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…)

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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)  

Draw Me and We Will Run

Today was a fundraiser for Hayden Childcare Center, a 5 K Run, Family Walk and Roll. Perhaps you were there. I was not. But I really wanted to put something on our blog about it. So the question is, how do you write about an event you did not attend? (more…)

Published in: on March 12, 2011 at 7:27 pm  Comments (2)  

It’s not the load you carry…

Every once in a while you run across a phrase that sticks with you. After hearing it just once it comes to mind spontaneously in various situations proposing ever new applications. Our chaplain shared such a pithy little statement with us the other day.

“It’s not the load you carry that will break you, it’s the way you carry it.”

We live in a culture that has trained us well to lay the blame anywhere but on ourselves. We have become so conscious of maintaining a healthy self image that some of us have created false images just so we can avoid anything that would cause our real selves discomfort. “If only” can easily become the catch phrase for countless occasions. (more…)

Published in: on March 1, 2011 at 8:55 am  Comments (6)  

My Trip to the Holy Land

What if I were to tell you that I found a way to get from Los Angeles to the Holy land in less than two hours? You might think I am a rocket scientist and I should patent my invention, or sell it for millions of dollars. Or you might think that I am pulling your leg.

You’d be wrong either way.

It’s true! I left home with two other sisters on Wednesday morning and arrived exactly at noon! Then this morning we started the trip home at about ten and were in time for lunch. No jet lag, no customs, and best of all…no security check! (more…)

Published in: on February 4, 2011 at 7:59 pm  Comments (3)  

Happy Birthday!!!

Whose birthday, you may ask. Ours! And we are 90 years old today.

On February 2, 1921, Venerable Maria Luisa Josefa and her companions began living the Rule of Carmel. They rose to the sound of the traditional Carmelite summons to prayer, “Praised be Jesus Christ and His Virgin Mother! Come to prayers, sisters. Come to praise the Lord!” What joy must have flooded their hearts as in the early morning hours they donned the Carmelite habit for the first time.

At long last the desire of Mother Luisita was fulfilled, joining the spirit of Carmel with the active life. Nine decades later and in another country, we continue that mission. (more…)

Published in: on February 2, 2011 at 8:32 am  Comments (1)  

What are we going to call him?

Have you ever wondered what Carmelites talk about? When we talk, that is. Most of our day we keep silence, but when it’s time for recreation, you can be sure we take advantage of the chance to exchange a few words. Hmm, maybe more than a few.

Well, the other day at lunch we had a rather unique conversation. I don’t remember who posed the question, but it set off a series of reflections: “What do you think we are going to call John Paul II when he is beatified?” We experimented with different options: Pope Blessed John Paul, Blessed Pope John Paul, Blessed John Paul. (more…)

Published in: on January 30, 2011 at 8:06 pm  Comments (2)  

A Bishop’s Final Benediction

We arrived at Our Lady of the Angels’ Cathedral about thirty minutes before the funeral began. Already the nave was beginning to fill with people coming to pay their last respects to, pray for the soul of, and receive a final benediction from Bishop John Ward.

I was standing in line to bid farewell to this holy shepherd and reading his memorial card when I felt a presence approach, a very tall presence. Looking up I saw his Eminence Cardinal Mahoney step into line and then move to the casket containing the remains of a brother bishop. Emotion welled up within me as I watched him pray silently, just a few feet from me. From behind, I could not tell when he concluded his prayer if he was blessing the deceased or blessing himself. That is when the phrase came to me: a final benediction. (more…)

Published in: on January 18, 2011 at 7:36 pm  Comments (1)  

Anything But Ordinary: Blessed John Paul II

It is supposed to be the first week of Ordinary Time. We are supposed to have a few weeks of quiet time after all our Christmas solemnity. We were expecting the days to take on a bit of a routine, not negative, just a healthy series of the familiar.

But not today!

This morning at Mass, our beloved chaplain, Fr. Anthony just could not contain himself for joy but exuberantly shared with us the great news: Pope Benedict XVI announced the beatification of the Servant of God, John Paul II will take place on May 1, 2011. Can it get any better? (more…)

Published in: on January 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm  Comments (1)  

Where have you been the last two weeks?!?!

No phones or internet? What a Christmas present that was!

Well, believe it or not, we have been here.

You may have tried to e-mail and received a message that it was undeliverable. And you may have tried to check the blog for up-dates and found none. You may even have tried to call and heard that lovely recorded voice inform you that “the number you dialed is no longer in service.” Unless you actually physically visited us, you may have been tempted to think we had somehow vanished off the face of the earth without a trace. (more…)

Published in: on January 8, 2011 at 9:06 pm  Comments (3)