St. Bede the Venerable – The Doctors of the Church: The Charism of Wisdom with Dr. Matthew Bunson – Discerning Hearts Podcast

 

St. Bede the Venerable – The Doctors of the Church: The Charism of Wisdom with Dr. Matthew Bunson

  • Born: 672 AD, Jarrow, United Kingdom
  • Died: May 26, 735 AD, Jarrow, United Kingdom
  • Nationality: English
  • Feast: 25 May (Western Churches); 27 May (Orthodox Church and the General Roman Calendar from 1899–1969)

Dr. Matthew Bunson and Kris McGregor discuss the life and legacy of the Venerable Bede, the only Doctor of the Church from England. Dr. Bunson highlights Bede’s contributions to theology, history, and learning during a time often mischaracterized as the Dark Ages. Bede is celebrated for his “Ecclesiastical History of the English People,” his biblical commentaries, and his role in developing the AD/BC dating system.

Elevated as a Doctor of the Church by Pope Leo XIII in 1899, Bede’s work symbolized the endurance and intellectual richness of the Catholic faith in the British Isles, even during periods of suppression. His life in the monastic communities of Northumbria was marked by relentless scholarship, teaching, and prayer, embodying the quiet dedication and intellectual vibrancy of monastic life.


Discerning Hearts Reflection Questions

  1. The Legacy of Venerable Bede: How does Bede’s dedication to learning and teaching inspire your own approach to faith and education?
  2. Historical Context and Faith: What can we learn from Bede’s ability to find faith and meaning in the historical events of his time?
  3. Role of Monastic Life: How does Bede’s monastic lifestyle of prayer, study, and teaching reflect the values we should strive for in our own lives?
  4. Contribution to Theology and History: In what ways do Bede’s theological and historical works enhance our understanding of the Catholic faith?
  5. Endurance of Faith: How does Bede’s life demonstrate the endurance and resilience of the Catholic faith through times of adversity?
  6. Integration of Faith and Reason: How does Bede’s integration of faith with scientific and historical knowledge challenge the modern perception of the relationship between faith and reason?
  7. Significance of the Church in History: Why is it important to study the ecclesiastical history of the Church, as Bede did, to understand the development of Christian faith?
  8. Quiet Dedication: How can Bede’s model of quiet, tireless dedication to the Church serve as a guide for our personal spiritual practices?

From Vatican.va, an excerpt from the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI General Audience 2009

“By his way of creating theology, interweaving the Bible, liturgy and history, Bede has a timely message for the different “states of life”: a) for scholars (doctores ac doctrices) he recalls two essential tasks: to examine the marvels of the word of God in order to present them in an attractive form to the faithful; to explain the dogmatic truths, avoiding heretical complications and keeping to “Catholic simplicity”, with the attitude of the lowly and humble to whom God is pleased to reveal the mysteries of the Kingdom; b) pastors, for their part, must give priority to preaching, not only through verbal or hagiographic language but also by giving importance to icons, processions and pilgrimages. Bede recommends that they use the vulgate as he himself does, explaining the “Our Father” and the “Creed” in Northumbrian and continuing, until the last day of his life, his commentary on the Gospel of John in the vulgate; c) Bede recommends to consecrated people who devote themselves to the Divine Office, living in the joy of fraternal communion and progressing in the spiritual life by means of ascesis and contemplation that they attend to the apostolate no one possesses the Gospel for himself alone but must perceive it as a gift for others too both by collaborating with Bishops in pastoral activities of various kinds for the young Christian communities and by offering themselves for the evangelizing mission among the pagans, outside their own country, as “peregrini pro amore Dei”.

Making this viewpoint his own, in his commentary on the Song of Songs Bede presents the Synagogue and the Church as collaborators in the dissemination of God’s word. Christ the Bridegroom wants a hard-working Church, “weathered by the efforts of evangelization” there is a clear reference to the word in the Song of Songs (1: 5), where the bride says “Nigra sum sed formosa” (“I am very dark, but comely”) intent on tilling other fields or vineyards and in establishing among the new peoples “not a temporary hut but a permanent dwelling place”, in other words, intent on integrating the Gospel into their social fabric and cultural institutions. In this perspective the holy Doctor urges lay faithful to be diligent in religious instruction, imitating those “insatiable crowds of the Gospel who did not even allow the Apostles time to take a mouthful”. He teaches them how to pray ceaselessly, “reproducing in life what they celebrate in the liturgy”, offering all their actions as a spiritual sacrifice in union with Christ. He explains to parents that in their small domestic circle too they can exercise “the priestly office as pastors and guides”, giving their children a Christian upbringing. He also affirms that he knows many of the faithful (men and women, married and single) “capable of irreproachable conduct who, if appropriately guided, will be able every day to receive Eucharistic communion” (Epist. ad Ecgberctum, ed. Plummer, p. 419).

The fame of holiness and wisdom that Bede already enjoyed in his lifetime, earned him the title of “Venerable”. Pope Sergius I called him this when he wrote to his Abbot in 701 asking him to allow him to come to Rome temporarily to give advice on matters of universal interest. After his death, Bede’s writings were widely disseminated in his homeland and on the European continent. Bishop St Boniface, the great missionary of Germany, (d. 754), asked the Archbishop of York and the Abbot of Wearmouth several times to have some of his works transcribed and sent to him so that he and his companions might also enjoy the spiritual light that shone from them. A century later, Notker Balbulus, Abbot of Sankt Gallen (d. 912), noting the extraordinary influence of Bede, compared him to a new sun that God had caused to rise, not in the East but in the West, to illuminate the world. Apart from the rhetorical emphasis, it is a fact that with his works Bede made an effective contribution to building a Christian Europe in which the various peoples and cultures amalgamated with one another, thereby giving them a single physiognomy, inspired by the Christian faith. Let us pray that today too there may be figures of Bede’s stature, to keep the whole continent united; let us pray that we may all be willing to rediscover our common roots, in order to be builders of a profoundly human and authentically Christian Europe.”

For more visit Vatican.va


For more from Dr. Matthew Bunson, check out his Discerning Hearts page.

Dr. Matthew E. Bunson is a Register senior editor and a 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.

IJCY6 – Be Not Afraid – Is Jesus Calling You with Fr. Paul Hoesing – Discerning Hearts Podcast


Be Not Afraid – Is Jesus Calling You with Fr. Paul Hoesing

Fr. Paul Hoesing and Kris McGregor discuss the process of vocational discernment as a step-by-step journey, guided by spiritual directors, focusing on encountering Jesus and finding peace in His will.

They cover the eighth lesson: that fear is not from God and discernment involves distinguishing thoughts and feelings that bring peace from those that bring fear; using examples to illustrate how fear can mislead and how trust in Jesus and guidance from spiritual advisors can help overcome it.

The ninth lesson focuses on standing firm in faith, resisting lies and fears, and continually trusting in God’s will. The importance of persistent prayer, clarity, and patience in the discernment process, with practical examples shows how young men can navigate their fears and find clarity in their vocation journey.


Discerning Hearts Reflection Questions:

  1. Transformation through God’s Grace: How does Léonie Martin’s transformation illustrate the power of God’s grace in a believer’s life?
  2. Importance of Spiritual Relationships: How have your spiritual relationships helped you grow in your faith?
  3. Embracing Littleness and Humility: How can you incorporate the virtues of humility and gentleness into your daily life?
  4. Facing Spiritual and Physical Struggles: Reflect on a time when you experienced spiritual or physical struggles and found strength in your faith.
  5. Impact of Family and Upbringing on Faith: How has your family and upbringing influenced your faith, and how can you strengthen this foundation?

Based on “Is Jesus Calling You To Be A Catholic  Priest: A helpful guide”, published by National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Director.

Fr. Paul Hoesing serves at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary as President Rector

Ep. 12 – A Sister of St. Thérèse: Servant of God, Léonie Martin – Bearer of Hope with Fr. Timothy Gallagher – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Fr. Timothy Gallagher OMVA Sister of St. Thérèse: Servant of God, Léonie Martin – Bearer of Hope with Fr. Timothy Gallagher – Episode 12

 

In this episode, we jump ahead 15 years to 1915. Léonie is now a cloistered religious, Sister Françoise-Thérèse of the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary in Caen.  She is doing her best to live the “little way” as described by her younger sister Thérèse, whose cause for canonization is rapidly moving forward.  This process graces her with an opportunity to visit with her three living sisters, Marie, Celine, and Pauline at the Carmel in Lisieux.

Pauline, now Mother Agnes of Jesus and prioress of the Carmel, develops a close relationship with Léonie.  She will serve Léonie as a mother figure and spiritual director for the rest of her life.  Their correspondence speaks of Léonie’s spiritual growth during this period.

 


Fr. Gallagher says, “Léonie’s life holds a very important story because she was the forgotten one; she was the one who was in the last place; she was the one who was less gifted than the others. Today we would call her a ‘problem child,’ and we’ll see that she certainly was the source of great anxiety to her parents, especially to her mother, Zélie, who loved her dearly.”

