Monday, March 03, 2008

Can we find Carmel, even in the world?

It's been awhile since I've last posted on here - partly because I've yet to get this whole blog thing going (which means no one is really reading anything I post haha) and partly because I've not had the time. Lately, however, I've been delving deep into Carmelite spirituality. It is a spirituality to which I am deeply and powerful drawn. It is a fit with me and God's work in my life. Hopefully soon I'll read the rule for the Secular Discalced Carmelites. I've thought many times of looking into becoming a secular Carmelite and hopefully soon I'll look even more into it. But as I read St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Jesus - while their words can inflame even the coldest heart with love for His Divine Majesty - I wonder: can someone in the world find Carmel there too? No doubt the answer must be affirmative, even if it is the more difficult path to the mount. The seculars take promises, called vows, of Obedience and Chastity (in accord with their state in life). They live out a certain rule of life. The purification of the senses and the night for the appetites that St. John teaches surely can be sought in the world albeit with far greater difficulty. The ascent of Mount Carmel must be able to be had by those in the world since the perfection of charity is the goal of all Christians. It reminds me of the words of St. Catherine of Genoa when she was tested by a friar who had said he could love God more than herself because of his vow to a religious life: "If I believed that your habit would add one spark to my love, I would not hesitate to tear it from you, if I could obtain it in no other way. Whatever you merit more than I, through the renunciation you have made for God's sake, and through your religious life, which continually enables you to merit, I do not seek to obtain; these are yours; but that I cannot love God as much as yourself, you can never make me believe." (Chapter XIX of her Life and Doctrine). Yes, may it please God, I - and us all - can dwell in Carmel even in the world because it is the call of Christ that we love Him. May we all, by His grace, love Him more with each passing breath.

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