Although we are unable to be officially received into our Lay Carmelite Community after our first year of formation due to the pandemic, there is so much to be grateful for. Just being a part of this wonderful community for one. And looking back at our first year of formation, I have learned so much. I remember when I first inquired into becoming a Lay Carmelite in February 2019 and our Director let me know that the formation period is 6 years. I was surprised that it was such a long period of time, but it didn’t present an obstacle for me as I was so sure this was what God was calling me to do.
It reminds me of the children’s story I often read to my youngest child, “Franklin Wants a Badge”. Franklin the Turtle wants to join the Trailblazers and earn badges. In a conversation with one of the older Trailblazers he notices how many badges he has, “You sure have a lot of badges”. The older animal, Jack Rabbit, explains that he’s been a Trailblazer for three years. Franklin replies “Three years! I don’t want to take that long to get my badges”. Franklin attends his first Trailblazer meeting and is not so keen at the start of it. However, after experiencing the camaraderie, games, cookies and milk, as well as earning the Trailblazer staff as the hardest working Trailblazer that meeting, he walks home with his dad and says “And do you know the very best thing about Trailblazers? It will take me three whole years to earn all my badges!”
I can relate to Franklin. I feel truly blessed to be able to have a lifetime of Carmelite formation ahead of me. This first year was just scratching the surface of a charism and tradition that goes back eight centuries. Despite our small set back for all our candidates in not being able to be received, temporarily professed or make final professions at the moment, our Formation Director has us embarking on the study of “A Story of a Soul”, St. Therese of Lisieux’s “trailblazing” autobiography. To be able to continue on this journey with my community, even virtually, is a blessing. As St. Peter said, “with the Lord one day is a like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like one day” (2 Peter 3:8), all things take place in God’s time. I won’t fret about missed or postponed celebrations, but take each day as God gives them to me, to discern and to do His will, striving to remember His presence even in the mundane aspects of my day. Please God I can do the same tomorrow and each day afterwards!
Corina (Formation I candidate)