Conference 2: Healing Gifts and Transforming Moments – Yearning for Healing /w Msgr. John Esseff & Sr. Cor Immaculatum Heffernan

Conference 2: Healing Gifts and Transforming Moments – Yearning for Healing /w Msgr. Esseff & Sr. Cor Immaculatum Heffernan – Discerning Hearts Online Retreat

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

Conference 2: Healing Gifts and Transforming Moments

    1. Unity of Jesus in Heaven with the Church on Earth through

    Baptism…with Mary as the one who connects/joins/links the Body on earth with Jesus, the Head.

    1. Mary’s love for the people of earth: encouraging, teaching, warning, appearing, interceding
      • Message to Juan Diego

    My dearest son, hear and let it penetrate into your heart: Let nothing discourage you, nothing depress you.

    Let nothing trouble your heart or your mind.

    Do not fear any illness or worry, anxiety or pain. Am I not here who am your Mother?

    Are you not under my shadow and protection?

    Are you not in the folds of my mantle, in the crossing of my arms? Is there anything else that you need?

    During these past months of pandemic – in isolation and uncertainty we have come face-to-face with our beautiful yet fragile world. We have come to realize more deeply than ever before that we are living in a world of poverty, pain, illness, grief, and death…in a world of uncertainty, division, injustice, anger, and frustration…in a world of spiritual darkness where peoples are yearning for light…where there is so much need for healing.

    Now is the time to live with courage, to accept our individual brokenness, to embrace our own wounded-ness – physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual – and to seek healing. Only then can we put our wounded-ness at the service of others. Only then can we become

    WOUNDED HEALERS.

    1. Transforming Moments when people encounter Jesus in their lives
      • Mark 5: 1-­‐20  -­‐ Healing of the Gerasene Demoniac

    After healing, Jesus sent him home to proclaim the power of Jesus.

    Today, the power of Jesus to drive out devils resides in His exorcists.

    Acts 9: 1-­‐22   Conversion of Saul powerful transformation Once he encountered Jesus, he became Paul, enflamed with Divine love

    Many Saints had transforming encounters with Jesus in their lives and radiated Christ, shining forth with the Divine Power of grace. They are beautiful examples for us -­‐ and powerful intercessors for our healing.

    1. Sources of Healing
      • The power of the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Holy Eucharist
      • The power of healing in the Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick
      • The power of healing prayer, novenas, Rosary, Stations of the Cross
      • Sacramentals: Sign of the Cross, holy water, blessings
      • Devotional prayer
      • Prayer and protection of the angels
    1. Building a Kingdom of Love Msgr. John A. Esseff Someday Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.

    (see quotations in Handouts)

    Suggestion for personal reflection and prayer

    1. Can I recall some transforming moment in my life where I personally encountered Jesus’ love for me?
    2. How has it changed me, impacted my life?

    HANDOUTS: Quotes

    Building a Kingdom of Love -­‐ Msgr. John A. Esseff

    “A war is raging. Heaven and hell are on a collision course. Because

    many of Jesus’ soldiers are wounded, we need healing. After the healing comes the conquest of love. Muslims are not the enemy. Sinners are not the enemy. Satan is the enemy.

    At first we will be a rag-tag army. Vicious enemies will come against us but we will never abandon the struggle to place the light of Jesus’ love in the lampstand of the world.

    Our weaknesses do not matter. We are earthen vessels, but held by Jesus. Let us work to establish Jesus’ Universal Kingdom of Love. If you believe that the reign of the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart will cover the whole world, it will take place.”

    _________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Someday -­‐ Teilhard de Chardin, S.J.

    SOME DAY

    after mastering the winds, the waves,

    the tides and gravity,

    we will harness for GOD the energies of LOVE and then…

    for the second time in the history of the world

    man will have discovered

    FIRE


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”.

Conference 1: Gifts of the Holy Spirit – Yearning for Healing /w Msgr. John Esseff & Sr. Cor Immaculatum Heffernan

Conference 1: Gifts of the Holy Spirit – Yearning for Healing /w Msgr. Esseff & Sr. Cor Immaculatum Heffernan – Discerning Hearts Online Retreat

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

Conference 1: Gifts of the Holy Spirit

  1. Opening Prayer:

Praise of the God the Father, Creator of our world…

God the Son…Redeemer who established His Body, the Church and God the Holy Spirit who has gifted us to minister to others

  1. We, the baptized in this time of need look up to heaven to Mary…and pray: Hail, Holy Queen
  1. We are all in need of healing…we are all wounded…

