Bishop Hurley of Grand Rapids, Michigan

OUR HEART FOR MINISTRY

Our Ministries or Apostlates as we call them are an integrated part of our daily lives. We strive to live a life of daily servant hood that extends the love of Jesus to those around us.

 

The Blending of Prayer and Action

Prayer/Interior Life:

“I could not live without prayer and faith.” Autobiography page 22.

The Carmelite spirituality invites us to be in constant union with God during the whole day. Our thoughts are always centered upon Him. Our whole life is a prayer because we offer every moment to God. Every action of our day is sanctified no matter if we are in the Chapel or washing the dishes or caring for the elderly and children. It is all done for Him. We are never separated from His Love. Everything Jesus did in His life was blessed and when we do an act of charity by caring for our residents and children in our apostolate, we are His Hands and His Heart. We are attached to Him as the branches are attached to the vine. His grace flows through us. This is the fruit of a deep prayer life.

It is during prayer that we obtain from our Savior the grace filled energy and zeal to spiritually nourish others mainly because we ourselves have been filled to overflowing with His very life.

“We not only are to be Tabernacles, dwellings of the Most High, but tools or instruments, with which He, the Divine Savior, the physician of our souls, may use for the salvation of souls.” Autobiography page 104-5.

The Eucharist:

The Eucharist is our life and the source of our joy.

All our formal prayers are recited in the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament. At His feet we pour out of love and prayers for His Mystical Body. We are family and each of the members of this Body is precious to us and their needs and concerns are of immense concern to us. We place everything in His blazing Heart of Love.

What is so special is that our apostolates are attached to our Convents. Our Convents are private. Our Dear Mother Foundress never began a Foundation without the Most Blessed Sacrament. We share Him with the people we serve. Spending the whole day in the same building as Our Lord and being able to visit Him often during the day and bringing others to Him (our dear residents and children) is heaven on earth.

“I was firmly determined never to settle down in the Home without the Blessed Sacrament. My constant and chief prayer in those months was, therefore, “If you come, I will come!” It was a cry of love and longing. The Savior understood these words and graciously listened to this plea of love, rising to Him many hundreds of times!” Autobiography page 72

Our Mother Foundress also states, “Our greatest joy in making a new foundation is always this: to erect another dwelling for the Divine Savior. We have the greatest confidence that in this way faith and love of God will be awakened and increased in many souls.” Autobiography page 238-9.

Community Life:

The love of the Eucharistic extends to all aspects of our life and especially community life. We must be a sign of love and peace to the world. From the Eucharistic we receive daily the grace to “See God in All, Serve God in All and Love God in All.” Autobiography page 363.

“How great is that holy love that binds religious together! It is this love that makes the life in the Order a paradise despite all sacrifices, hardships, and privations.”

Also, “The love of the Divine Savior, Who, hidden in the Most Holy Sacrament, draws us around Him like a magnet and fills us with tender love for Him and for one another!"

"At this fountain of love, the most Holy Sacrament, our souls are refreshed and enkindled more and more with the fire of divine love. That love never rests but ever sends forth new flames that consume itself in works of charity toward others!” Autobiography page 224.

Summary:

As one can observe, all aspects of our daily life are intertwined and is a perfect blend of prayer and action that cannot be separated. It is a blanket of warmth and love that we place over our world to melt the hardness and cold that resides in souls that have lost the great gift of sanctifying grace or are indifferent to Him.

It is also the radiant joy that we bring to each of our actions that brings peace and happiness to all we meet and serve. As our Dear Mother Foundress stated, “A true Carmelite of the Divine Heart of Jesus should come down from the heights of Carmel to grief laden, peaceless humanity like an angel of peace and comfort.” Autobiography page 263-4.

If you feel that God is calling you to the religious life, you are always welcome to visit us. Our Lord said to His disciples, “Come and See.” We extend to you this same invitation. Do not hesitate to answer His gentle voice. It is such an honor to have the Lord of Heaven and Earth, ask you to be His bride.

“I realized that God wanted to be my all.” Autobiography page 52

“I desired to know and to do the will of God and to show Him my love by becoming a Sister.” Autobiography page 23.

Come and see how we as Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus follow the Lamb wherever He goes.

Quotations are taken from the Autobiography of Blessed Maria Teresa of St. Joseph, Foundress of the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus.