Joining the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites

In November of 2007 at daily Mass, I was reflecting on the direction of my spiritual life and feeling the need of guidance and support in the journey toward the holiness that every Christian is called to. I looked across the aisle and saw friends who I knew belonged to a French community of the Discalced Secular Order of Carmelites. I “heard” very clearly in my soul the instruction to ask them about joining the Carmelites. A week or so later, the President of the English community called me and explained what it was all about and the obligations of members. She asked if I wanted her to send me the pamphlet and the application. Not wanting to rush into anything, I asked only for the pamphlet. From that point, I started wearing the scapular, praying the Liturgy of the Hours (Morning & Evening Prayer) and attending daily Mass. The other obligations that I have been striving to include in my life are: half an hour each day of mental prayer and spiritual reading, attending the monthly meetings to receive necessary formation, expressions of devotion to Mary and fasting on the vigils of significant Carmelite feast-days. By mid-February 2008, I had firmly established these habits and felt that I was ready to take the next step. I completed the application and in mid-April was interviewed by the President and Director of Formation. Later that evening, I received an email welcoming me as an aspirant and inviting me to come to two meetings and to the annual Day of Reflection. I attended these and immediately felt comfortable. Everything I heard resonated within me. I felt a sense of belonging, that I had finally found my spiritual home. In September of 2008, I began my period as an aspirant which meant attending a formation class that began at 6:00pm followed by the regular meeting from 7:00pm to 9:00pm. In June of 2009, I submitted a letter expressing my desire to be admitted to the community for formation in preparation to make temporary promises two years later. In August, I was interviewed by the five member of Council together. In September, we had a Mass where one of our members made her temporary promises. Before Mass, I received my scapular which is the “habit” of the order and was welcomed into the community as a “member in formation”. This scapular is large and is only worn at the meeting or other Carmelite functions. In September 2011, I made First Promises and continued my formation for three more years.  It is now July 2014 and I am preparing for my Final Promises.  I submitted my letter of intent and will have my interview before this monthly meeting.  God willing, I will make my Definitive Promises during the Liturgy of the Word on September 15th which is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.    

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How important is it to show your face online?

I just finished reading Twitter for Dummies which was published in 2009. I don’t know if there’s a newer edition or if the authors have changed their opinion about this.

They strongly recommend putting a picture of yourself on your Twitter profile. I currently have the same fractal image on all the platforms I use and prefer to keep it that way.

One thing I like about communicating online is that it’s the only place where I’m judged on what I write and not at all based on how I look. Maybe I’m a bit odd but I don’t like my picture taken or shown and only use mirrors when necessary.

How do you perceive Twitterers, Facebook users or bloggers who have a picture of something or perhaps no picture at all on their profile? Do you mistrust them or does it not make any difference?

Is there a compelling reason for me to replace my fractal with a photo of myself on Twitter and Facebook?

If you are not showing a picture of yourself on your Twitter, Facebook or blog page, what is your most compelling reason for this decision.  If one of these platforms suddenly made this mandatory, what would you do?

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Non-physical violence

“When we say no to violence, we always imagine a knife, a bomb, a gun. However, to me, violence is caused by our attitude. For example, telling people that they are good for nothing, that they are lazy, and that they are this, and that they are that. I think this a great violence. If you and I could only make that one strong resolution that we will say ‘no’ to violence, and say ‘yes’ to peace by our kindness, by our attitude towards each other, even in a small thing — a smile when we meet each other, it would help more than anything.”  – Mother Teresa

If we are filled with the fruit of the Spirit, we will do no violence with our words.  Instead the words we speak will bring healing and restoration.  

Lord grant that my words will never be critical or judgemental but only kind.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Starting to wear head-covering

After prayer and discernment, I have started wearing a head covering whenever I go out and most of the time at home.

In 2008 on the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, I started wearing it only at Mass.  I have a few friends who cover full-time and asked one of them why she does this.  She pointed me to this article:  I had been feeling the desire to start covering full-time but didn’t want to unless I could clearly articulate to myself why I was doing it.  It was during the weekend of our 2011 Congress when I realized this inspiration and direction was from God and decided to obey Him.  

