IP#363 Fr. John Bartunek – The Better Part: The Gospels pt. 1 on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor podcast

 With Fr. John Bartunek, we begin part 1 of our discussion on “The Better Part: The Gospels.” During our conversation, we discuss the importance of prayer and the scriptures, the nature of spiritual direction, and how we can develop our friendship with Christ.  It’s always a joy to talk with Fr. Bartunek.  We couldn’t recommend this 4-volume set more highly.

You can find the set here

From the book description

Every saint and renowned spiritual director through the ages has said the same thing: if we desire to become saints, we must spend time daily in meditation. With this set, Fr. John Bartunek has created an extensive, Christ-centered resource to serve as your daily meditation companion. The Better Part offers a practical explanation of Christian meditation, as well as material to draw from during your meditations, including a Bible study on the Gospels, a survey of saints writings, and a handy guide to prayer.

As you learn to read, meditate upon, absorb, and apply the Gospels to your life, you’ll also find ways to personalize your times of prayer, allowing you to follow the Holy Spirit’s lead along the path of holiness. Open these pages to discover the methods of meditation that best suit you, develop your friendship with Christ, and experience the true Christian joy of a deep, fruitful life of prayer.

 

IP#362 Scott Weeman – The Twelve Steps and the Sacraments on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor Podcast

  The wisdom that comes from experience is a gift that is meant to be shared, especially in times of challenge and heightened anxiety. In “The Twelve Steps and the Sacraments: A Catholic Journey of Recovery,” Scott Weeman shares his recovery journey and offers a hand up to many today who find themselves in a time of darkness and struggle, especially during the circumstances arising from the Covid-19 global pandemic.

Catholic in Recovery is a nonprofit organization founded by Scott Weeman that seeks to serve those suffering from addictions and unhealthy attachments (including alcoholism, drug addiction, pornography addiction, sex and relationship addiction, compulsive overeating and food addictions, gambling addiction, codependency and the impact on family, and general fear, control, and anxiety).  To learn visit: www.catholicinrecovery.com

You can find the book here

From the book description:

In The Twelve Steps and the Sacraments, Weeman candidly tackles the struggle he and other addicts have with getting to know intimately the unnamed Higher Power of recovery. He shares stories of his compulsion to find a personal relationship with God and how his tentative steps back to the Catholic Church opened new doors of healing and brought him surprising joy as he came to know Christ in the sacraments.

Catholics in recovery and those moving toward it, as well as the people who love them will recognize Weeman’s story and his spiritual struggle to personally encounter God. He tells us how:
Baptism helps you admit powerlessness over an unmanageable problem, face your desperate need for God, and choose to believe in and submit to God’s mercy.
Reconciliation affirms and strengthens the hard work of examining your life, admitting wrongs, and making amends.
The Eucharist provides ongoing sustenance and draws you to the healing power of Christ.
The graces of Confirmation strengthen each person to keep moving forward and to share the good news of recovery and new life in Christ.
Weeman’s words are boldly challenging and brimming with compassion and through them you will discover inspiration, hope, sage advice, and refreshingly practical help.

IP#177 Dr. Matthew Bunson – St. Kateri on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor Podcast

With Dr. Matthew Bunson, we discuss his book “St. Kateri: Lily of the Mohawks”.  The humble daughter of a Mohawk chief and a Roman Catholic mother, Kateri (named after St. Catherine of Siena) Tekakwitha lived a short life (she died at the age of 24). She was a powerful witness to her Christian faith, so much so, that even the famed “black robe” Jesuit missionaries were awed  “by her perfection of the virtues, her mystical prayer life, and her total love for Christ.”  Her last words were: “Jesus, I love you.”  No one tells a story like Dr. Bunson, and he doesn’t fail to captivate this time when describing the life of this remarkably holy woman.

You can find the book here

From the book description:

This authoritative account of the first Native American woman to be declared a saint by the Church is sure to inspire you. Discover an extraordinary young woman who was called by Pope Blessed John Paul II, God’s “bountiful gift” to His Church and a “sweet, frail yet strong figure of a young woman who died when she was only twenty-four years old: Kateri Tekakwitha, the ‘Lily of the Mohawks.'”

Kateri was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1980 and canonized in 2012 by Pope Benedict XVI.

Kateri Tekakwitha’s faith and love for Christ in the face of overwhelming hostility and her own debilitating illnesses will encourage you as you seek God’s grace to overcome challenges in your own life! She is a powerful role model for converts to the Church, young people striving for chastity, and anyone looking to deepen their own prayer life. She is also a shining example that God’s call to holiness is truly universal and is heard by men and women in all walks of life and all ages.

Written by experienced and prolific authors Matthew and Margaret Bunson, St. Kateri: Lily of the Mohawks is the most definitive biography of Kateri Tekakwitha.

Experience the extraordinary stories of the French Jesuit missionaries, the famed Blackrobes,” in the wilderness of North America and the heroic conversions of the Native Americans to the Catholic faith. Follow Kateri’s life from when she contracted smallpox as a toddler – a disease that swept through her village – claiming her family and leaving her severely disfigured and half-blinded. Drawn to the Catholic faith by the Bible stories and teachings of the French Jesuits, Kateri amazed them by her perfection of the virtues, her mystical prayer life, and her total love for Christ.

Kateri Tekakwitha’s life of faith is an inspiration to everyone!

 

 

IP#272 Dr. Vincent Ryan – Sven Stolpe’s “The Maid of Orleans” on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

Dr. Vincent Ryan joins us to discuss Sven Stolpe’s “The Maid of Orleans: The Life and Mysticism of Joan of Arc”.

There have been many books written about this fascinating French saint, but this one is a standout because it’s author sees Joan of Arc as primarily a mystic.  By making this shift, from the nationalistic accomplishments of Joan the leader to Joan the woman steeped in prayer and called to respond, Stolpe provides a refreshing understanding of her motivation and legacy. Dr. Ryan, assistant professor of history at Aquinas College, Nashville, TN, who wrote the introduction to this Ignatius Press release,  provides wonderful insights that help readers better appreciate the book as well as Joan of Arc the mystical saint.  Marvelous.


You can find the book here

“There have been many books about Joan of Arc, but none surpass this study by a Swedish biographer in its recreation of Joan’s milieu, the vividness of its narrative, and its sensitive understanding of the mystery of her life and death.” —James Hitchcock, Ph. D., Author, History of the Catholic Church

“As an actress who portrayed Joan of Arc on stage, this beautiful work by Sven Stolpe made her come alive again, but in a much deeper mystical way for me. Stolpe leads us through the complex and incredible journey Heaven asked of Joan the maid. He strips away the legends about her and gets to the heart of her profound sanctity.” —Mother Dolores Hart, OSB, Author, The Ear of the Heart

WOM10 – The Liturgy of the Eucharist part 2 – The Way of Mystery with Deacon James Keating – Discerning Hearts

Episode 10 -The Way of Mystery:  The Eucharist and Moral Living– The Liturgy of the Eucharist part 2

The True Meaning of “Full and Active Participation”…The Purpose of the Eucharistic Prayer

Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., the director of Theological Formation for the Institute for Priestly Formation, located at Creighton University, in Omaha.  

The Vatican II documents remind us that the spiritual journey is not made in a vacuum, that God has chosen to save us, not individually, but as The People of God. The Eucharist must help Christians to make their choices by discerning out of Christ’s paschal mystery. For this process to take place, however, Christians must first understand how the Eucharist puts them in touch with Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection, and what concrete implications being in touch with this mystery has for their daily lives.

 

Check out more episodes at “The Way of Mystery” Discerning Heart podcast page

 

IP#361 Fr. Wade Menezes C.F.M. – Overcoming the Evil Within part 2 on Inside the Pages w/Kris McGregor Podcast


Fr. Wade Menezes Podcast

Fr. Wade Menezes C.F.M. – Overcoming the Evil Within part 2 on Inside the Pages w/Kris McGregor Podcast

With the incredible Fr. Wade Menezes we discuss “Overcoming the Evil Within.”  This is episode 2 of our two-part conversation.

You can find the book here

From the book description:

We all recognize that we are sinners. We constantly strive to do God’s will, and when we fall short, we go to the confessional to experience God’s healing mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Yet for all too many of us, when our sins are washed away, the shame of sin may linger on our hearts and plague us even as we resolve anew to follow Christ. This shame is one of Satan’s most insidious means of separating us from God’s love and forgiveness.

With gentleness and wisdom, Fr. Wade Menezes of the Fathers of Mercy shows you how to overcome your shame of sin and surrender to God’s mercy. Far from ignoring the reality of sin, Fr. Menezes illustrates the consequences of evil and vice, while reminding you that however great your sin may be, God’s goodness is greater. At every moment, He is calling you to Himself. He seeks your love and desires you, with all your sins and all your shame.

More from Fr. Wade Menezes:  IP#320 Fr. Wade Menezes C.F.M. – The Four Last Things on Inside the Pages

 

IP#359 Dr. Scott Hahn – Hope to Die on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor Podcast


What a delight to have the opportunity to have a conversation with Dr. Scott Hahn about his fantastic new book Hope to Die: The Christian Meaning of Death and the Resurrection of the Body.  Along with Emily Stimpson Chapman, Dr. Hahn brings us an absorbing work that reflects the transcendent nature of our souls and also of our bodies.  He helps us to go deeper into the mystery of the incarnation, as well as, the sheer gift of our own existence in God’s eyes.  Joy and expectation fuel an effervescent hope that we definitely all need today.  So filled with spiritual fruit, you do not want to miss this incredible book!

You can find the book here

From the book description:

As Catholics, we believe in the resurrection of the body. We profess it in our creed. We’re taught that to bury and pray for the dead are corporal and spiritual works of mercy. We honor the dead in our Liturgy through the Rite of Christian burial. We do all of this, and more, because when Jesus Christ took on flesh for the salvation of our souls he also bestowed great dignity on our bodies.

In Hope to Die: The Christian Meaning of Death and the Resurrection of the Body, Scott Hahn explores the significance of death and burial from a Catholic perspective. The promise of the bodily resurrection brings into focus the need for the dignified care of our bodies at the hour of death. Unpacking both Scripture and Catholic teaching, Hope to Die reminds us that we are destined for glorification on the last day.

Our bodies have been made by a God who loves us. Even in death, those bodies point to the mystery of our salvation.

 

IP#360 Fr. Wade Menezes C.F.M. – Overcoming the Evil Within part 1 on Inside the Pages w/Kris McGregor Podcast

Fr. Wade Menezes Podcast

Fr. Wade Menezes C.F.M. – Overcoming the Evil Within part 1 on Inside the Pages w/Kris McGregor Podcast

With the incredible Fr. Wade Menezes we discuss “Overcoming the Evil Within.”  This is episode 1 of our two-part conversation.

You can find the book here

From the book description:

We all recognize that we are sinners. We constantly strive to do God’s will, and when we fall short, we go to the confessional to experience God’s healing mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Yet for all too many of us, when our sins are washed away, the shame of sin may linger on our hearts and plague us even as we resolve anew to follow Christ. This shame is one of Satan’s most insidious means of separating us from God’s love and forgiveness.

With gentleness and wisdom, Fr. Wade Menezes of the Fathers of Mercy shows you how to overcome your shame of sin and surrender to God’s mercy. Far from ignoring the reality of sin, Fr. Menezes illustrates the consequences of evil and vice, while reminding you that however great your sin may be, God’s goodness is greater. At every moment, He is calling you to Himself. He seeks your love and desires you, with all your sins and all your shame.

More from Fr. Wade Menezes:  IP#320 Fr. Wade Menezes C.F.M. – The Four Last Things on Inside the Pages

 

Heart of the World – Conference 4 – Meditations on the Paschal Mystery with Dr. Anthony Lilles and Kris McGregor


Join Dr. Anthony Lilles and Kris McGregor as they offer a type of “online retreat” based on the spiritual work Heart of the World written by Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar.

In fourth “conference” talk, Dr. Lilles reflects upon “Love – A Wilderness”

Here is the excerpt that is read in the conference:

We fall down and adore you. In the end, only you remain, O Heart at the Center! We are not. Whatever is good in us is you. What we ourselves are is negligible. We pass by before you and aspire to be nothing more than mirrors and windows for our brothers. Our setting before you is your rising over us: our merging into you and your entry into us. For still does our decline before you bear the figure of your own decline, and still does our guilty distance from you belong not to ourselves, since you have made it into a distance of your own, Sin has the form of redemption.

