Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

A Distraction While Meditating

As given in The Rule of Saint Albert, Carmelites “should live a life of allegiance to Jesus Christ” and while this reflection isn’t all about the Rule all Carmelites wish to live up to, it does relate to it directly.

Recently, after receiving the Sacrament of Reconciliation, part of my penance – after my public flogging (just kidding) – was to meditate on the Passion of Jesus.  During the season of Lent this is a particularly fine penance and meditation, but out of my meditation came a thought; possibly a distraction but I still went with this stream of consciousness and so I drifted from the word Passion to passion.  My mind started to think, what does the word passion mean?  What does it describe?  These thoughts probably should remain buried in my journal but I come from a culture where the use of double entendre is common; you may blame my cultural heritage for this flaw.

Anyway, it was Jesus’ humanity that I started to think about; that he as a human person also had a passion.  As I saw it – the things we humans are passionate about, are the things we so readily give ourselves over to.  This appreciation of Jesus being passionate about us; that WE are His passion made an impact on how I saw Him.  These thoughts went with me to Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  But it wasn’t until today as I prepared myself for the 3rd Sunday of Lent by reviewing all the Mass readings that my reflection came back with more vigor.

A prayerful reading of all the Mass’ Liturgy of the Word found my heart stopping to ruminate on the first words of dialogue in John’s gospel.  These words begin the encounter at the well of Sychar in Samaria when Jesus says to the woman there, “Give me a drink.” His bodily thirst was for water but what he really wanted was an encounter with this woman whose life in no way morally edified anyone – including herself.  She was unfriendly in her response, even insolent.  Yet in this exchange what came forth, for me, was the driving passion of our Lord and Savior.
Christ and the Samaritan Woman at the Well by Josef von Hempel (1823)

Holy mother, St Teresa in her writings to the first Nuns of her Reform instructs them to always try to be with Jesus in his humanity and I felt myself drawn into this interaction with the Samaritan woman.

Now, The Rule of Saint Albert which speaks of allegiance may have been fundamental in St Teresa’s spirituality on Jesus’ humanity.  And as I continue to spend time with my soul’s savior in his humanity, realize how poorly I have entered into his feelings and his passion for souls.  These reflections are not tidy or refined, but in a real sense I felt this meditation was given to me to share with my family – our Province – and with anyone else who may wish to look a little more closely into Jesus’ humanity for the purpose of learning to love him more.

And what are Jesus’ last words to the woman?  It is a surprising change from his usual methodology, as their dialogue settles into the promised hope of the Messiah – the Christ – and he says directly, plainly “I am he, the one speaking to you.”  At these words, the woman runs away – in haste – leaving her water jar at the well.

The wave of these ponderings left many things on my heart.  One of them is that Discalced Carmelites should thirst for souls with the same passion as Jesus – and this is part of our allegiance to him.

Written by Hannah De Lisser
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