As a child, Léonie suffered from severe illnesses and physical maladies that would plague her entire life. She also struggled with understanding social clues and interactions and with behaving appropriately. Conventional educational models of the day failed to meet her particular needs, and she was labeled “developmentally delayed.” Yet those who knew her well described her as having a “heart of gold.”

Who was Léonie and what were her struggles? Why has her cause of canonization begun?  Father Gallagher, along with Kris McGregor,  answers these questions and explains why Léonie is “a bearer of hope” in this landmark series.

Discerning Hearts Reflection Questions

  1. Transformation through God’s Grace How does Léonie Martin’s transformation illustrate the power of God’s grace in a believer’s life?
  2. Importance of Spiritual Relationships How have your spiritual relationships helped you grow in your faith?
  3. Embracing Littleness and Humility How can you incorporate the virtues of humility and gentleness into your daily life?
  4. Facing Spiritual and Physical Struggles Reflect on a time when you experienced spiritual or physical struggles and found strength in your faith.
  5. Impact of Family and Upbringing on Faith How has your family and upbringing influenced your faith, and how can you strengthen this foundation?

The 4 Sisters - Marie, Pauline, Leonie, and Celine

St. Thérèse

A resource used for this series

Images in this post of the Martin/Guerin family are used with permission from the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux website for strictly non-commercial use.  We encourage you to visit the website for more information on this remarkable family.


For more series Fr. Timothy Gallagher podcasts, visit 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

BTP-L2 – Letter 157 – The Letters of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity – Beginning to Pray with Dr. Anthony Lilles – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Letter 157 – The Letters of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity – Beginning to Pray with Dr. Anthony Lilles

Dr. Anthony Lilles and Kris McGregor explore a letter written by Sister Elizabeth of the Trinity to Madame de Sourdon. Elizabeth, a Carmelite nun, writes to a close family friend, responding to a prayer request and sharing her own experiences and insights on suffering and prayer. She empathizes with Madame de Sourdon’s distress over a mutual friend’s illness, recalling her own past sorrows and the support she received through prayer; and the value of suffering, explaining that it can unite souls and bring them closer to God. This notion contrasts with modern views that often see suffering as something to be avoided.

St. Elizabeth encourages Madame de Sourdon to fully surrender to God, assuring her that in doing so, she will find solace and strength. The importance of intercessory prayer, noting that it creates a communion of saints, where believers support each other spiritually. She also speaks of the profound happiness she has found in her own relationship with God, a joy she wishes to share with her friend.

Dr. Lilles and Kris McGregor discuss how Elizabeth’s letter reflects deep theological and spiritual truths; exploring how intercessory prayer is not about changing God’s mind but about participating in His eternal plan. Prayer is an act of love and trust in God, a means of fostering a closer relationship with Him.


Catholic Devotional Prayers and Novenas - Mp3 Audio Downloads and Text 8

Letter 157

[157]To Madame de Sourdon

[February 21, 1903]
Carmel, Saturday evening

J. M. + J. T.

“Dear Madame,
Before your letter I received a few lines from Madame de Maizières, a cry from the heart my soul has really responded to, I assure you. When you write to her, would you tell her that we are praying fervently in Carmel and that I never once attend the Divine Office without commending to God the health of the dear patient who causes so much concern to those who love him. I understand this distress so well, and God above all understands it!

You remember, dear Madame, the distressing hours I have known myself. I will never forget how good you were to the poor little one who thought she was about to lose her mother. What painful memories—they are the bond, as it were, that unites our souls. Those are God’s times. Père Didon says “any destiny that doesn’t have its calvary is a punishment from God.” Oh, then, if we knew how to surrender ourselves totally into the hands of Him who is our Father. . . . I recommend your intentions to Him. Do not doubt Him, dear Madame, abandon everything to Him, as well as to your little friend. . . . She will be your advocate . . . for her mission is to pray unceasingly, and you know how much that holds true for you! She is so HAPPY, with a happiness that God alone knows, for He is its sole Object, a happiness that closely resembles that of Heaven. During this Lent, so divine in Carmel, my soul will be especially united to yours. I am asking God to show you the sweetness of His presence and to make your soul a sanctuary where He can come to be consoled. Will you let me enter there and, with you, adore Him who dwells there?

I kiss my dear Françoise whom I love so much and your sweet Marie-Louise. I pray fervently for them, and I am always all yours; don’t you feel that?

