The Gift of Holiness – Advent Retreat Reflection by Deacon James Keating Ph.D.

This reflection was given during a special Discerning Hearts Advent evening of prayer and meditation at St. Margaret Mary’s Church in Omaha, NE

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. 

 

 

 

Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe Day 1 – Discerning Hearts Catholic Podcasts

Please visit the Discerning Hearts Our Lady of Guadalupe page for the text and audio for the remaining days.OLG1

Pray to Our Lady of Guadalupe
(Pope John Paul II, January 25, 1979)

O Immaculate Virgin, mother of the true God and mother of the Church! You, who … revealed your clemency and your pity to all those who ask for your protection, hear the prayer that we address to you with filial trust, and present it to your Son Jesus, our sole Redeemer.

Mother of Mercy, teacher of hidden and silent sacrifice, to you … we dedicate on this day all our being and all our love. We also dedicate to you our life, our work, our joys, our infirmities, and our sorrows.
Grant peace, justice, and prosperity to our people, for we entrust to your care all that we have and all that we are, our Lady and Mother.

We wish to be entirely yours and to walk with you along the way of complete faithfulness to Jesus Christ and his Church: hold us always in your loving hand.

Virgin of Guadalupe, Mother of the Americas, we pray to you for all the bishops, that they may lead the faithful along paths of intense Christian life, of love and humble service of God and souls. Grant to our homes the grace of loving and respecting life in its beginnings, with the same love with which you conceived in your womb the life of the Son of God.

Blessed Virgin Mary, protect our families, so that they may always be united, and bless the upbringing of our children. Thus, Most Holy Mother, with the peace of God in our conscience, with our hearts free from evil and hatred, we will be able to bring to all true joy and true peace, which come to us from your Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, who with God the Father and the Holy Spirit, lives and reigns forever and ever.
Amen.

Day One
Holy Mother, you appeared to Saint Juan Diego as a
maiden of his own race to reveal that you are the mother
of all God’s children. Draw close to your heart those who
are facing an unexpected pregnancy, so that like you, they
will say yes to the new life with which God has blessed them.
Our Father … Hail Mary … Glory be

Saturday of the 1st Week of Advent – An Advent Lectio Divina for the Discerning Heart


Saturday of the 1st Week of Advent – An Advent Lectio Divina for the Discerning Heart

As you begin, take a deep breath and exhale slowly.  For at least the next few moments, surrender all the cares and concerns of this day to the Lord.

Say slowly from your heart “Jesus, I Trust In You…You Take Over”

Become aware that He is with you, looking upon you with love, wanting to be heard deep within in your heart…

From the Holy Gospel of Matthew 9:35-10:1,5,6-8

Jesus made a tour through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness.
And when he saw the crowds he felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.’
He summoned his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits with power to cast them out and to cure all kinds of diseases and sickness. These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows: ‘Go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. And as you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils. You received without charge, give without charge.’

What word made this passage come alive for you?

What did you sense the Lord saying to you?

Once more give the Lord an opportunity to speak to you:

Jesus made a tour through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness.
And when he saw the crowds he felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.’
He summoned his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits with power to cast them out and to cure all kinds of diseases and sickness. These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows: ‘Go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. And as you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils. You received without charge, give without charge.’

What did your heart feel as you listened?

What did you sense the Lord saying to you?

Once more, through Him, with Him and in Him listen to the Word:

Jesus made a tour through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and curing all kinds of diseases and sickness.
And when he saw the crowds he felt sorry for them because they were harassed and dejected, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is rich but the labourers are few, so ask the Lord of the harvest to send labourers to his harvest.’
He summoned his twelve disciples, and gave them authority over unclean spirits with power to cast them out and to cure all kinds of diseases and sickness. These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them as follows: ‘Go rather to the lost sheep of the House of Israel. And as you go, proclaim that the kingdom of heaven is close at hand. Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out devils. You received without charge, give without charge.’

What touched your heart in this time of prayer?

What did your heart feel as you prayed?

What do you hope to carry with you from this time with the Lord?


We thank you, Lord Jesus for this time with you.

