Tag Archives: Carmelite

Virgin of Mt Carmel teaches complete fidelity

Elijah on Mt CarmelSaint John Paul II said in 2000: “As I look at these mountains, my thoughts turn today to Mount Carmel, praised in the Bible for its beauty. We are, in fact, celebrating the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. On that mountain, located in Israel near Haifa, the holy prophet Elijah strenuously defended the integrity and purity of the chosen people’s faith in the living God. On that same mountain some hermits gathered in the 12th century after Christ and dedicated themselves to contemplation and penance. The Carmelite Order arose from their spiritual experience.

Walking with the Blessed Virgin, the model of complete fidelity to the Lord, we will fear no obstacles or difficulties.

Supported by her motherly intercession, like Elijah we will be able to fulfill our vocation as authentic “prophets” of the Gospel in our time… May Our Lady of Mount Carmel, whom we call upon today with special devotion, help us tirelessly climb towards the summit of the mountain of holiness;  may she help us love nothing more than Christ, who reveals to the world the mystery of divine love and true human dignity.”

Carmel and Pope Francis

Those of us who are devoted to the spiritual maternity of Saint Teresa of Jesus (Avila) will note that her method of teaching us to pray begins by engaging in an inner dialogue with Jesus Christ, “whom we know loves us,” in an attitude of silence and listening. These days the Carmelites of the Discalced tradition are preparing themselves (and the rest of us) for the Fifth Centenary of the Birth of Saint Teresa of Jesus.

The Carmelites a working to create and disseminate songs of harmony, simplicity, and beauty, will aid in praying in the style and thought of Teresa: the point is to pray with the words and spirituality of Saint Teresa so that the persons will be led to contemplate the beauty of the Lord.  Here the friars are giving “loving attention” to the role of musical harmony for prayer.

The Superior General of the Discalced Carmelites Father Saverio Cannistrà recently met the Holy Father at morning Mass and gave him the latest biography of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux written by Bishop Guy Gaucher, OCD. It is known that that Pope Francis is follows the way of Saint Thérèse.

Bit-by-bit getting to the Carmelite charism with Father Reginald Foster

Carmelites in prayer minature.JPGToday’s feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel begs us to open the door to more of what it means to follow the life of a Carmelite vocation, in other words. At this point in life I know little of what the Carmelite charism is about and its place in the Schools of Spirituality. However, Veronica Scarisbrick of Vatican Radio speaks with Father Reginald Foster, an American Discalced Carmelite priest now living back in the USA after decades of service to the Church working as a Latinist. Foster was chiefly responsible for the Holy Father’s Latin works. At one time, Father Reginald, with a few others, had to make sure papal documentation
was published in Latin was correct. Father Reginald was also very famous for his Latin classes in Rome. If you graduated from his classes, then you spoke and read Latin well. 

For me, the interesting points of this interview (on the audio clip) are the one dealing with the Carmelite differences and Elijiah as the spiritual Father of the founder of the Order; Foster explains the concept of “duplex spiritum.”
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Hungary changes constitution, status of some religious orders changes in the law

At the new year the Hungarians passed a new constitution with some real changes that will affect the Church and other ecclesial communities, including non-Christian groups. The New York Times ran the article that outlines the changes giving the impression that even the Hungarians are unable to name all the changes. What caught my eye thanks to Brother Richard of OSB.org, when he first posted a note on his FB page that some venerable religious orders like the Benedictines and the Carmelites and a group like the Opus Dei are now downgraded in terms of the law. But why? What does the Hungarian government gain by doing such and what are the long-term implications for the Benedictines and Carmelites? Why weren’t the states of the Dominicans and Jesuits changed? Some of what happened is noted here:

“With the
new year, as the new constitution goes into effect, all petitions to the
[Constitutional] Court lapse and it becomes much harder for anyone to challenge
this law — or any other.

“But it is worth lingering on the newly
re-enacted law on the status of churches because it is one of the places where
we can clearly see the effects of the new constitutional order on the
protection of constitutional rights. What does the law on churches do? It
creates 14 state-recognized religions
, and decertifies the rest. On January 1,
over 300 denominations lose their official status in Hungary — including their
tax exemptions and their abilities to run state-funded schools. While most of
the denominations are tiny, many are not. Among the religions that will no longer
be able to operate with state approval
are all versions of Islam, Buddhism,
Hinduism and Baha’i, as well as many smaller Catholic orders including the
Benedictines, Marists, Carmelites, and Opus Dei
, and a number of major
Protestant denominations including Episcopalians, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Seventh
Day Adventists, Mormons, Methodists, and all but one of the evangelical
churches. One each of the orthodox, conservative, and liberal Jewish synagogues
are recognized; but all other Jewish congregations are not” (The
Unconstitutional Constitution

A Benedictine from Hungary writes
that “religious orders are still part of the Catholic Church in my country
and being as such they will maintain their legal status — all other
problematic constitutional points nothwithstanding.” (see OSB.org)

Male religious life revives

A recent article in the National Catholic Register by Trent Beattie, “Surprising Revival for Men in Religious Life” notes that tide may be turning for some religious orders of men, especially those who remain faithful to prayer, orthodox theological reflection as proposed by the Church, a common life and work and the wearing of a religious habit. Beattie highlights the Texas Carmelites, Connecticut’s Franciscan Brothers of the Eucharist and the Oklahoma Benedictines of the Creak Creek abbey. All of the groups are beautiful expressions of the work of the Holy Spirit today.

Our Lady of the Way, pray for us.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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