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Spiritual Director or Shrink? How Does One Discern? (Part I of II)

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Dear Fathers, Brothers, and Sisters,

 I have long been dealing with a deep sadness and lack of joy in life.  The vortex of emotional suffering seems to revolve around my unanswered prayers for a spouse and romantic love, but when I look at myself honestly I see that I am not selfless enough to have been a good wife.

 I pray that the Lord changes my heart, and makes me a better person, and... Read More

The rule of three in the battle against sin

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Q: Dear Dan, I am struggling with a recurring problem with anger that I can’t seem to overcome. I have read books, tried to understand how it surfaces in me, prayed fervently (I am living in a state of grace outside of this problem). But I seem to be making no progress. I am very very very very very very very very frustrated. A: After years of observing intelligent, capable, and committed people... Read More

How does a person accept God’s mercy?

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Dear Father John, I am helping a woman in her spiritual growth (mainly through helping her come up with a program of life), and something came up that I wanted to ask you about. She has shared with me some of what she regrets, and some of what she is having a hard time forgiving herself for. Intellectually she knows that God forgives, but she hasn’t accepted His mercy into her heart. I am guessing... Read More

Navigating the New Year

December 26, 2012 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Program of Life, Root Sin

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Lay people often overlook a source of deep spirituality and safety. One of the spiritual secrets of those in the religious life is a kind of spiritual guardrail system that helps them to know the path of peace on a moment to moment basis. This wisdom-born approach has aided thousands of ordinary people to become saints and to experience the heights of union with the Lord in this life. One part of this... Read More

How do I know if thoughts are from the devil or just from my own mind?

March 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Discernment

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Dear Dan, my thought life is sometimes out of control. When I get angry or disturbed it seems like these feelings press a “replay” button on the scenes of my struggle to the point where I want to scream to make it stop. Sometimes I lose lots of sleep. The tapes in my head replay what I should have said or could have said -  what will I do in response etc. I guess my main question is how do I know... Read More

I discovered my root sin is vanity and I am struggling with this…

Q: Dear Father Edward, I just came to realize through spiritual direction, prayer and many graces that my root sin in Vanity!!! And I am having a very hard time knowing this fact. I feel like God is now leaving me alone (not feeling His presence) to test me and I am struggling with this fact. How do I continue to keep my faith strong and deal with the everyday insecurities in myself that I face? People... Read More

How can I overcome the root sin of vanity?

January 6, 2011 by  
Filed under Anonymous, Root Sin, Sin, Virtue

Q: Dear Father Edward, would you be willing to post the virtues to overcome the root sin of vanity and pride also? A: “Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!” That line from the Book of Ecclesiastes rings as true today as on the day it was written. Vanity is one of the three root sins that plague humanity. Much of our economy is built on vanity, on... Read More

How can I overcome the root sin of pride?

December 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Anonymous, Root Sin, Sin, Virtue

Dear Father Edward, would you be willing to post the virtues to overcome the root sins of vanity and pride also? Whole libraries could be written on how to overcome pride. Pride is the mother of all root sins. Take any sin and you can ultimately trace its roots back to pride. This vice arises because of a deep-seated desire to do things our way. Whereas vanity puts too much emphasis on the esteem of... Read More

A new diagnosis of my root sin…

A New Diagnosis of my Root Sin… I was back in my home state and surprised to get the call. I couldn’t imagine what it would be about. I was in the Texas emergency room one week earlier after air travel triggered debilitating imbalance so severe that I couldn’t even walk on my own. The doctor discovered something in the x-ray of my brain when I was in the emergency room. “You... Read More

Can a root sin change?

August 2, 2010 by  
Filed under Fr. Bartunek, Root Sin, Self Knowledge, Sin

Q: Dear Father John, Can a root sin change over your life? It seems to me that increasingly sensuality is being replaced as a root sin by pride. have you seen this, as one sin goes, another becomes more prominent? A: The general opinion on this question is, as far as I can tell, that root sins don’t change. Remember, because of our fallen nature, we all carry within us tendencies towards vanity,... Read More

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