For several days I checked out styles and tying techniques on You Tube and asked my husband’s opinion about the various options.  He was not opposed to my doing this but there were some styles he definitely did not like.

My first day of covering full-time was on Oct 7th which is the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.  Some people ask me why I started doing this and my response varied depending on who was asking me.

  • Our Lady asked me to.
  • It is a reminder that I’m in God’s presence
  • It is an expression of my consecration to Jesus.
  • For religious reasons.

This has had an impact on how I dress both at home and in public.  The only time I don’t wear a skirt is for visits to my chiropractor, when I’m doing a workout (at home only) and for chores. The kind of covering I wear at home is smaller and lighter and doesn’t cover my hair completely or my ears.  

This is not a decision I made lightly. It was a lifetime commitment.  Since this is something that  I’m doing out of loving obedience to God, there is no good reason to stop.  What message would that give to others who had asked my reason for wearing a covering if I were to stop?

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Is Jesus always kind?

In Matthew 15:21-30, he rudely ignored the woman who asked Him to heal her daughter. Even once He acknowledged her presence, He was insulting, basically calling her a dog.

It’s not because she was a Gentile since He treated the Roman centurion very differently, even offering to go to his home.

So why was He so rude to her, almost rejecting? If He treated her that way, why should I expect that He would be kinder to me? Surely this is not the sort of behaviour He wants us to imitate.

He did heal her daughter which was a kind act but did He need to be so cold, rude and unapproachable? Surely that is not the image that would encourage us to seek intimacy with Him.

His ways are definitely NOT our ways!

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Does God have favourites?

God wants to lead those whom He greatly loves by the path of tribulation and the more He loves them, the greater the tribulation.”

I had always believed that God loved all people equally since He sent Jesus to die for all. I thought that it was only we fallen humans who love some more than others. Yet Scripture tells us He hates evil-doers and that while He loved Jacob, He hated Esau. If He loves the whole world among whom are many evil-doers, then how does that fit together unless love means “love less”. There are other examples in Scripture showing God preferring one person over another. Even Jesus preferred Peter, James and John over the other apostles.

Does God have “favourites” just as human parents often prefer one child over another? A human parent would favour the child who was most similar in personality, more affectionate, eager to please and spend time with the parent rather than always asking for stuff. How much is God like a human parent? I have heard that there is nothing we can do to make God love us any more or less than He already does. I believe that nothing we do can change the fact THAT He loves us or could keep Him from loving us since Scripture says nothing can separate us from His love. Also a human parent doesn’t stop loving a rebellious troublesome child.

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Ungodly spiritual ties and what they do to us

David Cross in his book Soul Ties explains the dynamics of relationships and how they can fulfill God’s life-giving purposes or the Enemy’s destructive intent. The causes of ungodly soul ties include sexual relationships outside the marriage covenant, domination by another person or a group, false worship, occult-based healing techniques and wrongful rituals such as occur in Freemasonry.

He explains in detail the steps by which we appropriate the freedom Christ won for us on the cross. Since God transcends time, the soul ties from relationships that occurred in the past or when the other party has died can be cut and we can be set free. He elaborates on certain harmful practices that can invite the Enemy to create havoc and prevent us from experiencing the abundant life that loving Father wants us to have. These include homosexual acts, body piercing or tattoos, sexual fantasy and pornography. He explains how death through miscarriage, abortion or an accident involving the death of someone we were with leaves us in need of healing.

I just finished this book and it has helped me to understand what has hindered me in following Jesus more completely. Through reading it, the Holy Spirit showed me the healing He had already done years ago when I suffered a breakdown and received regular prayer ministry. I knew then that a lot of good stuff had happened but I understand what I’ve been freed from at a much deeper level after reading this book.

Although he doesn’t mention the Sacrament of Reconciliation or annulments, I can see how both of these played a major role in cutting many soul ties and improving my most problematic relationships. The principles he outlines in this book will help me in my continuing journey of healing as the Holy Spirit reveals other dark corners of my soul.

Find Soul Ties on Amazon

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