Papa Bene on the Importance of Spiritual Direction

Wednesday, June 30, AD 2010

Spiritual Direction is where you have a spiritual director, whether a priest or layperson, offer advice, guidance, and feedback in your spiritual health.

This usually involves going over what ails you, whether spiritual or even non-spiritual at times.  Then your director offers his or her direction in what aspect of your spiritual life may be deficient and offers a remedy to that deficiency.

This has been my experience so don’t take me as an expert, but as a witness in having spiritual direction.

Saint Theresa of Avila had outstanding spiritual directors which I long for and are a rarity to find.  She had spiritual direction from well educated and newly formed Jesuits who attacked the problem at it’s core.

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14 Responses to Papa Bene on the Importance of Spiritual Direction

  • Isn’t this why St. Josemaria Escriva established the Opus Dei prelature?

  • AK,

    Yes, one reason why.

    What’s with the Cthulhu icon?

  • Spiritual direction has been a tremendous grace for me. I’ve been getting it off-and-on for years from Opus Dei people, but I finally “got serious” about it a year ago. It’s probably the only way a schlub like me will ever be able to kick the devil’s ass.

  • Tito,

    No idea. I’m technologically incompetent. In addition to spiritual direction I am in need of technical direction.

  • AK,

    Just poking fun at you.

    I’ve changed the self-generating gravatar from abstract to monsterID.

  • I’ve had nothing but disappointment in my search for a spiritual director. A few priests are willing to be a spiritual director to a certain kind of person – say, in a particular state of life – and aren’t seemingly interested in anyone else, but many aren’t seemingly interested in *anyone*.

    I say “seemingly” because it’s not my place to judge them. At some point a priest’s lack of support for a person in spiritual crisis has to rise to the level of serious sin. I’ve had a couple of confessors whose souls I pray for with significant concern.

  • Pinky,

    I haven’t encountered what you have, but I do long for an excellent spiritual adviser, which I haven’t found yet.

    I’m worried about putting more stress on our priests.

    That is why I mentioned the Jesuits of Saint Theresa of Avila’s time because THAT is what exactly I need.

    Well formed, well educated, and kind spiritual advisers.

  • Tito, I wouldn’t want to say anything that would discourage someone from looking for a spiritual director. I, personally, am just shell-shocked from my experience, but I had some bad luck. And I can’t complain (but sometimes I still do). When you consider the Fall of the House of Maciel, a lot of good people must feel a lot more let down than I ever have.

  • Pinky,

    I hope my comment hasn’t led anyone to be discouraged to search for a spiritual director.

    As for me, I am still looking and so should you!

    🙂

  • It is nice to know that I am not the only sinner in need of direction. I must admit that pride gets in the way. When I reverted to the Faith, I think I was captivated by Grace and then I relied heavily on the natural virtue of religion. It seems a schmuck like me needed to get catechized after three decades of paganism. It worked for a while and then it became like I was reaching for faith by my own power – God had another plan and he let me get knocked down. He is wonderful.

    Now with my new found humility and a vestigial tinge of pride, He has brought me to the realization that I am NOT so special and I am just like every other sinner; which is to say infinitely special in His eyes, and of the lowest consequence from every other perspective. That is great.

    But, then I feel lost. I know the faith better than the average ‘Catholic’ – I am not boasting, I think this is natural for converts and reverts – The Catholic religion is very exciting and intellectually stimulating. That is NOT enough, in fact, I am not so sure it is even all that necessary. Apparently, the Cure d’Ars was not too bright and yet he was far more faithful and in love with God than I. So I began going to Reconciliation more often, and as often as possible to the same priest. That was very helpful, but he is new, he is busy, he has other sinners that need confession and we can’t really get deep into the issues. He tells me I have a pretty good perspective on the nature of my sins – that has to be Grace. But, I know I need something more.

    I used to think the holier people went to daily Mass, weekly confession, and had spiritual directors. I am now realizing that all that assistance is probably not for the holiest souls, but for the least – like me. I think I need more help, I don’t think I am alone (judging from this thread and the poor quality of Catholic culture in our country). So where to go?

    I have been bumping into Opus Dei more and more and St. Escriva’s books are, well, just amazingly insightful. I keep reading about different spiritualities and praying for guidance, but I seem to like aspects of de Sales, Ignatius, de Montfort, etcetera, etcetera. All good stuff. All orthodox Catholic. But it seems I need focus. So that is what lead me to think of spiritual direction.

