O Mary, Beauty of Carmel, make me worthy ofyour protection, clothe me with your scapular, and be the teacher of my interior life.
Devotion to our Lady of Mount Carmel indicates a strong call to the interior life, which, in a very special way, is Mary’s life.
The Blessed Virgin wants us to resemble her in heart and mind much more than in externals. If we penetrate into Mary’s soul, we see that grace produced in her a very rich interior life: a life of recollection, prayer, uninterrupted giving of herself to God, and of constant contact and intimate union with Him. Mary’s soul is a sanctuary reserved for God alone where no creature has ever left an imprint; here reign love and zeal for the glory of God and the salvation of men.
Those who wish to live truly devoted to our lady of Mount Carmel, must follow Mary into the depths of the interior life. Carmel is the symbol of the contemplative life, of life wholly consecrated to seeking God and tending wholly toward divine intimacy; and she who best realizes this very high ideal is Mary, Queen, Beauty of Carmel. “Judgement shall dwell in the wilderness and justice shall sit in Carmel. And the work of justice shall be peace, and the service of justice quietness and security forever. And people shall sit in the beauty of peace, and in the tabernacles of confidence.” These verses, taken from Isaias (32, 16-18) and repeated in the Office proper to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, delineate very well the contemplative spirit and, at the same time, they are a beautiful picture of Mary’s soul which is a real “garden” (Carmel in Hebrew signifies garden) of virtues, an oasis of silence and peace, where justice and equity reign; an oasis of security completely enveloped in the shadow of God, and filled with God. Every interior soul, even if living amid the tumult of the world, must strive to reach this peace, this interior silence, which alone makes continual contact with God possible. It is our passions and attachments that make noise within us, that disturb our peace of mind and interrupt our intimate converse with God. Only the soul that is wholly detached and in complete control of its passions can, like Mary, be a solitary, silent “garden” where God will find His delights. This is the grace we ask of Our Lady today when we choose her to be the Queen and mistress of our interior life.
~ Father Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, O.C.D. – Divine Intimacy
Happy & Blessed Feast Day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel! ❤
Oh ! I would like to sing, Mary, why I love you, Why your sweet name thrills my heart, And why the thought of your supreme greatness Could not bring fear to my soul. If I gazed on you in your sublime glory, Surpassing the splendor of all the blessed, I could not believe that I am your child. O Mary, before you I would lower my eyes !…
If a child is to cherish his mother, She has to cry with him and share his sorrows. O my dearest Mother, on this foreign shore How many tears you shed to draw me to you !… In pondering your life in the holy Gospels, I dare look at you and come near you. It’s not difficult for me to believe I’m your child, For I see you human and suffering like me…
When an angel from Heaven bids you be the Mother O the God who is to reign for all eternity, I see you prefer, O Mary, what a mystery ! The ineffable treasure of virginity. O Immaculate Virgin, I understand how your soul Is dearer to the Lord than his heavenly dwelling. I understand how your soul, Humble and Sweet Valley, Can contain Jesus, the Ocean of Love !…
Oh ! I love you, Mary, saying you are the servant Of the God whom you charm by your humility. This hidden virtue makes you all-powerful. It attracts the Holy Trinity into your heart. Then the Spirit of Love covering you with his shadow, The Son equal to the Father became incarnate in you, There will be a great many of his sinner brothers, Since he will be called : Jesus, your first-born !…
O beloved Mother, despite my littleness, Like you I possess The All-Powerful within me. But I don’t tremble in seeing my weakness ; The treasures of a mother belong to her child, And I am your child, O my dearest Mother. Aren’t your virtues and your love mine too ? So when the white Host comes into my heart, Jesus, your Sweet Lamb, thinks he is resting in you !…
You make me feel that it’s not impossible To follow in your footsteps, O Queen of the elect. You made visible the narrow road to Heaven While always practicing the humblest virtues. Near you, Mary, I like to stay little. I see the vanity of greatness here below. At the home of Saint Elizabeth, receiving your visit, I learn how to practice ardent charity.
