Following Mary’s example, the contemplative is a person centred in God. (VDQ 10)

Carmelites in the Middle East

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The Discalced Carmelites of the four carmels in Holy Land ( Bethlehem , Jerusalem, Haifa and Nazareth) have been called to live our vocation to Carmel on a specific land, that of Revelation and the Incarnation. In order to be faithful to our vocation is always necessary to deepen our identity and our mission today in the Middle East. It is good to hear again the question the Lord posed to the prophet Elijah in the cave: "Elijah, why are you here?” (1 Kings 19, 13)

The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem, His Beatitude Archbishop Fouad Twal told us: "We so need your Carmels to give to the Holy Land its spiritual dimension, its true vocation. Your Carmels are oasis of peace, whence there rises constant prayer, which, despite its discretion, holds the world up ". Encouraged by these words we have at heart to look at the challenges of our communities in this region and also the challenges as Christians throughout the Middle East. In fact we do not want (and we should not) remain foreign to our host countries. Our communities are inseparable in their vocation to this region of the Middle East. It is not primarily a geographical situation, but a spiritual reality that each of us lives in the privacy of her search for union with God. How to be myself a Holy Land (to use the expression of our Patriarch) where the Lord can revive all his mystery? We have let ourselves be transformed increasingly by the grace of the Incarnation, also let ourselves be pierced by the Cross of the Lord, taking to heart the sufferings, the divisions between the peoples of this region of the world.
It is profitable for us to scrutinize this dimension of our vocation: why have we been called to live the ideal of Carmel here and now? Our prayer life is realistically based on our real life in the diocese of Jerusalem with its worldwide, ecumenical and interreligious dimension. It is also good that from time to time we talk about our way of living inculturation. We may share beautiful stories about our Christian presence among the Jewish people and Muslims. If we can not go to them, at least when they come to us because they are our neighbors or for some other reason, may they have a good testimony of Christians, the "baraka", "those who bless them."

This commits us in our community life: first, we can not disengage, fall back on ourselves and our internal problems, on the contrary we have to bear witness, to let radiate the presence of Christ, who has called us to be together for living with Him and in Him. Even if our witness is silent,it must be there. There is a prophetic dimension of Carmel in the Middle East that we must not lose sight but rather enhance it. It is not extraordinary things but for example, our fidelity to prayer, two hours per day: this is "our work" and pilgrims and visitors should perceive it. It may be also the detachment of objects or responsibilities we may have, so to let Christ shine. There are enough walls in the country, let’s not build walls between us! Our fidelity to the prayerful meditation on the Word of God must take on particular importance in our following of Christ on the Land of the Word.

Contacts between us as a Carmelites of Middle East allow us to help each other in the theme of vocations and allow us also to look for ways to establish a true union between us. We can th respond to our mission: “the Church's journey is entrusted to the loving heart and praying hands of cloistered nuns." and the journey of the Church in the Middle East par excellence.

 

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