    Then I am absent from this site for over a month and the moment I come back, Tito, posts this thread. Theoincidence? Must be.

    So how do you go about figuring this out. Opus Dei is the direction I am planning on going in. In fact, before I stumbled across this thread, I had called to the local Opus Dei study center to make an appointment.

    Do any of you know more about what is required, expected and the type of direction one can expect. I don’t want to be too skeptical, but I know that once the founder dies, things can get dicey. Heck, the Church’s Founder lives and things are dicey. Before, you tell me to pray for the Spirit of discernment – I am doing that. I am still looking for some practical advice from others exploring the same thing. I know this is just a blog, but I have found some of the mos profound Catholic insights on here, although y’all are charitable enough to tolerate some serious wackadoos, too. I might be one whenever the Federal Reserve or the War for Southern Independence comes up 🙂

    Any ideas?

  • Theoincidence

    I like that term! 🙂

    As a Catholic I don’t believe in coincidences. Everything happens for a reason.

    This ‘theoincidence’ probably means God is directing you to follow a holier path. To pray more often during the day and do an examination of conscience at least once a week.

    I attend the month Opus Dei evenings/mornings of reflection. They involve over a two hour period three talks on the faith, reflection, prayer, and benediction of the Holy Sacrament. All throughout the evening/day the Sacrament of Confession is available.

    It’s pretty peaceful and you feel as if your spiritual batteries are recharged after each reflection.

    So I highly recommend it AK!

    (Here in Houston we have an evening of recollection once a month and a morning of reflection once a month… normally these monthly reflections coincide on the same week. This may differ from city to city)

  • Thanks, Tito,

    Theoincidence is not my word. I heard one of my brothers use it on our weekly Cardo Pivot Point call.

    I have been to the reflections, we have one next weekend. I like the Saturday morning Opus Dei reflections with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    I am going to go meet with one of the Opus Dei priests and I’m sure he’ll have some ideas about what I should do to make the decision.

    St. Josemaria was inspired to develop Opus Dei during the Spanish Civil War, so it seems perfect for our times. It is sometimes tempting to run into the desert and become a hermit; but, I don’t think that is where God wants most of us. I am glad you brought this important aspect of spiritual growth to everyone’s attention. I think it is a path many, if not all, of us should pursue.

  • For my part, God has blessed me with a wonderful Jesuit director for many years but then I have to say he’s directed me under duress bc he’s my brother so he basically has no choice 🙂 That said, a wonderfully accessible book has been published this year precisely for Catholics who say they can’t find a good SD. For 15 bucks, its helped me alot & might help others: Consoling the Heart of Jesus by Michael Gaitley, MIC by Marian Press.
    If you’re serious, this book will help and, best part, its not written by academics for academics!

  • GB,

    Thank you for that recommendation!

    If there are other such books out there that our readers are aware of, please share them with us.

    One reason I posted about his was because I too am yearning for a top-notch spiritual director.

    You are very blessed, GB, to have such a good SD!

The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism Because Nonsensical Believers & Non Believers Are Unwittingly Showing Many the Way

Wednesday, January 20, AD 2010

Throughout the last few years and specifically the last decade or so, the voluminous number of kooky quotes and statements coming from religious believers (heterodox Catholics included) and non believers alike is mind boggling. It can’t but help push the reasonable minded into the Catholic Church. Most casual observers are familiar with the number of high profile converts and reverts to the Catholic Church in the last 25 years or so. They range from theological luminaries like Dr Scott Hahn and Dr Francis Beckwith to political figures like Deal Hudson, Laura Ingraham and former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich. Many like them have come to the Church after years of study and reason, but many also have come to the Church after years of seeing their particular religious denomination become unrecognizable.

The latest world calamity has given us two examples of sheer kookery coming from a religious leader and a secular voice. After the horrific earthquake that left the western world’s most impoverished nation in tatters, the Reverend Pat Robertson chimed in with a quote that was not only tragically insensitive but historically inaccurate. The onetime presidential candidate (who actually came in second in the 1988 GOP Iowa Caucus) and a leading voice of the Evangelical world blamed the earthquake on Voodoo, a cult that sadly far too many people practice in Haiti.  Robertson voiced his opinion on his popular 700 Club television program. Robertson repeated the fundamentalist canard that in the early 1800s the leaders of a slave revolt fighting against French colonial forces forged a pact with the Satan to thrown off the chains of their oppressors.

