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


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 I am trying to curb my faults.... Read More

“Offering it Up” – Redemptive Suffering (II/II) Path to Greater Merit

May 12, 2014 by  
Filed under Fr. Bartunek, Suffering


In part I, we talked about the mystery of merit and its problem and solution.  Today, we will discuss how the growth in spiritual maturity depends on the interior discipline in living out each for four factors. A reader asks:  Dear Father John, I was just listening to a radio show about redemptive suffering – they were saying that our suffering can have value if we “offer it up.”  Is there any more to this... Read More

“Offering it Up” – Redemptive Suffering Part I Mystery of Merit

May 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Fr. Bartunek, Prayer, Suffering


Redemptive Suffering (Part I of II) :  The Mystery of Merit Dear Father John, I was just listening to a radio show about redemptive suffering – they were saying that our suffering can have value if we “offer it up.”  Is there any more to this (uniting our sufferings to Jesus’) than just saying the words? Before getting to the heart of this question, we have to peek at the presupposition.  It has to do... Read More

The Value of Suffering

Divine Intimacy_K2

✞ The Value of Suffering Presence of God – O Jesus Crucified, teach me the science of the Cross; make me understand the value of suffering. MEDITATION The Passion of Jesus teaches us in a concrete way that in the Christian life we must be able to accept suffering for the love of God. This is a hard, repugnant lesson for our nature, which prefers pleasure and happiness; however, it comes from Jesus, the Teacher of truth and... Read More

Let Us Learn To Be Tempered To Love Through Suffering! (IV/V)

March 29, 2014 by  
Filed under Mary Kaufmann, Suffering


Editor’s note:  In the first part of this series, we introduced the concept of the Chain of Love, from Venerable Concepción Cabrera’s Spirituality of the Cross.  Part II examined how we are to live our baptismal priesthood and briefly looked at the concept of the fourteen rules of the Chain of Love. The third post explored the idea of seeing with the eyes of Jesus and went into greater detail on the rules of the... Read More

Sayings of Light and Love #14

February 6, 2014 by  
Filed under Aridity or Dryness, Dan Burke, John of the Cross, Suffering

John of the Cross 3 copy

God values in you the inclination to dryness and suffering for love of him more than all the consolations, spiritual visions, and meditations you could possibly have. Saint John of the Cross More “Sayings of Light and Love”   ? About Dan BurkeDan is the founder of Catholic Spiritual Direction, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and author of the award winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual... Read More

Sayings of Light and Love #4

January 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, John of the Cross, Suffering

John of the Cross 3 copy

It is better to be burdened and in company with the strong man than to be unburdened with the weak. When you are burdened, you are close to God, your strength, who abides with the afflicted. When you are relieved of the burden you are close to yourself, your own weakness; for virtue and strength of soul grow and are confirmed in the trials of patience. Saint John of the Cross About Dan BurkeDan is the founder of Catholic Spiritual... Read More

Why do Catholics Emphasize Guilt, Suffering and Living Only for Heaven? (I of II)

July 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Catholic Spirituality, Fr. Bartunek, Suffering


 Q: Dear Father John: I admit I am fairly new to the spiritual life.  But God has been doing amazing things, and I really want to keep growing.  But I keep getting stuck on one thing.  I just don’t get that, as Catholics, we are meant to spend SO much time focused on suffering! Suffering and guilt…Didn’t Jesus bear the cross so we wouldn’t have to? When I am suffering, of course, I seek God, but in my heart,... Read More

Interior Pentecost of the Heart

Venerable Concepcion Cabrera de Armida

Sometimes we struggle to find heroic lay people to emulate. The stories of many Saints and much spiritual literature describe the spiritual lives of consecrated and/or ordained Christians. But, what about the rest of us, the remaining 99.9% of the Church, do we have any hope for holiness? Vatican II answers in the affirmative with the universal call to holiness (Lumen Gentium 39). Venerable Concepcion Cabrera de Armida, (1861-1937),... Read More

Saint Catherine of Siena – the Key of Obedience

Catherine of Siena Wikipedia Public Domain copy

Saint Catherine of Siena spent her life encouraging a deeper obedience to God the Father.  Although the earthly life of this Doctor of the Church ended over six hundred years ago, her spiritual teaching has passed into the universal patrimony of the Church.  In particular, the personal relationship she enjoyed with the eternal Father through her faith in Christ crucified can help us reassess our own attitudes toward the Fatherhood... Read More

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