WELCOME TO ELIJAH COMMUNITY WEBSITE
This website is dedicated to those Anglicans who wish to deepen their own spiritual life following one of the most ancient Christian spiritual traditions called the Carmelite way of life. We intend to create a space where those inspired by the spirit of Carmel may share with others their thoughts, views, experiences, and ideas about the teaching of Carmelite tradition. We hope that it may encourage many of you to climb this mysterious mountain called Carmel that will lead you to union with God. It is an experience that you will never regret.
Many may ask, what is then Carmelite spirituality? And why is to so advisable to follow it? The answer to these questions is not to surprise us: Carmelite spirituality guides us to union with God in allegiance to Jesus Christ. This spiritual tradition, however, does not ignore the truth about the brokenness of the human heart and all limitations of our nature. When we struggle with all difficulties of everyday life, when there is uncertainty in our existence, and when we suffer from the loss of identity, they all may cause unbearable pain and anxiety. But God's invitation to happiness and fulfillment remains always open. The question, however, is how to find the right way when things seem to be so dark and difficult? Carmelite spirituality gives you the answer. Are you ready then to deepen your life in God's unconditional love, to live your life more freely, and to be happier? If your answer is 'Yes', the path to Mount Carmel is the right way. You will be guided by Prophet Elijah and other great spiritual Masters of Mount Carmel. The journey may go through the valley of darkness where you may experience even more pain and suffering, but you will never be left alone. You will be led by Jesus Christ himself into the loving arms of God.
The spiritual teaching of Mount Carmel or, in other words, Carmelite spirituality, traces its roots back to the 9th century B.C. when the ancient prophet Elijah challenged worshipers of false gods on a coastal mountain range called Mount Carmel in northern Israel. But this victorious event in Elijah's life does not shape Carmelite spirituality. What does it then? To know the answer we need to go to the 1st Book of Kings in which we read about Elijah's suffering from anxiety, fear, and doubt. And this is what the book says, Elijah was so afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. The further events in Elijah's life tell us more about his encounter with God, his healing and redemption. It happened because Elijah's vulnerability and brokenness made him open to relying only upon the grace of God.
In the first millennium of Christianity new groups of men and women went through the same experience as Prophet Elijah. They settled on Mount Carmel near a spring called 'the fountains of Elijah' and hoped to continue their search for the true God of love and compassion. Today this dream is still shared by many who seek to experience the presence of God's love and compassion in their life.
All those who desire to follow the spiritual teaching of the first hermits of Mount Carmel need to focus on three values, contemplation, companionship and compassion, which they also call, mystical union with God, community life and service for others. These three express the Carmelite charism. In other words, Carmelites are friends of God and explorers open to God's transforming action in their loving relationship with others.
The particular charism of this project is to form a praying community of friends at the service of God's people. Taking particular inspiration from the ancient prophet Elijah and other saints of Carmel who searched for union with God in allegiance to Jesus Christ. Prayer, community-building, and service for others are then the key to our way of life. Our mission in life is to know and love God, and to make God known and loved. This sends us out to proclaim and share the Good News of Christ that God loves us with a deep passion.
Our project, the Carmelite Fellowship, has very little or nothing to do with the institutional form of religious life still preserved in traditional Carmelite orders. We do not want to focus on a particular way of doing things like wearing religious clothes or living in special religious houses. We believe that it is neither the property of a particular religious institution nor its structure and rules that make someone a Carmelite. It is so because Carmel stands for itself as one of many ways to an intimate encounter with God. But this way shapes our unique and loving relationship with God in the world.
If you think that the Carmelite way has something to offer you, we would love hearing from you, but we have to say very honestly that if you are seeking in your spiritual journey supernatural visions, ecstatic experiences or institutional religious life then you are in the wrong place. The goal of our journey is then about following the reality of the Gospel of Christ, and not about fulfilling the requirements of traditional religious institutions. It is so because the Gospel of Christ speaks so clearly that the Word was made flesh, emptied himself taking the form of a slave in ordinary human life to make us one with God.