USCCA7 – The Good News: God Has Sent His Son – U. S. Catholic Catechism for Adults w/ Arch. George Lucas

Catholic Spiritual Formation - Catholic Spiritual Direction 3Archbishop Lucas offers insights on the US Catholic Catechism for Adults Chapter 7:

We ponder Christ’s person and his earthly words and deeds in terms of mystery.  His earthly life reveals his hidden divine Sonship and plan for our salvation.  His parables, miracles, sermons, and wisdom sayings help us “to see our God made visible, and so we are caught up in love of the God we cannot see” (First Preface for Christmas).

The Most Reverend George J. Lucas leads the Archdiocese of Omaha. 

For other episodes in the visit our Archbishop George Lucas page

This programs is based on:

 

More information can be found here.

We wish to thank the USCCB for the permissions granted for use of  relevant material used in this series.
Also we wish to thank Chuck Adams and Miriam Gutierrez  for their vocal talents in this episode.

Christmas Day – The Advent journey comes to an end with Msgr. John Esseff

Reading 2HEB 1:1-6

Brothers and sisters:
In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways
to our ancestors through the prophets;
in these last days, he has spoken to us through the Son,
whom he made heir of all things
and through whom he created the universe,
who is the refulgence of his glory,
the very imprint of his being,
and who sustains all things by his mighty word.
When he had accomplished purification from sins,
he took his seat at the right hand of the Majesty on high,
as far superior to the angels
as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

For to which of the angels did God ever say:
You are my son; this day I have begotten you?
Or again:
I will be a father to him, and he shall be a son to me?
And again, when he leads the firstborn into the world, he says:
Let all the angels of God worship him.

The Gospel  JN 1:1-5, 9-14 

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.
He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.
And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only Son,
full of grace and truth.

 

IP#3 Sr. Ann Shields – “To Be Like Jesus” on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

It was great to talk with Sr. Ann Shields, of “Food for the Journey”, about her new book “To Be Like Jesus – Inspiration From the Gospel of Luke”  .  In her maternal nurturing way she encourages us to “feed” on the great gift of God’s Holy Word.

You can find the book here.

From the book description:

God’s plan for your life is not as mysterious or unknowable as you might think. As Sister Ann Shields demonstrates in her probing reflections on the Gospel of Luke, the key to knowing what God is asking of you is to discover, first, who God is. If you are willing to spend time daily in his presence, ruminating on his word as it comes to you in Scripture, he will reveal himself and help you make the choices that conform to his will for your life.

To Be Like Jesus will enable you to distinguish God’s voice from the voices, noise and distractions of the world. As you let his word soak into your soul, you’ll find there the power to surrender to him and play your part in building his kingdom.

 

AR13 – St. Teresa of Avila and Trust – Advent Reflections with Deacon James Keating Ph.D.

St. Teresa of Avila said the following: “Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing frighten you. All things are passing. God only has changed us. Patience gains all things, who as God, wants nothing. God alone suffices.” Here, St. Teresa is telling us, in bold and beautiful language, many of the things we cling to in this time will pass away. We are called to cling to one thing and one thing only: and that is that God alone suffices. God is the source of all that we need. God is the one who never forgets us. God is the one who gives us our deepest heart’s desire: and that is communion with Him. This Advent, let’s trust God. Let’s trust that He’s giving us all that we need, and that if we let Him love us to the depths of our heart, we will want for nothing, and that the result of such reception of love will be peace; a peace that no one can take away; a peace that no time can change. A peace that will never pass.

Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., 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 “The Heart of Hope.”

Christmas Eve – The 4th Saturday of Advent The Retreat Continues w/ Msgr. Esseff

Reading 1 2 Sm 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 16

When King David was settled in his palace,
and the LORD had given him rest from his enemies on every side,
he said to Nathan the prophet,
“Here I am living in a house of cedar,
while the ark of God dwells in a tent!”
Nathan answered the king,
“Go, do whatever you have in mind,
for the LORD is with you.”
But that night the LORD spoke to Nathan and said:
“Go, tell my servant David, ‘Thus says the LORD:
Should you build me a house to dwell in?“‘It was I who took you from the pasture
and from the care of the flock
to be commander of my people Israel.
I have been with you wherever you went,
and I have destroyed all your enemies before you.
And I will make you famous like the great ones of the earth.
I will fix a place for my people Israel;
I will plant them so that they may dwell in their place
without further disturbance.
Neither shall the wicked continue to afflict them as they did of old,
since the time I first appointed judges over my people Israel.
I will give you rest from all your enemies.
The LORD also reveals to you
that he will establish a house for you.
And when your time comes and you rest with your ancestors,
I will raise up your heir after you, sprung from your loins,
and I will make his Kingdom firm.
I will be a father to him,
and he shall be a son to me.
Your house and your Kingdom shall endure forever before me;
your throne shall stand firm forever.’”

