spiritual life

Daily Quote — St. John of the Cross

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

“Wisdom enters through love, silence, and mortification. It is great wisdom to know how to be silent and to look at neither the remarks, nor the deeds, nor the lives of others.” (St. John of the Cross) The Memorial of St. John of the Cross, Priest and Doctor of the Church (A.D. 1542 – 1591) is December 14. Please share this post […]

Watching and Waiting — 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. […]

Focus on the Lord this Advent

We should allow the clarion call from this great saint to reverberate in our souls. Today we enter the Advent Season. It is past time to get ready… One of my strongest, most enduring memories from my childhood is the time spent preparing for Christmas. We did not have any family traditions involving the Advent Wreath or the Jesse Tree. And most certainly, like all […]

Greater Than Gravity

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

“There is a Pull Greater than Gravity. It is the Pull of Truth.” Tall ladders, ski lifts, and narrow trails with steep drop-offs awaken a deep fear in me. I am not afraid of heights or even of falling. It is the conclusion of the fall, the inevitable rendezvous with the ground that worries me. Whether I like it or […]

Carmelite Spirituality—Solitude and Prayer

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

“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 […]

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 […]