SD9 “Pre-Event” Desolation – Spiritual Desolation: Be Aware, Understand, Take Action with Fr. Timothy Gallagher – Discerning Hearts Podcast

BA6 - "Refuse to Accept Discouragement" - Begin Again: The Spiritual Legacy of Ven. Bruno Lanteri with Fr. Timothy Gallagher

Episode 9  – Fr. Gallagher offers insights on a form of Spiritual Desolation he terms as “Pre-Event” Desolation.  He uses this description to define a type of desolation that can affect someone who, for example, is about to enter into a retreat or pilgrimage, or some type of spiritual or ministry based undertaking.

From  Setting the Captives Free: Personal Reflections on Ignatian Discernment of Spirits

It is liberating to know that spiritual desolation is an ordinary experience in the spiritual life, that every disciple of the Lord for two thousand years—including the canonized saints—has undergone this experience, that there is no shame in experiencing spiritual desolation, that times of spiritual desolation are normal in a well-lived spiritual life (SpirEx 6), and that, therefore, we are not the only ones. Experiencing spiritual desolation is simply part of what it means to live the spiritual life in a fallen, redeemed, and loved world. What does matter is to live the discerning life: to be aware of spiritual desolation when it is present, to name it for the lie of the enemy that it is, and to reject it. The principle focus of these fourteen rules is to help us do precisely that.

You can find this book here

Father Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V., was ordained in 1979 as a member of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, a religious community dedicated to retreats and spiritual formation according to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.  Fr. Gallagher is featured on the EWTN series “Living the Discerning Life:  The Spiritual Teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola”. For more information on how to obtain copies of Fr. Gallaghers’s various books and audio which are available for purchase, please visit  his  website:   frtimothygallagher.org

For the other episodes in this series check out Fr. Timothy Gallagher’s “Discerning Hearts” page

DC3 St. Ephrem of Syria – The Doctors of the Church: The Charism of Wisdom with Dr. Matthew Bunson

Dr. Matthew Bunson discusses the life, times and work of  St. Ephrem of Syria

From Vatican.va, an excerpt from the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI  General Audience 2007:

The figure of Ephrem is still absolutely timely for the life of the various Christian Churches. We discover him in the first place as a theologian who reflects poetically, on the basis of Holy Scripture, on the mystery of man’s redemption brought about by Christ, the Word of God incarnate. His is a theological reflection St.-Ephremexpressed in images and symbols taken from nature, daily life and the Bible. Ephrem gives his poetry and liturgical hymns a didactic and catechetical character: they are theological hymns yet at the same time suitable for recitation or liturgical song. On the occasion of liturgical feasts, Ephrem made use of these hymns to spread Church doctrine. Time has proven them to be an extremely effective catechetical instrument for the Christian community.

Ephrem’s reflection on the theme of God the Creator is important: nothing in creation is isolated and the world, next to Sacred Scripture, is a Bible of God. By using his freedom wrongly, man upsets the cosmic order. The role of women was important to Ephrem. The way he spoke of them was always inspired with sensitivity and respect: the dwelling place of Jesus in Mary’s womb greatly increased women’s dignity. Ephrem held that just as there is no Redemption without Jesus, there is no Incarnation without Mary. The divine and human dimensions of the mystery of our redemption can already be found in Ephrem’s texts; poetically and with fundamentally scriptural images, he anticipated the theological background and in some way the very language of the great Christological definitions of the fifth-century Councils.

Ephrem, honoured by Christian tradition with the title “Harp of the Holy Spirit”, remained a deacon of the Church throughout his life. It was a crucial and emblematic decision: he was a deacon, a servant, in his liturgical ministry, and more radically, in his love for Christ, whose praises he sang in an unparalleled way, and also in his love for his brethren, whom he introduced with rare skill to the knowledge of divine Revelation.

