Dr. Kevin Vost – Three Irish Saints on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

IP#160 Dr. Kevin Vost - Three Irish Saints on Inside the Pages

It was a delight to talk once again to Dr. Kevin Vost.  In his new book Three Irish Saints: A Guide to Finding Your Spiritual Style, he brings forward of 3 incredible saints who can help us bring about a greater awareness of ourselves, as well as bringing us closer to our relationship with God.  Dr. Vost is a psychologist, and physical fitness expert who examines the lives of these three great saints reveals their gifts and virtues.  He then explores the question:  Are you a thinker, a doer, or a lover? Included is a simple self-test to find out which spiritual master you are most like.   I was well aware of St. Patrick, knew much about St. Brigid, but was knew nothing about St. Kevin, but the list doesn’t stop there, Dr. Vost brings the lives of other Irish saints as well.  A fun and fascinating read.

You can find the book here

Be sure to check out Dr. Vost’s other “Inside the Pages” discussion:

IP#33 Dr. Kevin Vost – From Atheism to Catholicism on Inside the Pages

 

IP#347 Joel Stepanek – Chasing Humility on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Joel Stepanek – Chasing Humility on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

I cannot recommend this book and the work of Joel Stepanek more highly!  Based on the great Litany of Humility, “Chasing Humility: 8 Ways to Shape a Christian Heart” is a game-changer in the formation of the Christian heart.  It’s no wonder St. Teresa of Calcutta had her Missionaries of Charity pray this prayer every morning (and they still do)!  It’s a challenging prayer when you first contemplate exactly what it is you are asking of the Lord.  But if you trust in the fruits which it brings into your life, your spiritual journey will never be the same.  Run, don’t walk, to get this book!  A modern-day spiritual classic!

You can find this book here


“In Chasing Humility, Joel Stepanek does a masterful job giving the reader practical steps for cultivating authentic humility. Drawing on scripture, engaging stories, and good old common sense, this book is funny and wise, raw and relatable. Stepanek’s insights offer a soul-stirring read to any soul looking to improve. The question isn’t whether we need to be humble, but who can be humble enough to do something about it. This book is the perfect way to grow in holiness and ultimately, happiness, one achievable step at a time.” —Mark Hart, Executive Vice President, Life Teen International

“This book was like a punch to the gut—a much needed, very welcome, life-changing gut punch. It is bold, honest, and raw. Joel has given us an absolutely delightful read that is also really challenging, and it was just what we (and so many others) need to be reminded of the necessity to both seek humility and live and walk humbly with the Lord. Read this book. Absorb this book. Let Joel and his words on humility sucker-punch you and you’ll be so grateful.” —Katie Prejean McGrady and Tommy McGrady, Catholic speakers and cohosts of The Electric Waffle

“Joel Stepanek highlights for us the proper and sacred space of humility in the Christian life. Exploring the Litany of Humility, he provides a delightful roadmap for embracing the virtue not as a weakness but as a strength in our personal prayer lives and leadership outreach. There could not be a better time for leaders to be reintroduced to the virtue of humility in a world that very often values self-centeredness over seeing and supporting others.” —Rev. Dan Felton, Vicar General, Diocese of Green Bay

CHGD2 – Gertrud von Le Fort’s The Eternal Woman – The Importance of Symbolic Language – Climbing Higher, Going Deeper w/ Kris McGregor – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Kris McGregor and Vivian Dudro

Episode 2 – The Importance of Symbolic Language – Gertrude von Le Fort’s The Eternal Woman –  Climbing Higher, Going Deeper w/Kris McGregor and Vivian Dudro

Kris McGregor, along with Vivian Dudro, continues their discussion of The Eternal Woman by highlighting the importance of the introduction, urging listeners to approach it slowly and prayerfully to grasp von Le Fort’s dense but insightful writing. The discussion emphasizes von Le Fort’s critique of simplifying theology for a broader understanding, advocating instead for elevating communication to convey truth more effectively, akin to Christ’s teachings.

Von Le Fort is praised for her precise but accessible language, despite her deep philosophical background. The episode explores her focus on the symbolic aspect of male and female, particularly the female, in relation to God’s creation and communication. It discusses how von Le Fort views the physical world and its symbols as mediums through which God communicates metaphysical realities, using symbolic language intrinsic to human expression and understanding.

