At the Fountain of Elijah


There are several useful introductions to Carmelite Spirituality available today. One is by Father John Welch, who is the Prior Provincial of the Most Pure Heart of Mary Province of the Old Order Carmelites. At the Fountain of Elijah by Wilfrid McGReal is another.

If you are a frequent reader, you've already seen several excerpts from Father McGreal's work. It is short (about 130 pages), to the point and clear. There are excerpts of all the major Carmelite writers and they are placed within the traditions of the Carmelite family so that the relationship between the two branches of the Order are made more clear and comprehensible.

What is useful about these introductions is that while they introduce you to the major Carmelite Saints, they also introduce you to the essentials of Carmelite Spirituality--a point, as I wrote yesterday, that I seem to have been dodging until the last year or so when pieces began to fall into place. The "roots" of Carmelite spirituality go deep into scripture. It is from constant immersion in scripture that the Carmelite develops. One can read the complete works of all of the Carmelite Saints and seek to internalize all of the seeming teaching, but it one misses this essential point, one remains forever outside the fold. All of the great Saints of Carmel are overwhelmingly informed by Scripture, by lectio, and by spending time with the Word in the Word.

McGreal manages to nail this point several times in the course of the book. I think he may do a better job of it that Father Welch's book, but that is a subjective evaluation.

If you think you're called to be a Carmelite, or if you want to know more about what Carmelites are all about, At the Fountain of Elijah will provide you with a glimpse of the history, charism, and life of Carmel. It isn't the fullness of the Carmelite way, but it isn't meant to be--it is meant merely to introduce. And as an introduction, I would say that it is superb.

Highly recommended to those interested in the Carmelite way of life.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on April 20, 2006 9:30 AM.

Forget Everything You Think You Know About the Carmelites was the previous entry in this blog.

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