Living in Allegiance to Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ, son of the Living God, is the person at the very centre of Christian life, and therefore of Carmelite spirituality.

Jesus of Nazareth, son of God and son of Mary, true God and true Man, is our model, our Lord, our brother and our friend. He is the ‘Christ’ or ‘Messiah’, God’s anointed one, who became human to tell us the Good News that God loves us. By pondering the words and actions of Jesus that we find in the Bible, we come to know what God is like: loving, compassionate, merciful.

Although the Carmelites are known for their devotion to the patrons of the Order, Mary and Elijah, these figures of inspiration point us to Jesus, and our charism is in truth very Christocentric (Christ-centred).

Christ is the beginning and end of the Rule of Saint Albert. In that text the Carmelite is described as one whole lives ‘in allegiance to Jesus Christ’, who is expected to live devotedly in Christ, and to be whole-hearted in the service of Jesus.

All the great Carmelites across the centuries have been drawn to the person of Jesus, as found particularly through pondering the Scriptures, and encountered in prayer.

Saint Teresa of Avila encouraged her communities of nuns to ponder the ‘sacred humanity’ of Jesus Christ. She spoke of him as both a king and true friend who loves us.

Saint Edith Stein, a Carmelite nun who died in Auschwitz, stated that those who search for truth are searching for God, and will ultimately arrive at the Cross of Christ.

The journey towards deeper union with Christ is the most demanding of all, as it leads us inwards into our own hearts. Carmelites find Christ in the very depths of their being.

Even in an age sceptical of organised religion, Jesus of Nazareth continues to exert an extraordinary fascination for people, especially the young.

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