Welcome to the online home of my apostolate. After a couple decades (not Rosary beads) of wandering in the desert, so to speak, I’ve decided to finally drop everything and focus on two endeavors that are dear to my heart:

How together we can get holy and begin living a gospel-forward life in full communion with the Catholic Church. I’ll offer a couple of possible ways forward below.

If we as Catholics don’t pursue holiness and if we don’t differentiate ourselves from the caustic political and cultural platforms that have been evolving over the last several years, nothing that we do is going to make a difference in eternity. That isn’t the future I want for myself or for my loved ones or for you.

We need to be making a difference. Not as activists or culture warriors, but as simple faithful Catholics aspiring to sainthood, sanctifying each and every day through prayer and through taking seriously the discipleship that Our Lord expects from us.

But how do we navigate the maze of our daily lives in such difficult times? I think I have a couple of answers. They aren’t necessarily the only answers, but they could be a way forward for many of us, and I think the Church and heaven would be richer for it.

This website is the online home of my two apostolates. Cellarium and the New Leaf Lifestyle. The first concerns the Faith; the second concerns the daily demands of a gospel centered life in the modern world.

Cellarium

Cellarium is an apostolate based solidly on Carmelite spirituality, but it isn’t new. It’s been the heart of the Catholic Church for centuries, producing Saints the likes of St. John of the Cross, St. Theresa of Avila and Therese of Lisieux (the Little Flower).

Following the spiritual practices of Cellarium won’t require you to become a Carmelite religious as a priest or nun, or even as a member of their third order (tertiaries). We as lay Catholics have the privilege of benefitting from the prayers and works of the Carmelite orders through a simple act: being enrolled in the Brown Scapular and living as members of that Confraternity. One doesn’t simply wear the brown scapular and hope everything goes well. There are spiritual practices that must also be fulfilled if we want to reap the abundant graces that flow from the prayers and works of this contemplative order.

I don’t speak as an expert in all things contemplative here. I’m just a normal everyday Catholic who struggles like everyone else. I started this apostolate to hold myself accountable first, and to offer it to others who might find it beneficial. Following the Cellarium rule and regimen will enable you to start simply and up your game as your prayer life gets some solid footing.

You’ll learn in more depth exactly what Cellarium is and how to incorporate it into your life through my blog posts. I encourage you to hop over there when you’re done with this page to learn more. But to get you started right away, I’m offering a free Cellarium daily planner insert and detailed instructions on how to use it. I hope you find them useful. I’m also in the final stages of publishing The Cellarium Handbook that goes into much greater detail on how to incorporate it into your life…the “why behind the how” if you will.

The New Leaf Lifestyle

The New Leaf Lifestyle addresses those points of Catholic social doctrine that seem to confuse the average Catholic in the pew. It takes its focus from the great social encyclicals, including Centisimius Annus in which Pope St. John Paul II first called on us to create new lifestyles that respect our our spiritual nature in the face of rampant consumerism.

“It is not wrong to want to live better,” wrote John Paul II. “What is wrong is a style of life which is presumed to be better when it is directed towards ‘having’ rather than ‘being’ and which wants to have more, not in order to be more but in order to spend life in enjoyment as an end in itself.

“It is therefore necessary to create lifestyles in which the quest for truth, beauty, goodness and communion with others for the sake of common growth are the factors which determine consumer choices…”

The Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (yes, that is a thing!) fleshes it out further, but what makes the New Leaf Lifestyle unique is the fruits of my twenty years of research that led to my discovery of “the golden thread” that is woven through so many of the more recent writings of authors concerned with the trajectory of the West.

What is that Golden Thread?

I grabbed hold of it for the first time while reading a line from a small but powerful work by John Senior called “The Restoration of Christian Culture”:

There is such a thing as human nature. And therefore there is an objective and determinable human scale and pace.

I initially followed the tangent deeply into the concept of human scale and pace. What are they and why are they important? But in the end it came down to a logical progression from the acknowledgment of human nature, including the realization of fallen human nature. Our nature dictates our needs, which are basic, universal, and violated on a daily basis. Meeting our needs is a daily battle against our vices in pursuit of the natural virtues, and hopefully at some point supernatural virtue. The last crucial piece was that initial thread. It is impossible, considering our nature, to virtuously fulfill our needs while ignoring human scale or human pace.

And so the New Leaf Lifestyle presents one way, I believe a perfectly acceptable and even beautiful way to answer Pope St. John Paul II’s call. I’m in the final stages of writing The New Leaf Lifestyle. If you would like to be notified upon publication, you can sign up by clicking on the cover mock-up in the right hand column.

Jim

catholic carmelite rosary scapular mary our lady