The conversation also touches on modern philosophical shifts that have obscured the intrinsic meanings of symbols, contributing to a cultural disconnect from these deeper truths. Von Le Fort’s work is positioned as a call to rediscover the symbolic language lost over time, particularly concerning the essence of womanhood and its spiritual significance. The hosts discuss how von Le Fort uses Mary, the mother of Jesus, as the epitome of the feminine symbol, embodying both reception and nurturing, which are crucial for understanding human’s relationship with the divine.

This episode underscores von Le Fort’s aim to reorient readers towards a more profound comprehension of the symbolic meanings embedded in the creation, particularly the distinctions and roles of men and women, without reducing them to mere biological or psychological terms. It calls for a re-engagement with symbolic language to foster a deeper connection with God and a more authentic understanding of one’s identity and purpose.


Key Points to Ponder

    1. Symbolic Language as a Medium of Divine Communication: The episode highlights von Le Fort’s exploration of symbolic language as a crucial tool through which God communicates with humanity. This symbolic language is not only a feature of religious texts and rituals but is also embedded in the creation itself, particularly in the symbolic aspects of male and female.
    2. Rediscovering the Lost Language of Symbolism: There’s a call to rediscover the language of symbolism that modern philosophical shifts have obscured. This rediscovery is essential for understanding the deeper truths about God, creation, and the roles of men and women.
    3. Mary as the Ideal Symbol of the Feminine: Mary, the mother of Jesus, is discussed as the epitome of the feminine, embodying reception and nurturing. Her role transcends biological and social functions, symbolizing a deeper spiritual truth about humanity’s relationship with the divine.
    4. The Significance of Sexual Differentiation: The discussion touches on the importance of recognizing and understanding the symbolic significance of sexual differentiation. This differentiation is not merely biological but carries deep metaphysical meanings related to God’s creation and communication.
    5. The Role of Women and Men in Symbolizing Divine Truths: Both hosts delve into how women and men symbolize different aspects of divine truths. While discussing the unique contributions of women through their receptivity and nurturing capabilities, they also explore how men embody bravery and protection, reflecting different facets of God’s nature.
    6. The Danger of Ideological Confusion over Gender and Symbolism: The conversation warns against the modern ideological confusion that blurs the distinctions between genders and undermines the symbolic meanings embedded in our created nature. It stresses the importance of embracing our God-given identities to fully understand and live out our relationship with God.
Gertrud von Le Fort

Discerning Hearts Reflection Questions:

Individual Reflection Questions:

    1. Reflecting on Symbolic Language: How does the symbolic language found in Scripture, Liturgy, and the natural world deepen your understanding of God’s communication with humanity? Consider examples from your own experience where symbolic language has illuminated aspects of your faith.
    2. The Role of Mary as a Symbol: Reflect on Mary’s role as the epitome of the feminine and the ideal disciple. How does her example of receptivity, nurturing, and obedience to God challenge and inspire your own journey of faith?
    3. Understanding Theological Complexity: Gertrude von Le Fort critiques the oversimplification of theology for broader understanding. Reflect on a time when a deeper exploration of a complex theological concept led to a significant growth in your faith. How does this encourage you to approach theological studies in the future?
    4. Sexual Differentiation and Symbolic Significance: How do you understand the symbolic significance of sexual differentiation in the light of Catholic teaching? Reflect on how this understanding influences your views on sexual differences, identity, and the complementarity of men and women in God’s plan.
    5. Combatting Ideological Confusion with Faith: In a world where ideological confusion often blurs the distinctions between genders and undermines symbolic meanings, how can your faith guide you in affirming the truth about God’s design for humanity? Consider ways in which you can bear witness to these truths in your own life and community.

Group Study Discussion Questions:

    1. Exploring Symbolic Language in Faith: As a group, discuss examples of symbolic language in the Catholic faith that resonate with you personally. How do these symbols enrich your understanding of divine truths and your relationship with God?
    2. Mary’s Symbolic Role: Reflect on Mary’s role as not only the mother of Jesus but also as a symbol of the Church and the epitome of the feminine. How does this dual role of Mary inspire your group’s understanding of discipleship and the unique contributions of women in the Church?
    3. Challenges of Theological Simplification: Share thoughts on the balance between making theology accessible and oversimplifying complex doctrines. Can you think of instances where a deeper understanding of a challenging theological concept significantly impacted your faith or the faith of someone you know?
    4. Sexual Differentiation and Spiritual Symbolism: Discuss the significance of sexual differentiation as presented in the podcast. How can recognizing the spiritual symbolism of masculinity and femininity enhance the Church’s mission and the Christian community’s unity?
    5. Addressing Ideological Confusion with Faithful Witness: In light of the podcast’s discussion on the modern ideological confusion surrounding gender and symbolism, how can your group actively promote a faithful understanding of human dignity and God’s design within your parish or community? What practical steps can be taken to support individuals struggling with these issues in a compassionate and truthful manner?

Suggested References for Further Study:

The Symbolic Significance of Femininity and Masculinity:

Podcast Mention: Discussion of Gertrude von Le Fort’s exploration of the symbolic aspects of femininity and masculinity, as well as their spiritual and metaphysical implications.

Reference to Theology of the Body:

  • Pope St. John Paul II’s Insight: In “Theology of the Body,” Pope St. John Paul II offers profound theological and philosophical reflections on human sexuality, complementarity, and the symbolism of the body as a divine mystery, echoing von Le Fort’s thematic discussions.
  • Reference: Pope St. John Paul II. “Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body.” Pauline Books & Media, translation by Michael Waldstein, 2006.

Ethical Dimensions of Human Relationships:

Podcast Mention: Touches on the importance of understanding the ethical and moral dimensions underpinning human relationships, hinting at a deeper, symbolic understanding of our interactions.

Karol Wojtyła’s (Pope St. John Paul II) Philosophical Foundation:

  • Insight from “Love and Responsibility”: Wojtyła addresses the ethical and moral considerations of human relationships, offering foundational insights that support the podcast’s discussion on the symbolic aspects of relationships.
  • Reference: Wojtyła, Karol (Pope St. John Paul II). “Love and Responsibility.” Ignatius Press, 1993.

Unique Gifts and Vocation of Women:

Podcast Mention: Emphasizes the unique contributions and vocation of women, as discussed by Gertrude von Le Fort and echoed by the podcast hosts.

Alice von Hildebrand’s Perspective:

  • Complementary Insights in “The Privilege of Being a Woman”: Von Hildebrand champions the beauty and strength of femininity, challenging contemporary misunderstandings, in parallel to von Le Fort’s discussions.
  • Reference: Von Hildebrand, Alice. “The Privilege of Being a Woman.” Veritas Press, 2002.

Dr. Peter Kreeft – Practical Theology on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Dr. Peter Kreeft – Practical Theology on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

Peter Kreeft

“Practical Theology: Spiritual Direction from St. Thomas Aquinas” by Dr. Peter Kreeft is outstanding! An incredible work that transforms the potentially intimidating Summa Theologiae into a vital life-giving, soul-nurturing work for the pilgrim soul.   Dr. Kreeft offers us the religious wisdom of Aquinas in 359 bite-size pieces that can aid our growth in holiness.  He has framed these readings as answers to questions that people actually ask their spiritual directors. Each answer is taken word for word from Aquinas.  So many topics are covered.  You’ll be returning to this book over and over again throughout your spiritual journey.  An excellent gift to give yourself and those you love!  Highly Recommended!!!

 

practical-theology

You can find the book here

“Its notoriously difficult to synopsize Aquinas on anything. However, if I were to choose someone to do the job well, it would be Peter Kreeft. Many will find this presentation helpful to develop their own replies to the questions that bother the minds of today’s searchers.”
– Romanus Cessario, O.P., Saint John’s Seminary, Brighton, Mass.

“How can we know the living God and attain to everlasting union with God? This is really the only question of life. Kreeft’s dialogue with Aquinas shows us what it means–existentially, not solely academically–to learn from a saint.” —Matthew Levering, Professor of Theology, Mundelein Seminary

CHGD1 – Gertrud von Le Fort’s The Eternal Woman – Embarking on the Journey – Climbing Higher, Going Deeper w/ Kris McGregor – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Kris McGregor and Vivian Dudro

Episode 1 Embarking on the Journey – Gertrude von Le Fort’s The Eternal Woman –  Climbing Higher, Going Deeper w/Kris McGregor & Vivian Dudro

Kris McGregor and Vivian Dudro shine a light on the influential works of Gertrud von Le Fort, focusing particularly on her masterpiece, The Eternal Woman. They share a deep understanding of von Le Fort’s exploration of the feminine essence and its timeless relevance.

