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Divine Intimacy Radio

Divine Intimacy Radio is a haven of rest and wellspring of spiritual life for those seeking intimacy with God and the enlightened path of Catholic mystical and ascetical wisdom. Weekly we will explore topics like prayer, spiritual direction, meditation, contemplation, holiness, and much more.
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Apr 29, 2016

This week, Dan and Melissa discuss the first Rule of the Discernment of Spirits by Saint Ignatius of Loyola.

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • Rule 1 -  "In the persons who go from mortal sin to mortal sin, the enemy will propose apparent pleasures, making them imagine sensual delights and pleasures in order to enslave them more and make them grow in their vices and sins. In these persons, the good spirit uses a contrary method, pricking them and disturbing their consciences through the process of reason and moral judgment."
  • The devil will work to convince someone with a poorly formed conscience or who might be new to the spiritual life that peace obtained through sinful behavior is from God. However, this is a false sense of peace.
  • God will "prick us" to disturb the conscience through the process of reason and moral judgement. He will cause an uneasiness within us to bring us back to living a virtuous life.

  • Knowing how the enemy works and how the flesh works can help you fight sinful inclinations.

  • The life of Saint Augustine is a good example of overcoming habitual, mortal sin through the grace of God.

Resources:

Apr 22, 2016

This week Dan and Melissa explore Saint Ignatius of Loyola's techniques for tackling the negative thoughts and lies that enter into our minds and lead us away from God.

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • What is the best way to expel the negative thoughts, lies, and/or feelings of depression that enter into our minds?
  • Reject the lies and negative thoughts and replace them with the truth from Scripture.
  • Saint Ignatius of Loyola presents a type of spiritual warfare to handle these lies called, Discernment of Spirits.
  • Discernment is understanding the forces working for or against us and what to do with them.
  • Discernment of spirits is the ability to join God and fight the enemy with respect to our thoughts.
  • Saint Ignatius begins his rules for Discernment of Spirits by suggesting that we become aware of the lies, understand the source, and choose to reject or accept these forces.

Resources:

  • SpiritualDirection.com - website
  • EWTN Religious Catalogue - online
  • Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation
  • EWTN Global Catholic Radio
  • Philippians 4:7-8 - "Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things." - USCCB Bible link
  • On Suffering - Prose by Dan Burke on SpiritualDirection.com
  • Romans 8:6 - "The concern of the flesh is death, but the concern of the spirit is life and peace." - USCCB Bible link
  • Romans 12:2 - "Do not conform yourselves to this age but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect." - USCCB Bible link
  • 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 - "For, although we are in the flesh, we do not battle according to the flesh, for the weapons of our battle are not of flesh but are enormously powerful, capable of destroying fortresses. We destroy arguments and every pretension raising itself against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive in obedience to Christ, and we are ready to punish every disobedience, once your obedience is complete." - USCCB Bible link
  • Evagrius of Pontus: Talking Back
  • Ephesians 1:3-4 - "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavens, as he chose us in him, before the foundation of the world, to be holy and without blemish before him" - USCCB Bible link
  • Jeremiah 1:5 - "Before I formed you in the womb I knew you." - USCCB Bible link
  • James 4:7-8 - "So submit yourselves to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you of two minds." - USCCB Bible link
  • Divine Intimacy - A book of daily meditations by Fr Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen
  • John 16:33 - "In the world you will have trouble, but take courage, I have conquered the world." - USCCB Bible link
  • Matthew 16:24 - "Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." - USCCB Bible link
  • Navigating the Interior Life - Book on spiritual direction by Dan Burke
  • Consolation and Desolation...What are Spiritualized Capital Sins? - Post on SpiritualDirection.com
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:23 - "May the God of peace himself make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." - USCCB Bible link
  • Questions? Send an e-mail to Questions@myavila.com or call 818-646-7729. — please leave your name, location and question.
Apr 15, 2016

This week Dan and Melissa discuss a follow-up question about the writings of Father Anthony de Mello leading someone to the Catholic Church.  Also, Dan answers questions regarding the need to disclose your past during spiritual direction, as well as discerning God’s voice in prayer.

