Friday, July 3, 2009
"To practise this life of prayer more efficaciously, the Carmelite seeks solitude and keeps himself in silence. The Carmelite Order originated in solitude. The first Carmelites were hermits. The Order has retained this eremitical character. The Rule and the Constitution want Carmelite convents and monasteries to be outside the cities, so that the religious can live in retirement in their cloisters and cells. St Teresa wanted this eremitical spirit to be maintained. She said expressly; 'The end we pursue is not only to live as religious, but as hermits.'
This spirit is characterized by a profound silence. The Rule puts great emphasis upon silence, and declares expressly that to speak when there is no sufficient reason for doing so distracts, dissipates, and defiles the soul. Silence, on the contrary, enables the soul to keep itself pure, fortifies it, and concentrates its power in God. Besides, the soul which seeks God avoids all conversation which has no relation to Him, knowing that he Is not to be found in idle talk and noise, and that it is only in silence and by keeping oneself alert that one perceives the divine Word and receives His light."
-- The Spirit and Prayer of Carmel by Fr François Jamart, ocd