Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: paradoxical beauty 1

The Crucifixion by Saint John of the Cross. Photo credit: thespeakroom.org
The Crucifixion by Saint John of the Cross. Photo credit: thespeakroom.org

Sometimes, it takes a leap of faith to be able to believe that our life is important to God, that we are sacred in His eyes, that we are part of the redeeming beauty of Christ, and that God looks upon each of us as his Beloved. Where there is love in you, Jesus sees that love as beautiful to Him. ‘Who we are in Christ’s eyes, is who we are alone,’ as St. Francis says. I don’t have to be preoccupied about what people think about me because if I know that I am right with Him, then that is all that matters. I can divest myself from useless concerns that waste precious time and energy.

Cardinal Ratzinger says, ‘We must learn to see Him.’ To go further, we must learn to see Him in ourselves. That is not meant to be self-centered navel gazing, but in our spiritual life, we must have a deepening knowledge of ourselves. St. Teresa says that knowledge of self is the foundation for the spiritual life. If we never go through this journey of inner healing, there will be a serious insufficiency and handicap as we continue in our life of piety and prayer. And we won’t know what is holding us back, much of it in the emotional, psychological, and relational level. The focus can’t be just spiritual, for our spiritual lives are inter-combined with everything else about who we are.

We must learn to see Him, including learn to see Him in ourselves. Whatever is in us, whatever message, whatever we’ve assumed, and have been conditioned to think, about our past, our present, our future; whatever we’ve adopted, whatever stinking thinking about who we are that we have adopted as truth about our possibilities and potentials – that isn’t coherent, consistent, and in harmony with His gospel, His vision, and with what He says about our lives and who we are – must be thrown out. The lies must be renounced and cast out of our lives because they will hold you back from being free.

Truth sets us free, but lies and ignorance enslave us to a lesser self, a false God. We must have no false Gods before us. We must learn to see Him. Ratzinger continues, ‘If we know Him, not only in words, but if we are struck by the arrow of His paradoxical beauty, then we will truly know Him and know Him not only because we have heard others speak about Him.’

What does he mean by paradoxical beauty? Very simply, the cross.

Only the eyes of faith, someone who knows Jesus inside and out, can see beauty in the cross. Those for whom Jesus has not come to birth in their hearts will ask, ‘How can you find beauty in the cross?’ It seems like a total contradiction to have a symbol of torture that is also a symbol of religion. It makes absolutely no sense to the natural human mind – unless, of course, it has been blessed and enlightened by faith. Paradoxical beauty. What may seem as total failure to someone else, can be seen as the fullness of love and self-giving to another person with faith. That’s beauty.

To lay down your life for your friends is beautiful. But especially so, when God does it for humanity, for sinners. Oftentimes, what brings out what’s most beautiful in us, happens after we’ve passed through some experience of the cross. From the most ugly, most painful experiences, from the ashes, can arise a fire of a new beauty in our lives. This is the redemption of Christ Jesus alive in the world, at work in each of us, bringing about and renewing in all who have faith, the death and resurrection of Christ, the Paschal mystery. That is paradoxical beauty (to be continued).

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life.

(SOURCE: Denver Retreat, October 2015)

Copyright 2016, Fr. Robert Barcelos. All Rights Reserved

‘Arm yourselves with the armor of faith and the sword of truth.  Pray for the grace to forgive and to ask for forgiveness – and for the healing of wounded bodies and souls.’

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August 9: Feast of Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein)

IMG_7575

Translated from Italian and published

by Carmel of Maria Regina, Eugene OR

According to The Discalced Carmelite Proper Offices Supplement (2012), “Edith Stein was born of a Jewish family at Breslau on October 12, 1891. Through her passionate study of philosophy she searched after the truth and found it in reading the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Jesus. In 1922 she was baptised Catholic and in 1933 she entered the Carmel of Cologne where she took the name of Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. She was gassed and cremated at Auschwitz on August 9, 1942 during the Nazi persecution and died a martyr for the Christian faith after having offered her holocaust for the people of Israel” (157).

Editor’s note:  In honor of yesterday’s Feast Day, here are some selected quotes from a booklet of Edith Stein’s ‘Thoughts’. If you haven’t yet read yesterday’s post by Father Robert Barcelos, ‘holiness means being whole,’ make sure you click on it below.

