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Bearing Persecution – 30 Days with Teresa of Avila – Reflections on Day 29

Bearing Persecution
30 Days with Teresa of Avila
Day 29 Reflections
Divine Intimacy Radio

Are we bearing persecution in the right way? Learn from a saint how to respond to persecution. St. Teresa advises a Carmelite nun to avoid the temptation to indulge in righteous indignation in response to an accusation. Dan and Melissa reflect on a letters from St. Teresa from the book 30 Days with Teresa of Avila.

Topics/Questions covered in the show:

  • Does God provide ways to escape temptations?over-Front_-_30_Days_Teresa_of_Avila_20150128a_pdf
  • How does the enemy work to accuse people, especially those striving for holiness?
  • Should we actually desire the difficulties we encounter in life? Why?
  • How can we deal with persecutions in a way that will help us progress spiritually?
  • Is it possible to accept persecutions with peace? Can we actually embrace them?
  • How do saints deal with persecutions?
  • What can we learn from how Jesus dealt with persecutions?
  • How should we respond to someone persecuting us?
  • Using scripture to help endure persecution.


  • 30 Days with Teresa of Avila – Dan Burke and Anthony Lilles
  • Dr. Anthony Lilles
  • Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation
  • EWTN Religious Catalogue – online
  • Navigating the Interior Life – Dan Burke
  • Prayer to St. Michael – link
  • The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena –
  • Daily Examen Prayer Guide – Avila Institute via
  • Matthew 14:22-33 – Peter stepped out on the water – USCCB Bible link
  • 2 Kings 2:12 – “My father! my father! – Israel’s chariot and steeds!” – USCCB Bible link
  • Matthew 6:34 – “Sufficient for a day is its own evil.” – USCCB Bible link
  • 1 Corinthians 10:13 – “No trial [temptation] has come to you but what is human. God is faithful and will not let you be tried beyond your strength; but with the trial he will also provide a way out, so that you may be able to bear it. – USCCB Bible link
  • Hebrews 4:15 – “For we have a high priest…who has similarly been tested in every way…” – USCCB Bible link
  • Mark 5:1-20 – Christ sends demons into pigs – USCCB Bible link
  • Matthew 8:28-31 – Christ sends demons into pigs – USCCB Bible link
  • 1 Peter 2:24 – “He himself bore our sins…” – USCCB Bible link
  • Luke 23:34 – “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.” – USCCB Bible link
  • Philippians 4:7 – “Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
  • 2 Corinthians 10:3-6 – “…take every thought captive in obedience to Christ…” – USCCB Bible link
  • 1 Thessalonians 5:23 – “May the God of peace himself make you perfectly holy and may you entirely, spirit, soul, and body, be preserved blameless for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – USCCB Bible link
  • Pilgrimage 2016 to Avila with Dan Burke and Teresa Tomeo (March 28 – April 4, 2016)
  • To send questions about the 2016 Pilgrimage to Avila, click here:
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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and Divine Intimacy Radio, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, and his newest books Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep and Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux. 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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  • Judy Silhan

    With regards to how the saints accepted persecution, people offending them, I asked myself how would they have dealt with what I experienced a few weeks ago. I left my former parish about two years ago because of the Pastor and his unorthodox ways. I thought I had put this behind me; but I had to return there a couple of weeks ago, to help with their pro-life ministry. Arriving early, to attend Mass prior to helping my friend, I was not prepared for what happened. As I sat in the church before Mass, I began to get angry, angry at the pastor, the people who praised him and were involved in what he did. By the time of the Readings, I was filled with a rage I have never known. I could not sit in God’s house with all of this anger; and so, I left immediately after the readings. I attended Mass later that evening at my current parish. In listening to the readings a few weeks ago, as well as the homily, I understood that what happened was a matter of not forgiving the pastor and all those involved. I guess my question of the saints would be, and in light of the fact that I still cannot stay in that church (except when I am meeting with a priest, there, who I trust); is how they proceeded in forgiveness, if in fact, they were ever consumed with such rage and anger as I have described, and in God’s presence? Today’s program was very pertinent, as I, for my job with Lighthouse, had to speak with the Pastoral Coordinator there yesterday and everything I have spoken of was brought to the fore once again as she proceeded to demean what I and Lighthouse attempts to do.
    Because I have to be at that church on occasion, I need to be able to forgive; but I am having difficulty doing this. Thanks, as always, for your much needed programs.

    • LizEst

      Judy, thanks for your honest comments. Jesus did not say it would be easy to forgive those who have sinned against us. Rather, he indicated we must forgive 70 times 7, a metaphor for forgiving endlessly, just as God has already forgiven us. You must make a conscious effort to forgive every time a name, a circumstance, a place brings to mind a particular situation and causes you to harden your heart…because forgiveness is not a feeling. It is a decision. It does not mean we are to condone sinful behavior or look the other way when evil is done…but it means that, by God’s grace, we can decide to forgive, even though we don’t feel like it. It is the Gospel, the Good News, that Jesus taught. And, although it can be difficult, God helps us in our weakness…but, we must also do our part of deciding to forgive, and then making the effort to do so.

      Forgiveness can also be likened to a muscle. The more you exercise
      this decision of the will to forgive, the more you will more readily
      forgive then next time. So, when you get angry, say in your heart: “I
      forgive you.” You may spend an entire homily saying this in your heart
      time after time after time because, once the devil knows you can be
      conquered by this, he will bring the circumstances up to you time and
      time again. But, don’t let the evil one convince you to harden your heart. Decide to
      forgive anyway.

      In yesterday’s Office of Readings, St Augustine wrote this speaking of St Paul, but equally applicable to us: “In the kind of affliction, then, which can bring either good or ill, we do not know what it is right to pray for; yet, because it is difficult, troublesome and against the grain for us, weak as we are, we do what every human would do, we pray that it may be taken away from us. We owe, however, at least this much in our duty to God: if he does not take it away, we must not imagine that we are being forgotten by him but, because of our loving endurance of evil, must await greater blessings in its place. In this way, power shines forth more perfectly in weakness…Therefore, if something happens that we did not pray for, we must have no doubt at all that what God wants is more expedient than what we wanted ourselves.” So, it’s possible God is in the process of teaching you all of what forgiveness means and entails…perhaps in order to be able to teach others this, in the future!

  • Jeanette

    When I have been persecuted, I have tried to reason with the person but I find it only makes things worse with their tempers flaring. They are not about to listen to reason, they only want to vent about how wrong I am to be a believer. But, just walking away also has it’s consequences of possible name calling, so either way it’s a heavy trial. I opt to walk away, if possible. I’ve had those conversations in my head…if I had said this or why didn’t I think to say that. None of this type of interior dialogue helps, it just prolongs bad feelings about the person. I’ve done the crying afterwards too and actually it does help me eventually to look at the situation with clearer eyes. I guess it’s a woman thing. Being persecuted is never easy, sometimes I react rightly but many times a react wrongly. But, in the end, it draws me closer to Jesus and I end up contemplating Jesus in the many persecutions He suffered during His life on earth and I realize my suffering is nothing. Jesus, You are the perfect model of Love and forgiveness!

  • LizEst

    Keep on forgiving, no matter how many times the world, the flesh or the devil brings up the memories to you. Yes, I firmly believe you will get to a point where you are peaceful in His house. More often than not, that’s a grace the Lord gives when He sees you are committed to His plan of forgiveness. It’s not going to happen overnight and may take years. But one day, probably when you least expect it, and in a barely perceptible way, the peace will come. For, I don’t believe God hesitates to give this grace when you are sincerely walking in His Way.

    • Judy Silhan

      Your words are deeply appreciated, as these thoughts of how to deal with this situation were at times overwhelming. For someone who finally came to know our Lord, and have a meaningful relationship with Him, I do not desire to lose that for lack of being able to forgive. Thank you again, I will keep this conversation where I can reflect on it.

  • LizEst

    You may need to separate yourself from the situation in terms of time and the actual space. That may help. But, don’t let the experience of what happened at this parish harden your heart. Instead, have that heart-to-heart talk with the Lord: telling Him all you have written here and telling Him you are trying. Tell Him you need His help.

    Now, if that parish is continuing to hurt you, then that is a different dynamic. It still requires forgiveness, but it may also seriously require distancing yourself from that parish. But, if the events of the past have stopped, then forgiveness of heart is the road to peace for you. Otherwise, that situation will continue to control you and rob you of your peace. And, there is nothing the devil likes more than convincing a person to harden their heart.

    • marybernadette

      ‘Liz, Thank you for your ‘Words of Wisdom.’ ‘When I see or hear about the death of people on the television etc. I try to say the ‘Divine Mercy prayer: ‘Oh Blood and Water which gushed forth as a fountain of Mercy for us, I trust in You.’ while, bringing to mind Our Lord hanging on the Cross saying: ‘Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ Like Judy, the Lord has brought to my attention that I must forgive others esp. as He is healing me from many ’emotional hurts.’

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