Your little friend,
Sr. M. Elizabeth of the Trinity r.c.i.

Would you tell my dear Mama that my soul is one with hers and that I love her with all my heart.”

Catez, Elizabeth of the Trinity. The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel (pp. 94-95). ICS Publications. Kindle Edition.


Discerning Hearts Reflection Questions

  1. Understanding Sister Elizabeth’s Letter: What does St. Elizabeth of the Trinity’s letter reveal about her spiritual life and relationship with her community?
  2. The Role of Intercessory Prayer: How does St. Elizabeth demonstrate the power and importance of intercessory prayer in her letter to Madame de Sourdon?
  3. The Communion of Saints: What insights about the communion of saints can we draw from St. Elizabeth’s exchange with Madame de Sourdon?
  4. The Mystery of Suffering: How does St. Elizabeth’s view of suffering challenge or support your own understanding of its role in the Christian life?
  5. Responding to God’s Presence: In what ways does Sister Elizabeth encourage Madame de Sourdon to recognize and respond to God’s presence in her life?
  6. The Call to Surrender: How does St. Elizabeth’s exhortation to “abandon everything to Him” resonate with your personal faith journey?
  7. The Gift of Friendship: What role does spiritual friendship play in the life of faith, as illustrated by Sister Elizabeth’s relationship with Madame de Sourdon?
  8. Experiencing Divine Joy: How does St. Elizabeth describe the joy she finds in her relationship with God, and how can we seek a similar joy in our lives?

We would like to thank Miriam Gutierrez for providing “the voice” of St. Elizabeth for this series

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


Anthony Lilles, S.T.D., has served the Church and assisted in the formation of clergy and seminarians since 1994. Before coming to St. Patrick’s, he served at seminaries and houses of formation in the Archdiocese of Denver and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The son of a California farmer, married with young adult children, holds a B.A. 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). An expert in the writings of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity and the Carmelite Doctors of the Church, he co-founded the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation and the High Calling Program for priestly vocations. He also founded the John Paul II Center for Contemplative Culture, which hosts symposiums, retreats, and conferences. In addition to his publications, he blogs at www.beginningtopray.com .

HR-LP2 – Compassionate Listening in Faith – Encountering Foreign Worlds with The Little Prince with Fr. Mauritius Wilde O.S.B. – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Compassionate Listening in Faith – Encountering Foreign Worlds with The Little Prince with Fr. Mauritius Wilde O.S.B.

Fr. Mauritius Wilde and Kris McGregor delve into the themes of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s “The Little Prince,” focusing particularly on communication and understanding. They discuss how language varies not just between different spoken languages but also between generations and social contexts, leading to potential misunderstandings. The importance of listening with compassion and empathy, acknowledging that words can have different meanings in different “worlds.” He uses examples from “The Little Prince” and real-life observations to illustrate how differing interpretations of the same words can lead to miscommunication.

Fr. Wilde also reflects on the impact of social media and modern communication on language, noting how it has shifted over time and across generations. The conversation touches on how cultural expressions, like those in rap music, can be misunderstood by those from different backgrounds, further widening the communication gap.

They explore the idea that true understanding requires entering the “world” of the other person, as illustrated by the various characters in “The Little Prince” who each view stars differently. This concept is likened to St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross’s idea of compassion, where one shares and understands another’s heart and experiences. Fr. Wilde also connects these ideas to the life of Jesus, highlighting His approach of deep empathy and respect for individuals, such as the blind man and the Samaritan woman. Jesus’s interactions reflect a non-judgmental, compassionate understanding that seeks to connect with people on a profound level.


Discerning Hearts Reflection Questions:

  1. Importance of Compassion in Communication: How can you practice compassionate listening in your daily interactions to better understand others?
  2. Generational Language Differences: How do you adapt your communication style when interacting with people from different generations?
  3. Social Media’s Impact on Language: In what ways has social media influenced your use of language, and how can you ensure it doesn’t hinder genuine understanding?
  4. Cultural Expressions and Misunderstanding: How can you better appreciate and understand cultural expressions that are different from your own to avoid miscommunication?
  5. Entering Another’s World: What steps can you take to truly enter and understand the “world” of another person in your life?
  6. Jesus’s Compassionate Approach: How can you emulate Jesus’s approach of deep empathy and respect in your relationships with others?
  7. Embracing Mystery in Others: How can you cultivate an attitude of wonder and openness to the mystery of each person’s unique experience and perspective?
  8. Individual Reflection and Connection with God: In what ways can you deepen your personal relationship with God to better reflect His love and understanding in your interactions?

