My beautiful and fulfilling life vocation as a Carmelite OCDS (Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites) is a way of following Jesus Christ. Walking the path of the gospel, and seeking His love. Having an intense thirst for a direct relationship with God. Being centered on Prayer, is a loving friendship with God, and contemplation is a gift from God.
In the Way of Perfection St. Teresa of Avila exhorts her daughters in Carmel:
“Strive to be such that our lives may be fruitful for the Church.” ~St Teresa of Avila
To understand Teresian Carmelite prayer, we must first know that for St. Teresa prayer is a way of being. “Strive to be such.” It embraces the totality of our life; it is not confined to the two hours we spend in formal prayer each day. It is a way of being and of living. Whether in the Kitchen, in the Laundry, eating, sleeping, praying in the choir, attending Mass, recreating—all must be prayer, all must be done in union with Jesus. A Carmelite is focused on attention to one’s relationship with Jesus. Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity once said describing our Carmelite life…
“The life of a Carmelite is a life of communion with God from morning until night, and from night until morning.” ~St Elizabeth of the Trinity
Our Identity, Values and Commitment
1. Members of the Secular Order of Our Lady of Mount Carmel and Saint Teresa of Jesus are faithful members of the Church who are called to live “in allegiance to Jesus Christ” . The fundamental elements of the vocation of Teresian Secular Carmelites can be summarized as follows:
To live in allegiance to Jesus Christ, supported by the imitation and patronage of the most Blessed Virgin Mary, whose way of life is a model of being conformed to Christ.
To seek union with God through contemplation and apostolic activity, indissolubly joined together, for service to the Church and the world.
To let prayer penetrate our entire daily existence, nourished by the Word of God, by the Eucharistic Liturgy, and the Liturgy of the Hours, in order to walk continually in God’s presence.
To spend at least one half-hour daily in the practice of mental prayer in an atmosphere of interior silence and solitude. Mental prayer, as practiced in Lectio Divina, with its four aspects of spiritual reading, reflection, conversation with God, and contemplation, is the foundation of Teresian prayer.
To develop the gifts of the Holy Spirit through the constant exercise of the virtues, especially the theological virtues of faith, hope, and above all charity, continually striving toward union with God.
To live evangelical self-denial in an ecclesial perspective.
To be committed to evangelization, always faithful to our Teresian Carmelite identity.
2. The value of the sacramental and liturgical life in the Secular Order leads its members to:
a) Take part in the daily celebration of the Eucharist, insofar as possible. Those who are unable to participate in the celebration of daily Mass are encouraged to pray and reflect on the daily Scripture readings of the Mass.
b) Have a great esteem for the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Sacrament of Confession) and to avail (go to) it frequently.
c) “Try to recite Morning and Evening Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours in union with the Church throughout the world. When it is possible we will also recite Night Prayer”.
d) Make a daily examination of conscience. Ideally this is done before mental prayer and/or at the beginning of Night Prayer.
3. Secular Carmelites will endeavor daily to nurture our prayer life through study and spiritual reading, particularly the Gospels and the writings of our Carmelite Saints.
4. In order to deepen our spiritual life, members are encouraged to participate in an annual Carmelite Retreat.
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Blessings in Carmel,
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“The closer one approaches to God, the simpler one becomes.” ~St Teresa of Avila