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • Regarding Father de Mello’s writings, the Holy Spirit will always bring us to the Truth even if by unusual means. But once he has recognized Jesus as the Way, the Truth, and the Life, the individual must leave those lesser means behind and begin to use authentic Catholic teaching to bring him/her to the fullness of the Faith.
  • Because our humanity is affected by original sin, we must not be lead by emotions to make decisions about the Faith. We must use our intellect to form our consciences according to the teachings of Jesus through the Holy Spirit, in and through the Magisterium of the Catholic Church.
  • The purpose of a spiritual director is to help one advance in prayer and virtue from his or her current spiritual height. Past events in the directee’s life are not always necessary to discuss unless there is a blockage in spiritual progress based on something negative from the past.
  • When discerning whether or not one hears God’s voice in prayer, we must identify whether the  message was the work of the Holy Spirit and moved us to an increase in faith, hope and love. Also, what was said must come to pass and not produce pride or clinging to the revelation. 
  • More can be found on discerning God’s voice in prayer from The Ascent of Mount Carmel by Saint John of the Cross, Book 2, Chapters 28 and 29.

Resources:

Apr 8, 2016

Who is Fr Anthony de Mello and can we trust his spiritual writings to lead us to a deeper union with Christ? Dan and Melissa discuss the problems with Fr de Mello’s influential spiritual guidance and the Catholic Church’s position on non-Christian teachings.

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • Melissa’s experience of spiritual consolation at Mass, and the importance of properly orienting our hearts to God before entering into the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
  • Who is Fr. Anthony de Mello and why are his writings on spirituality problematic in the Catholic Church?
  • A warning issued by the Vatican regarding Fr. de Mello’s writings as “incompatible with the Catholic Faith and can cause grave harm”
  • The Catholic Church document, “Nostra Aetatae - Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions” on handling truth found in non-Christian religions as “a reflection of a ray of truth”.  
  • No one can be saved outside of the person and redemptive work of Jesus Christ.  (John 14:6 - “I am the way and the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.”)
  • The misleading teachings that led Fr de Mello down the wrongful path of questioning fundamental truths of the Catholic Church.

Resources:

  • SpiritualDirection.com - website
  • EWTN Religious Catalogue - online
  • Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation
  • EWTN Global Catholic Radio
  • Divine Intimacy - Book of daily devotions by Fr Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen
  • Spiritual dictionary terms used in this show from Dan's book Navigating the Interior Life (click on the term to see the definition):
  • SpiritualDirection.com posts on Fr de Mello:
  • Notification Concerning the Writings of Father Anthony de Mello, SJ - from The Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith
  • Nostra Aetate - Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions, Paragraph 2: "The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all men. Indeed, she proclaims, and ever must proclaim Christ 'the way, the truth, and the life' (John 14:6), in whom men may find the fullness of religious life, in whom God has reconciled all things to Himself."
  • John 14:6 - “Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through me.” - USCCB Bible link
  • Romans 1:20-21 - "Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no excuse; for although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened." [The witness of creation is sufficient for someone to recognize the one true God.] - USCCB Bible link
  • 2 Peter 3:9 - "The Lord does not delay his promise, as some regard 'delay', but he is patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance." - USCCB Bible link
  • Apophaticism or apophatic theology -- Orthodox Wiki link
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:23 - "May the God of peace himself make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." - USCCB Bible link
  • Questions? Send an e-mail to Questions@myavila.com or call 818-646-7729. — please leave your name, location and question.

 

 

 

 

Apr 1, 2016

Easter is upon us! Rejoice in the triumph of Christ! On this edition of Divine Intimacy Radio, Dan and Melissa discuss the glory of the Resurrection and the dramatic changes that it brought about in the lives of Christ's disciples.

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • The Apostles rejoiced when they were persecuted for the sake of Christ.
  • Easter as a foreshadowing of Heaven.
  • How do we find joy in suffering?
  • Two things necessary to access God - humility and grace.
  • The Gospels examined by the standards of legal evidence.
  • The Apostles after the Resurrection: Who would die for a lie?
  • What if we all had a "spiritual dashboard"?

