A Novena to St. John Paul II Day 6 – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Pope John Paul II by Krzysztof Annusewicz,

Day Six

Reflection by Saint John Paul II:

“The Good News which she received from her divine Founder obliges the Church to proclaim the message of salvation and human dignity and to condemn injustices and attacks on human dignity.”

Prayer for the Intercession of St. John Paul II

O Blessed Trinity, we thank you
for having graced the Church with
Saint John Paul II and for allowing
the tenderness of your fatherly care,
the glory of the Cross of Christ
and the splendor of the Spirit of love
to shine through him.
Trusting fully in your infinite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary,
he has given us a living image of
Jesus the Good Shepherd.
He has shown us that holiness
is the necessary measure of ordinary
Christian life and is the way of
achieving eternal communion with you.
Grant us, by his intercession,
and according to your will,
the graces we implore,
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer composed by St. John Paul II

And behold: we who… are standing… beneath the cross of the ages, wish, through Your cross and passion, O Christ, to cry out today that mercy [which] has irreversibly entered in to the history of man, into our whole human history—and which in spite of the appearances of weakness is stronger than evil. It is the greatest power and force upon which man can sustain himself, threatened as he is from so many sides…

Holy is God.
Holy and strong.
Holy immortal One, have mercy on us.
Have mercy: eleison: misere.
May the power of Your love once more be shown to be greater than the evil that threatens it.
May it be shown to be greater than sin…
May the power of Your cross, O Christ, be shown to be greater than the author of sin, who is called “the prince of this world.”
For by your blood and Your passion You have redeemed the world!

[L’Osservatore Romano, 4-27-81,8]

St. John Paul II, pray for us.  Amen

For the full 9-day Novena to St. John Paul II with Mp3 audio and text visit here

A Novena to St. John Paul II Day 5 – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Day Five

Reflection by Saint John Paul II:

“As we ask for forgiveness, let us also forgive. This is what we say every day when we recite the prayer Jesus taught us: ‘Our Father . . . forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.’”

Prayer for the Intercession of St. John Paul II

O Blessed Trinity, we thank you
for having graced the Church with
Saint John Paul II and for allowing
the tenderness of your fatherly care,
the glory of the Cross of Christ
and the splendor of the Spirit of love
to shine through him.
Trusting fully in your infinite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary,
he has given us a living image of
Jesus the Good Shepherd.
He has shown us that holiness
is the necessary measure of ordinary
Christian life and is the way of
achieving eternal communion with you.
Grant us, by his intercession,
and according to your will,
the graces we implore,
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer composed by St. John Paul II

Save us from “grieving Your Spirit”:
–by our lack of faith and lack of readiness to witness to Your Gospel “in deed and in truth”, –by secularism and by wishing at all costs to conform to the mentality of this world; –by a lack of that love which is “patient and kind,” which “is not boastful” and which “does not insist on its own way,” which “bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” – that love which “rejoices in the right” and only in the right. Save us from grieving Your Spirit: –by everything that brings inward sadness and is an obstacle for the soul; –by whatever causes…divisions; –by whatever makes us a fertile soil for all temptations.

[L’Osservatore Romano, 4-5,12-82,3]

St. John Paul II, pray for us.  Amen

For the full 9-day Novena to St. John Paul II with Mp3 audio and text visit here

A Novena to St. John Paul II Day 4 – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Day Four

Reflection by Saint John Paul II:

“Faith is strengthened when it is given to others! It is in commitment to the Church’s universal mission that the new evangelization of Christian peoples will find inspiration and support.”

Prayer for the Intercession of St. John Paul II

O Blessed Trinity, we thank you
for having graced the Church with
Saint John Paul II and for allowing
the tenderness of your fatherly care,
the glory of the Cross of Christ
and the splendor of the Spirit of love
to shine through him.
Trusting fully in your infinite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary,
he has given us a living image of
Jesus the Good Shepherd.
He has shown us that holiness
is the necessary measure of ordinary
Christian life and is the way of
achieving eternal communion with you.
Grant us, by his intercession,
and according to your will,
the graces we implore,
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer composed by St. John Paul II

May your faith be strong; may it not hesitate, not waver, before the doubts, the uncertainties which philosophical systems or fashionable movements would like to suggest to you. May it not descend to compromise with certain concepts, which would like to present Christianity as a mere ideology of historical character, and therefore be placed at the same level as so many others, now outdated.

