality. While those addressed to popes and sovereigns, rulers of republics and leaders of armies, are documents of priceless value to students of history, many of those written to private citizens, men and women in the cloister or in the world, are as fresh and illuminating, as wise and practical in their advice and guidance for the devout Catholic today as they were for those who sought her counsel while she lived. Others, again, lead the reader to mystical heights of contemplation, a rarefied atmosphere of sanctity in which only the few privileged spirits can hope to dwell. The key-note to Catherine’s teaching is that man, whether in the cloister or in the world, must ever abide in the cell of self-knowledge, which is the stable in which the traveller through time to eternity must be born again.

More on St. Catherine of Siena

IP#151 Joe Paprocki – The 7 Key to Spiritual Wellness on Inside the Pages

In “7 Keys to Spiritual Wellness,” best-selling author Joe Paprocki provides a prescription for spiritual health based on the rich wisdom of Catholic Tradition.

The Saints have taught us repeatedly that our souls can get spiritually sick and die as well.

Joe’s new book focuses on the root causes of spiritual sickness. Each chapter identifies a specific threat to the health of our souls and offers strategies for beating that virus.

His keys to spiritual wellness are:

  1. Seeing Yourself as You Really Are
  2. Actively Seeking the Good of Others
  3. Thinking Before Acting
  4. Holding on Loosely
  5. Recognizing and Setting Limits
  6. Channeling, Not Repressing, Your Desires
  7. Unleashing Your Imagination

You can find the book here

 

Pope Benedict on Prayer 27 – “Prayer is the breath of the soul and of life”.

Vatican City, 25 April 2012 (VIS) – If prayer and the Word of God do not nourish our spiritual life, we run the risk being suffocated by the many cares and concerns of daily existence. Prayer makes us see reality with new eyes and helps us to find our way in the midst of adversity. These words were pronounced by Benedict XVI in his catechesis during this morning’s general audience, held in St. Peter’s Square in the presence of more than 20,000 faithful.

The Pope explained how prayer encouraged the early Church, though beset by difficulties, and how it can help man to live a better life today. “Ever since the beginning of her journey the Church has had to face unexpected situations, new questions and emergencies, to which she has sought to respond in the light of the faith, allowing herself to be guided by the Holy Spirit”, he said.

This was already evident at the time of the Apostles. In the Acts, Luke the Evangelist recounts “a serious problem which the first Christian community in Jerusalem had to face and resolve, … concerning the pastoral care of charity towards the isolated and the needy. It was not an unimportant issue and risked creating divisions within the Church. … What stands out is that, at that moment of pastoral emergency, the Apostles made a distinction. Their primary duty was to announce the Word of God according to the Lord’s mandate, but they considered as equally serious the task of … making loving provision for their brothers and sisters in situations of need, in order to respond to Jesus’ command: love one another as I have loved you”.

The Apostles made a clear decision: it was not right for them to neglect prayer and preaching, therefore “seven men of good standing were chosen, the Apostles prayed for the strength of the Holy Spirit, then laid their hands upon them that they might dedicate themselves to the diaconate of charity”.

This decision, the Pope explained, “shows the priority we must give to God and to our relationship with Him in prayer, both as individuals and in the community. If we do not have the capacity to pause and listen to the Lord, to enter into dialogue with Him, we risk becoming ineffectually agitated by problems, difficulties and needs, even those of an ecclesial and pastoral nature”.

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BKL#1 – Building A Kingdom Of Love: Reflections w/Msgr. John Esseff

Show 1 ” Building a Kingdom of Love” – “Easter and the Paschal Mystery:  What have we been initiated into“

Msgr. Esseff reflects on the readings of the  3rd Sunday of Easter.  By virtue of our baptism, confirmation and reception of the Eucharist, who are we?  We learn what Peter and the community are capable of becoming because of the Pentecost experience.  During this period of Easter, the Church is preparing us to appreciate the gift of the Holy Spirit and the birth of the Church in Pentecost then…and now!  What does that mean for us today?  How are we called to be evangelizers and witnesses of the Truth and authentic Hope?

 

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

 

Pope Benedict on Prayer 26 – Fear Not Persecutions But Trust In The Presence of God


Vatican City, 18 April 2012 (VIS) – Returning to a recent series of catecheses on the theme of prayer, Benedict XVI dedicated his general audience this morning to what has been called the “Little Pentecost”, an event which coincided with a difficult moment in the life of the nascent Church.

The Acts of the Apostles tell us how Peter and John were released from prison following their arrest for preaching the Gospel. They returned to their companions who, listening to their account of what had happened, did not reflect on how to react or defend themselves, or on what measures to adopt; rather, “in that moment of trial they all raised their voices together to God”, Who replied by sending the Holy Spirit.

