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Posted October 15, 2009

Book: Welcome to the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites
Author: P. Aloysius Deeney. OCD
ICS Publications, Washington, D.C. 2009. Pp. 116

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

This book is a collection of Fr. Aloysius Deeney’s conferences presented to the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelite (OCDS) members worldwide. His most practical and insightful talks are primarily directed to the members of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites and others who are interested in the tradition of Discalced Carmelites. The author is notable for is enormous understanding and knowledge about the Secular branch of the Order. As such, OCDS members are the true beneficiaries of this book. This is a “must read” book for all of those who are interested in the lay branch of the Order of Discalced Carmelites.

“The spirituality of the Discalced Carmelites invites continual study. Any person who wants to be a Discalced Carmelite must be a person with an interest in learning and assimilating the spirit of the teachers of Carmel. This is the beginning of an attitude that is open to learning and practice. A Carmelite who does not have the interest in studying or deepening the root of his/her identity through prayer and study soon loses his/her identity.”

An Excerpt from the Book:

Mendicant life, beginning with Orders such as the Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites, etc., has a different structure and purpose. The articles in the Catholic Encyclopedia point out the differences that exist in the spirituality and apostolate of monastic life and mendicant Orders. Basically, roughly, and only in the broadest way, one might say that the involvement of laypersons with monastic life was to bring those persons in the world into the spirituality of the monastery, and the involvement of laypersons with mendicant life was to bring the spirituality of the mendicant Orders into the life of laypersons in the world.

The mendicant Orders sought to live a spirituality and exercise an apostolate that grew out of the spirituality that they lived. Many congregations of religious life have existed for a period of time and have gone out of existence because the reason or reasons for their existence ceased. These congregations of religious life based their identity on the specific apostolate for which they were founded. Some active congregations of Sisters today, which have made major contributions to the good of society, are actively seeking a renewed identity because their identity has changed. Some others have decided to stop seeking vocations and to go out of existence because work by them is no longer necessary. A generation or two ago, Catholic hospitals always had Sisters as a mainstay of the nursing staff.

In any case, mendicant Orders do not base their identity on an apostolate, but on a spirituality, and the spirituality guides and directs the apostolates to which they dedicate themselves. The spirituality of the mendicant Orders reflects elements or an element that belongs to the essence of the Church in the world. The dedication of the Dominicans to higher education is a fruit of Dominican spirituality of the preacher who spreads the word. Much of the Franciscan apostolate is a dedication to working with the poor. This is the fruit of the Franciscan desire to follow Jesus in the purity and simplicity of the Gospel. Augustinian spirituality is based on a desire to discover Jesus in the midst of community life, which leads them to a dedication to many social apostolates. And the Teresian Carmel’s charism is based on the place of the personal relationship between God and the person found in prayer. From that base flows the work to which Carmelites dedicate themselves.

Table of Contents:

Testing and discerning a vocation to the secular order of Discalced Carmelites

The New OCDS legislation and the vocation to Carmel.

A new vision — apostolate of our charism

The Holy Spirit — Lord and giver of life: Carmel and renewal

Origin and the basic identity of the secular order

The Beatitudes and your vocation to Carmel

The role of study in the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites

How ought the council function?