BKL386 – “When was your Transfiguration” – Building a Kingdom of Love with Msgr. John Esseff

Msgr. Esseff reflects on the feast of the Transfiguration.  He asks us to take time and prayerfully reflect and ask God to show you those moments of “transfiguration” in our lives.

Gospel   MK 9:2-10

Jesus took Peter, James, and John
and led them up a high mountain apart by themselves.
And he was transfigured before them,
and his clothes became dazzling white,
such as no fuller on earth could bleach them.
Then Elijah appeared to them along with Moses,
and they were conversing with Jesus.
Then Peter said to Jesus in reply,
“Rabbi, it is good that we are here!
Let us make three tents:
one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.”
He hardly knew what to say, they were so terrified.
Then a cloud came, casting a shadow over them;
from the cloud came a voice,
“This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”
Suddenly, looking around, they no longer saw anyone
but Jesus alone with them.As they were coming down from the mountain,
he charged them not to relate what they had seen to anyone,
except when the Son of Man had risen from the dead.
So they kept the matter to themselves,
questioning what rising from the dead meant.
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; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved

ST-John Ep 30 – John 14 – I am the Way, the Truth and the Life part 2- The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 30 – John 14 – I am the Way, the Truth and the Life part 2

We continue our study of John’s Gospel with Chapter 14.  This beautiful chapter has an abundance of nuptial imagery.  God designed marriage as a way to image the Trinity.  Just as life flows from the one-flesh union of man and woman, the life of the Holy Spirit flows from the union of the Father and Son, who are one.

From the beginning in Genesis, to the end in Revelation, the story of salvation is the story of the marriage between God and His people.  To nullify the marital covenant between God and Israel, one of the parties needed to die.  As we learn in Romans 7, through Jesus’ death on the cross, the marital covenant with Israel ends, freeing Christ to take a new bride, the universal Church.   We learn, though, that in order for the wedding to take place, the bride must be pure and blemish-free.  As we learned last time, through Baptism we are purified of original sin, and through Reconciliation, we are purified of the sins of our lives.

Returning to John 14, Sharon gives us a wonderful teaching about first-century Jewish wedding customs, which helps us to better understand the rich symbolism found in this chapter.  In ancient Palestine, extended families lived together in an expansive house called an insula.  With each successive generation, the sons would build additional rooms to accommodate their own wife and children.  After the wedding, the young bride would leave her own home and move in with the groom’s family.  The groom’s entire family, especially the parents, had to be willing to accept the bride into the insula, and her virtue was valued even more than her wealth or beauty.  The marital ritual began when the groom and his father journeyed to the bride’s home and negotiated the terms of the marriage, with the best man (aka the shushbin) acting as an intermediary between the two parties.

Once the terms were set, the couple was now officially betrothed, though not yet married.  The son announces he will go and prepare a place for his bride, returning when all the necessary preparations were complete.  The son would return home and prepare the insula for the arrival of his bride.  The bride prepares herself for the return of the groom, but she does not know how long it will take for him to return.  After the necessary construction is completed, the father gives his son permission to return for his bride.

On the day of the wedding, the return of the groom to his bride is announced with the blowing of the shofar horn.  The shushbin stands by as the marriage is consummated, and then offers proof of the bride’s purity through the display of the marital bedding.  Knowing this, we now have a much better understanding of Jesus’ promise to return to us after he prepares a place for us in his Father’s house.  Jesus invites us into marital union with him, a blood covenant that was consummated with his death on the cross, the cup of acceptance of this New Blood Covenant that we drink from the chalice at Mass.  The Holy Spirit, the shushbin, guarantees the purity of the Church, the bride of Christ by keeping her pure and blemish-free through the sacraments.

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 www.seekingtruth.net

Ep 5 – Wisdom from the Western Isles: The Hermit with David Torkington – Discerning Hearts Podcast


David Torkington, author and narrator of this work

Episode 5:  Abba – Father, Context and Direction

It is James’ fourth meeting with Peter and he realizes that there are only two more days left to speak with the hermit about his spiritual life. James asks Peter to teach him how to pray from the very beginning. The first time that question was asked of  Christ by his first followers, was by giving them the prayer that we call the ‘Our Father’.  Peter uses the first two words of that prayer,  the word Our and the word Father, to sum up, the context and direction of all Christian prayer.

You can find more episodes of the series here: Wisdom from the Western Isles: The Hermit w/ David Torkington page.


You can find the book here.

David Torkington, the author of Wisdom from the Western Isles has re-edited and abridged the work for broadcast; he is also the narrator. The book was published originally as three separate spiritual novels: Peter Calvay – HermitPeter Calvay – Prophet and Peter Calvay – Mystic. We begin with the first part, The Hermit but including some passages from Peter Calvay – Mystic so as to give an overall view of the spiritual journey for listeners.


David Torkington is an English Spiritual Theologian, author, and speaker, specializing in Prayer, Christian Spirituality, and Mystical Theology. Educated at the Franciscan Study Centre, England, he served as Dean of Studies at the National Catholic Radio and Television Centre, London. He was an extra-mural lecturer in Mystical Theology at the Angelicum, the Dominican University in Rome, and has received invitations to speak to Religious, Monks, Diocesan Priests, and laypeople from all over the world, including Equatorial Africa, where he gave three prolonged lecture tours speaking on Christian prayer.

Visit his website:  www.davidtorkington.com.

The author of the popular Peter Calvay series, his books include Wisdom from the Western Isles, Wisdom from Franciscan Italy, Wisdom from the Christian Mystics, Prayer Made Simple (CTS), and How to Pray by Our Sunday Visitor. His books have been translated into 13 different languages.

 

SJ5 – Joseph and His Angels – St. Joseph and His World with Mike Aquilina – Discerning Hearts Podcast


Mike Aquilina Discerning Hearts podcast Villains of the Early Church. MarcionEpisode  5 – Joseph and His Angels

In this episode, Mike Aquilina and Kris McGregor discuss St. Joseph and his interactions with the Angels.

An excerpt from St. Joseph and His World:

The great difficulty in sketching the character of Joseph of Nazareth is that Scripture never shows him speaking. He never says yes or no. He never makes a nod or gesture. And not only is he never shown to speak, the Gospels never show a single human being speaking to him—not even his wife or son.

No humans speak to him; but four times, an angel speaks to him.

Christian tradition makes much of Mary’s Annunciation. The Church commemorates it by a feast day and dedicates a daily prayer to it (the Angelus). But Joseph’s “annunciations” are also worthy of scrutiny—certainly for what they reveal about him, but also for what they reveal about angels. The Gospels present almost every episode in Joseph’s life as an encounter with an angel.

Aqualina, Mike. St. Joseph and His World (p. 43). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

For more episodes in this series visit – St. Joseph and His World with Mike Aquilina page

 

You can find the book on which this series is based here.

Mike Aquilina is a popular author working in the area of Church history, especially patristics, the study of the early Church Fathers.[1] He is the executive vice-president and trustee of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, a Roman Catholic research center based in Steubenville, Ohio. He is a contributing editor of Angelus (magazine) and general editor of the Reclaiming Catholic History Series from Ave Maria Press. He is the author or editor of more than fifty books, including The Fathers of the Church (2006); The Mass of the Early Christians (2007); Living the Mysteries (2003); and What Catholics Believe(1999). He has hosted eleven television series on the Eternal Word Television Network and is a frequent guest commentator on Catholic radio.

Mike Aquilina’s website is found at fathersofthechurch.com

Other Mike Aquilina series’ found on Discerning Hearts:

Roots the Faith

The Resilient Church

Villains of the Early Church

BKL386 – The First Sunday of Lent – Building a Kingdom of Love with Msgr. John Esseff Podcast

Msgr. Esseff reflects on the First Sunday of Lent and the need in our lives for true prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.

Mk 1:12-15
The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,
and he remained in the desert for forty days,
tempted by Satan.
He was among wild beasts,
and the angels ministered to him.After John had been arrested,
Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:
“This is the time of fulfillment.
The kingdom of God is at hand.
Repent, and believe in the gospel.

”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; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

Msgr. John A. Esseff is a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Scranton.  He was ordained on May 30, 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. 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 Pope St. 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.    

Episode 3 – Chance or the Dance – Fr. Joseph Fessio S.J., Vivian Dudro, and Joseph Pearce FBC Podcast



This week, author Thomas Howard tells us the point of art—from Vermeer’s landscapes to Andy Warhol’s soup cans. And we debate it. Join us in our ongoing discussion of Howard’s book Chance or the Dance?


 

 

You can find the book here

Contrasting the Christian and secular worldviews, Dr. Thomas Howard refreshes our minds with the illuminated view of Christianity as it imbued the world in times past—showing that we cannot live meaningful lives without this Christian understanding of things. An inspiring apology for Christianity, and a stirring critique of secularism.


