Carmelite Spirituality

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Sacramental life of the Church is central to the heart of a Secular Carmelite

 

Carmelite Spirituality

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Call to Prayer

The challenge of Carmel is to seek God's presence while living an active, busy life in the midst of the world. This was the situation faced by the first Carmelite hermits who migrated to Europe, men used to praying in solitude now called to be involved in active ministry. Prayer and ministry are mutual companions according to our traditions. Prayer develops a center of faith which reaches out generously to others while involvement with others often energizes the movement to prayer. It is an attempt to live a prayerful presence in a busy world. It is a vitality which has graced the Church over the centuries.

The sacramental life of the Church is central to the heart of a Secular Carmelite.

The Liturgy of the Hours sanctifies our day and unites us to the prayer of the Church. Secular Carmelites should be faithful to liturgical year and Marian devotions, especially the daily Rosary, as far as their circumstances of life allow.

When not occupied with the daily demands of life, we are called by the Rule of Carmel to quietly listen to the Word which is formed in our hearts. This stillness and prayerful reflection on Scripture will lead to contemplative prayer after the pattern of Mary, our Mother, who "treasured all these things and reflected them in her heart" (Luke 2:19).

Through these efforts, the Secular Carmelite community shall become a clear sign to all others of the Church at prayer.

 

Marian dedication

carmelicon.jpg (6919 bytes)From its beginning, the entire Carmelite Family has been specially dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary. Indeed, we have always been known as the Brothers and Sisters of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Therefore, all Secular Carmelites shall honor Our Lady with a special love and devotion. She is the model of all that we desire and hope to be.

Carmelites have always put themselves under the maternal care of Our Lady, invoking her as Mother. The Order enjoys her special patronage. The brown scapular is a sign of her protection, a symbol too of one's interior life of devotion to Our Lady.

 

Call to ministry

Secular Carmelites, as all baptised persons, are called to be deeply involved in the mission of the Church. Immersed in the world as they are, they shall reflect a Christian spirit of service to their families, in their work or professional surroundings, in their social responsibilities and relations with others and in every action of their day.

They will find in the person of Elijah a valid inspiration for this witness. It was he who said, "I have been most zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts" (1Kings 20:10).  In doing battle with false prophets of his day, Elijah proclaimed the reign of God and worked hard for its establishment. The Secular Carmelite in the spirit of Elijah is called to critique the values, actions, systems and goals which are inimical to the Gospel.

Our mother Mary too is a wonderful example for ministry, walking with Jesus every step of the way, even to the foot of the Cross.

Ministry in our day involves a sacrifice of time, talent and treasure on the part of the individual. The Secular Carmelite accepts this obligation of stewardship, holding in esteem the invitation of the Lord that we deny ourselves, take up our crosses daily and follow Him.

Any ministry undertaken by individuals or the local communities should flow from our Carmelite heritage, and bring about the sanctification of our families, our work and society. The ministries shall be integrated with the other areas of Carmelite life. Praying for others is a valid ministry, exemplified so well in the Second Order, our sisters in Carmelite cloisters all over the world. Saint Therese of Lisieux viewed prayer as redemptive - praying and sacrificing for others.