IP#121 Fr. Larry Richards – Surrender on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

“Surrender! The Life Changing Power of Doing God’s Will” is another outstanding offering from Fr. Larry Richards!  From start to finish Fr. Larry challenges us to place Jesus Christ first in our lives and our relationships with others and the world.  Once we can do that, things begin to fall into place.  Then he helps us to recognize the difference between God’s will and our will, and to trust that His will be better for us if we trust, love and….SURRENDER!

Fr. Larry Richards is an engaging writer, who never fails to keep us hooked through the entire book.  This will be one of those books that you want to purchase at least two copies, because you’ll want to pass it on to another, and you’ll want to keep one for yourself for years to come.

 

You can find the book here

From the book description:

…Surrender outlines concrete steps you can take to dwell in peace. Simply put, God wants every one of us to be a saint which is a lot of work! It requires developing a plan for your life, in accordance with the Lord’s will.

Prayer is the key to this, as it opens the soul to hearing God’s voice and accepting his guidance. But prayer too requires discipline and planning. Father Richards is the life coach every one of us needs on the sidelines of our daily life the tough love coach who calls it like he sees it.

Allow yourself to move out of the driver seat and surrender to the one who knows all God.

 

 

BKL201 – The Angelic Realm and the Celebration of the Holy Mass – Building a Kingdom of Love with Msgr. John Esseff

Msgr-Esseff-2-e1442263119679-497x526-283x300Msgr. Esseff continues his reflections on the Angelic Realm. He discusses the magnificence of the Throne of God.

Isaiah Chap 6:1-4

1 In the year King Uzziah died,* I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne,a with the train of his garment filling the temple.

2 Seraphim* were stationed above; each of them had six wings: with two they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they hovered.b

3 One cried out to the other:

“Holy, holy, holy* is the LORD of hosts!

All the earth is filled with his glory!”

4 At the sound of that cry, the frame of the door shook and the house was filled with smoke.* c

5 Then I said, “Woe is me, I am doomed!* For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips,d and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!”

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an ember which he had taken with tongs from the altar.

 

Msgr. John A. Esseff is a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Scranton.  He was ordained on May 30, 1953, by the late Bishop William J. Hafey, D.D. at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton, PA.  Msgr. Esseff served a retreat director and confessor to St. Mother Teresa.    He continues to offer direction and retreats for the sisters of the missionaries of charity around the world.  Msgr. Esseff encountered St.  Padre Pio,  who would become a spiritual father to him.  He has lived in areas around the world,  serving in the Pontifical missions, a Catholic organization established by St. Pope John Paul II to bring the Good News to the world especially to the poor.  Msgr. Esseff assisted the founders of the Institute for Priestly Formation and continues to serve as a spiritual director for the Institute.  He continues to serve as a retreat leader and director to bishops, priests and sisters and seminarians and other religious leaders around the world.  

 

IP#318 Fr. John Burns – Lift Up Your Heart on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor podcast


“Lift Up Your Heart: A 10-Day Personal Retreat with St. Francis de Sales” is outstanding.  A wonderful “introduction to the devout life”… literally!  Fr. John Burns breaks open up the teachings of the great spiritual director and Doctor of the Church St. Francis de Sales in a wonderfully fresh new way.  Very practical and perfect for meditation during prayer times during the day, this is a mini-retreat we can all benefit from.

You can find the book here

From the book description:

This practical book goes right to the heart of helping you kick the habit of floating along on your spiritual journey to start actively pursuing holiness and devotion to God. During the course of the retreat, you ll learn the basics of forming a daily prayer routine, including how to offer yourself to God, meditate on his love, and maintain peace in the face of suffering and clarity in the midst of temptation.

The meditations will help you:

  • Adopt gratitude as a daily prayer practice.
  • Examine and reorder your priorities and relationships to better reflect your love for God.
  • Discern between good and evil in your life.
  • Desire to love and serve as Jesus did.

In a very real sense, Burns helps you take St. Francis de Sales as your spiritual director for ten days. As you do so, you’ll feel God’s fatherly love and restart your faith life, equipped with the tools to connect with God and live for heaven now.

BKL#28 – Discerning Daily the Spirit – Building a Kingdom of Love w/ Msgr. John Esseff


Msgr. Esseff reflects on how we are to daily discern the movement of Christ in us and the movement of the self, the world, and the activity of the enemy.

Transition:
Become aware of the love with which God looks upon me as I begin this examen.

Gratitude
Note the gifts that God’s love has given you this day and give thanks to God for them.

