BTP#31 St. Bernard and the 12 Steps to Humility and Pride – Beginning to Pray with Dr. Anthony Lilles

BTP#31 St. Bernard and the 12 Steps to Humility and Pride  – The Mystery of Faith in the Wisdom of the Saints.  In this episode, Dr. Lilles begins the discussion on St. Bernard of Clairvaux and his teachings found in “The 12 Steps to Humility and Pride.”

Dr. Lilles offers 4 key points we should keep in mind as we move forward in this series

1.    The Search for God
2.    Listening to God – Lectio Divina
3.    Conversion to God – Conversatio Morum
4.    Living with oneself and letting God fashion one into His image

 

THE TWELVE DEGREES OF HUMILITY

XII. A permanent attitude of bodily; and spiritual prostration.
XI. The speech of a monk should be short, sensible and in a subdued tone.
X. Abstinence from frequent and light laughter.
IX. Reticence, until asked for his opinion.
VIII. Observance of the general rule of the monastery.
VII. Belief in and declaration of one’s inferiority to others.
VI. Admission and acknowledgment of one’s own unworthiness and uselessness.
V. Confession of sins.
IV. Patient endurance of hardship and severity in a spirit of obedience.
III. Obedient submission to superiors.
II. Forbearance to press personal desire.
I. Constant abstinence from sin for fear of God.

THE TWELVE DEGREES OF PRIDE TAKEN DOWNWARDS

I. Curiosity, when a man allows His sight and other senses to stray after things which do not concern him.
II. An unbalanced state of mind, showing itself in talk unseasonably joyous and sad.
III. Silly merriment exhibited in too frequent laughter.
IV. Conceit expressed in much talking.
V. Eccentricity attaching exaggerated importance to one’s own conduct.
VI. Self-assertion holding oneself to be more pious than others.
VII. Presumption readiness to undertake anything.
VIII. Defense of wrong-doing.
IX. Unreal confession detected when severe penance is imposed.
X. Rebellion against the rules and the brethren.
XI. Liberty to sin.
XII. Habitual transgression.

For other episodes in the series visit the Discerning Hearts page for Dr. Anthony Lilles

 

Here is the bibliography that Dr. Lilles spoke of in this episode:

The Mystery of Faith in the Wisdom of the Saints

Saints, other figures, dates and bibliographic information

 

St. Benedict of Nursia  – b. 480 –  d. 547.

St. Benedict.  The Rule.  Edited by Timothy Fry, O.S.B.  New York: Vintage Books, Random House, 1981, 1998.

 

St. Bernard of Clairvaux – b. 1090 – d. 1153

St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Selected Works. Trans. G.R. Evans. Classics of Western Spirituality.  Mahwah, NY: Paulist Press, 1987.

Read more

BTP#30 St. Benedict, Listening, and Discernment – Beginning to Pray with Dr. Anthony Lilles – Discerning Hearts

BTP30 St. Benedict, Listening and Discernment  – The Mystery of Faith in the Wisdom of the Saints.  In this episode, Dr. Lilles offers a general introduction to this series, the mystical key to discernment, and teaching of St. Benedict.

 

Dr. Lilles offers 4 key points we should keep in mind as we move forward in this series

1.    The Search for God
2.    Listening to God – Lectio Divina
3.    Conversion to God – Conversatio Morum
4.    Living with oneself and letting God fashion one into His image

All four points can be found in the “Holy Rule of St. Benedict”  paragraph #58:

CHAPTER LVIII
Of the Manner of Admitting Brethren

Let easy admission not be given to one who newly cometh to change his life; but, as the Apostle saith, “Try the spirits, whether they be of God” (1 Jn 4:1). If, therefore, the newcomer keepeth on knocking, and after four or five days it is seen that he patiently beareth the harsh treatment offered him and the difficulty of admission, and that he persevereth in his request, let admission be granted him, and let him live for a few days in the apartment of the guests.

But afterward let him live in the apartment of novices, and there let him meditate, eat, and sleep. Let a senior also be appointed for him, who is qualified to win souls, who will observe him with great care and see whether he really seeketh God, whether he is eager for the Work of God, obedience and humiliations. Let him be shown all the hard and rugged things through which we pass on to God.

