Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

Feast Day: July 16

Carmel is totally Marian in three aspects: Its history, life and spirituality.

  

History:

The Carmelites' relationship with Mary goes back to the very beginning of their history. The hermits were called "Brothers of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mount Carmel". The Order was founded for the service and glory of Mary. The first chapel built by the hermits was named after her.

Life:

John Baconthorpe, a Carmelite theologian, wrote a commentary on how Mary lived the Rule of St. Albert. How? Her total allegiance to her Son Jesus, her pondering of the Scriptures and making the Word of God to be the foundation of her actions, her silence and love of recollection, her purity of heart, her openness to God's Will and her charity. The Carmelites relate to Mary as Mother, Sister, Patroness and Queen, Most Pure Virgin and Model of discipleship. These are not just devotional themes, but the unfolding of a relationship down through the centuries. She is their Mother because she truly cares for her children as a mother does. They find recourse to her in times of need as a powerful intercessor before God. Because the early Carmelites were known as "Brothers of Blessed Mary of Mount Carmel" then Mary, as sister, has been in the collective consciousness of the Carmelites from the very beginning. Patroness and Queen developed as part of the historical origins of the hermits. As part of the feudal mentality, taking someone for patron creates a contractual relationship of service and protection. Since the early hermits dedicated their lives and service to her, they are certainly assured of her patronage. Since Mary's life is a reflection of a perfect following of Jesus, she is our model of discipleship. The early Christians accepted this and the early hermits of Mount Carmel made this their pattern of life. The Second Vatican Council confirmed this in their chapter on Mary in the document "Lumen Gentium."

 Spirituality:

Mary gave birth to Jesus in a physical way. Carmelites are called to give birth to Jesus in a spiritual way. Jesus is to be made flesh in our actions, our words, in our trials and in our joys. Hence, in imitation of the Mother of God, our spirituality is incarnational, allowing Jesus to be formed in us, and by our lives and actions be made flesh once again to touch the lives of others.