BTP-LR16 The “Last Retreat” Day 11 pt. 2 St. Elizabeth of the Trinity – Beginning to Pray with Dr. Anthony Lilles

Beginning to Pray: “The Last Retreat – Day 11 pt 2 ” – “It is the whole Trinity who dwells in the soul that loves them in truth, that is, by keeping their word! ”Catholic Spiritual Formation - Catholic Spiritual Direction

From “Last Retreat Day 11 pt 2” found in The Complete Works vol 1:

28. But it is not enough just to listen to this word, we must keep it! 164 And it is in keeping it that the soul will be “sanctified in the truth,” and that is the desire of the Master: “Sanctify them in the truth, your word is truth.” 165 To the one who keeps His word has He not made this promise: “My Father will love him and we will come to him and make our home in him”? 166 It is the whole Trinity who dwells in the soul that loves them in truth, that is, by keeping their word! And when this soul has realized its riches, all the natural or supernatural joys that can come to it from creatures or from God Himself are only an invitation to reenter into itself in order to enjoy the substantial Good that it possesses, which is nothing else than God Himself. And thus it has, St. John of the Cross says, a certain resemblance to the divine Being. 167

“Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” St. Paul tells me “that He works all things according to the counsel of His will,” 168 and my Master asks me also to pay Him homage in this regard: “to do all things according to the counsel of His will.” Never to let myself be ruled by impressions, by the first impulses of nature, but to let the will gain self-mastery. . . . And for this will to be free, it must be, in the expression of a pious writer, “enclosed in God’s will.” 169 Then I will be “moved by His Spirit,” 170 as St. Paul says. I will do only what is divine, only what is eternal, and, like my Unchanging One, I will live even here below in an eternal present.

Elizabeth of the Trinity (2014-07-24). Elizabeth of the Trinity Complete Works, Volume I: I Have Found God, General Introduction and Major Spiritual Writings (Kindle Locations 3419-3435). ICS Publications. Kindle Edition.

Blessed-Elizabeth-4

Complete-Works

This the text we are using to discuss “Heaven in Faith” you can find it here and order from the Carmelite Sisters

We would like to offer heartfelt thanks to
Miriam Gutierrez for providing for us “the voice” of Blessed Elizabeth for this series

 For other episodes in the series visit the Discerning Hearts page for 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 Blessed Elisabeth of the Trinity. After graduating from Franciscan University of Steubenville, he completed licentiate and doctoral studies in spiritual theology at the Angelicum in Rome. In 2012, he published Hidden Mountain, Secret Garden: a theological contemplation of prayer by Discerning Hearts. Married with two young adult children pursuing their careers and a teenager still at home, he has settled in family in Oxnard, California.Hidden-Mountain-cover-195x300

BTP-LR17 The “Last Retreat” Day 12 St. Elizabeth of the Trinity – Beginning to Pray with Dr. Anthony Lilles

Beginning to Pray: “The Last Retreat – Day 12 ” – “God has said: “Be holy, for I am holy.”Catholic Spiritual Formation - Catholic Spiritual Direction

From “Last Retreat Day 12” found in The Complete Works vol 1:

29. “Verbum caro factum est et habitavit in nobis.” 171 God has said: “Be holy, for I am holy.” 172 But He remained hidden in His inaccessible [light173] and the creature needed to have Him descend to it, to live its life, so that following in His footsteps, 174 it can thus ascend to Him and become holy with His holiness. “I sanctify myself for them that they also may be sanctified in the truth.” 175 Here I am in the presence “of a mystery hidden from ages and generations,” the mystery “which is Christ”: “your hope of glory,” 176 says St. Paul! And he adds that “the understanding of this mystery” was given to him. 177 So it is from the great Apostle that I am going to learn how I may possess this knowledge which, in his expression, “surpasses all other knowledge: the knowledge of the love of Christ Jesus.” 178