11. Divine spirit, divine life, divine love means this: he who does the will of God, knows God and loves Him. In fact, at the moment in which we do what God asks, with interior dedication, divine life becomes our life, God is found within ourselves. (Letter 21)

12. The more a person lives recollected in the interior of his soul, the stronger is that radiation which he sheds around him and which draws other souls into his circle. (Letter 21)

14. We have to learn to see others carry the cross and not be able to remove it from them. It is more difficult than to carry our own, but we cannot avoid it. (Letter 45)

20. God leads each one by a particular way; one person arrives more easily and sooner at the goal than another. What we can do, in comparison with what we are given, is always little. But the little we must do: that is, we must pray insistently so that when the way does happen to be indicated, we will be able to follow the grace without resisting. (Letter 56)

114. To belong wholly to God, to give oneself to Him, to His service, for love, this is the vocation, not only of all the elect but of every Christian; whether consecrated or not, man or woman. Everyone is called to follow Christ, and the more each one advances along the way, the more like Christ each one becomes. And since Christ personifies the ideal of human perfection free from every defect and one-sidedness, rich with characteristic traits be they masculine or feminine, free from every earthly limitation, His faithful followers rise ever higher above the confines of nature. (Woman 98)

136. In aridity and emptiness the soul becomes humble. Former pride disappears when a man no longer finds anything that might cause him to look down on others. (Science of the Cross 76)

155. The cross serves as a walking-stick to speed one’s march toward the summit. (Science of the Cross 141)

159. Contemplation is perceived more frequently in the will under the form of love, than in the intellect under the form of knowledge. (Science of the Cross 156)

The desire of our hearts and prayers rise to God for the salvation of all. For those who are called, whether they be Jews or Greeks, we preach Christ Crucified, a scandal to the Jews and foolishness to the pagans. But for those who are called, we preach Christ the power of God and the Wisdom of God  (Divine Office Supplement 159)

Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: holiness means being whole

Painting by Father Robert Barcelos, all rights reserved 2016
Painted by Father Robert Barcelos (Copyright 2016, All Rights Reserved)

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The whole mission of Jesus’s life, His incarnation, and the work of the Church is to enable us to attain to the likeness of God, to become who we are, as being made in the image of God. That process of becoming the best version of ourselves, means that we must become the canvas of God. Let the divine artist paint the beauty of His image in you. That beauty of His image in you is irrepeatable and irreplaceable; there will never be another copy of it again. There are no clones in the economy of God’s salvation. There is only one unique you.

As Matthew Kelly says, ‘Be perfectly yourself.’ That is not meant to be self-centered psychology, or a recipe for self-realization. It is thoroughly Christian, in the sense of knowing who we are as beloved children of God. Because how can we love one another as we love ourselves, if we don’t love ourselves in a healthy way?

One of Dostoevsky’s famous expressions is, ‘Beauty will save the world,’ which is quoted by many people who are not necessarily religious. In his contemplation of beauty, Cardinal Ratzinger explains that people usually forget that Dostoevsky was referring to the redeeming beauty of Christ.

How can we love others if we can’t love ourselves? One of the biggest realizations in my growth as a Christian and as a human being, in my healing and becoming more united to Christ was my realization that I didn’t love myself. Even though I believed in God’s love, there came a point of truth when God helped me to know myself, and to learn that I really didn’t love myself. It took a long time to realize this truth, but it was always subconsciously at work in me. I didn’t really accept myself as I was, and there were very human, natural reasons for that.

My parents divorced before I was two years old. My mother had a very traumatic experience, and it was really challenging for her.  She bore this difficulty while she carried me in her womb, and by the time I was two years old, they separated. (And I don’t blame her for that). Any child of divorce will admit that they subconsciously blame themselves. Likewise, I thought that the divorce was my fault. I wasn’t even two years old, but the belief was ingrained in me. Without my consciously thinking about it, my self-identity was shaped by my belief that I was the one who caused the separation. I was the one to blame. Thoughts like, ‘Had I been good enough, this wouldn’t have happened. Had I been better, my parents would’ve stayed together’ were subconsciously buried in me, but would only come out in certain occasions.

