Catholic Classics

Learn from the Catholic Church's greatest saints as teachers as you are led through classic Catholic spiritual writings.

About the show

Welcome to Catholic Classics from Ascension! Each season we'll read through a great Catholic spiritual writing providing insightful commentary and practical guidance along the way. Informative and enriching, these 20-30 mins episodes will allow you to learn from the Catholic Church’s most revered saints and teachers as you seek to cultivate your spiritual life.

This season, Fr. Gregory Pine, O.P. and Fr. Jacob Bertrand Janczyk, O.P. will guide you through "Introduction to the Devout Life" by St. Francis de Sales, Doctor of the Church. In just 43 days, you'll discover what generations of Catholics have learned from this treasured book: that it is possible to have a personal relationship with Jesus, regardless of your vocation and the demands of daily life.

Episodes

  • Day 43: Conclusion: How Do I Go Forth? (Introduction to the Devout Life)

    December 5th, 2022  |  22 mins 43 secs
    ascension, catholic, catholic church, catholic classics, catholic faith, catholic spiritual reading, catholic spirituality, catholicism, classic text, devout life, dominicans, faith, father gregory pine, father jacob bertrand, fr gregory pine, fr jacob bertrand, intro to devout life, introduction to the devout life, prayer, saints, spiritual reading, spiritual writings, spirituality, st francis de sales

    We have arrived at the final episode! In these last chapters, St. Francis de Sales reminds us to be practical in our resolutions, not to be deterred in seeking the Devout Life, and finally, to be bold in our pursuit of Christ. Fr. Gregory and Fr. Jacob-Bertrand highlight that to follow this wisdom, we cannot underestimate the importance of courage in the Christian life.

  • Day 42: Considerations When Moving Onward (Introduction to the Devout Life)

    December 4th, 2022  |  24 mins 4 secs
    ascension, catholic, catholic church, catholic classics, catholic faith, catholic spiritual reading, catholic spirituality, catholicism, classic text, devout life, dominicans, faith, father gregory pine, father jacob bertrand, fr gregory pine, fr jacob bertrand, intro to devout life, introduction to the devout life, prayer, saints, spiritual reading, spiritual writings, spirituality, st francis de sales

    To strengthen our resolve in pursuing the Devout Life, Saint Francis de Sales offers 5 meditations on the excellence of our souls, the greatness of virtues, the example of the saints, and the eternal love that comes from both Jesus and God the Father. Fr. Gregory and Fr. Jacob-Bertrand assure us that God will faithfully give us what we need to continually transform our lives and draw closer to his divine life.

  • Day 41: Examining Our Conscience (Introduction to the Devout Life)

    December 3rd, 2022  |  26 mins 7 secs
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    As we approach the end of the book, St. Francis de Sales shows us how to calmly examine our conscience when it comes to the Devout Life, particularly when it comes to ourselves, God, and our neighbors. What are we still attached to? Fr. Gregory and Fr. Jacob-Bertram encourage us to ask God for the grace to unburden ourselves and run yet more quickly to him.

  • Day 40: Renewing Resolutions (Introduction to the Devout Life)

    December 2nd, 2022  |  25 mins 28 secs
    ascension, catholic, catholic church, catholic classics, catholic faith, catholic spiritual reading, catholic spirituality, catholicism, classic text, devout life, dominicans, faith, father gregory pine, father jacob bertrand, fr gregory pine, fr jacob bertrand, intentions, intro to devout life, introduction to the devout life, prayer, resolutions, saints, spiritual reading, spiritual writings, spirituality, st francis de sales

    As we commit to living the devout life, how do we renew our resolutions along the way? St. Francis begins this final part of the book by offering us practical advice for persevering in the spiritual life as we inevitably experience trials, personal failures, and changing seasons. Fr. Gregory and Fr. Jacob remind us to never give up when we fail because God can use our imperfections to perfect us in holiness.

  • [BONUS] Intro Part 5: Exercises and Counsels for Renewing the Soul and Strengthening Her Devotion

    December 2nd, 2022  |  6 mins 24 secs
    ascension, catholic, catholic church, catholic classics, catholic faith, catholic spiritual reading, catholic spirituality, catholicism, classic text, devout life, dominicans, faith, father gregory pine, father jacob bertrand, fr gregory pine, fr jacob bertrand, intro to devout life, introduction to the devout life, prayer, saints, spiritual reading, spiritual writings, spirituality, st francis de sales

    In this special bonus episode, Fr. Gregory reads the commentary to Part 5 of Introduction to the Devout Life, the last part of Introduction to the Devout life. In this final part of the book, St. Francis De Sales provides us encouragement when it comes to making progress in the spiritual life.

