The Centrality of Jesus Christ – Building a Kingdom of Love w/Msgr. John Esseff – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Msgr. John Esseff Jesus Christ Podcast Devil Satan Exorcist

The Centrality of Jesus.

Msgr. Esseff reflects on the significance of the proclamation of John the Baptist.  He is the Lamb of God!  What does that mean for our lives?  Who is the devil, and what are his deceptive tactics that confuse and frustrate the believer and society.

Gospel JN 1:29-34

John the Baptist saw Jesus coming toward him and said,
“Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.
He is the one of whom I said,
‘A man is coming after me who ranks ahead of me
because he existed before me.’
I did not know him,
but the reason why I came baptizing with water
was that he might be made known to Israel.”
John testified further, saying,
“I saw the Spirit come down like a dove from heaven
and remain upon him.
I did not know him,
but the one who sent me to baptize with water told me,
‘On whomever you see the Spirit come down and remain,
he is the one who will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’
Now I have seen and testified that he is the Son of God.”

Msgr. John A. Esseff is a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Scranton.  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.  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 that was established by St. Pope John Paul II to bring the Good News to the world, especially to the poor.  He continues to serve as a retreat leader and director to bishops, priests and sisters and seminarians, and other religious leaders around the world.

SJC20 – Suffering for Love of a Crucified Beloved – St. John of the Cross with Fr. Donald Haggerty – Discerning Hearts Podcast

SJC20 – Suffering for Love of a Crucified Beloved – St. John of the Cross: Master of Contemplation with Fr. Donald Haggerty – Discerning Hearts Podcast

In this series Fr. Donald Haggerty and Kris McGregor discuss the depths of prayer as explored by St. John of the Cross, the Mystical Doctor of the Church.

An excerpt from St. John of the Cross: Master of Contemplation 

Certainly an atmosphere of great challenge pervades the writings of Saint John of the Cross. It is possible that the recurring accent on purification, interior trials, dissatisfaction in prayer, or the wounds of love in certain sections of Saint John of the Cross’ writings has a jarring or intimidating effect. His attention to painful experiences may seem to propose a spirituality of endless burdens and impossible endurance. From our perspective, this focus may be too excessive. It is not that we lack struggles and tribulations. Who does not experience them?

Yet our own thought may be that matters of trial and difficulty should be kept to a minimum and brought to a conclusion as quickly as possible. For many people, even of strong religious conviction, the common experiences of fatigue and pain compete with the pursuit of pleasures and comforts. We often find a way to compensate ourselves with worldly enjoyment if for a time we have faced trial and difficulty. Perhaps we do not ponder the Gospel deeply enough. Suffering for the sake of a profound love of God can be a neglected notion in our understanding of love, though clearly not for Saint John of the Cross: “Let Christ crucified be enough for you, and with him suffer and take your rest, and hence annihilate yourself in all inward and outward things” (SLL 92). That kind of advice is not commonly heard at any time in the Church.

Haggerty, Donald. Saint John of the Cross: Master of Contemplation (p. 317). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.


For more episodes in this series, visit Fr. Haggerty’s Discerning Hearts page here.


You find the book on which this series is based here

SISL7 – How Can I Be Drawn to Such Things? – Struggles in the Spiritual Life with Fr. Timothy Gallagher – Discerning Hearts Catholic Podcasts

How Can I Be Drawn to Such Things? – Struggles in the Spiritual Life with Fr. Timothy Gallagher O.M.V.

Fr. Timothy Gallagher and Kris McGregor continue a 20-part series on the various Struggles in the Spiritual Life.  This episode explores spiritual discouragement and ways the enemy draws us to “low” and “earthly” things to harm us in our spiritual life.

You can pick up a copy of the book here:

An excerpt from the book:

Into this vulnerable space the enemy brings the further burden of spiritual desolation, and specifically what Ignatius calls a “movement to low and earthly things.” Obviously, telephones, refrigerators, the Internet, and similar things serve in good ways: that is why we have them. But, like Beth, in time of spiritual desolation we may feel drawn to them in “low” and “earthly” ways — that is, in ways harmful to us spiritually.

That Beth — and we — feel this pull in time of spiritual desolation should not surprise us, nor is there any shame in feeling this pull. It is simply a tactic of the enemy, a form of spiritual desolation. Again, such is the spiritual life in a fallen but redeemed and loved world. What does matter and matters greatly, is that we be discerning: that we note this pull to low and earthly things, identify it as the tactic of the enemy that it is, and, with God’s grace and courage, reject it.

Gallagher O.M.V, Fr. Timothy ; Gallagher O.M.V, Fr. Timothy. Struggles in the Spiritual Life: Their Nature and Their Remedies (pp. 40-41). Sophia Institute Press. Kindle Edition.


To find more episodes from this series, visit the Struggles in the Spiritual Life Podcast


From the book’s description: “Here is a powerful, life-changing book that will help you understand and conquer the struggles you face in your spiritual life. It’s a book for those who love the Lord and desire holiness yet often feel adrift or stagnant in their search for spiritual growth.

All of us encounter valleys on our journey with the Lord — those periods of spiritual desolation that are a painful yet unavoidable feature of our prayer life. Spiritual desolation is as complex as we are, so understanding what is happening and responding to it properly are critical to reaching the heights of holiness.

With warmth and understanding, Fr. Gallagher carefully identifies in this book the various forms of spiritual and nonspiritual desolation and supplies the remedy for each. You’ll learn how to discern whether your struggles derive from medical or psychological conditions or whether those struggles are spiritual and permitted by the Lord for reasons of growth. In each case, you’ll be given the remedy for the struggle. You’ll also learn the forms of spiritual dryness and of the Dark Night — and how to respond to them.

In chapter after chapter, Fr. Gallagher presents a particular struggle as experienced by fictional characters and then provides the advice he gives to those who come to him for spiritual direction about that struggle. You’ll gain confidence as you journey through desolation, and you’ll learn to reject the enemy’s ploys to infect you with a sense of hopelessness.


Did you know that Fr. Timothy Gallagher has 14 different podcast series on Discerning Hearts Catholic Podcasts?
Visit here to discover more!

 

SOP6 – Conversion in the Context of Prayer – The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI w/ Deacon James Keating

Conversion in the Context of Prayer  – The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI

What is the authentic understanding of “conversion” in the context of prayer. Deacon Keating discusses the reflection offered by the Holy Father of the encounter of Elijah with prophets of Baal.

Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., is a professor of Spiritual Theology and serves as a spiritual director at Kenrick Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, MO. 

From Pope Benedict’s 6 audience on prayer:

Firstly, is the priority of the first commandment of God’s Law: having no god but God. When God disappears man falls into slavery, into idolatry, as has happened in our time under totalitarian regimes and with the various forms of nihilism which make man dependent on idols and idolatry, which enslave”. Secondly, he continued, “the main objective of prayer is conversion: the fire of God which transforms our hearts and makes us capable of seeing God and living for Him and for others”. Thirdly, “the Church Fathers tell us that this story is … a foretaste of the future, which is Christ. It is a step on the journey towards Christ.

For more episodes visit: The School of Prayer:  Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI

 

How Can You Be the Light of Christ? -The Epiphany – Building a Kingdom of Love w/ Msgr. John Esseff

Do people see Christ in you?

Epiphany Msgr. John Esseff Light of Christ

Msgr. Esseff reflects on the meaning of the “Epiphany” and how we can manifest the light of Christ to the world.  He shares how the saints are the stars that show us the way.

Reading 1 IS 60:1-6

Rise up in splendor, Jerusalem!  Your light has come,
the glory of the Lord shines upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth,
and thick clouds cover the peoples;
but upon you the LORD shines,
and over you appears his glory.
Nations shall walk by your light,
and kings by your shining radiance.
Raise your eyes and look about;
they all gather and come to you:
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.

Then you shall be radiant at what you see,
your heart shall throb and overflow,
for the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you,
the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.
Caravans of camels shall fill you,
dromedaries from Midian and Ephah;
all from Sheba shall come
bearing gold and frankincense,
and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.

Msgr. John A. Esseff is a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Scranton.  Msgr. Esseff served as 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 Pope St. John Paul II to bring the Good News to the world, especially to the poor.  He continues to serve as a retreat leader and director to bishops, priests and sisters and seminarians, and other religious leaders around the world.    