One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes. 

The story of a stranded pilot, an extraordinary little boy, and their remarkable friendship, The Little Prince has become a cherished fable for generations of readers. As enchanting as it is wise, this beloved classic captures the mysteries of the heart and opens us to the meaning of life and the magic of love.

taken from the back an edition of the book no longer in print

 


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. For more information about the ministry of the Missionary Benedictines of Christ the King Priory in Schuyler, NE

DWG10 – Steps in Spiritual Guidance – The Discernment of God’s Will in Everyday Decisions with Fr. Timothy Gallagher – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Steps in Spiritual Guidance – “What am I to do?” The Discernment of God’s Will in Everyday Decisions with Fr. Timothy Gallagher

Fr. Timothy Gallagher and Kris McGregor continue the discussion on the three modes of discernment, using the example of Jessica, a woman discerning her religious vocation. Fr. Gallagher explains that Jessica experienced a consistent attraction toward religious life whenever she felt spiritual consolation, an example of St. Ignatius’s second mode of discernment.

The second mode involves recognizing a pattern of spiritual attraction over time. He also describes the necessary prerequisites for discernment, such as a disposition of heart open to God’s will and the use of spiritual means like prayer, scripture, and spiritual direction.

The conversation shifts to the third mode of discernment, which involves a “preponderance of reasons.” This mode is used when neither the first nor the second mode provides clarity. It involves listing and weighing the advantages and disadvantages of each option in a time of spiritual tranquility, always considering God’s greater glory.

Fr. Gallagher outlines how Ignatius approached this mode, seeking a time of peace, praying for guidance, and maintaining a disposition of openness to God’s will. Discernment requires ongoing spiritual formation and the support of a competent spiritual director.


Discerning Hearts Reflection Questions:

  1. Understanding Attraction in Discernment: How have you experienced consistent spiritual attraction towards a particular vocation or life choice?
  2. Disposition of Heart: Are you truly open to accepting God’s will, whatever it may be?
  3. Use of Spiritual Means: How regularly do you engage in prayer, scripture reading, and seeking spiritual guidance?
  4. Recognizing Spiritual Consolation: Can you identify moments of spiritual consolation in your life, and what choices do they seem to draw you towards?
  5. Identifying Spiritual Desolation: Have you experienced spiritual desolation, and how has it influenced your discernment process?
  6. Importance of Spiritual Tranquility: Are you able to find a state of spiritual tranquility, free from strong emotional highs and lows, to aid in your discernment?
  7. Advantages and Disadvantages: How do you weigh the advantages and disadvantages of your options in terms of God’s greater glory?
  8. Seeking Confirmation: Do you seek confirmation from God through prayer that your discernment is aligned with His will?
  9. Role of Spiritual Direction: How can a competent spiritual director assist you in your discernment journey?
  10. Continuous Spiritual Formation: What steps are you taking for ongoing spiritual formation to better understand and follow God’s will?

From The Discernment of God’s Will in Everyday Decisions:

Three Times in which a Sound and Good Choice May Be Made

The first time is when God Our Lord so moves and attracts the will that, without doubting or being able to doubt, the devout soul follows what is shown to it, as St. Paul and St. Matthew did in following Christ our Lord.

The second time is when sufficient clarity and understanding is received through experience of consolations and desolations, and through experience of discernment of different spirits.

The third time is one of tranquility, when one considers first for what purpose man is born, that is, to praise God our Lord and save his soul, and, desiring this, chooses as a means to this end some life or state within the bounds of the Church, so that he may be helped in the service of his Lord and the salvation of his soul. I said a tranquil time, that is, when the soul is not agitated by different spirits, and uses its natural powers freely and tranquilly.

If the choice is not made in the first or second time, two ways of making it in this third time are given below.”


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

Pentecost: “Come Holy Spirit” – Building a Kingdom of Love with Msgr. John Esseff – Discerning Hearts Podcast


Pentecost: “Come Holy Spirit” – Building a Kingdom of Love with Msgr. John Esseff

Msgr. John Esseff and Kris McGregor celebrate Pentecost, emphasizing its significance as the birthday of the Church and the manifestation of the Holy Spirit. Monsignor Esseff describes Pentecost as the fulfillment of Jesus’ promise to send the Holy Spirit, who brings unity and love to humanity. He reflects on the event in the Acts of the Apostles where the Holy Spirit descends on the apostles, enabling them to speak in different languages, symbolizing the reunification of humanity through divine love.

