spiritual life

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Watching and Waiting During Advent in Carmel

Advent in Carmel To experience Advent in Carmel is to enter into a rarified atmosphere that is filled to the brim with Carmel’s living legacy of Advent customs and observances. My first Advent in Carmel remains fresh in my memory today, still as vibrant and alive as when it happened. I feel at a loss, however, to write about it. […]

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 […]

Christ the King
Annunciation Melkite Catholic Cathedral in Roslindale, MassachusettsChrist the King Annunciation Melkite Catholic Cathedral in Roslindale, Massachusetts

America: Trust in God, Not People

As I write this, I have no clue who will win the office of presidency for my home country, the United States of America.  I don’t know who will fill the hundreds of empty Congressional seats and the various gubernatorial ones either.  For weeks, months even, my heart has been clouded by a sense of impending doom and gloom, mostly […]

St. Thérèse of Lisieux (left) and St. Teresa of Avila (right)St. Thérèse of Lisieux (left) and St. Teresa of Avila (right)

St. Teresa and St. Thérèse

2 Doctors, 2 Ways, 1 Goal Many of you probably have seen the 1965 film entitled The Sound of Music starring Julie Andrews as Maria Von Trapp and Christopher Plummer as Captain Von Trapp. The first verse of the theme song goes like this: Climb every mountain, Search high and low, Follow every highway, Every path you know. Do you […]

Photography © by Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los AngelesPhotography © by Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles

Practical Prayer Tips from the Carmelite Sisters

Dear Sister, Is there a best time to pray, given all the activities each day holds for me—working at my job and caring for and being with my family makes a very full day? Also, I’m not fully awake first thing in the morning and already mighty tired by the time I lay my head on the pillow. I thought […]

St. Thérèse of LisieuxSt. Thérèse of Lisieux

Once Upon a Day of Prayer | Rediscovering St. Thérèse

A Reflection on the Little Way of St. Thérèse Every month each Carmelite Sister steps aside from her daily service to God’s people and makes a one-day spiritual retreat. To most of us, this single day out of each month is dearly loved and longed for. We meet and work with a lot of people on a daily basis, and […]

"Christ and the Woman of Samaria" (detail) by Paolo Veronese"Christ and the Woman of Samaria" (detail) by Paolo Veronese

If Only You Knew… St. Teresa and the Four Waters of Prayer

“If you knew the gift of God.” Jesus tired and thirsty sat down at a well and there encountered a Samaritan woman who had come to draw water. Asking her for a drink, “He said to her, ‘If you knew the gift of God and who is saying to you, Give me a drink, you would have asked him and […]

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There’s No Such Thing as “Balance”

I hate the word balance—at least the way our modern culture defines it. For most of my adult life, all I’ve heard (or read) is about how to balance work and family life or finding balance when life seems to get out of control.  It’s as if balance is this magical word that creates a utopian mindset—one that, I’ve come […]

"Christ on the Cross" (detail) by Velazquez"Christ on the Cross" (detail) by Velazquez

Lift High the Cross

September 14 is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. Each year when it comes around, I remember when Sister Carol Marie lifted high the cross in faith. It was late summer in California. The skies were a limpid blue. A balmy ocean breeze blew across the sand. Children were building sandcastles. Windsurfers cut like knives across the […]

"The Virgin at Prayer" (detail) by Sassoferrato"The Virgin at Prayer" (detail) by Sassoferrato

The Art of Praying: The Principles and Methods of Christian Prayer — A Review by Mary Hartwell

“In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings” (Romans 8:26). Why do most people find it hard to pray… really pray? Prayer is our spiritual highway to God and we cannot arrive at that destination […]