Carmelite Bodily Mortifications

“Bodily mortification. For Teresa(of Avila) I pulled out these four. The habit. By the way, not only as you know, do all good Carmelites wear the habit. Do you know not all Carmelites now do, including cloistered nuns? That’s right. I was told by a prelate at a meeting of contemplatives there were not a few in pant suits. These are cloistered contemplatives. And some puffing away. In any case, the habit. And she made sure it was a mortification. Remember, it was of what kind of…of fine silk? Wool, and there is woolen wool. Fasting, as you know severe fast, abstinence from meat and fasting. Who knows when the Carmelite fast begins? But it starts much sooner. It begins on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross. In other words, most of the year is spent in fasting. Then silence. Now while silence is hard to keep for both men and women, you appreciate this is part of the spirituality. For people who naturally prefer to talk, silence can be a severe mortification. And finally enclosure. Enclosure as we know is not only protection, it is for our purpose here, mortification.”

via Fr. Hardon Archives – St. Teresa of Avila and the Carmelite Reform.

How these four can be translated for those of us living out in the world.

1)Habit:  I can’t wear the habit…but I can offer to the Lord my choice of clothes. To wear what will glorify and please Him.

2)Fasting and Abstinence: Eating small and simple meals and abstaining from meat from September 14th (which is also my anniversary…lol) until Easter time…except for Sundays and Feast Days.

3)Silence: Quiet time seems like a good idea. Maybe setting aside some time during the day where I shut off the computer. phone and all electronic gadgets.

4)Enclosure: I can make my home more of a priority, where I center my life around it instead of always being out and about.

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