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Spiritual Life

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...
Post date: 03/01/2019
In my last column, I wrote about why meditation on Scripture is so important for Catholics: Christian meditation is beloved by the church because it moves us to conversion. How does it do so? And how can we be sure to let the Scriptures transform us? Meditation on Scripture, particularly the Gospels, brings us into contact with the heart of God. “...

“Mary and Child with Saints Felicity and Perpetua” (“Sacra Conversazione”), tempera on wood, created before 1520 by an unknown author of greater Poland. The painting is now in the National Museum in Warsaw. PUBLIC DOMAIN
Post date: 03/01/2019
On March 7 we remember the lives of Ss. Perpetua and Felicity and companions, martyrs of the church. In Carthage (present-day Tunisia) in the year 203 A.D., a persecution of Christians erupted at the behest of Emperor Severus.  Five catechumens were arrested. A catechumen is someone the church accepts to prepare for baptism.  They were Revocatus,...
Post date: 02/15/2019
As children we are raised to be independent and self-reliant people, so that when the time comes we will be ready to the face the demands of adulthood. This is a necessary lesson for us to learn. Our parents do us a favor when they teach it to us. It is important for this lesson of trust in self to be tempered with our learning how to trust in God...
Post date: 02/15/2019
We have been looking at the prayers Jesus practiced and taught in the Scriptures. We have seen that he practiced mental prayer, the prayer of the heart, but he did not teach a method of mental prayer. Yet the church and the saints recommend meditating on Scripture as the best way – at least for beginners – to practice mental prayer. Why does...
Post date: 02/01/2019
In the second reading this Sunday from the 13th chapter of Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, we hear what many consider to be the most eloquent expression of love’s beauty and grace ever written by humans. The beautiful, rhythmic language can truly speak to us a very deep level of the nature of God and of our highest calling. What does Paul...
Post date: 02/01/2019
In my last column I examined the types of prayers Jesus prayed. He prayed vocal prayer and mental prayer and participated in the liturgy of the synagogue. He made his life a prayer, offering himself in sacrifice for our sins. The common element in all his prayers was his filial relationship with God. Jesus shows us not only the types of prayers we...

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