There, Sweet Queen of angels, I listen, delighted, To the sacred canticle springing forth from your heart. You teach me to sing divine praises, To glory in Jesus my Savior. Your words of love are mystical roses Destined to perfume the centuries to come. In you the Almighty has done great things. I want to ponder them to bless him for them.
When good Saint Joseph did not know of the miracle That you wanted to hide in your humility, You let him cry close by the Tabernacle Veiling the Savior’s divine beauty !… Oh Mary ! how I love your eloquent silence ! For me it is a sweet, melodious concert That speaks to me of the greatness and power Of a soul which looks only to Heaven for help…
Later in Bethlehem, O Joseph and Mary ! I see you rejected by all the villagers. No one wants to take in poor foreigners. There’s room for the great ones… There’s room for the great ones, and it’s in a stable That the Queen of Heaven must give birth to a God. O my dearest Mother, how lovable I find you, How great I find you in such a poor place !…
When I see the Eternal God wrapped in swaddling clothes, When I hear the poor cry of the Divine Word, O my dearest Mother, I no longer envy the angels, For their Powerful Lord is my dearest Brother !… How I love you, Mary, you who made This Divine Flower blossom on our shores !… How I love you listening to the shepherds and wisemen And keeping it all in your heart with care !…
I love you mingling with the other women Walking toward the holy temple. I love you presenting the Savior of our souls To the blessed Old Man who pressed Him to his heart. At first I smile as I listen to his canticle, But soon his tone makes me shed tears. Plunging a prophetic glance into the future, Simeon presents you with a sword of sorrows.
O Queen of martyrs, till the evening of your life That sorrowful sword will pierce your heart. Already you must leave your native land To flee a king’s jealous fury. Jesus sleeps in peace under the folds of your veil. Joseph comes begging you to leave at once, And at once your obedience is revealed. You leave without delay or reasoning.
O Mary, it seems to me that in the land of Egypt Your heart remains joyful in poverty, For is not Jesus the fairest Homeland, What does exile matter to you ? You hold Heaven… But in Jerusalem a bitter sadness Comes to flood your heart like a vast ocean. For three days, Jesus hides from your tenderness. That is indeed exile in all its harshness !…
At last you find him and you are overcome with joy, You say to the fair Child captivating the doctors : “O my Son, why have you done this ? Your father and I have been searching for you in tears.” And the Child God replies (O what a deep mystery !) To his dearest Mother holding out her arms to him : “Why were you searching for me ? I must be about My Father’s business. Didn’t you know ?”
The Gospel tells me that, growing in wisdom, Jesus remains subject to Joseph and Mary, And my heart reveals to me with what tenderness He always obeys his dear parents. Now I understand the mystery of the temple, The hidden words of my Lovable King. Mother, your sweet Child wants you to be the example Of the soul searching for Him in the night of faith.
Since the King of Heaven wanted his Mother To be plunged into the night, in anguish of heart, Mary, is it thus a blessing to suffer on earth ? Yes, to suffer while loving is the purest happiness !… All that He has given me, Jesus can take back. Tell him not to bother with me… He can indeed hide from me, I’m willing to wait for him Till the day without sunset when my faith will fade away…
Mother full of grace, I know that in Nazareth You live in poverty, wanting nothing more. No rapture, miracle, or ecstasy Embellish your life, O Queen of the Elect !… The number of little ones on earth is truly great. They can raise their eyes to you without trembling. It’s by the ordinary way, incomparable Mother, That you like to walk to guide them to Heaven.
While waiting for Heaven, O my dear Mother, I want to live with you, to follow you each day. Mother, contemplating you, I joyfully immerse myself, Discovering in your heart abysses of love. Your motherly gaze banishes all my fears. It teaches me to cry, it teaches me to rejoice. Instead of scorning pure and simple joys, You want to share in them, you deign to bless them.
At Cana, seeing the married couple’s anxiety Which they cannot hide, for they have run out of wine, In your concern you tell the Savior, Hoping for the help of his divine power. Jesus seems at first to reject your prayer : « Woman, what does this matter, » he answers, « to you and to me ? » But in the depths of his heart, He calls you his Mother, And he works his first miracle for you…
One day when sinners are listening to the doctrine Of Him who would like to welcome them in Heaven, Mary, I find you with them on the hill. Someone says to Jesus that you wish to see him. Then, before the whole multitude, your Divine Son Shows us the immensity of his love for us. He says : “Who is my brother and my sister and my Mother, If not the one who does my will ?”
