“Teach Us How To Pray” – Lent and the Importance of Fasting and Almsgiving in our Prayer – A series on prayer with Msgr. John Esseff Episode 4

Msgr-Esseff-2
Msgr. Esseff teaches the importance of the Liturgical year and in particular the season of Lent.  He also shares his experience of fasting in a desert found in Peru. From this he learned the importance of FASTING and PRAYER.  Msgr. Esseff challenges us to discern what the Father in Heaven is asking us to do this Lent through fasting, so we can purely and perfectly follow His Holy Will.  And he describes ALMSGIVING, and story from an experience he had with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity Sisters.

fasting-and-almsgiving-300x230The Church prepares a spiritual retreat for all of us during Lent.  The Holy Spirit is transforming you in a radical way so that you become more like Jesus Christ…the day by day exercise of Morning Prayer, the Eucharist and Evening Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving, and the other moments of contemplative prayer aids in the transformation…our ego decreases and Jesus increases in our minds and in our hearts.

Be sure to visit Msgr. Esseff’s website “Building A Kingdom of Love”

Pray the Liturgy of Hours

Morning Prayer
Mid-morningPrayer
Mid-dayPrayer
Afternoon Prayer
Evening Prayer
Night Prayer
Office of Readings

GWML#7 Harriet Beecher Stowe and “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” – Great Works in Western Literature with Joseph Pearce

GWML#11 William Shakespeare (Merchant of Venice and King Lear) - Great Works in Western Literature with Joseph Pearce - Discerning Hearts 2Episode 7 – Great Works in Western Literature with Joseph Pearce – Harriet Beecher Stowe

Harriet Beecher Stowe was appalled by slavery, and she took one of the few options open to nineteenth century women who wanted to affect public opinion: she wrote a novel, a huge, enthralling narrative that claimed the heart, soul, and politics of millions of her contemporaries. Uncle Harriet-Beecher-Stowe1Tom’s Cabin paints pictures of three plantations, each worse than the other, where even the best plantation leaves a slave at the mercy of fate or debt. Her questions remain penetrating even today: “Can man ever be trusted with wholly irresponsible power?”

First published more than 150 years ago, this monumental work is today being reexamined by critics, scholars, and students. Though “Uncle Tom” has become a synonym for a fawning black yes-man, Stowe’s Tom is actually American literature’s first black hero, a man who suffers for refusing to obey his oppressors. Uncle Tom’s Cabin is a living, relevant story, passionate in its vivid depiction of the cruelest forms of injustice and inhumanity-and the courage it takes to fight against them.

Uncle-Toms-CabinBased on the Ignatius Critical Edition, this series examines, from the Judeo-Christian perspective, the life, the times, and influence of authors of great works in literature .

Joseph Pearce is currently the Writer-in-Residence and Visiting Fellow at Thomas More College of Liberal Arts in Merrimack, New Hampshire. He is also Visiting Scholar at Mount Royal Academy in Sunapee, New Hampshire. He is also Visiting Scholar at Mount Royal Academy in Sunapee, New Hampshire. He is co-editor of the Saint Austin Review (or StAR), an international review of Christian culture, literature, and ideas published in England (Family Publications) and the United States (Sapientia Press). He is also the author of many books, including literary biographies of Solzhenitsyn, J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton, and Oscar Wilde.

To learn more about the authors and titles available in the Ignatius Critical Editions

Chap 17 – The Life of St. Teresa of Jesus – Mp3 audio


The Life of St. Teresa of Jesus,
of the Order of Our Lady of Carmel

Chapter 17St.-Teresa-of-Avila

Continues to declare matters concerning the third degree of prayer and completes the explanation of its effects. She also treats of the impediment caused by the imagination and the memory.

For the pdf containing the complete text and footnotes click here

For other chapters of the audio book visit: The Life of Teresa of Avila (autobiography) audio page

The Life
St. Teresa of Jesus,
of the Order of Our Lady of Carmel.
Written by Herself.
Translated from the Spanish by
David Lewis.
Third Edition Enlarged

IP#293 Michael Novak – Social Justice Isn’t What You Think It Is on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor pt 2

Michael NovakWhat a delight to talk once again to Michael Novak especially about “Social Justice Isn’t What You Think.” Co-authored with Paul Adams, this book is fantastic! Clearly written, it offers all who read its pages a depth to the subject matter few other works have been able to provide. They rescue the term “social justice” from those who would misuse the term to foster various agendas. As Fr. James Schall critiques so well, “No concept in ethical and political philosophy is more in need of clarification and critical analysis than that of “social justice.” This term is a relatively late arrival in Catholic vocabulary. Adams and Novak provide a careful, thorough analysis of the term and the ideas and approach that make it useful. This is a very welcome book, not to be missed by anyone at all concerned with public order and understanding.” Not to be missed!

