“So I say now that all of us who wear this holy habit of Carmel are called to prayer and contemplation. This explains our origin; we are the descendants of those who felt this call, of those holy fathers on Mount Carmel who in such great solitude and contempt for the world sought this treasure, this precious pearl of contemplation that we are speaking about.
Let us remember our holy forebears of the past, those hermits whose lives we aim to imitate. We must remember our real founders, those holy fathers whose descendants we are. It was by way of poverty and humility, we know, that they came to the enjoyment of God.
On the subject of the beginnings of Orders, I sometimes hear it said that the Lord gave greater graces to those saints who went before us because they were the foundations. Quite so, but we too must always bear in mind what it means to be foundations for those who will come later. For if those of us who are alive now have not fallen away from what they did in the past, and those who come after us do the same, the building will always stand firm. What use is it to me for the saints of the past to have been what they were, if I come along after them and behave so badly that I leave the building in ruins because of my bad habits?
For obviously those who come later don’t remember those who have died years before as clearly as they do the people they see around them. A fine state of affairs it is if I insist that I am not one of the first, and do not realize what a difference there is between my life and virtues, and the lives of those God has endowed with such graces!
Any of you who sees your Order falling away in any respect, must try to be the kind of stone the building can be rebuilt with—the Lord will help to rebuild it. For love of our Lord I beg them to remember how quickly everything comes to an end, and what a favor our Lord has done us in bringing us to this Order, and what a punishment anyone who starts any kind of relaxation will deserve. They must always look at the race we are descended from—that race of holy prophets. What numbers of saints we have in heaven who have worn this habit of ours! We must have the holy audacity to aspire, with God’s help, to be like them. The struggle will not last long, but the outcome will be eternal.”
— From the works of Saint Teresa of Avila
All hail! you gentle dwellers
Of wilderness and cloister.
You won out over the wicked cunning
Of the raging forces darkness.
Jewels and treasures of gold,
High places of worldly honor,
The fleeting joys which the world offers
All these you trod underfoot.
Far from the affairs of men
The soul on fire with love fled away;
Joining the assembly of God’s chosen
Dwelt among heavenly things.
Wounded by love’s dart,
Teresa and Magdalen faint with love;
Cries the one: To suffer or to die!
To suffer, not to die! cries the other.
He who was called “Of the Cross”
Yearned to suffer and be despised.
In all things the Cross was his portion,
His honor, his comfort, his joy.
You who endured labors so great
And now share in the vision of God,
Prepare, w beg you, the same reward
For us who follow in your paths.
With the Father and the loving Spirit,
To you, Jesus, be glory
Who were born of the Virgin,
Beauty of Carmelites.
V. God is wonderful in his Saints.
R. And holy in all his works
All-powerful, merciful God, you give us joy each year in the commemoration of all the Saints of the Order of the most Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel. In your kindness grant to us this grace: by their merits, and with the help of their prayers, we may live for you alone, meditating always on your law, denying ourselves in all things, and so merit to join them in the happiness of eternal life. This we ask of you through our Lord.
— From the 1966 Discalced Carmelite Proper