If he promiseth to remain steadfast, let this Rule be read to him in order after the lapse of two months, and let it be said to him: Behold the law under which thou desirest to combat. If thou canst keep it, enter; if, however, thou canst not, depart freely. If he still persevereth, then let him be taken back to the aforesaid apartment of the novices, and let him be tried again in all patience. And after the lapse of six months let the Rule be read over to him, that he may know for what purpose he entereth. And if he still remaineth firm, let the same Rule be read to him again after four months. And if, after having weighed the matter with himself he promiseth to keep everything, and to do everything that is commanded him, then let him be received into the community, knowing that he is now placed under the law of the Rule, and that from that day forward it is no longer permitted to him to wrest his neck from under the yoke of the Rule, which after so long a deliberation he was at liberty either to refuse or to accept.

Let him who is received promise in the oratory, in the presence of all, before God and His saints, stability, the conversion of morals, and obedience, in order that, if he should ever do otherwise, he may know that he will be condemned by God “Whom he mocketh.” Let him make a written statement of his promise in the name of the saints whose relics are there, and of the Abbot there present. Let him write this document with his own hand; or at least, if he doth not know how to write, let another write it at his request, and let the novice make his mark, and with his own hand place it on the altar. When he hath placed it there, let the novice next begin the verse: “Uphold me, O Lord, according to Thy word and I shall live; and let me not be confounded in my expectations” (Ps 118[119]:116). Then let all the brotherhood repeat this verse three times, adding the Gloria Patri.

The let that novice brother cast himself down at the feet of all, that they may pray for him; and from that day let him be counted in the brotherhood. If he hath any property, let him first either dispose of it to the poor or bestow it on the monastery by a formal donation, reserving nothing for himself as indeed he should know that from that day onward he will no longer have power even over his own body.

Let him, therefore, be divested at once in the oratory of the garments with which he is clothed, and be vested in the garb of the monastery. But let the clothes of which he was divested by laid by in the wardrobe to be preserved, that, if on the devil’s suasion he should ever consent to leave the monastery (which God forbid) he be then stripped of his monastic habit and cast out. But let him not receive the document of his profession which the Abbot took from the altar, but let it be preserved in the monastery.

Dr. Anthony Lilles STD - Beginning to Pray 10Dr.Anthony Lilles is a Catholic husband and father of three teaching Spiritual Theology at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary. He teaches spiritual theology and spiritual direction to transitional deacons, and the spiritual classics to the men who enter the Spirituality Year, a year of prayer in preparation for seminary formation.  He is the author of the “Beginning to Pray”  Catholic blog spot.

For other episodes in the series visit the Discerning Hearts page for Dr. Anthony Lilles

 

Here is the bibliography that Dr. Lilles spoke of in this episode:

The Mystery of Faith in the Wisdom of the Saints

Saints, other figures, dates and bibliographic information

 

St. Benedict of Nursia  – b. 480 –  d. 547.

St. Benedict.  The Rule.  Edited by Timothy Fry, O.S.B.  New York: Vintage Books, Random House, 1981, 1998.

Read more

Entering Into Mental Prayer During Troubling Times /w Dr. Anthony Lilles and Kris McGregor Podcast

Join Dr. Anthony Lilles S.T.D. and Kris McGregor as they discuss our new reality given the Global Corona Virus Pandemic of 2020. Dr. Lilles offers wise counsel on how to enter prayer during this time. He also reflects on the importance of entering more deeply into our relationship with God through detachment and abandonment to the will of the Father. While not easy at first, such a disposition allows God’s grace to take root in our hearts and trust to flourish within us during troubling times.

For more from Dr. Anthony Lilles visit: Dr. Anthony Lilles – Beginning to Pray Discerning Hearts Podcasts

The Spiritual Dynamics and Effects of the Coronavirus Global Pandemic with Dr. Anthony Lilles and Kris McGregor – Discerning Hearts Podcast Special

Dr. Anthony Lilles took some time out of his extremely busy day to join us to discuss the global pandemic of the coronavirus and COVID-19. He shares his experience in Northern California and reflects on what God might be calling us to. He then shares with us a translation of the Prayer of St. Patrick that he has translated and appears on his Beginning to Pray blog.

