Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

OCDS Central

The Way of Carmel

A guide to living,
a way of life,
a path through all of the twists and turns of human existence.
Our brothers and sisters have followed this path,
illuminating the way for us.
“Your word is a lamp unto my feet,
and a light for my path.”

A path up the mountain
through sorrow, refreshment, suffering, and glimpses of the unknown,

A guide to living,
into the inexpressible joy of our Father’s presence.

“Lord, who may abide in your tent,
and dwell on your holy mountain?”

My Lord has spoken
all that needs to be heard;
our brothers and sisters show us how to respond to the Word.
Interiorly silent, I listen for His still, small voice
in the cell of my soul:
“Be still, and know that I am God.”

I pledge my fealty to my Lady.
I promise to her my service.
She promises to me her maternal love and protection.
“Do whatever He tells you.”

I till the garden of my soul, 
pulling the weeds one by one.
By God’s grace I have the strength
to scrub at the stains of sin and excessive attachments.
“Take up your cross and follow me.”

I struggle to live in my Lord’s presence by constant converse with Him.
If I cling not to any created thing
and accept His will in all,
all is well with my soul.
“Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”

I am a child of God.
He is my All.
I can do nothing without His grace.
“Let the little children come to Me.”
Drawn by His grace,
I take the first steps,
but He raises me up in His arms
“Who shall climb the mountain of the Lord?
Who shall stand in his holy place?
The man with clean hands and pure heart,
who desires not worthless things.”

I should not fear a lack of any thing.
If I give all to Him, He returns it a hundred fold.
“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow:
They neither toil nor spin. 
But I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these.”

“O Lord, my heart is not proud, 
nor haughty my eyes.
I have not gone after things too great for me, 
nor marvels beyond me.
Truly I have set my soul in silence and in peace.
As a child has rest in its mother’s arms,
even so my soul.”

Written by Mark Calvert, OCDS
Mark is a Secular Discalced Carmelite in the U.S. Central Province

a Silent Lamp

A poem by Gerald N. Alford in tribute to Thomas Merton

I am a lamp,
a silent lamp,
burning in the space and time
given as my life.

Not with steady flame I burn,
but under influences
good and bad,
I flicker.

But yet I burn,
and give some light.


"By Heart"

Last [summer] my daughter asked me to stay with her children (her almost four year old daughter, and one and a half year old son) for an hour or so while she attended to a task with focus. It turned out to be more delightful than I could have imagined, and a cause for simple, peaceful and enlivening reflection afterward.

I had barely come into the living room, when my granddaughter wanted to play a CD from vacation bible school that had been a key part of that week. Amazingly, and almost humorously, she had the dance moves almost down pat, perfectly. That is mainly because her mom, my daughter, had been responsible to lead the dozens of young children in their daily music activity. And as can be imagined, those songs had been played dozens of times at home in the previous month, so that they and their accompanying dances could be "taught" to the VBS participants. Not surprisingly, my granddaughter knew it all by heart.

Of course, the idea was that Grandma was supposed to follow her lead! Well, I did, and I experienced the greatest surprise - I was really flooded with joy!

It flashed through my mind while driving home (I might add that some of the route is through very lovely pastoral scenery), that a key to that joy was the freedom and focusing that came from jumping in. Here I was, sixty-three year old grandma, enjoying the fact that my granddaughter could be absorbed in the music, confident she knew it by heart.

All of a sudden it occurred to me that the "knowing by heart" is connected to drills, the repetition, a waiting period until all takes hold. And what happens with drilling? There's a boring through - not necessarily fun or exciting, but a definitive purpose to reach that opening, the destination. The knowing "by heart" is very connected with our whole being. And I see that displayed so exquisitely in the range of experiences by today's Saint, Elijah. There's the being still, the trekking, and the bursts, giving a glimpse of our God most Holy, most powerful, while most interiorly, gently working and abiding, giving rise to more than we can describe this side of heaven.

Written by "A Listening Heart"
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Other Blogs by Secular Discalced Carmelites:

  • Bethany Hang Out – a blog by Shawn Chapman, OCDS. Shawn is a member of the Austin community of Secular Discalced Carmelites. She also writes regularly for ATX Catholic online.
  • Elizabeth Explores Writing - a blog by Elizabeth Ogilvie, OCDS. Elizabeth is a Secular Discalced Carmelite of the U.S. Central Province.
  • Gray Rising – a blog by Tim Bete, OCDS. Tim is a member of the community of the Secular Discalced Carmelites in Dayton, OH.
  • Hearth Cake and a Jug of Water – Mary Bellman, a member of the Dallas OCDS community, sends out a daily Carmelite quotation by e-mail. Send her an email at bellman.mary@gmail.com if you would like to be added on her mailing list and receive these Carmelite quotations.
  • Illumina, Domine – a blog by Pat Enk, a Secular Discalced Carmelite of the U.S. Central Province.