Saint Joseph Secular Discalced Carmelites

San Francisco, California


The Carmelite Contemplative Prayer



Jesus Teacher

As Carmelites, we strive to imbue our daily lives with prayer. We look to Christ to teach us how to pray and to His Blessed Mother to show us how by her example.

Our Constitutions exhort us to a cultivate a personal discipline of prayer through the daily practice of a half hour of mental prayer, praying the Liturgy of the Hours, and if possible, through daily Mass.


"Let us then together decide to make every day one of uninterrupted unification. Let us awaken in the morning in His love, and offer ourselves to His love the whole day. This means, follow the will of God, and live under His eyes, with Him, in Him, and for Him alone. Let us offer ourselves to Him in every moment, in the way that He wants. And when the evening comes, after a dialogue of love which never stopped in our hearts, we will fall asleep in His love."

Elizabeth of the Trinity

What is prayer and how can we pray?

"Prayer is, in my view, nothing other than a talk with a friend. One to whom we gladly come alone to talk with, because we are sure that he loves us."

"I am not asking you to ... make long meditations. I am asking you only to look at Him."

St.Theresa of Avila

There are many ways to pray, each according to one's own temperament. Here are some resources to get you started in prayer and to deepen your prayer.

  • Lectio Divina is a very ancient way of praying the Scriptures so that it become a means to union with God.
  • The Practice of the Presence of God, a Carmelite spiritual classic by Bro. Lawrence in the 17th century, describes a profound, yet simple way of contemplative spirituality. You can download this book to read at your leisure by clicking on the title above.
  • The Liturgy of the Hours is a collection of psalms, readings and prayers which constitute the breviary, the "prayer of the Church." Forgot your breviary? Print out the Morning, Evening, and Night Prayers for today. Are you a commuter on public transportation? Shut off your cell phones and lap-tops, and stay awake. Carry printed pages of today's Liturgy of the Hours to make your commute a holy journey. (Do not do this while driving!)
  • The Rosary is a form of mental prayer which reflects the Carmelite's devotion to Mary, the Mother of God.
  • Eucharistic Adoration As Catholics, we believe that Christ - body, soul, and divinity, is truly present in the Eucharist under the appearance of bread and wine. Follow this link to learn more about what Christ's Real Presence means, what Eucharistic Adoration is, why we do it, and how to propagate this sacred practice. Then, with reverence, visit the Blessed Sacrament (Please make sure javascript is enabled.)


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