Carmelite Prayer — Our Practice
Learn About Our Life of Prayer in Carmel of Reno
The heart of Carmelite life rests in faithfulness to community and solitary prayer. Two hours are devoted to solitary prayer every day. This opens our hearts to all in need and helps us to grow in compassion and service to others. The Liturgy of the Hours and time for spiritual reading and study are also part of our daily life.
These feed the mind and heart.
“Do What Best Stirs You to Love”
St. Teresa, who initiated the Carmelite Reform, taught her nuns that solitary silent prayer is marked by intense awareness of the person of Jesus. The primary directive she gives her sisters about prayer is “Do what best stirs you to love.” A sister’s solitary prayer is therefore unique, reflecting her life, gifts, and personality as well as her roots in our common Carmelite tradition.
We pause for more focused “recollection” two days a month. Our annual community retreat and each sister’s yearly individual retreat provide more extended time for prayer and spiritual growth. During these times we dedicate ourselves to listening to God, to conversation with the beloved, to pondering in our heart, as Mary did, God’s action and presence in our lives and in our world.
Contemplative prayer is a gift of grace. We do not earn it, nor do we achieve it by our own effort. It is ultimately God’s Spirit growing, living and praying within us. (Romans 8) Our part is simply to remain faithful, responsive and open to God’s loving initiative. This gives a lightness and freedom to our life of prayer. We rest in merciful and gracious Love as we work, pray and play each day. It is present in every aspect of our life.