Carmel: Interpreting A Great Tradition
One of the outstanding Carmelite authors of today has now written on the vision and aspirations of the great foundress of her order, St. Teresa of Avila. The key to the vision was passion - not some state of heightened religious emotion, but an all-engrossing preoccupation with God. But, as Ruth Burrows points out, what all too often happens in practice is that the day-to-day life-style becomes adapted to non-passion: she argues, passionately, that faithful observance - the horarium, the 'detachment from created things' obedience, the relationship between sisters - provides an almost perfect situation for receiving a very great love of God, and that the structure must not be adapted to a lesser love.
This, perhaps her most important book to date, is written primarily for fellow members of her own Order. But this particularity, and the detail and clarity with which she expresses it, makes Carmel a book of profound interest to all contemplatives, to priests and religious with more active apostolates, and to laypeople - in a word, to all Christians who see the 'passionately pursued' contemplative life not only as a core vocation in the Church, but as a source of inspiration for their own spiritual lives.
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