VEC7 – Valentinus – Villains of the Early Church with Mike Aquilina – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Mike Aquilina Discerning Hearts podcast Villains of the Early Church. MarcionEpisode 7 – Valentinus – “Villains of the Early Church: And How They Made Us Better Christians

In this episode, Mike Aquilina and Kris McGregor discuss Valentinus and Gnostic teaching.

An excerpt from Villains of the Early Church:

We know almost nothing about Valentinus the man except that he was well educated. He had much more higher education than the average Christian: he had studied at Alexandria, so he had the ancient equivalent of a Harvard or Oxford degree. He had specialized in Platonic studies, meaning that he knew Plato backwards and forwards, at least as Plato was interpreted by later students who claimed to have understood him. (Like many philosophy students today, Valentinus probably learned about Plato from secondary sources more than from actually reading Plato.)

In about 130, Valentinus came to Rome and he stayed there for about twenty years. Thus, he was in Rome at the same time as Marcion. Valentinus later ended up in Cyprus.1

One thing his opponents gave Valentinus credit for was his brain. Tertullian and, much later, Jerome both considered him to have a formidable mind. But he applied that mind to creating an incredibly convoluted mythology rather than simply understanding the Scriptures. In this Valentinus was just like all the other Gnostics: incredibly convoluted mythologies were their stock in trade. The simple truth was for simple people. Like some academics today, the Gnostic teachers felt a need to prove their intellectual worth by filling their writings with jargon nobody but other Gnostics could understand.

Aquilina, Mike. Villains of the Early Church: And How They Made Us Better Christians. Emmaus Road Publishing. Kindle Edition.

For more episodes in the Villains of the Early Church podcast visit here – Villains of the Early Church – Discerning Hearts Podcast

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

 

 

St. Thomas Aquinas Novena Day 2 – Discerning Hearts Podcast



Day 2fra-bartolommeo-st-thomas-aquinas-reading-circa-1510-11_b (1)

St. Thomas you have taught that:

“Even though the natural light of the human mind is inadequate to make known what is revealed by faith, nevertheless what is divinely taught to us by faith cannot be contrary to what we are endowed with by nature. One or the other would have to be false, and since we have both of them from God, he would be the cause of our error, which is impossible.”

― Thomas Aquinas, Faith, Reason and Theology

Through the intercession of St. Thomas Aquinas,

Grant me grace, O merciful God,
to desire ardently all that is pleasing to Thee,
to examine it prudently,
to acknowledge it truthfully,
and to accomplish it perfectly,
for the praise and glory of Thy name.

In particular, please obtain the favor I ask during this novena.
[Make your request here…]

Grant me, O Lord my God,
a mind to know you,
a heart to seek you,
wisdom to find you,
conduct pleasing to you,
faithful perseverance in waiting for you,
and a hope of finally embracing you.

Amen.

Background music excerpt: “O Salutaris Hostia”  performed by “Capella Musica Seoul
For the complete 9-day Novena with St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Francis de Sales Novena Day 6 – Discerning Hearts Podcast


Day 6

Do not pay any attention to the kind of work you do, but rather to the honor that it brings to God, even though it may seem quite trivial. Desire only to do the Divine Will, following Divine Providence, which is the disposition of Divine Wisdom. In a word, if your works are pleasing to God and recognized as such, that is all that matters. Work hard every day at increasing your purity of heart, which consists in appraising things and weighing them in the balance of God’s will. (Letters 280; O. XIII, p. 53)

O blessed Francis de Sales, who on earth did excel in a life of virtue,
especially in the love of God and neighbor,
I earnestly ask you to take me under your compassionate care and protection.
Obtain for me conversion of mind and heart.
Grant that all people,
especially (names of those whom you wish to include) may experience
the depth of God’s redeeming and healing love.
Teach me to fix my eyes on the things of heaven
even as I walk each day with my feet planted firmly on the earth.
Help me, through the practice of virtue and the pursuit of devotion,
to avoid anything that would otherwise cause me to stumble
in my attempt to follow Christ
and to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit.
Encouraged by your prayers and example,
help me to live fully my sacred dignity
with the hope of experiencing my sacred destiny:
eternal life with God.
Receive also this particular need or concern
that I now lift up in prayer. (mention your particular need).
O God, for the salvation of all,
you desired that St. Francis de Sales—
preacher, missionary, confessor, bishop and founder—
should befriend many long the road to salvation.
Mercifully grant that we,
infused with the humility and gentleness of his charity,
guided by his wisdom and sharing in his spirit
may experience eternal life.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.