 

 

SOP5 – Waiting for God – The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI w/ Deacon James Keating

Waiting for God – The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI 

What is the authentic understanding of “intercession” in the context of prayer.  Moses speaks to God as friend.  The invisibility of God  puts deep questions in our hearts.  Unless we have the intimacy of relationship with God in our hearts, our fear will overwhelm our faith.  We also lose patience when waiting for God.  “Waiting” is a dangerous period for human beings; it is literally suffering for us.  The virtue of patience is the remedy.  “Waiting” causes us to run to other diversions…it happens in worship.  “Where are you”  “Are you real?” “Can I believe what is in the Word?” “Please help me.”  If we go deep into our hearts, the content of our waiting becomes the occasion for our intimacy.  But if we just feel the pain of waiting, we will go looking for lost gods.  It comes down to trust.  The role of our memory is so important.

Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., is a professor of Spiritual Theology and serves as a spiritual director at Kenrick Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, MO. 

From  Pope Benedict’s 5 audience on prayer:

“Tired of following a path with a God who is invisible now that Moses the mediator has also gone, the people demand a tangible, palpable presence of the Lord and find an accessible god, within the reach of human beings, in Aaron’s molten metal calf. This is a constant temptation on the path of faith: avoiding the divine mystery by building a comprehensible god that corresponds to our own preconceptions and plans”.

For more episodes visit: The School of Prayer:  Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI

 

SOP4 – Who Are We? Wrestling with God – The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI w/ Deacon James Keating

Who Are We? Wrestling with God – The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI 

Jacob wrestling with Angel.  The mystery of the name.   We have to let God ask us who we are or will you resist and remain isolated?  Our prayer is only going to be fruitful if we surrender ourselves to the question…who are you?  Like  Jacob, once we give over our name then God can begin to transfigure that name, or in other words, our persons to be more inline with His will, His love, His power.  Eventually, in prayer, we have to enter into the struggle…what is really going on in our souls, in our hearts and are our wrestling with God’s love.    We yield our identity to God’s love.

The wounding of Jacob by the Angel.  It is the symbol of the wound, the opening of the self, which symbolizes an entryway to vulnerability…God is deeply affecting us.  God’s love, concern, and fascination with us is how He enters into our being and “wounds” us.  If we could “be still” and allow Him to love us, He becomes victorious within us.

The name we yield to God is our heart…the core of our being.  At Baptism, we give over our name, so we give the power over to God over us.  How the “wrestling occurs” and if we stay in it long enough God “wounds” us, into His hands we commend our “spirits”.  How does Jesus transform even this event?

Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., is a professor of Spiritual Theology and serves as a spiritual director at Kenrick Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, MO. 

From  Pope Benedict’s 4 audience on prayer:

Dear brothers and sisters, our entire lives are like this long night of struggle and prayer, spent in desiring and asking for God’s blessing, which cannot be grabbed or won through our own strength but must be received with humility from him as a gratuitous gift that ultimately allows us to recognize the Lord’s face. And when this happens, our entire reality changes; we receive a new name and God’s blessing. And, what is more: Jacob, who receives a new name, and becomes Israel, also gives a new name to the place where he wrestled with God, where he prayed; he renames it Penuel, which means: “The Face of God”. With this name he recognizes that this place is filled with the Lord’s presence, making that land sacred and thus leaving a memorial of that mysterious encounter with God. Whoever allows himself to be blessed by God, who abandons himself to God, who permits himself to be transformed by God, renders a blessing to the world. May the Lord help us to fight the good fight of the faith (cf. 1 Tim 6:12; Tim 4:7) and to ask, in prayer, for his blessing, that he may renew us in the expectation of beholding his Face. Thank you.

 

For more episodes visit: The School of Prayer:  Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI

 

SISL6 – I’ve Lost My Peace – Struggles in the Spiritual Life with Fr. Timothy Gallagher – Discerning Hearts Catholic Podcasts

I’ve Lost My Peace – Struggles in the Spiritual Life with Fr. Timothy Gallagher O.M.V.

Fr. Timothy Gallagher and Kris McGregor continue a 20-part series on the various Struggles in the Spiritual Life.  This episode explores spiritual discouragement and the enemy’s “war against the peace” people experience in it.

