“What’s a Person to Do? Everyday Decisions That Matter” is an important work for those who seek to navigate through life’s daily choices. Dr. Mark Latkovic, who is a professor of moral and systematic theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, Michigan, does a fantastic job bringing forward basic principles that should be a part of our discernment process in making decisions.- especially when there is no definitive Catholic teaching on a subject. Applying those principles, he then takes a look at 40 different questions and answers. Whether it’s areas of Facebook and Internet interaction, purchasing lottery tickets or giving to particular “charities”, or how we deal with decisions for children and for elderly parents, Dr. Latkovic challenges us to ask important questions and respond to issues with moral virtue. With an engaging and accessible writing style, Dr. Latkovic provides an important resource for us all.
This wonderful little book is a bracing wake-up call to those of us who often overlook the moral dimensions of the decisions we make in everyday life. Mark Latkovic not only wakes us up, but gently guides us through the ethical minefield of contemporary society. —Mary Ann Glendon, Learned Hand Professor of Law at Harvard Law School
This little gem of a book is not only a reliable guide to resolving some of the ethical questions we face in our everyday lives, it is a guidebook to thinking well about decisions that shape our characters. It provides answers to specific ethical problems, but that is only part of the story. What Professor Latkovic is doing is teaching us by example how to think deeply and well about the moral dimensions of our lives. —Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Princeton University
Are you being caught up in the swirl and chaos of fear, violence, and anger assaulting our world today? Father Mauritius Wilde invites us to contemplate the Benedictine understanding of sobriety. He does not advocate for the renunciation of enjoyment, but rather to accept what God has in store for us. This series will shed light on the facets of this ancient and yet up-to-date concept and shows the spiritual and practical significance it can have for us in the current social situation.
From the Gospel of St. Mark 6:
The Death of John the Baptist
14 King Herod heard of it; for Jesus’[b] name had become known. Some[c] said, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him.” 15 But others said, “It is Eli′jah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.” 16 But when Herod heard of it he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.” 17 For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Hero′di-as, his brother Philip’s wife; because he had married her. 18 For John said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.” 19 And Hero′di-as had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not, 20 for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him gladly. 21 But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee. 22 For when Hero′di-as’ daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will grant it.” 23 And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.” 24 And she went out, and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the baptizer.” 25 And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.” 26 And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her. 27 And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave orders to bring his head. He went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother. 29 When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.
Father Mauritius Wilde, OSB, Ph.D., did his philosophical, theological and doctoral studies in Europe. He is the author of several books and directs retreats regularly. He serves as Prior at Sant’Anselmo in Rome.
Tenth Rule. The tenth: Let the one who is in consolation think how he will conduct himself in the desolation which will come after, taking new strength for that time.
Eleventh Rule. The eleventh: Let one who is consoled seek to humble himself and lower himself as much as he can, think- ing of how little he is capable in the time of desolation with- out such grace or consolation. On the contrary, let one who is in desolation think that he can do much with God’s sufficient grace to resist all his enemies, taking strength in his Creator and Lord.
Twelfth Rule. The twelfth: The enemy acts like a woman in being weak when faced with strength and strong when faced with weakness. For, as it is proper to a woman, when she is fighting with some man, to lose heart and to flee when the man confronts her firmly, and, on the contrary, if the man begins to flee, losing heart, the anger, vengeance and ferocity of the woman grow greatly and know no bounds, in the same way, it is proper to the enemy to weaken and lose heart, flee- ing and ceasing his temptations when the person who is exer- cising himself in spiritual things confronts the temptations of the enemy firmly, doing what is diametrically opposed to them; and, on the contrary, if the person who is exercising himself begins to be afraid and lose heart in suffering the temptations, there is no beast so fierce on the face of the earth as the enemy of human nature in following out his damnable intention with such growing malice.
