IP#215 Joseph Pearce – Candles in the Dark on Inside the Pages

Joseph Pearce is one of my all time favorite writers!!!  What a joy to speak to him about “Candles in the Dark:  The Authorized Biography of Fr. Richard Ho Lung and the Joseph-Pearce-1Missionaries of the Poor”.    Fr. Ho Lung is a fascinating figure:  poet, teacher, mystic, and musician (reggae, no less).   The child of Chinese Buddhist immigrants, this Jamaican priest is the founder of one of the fastest-growing religious orders in the world, whose mission is to serve the poorest of the poor.  With all those elements found in his story, Joseph Pearce, once again, paints an incredibly compelling portrait.  As demonstrated in his numerous other biographies, which include the lives of Oscar Wilde, J.R.R Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton and others (my favorite is “Old Thunder” on the life of Hilaire Belloc), Joseph captures the passion found in the heart of his subject.  This work is highly recommended!

Candles-in-the-Dark

 

You can find the book here

From the book description:

Pearce takes us from his childhood in Jamaica, the son of impoverished Chinese immigrants, to his education and ordination as a Jesuit priest. He shows us the glamour of Fr. Ho Lung’s life as a celebrity musician, and the deadly danger of missionary work in Kingston s grittiest ghettos. He tells the story of one who has ascended the heights of worldly success, descended into the depths of suffering and discovered a joy there that none can take away.

In the tradition of Malcolm Muggeridge s classic documentary of Mother Teresa,Something Beautiful for God,Candles in the Dark takes us to a place of unimaginable poverty…and shows us the joy that comes from sacrifice, the irresistible attractiveness of holiness, and the power of God still at work in the world today.

SOP4 – Who Are We? Jacob and Wrestling with God – The School of Prayer w/ Deacon James Keating – Discerning Hearts

Episode 4- The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI –  Jacob wrestling with Angel.  The mystery of the name.   We have to let God ask us who we are or will you resist and remain isolated?  Our prayer is only going to be fruitful if we surrender ourselves to the question…who are you?  Like  Jacob, once we give over our name then God can begin to transfigure that name, or in other words, our persons to be more inline with His will, His love, His power.  Eventually, in prayer, we have to enter into the struggle…what is really going on in our souls, in our hearts and are our wrestling with God’s love.    We yield our identity to God’s love.

The wounding of Jacob by the Angel.  It is the symbol of the wound, the opening of the self, which symbolizes an entryway to vulnerability…God is deeply affecting us.  God’s love, concern, and fascination with us is how He enters into our being and “wounds” us.  If we could “be still” and allow Him to love us, He becomes victorious within us.

The name we yield to God is our heart…the core of our being.  At Baptism, we give over our name, so we give the power over to God over us.  How the “wrestling occurs” and if we stay in it long enough God “wounds” us, into His hands we commend our “spirits”.  How does Jesus transform even this event?

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

From  Pope Benedict’s 4 audience on prayer:

Dear brothers and sisters, our entire lives are like this long night of struggle and prayer, spent in desiring and asking for God’s blessing, which cannot be grabbed or won through our own strength but must be received with humility from him as a gratuitous gift that ultimately allows us to recognize the Lord’s face. And when this happens, our entire reality changes; we receive a new name and God’s blessing. And, what is more: Jacob, who receives a new name, and becomes Israel, also gives a new name to the place where he wrestled with God, where he prayed; he renames it Penuel, which means: “The Face of God”. With this name he recognizes that this place is filled with the Lord’s presence, making that land sacred and thus leaving a memorial of that mysterious encounter with God. Whoever allows himself to be blessed by God, who abandons himself to God, who permits himself to be transformed by God, renders a blessing to the world. May the Lord help us to fight the good fight of the faith (cf. 1 Tim 6:12; Tim 4:7) and to ask, in prayer, for his blessing, that he may renew us in the expectation of beholding his Face. Thank you.

IPF logo small ROHC#6 Deacon James Keating – Heart of Hope part 6 from Resting On the Heart of Christ

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

Communion with Christ ROHC#6 Deacon James Keating – Heart of Hope part 6 from Resting On the Heart of Christ

Don’t forget to pickup a copy of “Communion with Christ” , it is one of the best audio sets on prayer…ever!

