Yesterday while I was reading the history of the Order of the Discalced Carmelites, I was seized by the desire to go back in time -- the times of St. Tesera of Avila, its foundress!
She founded a small, close community of women who dedicated themselves to intimate and contemplative prayer. And they lived in monasteries!
I wanted to be in one of those monasteries; praying all the time! Praying and contemplating on the word of the Lord!
Soon I realized that I too could be in a monastery; I need not travel time! I need not be in the literal structured monastery as my heart was my monastery!
I realized that I could switch myself off from the disturbances of the world and settle down in the monastery of my heart -- perhaps this is what even Jesus had meant when He said, "Go to your room, shut the door and pray to your Father in heaven". I realized that my heart is my room, my cell in the monastery! It is here that I need to pray and contemplate; confine myself in the interior of my heart.
I understood one more thing -- the meaning of St. Teresa's book "Interior Castle". Though I haven't read it and know not anything about its contents, I realized that by "interior castle" she must have meant the interior of our heart. I don't know; I am not sure but I would like to believe that!
PS: After I finished writing this thought, I came across something which had been told to us around a week back.
We were told that "our hearts should be our oratory -- a small place to withdraw from time to time". I had written it down in my notebook.
When I came across this again now, I immediately checked the meaning of oratory -- it means a small chapel, especially for private worship. How happy I am to know this!
So this sums up my desire to lead a monastic life -- I need not confine myself within the walls of a structured monastery like the cloistered Carmelite nuns. As a secular Carmelite, I am to live in my heart's monastery and withdraw myself to its oratory from time to time to pray, contemplate and have an intimate relationship with Jesus!
Oh what an enlightening thought from the Lord! Thank you, Jesus!