Born in 1876 to a French aristocratic family in Northern Germany, von Le Fort lived through the profound ideological shifts that shaped Europe in the 20th century. Her conversion to Catholicism at age 50 significantly influenced her literary and theological works. The Eternal Woman stands out as a pivotal text that addresses the changing roles of women during these tumultuous times.

The podcast emphasizes the importance of surrender and receptivity to God as key to realizing one’s true strength and potential. Von Le Fort’s writings extend beyond the realm of femininity, offering profound insights into human nature, including aspects of masculinity and femininity. Her perspectives intertwine with ongoing feminist discourse, adding historical and philosophical depth.

Receive 20% off directly from this link at Ignatius.com with discount code LEFORT at checkout

McGregor and Dudro’s discussion promises more episodes delving into von Le Fort’s other works. They invite scholars and readers alike to immerse themselves in von Le Fort’s impactful and thought-provoking contributions to literature and theology.


Key Points to Ponder

    1. The Feminine Genius: Von Le Fort’s exploration of the role of women in “The Eternal Woman” echoes the Catholic Church’s teachings on the unique and invaluable contributions of women to the Church and the world. This concept, often referred to as the “feminine genius,” highlights the distinct way women reflect God’s image, particularly through nurturing, empathy, and receptivity to life and love.
    2. The Power of Surrender: The podcast touches on the paradoxical power found in surrender and receptivity, a theme central to Christian spirituality. This mirrors the Virgin Mary’s fiat—her “yes” to God—which is a model of surrender and obedience to God’s will. Mary’s example teaches that true strength and empowerment come from trusting in God and accepting His plan with an open heart.
    3. The Interplay of Masculinity and Femininity: Von Le Fort’s writings offer deep insights into the dynamics of masculinity and femininity, reflecting the Catholic understanding of complementarity. The Church teaches that men and women, while different, are equal in dignity and are meant to complement and enrich each other’s lives.
    4. The Role of Women in Salvation History: Von Le Fort’s work reaffirms the pivotal role women have played in salvation history, from Eve to Mary, and beyond. The podcast highlights how women, through their unique capacity for spiritual motherhood, contribute significantly to the spiritual life of the Church and society.
    5. The Challenges of Modern Ideologies: The discussion also addresses the impact of modern ideologies on the understanding of sexual differences and human nature. The Catholic Church advocates for a view of the human person that is rooted in Scripture and Tradition, providing a counter-narrative to contemporary ideologies that often contradict the Christian understanding of the human person.
    6. The Call to Holistic Education: Von Le Fort’s own extensive education and intellectual background underscore the Church’s call for holistic education, which includes not just intellectual formation, but also moral and spiritual development. Her works exemplify how a well-rounded education can lead to a deeper understanding of faith and reason.
    7. The Need for Cultural Engagement: Finally, the podcast exemplifies the need for Catholics to engage with culture and literature. By studying and reflecting on works such as von Le Fort’s, Catholics can better understand the challenges of the modern world and offer a reasoned, faith-filled response.
Gertrud von Le Fort

Discerning Hearts Reflection Questions:

Individual Reflection Questions:

    1. Personal Understanding of Femininity: How does Gertrud von Le Fort’s depiction of the ‘eternal woman’ challenge or enrich your understanding of femininity in the context of your faith?
    2. Surrender and Strength: Reflect on a time when surrendering to God’s will brought unexpected strength or insight into your life. How does this relate to the idea of ‘power in helplessness’ discussed in the podcast?
    3. Mary as a Model: How does Mary’s fiat (Luke 1:38) inspire you in your daily life? In what ways can you emulate Mary’s receptivity to God’s will?
    4. Balancing Faith and Modern Ideologies: In what ways do you find modern ideologies challenging your faith, particularly in understanding sexual differences and human nature?
    5. Spiritual Motherhood/Fatherhood: Regardless of your state in life, how can you live out the call to spiritual parenthood in your current circumstances?