From Beginning to Pray:

 

Over thirty years ago,  my spiritual director gave me a small part of this prayer. Later, I discovered songs written based on a much longer text. This Lorica is a frequent part of my daily prayer. In a special way, I ask you to pray this Deer’s Song in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Ireland, England and France – all places that were part of St. Patrick’s pilgrimage of faith — for their safety and protection during these days of great trial.

I arise clad for battle today in
That Mighty Power
of the Name of the Trinity:
Believing in the Three-ness,
Holding fast the One-ness
Creator of Heaven and Earth.

This day I array myself with
The power of Christ’s Birth and Baptism;
The power of his Crucifixion and Burial;
The power of His Resurrection and Ascension;
The Power of His coming to Judge on judgment day.

I stand this day
By virtue of the Seraphim’s devotion,
By angels’ obedience,
By resurrection’s hope unto reward,
By Patriarchs’ prayers
By Prophets’ word of power,
By Apostles’ preaching
By Confessors’ faith,
By Holy Virgins’ purity,
By righteous men’s deeds.

I gird myself this day
With heaven’s might,
With sun’s light,
With moon’s shine,
With fire’s glow,
With lightning flash,
With wind swift,
With sea deep,
With land stable,
With rock solid.

Today, I rise for battle with
God’s Power guiding me,
God’s Might upholding me,
God’s Wisdom teaching me,
God’s Eye watching over me,
God’s Ear hearing me,
God’s Word giving me speech,
God’s Hand guiding me,
God’s Way stretching before me,
God’s Shield sheltering me,
God’s terrible Army protecting me,
Against demon’s snares
Against vicious seductions
Against nature’s lusts
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or many.

I invoke today all these powers
Against every hostile merciless force
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the false seer’s enchantments,
Against paganism’s dark laws,
Against heresy’s false standards,
Against idolatry’s deceits,
Against spells of witches, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.

Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.

Christ with me,
Christ before me,
Christ behind me,
Christ within me,
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ at my right,
Christ at my left,
Christ keeping the defense,
Christ setting the course,
Christ giving the orders,
Christ in every heart that thinks of me,
Christ in every mouth that speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

Today I bind unto myself
Mighty Power: The Name of the Trinity:
Believing in the Threeness,
Holding Fast the Oneness
Of all Creation’s Creator.

Dominus est salus, Domini est salus, Christi est salusSalus tua, Domine, sit semper nobiscum.

Anthony Lilles, S.T.D. is the St. Patrick’s Seminary & University in Menlo Park, CA.  He has served the Church and assisted in the formation of clergy since 1994, and now previously served in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles as Academic Dean of St. John’s Seminary, associate professor of theology and Academic Advisor of Juan Diego House. The son of a California farmer, married with young adult children, he holds a BA in theology from the Franciscan University of Steubenville with both the ecclesiastical licentiate and doctorate in spiritual theology from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome (the Angelicum). He was a founding faculty member of Saint John Vianney Seminary in Denver where he also served as academic dean, department chair, director of liturgy and coordinator of spiritual formation for the permanent deacon program. He has recently published Hidden Mountain Secret Garden, Omaha: Discerning Hearts (2012)

BTP-IC7 – Fourth Mansions Chapter 1 – The Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila – Beginning to Pray with Dr. Anthony Lilles Podcast

In this episode, Dr. Lilles discusses the Fourth Mansions Chapter 1 of the “Interior Castle” which covers:

1. Souls in the Third Mansions. 2. Insecurity of this life. 3. Our danger of falling from grace. 4. The Saint bewails her past life. 5. Our Lady’s patronage. 6. Fear necessary even for religious. 7. St. Teresa’s contrition. 8. Characteristics of those in the Third Mansions. 9. The rich young man in the Gospel. 10. Reason of aridities in prayer. 11. Humility. 12. Tepidity. 13. We must give all to God. 14. Our debt. 15. Consolations and aridities

For the Discerning Hearts audio recording of the “Interior Castle” by St. Teresa of Avila  you can visit here


For other audio recordings of various spiritual classics you can visit the Discerning Hearts Spiritual Classics page

For other episodes in the series visit
The Discerning Hearts “The Interior Castle with Dr. Anthony Lilles”

Anthony Lilles, S.T.D. is an associate professor and the academic dean of Saint John’s Seminary in Camarillo as well as the academic advisor for Juan Diego House of Priestly Formation for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. For over twenty years he served the Church in Northern Colorado where he joined and eventually served as dean of the founding faculty of Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver. Through the years, clergy, seminarians, religious and lay faithful have benefited from his lectures and retreat conferences on the Carmelite Doctors of the Church and the writings of St. Elisabeth of the Trinity.