May your faith be joyful, because it is based on awareness of possessing a divine gift. When you pray and dialogue with God and when you converse with me, [may you] manifest the you of this enviable possession.

[L’Osservatore Romano, 11-3-80, 3]

St. John Paul II, pray for us.  Amen

For the full 9-day Novena to St. John Paul II with Mp3 audio and text visit here

A Novena to St. John Paul II Day 3 – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Day Three

Reflection by Saint John Paul II:

“Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of States, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development. Do not be afraid.”

Prayer for the Intercession of St. John Paul II

O Blessed Trinity, we thank you
for having graced the Church with
Saint John Paul II and for allowing
the tenderness of your fatherly care,
the glory of the Cross of Christ
and the splendor of the Spirit of love
to shine through him.
Trusting fully in your infinite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary,
he has given us a living image of
Jesus the Good Shepherd.
He has shown us that holiness
is the necessary measure of ordinary
Christian life and is the way of
achieving eternal communion with you.
Grant us, by his intercession,
and according to your will,
the graces we implore,
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer composed by St. John Paul II

O God, You are our Creator.
You are good and Your mercy knows no bounds.
To You arises the praise of every creature.
O God, You have given us an inner law by which we must live.
To do Your will is our task.
To follow Your ways is to know peace of heart.
To You we offer our homage.
Guide us on all the paths we travel upon this earth.
Free us from all the evil tendencies which lead our hearts away from Your will.
Never allow us to stray from You.
O God, judge of all humankind, help us to be included among Your chosen ones on the last day.
O God, Author of peace and justice, give us true joy and authentic love, and a lasting solidarity among peoples.
Give us Your everlasting gifts. Amen!
May the God of mercy, the God of love, the God of peace bless each of you and all the members of your families!

[The Pope Speaks 37/4, 1992, 213]

St. John Paul II, pray for us.  Amen

For the full 9-day Novena to St. John Paul II with Mp3 audio and text visit here

A Novena to St. Teresa of Avila Day 9 – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Day 9: CHARITY

St. Teresa you have said

The blessings gained through true poverty I think are many, and I wouldn’t want to lose them.  I am often aware of a faith within me so great that I think God cannot fail anyone who serves Him.  I know that there never is or will be any time in which His words will fail; for I cannot persuade myself otherwise, nor can I fear…It seems to me I have much more compassion for the poor than I used to.  I feel such great pity and desire to find relief for them that if it were up to me I would give them the clothes off my back.  I feel no repugnance whatsoever toward them, toward speaking to or touching them.  This I now see is a gift given by God.  For even though I used to give alms for love of Him, I didn’t have the natural compassion.  I feel a very noticeable improvement in this matter.”

—Spiritual Testimonies II.3-4

According to Teresa, while interior development necessarily involves continued progress in self-knowledge and self-awareness, it is not egotistical, because it also encourages us to look beyond ourselves to God and to others.  Thus progress in the spiritual life really authenticates itself in charity.  God’s love, as the evangelist John tells us, is for all, and is so profound that He sent His Son for our redemption.  For those engaged in a life of prayer, we must also love with this Divine love.  It is a transformative love that changes the way we see and approach our fellow men and women, as Teresa illustrates in the passage above.

 May we, therefore, learn to love others with the love that God loves us, that our prayer may be truly perfected.  

St. Teresa speaks to us today saying:

“Christ has no body now but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world.
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good.
Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

O God, who through your Spirit
raised up Saint Teresa of Jesus
to show the Church the way to seek perfection,
grant that we may always be nourished
by the food of her heavenly teaching
and fired with longing for true holiness.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever.

St. Teresa, pray for us:
That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

reflection was written by Fr. Emiel Albalahin, O.Carm. Used by permission via the  Curia Generalizia dei Carmelitani  Please visit http://www.ocarm.org/en/

The prayer offered by Dr. Matthew Bunson and Kris McGregor

Audio versions of the “Interior Castle” and “The Way of Perfection” by St. Teresa of Avila

A Novena to St. John Paul II Day 2 – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Day Two

Reflection by Saint John Paul II:

“Darkness can only be scattered by light. Hatred can only be conquered by love. My most fervent wish, which I entrust to God in prayer . . . is that we should all carry in our unarmed hands the light of a love which nothing can discourage.”

Prayer for the Intercession of St. John Paul II

O Blessed Trinity, we thank you
for having graced the Church with
Saint John Paul II and for allowing
the tenderness of your fatherly care,
the glory of the Cross of Christ
and the splendor of the Spirit of love
to shine through him.
Trusting fully in your infinite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary,
he has given us a living image of
Jesus the Good Shepherd.
He has shown us that holiness
is the necessary measure of ordinary
Christian life and is the way of
achieving eternal communion with you.
Grant us, by his intercession,
and according to your will,
the graces we implore,
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer composed by St. John Paul II

Mother… at this solemn moment we listen with particular attention to your words: “Do whatever my Son tells you.”5 And we wish to respond to your words with all our heart. We wish to do what your Son tells us, for He has the words of eternal life. We wish to carry out and fulfill all that comes from Him, all that is contained in the Good News, as our forefathers did for many centuries.

May our ears constantly hear with the proper clarity your motherly voice: “Do whatever my Son tells you.” Enable us to persevere with Christ. Enable us, Mother of the Church, to build up His Mystical Body by living with the life that He alone can grant us from His fullness, which is both divine and human.

[L’Osservatore Romano, 10-8-79, 14]

St. John Paul II, pray for us.  Amen

For the full 9-day Novena to St. John Paul II with Mp3 audio and text visit here

A Novena to St. John Paul II Day 1 – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Day One

Reflection by Saint John Paul II:

“It is Jesus in fact that you seek when you dream of happiness; he is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; he is the beauty to which you are so attracted . . .”

Prayer for the Intercession of St. John Paul II

O Blessed Trinity, we thank you
for having graced the Church with
Saint John Paul II and for allowing
the tenderness of your fatherly care,
the glory of the Cross of Christ
and the splendor of the Spirit of love
to shine through him.
Trusting fully in your infinite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary,
he has given us a living image of
Jesus the Good Shepherd.
He has shown us that holiness
is the necessary measure of ordinary
Christian life and is the way of
achieving eternal communion with you.
Grant us, by his intercession,
and according to your will,
the graces we implore,
through Christ our Lord. Amen.

A Prayer composed by St. John Paul II

O God, You are our Creator.
You are good and Your mercy knows no bounds.
To You arises the praise of every creature.
O God, You have given us an inner law by which we must live.
To do Your will is our task.
To follow Your ways is to know peace of heart.
To You we offer our homage.
Guide us on all the paths we travel upon this earth.
Free us from all the evil tendencies which lead our hearts away from Your will.
Never allow us to stray from You.
O God, judge of all humankind, help us to be included among Your chosen ones on the last day.
O God, Author of peace and justice, give us true joy and authentic love, and a lasting solidarity among peoples.
Give us Your everlasting gifts. Amen!

[The Pope Speaks 37/4, 1992, 213]

 

For the full 9-day Novena to St. John Paul II with Mp3 audio and text visit here

A Novena to St. Teresa of Avila Day 8 – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Day 8:  VIRTUES

St. Teresa you have saidteresa-de-avilaquadro-pintado-por-frei-joao-da-miseria

“I repeat, it is necessary that your foundation consist of more than prayer and contemplation.  If you do not strive for the virtues and practice them, you will always be dwarfs.  And, please God, it will be only a matter of not growing, for you already know that whoever does not increase decreases.  I hold that love, where present, cannot possibly be content with remaining always the same.”

—Interior Castle VII:4.9

Teresa writes these words toward the end of her description of the interior journey, when the soul arrives at union.  Fundamental to spiritual progress is the development of a life of virtue, as virtues and prayer shape one another.  In the context of Teresa’s definition of prayer as the intimate sharing between friends, virtues are all that we do and suffer for the love of God our great friend.  Therefore, engagement in recollection helps us to cultivate practices to enhance our relationship with God, while the continue exercise of these virtues helps us to be gradually more receptive to interacting with Him.

In our prayer today, let us ask for the grace to develop and grow in lives of virtue, that God’s love for us may be expressed and nurtured in our love for Him.

St. Teresa speaks to us today saying:

“Christ has no body now but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world.
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good.
Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

O God, who through your Spirit
raised up Saint Teresa of Jesus
to show the Church the way to seek perfection,
grant that we may always be nourished
by the food of her heavenly teaching
and fired with longing for true holiness.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

St. Teresa, pray for us:
That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

reflection written by Fr. Emiel Albalahin, O.Carm. Used by permission via the  Curia Generalizia dei Carmelitani  Please visit http://www.ocarm.org/en/

The prayer offered by Dr. Matthew Bunson and Kris McGregor

Audio versions of the “Interior Castle” and “The Way of Perfection” by St. Teresa of Avila

A Novena to St. Teresa of Avila Day 7 – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Day 7: SURRENDER

St. Teresa you have said0a5daad23948453cc1c0c069d1f321e1

Myself surrendered and given,
The exchange is this:
My Beloved is for me,
And I am for my Beloved.
When the gentle Hunter
Wounded and subdued me,
In love’s arms,
My soul fallen;
New life receiving,
Thus did I exchange
My Beloved is for me,
And I am for my Beloved.
The arrow he drew
Full of love,
My soul was made one
With her Creator.
Other love I want not,
Surrendered now to my God,
That my Beloved is for me,
And I am for my Beloved.

—On Those Words “Dilectus Meus Mihi”

This beautiful poem is the result of Teresa’s reflection on Songs 2:16: “My Beloved belongs to me and I to him.” In her verse, she expresses a fundamental truth of the interior journey: God himself initiates and sustains the relationship, and invites us to surrender to Him in faith.  Our efforts of self-renunciation, sacrifice, and humility about which Teresa constantly discusses in her writings are our personal response to this love.  In renouncing ourselves, we allow the Lord to unite us to Himself.

Let us not tire of making our sacrifices of love, but instead take courage, sure in the knowledge that we are already loved.

St. Teresa speaks to us today saying:

“Christ has no body now but yours.
No hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world.
Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good.
Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

O God, who through your Spirit
raised up Saint Teresa of Jesus
to show the Church the way to seek perfection,
grant that we may always be nourished
by the food of her heavenly teaching
and fired with longing for true holiness.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

St. Teresa, pray for us:
That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

reflection written by Fr. Emiel Albalahin, O.Carm. Used by permission via the  Curia Generalizia dei Carmelitani  Please visit http://www.ocarm.org/en/

The prayer offered by Dr. Matthew Bunson and Kris McGregor

Audio versions of the “Interior Castle” and “The Way of Perfection” by St. Teresa of Avila

A Novena to St. Teresa of Avila Day 6 – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Day 6: THE REALITY OF HELL

St. Teresa you have saida67031f06448ccc5804fffbdfa4a517b

“A long time after the Lord had already granted me many of the favors I’ve mentioned and other very lofty ones, while I was in prayer one day, I suddenly found that, without knowing how, I had seemingly been put in hell…The fact is that I don’t know how to give a sufficiently powerful description of that interior fire and that despair, coming in addition to such extreme torments and pains.  I didn’t see who inflicted them on me, but, as it seemed to me, I felt myself burning and crumbling; and I repeat the worst was that interior fire and despair.”

—Autobiography XXXII.1,2

Teresa experiences the vision described above within the context of God’s salvific action, both universal and personal, in order that she might understand the torments from which she was freed because of His mercy, and also to motivate her to realize her personal vocation of reform.

The theme of hell appears often in her writings, and underlines humanity’s gift of free will and its natural consequences.  The redemption wrought by Christ is intended for all, and the Divine plan is that all should be saved, but this does not preclude one’s possibility to choose.  Hell is the result of a lifetime of choices made of separating oneself from God through sin, resulting in the suffocating experience of being completely bound in the darkness of God’s absence, without freedom and without hope.

 Not wanting to see others end like this, Teresa exercised her own free will, dedicating her life to participating in Christ’s own saving action via her life of prayer.  May we, like Teresa, give thanks to God for the truths revealed to us about eternal life, for our redemption through Christ’s blood, and for the gift of free will that allows us to choose and love him freely.  Let us also pray for all those who most need our prayers for conversion of heart today.

 St. Teresa speaks to us today saying:

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing away:
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things
Whoever has God lacks nothing;
God alone suffices.

O God, who through your Spirit
raised up Saint Teresa of Jesus
to show the Church the way to seek perfection,
grant that we may always be nourished
by the food of her heavenly teaching
and fired with longing for true holiness.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

St. Teresa, pray for us:
That we may become worthy of the promises of Jesus Christ.

reflection written by Fr. Emiel Albalahin, O.Carm. Used by permission via the  Curia Generalizia dei Carmelitani  Please visit http://www.ocarm.org/en/

The prayer offered by Dr. Matthew Bunson and Kris McGregor

Audio versions of the “Interior Castle” and “The Way of Perfection” by St. Teresa of Avila