Thirteenth Rule. The thirteenth: Likewise he conducts him- self as a false lover in wishing to remain secret and not berevealed. For a dissolute man who, speaking with evil inten- tion, makes dishonorable advances to a daughter of a good father or a wife of a good husband, wishes his words and persuasions to be secret, and the contrary displeases him very much, when the daughter reveals to her father or the wife to her husband his false words and depraved intention, because he easily perceives that he will not be able to succeed with the undertaking begun. In the same way, when the enemy of human nature brings his wiles and persuasions to the just soul, he wishes and desires that they be received and kept in secret; but when one reveals them to one’s good confessor or to another spiritual person, who knows his deceits and malicious designs, it weighs on him very much, because he perceives that he will not be able to succeed with the mali- cious undertaking he has begun, since his manifest deceits have been revealed.
Fourteenth Rule. The fourteenth: Likewise he conducts him- self as a leader, intent upon conquering and robbing what he desires. For, just as a captain and leader of an army in the field, pitching his camp and exploring the fortifications and defenses of a stronghold, attacks it at the weakest point, in the same way the enemy of human nature, roving about, looks in turn at all our theological, cardinal and moral vir- tues; and where he finds us weakest and most in need for our eternal salvation, there he attacks us and attempts to take us.
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
St. Hildegard and “Conversatio Morum – the Conversion of Life” – The Mystery of Faith in the Wisdom of the Saints
Benedictine Spirituality and Lectio Divina…a “way of being”. In part one of this particular teaching, Dr. Lilles discusses the life St. Hildegard of Bingen and her expression of Benedictine teaching, in particular her vision of the “Iron Mountain.”
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.
Put inward experiences to the test to see if they come from God
Ignatius was passionately fond of reading worldly books of fiction and tales of knight-errantry. When he felt he was getting better, he asked for some of these books to pass the time. But no book of that sort could be found in the house; instead they gave him a life of Christ and a collection of the lives of saints written in Spanish.
By constantly reading these books he began to be attracted to what he found narrated there. Sometimes in the midst of his reading he would reflect on what he had read. Yet at other times he would dwell on many of the things which he had been accustomed to dwell on previously. But at this point our Lord came to his assistance, insuring that these thoughts were followed by others which arose from his current reading.
While reading the life of Christ our Lord or the lives of the saints, he would reflect and reason with himself: “What if I should do what Saint Francis or Saint Dominic did?” In this way he let his mind dwell on many thoughts; they lasted a while until other things took their place. Then those vain and worldly images would come into his mind and remain a long time. This sequence of thoughts persisted with him for a long time.
But there was a difference. When Ignatius reflected on worldly thoughts, he felt intense pleasure; but when he gave them up out of weariness, he felt dry and depressed. Yet when he thought of living the rigorous sort of life he knew the saints had lived, he not only experienced pleasure when he actually thought about it, but even after he dismissed these thoughts, he still experienced great joy. Yet he did not pay attention to this, nor did he appreciate it until one day, in a moment of insight, he began to marvel at the difference. Then he understood his experience: thoughts of one kind left him sad, the others full of joy. And this was the first time he applied a process of reasoning to his religious experience. Later on, when he began to formulate his spiritual exercises, he used this experience as an illustration to explain the doctrine he taught his disciples on the discernment of spirits.
Is Jesus Calling? A Spiritual Guide to Discerning Your Vocational Call with Fr. Paul Hoesing – episode 2: The First Spiritual Lesson: You Must Follow Christ. “Discovering one’s vocation is not a navel-gazing, self-focused, psychological exercise. It’s not about a man figuring something out. It is not about solving a confusing puzzle.”
Questions: Where have you encountered Christ? Where do you experience his loving presence now for you? Where do you feel consciously blessed and grateful for what God has done for you?
The Second Spiritual Lesson: Learn to desire what God desires for you. “All you need is to desire whatever God may desire for you. Remaining true to this desire opens your heart to receive what God wants for you. Then, God Himself will take care of you.”