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12 Responses to The Tide Is Turning Toward Catholicism Because Nonsensical Believers & Non Believers Are Unwittingly Showing Many the Way

  • Since when is pro-abortion Brown “the truth”?

  • Who said he was? I never mentioned his name in the article. However, when the people of Massachusetts (the only state who voted for George McGovern) can see the craziness of the left, you can rest assured that they are not alone.

  • “As evidenced by the stunning results in the Massachusetts special election seat vacated following the death of Senator Edward Kennedy, even in the most liberal of locales the public will eventually clamor for the truth.”

    You didn’t have to say his name to mention him — you most certainly mentioned him through that statement. Do not confuse “naming names” as the only way to mention someone. And from all you wrote here, “a pro-choicer” is now the right and the truth.

  • “You didn’t have to say his name to mention him — you most certainly mentioned him through that statement. Do not confuse “naming names” as the only way to mention someone. And from all you wrote here, “a pro-choicer” is now the right and the truth.”

    Hmm, I didn’t get that from this statement. In any case, one doesn’t have to be impeccable to demonstrate the principle that the mind of the people is changing. Brown is obviously not perfect, but I don’t think Dave is talking about his politics or theology so much as the change that his election represents.

  • The change the election represents I don’t think is exactly as Republicans are making it out to be; while some of it might be on Obama, and other aspects of it might be on health care, another aspect people have to remember is Coakley assumed the seat was hers and didn’t campaign properly. That, I think, is the lesson all sides might want to remember: don’t assume you are a sure-win and do nothing because of it. Nothing, however, to do with “truth.” Nothing in the results shows truth wins — since abortion does.

  • I agree with Henry.

    Brown did make the centerpiece of his campaign as a referendum on ObamaCare, though other factors such as Coakley’s poor campaigning certainly played a factor into it.

  • “I agree with Henry.”

    Tito, that’s the first sign of the apocalypse!

  • The truth that believing Catholics shouldn’t be barred from working in emergency rooms certainly won.

    Brown is quite problematic (and it’s not like I sent him money), but at least we are spared the spectacle of another Massachusetts Catholic baying for abortion in DC.

    I’ll take my silver linings where I can find them.

  • Dale

    So, what silver linings do you find for Obama? Can you find some?

  • I questioned authority relentlessly. Holy Mother Church had all the answers.
    Some retreat to the Church, others flee or are driven, some even backtrack, and many seem to crawl, but, always, the door is wide open.
    Inquisitive mind + Road To Damascus (TM) moment = conversion/re-conversion. Sweet.

  • Despite the badly-concealed sneer with which you pose your question, Henry, sure. Haitian relief, support for a limited range of renewable energy sources, uniting (briefly) the country after the Fort Hood terrorist massacre, helping a limited range of distressed homeowners and credit card and equal pay protection come quickly to mind.

    But, as you know, he’s been a pro-abortion stalwart–deceptively so–when it comes to the protection of human life and issues of conscience.

    Thus, my great relief that a putative sister in the Church–one who expressly finds the Catholic faith disqualifying from life-saving work–will not be able to work on a national stage to implement her bigotry, nor be able to lend her support to the most problematic parts of the President’s agenda.

    Your mileage evidently varies.

The New Jesuit Review

Sunday, December 6, AD 2009

[From the website]: The New Jesuit Review has as its goals the recovery of Jesuit spirituality from its authentic sources and reflection by contemporary Jesuits on its significance for their lives. The writings of St. Ignatius and the First Companions, the lives of Jesuit saints and martyrs, and classics of Jesuit spirituality are examined in the spirit of Perfectae Caritatis, the Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal of Religious Life of the Second Vatican Council:

It redounds to the good of the Church that institutes have their own particular characteristics and work. Therefore let their founders’ spirit and special aims they set before them as well as their sound traditions — all of which make up the patrimony of each institute — be faithfully held in honor. (Perfectae Caritatis, 2)

A promising venture (HT: Fr. John Zuhlsdorf).

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One Response to The New Jesuit Review

  • Sounds like a great start!

    Here in Texas we here good things coming from the Jesuit seminary of the Southern Province in Louisiana.