Keep us alert, we pray, O Lord our God,

as we await the advent of Christ your Son,

Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

God, for ever and ever

Amen

Excerpt from THE JERUSALEM BIBLE, copyright (c) 1966 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd. and Doubleday, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Reprinted by Permission.

 

TSP7 – Entering the Fifth Mansion – St. Teresa of Avila, Spiritual Warfare, and the Progress of the Soul with Dan Burke – Discerning Hearts Podcasts


Episode 7 – Entering the Fifth Mansion – St. Teresa, Spiritual Warfare, and the Progress of the Soul with Dan Burke

Join Dan Burke and Kris McGregor as they discuss the teachings of the great spiritual master and Doctor of the Church, St. Teresa of Avila.  The focus of their conversations will primarily reside in St. Teresa’s “Interior Castle” and her wisdom in regard to the activity of the enemy and the reality of spiritual warfare.


You can find the book here

An excerpt from the book:

Have you ever considered that the devil is active in your prayer life? In the parish church where you attend Mass? In the lives and actions of people of goodwill all around you? The saints remind us of a key aspect of living the spiritual life that we are wont to forget simply because we can’t see it and because we have been conditioned by the media and popular culture to think the devil works visibly only in “bad” people or in extraordinary ways, as in the movies. And although demons are certainly capable of extravagant or extraordinary manifestations, their ordinary work flies under our radar because it just isn’t that spectacular, though it is deadly.

In fact, subtlety, illusion, and deceit are their preferred methods of attack. An invisible battle for souls is being waged in and around us without reprieve, and we remain ignorant of it to our peril. St. Teresa of Avila, great mystic and Doctor of the Church, is best known for her writings on the way God leads souls along the path to union with Him through prayer. What many do not know about St. Teresa is that she also observed the actions of demons working with militant force to lead even good souls astray in ways that might surprise you. She shares these experiences freely in her autobiography, which she was commanded to write under obedience to her spiritual director.

Burke, Dan; Burke, Dan. The Devil in the Castle: St. Teresa of Avila, Spiritual Warfare, and the Progress of the Soul (p. 12). Sophia Institute Press. Kindle Edition.


For more episodes in this series visit Dan Burke’s Discerning Hearts page here


Dan Burke is the founder and President of the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, which offers graduate and personal enrichment studies in spiritual theology to priests, deacons, religious, and laity in 72 countries and prepares men for seminary in 14 dioceses.

Dan is the author and editor of more than 15 books on authentic Catholic spirituality and hosts the Divine Intimacy Radio show with his wife, Stephanie, which is broadcast weekly on EWTN Radio. Past episodes can be found, along with thousands of articles on the interior life, at SpiritualDirection.com.

In his deep commitment to the advancement of faithful Catholic spirituality, he is also the founder of Apostoli Viae, a world-wide, private association of the faithful dedicated to living and advancing the authentic spiritual patrimony of the Church.

Most importantly, Dan is a blessed husband, father of four, grandfather of one—and grateful to be Catholic.

AR#4 – The Only Pleasure That Lasts – Advent Reflections with Deacon James Keating Ph.D. – Discerning Hearts Podcast


AR#4 – Advent Reflections with Deacon James Keating, Ph.D.

Human beings are called by God, to find their fulfillment patiently, to a life of cultivating virtue. We don’t become saints immediately; we don’t even grow in disdain of our sins immediately. For we are so attached to them, and the immediacy of pleasure that they give us, that it takes time for us to disconnect from that pleasure, and to cultivate a new love, for the only pleasure that lasts, God sharing His own happiness with us. This Advent lets ask the Lord to open our hearts more deeply so that we can receive this happiness from Him. And in so receiving it, be healed of our impatience. For what is being given, and what is coming to us, is more than we could ever imagine.

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.

We highly recommend – The Eucharist and the Hope of Conversion with Deacon James Keating Ph.D. Discerning Hearts Podcast


For more from Deacon James Keating check out his “Discerning Heart” page

Friday of the 1st Week of Advent – An Advent Lectio Divina for the Discerning Heart


Friday of the 1st Week of Advent – An Advent Lectio Divina for the Discerning Heart

As you begin, take a deep breath and exhale slowly.  For at least the next few moments, surrender all the cares and concerns of this day to the Lord.

