Category Archives: Resources

Recommended Sojourner Reading Program

Update: Dear friends, I decided to update this post to draw it to your attention for summer reading.

Question: What books do you recommend for Sojourners?

Answer: Sojourners have an informal relationship with Apostoli Viae and are thus under no obligation for any particular path of formation. However, If the Sojourner has a desire for deeper association, it makes sense that they would begin pursuing formation and commitments that would prepare them for deeper affiliation and that would allow them to grow spiritually and more effectively discern the path that God has called them to.

All Apostoli Viae formation can be understood through two diagrams or graphic representations of the charism. The first is our crest; the second is the Way of Ascent diagram here. Each reinforces the other and reveals formation priorities for all engaged with the Way. Both reveal sacramental participation as foundational to spiritual progress. Beyond this foundation, we then look to other foundational elements in prayer and ascesis. Where does this lead regarding spiritual reading for a Sojourner?

The first place to begin all reading on any topic in the Church is the Catechism. The four pillars of the Catechism correspond perfectly to our foundational emphases. Thus, the most important document to read, end to end, is the Catechism. If this feels like a bit too much to bite off, then the Compendium to the Catechism can be a great place to start. It is very brief and clear. Regardless, association beyond the Sojourner stage requires complete assent to all the teachings of the Church, and thus the Catechism is necessary reading for Disciples.

The second path of emphasis is mental prayer. Those who enter into Discipleship with Apostoli Viae will all have at least a basic commitment to daily mental prayer. Here are a few foundational texts on prayer and peace, in order of importance, and one on discernment that we recommend (along with links):

One more book that will help you understand our approach to progress in the interior life is Navigating the Interior Life – Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God. This book provides a concise overview of spiritual progress from the beginning stages to the realm of sainthood.

Beyond these texts, the journey more deeply into the Way will reveal a six-year systematic formation program that has essential reading and recommended texts along the way. The adventure into the heart of God is always rich and beautiful, and this path of formation will no doubt be a life-changing experience for those called to it.

Sacred Time Ceremony

One of the constant factors in the lives of those who make significant progress in prayer and peace  is that they give God specific time every day wherein they seek to pay attention to Him alone. This time is spent in mental or interior prayer through practices like Lectio Divina.

In my book on this topic entitled “Into the Deep – Finding Peace through Prayer” I outline a simple way for an individual to make and keep a commitment like this. Recently the Apostoli Viae community was blessed with six holy women in discernment who made new commitments and a few who formalized past commitments in a simple but beautiful ceremony.

The remainder of this post is dedicated to how to do this in a group or individual setting. This basic ceremony is a bit more involved than the one in my book and has helpful notes and rubrics for all who will attend.

Sacred Commitment Ceremony

Special medals of some kind should be prepared for each participant that will serve as a reminder and symbol of this commitment. For those in or discerning with Apostoli Viae, these bronze medals have St. Teresa of Avila on one side and Saint John of the Cross on the other. These have all been touched to first class relics of these saints from my altar.

Once the presider/leader is in place, all those who will be making commitments move to kneel before the Blessed Sacrament with current commitments in hand (dated and written out). Those making their commitments begin their time of prayer in silence for the span of two to five minutes.

PRESIDER begins the prayer by making the sign of the cross: Lord we come before you as witnesses, friends, and family of those here whom you are calling into deeper union with you. Pour out your blessings upon them now as they seek to make a firm commitment to follow you more purposefully every day.

Family and friends supporting those making commitments take their positions standing behind them with hands on their shoulders and prepared to pray for them as they offer themselves to God.

THOSE MAKING COMMITMENTS pray audibly initiated by the PRESIDER: Lord Jesus, I come before you now to answer Your call to follow You in prayer. What I offer You now I offer because I love You and I know what You have done for me. I want to respond to Your gift of love to me in the best way that I can.

Each participant individually reads their commitments in the form below in order starting with the person on the far left and proceeding one by one to the right until all are finished.

Accordingly, I solemnly commit to “give You the full attention of my heart and mind in prayer for ______ minutes every day in the (morning, evening etc.) _________________.”

After making your commitments, allow for a moment of silence with the Lord.

THOSE MAKING COMMITMENTS pray audibly initiated by the PRESIDER:  In making these solemn commitments to You Lord, I recognize that my will is not sufficient to achieve what I desire and what You have asked of me. As I seek to give myself to You in this way, I beg for the graces necessary to orient my heart, my mind, and my life to You. I affirm in faith that You have initiated and desire this work in me and that You, will be “faithful to complete it.” I affirm in faith that You will give me all that I need to love You as You deserve and to know what it means to live a life of love in You.

After this prayer, all remain before the Lord again in silence. Look at Him and allow Him to look at you in the depths of your being. Give your heart to Him. You are His precious child and He delights in your desire to follow Him.

PRESIDER prays: Lord, these your faithful people kneel before you in humility, recognizing that it is just and right to commit to turning their hearts to you every day. They also desire to make this commitment to you out of love and gratitude for all You have done for them. In their commitment, we join together and pray for them that they might be encouraged by your consolation, and strengthened in desolation. That they may never give up in their efforts to draw near to you despite obstacles that may come from the world, the flesh, and the devil. Remind them that when they fall they can seek forgiveness, renewal, and strength in your Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist. Remind them that when they are successful You are the reason for their success and that You will continue to help them as they seek Your face. You have promised to reveal Yourself to those who live in this covenant of love with You. Reveal Yourself to them, show them the way to ever deeper intimacy with You. Pour out your grace and Holy Spirit upon them now as they say “yes” to your call.

To the exemplar of what it means to say “yes” to God we pray, Hail Mary…

To the most Holy and Blessed Trinity who calls us into this divine intimacy we pray, Our Father…   Amen

“And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 RSVCE

If a priest is presiding then all stand and present their medals to the priest for blessing and this concludes the ceremony.

Daily Prayer for Strength in Commitments

My beloved Jesus, my Lord and my strength, please help me to keep my commitments to you. You are the vine, the source of any good that I can do or pursue. Apart from You, I can do nothing. With You, I can accomplish all You ask of me. By your grace, I resolve to do all that I can to keep my commitments to You, and to rise and fight again no matter how many times I fall. I also commit to bring each failure and success to You. For my successes, I will offer You my gratitude. For my failures, I will offer You my humility and desire to get up and fight again. I thank you that you have promised to “be faithful to complete the work” you have started in me. Lord Jesus, I trust in You.

“And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6 RSVCE

Who Can I Trust?

Much Beloved Friends,

I pray that your Thanksgiving was filled with gratitude and love for God and those whom you love. You were all very much on my heart and mind.

I recently caused a bit of a firestorm on Facebook when I began to publically “unfollow” “friends” who frequently spread around information sources that cause confusion in the Church. One opponent called it “The Great Dan Burke Unfollowing of 2016.” I had to admit this did make me laugh. Humor aside, I do regret the approach I took. It was not in keeping with the Lord has called me to or what He called members of Apostoli Viae to. I am grateful to suffer for my mistake – humiliation without sin is an answer to prayer.

My “great unfollowing” was aimed at pseudo-news sources, some who have a strong commitment to the traditions of the Church, some who don’t, and some from political groups on the left and the right. Regardless, my primary intent was not to draw attention to me or to harm them, but to cleanse my feed and to bring light to the reality that we should be cautious regarding what we consume and spread around.

Unfortunately, the attention turned to me and the attacks ensued – and continue. I don’t protest the attacks –  I deserve them. However, the conversations ceased to be conversations and became destructive. So, I deleted the threads.

Trustworthy voices tell the truth. Trustworthy voices are clear. Trustworthy voices don’t distort headlines to draw traffic to their sites (not even a little). Trustworthy voices are charitable and gentle and always seek to assume the best of other Christians. Trustworthy voices are slow to criticize and quick to praise what is good. Trustworthy voices strive to follow the following guidance from the Holy Spirit (emphasis mine):

Colossians 4:6
Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer every one.

2 Timothy 2:25-26
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kindly to everyone, an apt teacher, forbearing, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant that they will repent and come to know the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.

Titus 3:2
…speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all men.

Hebrews 5:2
He can deal gently with the ignorant and wayward, since he himself is beset with weakness.

James 3:17
But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, without uncertainty or insincerity.

1 Peter 3:15
but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence

Some might be tempted to retort that Christ scourged the money changers in the temple. Of course, Jesus was right in doing so. Even so, this was a uniquely prophetic act of the Messiah and nowhere in the New Testament are we called to imitate Him in this action.

In fact, the passages above come from letters to the Church (to you and me) inspired by the Holy Spirit clearly teaching what the Blessed Trinity specifically desires of us in the way we interact with others.

All that out of the way, I have no interest in focusing on those sources which distort the truth but instead offer a top ten list of sources that are trustworthy and that I regularly reference in no particular order:

Not one of these sources is perfect. However, each strives with integrity to reveal truth and guide the faithful as they seek to live out their faith in a way that honors God. Are there solid sources outside of this list? Absolutely.

Please be careful what you consume and realize that we will be accountable for the impact of what we consume and spread around. Please heed the wisdom of the Holy Spirit through St. James chapter three and pray for me that I can do the same:

“So the tongue is a little member and boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire. The tongue is an unrighteous world among our members, staining the whole body, setting on fire the cycle of nature, and set on fire by hell.”

Unum est Necessarium

Dan