BTP-IC21 – Sixth Mansions Chapter 4 – The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila – Beginning to Pray with Dr. Anthony Lilles Podcast

In this episode, Dr. Lilles discusses the Sixth Mansions Chapter 4 of the “Interior Castle” which covers:


1. Courage required by the soul for the divine espousals. 2. Raptures. 3. Rapture caused by the spark of love. 4. The powers and senses absorbed. 5. Mysteries revealed during ecstasies. 6. These mysteries are unspeakable. 7. Moses and the burning bush. 8. Simile of the museum. 9. St. Teresa’svisit to the Duchess of Alva. 10. Joy of the soul during raptures. 11. No imaginary vision. 12. True and false raptures. 13. Revelations of future bliss. 14. The soul’s preparation. 15. The soul blinded by its faults. 16. God ready to give these graces to all. 17. Faculties lost during ecstasy. 18. Spiritual inebriation. 19. Fervour and love of suffering left in the soul. 20. Scandal caused to spectators by such favours. 21. Our Lord’s predilection for such a soul. 22. Illusionary raptures.

For the Discerning Hearts audio recording of the “Interior Castle” by St. Teresa of Avila  you can visit here

St. Teresa of Avila Interior Castle Podcast Anthony Lilles Kris McGregorFor other audio recordings of various spiritual classics you can visit the Discerning Hearts Spiritual Classics page

For other episodes in the series visit
The Discerning Hearts “The Interior Castle with Dr. Anthony Lilles”

Anthony Lilles, S.T.D. is an associate professor and the academic dean of Saint John’s Seminary in Camarillo as well as the academic advisor for Juan Diego House of Priestly Formation for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. For over twenty years he served the Church in Northern Colorado where he joined and eventually served as dean of the founding faculty of Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver. Through the years, clergy, seminarians, religious and lay faithful have benefited from his lectures and retreat conferences on the Carmelite Doctors of the Church and the writings of St. Elisabeth of the Trinity.


AR#2 – Advent Reflections with Deacon James Keating Ph.D. – Discerning Hearts Podcast

AR#2 – Advent Reflections with Deacon James Keating, Ph.D.

We want everything accomplished right away. God only knows that accomplishment follows one thing after another. He knows that it takes time for us to learn what it means to be human, to be those who are loved so deeply by His most Sacred Heart, His mother, and the saints. He knows that it takes time for us to understand that His love, and the reception of His love, is the very origin of our joy. During Advent, we ask even with more fervor, to receive this love. And we ask for the grace to release this joy, especially through the intercession of the saints and the Blessed Mother.

Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., is a professor of Spiritual Theology and serves as a spiritual director at Kenrick Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, MO. 




The Season of Advent – St. Charles Borromeo from the Office of Readings

A pastoral letter by St Charles Borromeo
The season of Advent

Beloved, now is the acceptable time spoken of by the Spirit, the day of salvation, peace and reconciliation: the great season of Advent. This is the time eagerly awaited by the patriarchs and prophets, the time that holy Simeon rejoiced at last to see. This is the season that the Church has always celebrated with special solemnity. We too should always observe it with faith and love, offering praise and thanksgiving to the Father for the mercy and love he has shown us in this mystery. In his infinite love for us, though we were sinners, he sent his only Son to free us from the tyranny of Satan, to summon us to heaven, to welcome us into its innermost recesses, to show us truth itself, to train us in right conduct, to plant within us the seeds of virtue, to enrich us with the treasures of his grace, and to make us children of God and heirs of eternal life.

Each year, as the Church recalls this mystery, she urges us to renew the memory of the great love God has shown us. This holy season teaches us that Christ’s coming was not only for the benefit of his contemporaries; his power has still to be communicated to us all. We shall share his power, if, through holy faith and the sacraments, we willingly accept the grace Christ earned for us, and live by that grace and in obedience to Christ.

The Church asks us to understand that Christ, who came once in the flesh, is prepared to come again. When we remove all obstacles to his presence he will come, at any hour and moment, to dwell spiritually in our hearts, bringing with him the riches of his grace.

In her concern for our salvation, our loving mother the Church uses this holy season to teach us through hymns, canticles and other forms of expression, of voice or ritual, used by the Holy Spirit. She shows us how grateful we should be for so great a blessing, and how to gain its benefit: our hearts should be as much prepared for the coming of Christ as if he were still to come into this world. The same lesson is given us for our imitation by the words and example of the holy men of the Old Testament.


Excerpts from the English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) © 1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.


BKL#380 – Are you prepared for the Lord’s coming? – Building a Kingdom of Love w/ Msgr. John Esseff – Discerning Hearts

Msgr. Esseff asks the question, “Are you prepared for the Lord’s coming?”  He challenges us to take a good look at our prayer lives and to prepare for the coming of Jesus in your life today.