“This was the unanimous and united prayer of the whole community, which was facing persecution because of Jesus”, the Pope explained. It involved the community “because the experiences of the two Apostles did not concern only them, but the entire Church. In suffering persecution for Jesus’ sake, the community not only did not give way to fear and division, but was profoundly united in prayer”.

When believers suffer for the faith, “unity is consolidated rather than undermined, because it is supported by unshakeable prayer. The Church must not fear the persecutions she is forced to suffer in her history, but must trust always, as Jesus did in Gethsemane, in the presence, help and strength of God, invoked in prayer”.

Before trying to understand what had happened the first community sought to interpret events through the faith, using the Word of God. In the Acts of the Apostles St. Luke notes how the community of Jerusalem began by invoking God’s greatness and immensity. Then, using the Psalms, those early Christians recalled how God had acted in history alongside His people, “showing Himself to be a God Who is concerned for human beings, Who does not abandon them”, Benedict XVI said. Subsequently the events were read “in the light of Christ, Who is the key to understanding all things, even persecution. The opposition to Jesus, His passion and death were reread … as the accomplishment of the plan of God the Father for the salvation of the world. … In prayer, meditating on Sacred Scripture in the light of the mystery of Christ helps us to interpret current reality as part of the history of salvation which God enacts in the world”.

Thus the plea the first Christian community of Jerusalem made to God in prayer was not “to be defended, to be spared from trials or to enjoy success, but only to be able to proclaim … the Word of God frankly, freely and courageously”. The community also asked that “their proclamation be accompanied by the hand of God so that healing, signs and wonders could be accomplished. In other words, they wanted to become a force for the transformation of reality, changing the hearts, minds and lives of men and bringing the radical novelty of the Gospel”.

“We too”, the Holy Father concluded his catechesis, “must bring the events of our daily lives into our prayer, in order to seek their most profound significance. And we too, like the first Christian community, allowing ourselves to be illuminated by the Word of God and meditating on Sacred Scripture, may learn to see that God is present in our lives, even at moments of difficulty, and that everything … is part of a plan of love in which the final victory over evil, sin and death is truly is that of goodness, grace, life and God”.

Prayer of St. Bernadette and the miracles of Lourdes

Prayer of Saint Bernadette

“Let the crucifix be not only in my eyes and on my breast, but in my heart.O Jesus! Release all my affections and draw them upwards. Let my crucified heart sink forever into Thine and bury itself in the mysterious wound made by the entry of the lance.”

Prayer to St. Bernadette

O Saint Bernadette, who, as a meek and pure child, did eighteen times at Lourdes contemplate the beauty of the Immaculate Mother of God and received her messages, and who afterwards wished to hide yourself from the world in the convent of Nevers, and to offer thyself there as a victim for the conversion of sinners, obtain for us the grace of purity, simplicity and mortification that we also may attain to the vision of God and of Mary in Heaven. Amen.

 

The Life of St. Bernadette and the miracle of Lourdes

IP#149 Katherine Becker – The Dating Fast on Inside the Pages

In this episode we have a conversation with Katherine Becker, author of  “The Dating Fast: 40 Days to Reclaim Your Heart, Body, and Soul”.  Katherine is wonderfully articulate in describing her experience with “fasting” from the dating scene and how others can benefit from the practice.  The books description really does describe it best:

The endless cycle of boyfriends and breakups got to be exhausting–emotionally and spiritually. When a friend introduced Katherine to the idea of the “dating fast,” she rediscovered her joy for life. You don’t have to “kiss dating good-bye,” but a forty-day, Scripture-based retreat from the fray works wonders. Romantic love isn’t dead, says Katherine, but you have to know where to look for it.

You can find the book here

Be sure to visit Katherine’s website

“In order to be truly ready for a romantic relationship, you must first love and respect yourself. Katherine Becker’s forty-day dating fast is an excellent tool for self-reflection to understand yourself better and grow in love, confidence and faith. Following this fast will better prepare you for relationships, and is a solid step toward a fulfilling life, with or without a spouse.”  —Anita A. Chlipala, MA, MEd, LMFT, Relationship Reality 312, Inc.

Prayer of St. Bernadette and the miracles of Lourdes

Prayer of Saint Bernadette

“Let the crucifix be not only in my eyes and on my breast, but in my heart.O Jesus! Release all my affections and draw them upwards. Let my crucified heart sink forever into Thine and bury itself in the mysterious wound made by the entry of the lance.”

Prayer to St. Bernadette

O Saint Bernadette, who, as a meek and pure child, did eighteen times at Lourdes contemplate the beauty of the Immaculate Mother of God and received her messages, and who afterwards wished to hide yourself from the world in the convent of Nevers, and to offer thyself there as a victim for the conversion of sinners, obtain for us the grace of purity, simplicity and mortification that we also may attain to the vision of God and of Mary in Heaven. Amen.

 

The Life of St. Bernadette and the miracle of Lourdes