    Though the society is still infested with heretics and dissidents, we can trust in God that all will be well in the end.

When did Senator Kennedy abandon his commitment to the unborn?

Monday, August 31, AD 2009

As has been pointed out, Senator Kennedy was pro-life at least until late 1971. Like Jesse Jackson, Al Gore and other prominent figures on the left, his stance changed as “abortion rights” became a major plank on the Democrat Party platform.

What happened?

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3 Responses to When did Senator Kennedy abandon his commitment to the unborn?

  • Pingback: When did Senator Kennedy abandon his commitment to the unborn? | Pelican Project Pro-Life
  • I think it may be appropriate to compare Sen. Kennedy to the Senators and Congressmen of the 19th century who supported slavery, such as Henry Clay and Stephen Douglas.

    These men were significant figures in U.S. history, known for their political and oratorical skills, and were considered “lions of the Senate” in their own time. They considered themselves good Christians, did a lot of good things in their careers, and were admired by many people of all political persuasions. As far as I know they were personally nice, intelligent, well-mannered and trustworthy people. (Douglas, in fact, courted Mary Todd before she married Abraham Lincoln.)

    Yet, all the good they did cannot obscure the fact that on the number one moral issue of their era (slavery), they were wrong, and few if any people would even think of voting for someone with the same convictions today. Douglas, especially, is a prime example of someone who was “pro-choice” on slavery the same way many politicians are pro-choice on abortion today.

    Perhaps, by the grace of God and much prayer and sacrifice, the pro-abortion point of view will be just as unthinkable in the next century as the pro-slavery point of view is now.

    Here’s another analogy to consider. Suppose there had lived in the mid-19th century a famous politician who was a Quaker and came from a well-known Quaker family. Suppose this person claimed to be an observant Quaker, attended services regularly or attempted to, and made public statements about the value of his Quaker convictions and how they affected his votes on issues like war — but at the same time, he constantly defended the right of Southerners to own slaves, voted for the Fugitive Slave and Kansas Nebraska Acts, praised the Dred Scott decision, had a 100 percent favorable rating from pro-slavery lobbying groups, and repeatedly claimed there was no conflict between his Quaker convictions and embracing slavery.

    Now, how many Quakers do you think would have voted for such a man, and how would the press of the time have regarded him — as a sterling example of “progressive” Quaker thinking, or as a despicable hypocrite?

  • Those of that kind, not singling out Ted Kennedy, seem to serve special interest groups, Planned Parenthood, Unions.

Miguel H. Diaz Is A Latino, Yeah!

Thursday, May 28, AD 2009

Miguel H. Diaz has been chosen by President Obama, peace be upon him, as the new ambassador to the Holy See.  The Miguel H. Diazsecular media and Catholic Left has been hailing Mr. Diaz as a Rahner scholar and “pro-life” Democrat.  Jesuit Father James Martin of America magazine, who recently claimed that Obama is not pro-abortion, has praised Mr. Diaz for being a Latino, in addition to being a “faithful” Catholic and for receiving a degree from the University of Notre Dame.

Abbot John Klassen of St. John’s Abbey had this to say about Mr. Diaz’s Latino and theological credentials [emphasis mine]:

“He is a strong proponent of the necessity of the Church to become deeply and broadly multi-cultural [I guess we need priestesses to be more multi-cultural], to recognize and appreciate the role that culture plays in a living faith [sounds too much like a living, breathing constitution]. Born in Havana, Cuba [Being born in Havana, Cuba is a good start in creating his Latino credentials.], he is a leading Hispanic theologian in United States.”

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22 Responses to Miguel H. Diaz Is A Latino, Yeah!

  • Michael I.,

    What part of “satire” don’t you understand?

    I asked the question if Mr. Diaz holds fidelity to the teachings of the Church not because he doesn’t, but because I want to know if he does. It was a question.

    Your comments will not be approved if you continue to insult people.

  • 1. Bad sign- he wears a t-shirt under his sport jacket. Sorta like the flipside of the aging dissident priest- badly mismatched sport jacket and tie. The Diaz Look- so 2003.

    2. “Born in Havana, Cuba-” on to Abbot Klassen’s glowing review. Only means that Mama and/or Papa had the good sense to raise their offspring outside of a Marxist dictatorship.

    3. “A leading Hispanic theologian-” the good Abbot sets both himself and Prof. Dr. Diaz as butts of jokes here so we will proceed further.

