Tag Archives: Meditation

Ep69 Becoming Truly Free

Father Len explains what it takes to become truly free and how the common American understanding of freedom leads to selfishness and narcissism.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Freedom involves being free from something in order to be free to become something.
  • The American Revolution was about becoming free from the tyranny of a king and the injustices and oppression of a political system.
  • 70% of Americans say they are free or mostly free.
  • Two thirds of Americans define freedom as being “free to do whatever I want.”
  • Being “free to do whatever I want” is an immature definition of freedom and the least likely to lead to happiness.
  • Being “free to do whatever I want” is a form of tyranny that allows you to intrude on the life and liberty of others.
  • “The Unbroken Thread: Discovering the Wisdom of Tradition in an Age of Chaos” by Sohrab Ahmari
  • We create laws to set the parameters for a working society.
  • To be free theologically means that we are always working on freedom. Working to become more free from the tyranny of selfishness, oppression, and injustice.
  • When the people of a country define freedom as selfishness, it will always be divided and destroyed.
  • People who report the highest level of happiness tend to be religious and meditate regularly.
  • People who report the most freedom from moral constraints tend to be the least happy.
  • “Suicide, A Study in Sociology” by Emile Durkheim
  • The really hard part of becoming more free is wrestling with our own egos and recognizing when we’re being selfish.
  • Christians who believe giving up liberties for the sake of others makes them less free don’t understand the freedom of the cross of Christ.

Ep15 What Is Prayer?

Father Len shares his love of prayer. He explains what prayer is and isn’t and the purpose of prayer. He also offers some ideas for developing your own personal prayer life.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • True prayer is listening. It’s about being totally mindful of God and being in the presence of God.
  • Prayer is not about providing God with frequent intelligence briefings about stuff we want because God is the “big candy machine.”
  • Father Len shares a fun story about a very kind and well-meaning minister and his wife that were concerned about the inadequacies of the car he was driving at the time and volunteered to “pray him up a new truck” to illustrate what prayer shouldn’t be.
  • Prayer is about being in the presence of love and wanting it to control you.
  • Father Len shares a favorite type of prayer he uses called “The Daily Examen” created by St. Ignatius 500 years ago.
  • Meditation on virtues like joy and love is an effective type of prayer that can help us find God in the fingerprints of our day while providing a sense of calm and peace.
  • Our whole life should be a love affair with the divine that inspires us to regularly spend time with God.
  • Some of us confuse entertainment that is self-gratifying with prayer. Father Len explains why golf is not prayer.

Ep14 Finding Lost Faith

Father Len explains what causes a loss of faith and gives listener Jennifer some ideas for finding her lost faith.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Father Len explains the difference between faith and belief.
  • Faith is like a muscle. If you don’t use it, it will atrophy and you’ll lose it.
  • Faith is like a seed. It’s a gift from God. We must prepare the soil in which it grows. The soil is our hearts. The best means for preparing the soil is prayer and reflection.
  • Faith is like water. It needs a path to flow. Prayer and reflection dig the “trench” that allows faith to flow.
  • Prayer and reflection are habits that give birth to faith.
  • Father Len introduces one of his favorite tools for feeding and deepening his faith, “The Daily Examen” created by St. Ignatius.
  • The daily practice of gratitude will make you a happier person and deepen your faith.
  • “Feeling Good: the New Mood Therapy” by David D Burns M.D.
  • Life is a matter of negotiating problems.
  • Troubles in life do not cause faith to evaporate. Quite the opposite. We can find the presence of Christ in all of our problems.
  • “God whispers to us in our good times, but shouts to us in our pain.” – CS Lewis

Ep7 Defining God is Really Hard

Father Len explains that we don’t have the words or understanding to accurately define God, but our brains are hardwired to seek the divine.

Highlights, Ideas, and Wisdom

  • Some notion of the divine has existed in every culture since the beginning of time.
  • Brain studies have shown that human beings are hardwired to think about God.
  • Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief” by Andrew Newberg, Eugene D’Aquili, Vince Rause
  • Accurately defining God is impossible for human beings. No description of God is ever perfect.
  • We try to describe God in human terms like God is love, God is like a father, and God is like a Shepherd. God is all these things, but way more.
  • Mystics over time have described God this way: “You are different, you are different, you are different. No thing in creation is an accurate image of God.”
  • In the Bible, when angels go to heaven they describe God like this: “You are holy, you are holy, you are holy.” In this case, the word holy means different.
  • God is always speaking to us. Human beings long to reply to this divine thing.
  • God is among us and through us, but not part of creation. Creation is not God.
  • The Bible says God is neither male nor female. The reference to “God the Father” does not mean God is a man. It describes God’s relationship with us likening it to the relationship between a loving parent and their child.
  • Augustine described God as “the lover, the beloved, and love itself” and alternately “the giver of the gift, the receiver of the gift, and the gift itself.”
  • Julian of Norwich described God this way: “God is creator, redeemer, and sanctifier.”
  • All of life has an element of mystery and surprise. Studies have shown that even couples married for 50 years, who know each other so well they can communicate through grunts, whistles, and glares, are surprised and mystified 15% of the time by something they learn about their spouse. We
  • Human beings are meant for relationship. Relationship with each other, creation, and God. No human being can satisfy all our relationship needs. Only God can fulfill these needs.
  • “In the beginning God created man in His own image, and man has been trying to repay the favor ever since.” – Voltaire