Petition
Ask God for an insight and a strength that will make this examen a work of grace, fruitful beyond your human capacity alone.

Review
With God, review the day. Look for the stirrings in your heart and the thoughts which God has given you this day.
Look also for those which have not been of God.
Review your choices in response to both, and throughout the day in general.

Forgiveness.
Ask for the healing touch of the forgiving God who, with love and respect for you, removes your heart’s burdens.

Renewal.
Look to the following day and, with God, plan concretely how to live it in accord with God’s loving desire for your life.

Transition:
Aware of God’s presence with you, prayerfully conclude the examen

*The above text was adapted from a pdf online entitled “The Examen” found here

Msgr. John A. Esseff is a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Scranton.  He was ordained on May 30, 1953, by the late Bishop William J. Hafey, D.D. at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton, PA.  Msgr. Esseff served a retreat director and confessor to St. Mother Teresa.    He continues to offer direction and retreats for the sisters of the missionaries of charity around the world.  Msgr. Esseff encountered St.  Padre Pio,  who would become a spiritual father to him.  He has lived in areas around the world,  serving in the Pontifical missions, a Catholic organization established by St. Pope John Paul II to bring the Good News to the world especially to the poor.  Msgr. Esseff assisted the founders of the Institute for Priestly Formation and continues to serve as a spiritual director for the Institute.  He continues to serve as a retreat leader and director to bishops, priests and sisters and seminarians and other religious leaders around the world.    

BKL#27 – The Meaning of Baptism – Building a Kingdom of Love w/ Msgr. John Esseff

Msgr. Esseff reflects on the meaning of the “Baptism” and how it transforms us all.

Gospel   LK 3:15-16, 21-22

The people were filled with expectation,
and all were asking in their hearts
whether John might be the Christ.
John answered them all, saying,
“I am baptizing you with water,
but one mightier than I is coming.
I am not worthy to loosen the thongs of his sandals.
He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.”

After all the people had been baptized
and Jesus also had been baptized and was praying,
heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended upon him
in bodily form like a dove.
And a voice came from heaven,
“You are my beloved Son;
with you I am well pleased.”

Msgr. John A. Esseff is a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Scranton.  He was ordained on May 30, 1953, by the late Bishop William J. Hafey, D.D. at St. Peter’s Cathedral in Scranton, PA.  Msgr. Esseff served a retreat director and confessor to St. Mother Teresa.    He continues to offer direction and retreats for the sisters of the missionaries of charity around the world.  Msgr. Esseff encountered St.  Padre Pio,  who would become a spiritual father to him.  He has lived in areas around the world,  serving in the Pontifical missions, a Catholic organization established by St. Pope John Paul II to bring the Good News to the world especially to the poor.  Msgr. Esseff assisted the founders of the Institute for Priestly Formation and continues to serve as a spiritual director for the Institute.  He continues to serve as a retreat leader and director to bishops, priests and sisters and seminarians and other religious leaders around the world.    

 

 

 

HM-5 “Confession” – A Handmaid of the Lord: the Life and Legacy of Adrienne von Speyr with Dr. Adrian Walker

AdrianEpisode 5 – “Confession” – A Handmaid of the Lord: The life and legacy of Adrienne von Speyr with Dr. Adrian Walker, Ph.D.

With Dr. Adrian Walker, we reflect on various aspects of Adrienne’s insight into the nature of confession as described in her book of the same name.

An excerpt from “Confession” Chapter 1: Introduction – The Search for Confession

Let us assume you are my friend, and I say to you, “I can’t go on like this.” We discuss the situation together; perhaps we discover where I got off the track, and perhaps we even refer to my childhood. What we find will help me to make a new start. In every discussion of this sort, however, the individual is viewed as an isolated person, and it does not become clear that he lives in a community both of saints and sinners. Only God knows the laws both of the community of saints and of the community of sinners. In confession I am, of course, this individual sinner, but I am simultaneously a part of humanity, one of its fallen members. Thus conceptual factors are completely different in confession than in analysis. They are both personal and social; indeed, they comprise a totality that draws into focus the world as a whole, its relationship to God, and the first and last things, even if this larger context only falls into our field of vision momentarily and is experienced only indirectly. And since the situation is different, so also are the means of healing. The truth of God is involved, not the truth of the human being, nor the truth of his soul, his existence or the structure of his deeper being, but decisively the truth of God. None of the human techniques takes this divine truth seriously; at most they save it for the hour of death, and they do not help a man to become the kind of person he will need to be in that hour.