O Immaculate Virgin, most tender of Mothers, In listening to Jesus, you are not saddened. But you rejoice that He makes us understand How our souls become his family here below. Yes, you rejoice that He gives us his life, The infinite treasures of his divinity !… How can we not love you, O my dear Mother, On seeing so much love and so much humility ?
You love us, Mary, as Jesus loves us, And for us you accept being separated from Him. To love is to give everything. It’s to give oneself. You wanted to prove this by remaining our support. The Savior knew your immense tenderness. He knew the secrets of your maternal heart. Refuge of sinners, He leaves us to you When He leaves the Cross to wait for us in Heaven.
Mary, at the top of Calvary standing beside the Cross To me you seem like a priest at the altar, Offering your beloved Jesus, the sweet Emmanuel, To appease the Father’s justice… A prophet said, O afflicted Mother, “There is no sorrow like your sorrow ! ” O Queen of Martyrs, while remaining in exile You lavish on us all the blood of your heart !
Saint John’s home becomes your only refuge. Zebedee’s son is to replace Jesus… That is the last detail the Gospel gives. It tells me nothing more of the Queen of Heaven. But, O my dear Mother, doesn’t its profound silence Reveal that The Eternal Word Himself Wants to sing the secrets of your life To charm your children, all the Elect of Heaven ?
Soon I’ll hear that sweet harmony. Soon I’ll go to beautiful Heaven to see you. You who came to smile at me in the morning of my life, Come smile at me again … Mother… It’s evening now !… I no longer fear the splendor of your supreme glory. With you I’ve suffered and now I want To sing on your lap, Mary, why I love you, And to go on saying that I am your child !…
A poem by Saint Therese to Our Lady
Happy and Blessed Feast Day of The Immaculate Conception of The Blessed Virgin Mary!
Our Lady of Mount Carmel (Photo taken by me in Alba de Tormes, Spain)
Oh Heavenly Queen of Carmel, pure and sublime beauty!
Mother of Carmel, I carry you deeply in my heart. Cover my soul with your mantel, sweet Mother of mine and fill it with your care and warmth. My soul is secure in you, joined together with your love. Your hands guide my steps, Lighting them night and day. You are my lighthouse that leads me to safe harbor. Oh Star of the Sea!
Carmel is your garden and your perfume permeates all the flowers. What a joy to feel you near! What a blessing to have you as a Mother! Your scent envelopes my soul when I tend to the roses and the jasmine. Roses salute you, their beauty adorn your steps. Your Carmel is a garden with green prairies and abundant flowers, with many springs of living, fresh and healing water.
I thank you Blessed Mother for inviting me to your abode and for teaching me to live day by day, step by step with you. Let me rest in your sweet heart, Virgen del Carmen for there is where I find the One I seek… The Beloved!
~ My personal reflection/poem
Roses for Mary (Photo taken by me)
Carmel is the mountain of flowers and with full hands the children of Carmel have strewn these flowers over the earth. ~ BlTitus Brandsma (My photo)
Wishing you all a very happy and blessed Feast Day of Our lady of Mount Carmel! Ora Pro Nobis!
Mary, Mother of God: The Teotokos, art by Bradi Barth
St. Ildephonsus of Toledo, Spain, was proclaiming the joy of being “a servant of Mary” already in the 7th century. In one of his prayers he brings to full light the idea of Mary’s virginal Motherhood as a model of spiritual life for the Christian.
Mary must obtain for us from the Holy Spirit the grace for Christ to be formed spiritually in us just as she, through the power of the same Spirit, fashioned Christ according to the flesh.
Holy Virgin, I beg you: enable me to receive Jesus from the Spirit, according to the same process by which you bore Jesus.
May my soul possess Jesus thanks to the Spirit through Whom you conceived Jesus.
May the grace to know Jesus be granted to me through the Spirit Who enabled you to know how to possess Jesus and bring Him forth.
