St. John of Avila, Part 2 – The Doctors of the Church: The Charism of Wisdom with Dr. Matthew Bunson – Discerning Hearts Podcast

St. John of Avila, Part 2 – The Doctors of the Church: The Charism of Wisdom with Dr. Matthew Bunson

  • Born: January 6, 1499, Almodóvar del Campo, Spain
  • Died: May 10, 1569, Montilla, Spain

With Dr. Matthew Bunson and Kris McGregor, they continue delve into the life and impact of St. John of Avila, known as the Master. With his extraordinary preaching abilities, which drew large congregations and emphasized the importance of the sacrament of reconciliation, Dr. Bunson tells us the blend of eloquence and deep scriptural understanding in John’s homilies, and his profound study of scripture as the foundation for his preaching. Despite facing opposition from some clergy and the wealthy, John’s preaching focused on reform, care for the poor, and renewal of the priesthood.

They also explore John’s year-long investigation by the Inquisition, during which he deepened his understanding of St. Paul’s letters. Following his acquittal, John continued his mission, preaching and establishing schools and seminaries. His influence extended to other saints, such as John of God and Francis Borja, and he played a significant role in supporting the Society of Jesus.

Despite delays in his recognition, Pope Benedict XVI named him a Doctor of the Church in 2012, emphasizing his role as a model for priests and his enduring relevance in guiding the faithful.

Discerning Hearts Reflection Questions

  1. The Power of Humility: How does St. John of Avila’s humility shine through in his life and teachings, particularly in his interactions with the clergy and the wealthy?
  2. The Role of Study in Preaching: Reflect on the significance of combining eloquence with deep scriptural understanding, as exemplified by St. John of Avila. How can this blend of study and spiritual insight inform modern preaching?
  3. Facing Adversity with Faith: Discuss how St. John of Avila responded to the challenges he faced, including his year-long investigation by the Inquisition. How did his faith and commitment to prayer sustain him during difficult times?
  4. The Call to Reform and Renewal: Explore St. John of Avila’s emphasis on reform, care for the poor, and renewal of the priesthood. How can his teachings inspire contemporary efforts towards ecclesial renewal and social justice?
  5. The Influence of Spiritual Role Models: Consider the impact of spiritual role models like St. John of Avila on the lives of other saints, such as John of God and Francis Borja. How can the examples of holy men and women inspire us in our own spiritual journeys?
  6. Embracing the Sacramental Life: Reflect on St. John of Avila’s devotion to the Eucharist and the sacrament of reconciliation. How can his example encourage us to deepen our own participation in these sacraments and our understanding of their significance in our lives?
  7. The Virtue of Perseverance: Explore the delayed recognition of St. John of Avila’s sanctity and the eventual declaration of him as a Doctor of the Church. How does his journey of perseverance and patient waiting for recognition resonate with our own experiences of waiting for God’s timing in our lives?

From, an excerpt from the teachings of Pope Benedict XVI

From the General Audience on St. John of Avila:

“Master Avila was not a university professor, although he had organized and served as the first rector of the University of Baeza. He held no chair in theology, but gave lessons in sacred Scripture to lay people, religious and clerics.

He never set forth a systematic synthesis of his theological teaching, yet his theology was prayerful and sapiential. In his Memorial II to the Council of Trent, he gives two reasons for linking theology and prayer: the holiness of theological knowledge, and the welfare and upbuilding of the Church. As befitted a true humanist endowed with a healthy sense of realism, his was a theology close to life, one which answered the questions of the moment and did so in a practical and understandable way.

The teaching of John of Avila is outstanding for its quality and precision, and its breadth and depth, which were the fruit of methodical study and contemplation together with a profound experience of supernatural realities. His abundant correspondence was soon translated into Italian, French and English.”

For more visit

For more from Dr. Matthew Bunson, check out his Discerning Hearts page.

Dr. Matthew E. Bunson is a Register senior editor and a senior contributor to EWTN News. For the past 20 years, he has been active in the area of Catholic social communications and education, including writing, editing, and teaching on a variety of topics related to Church history, the papacy, the saints and Catholic culture. He is faculty chair at Catholic Distance University, a senior fellow of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology, and the author or co-author of over 50 books including The Encyclopedia of Catholic History, The Pope Encyclopedia, We Have a Pope! Benedict XVI, The Saints Encyclopedia and best-selling biographies of St. Damien of Molokai and St. Kateri Tekakwitha.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.