“Walk Humbly Before Your God” The Spiritual Journey – In Conversation with Fr. Andrew Apostoli – Discerning Hearts Podcast

“Walk Humbly Before Your God:  Simple Steps to a Virtuous Life” is an all-time favorite.  Fr. Andrew Apostoli, a founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and a frequent host on the Eternal Word Television Network, had a beautiful way of shining new light on fundamental truths.  He graciously took time to teach us about the nature of prayer,  how it develops in our lives and how we can nurture it.  He spoke of Jesus and several aspects of his prayer: praise, thanksgiving, intercession, and how it aids in our suffering.  Our traditional vocal prayers, as well as the depths of contemplation, were also discussed including how do we deal with distractions,   Fr. Apostoli, a humble, holy priest, was a master spiritual catechist! He died on December 13, 2017, the morning after the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.  Contained in this 50-minute discussion, you’ll find guidance that can last a lifetime.

You can find Fr. Apostoli’s book here

From the book description:

Christians, if they are to have any impact in today s world, have something of the same code: we fight the good fight, side by side, ready to lay down our lives for one another. Such heroism doesn t come naturally. As Walk Humbly With Your God points out, it is in the day-to-day training, in taking the simple steps to holiness, that heroism becomes second nature.

Fr. Apostoli provides an inspirational guide to conquering our faults, growing in prayer and acquiring the virtues that enable us to walk with God and live for others.

In Conversation with Fr. Thomas Dubay – Deep Conversion, Deep Prayer – Discerning Hearts Podcast

It was with great joy we had the opportunity to talk with Fr. Thomas Dubay.     His work on “Fire Within” and all the programs he gave us on EWTN was instrumental in my spiritual growth.  In those early days, he was like having a distant spiritual director who guided me, as well as the rest of us, toward a deeper relationship with Christ.

He told me once, “Kris, the best theology books are the lives of the saints; you study them and you won’t be led astray.”  Fr. Thomas Dubay, in a very real way, helped inspire the work of this blog and its mission.

Here is where you can find the book we discuss

From the book description

Fr. Thomas Dubay is one of the most popular and respected retreat masters and spiritual directors in the USA. He is the author of the perennial best-selling book on prayer and contemplation, Fire Within. In this book, he responds to the call to priests by both Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI to help believers and all those interested in spirituality to develop a deeper prayer life and union with God.

As in his other popular writings, Dubay’s style is profound and meditative yet clear and readable. He gives an overview of the spiritual life and journey for anyone seeking to grow in the love of God and neighbor. An expert on the teachings and writings of the two great mystical doctors of prayer and the spiritual life, Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, Dubay gives solid practical advice for a deepening moral and spiritual conversion, and a radical growth in holiness.

Topics covered in depth in this book include:

  • The Radical Conversion

  • Relevance and Motivation

  • Conversion and Genuine Love

  • Degrees of Depth

  • Remarkable Resistance

  • Called to the Heights

  • Sure-fire Program

 

ST-John Ep 9 – John 4: The Samaritan Woman part 1 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast


Episode 9 – John 4:  The Samaritan Woman pt.1  

As we continue our journey through the Gospel of John, Sharon looks back at John 3, showing how the bridegroom imagery flows into chapter 4.  With the fall of mankind, marital discourse entered the world and has persisted ever since, as demonstrated in the stories of Adam and Eve and of Abraham and Sarah.  Living by the flesh, Abraham and Sarah conspire to preserve his heritage by having her servant Hagar bear a son, Ishmael.  As punishment, God is silent for 13 years until in an act of obedience, Abraham lives by the Spirit, trusting the Lord to bless his aged wife with a son, Isaac.  Sharon then teaches us about the Samaritans, whom the Jews consider to be apostates.  Believing they preserve the authentic faith, the Samaritans practice the ritual of circumcision and observe the Sabbath, but they only follow the five books of the Torah.  Contrary to the Jews who worship at the temple in Jerusalem, the Samaritans believe that Mt. Gerizim is the original holy place and center of worship.  The Samaritan faith traces its origins to the Assyrian exile of 722 BC.  After conquering the northern 10 tribes of Israel, the Assyrian king imported people from five different countries to live and intermarry with the people of the northern kingdom, which effectively diluted their culture and religious practices.  In 120 BC, the Maccabees from the southern kingdom destroyed the Samaritan temple at Gerizim.  In 9 BC, the Samaritans retaliate by desecrating the temple in Jerusalem at the required Passover time.  Clearly, there was bad blood between the Jews and the Samaritans.  This background sets the stage for the dramatic interaction between Jesus and the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well.  Her story is an intimate encounter with the person of Christ, yet it can also be seen as symbolic of the story of the northern tribes.  She represents northern Israel, the unfaithful bride that intermarried with five different countries (husbands).   Later in John 8, we will hear the story of the adulterous woman in Jerusalem who represents the unfaithful southern tribes of Israel.  Jesus fully reveals himself as Messiah to this Samaritan woman, offering to her the living water that she thirsts for.   Through her spiritual betrothal to Jesus, her final, seventh, perfect, bridegroom, the Samaritan woman undergoes a radical transformation and brings Christ to her own people.  We learn more about this woman, who is identified by the Church as St. Photina:  she became a bold witness to Christ throughout the region, ultimately suffering a martyr’s death at the hand of Nero when she dies at the bottom of a well.

 

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

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

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

ST-John Ep 8 – John 3: Born Again part 2 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 8 – John 3:  Born Again pt. 2

Before focusing on John 3, Sharon gives us a teaching on how Catholics approach scripture study.  We are encouraged to use a canonical approach when studying the Bible; that is, we should consider the entire canon of the Bible whenever trying to understand a particular passage.  The Bible is not meant to be a collection of isolated stories.

In addition, we learn about the senses of scripture: literal and spiritual, with the spiritual sense further divided into allegorical (a foreshadowing of future events and people), moral (virtues that can be learned) and anagogical (referencing eternity or the eschaton).

We then turn our attention back to John 3 and learn about Nicodemus, whose spiritual journey is a beautiful example of progressive growth in faith.  Nicodemus was a member of the Great Sanhedrin, the Jewish Supreme Court of first-century Israel.  At the time of Jesus’ adult ministry, the president of the Sanhedrin was Rabbi Gamaliel, the teacher of Paul.  Gamaliel also advised his fellow members of the Great Sanhedrin to reduce their scrutiny over Jesus’ followers lest they find themselves fighting against God himself.   Tradition holds that both Nicodemus and Gamaliel converted to Christianity.   Nicodemus and Deacon Stephen the martyr of Acts 7 were buried together at Gamaliel’s estate outside of Jerusalem.  Gamaliel and his son ultimately shared this same grave.  Turning back to John 3, Sharon then focuses on the interaction between Jesus and Nicodemus, who struggles with understanding the meaning of being born from above by water and spirit.  Nicodemus, a teacher of the law, would have understood the significance of his earthly lineage, yet he failed to recognize the divine lineage of Jesus Christ, who was born from above, by the Holy Spirit overshadowing a pure earthly creature named Mary of Nazareth.  Being in the form of God, Jesus did not think equality with God was something to be grasped so he lowered himself and took on human form (Phil 2).  By taking on human form he showed us the face of God the Father and by His humble obedience made a way for us to get back to the Father and partake once again in our divine nature in the heavenly beautiful vision.

John 3 concludes with nuptial imagery, as John the Baptist identifies himself as the best man to Jesus, the bridegroom.  Sharon teaches us about a traditional Jewish wedding, shedding light on the significance of John as the best man, whose role was to bear witness to the consummation of the marriage.  Jesus the bridegroom had come and the best man’s job was done.  John would decrease and allow Jesus to increase.

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

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

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

ST-John Ep 2 – Overview Part 2 – The Gospel of St. John – Seeking Truth with Sharon Doran – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 2 – The Gospel of John Overview – part 2