May my littleness show forth the greatness of Jesus in virtue of the Spirit in Whom you recognized yourself as the handmaid of the Lord, desiring that it be done to you according to the word of the Angel.
May I love Jesus in the Spirit in Whom you adored Him as your Lord and looked after Him as your Son.
~ St. Ildephonsus of Toledo
~ From the book “Prayers to Mary” by Most Rev. Virgilio Noe
Statue of Blessed Virgin Mary with St. Anne ~ (Photo taken by me at The Basilica of Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré in Quebec, Canada)
Wild air, world-mothering air,
Nestling me everywhere,
That each eyelash or hair
Girdles; goes home betwixt
The fleeciest, frailest-flixed
Snowflake; that’s fairly mixed
With, riddles, and is rife
In every least thing’s life;
This needful, never spent,
And nursing element;
My more than meat and drink,
My meal at every wink;
This air, which, by life’s law,
My lung must draw and draw
Now but to breathe its praise,
Minds me in many ways
Of her who not only
Gave God’s infinity
Dwindled to infancy
Welcome in womb and breast,
Birth, milk, and all the rest
But mothers each new grace
That does now reach our race —
Merely a woman, yet
Whose presence, power is
Great as no goddess’s
Was deemed, dreamed; who
This one work has to do —
Let all God’s glory through,
God’s glory which would go
Through her and from her flow
Off, and no way but so.
I say that we are wound
With mercy round and round
As if with air: the same
Is Mary, more by name.
She, wild web, wondrous robe,
Mantles the guilty globe,
Since God has let dispense
Her prayers his providence:
Nay, more than almoner,
The sweet alms’ self is her
And men are meant to share
Her life as life does air.
If I have understood,
She holds high motherhood
Towards all our ghostly good
And plays in grace her part
About man’s beating heart,
Laying, like air’s fine flood,
The deathdance in his blood;
Yet no part but what will
Be Christ our Saviour still.
Of her flesh he took flesh:
He does take fresh and fresh,
Though much the mystery how,
Not flesh but spirit now
And makes, O marvellous!
New Nazareths in us,
Where she shall yet conceive
Him, morning, noon, and eve;
New Bethlems, and he born
There, evening, noon, and morn —
Bethlem or Nazareth,
Men here may draw like breath
More Christ and baffle death;
Who, born so, comes to be
New self and nobler me
In each one and each one
More makes, when all is done,
Both God’s and Mary’s Son.
Again, look overhead
How air is azured;
O how! Nay do but stand
Where you can lift your hand
Skywards: rich, rich it laps
Round the four fingergaps.
Yet such a sapphire-shot,
Charged, steeped sky will not
Stain light. Yea, mark you this:
It does no prejudice.
The glass-blue days are those
When every colour glows,
Each shape and shadow shows.
Blue be it: this blue heaven
The seven or seven times seven
Hued sunbeam will transmit
Perfect, not alter it.
Or if there does some soft,
On things aloof, aloft,
Bloom breathe, that one breath more
Earth is the fairer for.
Whereas did air not make
This bath of blue and slake
His fire, the sun would shake,
A blear and blinding ball
With blackness bound, and all
The thick stars round him roll
Flashing like flecks of coal,
Quartz-fret, or sparks of salt,
In grimy vasty vault.
So God was god of old:
A mother came to mould
Those limbs like ours which are
What must make our daystar
Much dearer to mankind;
Whose glory bare would blind
Or less would win man’s mind.
Through her we may see him
Made sweeter, not made dim,
An her hand leaves his light
Sifted to suit our sight.
Be thou then, O thou dear
Mother, my atmosphere;
My happier world, wherein
To wend and meet no sin;
Above me, round me lie
Fronting my froward eye
With sweet and scarless sky;
Stir in my ears, speak there
Of God’s love, O live air,
Of patience, penance, prayer:
World-mothering air, air wild,
Wound with thee, in thee isled,
Fold home, fast fold thy child.
~ A poem by Fr. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. (1844-89)
Happy Birthday Blessed Virgin Mary! ❤ Ora Pro Nobis!
Assumption of the Virgin, art by Guercino (Giovani Francesco Barbieri) 1650 – Detroit Institute of Arts.
