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Joy in Contemplative Community - I FIND JOY IN THE CONTEMPLATIVE EXPERIENCE OF PRAYER AND WORSHIP

by General Commission for Evangelization and Mission

Our common worship fills the heart with joy and nourishes the journey of faith.

Listening to the Scriptures

But the hour is coming -- indeed is already here -- when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and truth: that is the kind of worshipper the Father seeks. God is spirit, and those who worship must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4: 23-24)

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish one another in all wisdom; and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Col 3:15-17).

Listening to the Carmelite Tradition.

“Liturgy is the Church at common prayer – it is moreover the visible sign of the Order at prayer. People are formed and grow in faith through good liturgy. The presence of the Living God in Word, in Sacrament, in ritual, in silence, in gesture and in song is transformative – it changes the nature of our being community. The Word is addressed to us not just individually as in lectio divina, but “as community” and the bread is broken and shared, not just symbolically but as a sign of the sharing in the mystery of God and with the community of those in need. (RIVC, 39)

Listening to the Church Tradition.

In the liturgy, the Holy Spirit is teacher of the faith of the People of God and artisan of "God's masterpieces," the sacraments of the New Covenant. The desire and work of the Spirit in the heart of the Church is that we may live from the life of the risen Christ. When the Spirit encounters in us the response of faith which he has aroused in us, he brings about genuine cooperation. Through it, the liturgy becomes the common work of the Holy Spirit and the Church. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1091).

The Eucharist is thus the source and summit not only of the Church's life, but also of her mission: "an authentically Eucharistic Church is a missionary Church." We too must be able to tell our brothers and sisters with conviction: "That which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us" (1 Jn 1:3). Truly, nothing is more beautiful than to know Christ and to make him known to others. The institution of the Eucharist, for that matter, anticipates the very heart of Jesus' mission: he is the one sent by the Father for the redemption of the world (cf. Jn 3:16-17; Rom 8:32). At the Last Supper, Jesus entrusts to his disciples the sacrament which makes present his self-sacrifice for the salvation of us all, in obedience to the Father's will. We cannot approach the Eucharistic table without being drawn into the mission which, beginning in the very heart of God, is meant to reach all people. Missionary outreach is thus an essential part of the Eucharistic form of the Christian life. (Sacramentum Caritatis, 84)

For pondering:

Do we live our liturgical life as a source of contemplation? How do we experience in our daily life the intrinsic connection between prayer, liturgy and mission?

Psalmody (from the Psalm 95)

Come, let us sing to the Lord

and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us.

Let us approach him with praise and thanksgiving

and sing joyful songs to the Lord.

Come, then, let us bow down and worship,

bending the knee before the Lord, our maker,

For he is our God and we are his people,

the flock he shepherds.

Prayer.

You gather us into your Church to be one as you Father, are one with your Son and the Holy Spirit. You call us to be your people, to praise your wisdom in all your works. You make us the body of Christ and the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit for the glory of your holy Name.

Doxology:

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Col. 3:16-17)

As Carmelites We live our life of allegiance to Jesus Christ and to serve Him faithfully with a pure heart and a clear conscience through a commitment to seek the face of the living God (the contemplative dimension of life), through prayer, through fraternity, and through service (diakonia). These three fundamental elements of the charism are not distinct and unrelated values, but closely interwoven. 

All of these we live under the protection, inspiration and guidance of Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, whom we honor as "our Mother and sister."