Sunday, October 2, 2011

Three Words of Wisdom

Well-Worn Path

Since I've been walking/running more this past year and taking different routes in my daily walk I have noticed the worn paths made by those who have gone before me. I especially like to walk in cemeteries, and the dirt and gravel roads in my local cemetery have certainly seen its share of those visiting loved ones. Seeing these paths and roads traveled by others became a meditation for me.

I'm sure if we think about it, there are many spiritual paths and roads in our lives, but are they well-worn?

For instance, as Secular Carmelites do we have a well-worn path in our prayer life? Or does this road look newly-paved with no sign of wear and tear?

What about the road of suffering. Is it a familiar road? A road sprinkled with our blood, sweat, and tears? Or is it a road we avoid altogether? As Christians, we are called to follow Christ by taking up our cross each day. He asks us to die to ourselves...Have we seen this road at all? Have we attempted to really put forth the effort to travel this difficult, painful, lonely road with Jesus as our only companion? Or are we still traveling the path of the senses seeking the pleasures of the world?

St. John of the Cross uses the metaphor of Mt. Carmel for spiritual union with Christ. We know that we do not have to travel this road alone. As Secular Carmelites, we have our brothers and sisters in our community to help us, we have our Carmelite Saints to help us and lead the way. And we have our Blessed Mother who cares for us, prays for us, who leads us and guides us safely to her Son.

Spiritual directors or wise spiritual friends can help us to choose the right path when we are confused or mystified about where God is leading us. Let us keep them in prayer, because they have a big responsibility in directing souls.
Thomas Merton wrote a now famous poem called “The Road Ahead” about the unfamiliar roads in our lives:  

"The Road Ahead"
 My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going, I do not see the road ahead of me.

I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.

 Therefore, I will trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Sometimes it takes a heroic effort to keep traveling the well-worn path of daily life. Sometimes it takes a desperate prayer and God's grace for us to continue to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. Let us not lose heart... Let us pray for each other!

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

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