SpiritualDirection.com / Catholic Spiritual Direction

True Freedom of the Mature Christian

July 3, 2014 by  
Filed under Fr. Bartunek, Freedom, Retreat Guides

True Freedom of the Mature Christian …

Dear Fellow Digital Missionary,

Here in the United States, Catholics are fully engaged in the “Fortnight for Freedom”. This initiative started a couple years ago, when the USA Bishops tried to galvanize the faithful in defense of religious freedom, both through prayer and action. I love the initiative, and I love the name of the initiative. Much of the history of western civilization has been shaped by the exalted vision of the human person that Jesus lived, died, and rose from the dead in order to communicate to us. At the core of that vision is the precious gift of spiritual freedom.

But, at least in my opinion, too often we limit our understanding of that gift to its political dimension. The RetreatGuideElizSetontrue freedom of the mature Christian is interior, in the heart, in the spirit. The saints are the ones who have developed freedom to the full. They have enjoyed its full fruits, and so it’s no surprise that they have consistently been the greatest influencers of culture.

On July 4th, the USA celebrates its political freedom and cultural values. Maybe you and I can spend some time that day praying for the new evangelization of our culture. To that end, Sitting in the Side Pewit may help to dip back into one of my favorite Retreat Guides, Sitting in the Side Pew: A Retreat Guide on St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. St. Elizabeth Ann was the first native-born citizen of the USA to be canonized, and she has a lot — I mean a lot — to teach us all. I recommend in a special way the PDF version of this retreat, which has some nice bonus material (Pope Paul VI’s canonization homily). Take a look at the introduction and invite others to a deeper Christian maturity following the example of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

Keep counting on our prayers, and please keep us in yours. God bless you!

Yours sincerely in Christ,

Fr. John Bartunek, LC

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About Fr. John Bartunek, LC

Fr. John Bartunek, LC, S.Th.D, received his BA in History from Stanford University in 1990. He comes from an evangelical Christian background and became a member of the Catholic Church in 1991. After college, he worked as a high school history teacher, drama director, and baseball coach. He then spent a year as a professional actor in Chicago before entering the religious Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ in 1993. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 2003 and earned his doctorate in moral theology in 2010. He provided spiritual support on the set of Mel Gibson’s "The Passion of the Christ" while researching the 2005 Catholic best seller, "Inside the Passion"--the only authorized, behind-the-scene explanation of the film. Fr. John has contributed news commentary regarding religious issues on NBC, CNN, Fox, and the BBC. He also served as the English-language press liaison for the Vatican’s 2005 Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist. His most widely known book is called: "The Better Part: A Christ-Centered Resource for Personal Prayer". His most recent books are "Spring Meditations", "Seeking First the Kingdom: 30 Meditations on How to Love God with All Your Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength", and "Answers: Catholic Advice for Your Spiritual Questions". Fr. John currently splits his time between Michigan (where he continues his writing apostolate and serves as a confessor and spiritual director at the Queen of the Family Retreat Center) and Rome, where he teaches theology at Regina Apostolorum. His online, do-it-yourself retreats are available at RCSpirituality.org, and he answers questions about the spiritual life at SpiritualDirection.com.

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