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Surrender is the Answer for Our Time

There is a simple remedy for the crisis in the Church today. It can be applied by Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Religious brothers and sisters, and the simple laity like you and me. This remedy is Surrender. Surrender to God. This is not a pat answer. But it is a powerful one. 
One of the loveliest treatises I have read on surrender to God was written by the Rev. Mother St. Thérèse Couderc, of France. Not to be confused with our beloved Thérèse of Lisieux, Mother Couderc lived in France for eighty years before her death in 1885. She lived a simple and hidden life, often accused of indiscretions she did not commit, and suffered it all for Jesus, a familiar story for many of God’s dear saints. 
The Rev. Mother Thérèse Couderc had an understanding about life with God, which she sums up in a phrase: “the surrendered soul has found paradise on earth, since she enjoys that sweet peace which is part of the happiness of the elect.” I propose to you that this is the way forward from t…
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Reaching for Heaven: Some Thoughts on Prayer

Up until my senior year of college, the only type of prayer that really existed in my world was memorized prayer. 
It wasn’t a conscious decision. It just happened that whenever I thought of prayer, my mind would immediately go to the rote, structured prayers. The prayers I already knew how to say. The ones that have been used for centuries by countless people in all walks of life. The Hail Mary. The Our Father. The Rosary. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy. The Memorare. The Angelus. 
To put it bluntly, the prayers that I already knew worked.
With prayers like that in my repertoire, you’d think I’d be fine. But if I’m being honest, before my senior year of college, my prayer life was lackluster at best. And that’s probably being generous. Up until my senior year, my connection with God was almost nonexistent on my end. 
This is absolutely not saying that that had anything to do with those prayers. Again, they’re tried and true, and some came directly from the mouth of God. When the discip…

Advent and Suffering: Finding God in the Cave

I do not usually associate Advent and suffering. I typically think of Advent as a time of joy, a celebration of Jesus coming to us in the manger, a celebration of new life and a precursor to lent, with nary a negative connotation. My wife was pregnant with our first son during the advent of two years ago. I recall her telling me how “real” it made Advent to her, then, life growing inside her; the expectation and hope of new life. This present Advent is a much different experience. Our second son was born just before Thanksgiving. Our hearts were bursting at the seams the moment we laid eyes on him. And with the birth of this precious little soul came some unexpected challenges, besides. My wife is recovering from a C-section and is unable to lift our 18-month-old son as she used to, something he does not understand. The week after getting home from the hospital, our oldest son got the croup. My wife was already suffering from a sinus infection that took root before our newest addition …

Holy Stratagem! # 5: Study the Interior Life

Holy Stratagem! # 5: Study the Interior LifeIf you wish to advance along the path of prayer, what is required, according to the wisdom of the saints, is docility and great love for God above all else. God can do more with a senseless child in his arms than the smartest man in the world.But for those of us too slow and stupid to love God with the utmost expediency, it is often times helpful to study the interior life.
The science of prayer is complicated when we have not experienced all of its riches personally, so do not worry if it seems very difficult to understand at first. Start small and simple by practicing daily mental prayer, and then apply your mind to works written about prayer and how God customarily acts upon the garden of the soul.
Here are some recommended books for we beginners: ·Navigating the Interior Life by Dan Burke·Fire Within by Fr. Thomas Dubay·Fulfillment of All Desire by Ralph Martin·Discernment of Spirits by Fr. Timothy Gallagher·The Three Ages of the Interior…

A Step One Reflection: Relinquishing Our Self-Appointed Kingship

Step One: We admitted that we were powerless over [] – that our lives had become unmanageable.I like to say I walked into overeaters anonymous looking for help with my “diet” problems and walked away with something else entirely. Step One was a jarring experience for me. I found it much harder than expected to admit I was powerless over my addiction to food and that my life had become unmanageable.

What got me to my first 12-step meeting was the birth of our second child. My second son came home from the hospital and my diet induced health problems were simply too much for me to be the husband and father that God was calling me to be. Before my second son came home, I was already irritable, impatient, wildly lethargic, and withdrawn. Once we brought that sweet boy home with us, I could not keep up with the challenge and—I’d say—even the joy of having a new child. My inability to cope had me sleeping on the couch for the first month of his life outside of the womb. I would often breakdo…

Holy Stratagem! # 4: Obtain a Spiritual Director

Holy Stratagem! # 4: Obtain a Spiritual DirectorAnyone who takes himself for his own spiritual director is the disciple of a fool. - St. Bernard of ClairvauxIt may be very hard or very easy to find a good spiritual director. It is all up to God. Our souls, ultimately, are under the direction of the Blessed Trinity. But God has ordained, in his wisdom, to use human agents to carry on the work of teaching, guiding and evangelizing the earth.
The first step toward finding a good spiritual director who is wise, orthodox, and above all has a genuine love and reverence for Our Lord and Lady, is to….ask Our Lord and Lady for help in the endeavor! Ask every day until you find a suitable candidate and do not worry about it in the meantime. You may consider asking a local priest or deacon if they are available to do this work with you or if they know of someone suitable who might be.
Forgo this exercise if you do not have a prayer life. If you do not pray and speak with God, there is nothing for…

Holy Stratagem! #3: Resist the Devil

Holy Stratagem! # 3: Resist the Devil Resist the devil and he will flee from you – James 4: 7 Do you know that the devil and his minions have a well-developed plan for your life? They have studied you since the time you entered this world. They have reviewed all of the case files. They have watched your parents and siblings, counted every offence against you, every potential embarrassment, to see how it might provide an opportunity for them to undo you. They have recorded all of your words and actions so as to sum you up. Your assigned devil has earned a Ph.D. in “your life.” His diploma reads the motto “Anything but God” University.
Remember that the devils are far smarter than you, but they are blind to grace. So grace is your shield and defense. Never try to reason with the devil. Only have recourse to all of heaven. When a temptation comes, employ all the wisdom of the Church – mental prayer, the rosary, the many chaplets, the sacraments, employ the aide of your special saints and e…