However, these thoughts were a driving force to my broken self-identity. They didn’t keep me from living a happy life, but there was definitely something I was unaware of, that needed to be healed. As a result of this false interpretation of a painful experience, of assuming the blame for my father’s abandonment, I didn’t fully accept myself for who I was.

Human nature is very complicated. As far as I was concerned, there were no issues or problems brought on by my parents’ divorce. However, it all came to light when I realized that I never accepted who I was, because I always thought of who I should be. I didn’t accept the real me. I accepted the ideal me. As a result, because I couldn’t accept myself with all my imperfections and faults, I had a very hard time accepting others with their imperfections and faults. Because I didn’t love myself in the way God loved me, it was a lot harder for me to love my neighbor as God loves them. This lack of reconciliation with myself led to an inability to love others with a greater power of love. For me, knowing this truth, was a very significant part of answering God’s call to holiness.

If we are going to answer God’s call to holiness, He will not only work in our spiritual lives of piety and prayer. No. We are called to be whole, in spirit, soul, and body, and that means the integration and inner unity of our whole humanity – emotionally, physically, psychologically, relationally, and sexually. Our whole identity is to be embraced in God’s redemptive love. Everything about who we is to be redeemed, filled, and encountered by the light of Christ (to be continued).

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life.

(SOURCE: Denver Retreat, October 2015)

Copyright 2016, Fr. Robert Barcelos. All Rights Reserved

‘Arm yourselves with the armor of faith and the sword of truth.  Pray for the grace to forgive and to ask for forgiveness – and for the healing of wounded bodies and souls.’

If you liked this post, share it by clicking on one of the social media icons. And if you were inspired or have a prayer request, share that too under the ‘comment’ section!

Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: humility is truth

The Crucifixion by Saint John of the Cross. Photo credit: thespeakroom.org
The Crucifixion by Saint John of the Cross. Photo credit: thespeakroom.org

Editor’s note: If you subscribed and did not immediately receive an email indicating that your subscription was complete, please resubscribe below. The link was temporarily broken.  Thank you!

The only thing Jesus required from Peter’s mission of love – was humility, but Peter learns the hard way. Shortly after receiving his new identity, Peter tells Christ, ‘I will never leave you. I will always be there by your side, no matter what happens.’ Peter placed his trust on himself. He did not acknowledge his weakness. However, Jesus responds, ‘Three times, you will deny me.’ Jesus knew, even before Peter fell, that he would fall, but He chose him anyway because He knew that He would bring goodness out of that fall. What was the good? Humility.

Eventually, after betraying Christ three times, Peter comes to know himself at rock bottom; he learns that he is nothing without Christ, and that the gifts he has, do not come from himself, but from Jesus. Left alone, and without Jesus sustaining him, Peter sees clearly how easily everything had slipped through his fingers. Yet Jesus restores him to himself and gives him the opportunity to heal and make reparation for that part of himself that had been hurt by his denial of Christ. When Peter reaffirms his love for Jesus, He elevates him to a new level of love, in his capacity to be Christ for others, that would not have been possible had he not suffered in this way. Only after learning true humility was Peter ready for the mission of mercy. True compassion is not possible without going through the Passion.

According to Saint Teresa, humility is truth; it is knowing who we are in God’s eyes. That truth sets us free to be who we’re truly meant to be, and with God’s help and the Holy Spirit, to be that to the full. As Matthew Kelly says, we have to become the best version of ourselves. To do so, we must go through a great deal of conversion. To become the best version of ourselves, we must go through conversion.

‘It is this crucified and risen Lord who fully reveals man to himself and makes his supreme calling clear’ writes Saint John Paul II in Evangelii Gaudiuum, (The Joy of the Gospel). This was his favorite quote from the Vatican Council, which he was a part of. It is Jesus who fully reveals man to us and makes clear to us our supreme calling.

(to be continued).

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life.

(SOURCE: Denver Retreat, October 2015)

Copyright 2016, Fr. Robert Barcelos. All Rights Reserved

‘Arm yourselves with the armor of faith and the sword of truth. Pray for the grace to forgive and to ask for forgiveness – and for the healing of wounded bodies and souls.’

If you liked this post, share it by clicking on one of the social media icons. And if you were inspired or have a prayer request, share that too under the ‘comment’ section!

