IP#237 Fr. Joseph Fessio S.J. – The Transforming Power of Faith on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

What a delight to speak once again to Fr. Joseph Fessio, this time about “The Transforming Power of Faith” by Pope Benedict Fr.-FessioXVI.  Ignatius Press has once again brought to us a wonderful compilation of the final sixteen talks given at his weekly audience from October 2012 to the end of his papacy in February 2013.  These talks explore how and why faith is relevant in the contemporary world.

In this discussion, Fr. Fessio offers his insights on the pontificate of Pope Francis, a brother in the Jesuit order.  He also addresses an issue concerning the work of Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar as found in his book “Dare We Hope That All May Be Saved”, which has, in some cases recently, been mistakenly understood and represented to others.  He breaks open a bit Fr. von Balthasar’s teachings on hell, the mercy of God, and the proper understanding of “hope”.  Another engaging conversation with the ever fascinating Fr. Fessio.

Transfroming-Power-of-FaithYou can find the book here

From the book description:

“Having faith in the Lord is not something that involves solely our intelligence, the area of intellectual knowledge; rather, it is a change that involves our life, our whole self: feelings, heart, intelligence, will, corporeity, emotions, and human relationships. With faith everything truly changes.”

So Pope Benedict XVI introduced his catecheses for the Year of Faith, a series of sixteen talks given at his weekly audience from October 2012 to the end of his papacy in February 2013. These talks explore how and why faith is relevant in the contemporary world. How can we come to certainty about things that cannot be calculated or scientifically confirmed? What does God’s revelation mean for our daily lives? How can the hunger of the human heart be fulfilled? Offering the guidance of biblical exegesis, pastoral exhortation, and brotherly encouragement, Pope Benedict seeks to answer these questions and many others.

Faith Check 11 – Canon of Scripture

Canon of Scripture

On this Faith Check, let’s talk a little about how we got God’s Holy Word.

The early Christians relied on the Greek translation of the Old Testament, which is the version most often quoted in the New Testament and the one Jesus probably heard growing up.  This version also includes the books that Protestants call the “Apocrypha” and typically don’t include in their Bibles.

It took a while for the Catholic Church to compile the New Testament.  Some books such as the 4 gospels were accepted by all, and others, such as the spurious gospels one hears about in The DaVinci Code were rejected by all. However, other books were completely orthodox but disputed, including some that weren’t ultimately included such as The Didache and others that were like Hebrews and Revelation.

The “canon”, which is the list of books that belong in the Bible, was determined primarily to say which books could and could not be read at the liturgy, and was largely settled by a series of Church councils approved by the Pope and bishops in the late 300s.1

Hence, when you trust in the inspiration of the Bible, you are trusting a Spirit-led decision of the Roman Catholic Church.

1 –  Council of Rome under Pope St. Damasus I [A.D. 382], Council of Hippo [A.D. 393], Council of Carthage [A.D. 397],
Epistle of Pope St. Innocent I to Bishop Exuperius [A.D. 405]

BKL#51 – BEWARE: The Danger of Self-Righteous Prayer – Building a Kingdom of Love w/ Msgr. John Esseff – Discerning Hearts

Msgr.-John-EsseffShow 51 ” Building a Kingdom of Love” –   BEWARE:  The Danger of  Self-Righteous Prayer

Msgr. Esseff reflects on the teaching of the Sacred Scriptures and on how we pray:

Gospel     LK 18:9-14

Jesus addressed this parable
to those who were convinced of their own righteousness
and despised everyone else.
“Two people went up to the temple area to pray;
one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself,
‘O God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of humanity —
greedy, dishonest, adulterous — or even like this tax collector.
I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’
But the tax collector stood off at a distance
and would not even raise his eyes to heaven
but beat his breast and prayed,
‘O God, be merciful to me a sinner.’
I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former;
for whoever exalts himself will be humbled,
and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.”

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

 

IP#235 Fr. R. Scott Hurd – When Faith Feels Fragile on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

It’s a rare believer that doesn’t feel  challenged at times in the area of faith.  For those occasions, Fr. R. Scott Hurd provides wiseFr-Scott counsel and encouragement in “When Faith Feels Fragile:  Help for the Wary, Weak, and Wandering.”  Fr. Scott has an engaging and pastorally sensitive approach to many of the common issues that cause us to stumble on the journey of faith.  A great book even if you feel your faith is strong, and to passed on to those you may know who are struggling.

When-Feels-Fragile

You can find the book here

At some point in our life, our faith is tested. It can feel like God is hidden and out of reach. We wonder if we can we count on God’s presence. When Faith Feels Fragile teaches us how to recognize the many ways that God touches us in the course of our daily routine. Drawing on the practical wisdom of life’s experience, Father Scott Hurd explores the deeper spiritual meaning by finding parallels in Scripture and Christian spirituality. We learn how to “open ourselves up to the gift of faith and hold it close to our hearts.”

-His Eminence Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington

 

LFT-10 Living a Life of Virtue Prayer – Listening For Truth with Deacon James Keating episode 10 – Discerning Hearts

Keating-2Episode 10-Listening For Truth Practical ways of living a life of virtue prayer…one way to listen to friends and even enemies to hear the truth God may be wanting to reveal to us.  The wounds that surface in the healing process. The interior healing that can occur and who should help with that process.

Deacon James Keating, PhD., the director of Theological Formation for the Institute for Priestly Formation, located at Creighton University, in Omaha, is making available to ”Discerning Hearts” and all who listen, his series of programs entitled “Listening For Truth”.

