Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Stained Glass Scapulars-Reflections on the Secular Carmelite Rule

From our Constitutions:
The central object of the process of formation in the Secular Order is to prepare the person to live the charism and spirituality of Carmel in its following of Christ, and in service to its mission.
(VI, No. 32)

This point of our Rule brings us back to the heart of our formation: preparing those called to Carmel to be open to the gift of contemplation, and to bring the fruit of this intimate friendship with God into our homes, workplace, and in our local communities.  Sometimes, those of us who have been involved with formation for new members concentrate on the other aspects of the candidate.  I think we have a tendency to focus on the personality of an individual-will they "fit" into our community. Although this is an important point of discernment, even according to St. Teresa, we must be careful about this aspect of discernment. We must get passed personalities and discern if the person has a gift of quiet prayer and if this person will be faithful in practicing mental prayer and living out this gift in their state of life.

The person in formation needs to challenge themselves by being honest during their discernment time with the community. They can ask themselves some questions:

*Do I read the assigned materials?
*Do I seek the assistance of the Carmelite Saints. Am I attracted to them?
*Do I share my discernment process with others, or am I embarrassed to let others know I am seeking entrance into Carmel?
*Do I seek to spend time in quiet prayer, forsaking other worldly
*Do I possess humility in seeking help when I am struggling with prayer, with trying to live the Beatitudes?

These are questions all of us in Carmel need to keep asking ourselves.

We come to community to help each other in striving to be faithful to our promises of chastity, obedience, and poverty.  We are all on pilgrimage together. Let us be kind and patient with those who are weak or struggling. May the Lord help us to lead each other gently by the hand up Mt. Carmel. May we be ever-thankful that he has called us to follow him in Carmel.

Let us pray for each other!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

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