HR-Soberness-1 An Introduction – “The Nature of Our Need” – The Holy Rule of St. Benedict with Fr. Mauritius Wilde OSB

Are you being caught up in the swirl and chaos of fear, violence, and anger assaulting our world today?  Father Mauritius Wilde invites us to contemplate the Benedictine understanding of sobriety. He does not advocate for the renunciation of enjoyment, but rather to accept what God has in store for us. This series will shed light on the facets of this ancient and yet up-to-date concept and shows the spiritual and practical significance it can have for us in the current social situation.

From the Gospel of St. Mark 6:

The Death of John the Baptist

14 King Herod heard of it; for Jesus’[b] name had become known. Some[c] said, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “It is Eli′jah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” 17 For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Hero′di-as, his brother Philip’s wife; because he had married her. 18 For John said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 And Hero′di-as had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him gladly. 21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee. 22 For when Hero′di-as’ daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will grant it.” 23 And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out, and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the baptizer.” 25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27 And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave orders to bring his head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

Father Mauritius Wilde, OSB, Ph.D., did his philosophical, theological and doctoral studies in Europe. He is the author of several books and directs retreats regularly. He serves as Prior at Sant’Anselmo in Rome.

 

 

BTP- L12 – Letter 224- 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 224, with a special focus on Elizabeth’s insights on  fear, death, hope and renunciation:

L 224
To Madame Angels
[a little before March 8, 1905]

J. M. + J. T.

“Abandonment is the delicious fruit of love”

Very dear Madame,

Before entering the great silence of Lent, our Reverend Mother is allowing me to tell you how much my dear community and I are praying for you. I can understand what apprehensions you must feel in facing an operation; I am asking God to ease them, to calm them Himself. The holy Apostle Paul says that “He works all things according to the counsel of His will,” thus we must receive everything as coming directly from that divine hand of our Father who loves us and who, through all trials, pursues His goal, “to unite us more closely to Himself.” Dear Madame, launch your soul on the waves of confidence and abandonment, and remember that anything that troubles it or throws it into fear does not come from God, for He is the Prince of Peace and He promises that peace “to those of good will.” When you are afraid you have abused His graces, as you say, that is the time to redouble your confidence, for, as the Apostle says, “where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more,” and farther on, “I boast of my weaknesses, for then the power of Jesus Christ dwells in me.” “Our God is rich in mercy because of His immense love.” So do not fear the hour we must all pass through. Death, dear Madame, is the sleep of the child resting on the heart of its mother. At last the night of exile will have fled forever, and we will enter into possession of the inheritance of the saints in light. Saint John of the Cross says we will be judged in love. That corresponds well with the thinking of Our Lord, who said to Mary Magdalene: “Many sins have been forgiven her because she has loved much.” I often think I will have a very long purgatory, for much will be asked of the one who has received much and He has been so overwhelmingly generous to His little bride, but she abandons herself to His love and sings the hymn of His mercies while still on earth! Dear Madame, if we made God increase in our soul every day, think what confidence that would give us to appear one day before His infinite holiness! I think you have found the secret and that it is indeed that we arrive at this divine goal through renunciation: by that means we die to self in order to leave all the room to God. Do you remember that beautiful passage from the Gospel according to Saint John where Our Lord says to Nicodemus: “Truly I say to you, if one is not born anew, one cannot see the kingdom of God”? Let us therefore renew ourselves in the interior of our soul, “let us strip off the old and clothe ourselves anew, in the image of Him who created him” (Saint Paul). That is done gently and simply, by separating ourselves from all that is not God. Then the soul no longer has any fears or desires, its will is entirely lost in the will of God, and since this is what creates union, it can cry out: “I live no longer I, but Christ lives in me.” Let us pray much for each other during this holy time of Lent; let us retire to the desert with our Master and ask Him to teach us to live by His life.

I saw Mama, Marguerite, and her dear little Sabeth; it was the last parlor visit until Easter, they find that very long. I know Marie-Louise is also expecting a little angel and I recommend her particularly to God. Remember me to your dear ones. I am writing a little note in reply to Monsieur le Chanoine2 and, as a poor Carmelite, I am being so bold as to entrust it to you to deliver to him whenever you have a chance; I hope that is not being indiscreet. A Dieu, dear Madame, courage and confidence, I kiss you as I love you.

Catez, Elizabeth of the Trinity. The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel (pp. 192-194). 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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SD7 Dryness in Prayer: Is it Spiritual Desolation? part 2 – 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 7  – Fr. Gallagher helps us to understand the different aspects of dryness in prayer.  Is it a sign of Spiritual Desolation?  Sometimes yes, sometimes no, and sometimes maybe.  We continue with part 2 of this discussion in this episode.

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

Dryness may again result when persons need to share with God a burden, fear, shame, or anxiety that fills their hearts— and have as yet been unable to do so. They experience dry- ness: nothing seems to help in prayer, the time passes slowly and with distractions, and the prayer they attempt appears to lack life.

A husband and wife sit across the table from each other at dinner. He knows that she holds a burden in her heart that she has not been able to express and share with him. Until the burden is expressed and shared, they will struggle to speak together with their habitual ease and communion. Their conversation will remain on a superficial level—it will feel dry—while both know that something deeper needs to be communicated. A man once told me that for eleven years his prayer had been dry. A few questions revealed that his young son had died eleven years earlier. When, after some hesitancy and with some courage, he shared with the Lord the stored- up pain and anger in his heart, the dryness ceased, and prayer flowed again.

Other forms of dryness may result from nonspiritual fac- tors. When persons are physically exhausted, they may find their prayer dry: they simply do not have the physical energy to pray in their usual way. Adequate rest will resolve this “dryness.” Something similar may result from depletion of emotional energy. Persons who have expended great emotional energy in difficult situations and who try to pray may also find that their prayer is dry: they are affectively spent and struggle to be emotionally present to their prayer. Healthy ways of replenishing emotional energy will resolve this “dry- ness” as well.

None of these forms of dryness are experiences of spiritual desolation.23 Each has its individual cause and so its indi- vidual remedy. Good spiritual direction will be sensitive to the cause of such persons’ individual experiences of dryness and so assist them to respond appropriately, helping them to eliminate its cause or—should such “dryness” indicate growth toward simplified prayer—assisting them to negotiate it well.

If, however, the dryness bears the mark of spiritual des- olation—affective aridity coupled with discouragement, a sense of distance from God, a weakening of hope, various temptations, and the like—then such persons will recognize the enemy at work and hear the call to active and energetic resistance.

 

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

WM14 – Why Prayer Matters pt. 1- Why it Matters: An Exploration of Faith with Archbishop George Lucas Podcast

Catholic Spiritual Formation - Catholic Spiritual Direction 3

Episode 14  Why Prayer Matters – Why it Matters: An Exploration of Faith with Archbishop George Lucas

In this episode with Archbishop Lucas we begin the conversation on why prayer matters?

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

For me, prayer is a surge of the heart; it is a simple look turned toward heaven, it is a cry of recognition and of love, embracing both trial and joy. –

St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Manuscrits autobiographiques, C 25r.

 

Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Catechism of the Catholic Church (Kindle Locations 14417-14418). United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Kindle Edition.

From Pope Benedict XVI, Wednesday Audience, May 11, 2011

Dear brothers and sisters, we learn to stay more in front of God, God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ, we learn to recognize in the silence, deep within ourselves, the voice that calls us and leads us to the depths of our existence , the source of life, the source of salvation for us to go beyond the limit of our lives and open ourselves to the extent of God, our relationship with Him who is Infinite Love. 

Dear brothers and sisters, let us learn to pause longer before God, who revealed himself in Jesus Christ, let us learn to recognize in silence, in our own hearts, his voice that calls us and leads us back to the depths of our existence, to the source of life, to the source of salvation, to enable us to go beyond the limitations of our life and to open ourselves to God’s dimension, to the relationship with him, which is Infinite Love.

 

For more episodes in this series visit the

Why it Matters: An Exploration of Faith with Archbishop George Lucas Podcast page

For more teachings and information about Archbishop George J. Lucas of the Archdiocese of Omaha, visit:   archomaha.org

“The Second Sunday of Advent” – Building a Kingdom of Love w/ Msgr. John Esseff Podcast

Second Sunday of Advent 2018

Reading 2   PHIL 1:4-6, 8-11

Brothers and sisters:
I pray always with joy in my every prayer for all of you,
because of your partnership for the gospel
from the first day until now.
I am confident of this,
that the one who began a good work in you
will continue to complete it
until the day of Christ Jesus.
God is my witness,
how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.
And this is my prayer:
that your love may increase ever more and more
in knowledge and every kind of perception,
to discern what is of value,
so that you may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
filled with the fruit of righteousness
that comes through Jesus Christ
for the glory and praise of God.

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.  

