Mary, Mother of Carmel, Mother of Mine

Decor Carmeli

Décor Carmeli, Taranto, Italy (Unknown artist)

 

I entered into the dim lit chapel and there you are sitting with your beloved holy child in your arms. I sat nearby and began to pray, then you turned your gaze to me and invited me to enter into your sacred and tender heart.

Oh Mother of Carmel, your brown habit and your blessed baby’s white spotless tunic, so beautiful and pure. Am I dreaming?  Am I awake? This precious moment by your side, in your presence. I can’t help but to reflect on your life with your divine baby, Jesus. In your arms cuddling with you, while you tenderly and carefully took care of him and his needs.

How many times a day would you have contemplated his holy face? I’m sure you were mesmerized by his sweetness and gentleness.  Those tender moments of intimate bonding with you and Joseph—those days living with him, watching him grow and play happily in your sacred space, being safe in your holy home.

And when evening came, I can picture Joseph resting peacefully in his bed watching you both cuddle with each other while getting ready to sleep. How many prayers did you recite him? Did you talk to him about his Abba?

And at dawn, your precious child waking up in your arms and looking at your motherly loving eyes. Your face was his first sight after his peaceful and restful night as he encountered the look of love. Then, after you fed him, you wrapped him in your arms and embraced him so close to you with so much tenderness and profound love that your hearts were beating as one.

All those precious moments, you pondered in your heart. So blessed, such intimate moments with God’s Son. Oh, Mother most holy! How was your heart keeping it all together? Filled with so much love and wonder!

Then, Jesus grew into a beautiful and gentle child. Always by your side and Joseph’s. So eager to learn the things of his Father. Those quiet and silent years of solitude and communion together as a holy family in Nazareth. Living together in pure contemplation. Those moments of intimate conversations and prayer at home, the three of you.

Then, comes that fateful trip to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover—How many times you travelled that route, but this time was different. On your way back, you and Joseph realized that your beloved child wasn’t there in the caravan with the group. The anguish that you both must have felt. I could only imagine. Those terrible days searching for him everywhere and not finding Jesus. Till you went to the Temple, and found him there talking with the elders and scribes. In his Father’s house.

Oh holy Mother! What did your heart understand at that moment? What did God the Father reveal to you and Joseph? And Jesus telling  you— He’s doing the things of his Father—preparing for his mission ahead. Did you understand the enormity of it? Did your heart receive the gift of detachment then? To surrender your Son to his Father totally?

How difficult this must have been for you! You trust in God and you ponder all these things in your heart.  Teach me Mother of love, to ponder the things of God in my heart, to trust Him completely, to seek God’s will alone in my life.

Holy Mother of Carmel, and Mother of mine, this is my prayer: May our hearts always learn to trust in the Lord. May our hearts always learn to love God more and more. May we always live to love Him for ever more.  

As I leave the Chapel, I gaze at your loving eyes Blessed Mother and I thank you for this encounter and for this special moment of grace. To God be all the glory!

Mater Salvatoris, Flos Carmeli, ora pro nobis!

~ My Personal Reflection

 

Virgen del Carmen y yo en Toledo

Last year’s visit to the Discalced Carmelite Monastery in Toledo, Spain. This photo of me is taken a few days prior to the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Unforgettable blessed days in Spain ❤

 

 

The Visitation


O my Mother, most holy Virgin Mary, be always my model, my support, and my guide.


 

The Visitation by Bradi Barth

The Visitation, art by Bradi Barth

 

“And Mary, rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda.” These words are from today’s Gospel (Lk 1, 39-47). Mary, in the exquisite delicacy of her charity, has such a profound sense of the needs of others, that as soon as she hears of them, she acts spontaneously and decisively to bring help. Having learned from the Angel Gabriel that her cousin was about to become a mother, she goes immediately to offer her humble services.

If we consider the difficulty of traveling in those days, when the poor, such as Mary, had to go on foot over difficult roads, or at best, by means of some rude conveyance, and also the fact that Mary remained three months with Elizabeth, we can readily understand that she had to face many hardships in performing this act of charity. However, she was in no way disturbed: charity urged her, making her wholly forgetful of herself, for as St. Paul says: “Charity seeketh not her own” (1 Cor 13,5). How many times, perhaps, have you omitted and act of kindness, not to spare yourself a hard journey, but only to avoid a little trouble. Think how uncharitable you are and how slow to help others. look at Mary, and see how much you can learn from her!

Charity makes Mary forget not only her hardships but also her own dignity, which was greater than that given to any other creature. Elizabeth is advanced in years, but Mary is the Mother of God; Elizabeth is about to give birth to a man, but Mary will give birth to the Son of God. Nevertheless, before her cousin as before the Angel, Mary continues to look upon herself as the humble handmaid of the Lord, and nothing more. Precisely because she considers herself a handmaid, she comports herself as such, even in respect to her neighbor. In your case, perhaps, although you know how to humble yourself before God and recognize your lack of perfection in the secrecy of your heart, it displeases you to appear imperfect before your neighbor, and you quickly resent being treated as such. Are you not anxious to have your dignity, education, and ability recognized, as well as the more or less honorable offices or charges which have been entrusted to you? Your dignity is a mere nothing, and yet you are so jealous of it. Mary’s dignity approaches the infinite, yet she considers herself and behaves as if she were the least of all creatures.

