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Catholic Spiritual Direction

How does a person accept God’s mercy?

Savoldo,_santi_antonio_abate_e_paolo Wikimedia Commons copy

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 that this resistance is... 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 system is called a “rule... Read More

Should I relax my “Rule of Life” during the holidays? – Part II of II

Dear Father John, Is it right to relax one’s Rule during a holiday period (or a day off)? If so, what should we hang on to and what should we ‘shelve’? What about a priest with a fairly demanding Rule of Life? As you will have guessed, I am a priest and am unsure about my own practice. I also find that this question comes up among other clergy and among committed and faithful lay folk (especially those married to... Read More

Should I relax my “Rule of Life” during the holidays? – Part I of II

 Dear Father John, Is it right to relax one’s Rule during a holiday period (or a day off)? If so, what should we hang on to and what should we ‘shelve’? What about a priest with a fairly demanding Rule of Life? As you will have guessed, I am a priest and am unsure about my own practice. I also find that this question comes up among other clergy and among committed and faithful lay folk (especially those married to... Read More

What virtues can I practice to overcome the root sin of sensuality?

May 3, 2010 by  
Filed under Fr. Bartunek, Program of Life, Root Sin, Sin, Virtue

Dear Father John, Thank you for the post on root sin. It has definitely helped me. My question is, charity and humility seem to be the virtues to practice if the root sin is pride or vanity. But what would be the virtue to practice to overcome sensuality? It seems that it is more of an emotional response, hence the sensuality. Thanks to your article have identified this as my root sin, I am not entirely sure what to put in place/practice... Read More

How can I identify my root sin?

Dear Father John, I am not in spiritual direction right now, but I am trying to put together a program of life anyway. Can you give me some pointers about identifying my “root sin”? You are already on the right track. A program of life is worthless (well, almost worthless, at least) without having identified our root sin. Unless we understand the dynamism underlying our frequent faults and failings, we will never be able to... Read More

Spiritual Direction Post and Series Index

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Dear Friends, To make it easier for you to find key posts on spiritual direction we have updated our Spiritual Direction Index page. As well, we have ordered the posts in a way in keeping with the flow of topics. Click here or go to the upper right hand corner of the site and click on “Spiritual Direction.” Seek Him – Find Him – Follow Him, Dan About Dan BurkeDan is the founder of Catholic Spiritual Direction,... Read More

How much of spiritual direction should focus on prayer versus sin and virtue?

Dear Father John, How much of a discussion in spiritual direction should focus on moral issues, such as habitual sin and possibly that of grave matter which may not necessarily be mortal sin? So much discussion here is only about how to pray well, making a program for life, finding a spiritual director and things of that nature. What about living life every day? It seems to me that talking to a spiritual director about lofty things... Read More

What is a “program of life” and why is it important to my spiritual progress?

June 30, 2009 by  
Filed under Fr. Bartunek, Program of Life, Spiritual Direction

Dear Father John, what is a “Program of Life” and why is it important to my spiritual progress and Spiritual Direction? One of the enemies of good spiritual direction is excessive subjectivity.  We all have urgent personal issues that come and go; they occupy our attention and energy intensely for brief periods, but they really don’t touch the deeper regions of our character and personality.  When a child is sick,... Read More