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Showing posts with the label Carmelite Order

In the spirit of Elijah

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In the past week we’ve celebrated two major Carmelite feasts: Our Lady of Mt. Carmel (July 16) and the prophet Elijah (July 20). These two great saints in different ways exemplify what Carmelite spirituality is about.
Elijah demonstrates the prophetic aspect of Carmelite spirituality. The Carmelite seal bears these words of his as a motto:
With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord God of Hosts (1 Kings 19:10).
Consumed with zeal for holiness Elijah was not afraid to confront the rulers of his day. He risked death to preach repentance to King Ahab, while Queen Jezebel launched an anti-crusade to wipe out God’s prophets. He challenged the prophets of Baal to a contest on Mt. Carmel to see whose god would consume a sacrifice with fire from Heaven. After winning that contest (surprise!), Elijah had all the false prophets killed. He led the people to re-commit themselves to the true God.
Then he went and prayed that, seeing their repentance, God would send rain. Elijah’s prayer…

Introducing Myself---Again

I cannot remember how long ago Melanie asked that we introduce or reintroduce ourselves, but at last I have put something together.  This is a reintroduction.

Some Things about Me that You Might Like to Know

Lifelong CatholicMarried 35 years and still going strongMother of oneMother-in-law of oneRetired since 2008Professed Lay CarmeliteBorn and raised in Chicago, Illinois, but now living in Northern California, after having lived in a few other places as wellEducated at Palmer School, St. Edward School, Sacred Heart Academy, Resurrection High School, DePaul University, Northeastern Illinois University, Franciscan School of TheologyEmployment history: waitress, lab tech, school teacher, U.S.A.F sergeant, Chicago police officer, director of religious education, and moreLearning guitar and Spanish You can find more, if you like, at my blog, From the Pulpit of My Life, on the "Meet Ruth Ann" page.  I would enjoy hearing from you!

Seeking the face of God in prayer

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Early versions of the new constitutions for the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites defined OCDS members in part as those who ”seek the face of God in prayer” in order to be of service the Church and the world. I love this imagery. Seeking the face of God is the most important aspect of Christian prayer. It separates prayer from eastern meditation techniques and self-seeking under the guise of holiness.

Pope Francis is fond of reminding us that the Christian life is an encounter with Christ. As important as morality is, it cannot take central place. Even such fundamentals as protecting human life and supporting traditional marriage cannot stand alone. Atheists can be pro-life. Muslims can support the traditional family. But only Christians truly encounter Christ.

Created, redeemed, and destined for love The Apostle John summed up the Gospel in this manner: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but …

Do you know these Carmelite saints and blesseds?

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November 13 is the first anniversary of Contemplative Homeschool. The 14th is the Feast of All Carmelite Saints. To celebrate, I’d like to introduce you to a few Carmelite saints and blesseds  you may not know. In the future, I hope to delve deeper into the spiritual insights of more Carmelite saints on my blog.

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity Elizabeth Catez was born in 1880 in France. Her father was in the army. He died when Elizabeth was seven. She, her mother, and sister moved to a home in Dijon that overlooked a Carmelite monastery.

When Elizabeth made her first Communion, the mother superior told her that Elizabeth meant “House of God.” That impressed the young girl. It became the central idea of her spirituality–the realization that the Holy Trinity lived in her soul. She made a private promise of virginity at age 14 and entered Carmel at 20. She spent only five years in the cloister before her death from a prolonged illness in 1906.


Read the rest at Contemplative H…

Jesus loves us MOST when we are weak.

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At the Secular Carmelite retreat I went to last weekend, I heard a message I didn't expect and it has changed the way I'm hearing scripture, liturgy and homilies. I have different ears somehow.

The topic of our retreat was, "Rediscovering the Riches of Divine Intimacy," with retreat master Father Robert Barcelos, OCD. I had been wondering how to grow in intimacy with God, pondering how it was that I had been feeling stuck for so long and even having a hard time following through on my prayer commitments. 
Father Robert said that Jesus loves us MOST where we are weak. He doesn't love us DESPITE when  we're weak, but loves us MOST when we are weak. It's his preference. Whenever Jesus picks a place of encounter, it is in a place where life is messy, shameful or overwhelming for us.
Where did Jesus choose to encounter mankind, face to face, in the flesh, for the first time? In a dank, smelly stable, in the middle of the night. He could have chos…

Holy Tuesday: Reflecting on Christ Alive

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This Holy Tuesday morning I drove to the Carmelite Nuns Monastery in Georgetown for daily Mass.  It's a good 25 minute drive from where I live, and I had hoped not to be late.  I arrived at my destination with 5 minutes to spare.

Not only did I wish to attend Mass, but I also hoped that the Nuns had posted their Triduum schedule.  They had.  Now I can look forward to attending their Holy Week liturgies.  I have done so in previous years. 

The Monastery has a public chapel where visitors attend Mass while the Nuns have their own chapel to the left side of the sanctuary.  Their chapel is separated from the sanctuary by a grill.  You might enjoy looking at the chapel photos on the Nuns website, here.

The daily Mass is not too different from daily Mass at a parish, but the atmosphere in the chapel is, in my opinion, quieter, as there are fewer people present, and those who are observe great reverence.  At communion time, the chaplain, Fr. Tom, distributes Holy Communion …

Mary pondered all these things--do you?

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There are many types of devotion to Mary. Carmelites honor Mary by imitating her. In particular, they imitate her way of meditating on the great things that God has done.

Luke’s Gospel tells us twice that “Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.” She was the first contemplative Christian.  What did she ponder? What God had done for her, and what He was doing in and through her Son.

Here are some concrete ways you can live a more contemplative life, following Mary’s example.

Continue reading.

From a Fellow Carmelite: On Beauty

I belong to the Carmelite Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary.  They have recently revamped their website.  It still has some kinks, but it is very attractive and informative.  This link is part of their prayer page.  It is an inspiring essay on beauty as a way of access to God.  Enjoy!

On Beauty - Order of Carmelites | Order of Carmelite