Sunday, September 18, 2011

2015: The Year of Prayer

According to Communicationes:
ROME-ITALY (11-09-2011).- The Carmelite bishops who came to the Extraordinary Definitory have petitioned the Holy See to declare 2015 a year of prayer. In a letter addressed to the Pope our Carmelite bishops are requesting this declaration from Benedict XVI in view of the celebration of the Fifth Centenary of the Birth of Saint Teresa.

They announced this on Sunday afternoon to the superiors of the Extraordinary Definitory just before it ended.

It was the turn of the Latin American group to plan the Eucharist for Sunday morning. Bishop Gustavo López (presider at it) invited the members of the Extraordinary Definitory and the bishops present to live to the full their allegiance to Christ and take seriously St. Paul’s message in the second reading and let one’s ability to forgive grow to the measure desired by Christ in the day’s Gospel passage (“seven times seven”).

Work in the meeting hall resumed at 9:45 a.m. when the bishops were introduced and asked to share a little about their experiences as Carmelites and bishops.

Following that Bishop Braulio Sáez delivered a conference on what local churches expect of the Discalced Carmelites. His talk stood in for that of Bishop Silvio Báez who, unfortunately, could not attend the get-together of our OCD bishops. Father General read a note from Bishop Báez which received a sympathetic reply from the entire Extraordinary Definitory through an expression of solidarity for the very difficult situation currently found in his diocese.

Bishop Braulio asked those present not to try to find excuses for the hard times we are in, nor a scarcity of vocations, nor for secularization. . . The Lord goes on inviting us in these times and believers are expected to answer Him. Bishop Braulio re-evoked the reference made by Father General to Saint Teresa earlier in the meeting and called his Carmelite brothers to live in suchwise as to incarnate and prove the identity given them by the Teresian charism.

“We Carmelites ought to consider ourselves one of those creative minorities mentioned by Pope Benedict XVI—called to help the societies in which we live find again the best of their heritage.” Just as Blessed John Paul II said, religious life benefits from a glorious past, but has much to accomplish in the future.

Following what was noted by the Aparecida Document, Bishop Braulio challenged us not to complain, but to re-read the Gospel as Good News for the reality in which Carmel finds itself.

To do this the children of Saint Teresa–just as Latin America’s Carmelite Major Superiors stated at their recent meeting in Londrina, Brazil—are called to return to the true heart of their vocation and remain alert to the teaching of their Foundress and Teacher, go to the very essence of the Carmelite charism, with fidelity to the Church, by living consistently its contemplative and apostolic dimension (Martha and Mary must always coexist).

Each community, Bishop Sáez went on to say as he cited once again the document of the Aparecida meeting [of the Latin American episcopal conferences], has to share an outpouring of the life of Christ (= “pastoral conversion”). This is valid not only for any Christian community at all, but most especially for Teresian Carmelite communities. This means to live in Christ by prayer, the liturgy and fraternal community life, so as to thereby share what one lives out as he/she meets others, particularly the most materially and spiritually poor and needy.

Bishop Braulio referred again to the Aparecida document, as well as to Bl. John Paul II in Pastores Dabo Vobis, no. 23, and asked the Major Superiores mayores to live and induce the practice of “pastoral charity” in their circumscriptions: grafted onto Christ Christ –with one’s eyes fixed on our Spouse. We are to open ourselves to the reality of the Church and not avoid the problems, needs, hopes and plans for evangelization of the local churches with the joys and suffering of their people, as we think to safeguard our charism.

He see three keys to assist Discalced Carmelites in this process of responding to the demands of shared local church life: 1) live an intense experience of life in Christ within ourselves, that transforms us,(according to Benedict XVI writing in Deus Caritas Est; 2) live intensely community life in a Teresian manner so as to serve as an example of communion for the local church; and 2); live intensely a commitment to mission so as to announce openly the Gospel, thus rendering specialized service to the ecclesial communities in which our Teresian Carmel is present.
In the late afternoon the Extraordinary Definitory, happily accepted the letter that the bishops had drawn up and will send to His Holiness the Pope, in order to ask of him the dedication of the year 2015 as a Year of Prayer with Saint Teresa as its Patron Saint. (Read entire article.)

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