 

BTP#33 St. Bernard and “On Loving God” – Beginning to Pray with Dr. Anthony Lilles

BTP#33 St. Bernard and “On Loving God”  – The Mystery of Faith in the Wisdom of the Saints.  In this episode Dr. Lilles continues the discussion on St. Bernard of Clairvaux and his teachings found in “On Loving God”.

Dr. Lilles offers 4 key points we should keep in mind as we move forward in this series

1.    The Search for God
2.    Listening to God – Lectio Divina
3.    Conversion to God – Conversatio Morum
4.    Living with oneself and letting God fashion one into His image

Dr. Lilles’ continues his discussion on St. Bernard of Clairvaux, “On Loving God”:

[gview file="https://www.discerninghearts.com/catholic-podcasts/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/onlovinggod.pdf"]

Anthony Lilles, S.T.D. is an associate professor and the academic dean of Saint John’s Seminary in Camarillo as well as the academic advisor for Juan Diego House of Priestly Formation for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. For over twenty years he served the Church in Northern Colorado where he joined and eventually served as dean of the founding faculty of Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver. Through the years, clergy, seminarians, religious and lay faithful have benefited from his lectures and retreat conferences on the Carmelite Doctors of the Church and the writings of St. Elisabeth of the Trinity.

 

Here is the bibliography that Dr. Lilles spoke of in this episode:

The Mystery of Faith in the Wisdom of the Saints

Saints, other figures, dates and bibliographic information

 

St. Benedict of Nursia  – b. 480 –  d. 547.

St. Benedict.  The Rule.  Edited by Timothy Fry, O.S.B.  New York: Vintage Books, Random House, 1981, 1998

St. Bernard of Clairvaux – b. 1090 – d. 1153

St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Selected Works. Trans. G.R. Evans. Classics of Western Spirituality.  Mahwah, NY: Paulist Press, 1987.

Read more

St. Hildegard and “Conversatio Morum – the Conversion of Life and the Iron Mountain” – The Mystery of Faith in the Wisdom of the Saints with Dr. Anthony Lilles

 

St. Hildegard and  “Conversatio Morum – the Conversion of Life” – The Mystery of Faith in the Wisdom of the Saints

St. Hildegard of Bingen

Benedictine Spirituality and Lectio Divina…a “way of being”.  In part one of this particular teaching, Dr. Lilles discusses the life St. Hildegard of Bingen and her expression of Benedictine teaching, in particular her vision of the “Iron Mountain.”

 

Anthony Lilles, S.T.D. is an associate professor and the academic dean of Saint John’s Seminary in Camarillo as well as the academic advisor for Juan Diego House of Priestly Formation for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. For over twenty years he served the Church in Northern Colorado where he joined and eventually served as dean of the founding faculty of Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver. Through the years, clergy, seminarians, religious and lay faithful have benefited from his lectures and retreat conferences on the Carmelite Doctors of the Church and the writings of St. Elisabeth of the Trinity.

For other episodes in the series visit the Discerning Hearts page for Dr. Anthony Lilles

 

 

BTP-SP2-St. Hildegard and “The Creation and The Fall” and the Battle of Prayer – The Mystery of Faith in the Wisdom of the Saints – Dr. Anthony Lilles

Dr. Lilles’ teaches that prayer is a battle between the Truth and the lie, and how our understanding affects how we are going to live.  We need to be aware that there is a liar who is trying to drag us down. We need to understand creation and fall, which is brought forward by a particular vision given to, doctor of the Church, St. Hildegard of Bingen.  She helps us appreciate the “stench” of evil. Evil is the absence of something good in us, it is darkness.  Christ is the Light which illuminates our hearts and the world.

Museum – Hildegard von Bingen

Anthony Lilles, S.T.D. is an associate professor and the academic dean of Saint John’s Seminary in Camarillo as well as the academic advisor for Juan Diego House of Priestly Formation for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. For over twenty years he served the Church in Northern Colorado where he joined and eventually served as dean of the founding faculty of Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver. Through the years, clergy, seminarians, religious and lay faithful have benefited from his lectures and retreat conferences on the Carmelite Doctors of the Church and the writings of St. Elisabeth of the Trinity.

For other episodes in the series visit the Discerning Hearts page for Dr. Anthony Lilles

 

BTP- L4 – Letter 162 – The Letters of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity – Beginning to Pray w/Dr. Anthony Lilles podcast

Dr. Lilles continues the spiritual explorations of the Letters of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity. In this episode, we discuss letter 162, with a special focus on the power of the liturgy and the grace that comes by living by faith as described below:

[April 28–30, 1903]
Dijon Carmel, April

J. M. + J. T.

My good little Aunts,
It seems to me that Carlipa and Dijon are very close, for my heart has quickly jumped the distance to go find yours! And my Divine Bridegroom gives me wings like this so I can fly off to you: these wings are prayer, and then this unity in faith and love creates the communion of saints! . . . I have many things to tell you, my little Aunts, but where to begin? Oh! if you knew how beautiful Holy Week is in Carmel! I wish you could have attended our beautiful Offices, and especially on our beautiful feast of Easter. On that day, we chant Matins at 3 o’clock in the morning, we enter the choir in procession, wearing our white mantles, each holding a candle and singing the Regina Coeli. At 5 o’clock, we have the Mass of the Resurrection, followed by a magnificent procession in our beautiful garden. Everything was so still, so mysterious, that it seemed our Master was going to appear to us along the solitary paths as He once did to Mary Magdalene, and if our eyes did not see Him, at least our souls met Him in faith. Faith is so good; it is Heaven in darkness, but one day the veil will be lifted and we will contemplate in His light Him whom we love; while awaiting the Bridegroom’s “Veni” we must spend ourselves, suffer for Him, and, above all, love Him greatly. Thank Him for having called your little Elizabeth to Carmel for the persecution;2 I do not know what awaits us, and this perspective of having to suffer because I am His delights my soul. I love my dear cloister so much, and sometimes I have wondered if I don’t love this dear little cell too much,3 where it is so good to be “alone with the Alone.”4 Perhaps one day He will ask me to sacrifice it. I am ready to follow Him everywhere, and my soul will say with Saint Paul: “Who will separate me from the love of Christ?”5 I have within me a solitude where He dwells, and nothing can take that away from me! . . .

Guite had the good idea of passing your dear photographs on to me. I introduced you to our Reverend Mother, since she has heard her little lamb,6 who loves you so much, speak about you for so long. I was also delighted to show her your dear house; what sweet memories it brings back to me. I spent so many wonderful vacations, certainly the best, there among you. And the Serre, is it still so beautiful? What fine prayers must be offered there! Would you tell Monsieur le Curé that I send him my soul to say the Office with him in that dear little valley, pay him my respects and ask him to pray much for me. He is so good, I am sure he would really want to remember me at his Mass. My little Aunts, if you knew how I love your beautiful breviaries! I can’t say it enough, and each time I use them, I take your souls with mine to enter into communion with all Heaven. I assure you that you have made me very happy; they follow me everywhere, and day and night my prayer for you is my “thank you”!

I am leaving you to go to Matins “with you.” I still have many things to tell you, but there’s the bell, so I only have time to kiss you, as well as my good Aunt, from the best of my heart.

Your little Elizabeth of the Trinity r.c.i.

Pray for my dear Mama. Events have really saddened her, but her courage edifies me and I thank Him who has given me such a good one. Hello to Anna.

Catez, Elizabeth of the Trinity. The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel (pp. 101-102). ICS Publications. Kindle Edition.

Special thanks to Miriam Gutierrez for her readings of St. Elizabeth’s letters

For other episodes in the series visit
The Discerning Hearts “The Letters of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity” with Dr. Anthony Lilles’

Anthony Lilles, S.T.D. is an associate professor and the academic dean of Saint John’s Seminary in Camarillo as well as the academic advisor for Juan Diego House of Priestly Formation for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. For over twenty years he served the Church in Northern Colorado where he joined and eventually served as dean of the founding faculty of Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver. Through the years, clergy, seminarians, religious and lay faithful have benefited from his lectures and retreat conferences on the Carmelite Doctors of the Church and the writings of St. Elisabeth of the Trinity.
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BTP#22 St. Catherine of Siena – Passion for Truth: Beginning to Pray w/ Dr. Anthony Lilles