God has not left us orphans… but has given us gifts in Baptism and Confirmation, gifts for us to use to minister to others, to teach, to heal, to preach, to serve…

  1. 1 Cor: 12: 4-­‐11  -­‐ Different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit
  1. Called to holiness in our different vocations in life healing power of blessings and prayer
    • Single life examples of holiness
    • Religious life – “ “ “
    • Married life
      • Parents called to bless their children, throughout their lives, family prayer,
      • Baptism blessing of child by the family, community of the Church
  1. Blessings in the Old Testament through all generations
    • Genesis 26: 1-­‐5 Isaac’s blessing of Abimelech
    • Genesis 27: 26-­‐29 Isaac’s blessing of Jacob
    • Genesis 49: 25-­‐26 Jacob’s blessing of his sons
    • Exodus 20: 6 God’s blessing to Moses -­‐ the 10 Commandments
    • Numbers: 6:24-­‐27 Blessing of the priests
  2. Through the union of Baptism, we the Church Militant in the world today -­‐ are surrounded by the Church Triumphant and the Church Suffering -­‐ our prayers to them for their assistance are powerful

2

  1. Pope Francis’ decree that Latin-­‐rite Catholics observe the feast “Mary, Mother of the Church” on the Monday after Pentecost.  John 19: 25-­‐31 (see quote in handouts)
  1. Matthew 5: 1-­‐12   The Beatitudes

The Beatitudes are our challenge, our call to live the Gospel today…to LOVE everyone in the entire world

10) The Holy Spirit has given us many gifts…the Greatest Gift is LOVE– all healing is because of LOVE…healing comes through love

Paul’s exhortation: 1 Cor 13: 1-­‐13

Suggestions for individual reflection and prayer:

1, Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the special gifts that you have been given…make a list of them

  • How can I use those gifts for others?
  1. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you the special gifts He has given to your spouse,,,your children…your grandchildren…your friend/neighbor
    • How can I affirm them?
  2. Reflect on the personal challenge to you to LOVE everyone as you are called in 1 Cor: 13: 1-­‐13.  Prayerfully, make a resolution.

HANDOUT: Quote

MARY, MOTHER OF THE CHURCH

Awaiting the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the first disciples were had perfectly

accepted and made fruitful the singular grace with which importantly, the grace of being the Mother of God. All of the Church’s children can admire her complete docility to the action of the Holy Spirit: faultless docility in faith and transparent humility. Mary, therefore, testifies fully to the obedient and faithful reception of every gift of the Holy Spirit.

Moreover, as the Second Vatican Council teaches, the Virgin Mary, by her maternal charity, “cares for the brethren of her Son, who still journey on earth surrounded by dangers and cares, until they are led into the happiness of their true home”.[117] Since she “let herself be guided by the Holy Spirit on a journey of faith towards a destiny of service and fruitfulness, today we look to her and ask her to help us proclaim the message of salvation to all and to enable new disciples to become evangelizers in turn”.[118]

For this reason, Mary is recognized as the Mother of the Church and we, powerful intercession, the charisms, abundantly bestowed by the Holy Spirit among the faithful, may be received with docility and bear fruit for the life and mission of the Church and for the good of the world.

The Sovereign Pontiff Francis, in the Audience granted to the undersigned

Cardinal Prefect on 14 March 2016, approved the present Letter, adopted in the Plenary Session of this Congregation, and ordered its publication.

Rome, from the Offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, May

15, 2016, the Solemnity of Pentecost.


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”.

Conference 9 – The Trinitarian Reality of Self-Giving Love /w Msgr. Esseff & Sr. Cor Immaculatum Heffernan

Conference 9 – 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 Nine

Unity in the Mystical Body of Christ

“Peace soon filled my soul, and I knew that I was loved, not only by those on earth but by those in heaven, too”. St. Therese

Theologians have long taught that the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, has three states: suffering, militant and triumphant.

The Church, the Mystical Body, exists on this earth, and is called the Church militant, because its members struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil. The Church suffering means the souls in Purgatory. The Church triumphant is the Church in heaven. The unity and cooperation of the members of the Church on earth, in Purgatory, in Heaven is also called the Communion of Saints.

Angel Power

As Persons of Faith We Stand Together in HOPE…
…because God’s dream and our response to the call of the Gospel in these times demand it.
The creativity of the Spirit is at work in living systems…the Spirit is deep within, making all things new.
Leading with the Spirit necessitates openness to vulnerability, ongoing self-discovery, and growth.
As strong Christian leaders, we stand as servants to the human spirit and to the guiding force of God’s Spirit.