Gospel

Zechariah his father, filled with the Holy Spirit, prophesied, saying:

“Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel;
for he has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty Savior,
born of the house of his servant David.
Through his prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hand of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight
all the days of our life.
You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
to give his people knowledge of salvation
by the forgiveness of their sins.
In the tender compassion of our God
the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
and to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

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;

IP#296 Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J. – God So Loved the World pt. 2 on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

We continue with part 2 of our discussion with Fr. Spitzer….

For part 1 of our conversation visit here

In our conversation with Fr. Robert Spitzer, S.J., we enter into “God So Loved the World: Clues to Our Transcendent Fr.-Robert-SpitzerDestiny from the Revelation of Jesus“, which is the third installment of his “Happiness, Suffering, and Transcendence” series. Not only is Fr. Spitzer a brilliant theologian, but he has the heart of caring pastor who understands the needs of the questing minds of so many lost and wandering souls.  With an extraordinary grasp of philosophy, theology and cosmology, he is able to take complicated concepts and mix them with joy, beauty, and a grace-filled enthusiasm without doing damage to the subject matter.  In this volume, he addresses “What is LOVE”, “Who is LOVE”, and maybe in an even deeper way, “The why of LOVE”.  Of course we know, “God is Love”, but God as a Father?  God as a Son?  God as Holy Spirit?  How is the mind to grasp such penetrating Truth?  And more importantly, how is the heart to perceive this eternal divine mystery?

We were able to meet with Fr. Spitzer for this discussion at his offices located at the Magis Center in Garden Grove, CA.

God So Loved the WorldYou can find the book here

From the book description:

In this volume the brilliant Fr. Spitzer probes in detail the major question that if an intelligent Creator God – manifest in logical proofs, scientific evidence, and near death experiences – who is the source of our desire for the sacred, and the transcendental desires for truth, love, goodness, and beauty, would want to reveal himself to us personally and ultimately.

He then shows this is reasonable not only in light of our interior experience of a transcendent Reality, but also that a completely intelligent Reality is completely positive–implying its possession of a completely positive virtue – namely “love”, defined as agape.

This leads to the question whether God might be unconditionally loving, and if he is, whether he would want to make a personal appearance to us in a perfect act of empathy – face to face. After examining the rational evidence for this, he reviews all world religions to see if there is one that reveals such a God – an unconditionally loving God who would want to be with us in perfect empathy. This leads us to the extraordinary claim of Jesus Christ who taught that God is “Abba”, the unconditionally loving Father.

Jesus’ claims go further, saying that He is also unconditional love, and that his mission is to give us that love through an act of complete self-sacrifice. He also claims to be the exclusive Son of the Father, sent by God to save the world, and the one who possesses divine power and authority. The rest of the book does an in-depth examination of the evidence for Jesus’ unconditional love of sinners, his teachings, his miracles, and his rising from the dead. As well as the evidence for Jesus’ gift of the Holy Spirit that enabled his disciples to perform miracles in his name, and evidence for the presence of the Holy Spirit today.

What is the relationship with your Dad? – The 4th Friday of Advent….The Retreat Continues w/ Msgr. Esseff

Reading 1 Mal 3:1-4, 23-24

Thus says the Lord GOD:
Lo, I am sending my messenger
to prepare the way before me;
And suddenly there will come to the temple
the LORD whom you seek,
And the messenger of the covenant whom you desire.
Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.
But who will endure the day of his coming?
And who can stand when he appears?
For he is like the refiner’s fire,
or like the fuller’s lye.
He will sit refining and purifying silver,
and he will purify the sons of Levi,
Refining them like gold or like silver
that they may offer due sacrifice to the LORD.
Then the sacrifice of Judah and Jerusalem
will please the LORD,
as in the days of old, as in years gone by.Lo, I will send you
Elijah, the prophet,
Before the day of the LORD comes,
the great and terrible day,
To turn the hearts of the fathers to their children,
and the hearts of the children to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike
the land with doom.