Gospel MK 13:33-37

Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be watchful! Be alert!
You do not know when the time will come.
It is like a man traveling abroad.
He leaves home and places his servants in charge,
each with his own work,
and orders the gatekeeper to be on the watch.
Watch, therefore;
you do not know when the Lord of the house is coming,
whether in the evening, or at midnight,
or at cockcrow, or in the morning.
May he not come suddenly and find you sleeping.
What I say to you, I say to all: ‘Watch!’”


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 St. Teresa of Calcutta.    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 St. 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.   

AR#1 – Advent Reflections with Deacon James Keating Ph.D. – Discerning Hearts Podcast

AR#1 – Advent Reflections with Deacon James Keating, Ph.D.Keating-2

One of God’s attributes is patience. He suffers His own creation, as it comes to fulfillment in His love. The God that we worship is a God who truly loves us. And in this great love, He waits. He waits for us to respond to all that He has given us. And He doesn’t simply wait in a passive way. He keeps loving us, keeps directing His love toward our hearts to awaken them with a response. This is near the very core of what Advent is about. God-loving us so deeply, directing His love toward us, and Him sharing His life with us so that we might respond in kind. So that we might wait and receive, and then respond to His great love

Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., is a professor of Spiritual Theology and serves as a spiritual director at Kenrick Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, MO. 




The Twofold Coming of Christ – St. Cyril of Jerusalem from the Office of Readings

St Cyril of Jerusalem
The twofold coming of Christ

We do not preach only one coming of Christ, but a second as well, much more glorious than the first. The first coming was marked by patience; the second will bring the crown of a divine kingdom.
In general, whatever relates to our Lord Jesus Christ has two aspects. There is a birth from God before the ages, and a birth from a virgin at the fullness of time. There is a hidden coming, like that of rain on fleece, and a coming before all eyes, still in the future.
At the first coming he was wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger. At his second coming he will be clothed in light as in a garment. In the first coming he endured the cross, despising the shame; in the second coming he will be in glory, escorted by an army of angels.

We look then beyond the first coming and await the second. At the first coming we said: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord. At the second we shall say it again; we shall go out with the angels to meet the Lord and cry out in adoration: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
The Saviour will not come to be judged again, but to judge those by whom he was judged. At his own judgement he was silent; then he will address those who committed the outrages against him when they crucified him and will remind them: You did these things, and I was silent.
His first coming was to fulfil his plan of love, to teach men by gentle persuasion. This time, whether men like it or not, they will be subjects of his kingdom by necessity.
The prophet Malachi speaks of the two comings. And the Lord whom you seek will come suddenly to his temple: that is one coming.
Again he says of another coming: Look, the Lord almighty will come, and who will endure the day of his entry, or who will stand in his sight? Because he comes like a refiner’s fire, a fuller’s herb, and he will sit refining and cleansing.
These two comings are also referred to by Paul in writing to Titus: The grace of God the Saviour has appeared to all men, instructing us to put aside impiety and worldly desires and live temperately, uprightly, and religiously in this present age, waiting for the joyful hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Notice how he speaks of a first coming for which he gives thanks, and a second, the one we still await.
That is why the faith we profess has been handed on to you in these words: He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
Our Lord Jesus Christ will therefore come from heaven. He will come at the end of the world, in glory, at the last day. For there will be an end to this world, and the created world will be made new.

Excerpts from the English translation of The Liturgy of the Hours (Four Volumes) © 1974, International Commission on English in the Liturgy Corporation. All rights reserved.

SBN #2 “What is Death” – Salvation Begins Now: Last Things First with Deacon James Keating

Episode 2 Salvation Begins Now: Last Things First – What is Death?  Why do we fail to contemplate its truth? Why do we fear it?  What is Purgatory?  Why is there a need for final purgation?

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

1030 All who die in God’s grace and friendship, but still imperfectly purified, are indeed assured of their eternal salvation; but after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven

Check out Deacon Keating’s “Discerning Hearts” page

Episode 2 – A Short Primer for the Unsettled Laymen – Fr. Joseph Fessio S.J., Vivian Dudro, and Joseph Pearce FBC Podcast


What is human progress, and is it a good thing? How does it change how we see God? In the second part of the series, we face more confusing issues with the help of Hans Urs von Balthasar’s A Short Primer for Unsettled Laymen.



You can find the book here

Hans Urs von Balthasar addresses the critical issues that have been unsettling the Catholic laity since the Second Vatican Council. In a clear and readable manner, he focuses on the core elements of the faith: the Word of God; the life, death, and resurrection of Christ; the sacraments; the structure of the Church; and Mary.

Speaking plainly about the polarization within the Catholic Church, he also discusses the various ideological trends—such as liberalism, progressivism, and traditionalism—that have undermined the confidence and the unity of the faithful.


