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January 24, 2006

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Kate49

I believe in the Carmelite tradition as the basic path towards heaven.
What Catholics do not know makes them the MOST ignorant of all of the followers of Christ-Catholics have LOST the taste for spirituality that has been a foundamental part of daily living for centuries and centuries. The Hebrews continue to raise their children correctly giving them lessons on how to read the Old Testament in the original language.
What has happened to Christianity is all a question of MISINTERPRETATIONS. The downfall of the Church has been caused by a combination of misinterpretations and misunderstandings which are transmitted by the mass media; ever since the common people have been able to READ, they have read the BIBLE. Those who have been able to WRITE have written quite a bit! Much of the written works have been translated and re-translated into hundreds of languages ,until they have been mutilated in Time!
I firmly believe that the Carmelite Road is the most correctly illuminated way to look upon Life. I intend LIFE in the PRESENT TENSE: ETERNAL LIFE.
What I find intriguing is that the notable men and women who belong to the Carmelite Order are all Doctors of Christianity! They have TRIED whole-heartedly to CORRECT wrong ideas on the Faith we should have in God.

Edith Stein simply picked up the Thread of Gold that was placed into the hands of the women of the order she entered.
Few know much about the spiritual writings of the most famous authors who once belonged to OLD ORDER of Carmelites: Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross. They reformed the Order and have left us with a treasure chest full of spiritual FACTS-- These are NOT to be confused with RELIGIOUS facts, because religion ( ANY RELIGION ) is the one factor that hinders the faithful who would like to be able to FEEL God.
The manuals for sprituality written in the 1600's by the Carmelites are still valid today; they are UNIVERSAL lessons, but they MUST be read with an OPEN mind. It is extremely difficult to have an OPEN mind when one practices a formal religion, because the religion itself places limits on God.
What has come down to us through the centuries is almost totally unknown and unread today, because books on spiritual experinces simply cost too much.
As you may know, St Teresa of Avila held lessons( within the monasteries ) on HOW to get in touch with God.
Paradoxically, "the fastest way to REACH God" is kept away from us by the very same religion that is practiced by the Carmelites, who hold the keys to the scriptures.
Peace,Well-being, Joy and Love to you!

Teresa

Very interesting comments, Kate! I am glad you are so interested in the writings of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross. Their writings are not well known to the average secular person today, as you know. But they are still widely read among Catholics who love to pray and also by some Protestant Christians, translated into many different languages. The English translations today by ICS Publications were made by Carmelite friars who have spent most of their lives learning and living Carmelite spirituality, and who have taken immense care in the quality of their translations.

I am sorry to hear that you think religion "is the one factor that hinders the faithful who would like to be able to FEEL God." Both of those saints would have disagreed with you on that point. It is important to understand that "religion" means the belief in, and worship of, God. In the liturgy, the prayers of the Hours, and other formal prayers of the Church, it is important, as St. Teresa wrote, to always keep an awareness in our hearts of who we are and to whom we are praying. All prayer, including liturgical prayer, should be prayed from our hearts. The Church (the Catholic "religion") has a role in encouraging such prayer from the heart, and it is not a hindrance in feeling the presence of God through that process.

St. Teresa was horrified by the Protestant Reformation, and wrote about it in her book The Way of Perfection, and she encouraged prayer for those priests who were the defenders of the Church. While she had much to say about choosing a learned spiritual director who will guide a soul in the way of prayer, she always saw the Catholic Church as furthering closeness to God in prayer.

St. Edith Stein, too, wrote of faith and theology as enlightening natural reason, and of revealed truth as "the standard of measurement" to which Christian philosophers should "subordinate their own judgment" (Finite and Eternal Being).

St. John of the Cross warned against placing too much confidence in one's own experiences, which are often from within oneself and not from God, and which in some cases could even be of demonic origin. Even as he guided those he directed to ascend toward union with God, he also cautioned about feelings that can mislead us.

I hope that, as you study their writings, you will come to appreciate the role that the Church can play as protector of those who seek the face of God, guiding them into the truth so that they will not be misled when feelings come from within themselves, or even from evil, rather than from God. The Church's teaching is all the more essential to protect us from those risks as we draw closer to God in prayer.

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