Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: Our Lady of Mt Carmel Novena, Day 3

mountCarmelCloudA single cloud upon Mount Carmel

The Lord God would not leave unfinished what He had started. He had brought Elijah this far, had done amazing things in his life, and was not going to leave him stranded. Once Elijah sees the sign from God, he says to his servant, ‘Harness the chariot,’ Elijah tells him, ‘Brace yourself, because the blessings will now come down.’

We need to celebrate the little blessings that God brings us along the way. There are times, when we pray for something very specific, and expect something great, which is fine. God wants us to have bold expectations as an expression of hope. God’s plans inspire a desire for something really bold, a magnificent blessing upon your life, based on His goodness, and you have a birthright to that. But before you get that, He prepares you by giving you smaller blessings that lead up to it. God’s actions keep you hungry for more, to keep you in a state where you are teachable, in order to train you more deeply.

When you celebrate the little blessings along the way, you have the humility to recognize, ‘I’m not experiencing the whole outpouring yet, but I have a drop. I’ve got a taste, a sign that God is acting. I might not see the full results yet, but I have enough proof to believe and be convinced that He is on the job. There are good things to come. My prayer in His name is never in vain.’

‘He gives me what I need, when I need it. Right when I thought I couldn’t hold on much longer, I see the cloud. He gives me a word in prayer. He speaks to me through scripture. He speaks to me, even through a homily, a friend, or a perfect stranger who had no idea what I was going through; who had no idea about the emotional challenge I was facing in my family; who had no idea of the question I was asking God in my mind, in the secrecy of my thoughts. And this perfect stranger says exactly what I was asking for, from God.’

That’s the cloud. That’s the cloud that encourages us to keep going because there are greater things to come. He gives us enough to keep us holding on to the next one. Even though the blessing is small, the size of a crumb, I assure you, those crumbs will eventually become a banquet upon you. The blessings will get bigger and better. The clouds will get bigger and better.

Celebrating the small things along the way also means having the the humility to say this, ‘I may not be right where I would like to be, spiritually, but I’m better. I know I’m not there yet. I know I have a lot of room for improvement. But I am better. I might not come to Mass daily, in the way I like. I might not have been able to fulfill my desire to spend a holy hour everyday, but compared to last year, I am better.’

We have to celebrate being better, and give thanks to almighty God. We have to be at peace with the process and not be restless until the end, until we have received the full fulfillment. We have to enjoy it along the way.  Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us. (to be continued)

(SOURCE: Feast of OLMC 2013, Saint Therése Church, Alhambra, CA)

Copyright Fr. Robert Barcelos, OCD, 2016. All Rights Reserved.

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Click the image below for the Novena prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, followed by: Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be.

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Our Lady of Mt Carmel, Feast Day July 16

Mt. Saint Joseph Carmelite Monastery, San Jose, CA