Integral to living out the Carmelite charism is a commitment by the Carmelite Family, its communities and individuals, to building peace, upholding justice, and maintaining the integrity of God's Creation (sometimes abbreviated to JPIC). The Carmelite Family in Britain and across the world seeks to preach Christ's Good News and build up God's kingdom on earth by living in solidarity with the planet and its people.
The Social Teaching of the Catholic Church is reflected in the spirituality of the Carmelite Order.
The first Carmelites on Mount Carmel learned to respect their environment, tending the land and seeking to live in peace with others. Those first Carmelites took inspiration from the prophet Elijah who had dwelt on Mount Carmel. As a prophet, Elijah 'spoke truth to power', challenging the abuses of those in power, and defending the rights of the power and dispossessed.
When the Carmelites became a mendicant order within the Church, they lived poor among the poor, supporting and identifying with those on the margins of society.
The 1995 Constitutions of the Carmelite Friars speak of justice and peace as foundational to Carmel:
"The Rule of Saint Albert speaks of a community whose members are open to the indwelling of the Spirit and formed by the Spirit’s values: chastity, holy thoughts, justice, love, faith, the expectation of salvation, work accomplished in peace, silence which, as the Prophet tells us, is the cult of justice and brings wisdom to word and action; and discernment, 'the guide and moderator of all virtues'." (§16)
Today Carmelite friars, apostolic sisters and laity live "in the midst of the people", sharing the joys and sorrows of those around us. As the 1995 Constitutions state: "This way of being in the midst of the people is a sign and a prophetic witness of new relationships, of fraternity and friendship among men and women everywhere. It is a prophetic message of justice and peace in society and among peoples. As an integral part of the Good News, this prophecy must be fulfilled through active commitment to the transformation of sinful systems and structures into grace-filled systems and structures. It is also an expression of the choice to share in the lives of “the little ones” (minores) of history, so that we may speak a word of hope and of salvation from their midst - more by our life than by our words. This option flows naturally from our profession of poverty in a mendicant fraternity, and is in keeping with our allegiance to Christ Jesus, lived out also through allegiance to the poor and to those in whom the face of our Lord is reflected in a preferential way." (§24)
Some articles of interest:
- Have a merry, sustainable Christmas
- Connectivity of History
- Praying for the Earth
- Being friendlier with each other
- A better future?
Season of Creation
The Season of Creation started on 1 September (World Day of Prayer for the Care of Creation) and continues until 4 October (the feast of Saint Francis of Assisi) each year. Here are some resources and prayers for our pilgrims:
Garden of Hope
The Saint Jude Garden of Hope is a new project to create a garden of prayer and hope behind the Shrine Office.
You can donate to the garden, here.
Dear Mother earth,
Who day by day unfolds rich blessing on our way,
O Praise God! Alleluia!
The fruits and flowers that verdant grow,
Let them his praise abundant show.
O praise God, O praise God, Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia.
- Saint Francis
A Prayer for our Earth
All powerful God,
you are present in the universe
and in the smallest of your creatures.
You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love,
that we may protect life and beauty.
Fill us with your peace, that we may live
as brothers and sisters, harming no one.
O God of the poor,
help us to rescue the abandoned
and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives,
that we may protect the world and not prey on it,
that we may sow beauty,
not pollution and destruction.
Touch the hearts
of those who look only for gain
at the expense of the poor and the earth.
Teach us to discover the worth of each thing,
to be filled with awe and contemplation,
to recognize that we are profoundly united
with every creature
as we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day.
Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle,
for justice, love and peace.
'Prayer for our Earth' which was originally published in Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si’.
Carmelite Symbols: A Way to Prayer - Garden
Over the last few weeks, we have been working on our new 'Garden of Hope'. Back in 2018, Fr Kevin Alban started a series of reflections on the symbols of Carmel, and because we are creating this new garden, we wanted to republish his reflection on gardens, here.
Thank you for reading our website - are you able to donate to our work? You can do that, below - thank you:
Image credit:Nastco (IStockPhoto .com)