Lay Carmelites Praying with the Church
by Donna Fodale
The Lay Carmelite Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary (historically known as the Third Order of Carmel) is an association, mainly of lay persons. Its members, responding to a special call of God, commit themselves “to live in the following of Jesus Christ” according to the charism, traditions, and spirit of Carmel. The members, though not in Religious Life, choose to live out their Baptismal commitment according to the spirit of the Carmelite Order. Members are brothers and sisters of the Carmelite Family and sharers in the same call to holiness and in the same mission of the Carmelite Order.
The Charisms of the Lay Carmelites are Prayer, Service and Community. In the time we live in, prayer is especially important. So many people have turned away from God. As Lay Carmelites, we are united with the mission of the Church by praying for our families, communities and the world at large. We pray that those who have lost their way, return to God, knowing that only by returning to God can we find true peace. This is a peace that will permeate our hearts, changing us and causing a ripple effect within our families, communities and ultimately the world. There is much work to be done in God’s vineyard. Each one of us has an obligation to help bring others back into the fold. It is a mission given to each one of us by our baptism. We are reminded by one of our great Carmelite Saints, St. Teresa of Avila –
Christ has no body now on earth but yours; no hands but yours; no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ must look out on the world. Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good. Yours are the hands with which He is to bless His people.
Let us all unite in prayer, lifting up our hearts to our Heavenly Father, asking for His mercy and trusting that, by our prayers, many will find their way back into the arms of the Father, who desires our salvation.
If you are interested in finding out more about becoming a Lay Carmelite, please see contact information below. We are blessed to have a community here at St. Mark. May God Bless you and your families!
Donna Fodale T.O.C.
Regional Coordinator of the Carolinas
Most Pure Heart of Mary Province