Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

OCDS Central

In the Drink

Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
(Psalm 139:7, 9-10)

In the Drink ~


You who tried teaching me to swim, held me close 
basking and sea bathing.
How small my arms were, clasped tightly under your chin against the star-blue eddies.

Was it salt, sunlight, or buoyant effervescences?  For I 
took to all three without knowing such longings.  And like one beguiled by
friendly spirits, let trust weave itself into the coverlet of my heart.  

Thus entranced, your 
buttressing arms fell away as we plunged headlong
into wind-torn sea adventures.  

Your muscle-oared frame moved – sure timbered, sea worthy – with
breath shattering nimbleness.
How swiftly we sailed!  How sweetly we unfurled into water assault!

Skimming – – – – 
Riding carnival waves!  Each wave
glistening with laughter, drenching with delight!


Something like silver petals glide 
back and forth across this turquoise tide. Drowsy waves tug at my
feet, pulling them deeper and deeper

into warm sand.  But I pay no heed to the fluid murmuring.  Off in the distance,
ponderous storm clouds loom above coral banks, their heavy winds
fracturing – darkening – the placid surface.

Beckoning from the [deep] mystic blue waters where twice before, I drowned–almost–You 
taught my heart to spill entreaties in
borrowed island verse—my own sedentary silence 

submerged in a tide no name can employ. 

Forged through fissures of fine salt, 
[unheard, unseen] You’ve poured yourself into empty, 
burning arms.  

Arms that once embraced, and can no longer 
wrap themselves ‘round, 
nor cling to things—or persons gone forever.


I stand at this shores edge, bathed in bright youthful memories.
Memories that form and reveal a fragile nature. Yes. 
This way of communion between us

is Your gift, and I should—tremble inwardly at such knowledge.
Instead, I spend my portion recklessly, with 
abandon, much as little children do 

with their Father.

Written by Hannah De Lisser


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.

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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.