 

Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: become the canvas of God

The Crucifixion by Saint John of the Cross. Photo credit: thespeakroom.org
The Crucifixion by Saint John of the Cross. Photo credit: thespeakroom.org

note from the editor: the image above is the one that inspired Dali (previous post).  The canvas that Saint John of the Cross chose for his depiction of Christ was actually no more than 4X4 inches. This relic is housed in La Encarnación in Avila, Spain. Saint Teresa started her vocation there and eventually became a prioress in the Carmelite order.  Later she moved on to reform the order, founding the Discalced Carmelites. Her first foundation, Saint Joseph’s Monastery, is walking distance from the La Encarnación.

Many of the photos on this blog that are attributed to thespeakroom.com come from Spain and will offer you a rare glimpse of original relics and paintings. The saints would love for you to share these images with others, but if you do so, please do your part in the work of the Holy Spirit, and link back to this blog. Thank you!

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We must become the canvas of God. Ultimately, that comes in understanding that God is the only One who is supremely beautiful, and we encounter that beauty by the revelation of His love; it is love that is beautiful. God is the fullness of love and therefore, He is beauty itself. It is God’s love that makes us truly beautiful. We have to acknowledge and see that; we have to receive and nurture that. Wherever there is love in the soul, God sees beauty. If there is love in your heart, God will look upon you and your beauty as His beloved.

In scripture, Our Lord often says, ‘You are sacred in my eyes and precious, and I love you… I have chosen you…Fear not, I am with you, and you are mine.’ This language of covenant expressed in scripture is nuptial language. It is spousal language. It is the same language used by the mystics, especially St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila. Ultimately, our faith life is a love affair with the love of loves. El amor de los amores.

Speaking to artists, Saint John Paul the II says, ‘Beauty is the key to the mystery of life and a call to transcendence.’ To seek transcendence means to pursue that which is beyond what we see with our senses. It is an invitation to savor life and dream of the future. When we see beauty, especially the beauty of creation – of mountains, landscapes, of broad, wide horizons, the sunset or sunrise, the ocean – there is something that touches deep down within our spirits that brings about this longing for something great. We long for something greater than the limitations and brokenness of this life.

The beauty of created things cannot satisfy. It stirs up a hidden nostalgia for God, which a lover of beauty like Saint Augustine can express in comparable terms. ‘Late have I loved you, oh Lord. Beauty so old, and so new. Late have I loved you.’

During the Middle Ages, there was an era of study of the faith when Aristotle was being translated into Christian terms, and Christian philosophy was being refined as a catalyst for theology and an understanding of God. St. Thomas Aquinas is the beacon of that era, the Scholastic Period. For the Scholastics, the definition of beauty was ‘the splendor of truth.’ … That takes my breath away. I hope that just hearing that phrase awakens in us a longing to contemplate, a longing to let that resonate inside. Let that longing open up and rest in you.

Fyodor Dostoevsky, a great Russian Orthodox writer of the nineteenth century, said that in the world, there is only one figure of absolute beauty – Christ. That infinitely lovely figure is an infinite marvel (to be continued).

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life.

(SOURCE: Denver Retreat, October 2015)

Copyright 2016, Fr. Robert Barcelos. All Rights Reserved

‘Arm yourselves with the armor of faith and the sword of truth. Pray for the grace to forgive and to ask for forgiveness – and for the healing of wounded bodies and souls.’

If you liked this post, share it by clicking on one of the social media icons.  And if you were inspired or have a prayer request, share that too under the ‘comment’ section!

Father Robert Barcelos, OCD: ‘charismatic refueling’

dali-cross

Christ of Saint John of the Cross, by Salvador Dali (1951)

John 14: 1-7

“Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way where I am going.”Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him.”

In our spiritual walk, we must strive to seek the face of Christ, to seek, in the words of Father General Saverio Cannistra, a ‘charismatic refueling.’ Don’t categorize ‘charismatic’ in terms of what you might know of charismatic groups in your local parish, and whether or not you like them. Charisma – the essence of this word means to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The dazzling, dynamic gift of the Holy Spirit, is a creative, life-giving, and transforming gift. A charismatic refueling requires that we seek the face of Christ’s eternal youthfulness as risen Lord.