“In this Primer, Balthasar addresses today’s faithful laity who feel that [the] solidity of the Church is shifting beneath their feet. He speaks to those who fear that the Church has done what she ought not to do: that she is in fact relaxing her demands in order to win favor, not from God, but from man. Into this situation Balthasar re-proposes the ‘form’ of Jesus Christ as revealed in his Church. This form is ‘only the whole’: the whole, concrete reality of Christ, conveyed within Catholic tradition. This form is ‘spun from three strands’ of Word, sacrament, and ecclesial authority. These three provide the Church with the ability to remain on course despite the winds blowing through history.”
— Angela Franks, Ph.D., From the Foreword

Fr. Joseph Fessio S.J.
IP#281 Vivian Dudro - Meriol Trevor's "Shadows and Images" on Inside the Pages 1
Vivian Dudro
Joseph Pearce


ST-John Ep 25- John 12 – The Glory of the Lord part 1 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 25 – John 12: The Glory of the Lord part 1

“John 12 begins just six days before Jesus’ final Passover on earth. Gathering with some of his disciples, Jesus is dining at the house of Lazarus, who had just been risen from the dead. Sharon gives us the background of typical Greco-Roman dining, where guests would recline at table to eat their meal, and afterward, would be entertained by musicians and sometimes even prostitutes. We recall King Herod, married illicitly to Herodias, who promised even half his kingdom to Herodias’ daughter Salome after she performed a seductive after-dinner dance. Prompted by her mother, Salome demands the head of John the Baptist, who had publicly criticized the marriage between Herod and Herodias. In some paintings, Salome is pictured with a vial of spikenard, a rare, expensive, richly aromatic oil.

Sharon goes on to explain the significance of spikenard for a first-century Jewish girl. Spikenard was kept in an alabaster jar, and on her wedding night, the virgin bride would break open the jar, anoint her new groom, and consummate the wedding. With this background, we now better understand the beautiful meaning behind the actions of Mary of Bethany, who breaks open an enormous jar of spikenard, anoints the feet of Jesus, and then dries them with her hair. Mary desires to give everything to Jesus and enter into a spiritual marriage. She wants to lavish him with not only her most precious earthly gift, but even more, with the priceless gift of her total self: heart, mind, soul, and strength.

Clarifying a common misconception, Sharon explains that Mary of Bethany is not the same person as Mary Magdalene or one of several other Mary’s found elsewhere in the Bible. Spikenard was also used for burial anointing, but having just seen her brother rise from the dead, Mary knows Jesus will also rise and have no need for the burial anointing. Instead, Mary anoints Jesus now as her spiritual spouse. Sharon then moves on to the triumphal entry into Jerusalem, showing how Jesus fulfills the prophecy of Zechariah 9, entering into his kingship riding atop a donkey. To reach Jerusalem, Jesus would have processed through Bethany and Bethphage. Sharon unlocks the importance of Bethphage, also known as the House of Un-ripened Figs. Despite being a few miles outside the city walls, Bethphage was still considered to be part of Jerusalem and was home to two members holding seats in the Sanhedrin. The irony of Jesus processing past this town is profound: any judicial order to execute a rebellious leader had to be made in Bethphage. Today Jesus rides triumphantly past Bethphage; in just a few short days, his execution will be confirmed in Bethphage. ”

Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.

For more in this series visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page

“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to

HR#30 The Life of St. Benedict – “Who Broke The Bell?” – The Holy Rule of St. Benedict w/ Fr. Mauritius Wilde O.S.B

Episode 30- The Holy Rule of St. Benedict: A Spiritual Path for Today’s World with Fr. Mauritius Wilde O.S.B., PhD.

“The Life of St. Benedict pt 3”

We continue our conversation on the life of St. Benedict by using the biography penned by St. Gregory the Great. This episode brings to his interaction with the monk called Romanus and the breaking of the bell outside the cave.

From the Life of Our Most Holy Father St. Benedict by St. Gregory the Great:


As he was travelling to this place, a certain monk called Romanus met him and asked whither he was going. Having understood his intention, he both kept it secret and afforded him help, moreover he gave him a religious habit and assisted him in all things. The man of God being come to this place lived for the space of three years in an obscure cave, unknown to any man except Romanus the Monk, who lived not far off in a Monastery governed by Father Deodatus. But he would piously steal forth, and on certain days bring to Benedict a loaf of bread which he had spared from his own allowance. But there being no way to the cave from Romanus his cell by reason of a steep and high rock which hung over it, Romanus used to let down the loaf by a long cord to which also he fastened a little bell, that by the sound of it, the man of God might know when Romanus brought him the bread, and going out may receive it. But the old enemy, envying the charity of the one and the refection of the other, when on a certain day he beheld the bread let down in this manner, threw a stone and brake the bell. Notwithstanding, Romanus afterwards failed not to assist him in the best manner he was able.

Father Mauritius Wilde, OSB, Ph.D., did his philosophical, theological and doctoral studies in Europe. He is the author of several books and directs retreats regularly. He serves as Prior at Sant’Anselmo in Rome. For more information about the ministry of the the Missionary Benedictines of Christ the King Priory in Schuyler, Nebraska