As long as aid for the human being is offered by other human beings and is mobile within the human sphere, it can operate only with human means. Everything approaching a person from external sources can be considered only as accidental and external and be supplied with a positive or negative label; the unity between interior and exterior, however, cannot be effected. The psychological session can offer me only “modes of behavior” applicable to the present, which themselves can and must change under altered conditions. Confession, on the other hand, brings a person face to face with his divine destiny and places him directly within it—within that which is final and ultimate.

As long as a person is not confessing, he feels free to speak or keep silent about whatever he wishes. What he then hates in confession is not the humbling experience of revealing himself, and not the fact that he is a sinner—he already knows that somehow—but the necessity of capitulating before and within total confession, the fact that the freedom of selection has been withdrawn and that the only choice remaining is to reveal everything or nothing. He is sick as a whole person and must be healed as such, and not eclectically. That is the first humbling experience. The second is that he is only one of many and has to accept the same conditions as do the others, even external conditions such as having to appear at the confessional at an appointed hour: a kind of marked condition, the elimination of all external differentiation—the factory owner and the watchman, the lady and her cook, all on equal footing. Precisely when one confesses that which is most intimate, one no longer has a choice or selection, is put on a level with all other sinners and is merely one penitent in the line of other sinners. The peculiarities of my particular “case”, which made it seem so interesting to me and which I would so gladly have explained to the listener, do not matter at all any more. Confession [Beichten] is above all precisely that: a confession [Bekenntnis] not only of my sins but also a confession to God and to God’s precepts and institutions, indeed to his Church with her own weakness and her myriad ambiguous, even disturbing, aspects.

The act of “speaking” with someone about my life does not oblige me further. Afterward, I can experience a certain feeling of gratitude or of awkwardness toward the person who has listened to me, but I remain the free person who can detach himself again. Confession is not an individual act in the same sense; nothing in it can be isolated. The act of confession expressly involves the whole person, his whole life, his whole world-view, his whole relationship to God.

Speyr, Adrienne von. Confession (Kindle Locations 180-209). Ignatius Press. Kindle Edition.

adrienne_von_speyr1Adrienne von Speyr was a Swiss convert, mystic, wife, medical doctor and author of over 60 books on spirituality and theology. She’s inspired countless souls around the world to deepen their mission of prayer and compassion. She entered the Catholic Church under the direction of the great theologian, Hans Urs von Balthasar. In the years that would follow, they would co-found the secular institute, the Community of St. John.

 

For more episodes in this series visit Dr. Adrian Walker’s Discerning Hearts page

Adrian Walker is an editor of the journal Communio, an International Catholic Review, who received his doctorate in philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. Dr. Walker has served as a translator for the English edition of Pope Benedict XVI’s, ” Jesus of Nazareth”, as well as numerous other theological works, including those of Hans Urs von Balthasar and Adrienne von Speyr.

Our series recorded at “Casa Balthasar“, a house of discernment for men located in Rome, Italy. The Casa, was founded in 1990 by a group of friends and is directed by Rev. Jacques Servais, S.J.; Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) has been closely associated with the Casa Balthasar from the very beginning as its Cardinal Protector.

Many of Adrienne von Speyr’s books can found through Ignatius Press

 

 

SD9 “Pre-Event” Desolation – Spiritual Desolation: Be Aware, Understand, Take Action with Fr. Timothy Gallagher – Discerning Hearts Podcast

BA6 - "Refuse to Accept Discouragement" - Begin Again: The Spiritual Legacy of Ven. Bruno Lanteri with Fr. Timothy Gallagher

Episode 9  – Fr. Gallagher offers insights on a form of Spiritual Desolation he terms as “Pre-Event” Desolation.  He uses this description to define a type of desolation that can affect someone who, for example, is about to enter into a retreat or pilgrimage, or some type of spiritual or ministry based undertaking.

From  Setting the Captives Free: Personal Reflections on Ignatian Discernment of Spirits

It is liberating to know that spiritual desolation is an ordinary experience in the spiritual life, that every disciple of the Lord for two thousand years—including the canonized saints—has undergone this experience, that there is no shame in experiencing spiritual desolation, that times of spiritual desolation are normal in a well-lived spiritual life (SpirEx 6), and that, therefore, we are not the only ones. Experiencing spiritual desolation is simply part of what it means to live the spiritual life in a fallen, redeemed, and loved world. What does matter is to live the discerning life: to be aware of spiritual desolation when it is present, to name it for the lie of the enemy that it is, and to reject it. The principle focus of these fourteen rules is to help us do precisely that.

