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Catholic Spiritual Direction

About Fr. John Bartunek, LC

Fr. John Bartunek, LC, S.Th.D, received his BA in History from Stanford University in 1990. He comes from an evangelical Christian background and became a member of the Catholic Church in 1991. After college he worked as a high school history teacher, drama director, and baseball coach. He then spent a year as a professional actor in Chicago before entering the religious Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ in 1993. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 2003 and earned his doctorate in moral theology in 2010. He provided spiritual support on the set of Mel Gibson’s "The Passion of the Christ" while researching the 2005 Catholic best seller "Inside the Passion"--the only authorized, behind-the-scene explanation of the film. Fr. John has contributed news commentary regarding religious issues on NBC, CNN, Fox, and the BBC. He also served as the English-language press liaison for the Vatican’s 2005 Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist. His most widely known book is called: "The Better Part: A Christ-Centered Resource for Personal Prayer". He has also published four other titles: "Seeking First the Kingdom", "Answers: Catholic Advice for Your Spiritual Questions", "Meditations for Mothers", and "A Guide to Christian Meditation". Fr. John currently splits his time between Rome and Rhode Island, where he teaches theology as an adjunct professor at the Pontifical Athenaeum Regina Apostolorum and at Mater Ecclesia College. He is also continuing his writing apostolate with online retreats at www.RCSpirituality.org and questions and answers on the spiritual life at www.RCSpiritualDirection.com. FATHER JOHN'S BOOKS include: "The Better Part: A Christ-Centered Resource for Personal Prayer", "Inside the Passion"--The Only Authorized Insiders View of Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ, "Meditations for Mothers", and "A Guide to Christian Meditation".

151. The Greatest Yes (Luke 1:26-38)

December 17, 2014 by  
Filed under Fr. Bartunek, Meditations, The Better Part

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“Therefore, though it is God who takes the initiative of coming to dwell in the midst of men, and he is always the main architect of this plan, it is also true that he does not will to carry it out without our active cooperation.” -Pope Benedict XVI Luke 1:26-38: ‘In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named... Read More

What Exactly does Jesus Mean by “The Heart”? (Part I of II)

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Dear Father John,  when I hear the readings at Mass, I hear Jesus talk about the heart all the time.  But, what exactly does He mean? THE FIRST ARENA of love that Jesus points out is the “heart.” In all three New Testament versions of this greatest commandment [cf Matthew 22:37, Mark 12:30, Luke 10:27], heart is always first on the list. Sacred Scripture uses this term more than a thousand times,... Read More

239. An Unwelcome Sunrise (John 1:1-18)

December 10, 2014 by  
Filed under Advent, Fr. Bartunek, Meditations, The Better Part

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“Though he was rich, yet for our sake he became poor, so that by his poverty we might become rich.” –St. Augustine John 1:1-18: In the beginning was the Word: and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things came to be, not one thing had its being but through him. All that came to be had life in him and that life was the light of men, a... Read More

240. A Generous King (John 1:19-28)

December 10, 2014 by  
Filed under Advent, Fr. Bartunek, Meditations, The Better Part

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“God’s providence of mercy, having determined to save in the last days the world which was perishing, foreordained the salvation of all nations in Christ.” -St. Leo the Great, Pope John 1:19-28: This is how John appeared as a witness. When the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ he not only declared, but he declared quite openly, ‘I am not the Christ.’... Read More

How Do I Love God Above All? Part II of II

December 8, 2014 by  
Filed under Fr. Bartunek, Loving God

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…Father John Bartunek answers the following question: Dear Father John,  I try to love God above everything and everyone else, but I’m not sure how.  I’m not even sure that I am doing that.  Can you help? Editor’s Note:  In part I, we looked at why someone would even think about this question and the precise totality of love.  Today we will: talk about going beyond self-help... Read More

93. Prophecies Finally Fulfilled (Mark 1:1-6)

December 3, 2014 by  
Filed under Fr. Bartunek, Meditations, The Better Part

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“We must therefore get to work, and follow the Lord; we must break the chains which impede our following him.” -St. Augustine Mark 1:1-6: ‘The beginning of the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah: Look, I am going to send my messenger before you; he will prepare your way. A voice cries in the wilderness: Prepare a way for the Lord,... Read More

How Do I Love God Above All? Part I of II

December 1, 2014 by  
Filed under Fr. Bartunek, Loving God

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Dear Father John,  I try to love God above everything and everyone else, but I’m not sure how.  I’m not even sure that I am doing that.  Can you help? THE MERE FACT that you are [thinking about this] shows that you already desire the most important thing: to know, love, and follow Jesus Christ more fully every day. That desire is supernatural. You couldn’t have stirred it up on your... Read More

The Art of Waiting: A Retreat Guide for Advent

November 29, 2014 by  
Filed under Advent, Featured, Fr. Bartunek, Retreat Guides

The Art of Waiting - Available Now

The Art of Waiting: A Retreat Guide for Advent The newest Retreat Guide from RC Spirituality, “The Art of Waiting: A Retreat Guide for Advent” is now available at www.RCSpirituality.org. Advent is a liturgical season meant to be lived with deep spiritual anticipation. It is a time of year in which the Church invites us to look forward to spiritual gifts with the same kind of eagerness and delight... Read More

Offering More Than One Mass For the Deceased

November 24, 2014 by  
Filed under Death and Dying, Fr. Bartunek, Mass

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Offering more than one Mass for the deceased Dear Father John, we have Mass said for the repose of a soul during their funeral. The Eucharist itself is said to be infinitely valuable and thus there is no greater value to offer to God. Why do we follow this with additional Masses particularly on the anniversary of the death of the individual given we cannot add to the value of the Mass? It also shows... Read More

Partners with God: The Lull of Mediocrity (Part II of II)

November 17, 2014 by  
Filed under Featured, Fr. Bartunek, Spiritual Life

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Dear Father John, if we are supposed to be partners with God, why do I feel like I have to do so much of the work?  My husband gets by with doing next to nothing.  I have a sense that neither of us is right and we need to find some balance. Can you help? …as I mentioned in our last post, different personalities tend to react to [the] truth about our partnership with God in different ways.... Read More