Living in the Presence of God

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

Have you ever experienced conflicting emotions or feelings within yourself? Did they seem to embody such opposites that you wondered how they could co-exist in the same body? Well, you’re not alone!

Throughout his long life, Simeon knew this all too well. He was torn between the sufferings he bore and his unfailing hope.

His people had endured the delay of God’s promise to Abraham in providing descendants and the long wandering in the wilderness to reach the Promised Land, the oppression of slavery in Egypt, the apostasies of the people, the scattering of the tribes and the exile in Babylon. Even during his lifetime, his nation was subjugated to Rome. The religious leaders argued among themselves. Yet in spite of all this he stood firm in his hope that he would not face death until he had seen Salvation.

The dwelling of God among His people accompanied them in the wilderness tabernacle and then later in the Temple built by Solomon. This Temple, the center of Israel’s life, was destroyed! Ezekiel, nevertheless, speaks of a future time when God will return to the Temple. Although a second Temple was built, Ezekiel’s vision seems to refer, not to this temple, but to a far more distant future.

Simeon obviously spent a good deal of his time, however, in the Temple always looking about, in search of someone. Then one day as young mothers entered with their babies cradled in their arms, Simeon’s gaze settled upon one Mother and one Child. As he looked, the Spirit opened his eyes and he beheld Salvation in the body of an infant held by a young mother.

With his long-guarded hope welling up in his heart, he approached the mother reaching out to take the Child from her arms and bursting with joy as he exclaimed,

“Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;
For my eyes have seen Your salvation
Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,
A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.” (Luke 2: 29-32)

The Presence of God had at long last entered the Temple and Simeon understood that this Child manifested the glory of the Father. He held in his arms the Incarnate Word.  This Child was the Temple and many years later would proclaim boldly, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” (John 2:19)

God has come to dwell among us that we might take up our abode in Him. But how do we do this? How do we live in the presence of God? Do we, like Simeon, long to see His face?

Are our eyes opened to recognize the signs of salvation in our daily lives? Are we able to transgress our own trials and sufferings to allow the timing and delay of God’s promises to increase our hope?

Jesus came to seek us out in order to bring us salvation. Simeon was on the lookout for salvation and recognized the “signs.” Thus he entered into the Real Presence.

In each apostolic foundation that Mother Luisita established she insisted on a new tabernacle where Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament could come and dwell to be adored.

She carried in her memory the pain of the closing of the Churches in Mexico and the emptying of the Tabernacles. In her new-found freedom Mother was often seen in the Chapel before the Presence of Jesus in the Tabernacle fully present to Him as He was to her. And it was here that she withdrew before making any major decisions or seeking solutions to her doubts.

…only His Real Presence can answer our doubts and
help us find the courage to love
as freely as He has loved us.
(Dr. Anthony Lilles, STD taken from “Ecstatic Love and Real Presence”)

  • Do I love as freely as He has loved me?
  • Do I seek refuge before the Blessed Sacrament?
  • What price am I willing to pay to return love for Love?

By: Sister Mary Colombiere, 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 Maria Goretti, O.C.D.
920 East Alhambra Road
Alhambra, California 91801

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About the Author

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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