Firstly, I wish for each of you a very happy feast day for Tuesday 16th July, the Solemnity of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. I pray it will be a day of choice blessings for you and the entire Carmelite Order; indeed, for the entire Church.
Perhaps it is an opportune time to review and reflect on the place of Mary in our lives.
A good place to start is in our Constitutions, paragraph 4
4. The Virgin Mary is present in a special way, most of all as a model of faithfulness in listening to the Lord and in service to Him and to others. Mary is the one who preserved in her heart the life and actions of her Son and meditated on them, providing for us an example of contemplation. At Cana she counselled to do what the Lord commanded. Mary is an example of apostolic service. On another occasion, she waited, persevering in prayer with the apostles, for the coming of the Holy Spirit, thus giving witness to intercessory prayer. She is Mother of the Order. Secular Carmel enjoys her special protection and cultivates a sincere Marian devotion.
Section V. WITH MARY, THE MOTHER OF JESUS
29. In the interior dynamism of following Jesus, Carmel contemplates Mary as Mother and Sister, as “the perfect model of the disciple of the Lord” and, as such, a model for the life of the members of the Order. The Virgin of the Magnificat proclaims the break with the old order and announces the beginning of a new order in which God casts the mighty down from their thrones and exalts the poor. Mary places herself on the side of the poor and proclaims how God acts in history. For Secular Carmelites, Mary is a model of total commitment to God’s Kingdom. She teaches us to listen to God’s Word in Scripture and in life, to believe in it in every circumstance in order to live its demands. All this she did, without understanding many things; pondering all in her heart (Lk 2:19, 50-51) until light dawned through contemplative prayer.
30. Mary is also an ideal and inspiration for the Secular Carmelite. She lived close to people and their needs, being concerned about them (Lk 1:39-45; Jn 2:1-12; Ac 1:14). She, the “most perfect image of freedom and of the liberation of humanity and of the universe”, helps us understand the meaning of mission. She, Mother and Sister, who goes before us in a pilgrimage of faith and in following the Lord Jesus, keeps us company so that we may imitate her life hidden in Christ and committed to the service of others.
31. While giving life to Teresian Carmelite spirituality, Mary’s presence also shapes its apostolate. As a result, the Secular Carmelite is committed to knowing Mary better, daily, through the Gospel to communicate to others an authentic Marian devotion leading to imitating her virtues. Guided by the outlook of faith, members of the Secular Order will celebrate and promote the liturgical devotion to the Mother of God in light of the mystery of Christ and the Church. They will practice, in faith and love, the devotional exercises in her honour.
You could also take a look at sections 58-60 of Pope Francis’ new encyclical, Lumen Fidei.
From there, you might like to read the study by Fr Christopher O’Donnell O. Carm. You can access it here:
It’s very comprehensive and quite long, but well worth the effort.
As well…A reflection from Word on Fire on Mary under the title of Our Lady of Mt Carmel and a video by Fr Barron and Fr Steve Grunow at the tomb of St John of the Cross.
Let us turn in prayer to Mary, Mother of the Church and Mother of our faith.
Mother, help our faith!
Open our ears to hear God’s word and to recognize his voice and call.
Awaken in us a desire to follow in his footsteps, to go forth from our own land and to receive his promise.
Help us to be touched by his love, that we may touch him in faith.
Help us to entrust ourselves fully to him and to believe in his love, especially at times of trial, beneath the shadow of the cross, when our faith is called to mature.
Sow in our faith the joy of the Risen One.
Remind us that those who believe are never alone.
Teach us to see all things with the eyes of Jesus, that he may be light for our path. And may this light of faith always increase in us, until the dawn of that undying day which is Christ himself, your Son, our Lord. (Lumen Fidei #60…Pope Francis)