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Dr. Tom Neal

Academic Dean and Professor of Spiritual Theology, Notre Dame Seminary, New Orleans, LA

Dr. Tom Neal presently serves as Academic Dean and Professor of Spiritual Theology at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, Louisiana and has a particular passion for exposing the unlimited potential of theology to offer the faithful a deeper sharing in the mind and heart of Jesus Christ. He has worked for twenty years in adult catechesis, retreat ministry and teaching theology in various contexts trying to make present for others the "Word made fresh." Tom received a Masters in Systematic Theology from Mount St. Mary's University and a PhD in Religion at Florida State University. His Masters studies focused on the Orthodox theology of salvation known as theosis, and his doctoral studies concentrated on the socio-historical contexts within which late medieval mysticism flourished in Spain. His dissertation was on the Teresian Carmelite reform and the construction of ascetical identity in the writings of St. John of the Cross.

While he loves to continue his work on general topics of spiritual theology, especially inasmuch as they relate to priestly formation, Tom has dedicated much of his energy more recently to theological reflection on the vocation and mission of the lay faithful to be "secular saints" whose essential labor is to consecrate the world itself to God by faithfully living out their personal vocations in the world. He believes that the Church has yet to produce a proper theology of "lay secularity" and, consequently, a robust vision of spirituality that is suited to those whose primary path to perfection is to be found in engaging in temporal, secular affairs. His hope is to make a small contribution to that development.

Originally from Rhode Island, Tom has lived over the years in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, Florida, Iowa and (presently) New Orleans, Louisiana. His wife and four children live in Metairie, LA and they love being called to be saints among Saints.

Find more of Tom's writing at his blog, Neal Obstat.


Dr. Tom Neal Latest Blog Posts

If You Love Somebody, If You Love Someone…

by Dr. Tom Neal . January 15, 2019 . 0 Comments

Just for today, I will not try to improve or regulate someone else. (Al-Anon’s “Just for Today” bookmark) Shortly after I got married, a friend who had been married for years said to me, with a wr...

St. John of the Cross’ Advice on Conquering Self-Love

The “dark night” dismantles the machinery of self-absorption.

by Dr. Tom Neal . December 14, 2018 . 2 Comments

Pope Francis has cautioned that the biggest enemy of mercy is “self-love.” St. John of the Cross agrees, and teaches that the greatest work of divine mercy in us is God’s work of overcoming our distorte...

Show Me the Father

For one mother pursuing a a facade of perfection, Eucharistic Adoration provided the truth.

by Dr. Tom Neal . December 05, 2018 . 0 Comments

Today we recognize that being able to forgive others implies the liberating experience of understanding and forgiving ourselves. Often our mistakes, or criticism we have received from loved ones, can lead to a loss of se...

Marriage: The Real Presence

Marriage is a covenant “yes” to Christ, whose Spirit desires to be the bonding force of the spouses’ one flesh, one mind, one heart, and one spirit.

by Dr. Tom Neal . November 19, 2018 . 0 Comments

I’m searching for a sign,been looking way too high.Heart in the trenches,head in the heavens (BØRNS) Authentic married love is caught up into divine love and is governed and enriched by Christ’s red...

Do Not Be Overcome by Evil, But Overcome Evil with Good

by Dr. Tom Neal . October 23, 2018 . 0 Comments

The quality of mercy is not strained.It droppeth as the gentle rain from heavenUpon the place beneath. It is twice blest:It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.‘Tis mightiest in the mightiest; it becomesTh...