We asked one of our older sisters in the community to write us some words for the celebration of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Here they are:
If we open the Gospel, the most beloved book of Christianity, we find written and well documented the Virgine’s life. The Annunciation, the visitation, the birth of Jesus and everything that followed, until the Calvary, where she became our mother, in the person of John, who took her in his home.
When the Holy Spirit spread throughout the world, what we call the Marian “devotion” was born. This is not the time to enumerate here the titles of the names and shrines dedicated to her.
For those living on Mount Carmel saying “Our Lady of Mount Carmel” means our sister, our mother, the beauty of Carmel. When you arrive in Haifa (from Akko, the former St. John of Acre) you are facing the Carmel Mountain range of about 30 km. There you can admire the promontory where the Stella Maris Basilica is built; our monastery is higher up. Then, in the highest part, there is the Muhraqa, the place of Elijah’s Sacrifice, related in the 1st book of Kings (18,21-29).
The Carmelite scapular is widely known and constitutes, along with the rosary, a proximity to Mary. St. Simon Stock, an English Carmelite of the 13th century, had an apparition of the Virgin, whom he implored with the most widespread chant in the Order:
Flower of the Carmel
Splendor of the sky
Sweet and pure Mother
Give us a sign
Of your maternal
of the sea.
Mary handed him a scapular, as an answer to his request and as a pledge of protection. It is imposed on those who desire it, through the mediation of a priest.
Decor Carmeli translates as “the Beauty of Carmel” and this is the actual reality. In the springtime, nature is clothed in beauty through the ravishing flowers, the singing of birds, the greenery of the Carmelite forest, the rising and setting of the sun.
From our terrace we can contemplate the sea and we are thinking about those crusaders, who in the XII century, wanted to stay in the wadi-es-Siah, as “Brothers of Our Lady of Mount Carmel” to live there as hermits. You can still visit the excavations of the monastery and enjoy the silence, which our fathers enjoyed, near the spring of Elijah, which still gives water in abundance.
We are offering you some traces of a beautiful synthesis, which is found in the Missal of the Week, presented by Pierre Jounel on July 16, commemoration of Our Lady of Mount Carmel: from its origin, the Order of Carmel liked to place itself under the patronage of the Mother of Contemplatives. In the 16th century, the two doctors and founders of the Order, Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint John of the Cross, made the ascent to Carmel the symbol of what Saint Bonaventure called “the itinerary towards God“. That is why today we are asking the Lord to reach, through “the maternal grip of Mary”, “the true mountain, which is Christ.”
Let us allow ourselves to be led by Mary towards Christ, Our Lord.