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 29- John 14 – I am the Way, the Truth and the Life part 1- The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 29 – John 14 – I am the Way, the Truth and the Life part 1

We continue our study of John’s Gospel with Chapter 14.  This beautiful chapter has an abundance of nuptial imagery.  God designed marriage as a way to image the Trinity.  Just as life flows from the one-flesh union of man and woman, the life of the Holy Spirit flows from the union of the Father and Son, who are one.

From the beginning in Genesis, to the end in Revelation, the story of salvation is the story of the marriage between God and His people.  To nullify the marital covenant between God and Israel, one of the parties needed to die.  As we learn in Romans 7, through Jesus’ death on the cross, the marital covenant with Israel ends, freeing Christ to take a new bride, the universal Church.   We learn, though, that in order for the wedding to take place, the bride must be pure and blemish free.  As we learned last time, through Baptism we are purified of original sin, and through Reconciliation we are purified of the sins of our lives.

Returning to John 14, Sharon gives us a wonderful teaching about first century Jewish wedding customs, which helps us to better understand the rich symbolism found in this chapter.  In ancient Palestine, extended families lived together in an expansive house called an insula.  With each successive generation, the sons would build additional rooms to accommodate their own wife and children.  After the wedding, the young bride would leave her own home and move in with the groom’s family.  The groom’s entire family, especially the parents, had to be willing to accept the bride into the insula, and her virtue was valued even more than her wealth or beauty.  The marital ritual began when the groom and his father journeyed to the bride’s home and negotiated the terms of the marriage, with the best man (aka the shushbin) acting as an intermediary between the two parties.

Once the terms were set, the couple was now officially betrothed, though not yet married.  The son announces he will go and prepare a place for his bride, returning when all the necessary preparations were complete.  The son would return home and prepare the insula for the arrival of his bride.  The bride prepares herself for the return of the groom, but she does not know how long it will take for him to return.  After the necessary construction is completed, the father gives his son permission to return for his bride.

On the day of the wedding, the return of the groom to his bride is announced with the blowing of the shofar horn.  The shushbin stands by as the marriage is consummated, and then offers proof of the bride’s purity through the display of the marital bedding.  Knowing this, we now have a much better understanding of Jesus’ promise to return to us after he prepares a place for us in his Father’s house.  Jesus invites us into marital union with him, a blood covenant that was consummated with his death on the cross, the cup of acceptance of this New Blood Covenant that we drink from the chalice at Mass.  The Holy Spirit, the shushbin, guarantees the purity of the Church, the bride of Christ by keeping her pure and blemish free through the sacraments.

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 www.seekingtruth.net

A Short Primer for Unsettled Laymen with Dr. Angela Franks pt. 2 – “Balthasar: Beauty, Goodness, Truth” Podcast

 A Short Primer for Unsettled Laymen with Dr. Angela Franks – pt. 2

With Dr. Angela Franks, we continue our discussion on the truth of the uniqueness of each person and the danger of the “-isms” of modernity to depersonalize and devalue humanity.   Among other things, Dr. Franks speaks on Balthasar’s understanding of authority which provides a gift of unity for the Church and its members, as well as the receptivity of the Marian assent and the power of the Cross which enters into our daily reality.  She also offers an insight on Balthasar’s stances’ on ecumenism and Biblical exegesis. How does the Christian interact in the body politic, is a question addressed, along with many others, in this conversation as well.

Balthasar: Beauty, Goodness, Truth is a series of conversations with noted theological scholars about the life and teachings of Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar who is considered to be one of the most important Catholic intellectuals and writers of the twentieth century.

Find the paperback book here
Find the e-book here

From the book description:

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


For more podcast episodes with Dr. Angela Franks discussing A Short Primer for Unsettled LaymenA Short Primer for Unsettled Laymen Podcasts


For Audio and Text Excerpts from A Short Primer for the Unsettled LaymenAudio and Text Excerpts


 

Ep 4 – Wisdom from the Western Isles: The Hermit with David Torkington – Discerning Hearts Podcast


David Torkington, author and narrator of this work

Episode 4: Freedom demands discipline

James sits at the jetty awaiting Peter’s arrival for their third meeting. Peter takes up the theme of the importance of God’s love because only his love can change human beings decisively and perma­nently for the better. Learning to pray, learning to open ourselves to God’s love is like anything else: it needs practice, and it takes time. Peter emphasizes that there is no accomplishment of any worth that he knows of, that you can attain merely by desiring to have it. Freedom always demands discipline, and prayer is no exception to the rule.

You can find more episodes of the series here: Wisdom from the Western Isles: The Hermit w/ David Torkington page.


