The Carmelite Rule

The Rule of Life, written by Albert of Jerusalem, was amended and approved by Pope Innocent III in 1247. The Rule has regulated and shaped the lives of Carmelites down through the centuries and has proved to be an excellent guide. It continues to inspire Carmelites today just as it challenged those of the 13th Century.

Simple yet radical, the Rule is still very much in tune with the spirituality of the present time. It begins and ends with Christ. At the heart of the Rule is a life of allegiance to Jesus Christ by which we are brought into intimacy with God. The Carmelite life, centred on the Word, the breaking of bread, prayer, the holding of all things in common, a moderate lifestyle and service, helps those who follow it to be themselves transformed and to bring the light of God’s message to the world. To live a life of allegiance to Jesus Christ and to serve him faithfully with a pure heart and a good conscience.

The first hermits were also noted for their spiritual attachment to the prophet Elijah and to the Mother of God. The motto of the Order is the words of Elijah, “I am filled with zeal for the Lord, God of Hosts” (1Kings 19:10). Elijah, the prophet who sought the face of God, is patron of the Order. Carmelites see him today as a model for the task of witnessing to the presence of God in the world. In Mary, Mother of Jesus, Carmelites honour the most perfect fruit of the redemption and see in her a complete openness to the Word of God and a model for their lives. (see Luke 1:38-45; 8:20; 11:28).

The Carmelite Rule helps the individual Carmelites to discover who they are, encourages the building of community and service to the world. The Rule leads us to acquire an attitude of openness to God’s presence in life, teaches us to see the world with God’s eyes, and inspires us to seek, recognise, love and serve God in those around us. (Carmelite Formation: A Journey of Transformation).

To view the Carmelite Rule and a commentary on it by Father Simon Nolan, click here.

The image(s) featured in this section are courtesy of The Friars, Aylesford, Kent, where they are located.

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