“Your souls shall rejoice in his mercy, and his praises will not bring you to shame”.
«Your souls shall rejoice in his mercy … » is one of the antiphons sung during the Office of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, a solemnity celebrated on the 16th of July. There are many other verses and hymns which we turn to, expressing our confidence in a Mother full of merciful love and compassion for each of her children, which indeed we are.
Whence comes this mercy? Pope Francis, on opening the Holy Door at St Mary Major the 1 of January 2016, confirmed: “She is the Mother of Mercy, because she bore in her womb the very face of divine mercy, Jesus, Emmanuel, the Expectation of the nations, the ‘Prince of Peace’” (Is 9:5).  We can say, therefore, she is a Mother of Mercy simply by the being a mother, and even much more so as the Mother of God! She carried in her womb, with all her love and desire, he who is Life. As defined in Hebrew and Greek, the word “mercy” stems from the same root as the word “womb”, a womb that is stirred and overflowing with mercy.
Looking further, we may see a specific relationship between the Virgin of Carmel and the virgin of Mercy.
Mary, full of grace, rejoices to have received this grace so abundantly, and all through pure mercy. Mary accompanies us in our Carmelite journey of faith, as we joyfully give of our self. She guides us, leading us towards union with God, a gift of contemplation, and all a pure gift of God’s mercy.
For her Feast Day, at Mass, our reading of the Gospel shows Mary at the foot of the Cross. In this paradigm, Mount Carmel and Mount Golgotha join to reiterate that the fullness of love is forgiveness, and a life given for the salvation of all. As we continue on our path of love, we cannot ignore thanks to Our Lady, that the union with God we seek in Carmel, will lead us to that very source of mercy and grace.
Urged by Pope Frances, may we now “turn to the Mother of Mercy. May the sweetness of her countenance watch over us in this Holy Year, so that all of us may rediscover the joy of God’s tenderness».( Misericordiae Vultus, BULL OF INDICTIONOF THE EXTRAORDINARY JUBILEE OF MERCY, No. 24, 2015)