  • Day 39: The Rhythm of Consolation and Desolation (Introduction to the Devout Life)

    December 1st, 2022  |  21 mins 40 secs
    ascension, catholic, catholic church, catholic classics, catholic faith, catholic spiritual reading, catholic spirituality, catholicism, classic text, devout life, dominicans, faith, father gregory pine, father jacob bertrand, fr gregory pine, fr jacob bertrand, intro to devout life, introduction to the devout life, prayer, saints, spiritual reading, spiritual writings, spirituality, st francis de sales

    In the conclusion of Part 4, St. Francis de Sales draws on the story of a companion of St. Bernard of Clairvaux to convey that we have to be prepared for God to give us moments of consolation to encourage us and moments of desolation to strengthen us. Fr. Gregory and Fr. Jacob-Bertrand assure us that no matter the season, we will be able to see God’s hand in our lives.

  • Day 38: Enduring Desolation (Introduction to the Devout Life)

    November 30th, 2022  |  25 mins 34 secs
    ascension, catholic, catholic church, catholic classics, catholic faith, catholic spiritual reading, catholic spirituality, catholicism, classic text, devout life, dominicans, faith, father gregory pine, father jacob bertrand, fr gregory pine, fr jacob bertrand, intro to devout life, introduction to the devout life, prayer, saints, spiritual reading, spiritual writings, spirituality, st francis de sales

    Saint Francis de Sales explores common causes of desolation while assuring us that works performed and prayers offered in times of dryness are more precious in the sight of God. Fr. Gregory and Fr. Jacob-Bertrand lead us to find freedom in these seasons by calling it what it is, calling on the name of the Lord, and continuing to show up despite the temptation not to.

  • Day 37: Receiving Consolation (Introduction to the Devout Life)

    November 29th, 2022  |  28 mins 19 secs
    ascension, catholic, catholic church, catholic classics, catholic faith, catholic spiritual reading, catholic spirituality, catholicism, classic text, devout life, dominicans, faith, father gregory pine, father jacob bertrand, fr gregory pine, fr jacob bertrand, intro to devout life, introduction to the devout life, prayer, saints, spiritual reading, spiritual writings, spirituality, st francis de sales

    Consolations are good, but they are not ends in themselves. Continuing his discourse on temptation, St. Francis de Sales warns against attaching ourselves to consolations and encourages us to instead attach ourselves to God. Fr. Gregory and Fr. Jacob-Bertrand guide us through discerning which consolations are evil and which consolations are fruitful and how to devote oneself to God in both circumstances.

  • Day 36: The Temptation of Self-Reliance (Introduction to the Devout Life)

    November 28th, 2022  |  23 mins 40 secs
    ascension, catholic, catholic church, catholic classics, catholic faith, catholic spiritual reading, catholic spirituality, catholicism, classic text, devout life, dominicans, faith, father gregory pine, father jacob bertrand, fr gregory pine, fr jacob bertrand, intro to devout life, introduction to the devout life, prayer, saints, spiritual reading, spiritual writings, spirituality, st francis de sales

    Anxiety and sorrow can be common obstacles to living the Devout Life well. St. Francis de Sales calls attention to how the Evil One will tempt us to be self-reliant when we only need to place our complete reliance on God. Fr. Gregory and Fr. Jacob-Bertrand stress the importance of getting out of our minds and into our bodies, loving others and letting them love us.

  • Day 35: Remedies for Temptation (Introduction to the Devout Life)

    November 27th, 2022  |  22 mins 54 secs
    ascension, catholic, catholic church, catholic classics, catholic faith, catholic spiritual reading, catholic spirituality, catholicism, classic text, devout life, dominicans, faith, father gregory pine, father jacob bertrand, fr gregory pine, fr jacob bertrand, intro to devout life, introduction to the devout life, prayer, saints, spiritual reading, spiritual writings, spirituality, st francis de sales

    The Christian life is not simply about fighting temptations that might knock us off our path; it is about pursuing Christ. These temptations are not to be feared when met with the fidelity of God's grace. Fr. Gregory and Fr. Jacob-Bertrand invite us not to be distracted by the battle of temptations, but to fix our eyes on the one who has already won the battle: Jesus Christ.

  • Day 34: Consenting to Temptation (Introduction to the Devout Life)

    November 26th, 2022  |  23 mins 41 secs
    ascension, catholic, catholic church, catholic classics, catholic faith, catholic spiritual reading, catholic spirituality, catholicism, classic text, devout life, dominicans, faith, father gregory pine, father jacob bertrand, fr gregory pine, fr jacob bertrand, intro to devout life, introduction to the devout life, prayer, saints, spiritual reading, spiritual writings, spirituality, st francis de sales

    Why does God allow temptation? When does experiencing temptation become sinful? St. Francis de Sales highlights the dangers of inviting temptations while pursuing the Devout Life. Fr. Gregory and Fr. Jacob-Bertrand explore practical ways to help us cling to Christ rather than temptation through setting boundaries and practicing prudence.

  • Day 33: Defining Temptation (Introduction to the Devout Life)

    November 25th, 2022  |  27 mins 3 secs
    ascension, catholic, catholic church, catholic classics, catholic faith, catholic spiritual reading, catholic spirituality, catholicism, classic text, devout life, dominicans, faith, father gregory pine, father jacob bertrand, fr gregory pine, fr jacob bertrand, intro to devout life, introduction to the devout life, prayer, saints, spiritual reading, spiritual writings, spirituality, st francis de sales

    As we begin Part 4, St. Francis de Sales builds the framework for us of what temptation is and how temptations work, explaining the differences between experiencing them and consenting to them. Father Gregory and Fr. Jacob-Bertrand remind us not to be surprised or discouraged when temptation arises but to trust that God gives us the grace to withstand that reality, to choose the good, and be transformed in the midst of it.

  • [BONUS] Intro to Part 4: Necessary Counsels Concerning Temptations That Occur Frequently in the Christian Life

    November 25th, 2022  |  6 mins 39 secs
    ascension, catholic, catholic church, catholic classics, catholic faith, catholic spiritual reading, catholic spirituality, catholicism, classic text, devout life, dominicans, faith, father gregory pine, father jacob bertrand, fr gregory pine, fr jacob bertrand, intro to devout life, introduction to the devout life, prayer, saints, spiritual reading, spiritual writings, spirituality, st francis de sales, temptation, temptations

    In this special bonus episode, Fr. Jacob Bertrand reads the commentary to Part 4 of Introduction of the Devout Life, helping us understand the topic of temptation that St. Francis De Sales explores in this part of the book.

  • Day 32: Widows and Single People (Introduction to the Devout Life)

    November 24th, 2022  |  27 mins 45 secs
    ascension, catholic, catholic church, catholic classics, catholic faith, catholic spiritual reading, catholic spirituality, catholicism, classic text, devout life, dominicans, faith, father gregory pine, father jacob bertrand, fr gregory pine, fr jacob bertrand, intro to devout life, introduction to the devout life, prayer, saints, single life, single people, spiritual reading, spiritual writings, spirituality, st francis de sales, states in life, virgins, vocation, widow

    St. Francis De Sales provides encouragement for widows and single people who can often feel left out in society. Fr. Gregory and Fr. Jacob-Bertand explain St. Francis de Sales’perspective on these states in life, remining us that being a widow or a single person doesn’t mean God has forgotten about you, rather, it means that God is preparing you in a particular way for himself.

  • Day 31: The Sanctity of the Marriage Bed (Introduction to the Devout Life)

    November 23rd, 2022  |  25 mins 18 secs
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    As we continue our reading on marriage today, St. Francis De Sales helps us understand the role of sex in the context of marriage and how grace and virtue should shape the marital act. Fr. Gregory and Fr. Jacob-Bertrand further elaborate on God’s plan for human sexuality how it contributes to the holiness of married couples

  • Day 30: Wisdom for Married Couples (Introduction to the Devout Life)

    November 22nd, 2022  |  29 mins 57 secs
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    What does it look like to live the devout life in the context of marriage and family? In today’s chapter, we learn about the sacrament of marriage and how spouses sanctify each other through their love and sacrifice. Fr. Gregory and Fr. Jacob-Bertrand highlight the obstacles and challenges of marriage and emphasize the importance of leaning on God to persevere in this life-giving vocation.