You can pick up a copy of the book here:

An excerpt from the book:

When people love the Lord, Ignatius says, and rejoice in the peace this brings, the enemy may attempt to undermine that peace by troubling them. Elsewhere, Ignatius describes this spiritual disturbance as the enemy’s “war against the peace” these people experience. Note that the enemy does not, at this point, tempt Paul to anything sinful. He seeks rather to diminish and even eliminate Paul’s peace, replacing it with trouble of heart. Again, there is no shame in experiencing this or similar tactics of the enemy. It is simply what happens when we live the spiritual life in a fallen but redeemed and loved world. As with Julie, Paul will not be harmed if he is aware of, identifies, and rejects the enemy’s spiritual desolation.

Obviously, if Paul — or any one of us — does not identify and reject this tactic of the enemy, it will cause harm. What, then, of Paul’s questions? Is his disturbance a sign that he is doing something wrong? That he is trying too hard? Trying too little? That he is regressing? The answer to all these questions appears to be no. In Paul’s journal, we see no sign of regression — quite the contrary. Most probably, precisely because Paul is progressing so well, the enemy induces this “disturbance of soul” and “war against peace” in an attempt to hinder his progress. How does Paul and how do we reject such disturbance from the enemy? As already said, the first need is to make no changes, to relinquish nothing of the spiritual program we have in place.

Gallagher O.M.V, Fr. Timothy ; Gallagher O.M.V, Fr. Timothy. Struggles in the Spiritual Life: Their Nature and Their Remedies (p. 36). Sophia Institute Press. Kindle Edition.


To find more episodes from this series, visit the Struggles in the Spiritual Life Podcast


From the book’s description: “Here is a powerful, life-changing book that will help you understand and conquer the struggles you face in your spiritual life. It’s a book for those who love the Lord and desire holiness yet often feel adrift or stagnant in their search for spiritual growth.

All of us encounter valleys on our journey with the Lord — those periods of spiritual desolation that are a painful yet unavoidable feature of our prayer life. Spiritual desolation is as complex as we are, so understanding what is happening and responding to it properly are critical to reaching the heights of holiness.

With warmth and understanding, Fr. Gallagher carefully identifies in this book the various forms of spiritual and nonspiritual desolation and supplies the remedy for each. You’ll learn how to discern whether your struggles derive from medical or psychological conditions or whether those struggles are spiritual and permitted by the Lord for reasons of growth. In each case, you’ll be given the remedy for the struggle. You’ll also learn the forms of spiritual dryness and of the Dark Night — and how to respond to them.

In chapter after chapter, Fr. Gallagher presents a particular struggle as experienced by fictional characters and then provides the advice he gives to those who come to him for spiritual direction about that struggle. You’ll gain confidence as you journey through desolation, and you’ll learn to reject the enemy’s ploys to infect you with a sense of hopelessness.


Did you know that Fr. Timothy Gallagher has 14 different podcast series on Discerning Hearts Catholic Podcasts?
Visit here to discover more!

 

SOP3 – The Mystery of Intercessory Prayer and God’s Great Mercy – The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI w/ Deacon James Keating

The Mystery of Intercessory Prayer and God’s Great Mercy- The School of Prayer: Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI

Abraham the great Patriarch who prays in intercession for Sodom and Gomorrah.  The mystery of intercessory prayer and God’s great mercy.  When we persist in prayer, like Abraham, the more we come to know God and trust in His love for us.  How sin corrupts our capacity to receive God’s movement of protection and love.  How the sacrifice of Christ opens the door to the mystery.  If we can learn how to pray, then we learn how to be loved.  How do we pray for others?

Deacon James Keating, Ph.D., is a professor of Spiritual Theology and serves as a spiritual director at Kenrick Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, MO. 

From  Pope Benedict’s 3 audience on prayer:

This is the power of prayer. For through intercession, the prayer to God for the salvation of others, the desire for salvation which God nourishes for sinful man is demonstrated and expressed. Evil, in fact, cannot be accepted, it must be identified and destroyed through punishment: The destruction of Sodom had exactly this function.

 

For more episodes visit: The School of Prayer:  Reflections on the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI

The Power of Blessing and Our Identity in Christ – Building a Kingdom of Love with Msgr. John Esseff – Discerning Hearts Podcast

On the Solemnity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Msgr. John Esseff reflects on the power of the “blessing” and our identity in Christ

Reading I

The LORD said to Moses:
“Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them:
This is how you shall bless the Israelites.
Say to them:
The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace!
So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites,
and I will bless them.”

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine;