St. Catherine of Siena – Passion for Truth: Beginning to Pray w/ Dr. Anthony Lilles

Episode 22 Beginning to Pray:  St. Catherine of Siena

From Dr. Anthony Lilles’ “Beginning to Pray”  blog site:

Catherine of Siena – passion for truth

She is an important figure for those who see a rediscovery of prayer as the force of renewal in the Church. Because she put her devotion to Christ first, she found herself with a spiritual mission to help restore the life and unity of Christ’s body. Some of her efforts met with a little success. But as she approached her death at the age of 33, her lifetime of effort in building up the Church seemed to be in vain. Corruption, scandal, cowardice – and most of all indifference – seemed to infect the Church even more. (For more on her life, go to http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/03447a.htm.) Yet she never lost hope and she persevered in prayer. This is because she understood the love and mercy of God.

She was uneducated, but in 1377, by a miracle, she learned to write. Even so she retained secretaries to whom she dictated most of her thoughts. Her master work on the spiritual life is known as the Dialogues. These are conversations between her soul and God the Father. God the Father reveals his deep love for his Son and his plan to build up the Church. One of the beautiful aspects of this conversation is the Father’s explanation for how each soul can come to know Jesus.

Fr. Thomas McDermott - Prayer and the Dominican Tradition 2Christ is the bridge to the Father and we cross this bridge by allowing our hearts to be pierced by what the Lord has done for us. The passion of Christ reveals at once the truth about who God is and who we are in his sight. For her, among the greatest blocks to the spiritual life is ignorance. Knowledge of God and knowledge of self go hand in hand in progressing toward spiritual maturity. But the knowing is not simply an intellectual trip. It as the kind of knowing informed by the loving affection of a real friendship. The friendship she describes in tender terms evokes the deepest joys and sorrows all at once.

The gift of tears, so central to early Dominican spirituality, is a beautiful part of this description. She presents those holy affections as the only proper response to the great love revealed in Christ crucified. These tears move us away from sin and into the very heart of God. She describes this as a journey that begins with kissing the feet of Jesus and entering into his wounded side. For her, intimacy with the Lord is always through the Cross and informed by a profound gratitude and humility.

One other beautiful feature of her spirituality is her understanding of virtue. This understanding is not quite classical in that she goes beyond the generic definition of a virtue as a good habit. Instead, she addresses a problem that is related to life in the Church. She notices that different Christians excel at different virtues. One might have a special aptitude for the art of getting on with others and is a special source of justice in the community. Another may be especially able to enter into the heart of someone enduring great difficulty and brings to the Church a particular awareness of mercy. Still another might have a profound gift of prayer. The question she takes up is why has the Father given different gifts to different members of the Body of Christ.

In the Dialogues, the Father explains to her that He has distributed his bountiful gifts in this way so that each member of the Body of Christ must rely on all the other members and at the same time each member bears a particular responsibility to support the Body of Christ commensurate to the gifts he has been given. In other words, his has distributed his gifts in a manner that disposes us to love one another. And the Father is counting on this mutual love, this genuine fellowship. It is part of His plan that as we cross Christ the Bridge we enter into communion with Him not merely individually, but together as a family.

The family of God requires a new kind of love, a love which only God can give us. A beautiful foundation is laid for what will later be understood as a “call within a call,” that particular mission each one is entrusted with in the eternal loving plan of God. On one hand, answering this call involves some suffering – just as Mother Theresa in our own time discovered. But those who endure this would not have it any other way. There is a certain joy and fullness of life that one discovers when one generously embraces the loving plan of the Father. The possibility of this joyful fulness makes Catherine’s message to the Church dynamically attractive.

For those beginning to pray, Catherine sheds light on the importance of truth, devotion to Christ and the life of the Church. These things organically hang together in her vision of the spiritual life so that growing in prayer goes beyond the merely therapeutic: it opens up the possibility of fully thriving, of living life to the full.

 

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



The Good Shepherd & The New Evangelization….In Conversation w/ Fr. Nicholas Cachia – Discerning Hearts Podcasts

Fr. Nicholas Cachia is a truly insightful and gifted spiritual director and theologian.  From the beautiful island of Malta, Fr. Cachia spends a portion of his summer as a faculty member with the Institute for Priestly Formation located at Creighton University, in Omaha, Nebraska.  This discussion occurred in the summer of 2015.

In this particular conversation we discuss various topics:

    • God’s infinite and unique love for each of us
    • The need for authentic discernment in our daily life
    • One of the  biggest blocks to God’s great love for us…the fear of losing control and surrendering
    • Why the prayer at the end of the day is so important.
    • The risk of loving God and others
    • The need for being open to the Word of God receiving the Word
    • What is  “Lectio Continua”

Then he leads us in a meditation on

The Good Shepherd  –  The great image of Compassion.

The-Good-Sheherd-Statue

This statue of “The Good Shepherd” was chosen by Pope Benedict XVI in October 2012 to represent the image for the New Evangelization

Rev. Dr Nicholas Cachia is Lecturer in Spiritual Theology at the Faculty of Theology since 1996. His areas of interest include the spirituality of the various stages of life as well as the spirituality of the different states in life, particularly that of the diocesan priesthood. After receiving his undergraduate degree (S.Th.B.) and a Licentiate in Pastoral Theology from the Faculty of Theology at Tal-Virtù (1980-1988), he continued his tertiary studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. There he read a Licentiate in Biblical Theology and a Doctorate in Spiritual Theology (1988-1995). His doctoral thesis was published in 1997 in the series Tesi Gregoriana with the title: I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down his life for the sheep (John 10, 11). The Image of the Good Shepherd as a source for the Spirituality of the Ministerial Priesthood.

He is also Spiritual Director at the Major Seminary in Malta (1994-2000; 2003-present). Since 2003, he is president of the Spiritual Formation Commission within the Secretariat for the Clergy of the Archdiocese of Malta.

Previously he presided over the Commission for the Permanent Formation of the Clergy within the same Secretariat (1994-2000). He was also Deputy Chairman (2000-2001) and then Executive Chairman (2001-2003) of the Media Centre and of RTK Radio. During this time he was also member of the Executive Board of the European Catholic Radio Conference (CERC).

Fr Cachia is a member of the Centro di Studi di Mistica Cristiana, Italy and of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality (USA). Since 2004 he teaches at the Summer Session of the Seminarians’ programme of the Institute for Priestly Formation, Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska USA.

 

CWC8 – The Wellsprings of Prayer – Communion with Christ with Deacon James Keating – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 8 – Communion with Christ – Practical Prayer – The “wellsprings”  where Christ awaits us.  Responding at the moment when the subtle interior movements of the Holy Spirit calls to us.  The Word of God becomes a place of encounter. The danger of  Scripture becoming all academic. People are converted when the Word approaches them as living.  The liturgy is also a place of encounter.  The heart is an “altar” in the liturgy.

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. 

Check out Deacon Keating’s “Discerning Heart” page

Deacon Keating is also the author of:


You can find the book here.

From the book description:

The book addresses their mutual dedication to remain with Christ in prayer even in the service of parishioners. Once prayer finds a place in the heart, compassion grows for those who look for God “like sheep without a shepherd.” Through interior prayerfulness, clerical unity in ministry can be better ensured Remain in Me is for priests and deacons to use as prayer, on retreat, or during the holy seasons of Lent and Advent.

 

 

CWC7 The Will To Pray – Communion with Christ with Deacon James Keating- Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 7 – Communion with Christ – Practical Prayer – The will to pray.   To listen, to search, to see Him…to become prayer ourselves.  You know are progressing by the fruit of your life.  The parish is the “school of prayer”  and the pastor as a teacher of prayer, the spiritual father.  The disordered demands we may place on the priest.  What is the remedy?

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 2650and 2651

2650 Prayer cannot be reduced to the spontaneous outpouring of interior impulse: in order to pray, one must have the will to pray. Nor is it enough to know what the Scriptures reveal about prayer: one must also learn how to pray. Through a living transmission (Sacred Tradition) within “the believing and praying Church,”1 The Holy Spirit teaches the children of God how to pray.

2651 The tradition of Christian prayer is one of the ways in which the tradition of faith takes shape and grows, especially through the contemplation and study of believers who treasure in their hearts the events and words of the economy of salvation, and through their profound grasp of the spiritual realities they experience.2

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. 

Check out Deacon Keating’s “Discerning Heart” page

Deacon Keating is also the author of:


You can find the book here.

From the book description:

The book addresses their mutual dedication to remain with Christ in prayer even in the service of parishioners. Once prayer finds a place in the heart, compassion grows for those who look for God “like sheep without a shepherd.” Through interior prayerfulness, clerical unity in ministry can be better ensured Remain in Me is for priests and deacons to use as prayer, on retreat, or during the holy seasons of Lent and Advent.

 

CWC6 – The Reception of Grace – Communion with Christ with Deacon James Keating

Episode 6- Communion with Christ – Practical Prayer – How we receive prayer.   The reception of grace and the great gift of memory. Through prayer, heaven begins. Prayer is a battle…it isn’t easy.  Western culture is a “culture of distraction”.  We need to receive the coming of God when it enlights upon us.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 2610and 2611

2610 Just as Jesus prays to the Father and gives thanks before receiving his gifts, so he teaches us filial boldness: “Whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you receive it, and you will.”66 Such is the power of prayer and of faith that does not doubt: “all things are possible to him who believes.”67 Jesus is as saddened by the “lack of faith” of his own neighbors and the “little faith” of his own disciples68 as he is struck with admiration at the great faith of the Roman centurion and the Canaanite woman.69

2611 The prayer of faith consists not only in saying “Lord, Lord,” but in disposing the heart to do the will of the Father.70 Jesus calls his disciples to bring into their prayer this concern for cooperating with the divine plan.71
2612 In Jesus “the Kingdom of God is at hand.”72 He calls his hearers to conversion and faith, but also to watchfulness. In prayer the disciple keeps watch, attentive to Him Who Is and Him Who Comes, in memory of his first coming in the lowliness of the flesh, and in the hope of his second coming in glory.73 In communion with their Master, the disciples’ prayer is a battle; only by keeping watch in prayer can one avoid falling into temptation.74

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. 

Check out Deacon Keating’s “Discerning Heart” page

Deacon Keating is also the author of:


You can find the book here.

From the book description:

The book addresses their mutual dedication to remain with Christ in prayer even in the service of parishioners. Once prayer finds a place in the heart, compassion grows for those who look for God “like sheep without a shepherd.” Through interior prayerfulness, clerical unity in ministry can be better ensured Remain in Me is for priests and deacons to use as prayer, on retreat, or during the holy seasons of Lent and Advent.

 

CWC5 – Ask, Seek, Knock – Communion with Christ: Practical Prayer w/ Deacon James Keating – Discerning Hearts Podcast


Episode 5- Communion with Christ – Practical Prayer –  ” How did I ever live without prayer?”  A sustained communion with Christ is the beginning of heaven.  “Ask..seek…knock”.  Are you knocking to receive a relationship or are you knocking to get more stuff?  Are you seeking to surrender and entrust or are you seeking to satisfy more of a passing desire or mood?  Even in our coming to prayer Jesus wants to purify our motive for doing so.  The challenge of entering into deep prayer leads to the great maturity of prayer.

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. 

Check out Deacon Keating’s “Discerning Heart” page

Deacon Keating is also the author of:


You can find the book here.

From the book description:

The book addresses their mutual dedication to remain with Christ in prayer even in the service of parishioners. Once prayer finds a place in the heart, compassion grows for those who look for God “like sheep without a shepherd.” Through interior prayerfulness, clerical unity in ministry can be better ensured Remain in Me is for priests and deacons to use as prayer, on retreat, or during the holy seasons of Lent and Advent.

 

CWC4 – God’s Longing for Us – Communion with Christ: Practical Prayer w/ Deacon James Keating – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 4- Communion with Christ – Practical Prayer –   Deacon Keating continues his reflections on the last things said by Jesus on the Cross and Mary as a teacher of prayer.  The Blessed Virgin Mary is the wellspring of interiority because she held all the mysteries in her heart.  Deacon Keating discusses God’s longing for us and allowing God to pray in us.  “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me”…is it more that we have abandoned God?  Sin looks like crucifixion.  The final words.

