Who are Lay Carmelites?
Lay Carmelites are primarily an association of lay men and women belonging to the Third Order of Carmel. The Third Order is for lay people whose lives are lived in a busy world with the demands of family life, single life, social or professional life. Membership helps them attain a fuller realization of their vocation as Christians in the world. The Carmelite Order offers to its lay members its own traditional spirituality, but within the framework of life in the world.
A Gospel Way of Life
The Rule, or way of life, proposed to Carmelites is, of course, based on the Gospel of Christ. Carmelites are especially attracted by the way Jesus lived and walked in the presence of God, his Father. The Order has also constantly cherished the inspiration of Elijah, the prophet of Carmel, and Our Blessed Lady.
The Prophet Elijah
Elijah, the Old Testament prophet, is associated with Mount Carmel in the Holy Land, the mountain which was the cradle of the Carmelite Order. The Bible presents him as a man of abiding faith. He noticed the secularism of the day — the divorcing of God from the life of the Chosen People. Courageously he proclaimed the rights of God in a society prone to forget him. Profound prayer sustained him in his work. Always deeply aware of the presence of God, he listened to his voice and was open to his word. So a faith-filled Carmelite, with a love for prayer and a constant awareness of God's presence, is entitled to say with Elijah; "With zeal I have been zealous for the Lord God of hosts".
Mary, Mother of Carmel
When the Carmelites came to Europe they brought with them a fervent devotion to Mary, the Mother of God. In the plan of salvation, Mary, a free agent, put herself completely at God's disposal, saying; "Be it done to me according to your word."
Inspired by her example, Lay Carmelites aim to accept the word of God in faith, ponder it prayerfully in their hearts, and live it out in daily life.
The Brown Scapular of Carmel is a vivid reminder that Mary is our Mother, clothing us with the mantle of her special protection. Lay Carmelites are dedicated to Our Lady, they form Carmel in the World and follow a rule of life which is a sure guide to holiness.
The best way to discover Lay Carmel is to attend some of their monthly meetings. We meet on the 3rd Saturday of the month at 3.00 p.m. at Whitefriar Street Church, Dublin
Lay Carmel members are over 18 years of age and are Catholics in full communion with the Church.