prayer life

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 […]

Why Should I Go on a Retreat?

Dear Sister, Can you answer a question for me?  Why do people need or even want to make a retreat? I’ve never understood that, given the wonderful options I have right here at home through my parish, and, of course, the vast array of media opportunities we have now. Sincerely, Curious Dear Curious, I can think of TEN great reasons […]

Photography © 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 […]

“Christ at 33” (detail) by Hofmann

A Boundless and Profound Beauty

It takes courage and perseverance to walk this journey, but it is filled with a peace the world cannot give and a boundless and profound beauty leading to eternal glory in Heaven. We were created to gaze upon endless, eternal beauty. All of us were born with an unrelenting,  deep thirst that will never be satisfied fully in this life. […]

Discovering God in Silence

A prayerful, meditative silence is the mother of truth. God cannot be found in noise and agitation. His true power and love are revealed in what is hardly perceptible, in the gentle breeze that requires stillness and quiet to detect. In silence, God listens to us. In silence, listen to Him. In silence, God speaks to our souls and the […]

St. Peter Chanel Catholic Church, Roswell, Georgia—Photography © by Michael Bickerstaff

What’s Holding You Back from a Deeper Faith

Looking back at my childhood, I am thankful for the many gifts the good God sent my way in the form of people who knew and loved Him and chose to share that knowledge and love with me. There are so many examples from the good Catholic sisters and priests who taught me to my Presbyterian friend, James, who announced […]

A Boundless and Profound Beauty

It takes courage and perseverance to walk this journey, but it is filled with a peace the world cannot give and a boundless and profound beauty leading to eternal glory in Heaven. We were created to gaze upon endless, eternal beauty. All of us were born with an unrelenting, deep thirst that will never be satisfied fully in this life. […]

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

Solitude and Carmelite Spirituality

“Solitude is not an empty space, a void; it is an encounter with the God who loves us…” Dear Sister, What aspect of Carmelite Spirituality do you find most helpful for your prayer? Dear Friend, The short answer to your question is solitude. Here is the longer answer… Since all prayer begins with adoration, the environment surrounding my prayer must […]

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

Practical Prayer Tips from the Carmelite Sisters

Dear Sister, Is there a best time to pray, given all the activities each day holds for me—working at my job and caring for and being with my family makes a very full day? Also, I’m not fully awake first thing in the morning and already mighty tired by the time I lay my head on the pillow. I thought […]

“Christ at 33” (detail) by Hofmann

A Faith that is Mature

There are two dangers to the spiritual life that are all too common. First, we can spend so much time learning about God through study that we never come to know him in prayer. In this sense, study becomes a false god. Second, our efforts at “doing and ministering” become all about the “serving” and not about the one who […]