Prayer / Spiritual Life

Led by the Spirit

chair-peter-holy-spiritDetail of Chair of St. Peter Dnalor 01, Rom, Vatikan, Petersdom, Cathedra Petri (Bernini) 4, Detail, CC BY-SA 3.0

Just what is it that leads us through this life? This is a question we should ask ourselves and wrestle with from time to time. However, we should do this only after we have wrestled with the first and more immediate question: Where we are going in this life? Or perhaps more accurately, what is life really all about? Some […]

Time for Some Straight Talk

"The Lamb of God, John the Baptist and Andrew" (detail) by Ottavio Vannini (1585-c. 1643) [Public domain]

If you appreciate straight talk, the Gospel of John has a great way of getting to the point. “‘It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life.But there are some of you that do not believe.’ For Jesus knew from the first who those […]

Do Not Go Gentle…

Photography by Thoom | Shutterstock

There is an interesting irony to the Christmas season. The irony is that while so many people experience great joy during Christmas, many others, perhaps an equal number, experience depression. This is true for many reasons, not the least of which is that for many people, this season is merely a time of unfulfilled expectations.   Those expectations may stem from something […]

The Most Powerful Prayer Book

"King David in Prayer" (detail) Pieter de Grebber [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Have you ever wished that someone might just tell you what the most effective prayer book is out there? Let’s acknowledge that there are literally thousands and thousands of published books on prayer, not to mention all the material one can find on the internet about prayer. But if we do not have time to read all those books, or […]

Watching and Waiting — Advent in Carmel

Advent in Carmel To experience Advent in Carmel is to enter into a rarified atmosphere that is filled to the brim with Carmel’s living legacy of Advent customs and observances. My first Advent in Carmel remains fresh in my memory today, still as vibrant and alive as when it happened. I feel at a loss, however, to write about it. […]

God, Please Answer My Prayer Right Now!

Photography by John Neff | Shutterstock

“I call upon thee, for thou wilt answer me, O God; incline thy ear to me, hear my words.” (Psalm 17:6) Have you ever prayed this prayer? I know I have, and I know full well that I will pray it again in the future. I also know there will likely be times when my prayer is not going to be […]

Oh What a Treasure!

It might be a tough message to hear, but truthfully, it is often our very difficulties in this life that represent our greatest blessings. In fact, that is exactly what St. Paul tells us in his Second letter to the Corinthians. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, to show that the transcendent power belongs to God and not […]

Praying for Fallen Away Loved Ones

On October 17, the Pew Research Center released the results of a survey that showed that 65 percent of American adults now say that they’re Christians, down 12 percentage points in just the last ten years. Those describing themselves as atheists, agnostics and “nothing in particular” are now at 26 percent of the population, up from 17 percent in 2009. […]

People Can Change

"Moses Breaking the Tablets" (detail) by Rembrandt [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

There is a remarkable story of transformation that occurs in the Old Testament, and it happens to a character we all know very well. “One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens; and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people. He looked this way and that, […]

Scruples and Moderation: Understanding the Advice of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Near the end of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises is a curious section titled, “Some Notes Concerning Scruples.” Scrupulosity is one of those pesky spiritual problems that we don’t always recognize but can give us a lot a grief if left unchecked. Believe me, I know! Never heard of scrupulosity? How about Catholic Guilt? Scrupulosity is Catholic Guilt run […]