For those who received this older post (from Sunday March 1st) in your email this morning (Friday, March 20)…not sure how that happened, sorry about that. I guess we were meant to read it again! 🙂
Have a Blessed Rest-of-Lent!
A solution for our times?
The grace of prayer always integrates the one praying more fully into the mystery of the Church.
This is clear in the Carmelite tradition which of all the monastic traditions is in a sense the most contemplative one in its insistence that the goal is union with God through prayer, along a route that from the outside might seem highly individualistic.
At the same time, however, it is the Carmelite tradition that makes clearest the close connection and interdependence between the contemplative life and the mystery of the Church.
This connection is simple and very deep: it is brought about by love, because all that matters between God and the soul is Love; and in the ecclesiology implicit in the teachings of the great representatives of Carmel (St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Thérèse of Lisieux), Love also constitutes the essence of the mystery of the Church.
The Love uniting God and the soul and the Love that constitutes the deepest reality of the Church are one and the same—love that is the gift of the Holy Spirit.
As she was dying, St. Teresa of Avila said, “I am a daughter of the Church.” Her first reason for founding her Carmels, placing nuns in cloisters and urging them toward the mystical life, was to respond to the needs of the Church in her time.
She was deeply shaken by the ravages of the Protestant Reformation and by the tales of the “conquistadors” about the huge numbers of pagans to be won for Christ.
“The world is on fire,” she said, “and this is no time to be concerned with unimportant things.”
St. John of the Cross states very clearly that disinterested love for God, love freely given to God in prayer, is of the greatest benefit to the Church and what she needs most.
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