To Begin Again

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103).

Photography © by the Carmelite Sisters

Photography © by the Carmelite Sisters

Don’t you love the idea, the notion, the concept of a fresh start? I love to read about new beginnings. Or listen to life-changing stories and testimonies of people. They renew and energize us. They give us the opportunity to lift up our heads and our hearts and look toward the future. I am convinced that all of us need this type of boost.

So many things happen to all of us – both good and bad. Why is it, though, that the bad often lingers on and on creating a greyness to the atmosphere of our lives in both our homes and our workplaces? As life goes on, most of us grow tough skin in order to survive, and we try to let these things roll off of us like water off a duck’s back. Even as kindergartners we learned, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me.” If the truth be told, however, it does hurt. And not just kindergarners. All of us feel the pain.

Yes, so many times the hurts and misunderstandings linger, don’t they? Even harder to admit is the dialog we hold within our own hearts, when we feel badly because we have misbehaved or done something embarassing or hurtful. We can be very hard on ourselves. At least I can.

A priest told me once, “Sister, God has forgiven you. Now you need to forgive yourself.” How true. And not so easy.

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103).

What a comforting thought!

So here we are at the beginning of 2014. Yes, a time for new beginnings and fresh starts. Here at our Motherhouse we have an evening of Thanksgiving on December 31st, the last night of every year. People come from all over southern California. Our chapel is packed with people. They go to confession, and begin the new year with midnight Mass. A new year is beginning and they enter it with souls fresh and clean and joining others for a New Year’s Mass. They ring in the new year with the bells accompanying the consecration of the Mass. This is wonderful. This is beautiful. This is right.

So, at this pivotal time in our society, with so much hanging in the balance in so many different areas of our lives – political, financial, medical, just to name a few – let us lift up our heads and look toward the East, where the sun rises. Let us praise God in newness and joy as we begin anew yet again. May this be a year of graces received and blessings outpoured.

Amen.

By Sister Timothy Marie, O.C.D.
Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles


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About the Author

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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