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Catholic Spiritual Direction

The Better Part – A Christ-Centered Resource for Personal Prayer

January 24, 2010 by  
Filed under Books, Dan Burke, Fr. Bartunek

thebetterpartcoversmall5The Better Part: A Christ-Centered Resource for Personal Prayer
by Father John Bartunek, LC, ThD

No one who is learning or desires to learn to pray more deeply and meditate more effectively on the person and work of Christ should go without this book. It offers a basic but at the same time sufficiently comprehensive overview of how to meditate in the Christian tradition (no New Age or Hindu/Buddhist influences here.)

Beyond the solid instruction on meditation method, Father John provides us with meditations through each verse of the four Gospels and group study questions at the end of each of the 303 meditation units.

This work provides spiritual reading and meditation material for every day of the liturgical year, every mass, or spiritual reading on a daily basis.

Purchase Now in the Follow Formats:

Or to Learn More – Here’s the Table of Contents (Partial):

Gods Idea of Prayer

  • Christian Prayer – Eminently Christ-Centered
  • Christian Prayer – Intensely Personal

Types of Prayer

  • Vocal Prayer
  • Meditative Prayer
  • Contemplative Prayer
  • Meditation vs. Spiritual Reading

Four Step Structure of Meditation

  1. Concentrate
  2. Consider
  3. Converse
  4. Commit

Difficulties in Prayer

  • Sloth and Distractions
  • Solving the Difficulties
  • How Do I Know I’m Praying Well?

If you want to deepen your relationship with Christ by learning to meditate on Christ and his teaching through timeless and authentic reality of Christ in the Gospels, this is the best way I know of. If you want to start or enrich a small group study, this is also a fantastic resource.

Purchase Now:

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the founder of Catholic Spiritual Direction, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and author of the award winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God. Beyond his “contagious” love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN’s National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN’s Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Guest

    Dear Father John, you recommend such good books which, sadly may not be available in our Catholic Bookshop here in Nairobi, Kenya. Could you kindly be able to base some of your future articles on these books for our benefit. Your Articles on this Website have become a MUST for me because they are so helpful in my spiritual journey. God Bless you

  • federicogamogamo

    God’s peace,

    Just want to ask if the books are available locally here in the Philippines?
    May God continue to bless your way of bringing souls to God.

    Yours in Christ,

  • Cathy

    Dear Father John, I bought this book originally because I went to confession and the priest told me this was my penance. This book has been so spiritually upliftinf that I am never without it. It helps me understand the gospels (I came back to the church after 19 years). I thank God that this book is available. I recommend this not only for the newer Catholics, but also those who have been in the Church for a long period of time. I thank you Fr. John for helping my knowledge of Christ’s word, and to understand what God wants.

  • JNieb

    I have written before about this matter.
    Again, I tried to order the book ‘The Better Part’ from the link below. Again there is still a code for 25% off.
    I was going to get 3 books so I need the discount to do so. This is the note that I still receive when using it.

    “The promo code you entered is not valid, expired or not eligible for this order. Please verify or leave the promo code field blank.”
    Until I am able to successfully use the code I will not be able to purchase this book for myself and others.
    If this code is not able to be use, I ask that they remove the coupon from the site so we are not deceived. It makes me not trust your sites.
    Thank you.

  • Sharon

    I have come across the following typos:

    P153 touch for torch
    Easter – Thursday – Reading should be 237
    P160 – Christ the Lord – The Lord came to conquer a Kingdom and the victory can only be obtained through spiritual and moral battle.  The meaning of this sentence is unclear.

    This book is wonderful.

    • Dan Burke

      Thanks we will check those!

  • Keepinupw7

    This APP would be even better if it had an easy way to go a day or two forward and back as it pertains to daily readings of the Mass. Otherwise, this is one of my favorite ways to spend some time with God.

  • Joe

    I read Fr. Bartunek’s remedy for avoiding anxiety during Advent.  Although I am so excited to have found this website, as I have just recently been craving a spiritual advisor, I have to ask: Why does any Catholic get anxious about Advent?  Why prepare?  I realize that one should prepare for the Feast when we celebrate the time mankind first saw the Face of God and that we should give Jesus a birthday present of a pure, devoted soul; but should not all that preparation and avoidance of anxiety preceed the Annunciation, when we celebrate the moment when the Word Became Flesh?  Jesus’ birthday is a day in His Life that began nine months earlier.  Why would anyone be anxious?   

