I Will Proclaim Your Praise

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

“Lord, open my lips and my mouth will proclaim your praise.” (Psalm 51:15)

These words ring out in the chapel, breaking the silence of the early morning. It is still dark outside and our community of sisters, albeit still a bit bleary-eyed, has gathered to begin the day singing the Divine Office. The words of the psalms fill the air: “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to make music in your name, O Most High, to proclaim your love in the morning and your truth in the watches of the night!” (Psalm 92:2-3) 

How beautiful it is that the first words on our lips each morning are ones of prayer and praise!

Like all religious communities, the daily recitation of the Divine Office (also known as the Liturgy of the Hours) forms an integral and joyful part of our daily life of prayer.

As Jesus promised, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” (Mt 18:20) 

This scripture is fulfilled in a most beautiful way when we pray the Liturgy of the Hours together in community. However, we are not simply united with those praying with us in the chapel. As all priests and Religious are obliged to pray the Divine Office daily, we are united in prayer with the Church throughout the world.   The same psalms and canticles chanted by Carmelites Sisters in Alhambra, California are also being prayed by parish priests in refugee camps in Turkey, Cistercian Monks in Nigeria, and missionaries in Oceania. We truly are one body in Christ!

Jesus was “praying in a certain place, and when he had finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray…” (Luke 11:1)

In praying the Liturgy of the Hours, we offer our prayer to the Father through Jesus Christ, in power of the Holy Spirit. As we hear in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus habitually went off alone and spent whole nights in prayer to His Father. Most certainly the psalms that He had learned as a boy in synagogue were among the prayers on His lips. Even now, when we pray the Divine Office, we are given the opportunity to enter into that intimate dialogue between the Father and the Son. In a beautiful and mysterious way, Jesus cries out anew to the Father through His Body, the Church.

“As the deer longs for streams of water, so my soul longs for you, O God. My soul thirsts for God, the living God. When can I enter and see the face of God?” (Psalm 42:2-3) 

The prayers we lift up throughout the day embrace our own intentions as well as those of all people throughout the world. We pray for those who are sick and suffering and who cannot pray. We pray for the angry and disbelieving who refuse to pray. We pray for those who are too busy or distracted to pray. We pray for the lost and lonely who do not know how to pray. We pray the psalms of praise with those who are celebrating a new birth. We pray the psalms of lamentation with those bearing the burden of loss. In the Divine Office, we pray for and with all.

“From the rising of the sun to its setting may the name of the LORD be praised.” (Psalm 133:3)

It is heartening to realize that at each hour of every day, there are faithful souls around the world sanctifying the day by praying the Liturgy of the Hours. Their prayers call down abundant and hidden blessings for the whole Church. These prayers beg pardon and grace for sinners. These loving prayers are a font of life and peace for the whole world.

Let us enter into this magnificent symphony of praise and petition!

“Lord, open my lips….” (Psalm 51:15)

Sister Faustina, 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 contact page http://www.carmelitesistersocd.com/contact-vocations/. -Deacon Mike

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

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By Carmelite Sisters

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