When you take your first steps in Carmel you have a mentor, and then you spend five years in formation; you make your first promise after two years and then the second three years after that. Then you may well become a mentor yourself, depending on the needs of your group or community. I have been mentoring a little group for a while, and they are coming up to their final promises. In the course of our last monthly formation session, one of them asked if there was anything specific that they should know about before the great day. This brought to my mind the elusive nature of our Carmelite commitment. Yes, there are specific commitments - to regular attendance at our community, to the Morning and Evening Prayer of the Church, to daily periods of quiet prayer, to yearly retreats and so forth, but beyond this there is simply a commitment of the heart to love the Lord and live for Him, and no instruction manual or prescriptive document can teach you to do that.
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