Prayer

Jesus Christ, Centre of the life consecrated to God in Carmel

A life of Prayer

Prayer according to Saint Teresa is nothing else but keeping company with Jesus Christ, 'our companion, Saint of saints'. This looking to Christ and considering His Life and His example is so as to conform ours to His'. (Way of Perfection, 29, 4: 22,7).

'I am not asking you now to think of Him...or to make great and subtle meditations with your understanding. I am asking you only to look at Him... See, He is only waiting for us to look at Him, as the Bride says, 'in the measure that you desire Him you will find Him. '(Way of Perfection, 26, 3)

According to the Teresian definition of prayer, which is 'a friendly conversation with God, whom we know loves us'. We come to the recognition, that it is from Christ himself, dwelling within us, that we will learn how to love Him. Saint Teresa of Jesus spoke of this indwelling in The Interior Castle when she wrote: 'We need no wings to go in search of Him, but have only to find a place where we can be alone and look upon Him present within us'. (Interior Castle, chapter 28).

Saint Teresa thus acknowledges prayer to be the supreme manifestation of the spiritual life of those, who, 'believing in love, endeavour to free themselves from everything, in order to be able to attain that presence full of love,' in which, 'the mind and heart are fixed on the Most Sacred Humanity'. 'What more do we desire', Saint Teresa states, 'than to have such a good friend at our side'...? (Life, 22, 7)

In Carmel, in the heart of the desert, the heart of the Monastery, and in the heart of the Enclosure, the Song of Songs speaks of a place set apart, '...in His longed-for shade I am seated, and His fruit is sweet to my taste'. (Song of Songs 2: 3,4). Here in the Carmelite cell, we watch and pray. We contemplate Jesus, to whom we have 'chosen to live in allegiance to'. He is Bridegroom of our souls, and it is here that we enter into the mystery of the Trinity with singleness of desire, with pure heart, and with poverty of spirit, a place where God is our only treasure, and in Jesus, 'the whole fullness of divinity dwells bodily' (Colossians 2:9).

For Saint Teresa of Jesus taught us that 'God is the last end and 'reason for existence' of the contemplative life', and that 'He deserves infinitely that at least some among the beings He has created for His glory, should have as their only aim, to live with their heart and soul fixed on Him' (Pius XI Apostolic Constitution, Umbratilem remotamque)

Perpetual prayer must be for the Carmelite, the means by which we become Prayer itself!