For the complete 9 day St. Francis de Sales Novena visit here

 

The Centrality of Jesus Christ – Building a Kingdom of Love w/Msgr. John Esseff – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Msgr. John Esseff Jesus Christ Podcast Devil Satan Exorcist

The Centrality of Jesus.

Msgr. Esseff reflects on the significance of the proclamation of John the Baptist.  He is the Lamb of God!  What does that mean for our lives?  Who is the devil and what are his deceptive tactics that confuse and frustrate the believer and society.

Gospel JN 1:29-34

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the one of whom I said,
‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’
I did not know him,
but the reason why I came baptizing with water
was that he might be made known to Israel.”
John testified further, saying,
“I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven
and remain upon him.
I did not know him,
but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”

Msgr. John A. Esseff is a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Scranton.  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 that was 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.

St. Francis de Sales Novena Day 5 – Discerning Hearts Podcast


Day 5

This poor life is only a journey to the happy life to come. We must not be angry with one another on the way, but rather we must march on as a band of brothers and sisters united in meekness, peace and love. I state absolutely and make no exception: do not be angry at all if that is possible. Do no accept any pretext whatever for opening your heart’s door to anger. Saint James tells us positively and without reservation,” … a man’s anger does not fulfill God’s justice.” [Jas 1:20] (INT. Part III, Ch. 8; O. III, p. 162)

O blessed Francis de Sales, who on earth did excel in a life of virtue,
especially in the love of God and neighbor,
I earnestly ask you to take me under your compassionate care and protection.
Obtain for me conversion of mind and heart.
Grant that all people,
especially (names of those whom you wish to include) may experience
the depth of God’s redeeming and healing love.
Teach me to fix my eyes on the things of heaven
even as I walk each day with my feet planted firmly on the earth.
Help me, through the practice of virtue and the pursuit of devotion,
to avoid anything that would otherwise cause me to stumble
in my attempt to follow Christ
and to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit.
Encouraged by your prayers and example,
help me to live fully my sacred dignity
with the hope of experiencing my sacred destiny:
eternal life with God.
Receive also this particular need or concern
that I now lift up in prayer. (mention your particular need).
O God, for the salvation of all,
you desired that St. Francis de Sales—
preacher, missionary, confessor, bishop and founder—
should befriend many long the road to salvation.
Mercifully grant that we,
infused with the humility and gentleness of his charity,
guided by his wisdom and sharing in his spirit
may experience eternal life.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.

For the complete 9 day St. Francis de Sales Novena visit here

 

St. Thomas Aquinas Novena Day 1 – Discerning Hearts Podcast

St. Thomas Aquinas Novena Day 1


Day 1thomas-aquinas

St. Thomas you have taught that:

“God Himself is the rule and mode of virtue. Our faith is measured by divine truth, our hope by the greatness of His power and faithful affection, our charity by His goodness. His truth, power and goodness outreach any measure of reason. We can certainly never believe, trust or love God more than, or even as much as, we should. Extravagance is impossible. Here is no virtuous moderation, no measurable mean; the more extreme our activity, the better we are.”
― Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 5 Vols

Through the intercession of St. Thomas Aquinas,

Grant me grace, O merciful God,
to desire ardently all that is pleasing to Thee,
to examine it prudently,
to acknowledge it truthfully,
and to accomplish it perfectly,
for the praise and glory of Thy name.

In particular, please obtain the favor I ask during this novena.
[Make your request here…]

Grant me, O Lord my God,
a mind to know you,
a heart to seek you,
wisdom to find you,
conduct pleasing to you,
faithful perseverance in waiting for you,
and a hope of finally embracing you.

Amen.

