Conference 5 – The Trinitarian Reality of Self-Giving Love /w Msgr. Esseff & Sr. Cor Immaculatum Heffernan

Conference 5 – The Trinitarian Reality of Self-Giving Love /w Msgr. Esseff & Sr. Cor Immaculatum Heffernan – Discerning Hearts Online Retreat

Retreat Directors: Monsignor John A. Esseff and Sister Cor Immaculatum Heffernan, IHM

Conference Five

Our Call to Prayer Is Essential…

#2565 CCC
“In the New Covenant, prayer is the living relationship of the children of od with their Father who is god beyond measure, with his Son Jesus Christ, and with the Holy Spirit. The grace of the Kingdom is “the union of the entire holy and royal Trinity…with the whole human spirit”. The life of prayer is the habit of being in the presence of the thrice-holy God and in communion with him. This communion of life is always possible because, through Baptism, we have already been united with Christ. Prayer is Christian insofar as it is communion with Christ and extends throughout the Church, which is his Body. Its dimensions are those of Christ’s love.”

“Great talent is a gift from God, but it is a gift which is by no means necessary in order to pray well. This gift is required in order to converse well with men, but it is not necessary in order to speak well with God. For that, one needs good desires and nothing more”. – St. John of the Cross

“We cannot put ourselves directly in the presence of God if we do not practice internal and external silence. In silence we will find new energy and true unity.
Silence gives us a new outlook on everything. The essential thing is not what we say but what God says to us and through us. In that silence, He will listen to us; there He will speak to our soul, and there we will hear His voice.
– St. Theresa of Calcutta – In the Heart of the World

St. John Paul II recommended that we reflect on the spirit of the home of Nazareth, the spirit of Mary – remembering and embracing in a single gaze of faith, the mystery of the Word made flesh…the spirit of Joseph – in contemplative silence – listening to the word of God.

Prayer is person-to-person communication with God.
There are three aspects of genuine prayer:
AWARENESS of God’s presence, acknowledging it, admitting that God has breathed life and being into me and all the things around me;
GRATITUDE for the Holy Spirit living within me, and for all that God is and is doing for me;
LOVING RESPONSE to God’s unique, unconditional love for me by loving Him in return

Note: the distinction between meditating on and communicating with…

Contemplative Prayer – encounter with the Living God within us.

FIVE KEYWORDS:

  • BE THERE WANT HIM 
  • LISTEN TO HIM 
  • LET HIM 
  • RESPOND TO HIM

Contemplative prayer is more listening to and being aware of God, our Father, rather than saying or doing anything. It is more something that God does for us than anything we do for Him. It is consciously being with Him and letting Him be for us the loving God that He is, letting Him fill us with His Spirit, and letting Jesus become more and more alive and real to us. Armond Nigro, S.J. – Prayer – a Personal Response to God’s Presence.

A R R R – Acknowledge…Relate…Receive…Respond

Suggested Scripture passages for personal prayer and reflection:

Isaiah 43: 1-7
Jeremiah 29: 11-14
John 15: 9

1 Samuel 3: 10
Luke 11: 1-13
Matthew 6: 5-15

Msgr. John A. Esseff is a Roman Catholic priest in the Diocese of Scranton. He 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.  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. He is a founding member of the Pope Leo XIII Institute. He continues to serve as a retreat leader and director to bishops, priests and sisters and seminarians, and other religious leaders.

Sister Cor Immaculatum Heffernan, IHM is a member of the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Scranton, PA. “ She holds several degrees: a Bachelor of Arts in English/Art and a Master of Science degree in Counseling, both from Marywood; a Master of Arts degree in Sculpture from the University of Notre Dame; and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Illustration from Syracuse University. Her multi-faceted life is in itself a masterpiece: she is a teacher, a mentor, and a consultant; she is a sculptor, a harpist, a calligrapher, and a creator of mosaics; she is a counselor, a spiritual director, and above all, she is a servant of God to others”.

IP#360 Fr. Wade Menezes C.F.M. – Overcoming the Evil Within part 1 on Inside the Pages w/Kris McGregor Podcast

Fr. Wade Menezes Podcast

Fr. Wade Menezes C.F.M. – Overcoming the Evil Within part 1 on Inside the Pages w/Kris McGregor Podcast

With the incredible Fr. Wade Menezes we discuss “Overcoming the Evil Within.”  This is episode 1 of our two-part conversation.

You can find the book here

From the book description:

We all recognize that we are sinners. We constantly strive to do God’s will, and when we fall short, we go to the confessional to experience God’s healing mercy in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Yet for all too many of us, when our sins are washed away, the shame of sin may linger on our hearts and plague us even as we resolve anew to follow Christ. This shame is one of Satan’s most insidious means of separating us from God’s love and forgiveness.

With gentleness and wisdom, Fr. Wade Menezes of the Fathers of Mercy shows you how to overcome your shame of sin and surrender to God’s mercy. Far from ignoring the reality of sin, Fr. Menezes illustrates the consequences of evil and vice, while reminding you that however great your sin may be, God’s goodness is greater. At every moment, He is calling you to Himself. He seeks your love and desires you, with all your sins and all your shame.

More from Fr. Wade Menezes:  IP#320 Fr. Wade Menezes C.F.M. – The Four Last Things on Inside the Pages

 

IP#295 Dr. Peter Kreeft – How to be Holy on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

Peter KreeftOnce again a spiritual classic has been given to us from the prolific Catholic philosopher Dr. Peter Kreeft!.  “How to be Holy: First Steps in Becoming a Saint” derives it’s direction from the incredible “Abandonment to Divine Providence” by Jean-Pierre de Caussade, S.J.  and it’s simple message that God reveals himself through the daily events of our lives.  How we respond is the key to faith and our opportunity to grow in holiness.  Do you place your trust the Father’s will?  Can you respond in love?  Do you truly believe Romans 8:28 “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose” (RSV)?  To be holy, we must take the first step…Dr. Kreeft shows us the way.  Outstanding!

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You can find the book here

From the book description:

The ever-popular and prolific Peter Kreeft says that the most important question he has written about is how one becomes holy; or to put it another way, how one becomes a saint. This question is central to all the great religions, Kreeft demonstrates, for striving toward holiness, moving toward perfect love, is the whole purpose of life.

Kreeft admits that he is only a beginner on the climb to holiness, and it is to novices like him that he has written this engaging and encouraging book. Using the insights and experiences of saints and great spiritual writers throughout history, Kreeft shows what holiness is and how it can be achieved.

Listening for God in Everyday Life – Dr. Joseph White on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor Podcast Special

Just the right book and just the right time.  I am delighted to be joined by Dr. Joseph White Ph.D. to discuss “Listening for God in Everyday Life.” At a time when so many are anxious and afraid, this timely new book shines a bright light in all the areas where God is seeking to console and guide us.  At a time when we may be asking “Where are you, God?”, Dr. White helps us to see the many unexpected ways in which God is present and waiting to touch our lives.  If we can begin to hear and see God in all things our relationship deepens with one who knows us better than ourselves.  We realize we are not alone, especially in our fears and struggles.  Dr. White is a nationally recognized clinical psychologist and a deep man of prayer.  He offers practical insights and questions for us to reflect on to aid our ability to listen with the ears of our hearts.

You can find the book here

From the book description:

In Listening for God in Everyday Life, author, speaker, and psychologist Joseph White shows us how to listen for God in this noisy, chaotic world. God is speaking to us all the time, but we have to learn to hear his voice. Drawing on his personal experience, Joseph reveals the means God uses to speak directly to our hearts. Some of these may even surprise you! They include

Silence
Gifts and Talents
Scripture
Creation
Humor
Tradition
Art

Liturgy
Saints
Struggle
Children
Relationship
People in Need

When we learn to hear it, God’s voice opens our hearts to his love, deepening our relationship with the one who knows us better than we know ourselves.

How is God speaking to you?