Resources:

  • SpiritualDirection.com - website
  • EWTN Global Catholic Radio
  • Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation
  • Acts 5:40-42 - "After recalling the apostles, they had them flogged, ordered them to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, and dismissed them. So they left the presence of the Sanhedrin, rejoicing that they had been found worthy to suffer dishonor for the sake of the name. And all day long, both at the temple and in their homes, they did not stop teaching and proclaiming the Messiah, Jesus."
  • Divine Intimacy - Fr Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen: #142 "Whom Seek You?" wherein Fr Gabriel reflects on Mary Magdalene and the stone rolled away at the empty tomb.
  • Mark 16:1-8 - The Resurrection of Jesus
  • 1 Corinthians 15:5-8 - "... he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve. After that, he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at once...After that, he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all...he appeared to me [Paul]."
  • The Testimony of the Evangelists: The Gospels Examined by the Rules of Evidence - Simon Greenleaf
  • Matthew 16:21-23 - "From that time on, Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer greatly from the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed and on the third day be raised. Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, 'God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.' He turned and said to Peter, 'Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.'"
  • John 21:18-19 - Jesus hints at the manner in which Peter will die. "'...Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.' He said this signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when he had said this, he said to him, 'Follow me.'"
  • John 20:27-29 - "Then he said to Thomas, 'Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.' Thomas answered and said to him, 'My Lord and my God!' Jesus said to him, 'Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.'"
  • Dark Night of the Soul - St John of the Cross
  • National Catholic Register
  • St Teresa of Avila's Vision of Prayer - Dan Burke speaking event in Darien, CT, on April 5, 2016
  • Host an Event - link on SpiritualDirection.com
  • Aspen Catholic presents: 'Encountering Mercy' - Speaking event with Dan Burke, Dr Jonathan Reyes, and Dr Anthony Lilles in Aspen, CO, May 13-15, 2016
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:23 - "May the God of peace himself make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." - USCCB Bible link
  • Questions? Send an e-mail to Questions@myavila.com or call 818-646-7729.
Mar 25, 2016

Dan and Melissa strongly recommend watching The Passion of the Christ on Good Friday evening to more effectively meditate on the brutal reality that Our Lord entered into to redeem the world. 

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • Having a visually realistic portrayal of the event of our Lord’s Passion and death to meditate upon.
  • Mary’s role in the Passion and the emotional suffering she endured.
  • Scenes of the everyday life of the Holy Family.
  • The meditations of those acting in the movie during the scene.
  • Suggestions on how to watch the movie.

Resources:

Mar 18, 2016

How is our soul like a garden? How should we care for the garden of our soul? When we feel the presence of God in prayer, what should we do? Dan and Melissa look to the wisdom of the saints as they discuss answers to these questions in today's show.

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • The analogy of the soul as a garden.
  • How the water of grace differs from the water of the world.
  • What can we do to water the garden of our soul?
  • When in meditation, if we have an overwhelming movement of the heart towards God, what should we do?
  • What is the goal of meditation?
  • What should our response be when we experience this movement of the heart towards God?

Resources:

Mar 11, 2016

How should we respond to experiencing God in prayer? What is "spiritual haze", where does it come from, and how should we properly deal with it? Dan and Melissa look to the wisdom of St Peter of Alcántara in the book Finding God Through Meditation as they discuss answers to these questions in today's show.

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • What does it mean to experience the presence of God in prayer, or following from prayer?
  • What should we do when the scriptural words of God affect us or move our hearts?
  • What is "spiritual haze"? Where does it come from?
  • How is the "noise" of daily life damaging to prayer?
  • How does the enemy use noise to distract us from spiritual awareness?
  • The need to regulate what we expose ourselves to outside of prayer.
  • The importance of silence in prayer life.

Resources:

Mar 4, 2016

What is the difference between meditation and contemplation? What does the transition between them look like? How will you know if you are ready for the transition, and how can you prepare for it? Dan and Melissa discuss when and how this transition takes place as they reflect on the book Finding God Through Meditation by St Peter of Alcántara.

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • What does it mean that meditation is a "transitional form of prayer"?
  • To what are you transitioning, and how?
  • What should you do when meditation no longer works for you?
  • What are the signs you are ready to transition from meditation to contemplation?
  • How long does it take to prepare for contemplative prayer?
  • How a spiritual director can help you understand the progression of your prayer life.

Resources:

Feb 26, 2016

Dan and Melissa answer questions on the importance of saints in prayer life, teaching children to pray, and spontaneous prayer. They also discuss some important aspects of meditation as they reflect on the book Finding God Through Meditation by St Peter of Alcántara.

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • Are the saints important in prayer life? Why?
  • Should a lay person focus on one saint per year as some religious do?
  • What is the best way to help children develop a regular, personal prayer life?
  • Some tips for spontaneous, or extemporaneous, prayer.
  • What is the difference between discursive and affective meditation?
  • An example of discursive meditation becoming affective meditation.

