Secondary Question: Then Is the Carmelite Way for Everyone?

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I won't need nearly as many words to answer this one. The answer is definitively "No!" While John's teaching may or may not be universal, there is more to being a Carmelite than following John's teaching. If all it took to belong to an order was to follow the teaching of one saint or another, I would have to belong to Franciscans, Salesians, Jesuits, Dominicans, and all the other orders. But obviously an Order is more than the teaching of the saints within the Order (which belongs to the Universal Church) it is the rule of the Order, the tradition of the Order, and probably any number of intangibles that I am overlooking.

Insisting that St. John's teaching is for everyone is in no wise different than insisting that St. Dominic's teaching is for everyone. Because one is theology and the other Mystical Theology does not make them of different character and therefore more or less universal.

More simply put, if it is the truth, it is the truth--always and everywhere for Carmelite or for unordered (notice I didn't say disordered) Catholic.

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Where does one begin if one thinks he has a vocation to the Carmelite Third Order?

Dear Nathan,

You can try calling your Chancery Office; however, in many cases this will not be helpful as they don't seem to know about such groups in the area.

The Carmelites are divided basically into two groups which have slightly different Rules, but which, overall observe the same practices. The Ancient Observance (to which I belong) can be contacted through the Darien Office. Click the link in my left hand column under Carmelites that says "Carmelite Province of the Most Pure Heart of Mary." Find out if there is a group near you. Attend a few meetings and inquire. In the interim, read the Carmelite Saints and see if they speak to you.

I don't have contact information for the OCDs to hand; however, I've been to their website and it is fantastic for locating groups. Perhaps one of our OCD members can drop a hit as to where to find it.

Pray, discern, read, learn, pray, pray, love, and pray. These are the keys in discerning vocation. Also get a confessor or spiritual director you can count on and work with him to discern where you are being called.





About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on April 5, 2004 10:37 AM.

Is Saint John of the Cross for Everyone?: Garrigou-Lagrange on the Mystical Life was the previous entry in this blog.

The Will and the Intellect: Something That Surprised Me is the next entry in this blog.

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