Faith

The Penance of Every Day

“Perhaps you have an impressive plan of intense penances that you are convinced will make you holy by the Easter vigil … but what do your daily activities, obligations, and vocational demands look like?” If you’re a planner, you’ve already begun to think about what you’re going to “do” for Lent. When I was growing up, it was in vogue […]

The Heavy Burdens We Carry

Confessionals

I have been thinking a great deal about my experience at Reconciliation this past Saturday. I felt an intense and unexplainable urge to go and confess my sins when I woke up that morning. I try to go every six weeks or so, but this was no routine visit to the priest for me. I needed to unburden myself of […]

We Owe Each Other a Terrible Loyalty

St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church, Roswell, Georgia—Photography © by Michael Bickerstaff

Looking back at my childhood, I am thankful for the many gifts the good God sent my way in the form of people who knew and loved Him and chose to share that knowledge and love with me. There are so many examples from the good Catholic sisters and priests who taught me to my Presbyterian friend, James, who announced […]

What does his love look like?

Photo by Laura Allen on Unsplash

“Sometimes the gifts God has in store for me are not the gifts I would have chosen for myself.” “He doesn’t do the things he used to do, like buy her flowers.”  A coworker was telling me about a friend of hers, who, after several years of marriage, was lamenting the changes in their relationship.  Their lives were now full […]

What’s in a Name?

Photography © by Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Los Angeles

A handful of times in my life, I KNEW with deep conviction that certain things would come to pass.  I can’t explain it.  I just knew.  My vocation to the Carmelite Sisters was one of these “Aha!” God-moments.  I knew in an instant I had a vocation to the religious life and to this religious family.  I also knew without […]

Be salty.

Photo by Jason Tuinstra on Unsplash

“We have the responsibility to bring Christ into the world.“ This Sunday’s Gospel has one of my favorite images for our vocation as laity: “You are the salt of the earth.” Salt.  It’s a powerful image for us.  What are a few grains of salt?  They’re so miniscule, they’ve become an image for smallness and insignificance: “She took it with […]

Time

Recently I was late getting a manuscript to an editor. My excuse? By far the most popular one in America: I had “no time.” Let’s examine that excuse. Why do we all seem to have no time for anything, much less for prayer? I am constantly feeling guilty about this, and I suspect most of you are too. I think […]

Living the Faith in Ordinary Moments

Candlemas and the Presentation of the Lord have already arrived! Christmas Day was forty days ago. We’ve been in the season of Ordinary Time on the liturgical calendar for three weeks. Before we know it, Lent will be upon us. That’s what happens in this earthly life—we move through time. We mark moments in time that represent important events. Time […]

Would I forgive King David?

"King David in Prayer" (detail) Pieter de Grebber [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“Would I be as merciful as God was towards David?“ Even if you can’t get to daily Mass, I highly recommend using the readings of the day in your daily prayers. It is a way to unite your prayers with Catholics throughout the world, to live liturgically, and to become familiar with the great stories and wisdom of Sacred Scripture. […]

Living in the Presence of God

Photography © by Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Los Angeles

Have you ever experienced conflicting emotions or feelings within yourself? Did they seem to embody such opposites that you wondered how they could co-exist in the same body? Well, you’re not alone! Throughout his long life, Simeon knew this all too well. He was torn between the sufferings he bore and his unfailing hope. His people had endured the delay […]