Group Study Discussion Questions:

    1. Feminine Genius in the Church: Discuss how the concept of the ‘feminine genius’ is evident in your parish or community. How can the Church better utilize and honor the unique gifts of women?
    2. Complementarity of the Sexes: How does von Le Fort’s work enrich your understanding of the complementarity between men and women? Share examples from personal experiences.
    3. Impact of Cultural Shifts: As a group, discuss how cultural shifts in the understanding of sexual differences roles have impacted your faith community. What positive responses can be made in light of Catholic teaching?
    4. Role of Women in Salvation History: Share thoughts on the roles of various women in the Bible and Church history. How do their stories inspire your own spiritual journey?
    5. Engagement with Secular Culture: How can Catholics engage with secular literature and culture in a way that is both open-minded and faithful to Church teachings? Discuss the balance between being in the world but not of it.
    6. Practical Application of Surrender: Discuss practical ways to live out the virtue of surrender to God’s will in everyday life. Share experiences where letting go of control led to greater spiritual growth.

Suggested References for Further Study:

Pope St. John Paul II

    1. The Role of Women and the Feminine Genius:
      • Podcast Mention: Von Le Fort’s exploration of the feminine essence.
      • John Paul II’s Writing: In “Mulieris Dignitatem” (On the Dignity and Vocation of Women), John Paul II speaks extensively about the unique dignity and vocation of women, echoing von Le Fort’s themes. He particularly emphasizes the ‘feminine genius’ and women’s special capacity for empathy, receptivity, and nurturing (Mulieris Dignitatem, No. 30).
      • Reference: John Paul II. “Mulieris Dignitatem.” Vatican, 1988. Link to the document.
    2. Surrender and Strength:
      • Podcast Mention: Discussion on the power found in surrender and trust in God.
      • John Paul II’s Writing: In “Redemptoris Mater” (Mother of the Redeemer), he describes Mary’s fiat as the ultimate act of trust and surrender to God’s will, a central theme in von Le Fort’s work (Redemptoris Mater, No. 13).
      • Reference: John Paul II. “Redemptoris Mater.” Vatican, 1987. Link to the document.

Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross)

    1. Understanding Femininity:
      • Podcast Mention: Von Le Fort’s examination of the essence of femininity.
      • Edith Stein’s Writing: In her essay “The Ethos of Women’s Professions,” Stein discusses the unique capacities and spiritual nature of women, paralleling von Le Fort’s exploration of the feminine essence. She speaks about the intrinsic value of women in both professional and personal spheres (Stein, Edith. “The Ethos of Women’s Professions.” 1930).
      • Reference: Stein, Edith. “Essays on Woman.” ICS Publications, 1996. Link to purchase the book.
    2. The Complementarity of Men and Women:
      • Podcast Mention: Discussion on the complementarity of sexes.
      • Edith Stein’s Writing: In her work “On the Problem of Empathy,” Stein delves into the psychological and spiritual differences between men and women, emphasizing their complementary nature, which echoes the podcast’s discussion on von Le Fort’s insights (Stein, Edith. “On the Problem of Empathy.” 1917).
      • Reference: Stein, Edith. “On the Problem of Empathy.” ICS Publications, 1989. Link to purchase the book

Dietrich von Hildebrand

    1. The Value of the Feminine:
      • Podcast Mention: Discussion of von Le Fort’s focus on the eternal essence of femininity.
      • Von Hildebrand’s Writing: In his book “Man and Woman: Love & the Meaning of Intimacy,” von Hildebrand explores the unique qualities of man and woman. He emphasizes the irreplaceable value and dignity of the feminine, much like von Le Fort (Dietrich von Hildebrand, “Man and Woman”).
      • Reference: Von Hildebrand, Dietrich. “Man and Woman: Love & the Meaning of Intimacy.” Sophia Institute Press, 1992. Link to purchase the book.
    2. Surrender and Spiritual Strength:
      • Podcast Mention: The theme of surrendering to God’s will and finding strength in this surrender, as presented in von Le Fort’s work.
      • Von Hildebrand’s Writing: In “Transformation in Christ,” von Hildebrand speaks about the transformative power of Christian surrender to God’s will. This aligns with the discussion of von Le Fort’s portrayal of feminine strength through surrender (Dietrich von Hildebrand, “Transformation in Christ”).
      • Reference: Von Hildebrand, Dietrich. “Transformation in Christ: On the Christian Attitude.” Ignatius Press, 2001 Link to purchase the book.
    3. The Beauty of the Feminine Soul:
      • Podcast Mention: Von Le Fort’s depiction of the beauty and depth of the feminine soul.
      • Von Hildebrand’s Writing: In his works, von Hildebrand discusses the beauty of the feminine soul and its capacity for receptivity, empathy, and sensitivity. He sees these qualities as reflective of a deep spiritual reality that von Le Fort also captures in her literature (Dietrich von Hildebrand, various writings).
      • Reference: For a collection of von Hildebrand’s writings, see the Dietrich von Hildebrand Legacy Project: Link to the project.
    4. Response to Modern Ideologies:
      • Podcast Mention: Von Le Fort’s literary response to the ideologies of her time.
      • Von Hildebrand’s Writing: Dietrich von Hildebrand was a vocal critic of the Nazi regime and other totalitarian ideologies. He emphasized the importance of standing firm in truth and Christian values in the face of destructive ideologies, a stance that resonates with von Le Fort’s thematic concerns (Dietrich von Hildebrand, “My Battle Against Hitler”).
      • Reference: Von Hildebrand, Dietrich. “My Battle Against Hitler: Faith, Truth, and Defiance in the Shadow of the Third Reich.” Image, 2014. Link to purchase the book.

