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Catholic Spiritual Direction

Attachments: What are they? How do they hinder my spiritual life? (II/II)

tethered bird feature Attachments

…a reader asks: In your recent series on getting stuck in spiritual growth (which was very helpful by the way) you mentioned the idea of “attachments.” I think I understand this as I have read a bit of St. John of the Cross. However, I would be grateful if you could help me understand it a bit better and for any practical advice about identifying attachments and then shedding them. I remember... Read More

Attachments: What are they? How do they hinder my spiritual life? (I/II)

tethered bird feature Attachments

In your recent series on getting stuck in spiritual growth (which was very helpful  by the way) you mentioned the idea of “attachments.” I think I understand this as I have read a bit of St. John of the Cross. However, I would be grateful if you could help me understand it a bit better and for any practical advice about identifying attachments and then shedding them. I remember St. John of the... Read More

The rule of three in the battle against sin

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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. After years of observing intelligent, capable, and committed people work... Read More

As the Storm Rages Around Me, How Should I Pray?

January 22, 2013 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Prayer, Self Knowledge

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Dear Dan, I have recently become aware that I have no desire to make petitionary prayers for myself.  I noticed this most as Hurricane Sandy raged around me, causing lots of high wind destruction in our area.  The power was out and there was nothing to hear but the howling wind.  I talked to God.  I told Him that I probably ought to be asking Him to keep me safe – but that I knew He keeps... Read More

How can I get out of patterns of sin!?

Dear Sister Carmen, how can I deepen my relationship with God when I am stuck in patterns of sin that I can’t seem to break? I’ve asked this question to several people at different times, but I really can’t seem to figure this out or make any progress. I am really grieved over this. Thank you for your help. It seems to me that your grief over patterns of sin is already the beginning of conversion... Read More

The beauty of your soul…

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“…the soul of the just person is nothing else but a paradise where the Lord says he finds his delight. So then, what do you think that abode will be like where a King so powerful, so wise, so pure, so full of all good things takes his delight? I don’t find anything comparable to the magnificent beauty of a soul and its marvelous capacity. Indeed, our intellects, however keen, can... Read More

Self-knowledge and the spiritual life-Part III of III: Sacred Silence

August 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Self Knowledge, Silence, Spiritual Life

Editor’s note:  In part two, we discussed how silence is important to self-knowledge. What is sacred silence? There are many scripture passages that convey important elements of a true God-ward silence. One that is sublimely concise is Psalm 46:10: Be still, and know that I am God This passage clearly reveals the type of silence necessary for a God-ward self-knowledge. First, we have the purpose... Read More

Self-knowledge and the Spiritual Life – Part II of III

July 31, 2010 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Self Knowledge, Silence

In Part I of this series we discussed the problem of spiritual delusion and darkness as a consequence of the lack of a God-ward self-knowledge. The purpose of this awareness is simply this: To reveal the sin(s) that hinder our relationship with God and that keep us from the fullness of God’s person, love, and provision for us in this life and the life to come. As well, we desire to respond to... Read More

Self-knowledge and the spiritual life – Part I of III

July 26, 2010 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Self Knowledge

How are the brake lights on your car? Are they working properly? I have an experiment for you. Go out to your car all by yourself and try to verify that they are working. Back already? How did it go? Did you cheat and do the exercise in your head? That’s ok, let’s just go with it. The bottom line is this; in the normal course of life, you would never know that one of your brake lights was... Read More

How and why should I practice a daily examination of conscience? – Part I of II

June 14, 2010 by  
Filed under Conscience Exam, Fr. Bartunek

 Dear Father John, My spiritual director is recommending that I practice a daily “examination of conscience.” I thought this was just for religious, etc. Can you help me understand more about this, how it should be done, and why? This is a critical issue for deepening your friendship with Christ. Critical. Hands down, this spiritual discipline (the daily examination of conscience) is a central... Read More