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

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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Finding the Splendor of Mercy in the Shadow of Humdrum Days

“Oh humdrum days, filled with darkness, I look upon you with a solemn and festive eye.” (Saint Faustina Kowalska, Diary, #1373) Saint Faustina Kowalska wrote these words in 1937 at the brink of falling into a very serious illness from which she would never recover.  She could not have known that this experience of darkness

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An Answer to a Question: What is Contemplation?

Recently, Dan received an interesting question and after we talked about it, I asked whether I might respond.  Here is the question: “Is the terminology for prayer different from Ignatian to that of Carmelite spirituality? I’m a Secular Carmelite and I just went on an Ignatian retreat. My understanding of contemplation was that it was

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The Glory of Christ Crucified

The Cross of Christ brings His glorious grace into the focus of contemplation. It is a difficult mystery to dwell on. The heart sometimes finds itself weary and sometimes even too discouraged to fix its gaze on the agony of the Lord. This is where frequent confession and humble examination of conscience can help the

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Pope Francis and the Pathway to Easter

Pope Francis was just elected and we look forward to his message to the Universal Church in the coming days.  He is a man of deep prayer and a man of profound concern for the poor.  At the beginning of Lent, he made an impassioned plea to the clergy and religious of Argentina, “The Kingdom

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Gethsemane’s Night and the Hope of Christian Prayer

Gethsemane: Those who enter into this hidden garden of prayer with fear of the Lord and right reverence are permitted to overhear part of the Son’s conversation with the Father in secret.  Extending the blessing He offered at the Last Supper, Christ offered perfect praise with bold confidence in the Father while cherishing everything about

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Charity’s Infinite Overflowing Flood in the Midst of Trial

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity (1880 – 1906), a contemporary of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, is a Carmelite mystic from Dijon, France. Her profound theological reflections are given in a tumultuous time, one not unlike our own.  The French government had begun to attack religious freedom with the intention of evicting religious orders and confiscating their

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Forsake Not the Discipline

“Forsake not the discipline.” These words are reported as among the very first and very last teachings of St. Antony of the Desert by his spiritual son, St. Athanasius. The Christian life is not something we master – but it does give us everything we need to master ourselves in the new and unrepeatable circumstances

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Spiritual Liberty in the Night

In order to secure our true liberty, even while we were enslaved to sin, Christ suffered the night of death and ransomed us by His blood. This is why the Lord respects human freedom, even when it is the source of great sorrow. Aware of our frailty, God does not overpower our freedom but delights

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Nescivi – A Cry of A Heart in Love with God

“Nescivi!”  This is the Latin for what it seems the Shulamite Bride of the Canticle of Canticles sings in 6:12.  The passage is difficult to translate.  One 16th Century Doctor of the Church, Saint John of the Cross, understood it to be the declaration of a lover captivated with thoughts of her Beloved.  The Latin

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Love Songs in the Night

With rich biblical imagery, St. John of the Cross describes the soul as a jubilant bride who sings mysterious verses and wants nothing other than to live in intimacy with her bridegroom. She ventures out with courage while the beauty of night cloaks her from anyone and anything that might prevent her from finding the

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The Prayer that Blazes from the Deepest Center

Christian prayer is meant to blaze forth from the Deepest Center of the soul. In his powerful Living Flame of Love, St. John of the Cross explains this Deepest Center.  Many spiritual writers recognize the need for interiority that a term like the Deepest Center suggests.  Sometimes, however, what certain authors describe as the center of the

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