30. First of all he tells me that He is “my peace,” 179 that it is “through Him that I have access to the Father,” 180 for it has pleased this “Father of lights” 181 that “in Him all fullness should dwell, and that through Him He should reconcile to Himself all things, whether on the earth or in the heavens, making peace through the Blood of His Cross. . . .” 182 “You have received of His fullness,” the Apostle continues, “you were buried with Him in Baptism, and in Him you rose again through faith in the working of God. . . . He brought you to life along with Him, forgiving you all your sins, cancelling the decree of condemnation which weighed on you: He abolished it by nailing it to the Cross. Despoiling Principalities and Powers, He victoriously led them away as captives, triumphing over them in Himself . . . ,” 183 “to present you holy, pure, and without reproach before Him. . . .” 184

31. This is Christ’s work in every soul of good  will and it is the work that His immense love, His “exceeding love,” 186 is eager to do in me. He wants to be my peace so that nothing can distract me or draw me out of “the invincible fortress of holy recolletion.” 187 It is there that He will give me “access to the Father” and will keep me as still and as peaceful in His presence as if my soul were already in eternity. 188 It is by the Blood of His Cross that He will make peace in my little heaven, so that it may truly be the repose of the Three. He will fill me with Himself; He will bury me with Him; He will make me live again with Him, by His life: “Mihi vivere Christus est!” 189 And if I fall at every moment, 190 in a wholly confident faith I will be helped up by Him. I know that He will forgive me, that He will cancel out everything with a jealous care, and even more, He will “despoil” me, He will “free” 191 me from all my miseries, from everything that is an obstacle to the divine action. “He will lead away all my powers,” 192 making them His captives, triumphing over them in Himself. Then I will have wholly passed into Him and can say: “I no longer live. My Master lives in me!” 193 And I will be “holy, pure, without reproach” in the Father’s eyes.

Blessed-Elizabeth-4

Complete-Works

This the text we are using to discuss “Heaven in Faith” you can find it here and order from the Carmelite Sisters

We would like to offer heartfelt thanks to
Miriam Gutierrez for providing for us “the voice” of Blessed Elizabeth for this series

For other episodes in the series visit the Discerning Hearts page for 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 Blessed Elisabeth of the Trinity. After graduating from Franciscan University of Steubenville, he completed licentiate and doctoral studies in spiritual theology at the Angelicum in Rome. In 2012, he published Hidden Mountain, Secret Garden: a theological contemplation of prayer by Discerning Hearts. Married with two young adult children pursuing their careers and a teenager still at home, he has settled in family in Oxnard, California.Hidden-Mountain-cover-195x300

BTP-LR18 The “Last Retreat” Day 13 St. Elizabeth of the Trinity – Beginning to Pray with Dr. Anthony Lilles

Beginning to Pray: “The Last Retreat – Day 13 ” pt 1 – “Be rooted in Jesus Christ.”Catholic Spiritual Formation - Catholic Spiritual Direction

From “Last Retreat Day 13” found in The Complete Works vol 1:

32. “Instaurare omnia in Christo.” 194 Again it is St. Paul who instructs me, St. Paul who has just immersed himself in the great counsel of God195 and who tells me “that He has resolved in Himself to restore all things in Christ.” So that I may personally realize this divine plan, it is again St. Paul who comes to my aid and who will himself draw up a rule of life for me. “Walk in Jesus Christ,” he tells me, “be rooted in Him, built up in Him, strengthened in faith, growing more and more in Him through thanksgiving.” 196

33. To walk in Jesus Christ seems to me to mean to leave self, lose sight of self, give up self, in order to enter more deeply into Him with every passing moment, 197 so deeply that one is rooted there; and to every event, to every circumstance we can fling this beautiful challenge: “Who will separate me from the love of Jesus Christ?” 198 When the soul is established in Him at such depths that its roots are also deeply thrust in, then the divine sap streams into it199 and all this imperfect, commonplace, natural life is destroyed. Then, in the language of the Apostle, “that which is mortal is swallowed up by life.” 200 The soul thus “stripped” of self and “clothed” 201 in Jesus Christ has nothing more to fear from exterior encounters or from interior difficulties, for these things, far from being an obstacle, serve only “to root it more deeply in the love” 202 of its Master. Through everything, despite everything, the soul can “adore Him always because of Himself.” 203 For it is free, rid of self and everything else; it can sing with the psalmist: “Though an army encamp against me, I will not fear; though war be waged upon me I will trust in spite of everything; for Yahweh will hide me in the secrecy of His tent” 204 and this tent is nothing else but Himself. I think that is what St. Paul means when he says: “be rooted in Jesus Christ.”

