“Probes: Deep Sea Diving into St. John’s Gospel” is a beautiful union of Scripture Study and the prayer experience of Lectio Divina. I’ve never seen anything quite like it (and I hope I see more). What the reader will find is that diving deeper is actually climbing higher. Under Dr. Kreeft’s guidance, we learn to ask penetrating questions of Sacred Scripture, but more importantly, we learn to listen to the Word for the answers. Designed for community study or individual reflection, this is the “John” book I have been waiting for! Thank you once again Dr. Kreeft!
You can find the book here
From the book description:
This is no ordinary book. It is a set of probing questions (1,450 in fact) designed to help individuals or groups, especially groups, to dive deeply into Saint John’s Gospel. No answers are provided, but the questions are phrased in such a way as to set a person in a reliable direction for finding the answers.
The questions correspond to the verses of the Gospel and require active and personal interaction. Some of the questions are easy, some difficult, and they are marked accordingly. Some questions include background information or hints that help the reader along. Some were written with a fair bit of humor. Any person or group using these questions to explore John will find themselves entertained as well as informed and inspired.
IP#484 – Deacon James Keating Ph.D. – Abiding in Christ on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor Podcast
In this compelling conversation with Deacon James Keating, a spiritual master of the highest order, we discuss those things that block us from having a closer relationship with God. We also discuss the importance of making time for Lectio Divina, living in the liturgy of the Church, and the danger of letting prayer become too complex.
Abiding in Christ: Staying with God in a Busy World is a wonderful how-to-pray resource. This book helps readers to find a quiet space wherein they can be present to God and offers suggestions of how they can be more open to God’s movement within them. We highly recommend this book to those souls seeking a deeper relationship with God.
You can find the book here
Here are excerpts from our conversation in the podcast –
Sin, to some extent, possesses us, usually at the level of pleasure. Even if you think about the sin of anger, it always seems like it’s mayhem, but it’s actually pleasurable. People get a rush out of being angry. They get a rush out of being greedy. There’s a pleasure in sloth, in daydreaming, in fantasizing, in not doing the duty or the work we’re supposed to do right in front of us. There’s a pleasure in sloth.
And so that pleasure is the glue, the adhesive that keeps us in love with our sins. And that’s what God is alwaying fighting. He’s trying to displace that false love that we have set up by the way of pleasure. God knows that pleasure is not the deepest reality of existence. And so he’s not going to play the game back and like trump the pleasure of sin. He is going to attract us away from the pleasure of sin, by the beauty of truth.
As Joseph Ratizinger used to say, “The face of God, is the beauty of God’s face.” What’s that mean? That means that the truth, the radiance of truth will eventually win us over even against the strong undertow of sin’s pleasure. If we give him a chance, spend time with him, open our hearts to be affected by him, then over time, this beauty of his own face, the truth of who God is will move us away from the immediacy, the gratification of the pleasure that’s hiding within all of our sins. And that’s what salvation is. Salvation is finally surrendering to truth and its beauty over and against the fleeting pleasure of self-involvement
The liturgy is your participation in being loved and loving back. Catechesisis not learning in a classroom style. It’s learning how to pray. If we don’t learn how to pray, we won’t even be interested in the catechism. Why would you be interested in the catechism if you don’t know the person whose voluminous beauty fills the catechism? Why would you want to open that book?
The Catechism at its heart is learning how to be with Him, to receive Him. And then your intellect is a flame to want to know Him. We do it backwards. We’ve always done it backwards. I don’t know for how long, but since my birth, we’ve done it backwards. Reducing the mystery to academics. And that’s inherently boring because to study anybody you don’t know, to study anyone that you have no motivation to learn about, is boredom. So we have to let them be burned by the fire first. This is why to some extent, parishes have to be remodeled. Maybe God is doing this by making our parishes so much smaller.
People are leaving. They’re not saying this. They’re leaving because they’re bored. They’re leaving because they haven’t encountered. They’re leaving because they don’t know God. And they’re looking for God, but maybe we have to make our parishes more like retreat centers than some type of bureaucratic paperwork center where you go through and get certified to receive this sacrament or that sacrament. It has to be more of a retreat encounter so that people will want to know God because they’ve met to God.
