We have all read, that there is a CARMELITE IDENTITY. It is what motivates and attracts us to seek out a distant life style, to be part of an Order, to belong to a community.
Although attraction and motivation will lead us to Carmel, they need to be fortified with other elements to transform us from who we are to whom we hope to become.
Fr. Aloysius Deeney noted six distinct elements, when combined, would provide motivation for someone to seek a CARMELITE IDENTITY with the Order.
- Practicing member of the Catholic Church
- Under the protection of Our Lady of Mount Carmel
- Inspired by St. Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross
- Who makes a commitment to the Order
- To seek the face of God
- For the sake of the Church and the world.
- Love of God, of Mary, of the Order
- Sacrifice giving up, denial, detachment, poverty of spirit, sharing, caring
- Attitude humility, an open mind, a generous heart
- Focus on changes evolving from self-knowledge, self-evaluation, and obedience
- Determination to stay on course despite frustration and obstacles
- Commitment whole-hearted, free and zealous
- Appreciation of the gift of vocation we have received.
- Our meeting is obligatory;
- Prayer and education are the essentials;
- It is convened for our Christian and Carmelite growth according to the Teresian charism;
- Although the meeting is fraternal, it is not a social gathering.
- Oh my gosh! Is the Carmelite meeting tonight?
- O my gosh! I have to read or make a note on chapter ten.
- Oh my gosh! Another trip to London for a retreat?
- Oh my gosh! Shouldn't you be somewhere else!
There are a number of ways you become a member of a family: (a) by birth; (b) by adoption; (c) by marriage; and (d) by choice.
We can safely dispense with the first three methods and concentrate on choice. Whether you were called; whether you followed, or whether you chose, you are here now, present at this meeting of the family of Carmel, which means you want to be identified and be called a Carmelite.
Parents and children, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters all have expectations, obligations and responsibilities. They interact with each other, depend on one another, and work together for the common good. A sound family structure is built on love, loyalty, obedience and service and all the other characteristics that are the fruits of those principles.
Family ties are strengthened by frequent gatherings, attending traditional cele-brations, offering advice, encouragement and consolation in times of trial, guarding the reputation and the family's honour and good name. Life within any family is a constant challenge if you want to maintain peace and harmony. In a most positive way, a family like that could mold you, shape you and inspire you to be the person God wants you to be. Who would not want to belong to such a family?
In no small measure the Order of Carmel does the same for her own family. Whereas, a family abides by unwritten rules, Carmel has the Rule of Life and the Constitutions to help their members live a certain way in an organized manner in the spirit of the Gospel according to the Teresian charism.
Carmelite formation is an on-going, life-long process. There is no graduation day. Instead, progress is rewarded with increased responsibility and more active involvement in the welfare of the community. Spiritual formation in conjunction with active involvement in the community ensures stability, continuity, conformity and growth.
Returning to the subject of choosing the family of Carmel, commitment is not an option. It demands love, sacrifice and determination and the most essential ingredient of all TIME.
There is something in our life that we can use only once. We each receive a different length, but it measures the same wherever we go. It is everywhere but we cannot find it and no one can afford to buy it. Although you need it, you spend all of it so you never have any of it for yourself or anything or anyone else.
You hear it everywhere. I have no time! I cannot find time! There is no time! … Yes there is time. Something so important must be accounted for. What do you do with it? How do you spend it?
- When is your wake-up time?
- How long is your prayer time?
- How long is the distance and travel time every day?
- How long is your work schedule, in and out time, overtime, time spent on work related study.
- How long is your meal time.
- How long is your recreational time.
- How long is your after work activities. Frequency per week / per month.
- Time spent on above.
- Level of involvement.
- Level of responsibility.
- How much time is allotted to Carmel every day? Prayer /meditation /reading /study /formation study program.
- Arrival time at the monthly meeting.
- Departure time at the monthly meeting.
- Specific task you did, for or at, the meeting.