Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Carmel is the desert

"The Spirit within us yearns to return to its source, our Father. Many people are confused by these inner longings and try to escape through constant noise and activity. In today's world, suicide has even become a frequent means of escape. People often do not realize that their anguish is in the spirit, and that the death of the body will not eliminate their suffering, because the spirit, like God, is infinite.

Carmel teaches us not to run from these stirrings, but rather to go into the 'desert' and face them. A desert place is where we leave all nonessentials behind and spend time in silence and solitude with our divine friend within. Through daily meditation, our friendship with Christ develops into love. All love relationships, if they are to grow, need time devoted entirely to each other.

We then strive to carry the spirit of the desert, the interior silence and solitude, the sense of the presence of God, throughout our busy days. Carmel does not emphasize one apostolate, but embraces all apostolates, God's love now influencing all of our activities. 'When the active works rise from this interior root, they become lovely and fragrant flowers for they proceed from this tree of God's love and are done for Him alone, without any self-interest. The fragrance from these flowers spreads to the benefit of many.' (St Teresa, Meditation on the Song of Songs, 7.3)

Carmel is a way of life that fosters an ever-increasing awareness of being united with God in the depths of our being while leading ordinary lives in the world. The Holy Family of Nazareth is the perfect model. Carmel is a way of spirituality that is possible for people of every walk of life."

Welcome to Carmel edited Fr Michael D Griffin, ocd


Linda said...

What a beautiful meditation and so true. St. Teresa of Avila tells us that to even reach the 4th mansions we must sit in silence and solitude in Contemplative prayer. I really enjoyed this post.

God bless,

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post Sister! I just love that book and constantly refer back to it. I, too, am guilty of feeling that *emptiness* and restlessness and automatically try to find something *to do* or to keep my mind busy. How many opportunities I have lost to *go into the desert*. Thank you for the reminder.

ocd sister said...

Those of us in the enclosure can say the same thing: on a daily basis, how many opportunities have I missed, worrying about this and that? But what's important is to start again, each time, each day, each moment. I like to think some times, if I had an audience with the Pope, if I had a one hour (or 15 mins or whatever) audience all to myself with him, would I be looking for things to do, fidgeting, etc? Or would I be awe-struck and pay attention to him and tell him a few things I wished to share? Now take that, and think about the your time for personal prayer. Touché! :) Holy mother St Teresa was so brilliant when she said to take a picture of Christ (or some other devotional for that matter) and just look at it. Eventually, with time and patience, you will be able to "enter into silence" even while doing the dishes or shopping at the mall. I fall, He gets me up, we move forward.