Episode 22 Beginning to Pray:  St. Catherine of Siena

From Dr. Lilles’ “Beginning to Pray”  blog site:

Catherine of Siena – passion for truth

She is an important figure for those who see a rediscovery of prayer as the force of renewal in the Church. Because she put her devotion to Christ first, she found herself with a spiritual mission to help restore the life and unity of Christ’s body. Some of her efforts met with a little success. But as she approached her death at the age of 33, her lifetime of effort in building up the Church seemed to be in vain. Corruption, scandal, cowardice – and most of all indifference – seemed to infect the Church even more. (For more on her life, go tohttp://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03447a.htm.) Yet she never lost hope and she persevered in prayer. This is because she understood the love and mercy of God.

She was uneducated, but in 1377, by a miracle, she learned to write. Even so she retained secretaries to whom she dictated most of her thoughts. Her master work on the spiritual life is known as the Dialogues. These are conversations between her soul and God the Father. God the Father reveals his deep love for his Son and his plan to build up the Church. One of the beautiful aspects of this conversation is the Father’s explanation for how each soul can come to know Jesus.

Fr. Thomas McDermott - Prayer and the Dominican Tradition 2Christ is the bridge to the Father and we cross this bridge by allowing our hearts to be pierced by what the Lord has done for us. The passion of Christ reveals at once the truth about who God is and who we are in his sight. For her, among the greatest blocks to the spiritual life is ignorance. Knowledge of God and knowledge of self go hand in hand in progressing toward spiritual maturity. But the knowing is not simply an intellectual trip. It as the kind of knowing informed by the loving affection of a real friendship. The friendship she describes in tender terms evokes the deepest joys and sorrows all at once.

The gift of tears, so central to early Dominican spirituality, is a beautiful part of this description. She presents those holy affections as the only proper response to the great love revealed in Christ crucified. These tears move us away from sin and into the very heart of God. She describes this as a journey that begins with kissing the feet of Jesus and entering into his wounded side. For her, intimacy with the Lord is always through the Cross and informed by a profound gratitude and humility.

One other beautiful feature of her spirituality is her understanding of virtue. This understanding is not quite classical in that she goes beyond the generic definition of a virtue as a good habit. Instead, she addresses a problem that is related to life in the Church. She notices that different Christians excel at different virtues. One might have a special aptitude for the art of getting on with others and is a special source of justice in the community. Another may be especially able to enter into the heart of someone enduring great difficulty and brings to the Church a particular awareness of mercy. Still another might have a profound gift of prayer. The question she takes up is why has the Father given different gifts to different members of the Body of Christ.

In the Dialogues, the Father explains to her that He has distributed his bountiful gifts in this way so that each member of the Body of Christ must rely on all the other members and at the same time each member bears a particular responsibility to support the Body of Christ commensurate to the gifts he has been given. In other words, his has distributed his gifts in a manner that disposes us to love one another. And the Father is counting on this mutual love, this genuine fellowship. It is part of His plan that as we cross Christ the Bridge we enter into communion with Him not merely individually, but together as a family.

The family of God requires a new kind of love, a love which only God can give us. A beautiful foundation is laid for what will later be understood as a “call within a call,” that particular mission each one is entrusted with in the eternal loving plan of God. On one hand, answering this call involves some suffering – just as Mother Theresa in our own time discovered. But those who endure this would not have it any other way. There is a certain joy and fullness of life that one discovers when one generously embraces the loving plan of the Father. The possibility of this joyful fulness makes Catherine’s message to the Church dynamically attractive.

For those beginning to pray, Catherine sheds light on the importance of truth, devotion to Christ and the life of the Church. These things organically hang together in her vision of the spiritual life so that growing in prayer goes beyond the merely therapeutic: it opens up the possibility of fully thriving, of living life to the full.

Dr. Anthony Lilles is a Catholic husband and father of three teaching Spiritual Theology at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary. He teaches spiritual theology and spiritual direction to transitional deacons, and the spiritual classics to the men who enter the Spirituality Year, a year of prayer in preparation for seminary formation.  He is the author of the “Beginning to Pray”  Catholic blog spot.

For other episodes in the series visit the Discerning Hearts page for Dr. Anthony Lilles