Prayer / Spiritual Life

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Watching and Waiting During 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. […]

When We Struggle in Our Prayer Life

Photography by John Neff | Shutterstock

One of the biggest obstacles for me in the early days of my faith journey was the lack of a prayer life. I knew I needed to pray, but I couldn’t ever remember sincerely praying about anything. I was struggling with the typical male challenge of asking for help, especially asking God for help! I rationalized this by thinking, “Who […]

A Broken and Contrite Heart O God

"King David in Prayer" (detail) Pieter de Grebber [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Recently I was reminded of a wonderful movie of faith, courage and redemption. It was the story from the book “Unbroken,” about the life of Louie Zamperini, an American who ran the 5,000 meter in the 1936 Berlin Olympics. Louie was later drafted as a gunner aboard B-24 Bombers during World War II. He was shot down in the Pacific and […]

A Sacrifice of Prayer

"King David in Prayer" (detail) Pieter de Grebber [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

One of the greatest means for deepening and expanding our prayer life is found in Paul’s teaching on our becoming like Christ.   “Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse, in order that I […]