IP#169 Shannon Dietz on Exposed on Inside the Pages

“Exposed: Inexcusable Me… Irreplaceable Him” by Shannon Dietz is a compelling book which chronicles her experiences growing up in her devout Catholic home, dealing with realities of brokenness that  results from the assaults that come from the world, from the enemy and from our own negative choices, and the healing that comes from surrendering completely to the love of Jesus Christ.  Shannon shares her story of being raped, not once but twice, and the devastating effect it had on her life and self-image.  She would run from God and her Catholic faith for a time, which only led her to experience a greater period of isolation and despair.  Eventually she turned to Him and found the peace and strength she had been aching for in the Sacrament of Reconciliation.  That moment would provide a powerful encounter of grace and mercy and would set her once again on the path home to the loving embrace of the God the Father.  Her story is one that speaks to the hearts of several generation of women.  A powerful story and witness that there is indeed a beautiful “light at the end of the tunnel”. Shannon is the founder of “Hopeful Hearts Ministry“…be sure to visit the website!

You can find the book here

Patrice Fagnant–Macarthur, Sr. Editor of Catholic Lane, Author of “Letters to Mary from a Young Mother”
“It took great courage for Shannon to share her story. It is an important one for young people who are struggling with addiction or abuse and those who question whether God still cares for them.”

C.A. Webb, President of Conversations Book Club, Host of Conversations Live!
“A powerful book that helps us to live a life that is open to receive all that is meant for us.”

“Shannon’s candid sharing will prove to be a blessing to victims and those that care about them.”
Fr. Gavin Vaverek, Maria Goretti Network

 

True Interior Conversion…What it looks like in the life of St. Augustine and in others – a reflection with Msgr. John Esseff – Discerning Hearts

Msgr. Esseff reflects on the interior movement of St. Augustine that led to his conversion and witness. He also shares a powerful story of a man in a prison and his conversion. The story takes a poignant twist at the end, one that exemplifies the power of conversion and forgiveness. When our hearts are united with the heart of Christ a death takes place…the old self dies so that Christ may live.

St. Augustine of Hippo, “Late have I loved you”


The importance of his life and contribution to the Church cannot be overstated. St. Augustine, one of the greatest of the Church Fathers, has not only influenced the Church, but the thought of the world as we know it.  The story of his conversion as chronicled in his “Confessions”, would be enough, but then add the body of his theological work and you have nothing less than a glimpse of what is truly the power of  “grace and mercy”.

Mike Aquilina is one of the best at bringing this great saint’s life into perspective.


For a more detail accounting of St. Augustine’s  life, you can visit  Lives of the Saints

 

 

Spiritual Writings:

– Confessions 
– Letters
– City of God
– Christian Doctrine
– On the Holy Trinity
– The Enchiridion
– On the Catechising of the Uninstructed
– On Faith and the Creed
– Concerning Faith of Things Not Seen
– On the Profit of Believing
– On the Creed: A Sermon to Catechumens
– On Continence
– On the Good of Marriage
– On Holy Virginity
– On the Good of Widowhood
– On Lying
– To Consentius: Against Lying
– On the Work of Monks
– On Patience
– On Care to be Had For the Dead
– On the Morals of the Catholic Church
– On the Morals of the Manichaeans
– On Two Souls, Against the Manichaeans
– Acts or Disputation Against Fortunatus the Manichaean
– Against the Epistle of Manichaeus Called Fundamental
– Reply to Faustus the Manichaean
– Concerning the Nature of Good, Against the Manichaeans
– On Baptism, Against the Donatists
– Answer to Letters of Petilian, Bishop of Cirta
– Merits and Remission of Sin, and Infant Baptism
– On the Spirit and the Letter
– On Nature and Grace
– On Man’s Perfection in Righteousness
– On the Proceedings of Pelagius
– On the Grace of Christ, and on Original Sin
– On Marriage and Concupiscence
– On the Soul and its Origin
– Against Two Letters of the Pelagians
– On Grace and Free Will
– On Rebuke and Grace
– The Predestination of the Saints/Gift of Perseverance
– Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount
– The Harmony of the Gospels
– Sermons on Selected Lessons of the New Testament
– Tractates on the Gospel of John
– Homilies on the First Epistle of John
– Soliloquies
– The Enarrations, or Expositions, on the Psalms

