Sign Up for our Free Daily Email Updates / Catholic Spiritual Direction

Appetites and Spiritual Progress – Divine Intimacy Radio

If you have been blessed by Divine Intimacy Radio, please help us spread the word by sharing this post on Facebook and with friends through email or other social media.

This new series is focused on traditional themes of Lent with respect to how we orient ourDivIntRadio 1400x1400 v2 smaller hearts and minds to God through mortification, mitigation of appetites and all other manner of cleaning out our spiritual gardens to prepare for God's indwelling work in, on, and through our souls.

Show Notes:

Guest: Dr. Anthony Lilles, Academic Dean of both the Avila Institute and of St. John’s Seminary of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and specializes in the spiritual doctrine of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity as well as the Carmelite Doctors of the Church.

Dr. Lilles takes us through an overview of appetites as described by St. John of the Cross in his work, The Ascent of Mount Carmel.

  • St. John refers chiefly to appetites that interfere with our relationship with God (not every appetite or simply our human nature).
  • Specific examples of common problems with appetites.
  • Steps that St. John of the Cross recommends to overcome the appetites as referenced in his work, The Ascent of Mount Carmel.
  • In order to overcome the appetites, St. John recommends in his first counsel, to foster in our hearts the habitual desire to imitate Christ in everything that we do by bringing our lives in complete conformity with His by studying the life of Christ.
  • Study prayerfully on your knees, not purely academically.
  • If we feed our affection, the stronger the desire and movement of the heart becomes. Similarly, if we feed our appetites, those things that are not for the glory of God, we will be more inclined to do those things.
  • Renunciation of the appetites brings you the freedom to imitate Christ.
  • How do we increase our love of God during Lent? Fasting from food, entertainment, more time spent in prayer, more charitable good works. There is a painfulness in it at first, but then it becomes sweet.
  • Act against the impulses that otherwise drive our behavior so that we are free to serve the Lord.
  • Our love for Jesus should drive everything we do.


Click on the arrow below to listen to the show! Don’t forget to tell your friends about the show and help us get the word out. If the show is inspiring to you and you would like to help us make it a daily show, please click here to donate. All donors will receive a signed copy of your choice of Dan’s new books, Finding God through Meditation, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, or Navigating the Interior Life. Click HERE for mobile devices or on the arrow below to listen to the show:


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, 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.

please consider supporting our mission with a donation!

  • Phillip (TheMasterBeadsman)

    Dan, Congratulations on another great broadcast! It was wonderful to hear Dr. Lilles. His book was given to me by my spiritual father, Fr. Giles, a mutual friend of Dr. Lilles.

    The broadcast itself is fantastic for our Lenten journey. I was just meditating on the liturgical texts for the first week of Lent in the Maronite tradition. In the Prayer of Forgiveness (Hoosoyo) from the Divine Liturgy we read: “Through fasting and prayer, souls are made pure, bodies are made chaste, spirits are uplifted, passions are restrained, mercy abounds, and the Holy Spirit dwells in the soul that was created to be the temple of God.”

    “Passions” in the Eastern traditions refer to those voluntary and involuntary impulses of the heart that we choose to indulge. It is interesting to note that among the great Eastern Christian mystical fathers, gluttony is considered the root sin, hence the importance of fasting and temperance in our food and drink if we truly wish to advance in the spiritual life.

    A wonderful broadcast. Congratulations again!

    • Kadishat Aloho, Kadishat Hayeltono, Kadishat Lomoyuto
      Itraham Alein

    • Kadishat Aloho, Kadishat Hayeltono, Kadishat Lomoyuto
      Itraham Alein

      • Phillip (TheMasterBeadsman)

        “Holy and immortal Lord,
        sanctify our minds and purify our consciences,
        that we may praise you with purity
        and listen to your Holy Scriptures.
        To you be glory, for ever.
        Amen.” (Prayer after the Qadeeshat)

        Thank you, Dan! I’m reading through your book for a second time. Just finished the preface and noticed that you did some study in the Orthodox spiritual tradition. Somehow that eluded my attention at the last reading. Eastern Christian spirituality in the Byzantine and Syriac traditions has become my specialty. I’ve been doing research into those areas for nearly a decade now!

        Again, God bless you in your work. Thank you for all you do. I’m loving the broadcasts, as I don’t always have time to read through the posts (fatherhood does that to one!). God willing, one day you will be able to do daily broadcast. “Grant this, O Lord!”

        • The Maronite liturgy, properly done, is among the most beautiful and transcendent the Church has to offer.

          • Jeanne Marie

            I HAVE TO TOTALLY AGREE! Some years back, Mnsgnr Easton of the National Shrine of the Little Flower Royal Oak, MI (April 22, 2015 being raised to a Minor Basilica) God rest his soul, for Lent he had 6 different Eastern Branches come in and celebrate their Liturgies and Maronite was one of them. What an experience! It was THE MOST reverent celebration I had ever experienced in the Eastern Rite. Though I enjoyed them all, Maronite was my favorite.

            God Bless!

    • Certainly gluttony is also considered a root sin in the west as well as it is among the list of capital sins. As you know, in the book we used a simpler construct that captures gluttony under the heading of sensuality. I very much appreciate Easter spirituality from our Eastern Christian family. Thank you for your comments.

  • MaryofSharon

    These shows are very rich indeed, and wonderful for someone like myself who has more time to listen than to read.

    Say, Dan, can you tell me where John of the Cross talks about “little, silly things” to which we are attached.

    The timing of this show was perfect. Just last week I had a conversation with my spiritual director in which I referred to my repetitive venial sins, which are inordinate attachments to things that are not bad in themselves, as my “silly little” sins. My director went on to say that advertently choosing those “silly little things” is a serious matter even though the the sins themselves are not grave. I’d love to see what John of the Cross has to say about “little, silly things”.

  • Judy Silhan

    Yes, as a previous student of Dr. Lilles, it was so great listening to him explaining about different appetites, especially the desire for friendship and whether or not those friendships we choose are helping us see the glory of God. As Melissa said, I could listen to Dr. Lilles for hours and am looking forward to another class with him. Dr. Lilles’ book, Hidden Mountain, Secret Garden is excellent spiritual reading for Lent.

    Another awesome program, Dan. I do hope this blossoms into a daily program with EWTN. God bless all your efforts to bring people to our Lord.

Skip to toolbar