The liturgical year begins with First Sunday of Advent, which starts four Sundays before Christmas (December 25). In this Liturgical year, 2017, Circle A, the Church meditates on the Gospel of Matthew and uses it for most of Sunday readings (St. Luke for Circle B and St. Mark for Circle C). St. John, who appears several times in the Liturgy of the Word of almost all three years, is offered in a special way during the time of the Lord's Passion.
"The root of brotherhood, then, is faith, adhesion to the plans of the Lord, to his way of living and dying. And the fruits of brotherhood are freedom, joy, peace." This quote from the reflection of the Carmelite youth group in Curinga, Italy will help the Carmelites and those who want to follow the Carmelite Charism experience the values of the Carmel Call - vocation.
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Be a Brother, Be a Prophet
Carmelite Youth Group
It does not appear very often in the biographies of Pope John Paul II, but when he was a young adult trying to discern his vocation, Karol Wojtyla thought seriously of becoming a Discalced Carmelite. The only reason he did not join the novitiate in Czerna, Poland was because the Carmelites were not accepting novices because of the war.
The way we live and the way we pray are closely related. We might even say that the way we pray is the way we live and the way we live is the way we pray. In prayer we engage our own thoughts and desires and feelings. There is so much of ourselves that we put into prayer and the more of ourselves that we put into prayer, the more complete and life-giving our prayer turns out to be.
“If we want to build communities in which there is an abundance of life, then we must recognise who and what we are and what it means for us to be alive... Religious communities are like ecological systems. A rare frog will need its own ecosystem if it needs to flourish...
Hot Cross Buns, Easter Eggs and Carmel
I spent six years in our inner city London parish, Walworth. One of the joys there was the school Mass. There was normally a school mass every Friday. Often the age range would be from five to eleven. For the reflection after the Gospel I asked as many questions as possible in order to gain the children's interest. One year, after Easter, I asked the children what had they to eat on Good Friday.
Why are eggs associated with Easter? Why are they such a powerful symbol of resurrection? The word needs some care. It is not resuscitation, as if Jesus were simply brought back to life, like Lazarus or the widow’s son at Nam (see John 9 and Luke 7:11-15). Resurrection is transformation. The symbols of resurrection are many.
As Carmelites We live our life of allegiance to Jesus Christ and to serve Him faithfully with a pure heart and a clear conscience through a commitment to seek the face of the living God (the contemplative dimension of life), through prayer, through fraternity, and through service (diakonia). These three fundamental elements of the charism are not distinct and unrelated values, but closely interwoven.
All of these we live under the protection, inspiration and guidance of Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, whom we honor as "our Mother and sister."