In my numerous travels online I have found some really great websites that are excellent in helping to further your spiritual life. I could not keep them to myself.
Ascending Mount Carmel. This is a great site by writer and assistant editor of MonkRock, Jason Liske. He comes from the perspective of Eastern Christianity and I love all his profiles of different saints, many I have not heard of, or have forgotten about. His writings about the spiritual life is top notch.
The Cloistered Heart. This is a gorgeous site. I could stare at the art for ages. The posts are simple and short, but deeply meaningful. It is geared toward finding Christ in the monastery of your heart. Author Nancy Shulman does an excellent job of displaying the quiet and solitude that brings us closer to the Lord. I look forward to her email with her latest post every day.
The Catholic Young Woman. Here is another beautiful site. Geared toward young women obviously, I find it so interesting to read. It shows quite well that there are young, intelligent women who seek Christ deeply and are in the world. Not all the young women in our society are looking for hook-ups or screaming for the right to kill their babies. Here are serious (yet fun) women who are taking to heart Christ’s call to love others and respect themselves. They are searching for the best way to fulfill God’s plan in their lives and explore how to live the virtues. I wish I had known some of them when I was in college and starting out. One seems so alone when you are trying to live for Christ, or at the very least not live by the standards of the times. It is a great site to pass along to the young ladies in your life.
Update: Here is a bonus. I knew there was another one! Check out Contemplative Homeschool. Yes, it IS about homeschooling, but also about so much more. Connie Rossini writes from a Carmelite perspective about your spiritual life and how to foster the spiritual life of your children. It’s fantastic.
Have you ever wondered where our artistic ability comes from? Where anyone’s ability comes from? Where does creating art come from? I was contemplating this lately – about the beautiful soaring of the soul that is art. Expressing ourselves from the depths of our being. Seeing the world in unique ways. Transforming our life, and loves, and beauty, and passions into beautiful swathes of color, and form, and sound. How could we not have this ability when our Father can do this?
They are like the most beautiful paintings hanging in the most auspicious art gallery. Only they are living and evolving. How wonderful our God is to have created untold numbers of awe inspiring pieces of art just waiting to be discovered. Created by His all powerful, infinite hand. A true artist at work.
It seems sometimes that Lent lasts forever, or maybe it is just the trials everyone seems to be going through this Lent, that it appears that way. Since Lent feels like it is lasting a long time, I thought I would give you a few more Lenten resources that could be helpful to you:
Eric Sammons at The Divine Life blog posted this wonderful speech given by Daniel Cardinal DiNardo of Houston/Galveston at the Convocation of Houston Baptist University What is great about this is the excellent unpacking of John 14:6 (”I am the way, the truth, and the life.”) I found his scholarship and faith riveting and enjoyed watching it very much.
I wish I could remember where I found this in my travels online, but here is a link to the National Gallery of Art in Washington where they have a beautiful exhibition until the end of May called “The Sacred Made Real: Spanish Painting and Sculpture, 1600–1700” Click on Exhibition Highlights to see a beautiful slideshow of this sacred art. These stunning works would also be wonderful for meditation and each has a brief explanation that is very helpful.
Ugliness bombards us from every direction, and sometimes we need to stop and look at the true beauty that exists around us – especially the beauty God provides us. Catholicism is steeped in beauty because beauty uplifts us, enlightens us and transforms our spirit. The beauty God surrounds us with is limitless, and I thought it would be great to share with you a couple of things I have found recently that have brought beauty into my life.
The first is National Geographic photography. Occasionally, I like to change our computer desktop picture and this is a great resource for beautiful photography. Last month, I used a photo of Mount Etna in Italy erupting at night. Yesterday, I changed it to an aerial view of Fiji and on our second computer I put up a beautiful view of a canyon in Arizona. There are so many beautiful pictures I could not describe them all to you. Go there and download them. They add new ones constantly.
This is very easy. Go to National Geographic online and click on “Photography.” Choose the “Wallpaper” tab and look at the different galleries of photos. Once you have chosen a photo, look at the bottom of the picture on the left and click on the “wallpaper” icon then choose the size you would like to download. Once the picture is open then “right-click” your mouse and choose “Set as Desktop Background” and you are done.
The second resource is the Earth Channel and is only available to you if you subscribe to DISH Network. DISH Network added a camera to its EchoStar 11 Satellite that was launched in 2008. Six years in the planning, it is the first camera on a commercial satellite and has a constant view of North and South America that does not change since the satellite stays in geo-synchronous orbit 22,300 miles above Earth. The Earth Channel is on channel 212. You can read more about it at Space Daily.
This continuous view of the Earth with light background music, is lovely and you might be able to see Venus occasionally as well as some unidentified flying objects. I’m looking forward to seeing weather patterns change and also the lights at night.