Living in allegiance to Jesus Christ
Christ at the centre of our lives
Our life and work are centred on Christ (cf Jn 14:16; Heb 10:19-20; Eph 4:7. 12-13; Col 1:28). God calls us to the consecrated life so that we may follow Christ, live in him and “serve him with a pure heart and stout conscience” (Carmelite Rule). We respond to this calling by listening to the Word and by imitating Jesus who was obedient, poor and chaste. We try to become more like Christ whom the Father chose and sent as our model and teacher. In Christ we see the face of God and come to know the plan of salvation.
Our whole Rule, which is founded on the Gospel, leads us to Christ. From the earliest years of our history, we have been aware that “no one can lay any foundation other than the one that has been laid; that foundation is Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 3:11). Our tradition has tried to remain faithful to this, as we learn from the writings of our own masters of the spiritual life. Michael of St. Augustine for example wrote that our life is to become more and more “Christiform” (cf. Introductio ad Vitam Internam, Tract I, chap. 2; Tract III, chap. 27).
Down through the centuries the Carmelite family has produced men and women noted for their holiness and wisdom in the things of the Spirit. We remember them with admiration and gratitude. We have received a precious legacy which we never want to lose but indeed want to continue and even add to as we go into the future. In trying to perceive the signs of the times in the light of the Gospel we find new strength and energy as we search for new ways to preach the Word and to serve others.
Only in the encounter with Christ and with a vivid awareness of what his coming into the world has accomplished, can we fully understand what history is all about and in what direction it is going. The following of Christ is still and will always be the basic law for us (Carmelite Rule), marking out the path we have to follow on the way to an ever deeper experience of the love of God. This “propositum vitae” is both lofty and arduous. Elijah and Mary are our models and they will help us arrive at our end.
General Chapter 1995, Carmel: a Place and a Journey into the Third Millenium.