Introduction

darker-web-img_4599

“Carmel teaches the Church how to pray.”– Pope Benedict XVI
During the canonization of Saint Nuno Alvares (April, 2009) Pope Benedict said, “Carmel teaches the Church how to pray.” That’s what Carmel has always been about: prayer. And that’s what being a Carmelite – whether friar, nun, or Lay Carmelite – is all about: prayer. It’s not method; it’s emphasis.

This is what makes Carmelite prayer distinctive. It’s not the prayer itself; in fact, there is no ‘method’ for Carmelite prayer. It is all about the time and energy that is actually put into prayer.

That is the witness of the great Carmelite saints. When facing a “dark night of the spirit” or a “dark night of the soul,” Saint John of the Cross will tell you to keep praying. When daunted by the heavy lifting that true self-understanding entails, Saint Teresa of Avila will tell you to keep praying. When vexed by the everyday foibles of the people around you, Saint Therese of Lisieux will tell you to keep praying. Or even when facing the darkest caverns of the Nazi prison camps (or the equivalent in your life) Blessed Titus Brandsma will tell you to keep praying.

It is contemplative prayer that brings us to “put on the mind of Christ” (Philippians 2:5). It is contemplative prayer that brings “the peace that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). It is contemplative prayer that brings us “to attain the very fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).

“Carmel teaches the Church how to pray.” Carmel can teach you how to pray – real prayer.

For an overview of the Carmelite saints on Prayer see the profiles listed in the right hand column above or click here.

Share This

Sign up for our Email newsletter