Fasting, Almsgiving and the Liturgy of the Hours during Lent – Msgr. John Esseff Discerning Hearts Podcast


Msgr. Esseff teaches the importance of fasting, almsgiving and the Liturgy of the Hours during the season of Lent.  He shares his experience of fasting in a desert found in Peru. From this he learned the importance of FASTING and PRAYER.  Msgr. Esseff challenges us to discern what the Father in Heaven is asking us to do this Lent through fasting, so we can purely and perfectly follow His Holy Will.  And he describes ALMSGIVING, and story from an experience he had with Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity Sisters.

The Church prepares a spiritual retreat for all of us during Lent.  The Holy Spirit is transforming you in a radical way so that you become more like Jesus Christ…the day by day exercise of Morning Prayer, the Eucharist and Evening Prayer, Fasting and Almsgiving, and the other moments of contemplative prayer aids in the transformation…our ego decreases and Jesus increases in our minds and in our hearts.

Pray the Liturgy of Hours

Morning Prayer
Mid-morningPrayer
Mid-dayPrayer
Afternoon Prayer
Evening Prayer
Night Prayer
Office of Readings

IP#358 Fr. Donald Haggerty – Contemplative Engimas on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor Podcast


Fr. Donald Haggerty Contemplative Podcast
What a delight to be joined once again by Fr. Donald Haggerty!  He has become one of our favorite spiritual writers of our present-day!  In this episode, we discuss “Contemplative Engimas:  Insights and Aid on the Path to Deeper Prayer.”  We cannot more highly recommend this beautiful work. If all you do is read a couple of pages a day that would more then enough for you to feel like you’ve been sitting at the feet of a spiritual master for an entire day!  Every page is a gem!

Contemplative enigmas Donald Haggerty PodcastYou can find the book here

From the book description:

Despite signs in recent decades of a crisis in the Church, a countercurrent of intense interest in prayer and serious spiritual life is clearly at work today. A deeper esteem for a contemplative dimension of spiritual life has accompanied this turning to prayer, and many people have a need for some form of direction and guidance. Written by a recognized expert on contemplative spirituality, this book concentrates on the mystery of interior trial and difficulty in contemplative prayer. The hardships experienced in the interior life by souls who give themselves to God wholeheartedly are often little acknowledged; yet they are seen with some regularity in contemplative lives. This work offers more than a summary of the symptoms of trial in a contemplative spirituality. The poignant observations have a source in the author’s long years of experience in retreat work with souls of contemplative depth. Personal experience, not simply knowledge of the spiritual tradition, informs these insightful reflections. The concise, carefully crafted comments of this book delve into spiritual difficulties and conundrums in a uniquely personal and penetrating manner. Throughout the book, the writing invites the reader to ponder the subject of spiritual darkness and perplexity and simple struggle in the spiritual life always in the light of the loving hand of God drawing the soul into a greater surrender to himself. The work offers a unique aid and stimulus in the quest for a deeper spirituality.


Other conversations with Fr. Haggerty on Inside the Pages:

Fr. Donald Haggerty -Contemplative Hunger on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor

Fr. Donald Haggerty – Conversion on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor Podcast
 

“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.

SPECIAL EDITION – The Contemplation to Attain the Love of God – complete/without interruption w/ Fr. Timothy Gallagher, O.M.V. Podcast

This is a special edition of the reflection offered by Fr. Timothy Gallagher on the “Contemplation to Attain the love of God” by St. Ignatius of Loyola as found in the “Spiritual Exercises.” What we original provided to you as two separate episodes, we now combine into a single extended episode without interruption. We hope this will enhance your experience of this Ignatian exercise.BA6 - "Refuse to Accept Discouragement" - Begin Again: The Spiritual Legacy of Ven. Bruno Lanteri with Fr. Timothy Gallagher

CONTEMPLATION TO ATTAIN THE LOVE OF GOD

The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, [1914], at sacred-texts.com

Note. First, it is well to remark two things: the first is that love ought to be put more in deeds than in words.