Gospel Lk 1:57-66

When the time arrived for Elizabeth to have her child
she gave birth to a son.
Her neighbors and relatives heard
that the Lord had shown his great mercy toward her,
and they rejoiced with her.
When they came on the eighth day to circumcise the child,
they were going to call him Zechariah after his father,
but his mother said in reply,
“No. He will be called John.”
But they answered her,
“There is no one among your relatives who has this name.”
So they made signs, asking his father what he wished him to be called.
He asked for a tablet and wrote, “John is his name,”
and all were amazed.
Immediately his mouth was opened, his tongue freed,
and he spoke blessing God.
Then fear came upon all their neighbors,
and all these matters were discussed
throughout the hill country of Judea.
All who heard these things took them to heart, saying,
“What, then, will this child be?
For surely the hand of the Lord was with him.”

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;

The Spiritual Struggle and Remedy – Begin Again /w Fr. Timothy Gallagher – Ep. 5

The Spiritual Struggle and Remedy – Begin Again /w Fr. Timothy Gallagher – Ep. 5 from Discerning Hearts on Vimeo.

BA6 - "Refuse to Accept Discouragement" - Begin Again: The Spiritual Legacy of Ven. Bruno Lanteri with Fr. Timothy Gallagher

In this episode, Fr. Timothy Gallagher discusses the importance of the “spiritual struggles” in the life Ven. Lanteri. Outwardly, he was faced with a hostile secular climate. He also experienced tremendous physical struggles, as well as an inner resistance to certain virtues. Prayer, meditation, reflection and study became a remedy for Ven. Lanteri. Fr. Gallagher reflects on the tremendous gift of this spiritual program for us and how it can transform our lives today!

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

You can obtain just the audio podcast if you would prefer

For a copy of the Spiritual Counsels of Ven. Lanteri visit here:

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How Faithful Are You? The 4th Wednesday of Advent The Retreat Continues with Msgr. John Esseff

Reading 1 Sg 2:8-14

Hark! my lover–here he comes
springing across the mountains,
leaping across the hills.
My lover is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
Here he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattices.
My lover speaks; he says to me,
“Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one,
and come!
“For see, the winter is past,
the rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of pruning the vines has come,
and the song of the dove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.
Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one,
and come!“O my dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the secret recesses of the cliff,
Let me see you,
let me hear your voice,
For your voice is sweet,
and you are lovely.”

Gospel Lk 1:39-45 

Mary set out in those days
and traveled to the hill country in haste
to a town of Judah,
where she entered the house of Zechariah
and greeted Elizabeth.
When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting,
the infant leaped in her womb,
and Elizabeth, filled with the Holy Spirit,
cried out in a loud voice and said,
“Most blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb.
And how does this happen to me,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
For at the moment the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the infant in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed are you who believed
that what was spoken to you by the Lord
would be fulfilled.”

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;

What is your relationship with Mary? The 4th Tuesday of Advent, The Retreat Continues with Msgr. John Esseff

Reading 1  IS 7:10-14

The LORD spoke to Ahaz:
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God;
let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered,
“I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!”
Then Isaiah said:
Listen, O house of David!
Is it not enough for you to weary men,
must you also weary my God?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign:
the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and shall name him Emmanuel.

Gospel LK 1:26-38

In the sixth month,
the angel Gabriel was sent from God
to a town of Galilee called Nazareth,
to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph,
of the house of David,
and the virgin’s name was Mary.
And coming to her, he said,
“Hail, full of grace! The Lord is with you.”
But she was greatly troubled at what was said
and pondered what sort of greeting this might be.
Then the angel said to her,
“Do not be afraid, Mary,
for you have found favor with God.
Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son,
and you shall name him Jesus.
He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High,
and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father,
and he will rule over the house of Jacob forever,
and of his Kingdom there will be no end.”

But Mary said to the angel,
“How can this be,
since I have no relations with a man?”
And the angel said to her in reply,
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore the child to be born
will be called holy, the Son of God.
And behold, Elizabeth, your relative,
has also conceived a son in her old age,
and this is the sixth month for her who was called barren;
for nothing will be impossible for God.”

Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord.
May it be done to me according to your word.”
Then the angel departed from her.