Charism & Spirituality

The Discalced Carmelites are committed to a life of allegiance to Jesus Christ and aspire to union with God. In this they are sustained by the companionship, the example and protection of our Lady, Mother and Patroness of the Order. Their dedication to her is expressed in a particular way through the Brown Scapular. The Prophet Elijah is the source of inspiration for all, as he contemplates the living God and burns with zeal for his glory. Carmel is reknown to have provided many a master in the ways of the spirit, such as Therese of Lisieux, Elizabeth of the Trinity, Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), Teresa of the Andes, Raphael Kalinowski, and the saintly Br. Lawrence of the Resurrection and Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen.

Discalced carmelites are totally committed to prayer, understood as a life of prayer and a prayer of life. Thus, prayer is nourished by the Word of God and the liturgy, in particular the Eucharist and the daily Prayer of the Psalms. Time for silent prayer and keeping ourselves in the presence of God throughout the day, enrich our relationship with the One whom we know loves us, and gives us a better insight in the vicissitudes of life and others.

As Carmelites, prayer nourishes and enriches all apostolic efforts, and apostolic activity leads to and is imbued with a spirit of prayer. Apostolic zeal penetrates our prayer and our entire life, and it impels us to work with fervent activity in different ways in the service of the Church and humankind.

Evangelical self-denial, as a capacity for spiritual sacrifice, is a natural disposition because the Gospel, Jesus and His Kingdom are worth it, and because the road to union with God and the mission makes us experience the necessity of the purification and transformation of the heart and of life.

Everything has to carry the impress of a spiritual humanism which integrates simplicity, authenticity, joy, the gentleness of fraternal life, the dignity of the human person, appreciation for the formation of the religious and the equilibrium of the ascetical life ordained to the theological life and the mission.

The charism is a dynamic reality capable of growing and becoming enriched in the course of history. Numerous Carmelites have enriched it with their teachings and initiatives, like St. John of the Cross, St. Therese of Lisieux, Blessed Francisco Palau, St. Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein), Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity and others. Many who are not canonized, like Jerome Gracian and John of Jesus Mary, to cite of few of the more eminent of the first generation of Teresian Carmelites, along with later ones, particular the missionaries, have enriched the charism. Inspired and compelled by the Gospel and the Teresian impulse they all have multiplied the interior mansions and have expanded the horizons of Carmel.

As Pope John Paul II rightly remarked to our former Superior General, Fr Camilo Maccise: “You have not only your glorious history to remember and to recount, but also a great history still to be accomplished.” Inspired and compelled by the Gospel and the Teresian impulse, all Carmelites are called to live, deepen and expand the horizons of Carmel.