Mary’s Assumption into heaven does not mean that she traveled away to a far distant land. We imagine heaven to be “up there”. Glory to God in the highest”, we sing in the Gloria, It is not wrong to have this conception, as long as we realize it does not completely convey the reality. Heaven is not a place that lies beyond the limits of the universe, but a dimension we cannot perceive with our earthly senses. Because Mary has been taken up into heaven, she has not therefore left us. Quite the contrary. For that very reason she has penetrated more deeply into the world.
As long as Mary lived in her mortal body, she was bound by time and space. She could not be present in more than one place at a time. When she lived with John after Jesus’ Resurrection, she prayed earnestly for the new Church, but she could not be present when the apostles went out to proclaim the Gospel. But after her Assumption into heaven, all the borders burst, and her whole being, including her body, was glorified. A glorified body has no definite contours. It can be present in different places at the same time and take on cosmic dimensions. Through Mary’s Assumption, she passed over to a universal presence from the limited presence that characterized her life on earth. Always and everywhere Mary is with us, wherever we may be and wherever we may go. She fills the whole universe. She is “clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rev 12:I). When we pray the “Hail Mary” during the day, on the street or at work, we do not speak into a vacuum. Mary is always present. It can give us great joy to discover that Mary’s Assumption into heaven, which appeared to take her far away, really brought her closer to us. Thanks to the Assumption, she is present at the center of our lives.
Neither should we think Mary is in heaven to enjoy undisturbed peace. As long as the fight between light and darkness continues. Mary is involved. We know that Jesus “always lives to make intercession for [us]” (Heb 7:25) , that he goes to “prepare a place for [us]” (Jn 14:2). But he does not do it without his “helper” (cf. Gen 2:20). Even in heaven, Mary lives only for her Son and his redemptive work.
~ A Meditation by Father Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D.
Our Lady is so transparent, so luminous, that she might be taken for light itself; yet for all that, she is but a mirror of the Sun of Justice.
~ Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, O.C.D.
Let us draw near to the Virgin most pure, who is all lightsome, so that she may lead us to understand Him whom she understands so deeply.
~ Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity, O.C.D.
Wishing you all a very blessed feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary!
“The Lord promised that He would dwell in a cloud.” ~ 2 Chronicles 6:1
Symbol of star or lily of the snows,
rainbow or root or vine or fruit-filled tree:
these image the immaculate to me
less than a little cloud, a little light cloud rising
from Orient waters cleft by prophecy.
And as the Virgin in a most surprising
maternity bore God in the mysteries of grace
beseech her: Cloud, encompass God and me.
Nothing defiled can touch the cloud of Mary.
God as a child willed to be safe in her,
and the Divine Indweller sets His throne
deep in a cloud in me, His sanctuary.
I pray, O wrap me, Cloud, . . . light Cloud of Carmel
within whose purity my vows were sown
to lift their secrecies to God alone.
Say to my soul, the timorous and small
house of a Presence that it cannot see
and frightened acre of a Deity,
say in the fullness of your clemency:
I have enclosed you all.
You are in whiteness of a lighted lamb wool;
you are in softness of a summer wind lull.
O hut of God, deepen your faith anew.
Enfolded in this motherhood of mine,
all that is beautiful and all divine
is safe in you.
~ A poem by Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit (Jessica Powers), O.C.D.
On my way to Heaven, Where I shall see you, Your beloved image accompanies me on my earthly journey to be my Perpetual Help. You know how your sweet image captivates my soul, Near you I breath the fragrance of love, And find my peace in your gaze. Your maternal smile shone above me, When I was good, When I erred, sad was your gaze upon me. My childish prayer you welcomed with caresses and maternal love, I look upon you and weep no longer, For I anticipate my Heaven. My Mother, support me in the terrors of my battle for God on earth, To bring to Him my prisoners of war, A thousand souls for His love. Image of Mary, be always for me A rich honeycomb of love, To sweeten the bitterness of death;
My eyes to ever draw from you my consolation. From this earth to you I go Throwing myself into your arms, To rest forever in your sweet embrace, which none will ever take from me.