We begin our study of the beautiful Gospel of John with an overview lecture.  John the Evangelist wrote this powerful book for a specific purpose:  “So that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in his name (Jn 20:31).”  Sharon starts off with some background information about John, son of Zebedee, who with his brother James, are surnamed by Jesus as the Sons of Thunder.  Salome, their mother, petitions the Lord on behalf of her sons that they be granted a seat beside him in heaven.  Salome is also one of the myrrh bearing women who prepare the crucified Lord’s body for burial.  John, the youngest of the Apostles, refers to himself as the one whom Jesus loved, illuminating the intimate relationship they shared.  John was an eye witness to the defining events of Christ’s ministry, including the Transfiguration as well as the resurrections of Lazarus, Jairus’ daughter and, most importantly, Jesus himself.    John, the only Apostle present at the foot of the cross, was entrusted with the care of Mary, bringing her to safety in Ephesus where she lived until her assumption.  John’s Gospel differs from the synoptic Gospels, presenting a highly theological perspective of the life of Christ.  Unlike the synoptic writers who begin with historical facts surrounding the life of Christ, John begins at the beginning, drawing us back to Genesis and the creation of the world.  His Gospel is rich with imagery, irony, symbolic themes.  It contains the seven signs and the seven “I am” statements.  John’s Gospel contains unique stories not found elsewhere:  the Samaritan woman at the well, the wedding feast at Cana, the raising of Lazarus, the woman caught in adultery, the doubt of Thomas.  His bread of life discourse lays the foundation for our understanding of the Eucharist.  Highly sacramental, the Gospel of John reveals the nature of baptism, reconciliation, Eucharist, confirmation, matrimony and Holy Orders.

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

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

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

IP#352 Dr. Peter Kreeft – Probes on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor Podcast

  “Probes: Deep Sea Diving into St. John’s Gospel” is a beautiful union of Scripture Study and the prayer experience of Lectio Divina.  I’ve never seen anything quite like it (and I hope I see more). What the reader will find is that diving deeper is actually climbing higher.  Under Dr. Kreeft’s guidance, we learn to ask penetrating questions of Sacred Scripture, but more importantly, we learn to listen to the Word for the answers. Designed for community study or individual reflection, this is the “John” book I have been waiting for!  Thank you once again Dr. Kreeft!

You can find the book here

From the book description:

This is no ordinary book. It is a set of probing questions (1,450 in fact) designed to help individuals or groups, especially groups, to dive deeply into Saint John’s Gospel. No answers are provided, but the questions are phrased in such a way as to set a person in a reliable direction for finding the answers.

The questions correspond to the verses of the Gospel and require active and personal interaction. Some of the questions are easy, some difficult, and they are marked accordingly. Some questions include background information or hints that help the reader along. Some were written with a fair bit of humor. Any person or group using these questions to explore John will find themselves entertained as well as informed and inspired.

The Chaplet of St. Charbel – Discerning Hearts podcast

St. Charbel Makhlouf... some call him the Padre Pio of Lebanon 1

Prayers and Chaplet for St. Charbel

Saint Charbel was born on May 8, 1828 from a modest Maronite family in Bekaa Kafra, a village in North Lebanon. He entered the order of Lebanese monks in 1851 and was ordained a priest in 1859. Later he withdrew to the hermitage of Saints Peter and Paul to spend 23 years in prayer, fasting, manual labor, and penance, until on Christmas Eve of the year 1898 he piously gave back his soul to God. Aged 70 years. After his death, many graces and bodily cures have been obtained through his intercession. He was canonized by His Holiness Paul VI in 1977.

For more on visit his Discerning Hearts St. Charbel page

Chaplet

THE CHAPLET
The chaplet is made up of five sets of beads, three red, one white and one blue. Five black beads, divide the sets. A medal of the saint connects the beads, with a single white bead following the medal and preceding the five sets.

The red beads are for the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, the virtues by which religious share in the Passion of Christ.

The white beads represent the Holy Eucharist, and the blue beads love and devotion to Our Blessed Mother.

ORDER OF RECITATION
On the first white bead after the medal say the “Father of Truth” prayer. On each black bead recite an “Our Father”.

On the first three red beads say the “Hail Mary” in honor of Saint Charbel’s fidelity to the vow of poverty.

On the second set of red beads say the “Hail Mary” in honor of Saint Charbel’s fidelity to the vow of chastity.

On the third set of red beads say the “Hail Mary” in honor of Saint Charbel’s fidelity to the vow of obedience.

On the three white beads say the “Hail Mary” in honor of Saint Charbel’s love for the Eucharist.

On the three blue beads say the “Hail Mary” in honor of Saint Charbel’s devotion to Our Blessed Mother. Conclude with the prayer to obtain graces on the medal.

