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Celebrating Blessed John Paul II’s Canonization (Part 4)


 This post is part of a series of talks by Dr. Anthony Lilles celebrating the upcoming canonization of Blessed John Paul II on this coming Sunday, April 27th, Divine Mercy Sunday 2014. 4. Dr. Lilles on the Message of Hope from Avila Institute on Vimeo. Video used with permission [Celebrating Blessed John Paul II's Canonization]. Editor’s Note:  For Dr. Lilles’ insights on prayer, don’t... Read More

Dryness in Prayer – God’s Part in the Struggle (Part III of III)

April 14, 2014 by  
Filed under Aridity or Dryness, Fr. Bartunek, Prayer


Editor’s Note:  In Part I, we talked about what is going on with dryness in prayer.  In the second installment of this series, we addressed our part in the struggle.  Today, we will look at God’s part in the struggle. A reader asks: Dear Father John, I have been praying (mental prayer) for a long time.  But lately I seem to be experiencing dryness in my prayer – I just don’t... Read More

How can I better prepare for prayer and meditation?

February 24, 2014 by  
Filed under Fr. Bartunek, Meditation, Mental Prayer, Prayer


Q: Dear Father John, in the first part of your book, The Better Part, you mention something about preparing for tomorrow’s meditation the night before. I also heard that mentioned by a priest giving us a talk during a retreat. Can you explain this a little bit more? What do you mean, exactly, and is that something just for religious and priests, or should I be doing it too? A: It seems to me that... Read More

Saint Bernard’s Four Kinds of Contemplation

February 8, 2014 by  
Filed under Anthony Lilles, Contemplation, Featured, Prayer


At the end of his treatise on contemplation (also known as his treatise On Consideration), Saint Bernard of Clairvaux observes the dimensions of Christian mental prayer.  Specifically, when Saint Paul prays in Ephesians 3:18 that we might come to comprehend and be filled with the breadth and length, height and depth of the fullness of God revealed in the love of Christ, Saint Bernard sees four kinds... Read More

St. Teresa, should I strive to quiet my mind during prayer?

Teresa of Avila 22 copy

Q: Dear Saint Teresa, I have read a number of books on prayer that advocate methods of suppressing, shutting down, or eliminating thinking all together during prayer.  In one centering prayer book it said to “let your thoughts go” and that “thoughts are a normal part of prayer.” Even though the book claimed that it was not teaching to eliminate thoughts, in the end, the method... Read More

Mental Prayer – Spiritual Dictionary


MENTAL PRAYER: The form of prayer in which the sentiments expressed are one’s own and not those of another person, and the expression of these sentiments is mainly, if not entirely, interior and not externalized (e.g. not vocalized).  Mental prayer is accomplished by internal acts of the mind and affections that are a loving and discursive (reflective) consideration of religious truths or some... Read More

Meditation – Navigating the Interior Life Spiritual Dictionary


MEDITATION: Reflective prayer.  It is that form of mental prayer in which the mind, in God’s presence, thinks about God and divine things.  While the affections may also be active, the stress in meditation is on the role of the intellect.  Hence this is also called discursive mental prayer.  The objects of meditation are mainly three: mysteries of faith; a person’s better knowledge... Read More

What is the “Prayer of Simplicity”? (Part II of III)

November 11, 2013 by  
Filed under Contemplation, Fr. Bartunek, Prayer


…a reader asks: Q: Dear Father John, I’ve heard that the prayer of simplicity is a kind of a bridge from meditation to contemplation. Can you help me to understand what this experience of prayer might be and how one might know that God is leading them down that path? In Part I, we discussed mental prayer in general, meditative mental prayer and the unity underneath the various prayer methods. ... Read More

What is the “Prayer of Simplicity”? (Part I of III)


Q: Dear Father John, I’ve heard that the prayer of simplicity is a kind of a bridge from meditation to contemplation. Can you help me to understand what this experience of prayer might be and how one might know that God is leading them down that path? A: The term “prayer of simplicity” is used differently by different spiritual authors, so there is some danger of confusion in answering this... Read More

Announcing our Next Book – An Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales

October 29, 2013 by  
Filed under Book Club, Vicki Burbach

Book Club image

Introduction to the Devout Life (Week 1 of 14) The back of the book says it all: As no sensible person would make a long road trip without first consulting a map, so the person intent upon gaining Heaven should first resort to a competent guide to reach that Goal of all goals. And no better guide to Heaven exists than “An Introduction to the Devout Live” by St. Francis de Sales (1567-1622),... Read More

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