Resources:

Feb 19, 2016

How can we become more aware of our sins? Why is our disposition so important to effective prayer and meditation? Dan and Melissa answer these questions as they reflect on the book Finding God Through Meditation by St Peter of Alcántara.

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • Why do I find myself unaware of how I've offended God, even though I know I am a sinner?
  • How can I overcome the lack of awareness of sin?
  • How does meditation differ from contemplation in Catholic tradition?
  • According to St Peter of Alcántara, how does spiritual reading fit into the "way of meditation"?
  • What should you do when you feel your heart moved during spiritual reading?
  • What is meant by the "proper disposition" for prayer or meditation?
  • Why does our disposition for prayer matter?

Resources:

 

Feb 12, 2016

How encountering God in prayer and deepening your prayer life can impact your life everyday. Why is the desire to have a relationship with God important? Dan and Melissa discuss their own encounters with God in prayer and scripture, and answer some listener questions.

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • What does it mean to be "awake to God"?
  • How do we, or will we, experience God in our daily lives?
  • Some examples of saints speaking directly to our current issues and problems.
  • Being awake to the Word of God in the scriptures in our current situations.
  • How does our desire for a relationship with God impact our spiritual lives?
  • Our desire to know God = the promise that we can know God.
  • What can I do if I don't have enough knowledge or experience or imagination to read Scripture beyond just the words on the page?
  • Do I have to be an intellectual to fully understand the Scriptures?
  • What is the best attitude to have to be drawn to the Lord?

Resources:

 

Feb 5, 2016

Posture during Mass and preparation for meditation. Why should we use the words of the saints when we are preparing for mental prayer? Dan and Melissa discuss these topics and more as they answer questions from listeners.

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • Is posture in prayer important? 
  • How does Christian teaching on prayer posture differ from that of Eastern, non-Christian religions?
  • Prayer posture in private prayer versus prayer posture in public, or corporate, prayer.
  • What is the meaning of the Sign of the Cross?
  • What are the Nine Ways of Prayer of St Dominic?
  • What does St Peter of Alcántara say about preparation necessary to prayer?
  • Suggestion:  Write down your distractions during prayer.
  • Why should we use the prayers of the Saints in vocal prayer in preparation for prayer? How should we use them?
  • Why do we, men in particular, have difficulty with the romance language of prayer? How can we overcome this?
  • Why Lectio Divina is a good way to begin with mental prayer.

Resources:

Jan 29, 2016

Overcoming difficulties in prayer and the importance of posture in prayer.  What are the Church's guidelines about kneeling and genuflecting? Dan and Melissa discuss these topics and more as they answer questions from listeners.

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • Has Dan always found spending time with God in prayer easy?
  • Does it get easier to pray as we progress in the spiritual life?
  • Tips on developing a robust prayer habit.
  • How does the enemy try to disrupt your prayer life?
  • Are we required to kneel at Mass if it causes pain?
  • What does the act of kneeling at Mass signify?
  • Why do people prostrate themselves before the Lord?
  • Why is your posture in prayer important?
  • What are the Church's guidelines for kneeling and genuflecting?
  • Are there legitimate reasons for not observing the rubrics regarding kneeling and genuflecting?

Resources:

  • Divine Intimacy Radio on SpiritualDirection.com website
  • EWTN Religious Catalogue - online
  • Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation
  • The Collected Works of St Teresa of Avila, Volume One - Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh and Otilio Rodriguez. Contains Book of Her Life.
  • The Four Waters of Prayer, Part II of II - Post on SpiritualDirection.com by the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles
  • The three ways: purgative, illuminative, unitive -- Four part series on SpiritualDirection.com (all parts linked to each other)
  • Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God - Daniel Burke with Fr John Bartunek
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church - Part 4, Section 1, Chapter 3, Article 2: The Battle of Prayer
  • Rubrics - New Advent link
  • Why don't people kneel at Mass? - post by Dan Burke on SpiritualDirection.com
  • Ceremonial of BishopsA book that describes the Church services to be performed by Bishops of the Latin Rite of the Roman Catholic Church.
    • “A genuflection, made by bending only the right knee to the ground, signifies adoration, and is therefore reserved for the Blessed Sacrament, whether exposed or reserved in the tabernacle…” (CB 69)
    • "No one who enters a Church should fail to adore the blessed sacrament, either by visiting the blessed sacrament chapel or at least by genuflecting: Similarly, those who pass before the blessed sacrament genuflect, except when they are walking in procession." (CB 71)
  • Inaestimabile DonumInstruction Concerning Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery, Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship "The venerable practice of genuflecting before the Blessed Sacrament, whether enclosed in the tabernacle or publicly exposed, as a sign of adoration, is to be maintained. This act requires that it be performed in a recollected way. In order that the heart may bow before God in profound reverence, the genuflection must be neither hurried nor careless." (ID 26)
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:23 - "May the God of peace himself make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." - USCCB Bible link
  • Questions? Send an e-mail to Questions@myavila.com or call 818-646-7729.
Jan 22, 2016

