Saturday, October 12, 2013

Lessons in Carmel About Joy and Perfection

It's really hard to believe that it's been two months since I packed up what was left of my belongings (there was not much left) and drove from Colorado to California to begin Candidacy with the Carmelite Sisters here in Los Angeles. I have had such a beautiful time here with the other five young women that are here with me. When we aren't in prayer, we are usually laughing.

There is so much joy in religious life.  If you've ever met a Religious Sister, I hope that she expressed the joy that is found in simplicity and love.  The world looks to money, sex and power to find happiness; here, joy is found in poverty, chastity and obedience. The joy that pours out of the Sisters here is a powerful antidote to the world's prescription for happiness.  It is the living out of the Beatitudes; true blessedness is possessed only by the poor, the meek, and the pure of heart.

Entering Candidacy is a process which is very stretching - I have grown so much already in my time here. It is so challenging, and so good. Because whether we are called to religious life, or to marriage, or in any vocation in which God calls us, we are all called to give freely of ourselves; extravagantly. We are called to die to ourselves. It is a painful process, but it's a process full of joy, because there is freedom in abandoning yourself to God's will. If we seek just to find ourselves, we lose ourselves. If we seek to find God, we find Him and ourselves as well.

I also want to share something that one of the beautiful, young Sisters here shared with us about perfection: Perfection is a pencil stub, which has been chewed on and whose eraser has been completely used up. It is perfect because it has been completely spent fulfilling it's purpose; it has been utterly used up in it's destiny of pencil-hood. And perfection for us is found is the complete giving of ourselves, in self-sacrifice and charity.

"If anyone were to ask me the Secret of Happiness, 
I would say it is no longer to think of self..."
- Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity