Calendar & Seasons

Practical Ideas for a Better Advent

We are well into the Second Week of Advent. Already! Don’t worry, if you have not begun your watchful preparation, it is not too late… One of my strongest, most enduring memories from my childhood is the time spent preparing for Christmas. We did not have any family traditions involving the Advent Wreath or the Jesse Tree. And most certainly, like all the other […]

Watching and Waiting During Advent in Carmel

Advent in Carmel To experience Advent in Carmel is to enter into a rarified atmosphere that is filled to the brim with Carmel’s living legacy of Advent customs and observances. My first Advent in Carmel remains fresh in my memory today, still as vibrant and alive as when it happened. I feel at a loss, however, to write about it. […]

Therefore, stay awake!

“Therefore, stay awake! For you do not know on which day your Lord will come” (Matthew 24:42). This verse is part of a larger passage (Matthew 24:1 — 25:30) where Jesus speaks about the time before his second coming—that is the time in which we all live. Of course this is immediately followed with the separation of the sheep and […]

"The Madonna of Carmel and the Souls of the Purgatory" (detail) by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

All Souls Day and Prayers for the Dead

I’ll never forget that bleak January day when my father died.  It was very hard to believe in the resurrection as I watched the undertakers carry away his lifeless corpse in a body bag. But imagine this scene.  You are an unborn child who has lived in cozy but cramped quarters with your twin for nine months.  But now you […]

"The Assumption of the Virgin" (detail) by Guido Reni

What we should know about the Dormition and Assumption of Mary

On August 15th of each Liturgical Year, the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. In the United States, the assumption is ordinarily a Holy Day of Obligation, but because it falls on Monday this year, the obligation to attend Mass is abrogated: “Whenever January 1, the solemnity of Mary, Mother of God, or August 15, the solemnity of […]

"The Disciples Peter and John Running to the Sepulchre on the Morning of the Resurrection" (detail) by Eugene Burnand

We Do Not Face Death Alone

The serpent’s bite was a deadly one.  The venom had worked its way deep into the heart of the entire human race, doing its gruesome work.  The anti-venom was unavailable until He appeared.  One drop was all that was needed, so potent was this antidote.  Yet it was not like Him to be stingy.  He poured out all he had, […]

Crossing the Threshold of Holy Week

It caught me by surprise that the Carmelite Sisters keep a complete and prayerful silence during the Holy Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, not speaking until the conclusion of the evening Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday. I remember when I was the “new kid on the block,” a recently-arrived postulant who was learning more and […]

A Lenten Reflection on Christ in the Desert

“…if anyone wishes to seriously exercise the spiritual life, he had better know that the company of people that hold our own faith and worship in our own churches is a most difficult company to keep. And we ought not to pretend we can follow God very far unless we know that it is a desert like asceticism.” I write […]

What’s so ordinary about Ordinary Time?

Ordinary Time and the Liturgical Seasons The liturgical season of Christmas came to an end with the celebration of the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord on Sunday, January 10th. And now we are well into the second week of Ordinary Time, the longest season of the Church’s liturgical year. Ordinary Time comprises two parts of the liturgical year, separated by the […]

"Christ the Consolator" (detail) by Carl Bloch

Christmas JOY Amid Challenges

It was a blessed and happy Christmas in so many ways. My grandson was here for his very first Christmas! I was surrounded by my five children, my husband, my daughter’s husband, and one daughter’s significant other—all coming together to celebrate in the heart of my home. Needless to say, I was extremely thankful. It was a whirlwind of crazy […]