Order of Carmel
Lay Carmelite Communities
The Lay Carmelite communities of Colorado are part of the Ancient Order of Carmelites. We are under the jurisdiction of The Most Pure Heart of Mary Province and follow the Provincial Statutes of the Provinces of the Most Pure Heart of Mary and Saint Elias. Our Provincial Statutes enunciate and clarify how Third Order or Lay Carmelites live out the Rule of St. Albert as well as the General Statutes found in the Third Order Rule of Carmel.
Members of the Third Order (Lay) recognize in the Prior General of the Order of Carmel a spiritual father, head and bond of unity. We receive from the Order direction and encouragement to promote the achievement of the aims of the Third Order which are to illuminate and rightly value temporal realities in such a way that these things are brought to fulfillment according to the will of Christ. In this way they offer praise to the Trinity in a world so secularized that it seems to live and act as if God no longer existed. Lay Carmelites are called to make every effort in their many daily activities in the family, at work, and in society to reestablish a unity of life which finds in the Gospel inspiration and strength for its full realization.
Through our promises, Lay Carmelites become associated with the Carmelite Order and share in the spiritual benefits of the Order. Endowed by the Holy Spirit with each person's unique gifts, we share these gifts individually and collectively in a spirit of true communion with the entire family of Carmel, of which Lay Carmelites form an integral part. Our mission is the mission of the Church and of the Order itself, to live the Gospel message and bring Christ to others through our lives.
All members of the Order of Carmel seek to live in union with God and with our neighbors. This is done through a commitment to seek the face of the living God (the contemplative dimension of life), by developing a genuinely familial style of community, and through service in the midst of all the peoples of the human family (the ministerial dimension of our life). The laity of the Order participate fully with the Religious in this mission. From the earliest times, the friars have invited the laity to full and genuine membership in the Order as Lay Carmelites, or as traditionally called, Tertiaries or members of the Third Order Secular, so that we may live the Gospel Way of Life according to the Carmelite Tradition.
CALL TO PRAYER
We are challenged to seek God's presence in prayer while living an active, busy life in the midst of the world. The practice of the presence of God is an attempt to prayerfully live in the Divine Presence in a busy world. This is a vitality which has graced the Church over the centuries.
The sacramental life is central to the heart of the Lay Carmelite with its core being the celebration of the Mass. This is the chief prayer of every Carmelite. Second to the Eucharistic Liturgy is to share in some portion of the Liturgy of the Hours, the prayer of the Church which extends the Eucharistic sacrifice thoughout the day in a sacrifice of praise. Carmelites are also called to enter deeply into contemplative prayer, prayer rooted in the Word of God. The stillness and prayerful reflection on Scripture will lead to contemplative prayer after the pattern of Mary, our Mother, who treasured all these things and reflected on them in her heart (Luke 2:19).
CALL TO COMMUNITY
Carmel is NOT an organization, even a Christian organization, but a Christian community committed to leading an evangelical life. For those called, it is a VOCATION and like all vocations requires careful discernment and maintenance since the grace of a vocation implies a commitment to persevere in that vocation.
Through the establishment of lay communities, the members of those communities are helped to be faithful to the commitment called forth by their Baptism which is to live with others a Gospel Way of life. From Carmel's earliest days, the Rule of St. Albert mandated that Carmelites are to live as a community, celebrating the Eucharist, praying the psalms (now the Liturgy of the Hours) together in common, meeting frequently to encourage one another and manifesting a spirit of poverty, detachment, and contemplative prayer in their personal lives.
In a spirit of love which not only extends to Carmelites, but to all people, community provides the power by which the members are strengthened in active cooperation to promote God's work (which is to establish the reign of God) in a secularized and often hostile world.
CALL TO MINISTRY / SERVICE
Like all baptized persons, Lay Carmelites are called to be deeply involved in the mission of the Church. Immersed in the world, we as Lay Carmelites shall reflect a Christian spirit of service to our families, in our work or professional surroundings, in our social responsibilities and relations with others, and in every action of our day. Elijah is our inspiriation for this witness. He said, I have been most zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts (1 Kings 20:10). Mary, too, is an example for ministry. Mary accompanied Jesus in spirit every step of the way of his earthly life, even to the foot of the Cross.
Ministry in our day involves a sacrifice of time, talent, and treasure on the part of the individual. The Lay Carmelite accepts this obligation of stewardship, taking seriously the invitation of the Lord that we deny ourselves, take up our crosses daily and follow Him.