Yesterday, on the feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel (a solemnity for us Carmelites), I, along with one other person, made my First Promise in the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites. It was a very special and blessed day.
First Promises are for three years, after which point we make Definitive Promises. The promises are to live in the spirit of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity, and obedience (these are not like vows and we are still allowed to own property, have our own money, and be or get married), as well as of the Beatitudes, in accordance with the Carmelite Rule and the Constitutions of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites. We live in the world in allegiance to Jesus Christ with the desire to make Him known and loved and with a spirit of prayer and contemplation together with Mary, pondering the law of the Lord. I am incredibly blessed to be a part of this community and the Carmelite Order.
I mentioned being able to own property, have money, and be married. The promises of poverty and chastity for the Secular Carmelite point more toward the spiritual aspects of these counsels. They focus on making God the center of our lives and having Him as our only treasure. Being poor in spirit and chastely loving others means relying on God alone and not misusing the material goods that we are given, but instead using them to grow closer to God and for His glory.
In addition to me and Greg, the other firstly promised member, one other person, Suzanne, received the Scapular of the Secular Order and will begin the two-year formation process toward making her First Promise. Please pray for the three of us as well as all of the other members of our community.
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, ora pro nobis!
*Today, July 17, Carmelites celebrate the memorial of Blessed Teresa of St. Augustine and the other fifteen Martyrs of Compiegne who were martyred in July 1794 toward the end of the French Revolution. Let us ask for their intercession that we may be given the strength to die for the Faith if the need arises.