Here is part 2 of our conversation.

Social Justice Isn't What You ThinkYou can find the book here
Adams and Novak write with compelling clarity and force. They make a rich contribution to our understanding of social justice and the policy implications that flow from it. – Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia

Elegantly, winsomely, and with telling examples, Adams and Novak show how Catholic Social Thought challenges conventional “liberal” and “conservative” approaches to social issues. This is a terrific book for anyone who is prepared to look anew at the dilemmas facing a society that aspires to be both free and compassionate. – Mary Ann Glendon, Professor of Law, Harvard University

 

St. Thomas Aquinas, “the poet laureate of heaven” with Mike Aquilina

JanuThe Holy Roman Martyrs: Then and Now with Mike Aquilina - Could you witness to the faith? - Discerning Hearts ary 28 is the day the Catholic Church honors St. Thomas Aquinas. The Italian saint was a priest and is widely recognized as being one of the most influential figures in the study of theology. Mike Aquilina who he refers to him as the “poet laureate of heaven”.

Check out  Mike’s wonderful site “The Way of the Fathers”

St.-Thomas-Aquinas-stain-gl

From the Pope Benedict’s audience (from Vatican.va) reflecting on St. Thomas Aquinas….

 The life and teaching of St Thomas Aquinas could be summed up in an episode passed down by his ancient biographers. While, as was his wont, the Saint was praying before the Crucifix in the early morning in the chapel of St Nicholas in Naples, Domenico da Caserta, the church sacristan, overheard a conversation. Thomas was anxiously asking whether what he had written on the mysteries of the Christian faith was correct. And the Crucified One answered him: “You have spoken well of me, Thomas. What is your reward to be?”. And the answer Thomas gave him was what we too, friends and disciples of Jesus, always want to tell him: “Nothing but Yourself, Lord!”

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Mike’s book can really help us to pray with St. Thomas.  You can find it here

This is the poem spoke about in our conversation:

O Godhead hid, devoutly I adore Thee,
Who truly art within the forms before me;
To Thee my heart I bow with bended knee,
As failing quite in contemplating Thee.

Sight, touch, and taste in Thee are each deceived;
The ear alone most safely is believed.
I believe all the Son of God has spoken :
Than Truth’s own word there is no trucer token.

God only on the Cross lay hid from view,
But here lies hid at once the manhood too :
And I, in both professing my believe,
Make the same prayer as the repentant thief.

Thy wounds, as Thomas saw, I do not see;
Yet Thee confess my Lord and God to be.
Make me blieve Thee ever more and more,
In Thee my hope, in Thee my love to store.

O Thou, memorial of our Lord’s own dying!
O living bread, to mortals life supplying!
Make Thou my soul henceforth on Thee to live;
Ever a taste of heavenly sweetness give.

O loving Pelican! O Jesu Lord!
Unclean I am, but cleanse me in Thy Blood :
Of which a single drop, for sinners spilt,
Can purge the entire world from all its guilt.

Jesu! whom for the present veiled I see,
What I so thirst for, oh, vouchasafe to me :
That I may see Thy countenance unfolding,
And may be blest Thy glory in beholding. Amen.

IP#292 Michael Novak – Social Justice Isn’t What You Think It Is on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor pt 1

Michael NovakWhat a delight to talk once again to Michael Novak especially about “Social Justice Isn’t What You Think.” Co-authored with Paul Adams, this book is fantastic!  Clearly written, it offers all who read its pages a depth to the subject matter few other works have been able to provide. They rescue the term “social justice” from those who would misuse the term to foster various agendas.  As Fr. James Schall critiques so well, “No concept in ethical and political philosophy is more in need of clarification and critical analysis than that of “social justice.” This term is a relatively late arrival in Catholic vocabulary. Adams and Novak provide a careful, thorough analysis of the term and the ideas and approach that make it useful.  This is a very welcome book, not to be missed by anyone at all concerned with public order and understanding.” Not to missed!

