prayer life

"La Pentecôte" (The Pentecost - detail) by Jean II Restout"La Pentecôte" (The Pentecost - detail) by Jean II Restout

The Holy Spirit—The Principle of Unity throughout Scripture

  The principle of unity throughout scripture is the Holy Spirit. The Pentecost Sequence, Veni Sancte Spiritus, describes this sanctifying—and therefore unifying—role of the Spirit of Father and Son: Bend the stubborn heart and will; Melt the frozen, warm the chill; Guide the steps that go astray! Beautiful words, but poignant as well for anyone who has ever struggled to […]

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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 […]

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Precepts of the Church: Is Getting Our Foot in the Door Enough?

When we receive the sealing of the Holy Spirit at Confirmation, we are expected to know and live by the precepts of the Church. I was not as interested in the details of our faith when I was younger, so it’s possible I missed this, but I don’t remember hearing any mention of this growing up and I’d venture a […]

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Praying through Gritted Teeth

It was one of those days. I had had two already that week, and Lent was looming large in front of me, and my head was throbbing. Physically, I was exhausted. Mentally, I was wiped out. Spiritually, I was dry and nearly despairing. What was most frustrating to me was that there was no good reason for any of this. […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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On God’s Generosity and Growth in Prayer

Prayer seems like such a simple thing; we all know we should do it, we know it should be transformative, and we even attempt it sometimes. For most people, that’s about the extent of our knowledge and experience. Of course, there are those people who pray very regularly, experiencing a very rich and intimate interior life, but for the majority […]

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Artwork © by Jef MurrayBlessed Virgin Mary with Roses (detail) Artwork © by Jef Murray

Did Mary Have Days Like This?

I didn’t have a good excuse. No sudden death, news of great tragedy, or personal fall-through. The clock just met 4:00, the kid of choice started with the customary late afternoon ranting, and it all unraveled from there. Somehow, the everyday things – the weight of my worries, the onslaught of my duties, the trial of just getting through the […]

“Christ at 33” (detail) by Hofmann“Christ at 33” (detail) by Hofmann

Do People See Jesus When They Look At You?

“As I have loved you, so you also should love one another” (John 13:34). In John 14:15, Jesus tells his apostles, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.”  In this passage, Jesus is preparing His Apostles for His departure and the coming of the Holy Spirit. After three long years with them, these are among His final words […]

"King David in Prayer (detail)" by Pieter de Grebber"King David in Prayer (detail)" by Pieter de Grebber

What are the Essential Qualities of Prayer?

In my parish ministry and work around the archdiocese, one of the questions I receive most frequently is like the question posed to Our Lord in Luke’s Gospel, “He was praying in a certain place, and when he ceased, one of his disciples said to him, ‘Lord, teach us to pray, as John taught his disciples.’” (Luke 11:1) People simply […]