Blessed-Elizabeth-4

Complete-Works

This the text we are using to discuss “Heaven in Faith” you can find it here and order from the Carmelite Sisters

We would like to offer heartfelt thanks to
Miriam Gutierrez for providing for us “the voice” of Blessed Elizabeth for this series

For other episodes in the series visit the Discerning Hearts page for 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 Blessed Elisabeth of the Trinity. After graduating from Franciscan University of Steubenville, he completed licentiate and doctoral studies in spiritual theology at the Angelicum in Rome. In 2012, he published Hidden Mountain, Secret Garden: a theological contemplation of prayer by Discerning Hearts. Married with two young adult children pursuing their careers and a teenager still at home, he has settled in family in Oxnard, California.Hidden-Mountain-cover-195x300

BTP-LR20 The “Last Retreat” Day 14 pt. 1 St. Elizabeth of the Trinity – Beginning to Pray with Dr. Anthony Lilles

Beginning to Pray: “The Last Retreat – Day 14 ” pt 1 – “Be rooted in Jesus Christ.”Catholic Spiritual Formation - Catholic Spiritual Direction

From “Last Retreat Day 14” found in The Complete Works vol 1:

36. “It seems to me that all is loss since I have known the excelling knowledge of my Lord, Jesus Christ. For love of Him I have forfeited everything; I have accounted all else rubbish that I may gain Christ, so as to be found in Him, not with my own justice but with the justice that comes from God through faith. What I want is to know Him, to share in His sufferings, to become like Him in His death. I pursue my course, striving to attain to what Christ has destined me for by taking hold of me; my whole concern is to forget what is behind and to strain forward constantly to what is ahead; I run straight to the goal . . . , to the prize of the heavenly vocation to which God has called me in Christ Jesus.” 212 The Apostle has often revealed the greatness of this vocation: “God,” he says, “has chosen us in Him before the creation of the world that we might be holy and immaculate in His presence in love. . . . We have been predestined by the decree of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, so that we may be the praise of His glory.” 213

37. But how do we respond to the dignity of this vocation? This is the secret: “Mihi vivere Christus est! . . . Vivo enim, jam non ego, vivit vero in me Christus. . . .” 214 We must be transformed into Jesus Christ; again it is St. Paul who teaches me this: “Those whom God has foreknown, He has predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son.” 215 It is important then that I study this divine Model so as to identify myself so closely with Him that I may unceasingly reveal Him to the eyes of the Father. First of all, what did He say when He came into the world? “Here I am, O God, I come to do your will.” 216 I think that this prayer should be like the bride’s heartbeat: 217 “Here we are, O Father, we come to do your will!”Blessed-Elizabeth-4

Complete-Works

This the text we are using to discuss “Heaven in Faith” you can find it here and order from the Carmelite Sisters

We would like to offer heartfelt thanks to
Miriam Gutierrez for providing for us “the voice” of Blessed Elizabeth for this series

For other episodes in the series visit the Discerning Hearts page for 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 Blessed Elisabeth of the Trinity. After graduating from Franciscan University of Steubenville, he completed licentiate and doctoral studies in spiritual theology at the Angelicum in Rome. In 2012, he published Hidden Mountain, Secret Garden: a theological contemplation of prayer by Discerning Hearts. Married with two young adult children pursuing their careers and a teenager still at home, he has settled in family in Oxnard, California.Hidden-Mountain-cover-195x300

BTP-LR21 The “Last Retreat” Day 14 pt. 2 St. Elizabeth of the Trinity – Beginning to Pray with Dr. Anthony Lilles

Beginning to Pray: “The Last Retreat – Day 14 ” pt 2 – “My food…is to do the will of Him who sent Me.”Catholic Spiritual Formation - Catholic Spiritual Direction

From “Last Retreat Day 14” found in The Complete Works vol 1:

38. The Master was truth itself in this first oblation! His life was as it were but the consequence of it! “My food,” He liked to say, “is to do the will of Him who sent Me.” 218 It should also be that of the bride, and at the same time the sword that immolates her. . . . “If it is possible, let this cup pass me by, yet not as I will but as You will.” 219 And then she will joyfully go in peace to every sacrifice with her Master, rejoicing to “have been known” by the Father since He crucifies her with His Son. “Your decrees are my inheritance forever; they are the joy of my heart”: 220 my Master sang this in His soul, and it should echo resoundingly in that of the bride! It is by her constant fidelity to these “decrees,” whether exterior or interior, that she will “bear witness to the truth” 221 and will be able to say “He who sent me has not left me alone. He is always with me because I do always the things that are pleasing to Him.” 222 And by never leaving Him, by remaining in closest contact with Him, she will radiate “this secret power” 223 which saves and delivers souls. Stripped and set free of self and all else, she can follow the Master to the mountain224 to pray there with Him in her soul, “a prayer of God.” 225 Then, still through the divine Adorer, He who is the great praise of glory to the Father, she will “ceaselessly offer a sacrifice of praise, that is, the fruit of lips praising His name” 226 (St. Paul). And, as the psalmist sings, she will praise Him “in the expansion of His power, and for the immensity of His grandeur.” 227 we could find no other way to express the force of the text” (p. 205).

39. Then, when her hour of humiliation, of annihilation comes, she will recall this little phrase, “Jesus autem tacebat”; 228 and she will be silent, “keeping all her strength for the Lord”; 229 this strength which “we draw from silence.” 230 And when the hour of abandonment, of desertion, and of anguish comes, the hour that drew from Christ this loud cry, “Why have You abandoned Me?” 231, she will recall this prayer: “that they may have in themselves the fullness of My joy”; 232 and drinking to the dregs “the cup prepared by the Father,” 233 she will find a divine sweetness in its bitterness. Finally, after having said so often “I am thirsty,” 234 thirsty to possess You in glory, she will sing: “Everything is consummated; into Your hands I commend my spirit.” 235 And the Father will come for her to “bring her into His inheritance,” 236 where in “the light she will see light.” 237 “Know that the Lord has marvelously glorified His Holy One,” David sang. 238 Yes, the Holy One of God will have been glorified in this soul, for He will have destroyed everything there to “clothe it with Himself,” 239 and it will have lived in reality the words of the Precursor: “He must increase and I must decrease.” 240

Blessed-Elizabeth-4

Complete-Works

This the text we are using to discuss “Heaven in Faith” you can find it here and order from the Carmelite Sisters

We would like to offer heartfelt thanks to
Miriam Gutierrez for providing for us “the voice” of Blessed Elizabeth for this series

For other episodes in the series visit the Discerning Hearts page for 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 Blessed Elisabeth of the Trinity. After graduating from Franciscan University of Steubenville, he completed licentiate and doctoral studies in spiritual theology at the Angelicum in Rome. In 2012, he published Hidden Mountain, Secret Garden: a theological contemplation of prayer by Discerning Hearts. Married with two young adult children pursuing their careers and a teenager still at home, he has settled in family in Oxnard, California.Hidden-Mountain-cover-195x300

BTP-LR22 The “Last Retreat” Day 15 pt. 1 – Beginning to Pray with Dr. Anthony Lilles

Beginning to Pray: “The Last Retreat – Day 15 ” pt 1 -“The Virgin kept all these things in her heart”Catholic Spiritual Formation - Catholic Spiritual Direction

From “Last Retreat Day 15” found in The Complete Works vol 1:

40. After Jesus Christ, doubtless at the distance that there is between the Infinite and the finite, there is one who was also the great praise of glory of the Holy Trinity. She responded fully to the divine election of which the Apostle speaks: she was always “pure, immaculate, and without reproach” 241 in the eyes of the thrice-holy God. Her soul is so simple. Its movements are so profound that they cannot be detected. She seems to reproduce on earth the life which is that of the divine Being, the simple Being. And she is so transparent, so luminous that one would mistake her for the light, yet she is but the “mirror” of the Sun of Justice: “Speculum justitiae!” 242

