Discalced Carmelite Friars

Province of St. Therese

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Reflections from Mount Carmel Center - March 29, 2020

Apr 08, 2020
I pray you are all well as we continue to face these unprecedented circumstances in our world today. It is our intention at Mt. Carmel Center to stay in communication with all of you by sharing some reflections as we continue this time of both challenge and grace.

I know people have different opinions in regards to the restrictions implemented by our civil and religious leaders in response to the pandemic we are facing. I've heard from several individuals who feel sad and let down for not having access to the most Holy Eucharist and direct contact with their faith community, especially in these times when they believe they are most needed. On the one hand it's good that we don't take this situation lightly because it means that we care, that we value and love Our Lord in the most Holy Eucharist and those with whom we share his banquet of love. I would have been more concerned if the general reaction was one of indifference. However, it's important that we discern God's invitation to each of us now. We know the sacraments are the way par excellence in which God grants us his grace. However, the Church teaches that God has bound grace and salvation to the sacraments, but he himself is not bound by them (cf. CCC 1257). In other words, we are obliged to receive the sacraments whenever they are available, but when there is no access to these most awesome channels of grace we can be certain that God will not withhold his grace and mercy from us. His love is unstoppable!

We need to be careful with the danger of spending too much of our time and energy lamenting or even resenting events over which we have no control. This is a temptation judging by the fruit it bears (Mt 7:16). Instead let us prayerfully reflect and ask the Lord what his invitation to us is at this time. What is the grace potential present that he invites us to see and embrace? How can we turn this situation into a space where God's grace can be manifested? How can we be of service to others even with the present limitations? As the saying goes: "It is far better to light the candle than to curse the darkness." (William L. Watkinson) Please be assured of our continued prayers for all of you, our dear friends of Mt. Carmel Center. We constantly present you and your intentions before the Eucharistic Heart of Christ.

I want to finish by quoting some very consoling words from one of our great Carmelite Saints, St. John of the Cross. He reminds us of a great truth, that God is always near to us, wherever we are and whatever the circumstances may be.

"It brings special happiness to a person to understand that God is never absent, not even from a soul in mortal sin (and how much less from one in the state of grace). What more do you want, O soul! And what else do you search for outside, when within yourself you possess your riches, delights, satisfaction, fullness, and kingdom - your Beloved whom you desire and seek? Be joyful and gladdened in your interior recollection with him, for you have him so close to you" (Spiritual Canticle 1, 8).

Written by Fr. Jorge Cabrera of Mary Immaculate, OCD
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