For more Deacon James Keating on Discerning Hearts visit his podcasts here
Wisdom from the Psalms has become one of my all-time favorite Dr. Peter Kreeft books. Not only does this book inspire me to think and learn, but best of all it helped me to grow even more deeply in love with the Psalms and prayer. This particular podcast is a favorite as well. The Psalms only get better (is that possible?) when experienced with such an incredible guide. Give your prayer life a big boost and pick up a copy of this wonderful book.
You can find the book here
From the book description:
The Psalms are the most popular, most universally loved and used book in the Bible, which in turn is the most popular book in the world. They are hymns, songs, poems and prayers, both formal (liturgical and communal) and informal (spontaneous, personal, and individual); and this gives them many layers of meaning rather than one, unlike theologies and creeds.
They Psalms are literally inexhaustible, so a new book of reflections on them is always welcome. Especially a book by the beloved, widely read, best-selling author and philosopher, Peter Kreeft.
In this work Kreeft shares his personal explorations into the riches of the Psalms, his profound expeditions into this deep ocean of the divinely inspired spiritual water. He focuses on the dozen or so Psalms that are most people’s favorites, including Kreeft.
Kreeft says that the Pslams are powerful prayers, and a spiritual weapon that God himself has given us for our great task of spiritual warfare, which is human life on earth.
What prayers did Jesus and his disciples pray? The Psalms! As all Jews have always done ever since they had them. The Psalms are God’s answer to our plea, ‘Teach us to pray.’ Christ prayed them not only in synagogue but throughout His life, and at his death. He prayed Psalm 22, ‘My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me?’ even as He was dying on the Cross.
– Peter Kreeft, from the Introduction
IP#363 Fr. John Bartunek – The Better Part: The Gospels pt. 1 on Inside the Pages with Kris McGregor Podcast
You can find the set here
From the book description
Every saint and renowned spiritual director through the ages has said the same thing: if we desire to become saints, we must spend time daily in meditation. With this set, Fr. John Bartunek has created an extensive, Christ-centered resource to serve as your daily meditation companion. The Better Part offers a practical explanation of Christian meditation, as well as material to draw from during your meditations, including a Bible study on the Gospels, a survey of saints writings, and a handy guide to prayer.
As you learn to read, meditate upon, absorb, and apply the Gospels to your life, you’ll also find ways to personalize your times of prayer, allowing you to follow the Holy Spirit’s lead along the path of holiness. Open these pages to discover the methods of meditation that best suit you, develop your friendship with Christ, and experience the true Christian joy of a deep, fruitful life of prayer.
Stephen J. Binz is a Catholic biblical scholar, psychotherapist, popular speaker, and award-winning author of more than thirty books on the Bible and biblical spirituality. “Learning to Pray with Scripture” is another volume in the excellent “Lectio Divina” series brought to us by Our Sunday Visitor. In it, Stephen uses the actual prayers of Sacred Scripture to help us enter a deeper relationship with God through our own prayer. This series is outstanding and an absolute MUST for those seeking a great guide to this ancient prayer form!
You can find this book here
It also delves into various types of prayer and what you can learn from them.
Every chapter leads you forward through a sequence of:
- Listening – Reading Scripture with expectancy, trusting that God will speak His Word to us through it
- Understanding – Seeking to comprehend the meaning of the text, encountering God there and being changed by that encounter
- Reflecting – Linking the truth of the Scriptures to the experience of faith in the world in which we live
- Praying – A dialogue with God: we listen to God, then we respond in prayer
- Acting – After prayerfully listening to God through a passage of Scripture, we should be inspired to make a difference in the way we live
Sometimes when folks think of the practice of Lectio Divina, the spiritual prayer of pondering God’s Word, they think of a quiet meditation. But more than that, Karl Schultz, the author of “How to Pray with the Bible -The Ancient Prayer Form of Lectio Divina Made Simple”, shows us that it might be quiet, it is also vibrant, interactive and a deeply fulfilling relationship with God in prayer. Karl is a master of this type of prayer and has much to share. I love it! As a Benedictine oblate, it is at the heart of our spiritual practice. Not to be missed, take a listen….