You can view all the video presentations for this retreat on the Discerning Hearts YouTube Channel by clicking this link:

The Trinitarian Reality of Self-Giving Love /w Msgr. Esseff & Sr. Cor Immaculatum Heffernan on YouTube


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”.

Conference 8 – The Trinitarian Reality of Self-Giving Love /w Msgr. Esseff & Sr. Cor Immaculatum Heffernan

Conference 8 – 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 Eight

Sacrament of Anointing of the Sick

Throughout the New Testament, there are numerous accounts of Jesus’ tender love for the poor, the sinner, the crippled, the dying, the sick. The Gospel of St. Luke is filled with Jesus’ healing touch:
• Healing of the centurion’s slave Luke 7: 1-10
• Raising of the widow’s son Luke 7: 11-15
• Healing of the Gerasene demoniac Luke 8: 40-48
• Raising of Jairus’ daughter Luke 9: 40-42, 51-56
• Healing of woman with hemorrhage Luke 9: 42-50
• Healing of boy with a demon Luke 9: 37-43

Graces of the Holy Spirit are received in seed form in the Sacrament of Baptism and in fullness in the sacrament of Confirmation. – 1 Corinthians 12: 8-11

One of the gifts we have received is the gift of healing. Our world is beautiful and fragile and in need of healing… as human beings we are beautiful and fragile and in need of healing.

Among different kinds of healings are the following:
• physical…mental…emotional…spiritual…relational…
• generational…genetic…memories…imagination…
• vows…grief/loss…addiction…sexual

Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone in good spirits? He should sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? He should summon the presbyters of the church, and they should pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord and the prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will raise him up. If he has committed any sins, they will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. – James 5: 13-16


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”.

Conference 7 – The Trinitarian Reality of Self-Giving Love /w Msgr. Esseff & Sr. Cor Immaculatum Heffernan

Conference 7 – 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 Seven

Called to Forgiveness

# 2712 CCC
“Contemplative Prayer is the prayer of the child of God, of the forgiven
sinner who agrees to welcome the love by which he is loved and who
wants to respond to it by loving even more. But he knows that the love he
is returning is poured out by the Spirit in his heart, for everything is grace
from God.”

Old Testament: prophets – historical books – retribution, retaliation
New Testament: Jesus – forgiveness

…“So will my heavenly Father do to you, unless each of you forgives his brother from his heart”. – Matt.18: 20-35

Fruits of unforgiveness:

fracturing of persons, families, relationships, generations, nations

…led by anger and pain
…directed by negative memories
…do not act freely
…keep controlling grasp on situations and people
…pressured by lives of tension and stress
…resentment – re-sentire – to feel again

Are you called to forgive? True forgiveness:
• Is a decision
• Is unconditional
• Is showing mercy even when the act was deliberate
• Is taking the other where he/she is
• Is taking the risk of getting hurt again
• Is accepting an apology
• Is choosing to love

Having been forgiven of our sinfulness, we are called to forgive others.


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”.

Conference 6 – The Trinitarian Reality of Self-Giving Love /w Msgr. Esseff & Sr. Cor Immaculatum Heffernan

Conference 6 – 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

[powerful]

Conference Six

The Mystery of Personal Sinfulness

#2563 CCC
“The heart is the dwelling-place where I am, where I live; according to the Semitic or Biblical expression, the heart is the place ‘to which I withdraw’. The heart is our hidden center, beyond the grasp of our reason and of others; only the Spirit of God can fathom the human heart and know it fully. The heart is the place of decision, deeper than our psychic drives. It is the place of truth where we choose life or death. It is the place of encounter, because as image of God we live in relation: it is the place of covenant”.

#2847 CCC
The Holy Spirit makes us discern between trials, which are necessary for the growth of the inner man, and temptation which leads to sin and death. We must also discern between being tempted and consenting to temptation. Finally, discernment unmasks the lie of temptation, whose object appears to be good, a “delight to the eyes” and desirable, when in reality its fruit is death.

James 1: 12-18 – Blessed is the man who perseveres in temptation…

Temptation

God does not want to impose the good, but wants free beings…there is a certain usefulness to temptation. No one but God knows what our soul has received from him, not even ourselves. But temptation reveals it in order to teach us to know ourselves, and in this way we discover our evil inclinations and are obliged to give thanks for the goods that temptation has revealed to us.

Dealing with the Devil …

#1848 CCC
As St. Paul affirms, “Where sin increased, grace abounded all the more”. But to do its work grace must uncover sin so as to convert our hearts and bestow on us
“righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord”. Like a physician
who probes the wound before treating it, God, by his Word and by his Spirit, casts a living light on sin.

