God's blessing to you on your journey, in your postulancy and beyond. I love the Hermits in Chester, NJ....been there a number of times.
I just got back from a two week visit with the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Chester, New Jersey. I'm going back soon to enter as a postulant. even though pretty much anyone can walk in and have their personal thoughts about this particular eremitical life, I'd like to be someone (who hopefully might be called there) to put in some good thoughts:
Anyone who feels like they've been discerning forever or have journeyed long, will show me the compassion and hope that I thirst for . so I've been discerning for three years now. I like to say that I was first a Marian Devotee of ST. Louis de Montforts' works, and I will always be to my last breath!then I entered the Poor Clare Colettine order for 1yr and 3 months.then I entered the Discalced Carmelite order for 4 months.
although the contemplative orders had similarities (apart from their unique charism,ie: Franciscan, Carmelite) I found it hard to devote myself wholeheartedly to both their charism because I didn't yet have a personal calling. what I did have was a desire, but not a "calling."from what I've observed from the stories of our saints handed down to us, a calling is ultimately very personal and it can take many journeys to find it. but once it's found than it doesn't matter so much WHERE one is, but WHAT that one does at the moment. hopefully what we do according to our calling, is good and fruitful, whether others who are standing in the same place with us are not called to act in the same way. just like St. Teresa of Avila, Lucia from Fatima, Mother Teresa,St. Francis they all found their calling fruitfully: St. Teresa had to leave her original community to live the Primitive Rule as a Discalced Carmelite because of God's calling (not just because of interior inspirations) which was so ingrained in her that not even the most prudent and wise oppositions could stop her. and the fruit is manycontemplative vocations and saints faithful to the Primitive Rule.
Likewise with Lucia of Fatima, who was not originally a Discalced Carmelite but a Sister of St. Dorothy for over 20yrs, which was a beautiful testimony that she entered Carmel (with papal approval) seeing that she had longago seen the vision of Our Lady of Mount Carmel with the Child Jesus and the Scapular--I'm not sure why she didn't enter Carmel first, but GOODNESS who can refute the fruits of her journey.
And with Mother Teresa who was a Sister of Loreto before she heard the "call within a call" from the poor.
And St. Francis who became everything perfectly (merchant, chivalric soldier, a beggar, a preacher, a saint etc) but he was called to start the "Friars Minor" to rebuild God's Church, even though God revealed to Him in the beginning that the Order would suffer disunity, but would produce many saints and last to the end of the world.
well anyway, I think I might find my calling here at the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. yes, there are trials here and in every foundation of the Church. the trials might be small or grave or nothing at all,depending on the individual who encounters it-especially if that individual is called to encounter it and to persevere by Grace. in other words, as for the psychological aspects of the life, that is the founder's call and may it be her salvaton, BUT it is not in the constitution approved by the Church to take on her mentality. the life itself calls for the fidelity of each individual hermit, and if they should fail, then God forgive them and may He forgive us for the many infidelities we have, and May God Be Blessed for His loving fidelity to us, and may we learn by His Grace to be faithful to Him even in times when we are judged as unfaithful.
If it is true that the heaven rejoice exceedingly over one sinner who converts than over the countless just who are already converted, then what's in the"conversion" that seems to hold it's prominence over "fidelity?" it has to be mercy. God's Mercy is Love, but it's necessarily more significant than Love, because we're a fallen race, and to destroy sin by rendering from it truth joy and love, is the greatest Glory of God. If the conversion of a sinner is so joyous, how much more regarded is the ONE who converted that sinner. Anyone can stress social, psychological, spiritual, religious, moral, devotional aspects of life. The Government does that, the Church does that, all religions and sects do that. But if it doesn't render God's Mercy from those who hear it, then it's meaningless, accept to the one's who are faithful to it. BUt Jesus and His Church Came to save sinners not the righteous alone. Even Jesus endured the doctrinal and moral and political stress of his own peoplethat literally nailed him to the cross, but his call was greater than the law. His call was to love God his Father, and love us to save usfrom sin.
It's terrible that those discerning religiuos/priestly vocations undergo so many pressures and stresses from others.May God give us all, the grace to endure and love each other in order to render His Mercy always. Blessed are those who have continual conversions of the heart, mind, and body, as suppose to those who've "never" done anything so wrong on earth ( 1 John 1:10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. ). Blessed even more is He and those who cause conversions because of Him. Blessed are those who rejoice in God's Mercy and the willful and joyful conversions of sinners.
The foundation and constitutions of the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel was blessed and approved by the Church, they have provoked much conversions to souls who've met them. They have converted even more so by their tender prayers and loving sacrifices for the world than by their words and wisdom of the things of Heaven and the things of earth.
I don't assume that I won't suffer much if I have a "calling" to this holy place, but I feel like I'd be able to persevere. The disciplines of the life are enough to provoke interior mortifications. And although each hermit and every person is unique in their thoughts and in their personal mission/calling, I think it's each of our Christian duty to win each other with Love always, and if we can't than we can atleast die in Love. Our Lord converted ALL sinners in ALL of TIME by His Loving Death than by His 3 years of public preaching and refuting of lesser laws and by healings and miracles. Doesn't that make anyone just want to die out of love for each other? I would hope that to LIVE a sacrificial life in any vocation is worth more than wanting others to live a sacrificial life for you. In other words, it's beautiful that people (non-believers, believers, philanthropist, atheist, etc) look with respect on the sacrifice of Jesus, the priests, the nuns, and Christians for the world's intercession and redemption, but it's more beautiful if we could share it with them and if we could strengthen each other. Contemplatives pray for people, yes, but their prayers are meant to bring out the sacrificial love capable in each soul that will render true and victorious conversion!......
I may not have much experience in religious life, or have been committed to one faithfully. But the Love of God is written in all hearts, and it can't be denied when it is proclaimed. I did mean well with this post reply, so I hope no one takes offence...but that they rejoice with me in my hopeful discernment, and I encourage others to get to know the Hermits of Our Lady of Mount Carmel for the Mercy God has shown them and those who know them.