D. "This way is good and holy: follow it."

19. Principles and criteria of Carmelite formation

Carmelite formation is therefore inspired by the following principles and criteria:

a) The calling to religious life is God's free initiative, and requires a free response from the one who is called.

b) This response develops and makes concrete the baptismal vocation common to all the faithful, and involves a new and deeper commitment to Christ and to the Church and a new and deeper bond with both.(35)

c) Vocation to the religious life demands total personal commitment; it is expressed concretely in a lifestyle shaped by the gospel, in the practice of the evangelical counsels, and in living in community. It does not consist in assuming a role or in accomplishing a task; it consists in handing over one's life in abandonment to God's transforming action and to his plan of salvation.

d) The primary task of formation is to promote the integrated development of each individual's physical, psychological, spiritual, cultural and service dimensions, avoiding any dichotomy between being religious and being human, with a view to attaining maturity in Christ.

e) The response to the call is lived out in communion and complementarity with one's own community, with the Province, with the Order and with the members of the Carmelite Family.

f) The Carmelite charism is lived out and communicated in communion and complementarity with the other gifts and charisms of the Church; it participates in the common commitment to build up the one body of Christ in service to God and to the human race.(36)

g) The social environment in which we are called to live, and the historical demands which challenge the Church at any given time, provide further criteria for the concrete expressions of our charism, and consequently for our formation.

h) The journey of formation is a lifelong journey. God renews his call day by day, and always expects a fresh response from us.

(...go to next section)



35 Cf. VC, 30-32.
36 Cf. VC, 74; see also 49-50, 52-54.