Msgr. Esseff explains that the Holy Spirit’s language is love, which calls all people to unity, transcending linguistic and cultural barriers. Every human has an innate desire for this divine love and unity, emphasizing that through baptism and the Holy Spirit, all believers become part of one body in Christ. He encourages listeners to recognize the universal invitation to salvation and divine life, and that the Spirit’s gifts are meant for the common good and unity of all people.

He discusses the challenges of maintaining unity within the faith community, attributing division to hatred and self-centeredness. Msgr. Esseff urges believers to embody Christ’s love and work towards unity, acknowledging the Spirit’s presence even among those not baptized; offering hope and encouragement to those struggling with loved ones who have strayed from faith, reminding them of God’s enduring love and the transformative power of the Holy Spirit.


Sequence — Veni, Sancte Spiritus

Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from your celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!

Come, Father of the poor!
Come, source of all our store!
Come, within our bosoms shine.

You, of comforters the best;
You, the soul’s most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;

In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat;
Solace in the midst of woe.

O most blessed Light divine,
Shine within these hearts of yours,
And our inmost being fill!

Where you are not, we have naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.

Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour your dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.

On the faithful, who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sevenfold gift descend;

Give them virtue’s sure reward;
Give them your salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end. Amen.
Alleluia.


Discerning Hearts Reflection Questions:

  1. Significance of Pentecost: How does recognizing Pentecost as the birthday of the Church deepen your understanding of its importance in the Christian faith?
  2. Holy Spirit’s Role: In what ways can you see the Holy Spirit working in your own life and community today?
  3. Language of Love: How can you better communicate God’s love to others, especially those from different cultural or linguistic backgrounds?
  4. Unity in Diversity: What steps can you take to promote unity within your faith community, respecting and valuing its diversity?
  5. Responding to Division: How do you address and overcome feelings of hatred or division within your own heart and relationships?
  6. Living as One Body: Reflect on St. Paul’s description of the Church as one body. How can you contribute to the well-being and unity of this body?
  7. Invitation to All: How can you extend the invitation of God’s love and unity to those who feel excluded or disconnected from the Church?
  8. Witnessing Through Actions: How can your actions better reflect the presence and love of the Holy Spirit in your daily life?
  9. Hope for Loved Ones: In what ways can you offer love, prayer, and support for family members or friends who have strayed from the faith?
  10. Prayer for Renewal: How can you incorporate prayers for the Holy Spirit’s renewal and guidance into your daily spiritual practice?

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. Teresa of Calcutta. 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.

IJCY5 – Jesus Calls Without Fear – Is Jesus Calling You with Fr. Paul Hoesing – Discerning Hearts Podcast


Jesus Calls Without Fear – Is Jesus Calling You with Fr. Paul Hoesing

Fr. Paul Hoesing and Kris McGregor reflect on how God calls everyone to good things and never through fear, confusion, or pressure, which are tactics of the spirit against Christ. They discuss how Jesus brings peace, not fear, as shown in biblical events like Jesus calming the disciples’ fears in the upper room.

The  importance of recognizing and understanding different voices influencing one’s discernment: the voice of Christ, which brings peace and clarity; the voice of the world, which can create distractions; one’s own inner voice, often a mix of emotions and thoughts; and the voice of the enemy, which uses fear and subtle temptations.

Fr. Hoesing tells us of the need for trust and focus on Jesus, especially in prayer and the sacraments, to discern God’s will by using various examples, such as Patrick, who discerned a call to marriage while in seminary, and Michael, whose discernment journey fluctuated with his spiritual focus. This gives us a call to trust in God’s guidance through peaceful and consistent prayer, anchoring in Christ to navigate through fear and confusion.


Discerning Hearts Reflection Questions:

  1. Recognizing God’s Voice: How can you distinguish the voice of Christ from other voices in your life?
  2. Experiencing Peace: When have you felt a deep sense of peace during prayer or at Mass?
  3. Identifying Fear: What are some fears that arise when you think about your vocation, and how do you address them?
  4. Trusting God’s Plan: Do you trust that God has a good plan for your life? Why or why not?
  5. Reflecting on Desires: What desires come to your mind when you are in a state of peaceful prayer?
  6. Seeking Clarity: How do you seek clarity and discernment in your prayer life?
  7. Embracing the Sacraments: How do the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Confession, help you in your discernment?
  8. Confronting Confusion: When do you feel most confused about your vocation, and how do you find resolution?
  9. Learning from Examples: What can you learn from the experiences of others who have discerned their vocations?
  10. Deepening Your Relationship with Christ: How can you deepen your encounter with Christ to better discern His will for you?