Dan and Melissa answer more listener questions on prayer. They discuss the benefits of a spiritual community to one's prayer life, some specific meditation practices, advice we can take from the Saints and Mystics, and much more.

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • Is there something wrong with me if I can't pray more than 10-15 minutes each day?
  • How can being involved in a community help your spiritual life?
  • To whom is the advice from mystics of the Church directed - beginners or the spiritually advanced?
  • How can I progress in meditating on the scriptures daily? Is there a plan I should follow?
  • How can a meditation practice, such as Lectio Divina, help me to encounter Christ?
  • Some aspects of Ignation meditation. How does it differ from Lectio Divina?
  • What should I do when I feel that God doesn't hear my prayers?

Resources:

Jan 15, 2016

Do you have questions on prayer? What causes aridity in prayer? Dan and Melissa discuss topics of aridity and distractions in prayer. They also share some important aspects of their personal prayer routines and what they have learned in life about prayer.

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • How can we fight the feeling of not being engaged when we pray?
  • In what way is the soul like the weather?
  • What are some causes of aridity in prayer?
  • Dan shares some specific aspects of his personal prayer life.
  • Looking for God in our everyday life.
  • Prayer as a commitment to God.
  • What part do the sacraments play in prayer life?

Resources:

Jan 8, 2016

What does St Peter of Alcántara think are the six things necessary to prayer? How can we use the six things to begin a daily prayer routine? Listen as Dan and Melissa list and explain these six things, and continue their discussion of the book Finding God Through Meditation by St Peter of Alcántara.

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • What are some ways to get through the difficult beginning period of developing a daily prayer routine?
  • Creative ways to pray when you are physically or mentally tired.
  • How can we prepare our mind and soul for prayer?
  • What does St Peter recommend we read after we prepare for prayer?
  • What are some things to meditate on when beginning a daily prayer routine?
  • How to incorporate thanksgiving into a prayer routine.
  • What does affective meditation look like?
  • Oblation - What can we offer to God as a sacrifice?
  • Petition - Putting our desires before God.

Resources:

Jan 1, 2016

Want to start a new prayer life? Dan and Melissa answer a listeners question on getting started in prayer. Join them as they offer suggestions on developing a prayer habit and reflect on the book Finding God Through Meditation by St Peter of Alcántara.

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • How can I begin a new prayer life if I’ve never successfully established a daily habit?
  • How long does it take for a practice to become a habit?
  • Why is prayer considered an ascesis?
  • Three key points to developing a prayer habit: clarity, community, and accountability.
  • How does vocal prayer lead to mental prayer?
  • Why does the enemy care about our prayer life?

Resources:

Dec 25, 2015

What is "centering prayer"? Can it lead to contemplation? Do I need to pray to be saved? Dan and Melissa discuss these questions and more as they reflect on the book Finding God Through Meditation by St Peter of Alcántara.

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • Is contemplation the same thing as centering prayer?
  • Can contemplation be attained or prepared for through the centering prayer method?
  • What does the Catholic Church say about centering prayer?
  • What's wrong with the concept of "letting thoughts go"?
  • Is prayer necessary for salvation?
  • What does St Bonaventure say about prayer?
  • How do I become holy?
  • How does mental prayer help keep us on "the narrow way" to holiness?
  • Prayer as a means of keeping our spiritual vision clear.
  • Does a life of faith without prayer make any sense?

Resources:

Dec 18, 2015

How does one get started in mental prayer? What are the imporatant elements to having a good prayer life? Dan and Melissa take on complexities of answering the question "What is prayer?" as they discuss the book Finding God Through Meditation by St Peter of Alcántara.

