Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Presence of the living God

"You have made us for Yourself, O God, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.

These words of St. Augustine echoed in the mind and heart of some pilgrims and hermits from Europe as they settled in the land of Jesus and Mary about the year 1200. These men, who were searching for a deeper awareness and understanding of the living God, became the first Carmelites. They imitated the prophet Elijah by living on Mount Carmel.

They deeply believed that God is always present among us. This was the basic insight that Jesus taught in His sharing among the people. God treasures every individual with a personal and everlasting love. In the words of St. John's Gospel 3: 16: "God so loved the world that He gave His only Son so that everyone who believes in Him might have eternal life."

God has first loved us and continues to share that love with us day by day in so many personal ways. God is always with us, caring for us, supporting, and providing for us in all our needs. As the first Carmelites strove to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and to follow His example, this fundamental message of the Gospel became paramount.

Carmelites have this ideal: to seek and search for God, to give and spend time with God (vacare Deo is the traditional Latin phrase), to be with God by their commitment to follow Jesus, and thus "to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all you mind." (Luke 10:27)

This ideal excites and inspires us still. It opens a horizon that calls, provokes, and challenges us to try to empty ourselves so that we might be filled with the God who created us, guides us, and speaks to us today. (Psalm 94)"

-- Fr. John Malley, O.Carm.

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