Prayer / Spiritual Life

The Secrets of Your Grandmother’s Rosary

The phone rang. A terrible accident had just occurred. One of her grandchildren had just been in an accident on the farm. The faith I witnessed in that moment was enough to never forget my grandmother’s rosary. It was my cousin Drew. He had been driving the farm tractor when it accidentally flipped into a deep valley on the side […]

Being Intentional About Our Prayer Lives

As I wrote this post I reflected on my experiences as a Catholic from my conversion in 2005 until now. One of the biggest obstacles for me in the early days of my faith journey was the lack of a prayer life. I knew I needed to pray, but I couldn’t ever remember sincerely praying about anything. I was struggling […]

Mercy Heals all Wounds

It was 2003, and I was only months away from graduating college. Distracted by the thrill of finally entering adult life, I wasn’t perceptive as my then-boyfriend and I whirred past a serious accident on a busy highway at night. Instantly, we swerved across four lanes of Friday-night traffic and blocked the road. We were the first on scene. Ryan […]

Photography © by Carmelite Sister of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles

The Paschal Mystery

Burning but not consumed! This was the strange sight that Moses beheld in the desert—a bush on fire yet contained. Such a strange phenomenon! Moses moved closer to examine the mystery before him. “No, Moses, stop where you are and remove your sandals for this is holy ground!” This was no natural mystery as Moses would now realize, but one […]

"The Denial of St. Peter" (detail) by Theodoor Rombouts

Peter, do you love me?

If we abandon ourselves to Christ who tells us “man does not live by bread alone from on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God,” then it is for us to believe the revealed word and the Holy Spirit will grant us the gifts of understanding and wisdom. Have you ever wished that you had been born in […]

"The First Eucharist" by Juan de Juanes

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 […]

The Deadline That Changed My Prayer Life

Mornings are God’s masterpieces. A new day awakens, filled with potential. The night sky disappears into the heavens, while the sun slowly creeps up out of the distant horizon. Most of the time, I don’t see the sun rise. Dawn comes quite early according to any clock and Carmelite Sisters rise even before the sun does. One day is etched […]

"Into the Wild" © by Jef Murray—(Click sketch for artist's gallery.)

The Biblical Truth About Fasting

Last week, I asked the question, “Are you looking for the secret to a better, deeper, more joyful life in Christ?” and responded by exploring the reasons for the Catholic practice of self-denial. We saw that “fasting and other forms of self-denial, as spiritual practices of materially subduing and controlling the physical appetites of the body, helps us, by God’s grace, to […]

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 […]

"The Virgin at Prayer" (detail) by Sassoferrato

Lesson One in Prayer

Let’s get very, very basic and very, very practical about prayer. The single most important piece of advice I know about prayer is also the simplest: Just do it! How to do it is less important than just doing it. Less-than-perfect prayer is infinitely better than no prayer; more perfect prayer is only finitely better than less perfect prayer. Nancy Reagan was criticized […]