You can find this book here

Father Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V., was ordained in 1979 as a member of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, a religious community dedicated to retreats and spiritual formation according to the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.  Fr. Gallagher is featured on the EWTN series “Living the Discerning Life:  The Spiritual Teachings of St. Ignatius of Loyola”. For more information on how to obtain copies of Fr. Gallaghers’s various books and audio which are available for purchase, please visit  his  website:   frtimothygallagher.org

For the other episodes in this series check out Fr. Timothy Gallagher’s “Discerning Hearts” page

IP#324 Christopher Carstens – A Devotional Journey into the Mass on Inside the Pages w/ Kris McGregor Podcast


“A Devotional Journey into the Mass: How Mass Can Become A TIme of Grace, Nourishment, and Devotion” by Christopher Carstens is excellent. A Director of Liturgy and with a rich background in liturgical theology he leads us into the journey of mystagogy and the exploration of the “sacramental principle” which helps us to understand how the invisible God communicates with us through the sensible signs we have in our liturgical celebrations, in particular in the Mass.  In our conversation, he opens the doors to eight elements of the Mass which enrich our spiritual lives in a transformative way when we open ourselves to full and active participation in this sacrament which is the Second Vatican Council called the “source and summit of the Christian life.”

 

You can find the book here

“This book is simply a delight — from its grounding in the sacramental thought of Romano Guardini, through its wonderfully practical, beautifully written, step-by- step ‘how to’ guide to experiencing every key element of the Mass. It’s exactly what the title says it is: a deeply satisfying journey to the heart of Catholic worship.”
Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia

“Christopher Carstens offers a guide at once profound and practical into the ways of full, conscious, and active participation in the Sacred Liturgy. By reading this volume prayerfully and attentively, we can all share more fruitfully in the celebration of Holy Mass.”
William E. Lori, Archbishop of Baltimore

IP#303 – Susan Conroy – Praying with Mother Teresa on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor Podcast

susan_conroy-1What an absolutely wonderful book!  In “Praying with Mother Teresa: Prayers, Insights, and Wisdom of Saint Teresa of Calcutta” author Susan Conroy takes into the depths of her heart through her tremendous devotion to prayer.  Susan is exceptional in sharing the joy of Mother Teresa’s particular charism: “to care for the poorest of the poor”.  Who are the “poorest of the poor”? The answer might surprise you.  Full disclosure is necessary:  I LOVE THIS BOOK!  It has become one of my favorite devotional works, and hopefully one of yours too!  Susan is inspiring as well, an obvious fruit from this beautiful ministry.  Don’t miss!

 

praying-with-mother-teresaYou can get a copy of the book here

From the book description:

Praying with Mother Teresa brings us into the heart of Mother Teresa’s prayer life! Author Susan Conroy, a personal friend of Mother Teresa, gives us a meditative look at Mother Teresa’s insights on suffering, joy, peace, humility, and poverty, and brings us right into the prayer life of one of the most beloved women of our time, Saint Teresa of Calcutta. Each prayer has been carefully, and prayerfully, selected for use in daily prayer. Mother Teresa gave Susan her blessing and approval to share these words and prayers with others “to bring them peace and joy too.”

WM15 – Why Prayer Matters pt. 2- Why it Matters: An Exploration of Faith with Archbishop George Lucas Podcast

Catholic Spiritual Formation - Catholic Spiritual Direction 3

Episode 15  Why Prayer Matters – Why it Matters: An Exploration of Faith with Archbishop George Lucas

In this episode with Archbishop Lucas, we continue the conversation on why prayer matters?

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“…for you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.

St. Augustine, Conf. 1,1,1:PL 32,659-661

 

From Pope Benedict XVI, Wednesday Audience, May 11, 2011

Dear brothers and sisters, we learn to stay more in front of God, God who has revealed himself in Jesus Christ, we learn to recognize in the silence, deep within ourselves, the voice that calls us and leads us to the depths of our existence , the source of life, the source of salvation for us to go beyond the limit of our lives and open ourselves to the extent of God, our relationship with Him who is Infinite Love. 

Dear brothers and sisters, let us learn to pause longer before God, who revealed himself in Jesus Christ, let us learn to recognize in silence, in our own hearts, his voice that calls us and leads us back to the depths of our existence, to the source of life, to the source of salvation, to enable us to go beyond the limitations of our life and to open ourselves to God’s dimension, to the relationship with him, which is Infinite Love.

For more episodes in this series visit the

Why it Matters: An Exploration of Faith with Archbishop George Lucas Podcast page

For more teachings and information about Archbishop George J. Lucas of the Archdiocese of Omaha, visit:   archomaha.org