For more visit Vatican.va

Dr. Matthew E. Bunson is a Register senior editor and senior contributor to EWTN News. For the past 20 years, he has been active in the area of Catholic social communications and education, including writing, editing, and teaching on a variety of topics related to Church history, the papacy, the saints, and Catholic culture. He is faculty chair at Catholic Distance University, a senior fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, and the author or co-author of over 50 books including The Encyclopedia of Catholic History, The Pope Encyclopedia, We Have a Pope! Benedict XVI, The Saints Encyclopedia and best-selling biographies of St. Damien of Molokai and St. Kateri Tekakwitha.

ST-Luke-6 – The presentation of Jesus in the Temple – The Gospel of St. Luke – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 6 – Mary the Ark of the Covenant and “Do Not Touch the Ark”. The presentation of Jesus in the Temple means the true presence of God is back in the temple again.  Simeon and Anna rejoice.

We begin today’s podcast with St. John’s vision at Patmos in REV 11-12.

The contents of the ark are sacred and not to be touched. Everyone knew the rule; do not touch the ark.  Recall how in Leviticus 10, Nadab and Abihu, Aaron’s sons, offered unauthorized fire and were struck dead. David’s man Uzzah was also struck dead when he touched the side of the Ark to steady it (2 Sam 6). We also recall when the Lord slew 70 men who looked into the Ark of the Covenant (1 Sam 6). We too become a tabernacle of meeting each time we receive Jesus in the Eucharist.

The episode continues with the circumcision of Jesus, and Presentation of Jesus in the temple.  We remember from 2 Maccabees 2 that the true presence of God has been absent from the temple ever since Jeremiah sealed the Ark of the Covenant in a cave on the mountain of Moses.  As Mary and Joseph bring the infant Jesus for the purification ceremony, the true presence of God has finally returned to the temple, an event long anticipated and recognized by Simeon and the prophetess Anna. The Holy Family returns to Nazareth for the “hidden” years of Jesus as he grows in strength and wisdom with the favor of God upon him.  Luke 2 concludes with 12-year-old Jesus teaching in the temple:  the true presence of God has returned to the temple yet again, “Why are you looking for me? Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s House?” With the Eucharist present in every tabernacle of every Catholic Church, we have access to the true presence of God at all times.

Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.

For more in this series visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page

“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to:  www.seekingtruth.net

BKL16 – How do we truly encounter Jesus everyday? – Building a Kingdom of Love w/ Msgr. John Esseff – Discerning Heart Podcast

Msgr. Esseff reflects what it means to truly encounter Jesus.  Do we recognize Him in the poor, the prisoner, the disabled, the stranger?  Or do we pass Him by because we truly do not know Him?  He offers insight primarily from the teachings found in the letter from St. James Chap 2:

My brothers and sisters, show no partiality
as you adhere to the faith in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ.
For if a man with gold rings and fine clothes
comes into your assembly,
and a poor person in shabby clothes also comes in,
and you pay attention to the one wearing the fine clothes
and say, “Sit here, please, ”
while you say to the poor one, “Stand there, ” or “Sit at my feet, ”
have you not made distinctions among yourselves
and become judges with evil designs?

Listen, my beloved brothers and sisters.
Did not God choose those who are poor in the world
to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom
that he promised to those who love him?.  – NAB

Msgr. John A. Esseff is a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Scranton.  He was ordained on May 30, 1953, by the late Bishop William J. Hafey, D.D. at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton, PA.  Msgr. Esseff served a retreat director and confessor to St. Mother Teresa.    He continues to offer direction and retreats for the sisters of the missionaries of charity around the world.  Msgr. Esseff encountered St.  Padre Pio,  who would become a spiritual father to him.  He has lived in areas around the world,  serving in the Pontifical missions, a Catholic organization established by St. Pope John Paul II to bring the Good News to the world especially to the poor.  Msgr. Esseff assisted the founders of the Institute for Priestly Formation and continues to serve as a spiritual director for the Institute.  He continues to serve as a retreat leader and director to bishops, priests and sisters and seminarians and other religious leaders around the world.  

