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Can I Trust the Mercy Center Spiritual Direction Training Program?

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Q: Dear Dan, I was searching for your spiritual direction training programs in my area and noticed an advertisement for the Mercy Center in Colorado Springs. Have you had a chance to evaluate them? Do you recommend them? Dear friend, the answer is yes I have had a chance to evaluate their program and another one in the area provided by Benet Hill Monastery and Retreat center. I wouldn’t recommend either nor would I recommend... Read More

How can I Avoid False Teachings on Prayer? (I of III)

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…A faithful follower of the Lord asks:  Dear Dan, I enjoy reading more modern writers about prayer and the spiritual life but I am always worried about false teachings that could lead me away from the heart of the Church. How can I know when an author is not orthodox or teaches something that could lead me to deception instead of to God? You are wise to be concerned about finding the pure teaching of God on the matter of... Read More

Theology and Contemplative Prayer

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Contemplation needs scientific theology and theologians need contemplation.  Historically, contemplatives who have presumed otherwise unwittingly submitted themselves and those they influenced to all kinds of demeaning irrationality.   At the same time, whenever theologians believe they can conduct their investigations without prayer, their body of scholarship becomes less capable of building up the holiness of the Church.  We... Read More

Can I Trust Thomas Merton?

January 2, 2013 by  
Filed under Can I Trust?, Dan Burke, PsuedoSpirituality

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Q: Dear Dan, I read your post on the Holy See’s concerns about Anthony de Mello, and I wondered as well about Thomas Merton. Some of his writings are helpful to me, but some make me very uncomfortable. Do you recommend his spiritual writings? A: Dear Friend, I am grateful to hear you are investing so much energy into your spiritual reading. You will find immeasurable rewards in your efforts to continually delve into the... Read More

Should I read or consume non-Catholic devotional or bible study materials?

Q: Dear Dan, should I read or use non Catholic devotional or bible study materials? A: This is a very important question. There are other cousin questions that follow the same line of concern. “Should I attend non-Catholic bible studies?” “Should I read protestant commentaries on scripture?” Before I answer this I must make one thing abundantly clear. An Important Disclaimer I am in no way anti-protestant or anti-anyone... Read More

Why not integrate teachings of other religions with Catholic spirituality?

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Q: Dear Father John, The Church has clearly taught that there is truth and good in other religions – so why then is it a problem to integrate the truths found in prayer traditions outside of Christianity with Christian prayer methods? A: This is a great question, especially for today’s world, in which religious tolerance is spoken about by so many different groups (though not all) as a universal value. Sometimes we can confuse... Read More

Is the Enneagram something that I should be involved with?

November 17, 2011 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Enneagram, New Age

Q: Dear Dan, I have run into the Enneagram in my spiritual direction training. There is something about the approach that doesn’t ring true to me but I can’t quite put my finger on it. A: Well, the reason something doesn’t ring true about it is that the Holy Spirit is working in you to guide you to truth. My friend Susan Brinkman (over at Women of Grace) has written a post on this that will help you understand... Read More

The Vatican on Christian Meditation and Centering Prayer

Though a complete understanding of this document requires education in Church history and mystical and ascetic theology – on its face it clearly addresses many current popular teachings on prayer that should be of concern to every Catholic who seriously desires to deepen their understanding of what it means to truly engage with God. This document is a profound summary of true Christ-centered prayer and those false forms of... Read More

Is there anything good about Centering Prayer?

May 19, 2011 by  
Filed under Centering Prayer, Dan Burke, Prayer, PsuedoSpirituality

Q: Dear Dan, I know that you are not a fan of Centering Prayer. I did read the document you posted from the Vatican and I think I see the problems, at least from the standpoint of what I was taught. Still, isn’t there some good in centering prayer? For instance, isn’t it good to sit still, breathe slowly so you can relax etc.? I have experienced a great deal of good from this practice and little bad that I can see… A:... Read More

Is it possible for the presence of God to be “distracting”?

February 28, 2011 by  
Filed under Fr. Bartunek, Mystical Experience, Prayer, PsuedoSpirituality

Q: Dear Father John, What do you do when the presence of God (I think that is what it is) is distracting? I have to continually reorient myself toward duties at hand. If He wants me to do X, Y or Z (as I believe He does), why does He make Himself so distracting throughout my work, so that simple things become laborious? This manifests internally – in the world it seems as if everyone thinks I’m just peachy in terms... Read More

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