What Should You Pray about?

08/27/2015 Comments (1)

St. Peter of Alcantara encourages us to pray using the Creed. Let's look at why. What role does the Creed play in prayer? What purpose does it serve as we turn to meditation?

The Subject Matter of Prayer and Daily Meditations, from Finding God through Meditation, by St. Peter of Alcantara

Having taken notice of the utility of prayer and meditation, we will now declare the matter about which meditation is to be conversant; for seeing it is ordained to this end that the soul of him that meditates may be excited to the fear and love of God and the keeping of his commandments, the matter of meditation ought to be such as does next dispose to this end, and scope. And, although every creature...READ MORE

Filed under meditation, navigating the interior life, peter of alcantara, prayer, saint peter of alcantara, st. peter of alcantara

What Keeps Us from Praying?

08/25/2015 Comments (1)

What are the obstacles to prayer? Being able to name them and identify them will help us to, first, be aware of them and, second, begin to take measures to address them.

Nine Impediments to Devotion, from Finding God through Meditation, by St. Peter of Alcantara

As there be nine things which do promote devotion, so likewise there be nine impediments that do hinder the same.

Venial sins: The first impediment of devotion is sins not only mortal, but also venial, for these, although they do not quite abolish charity, yet, at leastwise they diminish the fervor of it and consequently make us less apt to devotion. Wherefore, with all diligence they are to be avoided, not only for the evil...READ MORE

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When Should You Give Up on Prayer?

08/20/2015 Comments (3)

It's tempting to give up on prayer, especially when we aren't seeing results or when the results we do see aren't what we want. St. Teresa's answer, though, is that we shouldn't ever give up on prayer.

In the following excerpt from 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, you'll read Teresa's advice for all of us. If you'd like to hear more discussion about this topic, be sure to listen to Melissa Elson and I discuss this letter on Divine Intimacy Radio.

And if you find yourself wanting to know more about St. Teresa of Avila, you'll want to be sure to register for my next webinar, "On the Road to Holiness with St. Teresa of Avila."

Day 11

LXIV
Segovia, July 3, 1574*

To Don Teutonio de Braganza,...READ MORE

Filed under navigating the interior life, perseverance, prayer, saint teresa of avila, teresa of avila

How Can You Grow in Devotion?

08/18/2015 Comments (2)

How do you grow in devotion? From St. Peter of Alcantara, we find advice that is very relevant to us in the here and now.

Nine Means to Acquire Devotion, from Finding God through Meditation, by St. Peter of Alcantara

The things which promote devotion are many, of which we will handle a few.

Completion of the exercise: First, it helps much devotion if those exercises be undertaken with a generous resolution, ready to undergo whatever difficulty shall occur for the obtaining of this precious pearl. For it is certain that nothing is excellent which is not difficult, of which kind is devotion, especially in beginnings.

Custody of the heart: Secondly, a diligent custody of the heart from...READ MORE

Filed under meditation, navigating the interior life, peter of alcantara, prayer, saint peter of alcantara, st. peter of alcantara

How Are Contemplation and Meditation Linked?

08/13/2015 Comment

How are contemplation and meditation linked? Which is more important? How do you approach one from the vantage of the other? In our time, these two gifts of prayer are often conflated and confused by modern pop-spirituality that is all too popular in the Catholic world. The catechism brings great clarity on the distinctions in spite of the fact that these distinctions are still ignore by popular authors. These challenges are not new to our time. About 500 years ago a very holy saint had it right. He was one of St. Teresa of Avila's spiritual directors, St. Peter of Alcantara. Here's a bit of wisdom from his great work on meditation and prayer.

Counsels for Meditation, from Finding God...READ MORE

Filed under meditation, navigating the interior life, peter of alcantara, prayer, saint peter of alcantara, st. peter of alcantara

How Long Should You Spend in Meditation?

07/28/2015 Comments (1)

How long should you spend in meditation? What if you don't have that much time? When's the best time for meditation?

Counsels for Meditation, from Finding God through Meditation, by St. Peter of Alcantara

The Sixth Counsel—Avoid Brevity in Meditation

This counsel does not much differ from the former, which, notwithstanding, is equally necessary. And this it is that the servant of God must not content himself that he has felt a little sensible consolation from meditation, as many do when they have shed a little dry tear, or felt a little comforting of the heart, that they have attained to the scope and end of this exercise. But they are far deceived; for even as to make the earth...READ MORE

Filed under meditation, navigating the interior life, peter of alcantara, prayer, saint peter of alcantara, st. peter of alcantara

What Do You Do When Prayer is Dry or Feels Pointless?

07/23/2015 Comments (1)

What do you do when prayer is dry or feels pointless? How do you continue when it seems like God isn't there?

Counsels for Meditation, from Finding God through Meditation, by St. Peter of Alcantara

The Fifth Counsel—Persevere in Aridity

Amongst all counsels this is chiefly to be observed, that when in meditation we cannot presently perceive that sweetness of devotion we expect, not, therefore, to wax timid, or leave off from the exercise begun, but patiently, with longsuffering, expect the coming of our Lord: seeing it worthy of the excellency of the Divine Majesty, the utility and baseness of man’s condition, the importance of the business we have in hand to stay awhile before the...READ MORE

Filed under meditation, navigating the interior life, peter of alcantara, prayer, saint peter of alcantara, st. peter of alcantara

How Can You Improve Your Devotion?

07/21/2015 Comments (4)

How can you improve your devotion? What should you do about distractions?

Counsels for Meditation, from Finding God through Meditation, by St. Peter of Alcantara

The Third Counsel—Avoid Contrived Devotion

In the preceding counsel, we declared how the understanding is to be moderated and subjected to the will; now we will prefix some limits to the will, out of which she cannot deviate without fault. That, therefore, she be not too immoderate in her exercise, we must know that devotion is never to be secured by sheer force as some do think, who with contrived sorrow do wring out tears and commiseration while they consider the torments of Jesus Christ; for this does rather dry the heart...READ MORE

Filed under meditation, navigating the interior life, peter of alcantara, prayer, saint peter of alcantara, st. peter of alcantara

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About Dan Burke

Dan Burke
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Dan Burke is an award-winning author, writer, and speaker on Catholic spirituality, sharing a contagious love for Jesus and His Church. Dan serves as the Executive Director and writer for EWTN'S National Catholic Register and is a regular co-host on Register Radio in addition to his appearances on many other EWTN television and radio programs. Dan is the founder and president of the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and he is the creator of Divine Intimacy Radio and SpiritualDirection.com. Above all, Dan is a grateful husband and father of four and a student sitting at the feet of His Master.