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Liturgy and Prayer Commission

Global Plan of the General Council 2019-2025

Richard Byrne, O.Carm.

Carmelites live their life of allegiance to Jesus Christ in a contemplative attitude exercised in a life of prayer, fraternity and service in the midst of the people. The orientation towards contemplation is not merely one of these elements of our charism; it is the dynamic ele­ment which unifies them (Con. 14).
Prayer is the way we relate to God both as individuals and as community. In prayer we become open to God who gradually transforms us through all the events of our lives, whether great or small (Con. 18).
The Rule of Carmel puts liturgical life at the centre of our community life both in practice and symbolically (RIVC, 39).

In the midst of a globalised and pluralist world, our faithful commitment to prayer allows us as Carmelites to witness to the “living and mysterious presence of God” (Con. 18). Our prayer reminds us that the life of Carmel is Christocentric. Permeating through every aspect of a Car­melite’s life, prayer not only nourishes our spiritual lives, but also through gradual transformation enriches our fra­ternal life and makes us better able to serve in the Church with compassion in a spirit of solidarity with our sisters and brothers.

While prayer can assume many forms, Carmelites re­gard liturgical prayer – especially communal – as a central part of our overall spiritual life (Liturgical Congress, 2018, Final Message). Intimately linked with our personal prayer, our liturgical prayer is the visible sign of the Order at prayer (RIVC 39). Our contemplative way of living keeps our liturgical celebrations always Paschal with a Resurrec­tion orientation. Consequently, formation in liturgy is vital for Carmelites and is not just about “liturgical studies for ministry or knowledge of the rubrics, but about a frater­nal celebration of who we Carmelites are” (RIVC, 39). Car­melites are particularly nourished in the Word and in the Eucharist.

As the bread is broken and shared, the daily Eucharist builds our Carmelite community, not just symbolically, but as a sign of our “sharing in the mystery of God and with the community of those in need” (RIVC, 39). In the Eucha­rist we offer our daily lives in total sacrifice in an intimate union with Christ’s paschal mystery (Con. 73).

Pondering the Word is an essential element of our char­ism and Carmelite identity and Lectio divina is given a prominent role in our prayer life (Con. 85). The communal celebration of the Liturgy of the Hours, especially with the faithful, is central to our identity.

The Carmelite way is marked by silence (RIVC, 36). In­deed, our spirit of contemplation can be greatly nurtured by silent prayer. In addition, retreats, days of recollection and the reading of the writings of our Order are important for Carmelites.

Alongside our devotion to the Saints of Carmel, Carmel­ites especially venerate the Blessed Virgin Mary and, con­sequently, our Marian shrines are held in high regard not only as centres of the Word and liturgical life but also as centres of evangelisation, solidarity and places of encoun­ter with those of other faiths and none (Con. 89-93).

Plans

  1. To continue updating the Liturgical Rites and Books of the Carmelite Order (including but not limited to the Carmelite Ritual, the Lectionary, the Liturgy of the Hours) as well as seeking their approval, translation and publication;
  2. To continue to prepare additional materials from Car­melite authors for the Carmelite Office of Readings for the Blessed Virgin Mary on Saturday and on other days of particular devotion to Our Lady of Mt Carmel;
  3. To seek a collaborative project with the General Com­mission on Formation regarding (a) the liturgical prepa­ration of the brothers in formation, (b) liturgical stud­ies from the Carmelite tradition as part of ongoing for­mation courses for the Order, and (c) the promotion of good preaching (General Chapter Decree, 2019);
  4. To promote an uptake in the study of Liturgy at an ad­vanced level in dialogue with the relevant people (Gen­eral Chapter Recommendation, 2019);
  5. To explore and promote ways of celebrating the Liturgy from a Carmelite perspective;
  6. To explore ways in which the shrines of the Order could be fostered at an Order level;
  7. To organise congresses and meetings that foster the li­turgical and prayer life of the members of the Carmelite Family.

Members

  • Richard Byrne, O.Carm.
  • Désiré Unen Alimange, O.Carm. (Congo)
  • Pius Robert Manik, O.Carm. (Indonesia)
  • Alexander Vella, O.Carm. (Malta)
  • John Keating, O.Carm. (Ireland)
  • Nerina de Simone, CMSTBG

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