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Finding God Through Meditation – Week 1 of 7

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Finding God Through Meditation (Week 1 of 7)

Welcome back! After a brief sabbatical allowing everyone to get their “fall” activities underway, we are back and very excited to begin the latest addition to Dan Burke's Navigating the Interior Life Series, Finding God Through Meditation, by St. Peter of Alcántara.

Since I've shared the blurb on the back of the book in past weeks, today I thought I'd share some of the praise for Finding God through Meditation:

Allows the reader to share in the experience of the Saints who are masters of prayer. – Most Rev. John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark

Of timeless significance and of great value. The reader will feel compelled to return to this book time and time again to grasp the depth of Saint Peter's wisdom. – Fr. Sean O Sheridan, TOR, President, Franciscan University of Steubenville

St. Teresa of Avila's struggles to describe her mystical experiences to spiritual directors who did not understand led her finally to Peter of Alcántara. We can now, like Teresa, sit at the feet of this master on prayer. – Fr. Kieran Kavanaugh, OCD, Institute of Carmelite Studies and Vice Postulator for the Canonization of St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.

A treasure box full of riches. Desperately need in this day and age. – Jennifer Fulwiler, Author, Writer and Atheist Convert to Catholicism.


Following is our prospective reading schedule:


Week                           Discussion                            Assignment

10/6 Week One            Book Announcement             Introduction; Ch. 1

10/13 Week Two          Introduction; Ch. 1                 Chapter 2-3

10/20 Week Three       Chapter 2-3                            Chapter 4-6

10/27 Week Four         Chapter 4-6                            Chapter 7

11/3 Week Five            Chapter 7                               Chapter 8

11/10 Week Six            Chapter 8                               Appendix

11/17 Week Seven       Appendix                               No Assignment

We look forward to discussing this book over the next several weeks!  Please join us and share your thoughts!

Happy Reading!!!


Reading Assignment:

Introduction; Chapter 1

Discussion Questions:

1. Have you heard of Saint Peter of Alcántara?  If so, what can you tell us about him?

2. Please feel free to share any comments you have about your experience with the book club thus far. Will this be the first time you've participated – if so, how did you hear about us? If you've been with us for a while, what was your favorite book or topic of discussion? Please keep in mind that your suggestions and comments are always appreciated!

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About Vicki Burbach

Vicki Burbach is a wife and homeschooling mother of six children ages four to sixteen years who relishes the calm inspiration of spiritual reading amidst the roller coaster of life. A passionate convert to the Faith, Vicki is an avid reader who started the book club so she could embark with like-minded bibliophiles on a spiritual journey through some of the greatest Catholic books ever written. She is author of the new book How to Read Your Way to Heaven - A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners, the Greatest of Saints, and Everyone in Between. You can also find her at

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  • Laurie

    Just got my book today and looking forward to joining you in this book study. This is my first time participating here. I only know of St Peter of Alcantara by reference from St Teresa.

    • LizEst

      Welcome Laurie! So glad you are joining us. May this be fruitful for you, and your participation fruitful for us! …and may God richly bless you!

  • Therese

    how does one sign up for the book club.

  • Annie

    All I know about St. Peter of Alcantara is that he was a mentor of St. Therese of Avila. She went to his writings for advice. This is my first book club experience and learned of it from your website.

  • Donna

    Hi All, This is my first experience with an online book club, and with St. Peter of Alcantara. Very excited for both! (Just finished “30 days with Teresa of Avila”) I found through Immaculate Heart Radio. I am really enjoying all this site has to offer. Looking forward to the weeks ahead.

    • LizEst

      Welcome Donna! We are happy you are joining us. Enjoy the book club and this selection. God bless you and yours!

  • Angela Mose

    Hello~ This is my first time participating with the on-line book discussion. I don’t even remember when or how I first came across this website, but it is one of the best I have found for authentic Catholic material. I have come across St. Peter Alcantara through my study of St. Teresa of Avila. I am a professed member of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites so this book is a perfect selection. I am looking forward to learning more about him and his work.

    • LizEst

      Welcome Angela! Nice to have another OCDS member among us. God bless you in your reading and participation!

  • Lori

    Hello, this is my first time participating in your book club. I don’t know much about St. Peter Alcantara so I am looking forward to reading this book and reading everyone”s input!

    • LizEst

      Welcome Lori! Glad to have you with us. St. Peter of Alcántara was a spiritual director of St. Teresa of Avila. So, he will have much to teach about the spiritual life. God bless you!

  • Jody Haaf Garneau

    I have been a reader/follower of RC Spiritual Direction for years but haven’t tried to follow a book club — but there is no time like the present! I have already read this book this summer but I will read along with the club schedule and would love to discuss the book with others.

    • LizEst

      Terrific, Jody! Welcome to the book club. Having already read the book–and recently I might add–you will have much to contribute to the discussion. God bless you!

  • Vicki

    Wonderful, Judy! So glad you’ll be joining us! I’m sure we could all learn a few things from you! May God bless you!

  • Vicki

    Annie, The timelessness of the wisdom found in these books never fails to amaze me! God Bless You and Happy Reading!

  • Annie

    Judy, I am very new to the advanced prayer life, also, and I am fearful that I am not fully capable. I am hopeful that Finding God Through Meditation will guide me. The first chapter is giving me much to ponder

    • Judy Silhan

      Annie, not one of us involved in this Book Club is, as you said, is fully capable. It is only by God’s grace that we become more confident in our spiritual growth. Often, when I am reading what seems to be challenging, I pray to the Holy Spirit and ask Him for help in understanding the text. When I first started at Avila and tried reading Interior Castle, I also felt inept. Now, after a year and a half of pursuing a more perfected prayer life, I read this great text and more easily understand what is necessary to try and emulate her love for our Lord.

      • Annie

        Judy, thank you for recommending that I pray to the Holy Spirit for help when reading these great works. It is true that the more I read and attempt to perfect my prayer life, the more comfortable I become. I have so far to go. I am confident that St. Peter A. will guide me on the way.

  • Linda Frasier

    I too am a student at Avila and we recently used this text. It is so full that it requires a second reading to fully absorb his wisdom. No wonder he and St Teresa were such good friends?….BTW to Annie–the humility of a little child is so evident in your comment about capability. None of us are capable except for the working of God and our cooperation with his grace.

  • Annie

    Linda, Thank you for your words of wisdom and your words of encouragement. I will forge ahead and absorb the 6 requisites of prayer. I need to be more clear about the exact meaning of “oblation.”

  • Linda Frasier

    It seems that St Peter A. is referring to our giving thanks to God for all his benefits, giving thanks to Jesus for all that he has/is done/is doing for us, and then offering all our works for the glory of God. So, it is being aware of and appreciative of all that God and the Lord do for us and then responding back to them with a heartfelt gift of ourselves. Perhaps others could word this better. It will be such a treasure to study with all here as we will surely learn from each other. I am looking forward to our community…

  • Annie

    Linda F. Yes, I agree that is what St. Peter A. means. You have said it well and have paraphrased beautifully what he says in his next chapter. I couldn’t help but read ahead. I need to read and reread to absorb it all.

  • Annie

    To Linda F. More on oblation. Saying that I will surrender myself and my will to God during prayer and putting those words into practice are two different matters. Is it more than an “attitude” or simply that? For example on the one hand, one can approach her day in terms of what she plans to accomplish. On the other, she can approach her day by saying, “If it is your will, God, I can accomplish this today.” Does “oblation” consist of more than that? And then, what exactly is “surrendering” yourself? To me, it means periodically examining my thoughts, words, and actions to determine if they are aligned with God’s holy word. Can you shed more light on these thoughts?

  • Linda Frasier

    Well, I am no expert in these matters but have enjoyed over the years many helpful words from the saints. Their recommendations almost always start with praying a morning offering where both we and the day are committed to God in love. Following that is accepting whatever comes during the day with a spirit of surrender to the will and grace of God. For example, someone cuts you off in traffic and the human response might be to become angry. The response of one desiring to give themselves to God would be different–perhaps responding with the virtue of patience or compassion and even asking God to bring his blessing to that person today. If our response is not what we are proud of (akkk!!!), even that is then also offered to God and his mercy. So, offering ourself as an oblation seems to be both a continual attitude and a continual surrender to virtue through the grace of the Holy Spirit. Your thoughtful consideration of asking for God’s thoughts on your day is in line with what is in James 4:13 and following. As far as surrendering and oblation, I admire your excellent understanding of the teaching of the saints in these things and your words show evidence of thoughtful reflection. Thank you for sharing your thoughts in such a beautiful way and in such a beautiful spirit…

  • Annie

    Thank you, Linda. Now one more consideration. This is my first experience with the Spiritual Direction Book Club. Are our discussions on target as far as what is expected?

  • Linda Frasier

    Since no one else has responded to the last question, I will jump in. The general expectations for online book clubs are for polite interactive discussion and comments. It’s pretty open ended usually….

  • Michael

    Hi all, I am so glad I began this book in front of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. I always find difficult writings easier to understand there. I am praying to the Holy Spirit for clarity each time I pick it up. I know He will speak through us all to help us grow in our prayer lives. God bless everyone!

  • Sarah Crowley

    Hello all , I bought the book and have started it but I’m woefully behind in my reading . Thank you all for your reflections and especially to Vicki, my daughter is a wife and homeschooling mother of 4 (ages 6mos -7)
    I pray for your strength and stamina 🙂 you are amazing !

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