Having returned from an audience at Carmel with the Prioress, at her suggestion I looked up the former Cardinal Ratzinger's 1991 address on "Conscience and Truth", given at a Workshop for Bishops in Dallas, Texas.
Mother remarked on making use of Benedict's recent encyclical Spe Salvi for reflection and prayer, and on how a meditative reading of it is so necessary. When I mentioned how over the past year I've very slowly read most of my way through his book Jesus of Nazareth, she agreed that it was not a book to read at a sitting, but deserving of contemplation, and told how it is one of the texts read during meals at the monastery.
She also alerted me to the importance placed on hope, in connexion with faith and prayer, within the Carmelite tradition, and further referred me to an address of Benedict XVI on the occasion in 2007 of his visiting the Cistercian monastery of Heiligenkreuz in Austria. As a parting gift from the Carmel I received some holy cards bearing two quotations focussing on faith, prayer and hope, from a Sunday homily of his, given at Naples late last year, plus a last from a General Audience (16th August 2006):
It is essential to strengthen HOPE
which is based on FAITH
and expressed in unflagging prayer.
It is PRAYER
the torch of faith alight.
The power that changes
and transforms it into
the kingdom of God,
and without fanfare,
is faith -
and prayer is the
expression of faith.
to the mystery of GOD
Who is LOVE
the thirst for truth
in our hearts.
Please join in praying to the Lord for the Carmel of Launceston, that the younger sisters may persevere, the older sisters, especially those aged and infirm (Sr Monica and Sr Paul Joseph), be strengthened, and more vocations bless this house of prayer abundantly, wherein the "still, small Voice" (III Kings xix, 12) is attended to with great love and fidelity, to the edification of all: "Speak, Lord, Thy servant heareth" (I Kings iii, 10).
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us.
St Elijah, pray for us.
St Teresa of Jesus, pray for us.
St John of the Cross, pray for us.
All Carmelite Saints, pray for us.