Spiritual Direction—What Is It?

Very few people today know what spiritual direction is. In this article, the reader will learn about the practicality and necessity of direction. It will also be helpful to distinguish between direction for beginners, the proficient, and the perfect. Finally, what ought to be the qualities of a director, and the one being directed. Practicality…

“Road Map” to the Survival of the Catholic Family

Beloved, included in my previous (first!) column was the “road map” to the survival of the Catholic family in the midst of what Bishop Athanasius Schneider has called a “heretical wasteland.” I mentioned I would strive to cover each of the twelve points in subsequent posts. Here, as a brief refresher, are Bishop Schneider’s twelve…

Thanksgiving Day Meditation on Gratitude

“Is not our life a continuous succession of the mercies and charities of God, and at the same time, an incessant display of ingratitude on our part?” -Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand In the final section of the TAN classic The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, the author sets the stage by asking retreatants…

The Month of All Souls: 5 Ways Catholics Honor Their Dead

“All nations honor their dead. Whether enlightened by faith or groping in error, all strive to keep alive the memory of those whom death has taken away.”  -Fr. John Sullivan, Catholic theologian Love of the departed and a desire to perpetuate their memory is found in every land and culture, both pagan and civilized.  Along the…

Restoring Prayer in the Home

When your child was young, you taught your little one how to go to sleep, brush his teeth, pray, and so on. But have you trained your child to arise from slumber? Have you taught your son or daughter a Morning Offering to be said directly upon waking? Is this any harder than teaching your…

God Wills Our Good

“If, devout soul, it is your will to please God and live a life of serenity in this world, unite yourself always and in all things to the divine will.” -St. Alphonsus Our Lord assured His apostles the reward of following his will, “Your joy no man shall take from you…your joy shall be full”…

How to Advance in Holiness: Lectio Divina

How do we advance in holiness? This not an impractical question. The Church teaches us that we have three necessary means of salvation and, those same, according to degree, attain holiness: sacramental grace, prayer, and virtue. All three pistons have to be running in unison for the motor of the spiritual organism to advance. By…

Teaching Your Children the Devotional Life

It is an understandable though grave mistake to merely think in terms of your child practicing devotion. No! Your child’s life must not merely consist of this and that devotion. Rather, your child must live the devout life. A devotion is a prayer, but St. Paul instructs you to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thes [P1] 5:17)…

The Appeal of Reading the Saints to Children

“Like St. Augustine before her, our Martina, when she was still quite little, said once on All Saints’ Day, ‘As I think of it, mother, if all those people could do it, why not we?’” -Maria von Trapp Saint Thomas Aquinas was once asked what one did to become a saint. He responded, “Will it.”…

Piety is the Virtue of the Warrior

Visualization is a powerful tool. Whether an athlete envisions the shot he is about to take or the entrepreneur pictures his business in a future state, visualization of a desired outcome hones the mind in a way that no external stimulus can. Therefore, Loving Parent, visualize your child as a young man or woman before…

Humility: A Hidden Source of Strength

Humility is the virtue which is perhaps more easily misunderstood and underappreciated than any other. Our culture values personal confidence, self-belief and resolution, and rightly so. And we are acutely aware of the psychological dangers of low-self-esteem, with which so many people struggle today, especially the young. Yet true humility is not in opposition to…

God Wills You to Be Happy

He and he alone, whose will is perfectly united to God’s possesses “the peace of God which surpasses all understanding” (Phil. 4:7). Happiness and conformity to the will of God work in tandem and have always been a common theme for Catholic theologians and spiritual writers on the subject of joy. Saint Thomas Aquinas, following…

Battle Ready: No Mental Prayer, No Holiness

“Nonne militia est vita hominis super terram, et sicut dies mercennarii dies eius?” —Job 7:1, Vulgate The book of Job asks, “Is not the life of man on earth warfare, and are not his days like that of a hireling?”  He seems to think that the answer is obvious, since the question is less a…

Parents as Spiritual Guides

“The family is the foundation unit of the human race.  God Himself solemnized and witnessed the first marriage and ordained that through marriage the race should increase and multiply.  The continuance of marriage and the family throughout time was therefore the plan of God. Christ, moreover, when on earth, concerned Himself with the nature of…

The Last of the Martyrs of the Coliseum

“The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians.” —Tertullian There is an old story told in Rome of a fifth-century monk named Telemachus, whose name has been written in the annals of Roman history. On a memorable day in the year 404, it is recorded he entered the Coliseum in Rome, the largest ancient…