Based on “Is Jesus Calling You To Be A Catholic  Priest: A helpful guide”, published by National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Director.

Fr. Paul Hoesing serves at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary as President Rector

Ep. 11 – A Sister of St. Thérèse: Servant of God, Léonie Martin – Bearer of Hope with Fr. Timothy Gallagher – Discerning Hearts Podcast


Fr. Timothy Gallagher OMVA Sister of St. Thérèse: Servant of God, Léonie Martin – Bearer of Hope with Fr. Timothy Gallagher – Episode 11

 

In this episode, after the death of her sister Thérèse and inspired by her witness and teachings. Léonie attempts for a fourth time to enter into religious life.

Her sisters, Pauline, Marie, and Celine, along with her Uncle Isodore and Aunt Celine Guerin, offer Léonie letters of encouragement, joy, and hope as she begins again an attempt to enter into religious life at the Monastery of the Visitation at Caen.  She desires to be a little “violet” in order to love and live as Sister Françoise-Thérèse, a new name she has selected to honor St. Francis de Sales and her sister Thérèse.

Her perseverance inspires, but will she finally make it to final vows?


Fr. Gallagher says, “Léonie’s life holds a very important story because she was the forgotten one; she was the one who was in the last place; she was the one who was less gifted than the others. Today we would call her a ‘problem child,’ and we’ll see that she certainly was the source of great anxiety to her parents, especially to her mother, Zélie, who loved her dearly.”

As a child, Léonie suffered from severe illnesses and physical maladies that would plague her entire life. She also struggled with understanding social clues and interactions and with behaving appropriately. Conventional educational models of the day failed to meet her particular needs, and she was labeled “developmentally delayed.” Yet those who knew her well described her as having a “heart of gold.”

Who was Léonie and what were her struggles? Why has her cause of canonization begun?  Father Gallagher, along with Kris McGregor,  answers these questions and explains why Léonie is “a bearer of hope” in this landmark series.

Discerning Hearts Reflection Questions

  1. Perseverance in Faith: How does Léonie Martin’s repeated attempts to join the Visitation Monastery inspire you to persevere in your own faith journey?
  2. Role of Family Support: In what ways can you provide or seek support from your family in your spiritual endeavors?
  3. Impact of Spiritual Guidance: How has the guidance of spiritual mentors influenced your faith, similar to Léonie’s connection with her sister Thérèse?
  4. Finding the Right Environment: Reflect on the importance of finding a nurturing environment for your spiritual growth. Where do you feel most supported in your faith?
  5. Joy in Vocation: How can Léonie’s joy and contentment upon professing her vows encourage you to find joy in your own vocation or life path?
  6. Power of Correspondence: Consider the role of communication in Léonie’s journey. How can you use communication to strengthen your faith and support others?
  7. Faith and Maturity: How does Léonie’s maturity and resolve in her letters inspire you to approach challenges in your own faith with maturity?
  8. Role of Prayer: How can you incorporate prayer into your daily routine to draw strength and perseverance, as seen in Léonie’s life?

Marie

Pauline

Céline

St. Thérèse

A resource used for this series

Images in this post of the Martin/Guerin family are used with permission from the Archives of the Carmel of Lisieux website for strictly non-commercial use.  We encourage you to visit the website for more information on this remarkable family.


For more series Fr. Timothy Gallagher podcasts, visit 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

BTP-L1 – Letter 111 – The Letters of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity – Beginning to Pray with Dr. Anthony Lilles – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Letter 111 – The Letters of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity – Beginning to Pray with Dr. Anthony Lilles

Dr. Anthony Lilles and Kris McGregor take a look into the spiritual life and letters of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity. Through her letters, they aim to explore her life, spiritual mission, and doctrinal insights through selected letters she wrote while in the Carmelite convent.

The discussion begins with Letter 111, written to a family friend. Elizabeth expresses her profound joy in experiencing Lent, Holy Week, and Easter in Carmel, revealing her deep sense of fulfillment and spiritual intimacy with God. This letter highlights her connection with God, her commitment to her vocation, and her belief in the spiritual benefits her life in Carmel brings to her family and others.

Dr. Lilles discusses St. Elizabeth’s unique ability to connect deeply with others through her letters, showcasing her genuine affection and spiritual insight. They also discuss the challenges she faced, such as her mother’s initial resistance to her entering Carmel and the tension it caused. Despite these challenges, she remained convinced that her vocation was a blessing for her family.