You can find the book here.

David Torkington, the author of Wisdom from the Western Isles has re-edited and abridged the work for broadcast; he is also the narrator. The book was published originally as three separate spiritual novels: Peter Calvay – HermitPeter Calvay – Prophet and Peter Calvay – Mystic. We begin with the first part, The Hermit but including some passages from Peter Calvay – Mystic so as to give an overall view of the spiritual journey for listeners.


David Torkington is an English Spiritual Theologian, author, and speaker, specializing in Prayer, Christian Spirituality, and Mystical Theology. Educated at the Franciscan Study Centre, England, he served as Dean of Studies at the National Catholic Radio and Television Centre, London. He was an extra-mural lecturer in Mystical Theology at the Angelicum, the Dominican University in Rome, and has received invitations to speak to Religious, Monks, Diocesan Priests, and laypeople from all over the world, including Equatorial Africa, where he gave three prolonged lecture tours speaking on Christian prayer.

Visit his website:  www.davidtorkington.com.

The author of the popular Peter Calvay series, his books include Wisdom from the Western Isles, Wisdom from Franciscan Italy, Wisdom from the Christian Mystics, Prayer Made Simple (CTS), and How to Pray by Our Sunday Visitor. His books have been translated into 13 different languages.

 

SJ4 – Marriage Amid The Madness – St. Joseph and His World with Mike Aquilina – Discerning Hearts Podcast


Mike Aquilina Discerning Hearts podcast Villains of the Early Church. MarcionEpisode 4 – Marriage Amid the Madness

In this episode, Mike Aquilina and Kris McGregor discuss Mary and Joseph’s marriage and his challenge with her pregnancy.  They also discuss Mary’s need to visit her cousin Elizabeth, commonly referred to as The Visitation.

An excerpt from St. Joseph and His World:

Commentators down the ages have proposed three approaches to this enigmatic passage:  (1) the suspicion theory, (2) the perplexity theory, and (3) the reverence theory.  Let us examine them briefly.

1. The Suspicion Theory. In this reading of the Gospel passage, Joseph suspects that Mary has been unfaithful. He is devastated, but his love for her remains so great that he cannot bear the thought of her facing public shame—or, worse, the death penalty, since adultery was a capital crime, punishable by stoning. He decides to divorce her, as the Law permitted, until an angel deters him from that course of action.

2. The Perplexity Theory. According to this theory, Joseph cannot understand what has happened. He does not believe Mary could be unfaithful. Yet her pregnancy is undeniable and subject to legal penalties. Since Joseph is a just man, he finds a solution that respects the Law, but protects Mary as well. The angel, in this reading, provides the information that Joseph lacks and helps him to make a plan for going forward.

3. The Reverence Theory. This third theory presents Joseph as a man overwhelmed by awe when he learns of Mary’s miraculous conception. From the beginning, he knows of God’s singular intervention: “she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit.” Joseph feels unworthy to be involved, and so he decides he will cooperate just long enough to protect Mary’s secret and then make a quiet exit. In this reading, Joseph’s first impulse is like St. Peter’s when he said to Jesus, “Depart from me!” (Lk 5:8), or the Centurion’s when he said, “I am not worthy to have you come under my roof” (Lk 7:6). The angel, however, persuades Joseph to put aside his fears.

Each theory has saints and doctors of the church among its proponents. St. Justin Martyr and St. Augustine of Hippo advanced the first; St. Jerome the second; and St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Bernard of Clairvaux, and St. Josemaria Escriva the third.

Aqualina, Mike. St. Joseph and His World (p. 39). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

For more episodes in this series visit – St. Joseph and His World with Mike Aquilina page

You can find the book on which this series is based here.

Mike Aquilina is a popular author working in the area of Church history, especially patristics, the study of the early Church Fathers.[1] He is the executive vice-president and trustee of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, a Roman Catholic research center based in Steubenville, Ohio. He is a contributing editor of Angelus (magazine) and general editor of the Reclaiming Catholic History Series from Ave Maria Press. He is the author or editor of more than fifty books, including The Fathers of the Church (2006); The Mass of the Early Christians (2007); Living the Mysteries (2003); and What Catholics Believe(1999). He has hosted eleven television series on the Eternal Word Television Network and is a frequent guest commentator on Catholic radio.

Mike Aquilina’s website is found at fathersofthechurch.com

Other Mike Aquilina series’ found on Discerning Hearts:

Roots the Faith

The Resilient Church

Villains of the Early Church