“Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me” is the simplest form of the Jesus Prayer. Bishop Robert Barron has professed the spiritual power of this short prayer for decades and was recently reintroduced to The Way of a Pilgrim, a short book, which narrates one man's quest to "pray without ceasing" by way of the Jesus Prayer. This episode serves as an encouragement for all Christians to adopt this prayer, which has long been a revered tradition in the Eastern Orthodox Church. The listener question comes from an atheist who wonders what, precisely, is the correct way to read the Bible. Topics Discussed
  • 0:17  - Introduction, background information about “The Way of a Pilgrim”
  • 2:53 - Spiritual greatness of the Eastern Orthodox tradition
  • 5:17 - What is the Jesus Prayer and how do you pray it?
  • 7:50 - What happens after you pray the Jesus Prayer 1,000 times?
  • 9:03 - What is the difference between mindful route prayers and mindless babbling?
  • 10:40 - How can the Jesus Prayer become an extension of your body and soul?
  • 13:29 - What happens to the pilgrim in the story? (Spoiler Alert)
  • 15:28 - What is the one thing you cling to most?
  • 18:30 - What is the connection between “The Way of the Pilgrim” and TV's “Vikings”
  • 20:32 - What advice does Bishop Barron have for helping us detach ourselves from the material world?
  • 22:00 - Question from listener: How ought an atheist read the Bible?

Bonus Resources

One of the most popular forms of content at Word on Fire continues to be Bishop Robert Barron's theological commentaries about movies. In fact, the very first Youtube video Word On Fire ever produced was a commentary on Martin Scorsese's Oscar-Winning film, “The Departed.” Since then, the bishop has reviewed dozens of movies and received high praise for his spiritual interpretations, even from the films' own directors. So for this episode, we thought we would ask Bishop Barron to share his ideas about two recent movies, namely, “Doctor Strange" and “Hacksaw Ridge” (SPOILER ALERT). The listener question asks where we Christians should draw the line for viewing graphic content. Topics Discussed
  • 0:17  - Introduction, Cubs win the World Series
  • 5:45 - What is the premise of “Doctor Strange”? (Spoiler Alert)
  • 9:12 - How does “Doctor Strange” participate in the religious tradition?
  • 12:49 - How do modern films profess a kind of Gnostic spirituality?
  • 18:40 - What is the premise of “Hacksaw Ridge”? (Spoiler Alert)
  • 21:39 - How does “Hacksaw Ridge” witness to both a violent and nonviolent fight against evil?
  • 24:36 - How is the protagonist in “Hacksaw Ridge” a man of the bible?
  • 26:04 - Question from listener: Where should Christians draw the line when it comes to graphic content in art?

Bonus Resources

  • Websites
Bishop Robert Barron recently had the privilege of speaking to around nine thousand students from the Catholic middle schools and high schools of the Los Angeles Archdiocese. Encouraged by their enthusiasm, he invited them to internalize three spiritual truths as they come of age. In today's episode, Bishop Barron recounts the event and explains some lessons that all Catholics but particularly young Catholics need to take to heart. The listener question asks what Gospel passages are difficult for the bishop to come to terms with and how Catholics ought internalize Jesus' more troubling messages. Topics Discussed
  • 0:17  - Introduction, The Word on Fire Show 50th Episode, Youth Event Details
  • 2:50 - Lesson 1: The Law of the Gift, what does that mean?
  • 5:55 - What do you say to someone who claims total happiness in the secular world?
  • 8:49 - How does St. Mother Theresa of Calcutta represent the Law of the Gift?
  • 10:35 - Lesson 2: Spiritual Excellence, why not settle for spiritual mediocrity?
  • 12:50 - How does Bl. Pier Giorgio Frassati best represent aspiring young Catholics?
  • 14:30 - What does it mean to say that holiness is broad, vibrant, and colorful?
  • 16:45 - Lesson 3: Be a Rebel! What is true rebellion?
  • 19:36 - Who is Jose Sanchez del Rio?
  • 22:57 - Question from listener: What does Bishop Barron consider to be the most difficult messages of Jesus? How ought we wrestle with them?

Bonus Resources

  • Websites
Normally, in each episode we take one listener question. But we've received such a large number of outstanding questions from around the globe that we’ve decided to devote another episode to answering a range of questions from listeners like you. Bishop Barron answers several questions, rapid fire, on many different topics.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:24  - Intro: Bishop Barron talks about the PBS premier of Pivotal Players
  • 3:00 - If goodness is just part of God's nature, why are we under any obligation to make ourselves into good human beings?
  • 6:11 - What is the Catholic way of dating?
  • 8:35 - What is the difference between hope and wishful thinking?
  • 12:19 - How do you explain Old Testament animal sacrifice to vegans?
  • 15:10 - Is evil really just an absence of good or a force of its own, opposing the Kingdom of God?
  • 19:45 - How do we reconcile centuries old philosophy with modern science?
  • 23:35 - Why do we focus so much on interpreting the Greek words in scripture when anything Jesus spoke was in Aramaic?
  • 26:30 - How does a new parent, busy parent find time to deepen her prayer life?

Bonus Resources

October 31st, 2016 marked the beginning of the 500th year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, which is decidedly the greatest split in Christian Church history. Pope Francis traveled to Sweden that Halloween weekend to meet with Lutheran Church leaders, commemorate the historical significance of the Reformation, and emphasize unity amongst the Christian faithful. In today's episode, Bishop Barron offers a brief history of the Reformation and explains his hopes for continued dialogue between Protestants and Catholics. The listener question asks about St. Augustine's views on the theological topic of predestination. Topics Discussed
  • 0:17  - Introduction, Bishop's meeting with Pastor Rick Warren
  • 2:50 - What is the Reformation and who were the major players?
  • 5:13 - What are some points of doctrinal contention in the Reformation?
  • 6:40 - What does Bishop Barron make of Pope Francis' visit with the Lutherans?
  • 09:21 - Why is it a sign of respect that Protestants can't receive Catholic Communion?
  • 12:10 - Was the Reformation an entirely bad thing?
  • 15:08 - What is the Catholic Counter-Reformation?
  • 17:00 - Should Catholics actively try to convert Protestants?
  • 19:02 - What should the Catholic Church do to end this schism?
  • 20:38 - Question from listener: What does St. Augustine think about predestination and what does the Church teach about it?

Bonus Resources

  • Websites
How do we proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in today's culture? In a talk he gave at the Religious Education Congress, Bishop Barron offers recommendations for effective evangelization, aimed to permeate our densely secularized society with the beauty and joy of Catholicism. In Part Two of the Bishop's great talk we hear him discuss the remaining four "Keys to the New Evangelization".

Bonus Resources 

How do we proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ in today's culture? In a talk he gave at the Religious Education Congress, Bishop Barron offers recommendations for effective evangelization, aimed to permeate our densely secularized society with the beauty and joy of Catholicism. In Part One of the Bishop's great talk we hear him discuss three of his "7 Keys to the New Evangelization".

Bonus Resources 

After perusing the latest Pew Study on why young people are leaving the active practice of Christianity, Bishop Barron noticed that (once again) the reasons they offer for abandoning Christianity are entirely not compelling. That is to say, any theologian, apologist, or evangelist worth his salt should be able easily to answer these objections to faith and hopefully encourage the youngster to reconsider the Truth of the Church. With this in mind for today's episode, Bishop offers smart, passionate responses to the common misconceptions and objections that continue to lure young people away from God. The listener question asks which books are best for evangelizing atheists from both a rational and emotional standpoint.

Topics Discussed

  • 0:17  - Introduction, Bishop's trip to Lake Placid and current reading list
  • 3:25 - Bishop's reaction to young people leaving the church?
  • 5:15 - Should we avoid pressuring them and let young people return on their own?
  • 7:48 - Some common objections: Is religion the opiate of the people?
  • 11:10 - Has science disproven religion?
  • 15:15 - If religion causes so much violence, how can it possibly be right?
  • 17:50 - Does the sex abuse scandal invalidate the Church?
  • 20:53 - Is it better to be open-minded to all world religions?
  • 26:48 - What if church is too boring and you don't have time?
  • 30:40 - How would Bishop Barron encourage young people to return to the Church?
  • 32:09 - Question from listener: What are some good books to battle atheism both from a rational and emotional standpoint?

Bonus Resources

What is faith exactly? How do faith and reason coexist? How do we grow in power and freedom when we surrender to an almighty God? Where does philosophy fit into Catholic theology? What is the foundation for Catholic reasoning? Bishop Robert Barron addresses these questions and more at Duke University's Goodson Chapel in an event hosted by the Duke Catholic Center.

Bonus Resources 

What is faith exactly? How do faith and reason coexist? How do we grow in power and freedom when we surrender to an almighty God? Where does philosophy fit into Catholic theology? What is the foundation for Catholic reasoning? Bishop Robert Barron addresses these questions and more at Duke University's Goodson Chapel in an event hosted by the Duke Catholic Center.

Bonus Resources