Check out Deacon Keating’s “Discerning Heart” page

IP#213 Joan Wester Anderson – An Angel to Watch Over Me and Angelic Tales on Inside the Pages

What a delight to talk once again to Joan Wester Anderson. It would be hard to find a more gracious soul than Joan’s, and to haveJoan Wester Anderson a chance to have a conversation about the angels…well it doesn’t get much better! Joan is the author of a dozen or more books (many bestsellers!), and her work making known the angelic relam are always a delight.  It was difficult to choose which one to discuss first, but we gave it go.  I’ve never been disappointed in her writing, and I highly recommended any of the titles found in this post (and yes, I’ve read them all…over and over again).

IP#212 Fr. Joseph Fessio – Married Priests? on Inside the Pages

“Married Priests? 30 Crucial Questions about Celibacy” is the go to book when seeking answers to just about everything related to the  Church’s teaching and exprience in regards to priestly celibacy.  With Fr. Joseph Fessio S.J., Fr.-Fessioeditor and founder of Ignatius Press the publisher of this work, we discuss several of those questions.  Why do Catholic priests not marry? How can celibacy possibly be so important to the Church, if Jesus did not even require it of his apostles?   How does this discipline play into the discernment for this particular vocation?  We also discuss the vocation of Marriage, and the state of Church in America from Fr. Fessio’s prespective.  It is always a joy to have the opportunity to talk with Fr. Fessio.

Married-Priests

You can find the book here

From the book description:

In recent years the arguments in favor of openness to married priests seem to be multiplying. Some object that celibacy is not a dogma but only a discipline that originated in the Middle Ages; that it is contrary to nature and hence harmful for a man’s psycho-physical equilibrium and the maturation of the human personality. And then, if priests could marry, there would be an increase in vocations.

In this book, seventeen various experts make contributions, responding to these and other burning objections, allowing the reader to discover the value that celibacy has today in the lives of thousands of priests and seminarians.

Among the key topics this book discusses are: History of Priestly Celibacy, What Theology Says on the Celibacy, Emotions and Sexuality, Discerning and Fostering a Vocation, Celibacy in the Life of a Priest, Celibacy and Inculturation, Papal teachings on Celibacy from Pius XI to Benedict XVI.

SOP3 – The Mystery of Intercessory Prayer and God’s Great Mercy – The School of Prayer w/ Deacon James Keating – Discerning Hearts

Episode 3- The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI –  Abraham the great Patriarch who prays in intercession for Sodom and Gomorrah.  The mystery of intercessory prayer and God’s great mercy.  When we persist in prayer, like Abraham, the more we come to know God and trust in His love for us.  How sin corrupts our capacity to receive God’s movement of protection and love.  How the sacrifice of Christ opens the door to the mystery.  If we can learn how to pray, then we learn how to be loved.  How do we pray for others?

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

From  Pope Benedict’s 3 audience on prayer:

This is the power of prayer. For through intercession, the prayer to God for the salvation of others, the desire for salvation which God nourishes for sinful man is demonstrated and expressed. Evil, in fact, cannot be accepted, it must be identified and destroyed through punishment: The destruction of Sodom had exactly this function.

IPF logo small ROHC#6 Deacon James Keating – Heart of Hope part 6 from Resting On the Heart of Christ

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

Communion with Christ ROHC#6 Deacon James Keating – Heart of Hope part 6 from Resting On the Heart of Christ

Don’t forget to pickup a copy of “Communion with Christ” , it is one of the best audio sets on prayer…ever!

Check out Deacon Keating’s “Discerning Heart” page

IP#208 Dr. Matthew Bunson – Pope Francis on Inside the Pages

Yet another very special conversation with good friend and Discerning Hearts contributor, Dr. Matthew Bunson about his new book “Pope Francis”.  He once againMatthew-Bunson demonstrates why he is one of our leading Church historians! No one articulates a moment with more grace and vision, than Dr. Bunson. More than just a “biography” of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina (which is offered beautifully in this volume), he places, in context, the extraordinary events and emotions leading to the election of the 265th successor of St. Peter…Pope Francis. The who, what, where, why and how are offered in vivid compelling detail. From the moment of Pope Benedict XVI’s earth shaking resignation and its implications, to the Holy Spirit led deliberations of the Cardinals, Dr. Bunson masterfully sets the stage for the first presentation to the world of Pope Francis on the loggia of St. Peter’s. We get the first in-depth look at the life and times of this “son of St. Ignatius”, the challenges, controversies, triumphs of his life thus far, and what we might expect given Bergoglio’s response to his election as the “bishop of Rome”. Matthew Bunson is a joy to read…don’t miss this definitive account of this truly remarkable story.