 

IP#491 Joe Paprocki – 8 Steps to Energize Your Faith, Part 2 on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor – Discerning Hearts podcasts

Joe Paprocki on “8 Steps to Energize Your Faith”, Part Two

Join Kris McGregor as she continues her conversation about the book “8 Steps to Energize Your Faith” with Joe Paprocki.

You can find the book here.

From the book description:

“Act now to tap into the current of God’s loving grace.

While uncertainty and tough times are hallmarks of life, our current era feels more than a little unpredictable. And if we’re honest with ourselves, many of us are feeling uncertain about God’s plan. In times like these, we need a healthy boost of faith and a solid shot of inspiration to get through the day and lead us back to God. Pie-in-the-sky advice or overwrought platitudes won’t do. We need substantial, practical ways to fortify our souls.

In 8 Steps to Energize Your Faith, beloved spiritual teacher Joe Paprocki offers hands-on advice to guide us out of the fog of an often-confusing world and bolster our confidence in who we are—children of God with a vision and a purpose. This, of course, means growing in faith, but how? By tapping into God’s loving Spirit so we can go with the holy flow to put first things first and let the small stuff go.

Timely, inspiring, and filled with hard-earned, practical wisdom that applies to your life right now, 8 Steps to Energize Your Faith offers a path that we can all start on today to feel motivated, focused, and renewed in the Spirit.”


About the Author: Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press. He has over 40 years of experience in pastoral ministry and has taught at the high school, college, and general-adult levels. He is the author of over 20 books that have sold nearly a half-million copies, including the best sellers The Catechist’s Toolbox and A Well-Built Faith. His latest book, 8 Steps to Energize Your Faith, was published in 2023. He has presented in over 150 dioceses in North America and blogs about the catechetical ministry at www.catechistsjourney.com.

IP#490 Joe Paprocki – 8 Steps to Energize Your Faith, Part 1 on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor – Discerning Hearts podcast

Joe Paprocki on “8 Steps to Energize Your Faith”, Part One

Join Kris McGregor as she discusses the book “8 Steps to Energize Your Faith” with Joe Paprocki.

You can find the book here.

From the book description:

“Act now to tap into the current of God’s loving grace.

While uncertainty and tough times are hallmarks of life, our current era feels more than a little unpredictable. And if we’re honest with ourselves, many of us are feeling uncertain about God’s plan. In times like these, we need a healthy boost of faith and a solid shot of inspiration to get through the day and lead us back to God. Pie-in-the-sky advice or overwrought platitudes won’t do. We need substantial, practical ways to fortify our souls.

In 8 Steps to Energize Your Faith, beloved spiritual teacher Joe Paprocki offers hands-on advice to guide us out of the fog of an often-confusing world and bolster our confidence in who we are—children of God with a vision and a purpose. This, of course, means growing in faith, but how? By tapping into God’s loving Spirit so we can go with the holy flow to put first things first and let the small stuff go.

Timely, inspiring, and filled with hard-earned, practical wisdom that applies to your life right now, 8 Steps to Energize Your Faith offers a path that we can all start on today to feel motivated, focused, and renewed in the Spirit.”


