Monday, April 28, 2014

Stained Glass Flowers-Reflections on the Rule of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites

From the Constitutions
Community Life

Every Secular Carmelite will strive to place the good of the community and fraternal charity above self-interest and will give the community meeting primacy of place in the ordering of his/her schedule. The desire and ability to attend community meetings are signs of an authentic vocation.

When people begin formation as a Secular Carmelite, we stress the fact that meetings are mandatory. It's a good sign if the candidate is eager and willing to attend meetings, begin formation, and make an effort to get to know the community. It's an even greater blessing when new people begin right away to volunteer to help with community functions.  These are all healthy signs of a person who may have a vocation as a Secular Carmelite.

Problems arise for communities when members (usually the same people) continually asked to be excused from meetings for one reason or another. Of course, sometimes these requests are important if it may cause a problem within their family. It takes wisdom to know how to be faithful to one's commitment as a Secular Carmelite and how to be faithful to one's obligations to family.

I usually instruct people of the importance of community meetings, because they are preparing to make a promise, in effect, a spiritual marriage to the Order of Carmel and to the local community. They are going to promise to be faithful to their obligations, and one very important obligation is to be present at the monthly meeting to be formed as a Carmelite and to deepen their friendship with their brothers and sisters in the community.

A person is instructed that the community meeting takes precedence over any other parish activity they may be involved in, unless one is a priest, deacon or religious.  So, the community meeting takes place above choir practice, the soup kitchen, yes, even the prayer group one may belong to. We do not make promises to the choir, the prayer group, etc. We make a promise to the community of Carmel.

Some members struggle with this directive. And it takes some time for some people to see the wisdom of community life and to eventually integrate it and place Carmel as a priority in their life. We have to instruct candidates right away that Carmel is not just another prayer group that meets once a month. We are a true member of a religious order within the Catholic Church who are obedient to the Superiors of the Order.

It takes a great commitment to be faithful to the monthly meeting. It takes sacrifice. But the graces outweigh the times we would like to stay home instead of make the effort to attend the meeting.  If we are constantly making excuses for not attending the monthly formation meeting, that would be a point of discernment for one's ongoing formation and acceptance and invitation to make promises. It's also a point of examination of conscience and should be brought to the attention of one's confessor or spiritual director.  If one continually has a problem with attending the monthly meeting, perhaps that is a sign that one does not have a vocation as a Secular Carmelite and God may be leading the soul elsewhere.  It is important to be open and honest with the Director of Formation about any struggles in this area.  The president and council members are to help members in their struggles and to help them discern their call to Carmel.

Let us pray for each other.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Thursday, April 24, 2014

This Day in Carmelite History

APRIL 24, 1614

Soliloquies #13
The Souls of the Blessed Help Us in Our Misery
St. Teresa of Jesus (Avila)

O souls that without fear already have fruition of your joy and are always absorbed in praises of my God, happy has been your lot! What great a reason you have for being ever engaged in these praises. How my soul envies you, for you are already free from the sorrow such terrible offenses committed against my God cause in these unfortunate times, and from the sorrow of seeing so much ingratitude, and seeing that there is no awareness of the multitude of souls carried away by Satan, O blessed heavenly souls! Help our misery and be our intercessors before the divine mercy that we may be given some of your joy and a share in this clear knowledge you possess.

Give us understanding my God, of what it is that is given to those who fight valiantly in the dream of this miserable life. Obtain for us, O loving souls, understanding of the joy it gives you to see the eternal character of your fruition, and how it is so delightful to see certainly that it will have no end. Oh, how fortunate we are, my Lord! For we believe in everlasting joy and know the truth well; but with so pronounced a habit of failing to reflect on these truths, they have already become so foreign to our souls that these souls neither know about them nor desire to know about them. O selfish people, greedy for your pleasures and delights; not waiting a short time in order to enjoy them in such abundance, and not waiting a year, not waiting a day, not waiting an hour--and perhaps it will take no more than a moment--you lose everything, because of the joy of that misery you see present!

Oh, oh, oh, how little we trust You, Lord! How much greater the riches and treasures You entrusted to us, since after His thirty-three years of great trials and so unbearable and pitiable a death, You have given us Your son; and so many years before we were born! Even knowing that we wouldn't repay You, You didn't want to cease trusting us with such an inestimable treasure, so that it wouldn't be your fault, merciful Father, of we fail  to acquire what through Him we can obtain from you.

O blessed soul who with this precious price knew so well how to profit and buy an inheritance so delightful and permanent, tell us how you gained such an unending good! Help us, since you are so near the fount; draw water for those here below who are perishing of thirst.

By your Spirit, you raised up St. Teresa of Jesus
to show your Church the way of perfection.
May her inspired teachings awaken in us a
longing for true holiness.
We ask this through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds

Sunday, April 20, 2014


Receiving Communion is not like picturing with the imagination, as when we reflect upon the Lord on the cross or in other episodes of the Passion, when we picture within ourselves how things happened to Him in the past. In Communion the event is happening now, and it is entirely true. There's no reason to go looking for Him in some other place farther away. Since we know that Jesus  is with us as long as the natural heat doesn't consume the accidents of bread, we should approach Him. Now, then, if when He went about in the world the mere touch of His robes cured the sick, why doubt, if we have faith, that miracles will be worked while He is within us and that He will give what we ask of Him, since He is in our house? His Majesty is not accustomed to paying poorly for His lodging if the hospitality is good.

If it pains you not to see Him with your bodily eyes, consider that seeing Him so is not fitting for us. To see Him in His glorified state is different from seeing Him as He was when He walked through this world. On account of our natural weakness there is no person capable of enduring such a glorious sight, nor would anyone in the world want to continue in it. In seeing this Eternal Truth one would see that all the things we pay attention to here below are lies and jokes. 
St. Teresa of Jesus, The Way of Perfection, Chapter 34: 8-9

Peace be with you!
Rosemarie, ocds