Discerning God’s Call
Jesus calls each person to a life of intimacy with Him. For some, this call will be lived out in the context of marriage and the family. Others are called to serve Christ in the single state. Still others are called to follow Christ through the evangelical counsels of chastity, poverty and obedience; “they have handed over their entire lives to God’s service in an act of special consecration which is deeply rooted in their baptismal consecration and which provides an ampler manifestation of it.” (Perfectae Caritas 5)
This call to intimate friendship with God is a mystery and it is a gift. The life-vocation of each person is as unique as their own fingerprints or DNA.The Book of Psalms in the Scriptures tells us that “God knit me in my mother’s womb” and “He calls us by name.”
As a community, we endeavor to discern the will of God using many means. Like Mary we ponder God’s Word in the Holy Scriptures. We hear the voice of God speaking to us through the Church, and we study the Carmelite saints to come to a better understanding of our charism. By endeavoring to listen respectfully to each other, we are better able to perceive God’s call to us as a community. In the events of daily life and in the signs of the times, God speaks through ordinary people and ordinary events. We also listen attentively to God in the silence of our own hearts. God will guide us if we are open to all the ways He manifests Himself.
We invite a woman who feels called to follow Jesus in a life of prayer as a Carmelite nun to enter into this discernment process with us. Here are some questions for her to consider:
- Do you have a healthy respect for marriage and family life and yet feel called to a celibate life of self-gift to Christ?
- Do you desire to live a simple life of evangelical poverty?
- Do you wish to unite your will to God’s will through the evangelical counsel of obedience in imitation of Christ?
- Do you have a love for the Blessed Virgin Mary?
- Do you desire to make a difference in this troubled world through a hidden life of prayer, convinced that the power of prayer reaches out to those who are suffering?
- Do you feel drawn to a way of consecrated life that combines the cenobitic (community) and eremitical (hermit) traditions allowing for liturgical prayer in community and personal prayer in solitude?
- Are you able to work alone in silence?
- Do you wish to live a community life following the Teresian ideal “of a small family in which all are evangelically equal, relations are open and sincere, joys and sorrows are shared, and the members are committed to one another for their entire lives”? (Carmelite Constitutions)
St. Therese speaks of the life of a Carmelite in these words: “everything I do, my actions, my looks, everything . . . is done through love.”
We believe the call to follow Jesus as a Carmelite Nun is a call to give oneself in unconditional love to Love.
We believe a life of prayer is a life of love.
We believe love is the only power that will change and heal our world.
We believe love is a fire and all who come close to it are warmed. Jesus said “I have come to cast a fire on the earth and how I wish it were kindled!”
Do you believe the call to follow Jesus as a Carmelite Nun is a call to give oneself in unconditional love to Love?
Do you believe a life of prayer is a life of love?
Do you believe love is the only power that will change and heal our world?
Jesus said “I have come to cast a fire on the earth and how I wish it were kindled!” Do you believe love is a fire and all who come close to it are transformed?
By endeavoring to live a life of love in communion with Jesus we are thereby making love present in the world. The adage “It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness” is truer today than ever.