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Christmas, consumerism and traditional celebrations

I remember my first Christmas celebrations back in Malaysia where I grew up. As a child, I had always sensed the wonder of ‘holy’ days, knowing deep inside that every special day worth celebrating had spiritual roots.

Being Asian, food was always a big part of any celebration and that came as an added bonus. Those holidays were meaningful, significant and every childhood memory became seminal treasures. Dishes and types of food were unique to each celebration or season,

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Advent Figures: John And Mary

Advent is with us once again. It comes around so soon. Like all liturgical time it is complex. In its simplest expression it is a season of preparation for Christmas. Christmas itself come about through a double process. It was a Christian substitution for the sun feast, natalis solis invicti, established by the Emperor Aurelian in 274, which celebrated the sun’s triumph over the winter solstice. It would also seem to have been a influenced by a Jewish idea that all great events m a cycle occurred on the same day, e.g.

Order of The Brothers of The Most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel (Carmelites: White Friars: O. Carm.)

As the little company rounded a turn in the road, suddenly the holy mountain of Carmel, that "garden-land" of Palestine revered by the ancients, rose gloriously above the sea, stretching its green and wooded slopes to the north and the south; melting at one side gently into the plain of Sharon, at the other descending more steeply toward Haifa.

Prison Ministry

I worked with our Lay Carmelites for four years and afterwards I was approached by our Provincial who asked if I might be interested in part time prison ministry. We received a call from a local deacon in the Middletown area who needed to find a priest to work with him and with a second deacon in another prison in order to be hired on as a Catholic chaplain. I said I'd give it a try, and told the deacon that I would commit myself for one year. That was fourteen years ago.

Carmelite Spirituality

While Carmelite Spirituality flowers with particular brilliance in the sixteenth century Spanish Reformation and again in late 19th and early 20th century France, its roots are sunk deeply in the Vita Apostolica movement of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Until recently Carmelite Spirituality focused very narrowly,

The Elevator of Love

These words could have been written by any rock star today; Bono, Bruce Springsteen or even Lady Gaga. Instead our little Thérèse coined the phrase “elevator of love” over 100 years ago. Her suggestion was given to Fr. Maurice Bellière, the missionary with whom she corresponded and affectionately called him “her dear little brother”.

Final message to the Carmelite Family

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Qualiter respondendum sit quaerentibus” – “How shall we respond to those who are seeking?

To all the Members of the Carmelite Family: Peace and the Grace in the Lord.

As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.” (Colossians 2:6-7). With these words of the Apostle Saint Paul,

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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."