Friday, March 24, 2006

Reflection: PURITAS CORDIS….
TASTE and see the goodness of the Lord
By Rossana Garcia, TOCarm

The recently held recollection of the TOC candidates due for Reception and Profession last February 25, 2006 reminded us of the essence or purpose of the Carmelite life. Fr. Toto Jaranilla, O Carm, who gave the recollection made us recall and reflect through his discussions on the four stages of perfection as written in “The Book of the First Monks” by Felip Ribot, O Carm. Coupled with a look on the history of the early Carmelites as well as its influence on our way of living our vocation in the church and our expressions of piety and worship of God, the whole-day recollection left some very significant impressions on my mind worth pondering.
What are the four stages of perfection? These are guidelines to achieve puritas cordis, the purity of heart which is an acceptable offering to God, and the experience of the goodness of God even now in our lifetime. The First Book of Kings Chapter 17 verses 2-4, a familiar text for Carmelite embroidered the four stages we need to follow to achieve the above.

a) depart from here and go eastward, hide in the brook Karith which is over against the River Jordan… We can easily see the meaning of these words to imply detachment as when you depart from something or some place, a way of letting go, a form of spiritual and material poverty a departure done in silence divesting oneself of all worldly possessions

b) go eastward… One is given a direction, a command and such requires obedience; go eastward…do something which is difficult because it is going to a place unknown and foreign to you and everything that is unfamiliar is scary… go eastward… even though you know not what lies ahead. Such orders require a lot of willingness and giving up of one’s will. We have made our FIAT just as Mary did; we only need to remember it again and again.

c) hide in the brook of Karith… if we must hide, we hide not to evade the truth, not to run away from good but to hide alone with someone who is ALONE, to hide in the silence of one’s heart where God dwells, to be in solitude because there, God is waiting for us and we delight in His presence….. The brook of Karith…..Cherith……Charity… God is perfect charity, and if we are Carmelite’s, we must live in perfect charity.

d) …there I will send the ravens to feed you and you will drink from the torrent… God always keep His promises; He is never outdone in generosity; His providence will never fail. A person who is detached, obeys perfectly and communes with God in silence and solitude will always be provided by God because he knows what is His purities… then, after many struggles and purifications, we can live in puritas cordis, a heart free of stain, a pure heart as an acceptable offering to God and the person can truly experience God’s goodness even in this lifetime.

A Carmelite should make a difference like Elijah. The history of Carmel should have an effect on our lives. Our sense of history should bring salvation. Salvation lies in remembering God never fails to remember his love for us. Let us not read our history just like any history book which is just a gathering of historical facts, figures and events but the reading of our history should cause an effect on our way of worshipping and loving God for He continuously remembers us in the Eucharist.

The early Carmelites were pilgrims and crusaders. Needless to say that history repeats itself; we the Carmelites of this age are no different from the past. We are still sinners needing forgiveness because we are aware of our own humanity. Unlike the Saints who have the past, we have a future, and this future is viewed in the light of dwelling in the bosom of the Trinity, in the bosom of God.
The recollection reminded me to be resolute, repentant and convinced that the two purposes of the Carmelite vocation are achievable. The Saints in Carmel have proven it so...

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