Pope Calls Carmelites to Be "Beacons of Holiness"

Refers to a 550th Anniversary for Nuns and Secular Third Order

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 20, 2002 (Zenit.org).- In a message to the Carmelite family, John Paul II called its religious and third-order members to be beacons of light in a troubled world.

In the letter, addressed to Father Joseph Calmers, prior general of the Carmelite order, the Pope refers to the 550th anniversary of the cloistered nuns’ admission to the order, and the establishment of the secular third order by Pope Nicholas V’s decision.

«Carmel reminds people, preoccupied by so many cares, that the absolute priority must be the search for the ‘Kingdom of God and his justice,'» the Pope writes.

«In looking at Carmel, where prayer becomes life and life flowers in prayer, Christian communities understand better how they can become authentic schools of prayer,» he explains.

The papal message was addressed in particular «to the dear Carmelite Sisters, dedicated solely to the praise of the Lord,» to request «that their convents be beacons of holiness, especially for the parishes and dioceses that have the good fortune to count on their presence.»

The bull «Cum Nulla» of Oct. 7, 1452, also recognized the incorporation of the laity in the Carmelite family through the establishment of the secular third order.

The Pope invited the «men and women, called to live the Carmelite charism in the world,» to sanctify «all daily activity through faithfulness to their baptismal promises.»

To fully realize this vocation, John Paul II requested that they lace the day with prayer, especially the eucharistic celebration and the liturgy of the hours, imitating «Mary, who listened to the words of the Lord, kept them in her heart, and put them into practice.»

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