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Reflective Study Guide Questions
“May today there be peace within.St. Teresa of Avila
May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith.
May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content knowing you are a child of God.
Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
It is there for each and every one of us.”
“Mental prayer in my opinion is nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with Him who we know loves us. The important thing is not to think much but to love much and so do that which best stirs you to love. Love is not great delight but desire to please God in everything.”St. Teresa of Avila
- St. Teresa says that as a person progresses in the stages of the spiritual life, they eventually begin to focus on giving themselves to God, and they attempt to avoid sin. They make a firm decision to stay away from the things that tempt them to sin. What are some things that exist in your life that tempt you to sin, or that bring you to sin? Which one of those things can you eliminate this Lent, and onward?
- The closer we grow to God and the further along we get in our spiritual lives, the more aware we become of our sins and their depth. God doesn’t give us this awareness so that we fall into despair thinking of our sinfulness. Rather, He allows it so that we can run closer to Him in our effort to continuously overcome those sins — to correct them. So the next time that you become sad thinking of your sinfulness, remember why the Lord reveals the gravity of our sins to us: to help us correct them, and to be able to move closer to Him.
- Everyone has to deal with suffering in some way, shape or form. No one can escape it. Since Lent is the most penitential season of the year, is there a way you can offer up some of your suffering to the Lord during this liturgical season? Matthew Leonard recommends saying this prayer, “Jesus, I give this suffering to you.”
- Suffering can purge us of our vices and faults. Jesus Christ actually took suffering and used it as our path to salvation. Can you think of some ways that your suffering has done this for you — has helped to cleanse you of your vices and faults?
- The second stage of the spiritual life helps us get past self-love. God seeks to purify us of this self-love by taking away some of the sensible pleasures He has given us. Our prayer life starts to get harder, sometimes among other things too. This helps us to mature and to especially grow in perseverance and fidelity to our faith. Has something in your life become harder recently? Has your prayer life felt more emotion-less, and dry? Reflect on how God may be allowing these things to happen so that you may mature in your spiritual life.
About Matthew Leonard
Matthew Leonard is an internationally known speaker, author, podcaster, filmmaker, and Vice President of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology (founded by Dr. Scott Hahn). A convert to Catholicism and former missionary to Latin America, Matthew is a frequent guest on radio and television programs across the country appearing on SiriusXM, EWTN, CBS, and the Magnificat. He hosts a podcast on iTunes titled “The Art of Catholic.” Matthew is the Executive Producer and host of the best-selling Journey Through Scripture video series and is a featured speaker by Lighthouse Catholic Media. He also holds a Masters in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville. In addition to numerous articles, he is the author of two books, Louder Than Words: The Art of Living as a Catholic and Prayer Works! Getting A Grip On Catholic Spirituality. Matthew lives in Ohio with his wife Veronica and their five children.