Image of God – Struggles in the Spiritual Life with Fr. Timothy Gallagher O.M.V.
Fr. Timothy Gallagher and Kris McGregor continue a 20-part series on the various Struggles in the Spiritual Life. This episode explores spiritual discouragement and various forms of dryness in the spiritual life, focusing on our image of God in prayer.
You can pick up a copy of the book here:
An excerpt from the chapter, “Image of God”:
“When Bob perceives that his image of God differs from the biblical image of God, his prayer ceases to be dry. He is now free to meet God as He is: loving, close, understanding, merciful, encouraging — the heavenly Father whom Jesus reveals to us. Through no fault of his own, Bob has absorbed an image of God as a demanding Father, quick to note faults, impatient, ready to criticize. Bob is not aware of this image, but it burdens his relationship with God, and so his prayer.
When he prays with Genesis 3, Bob focuses on “all the harm that came from” this sin and “the way their sin was punished.” The message of mercy in that same chapter (Gen. 3:15) and, above all, in the Cross do not speak to him, and his prayer leaves him uneasy. He describes Romans 7:14–25 as “Paul’s struggle about not doing the good that he wants but doing the bad that he does not want,” again overlooking the message of freedom with which the passage concludes (Rom. 7:25). When he tries to pray, Bob writes, “I’m unsettled, I’m distracted, and God seems distant. . . . I try, but nothing moves me very much. It’s discouraging. Maybe I’m not made for this.” Bob’s prayer is dry. His prayer changes when Bob realizes that God is different — more loving, warm, close — than his image of God had led him to believe.
Conversation with his director, prayer on biblical passages that reveal God as a loving Father, and his willingness — not without struggle — to share with God his experience of human fatherhood and the mixture of goodness and pain found in it, begin to set Bob free. Now he can meet his heavenly Father as God really is. Now a relationship based on a true image of the Father can develop. Now he knows himself to be a beloved son of this Father. Now his prayer is not dry.”
Gallagher O.M.V, Fr. Timothy ; Gallagher O.M.V, Fr. Timothy. Struggles in the Spiritual Life: Their Nature and Their Remedies (pp. 123-124). Sophia Institute Press. Kindle Edition. “
To find more episodes from this series, visit the Struggles in the Spiritual Life Podcast
From the book’s description: “Here is a powerful, life-changing book that will help you understand and conquer the struggles you face in your spiritual life. It’s a book for those who love the Lord and desire holiness yet often feel adrift or stagnant in their search for spiritual growth.
All of us encounter valleys on our journey with the Lord — those periods of spiritual desolation that are a painful yet unavoidable feature of our prayer life. Spiritual desolation is as complex as we are, so understanding what is happening and responding to it properly are critical to reaching the heights of holiness.
With warmth and understanding, Fr. Gallagher carefully identifies in this book the various forms of spiritual and nonspiritual desolation and supplies the remedy for each. You’ll learn how to discern whether your struggles derive from medical or psychological conditions or whether those struggles are spiritual and permitted by the Lord for reasons of growth. In each case, you’ll be given the remedy for the struggle. You’ll also learn the forms of spiritual dryness and of the Dark Night — and how to respond to them.
In chapter after chapter, Fr. Gallagher presents a particular struggle as experienced by fictional characters and then provides the advice he gives to those who come to him for spiritual direction about that struggle. You’ll gain confidence as you journey through desolation, and you’ll learn to reject the enemy’s ploys to infect you with a sense of hopelessness.”
Did you know that Fr. Timothy Gallagher has 14 different podcast series on Discerning Hearts Catholic Podcasts?
Visit here to discover more!