All posts filed under: Spirituality

Reining in Wild Horses: Crafting a Rule of Life

In his YouTube talk, Rules of Life: A Brief Introduction, modern-day monastic practitioner and author, Evan B. Howard said, “One Christmas break [my wife and I] decided to take the reins of the wild horse[s] of our life, by God’s grace, and write our own rules of life.” Howard goes on to describe how, over several decades, together they defined and refined a way of life with God at its focus, and how you too can establish your own ‘rules of life’ to create boundaries — for work, for play, for prayer, etc. Howard’s four-part series (so far), available on YouTube and Vimeo, is a simply-filmed, homegrown production, but his earnest, quirky personality makes him a delight to watch. The videos are an expression of the couple’s faith (my guess is his wife, Sherry, is  operating the camera off-screen) and a desire to reach others with the message of simplifying one’s life by establishing limits and boundaries. The Myth of Self-Mastery Christians talking about boundaries is nothing new. In my Evangelical Christian background, I was …

Experiencing the Eucharist For the First Time

This is a post that I’ve been putting off for several weeks now. After blogging of my first experience with the sacrament of Reconcilation, it seemed only natural that I would share with you my first impressions with the sacrament of the Eucharist as well. Including Easter, four Sunday masses have passed as well as two weekday (experimental) masses, since my conversion to Catholicism, and this post has remained unwritten. A blank. Why this hesitation to talk of the Eucharist (or as my Protestant self would’ve called it, the ‘Lord’s Supper’)? It’s not from the human fear of being judged for somehow doing it wrong (although that’s definitely crossed my mind.) I am still learning this new faith and the last thing I want to do, out of ignorance or poor wording, is to cause less reverence for the Host than Almighty God deserves. It seems to me that the experience differs from person to person, and there’s a retiscence to speak of it; that the act of receiving Communion is entirely holy, wholly intimate, and …

Four Little Words

Sunday’s Gospel reading was from the book of John (the twenty-first chapter), in which the writer has an epilogue wherein the resurrected Jesus appears to seven of His disciples at the sea of Tiberius.The homily spoken at my local parish was about knowing Christ better, and knowing Him in the Eucharist, which I’ll be posting about soon (I promise!). But for today, I wanted to expand on and add my own thoughts on the reading as I felt led to return to this story and meditate on it further. While doing so, I began to wonder, just what was going on with the disciples at the time of this story taking place, and how does that apply to us today? Behind Locked Doors Picture it. The disciples are in hiding, fearful of the Jewish authority who had just had Jesus tried and killed. Despite evidence of His resurrection, they have been living behind locked doors. Perhaps the enemy is at work in their minds, making them doubt whether they really saw Jesus at all, if …

The Discernment of Spirits: Setting the Captives Free with Fr. Timothy Gallagher, OMV

Fr. Timothy M. Gallagher, O.M.V. was ordained in 1979 as a member of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary, a religious community which specializes in spiritual formation and retreats based on the exercises and writings of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Fr. Gallagher received his doctorate from Gregorian University in 1983, and in addition to having taught for a number of years, and written a number of books on the Ingatian Way, he is also a frequent guest on ETWN. Some of Fr. Gallagher’s books include the following: Quite by accident, a few months ago I stumbled onto Fr. Tim’s podcast, “The Discerning of Spirits with Father Timothy Gallagher”, a sixteen episode podcast available on Youtube in which Fr. Gallagher discusses the fourteen rules of discernment (by St. Ignatius of Loyola) in a dialogue format. Introductory video of the podcast series: But first, who is St. Ignatius of Loyola and what are his rules of discernment? St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556) founded the Society of Jesus (the Jesuit order). His spiritual exercises reflect timeless principles of …

The Life of Mary as Seen by the Mystics

 The Life of Mary As Seen by the Mystics, compiled by Raphael Brown, is a curious work recommended to me recently, and seeing as I was provided with a copy, I began reading it shortly thereafter. As described in the introduction (and dust jacket copy), the book should be read “as a religious novel, but not as a fifth Gospel,” (pg 25). This sage advice from Hippolyte Delegate, S.J., sums up the view of this work, comprised of the private revelations of four mystics: St. Elizabeth of Schoenau (1129-1164), St. Bridget of Sweden (1303-1373), Venerable Mother Mary of Jesus of Agreda (1602-1656), and Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich (1774-1824). The Magisterium has declared that all public revelation has ceased; this is canon; however private revelation, while not required to be believed, is not only possible, but millions embrace belief in private revelations, such as the apparitions at Fatima and Loudres. Is it too far a stretch then to believe that a handful of holy women, united in faith, but seperated by eight hundred years’ of Church …

How To Pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy

  Today, April 8th, is Divine Mercy Sunday, and in honor of the Feast of Divine Mercy, I am sharing with you instructions on how to pray the chaplet of Divine Mercy. This chaplet can be done with a standard-sized Rosary, and my instructions requires a basic understanding of what the traditional prayers of the Rosary are, and what beads are where. Please see my post on How to Pray the Rosary, if you need a refresher.

Experiencing the Sacrament of Reconciliation For the First Time

One of the questions I get asked by non-Catholic friends and family is, “Do you really believe that going to confession is necessary?” The Sacrament of Reconciliation, more commonly known as ‘confession’ is one of those seemly uncomfortable experiences most would rank up there with their annual physical or maybe a root scaling treatment (and that is really uncomfortable). Even the media generally portrays going to confession as something to feel trepidation over, so, it was no surprise during my RCIA program this past year, I was told that feeling ‘a little nervous’ about it would be completely normal. So, why wasn’t I more nervous, I wondered. In typical me fashion, I was more concerned with the etiquette of ‘doing it right’ than the act of baring my entire life and all of my failings — including the times I’m ashamed of — in the sacred confidence between a priest and a parishioner. Questions that worried me: “Should I sit face to face or go behind a screen?” Answer: It’s whatever you’re most comfortable with. …