prayer life

Photography © by the Carmelite SistersPhotography © by the Carmelite Sisters

To Begin Again

“As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103). Don’t you love the idea, the notion, the concept of a fresh start? I love to read about new beginnings. Or listen to life-changing stories and testimonies of people. They renew and energize us. They give us the opportunity to [...]

Praying the RosaryPraying the Rosary

What’s Holding You Back from a Deepening 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 [...]

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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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Discovering God in Silence

A prayerful, meditative silence is the mother of truth. Spirituality Series – Discovering God in Silence by Sister Mary Clare, O.C.D. Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles 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 [...]

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A Chat with the Author of Atchison Blue

Atchison Blue: A Search for Silence, a Spiritual Home, and a Living Faith was a complete surprise to me. A whap-to-the-side-of-the-head walloping shocker. Why? I’m not completely sure, but the surprise was delightful and refreshing. It’s good writing, for one thing, and it’s also honest in a way that I appreciated. So much of Valente’s story and struggles resonated with me. [...]

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Holding Mary’s Hand

One of my favorite pictures from my wedding is of my husband and I holding hands. The picture is a close-up of our hands, and in black-and-white, it seems to boil down to the essence of what marriage means to me. It’s a gripping, a clinging, a voluntary holding and clasping. There’s a story in people’s hands: the work they do [...]

Blessed Virgin Mary with Roses (detail)
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 [...]

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Ask a Carmelite — What is meant by “prayer life”?

Dear Sister, I’ve heard people use the term prayer life or prayer journey. What does that mean? Dear Friend, Usually when this type of question comes to mind, it is because the Holy Spirit is inspiring it! The answer lies in an understanding of the essence of what it means to be a human being. Each human person is made [...]

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St. Catherine's Monastery
Sinai Peninsula, EgyptLadder of Divine Ascent St. Catherine's Monastery Sinai Peninsula, Egypt

The Two Trajectories of the Soul

There is a troubling phenomenon noted by several doctors of the Church regarding the common waning of spiritual development after a period of progress. It often happens after a fervent soul makes notable gains against habitual mortal and then venial sin. It can also happen on the back side of any virtue based victory. The soul becomes satisfied with itself [...]

A Woman at PrayerA Woman at Prayer

When Prayer Life is Dry and You Face A Huge Challenge

Everyone goes through rough times at some point in life. Sometimes, it’s the death of a parent…or child. Sometimes it’s the loss of a job…or a love… Other times it might be the diagnosis of a physical disease, or the news that despite best efforts, a child has turned from the faith. Or a relative is fighting an addiction.  Or [...]