For me, out of all the St. Augustine’s work,  this is the piece that deeply touches my heart and is one of my all-time favorite prayers:

Late Have I Loved You
A Prayer of Saint Augustine

Late have I loved you, O Beauty, so ancient and so new, late have I loved you!
And behold, you were within me and I was outside, and there I sought for you, and in my deformity I rushed headlong into the well-formed things that you have made.

You were with me, and I was not with you. Those outer beauties held me far from you, yet if they had not been in you, they would not have existed at all.

You called, and cried out to me and broke open my deafness; you shone forth upon me and you scattered my blindness.

You breathed fragrance, and I drew in my breath and I now pant for you.

I tasted, and I hunger and thirst; you touched me, and I burned for your peace.

This prayer is from his book, “Confessions.”

                                                  

St. Augustine of Hippo, “Late have I loved you” – Discerning Hearts


The importance of his life and contribution to the Church cannot be overstated. St. Augustine, one of the greatest of the Church Fathers, has not only influenced the Church, but the thought of the world as we know it.  The story of his conversion as chronicled in his “Confessions”, would be enough, but then add the body of his theological work and you have nothing less than a glimpse of what is truly the power of  “grace and mercy”.

Mike Aquilina is one of the best at bringing this great saint’s life into perspective.


For a more detail accounting of St. Augustine’s  life, you can visit  Lives of the Saints

 

 

Spiritual Writings:

– Confessions 
– Letters
– City of God
– Christian Doctrine
– On the Holy Trinity
– The Enchiridion
– On the Catechising of the Uninstructed
– On Faith and the Creed
– Concerning Faith of Things Not Seen
– On the Profit of Believing
– On the Creed: A Sermon to Catechumens
– On Continence
– On the Good of Marriage
– On Holy Virginity
– On the Good of Widowhood
– On Lying
– To Consentius: Against Lying
– On the Work of Monks
– On Patience
– On Care to be Had For the Dead
– On the Morals of the Catholic Church
– On the Morals of the Manichaeans
– On Two Souls, Against the Manichaeans
– Acts or Disputation Against Fortunatus the Manichaean
– Against the Epistle of Manichaeus Called Fundamental
– Reply to Faustus the Manichaean
– Concerning the Nature of Good, Against the Manichaeans
– On Baptism, Against the Donatists
– Answer to Letters of Petilian, Bishop of Cirta
– Merits and Remission of Sin, and Infant Baptism
– On the Spirit and the Letter
– On Nature and Grace
– On Man’s Perfection in Righteousness
– On the Proceedings of Pelagius
– On the Grace of Christ, and on Original Sin
– On Marriage and Concupiscence
– On the Soul and its Origin
– Against Two Letters of the Pelagians
– On Grace and Free Will
– On Rebuke and Grace
– The Predestination of the Saints/Gift of Perseverance
– Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount
– The Harmony of the Gospels
– Sermons on Selected Lessons of the New Testament
– Tractates on the Gospel of John
– Homilies on the First Epistle of John
– Soliloquies
– The Enarrations, or Expositions, on the Psalms

For me, out of all the St. Augustine’s work,  this is the piece that deeply touches my heart and is one of my all-time favorite prayers:

Late Have I Loved You
A Prayer of Saint Augustine

Late have I loved you, O Beauty, so ancient and so new, late have I loved you!
And behold, you were within me and I was outside, and there I sought for you, and in my deformity I rushed headlong into the well-formed things that you have made.

You were with me, and I was not with you. Those outer beauties held me far from you, yet if they had not been in you, they would not have existed at all.