Father of Truth Prayer
Father of Truth, behold Your Son, a sacrifice pleasing to You. Accept this offering of Him who died for me; behold His blood shed on Golgotha for my salvation. It pleads for me. For His sake, accept my offering. Many are my sins, but greater is Your mercy. When placed on a scale, Your mercy prevails over the weight of the mountains known only to You. Consider the sin and consider the atonement; the atonement is greater and exceeds the sin. Your beloved Son sustained the nails and the lance because of my sins so in His sufferings You are satisfied and I live.

Prayer to Obtain Graces
Lord, infinitely holy and glorified in Your saints, You have inspired Charbel, the saint monk, to lead the perfect life of a hermit. We thank You for granting him the blessing and the strength to detach himself from the world so that the heroism of the monastic virtues of poverty, chastity, and obedience might triumph in his hermitage. We beseech You to grant us the grace of loving and serving You, following his example. Almighty God, who have manifested the power of Saint Charbel’s intercession through his countless miracles and favors, grant us this grace (here mention your intention) which we request from You through his intercession. Amen.

the music found in the Chaplet is from Sister Marie Keyrouz’s CD

Other Prayers

1.

Lord, infinitely Holy and Glorified in Your Saints,
You have inspired Charbel, the saint monk,
to lead the perfect life of a hermit.
We thank You for granting him the blessing
and the strength to detach himself from the world
so that the heroism of the monastic virtues of poverty,
obedience, and chastity,
could triumph in his hermitage.
We beseech You to grant us the grace of loving and serving You,
following his example.
Almighty God, Who has manifested
the power of St. Charbel’s intercession
through his countless miracles and favours,
grant us…

(State your intention(s) here…)

through his intercession.

Amen.

Our Father…
Hail Mary…
Glory Be…

2.

O God of Silence, in stillness Your adorable and mysterious Trinity lives, loves and acts. In the silence of time, Your great Mysteries have been accomplished. Blessed is the one who quiets everything within himself and listens to the impelling voice which leads to You. Charbel heard this voice and closed himself in solitude. He separated himself from a self-seeking world and spoke with You. You taught him to deny himself and to die, like the grain of wheat. You asked him to bind himself to You in a life of poverty, chastity and obedience. Freed from himself, he discovered You, 0 Lord, embraced the way of the Cross and filled his spirit with the memory of Your Son’s passion and death. The holy Mysteries became his life, the Eucharist his real food and the Mother of God his consolation. Day and night he sought You in the Scriptures and in the lives of the saints. Through unending prayer his whole life became a living hymn of praise to You and ended in a sacrifice of love that continues to proclaim Your glory. We beseech You, through his intercession, to inspire us to a life of prayer and sacrifice. Help us to live lives of quiet dedication to the service of Your Church, forever.

Amen

Prayers for Spiritual Healing with Msgr. Esseff – Mp3 audio prayer and text – Discerning Hearts

Msgr John Esseff offers the following prayers.  

EXAMINATION OF CONSCIENCE

FORGIVENESS PRAYER

The following prayer covers most of the significant areas of forgiveness. Often, such a prayer will bring to mind other areas that need forgiveness. Let the Holy Spirit move freely and guide your mind to persons or groups that you need to forgive. This is especially useful before confession.

Lord Jesus Christ, I ask today to forgive everyone in my life. I know that You will give me the strength to forgive and I thank You that You love me more than I love myself and want my happiness more than I desire it for myself.

Father, I forgive Your for the times death has come into my family, hard times, financial difficulties, or that I thought were punishments sent by You and people said “It’s God;s will,” and I became bitter and resentful toward You. Purify my heart and mind today.

Lord, I forgive MYSELF for my sins, faults and failings, for all that is bad in myself or that I think is bad, I forgive myself. For any delvings in superstition, using ouija boards, horoscopes, going to seances, using fortune telling or wearing lucky charms, I reject all that superstition and choose You alone as my Lord and Savior. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit.

I further forgive myself for taking Your name in vain, not worshipping You by attending church, for hurting my parents, getting drunk, for sins against purity, bad books, bad movies, fornication, adultery, homosexuality. You have forgiven me, today I forgive myself.

Also for abortion, stealing, lying, defrauding, hurting people’s reputation, I forgive myself.

I truly forgive my MOTHER, I forgive her for all the times she hurt me, she resented me, she was angry with me and for all the times she prefered my brothers and sisters to me. I forgive her for the times she told me I was dumb, ugly, stupid, the worst of the children or that I cost the family a lot of money. For the times she told me I was unwanted, an accident, a mistake or not what she expected, I forgive her.

