Medieval Contemplation

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Carmelite Style:

from The Ten Books on the Way of Life and the Great Deeds of the Carmelites--Book 1 Chapter 2

The other goal of this life is granted to us as the great gift of god, namely, to taste somewhat in the heart and to experience in the mind the power of the divine presence and the sweetness of heavenly glory, not only after death but already in this mortal life. This is to "drink of the torrent" of the pleasure of God. God promised this to Elijah in the words: "And there you shall drink of the torrent."

From Earliest times, Carmelites saw themselves as disciples and brothers of Elijah. Elijah still is our example and our model. It is to Elijah and to the Blessed Mother we turn for examples of how to live a life in God.

The passage quoted above is practically the only excerpt in English that you can find of this famous work. But it is such a beautiful passage and so perfectly stated that it is worth lingering over and thinking about.

"To taste somewhat in the heart. . . the power of the divine presence" all while we still live. That is the goal of a Carmelite life--for a Lay Carmelite a proposition that can be difficult because of the ordering of life that must occur to allow one to spend the time in contemplation. And yet, it is promised to those who give God the time and the space and the willingness to change. And as I want to be only what He would have me be, I want to change as He would have me change.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on April 5, 2006 10:03 PM.

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