You called, and cried out to me and broke open my deafness; you shone forth upon me and you scattered my blindness.

You breathed fragrance, and I drew in my breath and I now pant for you.

I tasted, and I hunger and thirst; you touched me, and I burned for your peace.

This prayer is from his book, “Confessions.”

                                                  

St. Monica, who never gave up hope, pray for us who do

St. Monica (331-387) a “shining light of Christ” example of perserverance in prayer!  We have her as an outstanding model of never giving up…what a gift to us!  Today we can turn to her and see what sticking to it can do, but did you ever think, “Who was her example?”  She didn’t know how the story of her son, St. Augustine would turn out.  She didn’t know that he would be transformed by grace into one of the greatest Doctors of the Church  who ever lived. Monica must have become frustrated, and at times filled with anxiety and maybe even  a degree of despair, but she persevered through it all!  She surely suffered emotionally for her lost son, but she never gave up her hope in God and faith in His promises…the energy of her love for her son fueled her prayer and grace transformed his seeking heart.  It took 30 years, but it happened.

A few months after his conversion, Augustine, Monica and Adeodatus (her other son), set out to return to Africa, but Monica died at Ostia, the ancient port city of Rome, and she was buried there. Some pictures show her so old, but when you think of it, she was only 56 when she died. Augustine was so deeply moved by his mother’s death that he was inspired to write his Confessions, “So be fulfilled what my mother desired of me–more richly in the prayers of so many gained for her through these confessions of mine than by my prayers alone” (Book IX.13.37)

An account of Monica’s early life, her childhood, marriage, her final days and her death, is given in Confessions Book IX, 8-12. He expresses his gratitude for her life:

“I will not speak of her gifts, but of thy gift in her; for she neither made herself nor trained herself. Thou didst create her, and neither her father nor her mother knew what kind of being was to come forth from them. And it was the rod of thy Christ, the discipline of thy only Son, that trained her in thy fear, in the house of one of thy faithful ones who was a sound member of thy Church” (IX.8.7).

Centuries later, Monica’s body was brought to Rome, and eventually her relics were interred in a chapel left of the high altar of the Church of St. Augustine in Rome (see below).


St. Monica, who never gave up hope, pray for us who do – Discerning Hearts

St. Monica (331-387) a “shining light of Christ” example of perserverance in prayer!  We have her as an outstanding model of never giving up…what a gift to us!  Today we can turn to her and see what sticking to it can do, but did you ever think, “Who was her example?”  She didn’t know how the story of her son, St. Augustine would turn out.  She didn’t know that he would be transformed by grace into one of the greatest Doctors of the Church  who ever lived. Monica must have become frustrated, and at times filled with anxiety and maybe even  a degree of despair, but she persevered through it all!  She surely suffered emotionally for her lost son, but she never gave up her hope in God and faith in His promises…the energy of her love for her son fueled her prayer and grace transformed his seeking heart.  It took 30 years, but it happened.

A few months after his conversion, Augustine, Monica and Adeodatus (her other son), set out to return to Africa, but Monica died at Ostia, the ancient port city of Rome, and she was buried there. Some pictures show her so old, but when you think of it, she was only 56 when she died. Augustine was so deeply moved by his mother’s death that he was inspired to write his Confessions, “So be fulfilled what my mother desired of me–more richly in the prayers of so many gained for her through these confessions of mine than by my prayers alone” (Book IX.13.37)

An account of Monica’s early life, her childhood, marriage, her final days and her death, is given in Confessions Book IX, 8-12. He expresses his gratitude for her life:

“I will not speak of her gifts, but of thy gift in her; for she neither made herself nor trained herself. Thou didst create her, and neither her father nor her mother knew what kind of being was to come forth from them. And it was the rod of thy Christ, the discipline of thy only Son, that trained her in thy fear, in the house of one of thy faithful ones who was a sound member of thy Church” (IX.8.7).

