monks of carmelites

The difference between Dominican, Franciscan and Carmelite Spirituality
Dominicans have a much more bookish spirituality. They were a preaching reform movement that was focused on academic and intellectual renewal. They were formidable debaters and made their mark in making the gospel accessible to the common man in forms and words they could understand.

Franciscans came from St. Francis who was more pastoral. He wanted reform, but wanted more peace and harmony with nature, solidarity with the poor, being contrary to clerical privilege, etc. It was certainly more evangelical in flavor. They were more about preaching the truth through works and example and not so much in preachy words and erudite theologizing.

Carmelites are much more contemplative, interior prayer, contemplation of holy mysteries, interior life, etc. It is more focused on the inward spiritual journey. It is rooted in the life of Elijah the prophet (on the original Mount Carmel in Israel, which is a beautiful place to visit), when he went to the mountain and finally found God not in the fire or storm or rushing wind, but in a tiny quiet whisper.

Be Present

Psalm 139 states Gods nearness wherever we find ourselves. We know He isn’t confined to a church building or only available at certain times of day. But we can still miss God at work even when He is right in front of our eyes.

Why? Because we are still learning the art of knowing and following the voice of the Holy Spirit as He speaks. Two people hear the same song. One experiences God, and one daydreams about something that needs to be done at work next week. Two people face a crisis in life. One experiences an over-whelming sense of grace flood over the pain—after all, He is not just present but very present help in our time of trouble (see Psalm 46:1)—while the other feels nothing but hurt, betrayal, anger and loneliness. Why? It’s all about how and where we place our faith and expectation. By God’s grace, I have a growing revelation of the love of God toward me, so that even on the hardest of days I am expecting Him to turn it around.

If I can encourage you in one way today, it would be for you to cultivate your attitude of expectation so that you will be present in His presence. Don’t wait until you have things figured out. Don’t wait until you feel spiritual. Expect Him right now. King David said with much confidence in Psalm 27:14, “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (NIV).

Each of us has had conversations with someone when we knew the other person wasn’t really there. Physically they were there. Words came out of their mouth. They looked in our direction, but we could just tell they weren’t present. It is so easy to get distracted and not fully be in the moment. Its an art to learn to STOP and experience God in the present. He is with us now. Emmanuel, God with us. All you have to do is be aware, whether you are driving in your car, shopping for groceries, reading a bedtime story to your child, waking up and putting the coffee on, or standing with other believers with arms stretched high, singing songs of praise and thanksgiving to our Lord and Savior. He is with us.

One enduring Christian devotional book is The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence, a seventeenth-century Carmelite monk. It was this precious saint’s goal to do nothing out of selfishness, but to do everything out of love for God, whether working the soil or studying God’s Word. For him that meant realizing he was always in God’s presence and living every moment in that realization. His simple but profound teaching was “to form a habit of conversing with God continually, and referring all we do to Him.” So what if you do that and still don’t feel His presence? 

Brother Lawrence continues in his writings: “We must at first apply to Him with some diligence: but that after a little care, we should find His love inwardly excites us to it without any difficulty.”

Oh how I love this thought. It was early in my Christian experience that my attention and awareness of the presence of God became very real, that I was so aware that if I drew near to Him, He always would draw near to me. He hemmed me in, behind and before. Laid His hand upon me, gently, not heavy-handed. And my heart continues to be overwhelmed by the fact that the God who created the heavens and the earth actually is here and delights to draw near to me.

His presence defines us, sets us apart, strengthens us, penetrates our very being, gives direction to our pursuits, fuels our passions and brings joy and strength as we draw near.

James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” (NKJV).
Take these scriptures into your day today and let His presence set your stance and direction.
Psalm 139: 7-9
Psalm 27: 14
James 4: 8

anonymous asked:

What do you think about communists and anarchists who are also deeply religious?

depends what “deeply religious” entails I suppose, like if you are up for restricting access to abortion then you can’t be an anarchist, but if you want to be a Tolstoy holy hermit type then obviously there’s no problem… I think it’s like anything else, it boils down to the social relationships you’re trying to set up and maintain. Personally I quite enjoy reading about mysticism and stuff like that, when I lived in Prague I used to go along and talk to the Carmelite monks up at the church of our lady victorious where they have the wee statue of jesus that apparently does miracles - I used to talk to them about drugs and all sorts, one guy in particular I had a few long conversations with, pretty profound ones that i still think about sometimes…. I’m not into the rigid catholicism that he was, obviously, but it was clear that the guy had some wisdom, he was so calm and listened carefully, thought before he spoke… I have a lot of time for monks and nuns of any persuasion actually. Carmelite monks spend long periods completely isolated, just praying and that, and although I couldn’t do it I don’t consider it a waste of a life or anything, I actually kind of respect it. I was a committed atheist when I was younger, but now fuck knows what I am. There’s a Proudhon quote that goes:

Some ironical thinker, I know not who, has said: “A little philosophy leads away from religion, and much philosophy leads back to it.” This proposition is humiliatingly true.