Praying signifies Change
The need for reviewing and deepening the charism of prayer is crucial for the future of Carmel. The roots of Carmel are centred in the spirit of Prophet Elijah who showed the power of prayer on Mount Carmel and then his burning zeal for the living God on mount Horeb. The primitive rule given to our forefathers by the Patriarch of Jerusalem, Albert the Great, is the explicit source of our charism. Then our Holy Parents have left behind a very rich legacy of prayer though their invaluable writings enriched through their own lived life.
Given these short details on Carmel, we need to be aware of our roots, that remind us of our great contemplative tradition. This should be an incentive to all of us for being examples of prayer in this modern times.
In this modern world when people are fed up with sense pleasures and materialism, they keep looking for deeper values searching for lasting solutions through reiki, yoga, vipassana, T.M. Perhaps we are at the right juncture of history to give expression to our charism and attract people towards this authentic value of prayer and contemplation.
There are a number of books available on prayer. None can really beat the pedagogy and methods taught by our Holy Parents. No method of prayer can be equal to the methods and means indicated in their writings.
I do not want just limit prayer to what we call the daily “two hours” prayer. This is right in its place. There is no question about that. The practice of it requires discipline, atmosphere, training, teaching and finally plenty of good will. This type of prayer can turn out to be at times just a practice rather than life. What I mean to say is, there can be a tendency and a habit that is formed to spend daily two hours without really getting into life situation with the effect of such prayer. It is in a way easy to spend two hours prayer in the chapel and do nothing rest of the day and live a very comfortable life without any challenge, risk or hard work. (Ascent “look for the hardest and the most difficult”).
Prayer and Creativity: Our prayer cannot lead us to stagnancy of thought and action. We find lot of creativity in the life of our Holy parents. The type of life they lived in their own monasteries is an example to this creativity. Their humor, their words, their very concrete life examples are the real vibrations of this creativity.
Prayer and Flexibility: They were flexible. They knew to live anywhere in any circumstance. Real praying person can never be rigid in life. Flexibility does not mean pleasing all. It means adjust-ability.
Prayer and Responsibility: Prayer brings out our hidden abilities. Responsibility means that we build within us an ability to respond to the need and circumstance. In our life there can arise innumerable types of circumstances and situations. We need to respond to them. The ability to respond must be brought out from within. It cannot be produced outside of us. This in fact is the fruit of real prayer. Responsibility is not just doing our work, but doing it to serve the purpose and need through the work in an able way. The ability to do so is generated within us.
Prayer, Growth and Change: The person who prays shows real growth. He will be never be the same. The moment one is same, without change, has fallen in a routine of prayer, which does not affect his life. This I would term as stagnant prayer life something like, as we begin our prayer “In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” and end it “As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be world without end. Amen”. Change is vital to prayer life. We are not able to change the will of God by our prayer. Through authentic prayer we ourselves are changed.