This month we remember with gratitude the first Carmelite Sisters who laid the foundation of Carmel in the archdiocese of Johannesburg 90 years ago. The Sisters arrived in Rivonia on 18th September, 1931. Moving from Rivonia
in 1992, a new Carmel was built in Benoni in 1996. We rejoice as we celebrate these two great events … 90 years since the establishment of the first Carmel in South Africa and 25 years in Benoni. Please join us in
thanking God for all the blessings of these years.
To speak of spirituality is to speak of inspiration, that is, of ways of seeing, of profound conviction, of attitudes and ways of being, of the dynamism of life. It is to speak of what makes us live at the very depth of
our being. The spiritual life is putting into practice the life of the Holy Spirit who is within us.
Carmelite Spirituality is all about longing and desire
The Carmelite tradition recognizes this longing in the human heart. We are made to seek and search, to yearn and ache, until finally our hearts find something or someone to match the depth of its desire and longing
- for us that goal is God. It is God who puts this longing within us - it is he who has touched us. This deep current of desire within our lives is the result of God having first desired us. St. John of the Cross
says: “If anyone is seeking God, the Beloved is seeking that person much more”. If God has given us such longings, God will ultimately fulfil them. Silence and solitude remind us of that space in the heart where
every person is called to find God’s presence. St. Teresa wrote in her famous bookmark: “Let nothing trouble you, let nothing frighten you, all things pass away. The one who possesses God, lacks nothing. God
alone suffices”. This is the basis of Carmelite spirituality.
"Contemplatives are part of the great tree of life, we hold it, for we are the roots. The tree may be axed, burnt, stripped off for medicine, but if the roots are intact, the tree will be able to give life again to all.
Everyone can come to it for shelter and solace."
Transformation of Consciousness
We are called to a transformation of consciousness which frees us from violence, greed and hatred, opening to love, compassion and prophetic hope. The deepest dimension of Carmelite spirituality promises, therefore, a freedom
of the heart that does not seek or expect its own consolation and fulfillment but rather is totally given for the flourishing of the contemplative dimension within every human heart and the continuing transformation
of God's people in love.
Teresa of Avila described prayer as nothing else than an intimate sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us (Teresa of Avila, Life 8.5).
A day by day faithfulness to this relationship opens one to the educating power and presence of Jesus' Spirit and calls forth a determination to commit oneself in fidelity to a lifelong process of self-gift and transformation.
In a purifying movement entailing not only light, consolation and affirmation, but also dryness, darkness and suffering, intimacy with Christ matures expanding consciousness and affectivity with a new kind of contemplative
understanding, wisdom and selfless love. Now a deepening identification with the suffering, crucified Christ brings about solidarity with the poor that is not only theologically grounded but actually experienced.
In the darkness of this hidden presence of God, the self is broken open to embrace the victimized, the hopeless, the dispossessed, the suffering ones of the world.
8 February 2020 - World Day of Prayer, Reflection and Action Against Human Trafficking – time to end slavery
A young student once asked Bakhita: "What would you do, if you were to meet your captors?" Without hesitation she responded: "If I were to meet those who kidnapped me, and even those who tortured me, I would kneel and kiss
their hands. For, if these things had not happened, I would not have been a Christian and a religious today" “I am definitively loved and whatever happens to me, I am awaited by this Love. And so my life is good.” St
Pope Francis has declared the feast of St Josephine Bakhita, which is celebrated each year on 8th February to be the World Day of Prayer, Reflection and Action against Human Trafficking. St Josephine Bakhita is the patron
saint of victims of slavery and of Sudan.
Carmel in ‘lockdown’
For us as Carmelites, this time of ‘lockdown’ is an invitation to enter more deeply into the prayer and intercession of Jesus for the needs of his body, the Church, and for the whole world. He is always living to intercede
for us with his Father. In the words of St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein), it is our vocation to stand before God for all.
In Carmel we ‘take on the prayer life of Jesus, permanently present to the Father, his whole being filled with the Spirit’ (Fr Camilo Maccise ocd).
As contemplatives we are appointed to pray daily the Prayer of the Church (Divine Office); to ‘share in that prayer which the Son put into words in his earthly life, and which still continues unceasingly in the name of the whole human race and for its
salvation, throughout the universal Church and in all its members.’ (General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours)
At this time when our movement is severely restricted we can remember that ‘the one journey that unltimately matters is the journey into the place of stillness deep within one’s self. To reach that place is to be at home; to fail to reach it is to be
This is an opportunity to enter into that stillness within and to find peace.
St Teresa Margaret Redi
St Teresa Margaret Redi belonged to a noble Tuscan family and was born in the city of Arezzo in 1747. She entered the Discalced Carmelite monastery at Florence on September 1, 1764. She was granted a special grace of contemplative insight based on Saint
John’s phrase God is love, through which she felt called to a hidden life of love and self-sacrifice. Christ crucified was always in her mind, “the captain of love,” who held aloft “the standard of the Cross”. She fulfilled
her vocation through heroic charity toward others. She died in Florence in 1770, aged twenty-three.
Triumph of the Cross 14th September
I looked at your Cross, O Christ, and read there the song of your love.
St John of the Cross
Christ is Risen: The world below lies desolate
Christ is Risen: The spirits of evil are fallen
Christ is Risen: The angels of God are rejoicing
Christ is Risen: The tombs of the dead are empty
Christ is Risen indeed from the dead, the first of the sleepers,
Glory and power are his forever and ever.