He Is Risen

Alleluia! I wish there were some way that we could send some of the Easter joy that is vibrating through our community to you via the web. But where technology cannot go, the Mystical Body of Christ certainly can reach! So we are confident that God will answer our prayers and bless you and your families with joy beyond measure as we continue to celebrate our Lord’s Resurrection.

Easter really is special in Carmel. Our celebration centers around the Liturgy so we began with the Vigil on Saturday night. And if you know anything about Carmelite spirituality and our connection to St. Elijah and his connection to fire, you will not be surprised to hear that we did have a large fire outside the chapel as part of the celebration in lighting the Pascal candle. (more…)

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Published in: on April 25, 2011 at 8:50 pm  Comments (4)  

Preparing the Upper Room…

… and the gardens, and the Chapel, and the kitchen, and just about everywhere!

We are all moving with a mission today to complete the last minute preparations before we enter into the Holy Triduum. I would love to have more time to give a detailed description of all the activity that is going on here at our Mother House, but, you see, there is just so much activity going on! (more…)

Published in: on April 21, 2011 at 11:09 am  Leave a Comment  

Silence: The Music of Lent

St. John of the Cross has a beautiful line in his poem Spiritual Canticle where he references “silent music.” In his commentary on the poem, he explains that this paradox of sound refers to the harmony of creation. All that God has created, the earth and seas, wind and elements, creatures and plants, and above all human beings, combine to form a unity of diversity that can be best compared to music. And yet no actual sound is heard.

This unity is achieved only when all is under the influence of grace. Since the fall of mankind at the beginning, there has been discord. The silent music St. John hears has been in competition with blaring cacophony. The order of the universe which might be compared to the rhythm and meter of music has been out of sync from the beat of the Heart of God. The plan of God for the well being of His creation has been attacked throughout history and so the melody is often an unrecognizable jumble of tones. And the diversity which originally showed the infinite wisdom of His providence has been manipulated and poised against itself in seeming irreconcilable discord with little trace of His intended harmony. (more…)

Published in: on March 30, 2011 at 8:21 am  Comments (1)  

Stations of the Cross

As we were praying the Stations of the Cross together today, I thought it would be a blessing to be able to share them through our blog. I am no photographer, as you will see below, but the Stations that surround our plaza really are beautiful. The reflections for each were written by our foundress, Venerable Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

Be assured of our prayers for you this Lenten season!

The First Station, Jesus is Condemned to Death: O my Beloved Redeemer, unjustly condemned by Pontius Pilate for my sins so I could gain eternal life, I humbly beseech You to grant me You loving forgiveness and deliver me from everlasting loss of You.

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Published in: on March 18, 2011 at 9:34 pm  Comments (6)  

¡Viva Cristo Rey!

 

Snow Dusted San Gabriel Mountains

Happy solemnity of Christ the King! His Divine Majesty sent us a downpour of graces these past two days…literally.

So when there was a bit of a break in the rain this morning I grabbed the camera and headed out to see what I could, um, well, see. (more…)

Published in: on November 21, 2010 at 8:56 am  Comments (1)  

Its beginning to look a lot like…

…almost Advent.

All right, all right, I know. It is way too early to start talking about Christmas, but can’t we start getting ready for getting ready? I mean, wouldn’t it be acceptable to prepare for our time of preparation? I can hardly wait to start waiting!!!

Two more weeks left of the (Liturgical) year, then we pull out all the purple and pink and start the countdown. Speaking with a number of sisters, we agreed that Advent is our favorite time of year; a time joining our Blessed Mother in silent, wonder-filled reflection of the Mystery at hand. Yes, there is the anticipation of the joys of Christmas, but the sense of longing that Advent engenders is so close to our Carmelite hearts. (more…)

Published in: on November 12, 2010 at 7:33 pm  Comments (1)  

Harvest of Holiness

This time of year, living in Southern California, I have to keep reminding myself it is Autumn. Growing up in the Midwest, the beginning of November  was heralded with falling leaves, dropping temperatures, and fields full of stubble after the harvest. Now all I see is blooming roses, still sunburned faces, and green lawns. While walking through the neighborhood the other day, I startled my companion by grabbing her arm and pointing to the only tree I had seen that had changed colors.

“Look! It is fall!”

Being a native Angelino, the sight was a bit lost on her, but she indulged me and appreciated my excitement.

But today and tomorrow are, in way, a celebration of Liturgical Autumn, a spiritual harvest.

Putting both All Saints Day and All Souls Day together we see how we celebrate/commemorate the Master of the Harvest gathering what He has planted. Just as the grain bins of the farmers are now filled with corn, beans, wheat, so eternity is filled with the souls of those who have gone before us, some still being winnowed, some already resting in the vision of the Holy Trinity. (more…)

Published in: on November 1, 2010 at 7:49 am  Leave a Comment  

St. Teresa of Jesus, for those who did not give up hope

Well, should I post this now, or wait a few weeks and be ready for next year’s feast of St. Teresa of Jesus? I’ll post it now, late as it may be.

Here is an exclusive interview with Holy Mother Saint Teresa. One of our sisters was able to “interview” her on some topics that concern us today, and her advice is most helpful. (translation: we found passages from her writings and wrote questions to go with them, so when it says St. Teresa, it really is her own words.)

Carmelite Sister: Holy Mother Teresa, I’ve read that there were times in your life that you really struggled to live a truly virtuous life. I think many of us share that same struggle year after year. What advice would give from your experience? (more…)

Published in: on October 27, 2010 at 8:11 am  Comments (3)  

Our Lady of the Rosary…a day late

No, Mary is not a day late, I am.

Yesterday was the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. At our Mass in the morning, Father had us on the edge of our pews relating the story of how the feast came about. Let it simply suffice to say that if your enemy tells you Mary is on their side, think twice about marshalling your armada, even if its twice the size of your enemy. You’ll be sunk and all the Christian slaves you’ve had rowing your boats will be freed.

For 6:20 a.m., I’d say Father did pretty well. (more…)

Published in: on October 8, 2010 at 7:12 pm  Comments (1)  

French Extravagance

Fifth Avenue and Rodeo Drive have nothing on the kind of extravagance I am talking about.

 

A rose for today's feast

 

Believe it or not, throughout the years Carmelites have been accused of a certain extremism, an extravagance that shocks the world. It is very, very hard to shock our world these days, but we do. We are not the only ones who practice this excess, but we do have quite a reputation for it. I suppose it really goes back to the one under whose special patronage we live. (more…)

Published in: on October 1, 2010 at 9:06 am  Comments (2)