Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Spiritual Journey

I haven't seen it and don't own it. Spiritual Journey is the title of a new magazine of the Ordo Carmelitarum Discalceatorum (OCD) Spirituality Institute of Krakow, Poland. The first issue contains nine scholarly articles on spiritual and Carmelite themes. They are written in diverse languages. However, all the works are summarized in another language, according to the News page on the order's English website.

"The editor, Fr. Grzegorz Firszt, says in the introduction that, "The publication is mainly directed to specialized groups, to religious communities, to ecclesiastical seminarians and to other ecclesiastic groups. However, it is also directed to individual people and to those interested in these themes." This issue also contains messages from the Metropolitan Archbishop of Krakow, the Father General of the Order and the Father Provincial of Krakow."

A Discalced (dis-kalst) Carmelite is one who is part of the Carmelite order, which originated in the early 13th century and was reformed by St. Teresa: "In 1562 a Spanish Carmelite nun, known to us as St. Teresa of Avila, assisted by another great Carmelite, St. John of the Cross, established what was to become a new branch of the Carmelite Order, the Discalced Carmelites. "Discalced" comes from the Latin word meaning "unshod." They were so called because the most distinctive thing about their appearance was the fact that, because of their more austere way of life, they wore rope sandals of the poor in place of leather shoes. The Discalced Carmelites, both friars and nuns, aim at a more retired and contemplative form of life. The Carmelite Order today has two branches of their family: the Ancient Observance (O.Carm.) and the Discalced (OCD)." Carmelite Digest

I'll poke around to see if I can get a first issue for my collection. I was reading about the Discalced Carmelites because I've been reading "The Impact of God" which is about St. John of the Cross and the meaning of his poetry. Being a Protestant, I'm somewhat acquainted with the groups and divisions in that branch of Christianity, but reading about religious orders in the Catholic church and their various rules and reforms is a bit like stepping into religious quicksand for me--I'm quickly over my head.

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