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • Answers to the question "What is prayer?"
  • How does Jesus' humanity help to orient us to God the Father and The Blessed Trinity?
  • Why prayer is so much more than "asking for stuff" or doing religious acts that are in some way meritorious or good.
  • Is the recitation of all vocal prayer always actual prayer?
  • How prayer keeps us away from sin.
  • About methods of prayer.
  • What does it mean to call something "sacred"?
  • Three important elements for starting a good prayer life.
  • Why is it important to dedicate a set time for prayer?
  • Some advise for setting up a sacred space for prayer in your home.
  • How do our surroundings help to orient us toward God?
  • Keeping our minds attentive during prayer.

Resources:

Dec 11, 2015

How can we overcome distractions in prayer? How do we recognize transitions in our prayer lives, and how should we respond to them? Dan and Melissa address these questions and more as they discuss the book Finding God Through Meditation by St Peter of Alcántara.

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • Are the distractions we experience in prayer from God?
  • Where do inspirations in prayer come from?
  • How can I overcome the temptation to get on the computer when I go to pray?
  • Why is having a sacred space for prayer so important?
  • Understanding transitions in prayer through the teaching of St Peter.
  • Definitions of vocal prayer and mental prayer, and the distinctions between them.
  • What does the Catechism say about meditation?
  • Prayer as a battle.
  • How does the enemy try to keep us from praying?

Resources:

Dec 4, 2015

Advent is here. Are you ready? What should you be doing spiritually to prepare for Christmas? Dan and Melissa discuss ways we can prepare our hearts for Christmas during Advent with devotional ideas and lots of resources.

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • Why is Advent so important in the liturgical calendar?
  • How does imagery, like icons and manger scenes, help to orient our hearts toward God?
  • How does the Old Testament help us understand Advent?
  • How can we get the longing for Jesus that we want during Advent?
  • Why is Advent considered a penitential season?
  • Daily Mass readings and the Liturgy of the Hours as extra devotionals during Advent.
  • Preparing your heart before Mass.
  • Why is confession so important during Advent?
  • What devotional elements are essential in spiritual preparation for Christmas?

Resources:

Nov 27, 2015

What is "centering prayer"? What did Sts Peter of Alcántara and Teresa of Avila teach about good prayer? Dan and Melissa reflect on the differences between good prayer and false prayer, as found in St Peter of Alcántara's book Finding God Through Meditation.

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • Are there incorrect ways to pray?
  • What did Jesus have to say about prayer?
  • How does the Catholic Church relate to non-Christian religions?
  • The asceticism of St. Peter.
  • Do St. Peter's thoughts on prayer affirm or contradict St. Teresa of Avila's teaching?
  • Do we need to empty our minds in order to pray well?
  • How should we orient our minds for good prayer?
  • What does St. Teresa mean by "human industry" regarding prayer?
  • Why are some methods of prayer good and others not good?
  • If the spiritual life is supposed to be simple, why is so much written about it?
  • Why are so many people drawn to centering prayer?

Resources:

Nov 20, 2015

Who was St. Peter of Alcántara? What did he have to say about prayer? Join Dan and Melissa as they begin a discussion of his book Finding God Through Meditation, and answer a question from a listener about prayer.

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • Do I really need to set aside a specific time for prayer every day?
  • How do ascetical practices help us in prayer?
  • Can we train our bodies to aid in our prayer lives?
  • Why is morning the best time to devote to prayer?
  • What if we don't have time for prayer in the morning?
  • What is Lectio Divina?
  • Ways to get our minds oriented toward God.
  • Does God call us to prayer? How do we recognize His call?
  • What's the difference between duty and devotion when it comes to prayer?
  • How does spiritual reading improve our spiritual life?
  • How did St. Teresa of Avila use the teaching of St. Peter?
  • Some background on the life of St. Peter.
  • Next time: Introduction to the book Finding God Through Meditation, and why St. Peter is relevant today.

Resources:

Nov 13, 2015

What do giant trees and screaming monkeys have to do with praying? Dan and Melissa will tell you. Join them as they discuss reasons why we are distracted in prayer, and offer some strategies to deal with the distractions. 

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • What does the Catechism of the Catholic Church say about "the battle of prayer"?
  • What is the best time to schedule daily prayer?
  • What if the "best time" for prayer is not possible?
  • Is it a sin to fall asleep during prayer?
  • What does God expect from us in prayer?
  • How can we reach the point where we crave prayer?
  • Is anyone completely free from distractions in prayer? How is this possible?
  • Avoiding discouragement over distractions.
  • Training ourselves to be more disciplined in prayer.
  • What is the enemy's role in our distractions.

Resources:

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