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SpiritualDirection.com / Catholic Spiritual Direction

Removing Roadblocks on the Path to Holiness

March 21, 2013 by  
Filed under Catholic Therapist, Perfectionism

Are you looking for  effective ways to help your spiritual resolutions survive beyond mid-February? Resolving to Perfectionismchange is the first step but, without an effective action plan, we run the risk of not fulfilling our spiritual goals. One important component of an effective action plan is evaluating the roadblocks that stand in the way of our spiritual growth.

What do you encounter in your day that is keeping you from achieving your spiritual goals? If you think of your spiritual life as a journey down a road, the rocks and tree trunks that block the road are the things that are keeping you from growing spiritually.

Some roadblocks can be small (like a pile of rocks) and other can be large (like a tree trunk lying across the road). The roadblocks that are smaller, like a pile of rocks that lie in the road, are relatively easy to walk around but after a while, it can get tedious to navigate around these on our spiritual road. These roadblocks are the little things we struggle with every day and if we’re not careful, they can weigh us down and we can become discouraged.  Whatever your spiritual roadblock is, wouldn’t it be freeing to remove these obstacles from your spiritual road once and for all?

This is where practical application becomes extremely important. Once we’ve recognized what our roadblocks are, the second step is learning to apply practical steps to overcoming those roadblocks. The key is having steps that are achievable, otherwise we can become easily discouraged.

Ian Butler, LMHP, a Catholic therapist, offers some practical suggestions for overcoming roadblocks and preventing discouragement in his webinar entitled “Healing Perfectionism: Am I Good Enough?”. His webinar can be found on the newly launched Institute for the Psychological Sciences’ Online Library. In his webinar, Butler uses neuroscience and the teaching of St. Ignatius to explain why, even when we have the best intentions, we can easily slip back into our old, unhealthy habits and compulsions. According to Butler, it can be as simple as recognizing the origins behind our old, unhealthy habits and compulsions and retraining our brains to form new, spiritually healthy habits.

Butler uses the techniques recommended by Saint Ignatius which include imagery, the importance of affect, and repetition and takes you step-by-step through the process in his webinar. When used effectively, Butler says that this technique can free us from our old, unhealthy habits, and leave us free to travel unobstructed on our path of spiritual growth. Removing spiritual roadblocks can give you the jump start you need to grow spiritually.

Check out the webinar and let me know what you think.

Graphic: Death of Perfectionism graphic provided courtesy of Hello This is Jeff Design.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of SpiritualDirection.com, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • Hi Dan – Thanks for this! We need a lot more guidance about taking a strategic approach to spiritual growth. Yes, we grow through grace. But God calls us to cooperate with grace. Thanks for acknowledging that! I will definitely check out the webinar!

  • Gresu

    Dan, Who will make reparation for the new barbarians being raised in the U S bishop’s schools who are exposed to the pornographic series “Growing In Love” with imprimatur?

    Catholic doctrine is being destroyed in parochial schools. Our Pontiffs have warned us of the responsibilities we have to preserve the integrity of the Catholic Faith. Sex education in class rooms has been condemned. It is spiritual disobedience.

    It is rebellion against God. It influences activities against virtues. Who will
    atone for the assaults against holy innocence in parochial schools? God has given you the talent to write and to speak. Will you begin the crusade?

    • I don’t know. My calling and part of the solution is very clear to me. This site and the Avila Institute.

      • Gresu

        Little girls are being prepared for their later abortions beginning in kindergarten. As you know sex education secures abortion. The natural protections of blush and shame are being removed at a very tender age of parochial youth. Studies show that females at Catholic universities and colleges are more promiscuous than their peers. Studies show that the ‘Catholic’ population is decreasing. So who is going to be your audience? Have you read, “Sex Education the Final Plague” by Randy Engel?

        • Those that must know and love the Lord with all their hearts and souls so that real solutions can come to these problems, not mere political maneuvering and manipulation of the powers that be.

