Saturday, January 20, 2007

From the Provincial Delegate

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Carmel,


Let there be peace within our hearts. Let the love of God move us to be always grateful to the different events affecting our lives. God sends us a message. Let the peace and love in our hearts enable us to live in silence though it is very noisy around us. Our silence enable us to recognize the message of God. Our silence does not judge who is right or wrong, but helps us to appreciate everybody's role in our journey in the land of Carmel. This silence allows us to meditate that Jesus lived in the midst of those considered impure (Luke 3:37). Though we have limitations and sins, Jesus love us so much.

God loved us first. He has commissioned us to work for His kingdom. As we allow ourselve to be sent, we are being purified. We have many reasons not to respond to God's invitation. I could mention many reasons not to be in the TOC. Primary reason is - I have many tasks and I know that there are many challenges affecting the community. I don't know why I said "yes" when I was asked by our provincial. When I said "yes", I humbly said that I'll try to do my little ways. My pure intention to help or journey with you was not easy. I felt uncomfortable in the type of relationship existing in the community. I missed the strong sense of love and compassion in Carmel. I missed the authentic sharing of who we are. This experience moved me to pray and reflect more why I said "yes."

Whatever the situation, you also have said your "yes" to Carmel and to God. Let us allow this "yes" to be challenged and purified. Our "yes" awakens us to give more of ourselves to Carmel, to be faithful to our vocation to live a contemplative lifestyle, to leap over the many barriers and difficulties, and to recognize the Lord who came as our Saviour because we humbly accepted that we have committed mistakes and lapses.

Our "yes" to Carmel and to God asks us to examine more our hearts' desires. This demands a life of constant meditation, and that we observe silence and keep watch always. Our "yes" should be like the beating of our hearts. It is our faithfulness to God Who truly loved us first.

The presence of God among us enables us to renew our community in the spirit of God's loving and peaceful presence. Be attentive to your heart's desire, be attentive to God's presence.

Mary, our mother, intercede for us

Fr. Pete, O.Carm.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

The Heritage of Elijah: The Silent Retreat of the TOC Region of Saint Joseph

What a better way to start the year is to have a vacation with the Lord. Thus, the TOC Region of St. Joseph (Bulacan) coordinated a silent retreat with the theme: "The Heritage of Elijah: Introduction to Carmelite Spirituality" from January 12 to January 14, 2007.

A snapshot from Notre Dame de Vie

The retreat venue was held at the former mother house of the secular institute "Notre Dame de Vie" in Asia which was founded by Fr. Marie Eugene of the Child Jesus, OCD. The retreat house is surrounded by a large woodland and conducive for a closed silent retreat.

One pathway going to the wooded area

The retreat was attended by TOCs from Pulong Buhangin (Bulacan), Guiguinto (Bulacan), Malolos (Bulacan), Calumpit (Bulacan), Project 4 (Quezon City), Pilar Village (Las Pinas), and Five Wounds (Las Pinas). Fr. Cocoy Sabanal, OCarm was the retreat master.

Fr. Cocoy giving a short intro at the first day

The retreat was started with a Holy Mass and the "Grand Silence" was observe after the Compline of January 12 and ended at the closing Mass of January 14. Exposition and Reposition of the Blessed Sacrament was observed and on the early morning of January 14, the retreatants made a Way of the Cross within the vicinity of the retreat house. At the last conference on January 14, the retreatants made some presentation based on drawing, song or play about their reflections they have made as the retreat progressed.

TOCs Making Presentation

Bro. Boy during one of the discussions

TOCs of Pulong Buhangin