Anthony Lilles

Anthony Lilles, a graduate of Franciscan University of Steubenville, completed his graduate and post-graduate studies in Rome at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas. He and his lovely wife, Agnes, are blessed with three children and live in California, where he is the Academic Dean, and Associate Professor of Theology, St. John’s Seminary, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, and Academic Advisor for Queen of Angels House of Priestly Formation for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. For over twenty years, Dr. Lilles worked for the Denver Archdiocese directing parish religious education, R.C.I.A. and youth ministry, as well as serving as Director of the Office of Liturgy for the Archdiocese and as Coordinator of Spiritual Formation for the permanent diaconate. In 1999, he became a founding faculty member of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary where he was Academic Dean for nine years and Associate Professor of Theology. He is a Board Member for the Society of Catholic Liturgy. Dr. Lilles has provided graduate level courses on a variety of topics including the Eucharist, the Sacraments of Healing, Church History, Spiritual Theology, Spiritual Direction and on various classics of Catholic Spirituality. His expertise is in the spiritual doctrine of Saint Elisabeth of the Trinity and the Carmelite Doctors of the Church: St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St. Thérèse of Lisieux. In 2012, Discerning Hearts published his book “Hidden Mountain, Secret Garden: A Theological Contemplation on Prayer,” a compilation of discussions with seminarians, students, and contemplatives about the spiritual life. He collaborated with Dan Burke on the books “30 Days with Teresa of Avila” and Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Therese of Lisieux. And, his book “Fire from Above” was published in 2016. Among his many accomplishments and responsibilities, Dr. Lilles now teaches theology for the Avila Institute. He blogs at BeginningtoPray.blogspot.com

Articles By Anthony Lilles

St John of Avila: Learning the Language of God (Part I of II)

St John of Avila’s master work in the spiritual life is Audi, Filia or Listen, O Daughter.  This treatise for Sancha Carrillo, one of his penitents, was started while he was imprisoned by the Inquisition. He continued to develop and revise the original text for more than thirty years. In fact, the final revisions were

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The Beatitude of Peacemaking in the Body of Christ (Part III of III)

Peacemaking A troubled reader writes… “Although I am a convert to Catholicism, I am sad and offended that the Catholics would forget what Jesus would do with regards to breaking bread with any of his children. I too am a Eucharistic Minister and I would never turn anyone down from breaking bread with their fellow

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The Beatitude of Peacemaking in the Body of Christ (Part II of III)

A troubled reader writes… “Although I am a convert to Catholicism, I am sad and offended that the Catholics would forget what Jesus would do with regards to breaking bread with any of his children. I too am a Eucharistic Minister and I would never turn anyone down from breaking bread with their fellow man

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The Beatitude of Peacemaking in the Body of Christ (Part I of III)

A troubled reader writes… “Although I am a convert to Catholicism, I am sad and offended that the Catholics would forget what Jesus would do with regards to breaking bread with any of his children. I too am a Eucharistic Minister and I would never turn anyone down from breaking bread with their fellow man

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Prayer and Orthodoxy

Prayer and Orthodoxy Dan Burke recently began posting a three part response, in the National Catholic Register, to a question about false teaching on prayer.  The question was how do we know when a teaching is false. The answer is not easy, but even in the very first part of his answer, Dan gets us

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Pilgrimage of Faith & Christianity’s Unvanquished Hope

I recently accompanied a group of pilgrims from the Tatra Mountains of Poland to Warsaw for the Year of Faith. Twenty years ago, the Pilgrim Pope came to celebrate World Youth Day in Denver and spent time in prayer in a retreat center, high up in the Rocky Mountains.  We decided that we would go to

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The Solidarity of Christian Prayer

Faith in Christ opens us to unconquerable ecclesial horizons even when love seems impossible and the world is falling apart around us. It is about the solidarity we have in Christ. The solidarity that compels us to pray in terms of “we” and “our” instead of remaining on the level of “I” and “mine.” The

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St Hildegard of Bingen on Receiving Holy Communion

At the center of the spiritual life is the real presence of Christ Jesus given to us in the Eucharistic worship He instituted for our sake.  Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Doctor of the Church, reminds us of the proper disposition we must maintain throughout our worship.  It is a disposition of quaerere Deum, a reverent

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Theology and Contemplative Prayer

Contemplative Prayer and Theology Contemplation needs scientific theology and theologians need contemplation.  Historically, contemplatives who have presumed otherwise unwittingly submitted themselves and those they influenced to all kinds of demeaning irrationality. At the same time, whenever theologians believe they can conduct their investigations without prayer, their body of scholarship becomes less capable of building up

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Saint Bernard of Clairvaux and Loving God

In the wisdom of Saint Bernard of Clairvaux, there is great reason to be confident as we begin to learn to love God. He is not ignorant of the fact that most of us often fall short in our efforts to seek God and live according to His commands.  His exhortation stands, not on the

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Praying in Humility and Mercy

Is it possible to pray out of misery without falling into self-pity? The question, posed by one of our readers, indicates a grave evil confronted in prayer. Misery is the demeaning absence of God’s love, a love we have rejected. Without the love God created us to know, we are restless and in our restlessness

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Saint Catherine of Siena – the Key of Obedience

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

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What is Spiritual Theology?

What is Spiritual Theology? There is a lot of diverse opinions on this topic.  Probably the best explanation is provided by Jordan Aumann, O.P., in his well-known Spiritual Theology. To best understand the conversation that he introduces, it is important to note that all the branches of theology, as a disciplined study of sacred doctrine, constitute

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I am with You Always: Encounters with the Risen Lord

“Behold, I am with you always unto the end of time.”  (Matthew 28:20) These last words of the Risen Christ to the Apostles before He ascended into heaven are words that live in our ongoing encounters with the Son of God today.  Because He has not abandoned us and is at work in the world,

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Saint Angela di Foligno: Resting in Crucified Love

“You are I and I am you.”  (Words spoken to Saint Angela di Foligno as recorded in Memorial, Chapter IX taken from Angela of Foligno: Complete Works, trans. Paul Lachance, O.F.M., in Classics of Western Spirituality, New York: Paulist Press (1993) 205.) These are words that Saint Angela di Foligno believed the Risen Lord addressed

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