spiritual life

"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 […]

Fr. Benedict Groeschel (Photo Credit: EWTN)Fr. Benedict Groeschel (Photo Credit: EWTN)

Fr. Groeschel’s Arise from Darkness

Darkness. We have all experienced it. Darkness can be anything from a darkened room to darkness of soul and heart. No one escapes. We may think we know people who lead charmed, untroubled lives, but these seemingly perpetually worry free individuals are out there, struggling and crying every day—by the hundreds, if not thousands. The only way to Jesus is […]

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 […]