Monday, November 30, 2009

Spiritual Life Dictionary

Today's Term: Pilgrimage

A journey to a sacred place undertaken as an act of religious devotion, either simply in order to venerate it or to ask the fulfillment of some need or as an act of penance or thanksgiving, or a combination of these.
A Catholic Dictionary by Donald Attwater

Speaking of the favors God may bestow on those venerating certain images, St. John of the Cross states:

Our Lord frequently bestows these favors by means of images situated in remote and solitary places. The reason for this is that the effort required in journeying to these places makes the affection increase and the act of prayer more intense. Another motive is that a person may withdraw from people and noise in order to pray, as our Lord did.

Whoever makes a pilgrimage, therefore, does well to make it alone, even is this must be done at an unusual time. I would never advise going along with a large crowd, because one ordinarily returns more distracted than before. Many who go on pilgrimage do so more for the sake of recreation than devotion.
Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, The Ascent of Mt. Carmel, Book Three, Chapter 36, No. 3
Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D.

The spiritual journey we make as Secular Carmelites is a solitary one. It is a journey of the heart that requires dying to self on a daily basis.  Although we make this journey alone, in a sense, we have the prayerful support of our brothers and sisters in Carmel, we have the spiritual direction of our holy Father and Mother, St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Jesus, we have the prayerful consolation of the Sacraments of the Church.
Secular Carmelites are on a daily holy pilgrimage up to the summit of Mt. Carmel-mystical symbolism for the spiritual union we seek with God. Let us pray for and encourage one another in our spiritual quest for God. 

Carmelites are called to quiet prayer-to solitude of heart where we gaze on the One whom we know loves us.  Let us allow Our Lady of Mount Carmel to lead us gently by the hand to her Divine Son who longs for union with us.

Peace be with you!

No comments: