Prayer / Spiritual Life

How the Weakness of the Cross Makes Us Strong

Mission Dolores Altar (San Francisco) Photograph © by Andy Coan —Christopher West

“When I am weak, then I am strong”; “power made perfect in weakness.” Such verses are often cited as key to spiritual growth, but do we really understand what they are talking about? Can anyone ever understand? Yes. If we couldn’t understand it at all, God would not have told it to us. God does not waste words. It is […]

Discovering God in Silence

A prayerful, meditative silence is the mother of truth. by Sister Mary Clare, O.C.D. Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles God cannot be found in noise and agitation. His true power and love are revealed in what is hardly perceptible, in the gentle breeze that requires stillness and quiet to detect. In silence, God listens to […]

I Will Proclaim Your Praise

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 […]

A Mother’s Serenity Prayer

When the heat goes out and the temperature is minus-two degrees outside and I wonder when the oil company will arrive to save us from this dangerous situation, —Lord, help me to accept hardship as a pathway to peace, to take as Jesus did the sinful world as it is, not as I would have it. When we are on day […]

Joseph’s Consolation

St. Joseph and the Christ-Child, Belmont Abbey

The rhythmic sound of a man steadily hammering away at work always brings to mind our dear St. Joseph. What a man! St. Joseph was a strong workman as so many good men who labor to provide the basics for their families today. Like them, Joseph came home tired after a long day at work. How happy he must have […]

Crossing the Threshold of Holy Week

"The First Eucharist" by Juan de Juanes

It caught me by surprise that the Carmelite Sisters keep a complete and prayerful silence during the Holy Triduum of Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday, not speaking until the conclusion of the evening Easter Vigil Mass on Holy Saturday. I remember when I was the “new kid on the block,” a recently-arrived postulant who was learning more and […]

The Power of Humility

If finding true peace within our souls is something one desires, and it should be, as it is an absolute prerequisite for effective prayer, then we need to ask, what is it that will allow us to establish ourselves in peace? When looking for guidance in Scripture, we can never go wrong by looking at the words spoken by Jesus […]

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 […]

Lesson One in Prayer

"The Virgin at Prayer" (detail) by Sassoferrato

In this timeless post from the archives, Dr. Peter Kreeft offers sure advice on developing your prayer life. Let’s get very, very basic and very, very practical about prayer. The single most important piece of advice I know about prayer is also the simplest: Just do it! How to do it is less important than just doing it. Less-than-perfect prayer is infinitely better […]