|St. Therese de Lisieux|
|Mission Santa Barbara|
As to whether I am called to Carmel, here are just two examples of the ways in which I believe God is letting me know what He intends for me. Two weekends ago, my roommate and I went to Mission Santa Barbara. Despite the hundreds of years of visitors and tourists, there is still a holiness and sacredness about the garden and the church. I've always been attracted to Franciscan spirituality, but I'd turned aside from it when I began to spend time reading the Carmelite doctors of the Church. So I wandered through, thinking about the Poor Clares, saying to God, "Am I a Franciscan?" I turned and saw - get this - a Spanish painting of Our Lady of Mount Carmel flanked by St. Joseph and St. Teresa of Avila. I laughed out loud! A Carmelite saint with the Beauty of Carmel hanging in a Franciscan monastery.
|Our Lady of Carmel painting|
at Mission Santa Barbara
The very next day, I was actively thinking again about contacting another order, and again questioning the call to Carmel. On the drive to Mass at a church I'd never been to before, I asked God, "Do you really want me in Carmel?" I sat down in the pew, followed a minute later by two Carmelites who sat down just behind me. Out of the entire church, that is where they elected to sit, and they both smiled at me. Tears of joy sprang to my eyes, and if I hadn't been in public, I would've thrown myself down before the Blessed Sacrament in a torrent of emotion.
That ain't just whistling Dixie, sister.
I guess what I'm saying is that it no longer feels like an "if," but a "when" and a "where." He will take care of the nitty gritty - my student loans and my cat, to be specific. There is great consolation in this. In the meantime, my prayer has consistently been for the grace to live as a Carmelite now, where I am in life, teaching and working at the high school, having a new roommate move in, doing what prayer ministry I can, being involved with Campus Ministry. Mostly, I know that I am called to the still place within, and what my Beloved is doing now is showing me how to live that vocation in the world. What a beautiful gift He gives!