Waiting is purification, is patience quelling desire, is God’s time permeating human haste.
The crystal droplet gathers at the curled leaf’s tip but does not fall. The mighty wave bounds in but does not break.
The heart’s new season pauses on the threshold of the walled, inviolate garden, the spring of living waters at its center.
We wait till that authoritative voice cries once more, “Come forth! Begin to bud and bloom! Toss in the breezes of my ardent love! Be all renewed and filled with light! Waiting is over— the hour of fulfillment come!”
Beloved, this is our new season. Together let us go to meet it.
Moses exhorts the Israelites to remember the great deeds that the Lord has done for them and to not let those deeds slip from their memories.
Upon recovering from a long illness, Wilfred Sheed reflected:
The spiritual life becomes very simple when you’re sick. You pray to get better, and if and when you do, you don’t need to be told to be grateful about it: it gushes out of you. And you discover, in the same giddy rush, that just being alive . . . is astoundingly good. G.K. Chesterton once said that if a person were to fall into the waters of forgetfulness and come out on the other side, he would think he had arrived in paradise. But all you need to do is to spend a couple of months on your back, or return home from a war and come downstairs to have breakfast in your own house. So my private proofs of God . . . begin with this: the sheer capacity for happiness, and one’s sense, when it happens, that this is correct and normal and not some freak of nature. When health returns, it feels like coming home . . . and the other thing, the bad news — the broken leg or even the mental breakdown — feels like the freak. But now you are to where you belong, in harmony with the universe. And from this I deduce with some conviction that the universe is essentially a good place to be, despite appearances. (10)
We feel gratitude most poignantly shortly, after we have recovered from a great sickness or immediately after unburdening ourselves of some mental anguish. We feel deep relief because we still remember our pain. But as time passes and we get further and further away from that initial experience of relief, our sense of gratitude fades because we forget how bad it really was.
This is what happened to the Hebrews. When they were in slavery, they cried out to God to be released. And when Moses brought them out of their bondage, they were grateful, but only for a while. As they sojourned in the desert, year in and year out, their memory of what God had done for them began to fade. And whenever anything went wrong, they complained to Moses. “Why did you bring us out into this desert? We were better off back in Egypt!” Past pain is no match for present suffering. We forget how bad we had it.
Thus, Moses exhorts the Hebrews: “Take care and watch yourselves closely, so as neither to forget the things that your own eyes have seen, nor let them slip from your mind as long as you live…. “Forgetting the things of the past does not mean the inability to recall an event. Rather, it means that a past event ceases to have an impact upon the present. Remembrance is an act of re-membering ourselves, to reconnect ourselves to the great graces that we have received.
God’s saving mercy has brought all of us through difficult times. We should not let what God has done for us slip from our memory. We need to remember the pain of the past. Doing so fosters gratitude and helps us keep the little annoyances of daily life in perspective.
Our prayers break on God like waves, and he an endless shore, and when the seas evaporate and oceans are no more and cries are carried in the wind God hears and answers every sound as he has done before.
Our troubles eat at God like nails. He feels the gnawing pain on souls and bodies. He never fails but reassures he’ll heal again, again, again, again and yet again.
Is Lent and I feel the interior call to walk by your side during these 40 days united to you, my Beloved.
These 40 days in the wilderness where the earth is barren and quiet, I can feel your loneliness, my Beloved. Silence engulfs this desert and I can only hear your footsteps as we walk side by side.
I can’t wait for the night to arrive. So I can view the magnificent sky filled with all the beauty of your Father’s creation. The moon and the stars — the sky looks like a blanket of shooting stars covering us from above giving us light and protection marked by the beauty of His love.
All those bright stars are speaking to you they bring you messages from above, from your Beloved Abba! They prompt you to persevere, and remain in His presence all along this journey. Giving you strength for your mission ahead, consoling your weary heart, my Beloved.
They urge you to keep going, to keep focused, to keep praying. To stay and remain in His perfect love.
Following you along this desert, my Beloved, is not an easy task. At times I have so many questions, so many concerns, so much restlessness in my own heart. But you only ask me to trust in you, to hold your hand and continue to walk together, side by side these 40 days.
My heart is united to yours and is finding true calm now, being in your presence is all I need during these long 40 days.
In quietude and awe, my heart is waiting,
Your beloved child, sister and friend, Redeemed by your love!
Was I conceived in love,
and for love?
We are all born
with your precious DNA in our hearts and souls,
We come to experience life
in order to discover You.
You have chosen to abide
in the deepest chambers of our hearts.
You have left my side.
Human love is so conditional
and limited, but when we are inspired
and touch by Your divine love,
our love can be transform
and become real. Alive!
Your love is everlasting,
You have placed your heart
so full of tender mercy and love
O, how blessed I am,
Your love gives me life,
gives me hope,
gives me joy.
Your love is my stronghold
and my peace.
All my life you have been
by my side,
and that suffices.
I was born for love.
We are born for love.
Because You are love.
King of my heart and soul.
Love in One.
Pure and Perfect!
I can say like the Sufi mystic and poet Rumi: “Love came and it made me empty. Love came and it filled me with the Beloved. It became the blood in my body. It became my arms and my legs. It became everything! Now all I have is a name, the rest belongs to the Beloved.”
“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).
O Lord, grant that I may seek You, not only at certain moments during the day, but also at every instant of my life.
~ Divine Intimacy
A soul who longs for a life of intimacy with God is not satisfied to limit its relations with Him to the time of prayer, but tries to extend them throughout the whole day. This is a rightful desire, for one who loves tries to prolong continuously his relations with the beloved. This is true, therefore, of a soul who loves God; and its desire is the more easily realized, since God Himself is always with us; He is always present and working in us. We are treating, it is true, of a presence which is spiritual and invisible; it is, however, real and not merely affective and moral, as is the presence of a loved one in the heart and mind of a lover.
If God is always with us, why can we not be always in continual contact with him? This contact is realized by thought and love, but much more by the latter than by the former. In fact, it is impossible to be always thinking of God, partly because the mind becomes tired and partly because our many occupations demand all the application of our intellect, which cannot pay attention to two different things at the same time. The heart, on the other hand, can always love, even when the mind is busy elsewhere; and it never grows weary of tending toward the object of its love. Since supernatural love does not consist in sentiment, but in an intimate orientation of the will toward God, we know that this turning is possible, even during the performance of duties which absorb all our attention. The will can strengthen this orientation of itself toward God precisely by the desire to fulfill each duty for love of Him, to please Him and give glory to Him. St. Thomas says that the heart can always tend Godward by “the desire of charity,” that is, by the desire to love Him, to serve Him, and to be united to Him in every action. “Prayer is nothing but a desire of the heart; if your desire is continuous, your prayer is continuous. Do you wish never to cease praying? Then never cease desiring” (St. Augustine).
~ A Meditation by Father Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.
The traffic goes on and on. Talk about rush hour!
Lord, I don’t want it to be this way, I long for stillness for both of us, for us to meet and embrace in a holy emptiness filled with your Spirit. I don’t want these endless, trivial interruptions, these mundane comments, this sheer nonsense— like confetti thrown all over us as we walk away from the consecration of our nuptials, into the world and our work there.
You are very patient. You take no notice of my repetitive slogans. My captive mind that reiterates so boringly these matters of no moment and dallies down side roads looking at silly signposts and place names, seeming to disregard you.
I say “seeming” for all the time I am so deeply and intricately intertwined with you, so absolutely yours, (as you are mine) that there’s no separation now for all eternity.