Tidings of Discomfort and Liturgical Abuse

12/28/2012 Comments (202)

This Christmas, I was delighted to have the opportunity to travel across at least three states to celebrate the joy of this season with my family. This was the good news. The bad news? I was pelted to a spiritual pulp by liturgical abuse after abuse. Because the Mass in my home parish is faithful, I have not had to endure this level of concentrated torture for some time — and, frankly, the shock was a bit much to take.

So I share with you here a list of the dastardly deeds of the ignorant, sloppy, slothful, unfaithful and the well intended. Each of these listed below is prohibited by the liturgical norms or other instructions from the Holy See or is an omission contrary to expressed...READ MORE

Filed under catholic, liturgical abuse, liturgy, mass

Navigating the New Year

12/26/2012 Comments (8)

– Photo by Georges Jansoone on 26 May 2005

Lay people often overlook a source of deep spirituality and safety. One of the spiritual secrets of those in the religious life is a kind of spiritual guardrail system that helps them to know the path of peace on a moment to moment basis. This wisdom-born approach has aided thousands of ordinary people to become saints and to experience the heights of union with the Lord in this life. One part of this system is called a “rule of life.”

A “rule” could sound restrictive or negative but it is more akin to a guide-rail on a nature trail footbridge than it is to any kind of restrictive, constraining force. I have had the opportunity to walk over many footbridges in dangerous and beautiful...READ MORE

Filed under navigating the interior life, predominant fault, root sin, rule of life, spiritual direction

Why Don't Catholics Read the Bible?

11/30/2012 Comments (185)

Knowing you need to read the Bible and actually doing it are often two very different things. We are, as Catholics, a biblical people, after all. The Bible is the Word of God. Mass is grounded in scripture. Many of our prayers have biblical roots.

So what's the problem? Why do Catholics seem to have a reputation for not spending any time with the Bible, for not knowing it, and maybe for not even caring?

Maybe it's that Bible is so integrated into so much of our Catholic lives that picking up the Bible might seem, at times, to be almost superfluous.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

In the introduction to A Year with the Bible, well-known author and apologist Patrick Madrid...READ MORE

Filed under bible

O Radiant Dawn - Preparing for Advent

11/13/2012 Comments (1)

Every year over at Catholic Spiritual Direction, I am asked about ways to better prepare for the upcoming seasons of worship. I always appreciate the opportunity to find refreshing water in our deep well of tradition. One of the many delights of converting to the Catholic faith has been learning the dance of the liturgical seasons. The beauty of the rhythmic worship of the Church is really something to behold and a joy to be a part of. Every year our family works to reach into the heart of the tradition of the Church only to find new ways that it unfolds into blessings in our home. Sometimes the answers are very simple but beautiful. For advent, this is the case this year. Here’s a simple...READ MORE

Filed under advent, catholic faith

Filtering through the Cacophony – Fr. Mitch Pacwa Suggests Discernment

10/03/2012 Comments (3)

We are in a particularly important time as faithful Catholics as the election cacophony swirls around us. Which voices do we listen to? How do we know who’s telling the truth? And what version of what’s supposedly true do we follow? How do we sort out the many decisions we have to make and the parameters we should be using to make them?

The process we use could be one of quick judgment, of liking X or Z, of being in line with Y or Q. We might let someone else make the decision for us and just tow a party line. In fact, there are many approaches, but which among our defaults is a truly Catholic approach, one that will bring us closer to God’s will for our lives and our country?


Filed under catholic, discernment, discernment of spirits

A Novena to the Mother of God for the United States

09/18/2012 Comments (4)

Dear Friends,

As many of you know, the United States is a nation facing a serious identity crisis. The upcoming election will likely determine whether or not the Catholic faith — and the faith of all of our brothers and sisters in Christ — will be more or significantly less welcome in a country whose essence was formed out of the fight for religious freedom.

Our worldwide EWTN family will soon begin a novena invoking Mary’s intercession for the Lord's special grace to be poured out upon the United States.

Please join with us and our friends around the world in prayer for a clear and unequivocal return to the devoted and hope-filled aspiration of our founding fathers: the freedom to...READ MORE

Filed under novena, prayer, religious freedom

Vatican Attacks Nuns!?

08/22/2012 Comments (84)

In a recent conversation with a faithful religious sister, I stumbled upon a disturbing reality that I have since confirmed is not isolated to her order. She relayed to me that donors contacted her order because they were outraged at how the Vatican was treating them. She had to go to great lengths to help the donors understand that the "attacks" being so widely discussed in the public arena are a fabrication of the media and of some religious whose hearts have gone far astray from the Church. The sister explained that this issue is so serious that it prompted the initiation of specific projects aimed at helping their supporters understand that the religious world represented by the media...READ MORE

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Have You Said Your Prayers?

08/06/2012 Comments (13)

In the spiritual life, the language we use intimately reflects our hearts. As an example, let’s look at prayer. Do we “say our prayers?” Or do we pray in an intimate relationship with God? The former is like saying, “I said words to my wife.” The latter is closer to saying, “My wife and I had a wonderful dinner together.” Prayer, when spoken of in impersonal terms, can depict and encourage impersonal aspirations, which can then lead to impersonal attempts at prayer. And impersonal prayer is not prayer at all, because it only amounts to a person saying things, rather than any real encounter with God. Here’s what St. Theresa of Avila had to say about “saying” prayers:

I speak of mental...READ MORE

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About Dan Burke

Dan Burke
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Dan Burke is an award winning author, speaker, regular voice on Register Radio, the Executive Director of the National Catholic Register and founder of the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation. Dan has appeared on EWTN's Journey Home program, blogs on the spiritual life over at Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction and his latest book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God is available through EWTN's Religious Catalogue. Dan's journey began in Judaism, matured into a living relationship with Christ as a Protestant, and after fifteen years of exploration has found his home in the Catholic Church.