Here is part 1 of our conversation.

Social Justice Isn't What You ThinkYou can find the book here
Adams and Novak write with compelling clarity and force. They make a rich contribution to our understanding of social justice and the policy implications that flow from it. – Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia

Elegantly, winsomely, and with telling examples, Adams and Novak show how Catholic Social Thought challenges conventional “liberal” and “conservative” approaches to social issues. This is a terrific book for anyone who is prepared to look anew at the dilemmas facing a society that aspires to be both free and compassionate. – Mary Ann Glendon, Professor of Law, Harvard University

 

IP#290 Fr. Robert Spitzer S.J. – The Souls Upward Yearning on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor pt 2

Fr.-Robert-Spitzer

“The Souls Upward Yearning: : Clues to Our Transcendent Nature from Experience and Reason (Happiness, Suffering, and Transcendence)” has become one of my favorite books of all-time!  Fr. Robert Spitzer S.J. once again offers an incredible work that “feeds” not only the mind but also the heart.  As a matter of fact, the beauty of this book, on the transcendental nature of our souls, is that it begins with the experience of the heart and then moves us to the head (which is an important flip from how we typically travel the beginnings of the spiritual journey).

In part two of our conversation, we discuss, among other things, understanding the role of suffering and the spiritual battle involved in our transcendent understanding.

Now why is this topic so vitally important today?  Because the loss of transcendence is negatively affecting our entire society. It has robbed us of  our happiness, dignity, ideals, virtues, and a sense of our eternal destiny.  We were created for greater things and we must believe in that fundamental truth and we must help others to come to that understanding as well!  This is a classic work, in its truest sense, of Christian apologetics! Absolutely not to be missed!

Souls-Upward-YearningYou can find the book here

“Father Spitzer displays a broad range of arguments in favor of the reality and the compelling importance of the transcendent dimension of our existence on the basis of religious literature, our interior awareness of transcendent reality, the cosmic struggle between good and evil, metaphysics, our natural desire to experience perfect goodness, love and beauty, the evidence of near-death experiences, and contemporary science, especially astrophysics.”

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York

 

Take a listen to our episode we feature the first book in this great series:
Fr. Robert Spitzer S.J. – Finding True Happiness on Inside the Pages

IP#289 Fr. Robert Spitzer S.J. – The Souls Upward Yearning on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor pt 1



Fr.-Robert-Spitzer“The Souls Upward Yearning: : Clues to Our Transcendent Nature from Experience and Reason (Happiness, Suffering, and Transcendence)” has become one of my favorite books of all-time!  Fr. Robert Spitzer S.J. once again offers an incredible work that “feeds” not only the mind but also the heart.  As a matter of fact, the beauty of this book, on the transcendental nature of our souls, is that it begins with the experience of the heart and then moves us to the head (which is an important flip from how we typically travel the beginnings of the spiritual journey).

In part one of our conversation, we discuss how contemporary evidence indicates how we are built by God, invited by God, from the very beginning of our creation, to receive God.  Fr. Spitzer, in this particular episode, sites the work of Carl Jung (psychiatrist) and Mircea Eliade (historian of religion) along with many other experts in their fields to make the case for the beauty of the transcendent soul.

Now why is this topic so vitally important today?  Because the loss of transcendence is negatively affecting our entire society. It has robbed us of  our happiness, dignity, ideals, virtues, and a sense of our eternal destiny.  We were created for greater things and we must believe in that fundamental truth and we must help others to come to that understanding as well!  This is a classic work, in its truest sense, of Christian apologetics! Absolutely not to be missed!

Souls-Upward-YearningYou can find the book here

“Father Spitzer displays a broad range of arguments in favor of the reality and the compelling importance of the transcendent dimension of our existence on the basis of religious literature, our interior awareness of transcendent reality, the cosmic struggle between good and evil, metaphysics, our natural desire to experience perfect goodness, love and beauty, the evidence of near-death experiences, and contemporary science, especially astrophysics.”

