However, you are to eat whatever may have been given you in a common refectory, listening together meanwhile to a reading from Holy Scripture where that can be done without difficulty.
– Rule of St. Albert, No. 7
Scripture says that “man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.” (Deut 8:3, Luke 4:4, Matthew 4:4).
Taking on the example of Mary (Luke 2:19), Carmelites ponder on God’s word day and night, and rightly so even during the times when we are pre-occupied with work.
Each interaction we are blessed to have should be an experience of God’s presence for it is in our experiences – both individually and communally – that God reveals himself. And in all these, to take a moment to ponder on God’s goodness.
Br. Lawrence of the Resurrection, a humble cook in a 17th century discalced Carmelite monastery wrote in one of his letters:
“At table and in the midst of conversation, lift your heart at all times towards Him. The smallest remembrance will always please Him.”
“It is not needful always to be in Church to be with God. We can make a chapel of our heart, to which we can from time to time withdraw to have gentle, humble, loving communion with Him…. Do not fetter yourself by rules or special forms of worship. Act in faith, with love, and with humility.”
How much have I been remembering God lately?
Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread, or sit in the seat of scoffers; but their delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted by streams of water, which yield their fruit in its season, and their leaves do not wither. In all that they do, they prosper.
Lord, grant me a heart that is constantly thirsting for your presence. One that is always excited to be with you. Amen.