Spiritual Discipline: Why We Need Spiritual Goals

As we draw closer to the Summer Olympics in Rio, we will soon be enamored by the amazing physical feats of athletes from around the world. During the competition each of the olympians will have a specific goal in mind. For some it might be to win the gold medal, while others will simply want to give their all and beat their personal best in front of the world.

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These personal goals are what drive athletes to spend countless hours in training, practicing extreme discipline in what they do with their time and what food they eat. Their aim is to do whatever is necessary to reach their goal.

While finishing the race and getting a gold medal is a feat to be accomplished, what about completing the ultimate race and crossing the finish line into Heaven? Do we train with the same vigor to reach our ultimate goal of Eternal Life?

Please Take My Summer 2016 Reader Survey

The past few months have created some new challenges for me, limiting the time I have available to devote to this website. Writing for Aleteia, the National Catholic Register and the Pope’s Worldwide Prayer Network (Apostleship of Prayer), has proven to be a balancing act.

Because of this new situation, I wanted to regroup and learn more about you, the reader, so that I can better serve your needs. Even though my time is limited, I still want to serve your needs and that is why I have created my Summer 2016 Reader Survey. This will help me use my time wisely and only write content that meets your specific needs.

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Would you take five minutes to fill out my survey?

The Fourth Step of Lectio Divina: Resting in the Gaze of Jesus

Returning to our series on lectio divina, we arrive at the final step, contemplation (contemplatio).

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Thus far we have read (lectio) the passage of scripture, meditated (meditatio) on it, and prayed (oratio) to God, relating everything back to Him. It is now our duty to rest in the presence of God and simply absorb the moment.

This is how Father Luke Dysinger, OSB, describes it:

10 helpful quotes from St. Benedict of Norcia

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Check out my latest article on Aleteia on Saint Benedict:

Listen carefully, my son, to the master’s instructions, and attend to them with the ear of your heart.
Prologue to the Holy Rule of St. Benedict

July 11 is the feast day of Saint Benedict, a man who left the city and the promises of Roman nobility in search of a life of solitude. For three years he lived in a cave as a hermit, but when a local abbot died, the community begged him to come and help them.

However, while they revered Benedict for his sanctity, the monks could not agree on anything and tried to poison him with a drink. The saint famously said a blessing over the cup and foiled the insidious plan. Numerous miracles were attributed to him during his lifetime and his wisdom was sought after by all.

Saint Benedict would go on to found 13 monasteries and spent the remainder of his life creating a plan or “rule” for an ideal monastery. This would become known as the “Rule of Saint Benedict” and continues to be a driving force behind religious life — and even for some principled corporations and businesses — in our own day.

To help us appreciate the man Pope Benedict XVI chose to emulate, here are ten inspiring quotes from the “Father of Western Monasticism”:

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Why We Need the Creed

Review of Scott Hahn’s New Book: “The Creed: Professing the Faith Through the Ages”

Since Vatican II, very few have noticed the creed we recite at Mass every Sunday. Like many of the prayers at Mass, it became “rote” and everyone would stand up and recite “We Believe” without taking a second notice. Then a few years ago it was translated and everyone had to relearn it and stumble through words like “consubstantial.”

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For the most part, many people were confused why everything had to change and the new words of the creed were hard to understand. Why all the technical words like “incarnate” and “consubstantial?” That is why Scott Hahn’s latest book “The Creed: Professing the Faith Through the Ages” is a welcome introduction to the ancient tradition of reciting a “rule of faith” that unites the Church around the world.

5 Polish saints who changed the world

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July is right around the corner and pilgrims from across the globe will be flocking to Poland to celebrate World Youth Day. It is a country that Pope Francis desires to highlight in this Jubilee Year of Mercy, especially focusing on the great saints of mercy who were raised within her borders.

As we have seen thus far, Catholics in Poland have been formed by a deeply Christian culture, devoted to the Sacred Heart and consecrated to their Queen, Our Lady of Częstochowa.

It was through the lens of this strong Catholic faith that Saint Faustina Kowalska prophetically wrote in her Diary, “As I was praying for Poland, I heard the words: I bear a special love for Poland, and if she will be obedient to My will, I will exalt her in might and holiness. From her will come forth the spark that will prepare the world for My final coming (Diary, 1732).”

While generally believed to be referring to Saint John Paul II, these prophetic words have come true in more ways than one. Raised in the bosom of the Catholic Church and purified through the crucible of suffering, Poland has produced at least five saints who literally changed the world.

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Saint Aloysius Gonzaga and Ten More Heroic Saints Who Died Young

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Check out my latest article on Aleteia:

There is a common fallacy that says you must “live a little” while you are young. The implication is that young people should do something fun with their lives, see the world, experience life and disregard any “rules” that might weigh them down. Religion is often seen as a barrier to fun and something reserved for “old people.”

It should come as no surprise that a recent survey found “[m]ore than one-third of millennials now say they are unaffiliated with any faith.”

But don’t tell that to Saint Aloysius Gonzaga and ten saints who died in their 20s. Instead of living “a little,” and going “all out,” they went “all in” on Christ and embraced Catholicism with every fiber of their being. They didn’t see rules as a hindrance, but found the Church’s laws gave them true freedom.

They remind us that our life on earth is short and we know neither the day nor the hour when God will call us home. We must prepared and not procrastinate in the practicing of our faith. We can’t treat eternal life like an important exam in college for which we will study tomorrow or pull an “all-nighter.” These saints remind us that today could be our last day and eternity is a very long time indeed.

So let us look to these heroic young saints for inspiration, who didn’t think religion was reserved for the white-haired ladies in the back of church.

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