Prayer / Spiritual Life

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

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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 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"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 […]

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Something for Everyone: Living the Dominican Four Pillars

  This past fall I was blessed to begin formation with my local Lay Dominican chapter, happily coinciding with the opening of the 800th Jubilee of the Order of Preachers. My husband and I count a few Dominican friars among our friends, but it wasn’t until I met sisters that I recognized my attraction to all things Dominican. As it […]

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God’s Desire for You

For years, though I had been a committed Christian and enjoyed what many call a truly personal relationship with Christ, I had not really internalized the thought that God desired me. That He wants and longs for a relationship with me. The idea seemed odd that the great God of our universe would have any sense of personal longing for a […]

Scruples and Moderation: Understanding the Advice of St. Ignatius of Loyola

Near the end of St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Spiritual Exercises is a curious section titled, “Some Notes Concerning Scruples.” Scrupulosity is one of those pesky spiritual problems that we don’t always recognize but can give us a lot a grief if left unchecked. Believe me, I know! Never heard of scrupulosity? How about Catholic Guilt? Scrupulosity is Catholic Guilt run […]

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Lack of Prayer is the Cause of Lack of 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 […]

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

The Desert in Carmelite Spirituality

“What did you go out to the wilderness to see?” (Matthew 11:7) These were Jesus’ words to the crowd. John took to the desert to draw people out into solitude to prepare their hearts for the coming of the Messiah. For many years the desert had become a place of encounter. In 1 Kings 19:1-8 a long time before John’s […]

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Scrupulosity—A Beginner’s Guide

What is Scrupulosity? A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding This “Pious Problem” Recently, Simcha Fisher raised the issue of scrupulosity, the state of being perpetually afraid of sin, at the National Catholic Register.  As someone who battles scrupulosity, I was thrilled to see someone raising the issue. Scruples can plague a person and wreak all kinds of havoc in his relationship with […]