Listening for Truth leads men and women in a search for a fuller experience of God that begins in prayer, grows in the rediscovery of our spiritual being, and grounds itself in the truth of Jesus Christ. A presentation of the Christian life as an engagement of the whole person — body, mind, and soul — in the challenge of daily living.

 

 

IPF logo small WOM#1   Deacon James Keating – Way of Mystery episode 1 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 WOM#1   Deacon James Keating – Way of Mystery episode 1 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

Faith Check 10 – Reliability of Oral Tradition

Reliability of Oral Tradition


In the modern world, oral means of communication are deemed inherently unreliable as we’ve all heard of the game of telephone where a phrase is whispered around a circle and it comes out nothing like the original.

But scholars have shown that in the ancient world, and to this day in some places, oral traditions were memorized and passed down to multiple generations without alteration.1

When the apostles went out to teach the Faith, they did not whisper it in secret, but proclaimed it publicly to the multitudes.  Oral tradition was the normative means of passing on the faith, as St. Paul’s says in 2 Timothy 2:2, “what you have heard from me before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”

There is no evidence that a widespread change in belief took place among the early Christians.  Quite the opposite, at the end of the second century St. Irenaeus wrote that while the Church had spread over the entire known world, the Faith had been maintained in tact everywhere,2 something only attributable to the Holy Spirit.

1 –  e.g., . Kenneth Bailey, “Informal, Controlled, Oral Tradition and the Synoptic Gospels” Asia Journal of Theology, 5.1
(1991)

2 –  Against Heresies 1:10:2 [ca. A.D. 180]


BKL#50 – On Prayer – Building a Kingdom of Love w/ Msgr. John Esseff

Msgr.-John-Esseff

Show 50 ” Building a Kingdom of Love” –   On Prayer

Msgr. Esseff reflects on the teaching of the Sacred Scriptures and on how we pray:

Gospel       LK 18:1-8

Jesus told his disciples a parable
about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.
He said, “There was a judge in a certain town
who neither feared God nor respected any human being.
And a widow in that town used to come to him and say,
‘Render a just decision for me against my adversary.’
For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought,
‘While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being,
because this widow keeps bothering me
I shall deliver a just decision for her
lest she finally come and strike me.'”
The Lord said, “Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.
Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones
who call out to him day and night?
Will he be slow to answer them?
I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily.
But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”

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. Teresa of Avila and the Power of Prayer – A Reflection with Msgr. John Esseff – Discerning Hearts

Msgr. John Esseff

Msgr. Esseff reflects on the life and teachings of St. Teresa of Avila.  He also reflects on the scriptures and the “Our Father”

St.-Teresa-of-Avila-Peace

Faith Check 9 – The Place of the Bible in the Church

The Place of the Bible in the Church

You know, as Catholics we believe that the Bible is God’s Holy and Inspired Word.

However, we don’t hold that our Lord intended the Bible alone to be our sole teacher in the Christian faith.pope-gospel

Just think how easily the meaning of our e-mails can be misinterpreted, sometimes causing great strife between people.  Then take the Bible, which is infinitely longer, more complex, and written over a millennia ago in a world very different from our own, and we can begin to see why Jesus wouldn’t leave His teaching to just a book.

The Church looks to what it calls Sacred Tradition—which is rooted in things like Church Councils, Creeds, and the early Fathers of the Church—to safeguard our interpretation of God’s Word.  All of the Catholic Church’s beliefs can be traced back to the earliest Christians.

Our Lord also chose the twelve apostles to go out and make disciples of all nations1 and promised them the assistance of the Holy Spirit.2 The apostles ordained bishops who have succeeded them down to this present day.3 The Catholic Church is a living voice that rings out for all to hear, proclaiming and interpreting God’s Word to every generation.4

1 –  Mt. 28:20

2 –  Jn. 14:26

3 –  cf. Acts 14:23; 1 Tim. 3:1-8; 2 Tim. 1:6; 2:2; Tit. 1:5; Js. 5:14; 1 Pt. 5:1; Jd. 8ff

4 –  cf. 1 Tim. 3:15; Mt. 16:18

BKL#49 – To Have a Spirit of Gratitude and Faithfulness like Mary – Building a Kingdom of Love w/ Msgr. John Esseff

Msgr.-John-EsseffShow 49 ” Building a Kingdom of Love” –   To Have a Spirit of Gratitude and Faithfulness like Mary

Msgr. Esseff reflects on the teaching of the Sacred Scriptures and on the Immaculate Heart of Mary:

Reading   12 KGS 5:14-17

Naaman went down and plunged into the Jordan seven times
at the word of Elisha, the man of God.
His flesh became again like the flesh of a little child,
and he was clean of his leprosy.

Naaman returned with his whole retinue to the man of God.
On his arrival he stood before Elisha and said,
“Now I know that there is no God in all the earth,
except in Israel.
Please accept a gift from your servant.”

Elisha replied, “As the LORD lives whom I serve, I will not take it;”
and despite Naaman’s urging, he still refused.
Naaman said: “If you will not accept,
please let me, your servant, have two mule-loads of earth,
for I will no longer offer holocaust or sacrifice
to any other god except to the LORD.”

Gospel  LK 17:11-19

As Jesus continued his journey to Jerusalem,
he traveled through Samaria and Galilee.
As he was entering a village, ten lepers met him.
They stood at a distance from him and raised their voices, saying,
“Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!”
And when he saw them, he said,
“Go show yourselves to the priests.”
As they were going they were cleansed.
And one of them, realizing he had been healed,
returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;
and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him.
He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply,
“Ten were cleansed, were they not?
Where are the other nine?
Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?”
Then he said to him, “Stand up and go;
your faith has saved you.”

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