Date: Tuesday 19 June 2018
Enter into the beauty of Carmelite Spirituality with Fr Matt Blake OCD, an experienced retreat giver and Carmelite friar.
Carmelite spirituality is Christian spirituality – not an idiosyncratic or esoteric spirituality. As such, contrary to some popular misconceptions, it is not reserved to a select group within the Church or to a spiritually elite, but is accessible to all whom the Spirit calls to follow this way. As a Christian spirituality, Carmelite spirituality is a way of following Jesus Christ and walking the path of the gospel.
Carmelite spirituality is characterised by an intense thirst for an immediate and direct experience of God. Reduced to its most fundamental expression, Carmelite spirituality is centred on prayer, understood as loving friendship with God, and contemplation as the free gift of God. Hence, Carmelite spirituality is focused on attention to one’s relationship with Jesus. This is expressed in various ways in the major sources of Carmelite spirituality, such as the Rule of St. Albert, the writings of the founders of Discalced Carmel Sts. Teresa and John of the Cross, and indeed in the writings of all the Carmelite saints.
In the Rule of St. Albert, the Christian character of Carmelite spirituality is clearly expressed as living ‘a life of allegiance to Jesus Christ’. This involves a gradual and progressive conversion and transformation – a putting on of the mind and heart of Jesus. Sts. Teresa and John of the Cross, speak of prayer and contemplation as ‘friendship with God’ and ‘union with God’ respectively. Prayer and contemplation, as a relationship with God, in and through loving friendship with Jesus Christ, is not a technique or one of the many daily activities, but embracing of one’s whole life. For the Carmelite then there is no experience in one’s life that is outside the ambit of relationship with God.
May it become so for all those who attend this retreat introducing you to Carmelite Spirituality.