Background music excerpt: “O Salutaris Hostia”  performed by “Capella Musica Seoul

For the complete 9-day Novena with St. Thomas Aquinas

ST-John Ep 13 – John 6: I am the Bread of Life part 1 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 13 – John 6:  I Am the Bread of Life pt 1  

As we begin our lecture on John 6, Sharon reminds us that Jesus came for all:  the common Jew, the Jewish aristocracy, the Samaritans, the Edomites and ultimately for the entire world.  We also recall from the end of John 5 that Moses wrote of Jesus (DEUT 18:15) who is the THEE prophet raised from his own people.  Moving on to the feeding of the 5000, Sharon teaches about the typology of Jesus, the new Moses.  The signs of Moses and the signs of Jesus are strikingly similar:  Moses turns the water of the Nile into blood and Jesus turns the water at Cana into wine and through the Eucharist, wine into blood; Moses receives the Law at Mt. Sinai and Jesus fulfills the Law; Israel receives manna, the bread from heaven and Jesus IS the Eucharistic bread from heaven; Moses battles Pharaoh, whose hardened heart embodies Satan and Jesus battles Judas, whose heart is entered by Satan.  Sharon then goes on to teach us about the harrowing of Hades, outlining the scriptural basis for this belief that we profess each time we recite the Apostles Creed.   Moving then into the heart of John 6, Sharon shows us the Old Testament prefigurement of the Eucharist, beginning with the animal sacrifices prescribed throughout the Torah.  We learn that animal blood was necessary for the atonement of sin, but consuming the animal blood was expressly forbidden (LEV 17:10) which helps us understand the scandal of Jesus’ word: “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you (JN 6:53).”  Even though the Israelites ate manna in the desert, they still died.  Jesus, the new Moses, is the heavenly bread that gives us eternal life.   Sharon transitions to a wonderful teaching about the Jewish feast days, showing us how Jesus fulfills the feast days that are law as described in Torah.  Beginning with Passover, we see how the blood of the Lamb that protected the Israelites from the angel of death prefigures the blood of the Lamb of God who saves us from death.  The feast of Unleavened Bread that follows is likewise fulfilled in Jesus, the sin-free bread that is broken, yet whole; the Eucharistic sacrifice that brings us into union with God.  Next, the Feast of First Fruits is realized in the risen Jesus, the first fruits of all that have died (1 COR 15:20).  The lecture concludes as it began, looking once again at the feeding of the 5000, showing us the symbolic importance of the barley loaves and the counting of the Omer, which connects the Passover with the Jewish Pentecost and then by extension, connecting the crucifixion of Christ with the descent of the Holy Spirit at the first Christian Pentecost.

 

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

St. Francis de Sales Novena Day 4 – Discerning Hearts Podcast


Day 4

Self-love dies only when our body dies, so we must, while we live in this land of exile, continue to counterattack its assaults on our senses and its underhanded tactics. It is enough if we firmly withstand, giving no willful or deliberate consent … When we feel within ourselves the first movements of self-love or of other passions, let us prostrate ourselves immediately before the heart of God and tell Him, in a spirit of confidence and humility, “Lord, have mercy on me because I am a very weak creature.” Then let us tranquilly rest in peace and put ourselves at God’s disposal. (Letters 1675; O. XIX, pp. 272-273)

O blessed Francis de Sales, who on earth did excel in a life of virtue,
especially in the love of God and neighbor,
I earnestly ask you to take me under your compassionate care and protection.
Obtain for me conversion of mind and heart.
Grant that all people,
especially (names of those whom you wish to include) may experience
the depth of God’s redeeming and healing love.
Teach me to fix my eyes on the things of heaven
even as I walk each day with my feet planted firmly on the earth.
Help me, through the practice of virtue and the pursuit of devotion,
to avoid anything that would otherwise cause me to stumble
in my attempt to follow Christ
and to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit.
Encouraged by your prayers and example,
help me to live fully my sacred dignity
with the hope of experiencing my sacred destiny:
eternal life with God.
Receive also this particular need or concern
that I now lift up in prayer. (mention your particular need).
O God, for the salvation of all,
you desired that St. Francis de Sales—
preacher, missionary, confessor, bishop and founder—
should befriend many long the road to salvation.
Mercifully grant that we,
infused with the humility and gentleness of his charity,
guided by his wisdom and sharing in his spirit
may experience eternal life.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.

For the complete 9 day St. Francis de Sales Novena visit here

 

POA6 – “Know your Weapons” pt. 1 – Put On The Armor – A Manual for Spiritual Warfare w/Dr. Paul Thigpen Ph.D. – Discerning Hears Catholic Podcasts

Catholic Spiritual Formation - Catholic Spiritual Direction

Episode 6 – “Know your Weapons” pt. 1- Put on The Armor – A Manual for Spiritual Warfare with Dr. Paul Thigpen Ph.D

Dr. Thigpen offers insights on the Manual for Spiritual Warfare Chapter 4:

The weapon of prayer In writing to the Ephesians, St. Paul goes on to identify several specific pieces of armor, and weapons as well. Indispensable in this list of the spiritual warrior’s equipment is prayer. “With all prayer and supplication,” he insists, “pray at all times in the Spirit, and  .  .  . be vigilant in all perseverance and all supplication for all the saints” (Eph 6: 18).