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York

 

Take a listen to our episode we feature the first book in this great series:
Fr. Robert Spitzer S.J. – Finding True Happiness on Inside the Pages

IP#291 Robert Royal – A Deeper Vision on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

Robert-RoyalWhen I saw the author, Robert Royal, and then the title of the book, “A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century” on the front cover, I knew this was going to be a great adventure in reading.  I was not disappointed.  In fact, this book is incredible!  DO NOT be intimidated by the subject matter, on the contrary, embrace it as a cherished gift for the mind and heart!

In this conversation with Robert Royal, we can only touch the tip of this towering mountain.  Pope Benedict XVI, St. John Paul II, Hans Urs von Balthasar are just some of the great “thinkers” we discuss.  We also talk about the challenges faced in communicating an authentically catholic (universal) balanced truth. What principles dictate the expression? And how can we navigate through hazardous traps of opinion and punditry that is presented to us today by “would-be” theologians and intellectuals who appear to “specialize” in presenting Catholic thought though the use of the internet and other media outlets?  If we are not familiar with the basic principles, vocabulary, and virtues of Catholic thought we could be doomed to fall into unfortunate intellectual (and possibly heretical) traps.

This is a tremendous work, so very well done! Thank you to Ignatius Press for once again serving up an incredible spiritual feast! Highly, highly recommended!

A-Deeper-VisionThe book can be found here

From the book description:

Royal presents in a single volume a sweeping but readable account of how Catholic thinking developed in philosophy, theology, Scripture studies, culture, literature, and much more in the twentieth century. This involves great figures, recognized as such both inside and outside the Church, such as Jacques Maritain, Bernard Lonergan, Joseph Pieper, Edith Stein, Alasdair MacIntyre, Charles Taylor, Romano Guardini, Karl Rahner, Henri du Lubac, Karol Wojtyla, Joseph Ratzinger, Hans Urs von Balthasar,Charles Peguy, Paul Claudel, George Bernanos, Francois Mauriac, G. K. Chesterton, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Christopher Dawson, Graham Greene, Sigrid Undset, J. R. R. Tolkien, Czeslaw Milosz, and many more.

“Our daily work is to do the will of God” – Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton from the Office of Readings

From a conference to her spiritual daughters by Elizabeth Ann Seton

Our daily work is to do the will of God

I will tell you what is my own great help. I once read or heard that an interior life means but the continuation of our Savior’s life in us; that the great object of all his mysteries is to merit for us the grace of his interior life and communicate it to us, it being the end of his mission to lead us into the sweet land of promise, a life of constant union with himself. And what was the first rule of our dear Savior’s life? You know it was to do his Father’s will. Well, then, the first end I propose in our daily work is to do the will of God; secondly, to do it in the manner he wills; and thirdly, to do it because it is his will.

I know what his will is by those who direct me; whatever they bid me do, if it is ever so small in itself, is the will of God for me. Then do it in the manner he wills it, not sewing an old thing as if it were new, or a new thing as if it were old; not fretting because the oven is too hot, or in a fuss because it is too cold. You understand—not flying and driving because you are hurried, not creeping like a snail because no one pushes you. Our dear Savior was never in extremes. The third object is to do his will because God wills it, that is, to be ready to quit at any moment and to do anything else to which you may be called….

You think it very hard to lead a life of such restraint unless you keep your eye of faith always open. Perseverance is a great grace. To go on gaining and advancing every day, we must be resolute, and bear and suffer as our blessed forerunners did. Which of them gained heaven without a struggle?…

What are our real trials? By what name shall we call them? One cuts herself out a cross of pride; another, one of causeless discontent; another, one of restless impatience or peevish fretfulness. But is the whole any better than children’s play if looked at with the common eye of faith? Yet we know certainly that our God calls us to a holy life, that he gives us every grace, every abundant grace; and though we are so weak of ourselves, this grace is able to carry us through every obstacle and difficulty.

But we lack courage to keep a continual watch over nature, and therefore, year after year, with our thousand graces, multiplied resolutions, and fair promises, we run around in a circle of misery and imperfections. After a long time in the service of God, we come nearly to the point from whence we set out, and perhaps with even less ardor for penance and mortification than when we began our consecration to him.

You are now in your first setout. Be above the vain fears of nature and efforts of your enemy. You are children of eternity. Your immortal crown awaits you, and the best of Fathers waits there to reward your duty and love. You may indeed sow here in tears, but you may be sure there to reap in joy.

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.

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