By Fr. Alexander Ezechukwu, OCD
Have you ever been concerned about staying faithful to Jesus Christ?
About remaining in his friendship?
Do you know friends and family members who have lost their way, who have fallen from God and his laws?
Jesus encourages us, “As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love.” (John 15:9)
With these words, Jesus is showing us that the way we live our lives is closely related to the love that He and his heavenly Father have for us. Being united with him is not merely a matter of laws, but of his love and our response to that love.
And isn’t it true that our failures come from our desires that get out of hand?
Control Your Desires
What’s wrong with desires, you ask?
We desire friendship, respect from others, hope for our future, and for the necessities of life. That’s normal.
But deep down in our hearts, we know that these desires should not rule us. They must not become more important than God.
How can we keep these desires at arm’s length from our true calling as baptized Christians?
St. Teresa of Avila teaches us that detachment from creatures is essential to a close walk with Christ. That means that even though we have legitimate desires, when push comes to shove, we must prefer God to all else in the world.
St. John of the Cross puts it very bluntly. He talks about the “mortification of desires” and a “denial of pleasures in all things.” He says that “[T]he soul that loves anything else [apart from God] becomes incapable of union with God and transformation in Him.”
Staying Faithful as Religious
Are you wondering, “How can this priest tell us to be faithful to God while there are so many scandals in the Church?”
Believe me, we Discalced Carmelite friars are well aware of the problems among the clergy and the religious. And we shudder to think that those under vows or Holy Orders could ever betray Our Lord.
And yet the grace of God keeps us on the straight path. As religious, our common life of prayer, study, work and social time is structured throughout the day and serves as a protection. We watch out for one another. We treat each other with brotherly charity. And in our interactions with others, we follow safeguards and courtesies that protect good morals.
Our very way of life helps us remain faithful, despite the difficulties of the day.
You…a Carmelite Friar?
If you’re a Catholic man age 18 to 35, have you thought about becoming a religious friar? Maybe God is calling you to a Carmelite vocation in our Anglo-Irish Province!
Contact me, Fr. Alex, Carmelite Encounter Director, at +44 (0)7477 673932, email@example.com
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