Good question! But there are some related questions I recommend we ponder frequently. More in a moment.
At the International Congress of the Secular Order held in Mexico back in 2000, Fr Aloysius Deeney OCD, the General Delegate of the Secular Order (at that time), gave an important speech entitled, “Carmelite Seculars and the Apostolate of the Order“. Our current OCDS Constitutions and Statutes flowed from that congress, heavily influenced by Fr Deeney’s speech.
Rather than reproduce the speech here, I recommend you follow this link and read the document.
As you read, please keep in mind these key elements:
I would like to begin with two quotes, one from our Holy Mother, Saint Teresa of Jesus, and the second from an Anglican priest, very devoted to Teresian-sanjuanist spirituality.
Teresa VII Mansions “This is the reason for prayer, my daughters, the purpose of this spiritual matrimony, the birth always of good works, of good works.”
Truman Dicken , an Anglican priest wrote a book, the purpose of which he expressed in the preface. He said that he wanted his book “The Crucible of Love” a synopsis of Teresian and Sanjuanist spirituality, not to be just another theoretical dissertation on the spiritual life, but he wanted to make a practical contribution to “the most urgent pastoral problem of our times: to teach our people to pray.”
And consider the two questions that emerge. We all need to ponder these questions.
Why do I want to be a Carmelite?
Why does God want me to be a Carmelite?
The speech is also available as a chapter in Fr Deeney’s book, Welcome to the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites. (ICS Publications, Washington, 2009) It’s entitled, “A New Vision – Apostolate of Our Charism”.