spiritual life

Photography © by Carmelite Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Los AngelesPhotography © 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 […]

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A Spiritual Eye Exam

One of my favorite comedians has a sketch about going to the eye doctor.  He begins by admitting that it sometimes takes him years to update his prescription.  When he finally gets new lenses, he’s amazed at how well he can see. “‘Man, I could have been seeing things!’  How could instantly-improved vision not be at the top of your […]

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Demystifying the Gift of Tears

A few years ago, I read an article about the gift of tears and was immediately intrigued.  Most comments centered around people who said they weep freely at Mass when they never used to, or they perhaps became emotional unintentionally.  I had to scratch my head in befuddlement, because it seemed there was more to this mysterious spiritual phenomenon than […]

"Creation of Adam" (detail) by Michelangelo"Creation of Adam" (detail) by Michelangelo

The Difference Between Humans and Animals

“What made you establish man in so great a dignity?” A couple of weeks ago I was at a farmer’s market on a lovely spot right by the ocean. One of the booths that featured woodwork had a carved sign display saying: “Animals are People Too!” Certainly, I don’t think the author of that statement meant for us to take […]

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God’s Desire for You

For years, though I had been a committed Christian and enjoyed what many call a truly personal relationship with Christ, I had not really internalized the thought that God desired me. That He wants and longs for a relationship with me. The idea seemed odd that the great God of our universe would have any sense of personal longing for a […]

"The Madonna of Carmel and the Souls of the Purgatory" (detail) by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo"The Madonna of Carmel and the Souls of the Purgatory" (detail) by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

“Flower of Carmel” — A Truly Beautiful Prayer

Every year on July 16, Carmelites throughout the world celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, patroness of the Carmelite Order.  If you want to know how we feel about Mary, our Mother, spend a few minutes reflecting on one of the most beautiful prayers ever written, the Flos Carmeli. Most of us pray—before meals, morning and/or night prayers, […]

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Women’s Leadership Conference Reveals the Gift of Feminine Genius

In a culture that lauds feminist ideology, many lay and women religious chose to respond to St. John Paul II’s definition of “feminine genius” this year instead.  In early June, a new women’s conference was held in Washington, D.C. with the title GIVEN, a word that, according to Sr. Mary Gabriel, SV, defines more than just the gifts we have.  […]

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Lack of Prayer is the Cause of Lack of 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 […]

Photography © by Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los AngelesPhotography © 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 […]