Pope-Francis-bookYou can find the book here

From the book description:

Get inside access to the entire history-making event, from the startling resignation of Pope Benedict through the gathering of Cardinals for the Conclave and the installation of this Pope of the people.

Examine Pope Francis the man – his background, his ideas, his mission, and his challenges and opportunities as our new pope – including 16 pages of full color photos from Pope Francis’ past and present.

“I want to ask you to walk together, and take care of one another …We need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others.” Pope Francis

SOP2 – Faith and Reason in the Life of Prayer – The School of Prayer w/ Deacon James Keating – Discerning Hearts

Episode 2 – The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI –  Faith and reason in the life of prayer.  Allowing God to effect our minds, as well as our hearts.  If you let God close you will be free…to let him in so close that God prays in you.  Letting God’s love be the norm of our culture…in the other and in the poor.  The role of silence in prayer and posture of kneeling.

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

From  Pope Benedict’s 2nd audience on prayer:

A look at recent history reveals the failure of the predictions of those who, in the age of the Enlightenment, foretold the disappearance of religions and who exalted absolute reason, detached from faith, a reason that was to dispel the shadows of religious dogmatism and was to dissolve the “world of the sacred”, restoring to the human being freedom, dignity and autonomy from God. The experience of the past century, with the tragedy of the two World Wars, disrupted the progress that autonomous reason, man without God, seemed to have been able to guarantee.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “In the act of creation, God calls every being from nothingness into existence…. Even after losing through his sin his likeness to God, man remains an image of his Creator, and retains the desire for the one who calls him into existence. All religions bear witness to man’s essential search for God” (n. 2566). We could say — as I explained in my last Catecheses — that there has been no great civilization, from the most distant epoch to our day, which has not been religious.

IPF logo small ROHC#6 Deacon James Keating – Heart of Hope part 6 from Resting On the Heart of Christ

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

Communion with Christ ROHC#6 Deacon James Keating – Heart of Hope part 6 from Resting On the Heart of Christ

Don’t forget to pickup a copy of “Communion with Christ” , it is one of the best audio sets on prayer…ever!

Check out Deacon Keating’s “Discerning Heart” page

“O humdrum days, filled with darkness…” a reflection w/ Dr. Anthony Lilles – Discerning Hearts

AnthonyDr. Anthony Lilles offers us a tremendous reflection based on a particular passage found in St. Faustina’s diary, #1373.  He shares what it meant when she wrote it in the context of the world in 1937, and what it now means in the  world in 2013.  But more than that, he helps us to see how we can live this out in our everyday lives.

From the Diary of St. Faustina:

1373 O humdrum days, filled with darkness, I look upon you with a solemn and festive eye. 

This is the scene Dr. Lilles refers to in is talk.

1377 November 5. This morning, five unemployed men came to the gate and insisted on being let in. When Sister N. had argued with them for quite a while and could not make them go away, she then came to the chapel to find Mother [Irene], who told me to go. When I was still a good way from the gate I could hear them banging loudly. At first, I was overcome with doubt and fear, and I did not know whether to open the gate or, like Sister N., to answer them through the little window. But suddenly I heard a voice in my soul saying, Go and open the gate and talk to them as sweetly as you talk to Me.   I opened the gate at once and approached the most menacing of them and began to speak to them with such sweetness and calm that they did not know what to do with themselves. And they too began to speak gently and said, “Well, it’s too bad that the convent can’t give us work.” And they went away peacefully. I felt clearly that Jesus, whom I had received in Holy Communion just an hour before, had worked in their hearts through me. Oh, how good it is to act under God’s inspiration!

faustina_02The opening prayer from St. Faustina’s diary #1411 offered by Dr. Lilles:

O Divine Spirit, Spirit of truth and of light,
Dwell ever in my soul by Your divine grace.
May Your breath dissipate the darkness,
And in this light may good deeds be multiplied.
O Divine Spirit, Spirit of love and of mercy,
Who pour the balm of trust into my heart,
Your grace confirms my soul in good,
Giving it the invincible power of constancy.
O Divine Spirit, Spirit of peace and of joy,
You invigorate my thirsting heart
And pour into it the living fountain of God’s love,
Making it intrepid for battle.
O Divine Spirit, my soul’s most welcome guest,
For my part, I want to remain faithful to You;
Both in days of joy and in the agony of suffering,
I want always, O Spirit of God, to live in Your presence.
O Divine Spirit, who pervade my whole being
And give me to know Your Divine Threefold Life,
Initiating me into Your Divine Essence,
Thus united to You, I will live a life without end.