A CARMELITE is called to make known, by her life, the possibility of intimate communion with God and to bear joyful witness that God alone is enough.
We will spend this week under the patronage of St John of the Cross, co-worker with St Teresa in the reform of Carmel and another great teacher and guide in prayer.
“In the first place it should be known that if a person is seeking God, the Beloved is seeking the person much more.”
This is St John’s starting point and the whole of his teaching is directed towards helping a person to respond to God’s initiative and to make space for God’s gift of Himself in prayer.
St John considers that, in order to make greater space for God, it is necessary to let go of some of the things that normally fill our lives, occupy our minds, and draw away our hearts. A Carmelite does this by embracing the separations of cloister, by adopting a way of life that is simple in regard to material things, and by freely limiting her contacts with family and friends, all of this in order that her life may become more and more focussed on God.
Read and Reflect
O great God of love, and Lord! How many riches do you place in the soul that neither loves nor is satisfied save in you alone, for you give yourself to it and become one with it in love. (St John of the Cross. Letter 11)
What more do you want, 0 soul! And what else do you search for outside, when within yourself you possess your riches, delights, satisfactions, fullness, and kingdom -your Beloved whom you desire and seek? Be joyful and gladdened in your interior recollection with Him, for you have Him so close to you. Desire Him there, adore Him there. Do not go in pursuit of Him outside yourself. You will only become distracted and wearied thereby, and you shall not find Him, nor enjoy Him more securely, nor sooner, nor more intimately than by seeking Him within you.
(Spiritual Canticle 1:8)
What does it profit you to give God one thing if He asks of you another? Consider what it is God wants and then do it. You will, as a result, satisfy your heart better than with something toward which you yourself are inclined. (Sayings of Light and Love)
In the evening of life you will be examined in love. (Sayings of Light and Love)
Do you feel a desire for a deeper relationship with God?
Do you regularly spend time in prayer?
What are the things that hinder you from developing your spiritual life?
On a scale 1-10 how would you rate the frequency of your use of social media?
During this time of discernment, and in order to make more space for God in your life, would you be willing to “fast” from social media one day each week?
Lectio John 17: 24-26
If prayer is not already a regular part of your day, plan to set aside at least 15 minutes when you can be alone and quiet.
Listen to the podcasts of St John of the Cross’s teaching on prayer: