Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sekilas tentang Ordo Karmel

1. Mengapa Karmelit berjubah coklat?
Warna coklat adalah warna tanah, warna hina-dina. Warna coklat kemudian identik dengan warna pertobatan. Para Karmelit mengenakan jubah coklat dengan maksud hendak hidup bertobat terus menerus, sederhana, rendah hati, dan bekerja keras.

2. Apa arti lambang Karmel?
Bagian hitam/coklat yang menjulang adalah lambang Gunung Karmel, tempat para Karmelit berasal. Dua bintang yang melayang adalah lambang hidup kontemplasi. Bintang putih di tengah gunung adalah lambang hidup aksi. Mahkota adalah lambang Maria, Bunda para Karmelit. Tangan dan pedang bernyala adalah lambang Elia, inspirator Ordo. Pita dengan motto Karmel berbahasa Latin berarti: “Aku bekerja segiat-giatnya bagi Tuhan Allah semesta alam.”

3. Siapa pendiri Ordo Karmel?

Ordo Karmel itu unik karena pendirinya bukan satu orang saja seperti banyak ordo atau serikat yang lain. Para pendiri Ordo adalah para pertapa yang membentuk hidup bersama di Gunung Karmel sekitar tahun 1200-an. Saudara B. Yang pada waktu itu menjadi yang dituakan di antara mereka.

4. Dimana Gunung Karmel itu?
Gunung Karmel bukan berada di Indonesia, melainkan di Israel. Letaknya yang dekat Laut Tengah membuatnya terkenal karena keindahannya. Karena itu Ordo Karmel adalah satu-satunya Ordo yang berasal dari tanah suci.

5. Apakah Ordo Karmel itu Ordo Kontemplatif seperti Trapis?
Mula-mula memang para Karmelit hidup sebagai pertapa, namun karena terdesak oleh keadaan mereka mengubah cara hidup mereka menjadi ordo mendikan, yang bergaya hidup kontemplatif aktif (vita mixta): tetap mempunyai irama hidup ketat sebagai biarawan, namun juga boleh berkarya di dunia ramai. Jadi para Karmelit tidak melulu hidup kontemplatif di dalam biara seperti para Trapis.

6. Apa beda Karmelit dengan Fransiskan? Perbedaan mencolok tidak ada, karena sama-sama berjubah coklat. Hanya saja para Fransiskan lebih menekankan spiritualitas hidup miskin, sedangkan para Karmelit lebih memberi penekanan pada aspek kontemplasi dan doa.

7. Apakah ada Pertapaan Karmel itu?
Ya, ada. Pertapaan ini adalah tempat bagi para Karmelit yang hendak hidup kontemplatif ketat seperti para pendahulunya. Hidup bertapa diijinkan dan diberi tempat, jika ada alasan yang kuat.

8. Apakah Karmelit identik dengan karismatik?
Kalau karismatik yang dimaksud adalah gerakan pembaharuan karismatik dan kalau disebut identik atau sama persis, jawabannya adalah tidak. Kalau yang dimaksud dengan kharismatik adalah hidup yang dipimpin oleh Roh Kudus, jawabannya adalah ya, karena peranan Roh Kudus itu mutlak dalam hidup seorang Karmelit. Namun jika ditanya adakah biarawan Karmelit yang aktif dalam gerakan pembaharuan kharismatik katolik, jawabannya adalah ya, ada.

9. Apakah skapulir itu?

Skapulir adalah kain panjang yang dikenakan menutupi bagian depan dan belakang pemakainya dan bergantung pada tulang scapula (pundak). Skapulir adalah lambang salib Kristus, jadi memakai skapulir berarti mau memanggul salib Kristus. Skapulir yang dipakai para Karmelit adalah skapulir coklat, sesuai dengan warna jubahnya. Menurut tradisi, Bunda Marialah yang memberikan skapulir ini sebagai pakaian resmi Ordo Karmel pada St. Simon Stock.

10. Apakah Keluarga Karmel (Familia Carmelitana) itu?
Familia Carmelitana adalah serikat-serikat baik aktif maupun kontemplatif, religius maupun awam yang mengambil spiritualitas Karmel (O.Carm) sebagai gaya hidupnya. Contohnya: Ordo Carmelitarum Discalcearum (OCD), Hermanas Carmelitas (H.Carm), Tertius Ordininis Carmelitarum (TOC), Donum Dei, Putri Karmel (P.Karm), dan lain-lain.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Charisms of the Carmelite Order
A charism is a gift from God to the Church for the world. With regard to a Religious Order, the term refers to the gift which God gives to an individual or group to inspire the founding of a new religious family within the Church. This gift is handed down through the centuries and enriched by all who are called to live it. The charism of each religious family is the particular way in which its members are called to follow Christ. Since all Christians follow Christ, the charisms will have many elements in common, but the way in which these elements are emphasised gives each religious group its unique feel. All religious families have been asked by the Church to rediscover their original founding charism and make it come alive in each culture and in every age.