          • Gresu

            How will youth know if they are not taught to love God, and to practice the virtues to avoid vices? How will youth know if they are taught the acceptance of slavery to selfish passions?
            How will people know if they already support the destruction of youth’s souls in parochial classrooms? Studies show that the Catholic population is continually decreasing.

          • Absolutely. What are you going to do about it?

          • Gresu

            Currently I’m begging you to be a loud voice. I’m begging you to make a loud noise. You have the gifts and the talents and my prayer is that you will not find rest until you inform in order to defend our youth. As long as the truth is told Catholics have a grave responsibility to point to the fox in the room. Men were made for combat, our Pontiffs have written.

            We will be accountable for unspoken words and action on that fateful day. It’s about salvation of souls, Dan. Where will our youth and the collaborators of these sex education curriculae spend eternity?

          • Dear Joan, I have folks who regularly exhort me to do this or that – all important issues no doubt. So, how does one in my position discern? The answer is clear to me. If you don’t mind me asking, how much time do you spend in prayer every day Joan?

          • Gresu

            I am a miserable sinner, Dan. ONLY by the grace of God do I have my Catholic faith and my existence. My refuge is in the Sacred Heart of Jesus and His Perpetual Virgin Mother. Fortunately and a gift to me is easy access to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

          • Joan – don’t misunderstand me. I am not judging you. There are many many people who think I should be doing this or that. Each one is passionate. Each one has a different “most important” issue. All are important. All convinced I should be the one. I ask the question about prayer because if someone is a person of deep and frequent prayer, I am more apt to listen. If someone is very much a beginner (again, no judgement here) then I assess their admonition in that light. This doesn’t mean that I dismiss it. However, some are long on talk, short on prayer, and short on their own action and commitment and are constantly looking to others to act while they see their job as only to exhort and decry… I am not saying you fall into this category – I just have no way of knowing where you are on the spectrum unless I ask.

          • LizEst

            Reading this exchange has been very instructive. Thanks, Dan!

          • Gresu

            Dear Dan, My experience with the issue of sexualized catechetics has been shocking to me. One of the first things is to character assassinate in order to change the focus.
            I started in 2008 when I first discovered the Growing In Love series. In order to get assistance to combat it I purchased 8 grade levels of the series to put into
            good people’s hands so that they could see for themselves. They doubted its existence. One of the responses of several was “I have my ministry” therefore no time. The excuses and the most often response of silence has grieved me.
            Why is this such a burden to me, I’ve often asked, but it is. It is a delicate and tender issue. I cry as I write this to
            you, Dan, because there are some things difficult to share in this media. Why are people so opposed to risking their comfort zone?
            I’ve written to Priests For Life and have had good exchanges with John Fagundes there but they will not
            expose what secures abortion, which is sexualized education in the classrooms.

            I’ve written to The Saint Joseph Foundation of Texas, canonists lawyers and Luis Dellert has been kind enough to point out that there is no recourse to the U S bishops and the teachers of these scandalous materials they teach. I’ve written to the Cardinal Newman Society,
            the watchdog of credible colleges and universities that are to teach ex corde ecclesia ( but clearly do not ) and other major pro-life groups – 40 Days for
            Life local and national, Jim Sedlek at STOPP, Judie Brown at American Life League and more…. It is asking too much of them to expose materials youth see that are so offensive to adults.

            Dan, there is a stranglehold over these organizations that have done a lot of good work, none can deny.
            However, they are restricted and only show an opposition within the boundaries lines established by the pro-aborts. Reputations and job security they will not
            risk. Who said for their jobs they will do “it”?

            This I can promise you, Dan Burke, I will cover you with
            prayer daily if you will allow yourself to be that crusader our youth so desperately need.

            Have you read the Veil of Innocence website…..Motherswatch.net……and
            “Vatican II, Homosexuality & Pedophilla” by Atila Sinke Guimarâes, and “Rite of Sodomy” by Randy Engel and more………?

          • Joan – I didn’t suspect you would answer my question. In Matthew 16 Jesus indicates he needs to go to Jerusalem to suffer (an undesirable thing on a human level). Peter begins to refuse this idea and admonishes him to avoid the suffering (a more desirable route on a human level). Jesus says, “Get behind me Satan.” So, how did Jesus discern that he was to reject the less perilous path? Of course he was God but he voluntarily subjected himself to his humanity. The answer is obvious. In the end, discernment and obedience must come through intimacy with God. What seems right and obvious on the surface, absent this relationship, can be very wrong. In fact, someone who is advocating a perceived good to someone whom God has not assigned to that good, may in fact be inspired by Satan as with Peter. Read “Soul of the Apostolate.” Humble yourself before the Lord. You will find the path of resolution for your suffering and the suffering of those you care about. In the meantime, until your soul is aligned with His, I would suggest you discontinue your quest to get those of us who are clear regarding our call and mission to do what you may be specifically called to pursue as your life’s mission.

          • Joan – have you worked with your local Bishop or contacted the USCCB?

          • Gresu

            The bishop of Maine responded to my inquiry by letter stating that GIL was acceptable in Maine’s parochial schools and that he and his predecessor found no errors or problems with the series.

            The head of the organization connected to the USCCB in this regard said my inquiries and concerns would be submitted for review.

            Other organizations would respond, “pray for us and we will pray for you” if any response at all.

          • After reading this a second time, it is clear that I am coming off a bit harsh. This is not my intent. That said, I am concerned for your spiritual health. If you don’t have a spiritual director, you would be deeply blessed by a solid relationship that can help you sort through these things. I do believe your sensitivity to this issue is important and good. God’s blessings on you.

          • Ok Joan. This whole thing has irritated me a bit. I will admit that. Your approach is a bit disturbing to me. Your desire to remain anonymous even more so. Even so, if you would like my help, put together a two page document outlining your concerns etc. If it is coherent, I will get it to the Editor and Chief of the National Catholic Register for consideration.

          • Send the document in email.

          • Received your other messages Joan – you still have not answered my question about your own prayer life.

          • Gresu

            Dan,

            These are some specific prayers I pray:

            Five Decades of the Rosary each day.

            AN ACT OF FAITH

            Oh my God! I firmly believe that thou art one God in three Divine Persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. I believe that Thy Divine Son became man, and died for our sins, and that He will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe these and all the truths which the Holy Catholic Church teaches, because Thou hast revealed them, Who canst neither deceive nor be
            deceived. Amen.

            AN ACT OF HOPE

            Oh my God! Relying on Thine Almighty power and infinite goodness and promises, I hope to obtain pardon of my sins, the help of thy grace and life everlasting, through the merits of Jesus Christ, my Lord and Redeemer. Amen.

            ACT OF LOVE

            Oh my God! I love Thee above all things, with my whole heart and soul, because Thou art all good and worthy of all my love. I love my neighbor as myself for the love of Thee. I forgive all who have injured me and ask pardon of all whom I have injured. Amen.

            St. Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and the snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and you, Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits, who wander hrough the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

            August Queen of Heaven, Sovereign Mistress of the
            Angels,………………………………………………

            Daily, other randomly selected prayers for family, friends and personal intentions.

            Daily Mass…………………which encompasses prayers for the living and the dead.

            Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Have mercy on us (3 times).

            Daily spiritual readings from: “Divine Intimacy” by
            Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D

            Recently I publicly prayed the “Act of Consecration
            to Jesus Christ, The Incarnate Wisdom, through the Blessed Virgin Mary” by Saint Louis Marie de Montfort. (It is too long to post.)

            ______________________________________

            May God bless you on this Father’s Day, Dan……

          • This is great Joan. Are you ever just silent with the Lord or is all your prayer vocal prayer?

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