Prayer is at the heart of the Carmelite vocation. When people think of Carmel, the very first thing that comes to their minds is an Order that is devoted to prayer.
Lay Carmelites are called to live in the presence of the living and true God who in Christ has come to live among us. They look for every possibility and occasion to reach divine intimacy. Letting themselves by guided by the action of the Holy Spirit, lay Carmelites are open to a transformation of mind and heart, of their vision, and of their actions.
Gradually Jesus must become the most important person in the lay Carmelites’ existence. This means having a personal warm, affectionate, and constant relationship with Jesus. This bond is nourished by the Eucharist, the liturgy in general, by Holy Scripture, and by various forms of prayer.
In Luke 10:38-42, we find two sisters: Martha, busy with hostess tasks and Mary, who sat at the Lord’s fee and listened to what he was saying. When Martha asks Jesus to tell Mary to help with the work, Our Lord replies: “Mary has chosen the better part and it shall not be taken from her.”
These words of Our Lord have been applied to Carmelite Order. For the Carmelite, contemplation is “the better part”.
Any man or woman age seventeen or older may consider a vocation to the Third Order Carmelites and will share in the fraternity of the third order centered on a life of prayer in the spirit of Elijah and devotion to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.