BKL201 – The Angelic Realm and the Celebration of the Holy Mass – Building a Kingdom of Love with Msgr. John Esseff

Msgr-Esseff-2-e1442263119679-497x526-283x300Msgr. Esseff continues his reflections on the Angelic Realm. He discusses the magnificence of the Throne of God.

Isaiah Chap 6:1-4

1 In the year King Uzziah died,* I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne,a with the train of his garment filling the temple.

2 Seraphim* were stationed above; each of them had six wings: with two they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they hovered.b

3 One cried out to the other:

“Holy, holy, holy* is the LORD of hosts!

All the earth is filled with his glory!”

4 At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook and the house was filled with smoke.* c

5 Then I said, “Woe is me, I am doomed!* For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips,d and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an ember which he had taken with tongs from the altar.

 

Msgr. John A. Esseff is a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Scranton.  He was ordained on May 30, 1953, by the late Bishop William J. Hafey, D.D. at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton, PA.  Msgr. Esseff served a retreat director and confessor to St. Mother Teresa.    He continues to offer direction and retreats for the sisters of the missionaries of charity around the world.  Msgr. Esseff encountered St.  Padre Pio,  who would become a spiritual father to him.  He has lived in areas around the world,  serving in the Pontifical missions, a Catholic organization established by St. Pope John Paul II to bring the Good News to the world especially to the poor.  Msgr. Esseff assisted the founders of the Institute for Priestly Formation and continues to serve as a spiritual director for the Institute.  He continues to serve as a retreat leader and director to bishops, priests and sisters and seminarians and other religious leaders around the world.  

 

IP#318 Fr. John Burns – Lift Up Your Heart on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor podcast


“Lift Up Your Heart: A 10-Day Personal Retreat with St. Francis de Sales” is outstanding.  A wonderful “introduction to the devout life”… literally!  Fr. John Burns breaks open up the teachings of the great spiritual director and Doctor of the Church St. Francis de Sales in a wonderfully fresh new way.  Very practical and perfect for meditation during prayer times during the day, this is a mini-retreat we can all benefit from.

You can find the book here

From the book description:

This practical book goes right to the heart of helping you kick the habit of floating along on your spiritual journey to start actively pursuing holiness and devotion to God. During the course of the retreat, you ll learn the basics of forming a daily prayer routine, including how to offer yourself to God, meditate on his love, and maintain peace in the face of suffering and clarity in the midst of temptation.

The meditations will help you:

  • Adopt gratitude as a daily prayer practice.
  • Examine and reorder your priorities and relationships to better reflect your love for God.
  • Discern between good and evil in your life.
  • Desire to love and serve as Jesus did.

In a very real sense, Burns helps you take St. Francis de Sales as your spiritual director for ten days. As you do so, you’ll feel God’s fatherly love and restart your faith life, equipped with the tools to connect with God and live for heaven now.

BKL#28 – Discerning Daily the Spirit – Building a Kingdom of Love w/ Msgr. John Esseff


Msgr. Esseff reflects on how we are to daily discern the movement of Christ in us and the movement of the self, the world, and the activity of the enemy.

Transition:
Become aware of the love with which God looks upon me as I begin this examen.

Gratitude
Note the gifts that God’s love has given you this day and give thanks to God for them.

Petition
Ask God for an insight and a strength that will make this examen a work of grace, fruitful beyond your human capacity alone.

Review
With God, review the day. Look for the stirrings in your heart and the thoughts which God has given you this day.
Look also for those which have not been of God.
Review your choices in response to both, and throughout the day in general.

Forgiveness.
Ask for the healing touch of the forgiving God who, with love and respect for you, removes your heart’s burdens.

Renewal.
Look to the following day and, with God, plan concretely how to live it in accord with God’s loving desire for your life.