    4.”The need for the Church to become deeply and broadly multi-cultural…..” There’s a ringing endorsement. I would think Prof. Dr. Diaz would understand the need to preach Christ Crucified, in season and out, as both a personal and professional priority. Perhaps I am too insensitive.

    5. So is he pro-life? Or is he the best that Dear Leader can find in an increasingly limited pool of likely candidates- Dear Mother of God, he might have actually considered Caroline Kennedy? Hope Prof. Dr. Diaz- married? Ex-priest? Metrosexual?- doesn’t do the t-shirt and jacket number in official meetings. Might be a little too multi-cultural for the Vatican.

  • Let’s see he worked actively to have the most pro-abortion President in our nation’s history elected. He signs on to a letter supporting the fanatically pro–abortion Sebelius, the friend of Tiller the Killer, to be Secretary of HHS. With “pro-lifers” like Mr. Diaz, who needs pro-aborts?

  • TO be honest the least of our concenrs should be his Theology.

    Is he competent!! I am relieved that it is not Kmiec. Kmiec showed in his actions the last couple of monthys he had no business beingan Enoy to the Island Nation of Naru or the Artic for that matter with his temperment

    What sort of strikes me about this pick is that it is much much lower profile name than usual compared to Envoys that we have sent in the past.

    As

  • Question: why would it be that important to Obama for the Vatican ambassador to be a pro-choice or even pro-Obama person? Or a dissident Catholic?

    If he’s really a uniter, why can’t he just take his lumps on this particular position and install a practicing/ faithful Catholic to the job? Is it really that unacceptable?

  • Perhaps, contra some who think otherwise, it is to develop a liberal Catholic and Hispanic voting bloc for the Dems. for the forseeable future.

  • Exactly, Phillip.

    I’ll assume that the Hispanic vote was lacking in his first campaign–as a politician (and nothing more) he always looks to the future; his own.

  • If the Catholic left is hailing him, his ‘Catholicism’ is immediately questionable, and more likely than not, contrived.

  • Is it not somewhat racist to applaud the nomination of Mr. Diaz [as also that of Judge Sotomayor] because they are Hispanic?

  • Is it not somewhat racist to applaud the nomination of Mr. Diaz [as also that of Judge Sotomayor] because they are Hispanic?

    No, of course not. What an impoverished (or ideologically tainted) definition of “racism” you must have. Stop listening to Rush Limbaugh.

  • Stop listening to Rush Limbaugh.

    The hard left has found its new bogeyman in the post-Bush era.

  • No, they still use Bush. But even they know they need a new object for division.

  • Tito:

    “Miguel H. Diaz has been chosen by President Obama, peace be upon him…”

    You gettin’ all Mohammedan on us now?

    (On another note, why in heavens name do I yet remain a 2nd class citizen on this here blog?)

  • Be glad for that, I’m a third class. 🙂

  • I haven’t even been assigned a class; my wife says it’s because I have none…

  • Well, it seems even the Ever Infamous Iafrate, in spite of his seemingly horrid presence, retains a much higher standing than we few, we happy few, we Catholic band of brothers so grievously persecuted by The Guardians of this Realm simply because we are, at bottom, classless… oh well.

  • No e., the Catholic Anarchist is continually in moderation.

  • Is it not somewhat racist to applaud the nomination of Mr. Diaz [as also that of Judge Sotomayor] because they are Hispanic?

    No, of course not. What an impoverished (or ideologically tainted) definition of “racism” you must have.

    I thought we moved beyond race. Didn’t Martin Luther King say we should judge someone based on the content of their character and not of there skin? Oh, that only applies to conservatives, while liberals get to be racists.

    Mark DeFrancisis,

    Nonconstructive comments will not be approved.

  • I thought we moved beyond race.

    Who is “we”? How the heck do we “move beyond” race? “Colorblindness” is a false “solution” to racism. We should see and appreciate racial diversity, not “move beyond” it.

  • We should see and appreciate racial diversity, not “move beyond” it

    I’m glad you feel that way. Since Sotomayer believes that Latino’s are superior to everyone else, I hope you recognize my intellectual superiority to you and your race.

  • Michael I.,

    Personal insults will not be tolerated. Keep up your unChristian behavior.

  • Since Sotomayer believes that Latino’s are superior to everyone else…

    She did not say this.