Tuesday, August 4, 2009
“The one, authentic Carmel consists of a quiet, uninterrupted conversation with God. That is the true Carmel that our Carmelite forebears sought. We can neither find nor embrace God, just as we cannot sit at his feet in order to gaze lovingly upon him, if we are immersed in noise and activity. We cannot hear the voice of God, who speaks without words, except in silence.
Consider the example of our spiritual father, Elijah. Note these eagerness with which he returned from his apostolic activities to his beloved cave at Carmel. It was solitude that he sought in order to replenish his spirit through silent intimacy with God.
Likewise, consider Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. The need for silence and solitude burned within her.
We, too, submitted to that deep spiritual impulse on the day God touched our life, perhaps after receiving Communion or during an hour of deep prayer. At that moment we felt, understood, and lived the truth that God is not a word, but rather a living being, who envelops us. He made us aware in the depths of our souls that this first living personal contact was with the very being of God.
Do you remember the instructions of our holy father Saint John of the Cross, when he depicted Carmel using the symbol of a mountain? At the summit, he put the goal of our life; he mapped our the withdrawal from the world that we must undertake to arrive at this point of all-embracing union with God. In the middle was a steep path; on each side, he sketched the easier routes, which were makeshift and incomplete. Then, between them, with a quick stroke, he drew an exacting road on which one hears the refrain 'Nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing but God alone.'
A person doe not withdraw to Carmel because of weariness, or to know tranquility, or to live a mediocre life, or to flee the cares of keeping a home and family, or to have a more comfortable existence. One comes here because she is athirst for God, because she desires to find God and to reveal God to the whole world.” -- Ven Jacques of Jesus, ocd
-- Listen to the Silence: A Retreat with Père Jaques edited by Francis J Murphy