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Today is the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

July 16, 2012

Today we celebrate the feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. I’m attracted to her because she is the patroness of the Carmelites, who were inspired to embrace the love of God and to contemplate the Word in the purifying silence. Elijah, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of The Cross, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Teresa Benedicata of the Cross and others throughout the ages have witnessed, under the patron of Our Lady of Mount Carmel that the soul can rest in the mystery of Christ and his Sacred Heart and find peace, joy, and happiness which the world cannot give. I wear the Brown Scapular that she gave to Saint Dominic; to evangelize the world of her loving embrace as she points to God, and for our salvation.

Pietro Novelli Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Our Lady of Mount Carmel by Pietro Novelli (1641); Wikipedia Commons

Pope Benedict XVI gave an address celebrating the 450th anniversary of two occasions: the founding of St. Joseph’s monastery and St. Teresa of Avila’s reform of the Carmelite order. His message upholds that prayer is an integral part of our life, just like breathing:

“The reform of the Carmelite Order, the anniversary of which fills us with inner joy, arose from prayer and tends towards prayer. In promoting a radical return to the original Rule and abandoning the mitigated Rule, St. Teresa of Jesus sought to create a form of life which favoured a personal encounter with the Lord, finding ‘a place where we can be alone and look upon Him present within us. Nor need we feel strange in the presence of so kind a Guest'”.
“St. Teresa presented a new way of being Carmelite in a world which was also new. Those were ‘difficult times’ in which, according to that Mistress of the spirit, … ‘the world is on fire. Men try to condemn Christ once again. They would raze His Church to the ground. No, my sisters, this is no time to treat with God for things of little importance’. Does this luminous and engaging call, written more than four centuries ago by the mystic saint, not sound familiar in our own times?”
“The ultimate goal of Teresa’s reform and the creation of new monasteries in a world lacking spiritual values was to protect apostolic work with prayer, proposing a form of evangelical life that would act as a model for people seeking the path of perfection, on the basis of the conviction that all authentic personal and ecclesial reform involves an ever more faithful reproduction of the ‘form’ of Christ in our own selves. … Today too, as in the sixteenth century, in the midst of rapid transformation, it is important that trusting prayer be the heart of the apostolate, so that the the redeeming message of Jesus Christ may sound our clearly and dynamically. It is urgently important for the Word of life to resound harmoniously in peoples souls, with sonorous and attractive notes”.
“The example of St. Teresa of Avila is of great help to us in this exhilarating task. In her time the saint evangelised unhesitatingly, showing tireless ardour, employing methods free from inertia and using expressions bathed in light. This remains important in the current time, when there is a pressing need for the baptised to renew their hearts through individual prayer in which, following the guidance of St. Teresa, they also focus on contemplation of Christ’s blessed humanity as the only way to reach the glory of God”.
“The power of Christ will lead to a redoubling of efforts to ensure that the people of God recover their vigour in the only way possible: by finding space within ourselves for the feelings of the Lord Jesus, and in all circumstances seeking to live His Gospel to the full. This means, above all, allowing the Holy Spirit to make us friends of the Master and to mould us to Him. It also means accepting all His mandates and adopting in ourselves criteria such as humility of conduct, renunciation of the superfluous, not harming others and acting with simplicity and humbleness of heart. Thus those around us will perceive the joy that arises from our adherence to the Lord; they will see that we put nothing before His love, and that we are always ready to give reasons for our hope”.

The rest can be read here. Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us!

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