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. 

Check out Deacon Keating’s “Discerning Heart” page

Deacon Keating is also the author of:


You can find the book here.

From the book description:

The book addresses their mutual dedication to remain with Christ in prayer even in the service of parishioners. Once prayer finds a place in the heart, compassion grows for those who look for God “like sheep without a shepherd.” Through interior prayerfulness, clerical unity in ministry can be better ensured Remain in Me is for priests and deacons to use as prayer, on retreat, or during the holy seasons of Lent and Advent.

 

CWC3 – Praying Always – Communion with Christ: Practical Prayer w/ Deacon James Keating – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 3- Communion with Christ – Practical Prayer –  Jesus is the primary teacher of prayer.  How can we pray “always”?  How do we become “prayer”?  Jesus was conscious that all things flow from the Father. He teaches us how to pray to the Father.  Deacon Keating speaks of praying in the name of Jesus and “receiving” God in our hearts.

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. 

Check out Deacon Keating’s “Discerning Heart” page

Deacon Keating is also the author of:


You can find the book here.

From the book description:

The book addresses their mutual dedication to remain with Christ in prayer even in the service of parishioners. Once prayer finds a place in the heart, compassion grows for those who look for God “like sheep without a shepherd.” Through interior prayerfulness, clerical unity in ministry can be better ensured Remain in Me is for priests and deacons to use as prayer, on retreat, or during the holy seasons of Lent and Advent.

 

CWC2 – A Foretaste of Heaven – Communion with Christ: Practical Prayer w/ Deacon James Keating – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 2-Communion with Christ – Practical Prayer –  We have lost are fear of going astray and being unfaithful within.  We must be aware of the spirits, personal or impersonal, that can get into us.  We can get tangled up in many different  influences in prayer.  That is why it so important to have a director, a guide,  to help us navigate in this journey and to test those spirits.  Jesus is the model of prayer.  “He learns to pray from His mother”. (see below).    The witness of the community.  His prayer springs from a secret source and He wishes to share it with us.  All prayer is foretaste of heaven.

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. 

Check out Deacon Keating’s “Discerning Heart” page

Deacon Keating is also the author of:


You can find the book here.

From the book description:

The book addresses their mutual dedication to remain with Christ in prayer even in the service of parishioners. Once prayer finds a place in the heart, compassion grows for those who look for God “like sheep without a shepherd.” Through interior prayerfulness, clerical unity in ministry can be better ensured Remain in Me is for priests and deacons to use as prayer, on retreat, or during the holy seasons of Lent and Advent.

 

CWC1 God Calls Man First -Communion with Christ: Practical Prayer w/ Deacon James Keating – Discerning Hearts Podcast

Episode 1 -Communion with Christ – Practical Prayer –The most powerful principle of prayer is that God desires us.  Prayer is a response to a presence who has entered our reality. Distractions, an enemy of prayer. Recovering the prophetic consciousness.  The highest fruit of prayer to be someone who is so transparent to God, that  God reveals His acts in our lives…the person has become prayer.

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church paragraph 2567

God calls man first. Man may forget his Creator or hide far from his face; he may run after idols or accuse the deity of having abandoned him; yet the living and true God tirelessly calls each person to that mysterious encounter known as prayer. In prayer, the faithful God’s initiative of love always comes first; our own first step is always a response. As God gradually reveals himself and reveals man to himself, prayer appears as a reciprocal call, a covenant drama. Through words and actions, this drama engages the heart. It unfolds throughout the whole history of salvation.

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. 

Check out Deacon Keating’s “Discerning Heart” page

Deacon Keating is also the author of:


You can find the book here.

From the book description:

The book addresses their mutual dedication to remain with Christ in prayer even in the service of parishioners. Once prayer finds a place in the heart, compassion grows for those who look for God “like sheep without a shepherd.” Through interior prayerfulness, clerical unity in ministry can be better ensured Remain in Me is for priests and deacons to use as prayer, on retreat, or during the holy seasons of Lent and Advent.