I forgive my FATHER. I forgive him for any non-support, any lack of love, affection or attention. I forgive him for any lack of time, for not giving me his companionship, for his drinking, arguing and fighting with my mother or the other children. For his severe punishments, for desertion, for being away from home, for divorcing my mother or for any running around, I do forgive him.

Read morePrayers for Spiritual Healing with Msgr. Esseff – Mp3 audio prayer and text – Discerning Hearts

IP#166 Fr. James Kubicki S.J. – A Heart on Fire on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

By far, this book is the BEST on the subject of the Sacred Heart of Jesus that I have seen in a very long time.  So very practical and deep in its spiritual appreciation of this beautifully essential devotion for our lives, Fr. James Kubicki helps all to rediscover the devotion to the Sacred Heart.   He presents the history of this timely devotion, with help of the apostles, Church Fathers, the Saints, and contemporary Catholics,  in an engaging and easily digestible way.  And the prayers…the incredibly deep and radiant prayers…Fr. Kubicki breaks them open a new for us all to appreciate, encouraging us not to “say the prayers”, but to “pray the prayers”.  Wonderful, simply wonderful!  I cannot recommend this work more highly.  Pick up more than one copy and become a missionary of the Sacred Heart of Jesus by passing copies on to others

You can find the book here

“At first communion, I was taught to say first thing every morning, Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in Thee!’ Reading Father Kubicki’s splendid book has only made that prayer all the more sincere and meaningful.” —Most Reverend Timothy M. Dolan, Archbishop of New York

Jesus - Devotional Prayers dedicated to Our Lord text and Mp3 audio downloads 7“A fresh and attractive reconsideration of this centuries-old devotion in the Catholic Church. Blessed Basile Moreau (1873), the founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, who entrusted his priests to the Sacred Heart of Jesus, wrote: ‘The primary purpose of the devotion to the Sacred Heart is to return love for love.’ Fr. Kubicki develops this theme in a way that speaks well to today’s generation of believers.” —Rev. Peter D. Rocca, C.S.C., Rector, Basilica of the Sacred Heart, University of Notre Dame

“I invite everyone to renew his devotion to the Sacred Heart of Christ in the month of June, making use of the traditional prayer of the offering of the day and keeping in mind the intentions that I have proposed to the whole Church.” —Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus Address, June 1, 2008

BTP#33 St. Bernard and “On Loving God” – Beginning to Pray with Dr. Anthony Lilles

BTP#33 St. Bernard and “On Loving God”  – The Mystery of Faith in the Wisdom of the Saints.  In this episode Dr. Lilles continues the discussion on St. Bernard of Clairvaux and his teachings found in “On Loving God”.

Dr. Lilles offers 4 key points we should keep in mind as we move forward in this series

1.    The Search for God
2.    Listening to God – Lectio Divina
3.    Conversion to God – Conversatio Morum
4.    Living with oneself and letting God fashion one into His image

Dr. Lilles’ continues his discussion on St. Bernard of Clairvaux, “On Loving God”:


Download (PDF, 267KB)

Anthony Lilles, S.T.D. is an associate professor and the academic dean of Saint John’s Seminary in Camarillo as well as the academic advisor for Juan Diego House of Priestly Formation for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. For over twenty years he served the Church in Northern Colorado where he joined and eventually served as dean of the founding faculty of Saint John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver. Through the years, clergy, seminarians, religious and lay faithful have benefited from his lectures and retreat conferences on the Carmelite Doctors of the Church and the writings of St. Elisabeth of the Trinity.

 

Here is the bibliography that Dr. Lilles spoke of in this episode:

The Mystery of Faith in the Wisdom of the Saints

Saints, other figures, dates and bibliographic information

 

St. Benedict of Nursia  – b. 480 –  d. 547.

St. Benedict.  The Rule.  Edited by Timothy Fry, O.S.B.  New York: Vintage Books, Random House, 1981, 1998

St. Bernard of Clairvaux – b. 1090 – d. 1153

St. Bernard of Clairvaux. Selected Works. Trans. G.R. Evans. Classics of Western Spirituality.  Mahwah, NY: Paulist Press, 1987.

Read moreBTP#33 St. Bernard and “On Loving God” – Beginning to Pray with Dr. Anthony Lilles