Prayer / Spiritual Life

Earthen Vessels

Photo by ritesh singh on Unsplash

The Light is Hidden, But Never Extinguished Many of us might remember the great battle in the Book of Judges between the Midianites and Gideon’s Israelite forces. Gideon had instructed his soldiers to each carry a trumpet and a clay jar with a torch in it. “And he divided the three hundred men into three companies, and put trumpets into the hands of […]

Feasting on a Fast

"Christ in the Desert (detail)" by Ivan Kramskoy

In this season of preparation for the arrival of Easter, there is one particular practice that seems to get a lot of attention, most of it negative. This should not be surprising since the practice is all about denying ourselves something we have all become quite accustomed to – food. The practice of course is fasting. “But he said to […]

The Desert in Carmelite Spirituality

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

“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 […]

What Does the Bible Teach About Fasting?

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

Lent has begun, so I thought we should revisit self-denial. Fasting and other forms of self-denial, as spiritual practices of materially subduing and controlling the physical appetites of the body, help us, by God’s grace, to enable the soul to more perfectly and freely pray.  This leads to a deeper union with God and thus we become better stewards of the gifts […]

Christ in the Desert

"Crossing of the Red Sea" (detail) by Hans III Jordaens / Public domain

“…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 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 […]

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 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 […]

Healing From the Inside Out

Photography by John Neff | Shutterstock

When the Lord heals, He almost always heals from the inside out. Referring to the inside does not mean that He heals only internal disease, damage or infection. But rather, that He wants to heal the whole person, and in order to do this He must begin by healing the interior life of a person. An example of this is […]

Led by the Spirit

chair-peter-holy-spiritDetail of Chair of St. Peter Dnalor 01, Rom, Vatikan, Petersdom, Cathedra Petri (Bernini) 4, Detail, CC BY-SA 3.0

Just what is it that leads us through this life? This is a question we should ask ourselves and wrestle with from time to time. However, we should do this only after we have wrestled with the first and more immediate question: Where we are going in this life? Or perhaps more accurately, what is life really all about? Some […]