 

HM-2 “A Handmaid of the Lord”: the Life and Legacy of Adrienne von Speyr with Dr. Adrian Walker – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Adrian-WalkerEpisode 2 – “A Brief Overview of Adrienne’s Life” – “A Handmaid of the Lord”: The life and legacy of Adrienne von Speyr with Dr. Adrian Walker, Ph.D.

With Dr. Adrian Walker, we discuss various aspects of Adrienne’s life.  What was her childhood like?  What were the relationship dynamics within her family?  We discuss her marriages and professional career.  Dr. Walker delves into her conversion to the Catholic faith and her mystical experiences.

…indifference impregnated with Johannine theology. The theory of mysticism which Adrienne formulated culminates in the one statement: Mysticism is a particular mission, a particular service to the Church which can only be properly carried out in a continual and complete movement away from oneself, in self-forgetfulness (she loved the word éffacement) and virginal readiness for the Word of God. Personal states as such are of no interest and ought not to be reflected upon, all psychologizing introspection becomes without fail a deviation from the main concern—God’s Word—and therefore a distortion of one’s mission. This basic law is also, according to Adrienne, the principal guideline for spiritual directors.

By this time, Adrienne had been interpreting books of Holy Scripture for about a decade: after the Johannine writings, some of Paul, the Catholic Epistles, the Apocalypse, books or parts of books from the Old Testament. In later years one could give her at random any text of Scripture with the request that she interpret it immediately; she would close her eyes for a few seconds, and then in her quiet, objective tone of voice she would begin to speak in sentences that were almost ready for publishing. She usually dictated in the afternoon after she had returned from her two-o’clock office hours and had had a cup of tea. She seldom dictated for more than half an hour per day. During vacations, she would occasionally dictate for two or three hours, but this was rare. More will be said later about one exception, regarding the commentary on the Apocalypse.

Balthasar, Hans Urs von (2012-08-21). First Glance at Adrienne von Speyr (Kindle Locations 345-356). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.

 

adrienne_von_speyr1Adrienne von Speyr was a Swiss convert, mystic, wife, medical doctor and author of over 60 books on spirituality and theology. She’s inspired countless souls around the world to deepen their mission of prayer and compassion. She entered the Catholic Church under the direction of the great theologian, Hans Urs von Balthasar. In the years that would follow, they would co-found the secular institute, the Community of St. John.

 

Adrian Walker is an editor of the journal Communio, an International Catholic Review, who received his doctorate in philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Dr. Walker has served as a translator for the English edition of Pope Benedict XVI’s, ” Jesus of Nazareth”, as well as numerous other theological works, including those of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Adrienne von Speyr.

Our series recorded at “Casa Balthasar“, a house of discernment for men located in Rome, Italy. The Casa, was founded in 1990 by a group of friends and is directed by Rev. Jacques Servais, S.J.; Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) has been closely associated with the Casa Balthasar from the very beginning as its Cardinal Protector.

 Many of Adrienne von Speyr’s books can found through Ignatius Press

 

ST-Luke-2 – John the Fore-runner to Messiah – The Gospel of St. Luke – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

SharonEpisode 2 – “John the Fore-runner to Messiah” – The Gospel of Luke

Luke 1 begins with an address to “Most excellent Theophilus,” who may be a specific high ranking official.  “Theophilus” also means beloved of God, and Luke might instead be writing an open letter the entire Christian community.  Luke provides the historical detail that Herod is king at the time Jesus’ birth.  Herod the Great, an Edomite, was not the legitimate ruler of Israel.  Rather, he was a puppet king propped up by the occupying Romans.  The Edomites were the descendants of Esau and the Israelites were the descendants of Jacob.  The two nations were forever in conflict ever since Esau sold his birthright to Jacob for a bowl of stew and Jacob deceived his blind father, obtaining the blessing that was rightfully due to Esau.

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.

“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

AR-SP2- THE GIFT OF HOLINESS AT CHRISTMAS w/ Fr. Mauritius Wilde O.S.B., PhD.

AR-SP2- THE GIFT OF HOLINESS AT CHRISTMAS w/ Fr. Mauritius Wilde O.S.B., Ph.D.

This reflection was given during a special advent evening of prayer and meditation service at St. Margaret Mary’s Church, in Omaha, NE.

Father Mauritius Wilde, OSB, Ph.D., did his philosophical, theological and doctoral studies in Europe. He is the author of several books and directs retreats regularly. He serves as Prior at Sant’Anselmo in Rome.