The charism of the Carmelite Order is God's gift given originally to those nameless hermits who gathered together on Mount Carmel, beside the well of Elijah, at the end of the 12th and beginning of the 13th centuries. The Carmelite Order has no known founder but sprang from the desire of those first hermits to follow Christ together with a pure heart and a good conscience. They asked the Patriarch of Jerusalem, St. Albert, to write for them a rule of life (c.1206-1214) which laid down certain guidelines based on the previous way of life of the hermits.
This Rule of St. Albert and the experience of the Carmelites as they sought to be faithful to it in various circumstances gave definitive shape to the charism. We can say that there are several elements which make up the Carmelite charism. Firstly, and most importantly, it is a way of following Christ with total dedication. Carmelites do this by seeking to form contemplative communities at the service of God's people in whose midst they live. Contemplation, fraternity, and service are therefore essential values for all Carmelites.

The heart of the Carmelite charism is prayer and contemplation. The quality of our prayer determines the quality of the community life and the quality of the service which is offered to others. The goal of the Carmelite life is union with God. We seek to live in God's presence and consent to God's will for us. This involves us in listening to God who speaks to us in many ways and especially in the words of Scripture. Prayer is the way we relate to God and as we grow in friendship with Christ our prayer will tend to become more and more simple. The relationship with Christ will change us, impelling us to move out of the prison of selfishness towards the bright daylight of pure love for God and our fellow men and women. We are called to embark on a journey of faith whereby we are gradually stripped of all that is not God so that we can put on Christ. We do all we can to respond to God's initiative in calling us but we are very aware that in the end only God can change our hearts and so we learn to wait patiently for the coming of God to us. As we follow Christ along this path of trust in God we are inspired by the example and virtues of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the Prophet Elijah.

Prayer and contemplation for the Carmelite are not private matters between the individual and God but are to be shared with others since the charism is given for the whole world. Therefore there is an emphasis in the Order on the ministry of teaching prayer and giving spiritual direction. The Carmelite is aware that the transformation of the human heart by God may be hidden from most eyes but has far reaching consequences for our world. The way of prayer is mysterious and goes beyond our normal human categories. Prayer opens us to the Ultimate Mystery.

Carmelites seek to form communities where each person feels accepted and valued not for what he can do but simply because he is. This kind of community is in itself a witness that the love of Christ can break down the barriers which human beings set up and that it is possible for people of different backgrounds and nationalities to live together in peace and harmony. Carmelites are also aware of being part of an international fraternity which is present in many parts of the world.

The hermits were forced to leave their home on Mount Carmel and settle in Europe. There they changed their style of life from hermits to friars. The major difference is that friars are called to serve the People of God in some active apostolate. Some Religious Congregations were founded for a specific work but the Carmelite Order tries simply to respond to the needs of the Church and the world which differ according to time and place, and so, many friars work in parishes, schools, universities, retreat centres, prisons, hospitals etc. The kind of service which each individual friar is involved in will depend on the needs of the people in whose midst he lives and his own particular talents.

Flos Carmeli
Vitis florigera
Splendor coeli
Virgo puerpera
Mater mitis
Sed viri nescia
Esto propitia
Stella maris

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Learning Something Good from Bad Man

One day Ikkyu San, a young novice in a Buddhist monastery, were cleaning up his master’s table. He didn’t see that there was a very precious ceramic cup whose age was more than 300 years. He nudged the cup, it fell down and breaks into pieces. He was so afraid that his master will punish him hard. He cleaned up the remains and hides them behind his back. Then, his master came in. Thoughtfully, Ikkyu smiled and asked him a question, “Master, why do people die?” The master answered, “Well, Ikkyu, it’s natural, everything in this world experiences both life and death.” Still smiling, Ikkyu showed the broken cup, saying, “Master, it’s the time for this cup to die.” Ikkyu’s master was speechless. What a smart boy!

Brothers and sisters, the Gospel of Luke 16: 1-8 is dangerous! It teaches us to learn something good from bad man with bad attitude. In this parable of the dishonest manager, Jesus doesn’t praise the dishonesty of the manager. The praise for the manager is not the key of this parable. The key is the phrase, which says, “…for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light” (Luke 16:8). This is something that we can learn of. That phrase means that if only the Christian was as enthusiastic and smart in their attempt to attain goodness as the children of the world are in their attempt to attain money and comfort, the Christian would be much better people! If only the Christian is as smart as the Asian in pirating dvds, cds, perfumes, video games, etc, the Christian would be better in their spiritual life. Over and over again a man will expend 20 times the amount of time and money and effort on his pleasure, hobby, garden, sport as he does on his church. Our Christianity will begin to be real and effective only when we spend as much time and effort on it as we do on our worldly activities.


NO! Instead, we are lazy and lax. Once I trained young people to present a good liturgy by using guitars, keyboard, flute, and drums with contemporary Christian music. Some smarty persons criticized me, “Oh…it’s not liturgical, we, Catholics don’t use those stuffs. We only use organ, as the liturgical rule said. You train them become Protestants.” Remember, when organ was being used for the first time in the Church liturgy, people called it “the satanic device.” We tend to be lax and lazy. We don’t open to the change, because change makes us work. But the worse thing is we criticize they who put their time, money, and effort for building the kingdom of God creatively and using new ways. We tend to be a museum. Even when the Spirit urges us to renew our life, we reject. That is why, Jesus criticize us today, “the children of this world is smarter that you, the children of light!”

Let us wake from our sleep and move with the Spirit to be more creative, to put more effort, and to be smarter. Remember the smart novice that makes his master speechless, Ikkyu San. Remember also what Jesus said in another place, “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves, then be thoughtful as serpents and be innocent as doves” (Mt 10:16).