Conversion requires convincing of sin; it includes the interior judgment of conscience, and this, being a proof of the action of the Spirit of truth in man’s inmost being, becomes at the same time the start of a new grant of grace and love: “Receive the Holy Spirit”. Thus in this “convincing concerning sin” we discover a double gift: the gift of truth of conscience and the gift of certainty of redemption. The Spirit of truth is the Consoler”.
Of ourselves we can do nothing… Ephesians 6: 10-17

The Holy Spirit is the sanctifier and it is through the power of the Holy Spirit that I may recognize what prevents me from being fully alive…and that I may feel sorrow for any inner lies or attitudes of heart that prevent me from receiving and staying with Your love for me, Lord

Examination of Core Wounds,  Attitudes,  Capital Sins

Sinfulness and the Mercy of God

“God never tires of forgiving us; we are the ones who tire of seeking his mercy…Time and time again he bears us on his shoulders. No one can strip us of the dignity bestowed upon us by this boundless and unfailing love. With a tenderness that never disappoints, but is always capable of restoring our joy, he makes it possible for us to lift up our heads and to start anew. Let us not flee from the resurrection of Jesus; let us never give up…come what will. May
nothing inspire us more than his life, which impels us forward.
– Pope Francis The Joy of the Gospel


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”.

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”.

Conference 4 – The Trinitarian Reality of Self-Giving Love /w Msgr. Esseff & Sr. Cor Immaculatum Heffernan

Conference 4 – 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 Four

The Principle and Foundation/Discernment of Spirits

If a person is to be helped to make good choices or to reform his/her life, the “why” and the “wherefore” of creation must be clearly understood.

The true spiritual foundation of life is the acceptance of the truth that we were made to praise, reverence, and serve God. We are to choose only what God wants us to choose…to be “unrestrictedly ready for whatever God wants for us”.

As the foundation of Judeo-Christian beliefs, traditions and laws, the Bible contains a range of stories that highlight humans’ relationships with each other and with God. In many instances, biblical stories depict conflicts between the expectations of God and the actions of humankind. It is often within these stories of disobedience that significant lessons regarding actions and outcomes can be found.

All things on the face of the earth are created with a view to us; they are many proofs of the Creator’s esteem and care for us. All things on the face of the earth have been created to help us, to be of service to us. This brings out the sovereignty of human beings over the whole of creation.

However, because of original sin, we are fallen creatures who are by no means able to handle well all created things. The only things that were left to Adam and Eve after their disobedience were human life and free will. Whatever has been made and given to us constitutes a potential danger – even good things like health, riches, honor, a long life.

Those who desire from their hearts to be united with the will of God, so as to
gain salvation, must of necessity serve God and His only begotten Son with their
whole minds and with an entire will. “Perfection is neither more nor less than the soul’s faithful co-operation with God.” (Jean Pierre De Caussade)

Discernment of Spirits

Galatians 5: 16 “If you are guided by the Spirit (Holy Spirit) you will be in no danger of yielding to self-indulgence…by their fruits you shall know them.”

Discernment means to sift through, distinguish, separate and divide the interior movements that result from a lifelong relationship with God. It is the process of noticing, paying attention to one’s feelings, thoughts, experiences, and relationships. Discernment is the process of distinguishing between/among two or more good paths, directions or choices. It is the disciplined inner work of an individual or group to sift through what is a private/personal good and what is the common good – for something greater than oneself.

St. Ignatius’ Principles for Making Prayerful Decisions – 7 basic attitudes:
openness, generosity, courage, interior freedom, habit of prayerful reflection,
having one’s priorities straight, not confusing ends with the means.

Fundamental Question:
What does God want of me? To find God’s Will.
1 John 4: 1-6 In this text, John points out different spirits; one has to test
them to see if they come from God…to try to discern them.

John distinguishes the “world”. He means there are two principles operating in a person: 1) true: God loves the world
2) false: language of the world, stressing what you do, not who you are…avoid suffering…you must succeed
…you must achieve…you cannot fail

GOOD —-EVIL Spirit. These are not entirely identified with the common
meanings. They may come from within or outside.

GOOD SPIRIT (interior or exterior) John: “Every spirit which acknowledges
that Jesus the Christ has come in the flesh…is from God.”

