spiritual life

Praying the RosaryPraying the Rosary

Are you really praying or just fast-talking to yourself?

Coming out of a chapel after praying the rosary with a few other Catholics, a friend of mine was surprised when several of those who were with him revealed that they were moved by his prayers. They were all praying the rosary together and he had simply led a decade as requested. He was a bit surprised by their response. [...]

"All Saints" by Fra Angelico"All Saints" by Fra Angelico

The Problem with “Praying to Saints”

At one time in my life I viewed Christians as shallow people blindly following silly rules. As I was to discover, these perceptions were not only wrong, they were worlds away from reality. The root cause of my misconception was my confident ignorance. Until I allowed Christians to speak to me and define their faith their words, I was unable [...]

"All Saints" by Fra Angelico"All Saints" by Fra Angelico

A Constellation of Saints

There are as many saints as there are stars in the sky… The night sky in its magnificent beauty has beckoned to me ever since I was a small child. At night, especially on a summer’s night, I would slip away and sit on our front porch, or better still, I would lie on the grass and just look up [...]

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

Saying your Prayers versus Praying your Prayers

In the spiritual life, the language we use intimately reflects our hearts. As an example, let’s look at prayer. Do we “say our prayers?” Or do we pray in an intimate relationship with God? The former is like saying, “I said words to my wife.” The latter is closer to saying, “My wife and I had a wonderful dinner together.” Prayer, [...]

"Christ in the House of Mary and Martha" (detail) by Johannes Vermeer"Christ in the House of Mary and Martha" (detail) by Johannes Vermeer

The Danger of Martha’s Vindication

I have noticed a troubling trend in past years when the Gospel reading about Mary and Martha’s encounter with Christ surfaces. Of course we all know the passage: “Now as they went on their way, he entered a certain village, where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the [...]

Photography © Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred HeartPhotography © Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart

A Miracle in Adoration

A number of years ago I had an amazing experience in adoration. I had suffered for years with chronic and often debilitating pain. The pain caused me to isolate myself because after fighting the pain, I had so little energy to interact with or serve others. After a period of reflection and prayer I decided that I would try to fight [...]

"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” — One of the Most Beautiful Prayers Ever Written

Every year on July 16th, 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 [...]

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Help! I need Practical Ideas for Living the Faith

For the last several years, there has been an increased interest in practical advice on how to practice their faith.  Certainly, the uncertainty and growing chaos in the secular world have something to do with this. More recently, we have seen more obvious clashes between our culture and our Church. We can look back through Salvation History and see the pattern. The [...]

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Discovering God in Silence

A prayerful, meditative silence is the mother of truth. 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 to detect. In silence, God listens to [...]

"St. John of the Cross" (detail) by Francisco de Zurbarán"St. John of the Cross" (detail) by Francisco de Zurbarán

Daily Catholic Quote from St. John of the Cross

“Souls will be unable to reach perfection who do not strive to be content with having nothing, in such fashion that their natural and spiritual desire is satisfied with emptiness; for this is necessary in order to reach the highest tranquility and peace of spirit. Hence the love of God in the pure and simple soul is almost continually in act.” (St. John of the Cross, Doctor of [...]