Friday, May 14, 2010

Carmelites, Pentecost and Christian Joy

The Carmelite Chapter that I belong to meets at St. Luke Parish in Whitestone, Queens. I have been a Lay Carmelite for many years and I feel blessed to be a part of the group of Carmelites that meets at St. Luke's. At our monthly meeting we begin with Mass (when we can) and then we recite Evening Prayer. We also always have a teaching as part of our meeting. We usually base the teachings on Carmelite spirituality and/or a book about spirituality. We just finished reading the excellent book by Fr. Stephen Rossetti titled, "When the Lion Roars." It was a great book that we've been reflecting upon for months now. Tonight we finished reading the book and we spoke about the importance of the divine life within us (within every baptized Christian), the importance of joy on the spiritual journey and our utter dependence on God. 
These are some great quotes worth repeating such as, "Christianity demands a total self-gift. It can never be a part-time endeavor, reserved for one day of the week or treated as one part of good health like weekly exercise or a balanced diet. There are no part-time mystics and, in truth, no part-time Christians. Christianity demands a total, radical, personal commitment."
Fr. Rossetti's thoughts on joy and words from St. John-"God meant us all to live in joy and peace. When we had lost this joy because of sin, Jesus came and promised us a new gift of God's joy and peace. He said, 'So that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete' (John 15:11). Jesus told us clearly that it is his joy we are given. Of course, all that Jesus has comes from the Father, so, ultimately, this joy is a sign of the presence of the triune God."
Who doesn't want to be filled with joy? "Joy is not an option for a Christian, it is essential to our faith." I'm not sure who said that but I read it somewhere and it makes perfect sense.
These should be joyful days. These 9 days between the Feast of the Ascension and the great Feast of Pentecost provide Christians with a great opportunity to pray for the coming of the Holy Spirit in our own lives and in the life of the Church, in a new and powerful way. I, for one, will be trying to make the most of these 9 days. According to websites that I researched on this topic, the Pentecost Novena is the most ancient of novenas. According to the EWTN website, "The novena in honor of the Holy Spirit is the oldest of all novenas since it was first made at the direction of Our Lord when he sent the apostles back to Jerusalem to await the coming of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost. It is still the only novena officially prescribed by the Church..." More information can be found at:
Time for me to rest......

Prayer should be the means by which I, at all times, receive all that I need, and for this reason, be my daily refuge, my daily consolation, my daily joy, my source of rich and inexhaustible joy in life.  
St. John Chrysostom-Doctor of the Church