How Long Should You Spend in Meditation?

07/28/2015 Comment

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

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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

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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

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How Do You Meditate Correctly?

07/16/2015 Comments (3)

How do you meditate correctly? What do you need to keep in mind? What's important (and what's not)?

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

Now we will briefly handle those things which pertain to the form and method of meditation, of which, though the Holy Spirit be the principal master, nevertheless, experience teaches us that certain counsels are likewise necessary: because the way to heaven is cragged, and full of difficulties, therefore is there need of a guide, without which many have gone astray a long time from the right path, or, at leastwise, have not attained to their desired end so soon as they expected.

The First Counsel—Avoid...READ MORE

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What Do We Pray For?

07/14/2015 Comments (3)

What should we pray for? In what order?

Of Petition, from Finding God through Meditation, by St. Peter of Alcantara

This noble oblation being well performed, we may securely and confidently proceed to the asking of any gifts and graces. First, therefore, Almighty God is to be prayed to with inflamed charity and ardent zeal of his divine honor, for the conversion of all nations, that all people may be illuminated with the knowledge of him, praying and adoring him as the only true and living God. To this end, from the bottom of our hearts, we may utter the words of the kingly prophet: “Let people, O God, confess to thee; let all people give praise to thee” (Ps 66:4).

Then, we must pray to...READ MORE

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

How Should We Offer Ourselves to God?

07/09/2015 Comment

What's the best way to offer ourselves to God? How is it done? Why is it important? 

Of Oblation, from Finding God through Meditation, by St. Peter of Alcantara

Cordial thanks being given to God, presently the heart breaks naturally into that affection, which the kingly prophet David felt in himself, when he said: “What shall I render to our Lord, for all things that he hath rendered to me?” (Ps 115:12). Which desire, we shall in some sort satisfy, if we offer to God whatsoever we have.

First, therefore, we must offer to God ourselves, for his perpetual servants, wholly resigning ourselves to his holy will, howsoever he shall please to dispose of us. We must likewise direct all our...READ MORE

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Why Do You Need Spiritual Direction?

07/08/2015 Comments (10)

Image credit: "Laughing Fool," By Netherlandish (possibly Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Spiritual direction is a relationship through which we come to better know, love, and follow Christ through the help of a kind of spiritual coach. It is a process through which we come to know and love Christ and ultimately experience the heights of spiritual union with Him, even in this life. The director and directee work together, through the grace and guidance of the Holy Spirit, to understand God's will, and then determine how to follow that leading in a concrete way on a day-to-day basis, into a deeper intimacy with Him.

This definition is how I began my book Navigating the Interior Life: Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God.

St. Bernard of Clairvaux famously said, “He who...READ MORE

Filed under bernard of clairvaux, navigating the interior life, spiritual direction

What Role Does Giving Thanks Play in Meditation?

07/07/2015 Comment

What role does giving thanks play in meditation? How does it work? How should we approach it?

Of Giving Thanks, from Finding God through Meditation, by St. Peter of Alcantara

After meditation follows giving of thanks, the occasion of which must be taken from the matter meditated upon. For example, if the meditation be of the Passion of our Savior, we must give thanks unto him, that he has redeemed us from so great torments. If of sins, that with forbearance he has expected us to do penance. If of the miseries of this life, that he has preserved us from the greatest part of them. If of death, that hitherto, he has defended us from the perils of sudden death and has favorably granted us...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.