Say slowly from your heart “Jesus, I Trust In You…You Take Over”

Become aware that He is with you, looking upon you with love, wanting to be heard deep within in your heart…

From the Holy Gospel of Matthew 9:27-31

As Jesus went on his way two blind men followed him shouting, ‘Take pity on us, Son of David.’ And when Jesus reached the house the blind men came up with him and he said to them, ‘Do you believe I can do this?’ They said, ‘Sir, we do.’ Then he touched their eyes saying, ‘Your faith deserves it, so let this be done for you.’ And their sight returned. Then Jesus sternly warned them, ‘Take care that no one learns about this.’ But when they had gone, they talked about him all over the countryside.

What word made this passage come alive for you?

What did you sense the Lord saying to you?

Once more give the Lord an opportunity to speak to you:

As Jesus went on his way two blind men followed him shouting, ‘Take pity on us, Son of David.’ And when Jesus reached the house the blind men came up with him and he said to them, ‘Do you believe I can do this?’ They said, ‘Sir, we do.’ Then he touched their eyes saying, ‘Your faith deserves it, so let this be done for you.’ And their sight returned. Then Jesus sternly warned them, ‘Take care that no one learns about this.’ But when they had gone, they talked about him all over the countryside.

What did your heart feel as you listened?

What did you sense the Lord saying to you?

Once more, through Him, with Him and in Him listen to the Word:

As Jesus went on his way two blind men followed him shouting, ‘Take pity on us, Son of David.’ And when Jesus reached the house the blind men came up with him and he said to them, ‘Do you believe I can do this?’ They said, ‘Sir, we do.’ Then he touched their eyes saying, ‘Your faith deserves it, so let this be done for you.’ And their sight returned. Then Jesus sternly warned them, ‘Take care that no one learns about this.’ But when they had gone, they talked about him all over the countryside.

What touched your heart in this time of prayer?

What did your heart feel as you prayed?

What do you hope to carry with you from this time with the Lord?


We thank you, Lord Jesus for this time with you.

Keep us alert, we pray, O Lord our God,

as we await the advent of Christ your Son,

Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

God, for ever and ever

Amen

Excerpt from THE JERUSALEM BIBLE, copyright (c) 1966 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd. and Doubleday, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Reprinted by Permission.

 

CLJ2 – The Epicenter – Come, Lord Jesus: Meditations on the Art of Waiting by Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C. – Discerning Hearts Podcast


CLJ2 – The Epicenter – ‘Come, Lord Jesus’ by Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C.

An excerpt from Come, Lord Jesus: Meditations on the Art of Waiting:

 The Epicenter

“In today’s Gospel we have our dear Lord’s shivering words about the house built on sand, which looked so good, standing there. Everything was going along all right. But then some winds came, and then some rain came. And that good-looking house fell because it was built on sand. Jesus says in those terrible words, which always cause a shiver to go down the spine, “The rains came and the winds came, and that house fell. And, oh, what a fall it had!” We have falls in our lives, in our spiritual lives, and sometimes they are very bad. The trouble is that we had built something on sand.

And then, of course, our dear Lord talks about the other house: it also looked good. It was good, because it was built on a rock. He says that the winds came and they beat against that house. If these were sentient houses, we couldn’t claim that this house didn’t feel the wind, and the other one did. No, it felt the winds. The winds and rain beat upon this house, too. And it also suffered; it also had to endure the impact of the untoward. But this house stood firm because it was built upon a rock.”


Mother Mary Francis, P.C.C., (1921-2006) was for more than forty years the abbess of the Poor Clare Monastery of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Roswell, New Mexico. She became recognized as an authoritative voice for the renewal of religious life through her many books, including A Right to Be Merry, But I Have Called You Friends, and Anima Christi.  To learn more about Mother Mary Francis and the Poor Clare Nuns of Roswell, NM visit their website at https://poorclares-roswell.org


Discerning Hearts is grateful to Cluny Media whose permission was obtained to record these audio selections from this published work.

