December by Candlelight

Photography Courtesy of the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles

Every day we look forward to the gift of another dawn as the sun begins to peek through the curtain of the night to bring the vibrancy of color back to us yet again. It is a ritual of sorts, isn’t it? When the first blush of the dawn greets the dark cloak of the night sky and slowly but surely overcomes the darkness. Sunrises are breathtaking. Each one is new. Each is unique.

Part of the drama of each sunrise is found precisely in the waiting, in the expecting that, yes, yes, the sun will climb out of its bed just like the rest of us and bring the light back to the earth, the light and warmth necessary for our survival.

Truth be told, we must give equal time to the sunsets. That moment when the sun slips below the horizon and leaves splashes of its grandeur painted across the sky until the last color fades into eternity and the darkness of the night embraces the earth once again.

It is almost too much beauty to take in all at once. Maybe that is why the sun rises slowly in increments so that one hardly even notices that the darkness is no longer, or that at the end of the day, the setting sun slips away quietly. The whole dynamic is a gift from God to us. What a grace!

Like so many of God’s gifts, it can become routine, can’t it?  It is almost unnoticed, taken for granted, and sometimes even forgotten. What an embarrassment to us that we forget so easily, and relegate ourselves to receiving without any thought at all about its beauty.  Or to the One who so freely gives the gift. It becomes merely another routine within our day.  And the Giver of the Gift forgotten, also.

The same can be said for the liturgical year of the Catholic Church. We attend Mass on Sunday and notice that the colors are changed to green, or red, or white, or purple. Without a conscious thought about it, we just placidly accept and go on with our life. No, the theme of color and light in our liturgical seasons is highly symbolic and staggeringly beautiful. They, too, are gifts.

This is true of the Advent Season. It takes place during the four weeks before Christmas. As Scripture tells us, while the world waits in darkness, the Savior, the Light of the World, enters that darkness and dispels it. However, like the sunrise which climbs the horizon slowly, Advent gives us a preview of the scattering of the darkness at the birth of Christ.

By Sister Timothy Marie, O.C.D.

To learn more about the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles, read their biography below and visit their website.

We encourage you to support the work of the sisters with your prayers and through donations and planned giving. Click here to learn more..

If you hear God calling you to the religious life, I encourage you to visit their vocations page. – Deacon Mike

Or for more information, please contact:
Sister Elizabeth Therese, O.C.D., Vocation Directress
920 East Alhambra Road
Alhambra, California 91801

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Promoting a Deeper Spiritual Life Among Families through Healthcare, Education and Retreats

The Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles strive to give striking witness as a vibrant, thriving community of dedicated women with an all-consuming mission. It is our God-given mission, a mission of the heart, a mission of loving service to the poor, the sick, the needy and the uneducated. Our loving service overflows from each sister’s profound life of prayer. We strive to reflect His life and hope and His promise to all that light has come into our world and darkness has not overcome it.

A look at the history of our community, with its motherhouse in Alhambra, California, reveals how its life-giving presence has come about. During the beginning decades of the 1900s just as the epic Mexican revolution was subsiding, a ruthless religious persecution was gaining momentum in Mexico. This horrible persecution accompanied the birth and humble beginnings of our community, a legacy that Mother Luisita, our foundress, and her two companions brought with them as religious refugees entering the Unites States in 1927.

Those seeds planted by Mother Luisita, now a candidate for sainthood, have taken deep root in the United States since those early days. People and places have changed throughout the years, yet the heart of our mission remains. As an autonomous religious institute since 1983 we continue to carry out our loving service in our healthcare facilities, retreat houses and schools which remain to this day centers of life and hope. Today we are moving forward together “Educating for Life with the Mind and Heart of Christ” in schools, being “At the Service of the Family for Life” through health and eldercare and “Fostering a Deeper Spiritual Life” through individual and group retreats. At the heart of our vocation is a passionate mission of loving service which facilitates our life-giving encounter with the living God.

The heritage of the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles is rooted in the spirituality of Carmel, the Gospels, the Church, with our particular charism derived from our beloved Foundress, Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

In His merciful goodness, God has graced our Institute with the Carmelite charism which has its roots in a long history and living tradition. The spirituality of St. Teresa and St. John of the Cross is rooted in this tradition. Carmel means enclosed garden in which God Himself dwells. The divine indwelling in the soul is the foundation of Teresa's doctrine. Thus our vocation is a grace by which contemplation and action are blended to become an apostolic service to the Church.

Our ideal finds a living expression in the life and charism of our beloved Foundress, Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament, whose spirit we faithfully preserve and foster.

Our life is characterized by: - A life of prayer and union with God - A deep love for Jesus in the Holy Eucharist - Devotion to our Blessed Mother - Steadfast fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church - Praying for priests - Commitment to works of the apostolate in ecclesial service

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