    • Becky Ward

      I can’t follow your reasoning about Jesus’ birthday Joe.  We celebrate His conception because of the miracle that it is………yet Jesus was born….left His mother’s womb and entered the world as a baby.  Scripture tells us that the angels were celebrating this event.  This was the first coming of Christ.  If my understanding of the Advent season is correct, we use this time to remember Christ’s birth, to remind ourselves of, and prepare for His second coming, and most importantly, to reflect on our acceptance of Christ in our own lives…as did Our Lady.   It’s a time to re-prioritize our lives.

      My anxieties stemmed from trying to mix the secular holiday and traditions with the religious.  Also from a lack of trust in God…..being a mom and wanting things to be perfect for my family, and not being realistic about kids and life.  As my faith has grown, my anxieties have dissolved.

      God Rocks! :)

  • Cheryln27

    Dear Dan and Fr. Bartunek,
    I just recently bought the book “The Better Part”-Each year around special Liturgical Feasts, our pastor highly recommends his congregation to go out and buy this this book- well I finally put 2+2 together and realized this book on this website was the same one…what a awesome treasure find!…aside from the 1000 pages that are delicately paper thin w/ a gold ribbon bookmark and it weighs a good solid few pounds, it is the most surprisingly comforting and easy to read book that I have come across in my spiritual book repertoire. It’s like sitting down with Jesus as He is putting an arm around you like a good friend. He speaks to you in this book in a very revealing, personal and soothing approach. I am drawn to it each day for a quiet moment and don’t want to put the book down for any interruption…. Each page of the scripture readings with Jesus ‘s interpretations as teacher and friend and its meditations is a page turner, both to be savored and contemplative.  It is worth every penny as a scriptural resource guide. 
    Thank you Fr. Bartunek for putting together this wonderful treasure!

  • mama10kids

    I love this book, but  I am having vision problems and the print is very hard for me to read. So I was delited to see Praising and Pondering today. I am able to enlarge the print on my computer to 125% so I could see it. I suppose I will have to look toward getting a kindle to make more books accessible. Thank you for this treasure.

  • Eileen

    I could not obtain the itunes App for this book.  Is it out yet?

    • Dan Burke

      Eileen – yes – search in the iTunes store for “Better Part” – let me know if you can’t find it.

      • Kenny

        Hello i just want to say thank you for this powerful book. I bought from itunes for the iphone. I want to gift it to my son but i noticed that its not available any more did something happen? Thank you for your time.

  • Kristen Soley

    Father, I have been doing “The Better Part” as my morning Devo and it is truly fruit bearing.  I thank you for it.  I have a blog geared for women called to the vocation of wife / mother.  There have been several times that would have loved to add one of your quotes from your book to a post.  If I link to your book, may I quote you in the book?… for example… the coke quote…  p 139, # 28…  that is perfect and everybody needs to hear it! 

    • Dan Burke

      Dan here – feel free as long as you provide a link back as you have indicated. Blessings on your efforts!

  • Michele

    The sample reading is exciting and communicates the inner connections we all strive for as Christian Catholics. This is a must read!

  • Kathy Wabick

    Dear Fr. John, I am unable to find this book on iTunes for my iPhone. Is it still available? Help! Kathy

  • Gaudete12

    Fr. John, I love, love, your book, “The Better Part,” which is a wonderful help and blessing in my daily prayer life. Would you consider offering a LARGE print edition? The current print size is much too small for us older folks. Thank you, and God bless you.

    • Dan Burke

      Dear Friend – this is not Fr. John but I do have the answer. It would cost us more than $20k to make this happen. If we can find a donor or group of donors who will support the project, we will make it available.

  • Patti Day

    I just started reading ‘The Better Part’. It is such an aid to meditation, particularly for me in the area of distraction. I’m reading it together with ‘Navigating The Interior Life’. They pair  so beautifully. ‘The Better Part’ is on my Kindle, which allows one to make the print larger, making it easier to read in low light at night or for older eyes.

  • Patti Day

    ‘The Better Part’ is a great help in daily meditation, which I has been elusive for me. I have the book on Kindle which allows one to make the print larger for lower light situations or older eyes, as another reader mentioned. I am reading ‘The Better Part’ along with ‘Navigating the Interior Life’. They complement one another beautifully. 

  • Teresa

    This book sounds awesome I will get it when I can afford it but I do enjoy the daily meditations from spiritual direction. The Lord had given me a spiritual director and I am eager to grow in my relationship with God and knowing his will.

  • Pat Cassedy

    Will The book work on the Nook?

  • Tim

    This is an excellent book, and I really appreciate the inexpensive electronic forms (Kindle, iPod). Would it be hard to make the app available for Android devices?

    • Dan Burke


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