~ A Meditation by Father Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.

The Visitation2

Art by Bradi Barth


O Mary, how great is your humility when you hasten to serve others! If it is true that he who humbles himself will be exalted, who will be more exalted than you who have humbled yourself so much?

“When Elizabeth caught sight of you she was astonished and exclaimed: ‘Whence is this to me that the Mother of my Lord should come to me? But I am still more astonished to see that you, as well as your Son, came not to be served, but to serve… It was for this purpose that you went to Elizabeth, you the Queen, to the servant, the Mother of God to the mother of the Precursor, you who would give birth to the Son of God, to her who would bring forth a mere man.

“But your profound humility in no way lessened your magnanimity; the greatness of your soul was not opposed to your humility. You, so small in your own eyes, were so magnanimous in your faith, in your hope in the Most High, that you never doubted His promises, and firmly believed that you would become the Mother of the Son of God.

“Humility did not make you fainthearted; magnanimity did not make you proud, but these two virtues were perfectly combined in you!

“O Mary, you cannot give me a share in your great privileges as Mother of God; these belong to you alone! But you want me to share in your virtues, giving me examples of them in yourself. If, then, sincere humility, magnanimous faith, and delicate, sympathetic charity are lacking in me, how can I excuse myself? O Mary,  O Mother of mercy, you who are full of grace, nourish us, your poor little ones, with your virtues!”
(cf. St. Bernard).

 

 

Mystical Rose

 

Mary by sieger koder

Mary’s Garden, art by Sieger Köder

How did Mary become the Rosa Mystica, the choice, delicate, perfect flower of God’s spiritual creation? It was by being born, nurtured, and sheltered in the mystical garden or Paradise of God. Scripture makes use of the figure of a garden when it would speak of heaven and its blessed inhabitants. A garden is a spot of ground set apart for trees and plants, all good, all various, for things that are sweet to the taste, or fragrant in scent, or beautiful to look upon, or useful for nourishment. According in its spiritual sense it means the home of blessed spirits and holy souls dwelling there together, souls with both the flowers and the fruits upon them, which by the careful husbandry of God they have come to bear, flowers and fruits of grace, flowers more beautiful an more fragrant than those of any garden, fruits more delicious and exquisite than can be matured by earthly husbandman.

All that God has made speaks of its Maker; the mountains speak of his eternity, the sun of his immensity, and the winds of his almightiness. In like manner flowers and fruits speak of his sanctity, his love, and his providence; and such as are flowers and fruits, they are found in a garden, therefore a garden has also excellences which speak of God, because it is their home. For instance, it would be out of place if we found beautiful flowers on the mountain crag, or rich fruit in the sandy desert. As then by flowers and fruits are meant, in a mystical sense, the gifts and graces of the Holy Ghost, so by a garden is meant mystically a place of spiritual repose, stillness, peace, refreshment, and delight.

Our first parents were placed in “a garden of pleasure” shaded by trees, “fair to behold and pleasant to eat of,” with the Tree of Life in the midst and a river to water the ground. Thus our Lord, speaking from the cross to the penitent robber, calls the blessed place, the heaven to which he was taking him, “paradise,” or a garden of pleasure. Therefore, St. John, in the Book of Revelation, speaks of heaven, the place of God, as a garden or paradise in which was the Tree of Life giving forth its fruits every month.

Such was the garden in which the Mystical Rose, the Immaculate Mary, was sheltered and nursed to be the mother of the All Holy God, from her birth to her spousal to St. Joseph, a term of thirteen years. For three years of it she was in the arms of her holy mother, St. Anne, and then for ten years she lived in the Temple of God. In those blessed gardens, as they may be called, she lived by herself, continually visited by the dew of God’s grace, and growing up a more and more heavenly flower, till at the end of that period she was suitable for the inhabitation in her of the Most Holy. This was the outcome of the Immaculate Conception. Excepting her, the fairest rose in the paradise of God has had upon it blight and has had the risk of canker-worm and locust. All but Mary; she from the first was perfect in her sweetness and her beautifulness, and at length when the angel Gabriel came to her he found her “full of grace,” which had, from her good use of it, accumulated in her from the first moment of her being.

Mary is the most beautiful flower that ever was seen in the spiritual world. It is by the power of God’s grace that from this barren and desolate earth there have ever sprung up at all flowers of holiness and glory. And Mary is the queen of them. She is the queen of spiritual flowers; and therefore she is called the rose, for the rose is fitly called of all flowers the most beautiful.

~ A Meditation by John Henry Newman

 

Virgin Mary with rose

Mystical Rose, art by Bradi Barth

 

Mystical Rose

THERE is no rose of such virtue
As is the rose that bear Jesu:
Alleluia.

For in this rose contained was
Heaven and earth in little space:
Res Miranda.

By that rose we may well see
There be one God in Persons Three:
Pares forma.

The angels sang, the shepherds too:
Gloria in Excelsis Deo:
Gaudeamus.

