spiritual life

Time

Recently I was late getting a manuscript to an editor. My excuse? By far the most popular one in America: I had “no time.” Let’s examine that excuse. Why do we all seem to have no time for anything, much less for prayer? I am constantly feeling guilty about this, and I suspect most of you are too. I think […]

Saints Teresa and Thérèse Scaled the Heights

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

Two Doctors, Two Ways, One 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 […]

Remembering the Holy Guardian Angels

"Guardian Angel" (detail) by Cortona

You never know when and where they’ll appear… perhaps even in Aisle 3 at Staples. When God Sends Messengers With a heavy heart, I put down the telephone and sighed. I knew it was right that I, like the other sisters in my Carmelite community, set myself to the task now ahead of us. This was not the first time […]

Once Upon a Day of Prayer—Rediscovering St. Thérèse

St. Thérèse of Lisieux

(The Memorial of St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus, Virgin and Doctor of the Church (1873 – 1897) was yesterday, October 1. -Editors) A Reflection on the Little Way of St. Thérèse of Lisieux 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 […]

Lessons from Ikea: Do the Next Thing

A few weeks ago, I ordered several pieces of furniture from IKEA. If anyone knows anything about IKEA, they realize this doesn’t mean that a desk and bookshelves arrived on my doorstep, ready to be used. Rather, nine large, heavy boxes arrived on my doorstep. A daunting task was ahead of me. I had heard horror stories about putting together […]

Why does my journey of faith seem so lonely?

Dear Sister, Sometimes the living of my Catholic faith is a lonely walk for me. Why is that?  Am I doing anything wrong?  Sometimes I think, “Am I the only one feeling this way?” I’ve never had theology classes and would appreciate anything you could send my way to help me understand why I feel so alone sometimes in my […]

Just Getting By

“Let her alone, Henry. This is an excellent paper, and she’s going to ace it.” I tried to pretend I agreed with the favorable judgment being made of me before my brother Henry interrupted: “Yes, but she’s lazy and complacent. She had weeks to write this term paper, and she’s only now getting around to writing it – the day […]

A Convert Struggles in Her Relationship with Mary

Blessed Virgin Mary with Roses (detail) Artwork © by Jef Murray

Dear Sister I just recently became Catholic and I’m still struggling with the Church’s teachings on Mary. I respect her, but I don’t feel the need to ask her for prayers if I can just ask God directly. Do you have any suggestions on how I can have a relationship with Mary? Dear Friend, Yes, I do! Being a convert […]

Where in the World is Carmel?

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

An interesting question in more ways than one! And one that requires some thought. Just to clear up any confusion right at the beginning, Carmel doesn’t mean the delicious, sweet, sticky candy. That is caramel, with a different spelling and three syllables! The word Carmel is of Hebrew origin and means a “garden, orchard, or park.” So, would we be […]

Learning the Lesson of Leisure

As a child, looking out the back window of our mini-van, I could see the fields of corn stretching out along either side of I-29 for miles. This could mean only two things: summer and camping! My sisters and I loved the camping adventures that would occur during the non-winter months of the Midwest. But more than just summer fun, […]