Prayer / Spiritual Life

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. […]

Chiesa Dei Santi Michele e Gaetano, Florence, Italy

Moments of Grace

“Safe travels… ciao, ciao!” Antonio shouted with a warm smile and a hug.  The meetings were over, business trip complete and it was time for me to fly back to Atlanta.  After a full week of meetings in Florence, Italy, followed by customer dinners each night, much was accomplished and I was tired. I walked outside the convention hall; the […]

How to Be More Grateful

There is a running joke in my family about asking God for help in parking the car. My nana initiated the practice of imploring God when encountering difficulty in finding an open parking space: “Jesus, please help me find a parking spot.” Well, my dad repeats this prayer, adding his own twist at the end. As he drives around a busy […]

Catholic Prayer Hacks

I’m not what most people would call holy, but I do hope to become so.  I’ll need a lot of grace and prayers for it to happen.  We’re all essentially lazy.  Well, some of us are.  Okay, I am, at least.  I’m lazy.  And I know it.  So, I like to look for short cuts, easier ways.  I like to […]

St. Thérèse of Lisieux (left) and St. Teresa of Avila (right)

St. Teresa and St. Thérèse

2 Doctors, 2 Ways, 1 Goal Many of you probably have seen the 1965 film entitled The Sound of Music starring Julie Andrews as Maria Von Trapp and Christopher Plummer as Captain Von Trapp. The first verse of the theme song goes like this: Climb every mountain, Search high and low, Follow every highway, Every path you know. Do you […]

St. Thérèse of Lisieux

Once Upon a Day of Prayer | Rediscovering St. Thérèse

A Reflection on the Little Way of St. Thérèse Every month each Carmelite Sister steps aside from her daily service to God’s people and makes a one-day spiritual retreat. To most of us, this single day out of each month is dearly loved and longed for. We meet and work with a lot of people on a daily basis, and […]

"Christ and the Woman of Samaria" (detail) by Paolo Veronese

If Only You Knew… St. Teresa and the Four Waters of Prayer

“If you knew the gift of God.” Jesus tired and thirsty sat down at a well and there encountered a Samaritan woman who had come to draw water. Asking her for a drink, “He said to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, Give me a drink, you would have asked him and […]

There’s No Such Thing as “Balance”

I hate the word balance—at least the way our modern culture defines it. For most of my adult life, all I’ve heard (or read) is about how to balance work and family life or finding balance when life seems to get out of control.  It’s as if balance is this magical word that creates a utopian mindset—one that, I’ve come […]

"The Virgin at Prayer" (detail) by Sassoferrato

The Art of Praying: The Principles and Methods of Christian Prayer — A Review by Mary Hartwell

“In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings” (Romans 8:26). Why do most people find it hard to pray… really pray? Prayer is our spiritual highway to God and we cannot arrive at that destination […]

"Christ the Consolator" (detail) by Carl Bloch

Love Yourself For God’s Sake

The Joy of the Gospel can be found in putting others before ourselves and loving one another as we love ourselves. Consequently, a disordered love of self, both in excess and in defect, can hinder our mission to live out this core truth. While there will often be a temptation toward either extreme, a balanced love of self is possible […]