Carmelite Spirituality | The Call of Carmel through TRUTH

When we honestly ask ourselves which person in our lives means the most to us, we often {ind that it rs those who, instead of giving much advice, solutions, or cures, have chosen rather to share our pain and touch our wounds with a gentle and tender hand. The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing, not curing, not healing and face with us the reality of our powerlessness, that is a friend who cares." - Henri Nouwen

As Catholic men, we have long been silent, absent or non-committal when it comes to faith. This begins within ourselves and extends to our families, friends, and beyond. Society and sin have twisted God's definition of "masculinity" to be synonymous with "power," "money," "domination," or "sexual prowess." Our God-given role as men is to be the spiritual heads of our households, having oversight with truth, charity (love), and compassion. As Catholic men, we need to take our rightful place in our families, church, and communities as men of God.

In order for this to happen, each Catholic man must:

  • "Accept, by a personal decision, the saving sovereignty of Jesus Christ and Become his disciple" (Pope John Paul II Mission of the Redeemer N. 46)
  • Deepen his faith and relationship with Jesus Christ.
  • Experience the Father's unconditional love through Mass, the Sacraments and daily prayer.
  • Be guided by the Holy Spirit to live his life as a man of God.
  • Respond to the Lord's call to share the faith with others.

How can this come about?  This occurs through attendance at retreats, conferences, Holy Mass, and following the truth.  St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, Edith Stein, set out on a journey for truth, and discovered that truth involved the Cross.  Her prayer, therefore, became deeper and deeper.  She began to understand that the embrace of Christ's Cross was the only truth that could counteract the modern world's evils.

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross understood that love and truth have an intrinsic relationship because the love of Christ and human freedom are intertwined.  To her, the quest for truth and its expression in charity did not seem at odds.  On the contrary, she realized that they call for one another.

In our time truth is often mistaken for the opinion of the majority.  In addition, there is a widespread belief that one should use the truth even against love or vice versa.  But truth and love need each other.  St. Teresa Benedicta is a witness to this.  The "martyr for love," who gave her life for her friends, her people, let no one surpass her in love.  At the same time, with her whole being she sought the truth.  "No spiritual work comes into the world without great suffering.  It always challenges the whole person."  St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross tells us not to accept anything as the truth if it lacks love and not to accept anything as love which lacks truth - that one without the other becomes a destructive lie.

Fr. Francis Fernandez Carvajal, author of In conversation with God, which has sold over two million copies, makes clear that in order to live a life which is truly human, we must have a great love for the truth, which is sacred.  For men, the truth is sometimes so obscured by passions and materialism, that if we did not live it, we could never come to discern it.  It is so easy for men to accept a lie when it comes to the aid of our laziness, flatters our vanity or our sensuality, or encourages in us a false sense of prestige.  Sometimes the cause of insincerity is boastfulness (vainglory), ostentatious display of pride or even fear of looking foolish in front of our peers.

At times, men are afraid of the truth because it is demanding and inexorable.  Sometimes the temptation may come to us to resort to pretense, a small deception, a half-truth, or even a lie.  On other occasions, we may feel tempted to give another name to facts so as not to upset people by telling the truth as it is.  Sincerity is a Christian virtue of the highest order, for we cannot be good Catholic Christians if we do not live it with all its consequences.  Sincerity with ourselves puts us on guard against fabricating the truth or pretending that what suits us is true, like those who try to deceive themselves.  Nonetheless, in order to find the truth, we must find it in Christ's cross, as well as all of the crosses we must bear in our life.

How can men accomplish this?

Several Catholic men's groups have sprung up in recent years.  One of them, Catholic Men's Fellowship, is a group of Catholic men, from all vocations and walks of life, who have come together to make a difference in the minds and hearts of the people - the difference that begins with faith-filled men.  The Catholic Men's Fellowship groups meet in an informal setting.  We pray for loved ones and friends in need.  We share experiences in dealing with life's challenges and we support each other in our attempts to deepen our relationship with the Lord.  We are committed men, principally Catholic, who recognize our need for God's help.  We gather in Christ's presence in an atmosphere of trust, equality and anonymity to share personal feelings and experiences.  We accept each other unconditionally and prayerfully support one another.  Each of us has recognized a need for stronger spiritual values in our lives.  We have given our lives over, in varying degrees, to Jesus Christ and His gospel message, and we are open to respond to the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Men's ministries ore founded with the mission to evangelize, encourage, and strengthen Catholic men to live their call to be influential sons of God and to lead their families, peers, and others closer to the Lord. Whether in the home, workplace or society, each man is called to respond to the authentic image of masculinity and found in Christ Jesus and examples such os St. Joseph, patron of husbands and fathers, and St. Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles.