SD6 Dryness in Prayer: Is it Spiritual Desolation? part 1 – 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 6  – Fr. Gallagher helps us to understand the different aspects of dryness in prayer.  Is it a sign of Spiritual Desolation?  Sometimes yes, sometimes no, and sometimes maybe.  We begin part 1 of this discussion in this episode.

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

A first form of dryness may result simply from lack of formation in prayer. Persons of good will desire to pray and make sincere attempts to do so. Because these persons, how- ever, have never received formation in prayer, they flounder, unsure of how to proceed: their prayer is dry. The need here is exposure to classic and effective forms of prayer: lectio div- ina, Ignatian meditation or imaginative contemplation, the Liturgy of the Hours, and so forth. Once these persons learn how to pray, the floundering will cease, and this form of dry- ness will be overcome.21

Dryness may also arise from negligence in the life of prayer or from an inconsistency between a person’s prayer and life. If such persons weaken in fidelity to prayer, no longer dedi- cate consistent time to it, or no longer prepare in the way they find helpful, dryness may result. Likewise, behavior contrary to the Gospel may also cause prayer to feel dry: the dishar- mony between prayer and life will render prayer more dif- ficult—more dry.22

Yet another experience of “dryness” may result from solid growth in prayer. A point may arrive when God now calls such persons to a more simplified form of prayer. The ear- lier, more active and discursive methods no longer assist as before, while the new and simpler way of praying is not yet firmly established. This is a healthy “dryness” and a sign of growth. Competent spiritual direction will greatly assist such persons to negotiate this blessed passage in prayer.

 

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

BTP- L11 – Letter 214 pt. 2 – 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. This episode is part 2 of our conversation on letter 214, with a special focus on suffering and humility united to Christ in our prayer:

L 214
To Abbé Chevignard
[November 29, 1904]

J. M. + J. T.

“Providebam Dominum in conspectu meo semper; quoniam a dextris est mihi, ne commovear.”

Monsieur l’Abbé,

I am very grateful to you for your feastday wishes, and I am very happy the Church has placed our saints so close to each other, because that gives me the chance to offer you my best wishes today. Saint Augustine says that “love, forgetful of its own dignity, is eager to raise and magnify the beloved: it has only one measure, which is to be without measure.”  I am asking God to fill you with that measure without measure, which is to say, according to the “riches of His glory,”  that the weight of His love may draw you to the point of happy loss the Apostle spoke of when he wrote “Vivo enim jam non ego, vivit vero in me Christus.”  That is the dream of my Carmelite soul and, I believe, also the dream of your priestly soul. Above all it is the dream of Christ, and I ask Him to accomplish it fully in our souls. Let us be for Him, in a way, another humanity in which He may renew His whole Mystery.  I have asked Him to make His home in me as Adorer, as Healer, and as Savior, and I cannot tell you what peace it gives my soul to think that He makes up for my weaknesses and, if I fall at every passing moment, He is there to help me up again  and carry me farther into Himself, into the depths of that divine essence where we already live by grace and where I would like to bury myself so deeply that nothing could make me leave. My soul meets yours there and, in unison with yours, I keep silent to adore Him who has loved us so divinely.

I unite myself to you in the emotions and profound joys of your soul as you await ordination and beg you to let me share in this grace with you: each morning I am reciting the Hour of Terce for you so the Spirit of love and light may “come upon” you to bring about all His creative work in you. If you would like, when you recite the Divine Office we could unite in the same prayer during this Hour that I have a particular devotion to. We will breathe in love11a and draw it down on our souls and on the whole Church.

You tell me to pray that you may be granted humility and the spirit of sacrifice. In the evening, while making the Way of the Cross before Matins, at every outpouring of the Precious Blood I used to ask for this grace for my own soul; from now on it will also be for yours. Don’t you believe that, to achieve the annihilation, contempt of self, and love of suffering that were deep in the souls of the saints, we must gaze for a very long time at the God crucified by love, to receive an outflowing of His power through continual contact with Him? Père Vallée once said to us that “martyrdom was the response of any lofty soul to the Crucified.” It seems to me that this could also be said for immolation. So let us be sacrificial souls, which is to say, true in our love: “He loved me, He gave Himself up for me!” A Dieu, Monsieur l’Abbé. Let us live by love, by adoration, by self-forgetfulness, in wholly joyful and confident peace, for “we are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s”! . . .

Sister M. Elizabeth of the Trinity r.c.i.

On the 8th, we are going to give our Immaculate Mother and Queen a beautiful feast day in our souls; I will meet you under her virginal mantle.

Catez, Elizabeth of the Trinity. The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel (pp. 179-180). 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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