“The Virgin kept all these things in her heart”: 243 her whole history can be summed up in these few words! It was within her heart that she lived, and at such a depth that no human eye can follow her. When I read in the Gospel “that Mary went in haste to the hill country of Judea” 244 to perform her loving service for her cousin Elizabeth, I imagine her passing by so beautiful, so calm and so majestic, so absorbed in recollection of the Word of God within her. Like Him, her prayer was always this: “Ecce, here I am!” Who? “The servant of the Lord,” 245 the lowliest of His creatures: she, His Mother! Her humility was so real for she was always forgetful, unaware, freed from self. And she could sing: “The Almighty has done great things for me, henceforth all peoples will call me blessed.” 246

Blessed-Elizabeth-4

Complete-Works

This the text we are using to discuss “Heaven in Faith” you can find it here and order from the Carmelite Sisters

We would like to offer heartfelt thanks to
Miriam Gutierrez for providing for us “the voice” of Blessed Elizabeth for this series

For other episodes in the series visit the Discerning Hearts page for 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 Blessed Elisabeth of the Trinity. After graduating from Franciscan University of Steubenville, he completed licentiate and doctoral studies in spiritual theology at the Angelicum in Rome. In 2012, he published Hidden Mountain, Secret Garden: a theological contemplation of prayer by Discerning Hearts. Married with two young adult children pursuing their careers and a teenager still at home, he has settled in family in Oxnard, California.Hidden-Mountain-cover-195x300

BTP-LR23 The “Last Retreat” Day 15 pt. 2 – Beginning to Pray with Dr. Anthony Lilles

Beginning to Pray: “The Last Retreat – Day 15 ” pt 2 -“This Queen of virgins is also Queen of martyrs”Catholic Spiritual Formation - Catholic Spiritual Direction

From “Last Retreat Day 15” found in The Complete Works vol 1:

41. This Queen of virgins is also Queen of martyrs; but again it was in her heart that the sword pierced, 247 for with her everything took place within! . . . Oh! How beautiful she is to contemplate during her long martyrdom, so serene, enveloped in a kind of majesty that radiates both strength and gentleness. . . . She learned from the Word Himself how those must suffer whom the Father has chosen as victims, those whom He has decided to associate with Himself in the great work of redemption, those whom He “has foreknown and predestined to be conformed to His Christ,” 248 crucified by love.

She is there at the foot of the Cross, standing, full of strength and courage, and here my Master says to me: “Ecce Mater tua.” 249 He gives her to me for my Mother. . . . And now that He has returned to the Father and has substituted me for Himself on the Cross so that “I may suffer in my body what is lacking in His passion for the sake of His body, which is the Church,” 250 the Blessed Virgin is again there to teach me to suffer as He did, to tell me, to make me hear those last songs of His soul which no one else but she, His Mother, could overhear.

When I shall have said my “consummatum est,” 251 it is again she, “Janua coeli,” 252 who will lead me into the heavenly courts, whispering to me these mysterious words: “Laetatus sum in his quae dicta sunt mihi; in domun Domini ibimus!” 253

Complete-WorksThis the text we are using to discuss “Heaven in Faith” you can find it here and order from the Carmelite Sisters

We would like to offer heartfelt thanks to
Miriam Gutierrez for providing for us “the voice” of Blessed Elizabeth for this series

For other episodes in the series visit the Discerning Hearts page for 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 Blessed Elisabeth of the Trinity. After graduating from Franciscan University of Steubenville, he completed licentiate and doctoral studies in spiritual theology at the Angelicum in Rome. In 2012, he published Hidden Mountain, Secret Garden: a theological contemplation of prayer by Discerning Hearts. Married with two young adult children pursuing their careers and a teenager still at home, he has settled in family in Oxnard, California.Hidden-Mountain-cover-195x300

BTP-LR24 The “Last Retreat” Day 16 – Beginning to Pray with Dr. Anthony Lilles

Beginning to Pray: “The Last Retreat – Day 16 ” pt 1 -“ My soul thirsts for the living God! ”Catholic Spiritual Formation - Catholic Spiritual Direction