Men's ministries ore founded with the mission to evangelize, encourage, and strengthen Catholic men to live their call to be influential sons of God and to lead their families, peers, and others closer to the Lord. Whether in the home, workplace or society, each man is called to respond to the authentic image of masculinity and found in Christ Jesus and examples such os St. Joseph, patron of husbands and fathers, and St. Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles.

A defining slogan of the Catholic Men's Fellowship is that "all growth occurs in relationships." To attain the rewords of the abundant life, it is necessary to communicate in truth with someone else - to become vulnerable to one another. The most important of these relationships is union with God. We come from God and our true destiny is to be with Him now and in eternity. God's desire for intimacy with each of us is revealed in the Holy Scriptures. It is also manifested in the experiences of doily life. It is shown to us in the beauty of the setting sun, the smile of o child, the gesture of unexpected friendship, and the personal experience of God's saving grace in life's difficulties.

For most men, the primary relationship in life is with spouse and family. It is in family life that os men, we experience feelings of great joy and happiness, but it also exposes us to events of sadness and loss.

The greater the depth of intimacy the grater is the potential for holiness.  The spousal relationship is especially important.  In the Catholic Men's Fellowship, it is acknowledged that the level of intimacy with God can often be measured by our feeling for spouse and family.

The Catholic Men's retreats and conferences gather men together in prayer and fellowship, inspiring and challenging them to go out into the world to fight for the dignity of every human being and to protect those entrusted to their care.  We start with Christ and end with Christ.  Everything we do is for His Glory.  We work hard to create bonds between men that will allow them to grow in their Catholic Christian faith and stand together during times of adversity.  We do not compromise on the true message of Jesus and His Church.  We understand that there is a spiritual battle taking place, and we are willing to engage in this battle for our families, our faith and our country.  Finally, we are proud to be Catholic, and think it our duty to share this wonderful gift with other men.

We are inundated with sound everywhere we go.  The car radio blasts on when I turn the key.  The grocery store is playing Aerosmith in "musak!" And you can learn how to speak Italian when visiting the rest room in your favorite restaurant, as they play language tapes over the speaker system!  Planes zoom.  Trains screech.  The TV blares with commercials.  Did you ever notice that you can practically never escape the noise?  Just as a body needs rest, so does the spirit.  A quiet place is one anecdote to our stress.  As a Catholic Christian, I know how good it is to connect in spirit with God.  More people need to discover the hidden treasure of observing a special kind of Catholic Christian spiritual retreat - a retreat of silence.  Some have other ways to describe it: meditation, listening to the inner self (holy spirit), hearing the voice of God.  Whatever you prefer to call it, a day of silence gives breath to the soul.  For Catholic men, this kind of retreat is truly spiritual.  A silent retreat allows you to be alone where you speak only with God.  This day consists of one thing - to talk with God and listen for His voice.

It is through retreats, silent, meditative retreats and conferences that a man can be renewed, refreshed.  For me, this happens at Mt. Carmel Retreat Center in the Mojave Desert amidst the creosote bush, saltbush, and Joshua trees - a panorama of God's landscape that can be viewed for what seems like eternity, experiencing the heat of the sun or the chill of the wind, a distant sunrise or the long shadows at sunset.

In precis, what I enjoyed most is being able to "walk away from life" for a day.  Sitting on the rocks of the buttes, I pray and talk with Christ Jesus.  As I am always in awe at the natural, aesthetical beauty of nature, I marvel at how native plans must exist in a harsh, but yet fragile landscape environment, such as deserts or the timberline elevations of mountains.  I try to comprehend and appreciate how God's wildlife must deal with everyday living - not having or needing the finer things of life, but just being able to survive day to day, month to month, year to year.  This whirls my meditation into humility and detachment from earthly possessions.

Every man needs a place to be alone with God.

I've found mine.

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Service Times & Directions

Weekend Masses in English

Saturday Morning: 8:00 am

Saturday Vigil: 4:30 pm

Sunday: 7:30 am, 9:00 am, 10:45 am,
12:30 pm, 5:30 pm

Weekend Masses In Español

Saturday Vigil: 6:15pm

Sunday: 9:00am, 7:15pm

Weekday Morning Masses

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday: 8:30 am

6654 Main Street
Wonderland, AK 45202
(513) 555-7856