spiritual life

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 […]

"Suffer the little children to come unto me." (detail) by Carl Bloch [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

What Kindness Really Means

We exited the restaurant with exuberance still lingering from our family dinner conversation. It was a rare treat to take everyone out to eat, so we relished the time spent ordering what we wanted, listening to catchy tunes, and watching diners gather on the dance floor for mid-meal entertainment. I’d forgotten that Sarah had Apert syndrome, as I tend to […]

Lost sabbaths and the sin of sloth

An intriguing phrase caught my attention while looking over the Mass readings for the fourth Sunday of Lent (Year B). The first reading comes from the end of 2 Chronicles, as it recaps the story of the Babylonian captivity and subsequent restoration of Jerusalem. It clearly teaches that God allowed the Israelites to be taken into captivity because of their […]

Why Should I Go on a Retreat?

Dear Sister, Can you answer a question for me?  Why do people need or even want to make a retreat? I’ve never understood that, given the wonderful options I have right here at home through my parish, and, of course, the vast array of media opportunities we have now. Sincerely, Curious Dear Curious, I can think of TEN great reasons […]

Why your Lenten plan won’t save you

Every time Lent rolls around, I know it’s my chance to start over. Whether it’s strengthening my prayer life, stripping my daily routine of clutter and distraction, eradicating a bad habit, or building new good habits, Lent is the time to transform things. I make a plan. I make intentional decisions that will get me holy. And then I fail. […]

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

Daily Quote — from St. John of the Cross

“The road is narrow. He who wishes to travel it more easily must cast off all things and use the cross as his cane. In other words, he must be truly resolved to suffer willingly for the love of God in all things.” (St. John of the Cross, d. 1591) The Memorial of St. John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of […]

A Lenten Reflection on Christ in the Desert

“…if anyone wishes to seriously exercise the spiritual life, he had better know that the company of people that hold our own faith and worship in our own churches is a most difficult company to keep. And we ought not to pretend we can follow God very far unless we know that it is a desert like asceticism.” I write […]

"The Flight to Egypt" (detail) by Carl Spitzweg

When You Feel Like You’re In Exile

It’s been nearly a year since my husband and I moved our two young daughters out of the only home and neighborhood they’d ever known. My belly was bulging with our third daughter in utero as I packed at least five boxes daily. (Was I nesting early?) The need to move was on the fore of our minds for about […]