Breaking out of Bad Habits

Ask a Carmelite Sister

Dear Sister,

I have the bad habit of judging people. As I grow older, the habit grows along with me. I am a very logical person, and it is very painful for me to watch people not get punished for wrongdoing, or hide their misdeeds, or grow wealthy while those of us trying to live according to what the Good Book says languor in almost-poverty. Still, I would like to break the judgmental habit because it is related to my sin of gossiping. Do you have any advice?

Dear Friend

Thank you for your question.

Ah, judging others. If we are correct in our judgment of others and talk about it with other people, that is the sin of slander. Given the right circumstances, it could be a mortal sin. If we are wrong in our judgment of another and share it with others, that is the sin of calumny. It, too, could be a mortal sin, depending on the circumstances. These sins need to be confessed.

Our Lord taught with parables and I’d like to use a parable to answer your question. I hope it helps!

Two traveling angels stopped to spend the night in the home of a wealthy family. The family was rude and refused to let the angels stay in the mansion’s guest room. Instead the angels were given a space in the cold basement. As they made their bed on the hard floor, the older angel saw a hole in the wall and repaired it. When the younger angel asked why, the older angel replied, “Things aren’t always what they seem.”

The next night the pair came to rest at the house of a very poor, hospitable farmer and his wife. After sharing what little food they had, the couple let the angels sleep in their bed where they could have a good night’s rest. When the sun came up the next morning the angels found the farmer and his wife in tears. Their only cow, whose milk had been their sole income, lay dead in the field. The younger angel was infuriated and asked the older angel, “How could you have let this happen!”

He reminded the angel that the first man had everything, yet you helped him. The second family had little but was willing to share everything, and you let their cow die. “Things aren’t always what they seem,” the older angel replied. “When we stayed in the basement of the mansion, I noticed there was gold stored in that hole in the wall. Since the owner was so obsessed with greed and unwilling to share his good fortune, I sealed the wall so he wouldn’t find it. Then last night as we slept in the farmer’s bed, the angel of death came for his wife.  I told him to take the cow instead.”

Things aren’t always what they seem. Sometimes this is exactly what happens when things don’t turn out the way we think they should. If you have faith in God, just trust that every outcome is always to your advantage. You might not realize it until much later. And, above all, leaving the judging to God!

The following description of justice, mercy, and grace resonate within my soul, so here they are. May they help you, also, and feel free to spread it along to other people.

  • Justice – When you get what you deserve
  • Mercy – When you don’t get what you deserve
  • Grace – When you get what you don’t deserve

I hope that is of help to you and until next time,

Sister Laus Gloriae, O.C.D.


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A Letter from Mother Luisita about Anxiety and Worry

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Promoting a Deeper Spiritual Life Among Families through Healthcare, Education and Retreats

The Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles strive to give striking witness as a vibrant, thriving community of dedicated women with an all-consuming mission. It is our God-given mission, a mission of the heart, a mission of loving service to the poor, the sick, the needy and the uneducated. Our loving service overflows from each sister’s profound life of prayer. We strive to reflect His life and hope and His promise to all that light has come into our world and darkness has not overcome it.

A look at the history of our community, with its motherhouse in Alhambra, California, reveals how its life-giving presence has come about. During the beginning decades of the 1900s just as the epic Mexican revolution was subsiding, a ruthless religious persecution was gaining momentum in Mexico. This horrible persecution accompanied the birth and humble beginnings of our community, a legacy that Mother Luisita, our foundress, and her two companions brought with them as religious refugees entering the Unites States in 1927.

Those seeds planted by Mother Luisita, now a candidate for sainthood, have taken deep root in the United States since those early days. People and places have changed throughout the years, yet the heart of our mission remains. As an autonomous religious institute since 1983 we continue to carry out our loving service in our healthcare facilities, retreat houses and schools which remain to this day centers of life and hope. Today we are moving forward together “Educating for Life with the Mind and Heart of Christ” in schools, being “At the Service of the Family for Life” through health and eldercare and “Fostering a Deeper Spiritual Life” through individual and group retreats. At the heart of our vocation is a passionate mission of loving service which facilitates our life-giving encounter with the living God.

The heritage of the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles is rooted in the spirituality of Carmel, the Gospels, the Church, with our particular charism derived from our beloved Foundress, Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

In His merciful goodness, God has graced our Institute with the Carmelite charism which has its roots in a long history and living tradition. The spirituality of St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross is rooted in this tradition. Carmel means enclosed garden in which God Himself dwells. The divine indwelling in the soul is the foundation of Teresa's doctrine. Thus our vocation is a grace by which contemplation and action are blended to become an apostolic service to the Church.

Our ideal finds a living expression in the life and charism of our beloved Foundress, Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament, whose spirit we faithfully preserve and foster.

Our life is characterized by: - A life of prayer and union with God - A deep love for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist - Devotion to our Blessed Mother - Steadfast fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church - Praying for priests - Commitment to works of the apostolate in ecclesial service

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1 Comment

  1. Part of a prayer during Great Lent in the Byzantine church goes “O Lord, let me see my own faults, and not judge my brothers and sisters, for You are good and love us all. Repeat as many times as necessary.

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