Transition:
Aware of God’s presence with you, prayerfully conclude the examen

*The above text was adapted from a pdf online entitled “The Examen” found here

Msgr. John A. Esseff is a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Scranton.  He was ordained on May 30, 1953, by the late Bishop William J. Hafey, D.D. at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton, PA.  Msgr. Esseff served a retreat director and confessor to St. Mother Teresa.    He continues to offer direction and retreats for the sisters of the missionaries of charity around the world.  Msgr. Esseff encountered St.  Padre Pio,  who would become a spiritual father to him.  He has lived in areas around the world,  serving in the Pontifical missions, a Catholic organization established by St. Pope John Paul II to bring the Good News to the world especially to the poor.  Msgr. Esseff assisted the founders of the Institute for Priestly Formation and continues to serve as a spiritual director for the Institute.  He continues to serve as a retreat leader and director to bishops, priests and sisters and seminarians and other religious leaders around the world.    

ST-Luke-5 – The “Blessed” Visitation of Mary to Elizabeth – The Gospel of St. Luke – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 5 – Mary, the Neck of the Mystical Body Gives Her Fiat.  The Visitation of Blessed Mary to Elizabeth and Mary the Head Crushing Woman, and Ark of the New Covenant.

In this episode we turn our attention to the visitation of Mary to her elderly cousin Elizabeth, who is miraculously pregnant with John the Baptist.  Upon seeing Mary, Elizabeth “cries out” (anaphōneō in the Greek):  “Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb!”  Anaphōneō, “to cry out” with shouts of joy, is only used in the Old Testament when the Ark of the Covenant is present.  Furthermore, only two women other than Mary in Scripture are called “blessed.”  The book of Judges tells the story of Jael, who kills the enemy Canaanite General Sisera by driving a tent peg into his head.  In celebration of the defeat of Israel’s enemy, Deborah the judge declares: “Most blessed of women be Jael!” (Judges 5:24).  In the book of Judith, another enemy of Israel falls at the hand of a blessed woman.  Judith cuts off the head of the Assyrian General Holofernes.  Upon seeing the severed head of Holofernes, King Uzziah proclaims: “O daughter, you are blessed by the Most High God above all women on earth!” (Judith 13:18).  Both of these blessed women, Jael and Judith, help preserve the line of Messiah by crushing the head of the enemies of Israel.  Likewise, the Blessed Virgin Mary bears the Messiah himself, Jesus, who crushes the head of Satan as predicted in Genesis 3:15.

There are striking similarities between the Old Ark of the Covenant and Mary, the new Ark of the Covenant.  The Old Ark contained the stone tablets of the law (the word of God), manna (the bread of God) and Aaron’s rod (the authority of God’s High Priest).  These contents prefigure Mary, the New Ark, whose womb contains Jesus, who IS the word of life, who IS the bread of life, who IS the authority of God on earth, the final High Priest of Israel.

Sharon Doran serves as the teaching director of “Seeking Truth.” An experienced Bible Study teacher, Sharon has a passion for scripture that will motivate and challenge you to immerse yourself in God’s Word and apply His message to your everyday life.

For more in this series visit the Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran Discerning Hearts page

“Seeking Truth” is an in-depth Catholic Bible Study, commissioned by the Archdiocese of Omaha in response to John Paul II’s call to the New Evangelization as well as Pope Benedict XVI’s exhortation for all Catholics to study scripture. To learn more go to:  www.seekingtruth.net

RN15 – St. Pope John XXIII – Mater et Magistra (Mother and Teacher) from “the healer” – Regnum Novum w/ Omar Gutierrez

 

St. Pope John XXIII, born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (25 November 1881 – 3 June 1963), headed the Catholic Church and ruled Vatican City from 1958 until his death.

Pope John was elected on 28 October 1958. He called the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) but did not live to see it to completion. He died in 1963, only four-and-a-half years after his election, and two months after the completion of his final encyclical, Pacem in Terris. He was beatified, along with Pope Pius IX, on 3 September 2000.

 

 

Also, visit Omar’s “Discerning Hearts” page Catholic Social Teaching 101

Urging of Christ's LoveDeacon Omar F.A. Gutierrez is an Instructor for the Holy Family School of Faith Institute and Director of the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith for the Archdiocese of Omaha. He’s also the author of “The Urging of Christ’s Love: The Saints and The Social Teaching of the Catholic”