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Spiritual Life

Post date: 12/06/2018
On this Second Sunday of Advent, we hear from Baruch, a scribe of the great prophet Jeremiah, who witnessed the Babylonian siege of Jerusalem and sought to encourage the exiled children of Israel.  The political and cultural shifts of the time caused many to forget their identity as a people set apart by God and chosen for a particular purpose....
Post date: 12/06/2018
In common speech, “recollection” means remembrance. In the prayer life, recollection refers to a specific type of remembrance – remembrance that we are in God’s presence. How can we cultivate recollection? St. Teresa of Avila speaks of two kinds of recollection. One is natural, the other is supernatural. Natural, or acquired, recollection is...
Post date: 12/06/2018
The new church year began on Dec. 2, the First Sunday of Advent. Advent always has four Sundays, but is not necessarily four weeks long. It depends on which day of the week Christmas falls. Years ago Pius Parsch, in his monumental five-volume work “The Church’s Year of Grace,” drew a brilliant parallel between the two primary phases of the church...
Post date: 11/16/2018
Former Trappist Abbot Father Thomas Keating passed away Oct. 25. Father Keating was the primary architect of the centering prayer movement, which has thousands of adherents throughout the world. From the beginning, centering prayer has been surrounded by controversy. What is centering prayer? Is it in keeping with the Catholic tradition? Should...
Post date: 11/16/2018
The truth is inescapable. Someday we will die. Our life as we know it in this world will come to an end.  As the liturgical year winds down (next Sunday is the last Sunday of the year, the Solemnity of Christ the King of the Universe), as we commemorate our departed loved ones in November, and as the wind and cold remind us that things of nature...
Post date: 11/02/2018
A young man sat in front of a priest learning about the Catholic faith. He asked the priest: “Father, what must I do to be a good Catholic?” The priest responded, “A Catholic must go to Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation, go to confession once a year and receive the Eucharist, observe the days of fasting and abstinence, and help to...
Post date: 10/19/2018
I run a Facebook group called Authentic Contemplative Prayer, where more than 10,000 members discuss growth in holiness. Recently a member asked a question about meditating on sacred Scripture. Not being a Bible scholar or theologian, he was concerned that some of his meditations would stray into heresy. How could he know that his musings remained...
Post date: 10/19/2018
When I was in seminary, at the end of the academic year, the men preparing to return to their home dioceses for ordination to the priesthood and to preach the Gospel were celebrated by the community at an annual farewell banquet. Of all the speeches and toasts that I had heard there, only one, delivered by a wizened spiritual director, has stuck...

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