SpiritualDirection.com / Catholic Spiritual Direction

New Beginnings: As Far as the East is From the West…

January 24, 2014 by  
Filed under Carmelite Sisters, Joy

Don’t you love the idea, the notion, the concept of a fresh start? I love to read about new beginnings. Or listen to life-changing stories and testimonies of people. They renew and energize us. They give us the opportunity to lift up our heads and our hearts and look toward the future. I am convinced that all of us need this type of boost.

So many things happen to all of us – both good and bad. Why is it, though, that the bad often lingers on and on creating a greyness to the atmosphere of our lives in both our homes and our workplaces? As life goes on, most of us grow tough skin in order to survive, and we try to let these things roll off of us like water off a duck’s back. Even as kindergartners we learned, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me.” If the truth be told, however, it does hurt. And not just kindergarners. All of us feel the pain.

Yes, so many times the hurts and misunderstandings linger, don’t they? Even harder to admit is the dialog we hold within our own hearts, when we feel badly because we have misbehaved or done something embarassing or hurtful. We can be very hard on ourselves. At least I can.

A priest told me once, “Sister, God has forgiven you. Now you need to forgive yourself.” How true. And not so easy.

 “As far as the east is from the west,

So far has He removed our transgressions from us.”

Psalm 103:12

What a comforting thought!

So here we are [still] at the beginning of 2014. Yes, a time for new beginnings and fresh starts. Here at our Motherhouse we have an evening of Thanksgiving on December 31st, the last night of every year. People come from all over southern California. Our chapel is packed with people. They go to confession, and begin the new year with midnight Mass. A new year is beginning and they enter it with souls fresh and clean and joining others for a New Year’s Mass. They ring in the new year with the bells accompanying the consecration of the Mass. This is wonderful. This is beautiful. This is right.

So, at this pivotal time in our society, with so much hanging in the balance in so many different areas of our lives – political, financial, medical, just to name a few – let us lift up our heads and look toward the East, where the sun rises. Let us praise God in newness and joy as we begin anew yet again. May this be a year of graces received and blessings outpoured.


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About Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles

PROMOTING A DEEPER SPIRITUAL LIFE THROUGH HEALTHCARE, EDUCATION AND RETREATS. The way of life of the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles is rooted in the Gospel, the Church, and the spirituality of Carmel as lived out through the charism of our foundress, Venerable Mother Maria Luisa Josefa of the Most Blessed Sacrament. In His merciful goodness, God has graced our Institute with the Carmelite charism which has its foundation in a long history and living tradition. Our vocation is a grace by which contemplation and action are blended to become an apostolic service of the Church as we promote a deeper spiritual life among God's people through education, healthcare, and spiritual retreats. We are called by God to be a presence inflamed within our world, witnessing to God's love through prayer, joyful witness and loving service. Our mission flows from each sister's profound life of prayer as Mother Luisita, our foundress, wrote, "the soul of each Carmelite raises herself to Christ, Who is her heaven, while her shadow falls in charity upon earth doing good to all people."

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