The second, love consists in the interchange between the two parties; that is to say in the lover’s giving and communicating to the beloved what he has or out of what he has or can; and so contrary, the beloved to the lover. So that if the one has the knowledge, he gives to the one who has it not. The same of honors, of riches; and so the one to the other.

CONTEMPLATION TO GAIN LOVE

Prayer. The usual Prayer.

First Prelude. The first Prelude is a composition, which is here to see how I am standing before God our Lord, and of the Angels and of the Saints interceding for me.

Second Prelude. The second, to ask for what I want. It will be here to ask for interior knowledge of so great good received, in order that being entirely grateful, I may be able in all to love and serve His Divine Majesty.


First Point. The First Point is, to bring to memory the benefits received, of Creation, Redemption and particular gifts, pondering with much feeling how much God our Lord has done for me, and how much He has given me of what He has, and then the same Lord desires to give me Himself as much as He can, according to His Divine ordination.

And with this to reflect on myself, considering with much reason and justice, what I ought on my side to offer and give to His Divine Majesty, that is to say, everything that is mine, and myself with it, as one who makes an offering with much feeling:

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory, my intellect, and all my will — all that I have and possess. Thou gavest it to me: to Thee, Lord, I return it! All is Thine, dispose of it according to all Thy will. Give me Thy love and grace, for this is enough for me.


Second Point. The second, to look how God dwells in creatures, in the elements, giving them being, in the plants vegetating, in the animals feeling in them, in men giving them to understand: and so in me, giving me being, animating me, giving me sensation and making me to understand; likewise making a temple of me, being created to the likeness and image of His Divine Majesty; reflecting as much on myself in the way which is said in the first Point, or in another which I feel to be better. In the same manner, will be done on each Point which follows.


Third Point. The third, to consider how God works and labors for me in all things created on the face of the earth — that is, behaves like one who labors — as in the heavens, elements, plants, fruits, cattle, etc., giving them being, preserving them, giving them vegetation and sensation, etc.

Then to reflect on me.

 

Fourth Point. The fourth, to look how all the good things and gifts descend from above, as my poor power from the supreme and infinite power from above; and so justice, goodness, pity, mercy, etc.; as from the sun descend the rays, from the fountain the waters, etc.

Then to finish reflecting on myself, as has been said.


I will end with a Colloquy and an OUR FATHER.

Be sure to check out Fr. Timothy Gallaghers latest book

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 other Discerning Hearts Fr. Timothy Gallagher Podcasts visit here

In Conversation with Fr. Benedict Groeschel – The Virtue Driven Life – Discerning Hearts Catholic Podcast


Bruce and I were deeply blessed to have a conversation with the late Fr. Benedict Groeschel on “The Virtue Driven Life“. Engaging, humble, funny, and saintly, Fr. Groeschel has left us such a tremendous legacy of teaching on the spiritual life! In this conversation, we discuss the three theological virtues: faith, hope, and charity; as well as the four cardinal virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance.  Fr. Groeschel, always practical, shares the wisdom of a spiritual father which illuminates more clearly the travails of the spiritual journey.  How blessed were we to have such a spiritual master in our midst!

May eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May Fr. Benedict Groeschel, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen!

 

 

You can find the book here

From the book description:

Since when is being called “virtuous” an insult?

It’s a word that has gotten a bad rap, misused and misunderstood even by great thinkers, philosophers, and theologians, and mocked in the cynical sound bites of the media.

Rediscover virtue as it should be understood in our lives. With wit, warmth, and wisdom, Father Groeschel reintroduces the seven virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude, temperance, faith, hope, and charity. One by one he makes them meaningful for modern men and women, shaking off the dusty mantle of pretentiousness and demonstrating how each has a real role in a whole and holy life.

Father Groeschel’s charming conversational style entertains even as he educates and challenges us. History, politics, an advertisement, the neighbor down the street … all are reference points for Father Groeschel as he explores the meaning of each virtue for Christians today. By the end of the book, you will understand that being labeled virtuous is the ultimate compliment!

 

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