About the Author: Joe Paprocki, DMin, is National Consultant for Faith Formation at Loyola Press. He has over 40 years of experience in pastoral ministry and has taught at the high school, college, and general-adult levels. He is the author of over 20 books that have sold nearly a half-million copies, including the best sellers The Catechist’s Toolbox and A Well-Built Faith. His latest book, 8 Steps to Energize Your Faith, was published in 2023. He has presented in over 150 dioceses in North America and blogs about the catechetical ministry at www.catechistsjourney.com.

IP#498 Fr. Basil Nortz – Holy Silence Part 2 on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor – Discerning Hearts podcasts

Fr. Basil Nortz on Holy Silence: A Practical Guide to Recollection in God, Part 2

Join Kris McGregor as she continues her discussion on the book Holy Silence: A Practical Guide to Recollection in God with Fr. Basil Nortz in the conclusion of this two-part interview.

For part 1 of our conversation visit:
IP#497 Fr. Basil Nortz – Holy Silence, Part 1 on Inside the Pages w/ Kris McGregor – Discerning Hearts podcasts

You can find the book here.

From the book description:

“Fr. Basil Nortz masterfully builds upon the classic reflections of Sr. Marie-Aimée de Jésus, a nineteenth-century spiritual mystic and Carmelite nun, on the twelve degrees of silence. By cultivating these types of silence, you will find out how you can — even amid your busy days filled with chatter, commotion, and noise — listen to the voice of God.

In these profound pages you will find ways to overcome your fear of silence and discover:

    • Keys to obeying God’s will
    • Kinds of silence that are holy and kinds that are unholy
    • Ten tips on what to do — and what to avoid — to bridle your senses
    • Seven ways to guard your imagination and foster recollection
    • How to direct your emotions with reason and foster silence of the heart
    • Effective ways of responding to injustice

You will learn the one sinful attitude that cuts us off from the merciful forgiveness of God and will acquire ways to stop passing judgment against others. Additionally, you will learn the most important attitude that disposes us to God’s plans and allows us to enter into His love and converse with Him affectionately throughout the day. Moreover, you will find practical techniques for overcoming distractions in prayer and advice from the saints on methods of meditation to develop silence of the spirit.

Above all, you will glean how to maintain peace of soul and live free from anxiety and despair, regardless of temptations or life’s battles. By relying totally on God, you will fearlessly rise after falls and begin again. You will begin to see the loving hand of God in all things, contemplate the light of His presence, and “be still” in the silence of His love.

“Holy silence is what helps the soul acquire the strength necessary to bear the presence of the all-pure God, who is ipsum esse subsistens (subsistent being itself),” explains Fr. Nortz. “The intensity of that fullness, far from inspiring languid inaction, produces a vibrant joyfulness that St. John expresses in the book of Revelation in terms of the saints singing with full voice.”


About the Author: Reverend Basil Nortz, O.R.C., is a priest in the Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross. He graduated from Christendom College in 1986 with a B.A. in theology. His seminary studies were at the Insitutum Sapientiae in Anapolis, Brazil.

IP#497 Fr. Basil Nortz – Holy Silence Part 1 on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor – Discerning Hearts podcasts

Fr. Basil Nortz on Holy Silence: A Practical Guide to Recollection in God, Part 1

Join Kris McGregor as she discusses the book Holy Silence: A Practical Guide to Recollection in God with Fr. Basil Nortz in part one of this two-part interview.

To listen to part 2 of our conversation visit here: Fr. Basil North – Holy Silence, Part 2 on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor -Discerning Hearts podcasts

You can find the book here.

From the book description:

“Fr. Basil Nortz masterfully builds upon the classic reflections of Sr. Marie-Aimée de Jésus, a nineteenth-century spiritual mystic and Carmelite nun, on the twelve degrees of silence. By cultivating these types of silence, you will find out how you can — even amid your busy days filled with chatter, commotion, and noise — listen to the voice of God.

In these profound pages you will find ways to overcome your fear of silence and discover:

    • Keys to obeying God’s will
    • Kinds of silence that are holy and kinds that are unholy
    • Ten tips on what to do — and what to avoid — to bridle your senses
    • Seven ways to guard your imagination and foster recollection
    • How to direct your emotions with reason and foster silence of the heart
    • Effective ways of responding to injustice

You will learn the one sinful attitude that cuts us off from the merciful forgiveness of God and will acquire ways to stop passing judgment against others. Additionally, you will learn the most important attitude that disposes us to God’s plans and allows us to enter into His love and converse with Him affectionately throughout the day. Moreover, you will find practical techniques for overcoming distractions in prayer and advice from the saints on methods of meditation to develop silence of the spirit.