From “Last Retreat Day 16” found in The Complete Works vol 1:

42. “As the thirsty doe longs for the springs of fresh water, so my soul longs for You, O God! My soul thirsts for the living God! When will I appear before His face? . . .” 254

And yet, as “the sparrow has found a home,” and “the turtledove a nest in which she may lay her young,” 255 so Laudem Gloriae has found while waiting to be brought to the holy Jerusalem, “beata pacis visio” 256— her retreat, her beatitude, her anticipated Heaven in which she begins her life of eternity. “In God my soul is silent; my deliverance comes from Him. Yes, He is the rock in which I find salvation, my stronghold, I shall not be disturbed!” 257 This is the mystery my lyre sings of today! My Master has said to me as to Zacchaeus: “Hurry and come down, for I must stay in your house today. . . .” 258 Hurry and come down, but where? Into the innermost depths of my being: after having forsaken self, withdrawn from self been stripped of self in a word, without self.

Blessed-Elizabeth-4

Complete-Works

This the text we are using to discuss “Heaven in Faith” you can find it here and order from the Carmelite Sisters

We would like to offer heartfelt thanks to
Miriam Gutierrez for providing for us “the voice” of Blessed Elizabeth for this series

For other episodes in the series visit the Discerning Hearts page for 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 Blessed Elisabeth of the Trinity. After graduating from Franciscan University of Steubenville, he completed licentiate and doctoral studies in spiritual theology at the Angelicum in Rome. In 2012, he published Hidden Mountain, Secret Garden: a theological contemplation of prayer by Discerning Hearts. Married with two young adult children pursuing their careers and a teenager still at home, he has settled in family in Oxnard, California.Hidden-Mountain-cover-195x300

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta: reflections by Msgr. Esseff – Discerning Hearts

Msgr. Esseff reflects on Blessed Mother Teresa whom he met in 1984 in Beruit, Lebanon. Msgr. Esseff worked alongside Blessed Mother Teresa in Calcutta, Lebanon, West Africa, Haiti and elsewhere and would go on to serve as a spiritual director and confessor for Mother Teresa and her sisters.  (The last few minutes of the reflection are particularly poignant)

Be sure to visit Msgr. Esseff’s website “Building A Kingdom of Love

A Time of Spiritual Warfare – Recognizing the Enemy with Msgr. John Esseff

Msgr.-John-EsseffMsgr. Esseff refers repeatedly in this podcast to “The Manual for Spiritual Warfare” by Dr. Paul Thigpen Ph.D. which he HIGHLY RECOMMENDS!

Reading 1 1 jn 2:18-21

Children, it is the last hour;
and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming,
so now many antichrists have appeared.
Thus we know this is the last hour.
They went out from us, but they were not really of our number;
if they had been, they would have remained with us.
Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number.
But you have the anointing that comes from the Holy One,
and you all have knowledge.
I write to you not because you do not know the truth
but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth

Manual for Spiritual Warfare by Dr. Paul Thigpen Ph.D.
Manual for Spiritual Warfare by Dr. Paul Thigpen Ph.D.

Gospel jn 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word,
and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God.
He was in the beginning with God.
All things came to be through him,
and without him nothing came to be.
What came to be through him was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.A man named John was sent from God.
He came for testimony, to testify to the light,
so that all might believe through him.
He was not the light,
but came to testify to the light.
The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.He was in the world,
and the world came to be through him,
but the world did not know him.
He came to what was his own,
but his own people did not accept him.

But to those who did accept him
he gave power to become children of God,
to those who believe in his name,
who were born not by natural generation
nor by human choice nor by a man’s decision
but of God.

And the Word became flesh
and made his dwelling among us,
and we saw his glory,
the glory as of the Father’s only-begotten Son,
full of grace and truth.

John testified to him and cried out, saying,
“This was he of whom I said,
‘The one who is coming after me ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’”
From his fullness we have all received,
grace in place of grace,
because while the law was given through Moses,
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God.
The only-begotten Son, God, who is at the Father’s side,
has revealed him.