This is our work: seeking union with God.
Carmelites devote themselves to the spiritual life. This does not mean that we shut ourselves up as hermits, living in isolation from others where we can live quiet, undisturbed lives. Our concern is for others and their welfare. This means that we are not only to desire, but to work, act and suffer for the salvation of others. To do this we concentrate all our efforts on seeking God and trying to live a holy life in order to please Him. Then we will be “acquiring a power of action and impetration capable of obtaining the salvation of many souls.” (Divine Intimacy, #317 by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, OCD)
Prayer is supernatural work. Through prayer I seek to convert, sanctify and save my soul and the souls of others. This is the apostolate of those who pray: for conversion and sanctification of souls.
The more I pray, the more I will achieve. Sometimes I set aside prayer due to lukewarmness. Nevertheless, I strongly desire holiness, mine and that of others. So I endeavor to be an apostle more by prayer than by exterior action.
Prayer also adds to my exterior works. I should pray before taking action so that God will grant it success, the success that He desires.
Pope Benedict XVI’s message marking the 450th anniversary of the Carmelite reform by St. Teresa of Avila. Read the message here
This Friday, June 19, 2009 on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, begins the Year of the Priests set forth by Pope Benedict XVI. During this year the faithful are encouraged to pray for priests that they may be faithful to their sacred calling.
St. Teresa was concerned for the Church in her time and proposed to her nuns that they would be able to help the Church by praying for the “defenders of the Church and for preachers and for learned men who protect her from attack”. In other words, the nuns should be saying prayers for the bishops, priest, ministers and theologians. Her logic was a very good one for she came to “realize that if the bishop is holy the subjects will be so too”. Praying for the holiness of priests should be in the heart of all Discalced Carmelites. The leaders in our Church need our love, support, encouragement and prayers.
The apostolic element of the Tereisan Carmel can be clearly seen in the following taken from chapter three of The Way of Perfection:
“I beg you to strive to be such that we might merit from God two things: First, that among the numerous learned men and religious there be many who will meet these requirements I mentioned that are necessary for this battle, and that the Lord may prepare those who do not meet them; one who is perfect will do much more than many who are not. Second, that after being placed in this combat which, as I say, is not easy, they may receive protection from the Lord so as to remain free of the many perils there are in the world, and stop their ears in order not to hear the siren’s song on the dangerous sea.”