And so in the end you remain alone, all in all. You are one with yourself, and without losing yourself you pour yourself out into the many. By remaining in the multiplicity of the members, you bring them all home into the unity of the Body. your self-emptying, even unto uttermost weakness and the renouncing of love, is your deed of uttermost strength and immutable love , and when you are weakest and they all trample you like a worm, it is then you are the Hero and have trampled the serpent. For what is emptiness? What fullness?  Which of them is real privation?  When you are empty and thirst for fullness, the we, the Church, are your fulfillment. But you are always the fullness and we are the void, always, even when you are fatigued and spent with exhaustion, even then do we all receive from your fullness grace upon grace. Your Church is but a vessel, she is only your organ. You are the leaping fountain. And even if out of us also there springs up a stream into life everlasting, this is a draft which you gave, for only from you do streams of living water flow. And when you go through the world poor and gray, cloaked in the garments of the lowly and the disinherited, concealing yourself behind sinners and tax-collectors, and we absent-mindedly perform on you the eight works of mercy, even then you alone are the giver who has made love possible for us from both within and without.

You alone remain. You are all in all. Even if your love desires us in order to delight in twoness and in order to celebrate with us the mystery of begetting and conceiving, nevertheless it is always YOUR love in both instances, your love which both gives and is given, at once seed and womb, and, again, the child begotten is none other than you. If love needs two feet in order to walk, still the walker is but one person, and that one is you. And if love needs two lovers, a lover and a beloved, still the love is only one, and that one is you.

Everything hearkens back to your throbbing Heart. Time and the seasons still hammer away and create, and your Heart drives the world and all its happenings forward with great painful blows. It is the unrest of the clock, and your Heart is restless until it rests in me. Your Heart is restless until we rest in you, once time and eternity have become interfused. But: Be at peace! I have overcome the world. The torment of sin has already been submerged in the stillness of love. The experience of what the world is has made love darker, more fiery, more ardent. The shallower abyss of rebellion has been swallowed up in unfathomable mercy, and throbbing majestically reigns serene the Heart of God.

Hans Urs von Balthasar, Heart of the World (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1979), 217-219.


Divine Mercy Chaplet Discerning Hearts PodcastHere is the link to the Divine Mercy Prayer that Dr. Lilles mentions in the conference.


Though having the “Heart of the World” mentioned in this “retreat” is not necessary, we would encourage you at some to purchase this outstanding spiritual classic.

 

You find the book here

From the book description:

A great Catholic theologian speaks from the heart about the Heart of Christ, in a profound and lyrical meditation on Our Lord’s love for his Bride the Church.

Avid readers of Hans Urs von Balthasar often describe Heart of the World as a “surprise”. The “pure serenity of a volcano under snow” readers usually find in Balthasar, as translator Erasmo Leiva puts it, gives way to “the poet-theologian” who dares to “bare his own heart”. The sult is what can only be described as lyrical, even  intimate spiritual reflections.

“Heart of the World”, the  translator continues,  “deserves a place next to
the Imitation of Christ. Especially in the passages  where Christ speaks to  the  soul,  Father  von Balthasar shows  himself a worthy successor of
Thomas a Kempis. Both works combine an intense personal piety with
a precise awareness of the believer’s position as child and servant of Christ’s Church…. For Balthasar, as for Kempis and all genuine Chris­ tians, the saint is first and foremost the one who renders constant thanks for having been loved.”

Heart of the World is a profound and theologically rich reflection on the
Heart of God.

 

 

 


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)

 

The Suffering of Love: Christ’s Descent into the Hell of Human Hopelessness … In Conversation with Regis Martin


One of the best interviews Bruce and I ever had discussing the many aspects of the Holy Saturday experience. Dr. Regis Martin is a professor of Theology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville and the author of several books on spirituality and theology.

Be sure to check out Dr. Martin’s book here

Making sense of human suffering is a challenge in every age, and many a person confronted with man’s inhumanity to his fellow man has lost his faith in a good God. The Holocaust, in particular, because of the scope of its ruthlessness, has raised the question for modern man: “What kind of God allows the horrible and systematic murder of so many innocent people?”

Quoting widely from Christian, Jewish and secular sources, Regis Martin makes an unflinching examination of this universal question on the meaning of suffering. By meditating on Christ’s passion, death and descent into Hell, he asks us to consider anew the God who overcomes evil by plunging himself into the depths of human misery.