~ A poem by Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, O.C.D.
Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, ora pro nobis!
The Church of Saint Alphonsus Ligouri stands out among the many churches in Rome…not for its’ external beauty but for what it contains: The original image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help.
About the Image of Our Lady of Perpetual Help:
The original painting of Our Lady of Perpetual Help is, perhaps, the most widely-recognized icon in the world.
The image was, for some time, kept in Saint Matthew’s Church in Rome. Then in 1798, the church was destroyed by Napoleon’s forces. In January 1855, the Redemptorist Order purchased a villa located here for their headquarters. They were unaware of the fact that the land they had purchased was actually the location of the church and monastery of Saint Matthew–the place which the Virgin Mary had specified for the image to be placed in an earlier vision.
The Icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (also known as Our Lady of Perpetual Succour) hangs above the main altar.
It is not very large, about 16 x 20″. But it is of great significance to many Catholics who have sought the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary. To stand in front of the icon–quite often un-disturbed by other visitors– is a wonderful experience.
*This information has been taken from The Catholic Travel Guide.
*For more information about Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, please check:
The Visitation art by Angiolo D’Andrea (1880-1942)
Go, roads, to the four quarters of our quiet distance, While you, full moon, wise queen, Begin your evening journey to the hills of heaven, And travel no less stately in the summer sky Than Mary, going to the house of Zachary.
The woods are silent with the sleep of doves, The valleys with the sleep of streams, And all our barns are happy with peace of cattle gone to rest. Still wakeful, in the fields, the shocks of wheat Preach and say prayers: You sheaves, make all your evensongs as sweet as ours, Whose summer world, all ready for the granary and barn, Seems to have seen, this day, Into the secret of the Lord’s Nativity.
Now at the fall of night, you shocks, Still bend your heads like kind and humble kings The way you did this golden morning when you saw God’s Mother passing, While all our windows fill and sweeten With the mild vespers of the hay and barley.
You moon and rising stars, pour on our barns and houses Your gentle benedictions. Remind us how our Mother, with far subtler and more holy influence, Blesses our rooves and eaves, Our shutters, lattices and sills, Our doors, and floors, and stairs, and rooms, and bedrooms, Smiling by night upon her sleeping children: O gentle Mary! Our lovely Mother in heaven!
~ A poem by Thomas Merton
Happy & Blessed Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary!
The Madonna, art by Giovanni Battista Salvi – called Sassoferrato (1609-1685) Rome
When a sister, born for each strong month-brother, Spring’s one daughter, the sweet child Mary, Lies in the breast of the young year-mother With light on her face like the waves at play, Man from the lips of him speaketh and saith, At the touch of her wandering wondering breath Warm on his brow: lo! where is another Fairer than this one to brighten our day?
We have suffered the sons of Winter in sorrow And been in their ruinous reigns oppressed, And fain in the springtime surcease would borrow From all the pain of the past’s unrest; And May has come, hair-bound in flowers, With eyes that smile thro’ the tears of the hours, With joy for to-day and hope for to-morrow And the promise of Summer within her breast!
And we that joy in this month joy-laden, The gladdest thing that our eyes have seen, Oh thou, proud mother and much proud maiden — Maid yet mother as May hath been — To thee we tender the beauties all Of the month by men called virginal. And, where thou dwellest in deep-groved Aidenn, Salute thee, mother, the maid-month’s Queen!
For thou, as she, wert the one fair daughter That came when a line of kings did cease, Princes strong for the sword and slaughter, That, warring, wasted the land’s increase, And like the storm-months smote the earth Till a maid in David’s house had birth, That was unto Judah as Mary, and brought her A son for King, whose name was peace.
Wherefore we love thee, wherefore we sing to thee, We, all we, thro’ the length of our days, The praise of the lips and the hearts of us bring to thee, Thee, oh maiden. most worthy of praise; For lips and hearts they belong to thee Who to us are as dew unto grass and tree, For the fallen rise and the stricken spring to thee, Thee, May-hope of our darkened ways!
~ A poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-89) , S.J.
Happy Mother’s Day Blessed Virgin Mary, my heavenly Mother! Ora pro nobis!