“For contemplation is nothing else than a secret and peaceful and loving inflow of God, which, if not hampered, fires the soul in the spirit of love.” ~ Saint John of the Cross, O.C.D.
On Saturday, February 16th, I professed my Definitive Promises to the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites. Our OCDS Community gathered for a special day of grace and fellowship followed by a beautiful Mass officiated by our spiritual Father Dominic.
I was admitted to our OCDS Community in June 16th, 2012 and made my First Promise on April 25th, 2015. Over these years of spiritual formation and growth within my Carmelite family, I’ve been discerning my call to this rich spirituality and gift from God and I feel so grateful to my Beloved Lord to lead me into this blessed way.
I have a long way to go and so much to climb up the mountain of God, but with His grace and blessing and inspired by the Holy Spirit, I pray that I will continue faithfully to my journey in Carmel and be an instrument of God and His living flame of love in the world.
I’m eternally grateful, my Beloved Jesus, for calling me to Carmel!
O living flame, O living flame, O living flame, living flame of love!
How gently you wake in my heart. How tenderly you swell my heart with love, O living flame of love!
O lamps of fire, O living flame, O lamps of fire, our warmth and light!
Sweet cautery, delicate touch of life, sweet cautery, living flame of love!
O living flame, living flame of love O living flame, my living flame, My flame of love!
~ Based on “Living Flame of Love”, by St. John of the Cross, O.C.D.
O.C.D.S. (Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites)
“By the promise made to the community . . . the person becomes a full member of the Secular Order.” (Constitution 12) The promise is highly significant for Secular Carmelites and the process of formation moves the person toward making a life promise. The wording of the First Promise and the Definitive Promise differ only in the last phrase.
I, (name), inspired by the Holy Spirit, in response to God’s call, sincerely promise to the Superiors of the Order of the Teresian Carmel and to you my brothers and sisters, to tend toward evangelical perfection in the spirit of the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty, obedience, and of the Beatitudes, according to the Constitutions of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites, for three years [for the rest of my life]. I confidently entrust this, my Promise, to the Virgin Mary, Mother and Queen of Carmel.
A significant part of formation is coming to understand the commitment made by the promise. It is a promise to live in the spirit of the Beatitudes and in the spirit of chastity, poverty and obedience. Each of these commitments has a separate paragraph in the Constitutions of the Secular Order.
The commitment to the promise to live the spirit of the evangelical counsel of chastity
13. The promise of chastity reinforces the commitment to love God above all else, and to love others with the love God has for them. In this promise the Secular Carmelite seeks the freedom to love God and neighbour unselfishly giving witness to the divine intimacy promised by the beatitude “blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God” (Mt 5:8). The promise of chastity is a commitment to Christian love in its personal and social dimensions in order to create authentic community in the world. By this promise the Secular Carmelite also expresses the conscious desire to respect each person as required by God’s law and one’s state of life, as a single person or married or widowed. This promise does not prevent a change in state of life.
The commitment to the promise of live the spirit of the evangelical counsel of poverty
14. By the promise of poverty the Secular Carmelite expresses the desire to live in accordance with the Gospel and its values. In evangelical poverty there is a wealth of generosity, self-denial, and interior liberty and a dependence on Him who “Though rich, yet for our sake, became poor” (2 Co 8:9), and who “emptied Himself” (Ph 2:7), to be at the service of His brothers and sisters. The promise of poverty seeks an evangelical use of the goods of this world and of personal talents, as well as the exercise of personal responsibilities in society, in family, and work, confidently placing all in the hands of God. It also implies a commitment to the cause of justice so that the world itself responds to God’s plan. In combination with these, evangelical poverty recognizes personal limitations and surrenders them to God with confidence in His goodness and fidelity.
The commitment to the promise to live the spirit of the evangelical counsel of obedience
15. The promise of obedience is a pledge to live open to the will of God, “in whom we live and move and have our being” (Ac 17:28) imitating Christ who accepted the Father’s will and was “obedient unto death, death on a cross” (Ph 2:8). The promise of obedience is an exercise of faith leading to the search for God’s will in the events and challenges in society and our own personal life. For this reason the Secular Carmelite freely cooperates with those who have responsibility for guiding the community and the Order in discerning and accepting God’s ways: the Community’s Council, the Provincial and the General.
The commitment to the promise to live the spirit of the beatitudes
16. The beatitudes are a plan of action for life and a way to enter into relationship with the world, neighbours and co-workers, families and friends. By promising to live the beatitudes in daily life, Secular Carmelites seek to give evangelical witness as members of the Church and the Order, and by this witness invite the world to follow Christ: “the Way, the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6).
When the Magi had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.” Joseph rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed for Egypt. He stayed there until the death of Herod, that what the Lord had said through the prophet might be fulfilled, “Out of Egypt I called my son.” ~ Matthew 2:13-15
The silence of those years away from the familiarity of the Promised Land, of the love of family and the community.
Those “unknown years” to humans but not to God. Those years were reserved especially for you and Joseph, Holy Mother!
Those days, weeks and months were filled with the scorching sun of the day in the desert, very cold nights and the uncertainty of each day. Yet, you continued your journey faithfully in union with your Beloved Child.
Donkey, donkey! would you whisper in my ear the secrets of those precious and sacred moments you witnessed of the Holy Family those unknown years?
How many moments of awe and wonder were lived—while others were lived ordinarily like every family but with a deep and serene trust in the Almighty. A family following the will of God.
As I meditate on these mysteries, I realize I have much to learn from them. There are no revelations in Holy Scripture about those silent years. God wanted it that way. Truth has a way of revealing itself. We need to be aware of those moments of grace while we meditate in the mysteries of God, praying constantly for guidance and for His holy will to be done in us.
Beloved Lord Jesus, teach me to live in a contemplative way, always walking by Your side along the journey of my life so I can learn to discern my way.
Mary, Joseph, teach me to ponder all the things of God in my heart. The journey through Egypt is the journey of our life. We are destined to walk every day with our God, with our Beloved Brother Jesus Christ. He guides our way with His light—through Truth and Life. Saying less and listening more to the gentle voice of the Spirit, is my prayer in my life journey. Not being concerned about what tomorrow brings, but living every day with absolute trust in my Beloved.
What does it mean to trust and to live a faithful life with God? It means to do His will every day but first I need to be open to listen to the voice of Love. Embracing the precious gift of every present moment. Giving praise and thanksgiving to the Master of creation and of my heart—my heart beating to His, is the greatest miracle!
My Beloved, you are the author of all seasons. At the arrival of each one, you leave your footprints in my garden.
Now, is the glorious season of autumn. Here where I live, in this beautiful North, the majestic beauty of your touch is everywhere to be seen.
The precious gift of your presence is always a special grace in my garden.
My Beloved, my flowers are still in bloom despite the late night cold breeze. But the maple tree is already showing the vibrant hues of red and orange leaves.
Oh! Blessed Lord! The birds always welcome your divine presence in my garden, they whisper in my ear that your gentle steps are approaching, and I know you are near calling me to come to your presence and rest awhile.
Autumn, this glorious season of change, is also of transformation and beauty. I can sense your gentle presence within me, transforming and revealing within my soul new insights illuminated by your precious light, leading me in my own journey of self-discovery and towards you.
Beloved of mine, how I long for these moments of being in your holy presence! Quietly listening to you, awakening my heart.
Your voice I seek, your warmth I crave, you give me an abundance of unconditional love.
Thank you, my Jesus!
Oh! My Rabboni, I love you! I want to live to love you! Each and every day and night of my life. Let us walk together along this path in my fall garden. This tender precious moments I’ll always treasure within my heart and soul.
Let me embrace you, my Beloved, with endless love and gratitude forever!
Every first Friday of the month we have Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament in my Parish. The first Friday of every month is also dedicated to the devotion of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Today at Eucharistic Adoration I was inspired during prayer to write this reflection and poem.
Beloved, I’m searching for You and I can’t find You anywhere around my garden.
I’m shouting Your Holy Name
Yeshúa! Yeshúa! Yeshúa! And I find no answer. I look and look everywhere and nothing! There is no trace of You.
I keep walking and find a path that leads me to the base of the mountain. I look up the hill and I begin to sense Your presence.
I feel that You’re inviting me to climb, so I begin to ascend up the mountain, I’m so eager to meet with You, my Beloved.
Despite my tiredness and pain I continue on the journey. Then suddenly I see You approaching me, I can begin to see Your full figure with Your white spotless tunic, I can see the contour of Your hair but I can’t see Your face, and You know what I’m thinking about… Then suddenly, You begin to talk to my heart, “Not yet my beloved child, not yet.” “You can’t see my face now.” “But come and see my hands and my feet.”
As I get closer to You, I lay down to Your feet and caress it lovingly, then I can see they are bleeding from the old wounds. I say nothing! I can’t talk, I have no words. I feel only sorrow. Then, as I rise and hold Your hands, they are also bleeding from the old wounds.
I break down in tears, there are no words between us, only a sacred silence. Then, I see Your side where Your Divine Heart is, and I can see drops of red blood beginning to soak Your spotless garment. I do not know what to do! I’m at a loss for words! I stand still…
Then, You gently speak to my heart once more. It was Heart to heart… “My beloved child, I’m still suffering greatly. My wounds can never be closed. They continue to be open for all. I bleed out of love and for love. I feel Your pain and the pain of every creature on earth. Console My Suffering Heart, console it.”
How, my Beloved Lord? How?
“Loving Me, loving Me in all and in everyone.”
~ My Personal Reflection
“There is in the Sacred Heart the symbol and express image of the infinite love of Jesus Christ which moves us to love in return.” Pope Leo XIII
I find You everywhere in the splendor of the day. I find You in the trees and in the gentle movement of the leaves. I find You in the breeze of the summer afternoon by the bay. I find You in the beauty of the sunset. I find You in the love and care of good friends.
I find You in the beauty of the monarch butterfly flying carefree searching for the sweet nectar of each flower. I find You in the sunlight that passes through the green leaves. I find You in the beauty of the scenery of this country road. I find You in the joyful songs of your happy birds… I find You in the hummingbirds, blue jays, and woodpeckers.
My heart is overflowing with love for Your creation. Oh Beloved, your grace is sufficient for me. I find Your beauty everywhere in the splendor of the day.
These days at the cottage with dear friends
and the blessings of each hour enjoying each other’s company.
Sharing meals together. Our early evening swim at the bay, admiring Your beautiful sky and all the cloud formations.
Bike riding after so long…Thank you Lord Jesus for making my body strong again.
There is so much to give You thanks my Beloved! Your Bread of Life I received on Sunday Mass at the Martyr’s Shrine.
My heart is so full of gratitude.
And how can I forget about the starry nights, the sky is Your canvas. I find You in the sounds of nature, the crickets chirping at night and the birds at dawn. They wake me up with their sweet melody.
Thank you! Thank you, my Beloved! for I find Your grace in the splendor of the day.
~ My Personal Reflection
All photos are taken by me from the beautiful area of Georgian Bay, Ontario ❤ in August 2018