Reflections on Receiving the Holy Habit

By: Sister Mary Louise, O.C.D.

Wedding dresses, graduation gowns, first communion clothing, prom gowns, these are all familiar these types of clothing as are the special celebrations for which they are worn. They help mark significant moments in life. Worn for a few hours, they are then packed away as precious reminders of an event that has passed. Last Sunday, March 16, three young women were clothed in beautiful garments as a way of marking a certain moment in their lives. The difference was that after a few hours these “gowns” were not packed away. But early Monday morning the young women again put them on.. and again Tuesday morning… and Wednesday…and they will continue to wear them for the rest of their lives. This is because we are not talking about satin and silk but the holy habit of Carmel.

What is the significance of the clothing that we as Carmelites wear? What does it mean to be clothed in the garment of our Immaculate Mother? The answer was clear in the Sacred Heart Chapel on Palm Sunday: conversion. But it wasn’t so much that a message was preached, as that a conviction shared in a radical way by each sister was expressed verbally. It was a tangible experience of the presence of sisters who have persevered to the end in the life long struggle of conversion, of sisters with whom we have made it through another day, as well as sisters with arms outstretched eager to begin a life of continual striving for the perfection of charity. They have been approved to make their first vows and in a few months they will commit themselves to our way of life. Now their outward appearance matches the interior reality. Because as we greeted and congratulated the three brides-to-be, the radiant smiles on their faces bore witness to the treasure we have in our community: union in Christ. It was truly their special day, but I think each of us and all of us together took yet one more step closer to our Divine Bridegroom, led by the guiding hand of His Mother, the Queen and Beauty of Carmel. We congratulate Sister Maralisa, Sister Julianna, and Sister Marie Rachel. We congratulate you and we love you, our dear sisters!

Published in: on March 20, 2008 at 3:50 am  Comments (9)  

True Meaning of Lent

My goodness! It’s been a while since the last blog’s been put up. Where does the time go to?! Whew. Makes you realize how quickly time passes and how attuned we need to be to the graces in front of us right now.

Being in the season of Lent…it struck me how different one’s approach to Lent can be depending on how it is perceived. Some see it as a time of “giving up”. A time that we hope passes by quickly so that we can eat what we want to eat and go about life as we always do – without much thought. I recall Lent being a time of negatives – don’t do this, can’t do that, etc.

In reality, Lent is a grace-filled time which gives us an opportunity to grow in our willingness and ability to love the Lord more freely. I was recently given an article touching upon the transforming effects of love. It beautifully stated that in “falling in love with someone, the beloved, who before was one of many, or perhaps unknown, suddenly becomes the only one, the sole person in the world who interests us. Everything else is left behind and becomes a neutral background. A very real transfiguration takes place…” Lent simply put, is a time in which we are called to love more deeply, more completely, more freely. It’s a time of stripping away and emptying so as to be made wholly His. Lent speaks of love – allowing ourselves to be transfigured by His love for us and our love for Him.

Published in: on March 5, 2008 at 5:43 pm  Comments (1)