THE WAY, THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE
St Teresa's vision for her nuns had two vital elements: a life of prayer in solitude and silence, lived in a community that as a family resembles 'Christ's little flock'. Following Jesus we learn from his own journey the deep meaning and purpose of all human life.
"I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me."
We open ourselves to Christ's loving work of redemption in his desire to dwell in every human heart. Drawing us into ever closer union with himself, he will bring us all at length to participate in the very communion of love which is the Blessed Trinity.
Wishing therefore to respond radically to Christ's invitation in the Gospel:
"As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you,
Remain in my love."
Teresian Carmelites have chosen to follow Jesus in his contemplative rather than in his active apostolate. All their prayer and life and work are directed to the service of the Church in its mission for the world. God's initial call to contemplation usually comes together with the gift of prayer, put into our empty hands, if we but look to him with trust and confidence - "he pours gifts on his beloved while they slumber". In the midst of very ordinary daily lives in common we are given a spiritual mission that draws us to pray at all times, our hearts focused in simple attention on the Mystery at the core of our being and in the depths of every human person, a Mystery of love that draws together the whole cosmos in mutual interdependence.
In this life of prayer, which Teresa describes as a continuing heartfelt exchange of friendship with him who we know loves us, we reach out to the God whose grace is offered to everyone in the gift of his incarnate Son. Our sharing in his prayer becomes a reality above all in the daily Liturgy, where it is Christ's own Spirit who prays in us and empowers us to offer our lives in union with his total self-gift for the sake of the world, as he passes through death to life in the paschal mystery celebrated in each day's Eucharist.
Our spiritual mission is both apostolic and prophetic in its outreach and concerns. As Sisters in solidarity with all humanity in its weakness and brokenness, we can stumble and falter in the give and take of relationships, but we try to persevere in forgiveness and trust according to Christ's new commandment:
"Love one another as I have loved you."
Continually praying in the darkness of faith, we identify with the cries of the powerless and the anguish of the oppressed, always with confident hope in Love's irrepressibly creative power to restore throughout humanity the mysterious image of her own inner communion.
We witness to God as the only absolute by the totality of our self-giving.
By our vows of chastity, poverty and obedience we free ourselves in order that our love may reach out not just to our family and immediate neighbours but to everyone in the world. Holding in our hearts all their deepest needs we place them before God as Mary placed the needs of her friends before Jesus, knowing that He alone can satisfy them. In a world divided into 'haves' and 'have nots', we abandon the desire for earthly possessions and live in a community where everything is shared in common and where each Sister is lovingly provided for. In true gospel obedience we try to discern and follow his will for us at every moment, in each detail of daily life. This consecration leads to a lifestyle in Carmel which is so different from that promoted by our modern secular society that it brings into sharp focus the fact that 'God is All'. As we joyfully live out our consecration in this small family of mutual love and service we hope to give clear witness to the value of gospel communion in a divided world.
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