Jesus of Nazareth - The Infancy Narratives

01/07/2013 Comments (1)

You may have avoided the Jesus of Nazareth books by Pope Benedict because you don't feel particularly scholarly. Maybe you're busy. Maybe they just seem like they don't really apply to you.

As we come out of the holiday season, with all of its hustle and hurry, the Pope's third and final Jesus of Nazareth book offers a chance to reflect on what just happened. In just over 100 pages, the pope examines the Gospel accounts of Jesus' childhood. Reading this book is a chance to be part of a discussion, one that doesn't require a degree in theology. It's a relatively short book and within it is a story that touches the very heart of what it is to be human.

Pope Benedict approaches the topic...READ MORE

Filed under catholic, infancy narratives, jesus of nazareth, pope benedict

Glad Tidings of Liturgical Beauty and Joy

12/30/2012 Comments (54)

In St. Ignatius’ eighth rule of discernment he admonishes us that when we are in desolation we should comfort ourselves that we “will soon be consoled.” And so it is that on the final leg of our vacation trip home we encountered a jewel of Catholic worship in Dallas, Texas. As God in His providence obviously provided, we selected a parish purely based on our interest in the beautiful architecture and convenience of location. He had much more in store for us than we could have ever anticipated. 

The Church truly was stunning. Adding to the beauty was the delightful surprise of a faithful liturgy. Here’s my litany of what was done right to balance against the lament of my last post “...READ MORE

Filed under catholic, liturgy, music, novus ordo, prayer

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

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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.