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Catholic Spirituality: Carmelites

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In the mind of God, our Creator, we are each unique and unrepeatable creations. We are made in His image and likeness, of course, but each person has differing degrees of intelligence, methods of learning, gifts and creative ways of expression. It is no wonder, then, that our paths to God will be as different and unique as we are. Once we realize that God is our true end and feel that yearning in our soul to find Him, we will be on the hunt for the Truth. And once we find it in the Catholic Church, we will seek our rightful place among the many paths of spirituality or charisms that God provided for us, often through founders of religious orders.

While some are called to the religious life as priests or nuns, most of us see our path in the ordinary realm of life, as husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, students, teachers and working folk. As we go about our days and seek Him with an open heart, striving to be the person He created us to be from the first moment of our existence, some of us discover that we are called to a vocation within our ordinary life’s vocation. Perhaps we are drawn to a deeper prayer life but need the help of professed obligations to live out such a life.

We of the Secular Discalced Carmelites see ourselves as such, under the protection and guidance of Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, who constantly pondered in the heart, seeking in every occasion of activity or silence to know God and move toward His will with all the love of her heart. Some are drawn to this life after reading the works of our three Doctors of the Church: St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St. Thérèse of Lisieux. When we become interested in studying them, we want to know more about how to live the life they set forth.

With all our daily commitments, we often fail to make the effort, or we lose our way, so when we learn that others are on our same path, we seek their help and want to become part of the “family,” to receive the community’s aid instead of wandering by ourselves. We want to serve God in this life, to know the wonder of Him and to live out our lives with the love of Him in the forefront. And we are humble enough to seek help.

Carmelite Spirituality helps us in this love of God and in the service to the Church that is the fulfillment of this love. It begins with a deeper ecclesial life, a love for Christ in the Eucharist and the liturgical prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours. All focuses us on obtaining the love and grace to live out our vocation.

Secular Discalced Carmelites are members of a community of friends, holding fast to one another in our formation, to learn this life through the writings of our saints and blesseds and through community and discussion with our Order’s brothers and sisters. Our mission is to make God known as He should be known, to spread Carmelite spirituality, to meditate half an hour a day and to make a grand effort to meditate day and night through keeping recollected, meaning always in the Presence of God, whatever our outward tasks.

At our formation’s beginning, we receive a ceremonial scapular on our shoulders, study, discern and make temporary promises. We later make final promises to “tend toward evangelical perfection in the spirit of the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty, obedience and of the Beatitudes, according to the Rule of St. Albert and the constitutions of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites for the rest of my life.”

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