How and Why We Reject God’s Providence

weekly reflections Nov 30, 2022

Dear Souls and Hearts Members,

In last week’s reflection, Thanksgiving: Skin-Deep vs. Profound, we explored why so many of us Catholics have such difficulty with a deep, wholehearted thanksgiving to God, living in a complete gratitude, in all circumstances, with all our being. In that reflection, I focused on how our internal fragmentation contributes to a lack of thanksgiving.

This week, we are focusing on another critical cause of a lack of thanksgiving: failing to recognize...

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Thanksgiving: Skin-Deep vs. Profound

weekly reflections Nov 23, 2022

Dear Souls and Hearts Members,

When it comes to giving thanks, the hard truth is that most Catholics fall into one of two camps – they either forget to give thanks, or their thanksgiving is superficial, only skin-deep and limited.

Rare is the Catholic whose thanksgiving is both complete, with gratitude for all things in his life and profound, rising from the heart, the whole of his being rather than just emanating from his skin, the surface.

In this reflection, we discuss human...

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Anti-Masturbationism – A False Religion

weekly reflections Nov 16, 2022

Dear Souls and Hearts Members,

Flash announcement: Join me for a live experiential exercise on receiving the love of God.

To celebrate the 100th episode of the Interior Integration for Catholics podcast, I am inviting you to join me in co-creating that 100th episode live with me. On Friday, November 18, 2022 from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM Eastern Time, join me in a Zoom meeting where you can join me in a live experiential exercise, informed by Internal Family Systems and grounded in a Catholic...

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Legalism vs. License – Two Bad Options for Sheep

weekly reflections Nov 09, 2022

Dear Souls and Hearts Members,

In tempting us, Satan likes to present two bad options and give us a choice. (Perhaps I’m thinking about this more than usual because the midterm elections were yesterday.) The two bad choices we are examining today are legalism and license.

In last week’s reflection, The Whys of Catholic Legalism – with Solutions, we enter deeply into Catholic legalism – and Theopedia defined legalism thusly:

Legalism, in Christianity, is a term...

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The Whys of Catholic Legalism – With Solutions

weekly reflections Nov 02, 2022

Dear Souls and Hearts Members,

Legalism. Legalism has been getting a lot of negative press. No one wants to be labeled a legalist. In recent years, Pope Francis has been calling out legalism, though he does not always use that particular term. Here is an example from his homily from Mass at Santa Marta Residence from October 31, 2014:

This way of life, of being attached to the laws, distanced them [the Doctors of the Law] from love and from justice. They followed the laws and they neglected...

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Why We Resist Change – And Especially Radical Transformation

weekly reflections Oct 26, 2022

Dear Souls and Hearts Members,

So how do we love ourselves better, in a more ordered way? I ended our last weekly reflection titled Examples of Bad Self-Love and the Consequences with this question.

In the next several weeks, we will be exploring ordered love, with practical recommendations to increase our ability to love properly.

Readiness to change is essential

Catholic philosopher and phenomenologist Dietrich von Hildebrand, in his book Transformation in Christ, writes the following: ...

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Examples of Bad Self-Love and the Consequences

weekly reflections Oct 19, 2022

Dear Souls and Hearts Members,

In our last two weekly reflections (the archive is here) and in the last Interior Integration for Catholics podcast episode, we have been exploring the importance of ordered self-love. In agreement with St. Thomas Aquinas, I have been making the case that ordered self-love is a prerequisite for loving your neighbor.

In today’s reflection, I want to offer you some examples that illustrate how our love for neighbor is greatly impacted by how we love...

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Why Is Interior Integration Crucial for Union with God?

weekly reflections Oct 12, 2022

Dear Souls and Hearts Members,

Recap: Proper self-love is indispensable

In last week’s reflection, titled St. Thomas Aquinas: You must love you. First., I laid out the arguments from our Angelic Doctor about why proper self-love is essential to being able to love your neighbor.

But not everyone agrees…

Dietrich von Hildebrand, in his book The Nature of Love, describes “the dreadful error…of trying to derive love from self-love.” (p. 162). Dietrich von...

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St. Thomas Aquinas: You must love you. First.

weekly reflections Oct 05, 2022

The importance of love

Love was of the highest importance to St. Thomas Aquinas. He identified love as “the source and summit” of the life of each person. Catholic philosopher Anthony Flood, in his masterful book The Metaphysical Foundations of Love summarizes love as “the structuring notion of Aquinas’s practical philosophy.” (p. ix). Flood’s book is a particularly helpful synthesis of Aquinas’s thought on self-love, and I rely on it heavily in this...

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Of Mirrors and Identity: The Hardest Question

weekly reflections Sep 28, 2022

For 15 years, I devoted myself to psychological assessment, with a specialized focus on men entering the seminary. I focused in learning how to understand, at a deep level, the individual humanity, the unique personhood of each of these men who were offering themselves in service to the Church.

Seminarian candidates from all over the US presented themselves in my office for an all-day assessment. I was charged with evaluating these men’s psychological fitness, their...

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