Questions: Do you trust that God always wants what is best for you? Where do you begin to become afraid of giving God permission to lead you? When do you begin to try to manipulate God to want what you think will make you happy? When that happens, simply say over and over again inside of yourself to the Father, ‘Father, I give you permission to lead me!’ Or ‘Father, I desire your goodness to me.’ Or, ‘Father, I trust you’”
Based on “Is Jesus Calling You To Be A Catholic Priest: A helpful guide”, published by National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Director.
Fr. Paul Hoesing serves at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary as Dean of Seminarians & Director of Human Formation
Is Jesus Calling? A Spiritual Guide to Discerning Your Vocational Call with Fr. Paul Hoesing – episode 1: Introduction – Whether it’s to the priesthood, religious life, married life…discerning what our vocation is can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. Fr. Hoesing discusses what discernment is, what the process is like, and what can help guide us along the way.
Based on “Is Jesus C alling You To Be A Catholic Priest: A helpful guide”, published by National Conference of Diocesan Vocation Director.
Fr. Paul Hoesing serves at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary as Dean of Seminarians & Director of Human Formation
We discovered an incredible audio of a conference talk given in the late 70’s by the Baroness herself, Servant of God Catherine de Hueck Doherty. She is the co-founder of the Madonna House Apostolate and one of our absolute favorite authors. We dare you not to be moved by her words!
Reflection on Catherine’s talk by Deacon Omar Gutierrez:
Catherine de Hueck Doherty speaks with the kind of prophetic fire that one imagines would have poured from the mouth of Isaiah or out of the minds of the early Church fathers. Her spirit and message are as thoroughly Catholic as any you have ever heard. With the kind of salty swagger of a woman who knew what it was to live with the poorest of the poor, she understood intimately what it meant to live the social teaching of the Church. “Service without prayer,” she says, “is paternalism, social service work, something that the poor do not accept.” “In order to do what we must do, in order to be what we must be we have to pray.”
As she loudly asks why it is that our cities do not applaud and cry at the manifest love for the poor that should be there but isn’t, and demands that we pray for the souls of the owners of multi-million dollar corporations, and points out the “stupid” behavior of Church governors she can at the same time turn around and insist that we all have the faith of a St. Perpetua in order to renew the ancient Church. She demands that we pray for our priests who are manifestations of God’s love for us. “We don’t need psychiatrists from our priests. We don’t need counselors from our priests. We need priests to take us by the hand and lead us to sanctity.”
Doherty is a lioness, a spirit that could move mountains. We would all do well to listen to her advice and seek union with Christ in His Church and in obedience to the teachings therein. So, in Catherine’s words, “Get cracking”!
Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God,
did not regard equality with God
something to be grasped.
Rather, he emptied himself,
taking the form of a slave,
coming in human likeness;
and found human in appearance,
he humbled himself,
becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Because of this, God greatly exalted him
and bestowed on him the name
which is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus
every knee should bend,
of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.
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. Teresa of Calcutta. He continues to offer direction and retreats for the sisters of the Missionaries of Charity around the world. Msgr. Esseff encountered St. Padre Pio, who would become a spiritual father to him. He has lived in areas around the world, serving in the Pontifical Missions, a Catholic organization established by 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.
Episode 2 “Why Being Catholic Matters” – Why it Matters: An Exploration of Faith with Archbishop George Lucas
In this episode, we discuss “Why Being Catholic Matters.” Archbishop Lucas also talks about the “Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults” and in particular “The Rite of Election” where those who are seeking to be brought into full communion with the Catholic Church are received by the bishop of a diocese. The activity of grace which is experienced in our sacramental activity is touched upon by Archbishop Lucas, as well as the Period of Purification and Enlightenment which touches on our experience of Lent today. He also responds to some of the challenges which may confront Catholics out in the world and what our response should be.
Basing itself on scripture and tradition, it teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and baptism (cf. Mk. 16:16; Jn. 3:5), and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it, or to remain in it.