I’m in the early stages of thinking about joining one of the religious orders as what is sometimes called a “tertiary” or Third Order, i.e. a lay member who remains in the world whilst having a special attachment/being a member of the order. Does anybody have experience of this? Which Order do you belong to, and what drew you to it? What are the main requirements of your membership - recitation of the Liturgy of the Hours, monthly meetings, etc? What advice would you give to someone considering this?
yes many of us have done so and found as lay people in the world this is the best way to live out our Christian commitment. check out the sticky on the vocations sub-forum for references and links to the lay associates of the various orders. I am a Benedictine Oblate, some of our most active members are lay Carmelites and Franciscans and several others are also represented. you can check out past threads on each individual spirituality as well
Briefly, Secular Discalced Carmelites have the following happy obligations:
At least 1/2 hour of mental prayer
Morning and Evening prayer (and Night Prayer is also encouraged) from the Liturgy of the Hours
Attend a monthly meeting (and do the reading required that aids in one’s Formation)
Daily Mass if possible
Regular reception of the Sacrament of Penance
Pray for the priests and brothers of the Order
A daily expression of one’s devotion to our Blessed Mother (of one’s choosing)
I was drawn to the Discalced Carmelites by a desire for a deeper intimacy with God under the guidance of our Founders, St. Teresa of Jesus and St. John of the Cross. If you have a particular affinity for one or more Saints of an Order, that might be a helpful clue in discerning a vocation.