Saturday, October 3, 2009

Genuine practice of Carmelite asceticism requires the practice of the love of God

"[T]o remain true to the Carmelite spirit it would be preferable to make use of considerations inspired by love. Then every compromise with created things will appear as an infidelity to the love of God. Any satisfaction taken in created things will be an ingratitude towards Him who sacrificed Himself for us. From our meditation on what He has done for us, we can draw courage to bear up under our burdens, courage for the struggle facing us.

Referring to the testimony of Fr Eliseo de los Mártires, we have thus far considered only the struggle against temptations, the disorderly attractions of the senses, or the manifestations of some vice or defect. But it is clear that the method recommended by St John of the Cross can be applied just as reasonably and efficaciously in the struggle against useless thoughts, vain imaginations, idle memories, affections for others, futile worries; in a word, all that can distract one from God and hinder our union with Him. God alone and what can unite us to Him must be all-important to us. As soon as any other object begins to take hold of our faculties, we must brush it aside and continue going towards God by loving Him alone.

St Teresa does not distinguish explicitly between these two methods of combating obstacles of spiritual progress. But she nevertheless teaches both of them. Indeed, she sometimes recommends considerations such as those which we have just given, and counsels that one should make acts of the virtue opposed to the evil tendency against which we are struggling. At other times, she makes an appeal to our love of God 'of which it is characteristic to be always active in all things.' Love is the method she prefers. Although she develops it less clearly, her teaching is the same as that of St John of the Cross and reflects the essential principle of Carmelite spirituality which gives the first place to love. It follows that the genuine practice of Carmelite asceticism requires the practice of the love of God."

-- The Spirit and Prayer of Carmel by Fr François Jamart, ocd

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow...another wonderful inspiring post from this book! Very providential for me.