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Catholic Spiritual Direction

Is it a Sin to Put Yourself Down?

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Is it a Sin to Put Yourself Down? “Oh, I’m so inept!  I can’t do anything right!”  There are endless variations of the self-deprecating rants. They are dressed up like humility but smack of pride. The person announcing his failings probably does not boast and is instead seeking a humble path, but he unwittingly travels by way of pride.  Whether boasting or bemoaning one’s own characteristics, both put the focus on... Read More

Have I Committed the Unforgivable Sin?

August 26, 2014 by  
Filed under Capital Sins, Dan Burke, Divine Mercy, Featured, Forgiveness

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Dear Dan, I am Catholic. I committed grave sins when I was a teen that I have lived in guilt and anxiety over for almost two decades. I pray every day about them. I have prayed in church but I have never been to confession. I am afraid to go to confession because I am scared I will not be forgiven or kicked out of the “church”. I want to go to Heaven. I love God and Jesus. Are there any sins that are not forgivable?... Read More

Judge Not

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Presence of God – O Lord, keep me from judging and criticizing my neighbor; give me kind, loving thoughts about everyone. MEDITATION “Judge not, that you may not be judged” (Mt 7:1). Charity to our neighbor begins with our thoughts, as many of our failings in charity are basically caused by our judgments. We do not think highly enough of others, we do not sufficiently consider their manifest good qualities, we are not benevolent... Read More

How do I get Rid of my “inner ugliness?”

July 7, 2014 by  
Filed under Difficulties, Fr. Bartunek, Pride

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Dear Father John, I have been struggling with some interior trials with forgiveness, resentment and jealousy. I call this “inner ugliness.” I have been praying fervently, going to confession, and receiving excellent spiritual direction. I have been willing myself to be charitable even when I am not feeling it. So here is my question. What am I missing, why do I still feel “inner ugly”? How do I let go of... Read More

Can One Be Condemned For Little Sins?

May 30, 2014 by  
Filed under Fr. Fortea, Spiritual Warfare, Venial Sin

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Father Fortea, can one be condemned for “little” sins? No. Eternal condemnation is so horrendous, so terrible, that it is reserved for grave sins. Only one who dies in a state of mortal sin is condemned to hell. This being said, every sin, no matter how small, is a step toward greater sin; every sin, no matter how slight, is a step in the direction of condemnation. No one can say: “I will only commit this small sin once and... Read More

What is the Process that Leads to Eternal Death?

May 23, 2014 by  
Filed under Death and Dying, Fr. Fortea, Sin, Spiritual Warfare

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Father Fortea, what is the process that leads to eternal death? As St. James teaches, “Each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin; and sin when it is full-grown brings forth death” (James 1:14-15). With great insight, these two verses describe the process that leads to the death of grace in the soul. Sin is not produced by itself nor does it appear... Read More

Not Excusing Oneself

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✞ Presence of God – O Jesus, who willed to be silent before him who condemned You to death, teach me the art of not excusing myself. MEDITATION In any failure, fault, or personal error, our ego instinctively tries to excuse itself. It is the tactic of pride—which is not willing to admit its mistakes and schemes—to hide them under more or less false pretexts, always finding some way to blame them on other people or on circumstances.... Read More

What is the Greatest Evil?

March 27, 2014 by  
Filed under Fr. Fortea, Sin, Spiritual Warfare

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Father Fortea, what is the greatest evil? According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the greatest evil is sin (CCC 1488). Since God is love and sin leads to the rejection of His love, sin inevitably leads to hatred – of God, of humanity, of those around us, and of ourselves. Those who allow themselves to walk the path of hatred can reach the point where they hate all four objects with their entire strength. Such a consuming... Read More

Venial Sin

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✞ Presence of God – O Lord, inflame me with Your holy zeal, so that I will no longer be able to tolerate in myself the slightest thing which is displeasing to You. MEDITATION Venial sin, like mortal sin, goes counter to God’s will, although with less serious deviation. While it does not destroy charity, it is opposed to it and therefore diminishes its fervor and vigor, hindering its development. This is the disastrous effect... 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 to solve recurring challenges... Read More

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