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SpiritualDirection.com / Catholic Spiritual Direction

Why are Saints Sometimes Pictured with Skulls?

Why are saints sometimes pictured with skulls?   Does that mean they are preoccupied with death? There sure seems to be an awful lot of that in old art. God bless you and your ministry. Yes, indeed, skulls make frequent appearances in Christian art, even today. I can understand your question about this practice; because, putting skulls everywhere can seem kind of morbid – especially for those of us who live in a... Read More

Ash Wednesday — Divine Intimacy Meditation

Ash Wednesday   Presence of God – I place myself in Your presence, O Lord; illumine with Your light the eternal truths, and awaken in my soul a sincere desire for conversion. MEDITATION: “Dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return” (Genesis 3:19). These words, spoken for the first time by God to Adam after he had committed sin, are repeated today by the Church to every Christian, in order to remind him of two... Read More

Is it a Sin to ask for Death?

December 5, 2016 by  
Filed under Challenges, Darkness, Death and Dying, Fr. Bartunek, Sin

Is it a Sin to Ask for Death?   Dear Father John, When I am in great despair the temptation is to ask for death. Is that not a sin if despair drives me? I think you may have an incomplete or inaccurate idea about the nature of despair. When understood as a sin and not simply an emotional experience, despair consists of giving up on God, of freely concluding that “I am such a horrible sinner that not even God can forgive... Read More

Does God Heal After Death?

Does God Heal After Death?   People who do evil are sick…and, at death, God will heal them. In my last post, God’s Not Mean so Hell’s Not Possible, I related a conversation that I had recently. My friend had asserted that since God is all good He wouldn’t possibly send anyone to hell and eternal suffering. What bolstered his argument was this assertion: people who do evil are sick (i.e. it’s not their fault) and... Read More

God’s Not Mean so Hell’s Not Possible

God’s Not Mean So Hell’s Not Possible   I had a conversation recently with a good and intelligent person who began by saying he didn’t believe in hell or the devil. The upshot of it was this: that God is good and forgiving and would never condemn anyone to unending suffering. He just wouldn’t do that. That would be mean and God can’t be mean. What he expressed, on one hand, was actually a beautiful statement of faith... Read More

Responding to Assisted Suicide Issues (Part II of II)

April 18, 2016 by  
Filed under Church Teaching, Death and Dying, Fr. Bartunek

Responding to Assisted Suicide Issues (Part II of II) Editor's Note: In part one, we talked about the suffering of innocents and whether or not it is possible to win all arguments. Today, we will look reflect on the sacredness of human life and the meaning in suffering. Here is the question we are examining: Dear Fr. Bartunek, as usual, your reflections are quite helpful and I often share your wisdom with others. However, I have... Read More

Responding to Assisted Suicide Issues (Part I of II)

April 11, 2016 by  
Filed under Church Teaching, Death and Dying, Fr. Bartunek

Responding to Assisted Suicide Issues (Part I of II) Dear Fr. Bartunek, as usual, your reflections are quite helpful and I often share your wisdom with others. However, I have a big question regarding the idea that God permits some evil, and the suffering that comes from it, even the suffering of innocents. Recently, I had a discussion with my ob-gyn regarding assisted suicide, which is now legal in California. Her question was... Read More

Are You Living It Right?

September 24, 2015 by  
Filed under Death and Dying, Fr. Najim, Last Things, Spiritual Direction

Are You Living It Right?   I wonder sometimes about the outcome of a still verdictless life.  Am I living it right? John Mayer God uses nature and the seasons to teach us many lessons about life.  If you’ve been reading [my] blog, you’ve probably noticed that I like to write about autumn simply because I think it is the most poetic season (at least in New England), a season that teaches us many lessons.  Last week I... Read More

Remorses of the Damned

REMORSES OF THE DAMNED “Their worm dieth not.” Mark 9:47 According to St. Thomas [Aquinas], this worm, which dieth not, is to be understood of remorse of conscience, which shall eternally torment the damned in hell. The remorses which shall gnaw the hearts of the reprobate shall be many; but the most excruciating shall be: first, the thought of the trifles for which they are damned; secondly, the thought of the little... Read More

On the Eternity of Hell

ON THE ETERNITY OF HELL “And these shall go into everlasting punishment.” Matthew 25:46 Were hell not eternal, it should not be hell. Torments which continue but a short time, are not a severe punishment. The man who is afflicted with an imposthume [an abscess] or cancer, submits to the knife or the cautery. The pain is very sharp; but, because it is soon over, the torture is not very great. But, should the incision... Read More

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