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Catholic Spiritual Direction

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

2 Doctors, 2 Ways, 1 Goal: Sts Teresa and Therese (Part 1 of 3)

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2 Doctors, 2 Ways, 1 Goal: Sts Teresa and Therese (Part I of III) Memorial of Saint Thérèse of the Child Jesus Virgin and Doctor of the Church October 1st Many of you probably have seen the 1965 film entitled The Sound of Music starring Julie Andrews as Maria von Trapp and Christopher Plummer as Captain von Trapp. The first verse of the theme song goes like this: Climb every mountain, Search high... Read More

Why Have Holy Water Fonts and Bless Ourselves with the Water?

September 15, 2014 by  
Filed under Fr. Bartunek, Sacramentals

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Dear Father John, I know we bless ourselves with holy water when we come into Church. Why are there holy water fonts at the doors of the Church and why do we dip our fingers in them and bless ourselves as we enter? Why did we ever start doing this? I love this question! So many of the small gestures that we learn early on in our Catholic lives have various levels of meaning. And too often we can simply... Read More

What is God’s Will Regarding Suffering?

August 18, 2014 by  
Filed under Fr. Bartunek, God's Will, Suffering

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Editor’s Note:  The following post comes from a new book by Fr. Bartunek published by Franciscan Media: “Answers: Catholic Advice for Your Spiritual Questions”. The questions and answers in this new book are some of Father John’s best.  Click here to learn more about the book…or if you wish to get it for a friend or relative who doesn’t read on line. With special endorsements by: Dan... Read More

Why Does Hell Need to be Eternal?

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Father Fortea, why does hell need to be eternal? Repentance can be born only of grace. If God does not send grace to a spirit, making it understand the perpetrated evil, then there can be no supernatural repentance. Without grace, a demon can understand that it was a foolish decision to have rebelled, a decision that has caused it suffering. But true repentance is qualitatively different from just... Read More

How Do I Set Up a Home Altar?

June 21, 2014 by  
Filed under Leila Lawler, Prayer

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Dear Dan, I have heard you speak and mention the importance of having a home altar or dedicated space to pray. I must admit that this is a completely foreign idea to me but it is also intriguing and I believe can help me in my prayer life and maybe my family too. Can you give me some detail about how one would go about setting up a home altar? Dear Friend, absolutely! However, instead of answering... Read More

Strengths of Thousands: New Retreat Guide on Confirmation

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Strengths of Thousands: New Retreat Guide on the Sacrament of Confirmation Dear Fellow Digital Missionary, One of my favorite lines from the Catechism says this about the special grace we received from the sacrament of confirmation: “Confirmation… strengthened us for the combat of this life” (CCC 1523). Life in this fallen world is a battle. And as Christians, we are not only called to engage... Read More

What to do When the Well Runs Dry? (Part I of II)

May 26, 2014 by  
Filed under Aridity or Dryness, Fr. Bartunek, Prayer

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Dear Father John, there was a time early in my prayer life that I experienced what I think is known as consolations. I have continued to grow in virtue and holiness (if I even know what that means) but my prayer life seems like it doesn’t match my life of virtue. I have listened to Dan Burke’s webinar on the three ways and I am grateful to say that I don’t struggle with habitual sin at all. But,... Read More

What Is The Difference Between Magic And Religion?

April 3, 2014 by  
Filed under Fr. Fortea, Occult, Spiritual Warfare

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Q.  Father Fortea, what is the difference between magic and religion? A.  When we speak here of magic we are not referring to the popular art of the “magician” who pulls a rabbit out of a hat or makes things (apparently) disappear. Such “magicians” are just entertainers – illusionists – who use various techniques to trick our eyes. In this discussion, the word magic refers to occult practices... Read More

Dryness in Prayer – What is going on? (Part I of III)

March 31, 2014 by  
Filed under Aridity or Dryness, Fr. Bartunek, Prayer

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Dear Father John, I have been praying (mental prayer) for a long time.  But lately I seem to be experiencing dryness in my prayer – I just don’t seem to get as much out of it as I used to.  Is it the “dark night of the soul”?  If not, what’s going on, and what should I do? The Catechism (#2731) mentions dryness as one of the most common obstacles to prayer.  But this... Read More

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