AR-SP2- THE GIFT OF HOLINESS AT CHRISTMAS w/ Fr. Mauritius Wilde O.S.B., PhD.

AR-SP2- THE GIFT OF HOLINESS AT CHRISTMAS w/ Fr. Mauritius Wilde O.S.B., Ph.D.

This reflection was given during a special advent evening of prayer and meditation service at St. Margaret Mary’s Church, in Omaha, NE.

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.

Keep Watch – St. Ephrem from the Office of Readings – Discerning Hearts Podcasts

A commentary on the Diatessaron by St Ephrem

Keep watch: He is to come again

To prevent his disciples from asking the time of his coming, Christ said: About that hour no one knows, neither the angels nor the Son. It is not for you to know times or moments. He has kept those things hidden so that we may keep watch, each of us thinking that he will come in our own day. If he had revealed the time of his coming, his coming would have lost its savour: it would no longer be an object of yearning for the nations and the age in which it will be revealed. He promised that he would come but did not say when he would come, and so all generations and ages await him eagerly.

Though the Lord has established the signs of his coming, the time of their fulfilment has not been plainly revealed. These signs have come and gone with a multiplicity of change; more than that, they are still present. His final coming is like his first. As holy men and prophets waited for him, thinking that he would reveal himself in their own day, so today each of the faithful longs to welcome him in his own day, because Christ has not made plain the day of his coming.

He has not made it plain for this reason especially, that no one may think that he whose power and dominion rule all numbers and times is ruled by fate and time. He described the signs of his coming; how could what he has himself decided be hidden from him? Therefore, he used these words to increase respect for the signs of his coming, so that from that day forward all generations and ages might think that he would come again in their own day.
Keep watch; when the body is asleep nature takes control of us, and what is done is not done by our will but by force, by the impulse of nature. When deep listlessness takes possession of the soul, for example, faint-heartedness or melancholy, the enemy overpowers it and makes it do what it does not will. The force of nature, the enemy of the soul, is in control.

When the Lord commanded us to be vigilant, he meant vigilance in both parts of man: in the body, against the tendency to sleep; in the soul, against lethargy and timidity. As Scripture says: Wake up, you just, and I have risen, and am still with you; and again, Do not lose heart. Therefore, having this ministry, we do not lose heart.

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.

 

Thursday of the 1st Week of Advent – An Advent Lectio Divina for the Discerning Heart


Thursday of the 1st Week of Advent – An Advent Lectio Divina for the Discerning Heart

As you begin, take a deep breath and exhale slowly.  For at least the next few moments, surrender all the cares and concerns of this day to the Lord.

Say slowly from your heart “Jesus, I Trust In You…You Take Over”

Become aware that He is with you, looking upon you with love, wanting to be heard deep within in your heart…

From the Holy Gospel of Matthew 7:21,24-27

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord,” who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock. But everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and struck that house, and it fell; and what a fall it had!’

What word made this passage come alive for you?

What did you sense the Lord saying to you?

Once more give the Lord an opportunity to speak to you:

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord,” who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock. But everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and struck that house, and it fell; and what a fall it had!’

What did your heart feel as you listened?

What did you sense the Lord saying to you?

Once more, through Him, with Him and in Him listen to the Word:

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘It is not those who say to me, “Lord, Lord,” who will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the person who does the will of my Father in heaven. Therefore, everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a sensible man who built his house on rock. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and hurled themselves against that house, and it did not fall: it was founded on rock. But everyone who listens to these words of mine and does not act on them will be like a stupid man who built his house on sand. Rain came down, floods rose, gales blew and struck that house, and it fell; and what a fall it had!’

What touched your heart in this time of prayer?

What did your heart feel as you prayed?

What do you hope to carry with you from this time with the Lord?


We thank you, Lord Jesus for this time with you.

Keep us alert, we pray, O Lord our God,

as we await the advent of Christ your Son,

Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

God, for ever and ever

Amen

Excerpt from THE JERUSALEM BIBLE, copyright (c) 1966 by Darton, Longman & Todd, Ltd. and Doubleday, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc. Reprinted by Permission.