Philippines Carmelite Vision
1. As Carmelites today, we are called to live in allegiance to Jesus Christ and to live out our charism and tradition, our community life and ministry in response to our national, regional and global contexts. As a Carmelite Province in the Philippines, we are called to a more radical and prophetic stance as religious today, working expansively for the gradual eradication of powerlessness, impoverishment, injustice and helplessness among our people.
2. Led and guided by the Spirit of God and inspired by our Elijah and Marian traditions, it is imperative for us to opt for the poor and share our lives with them to grasp and understand more deeply our religious and prophetic vocation.
3. The evangelical counsel of poverty is our way of living simplicity of life and being at home with the poor and the marginalized sharing with their daily life insecurities, struggles, joys and hopes.
4. The evangelical counsel of obedience reminds us of the need for a new way of listening. The poor are in many ways teaching us a new approach to discerning God’s will in building community and to a more radical trust and faith in God imitating Jesus’ attachment to the Father. The closer we live with the poor, the more concretely we will be obedient to God’s will.
5. The evangelical counsel of chastity calls us to a life of faith and hope where God is the center of life. It invites us to a deeper risk-taking in fraternity, in fidelity and commitment. The strength of our chastity is being lived out in the openness and fraternal atmosphere of our communities and in our genuine pastoral attitude towards people in our ministries.
6. The charism and tradition of Carmel and its contemplative dimension is present among the people of God. There we find a sense of God, the source of life and the strength of hope which sustain them amid the hardships and difficulties of life. The spirituality of hope, the aspiration and strong faith, as well as their humanness even in the midst of inhuman and violent situations should be the source of our contemplation. In this way, the search for the face of the Living God will bring us closer to the One who hears the cry of the poor.
7. The reign of God can be sensed whenever the humanness of men and women are at stake. As brothers and sisters of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, we live and take a special devotion to Mary, the humble and simple woman of Nazareth who listened to the Word and courageously followed Jesus’ footsteps and proclaimed in her Magnificat.
8. Seeing the victims of social injustice and working for radical change among the different sectors and communities, we have seen the deep mystical sense of their hunger for life and justice, and for the simple peace of ordinary life. We have recognized that God does not want senseless material offerings but the sincere offerings of justice from pure hearts.
9. As contemplative and prophetic communities, we should be nourished by God who is with us. Our communities are spaces and places where God is present. Our communities are sacred places in the midst of the people’s struggles and hopes for all the activists and victims. For “without prayer and mysticism, politics soon becomes cruel and barbaric; without politics, love, prayer or mysticism soon becomes sentimental or uncommitted interiority.” (Schilebeecx).
10. As a people, we are facing grave problems in our own country but also as part of the global community. The crises are deep and worsening that affect the majority of our people which are more painful than our anxieties. Thus, the Carmelite vocation can be best articulated and concretized in our solidarity with our people and in our works for justice, peace and integrity of creation.
11. As fraternal communities, we have to form and reform ourselves, our consciences and our lifestyles. Only then can the wisdom of our contemplative charism and tradition become leaven for the people’s struggles, unmasking the idols, and living out a confidence of faith in the God of justice and peace amid the darkness of injustice and violence.
12. We need to strengthen and solidify ourselves as friars, associates, members of the Carmelite family, co-workers and mission partners through prayer, team building, studies, trainings, concrete and meaningful experiences and constant immersion and solidarity with the people we journey with and serve.