Register Radio: Spiritual Direction and G.K. Chesterton

Authors Dan Burke Dale Ahlquist

Just in time for Christmas, Friday's Register Radio focuses on two new books – both by Catholic converts – that would make great gifts for someone in your life. In our first half, National Catholic Register executive director Dan Burke spoke about his new book, “Navigating the Interior Life: Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God.”

Burke said that before he entered the Church, he was drawn to the mystical and ascetical tradition of the Church, and once in it, he longed for a way to navigate Catholic spirituality effectively.

“It was overwhelming,” admitted Burke. “There were all these new religious movements and orders with different ways to deepen your relationship with Christ. I heard about spiritual direction, was connected with a director, and have been a directee ever since.”

Early on in his book, Burke helps readers to identify their predominant fault or “root sin.”

“These are the things that will hinder one’s relationship with Jesus Christ, and are things we’ll wrestle with all our lives,” said Burke. “By identifying them we can tend to the corresponding virtue, achieve complete repentance, and strengthen our will.”

Burke described what spiritual direction is, as well as what it is not.

“It’s a purposeful, long-term relationship where you understand your spiritual strengths and weaknesses and develop a plan for growing in your relationship with Christ,” said Burke. “It’s not confession or life coaching.”

Burke also provided some helpful suggestions for those who have sought a spiritual director without success. To learn those tips, listen to today’s program.

G.K. Chesterton

In our second half, Dale Ahlquist, president of the American Chesterton Society, co-founder of Minnesota’s Chesterton Academy, EWTN personality and author, spoke about his most recent book, “The Complete Thinker: The Marvelous Mind of G.K. Chesterton.”

Ahlquist said that he first became acquainted with the British journalist and Catholic convert while reading him while on his honeymoon in Rome in 1981.

“I was raised Baptist and was a big C.S. Lewis fan,” said Ahlquist. “People told me if I liked Lewis, I should read Chesterton, so that made me pick him up.”

“Upon reading him, I had a passion that this is a writer that everyone else needs to read,” said Ahlquist, who has devoted his career, a school, and his work to the writing of the man.

“He wrote about everything, and in every genre,” said Ahlquist. “Because he was a journalist, he wrote about everything, but behind it all is this amazing, coherent mind. What I try to do in ‘The Complete Thinker,’ is get you to think like him, and put the reader inside his head, so that they can see how whatever topic is out there connects to the eternal truth. One of our problems today has been the separation of everything from everything else. Chesterton called the modern world ‘one wild divorce court.’

Ahlquist described Chesterton’s conversion as a “deliberate path.”

“He first became Christian, from virtually nothing,” said Ahlquist. “He was drawn to the long tradition of truth. He followed the clues to Catholicism.”

Ahlquist said that the Chesterton book that everyone needs to read is “Orthodoxy.”

“It’s the trunk of the tree that everyone keeps coming back to,” said Ahlquist. “The thing is that each of his parts contains the whole. You get a feel for his complete thinking in any of his books.”

Ahlquist ended by sharing Chesterton’s thoughts on Christmas and everyone’s favorite Christmas author, Charles Dickens. To find out what he had to say, listen to the interview in its entirety. You can listen to the entire show at 2 p.m. EASTERN Friday on any EWTN Radio affiliate or Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. The program re-airs at 7 p.m. EASTERN on Saturday and 11 a.m. EASTERN on Sunday, and is also available on the Register Radio web page, and via podcast.