A man of incredible intellect and energy, Fr. Robert J. Spitzer, S.J., Ph.D., noticed a marked decrease in faith among college students when he was President of Gonzaga University, 1998-2009, so he founded the Magis Center with the following mission and goal in mind:
Our Mission: To provide a comprehensive and rational response to today’s “secular myths”.
Our Goal: To restore, reconstruct, and revitalize belief in God, the transcendent dignity of every human person, the significance of virtue, the higher levels of happiness, love, and freedom, and the real presence of Jesus Christ. We will find and return lost sheep to the Good Shepherd.
Through his research, Fr. Spitzer discovered four predominant myths which were contributing to the loss of faith in God and he set out to address them in his work:
The Conflict between Faith and Science.
The Conflict between Suffering and Love.
The Conflict between Christian Virtue and Freedom (and Moral Relativism)
Skepticism about the Significance and Reality of Jesus.
On Friday nights, Fr. Spitzer teaches and fields questions, based on his work, during his EWTN-hosted program, Fr. Spitzer’s Universe. Episodes of these programs can be found on You Tube. In addition to teaching via his dynamic speaking presentations, Father is a prolific writer and I highly recommend his latest book: The Light Shines on in the Darkness, Transforming Suffering through Faith (Happiness, Suffering and Transcendence). I’ll feature excerpts from this book in future posts because they are rich in discussing the theological foundations of suffering – not in an abstract way, but with real-life, heart-capturing ideas – and in offering concrete, practical prayers and exercises which facilitate our ability to remain connected with Christ, even during the most difficult trials.
We know, intellectually, we must trust God and, by His Grace, we continue to grow in this virtue as we strive to choose trust at all times. We also know this Storm will continue to intensify and, surely, we can see the necessity of such purification for our sick and troubled world. Charlie has often assured us that the events of the Storm will become an instrument to awaken God’s people and bring us back to complete reliance on Him. But how easily sane and serene thinking fly out the window when we’re saturated in chaos with commensurate intense emotions. My ardent desire in manning this post is to accomplish what we all on TNRS Team hold dear: we continue traversing the Storm, in solidarity, heartening, edifying, inspiring, interceding in prayer and supporting each other in any possible way, perhaps, in ways yet unseen. For now, let me more completely introduce Father’s new book, which was released on May 1st of this year, by including the following endorsements:
Simply one of the finest works ever compiled on the mystery of suffering. Fr. Robert Spitzer’s “The Light Shines On In The Darkness: Transforming Suffering through Faith (Happiness, Suffering, and Transcendence)” could be considered a “catechism of suffering,” but not one rooted in misery, but rather anchored in the experience of God’s great mercy and redemptive sacrifice. This is a book of hope and one that should be experienced by all Christians, and in particular, those who minister in any way shape or form in the New Evangelization. Why would a loving God allow suffering? Is there any good that can be brought forth from our trials? So much more is addressed in this opus. I could not put this book down. Pick it up, you won’t regret it!
“Suffering has the power to break or elevate the human spirit. Lived in the spirit of the Gospel and borne for the sake of others, it’s the most redemptive, transfiguring force in creation. Fr. Spitzer has written a magisterial work on the meaning of suffering, a work remarkable both for its depth and beauty.”
— Most Rev. Charles Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia
“In this trenchant and searching book, Fr. Spitzer responds to the most powerful objection to the proposition that God exists, namely, the problem of suffering. And he dares to do what very few are willing to do today: to articulate how evil and pain are ingredients in the providential design of a loving God.”
–Bishop Robert Barron, Host, Catholicism film series
“Fr. Spitzer draws not only from his singular intellect, but also from the deep well of his personal experience and suffering. God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. It’s edifying to see how true this is even in a man of such stature. This book is ultimately about the personal crisis of suffering everybody goes through, but nobody’s prepared for. This book is invaluable.”
—Scott Hahn, Ph.D., Author, Rome Sweet Home
A wonderful interview with Fr. Spitzer concerning his new book is found here.
From Charlie’s post about the Prayer of Miraculous Trust:
“A prayer to abandon yourself to trust in God; to bind yourself to His will with trust rather than trying to bind Him to yours. Pope Francis called Our Lady of Guadalupe the “Virgin of Tepeyac” at her last feast day. Tepeyac Hill is where she appeared, not Guadalupe, hence the title Our Lady of Tepeyac, Mother of Conversion. At its deepest level, this is a prayer that we all convert ourselves to God’s Holy Will.
Back of card: PRAYER OF MIRACULOUS TRUST: (This prayer is to help you turn things over to God, trusting that once you have done so, whatever He then allows is for your eternal good and that of those you love. It lets you ask what you want of God, then closes by abandoning yourself to what God wants of you. Do not say it more than once for any particular intention, as this is an abandonment to trust)
Begin by asking for the help of Our Lady of Tepeyac, then cross yourself and say:
By the power of Our Lord, Jesus Christ; to the honor of Our Lady, the Immaculate Conception; in service to her Immaculate Heart; I ask you Lord (state intention here and ask for the intercession of the saint of your choice). I thank you for hearing my prayer. Thy will be done. Amen.
Cross yourself again, and give it over to God entirely with trust.”
I saw a pithy saying last week I will end with: “Don’t worry about tomorrow. God is already there.”