Reflecting on the broader themes of sacrifice, obedience, and the joy found in following God’s will, despite external misunderstandings and disappointments; St. Elizabeth’s letters serve as a testament to the transformative power of a life devoted to prayer and union with God.


St. Elizabeth of the Trinity

Letter 111

[April 7, 1902]1

Dijon Carmel, April 7

“J. M. + J. T.

Dear Monsieur le Chanoine,

If you only knew how good it is to spend Lent, Holy Week, and Easter in Carmel—it is something unique! With what joy I sang Alleluia, wrapped in the white mantle, clothed in the dear habit that I have so longed to wear. It was quite wonderful, I assure you, to spend Holy Thursday close to Him, and I would have spent the night as well, but the Master wanted me to rest. But that does not matter, does it? We find Him in our sleep just as we do in prayer, since He is in everything, everywhere, and always! At 2 o’clock I went down to choir; you can guess what a glorious time I had, and also what I said on your behalf! More and more I love the dear grilles that make me His prisoner of love. It is so good to think that we are prisoners, in chains for each other; more than that, that we are but one victim, offered to the Father for souls, so that they may be wholly consummated in Unity.

When you think of your little Carmelite, thank Him who has given her so beautiful a part. Sometimes I think that it is an anticipated Heaven: the horizon is so beautiful, it is He! Oh! what will it be like above since here below He already makes our union so intimate? You know my homesickness for Heaven, it does not diminish, for I already live in that Heaven, since I carry it within me; in Carmel it seems that we are already so near. Won’t you come to see me some day and continue through the grille the fine conversations you used to have with your little Elizabeth? Do you remember the first time I confided my secret to you in the cloister of Saint-Hilaire?  I spent some happy moments with you and I am asking God to reward you for the good you have done me. I still remember my joy when I was able to have a little conference with you and entrust my great secret to you. I was only a child, but you never doubted the divine call!

I have not seen my dear Mama yet; I am expecting her at the first opportunity. My little Guite came last week. It had been nearly two months since we had seen each other, so you can guess what a meeting it was! I am overjoyed to see all the good God is doing in the souls of my darlings. He has taken me in order to give Himself more, and I can see I am doing them much more good in my dear Carmel than when I was near them; oh, how good God is! I am leaving you to go to prayer where we have the Blessed Sacrament exposed every Sunday. I only have time to ask your blessing; I know it is a fatherly one for your little Carmelite.

M. Elizabeth of the Trinity

Thank you very much for your pretty holy card. Please give my greetings to my dear Marie-Louise. Tell her she has certainly not been forgotten!”

Catez, Elizabeth of the Trinity. The Complete Works of Elizabeth of the Trinity volume 2: Letters from Carmel (pp. 42-43). ICS Publications. Kindle Edition.


Discerning Hearts Reflection Questions

  1. Joy in Sacrifice: How can I find joy in the sacrifices I make for God and others?
  2. Obedience to God’s Will: Am I willing to follow God’s will even when it causes misunderstandings or disappointment among those I love?
  3. Intimacy with God: How can I deepen my sense of intimacy and union with God in my daily life?
  4. Spiritual Mission: What unique spiritual mission do I feel called to pursue in my own life?
  5. Connection with Others: How can I genuinely connect and show love to others, as St. Elizabeth did through her letters?
  6. Perseverance in Faith: How can I persevere in my faith journey despite external challenges and pressures?
  7. Impact of Prayer: Do I believe that my life of prayer can have a profound impact on the lives of those around me?
  8. Responding to God’s Call: What fears or reservations do I need to overcome to fully respond to God’s call in my life?
  9. Understanding Sacrifice: How can I help others understand and respect the sacrifices I make for my faith?
  10. Finding Joy in Obedience: In what ways can I find joy in being obedient to God’s direction for my life?

We would like to thank Miriam Gutierrez for providing “the voice” of St. Elizabeth for this series

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


Anthony Lilles, S.T.D., has served the Church and assisted in the formation of clergy and seminarians since 1994. Before coming to St. Patrick’s, he served at seminaries and houses of formation in the Archdiocese of Denver and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The son of a California farmer, married with young adult children, holds a B.A. 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). An expert in the writings of St. Elizabeth of the Trinity and the Carmelite Doctors of the Church, he co-founded the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation and the High Calling Program for priestly vocations. He also founded the John Paul II Center for Contemplative Culture, which hosts symposiums, retreats, and conferences. In addition to his publications, he blogs at www.beginningtopray.com .