Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Feast of St. Albert of Jerusalem

In the Way of Perfection, St. Teresa exhorts her nuns to have "great and very determined resolution" ... and "not [to] be frightened ... by the many things you need to consider in order to begin this divine journey which is the royal road to heaven" (21.1).  One should persevere "to the end, come what may, happen what may, whatever work is involved, whatever criticism arises, whether they arrive or whether they die on the road, or even if they don't have courage for the trials that are met, or if the whole world collapses" (21.2).  In this work of love, one does not go by half-measures, crippled by the fear of one's insufficiency.  Confidence in the goodness of God beckons us to walk single-mindedly on this royal road.

Our Rule states we are called "to live a life of allegiance to Jesus Christ," He who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6).  Here we can add a word about the feast we celebrate today--St. Albert of Jerusalem.  Born in Italy in the mid-12th c., he was the Patriarch of Jerusalem who (at the request of the hermit on Mt. Carmel) composed a "formula of life," which was eventually accepted with some modification by Pope Innocent IV in 1247 as a canonical rule of life.

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Beginning

I'm finally beginning this blog, however modest, to offer some occasional reflections on the Discalced Carmelite vocation and spirituality within the Church.  I offer these thoughts (and at times articles and links) as my own, with the hope that they may be helpful to others who seek God.  As vocation director of the Washington Province (U.S.A.) of Discalced Carmelite Friars, I am especially interested in assisting others who are discerning a call to this way of life.  It is a prophetic life, a standing before the face of God in the obscurity of faith, a living witness to the primacy of love at the heart of the Church.  The blog is titled "Called to the Royal Road of Prayer" because St. Teresa of Jesus, foundress of the Discalced Carmel, understood this vocation in the Church as a camino, a sure way of union with God through faithful prayer and loving service to one's neighbors.  A faithful walking through, with, and in Christ Jesus.  So let's begin....