The weapon of worship Of course, prayer isn’t just a private matter. Praying not just for others, but with others, forms an important part of spiritual warfare. And the most perfect prayer in which we can join with our fellow warriors is the prayer of the Mass.

Worship is a spiritual weapon. When we worship God, we enter into His presence in a powerful way. Because demons tremble at His presence, they are reluctant to follow us there.

The weapon of Eucharistic adoration Outside of Mass, the other great refuge from the Devil and his wiles is prayer before the Blessed Sacrament.

The weapon of fasting Throughout Sacred Scripture, we find that when God’s people fast, the power of their prayers is increased, especially when they are engaged in spiritual warfare. In the Old Testament, the Lord told Isaiah that a fast properly undertaken would “loose the bonds of wickedness  .  .  . undo the thongs of the yoke  .  .  . let the oppressed go free” (Is 58: 6).

Visit here for other episodes in this series:
Put On The Armor – A Manual for Spiritual Warfare w/Dr. Paul Thigpen Ph.D.

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The “Manual for Spiritual Warfare” can be found here

Paul Thigpen, Ph.D, is the Editor of TAN Books in Charlotte, North Carolina. An internationally known speaker, best-selling author and award-winning journalist, Paul has published forty-three books in a wide variety of genres and subjects: history and biography, spirituality and apologetics, anthologies and devotionals, family life and children’s books, study guides and reference works, fiction and collections of poetry and prayers.

Paul graduated from Yale University in 1977 summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, with Distinction in the Major of Religious Studies. He was later awarded the George W. Woodruff Fellowship at Emory University in Atlanta, where he earned an M.A. (1993) and a Ph.D. (1995) in Historical Theology. In 1993 he was named as a Jacob K. Javits Fellow by the U.S. Department of Education. He has served on the faculty of several universities and colleges.

In 2008 Paul was appointed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to their National Advisory Council for a four-year term. He has served the Church as a theologian, historian, apologist, evangelist, and catechist in a number of settings,speaking frequently in Catholic and secular media broadcasts and at conferences, seminars, parish missions, and scholarly gatherings.

 

St. Francis de Sales Novena Day 3 – Discerning Hearts Podcast

St. Francis de Sales Novena Day 3

Day 3

St. Francis de Sales Novena Day 3

 

I desire very little, and what I do desire I desire very little; I have hardly any desires, but if I were to begin my life all over again I would want to have none at all … Ask for nothing, refuse nothing; we must simply abandon ourselves into the hands of Providence, without nourishing any other desire but to do whatever God wills. St. Paul practiced this act of absolute abandonment at the very moment of his conversion. When he was deprived of his sight, he immediately said, “Lord, what do you want me to do?” [cf. Act 22:10] From that moment on he put himself completely at God’s disposal. All our perfection consists precisely in the practical application of this principle. (Spiritual Treatises XXI, O. VI, pp. 383-384)

O blessed Francis de Sales, who on earth did excel in a life of virtue,
especially in the love of God and neighbor,
I earnestly ask you to take me under your compassionate care and protection.
Obtain for me conversion of mind and heart.
Grant that all people,
especially (names of those whom you wish to include) may experience
the depth of God’s redeeming and healing love.
Teach me to fix my eyes on the things of heaven
even as I walk each day with my feet planted firmly on the earth.
Help me, through the practice of virtue and the pursuit of devotion,
to avoid anything that would otherwise cause me to stumble
in my attempt to follow Christ
and to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit.
Encouraged by your prayers and example,
help me to live fully my sacred dignity
with the hope of experiencing my sacred destiny:
eternal life with God.
Receive also this particular need or concern
that I now lift up in prayer. (mention your particular need).
O God, for the salvation of all,
you desired that St. Francis de Sales—
preacher, missionary, confessor, bishop and founder—
should befriend many long the road to salvation.
Mercifully grant that we,
infused with the humility and gentleness of his charity,
guided by his wisdom and sharing in his spirit
may experience eternal life.

We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Francis de Sales, pray for us.

For the complete 9 day St. Francis de Sales Novena visit here