spiritual life

St. James’ Practical Advice

Well, we’re back in Ordinary Time. While it might seem a little sad to return to green vestments, say good bye to the Regina Coeli, and put the Easter candle aside until the next baptism, I love Ordinary Time. I suppose when pressed I would admit I love all the liturgical seasons, just like I love all the meteorological seasons. […]

"The Visitation" (detail) by Albertinell

Authentic Friendship—Learning from Mary

God made us for communion, and as women, we have been given an incredible gift. In fact our fundamental value as women is our ability to receive the other, our gift of receptivity that is characterized by our self-gift, giving the gift of presence. It is a special gift that is important in society today—that is to witness to the […]

Promises God Didn’t Make

There’s a danger in the Sunday readings this weekend. In both the second reading and the Gospel, we hear the promise that we will be given whatever we ask. If we read the verses out of context, however, we end up with a dangerous concept of God that can be compared to a vending machine. I was recently looking over […]

By Dint of Little Things

I want to be holy. I want to be a saint. That’s all that matters in this life… that someday we all get to heaven. I know that it’s only possible with God’s grace, and I know I have to cooperate with that grace to grow in holiness. But often those thoughts become detached from my every day experience. Priests […]

The Secrets of Your Grandmother’s Rosary

The phone rang. A terrible accident had just occurred. One of her grandchildren had just been in an accident on the farm. The faith I witnessed in that moment was enough to never forget my grandmother’s rosary. It was my cousin Drew. He had been driving the farm tractor when it accidentally flipped into a deep valley on the side […]

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

The Paschal Mystery

Burning but not consumed! This was the strange sight that Moses beheld in the desert—a bush on fire yet contained. Such a strange phenomenon! Moses moved closer to examine the mystery before him. “No, Moses, stop where you are and remove your sandals for this is holy ground!” This was no natural mystery as Moses would now realize, but one […]

"The First Eucharist" by Juan de Juanes

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 […]

The Deadline That Changed My Prayer Life

Mornings are God’s masterpieces. A new day awakens, filled with potential. The night sky disappears into the heavens, while the sun slowly creeps up out of the distant horizon. Most of the time, I don’t see the sun rise. Dawn comes quite early according to any clock and Carmelite Sisters rise even before the sun does. One day is etched […]

Traps & Tips for Spiritual Workouts

As part of our health insurance, they bribe, er, encourage us to stay healthy and active.  So the other day (in order to earn “points” for the program) I was reading an article about beginning a workout regimen.  The advice given was good—things like how to make your exercise a habit so that you can stick with it when life gets busy, […]

Sometimes You’re Just Lying There Like a Slug In the Desert

I don’t think I’m the only one who hasn’t been having a very good Lent this year.  By which I mean I haven’t been having a very bad Lent.  I mean, it hasn’t been hard; I haven’t been taking full advantage of the opportunities this liturgical season offers in terms of increased prayer, fasting and alms-giving. As a matter of […]