Carmel gives me the opportunity to focus on this presence of God, to plumb its depths and to understand its reality.
Discerning one’s vocation can be an arduous task – rarely is the journey neat and straightforward! For many of us, the road is wide and intersected with attractive by-ways that beckon, desires and interests that call out for attention, challenges that must be met. That certainly was my experience.
“Butcher, baker and candlestick-maker” were never part of my vocational search, but many other careers were – nurse, doctor, therapist, researcher, archeologist, journalist, star-gazer…! Deciding from among them was one thing, deciding to stretch beyond them was another.
I found that deep down, what I wanted most of all, was to live a life of prayer, to live to the fullest extent possible, the Christian vocation of a “life of allegiance to Jesus Christ.” Responding to this call was the first step, learning to live the call, to grow deeper into it, to find fulfillment in it and finally to be accepted as a permanent member in it were the steps that followed.
There is a cry of the Prophet Elijah recorded in the First Book of Kings – one of the mottoes of the Carmelite Order, which I find most compelling – "The Lord God lives – in whose sight I stand!" To me this expresses the reality of life – all life – yours and mine. Carmel gives me the opportunity to focus on this presence of God, to plumb its depths and to understand its reality. To see the hand of God in every facet of life and to somehow make it more apparent in daily life is a constant challenge.
The genius of Teresa, the gentleness of John, the realism of Thérèse, the companionship of all the Saints of Carmel (and that of the present-day saints of Carmel!) continue to enrich my days and years. It is with a sense of wonder that I reflect on the mystery of the Providence God who invited me to life in Carmel and sustains me in living it day-by-day.