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River of suffering – St. John of the Cross

February 28, 2012 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Poetry, Suffering

River of Suffering And I saw the river over which every soul must pass to reach the kingdom of heaven and the name of that river was suffering: and I saw a boat which carries souls across the river and the name of that boat was love.   PS: This poem is attributed to St. John of the Cross, Doctor of the Church, but I have not been able to find the source. If you know the source, please email me at Read More

Can special events be celebrated during Lent?

February 27, 2012 by  
Filed under Fr. Bartunek, Lent

Dear Father John, I have a question… My brother's graduation is this March during Lent and my family normally eats in a really nice restaurant for dinner after graduations. Is it okay if we aren't able to fulfill our Lenten fast or penance on days like that? What a beautiful question! It shows that you are sincerely concerned about living Lent well. Since Lent is a season of special penance, prayer, and almsgiving (by which... Read More

I like dogs better than people, am I off base?

February 25, 2012 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Fraternal Love

Dear Dan, I was telling a friend of mine the other day that I really prefer dogs to people. He told me that I needed to pray about this and that he thought it was a serious issue for me spiritually. His response really has me baffled. Still, since Lent has me a bit introspective, I thought I would take his challenge seriously. What do you think? Is this just a silly conversation that I am taking too seriously? Dear Friend, just... Read More

Lent Not Over Til It’s Over: Humorous Help for Latecomers

February 24, 2012 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Lent, Seasonal Meditations

Humorous Help for Latecomers Lent is Not Over ‘Til It's Over! Humorous Help for Latecomers: Lent is Not Over Yet! Lent is not over until it is over. Some of you have probably found yourself within the lenten season without any direction whatsoever. A brilliant priest, Fr. Shane Johnson, has created a humorous help for latecomers, but a very effective way of thinking our way through how we might yield our souls to God during... Read More

Ash Wednesday Fasting and Church Teaching

February 21, 2012 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Lent, Seasonal Meditations

Every year a bunch of questions come up concerning Lent and the details of the laws governing it. Sometimes these rules are misstated or not clearly stated in various places on the web, so let’s look at what the Church’s official documents say regarding the practice of fast and abstinence on Ash Wednesday. Before we do that, though, let me offer a few notes of caution: 1) The Church’s laws regarding fast and abstinence today... Read More

What does St. Teresa Mean by “Pesky Reptiles”?

Dear Carmelite Sisters, In the Interior Castle St. Teresa talks about “pesky reptiles” and other creatures. What exactly does she mean when she is saying these things?” Those “pesky reptiles!” When you come across a snake unexpectedly, what is your immediate reaction? Well, unless you are a herpetologist it is probably fear, dread or surprise. Let me share with you the reaction of a group of Sisters with one such encounter... Read More

Watching certain TV shows: Against our Catholic faith? II of III

February 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Entertainment, Fr. Bartunek

Dear Father John, Is watching a show like the “Medium” against our Catholic faith? The show is from what I have heard is calling on spirits who have passed on from this life and supposedly can be reached through a medium. In our first post in this three part series we reflected on how art and entertainment can touch our entire being. Both can be pleasing and attractive, but how much is really good for us? Avoiding Immorality We... Read More

How can I better prepare for Lent?

February 18, 2012 by  
Filed under Anonymous, Lent

Can you help me better understand how I should approach the Lenten season? I always seem to find myself in the season without any preparation and then make a knee jerk commitment that I rarely follow through with. Anyway, I am a bit ahead of the game this year but would be grateful if you could help me improve my participation in this important time. It's admirable that you want to live the season of Lent in a better way. Many... Read More

Shrines & pilgrimages: Really important to faith?

February 16, 2012 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Pilgrimage, Shrine

Our friends over at the Miraculous Medal Shrine in Philadelphia have provided this answer for us: Dear CSD, I am a recent convert and I don't understand the whole “shrine” thing. What makes a shrine a shrine? Why do Catholics go to these places? Why should I care? Oh, one more thing, the “pilgrimage” thing I guess is also tied to shrines. What about that? Well, lets begin with that “shrine thing”... Read More

Resting or slain in the spirit: same as contemplative ecstasy?

February 14, 2012 by  
Filed under Consolation/Desolation, Dan Burke, Mystical Experience

Dear Dan, I have experienced what people call “resting in the spirit” or being “slain in the spirit.” It was amazing. The priest prayed for me and I fell to the floor as if I had passed out (no injuries as I was already praying on my knees facing the Altar). However, I was still aware of others around me but was lost in God’s love. I am curious if this experience is the same as “ecstasy”? Before I answer your question,... Read More

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