spiritual life

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

Carmelite Spirituality—Solitude and Prayer

“Solitude is not an empty space, a void; it is an encounter with the God who loves us…” Dear Sister, What aspect of Carmelite Spirituality do you find most helpful for your prayer? Dear Friend, The short answer to your question is solitude. Here is the longer answer… Since all prayer begins with adoration, the environment surrounding my prayer must […]

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

Overcome by Praise

Have you ever been in awe of how St. Paul and the early Christians could be singing songs of praise from prison (Acts 16:5)? Or how Daniel, after hearing that he was not to worship His God on pain of death, went to his home and facing Jerusalem, “…prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before” […]

"Parable of the Good Samaritan" (detail) by Jan Wijnants [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Practical Ideas for Living the Faith

For the last several years, there has been an increased interest in practical advice on how to live the faith.  Certainly, the uncertainty and growing chaos in the secular world have something to do with this. More recently, we have seen more obvious clashes between our culture and our Church. We can look back through Salvation History and see the […]

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

Practical Prayer Tips from the Carmelite Sisters

Dear Sister, Is there a best time to pray, given all the activities each day holds for me—working at my job and caring for and being with my family makes a very full day? Also, I’m not fully awake first thing in the morning and already mighty tired by the time I lay my head on the pillow. I thought […]

"The Madonna of Carmel and the Souls of the Purgatory" (detail) by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo

Flower of Carmel

Every year on July 16, Carmelites throughout the world celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, patroness of the Carmelite Order.  If you want to know how we feel about Mary, our Mother, spend a few minutes reflecting on one of the most beautiful prayers ever written, the Flos Carmeli. Most of us pray—before meals, morning and/or night prayers, […]

Time

Recently I was late getting a manuscript to an editor. My excuse? By far the most popular one in America: I had “no time.” Let’s examine that excuse. Why do we all seem to have no time for anything, much less for prayer? I am constantly feeling guilty about this, and I suspect most of you are too. I think […]

The Annunciation (St. Gabriel and the Blessed Virgin Mary) by Paolo de Matteis [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The First Disciple

The devotion of the Brown Scapular originates in the history of Our Lady of Mount Carmel when Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock in the 1200s presenting to him the scapular and promised: “This is a privilege for you and your brethren: whoever dies wearing it, will be saved.” This tradition falls within the context of our Catholic faith […]

"The Incredulity of Saint Thomas" (detail) by Caravaggio

The Faith of “Doubting” Thomas

“God is patient with our questions, our weakness, and our struggles, just as he was patient with Thomas.” It is tradition that St. Thomas was the only Apostle to leave the Roman Empire to preach the Gospel, traveling to Syria and Persia and then to India, as far south as the southwest region of Kerala. He was eventually martyred, fulfilling […]

Holy-Family"The Holy Family with dog" (detail) by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Essential Lessons for Dads

Our state in life is where we live out our vocation; it is the path by which we journey to Heaven. God has called each of us by name to Himself. In baptism we each received a share in the divine mission and a responsibility to be faithful to that mission. When a man and a woman answer God’s call to […]

Photography by John Neff | Shutterstock

Pray Always?

“Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17) “Seriously? Pray always?” That is not an uncommon reaction to St. Paul’s admonition to pray always without ceasing. Does he know what we’re up against, the demands on our time and energy, the pace of our modern world, not to mention the fragility and inconsistency of our human nature? He can’t possibly mean always, as […]