Leave we all this worldly mirth
And follow we this joyful birth:
Transeamus.

~ A Poem by an unknown Medieval Author

Res Miranda, thing to be marvelled at. Pares forma, equal in nature. Gaudeamus, let us rejoice. Transeamus, let us go hence.


A Prayer
Mystical Rose, Immaculate Virgin, Mother of Mercy, I venerate thee that I might honor thy Divine Son and thereby win His mercy. I ask for thy help in the clemency of thy Maternal Heart in all confidence that I will be heard.



Poem and Prayer Source: 
http://www.catholictradition.org/Mary/mystical-rose.htm

Blessed Are You, O Mary

 

Anunciacion de Maria

Mary’s Fiat, by unknown artist

 

You go to Jesus through his Mother. She possesses the secret of prayer and wisdom, for she is the Mother of God. Who else can teach you to burn with love, but the Mother of Love? Who else can teach you to pray, but the Woman of prayer? Who else can teach you to go into the silence of deserts and nights, the silence of pain and sorrow, the solitude of joy and gladness, except the Woman wrapped in silence? Who can span the bridge between the old and the new, the “converted you” and the “unconverted you,” except the Blessed Virgin Mary, the bridge between the Old and New Testaments, the Jewish girl who brought for the Messiah, Son of the Almighty?

~ A Meditation by Catherine de Hueck Doherty

 

Virgin Mary by bradi brath

Blessed Virgin Mary, art by Bradi Barth

 


This prayer, found in Egypt, was chiseled by an anonymous hand on a terra-cotta. It derives from the 3rd or 4th century. The text is inspired by the angel’s salutation to Mary.



You Surpass All Praise

O immaculate Virgin,
Mother of God,
full of grace,
the One Whom you brought forth, Emmanuel,
is the fruit of your womb.

In your Motherhood
you have nurtured all human beings.
You surpass all praise and all glory.

I salute you, 
Mother of God,
joy of the Angels,
because you surpass in fullness
what the Prophets have said about you.

The Lord is with you:
you gave life to the Savior of the world.

3rd-4th CENTURY

 

Wishing you all a blessed Feast of The Annunciation of the Lord! 

Saying “Yes” to God

Maria Immaculata ~ Art by Franz Ittenbach, 1879

Maria Immaculata ~ Art by Franz Ittenbach, 1879

When John writes about the wedding in Cana, he very briefly points out that “the mother of Jesus was there” (Jn 2:1). Where Jesus is, there is Mary as well. She is always there. When Jesus dies, Mary is still there. She is under the cross. Why is Mary always there? Not directly to help Jesus, but to help us.

“Do whatever he tells you,” she says to the waiters in Cana and to all of us. She exhorts us to listen to her Son and to do what he asks. She not only says it: She is, in all of her life, a model of listening and obedience.

The fact that Mary wholeheartedly followed God’s will made it possible for him to save humankind. In and through Mary, the whole creation says “yes” to God and receives his gift. Through Mary, God’s request receives a perfect answer. Without her “yes,” the dialogue between God and humankind wouldn’t have progressed.

At the same time as her “yes” gives God opportunity to save you, it also gives you occasion to follow her. She teaches you to say the same “yes” to God as she did, so that the salvation of the world can be your personal salvation as well.

~ A meditation by Wilfrid Stinissen, O.C.D

Wishing you all a very blessed feast day of The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary! 

A Prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Virgen del Carmen escuela mejicana, s. XVIII
Art: Virgen del Carmen. Escuela Mejicana, s. XVIII

 “Blessed Virgin of Mount Carmel – Be our constant hope.
Mary, perfect disciple of the Lord – Make us also faithful to him.
Mary, Flower of Carmel – Fill us with your joy.
Virgin Mary, Beauty of Carmel – Smile upon your family
Sweet Mother of Carmel – Accept me as your child.
Holy, Mother beyond compare – Remember your children forever.
Holy Virgin, Star of the Sea – Be our beacon of Light.
Protecting Veil – Shelter us in the mantle of your love.
Mary, conceived without sin – pray for us who have recourse to you.”
Amen ❤

My First Blog Post

Dear reader,

Welcome and thank you for visiting my blog!

wild flowers2

Field of Wildflowers (photo source unknown)


Borrowing St. Teresa of Jesus’s poignant words: I am a Daughter of the Church.

I am a lover of Christ. I am devoted to Our Lady of Mount Carmel. 

I have been married for 30 years to my best friend, and I am a mother of two beautiful daughters and a cute tabby cat named Ruby. A devout Roman Catholic, I am a member of the Secular Order of Discalced Carmelites (O.C.D.S.)

Here in this space, I would like to share in the Carmelite charisma, blogging about prayer and Carmelite spirituality. The Carmelite Saints and their writings are a source of my ongoing inspiration in my spiritual life. I continue to learn from them, and hope to share with you here some of what I’ve learned. Their teachings are real treasures of the spirit. 

I am interested in spending time in prayer, Eucharistic Adoration, in spiritual reading and attending retreats, poetry, travelling, photography, sacred art, and music. I also enjoy walks in nature and I love the Sea. 

~ Patty