Above all, you will glean how to maintain peace of soul and live free from anxiety and despair, regardless of temptations or life’s battles. By relying totally on God, you will fearlessly rise after falls and begin again. You will begin to see the loving hand of God in all things, contemplate the light of His presence, and “be still” in the silence of His love.

“Holy silence is what helps the soul acquire the strength necessary to bear the presence of the all-pure God, who is ipsum esse subsistens (subsistent being itself),” explains Fr. Nortz. “The intensity of that fullness, far from inspiring languid inaction, produces a vibrant joyfulness that St. John expresses in the book of Revelation in terms of the saints singing with full voice.” “


About the Author: Reverend Basil Nortz, O.R.C., is a priest in the Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross. He graduated from Christendom College in 1986 with a B.A. in theology. His seminary studies were at the Insitutum Sapientiae in Anapolis, Brazil.

IP#484 – Deacon James Keating Ph.D. – Abiding in Christ on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor Discerning Hearts Podcast

Deacon James Keating Ph.D. – Abiding in Christ on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

In this compelling conversation with Deacon James Keating, a spiritual master of the highest order, we discuss those things that block us from having a closer relationship with God. We also discuss the importance of making time for Lectio Divina, living in the liturgy of the Church, and the danger of letting prayer become too complex.

Abiding in Christ: Staying with God in a Busy World is a wonderful how-to-pray resource. This book helps readers to find a quiet space wherein they can be present to God and offers suggestions of how they can be more open to God’s movement within them. We highly recommend this book to those souls seeking a deeper relationship with God.

Deacon James KeatingYou can find the book here


Here are excerpts from our conversation in the podcast –

“Sin, to some extent, possesses us, usually at the level of pleasure. Even if you think about the sin of anger, it always seems like it’s mayhem, but it’s actually pleasurable. People get a rush out of being angry. They get a rush out of being greedy. There’s a pleasure in sloth, in daydreaming, in fantasizing, in not doing the duty or the work we’re supposed to do right in front of us. There’s a pleasure in sloth.

And so that pleasure is the glue, the adhesive that keeps us in love with our sins. And that’s what God is alwaying fighting. He’s trying to displace that false love that we have set up by the way of pleasure.  God knows that pleasure is not the deepest reality of existence. And so he’s not going to play the game back and like trump the pleasure of sin. He is going to attract us away from the pleasure of sin, by the beauty of truth.

As Joseph Ratizinger used to say, “The face of God, is the beauty of God’s face.” What’s that mean? That means that the truth, the radiance of truth will eventually win us over even against the strong undertow of sin’s pleasure. If we give him a chance, spend time with him, open our hearts to be affected by him, then over time, this beauty of his own face, the truth of who God is will move us away from the immediacy, the gratification of the pleasure that’s hiding within all of our sins. And that’s what salvation is. Salvation is finally surrendering to truth and its beauty over and against the fleeting pleasure of self-involvement.”

also

“The liturgy is your participation in being loved and loving back. Catechesisis not learning in a classroom style. It’s learning how to pray. If we don’t learn how to pray, we won’t even be interested in the catechism. Why would you be interested in the catechism if you don’t know the person whose voluminous beauty fills the catechism? Why would you want to open that book?

The Catechism at its heart is learning how to be with Him, to receive Him. And then your intellect is a flame to want to know Him. We do it backwards. We’ve always done it backwards. I don’t know for how long, but since my birth, we’ve done it backwards. Reducing the mystery to academics. And that’s inherently boring because to study anybody you don’t know, to study anyone that you have no motivation to learn about, is boredom. So we have to let them be burned by the fire first. This is why to some extent, parishes have to be remodeled. Maybe God is doing this by making our parishes so much smaller.

People are leaving. They’re not saying this. They’re leaving because they’re bored. They’re leaving because they haven’t encountered. They’re leaving because they don’t know God. And they’re looking for God, but maybe we have to make our parishes more like retreat centers than some type of bureaucratic paperwork center where you go through and get certified to receive this sacrament or that sacrament. It has to be more of a retreat encounter so that people will want to know God because they’ve met to God.”


For more Deacon James Keating on Discerning Hearts visit his podcasts here