Centuries later, Monica’s body was brought to Rome, and eventually her relics were interred in a chapel left of the high altar of the Church of St. Augustine in Rome (see below).


IP#168 Eric Sammons – Holiness for Everyone on Inside the Pages

“Holiness for Everyone: The Practical Spirituality of St. Josemaria Escriva” is fantastic book which offers a path to living out holiness in our everyday lives.  Eric Sammons breaks open St. Josemaria’s teachings and presents useful steps at the end of each chapter to  foster incorporation of those daily disciplines into our spiritual practice.  Wonderful food for the journey.

You can find the book here

From the description:

Strive for your own personal holiness as you implement your daily plan to:
–Be a Contemplative in the Midst of a Busy World
–Live a Life of Prayer
–Recognize the Presence of God
–Make a Plan of Life
–Make Your Work a Way to Heaven

Holiness for Everyone will inspire you as it sets your feet on the path to sainthood.

“Eric Sammons shows that St. Josemaria has recovered the most powerful truth of classic Christianity and restated it in a way that is compelling for men and women of our time.”
—From the Foreword by Scott Hahn

Radical surrender and giving up all to follow Jesus: The camel and the eye of the needle – reflections from Msgr. John Esseff – Discerning Hearts

Msgr. Esseff shares some of the experience from the on-going seminarian retreat in Cleveland, OH. He reflects on the gospel reading which presents the teaching of Jesus about how it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. What are we to make of that? How attached are we to our “things” and money? What holds us bound? How do we obtain authentic freedom? What is the unique surrender of the priest? What is the gift?

St. Bernard of Clairvaux, mystical doctor of the Church…grace is all we need

St. Bernard of Clairvaux, a great mystical doctor of the Church.  What a heart for Jesus and the Blessed Virgin (I’m sure he still has).

“There are those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge
That is curiosity.
There are those who seek knowledge to be known by others
That is vanity.
There are those who seek knowledge in order to serve
That is love.”
St. Bernard

St. Bernard of Clairvaux, was a Cisterian monk, who lived in France in the 12th century.  Living at a time when the great gothic cathedrals where born, St. Bernard, advocated for simplicity and austerity in life.  He was concerned about the temptations of worldly things and desires.  He wished to focus solely on the love of Christ and the Blessed Mother; everything else was folly.
To read more about the details of his life you can visit here.

What captures my heart is his legacy of prayer and spiritual writings.  He truly deserves the title Doctor of the Church. What a feast he has left us!  Pope John Paul II has said that if we wish to learn to pray, look to the Mystical Doctors…he truly is one of those special souls.  There is so much, where can one begin?  Begin with Mary. Ask the Blessed Mother, she will lead you through his teachings.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux composed the famous prayer to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary known as The Memorare


REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

St. Bernard on the Blessed Mother

St. Bernard on Holy Repentance

Highly recommended reading introduction to St. Bernard would be – “The Fulfillment of All Desire” by Ralph Martin

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary – The Conquest of Death! – Discerning Hearts

Msgr. Esseff reflects on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary and it’s meaning for our lives and destiny.  He brings forth from the liturgy of the day the Sacred Scripture a teaching which begins with fall of man, but the redemption brought about by Jesus Christ.  And because of His Resurrection, death has no power over us.  He explains this by sharing the death of his own sister and the prayer of his mother.  Msgr. Esseff explains Mary sinlessness as the Immaculate Conception and the purpose of the Assumption.  He discusses Chap. 12 of the Book of Revelation, as well as Our Lady of Guadalupe and Fatima and the message for us today.  Msgr. Esseff talks about our struggles with death, not only our own, but also those of our loved ones.  How we hold on sometimes to tightly to those we should let go to the Father, because of our own fears and desires…and possibly our selfishness.  We need to remember  the joys of Eternal Life and the role of Mary, our Mother, who helps us with the transition.  Be not afraid!

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