Remember that Jesus died at the age of 33. His life and mission in his sacred humanity was completed by that young age, and his public ministry lasted for only three years. It doesn’t take long for God to do what He needs to do, as we see in our Lord’s life, and the life of saints like Saint Therése. God can accomplish much in a short amount of time.

In God’s divine providence, pre-planned and destined, the fullness of Christ’s mission, the whole work of His embracing all the cosmos -all of creation, and all of humanity who would believe in Him – was consummated in His sacred humanity and completed in only three years.For three hours, the author of life, the creator of the cosmos, hung on the cross, and was crucified; for just three days He was in the earth of his own creation.

In the outburst of the resurrection, of the new creation, Jesus roamed the world for fifty days in His risen body. This expresses and captures the reality that out of every agony, God’s glory is far surpassing. His love conquers, overwhelmingly, over every suffering and trial, transforming trials into triumphs. He makes the triumphs surpassingly greater than the suffering. When sin increases, grace increases all the more.

This eternal youthfulness of Jesus as risen Lord expresses something primordial and essential about us. Jesus says, ‘unless you become like a little child, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven.’ Therefore, in order to truly grow and mature spiritually, we have to become small, little, young again. As the Psalms and Isaiah say, God’s love ‘renews our youth like the eagles.’ God renews our experience and sense of freedom, that our hearts may sore like an eagle, with the freedom of knowing what it means to be loved. Many saints and mystics have noted that in heaven, everyone is young, and that the expression of our personhood is at our prime.

In this life, even if we are well into our retirement age, our hearts can experience the eternal newness of Jesus’s life in us. That experience of what it means to be alive and to be loved in Christ can happen at any age. Our external age is accidental in comparison to our soul’s age in relationship to God. A spiritual new birth can happen in someone’s life in their eighties. Conversion, this becoming like a child, renewed, this discovering of our deepest, truest self in Christ, is an ongoing discovery, an ongoing exodus, an ongoing romance and adventure with our Lord (to be continued).

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. 

(SOURCE: Denver Retreat, October 2015)

Copyright 2016, Fr. Robert Barcelos. All Rights Reserved

 

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What to expect in ‘seculars speak’

Carmelite saints, like Saint Teresa of Avila, Saint John of the Cross, Saint Therése of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face (the Little Flower), Saint Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein),  and Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity were avid poets and writers. It is no surprise, then, that there are many Carmelite seculars who are themselves, drawn to the word. In this section, you will soon find testimonies and thoughts by secular Carmelites and other lay people who have a particular devotion to Carmelite spirituality.

Father Matthew Williams, OCD: Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, July 16

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John 19 26-27

“But standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Mag’dalene. When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.”

It is with great joy that we gather to praise this woman of faith, the Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Mount Carmel. We thank her for her protection over the Carmelite Order, and over all peoples, as we look to her as our example of discipleship that we are called to follow.

We know that from the very first, the original founders of Carmel had a deep, abiding love and devotion to Our Lady. History tells us that the first chapel of the Carmelites on Mount Carmel was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. It was her who provided inspiration to the first hermits; it was she who watched over these men of faith as her own sons, guiding them to Jesus.

As we come to this mass, under the protective mantle of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, the gospel account of Mary and the Beloved Disciple at the foot of the cross, gives us two insights on how we can imitate the Virgin Mary in our own walk as disciples.

The first insight is this: As the Virgin Mary followed Jesus, her son, we are to do the same. If there is one characteristic that is clear from the gospel accounts of Mary, it is that she follows Jesus every step of the way in His journey to His passion, death and resurrection. She is there, of course, at the Annunciation, when the Holy Spirit overshadows her. She is there at the Presentation of Jesus, where Simeon prophecies of Jesus being the Savior of the world, while at the same time telling Mary about the sword of sorrow that will pierce her heart. She is there at the first miracle of Christ, the wedding at Cana, where Jesus turns the water into wine, and thus saves a young couple’s wedding feast. Mary follows Jesus as he journeys throughout Galilee and Judah, proclaiming the kingdom of God. Finally, the Virgin Mary is here, at the foot of the cross, where she is witnessing the death of her son.

