The term Charism, with regard to a religious order, refers to the set of characteristics which inspire a group and distinguishes it from other religious orders. The Charism of each Christian religious family emphasizes the particular way in which its members follow Christ. Since all Christians follow Christ, the Charisms have many elements in common. The identity of a specific religious group is therefore defined by the emphasis given to a particular element.
Prayer and contemplation are the center of the Carmelite Charism. The life and traditions of the first hermits of Mt. Carmel provide the Charism a particular tone.
The Rule written by Albert of Jerusalem emphasizes the following aspect: “Each of you stay in his own cell or nearby, meditating day and night the Lord’s law and keeping watch in prayer, awaiting salvation from God alone “.
Embracing Mary as the mother and Patroness of the Carmel, the Carmelite draws his inspiration from her and her life as a model of heeding God’s Word, first welcomed and treasured in the heart, just like Mary.
Among the biblical figures, Elijah stands out: burning with zeal for His Glory, he is a source of inspiration and contemplation of the living God.
The Carmelites, inspired by his prophetic Charism, meditate God’s Word and proclaim it to the world.
For a Carmelite, the quality of prayer determines the quality of his community life and the care in his service to others. Prayer and contemplation, for the Carmelite, are not private matters between the individual and God, but a gift to be shared with everyone, since the Charism is for everybody.