EVIL SPIRIT (interior: Sum total of all refusal to love in the human condition
F(rom Adam to each one’s personal history)
(exterior: false principles of the world
GOOD SPIRIT …moves us to Christ-centeredness
…moves us to self-sacrifice
…moves us to look constantly beyond self
…follows Christ’s spirit: selflessness, openness, service
to others
…moves us to realize our need for salvation
…spirit of truth, spirit of love

EVIL SPIRIT …follows the devil’s spirit, the false principles of the world
…self-indulgence
…self-centeredness
…selfishness
…turning in on oneself, anxiety, turmoil

FRUITS OF THE GOOD SPIRIT:
…love …gentleness
…joy …goodness
…peace …trustfulness
…patience …self-control
…kindness

THE EVIL SPIRIT brings:
…disagreement …turmoil
…jealousy …discouragement
…wrong-doing …anxiety etc.

In the process of discernment there are two basic assumptions:

1) There are 3 kinds of movement taking place in our being:
– my own thoughts and ideas
– these are influenced by the Good Spirit
– these are influenced by the Evil Spirit

2) We believe in the indwelling of the Holy Spirit; we are temples
of the Holy Spirit who:

…moves us to realize our need for salvation
…arouses in us a sense of sinfulness in the human situation grounded in
acceptance of the compassionate, loving God
…leads us to grateful acceptance of the redeeming love of Christ and the
power of His Spirit

When the Good Spirit, moving me from outside (e.g. Scripture, good example,
etc.) brings peace and harmony, then I am in tune with the Holy Spirit. Being
at peace and urged to love (go beyond self) are signs of the Good Spirit.

Movements of the spirit are not sins; they are just movements back and across
my being. We call them feelings, emotions, experiences.

Suggested Scripture passages for personal prayer and reflection:

Deuteronomy 30: 15-20
2 Corinthians 6: 14-16
Mark 12:30


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”.

 

Conference 3 – The Trinitarian Reality of Self-Giving Love /w Msgr. Esseff & Sr. Cor Immaculatum Heffernan

Conference 3 – 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 Three

God, the Holy Spirit, Sanctifier

The glory that believers are destined to share with Christ far exceeds the sufferings of this present life. The destiny of the created world is linked with the future that belongs to believers; as it shares in the corruption brought about by sin, so it will share in the benefits of redemption and future glory that comprise the ultimate liberation of God’s people.

After patient endurance in steadfast expectation, the full harvest of the Spirit’s presence will be realized. – Romans 8: 22-27, 38-39

As Catholics, we are called to be witnesses to our faith in the way we live our lives. “On the one hand our actions engender hope for us and for others but, at the same time, it is the great hope based upon God’s promises that gives us courage and directs our action in good times and bad.” – Pope Benedict XVI, Spe Salve 48 #

1296 CCC “It is God who establishes us with you in Christ and has commanded us; He has put his seal on us and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. This seal of the Holy Spirit marks our total belonging to Christ, our enrollment in his service forever, as well as the promise of divine protection in the great eschatological trial”.

Confirmation, the Sacrament of Ministry – Ephesians 1: 11-14

Confirmation graces are adult powers to build up our brothers and sisters that, when used, produce great fruit in our own lives

Suggested Scripture passages for personal prayer and reflection:

Romans 8: 22-27
Ephesians 1: 11-14
1 Corinthians 12


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”.

 

Conference 2 – The Trinitarian Reality of Self-Giving Love /w Msgr. Esseff & Sr. Cor Immaculatum Heffernan

Conference 2 – 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 Two

God the Son, Redeemer

SALVATION can only be understood by God’s redeeming love…the Divine choosing to become human, opening humankind to participation in the Divine life. – Colossians 1: 15-20

The Divine Plan – with Infinite Love, God sent Jesus to earth to take on human nature. This first step of love is so much greater than anything we ever could have imagined. Jesus, becoming human opened humankind to participation in the Divine life…those who believe in Christ believe in the divinization of human nature. – Ephesians 1: 1-10

Not until the death of Jesus was a personal relationship with God again offered to us… His death, we have life. Through Baptism we are baptized into the passion, death, and resurrection of Christ so that “we no longer live but Christ lives in us”. – Galatians 2: 20-21

1216 CCC “Baptism is God’s most beautiful and magnificent gift. . . .We call it gift, grace, anointing, enlightenment, garment of immortality, bath of rebirth, seal, and most precious gift. It is called gift because it is conferred on those who bring nothing of their own; grace since it is given even to the guilty; Baptism because sin is buried in the water; anointing for it is priestly and royal as are those who are anointed; enlightenment because it radiates light; clothing since it veils our shame; bath because it washes, and seal as it is our guard and the sign of God’s Lordship.

10 Sacrament of Baptism

Suggested Scripture passages for personal prayer and reflection:

Colossians 1: 15-20
Galatians 2: 20-21
Ephesians 1: 1-10


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”.