This image of Mary, at the foot of the cross, is so important for us in today’s world. We live in a time of tremendous violence. Week after week we see examples of death coming suddenly, unexpectedly, tragically. A truck drives into a crowd, and eighty-four innocent people lose their lives. Policemen killed because of hatred. Seemingly innocent people, gunned down. Not only that, but we continue to see and feel in our world hatred, injustice, racism, intolerance, and it is overwhelming, it is distressing, we experience our seeming helplessness, and we wonder: how do I live my faith in the midst of so much violence?

How to live my faith? By doing what the Virgin Mary did: follow Jesus. St. Paul tells us to “walk by faith, and not by sight.” (2Cor. 5:7), and that is what she did. With the eyes of the world, Mary can see violence committing evil upon her son. With the eyes of the world, she can see that her son lost the battle, and Jesus will die and be forgotten. But Mary walked by faith, not by sight. By faith she knows that death, sin, evil, the forces of darkness cannot overcome the power of her Son, Jesus our Lord. In the depths of her Immaculate Heart, she knows that victory belongs her son, Our Lord Jesus Christ.

This our invitation to imitate Our Lady of Mount Carmel, by following Jesus as she did, even unto the cross, and by faith, know that victory belongs to God. So, we, like the Virgin Mary can see and experience the violence around us in our world, but we, like Mary, continue to walk by faith, following wherever Jesus leads us, for we know that it is only in Jesus, only through the power of His resurrection, that we and the world will be saved. Evil can never have the last word; rather it is our crucified Savior, who gains victory over all evil, that has the last word. We might not see it now, but like the Virgin Mary, we walk by faith and not by sight, and by faith we know that when we follow Jesus as Mary did, the forces of sin, death, and darkness will never have final victory over us.

Our second insight is this: like the Beloved Disciple, we need to make a home for the Virgin Mary. This is what the first hermits did on Mount Carmel; they made a home for Mary, where she is welcomed and treasured. We are being invited by Jesus to do that very thing today – make a home for Mary.

The first place where we need to invite Mary is in our hearts. The problems and violence of today’s world is not so much a problem of laws (though they are important), but a heart problem. Jesus tells us: “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile a man.” (Mt. 15. 19-20)

The heart is where true discipleship takes place; it is where we focus upon Jesus, the mystery of Jesus in us, Jesus in our hearts, and this is where the Carmelite life is lived. To have our hearts centered upon Christ, as is that Immaculate Heart of Mary, is what we strive for as Carmelites; this intention is ever before us, for as Jesus becomes the center of our hearts, we are able to share with others the great wonder that is faith in Christ.

Secondly, we become welcoming in our relations with others, for that is what the Beloved Disciple did when commanded by Jesus to make a home for Mary – he welcomed her. This welcome to Mary is extended by us to all those that we encounter in the church and in the world. The Beloved Disciple welcomes the Mother of all the faithful, and he did that at the foot of the cross. The violence of the cross did not harden the heart of either Mary, nor of the Beloved Disciple, but enlarged them – this is our vocation in today’s world, to realize that at the foot of the cross, and new family of humankind is being formed by Jesus, a family that is led by a holy mother, where her sons and daughters imitate her, with enlarged hearts, as they welcomed each other through the power and glory of Jesus from the cross.

These two invitations, imitating the Virgin Mary by following Jesus as she did, and taking Mary into our very lives, is what marks Carmelite devotion to Our Lady. We give our lives to Jesus, as did Mary. We invite Mary into our very lives, as Mary did, and have our hearts become like her Immaculate Heart. When we do this, we will truly become like those first hermits that lived on Mount Carmel, we will be like that great cloud of Carmelite witnesses, like St. Teresa of Jesus, John of the Cross, St. Therese of Lisieux, like all those great men and women of Carmel whose names we do not know, like living saints, disciples of Jesus, following the example of the Virgin Mary.

We ask Our Lady of Mount Carmel to pray for us, so that the Holy Spirit will come upon us and overshadow us, like it did her. That our hearts will be like hers, so that we can live in the presence of her son, Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior, worshiping and praising the Holy Trinity, in the company of all saints, for all eternity.

Copyright Fr. Matthew Williams, OCD, 2016. All Rights Reserved.

OUR MISSION is to build a Carmelite foundation for souls to bring unity, peace, beauty, and the divine mercy of the Word to the world for the healing of humanity.