Climbing CarmelCompanions on the Mountain

June 8, 2012

One thing I never considered as I started this blog over a month ago was that I would get responses from actual readers. I don’t know if I just never thought that far ahead or if it was some unconscious inferiority complex, but I envisioned the blogging process as me essentially writing down a little reflection, balling it up in my hand and dropping it in a well. Instead, I have received an overwhelming depth and breadth of responses from every walk of life: cradle Catholics, secular Carmelites, converts, reverts like myself who have come back to the Church, non-Catholics, mothers with autistic children, fellow discerners, and individuals of every stripe who are struggling to live out their holiness and find God in their lives.

I have come to regard the blog posting itself as merely the “store front” that attracts the readers to a particular idea with the actual spiritual merchandise to be found on the shelves inside, in the comments. It is truly humbling to read these courageous, beautiful hearts as they share their insights on their own spiritual journey and mine. It has become an involuntary reflex to pray to God when I read the responses; it is always the same prayer, “How can I decrease so these amazing souls can increase?” I believe this is the prayer of the priestly heart that is developing in me. The Carmelite in me (also developing) sees in this little community of companions on the mountain a living example of the loving fraternity spoken of in the Carmelite Constitutions:

A contemplative attitude towards the world around us allows us to discover the presence of God in the events of ordinary daily life and especially, to see him in our brothers and sisters. Thus we are led to appreciate the mystery of those with whom we share our lives (19).

With that said, I would like to thank all the readers who have responded so generously to the blog and also those who have not and share some of my favorite “pearls of great price” that to me express all the grit and grace of a soul climbing Carmel:

It has become an involuntary reflex to pray to God when I read the responses; it is always the same prayer, “How can I decrease so these amazing souls can increase?”
For myself, this is all about relationship with Him. In a way, I had to be “forced” to totally depend on God. My self will was not going to break. This impediment has been the most beautiful gift I have ever received. Paul got it right when he wrote about power perfected in weakness, 2 Corin. 12:9 The entire ball game shifts when you let God take the helm. Yes, life will always present hurdles, but now I know how to deal with them, and what incredible returns I have witnessed. This life is about relationship. The focus is off self.—divedamsel “Climbing Carmel”

My family and my in-laws are equally shocked by my decision to become a Mother to five children in nine years. It’s the same difficult conversation. My walk with Christ in my vocation of marriage isn’t a specific “decision” or “job”, it’s a love story.—Abigail B. “Climbing Carmel”

Trying to live in God’s presence through the Carmelite spirituality is for me my food, trying to do His Will in my thoughts, words and actions.—Elizabeth C. “Offer of a Lifetime”

Many times I have to remind myself that I am not my sins or desires but I am God’s beloved. In fact the journey in Carmel has been a great pedagogy of the struggle of human desire in a “fallen world”.—Solomon B. “Offer of a Lifetime”

Discernment does not always come easy… No matter what we do God is with us but to help those in need, I believe is what would be first… Sometimes He leads us to the desert, other times He asks us to put aside our own desires and tend to the needs of His sheep.—DonnaTOC “Offer of a Lifetime”

This is why I have had a true conversion of heart; to accept…my wife, especially, give of myself to her as gift through our espousal love, and simply wait for the beautiful response of her femininity and God’s grace to respond, leaving the two of us, reaching out to Christ to participate in our delicate and holy communion to and for each other.—John E. “Joy of Suffering”