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Spiritual Life


“Portrait of John of Ávila,” oil on canvas, attributed to El Greco, 1580. Housed in the El Greco Museum, Toledo, Spain. PUBLIC DOMAIN/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Post date: 05/01/2019
On May 10 the church celebrates the life of a little-known Spanish saint who helped or influenced many more saints we know much better. John of Ávila was born either in 1499 or 1500 in a small town south of Toledo, Spain. The only son of a wealthy family, he was sent off to study law. He left school after a deep conversion and was insistent on...
Post date: 04/18/2019
Two angels greet the women as they arrive at the entrance of the tomb. They ask, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” What a strange and perplexing thing to say to these poor, terrified and well-intentioned women. But this is the question of this Easter. The response: “He is not here.” Translation: “He is alive! He has been raised up! It’s...
Post date: 04/18/2019
Did you know that God calls you to holiness? God made everyone to be a saint. Every one of us, with all our sins and weaknesses, is called to intimate union with God. The early Christians called all followers of Christ “saints.” When Baptism meant possible martyrdom, people had to take their faith seriously. Even so, not everyone did. Heretics,...
Post date: 04/05/2019
“‘Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?’ She replied, ‘No one, sir.’ Then Jesus said, ‘Neither do I condemn you. Go, (and) from now on do not sin any more.’” – Jn 8:10-11 This Gospel passage shows a powerful image of the mercy of Jesus. He offers the woman mercy while calling her to conversion. When we encounter the living Lord, this...
Post date: 04/05/2019
Christian meditation is a matter of prayerfully pondering the truths of the faith, applying them to one’s life, then entering into a conversation with God based on one’s pondering.  In meditation, we use our minds and our hearts to draw closer to God. Saints and spiritual theologians generally speak of three levels of meditation. When most people...

“St. Isidore of Seville” (1655), depicted by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, oil on canvas, from the collection of the Seville Cathedral, Spain. PUBLIC DOMAIN via WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
Post date: 04/05/2019
On April 4 we remembered St. Isidore of Seville, bishop, doctor of the church and, among other things, patron of the internet. Isidore was born around the year 560 in Cartagena, a town in southeastern Spain that still exists today. He was born into a family of rare sanctity. His brothers Leander and Fulgentius and his sister Florentina are all...
Post date: 03/15/2019
Last year I made my first trip to the Holy Land. By the end of this transformative pilgrimage, I was surprised that my favorite place was a little spot next to the Sea of Galilee commemorating “The Primacy of Peter.” At first, I couldn’t think of what happened in this spot, but eventually it dawned on me. This was where the resurrected Jesus found...
Post date: 03/15/2019
St. John of the Cross, the 16th-century Spanish mystic and Carmelite reformer, is well known for his writings about spiritual darkness – especially for the soul that seeks greater union with God. At first blush, it seems almost counterintuitive that a soul moving closer to God should experience darkness instead of light.  After all, in Jesus...
Post date: 03/15/2019
One of the elements of mental prayer that the saints frequently speak of is silence. St. John of the Cross wrote, “The Father spoke one Word, which was his Son, and this Word he speaks always in eternal silence, and in silence must it be heard by the soul” (“The Sayings of Light and Love,” no. 100). What do the saints mean by silence? Why is it so...
Post date: 03/01/2019
When we examine our lives in general or maybe more specifically as we prepare for confession, we can easily recognize our sins – especially the ones we continue to commit regularly. We are aware of them. We know we shouldn’t do them. We know we would like to change, but how do we do that? Our efforts to stop habitual sin often involve us trying...

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